Comparing TCO for Business Intelligence Solutions

Extract from Microsoft white paper:


Comparison between PowerBI, another BI tool installed as on-premises, and another SAAS BI Tool solution

Factors to Consider Beyond TCO

Factor to Consider Description / Implications

Most Important Factor:User Base Skill Levels The most important thing to consider before deploying any BI solution across an organization is the skill of the user base. A BI solution can only add value if users can readily use the tool in a way to discover and share actionable insights.

Training Can Make or Break BI Adoption

  • It may seem obvious, but since the reality is lost on quite a few BI buyers, it is

worth stating here: the more training a BI solution requires, the more it will cost in the long run. Training has either a major positive or negative impact on the carrying cost component of GAAP TCO analysis.


Data Preparation

  • Due to the volume of data and the tools they are using to deal with it, IT and data

science are spending up to 80% of their time and resources on data preparation: ETL, data mashups/wrangling/blending.

  • If a BI solution has data preparation and other such capabilities on board, that is

an advantage. If it does not, it is a disadvantage.

  • Costs for third-party tools to fill gaps such as this, and the additional costs to integrate those external tools with the organization’s IT and big data infrastructure,

add to the cost of implementation and the carrying cost associated with a BI solution.


BI Integration with Existing Tools, Interfaces, and Workstyles

  • A critical factor in implementing a BI solution is whether users can access the solution from an already-familiar interface; and further, whether the solution integrates with an organization’s existing productivity tools.
  • If a solution does so, it truly puts the “flow” in workflow. Conversely, if users must jump in and out of a familiar interface in order to work with a new BI tool, that hurts both existing processes and the hoped-for benefits of the new tool.

Restrictions on Authoring Limit the Benefits of BI

  • Companies adopt BI solutions primarily to empower users to discover and share actionable analytics insights, and thereby drive smarter, faster decision making across the organization. BI solutions that restrict authoring (content creation) to only a select group undercut this—and in so doing, undercut the primary benefit of BI.
  • We recommend users shop around for the best training value, perhaps working with their VAR or other third party to see if the provider will throw in training for free.
PDF icon Comparing TCO for BI solutions1.24 MB