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For Big Data, fire bullets not cannons

For Big Data, fire bullets not cannons

Big Data projects can be an expensive trap if you fail to prove the business case or give your vendors leverage over you.

Pay for an Analysis When Buying Data Mining, BI Software

Data mining and business intelligence software and services are most often sold in the context of a business case, which means that vendors will fall over themselves to provide you with a free business case analysis, Muscarella says. They'll want to bring consultants to your site for several days, speak to your business owners and help you understand what they can bring to the table.

"They'll make you feel very good about spending," Muscarella says. "But those business cases are often full of holes, or there are lots over very optimistic assumptions."

It's better, he says, to pay them for the analysis or hire a third party to conduct the analysis. That gives them liability if the analysis proves mistaken and gives you a much better chance of receiving an honest, complete assessment.

Beware of the Big Data Bundle

Whether you're buying hardware, software or services, avoid the all-you-can-eat agreements, Muscarella warns.

"We always tell people to beware of the bundle," he says, noting that vendors often offer a deal in which customers can use any of the tools in their toolbox for one flat fee. "After a year, they'll look at how many tools you've installed and are using, and they'll just charge you ongoing maintenance for what you use. We find those kinds of arrangements often lead customers to deploy far more tools than they need. Three years later the vendor comes back and you're using three times more than you need to be. And then you pay maintenance for three times more than you need."

Instead, make sure to ask for time and materials quotes in addition to fixed bid quotes. He notes the time and materials bid can provide valuable insight into how a vendor looks at a project and how many hours they think it should take by resource and task. That information gives you the capability to benchmark pricing, margins and discounts among your vendors, providing leverage during negotiations.Pay for an Analysis When Buying Data Mining, BI Software

Data mining and business intelligence software and services are most often sold in the context of a business case, which means that vendors will fall over themselves to provide you with a free business case analysis, Muscarella says. They'll want to bring consultants to your site for several days, speak to your business owners and help you understand what they can bring to the table.

"They'll make you feel very good about spending," Muscarella says. "But those business cases are often full of holes, or there are lots over very optimistic assumptions."

It's better, he says, to pay them for the analysis or hire a third party to conduct the analysis. That gives them liability if the analysis proves mistaken and gives you a much better chance of receiving an honest, complete assessment.

Beware of the Big Data Bundle

Whether you're buying hardware, software or services, avoid the all-you-can-eat agreements, Muscarella warns.

"We always tell people to beware of the bundle," he says, noting that vendors often offer a deal in which customers can use any of the tools in their toolbox for one flat fee. "After a year, they'll look at how many tools you've installed and are using, and they'll just charge you ongoing maintenance for what you use. We find those kinds of arrangements often lead customers to deploy far more tools than they need. Three years later the vendor comes back and you're using three times more than you need to be. And then you pay maintenance for three times more than you need."

Instead, make sure to ask for time and materials quotes in addition to fixed bid quotes. He notes the time and materials bid can provide valuable insight into how a vendor looks at a project and how many hours they think it should take by resource and task. That information gives you the capability to benchmark pricing, margins and discounts among your vendors, providing leverage during negotiations.

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