Big Data. Business Intelligence. Analytics. These are common buzzwords these days and lots of companies are focusing on these concepts. However, there are some questions you should be thinking about as you select the right vendor for your business.
If you are reading this post, like many of us, you’re likely trying to figure out what you could be doing better. How do you sift through all the information you’re gathering? How do you get insights from your data quickly to ensure better business outcomes? So, we put together some questions to think about as you are looking for an Insights Service partner. We use the word partner because they really should be more than a BI tool you use. A service partner should be a company you have a relationship with, that you can trust with your data, and that will give you the insights you need to move your business to the next level.
Here’s a list of questions you should be asking yourself as you look for the right partner to support you.
1) Are they familiar with the type of business I do?
This is very important, since different industries have different regulations to follow. Make sure your vendor can supply examples of companies that are similar to you, and the results they have achieved for those clients.
2) How long have they been in business?
This is another important detail. There are a lot of new vendors that are here today and gone tomorrow, so knowing for how long a business has been around, and the experience and longevity of the people who work for them is also critical when looking for a vendor.
3) How long are their typical client engagements?
Do they work on a retainer or are they project based? This should be considered, especially from a resource point of view. Are you looking for ongoing help and support, or do you have a specific problem you are trying to solve and just need them to focus on that problem or common problems on an as-needed basis? Understanding how they bill and determining if you need resource support is a key factor in choosing the right vendor to support your needs.
4) Are they offering a tool or consultant or both?
Again it’s worth thinking about the internal resources you have and whether or not your staff can learn a new tool and manage it. If you need someone to spend time doing the research, gathering insights, looking at all potential problem areas, then a tool would not necessarily be the best option for you. In that case you need both experts who can gather the data and those that can make sense of it for you.
Forrester Research wrote a report  recently that offers some further tips that you may also find helpful, as you are looking for the right Insights Services partner.
 Vendor Landscape: Insights Service Providers, May 2016 Forrester Report
Mihir Kittur is a Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer at Ugam. He oversees sales, marketing and innovation and works with leading retailers and brands with insights and analytics solutions around their category decisions to improve business performance.