A business intelligence system selection is similar to the purchasing process for
other accounting and financial software packages. However, business intelligence
(BI) software is typicallyless complex than an accounting or enterprise
resource planning (ERP) solution, so the whole selection process should be
shorter and should require fewer people. There is a wide variety of BItools
available (see Chapter 13), some of which will fit your company’s needs better
than others. Although the process need not be scientific, many companies
could definitely make better choicesand save time and frustration by taking an
organized approach to their software acquisition process. Make sure you have
people from both the user side and information technology (IT) involvedin the
software selection process. BI software is typically dependent on support from
the IT department for building and maintaining datawarehouses and OLAP
cubes, and end users must beinvolved to ensure that financial analysis needs
and requirements are met. This section discusses the key issues and items you
should incorporate into your BI software planning and evaluation.
The first thing you should do with regard to a decision to buy a new BI package
is to sit down and create a plan. (See Figure 10.1.) At the very least, you
Review the CurrentSituation
Review your organization’s current information needs, and research and document
information needs that might surface over the next few years.
Choose the Type of Solution That BestFits Your Needs
Keep in mind that different types of users have different needs. This means that
you might need several types of BI tools (such as a report writer and an OLAPbased
query tool) tocover all the user requirements. It is therefore important to
categorize your users by their information needs and skill levels.
You typically have three choices with regard to BI software:
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