Thursday, March 9

Pass the sales pitch for toolsets

You think you want BI and now you are looking for the best BI tool for you. What does that look like? Well, that's a "it depends".

First find the toolset(s) that give you what you need. Some features to consider are flexibility, distribution and automation. Flexibility to meet the ever changing landscape of your business. The distribution and automation features to make reporting easy and consistent for so many in your organization.

Want a list of vendors you should look at and the questions to ask?

Hint (in no particular order): Business Objects, Cognos, Hyperion, MicroStrategy, Informatica, or Microsoft.

5 questions to ask vendors to get you past their standard sales pitch.

1) Ask for reference sites. Talk to both successful installs and unhappy customers. Learn from their experiences.

2) Ask for a demonstration. And keep bringing them back to how their tools provide flexibility for users to make changes or to the criteria you've identified for your organization.

3) Ask how it will improve your business. Many times a sales pitch only explains the functionality of their tools. Ask them to be specific to your needs.

4) Always negotiate the price of software. Not quite a question but important to remember.

5) Ask which local development partners they have. Strong vendors will have consulting firms or software development companies they've worked with in the past. Regardless if they have their own internal consulting services unit.

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