Select the right BI tool in 7 steps | BI Tool selection tips
Our Business Intelligence Tools app will save you valuable time and money in the BI tool selection process.

20 tools reviewed & compared
1,000+ review criteria
Divided across 15 categories
Used in over 100 countries

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Choose the right tool for the job

Choosing and selecting BI toolsOften organizations find it difficult and labor-intensive to choose the right BI software for the job. The in-depth and independent Intelligent Insights BI & Analytics app is designed to help you make a selection quickly and very efficiently. 

Do you have a structured software selection process in place?

If there is no structured software selection process at all in your organization, you may find the information below, or the app, very useful. Even if there is a corporate standard you need to comply with. Or even when you may have a database or reporting tools in place from a specific vendor, and you consider buying a BI tool from the same vendor because you expect that these will integrate better with each other. The Intelligent Insights app may confirm your companies standards or preferences, or it is also possible that it will reveal that your companies standard should be updated.

The steps for selecting the right BI platform:

1. Create a Business Intelligence strategy

Choosing and selecting a Business Intelligence tool is a process that begins with defining a Business Intelligence strategy, compliant with the overall business strategy and requirements. Without a proper Business Intelligence strategy, buying a Business Intelligence tool would be the same as buying a very nice and expensive car, which runs on a type of fuel which is not available in the country where you want to drive it!

2. Define criteria in business terms

Once the strategy is clear, you can define the business critical selection criteria, like ‘Our business people want to keep track of history’. In that case you need a Business Intelligence Tool that has standard support for slowly changing dimensions out-of-the-box.

Another example: one of the business strategies is to exchange more critical information with customers and vendors. You need a Business Intelligence tool that performs well with a huge number of users and has a robust infrastructure with load balancing and clustering. By doing so, we make a clear connection between the criteria and the business strategy, an essential factor for success.

All the major Business Intelligence tools in the Intelligent Insights app are compared on over 1,000 criteria.

3. Create a shortlist

Once you have all the criteria in place, using the information in the Intelligent Insights app, you’ll be able to decide which tools match your criteria. From there, you can create easily a shortlist of two or three solutions.

4. Invite vendors for a live demonstration

In this phase of the Business Intelligence selection process, you will invite the vendors on the shortlist for a live demonstration of their solution. We recommend that you prepare this meeting in detail with the vendor, to avoid demonstrations by PowerPoint. If possible, provide the vendors with some company data, so you can easily see the relevance of what is demonstrated and judge how well it functions.

5. Perform a proof-of-concept (PoC)

Doing a proof-of-concept (PoC) is essential for choosing a Business Intelligence tool that suits your organization. So you can test the solution in your own IT environment, and get an idea of the functionality, connectivity, usability and performance of each Business Intelligence tool.

Define beforehand what has to be done, what the results should be and what data should be used. Be sure that the data in your source systems is accessible. In general, a proof-of-concept can be done in three to five days. To keep negotiation options open, it is recommended that a PoC is performed with at least two vendors.

6. Negotiate with Business Intelligence vendors

The last step before the end of the selection is to negotiate with the Business Intelligence vendors about the contract, including prices, maintenance, support, training, and terms of use. Many software vendors require you to buy a runtime as well as a development license. Put all the different prices and terms in a spreadsheet, and calculate the costs over at least three years to see which vendor has the best conditions over a longer period.

7. Close the deal

Finally, you want to close the deal with the vendor that has the best support for your Business Intelligence strategy, and has the lowest costs. If you want help with the above, please feel free to contact us and ask us to help you with the software selection.

Top 10 evaluation criteria

Choose the right BI platform very quickly if you use the top 10-list of evaluation criteria below:

  • Reporting, dashboarding & analysis in one package
  • Zero foot-print (web-based)
  • Role based reporting & dashboarding
  • Support for Mobile BI
  • Communication facilities (notes/comments/likes)
  • Real-time aware
  • Basket, advanced & predictive analysis
  • Usability (ease-of-use, ease-of-learn)
  • Portal integration
  • Designs (insights) are reusable across BI applications

Choose between the different BI tools quickly with the Intelligent Insights app

The BI tools comparison app, Intelligent Insights, gives you true insight into both the strengths and weaknesses of the most popular Business Intelligence tools. It is 100% vendor neutral. The app compares the BI tools on 15 important categories and lists all their features. Drill down and find all the information relevant to your organization.

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Do you also want to become a customer of ours? We are happy to help you with select the right bi tool in 7 steps (bi tool selection tips) or other things that will make you smarter.

Daan van Beek, Managing Director


Managing Director

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