Successful BI Initiatives & The Importance of Vendor Support

August 19, 2019 Tamara Scott

 

A recent TechnologyAdvice survey of business software purchasers found that SaaS companies quickly sell and negotiate contracts with customers, but they lack support programs that help companies get comfortable using the software. It took 43 percent of respondents 1-6 months to get comfortable using their new business software. 

Imagine you’re looking to implement a business intelligence (BI) software to empower everyone across the enterprise to use data more effectively. Do you have 6 months to spare learning how to understand your data and teaching everyone how to use the software? Or do you need to get there faster?

One way to get around onboarding delays is to work with a vendor who is a true business partner and is committed to your success.

You need more than just a software provider. To unlock data insights across your organization, you need to partner with a business intelligence software vendor who is with you every step of the way. From the research process to launching your 100th project, contracting with a vendor who is committed to your partnership ensures you get the ultimate return on your investment.

Look for these signs of optimal vendor support:

  • The BI software vendor is ready to partner on a proof of concept (POC) project during your trial—yes, while you’re evaluating the product.
  • They offer consulting from a dedicated support team on projects of all sizes.
  • They set up regularly scheduled meetings to supplement self-guided support from videos, how-tos, and user-community forums.

When your business intelligence software vendor goes beyond building dashboards and reports and partners with you for success, you maximize your return on investment. 

Here’s how committed vendor support pays off throughout the software lifecycle:

 

Vendor support during research

To really say you’ve performed due diligence in your BI software purchase research, you have to be able to say with certainty that the software you’re about to purchase can solve the business problems you have. Only a software vendor that considers you a partner will help you solve the problem from day one. Look for a vendor who is committed to solving problems, not just selling software.

Start with a project or a business goal. Then ask the software vendor to help you build the best version of that project you can get. By requesting a proof of concept (POC) project during the evaluation stage, you're asking the vendor to put their software where their mouth is.

A true software partner will provide a dedicated product expert to consult with you on the best project solution and will set up scheduled trainings to check in on your progress. They’ll jump start your project, ensuring you get to market faster with the right solution. If you don’t get the VIP treatment during the sales process, how do you think you'll be treated after the contract is signed?

The alternative to this? Everyone guessing whether the solution will work after the contract is signed. 

 

Vendor support during the onboarding process

This is where most vendors will concentrate their training and support. Most vendors will give you access to help documentation, their user community, and even some videos, but have you ever worked with a software company that gives you dedicated assistance throughout your onboarding experience?

What does true vendor support look like?

  • Partnering to build dashboards, embedded tools, reports that solve business problems (like these). Beginning with your POC project and expanding to solutions for other departments, a dedicated, product expert support team will ensure you walk away with a personalized reporting and analytics solution; they’ll ensure you don’t compromise on your business intelligence. 
  • No two businesses are alike, and neither are their data projects. Training, initial project building, and rollouts need personalized attention to match the unique characteristics of your company’s needs. 

When a software partner works with you from the beginning, onboarding is about your needs and your requirements—not about fitting your problem into the software’s mold. A dedicated support team is unwavering in its resolve to understand your project and deliver outstanding, consistent service, and will dedicate themselves to the continuous support of your project. 

 

Vendor support after the honeymoon period

Ninety-nine percent of your time using a software comes after the contract is signed and onboarding is over. After those initial whirlwind training sessions, how comfortable do you feel using the tool on your own? How do you feel about training new hires on your most valuable tools? 

How many times has it happened to you, that you’ve purchased a software, received great sales and onboarding attention, and three or six months down the road, when you run into problems, you can’t get anyone on the line?

Go beyond support documentation and work with a vendor that considers your company a partner. If the vendor offers regular support follow-ups, schedule those out early. Bring all your questions, no matter how small. Continuous support and dedicated consulting give you that extra boost. Make sure you work with a vendor who has the tools and resources to assist you in getting started, finding answers and enriching your skills. 

 

The true value of support

For the best software vendors, client success is more than a buzzword; it’s often their identity. And when you partner with a vendor who’s willing to help you from day one, you can rest assured knowing they truly understand the business problems you’re trying to solve. They’ll know the quirks of your data and the most important insights, and will deliver the best possible solution. Only a vendor who’s been with you every step of the way can help you think around corners for innovative solutions, new insights, and better analysis. A dedicated partner doesn’t have to relearn your needs. Instead, they can hit the ground running with your new project within the context of all your existing products, or pivot quickly to a brand new initiative.

About the Author

Tamara Scott

Tamara Scott is the Research and Content Manager at TechnologyAdvice.com. She writes at the intersection of technology, software, marketing, and customer education.

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