Much like the cloud wars and the race to zero, the data visualization market is also at war. Multiple mega-vendor players are driving down prices in the short-term for long-term market share gain. For analytics pros working with popular data visualization tools today like Tableau, Qlik, TIBCO Spotfire, Power BI or SAP Lumira the following hypothetical scenario might sound familiar to you.
Management is pressuring for budget cuts. Finance is questioning your renewal spend with Vendor X. Recently executives saw a marvelous data visualization demo by Vendor Y. Vendor Y touts widespread adoption, excellent reviews, incredible solution time to value, massive investment, rapid innovation, and so on. Vendor Y licensing costs are far less than Vendor X. Vendor Y is providing incentives to make the move right now. Then your boss orders you to look into migrating from Vendor X to Vendor Y. Where do you start? What should you do?
In the fiercely competitive BI and data visualization market, requests to evaluate vendor migrations are becoming more common. Executives, management and finance gurus are motivated by a save money now sales pitch. They don’t have any idea what is really entailed in a BI or data visualization solution migration or the vast sea of differences in data visualization offerings. To them, all the modern dashboard solutions look and sound the same.
Too Good to Be True?
“If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is” was a catchphrase used by the Better Business Bureau to alert the public. If you encounter a vendor that sounds too good to be true, dig deeper before making a move. Avoid the “quickly migrate right now” sales tactic.Reputable vendors will allow you time to review your environment to ensure migration success.
Get management support to perform adequate due diligence before migrating away from a working modern data visualization solution just to save money. Depending on your current implementation, design patterns, data availability and existing BI solution features, some migrations might be simple, fast and a mega-success while others might be complex or not entirely possible to rebuild.
If it takes a long time and many resources to rebuild reporting in Vendor Y that was already working in Vendor X, the assumed Vendor Y licensing savings may never be realized. Even worse, you might end up with an inferior reporting solution for vital data-driven decision making. In the longer-term, Vendor Y will likely raise licensing costs or Vendor X might drop their licensing costs.
If you are happy with Vendor X today, give them a chance to keep your business tomorrow.
Evaluating Migration Potential
There are many factors to consider before making a move to a new BI or data visualization tool. Here are my top 10 tips on how to properly approach a potential migration.
Get sponsorship for a Migration Assessment Project
To explore the feasibility of a migration, do a migration assessment. The assessment should be treated as a real project. Assessment time can vary widely depending on the scope of the current BI or data visualization tool implementation. Are there only a few front-end reports or many reports and integration points? Is there an ecosystem of ETL, data models and embedded business logic within those reports to review?
Use internal and neutral resources on the Migration Assessment Project
Do not rely on the vendor or vendor’s preferred partner resources to do the migration assessment work for you. They are biased. Perform the migration assessment work in-house or with a neutral partner. They can get vendor support during the process. Most vendors anxiously respond to migration scenario questions to save or win market share.;