As the demand for BI tool grows so does the number of players in the market. But it seems we are listening to the same song over and over again. Clichés are taking over the BI industry: from fast to self-service, easy or powerful, vendors are promising anything to get their product out there.
In the end, what do all these buzzwords really mean?
On Carnival we unmasked 4 clichés:
The Flash of Analytics
Some vendors like to play Flash and say they are fast to deploy, fast to learn, fast to get insights and the list goes on and on.
To them we say: it is Carnival, not April fools.
Let’s be honest how fast can a BI tool be if
– you have to take never ending training sessions just to figure your way around it, or
– you have to wait for the IT team to create reports and dashboards.
They are fast if we compare them to BI solutions from decades ago, but they are far from keeping up with the pace of today’s businesses.
Hot tip: ask how many training sessions you will be needing to use and if possible test it yourself to make sure it’s self-service.
Easy as Pie
I would rather have a pie; as easy BI interfaces seem to be difficult to find.
It is a fact that the easier the interface, the higher the number of people using it. Just take the example of Google, everyone uses it because it’s easy.
Unfortunately, BI tools still have complex interfaces with so many options that becomes and overwhelming experience for the users.
Are these vendors lying? Not necessarily, drag and drop interfaces can be easy to someone that master BI concepts, like measure or dimension or have a background in IT.
Otherwise BI projects can become much like a Do It Yourself carnival costume, in the tutorial seems easy when you actually do it, it takes hours, never looks as nice as the one you saw in the first place and in the end you get frustrated.
Hot tip: During a demo with a BI vendor ask them to perform tasks that you will actually need to do in your day-to-day and see how easy is to perform them. The perfect scenario would be starting with a free trial.
Masks for Everyone
BI tools are frequently advertised to serve all kinds of people, even if you know nothing about BI or are not a tech savvy person.
BI usability has increased significantly but it’s hard to say it’s for everyone when the only people actually using it are IT teams, data scientists and power users.
What about the rest of us? It’s back to the queue to get reports from the BI team.
Hot tip: have people with different backgrounds using the solution to test if it actually fits everyone’s needs and capabilities.
The Superman of BI
Superman has it all, light, superhuman strength, x-ray vision, heat vision, cold breath, super-speed, enhanced hearing, and nigh-invulnerability.
Some BI vendors have even more powers than Superman, or so they say. These increases the level of complexity and decreases the performance speed. In the end how much of those super powerful features will you actually use?
Hot tip: Think about use cases before buying a BI tool and see what features you really need.
The truth is that behind these buzzwords we can see that all the vendors offer very similar features.
If you want to see a BI that actually looks like Google and let users analyse data just by speaking or typing queries check this video.