“These projects are risky and many times do not deliver what they promise. BI projects and budgets are initially small. Customers are pushing the scope to grow while keeping the budget unchanged.”
Decision making process
Companies do not view a solution to their reporting problem as a source of competitive advantage and as a result, do not explore their options much. They rarely do market research before deciding to invest. Decision makers rely from recommendations of their colleagues and partners.
Formal project management is weak. Customer resources are a mix of IT personnel and business users. Business users are not always available and IT personnel itself cannot make business decisions.
Companies sometimes choose their existing ERP partner, sometimes a new BI partner for their project. There are great differences in competency among partners.
Business users that are involved in a BI project may insist on changes that were not initially agreed on. Implemented solution can vary: customer may buy a reporting tool, in-memory database solution or a real BI solution with OLAP cubes based on data warehouse.
How to better serve small companies?
There is no branded mainstream solution that would be easy to recommend. As a customer, listen to those that are willing to speak about their mistakes. Make a plan and stick to the plan. You can do more in more phases. As a ERP partner – learn. Examine the market and propose a solution according to customer’s needs, budget, and value.
“In the world of front-end solutions there is a fierce competition. More money will still bring you more value.”
Suggestion what to buy: a BI solution that can be customized
Covering all business areas, offering predefined reports and fast implementation is not enough. Changes must be easy to do too. A BI solution should include some web interface and manage rights on at least basic level. Look for a right balanced project, do not over deliver in some area and fail in other.