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6 Keys to Customer Satisfaction for BI & Analytics Platform Users

by Guest Blogger

Mar 21, 2016

This is a repost from Josh Parenteau. You can read the original article here.

Are you satisfied with your BI & analytics platform? Why? Or why not? Do you think as a customer your satisfaction rating affects your organization's perception of the success of the tool?Gartner surveyed 2,000 customers to find out how the leading tools on the market are stacking up on 6 key aspects of customer satisfaction that greatly affect whether an organization invests or continues to invest in a platform.

Leading into an initial purchase decision, customer satisfaction is based on presales enablement, pricing and ease of understanding, which Gartner refers to as sales experience. Once a purchase has been made, platforms must shift their focus to ongoing support in order to succeed and grow their footprint. This is where a lot of the traditional enterprise vendors get comfortable and fall behind the modern emerging vendors due to complexity and lack of focus on customer loyalty. Below is a breakdown of the 6 key attributes of customer satisfaction for BI & analytics platform users, as well as some stats around how the leading platforms stacked up in this 2016 survey. .

1. Sales Experience:

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Results were high, with an 8.5 out of 10 average rating by customers. Overall, the modern vendors are more attractive to buyers in the current market due to their easy-to-understand packaging, pricing models and "land-and-expand" sales strategies. However, the modern vendors did not sweep this category with traditional enterprise vendors like IBM still ranking competitively, proving that even more robust platforms can be marketed in a way that is digestible to prospective users. Unfortunately for Microsoft, who ranked the lowest in sales experience, not all of the enterprise platforms are so lucky. Gartner considers Microsoft's low score here a "halo effect" caused by the complexity of their platform.

2. Ease of Use

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This is a composite metric including ease of use for administrators, content creators and users. Overall results were above average with 7.9 out of 10. As can be expected, modern vendors scored infinitely higher than traditional, large-scale tools like Oracle. A stand out here was Clearstory, who ranked significantly higher than others in ease-of-use, possibly due to the small size and narrow focus of this emerging vendor. We again saw a slight skew effect here with tools such as Pentaho and Platfora scoring among the lowest due to their complex offerings, which include IoT and big data analytics.

3. User Enablement

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This attribute focuses on training materials, documentation, online tutorials, workshops, communities and other outlets for user self-help. With an overall rating of 7.6 out of 10, this attribute saw favor from customers of traditional vendors such as Microsoft, who have more established user communities. However, rapid growing modern vendors such as Tableau and Qlik still ranked among the highest because they focus more heavily on user enablement than the traditional enterprise vendors.

4. Product Quality

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This portion of the survey was based on a singular question asking customers to rank overall product quality to determine if there is a correlation between satisfaction and perceived quality of a product. With an average of 8.1 out of 10, we saw slightly higher ratings for modern vendors compared to enterprise reporting focused vendors, but relatively strong ratings across the board with little disconnect or separation. Gartner concluded that based on survey results, product quality perception is heavily based on user experience.

5. Support Quality

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This result is again based on a composite metric including level of resource expertise, time to resolution, response time, etc. Overall, quality was high with an 8.1 out of 10 average. Emerging modern vendors ranked highest, likely because they need to focus on building a loyal customer base against these more established traditional vendors. Support quality ranked lowest in SAP and MicroStrategy, however, Gartner postulates that this could be an issue of skills gap over support quality. SAP Lumira saw a lot of negative responses but Gartner speculates that BusinessObjects developers need more support with this new, modern tool because there is a gap in knowledge from traditional Crystal Report writers. The same could be said for MicroStrategy 10 users, who are now experiencing the biggest changes to the platform since x7, possibly even before.

6. Ease of Migration

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Results were again high with an overall score of 8.2 out of 10. This attribute is particularly interesting as migration becomes less of an intrusion with emerging cloud offerings that automatically update software on a routine basis. The focus for this category was more on traditional vendors that house more complex offerings and therefore need more robust migrations. For example, SaS has a lot of products with a lot of moving parts and therefore it is not surprising that it ranked significantly lower than Birst, which updates its cloud software quarterly at no additional cost. Another factor that may impact this score is typically traditional vendors sit on top of a data warehouse, which may or may not be in controlled by the BI team charged with the migration, which would greatly add to its complexity.

Gartner concluded based on this survey and the results of the 2016 Magic Quadrant for BI & Analytics Platforms, that there is definitely a link between customer satisfaction and perceived product success and business benefits within an organization. If a product is confusing to purchase, difficult to implement and challenging to support, it won't be successful.

The connection between Gartner's reports on BI & analytics platform capabilities and customer satisfaction is quality of implementation and ongoing support. Gartner acknowledges that year after year, platforms with more complex enterprise offerings come back with lower customer satisfaction scores. It is likely many of the users on these more complex platforms would like to switch to one of the many other choices on the market, but that often causes even more confusion, frustration and setbacks than staying with your current leading tool. Gartner recommends instead of "jumping ship" that you work with your vendor to demand additional support and seek outside help from consulting partners like CCG.

Struggling to find satisfaction in your current tool? Here are a few ways you can start to improve internal satisfaction today:

  • Conduct your own survey of end users in your organization
  • Make incremental purchases
  • Leverage community forums
  • Adopt rightsized modular training
  • Enlisting the help of a partner is often more useful than vendors directly.
  • If really bad, consider not paying maintenance fees though this is risky

Interested in speaking with a professional about improving overall BI & analytics tool satisfaction in your organization? Call 813.265.3239 to speak with a CCG representative or set up a free engagement consultation.

The following information is based on a presentation given by Josh Parenteau at the 2016 Gartner BI & Analytics Summit in Grapevine, Texas on Wednesday, March 16th. Re-watch all of the Gartner sessions online at http://www.gartnereventsondemand.com

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