2. Understanding Pricing and Licensing Fees
Subscription models will differ based on number of users, amount of data stored and number of data sources. Many SMBs like the idea of having BI as a fixed cost. Depending on the model chosen, fixed costs can grow exorbitantly due to capturing higher data volumes, expansion of use or the application of more complex analytics. Looking at the way additional data sources, end users and expansion of use will affect costs over time may lead you to select a BI offering that is more expensive initially but has more potential to scale. The market is transitioning away from traditional licensing models that block organizations from expanding end user involvement without increasing costs.
3. Consider Integration of Disparate Data Sources
Some industry research suggests that 80 percent of BI efforts are placed on data integration activities. Each vendor has different ways of loading, cleansing and maintaining data sources. In addition, certain vendors have connectors to integrate a wider variety of information. Understanding how this works in advance will help plan for the effort involved relative to developer and solution provider involvement and what sources are supported natively. In addition, this knowledge can help narrow the playing field by identifying which solution offerings will be the quickest to develop.
4. Get the Cloud/SaaS Details
The promise of fixed costs, less upfront costs and easier maintenance makes SaaS appealing to many SMBs. When looking at the long-term costs and expansion of use, the picture changes. In many cases, long-term expenditures end up being larger than with traditional implementations and costing structures. Even though subscription models are becoming more popular, their costs over time will probably be greater than spending higher fees to implement a BI offering up front and spending the 20 percent (on average) on support and maintenance fees. Software as a service on its own is becoming more popular, but businesses need to make sure they can access and remove their data if they choose to change platforms. Also, organizations should identify what challenges exist with having their data hosted externally versus developing their own data warehouse.