Image Credit – Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
In my earlier article – https://happiatwork.com/dashboards/telltale-signs-your-company-needs-a-bi-dashboard/ I had shared our experiences on when you should implement a BI dashboard solution for your company.
So you have now identified a need for a BI dashboard tool for your company. The next obvious question which will need an answer is which is the right tool for me? What With the plethora of BI tools in the market and the various ways that they are packaged, beginning the selection process can be quite confusing and time consuming.
Here, I share my thoughts on how you should go about selecting the right tool for your company through what we have learned from working with different companies.
- Capturing your business requirements correctly
BI dashboard tools are aimed primarily towards either business users or analytics users. A fundamental principal in any software tool deployment involves requirements gathering. While this sounds obvious, the outcome of inadequate performance in this area can be very damaging. Often the business requirements tend to be captured at a very generic level resulting in choosing the wrong solution for your organization. Capturing the details of the business requirement goes a long way in selecting the right tool/solution for the Organization. Ask these use case questions to crystallize your requirements–
- Who are the end users?
- What are the key outputs/kpi’s you are looking at?
- Do you require high-level, pretty visualizations, or a comprehensive report or both?
- What are the different input data sources?
- What are the features you require for eg. Scheduled emails, Downloads, email alert, filtering, drill downs etc. Categorize them into must-haves and good to haves
- Are you looking for an on-premise or cloud solution?
- Getting a buy-in from your end users
IT department tends to purchase software tools in silos, without first getting buy-in from the people ultimately expected to use them. This holds true for a dashboard solution too. Assuming employees will use newly purchased BI dashboard technology simply because the organization is standardizing on them is a mistake. Even the best BI dashboard tool will be ineffective if they’re not utilized, and no amount of training or standardizing will convince people to use technology they don’t feel benefits them personally,
- Time to deploy
Some tools are very complex to implement taking ages to go-live and thereby losing the true value that they provide. It is a myth that a BI dashboard solution requires a very long time to be implemented. Under this garb vendors/partners take ages to implement the tool resulting often in escalating the implementation costs. Shorter deployment time means an optimized software development process and faster time to market. Longer deployment time means there’s waste or inefficiency in the process.
- Ability to connect to multiple data sources
The size, number, and types of data sources is a very critical factor in choosing the right solution for your organization. Greater the number of data sources, the larger and more complex are the data standardization, & extraction challenges. These issues must be accounted for when determining the right solution. So, choose a solution which can connect to multiple data source of your choice giving you the capability to have an integrated dashboard for your business users.
- Scalability and adaptability
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is choosing a solution that is not scalable and cannot adapt to your changing and growing needs. Many companies are now favouring new age cloud-based dashboard solutions to the on-premise solutions of the past. The cloud-based solutions are easily scalable and can grow or adapt to your business needs.
Last but not the least, one of the most important factors in selecting BI dashboard solution is pricing. Prices can vary depending on number of users, customizations, nature of complexity, implementation and deployment. Here are a few questions you should consider about pricing:
- What is your budget for implementing/hosting/purchasing BI dashboard software?
- How many users will need to access the software?
- Would you prefer a capex (On-premise) or Opex (SAS) model?
There are two popular pricing models: perpetual licensing (on-premise) or SAS plans (cloud). Businesses that prefer to host their own data can go with the on-premise option. However, On-premise deployment requires the business to purchase hardware, servers and other infrastructure, as well as use IT resources to host and maintain the solution. These costs add up to your overall cost of the chosen tool. Businesses that don’t have the time or resources to host their own solution can consider SAS (Cloud) solutions. They will only need to pay a monthly or annual subscription cost. Subscription costs can include the number of features the company needs, as well as any support and maintenance. One-time development cost will depend upon the scope of work.
I hope this article helps the decision makers to help zero down on the potential BI dashboard solution for their company.
HappiAtWork is a Klipfolo and Zoho Analytics partner. Any company, regardless of size, can adopt these solutions and scale it according to their budget. If you wish to learn how our team can help you, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can write to me personally at email@example.com.