Your Guide to Software Selection

5 Questions Before Selecting Business Intelligence Software Solutions

Are you tired of technology implementations that don’t yield results? Nucleus Research has found that for every dollar invested in business intelligence tools (BI) and analytics, companies earn an average of $10.66 back. Additionally, 74 percent of businesses who fail to invest in BI are negatively impacted.

The benefits of this technology investment are clear, but taking a careful approach to technology selection is crucial. Every organization should consider the following factors before beginning a formal requirement gathering process for business intelligence software solutions:

1. Who Are My Users, and What Are Their Needs?

Who will be using this product? What goals will they be achieving with it? How could these user roles grow and change over the next fiscal year? Comprehensively documenting your user roles is critical to effective technology selection. In fact, TechRepublic cites misunderstood requirements as the primary reason for budgetary issues or overdue implementations.

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2. How Will I Implement This Technology?

While it may seem premature to begin considering implementation before you’ve fully evaluated your options for business intelligence tools, having an idea of your implementation goals is important. Estimated timelines for training and full use can affect the types of solutions you should consider.

3. What Are My Short and Long-Term Goals?

Goals can vary significantly according to your company’s industry, size, competitors and products. A few examples of goals for business intelligence tools are listed below:

  • Data warehousing
  • Reporting and dashboarding
  • Data mining
  • Predictive analytics

While your company may be considering BI as a tool for beginning analytics, or may need sophisticated solutions for operations, understanding what you’re trying to achieve will streamline your selection process.

4. What is My Budget?

Did you know that 45 percent of “large-scale” IT projects run over budget, while only 7 percent are delivered late? Cost is a major pain point for most technical decision-makers. Understanding how much your organization is able to spend on the total project — including licensing or recurring software as a service (SaaS) payments, project management and training — from the start can narrow your options.

5. What are the Most Important Features?

Your options for BI solutions range from lightweight, simple solutions to highly complex technologies for very sophisticated analytics. Document the features you require, prefer and can live without. This can be achieved efficiently if you’ve already defined your user requirements and goals. Some BI software features you may choose to list could include:

  • Data collection
  • Data analysis
  • Integration for existing systems
  • Cloud-based storage
  • Ease-of-use
  • Visualization, including dashboarding and reporting
  • Predictive analytics
  • Data mining

Get our BI Tools Requirements Template

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