?With a variety of business intelligence software providers in the marketplace, you need to know how to pick the right business intelligence (BI) company for your organization, whether you have a large, mid-size, or small company. The overall benefit of a BI company and its software will be determined by your needs as much as your budget. Even if your company can afford all the bell and whistles associated with a BI software package, you may find that you don't need everything offered and can save money for your organization by going with a simpler software package. Researching the market and knowing your business before you make a decision will be the key to finding the right software provider for your company. Data Collection Most businesses need BI software that will help them collect information that is stored in several different databases. But what you might not know is that you don't necessarily need expensive technology to do this. You can find software that integrates, publishes, and analyses data across databases without too many features. And while those features may be very necessary for some businesses, you'll want to double check the logistics of your BI needs to ensure that you're not just wasting your money on extras that you don't need. Integration The rules for assessing a BI software program's integration capabilities are the same. Look for companies that offer what you need, not just companies with high-profile names. For example, you might be able to leverage your existing metadata ins tead of paying a company to create metadata manually for you. By shopping around to compare prices and features, you might find a company that offers you the integration you need at the right price. The company you choose for software will need to align with your company's needs and goals and if a company doesn't, then keep shopping. Data Analysis The ultimate goal for any BI project is data analysis. Effective business intelligence software will give you the information you need to make important decis ions about your business using all of the available information. At the end of the day, you need software that can provide you that information in a timely manner. Some companies offer consulting services that cost as much as your software and are required before the launch of their product for your company. If these services will be of use to you, by all means, invest in them, but if it makes as much sense for your company to choose a software program that can be launched in a few hours and run without expensive consultations, then choose that software in good conscience. When your company decides to launch a BI project, first assess exactly what your company needs and what is within your budget. Once you know those two factors, it will be easier for you to choose the software that will most benefit your company. If your BI needs are ambiguous and you have an unlimited budget, investing in a consultation and software extras is probably a good idea. If your purse strings are tied and you know what your company needs, shop around to find a BI company that will give you what you need and only what you need for the right price. Andrew Morgan is a writer and business expert who specializes in Business Intelligence Software. For more information on business intelligence, visit .
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