When I first started in the business intelligence (BI) software industry, I asked a co-worker, “Who are our prospects?” “Everyone,” he said. “Some of them just don’t know it yet.”
At the time, I thought it was just a salesperson’s blather, but it turns out there is a lot of truth in that statement. Pretty much every organization needs a tool for decision making, reporting, and analysis. Many of those organizations already have one, but of those, some are dissatisfied, some are using tools that don’t quite fit the job, and some could achieve much greater insight and efficiency with a tool that’s better aligned to their needs. So when someone says, “I already have one” or “I don’t need one,” I’ve found it may benefit us both to have a short conversation.
You might be working in one of those organizations that could benefit greatly by taking a good look at what you are doing today for reports, dashboards, and analyses needed for business decisions and how a business intelligence solution (or a new BI solution) can make difference. Here are some of the questions I use to begin a conversation about business intelligence needs—ask yourself:
- What are you using currently for reporting, analysis, decision making?
- How is your user acceptance?
- How often do you need to get IT involved in report changes or customizations like customized cubes? What would your IT team be doing it they were NOT working on your BI requests?
- How many users are using your current solution, either directly or “under the covers”? How many departments? What kind of effort is needed to expand the use of the product you’ve chosen, either to new departments or for new uses?
- How much would you save or how much more revenue could you generate if each of your team were just 1% more efficient?
- Does your current solution provide advanced security, the latest visualizations, and mobile options? How does it handle multiple data sources and multiple currencies? Can it be used in the Cloud?
- Do your users need to create financial formulas or need to know statistics or are calculations pre-defined in your solution? Can you use masks and ranges with ease? Are folders and hierarchies included out-of-the-box and easy to change? In short, is your system usable by users without math degrees or programming knowledge?
- How do you distribute reports, dashboards, and analyses?
- What do users say they need next?
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By Sandi Forman of BIO Analytics, Corp.,