Since moving to Utah recently, I’ve been told by many locals that I need an all-wheel drive car before winter sets in. After hearing countless stories of yahoos who have tried to brave the harsh Utah winters in less-than-capable vehicles and failed, I decided to go shopping for an AWD sport sedan at the local Acura, Audi, BMW, Infiniti and Lexus dealers. The test drives were an absolute blast.
Although I’m a self-proclaimed auto aficionado, after visiting several dealerships and driving various brands, I found it difficult to tell the players apart. The sales pitches and marketing hype began to sound the same. The cars felt and drove very similarly. They all seemed to offer comparable features at similar price points. I realized it was time to compare my needs to the various alternatives so I could make sense of it all. The confusing situation in which I found myself is not entirely different from that of someone looking at business intelligence software.
In the world of BI, like the auto industry, there are a lot of seemingly similar solutions on the market. Cutting through the all-but-identical product messaging and sales spin from various vendors can be a challenge. While it’s important to examine the myriad choices on the market, it’s just as important to know what you’re looking for and the goals you’re trying to achieve. The same is true of my search for the ideal horseless carriage. I took a step back and looked at the specific amenities and capabilities that are important to me. Suddenly, my choice became clear and the alternatives didn’t look so appealing.
When you have clearly defined what’s important to you in a BI solution, you will know the right one when you see it. In the meantime, take your time and look around at what the market has to offer. Weigh the options against your needs and give the tires a good, firm kick. And be sure to have some fun on those test drives.