Business intelligence software can make an organization more productive, more strategic, and more profitable — but how do you know which one to choose?
With so many options on the market today, narrowing down the business intelligence software choices can seem overwhelming. Where do you even start? However, with so many providers, it also means that you can be very specific about the tools you want to use.
Here are some things to take into consideration.
Deciding What to Look For
The right tool for you will depend largely on your organization’s needs. Consider the following:
- Do you have a business intelligence strategy in place?
- What goals are you hoping to achieve with your business intelligence tool?
- What features are must-haves? What are nice-to-haves?
- What are your business’s technical requirements?
- Who will be using the BI software? Where are they located? (For example, will it be used by remote employees, or in house?)
- Do you need to facilitate information sharing with customers and vendors?
- What is the user experience like? (This is where user acceptance testing can help.)
- What data sources do you need to integrate with?
- Ability to scale. If your business grows, can the BI tool grow with it?
To begin narrowing down the selection, you need a clear understanding of both your business objectives and your technical objectives.
Deciding Who to Work With
When you know what you are looking for, you can begin to evaluate providers.
- What support does the provider offer during implementation?
- Do they have experience with your industry? They could therefore add value to development of measures and KPIs.
- What training is available? And how is it provided?
- Does the provider have in-house support available or is it all handled internally within your own organization?
Putting It Together
In our experience, businesses have the most success choosing and implementing a new business intelligence tool when they follow a plan that incorporates all of the above, plus these best practices:
- Create a project management team. This usually works best when it is made up of people from several departments but should include those who will be using and administering this tool the most.
- Determine an implementation plan. In our experience, this is the area where most technology projects get off track.
- Do user acceptance testing. Before committing to a tool, test it out with a group in-house to make sure it functions as you would like and provides the information you expect.
- Work with a consultant. This can be the quickest and most cost-effective way to implement a new business intelligence solution. Business software consultants are often familiar with many different BI tools on the market and can help your business seamlessly evaluate options, negotiate with vendors, and create an integration plan. The cost of picking the wrong tool can be far more expensive and put much more strain on internal resources.
At SHEA Global, we have helped many companies evaluate, select, and implement business intelligence tools. Contact us today to work with us on finding your best BI solution.
Call (905) 470 6830 or visit SHEAGlobal.com.