Does the Value of Your BI Outweigh Its TCO?

Michael Brenner

Business IntelligenceThe constant demand for data is not unreasonable for the culture we live in today. Information is coming at us from the time we wake up in the morning to the end of the day – and smart companies take advantage of it.

However, many companies are unable to fully control total cost of ownership (TCO) of their business intelligence (BI). And this problem is further fueled by:

  • Massive new sources for data
  • New capabilities to fulfill business needs
  • Shadow IT landscapes
  • Costs related to informing everyone about system changes and updates
  • Intuitive access to data anytime, anywhere, and on any mobile device
  • Requests for reports that can be easily understood
  • Demand for high-quality, transparent, and relevant data

How do you deliver a cost-effective BI solution that meets your user community’s thirst for information and offer the lowest possible TCO?

Best practices to help reduce TCO

In 2005, SAP conducted a study in collaboration with ASUG that investigated best practices for managing TCO across a variety of industries. Although the study was conducted almost seven years ago, these findings are still extremely relevant today.

The study cites five primary best practices that companies that are successfully controlling TCO have in common:

  • Optimize the balance between IT cost and business benefit – Focus on the business impact of every IT solution. Make sure that C-level decision makers are involved in determining the project portfolio and allocating resources properly. Set standards for defining business value to prevent interdepartmental arguments over resources.
  • Manage critical processes and limit use of external resources – Make it a priority to leverage, build, and retain in-house talent after every IT initiative. Avoid expensive external resources to do perform maintenance duties beyond the initial bubble.
  • Find areas for cost cutting – Develop centers of excellence, such as a shared services operation. The study noted that businesses that do this have a 47% lower TCO per active employee than those that do not.
  • Reduce complexity – Simplify the BI landscape and standardize on common tools. This step benefits everyone in every department, from boardroom to the shop floor.
  • Enforce governance of technology and data standards – Create a strong centralized governance structure to drive business alignment. This practice is especially important for companies that have geographically or legally disparate entities.

Want to learn more?

With these five steps, your organization can successfully drive down the TCO of your BI system. And for the overall business, this approach can bring global and timely visibility of risks and opportunities, acceleration of change initiatives, and better compliance – all while limiting any disruption of business operations. To learn more this topic, read the white paper “Managing the Total Cost of Ownership of Business Intelligence” from SAP.


About Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is the CEO of Marketing Insider Group, Head of Strategy at NewsCred, and the former VP of Global Content Marketing at SAP. Michael is also the co-author of the upcoming book The Content Formula, a contributor to leading publications like The Economist, Inc Magazine, The Guardian, and Forbes and a frequent speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, social business, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding.  Follow Michael on Twitter (@BrennerMichael)LinkedInFacebook and Google+ and Subscribe to the Marketing Insider.