Would you trust a car salesman who's not himself driving a type of car he's trying to sell you? Would you trust a nutritionist or a dietitian who's not in a good shape? You probably won't. There are two things I suggest that we all ask of BI vendors if they:

  1. Use their own BI tools to run their own company. Next time you interview a BI vendor ask for a proof that their own CxOs and all other strategic and tactical decisions makers are using their own tools. I know of some cases where they don't. Then how can a vendor convince you to buy their solutions if they haven't convinced their own people?
  2. Adhere to the same best practices they suggest you implement using their tools/solutions. Transparency is one of them. One of the top use cases for enterprise BI is transparency - full visibility into companies processes, people, policies, rules, transactions, etc.

Unfortunately, my current BI Pricing research is showing a broad range of transparency (or non transparency) from BI vendors themselves. Some vendors welcomed our research RFI and are happily providing all the info we requested. Some are less transparent and are insisting that we only publish price ranges or comparative analysis (who's more/less expensive) without showing their exact quotes. Yet, some others have declined to participate.
For the sake of not creating a precedent I won't call out any specific names here, nor in our upcoming report. But IMHO how transparent a vendor is, the way a vendor treats analysts, responds to their RFIs, etc is directly related to the way a vendor is transparent or not with a customer and the way a vendor treats its customers. You may draw your own conclusions from that statement
:-)

In addition to the pricing research we will also kick of a customer survey asking them about their experience with the total cost of ownership of their BI applications. Look forward to the results and the report by the end of September.

This blog originally appeared at The Forrester Muse.