Selection of the right BI software
A few steps to the optimal solution
You would like your company to benefit from the many advantages of a Business Intelligence solution in future? This is a great decision for the future of your company! However, before you can get started with it, you should do your duties thoroughly, as once you have chosen a software, it will be used in your company for a long time. Therefore, it is important to find the best option for your needs.
Seven steps to the best BI software
In an initial meeting with your core team, you not only determine which steps should be taken to select the right software, but also define who, apart from your core team, should be involved in the software selection. Such a core team usually consists of the most important business users as well as the necessary colleagues from the IT department. Determine in the team whether the requirements for the software should be collected in workshops or in interviews and who should participate. Interviews provide the advantage that everyone involved has time to formulate their needs and requirements precisely. Workshops, on the other hand, often generate additional ideas due to group dynamics.
2. Analyse the current state and define requirements
In the following, take the time to analyse the current state in your company and to collect all the requirements that the new software must fulfil. Discuss how data is currently collected and analysed, where there are difficulties and how BI software can help. In this way, you can compile a catalogue of requirements. There are four categories:
- Functional requirements:
Collect all the functions that are required. What range of functions the software should ultimately have is also dictated by its subsequent area of application. Many BI systems can be used flexibly, but have a focus on specific areas or functions. Also clarify which functions are essential and which are optional.
- Technical requirements:
The technical requirements deal with topics such as data security, data protection, necessary performance, platforms, operating systems and database technology. Necessary interfaces to currently used systems must also be considered so that the selected software can be optimally integrated into your IT landscape.
- Organisational requirements:
This point deals, for example, with the issue of authorisations. Should all users have access to all functions and data, or should there be different authorisations for different user groups? How should authorisations be handled?
- General requirements:
In addition, there may also be general requirements, e.g. it may be important that the software support is offered in a certain language, you want a provider from your home country or you want to be shown references from a similar business sector. The future-proofing of the provider or the expected implementation time can also be important criteria.
It is important to include all stakeholders in this step. Therefore, you should not only consider the future main users of the software, but also include the management or users who only occasionally need information from the BI software or are presented with ready-made reports. This is the only way to get a complete overview of the requirements.
Also consider that requirements might change over time. Therefore, it may be useful to analyse the requirements in an iterative process and change the list as needed.
3. Define criteria
Once you have gathered all the requirements, you can turn them into criteria for software selection. Consider how important each criterion is in order to find out which core criteria your future BI software should have in any case.
The final catalogue of criteria should then be approved by all parties involved.
4. Product research
You can now start looking for suitable BI solutions. This is not an easy task, as there are countless options on the market and the number is constantly growing. However, based on your core criteria, you can quickly narrow down whether a solution is generally eligible or not. In this way you get a long list with a maximum of 20 to 30 software solutions. You can then narrow down the list to a short list of three to five solutions by using the other criteria.
5. Evaluate suitability
In order to compare several BI solutions with each other and to select the optimal software for your company, you should now arrange demo appointments with the providers of your short list. This way you can find out exactly how well the offered solution matches your requirements and see it in action. You may be able to narrow down your list even further in this way.
Afterwards, the remaining solutions should be examined thoroughly in detail. Here, not only the various functions are important, but also the user-friendliness. Many providers offer a free test or a pilot run. Alternatively, you can use a proof of concept (PoC). In this case, the software provider uses a task from your company to show how the required functions are implemented in the software.
Our tip: Take enough time for this step and test the different options as well as possible. Prepare tasks for this that support you in testing or that you pass on to the providers for the PoC. An evaluation sheet based on the originally selected requirement criteria can also help you to assess the options.
6. Estimate implementation effort and costs
The effort required to implement the software and the costs incurred by the software also play an important role in the selection process. Therefore, clarify the following points for all options:
- Time needed to implement the software
- Costs for hardware, possible hosting of the software or use in a cloud
- Time required for any installation of the software
- Licence costs
- Maintenance costs
- Costs for consulting services
- Costs and time for any necessary adjustments to the software
- Costs and time for training of managers and employees
- Costs for integrating the software into your IT environment
You and your core team can now make an informed decision on one of the software solutions. Consider carefully and in detail which option is best for your business.
The decision for a BI software should be made carefully, as your company should work with the same software in the long term in order to get the greatest possible benefit from the software. For this purpose, all necessary functional, technical, organisational and general requirements as well as the resulting effort should be critically assessed and all stakeholders should be included in the selection process. You should also bear in mind that requirements can change over time and that it should therefore be possible to adapt the software to them in future.
myPARM BIact is a business intelligence software that can be customised according to your needs. The software provides you with data from numerous interfaces in one system. This data can be processed, analysed and visualised according to your wishes so that you can design reports entirely according to your needs. As a special feature, it is also possible to immediately convert findings into actions in the fully integrated task management in myPARM BIact.
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Would you like to get to know myPARM BIact in a demo presentation? Then make an appointment with us right away!