Chalk it up to human nature. After hearing the latest industry buzzword for the umpteenth time this month alone and reading case study after case study about yet another hundred companies that have implemented “buzzword-related solution” (cloud is the one that first springs to mind), it’s very natural to feel like you and your organization might be missing out.
And when it comes to the term “business intelligence software” (or BI software), you’re probably right.
But before you go off concerning yourself with keeping up with the Joneses and jumping on the BI tool bandwagon, there’s one mission-critical thing you must do, or else you’re just heading down a road to disaster.
Ask yourself one important question
Don’t worry, though; this task is simple enough — just often overlooked amid all the hoopla. That one thing you must do: Think about the particular uses your specific company might have for business intelligence software.
Yes, you read that right: This BI solution provider is telling you to really think about whether or not you have a genuine need for a BI solution. And I’m not doing it because I have some sort of doubt that every company can benefit from BI. I’m doing it because, at the end of the day, it’s a BI solution we’re talking about here. It’s not the cure for cancer. It’s not going to solve all your business’s problems. It’s not going to make you the next Apple, either — not right away, at least.
So before you go surfing the Net looking for things you want in BI software that a BI solution simply doesn’t do and can’t address, make sure you understand why you — you, specifically — want a BI solution. What do you think it can do for you and your company? What problems do you hope it will solve?
Three steps to test your Business Intelligence software need
The great thing is, once you’ve identified your personal reasons for wanting a BI tool, you’ll be ready to do more than just research the products out there and find the one that fits your bill; you’ll be ready to test whether your problems are actually going to be solvable via that (or any) BI solution. Because there are some fantastic things BI software can do for your company if it’s really BI that you’re looking for, but only if it’s really BI that you’re looking for.
And I’m going to let you in on a little secret too: You don’t even need a BI solution on your computer right now to be able to test your theory, either. Instead, you can just follow these three simple steps to see if buying business intelligence software is the right answer to your current dilemma:
Understand the questions you’re trying to answer using your data.
Determine what data in your environment might be needed to answer those questions, where that data is located, and how it can be accessed.
Do a test run with the tools you already have (e.g., an Excel spreadsheet) to see if your data does, in fact, come anywhere even close to answering your questions.
Do you want the good news or the good news?
Regardless of the conclusion, you come to after following these steps, you’ve gotten some good news. If your data isn’t answering your questions, you’ve just spared yourself the money and heartache of investing in a BI solution that wasn’t ever going to be the solution to your particular problem.
On the other hand, if you find that your data is answering your questions, not only will you be ready to find and buy the BI solution that best answers your questions and fits your needs, but you’ll be ready to use it — and all that great BI you generate from it — as well. To discuss more and see if BI might be the right answer to your problem, contact us, we’re here to help.