written by
5000fish Team

How Much Does Business Intelligence Software Cost? (With 6 Insider Tips)

BI Problems and Solutions 7 min read

Nearly one-third of companies think business intelligence software is cost-prohibitive; it’s no wonder most BI vendors shy away from the sensitive subject of cost. But at 5000fish, we take a different approach. We strive to give you straight-talk about every facet of business intelligence, and that includes cost.

The truth is, the answer to “How much does BI cost?” isn’t clear-cut. That’s because the initial cost of BI software varies greatly from vendor to vendor and intangible expenses can significantly increase the cost of your BI initiative.

If you’re considering implementing a BI solution, keep these six factors in mind.

Cost of Software


We’re not downplaying the initial cost of software or how much you might pay to add licenses as needed, but we’re here to tell you software costs are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your total BI investment. So, although you shouldn’t overlook the cost of software, there are additional factors to take into consideration when choosing a BI solution. Five of them are outlined below.

Insider Tip: Price doesn’t equate to value. As you evaluate BI solutions, look for those that offer flexible pricing and can scale with your organization as it grows.

Cost of Deployment


Most decision makers aren’t IT gurus, so they don’t have a solid understanding of traditional deployment costs. As a result, they spend more on BI deployment than they’ve budgeted for. To avoid the same pitfall, keep in mind that with many traditional business intelligence solutions, you have to hire the vendor or a vendor partner to install it- and that’s not cheap. In some cases, you’ll not only pay the vendor for installation but for configuration and report building as well. Even if you’re doing an internal deployment, you must consider the expense associated with taking your IT team away from its daily duties.

Before you can even get to the deployment stage, you need to evaluate your BI solution. If during evaluation, it’s hard to get a feel for whether the software is a good fit for your needs, it could be an indication that the software will be difficult (and costly) to deploy.

Insider Tip: Look for a BI solution that’s easy to integrate and deploy; you could reduce your total BI cost significantly.

Cost of Traditional Project Management Life Cycle


The majority of business intelligence vendors follow the traditional project management life cycle: requirements, installation, implementation, testing and deployment. If your organization isn’t using the right BI tool for its needs, the project management lifecycle can add a huge sum to your overall BI cost.

Insider Tip: Be cautious of the tedious (and costly) traditional project management methodology. Evaluate the benefits of software that uses an alternate, more streamlined implementation strategy. For example, DashboardFox uses Agile Methodology: brainstorming, rapid prototyping, incorporating user feedback and rapid deployment.

Cost of End User Training


The costs associated with end-user training are almost always underestimated. But skimp on training, and your employee adoption rate will surely suffer.

Insider Tip: As you compare BI solutions, take into consideration how long (and thus how much money) it will cost to thoroughly train your users. Solutions that are designed for the business user, offer an intuitive interface and a wealth of self-service tools will help minimize the cost of user training and boost adoption rates.

Cost of Administration


The “people cost” associated with BI administration can devastate your ROI. Traditional BI platforms aren’t well integrated, and they’re notoriously challenging to administer. In fact, many traditional business intelligence vendors require administrators to go through specialized formal training to learn how to manage their software. Training is not only expensive, it takes the administrator away from their routine responsibilities. Moreover, you’ll burden the cost of retaining the administrator- who now has a highly marketable skill and can demand top dollar.

Insider Tip: At 5000fish, we’ve noticed that many of our clients initially come to us when they discover upgrading their traditional BI software to the newest version is cost prohibitive. To help keep BI costs under control in the long run, look for a seamless platform that’s easy to manage and doesn’t require intense special training to administer.

Cost of Operations and Maintenance


When determining how much BI costs, the expense associated with operations and maintenance is frequently overlooked. If your BI solution requires a member of your IT team or an outside consultant to do things like building or changing reports and adjusting security settings, you can count on the total cost of BI to skyrocket. Additionally, because you can’t predict every change or additional report you’ll need, budgeting is nearly impossible.

Also, over time, change management issues become a nightmare and report bloat undermines usability. Before long, the user is overwhelmed by the number of reports and doesn’t know where to get started- or they waste time building reports that already exist. Plus, no one knows which reports are being used, or by whom. The end result is users stop leveraging reports, and adoption rates plummet.

Insider Tip: As you’re investigating various BI options, look for one that has a good change management process. You should be able to determine which reports are being run most often, and by whom. Likewise, it should be easy to discover which reports aren’t being run, so they can be deleted.

As you explore the cost of various business intelligence solutions, keep in mind the sticker price of the software is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re interested in learning more about the cost of BI, you’ll find this article helpful, “6 Mistakes that Increase the Cost of BI.”

How Can DashboardFox Help With Your Business Intelligence Software Needs?

Business intelligence software does not need to cost a fortune, nor do you have to spend thousands of dollars just to get the one you want for your business needs. There are times that you pay a hefty sum of money for your business intelligence, but it does not deliver the results you desire at all. It can be frustrating, and it is a known sign that you have overspent on your BI needs.

Thankfully, DashboardFox is a BI software that you can use for your business without ripping you off. Want to know why?

First, DashboardFox does not have any subscriptions.

Yep, you read that right. In order to enjoy the top quality service from our team at DashboardFox, you do not need to subscribe to any method, whether it is monthly, quarterly, or annually. Instead, we only ask you to pay once, and that would be the first and last time you owe us money.

No hidden charges, no secret deductions on your credit cards. With a one-time payment term, you can use the different features of DashboardFox as long as you like, without any restrictions other than the number of user or public view report licenses you purchase (unless of course, you bought the unlimited option).

The initial purchase includes 1 year or priority support and 1 year of updates. It’s our job to continue to make the product great and give you amazing support so that you want to purchase the optional maintenance. But if you don’t, you can continue to use the version of DashboardFox that you have installed, forever.

With our priority support, you not only get the full software with all its exclusive features, but you also get a team dedicated to making DashboardFox work for your business. We not only help you resolve product issues, but we help you understand how to build the reports and dashboards your team needs. Consider us as your remote team, sans the salary. And if you need us to take a more direct role and just provide turnkey assistance, we do have affordable professional service offering to just get the job done for you.

Lastly, if you’re not interested in the self-hosted nature of DashboardFox, we offer managed hosting of the software. While we have to charge monthly for the server and the services to care and maintain everything, at anytime in the future, we can help you move the software AND your data to any other self-hosted option you desire.

You can always learn more about our services and what we can bring to the table. Contact us or schedule a free live demo with our team of experts (that will soon be working at your service) to convince yourself that you have made the right choice with us.

Business Intelligence business intelligence software Deployment Traditional BI Agile BI Self-Hosted Managed Hosting