Evaluating and Choosing a Cognos Consultant
You know what's possibly the biggest factor in the success of your Business Analytics Project? Choosing business analytics partners! As a business analytics coach, I am often asked to come into distressed Planning, Budgeting, BI, and analytic projects to “right the ship”. Today I am going to share with you a Choosing Business Analytics Partners Checklist. The following are some of the things you should consider and if you would like our “Choosing BA Partners Checklist email us at Sales@LodestarSolutions.com.
- Evaluate the culture of the firm – Is this a firm you would like to spend a lot of time with?
- Value they add beyond the project – For example will they help you what functionality you have in the licenses you own? Will they recommend development paths for your team members?
- Review Resumes of proposed Project Team members for their experience level.
- Interview the consultants they propose for your project.
- Who are their rock stars are and will they be on your project?
- Check out LinkedIn to see if you know someone that knows their consultants.
- What is their backup plan if a consultant leaves the firm in the middle of your project?
- Do they specialize in your industry and/or your functional area?
- How do their rates compare to other firms? If they are expensive ask why. Some of the best firms charge more because they deliver on budget and on time.
- How will you compare to their other accounts? Will you be a small account to them?
- Ask to speak to a client that has worked with them for over 5 years. Ask what the continuous support model looks like. Do they add value after the project at no additional cost?
- How many consultants do they have as W-2 and regular 1099’s? The risk with independents or very small firms is that they could walk from your project if a better deal comes along leaving you exposed.
- What is their Implementation methodology? Agile or Waterfall? If you are not familiar with these methodologies, ask them to explain theirs and why they believe it’s better than the alternative. At Lodestar Solutions, we believe in an Agile approach.
- How will they communicate the Project Plan and status? What tools will they use for the project? At Lodestar, we use Smartsheet’s intuitive spreadsheet-like app to track and manage diverse projects and tasks. Feel free to check them out at SmartSheet.com.
- How will they ensure that you stay within your timeline and budget? What communication methods do they use?
- How would you rate their communication skills? Have they communicated their escalation path if issues arise? You want outstanding communication skills from your consultants!
- Do you want to be trained to be self-sufficient or do you want them to build it and train you? Regardless or your answer, you need to make sure the firm can meet your needs. At Lodestar Solutions, we believe to be successful at Business Analytics over the long haul you need business analytics coaches to build your teams skills.
- How do they train there people? Do they only train them on the software or do they build their soft skills too? You don’t want a consultant that went to class on the software last week billing you $200 for their “expertise”.
- How do they lead the Requirements Gathering sessions? This is the foundation for your project and they should provide tools to make you successful.
- Are they trained to listen? Big firms that have industry expertise my try to plug you into their existing templates without actively listening to your needs. You are unique. Will they listen to your needs?
- When you run into a situation, how candid do you think they will be? You want a partner as opposed to a firm that is covering their keaster.
If you are looking for a partner that implements Cognos Business Analytics, Lodestar Solutions would love to share what makes us unique and how our clients benefit from our Coaching not Consulting Approach.