Top three ways BI buyers choose badly

Most people shopping for business intelligence tools think they’re sophisticated, observes a sales person who often represents a large vendor in TDWI exhibit halls. Most of these people are deluded.

He may sound harsh, but he observes all this not bitterly but with good humor.

“They buy [BI] like anything else they buy,” he explains. “They put out a bunch of RFPs and go through this whole process and stuff, and eventually they buy the one that’s maroon.”

Over years, he has identified the top three reasons people buy, and the underlying motivation:

1. Career. The chosen tool decides the career of those who will learn it, massage it, and become co-dependent with it. Greed guides the choice; a good choice may ensure steady, lucrative employment for decades to come.

2. The boss’s choice. The boss says, “Buy that one.” Buyers fear defying the boss and like the boss’s power to give status. The blessed few may seem sexy, at least to themselves.

3. Default. They buy one brand and only that brand. They say, “We’re an Oracle shop” or “We’re an IBM shop,” and for them that’s reason enough. These irk this sales person.

The brand loyalists are the ones who seem to irk him the most, even though his brand often benefits from their foolishness.

Even the brand’s high cost can’t shake their trust. “A lot of people assume that more money means more quality and less risk. No, it doesn’t!” he says.

“They buy this big, fancy thing that no one uses.” Instead, many would be better off with a less expensive brand that delivers almost all of the name brand’s features. The left over funds should be spent on training.

The reason many shy away from training? They’d have to admit that there’s ramp-up time. “It’s kind of the Sarah Palin view: ‘Do we really need sophistication?'”


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