January 1, 2022

Choosing the BI Tool That is Right for You

By Spencer Baucke

Choosing a BI tool for your organization can be tedious. Get the decision right, and you’re a hero. Choose a tool that ends up not meeting people’s needs and being too expensive can quickly land you on people’s favorite villain list. At Tessellation, we routinely talk to directors and managers who are making this kind of decision at their organization. These decisions are never easy, but since we have spoken to countless organizations going through this process hopefully we can offer some advice that will make the process slightly easier. 

The number and complexity of variables will differ for each company, but in this blog, we are going to go through some of the common issues that we see companies wrestle with. 

Factors at Play

I can’t count the number of times that I’ve been asked, “What BI tool is best?” or “Should I go with Tableau or Power BI?”. The honest answer is (get ready for the consultant answer)….it depends. Sometimes people will say “it depends” when they don’t know an answer, but in this case we truly mean it. Depending on the size of your company and budget you might not have to make a decision at all because you can use multiple tools.

For the sake of this exercise, let’s assume that you have a few different options, but you are really looking to hone in on one platform. Below is a summary of some of the top things that we’ve seen considered when choosing a BI tool. 

  • Existing Infrastructure – Your existing tools and reporting structures could either help you save more or make it even more expensive to switch
    • What tools do you already have in your tool kit?
    • How invested are you in your current infrastructure? Do you have a long-lasting relationship with one platform that might be willing to flex according to your needs?
  • Source Systems & Integration – Different tools can integrate better/worse with existing data pipelines and source systems
    • What databases is your organization using (Oracle, Snowflake, SQL Server, Azure etc)? Some sources integrate better with some BI better than others
    • What other integrations do you have at your organization that might make using one BI tools easier. Do you use Google Suite? Microsoft Office?
  • Development Talent – Skilling up teams in new technologies requires time and money.
    • Training on new platforms takes time. Do you have that necessary time to transition? As the old adage goes, time is money. 
    • In addition to time, skilling up teams generally requires money. The money is needed for either training, consultants to fill gaps, or for hiring outside talent 
  • Requirement Needs – Each tool has limitations and specialties in terms of what it can and cannot do.
    • Do you have specific needs such as geospatial mapping or data science?
    • Do you need specific chart types or visuals?
    • Does your need need cleaning or is it already curated?
    • Are you stakeholders adamant about using a particular tool?
  • Leadership – Directives from the top or budget constraints are often an influence on which way you go.
    • Does your leadership have a preference?
    • Is budget a concern? If yes, is there a certain number you have to meet?
    • Are their existing contracts in place that you’re not aware of?

In Conclusion

In a lot of instances, there is not one right answer to this question. As you can see from this post, there are a lot of variables that can come into play for you and your organization to make the right decisions. 

Do you have more questions about BI tools? Talk to our expert consultants today and have all your questions answered!

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