Vendor claims rarely translate into reality

This is a post for those of you charged with implementing new systems from the various BI vendors. It is aimed at those making the purchasing decisions.

 I have worked with all five of the big BI firm’s products now and I can state without fear of contradiction that one should be wary of vendors claims about their products’ capabilities.

For most people who toil (most appropriate word)  implementing and integrating these products, this is completely bleeding obvious.

But these people do not make the purchasing decisions. It is the primary stakeholders, the business, non-technical types who make the decisions based on the carefully crafted and scripted vendor demonstrations or, at best, the prototypes built on a limited data set.

Too often RTM applications are still effectively Beta as there is no way that the vendor can ever hope to test every possible scenario that a purchaser can create.

What to do?

When buying do the due diligence. Chooses your best three products and have them come in build a prototype against your data and let them demo their product against that data.

It is the level playing field that vendors do not like. But remember, you call the shots.

Wait for the major dot release. Don’t buy 5.0! Wait until 5.1 or 5.2. Let someone else iron out the bugs. (A source at Hyperion says that one should really wait until system 9.4 as there are two patches a month coming out at the moment. Microsoft’s Integration Services whilst usable still contains many bugs – that waste developers time! I have similar stories for Cognos and Business Objects.)

I am not saying don’t buy them as these are now suites containing many optional components. Just make sure you get the functionality you want.