1. What impact will the system have on my business?
This is a great question to get your Rep to help you brainstorm what's possible with BI and the potential ROI of the system. While they may not be able to answer with specific amounts, they may have some good ideas on how to achieve the level of impact you're looking for. Beware of vendors who draw a blank at this stage, or are unable to point you to current customers who have achieved something similar. Here are some details you can use to help prompt the Rep:
2. What features/functionality (that are important to my business) do you have, including:
3. Will your system help us ‘bring it all together' and replace disparate tools. Will you help simplify our IT portfolio and information architecture? If we gave you a list of our tools, can you show exactly how you would replace them?
4. What's the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of the BI System? Including:
5. How will we handle data and system integration? For example, with our ERP system, CRM system, with budgeting & planning systems, with existing data warehouses, with external data.
6. Since different types of users (analysts, managers, executives) interact with information differently, do you support role-based front-end tools (see my article here:http://www.information-management.com/specialreports/2008_95/10001876-1.html
7. Do you run on-premise or as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application, or both? Having a BI system in the cloud will reduce much of your IT overhead expense, and you have to be comfortable trusting your company data to a third-party. If you are looking at a SaaS solution, some follow-on questions include:
8. How do I get support when I need it, and what kinds of support do you have. For example, directly from your company, through consultants, user-groups, on-line resources.
9. How many references can you give me for current customers in the same industry as mine, with similar data sources, similar needs, and ideally with some third-party validated ROI success stories?
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