BI Vendors Have To Eat Their Own Dog Food

Would you trust a car salesman who’s not driving the type of car he’s trying to sell you? Would you trust a nutritionist or a dietitian who’s not in a good shape? Probably not. There are two things that I suggest we all ask of BI vendors. Ask if they:

  • Use their own BI tools to run their company. Next time you interview a BI vendor, ask for a proof that their own CxOs and all other strategic and tactical decision-makers are using their own tools. I know of some cases where they don’t. How can a vendor convince you to buy its solutions if it hasn’t convinced its own people?
  • 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, and transactions.

Unfortunately, my current BI pricing research is showing a wide range of transparency (or lack thereof) 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 a comparative analysis (who’s more or less expensive than the others) without showing their exact quotes. Others have declined to participate altogether.

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 and responds to their RFIs is directly related to the way it is transparent or not with a customer and the way it treats its customers. You can 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.


If a vendor uses their own BI

If a vendor uses their own BI tools to run their company, I would feel confortable in evaluating the product further. However, I would also like to know to what extent the use the product in strategic and tactical decision making. I think this is also critical as anyone can claim to use their own product.

I agree, transparency is key

I agree, transparency is key to choosing any BI vendor, I'd hope every BI vendor was using their own tools in-house! Also what you said about vendors not wanting to reveal their pricing is very true, its not just avoiding giving their pricing information to the competition, its also used to drop the price to win a deal and then stick the buyer with high CALs, MSA fees and potentially as a door to buying their own proprietary data warehousing systems. As always, buyer beware, if the deal seems to good to be true, read the fine print. At DSPanel, we do use our BI software in-house and are willing to provide our pricing right on our website, $9,500 for a server version without CALs.