Mike Tarallo at Pentaho says that real Business Intelligence is not about software; it is about people:

"BI in general involves many different factors in order to be successful no matter what software or skill set is being used. It requires the knowledge and expertise of the individuals who know it best. This includes the customer knowing what problems they have or want to prevent, as well as the software vendor and/or consultants who know how to provide solutions for those problems."


Mike has witnessed people being too quick to just ask for a specific BI tool instead of explaining to vendors what problem they are trying to solve and listening to advice. If you do not understand your problem, your self-selected solution is probably going to be wrong.

Also, Mike warns that people often do not even know they have a problem, so they are unaware of their need for a specific BI tool until after it has been pointed out to them.

Mike writes:

Business Intelligence is about collaboration, communication, discovery, knowledge, insight, direction and action to just name a few. These factors along with the proper software and services can provide an organization with a successful BI implementation. The software can be part of a specific BI Platform or simply an application development environment used to create business applications that provide knowledge on data. Business Intelligence is not just about collecting data and reporting, it is a methodology in which experts can provide assistance. If you would like your organization to succeed with BI, it is extremely important to understand its factors and learn how to analyze and use the data created by this methodology.


That is good advice from Mike and his "swamp" blog: before buying a BI product, speak with a variety of BI vendors and independent experts.  These individuals can help you see your problem in a new light and show you how other smart people have solved similar issues.