Which BI tool is right for us? Every organization faces this decision when they are looking to build a BI solution. We have had a lot of customers ask this to us. Without going into too much detail, I will outline the process I like to use. Price is almost always a consideration but beyond pricing, compare tools that you are considering using the following checklist:

1. General use: This usually should cover BI delivery model (web based), performance, intuitive user interface, portal functionality with user administered personalization options

2. Ease of use: Does the tool/solution provide Dashboarding or scorecarding capabilities, how? Provision for hierarchical dimensional navigation and characteristic navigation.

3. Core functionality: does the tool use metadata to control user access to databases? Does the tool provide functionality for user based subscriptions? What about dictionary measures? audit capabilities?

4. Enhanced functionality: Conditions to display report content, exception or alert based reporting, workflow capabilities and embedded help for user level customizations are some of the aspects that will cover enhanced capabilities.

5. Code source and Vendor Information: This is also a critical component of the selection process. You want a vendor who is responsive, and can stay in business for a number of years in future. Open source may seem a good option, but there is significant opportunity cost involved 3-5 years down the line.

I hope this will be helpful as you get going with the tool selection process!

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