How To Be Data Rich Blog

How to pick a BI platform

How to pick a BI platform

When it comes to choosing a BI tool, the stakes could not be higher. Generally speaking, it can cost tens of thousands of dollars to migrate platforms, along with the time loss associated with it.

In order to save yourself the headache and cost of migration down the line, you need to choose the right platform the first time.

That’s what this blog post will hopefully help you do. We’ll break down the differences, strengths, and weaknesses of the most common platforms and which is the best fit for your business.

Craft the goals and outcomes that you want from your initiative-

Without a clear destination, you’re stuck wandering aimlessly.

Before you go about choosing a platform, you need to sit down and plot out exactly what success looks like for you.

This starts with figuring out your goals for the project, up front. Are you looking to reduce costs? Reduce manual input required? Decrease time to insights?

Once you have decided on what success looks like for the project, the next thing to do is start looking at the technical requirements of your project.

BI vs Vis-

The first major question that you need to answer is, “Do I need a BI tool, or a data visualization tool?”.

In order to help you answer that question, we’ll break down the major differences between them.

BI as a whole is like an iceberg, with most of the work happening below the surface. The part that you see and interact with is just the visualization layer. The underlying data is much more important than the visuals.

If you have good, clean, trustworthy data already aggregated and all you need to do is visualize it so that it’s easily readable and interpretable, then you just need a visualization tool.

The good news about visualization tools is that they are fairly ubiquitous and cheap, and the differences between them are relatively small.

If your data isn’t clean, or trustworthy, or if you need to merge multiple datasets together, then you will need a BI tool.

Price vs Ease of Implement vs Power-

We like to say that when it comes to choosing the right BI/ visualization tool, you can have one that’s powerful, cheap, easy to implement, or feature rich; and generally you can get something that meets two or maybe three of those criteria, but never all of them.

Once you know what your goals are, and what kind of platform you’re looking at, it’s time to prioritize what you need from the platform.

If you’re looking for a budget-conscious solution that’s easy to implement, a visualization tool is the way to go. If you’re looking for something that’s powerful and feature-rich, you probably want to look more towards Domo, Power BI, or SiSense. 

We put together a short survey to help you figure out which platforms will work best for your specific use case that you can check out below.

While that survey can help you point you in the right direction, if you’re looking for a more in-depth answer to the question of which BI platform is right for you, we have developed a process specifically for that; our Data Strategy Roadmaps.

Data Strategy Roadmap-

These engagements are essentially your own private incubator. We’ll help you define your vision for moving forward and help you outline a roadmap to get there.

The Data Strategy Roadmap reviews business procedures, documentation, and available data sources, then evaluates them against main areas of a customer’s data journey. 

We use this to identify what metrics are/aren’t available today and to provide thoughts on what needs to be developed to reach an enhanced future state of dashboard capability & usage. 

The goal is to hone in on correct architecture, KPIs and adjust as necessary to drive behaviors around key company initiatives.

We’ll help you de-risk your investment, plan development, and most importantly, build it right the first time.

What it actually includes-

As you can see in the graphic above, those are the steps that we will take you through in your Data Strategy Roadmap.

We’ll walk through your business, it’s goals, the tech stack that you currently use, and your goals. 

From there, we’ll walk through metrics mapping with you. Metrics Mapping includes:

  • Identifying your main business objectives in the next 6-18 months
  • Decide what dashboards/data you need to track progress and make decisions to achieve those objectives, and figure out where that data lives.
  • Walk through the audience for these dashboards and how you expect the users to leverage the data.
  • And finally, Value Engineering. This includes:
  • Identifying where you will save money, make money, or spend smarter because of this BI Project. 
  • Quantifying the potential impact in software costs saved, man hours spent on pulling reports is reduced, ROI attained because of better spend decisions, etc.

Once we have completed that analysis, we will be much more equipped to make an accurate BI recommendation. We’ll make that recommendation based off your: Needs assessment, Budget, Long-term goals, and Metrics Mapping.

Once all of that is completed, we’ll deliver a finalized Data Roadmap report to you complete with Build plans and estimates for future objectives, as well as a data maturity roadmap. This will be a fully formatted report prepared by one of our data experts, and delivered to you digitally.

We can generally complete a Data Strategy roadmap in under 4 weeks, and charge a $2,500 retainer for the entire engagement.

If you’d like to get started with a Data Strategy Roadmap, or if you would like more consultation on choosing the right BI platform, you can schedule a call with one of our Data Experts here.