Over the years, we’ve noticed the majority of business consumers are not aware of the technical problems associated with business intelligence (BI) software- until it’s too late and they’ve purchased the wrong BI solution for their needs.
We want to change that. At 5000fish, educating consumers on the benefits and the drawbacks of BI software is an important part of our Customer Success approach to doing business. So we’ve put together this “Top 5 List” of technical problems associated with BI software, and included helpful takeaway tips.
Your workforce is mobile, your BI solution should be too. But the reality is, few BI vendors have a mobile strategy, and if they do, its functionality is disappointing or limited to read-only view. That’s because many BI tools rely on plug-ins to improve user experience and plug-ins don’t work on mobile.
Tip: If mobile access to your data is a priority, you’ll want to research BI vendors that offer a native mobile strategy and responsive design. You’ll also want to inquire what functions can be performed on mobile and if the data is real-time.
There are numerous technical problems associated with purchasing a BI product that doesn’t offer centralized data level security. But the reality is, most BI solutions don’t. Instead, they simply offer “access control,” meaning who can log in or who can review a report- and expect you to control data access at the query level. That creates a technical nightmare for IT. For example, when two salespeople want a report on their respective territories, IT has to write two database SQL queries to pull the information each salesperson is permitted to see. Not only is this time consuming and budget draining, it also makes your data highly vulnerable to security issues and puts extra stress on IT.
Tip: As you explore various BI tools, you’ll want to inquire about their security model. Look for a seamless solution that offers multiple levels of both user and data security.
A quick Google search will reveal a slew of technical horror stories about the installation and deployment of traditional business intelligence software like IBM Cognos and SAP Business Objects. Here’s why: Traditional BI vendors often buyout smaller software companies, and although the software you purchase is branded with a well-known name like Business Objects, it is actually a hodgepodge of loosely integrated products acquired from other companies. Time-consuming, confusing and highly technical, you could spend days troubleshooting installation and deployment issues with software from the Big Boys of BI. If a BI “solution” is this difficult to install and deploy, there’s a good chance maintaining it will be equally challenging.
Tip: One way to avoid the technical setbacks often associated with installation and deployment is by purchasing BI software that’s easy work with and doesn’t require an army of IT professionals. As you evaluate BI software, pay particular attention to the technical expertise required to install and deploy it.
A fundamental yet often overlooked technical problem with traditional BI software is the interfaces end users must use require browser plug-ins such as Adobe Flash, Silverlight or Java. Yurbi used to require a plug-in, so we know firsthand the challenges they can present. Most notably, plug-ins are notorious for major security flaws, and as a result, they’re constantly getting patched. Moreover, vendor support is typically behind the patch level, so you may end of having to use a version of software you know has a security hole because if you upgrade to the latest version, you could break the software.
Tip: As you’re exploring BI software, you may want to avoid those that require plug-ins and opt for one that’s HTML5.
It’s no secret: In an effort to make their software more and more powerful, many big name BI vendors have created products that are more and more technical. As a result, a prevalent problem associated with traditional BI software is it requires the user to be tech-savvy. In fact, many traditional BI tools require developer level skill sets and expertise. Some even demand the user learn a specific database SQL language that only applies to that BI software.
Tip: Because the end user understands how to leverage the solution to get the valuable information they need, a BI solution designed for the business user (rather than the developer) often delivers greater ROI.
At 5000fish, we believe knowledge is power. If you’re interested in learning more about the challenges of BI solutions, this e-book is a great place to start.