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Selecting a BI Consultant

1 December 2010
Yanina Dayan

For many organizations, finding a BI consultant can be an expensive endeavor. Software vendors are interested in pushing their products and consultants and sometimes addressing most issues by allocating additional resources on-site. So, how do you choose a BI consultant, and what is essential to know? First, it is recommended that the consultant work with your employees in full cooperation. Defining the consultant's role by the results you want to achieve is essential. A BI consultant should be able to bridge the business world with the world of data, information, and knowledge to translate your needs into content requirements. The consultant needs to have the personal ability to know where to focus, where to compromise, and in between, which data is beneficial versus data that seems related but, in all honesty, distracts from the core issue. A BI consultant should have broad technical capabilities and solid analytical personal skills. Additionally, a BI consultant must have interpersonal skills to communicate with people at all levels of the organization. They must interact well with the CEO, operational staff, and technologists.

During a BI project, a BI consultant will typically interact with:

  • Senior organization personnel: To understand the vision and goal

  • Managers: To know where and how to act

  • Operational staff: To provide data for action

  • Technologists: To explain how to build the required applications.

Here are a few quotes from satisfied customers (following the results) from their BI consultant that could guide you in your selection:

  • My consultant helped me understand how to define the problems in my organization accurately. He also helped me recognize that we need to deal with both the problem and its symptoms.

  • My consultant helped me reduce training time and costs by providing specific tools and models to serve end-users.

  • My consultant helped me improve the quality of data presentation by highlighting the organization's key data.

  • I feel more confident now in dealing with problems on my own.

  • I know more now than before - I am capable of more.

  • I felt like I had a strong alliance; there was almost no resistance.

  • Now, we can analyze the data and gain insights I have not seen before, all thanks to sophisticated analysis and reporting using the tools and models we received.

  • The company's managers and employees are empowered to make business decisions because they have the necessary information.

The bottom line is that a BI consultant is primarily a business analyst and business supporter with an understanding of data and computing, not the other way around.

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