Posted by  Charles Clark  Published on  24 Apr 2014
  • Data Strategy

In my previous post, Do You Know Your Clouds? I looked at the three different types of Cloud BI Vendors that are forming as a result of customer demand for intelligent, intuitive Cloud BI services.

In this post, I wanted to expand on what each of the Cloud BI vendor types I presented previously (Better Late Than Never, Traditional and Innovator) means for your Cloud BI buying decisions, and provide some questions for you to ask to get to the heart of whether these vendors are right for you.

What Do Vendor Types Mean For You?
So, what do these vendor types mean for you when you’re evaluating Cloud BI vendors?

When searching for a cloud BI vendor, it is critical for you to know what you are buying, so you don't get stuck with a poor investment that will cost more in time and money to resolve down the road.

Here are a handful of questions you may want to consider asking vendors to help evaluate whether they are the right ones for you:

 1. How easy is it for users to get up and running to use the tools? 

The key for any Cloud BI success is for it to be used as part of every-day business activities. Without an intuitive interface,  users will be reluctant to invest the time and effort to understand how it works, and organizations will be left with a costly relic gathering dust.

2. How easy is it to collaborate with others? 

Cloud BI offers great opportunities to analyze data and convert into actionable information, but no matter how good the analytics are, it will be of little value if it is difficult to be able to share these insights with others in your business – whether other teams, or C-level execs.

3. How secure is their offering? 

One of the most frequent questions asked in relation to the Cloud is around security: Make sure that you are comfortable with how your Cloud BI vendor secures its solution, and your data. Check how often security measures are reviewed, tested and updated.

4. How often are product updates made and deployed to clients? 

The Cloud offers great benefits in terms of flexibility and the speed of rollouts and updates to users, and there is a huge appetite for organizations to be on the ball with the latest and greatest innovations. Find out how often these updates are made, and you’ll start to get an idea of how agile and innovative the BI vendor is.

5. Where is the focus of the vendor?

With Cloud BI vendors, there’s often a lot of talk about the end product the BI, with the emphasis on how your data looks, rather than the intelligence behind what it is showing. Ask BI vendors just what their approach to YOUR data is. Few, if any, organizations have perfect data sets for analysis, so the key differentiator will be how data is dealt with prior to analysis, to make sure that the intelligence derived from any analytics is accurate and sound.