RFQ For BI Software Pricing Research

On my Q3 research agenda is a document reviewing typical BI software pricing configurations. Unfortunately, I find that just asking vendors whether they have this or that pricing policy (by number of named users, number of concurrent users, server type, etc.) usually just gets me “Yes, we have it all” or “It depends” answers. Not really useful. So this time I plan to nail down the vendors to three specific quotes given three very specific configurations. Here’s my first cut at the RFQ. I plan to send it out to:

 

Small business

Medium-size business

Enterprise

Functionality: reporting, querying, dashboards, OLAP

All

All

All

Revenues

$50 million

$500 million

$10 billion

Administrators

1

2

5

Database administrators

1

3

10

Developers

2

5

20

Power users/BI content authors

5

20

100

Users who interact with reports

10

50

200

Users who only view reports

50

100

500

External users (customers/partners) who only view reports

0

100

1,000 (concurrent)

Report scheduling and distribution

No

Yes

Yes

Connectivity to DBMS and ERP sources 2 DBMS sources  2 DBMS 1 ERP source 3 DBMS 2 ERP sources

Server CPUs (cores or sockets)

4

8

32

Server clock speed

TBD

TBD

TBD

Server OS

Windows

Unix

Unix

Environments: development, testing,
UAT/QA, production, disaster recovery

D, T, P

D, T, P, DR

D, T, U, P, DR

Number of departments

2

3

5

Number of projects/applications

5

10

20

Minimum basic/starter training for developers, administrators and power users      

Initial software license price?

Annual maintenance, which should include all technical support, bug fixes and upgrades

 %

Term in years?

 X

If financed, monthly/yearly price?

 $

If SaaS, monthly/yearly price?

 $

If you offer other products (hardware, ERP applications, etc) do bundle it with BI and if yes, do you offer discounts and/or BI credits for other products % discount, $ value credits, etc for $500K in other purchases % discount, $ value credits, etc for $2M in other purchases % discount, $ value credits, etc for $10M in other purchases

 What am I missing in the RFQ? Any other gotchas I should watch out for?

Comments

With cpu's do you mean

With cpu's do you mean sockets or cores? Most vendors make the distinction.

Didn't know it made a

Didn't know it made a difference. Great, thank you, I'll add that to the RFQ. FYI, found a pretty good overview here http://reviews.ebay.com/Multi-core-versus-multi-CPU-multi-socket-SMP_W0Q...

Sockets vs cores

For example, IBM uses PVUs (processor value units) which assigns a value to cores - some are 50, 70 or 100 PVUs.

It's also worth asking about virtualisation - some vendors wish to count all the processors (or cores) on the whole blade (for example), not just those assigned to that virtual instance of the OS which the software is installed on.

Regards
Mick

Boris, I think this research

Boris,

I think this research will be helpful and BI buyers will definitely appreciate it.

I wonder if -- based on your definition -- "annual maintenance" includes support and upgrade fees as well? What about training cost? Will be good to ask if online training is available as an option because it saves travel expenses and affects the total cost.

It would be great to complement such a research with a survey from customers to understand the average cost of deployment and integration for each configuration because this figure is as important as the software license fee itself.

Excellent suggestions - thank

Excellent suggestions - thank you

Reporting

Boris,

This is a great idea. A couple of things that jumped out at me:

- It seems to me that the "Users who only view reports" numbers are low; only 10 in a $50MM company considering that reports are often sent outside the organization (think customers/suppliers, shop managers if it's retail...).
- Arman's point about training is important to consider and I'd extend it to the implementation project itself. Implementation can often be as much of a cost (if not more) than the licenses (Open Source projects for instance).
- It might be useful to include market info about the market costs of developers for a platform. This may be out of scope for what you are doing, but may influence the purchase decision as low availability/high costs of developers can make the cost of ownership increase significantly.

Software Pricing is only the tip of the iceberg

Boris, given your background you know all to well that software license fees (or subscription fees) are only a small part of the overall cost to implement & maintain BI. Forrester's own TEI model also highlights that 'other' costs. ie. services, resources, hardware etc..make up total investment required. Is this research going to tell the whole story? You don't want to only have it compare the software license veneer only - which isn't necessarily comparable between vendors.
Some other comments:
- the functionality included is pretty limited and basic, but that may be by design - no mobile, scorecards, real-time, what-if analysis, lineage, built-in collaboration etc.
- the user community sizes are on the small side - especially for the large business.
- the capabilites alone, e.g. reporting, says nothing of the value that is included in the price of the product. e.g. server-based co-ordination, single metadata model, multi-lingual, multi-platform, breadth of data sources, administration tools - all the other useful stuff that enterprise BI has, and as you know not all the vendors you will be considering will have all these value-add capabilities.

So maybe another way to compare would be:
1. what is the license/purchase cost of the technology infrastructure for BI by vendor
2. what is the cost to implement, run, administer and upgrade" (yes those tasks that take expensive resources to do) different between vendors.
3. what is the cost to build/add/enrich content (authoring, extending etc.) between different vendors

Excellent suggestions, Roger.

Excellent suggestions, Roger. I'll do my best to include a user survey (will reach out to all vendors for client contacts in addition to Forrester Research Panel) for a more complete picture

Other pricing

In my experience the best pricing is either:
- SaaS subscription (say $10/month or $100/month or whatever without obligation to subscribe for long period, so no ETF!) or
- unlimited/uncapped number of users per server but Developer/Reseller/Customer obliged to to monitor usage and based on usage (weighted mix of sessions, their length and other parameters based on agreement with vendor) report (say every quarter) to Vendor and then pay for usage.

I also think that price for development usage should be excluded from price, except support and maintenance fees.

Andrei
http://apandre.wordpress.com/

Data volume

Boris, I suggest the inclusion of data volume (total number of records), both on premise as SaaS.

http://es.linkedin.com/pub/jacinto-barrio/4/133/64

SSIS Data Cleanser

Hi Boris

We (Red Gate Software) have a free tool – a data cleanser for SSIS – that we are looking for opinions on.

Information on the free tool, including the download, can be found at http://www.red-gate.com/products/sql-development/data-cleanser/

May I ask if you would be interested taking a look and letting us know your opinions?

Many thanks
Michael Francis

Licensing...

Boris,

Perhaps you could ask which 'standard' (i.e. pre-defined) discounts are offered. I work in the Higher Education sector, and many vendors give standard list price discounts for us, or even other sectors such as Government, or other not-for-profits.

Mick