As a small business, living in an app-based world, the number of applications we use has grown rapidly. This easily happens with cloud subscriptions and point solutions. We ended up with Hubspot for marketing, Zoho for sales, Kayako for support, Live chat, WebEx, Blue, Google hangouts, and a lot of Excel. All very good applications as each platform has its own benefits or advantages; however, integration can be difficult and time-consuming.

During this last year, we realized that Zoho had added most if not all of the capabilities we came to rely on into one integrated platform.  Since we were a Zoho customer, we started an investigation to figure out if these solutions would meet our needs.  During the investigation we asked ourselves a few questions: were the features provided by Zoho best of breed?; what were the benefits to our individual point solutions; did the solution provided by Zoho provide us with an adequate solution to meet our business needs; was having one integrated platform more beneficial than having many separate solutions?

Who would’ve thought the immortal words of British punk band The Clash, “Should I Stay Or Should I Go”? would hold so much relevance for me?

Many organizations face similar challenges with their Business Intelligence implementations.  These organizations have either arrived in this world of multiple tools by either strategic decisions or business needs.  In fact, Gartner estimates that the average company has 3 to 5 Business Intelligence tools.  Is it time for your organization to investigate if any one of the Analytics tools has added the functionality in a new version that would allow for consolidation? 

As I type this, the majority of the world has been placed in a mandatory shelter in place. We all know the world will never return to “normal” again. And eventually, we will face a new normal with different business rules. The question we should ask is, does your company have that average of 3-5 tools? And if so, do we really need such a patchwork quilt of BI tools?

As with our Zoho project, the very first step is to investigate and inventory your analytics tools and review capabilities provided by any of the new versions.  Your organization would have to answer similar questions as we did during our implementation; does integration outweigh some features provided by individual point solutions?

Although it is important to investigate BI technology and what is currently considered state of the art, moving to a new tool is a totally different ball game and a project in and of itself. Like our Zoho One example for Motio, is it really needed to have the best of breed? Or are the capabilities in one tool good enough to use and reduce the complexity and lack of integration in the BI landscape?

We made the strategic decision to not investigate any new platforms because implementing a new platform would come with a myriad of concerns such as tool selection, training for implementers, purchasing new licenses, implementation, and training for end users.  Not only do all of these tasks take time delaying your business from moving forward; they cost MONEY.

Let’s look at an example: You’re an HR analyst who uses reporting daily. Your goal is to bring more self-service analytics to your HR team and you begin to start investigating different BI tools.  Since the information used in the human resources process does not change frequently, does a new analytics tool improve your hiring process, exit processes, paychecks, training, and annual review process?  Your desire might be to augment your processes by providing new and improved dashboards or maybe implementing some of the new artificial intelligence contained in some of the new platforms.  This decision of how to bring these new capabilities to your process places you squarely at the decision point of whether to upgrade your existing analytic tool or implement another. 

What does it take to implement a new BI tool? In the graphic below, we’ve weighed our options.

Changing BI tools may give you the false impression that your business results will suddenly change for the better, but rushing to change platforms without a proper strategy in place may leave you unsuccessful. A fast migration may not always meet your expectations of value, especially when you’re not sure how to move data from your previous platform and implement it into your new one. 

Is it cheaper and easier to upgrade to the latest version and expand than to move away? Yes, we think so.  So why change BI platforms when you can get the most out of your current platform by upgrading?

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