Top 6 Vendor-Provided User Support Things to Consider When Selecting a BI Tool

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(This is a multipart series about how to evaluate and select the right BI tool for you and your team. To see the entire outline of the series and a framework for how to evaluate a BI tool, see How to Select the Best BI Tool for You.)

Like shopping for a car or a new electronic device, there are likely a lot of features that the average Jane won’t need. We aim to cover the breadth of features that the top tools and analysts in the market are talking about.

It’s important to focus on what’s right for you and your use case. We recommend buyers be careful to not let features creep onto their “Want to have” or “Mission critical” lists when doing your research. It can be really easy to learn about a cool feature and then think about all the cool and creative ways you could use it. Curiosity and creativity is to be human.

Remember: You started shopping to fill a specific need. Keep that front and center as you research while getting educated on other cool features and how you may use them after your initial set of requirements are delivered.


Here are the top vendor-provided user support things to consider as part of your evaluation.

1. 24x7 Technical Support

Does the vendor offer 24x7 technical support?

2. Chat and Instant Message

Does the vendor offer help desk support via instant messaging or live chat?

One of the things we love about Looker is that they have live chat support directly within the application, which we’ve definitely used and greatly appreciated the quick support.

3. Forum/Community Support

Does the product have an active community support forum for the user community to interact and provide assistance to one another?

We think every tool should have some sort of forum and community support, and it’s best when the vendor has their own product experts managing that community. We don’t necessarily consider it a deal breaker if the vendor does not have a sponsored forum or community, but it does show that they are committed to their users’ success.

In the event that that there is no vendor-sponsored forum, there are other places to look like Stack Overflow or even Reddit. 

4. Penalties

Does the vendor accept penalties if the SLA terms are violated?

5. Phone and Email

Does the vendor offer help desk support via telephone and email?

6. SLA

Is a formal service level agreement (SLA) published or available for review?


Follow the links above to read more about core functional requirements of a BI and analytics tool.

Did we miss something? Drop us a line and we’ll see about getting it added.

Need help with your BI tool selection? Book a call with us and we’ll see if we can help. If we can point you in the right direction with a short phone call, great! If you’d like to hire us to do an evaluation and selection for you, contact us and we’ll make a selection together.

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