One aspect of building a data culture is selecting the right tools for the job. If you want more people working with more data, giving the tools they need to do that work is an obvious requirement. But how many tools do you need, and which tools are the right tools?
It should be equally obvious that the answer is “it depends.” This is the answer to practically every interesting question. The right tools for an organization depend on the data sources it uses, the people who work with that data, the history that has gotten the organization to the current decision point, and the goals the organization needs to achieve or enable with the tools it selects.
With that said, it’s increasingly common to see large organizations actively working to reduce the number of BI tools they support. The reasons for this move to standardization are often the same:
- Reduce licensing costs
- Reduce support costs
- Reduce training costs
- Reduce friction involved in driving the behaviors needed to build and grow a data culture
Other than reducing the licensing costs, most of these motivations revolve around simplification. Having fewer tools means learning and using fewer tools. It means everyone learning and using fewer tools, which often results in less time and money spent to get more value from the use of those tools.
One of the challenges in eliminating a BI tool is ensuring that the purpose that tool fulfilled is now effectively fulfilled by the tool that replaces it. This is where migration comes in.
The Power BI team at Microsoft has published a focused set of guidance articles focused specifically on migrating from other BI tools to Power BI.
This documentation was written by the inestimable Melissa Coates of Coates Data Strategies, with input and technical review by the Power BI customer advisory team. If you’re preparing to retire another BI tool and move its workload to Power BI – or if you’re wondering where to start – I can’t recommend it highly enough.
 If this isn’t obvious to a given organization or individual, I’m reasonably confident that they’re not actively trying to build a data culture, and not reading this blog.
 I’m not a market analyst but I do get to talk to BI, data, and analytics leaders at large companies around the world, and I suspect that my sample size is large and diverse enough to be meaningful.
 I’m using the word “support” here – and not “use” – deliberately. It’s also quite common to see companies remove internal IT support from deprecated BI tools, but also let individual business units continue to use them – but also to pay for the tools and support out of their own budgets. This is typically a way to allow reluctant “laggard” internal customer groups to align with the strategic direction, but to do it on their own schedules.
 I’m pretty consistent in saying I don’t know anything about licensing, but even I understand that paying for two things costs more than paying for one of those things.
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