DMA needed those services. The supply chain logistics organization supports 50 regional food service distributors and has no in-house BI capabilities. "We are not a technology company. Our core competency is supply chain management," says Jim Szatkowski, vice president of technical and data services. With no in-house expertise, putting BI in the cloud made sense. But DMA's needs also fit the hosted model in two other ways: BI-as-a-service offerings tend to play well with other popular SaaS products, and they often have easy-to-use Web-based interfaces that facilitate collaboration with entities beyond the corporate firewall.
BI SaaS at a Glance
What You'll Pay
- Most customers spend $20,000 to $50,000 annually, says Brad Peters, CEO of Birst. PivotLink charges $3,000 per month for 100 million rows of data and 50 users. But users can get a small pilot project started for $100 or less per month.
Consider BI SaaS If...
- You don't have in-house resources to do the job or BI isn't a core competency.
- You need something that can be built, adjusted and scaled quickly, such as customizable sales reports.
- You need it fast.
- You can get 80% of what you need with a few customizable templates.
- You're already using SaaS in operational areas such as CRM and HR and need to add an analytics component.
Think Twice If...
- You're uncomfortable processing business intelligence data outside of the corporate firewall, regardless of security assurances.
- You have a complex project or one that requires a high degree of customization.
- You have a very large data set.
- The data on which you need to perform analytics changes every day.
- BI tools will be used primarily within the organization.
- It doesn't fit the broader business model or culture. Balancing departmental and enterprise needs is key. A myopic view of BI needs can lead to application-specific silos of BI data that might be difficult to integrate in the future. Services might not have an API or support standards that would allow you to easily bring data back in-house.
How to Get Started