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Defining BI Business Requirements in Six Step


Getting the business requirements right can make or break a business intelligence implementation. Common mistakes in documenting business requirements include:

  • Using generic terms – such as "providing a single version of the truth" or "managing data as an organizational asset"
  • Using functional requirements or specifications as business requirements – such as the system shall enable integration of data from multiple disparate sources” or “the system shall provide the ability to specify organizational hierarchies. These are now standard capabilities of most commercially available BI tools and offer little help in creating BI applications that actually meet users' needs.
  • Listing data elements in lieu of business requirements

BI is about the right people, at the right time, having a complete set of correct data to support business decisions, and the ability to manipulate that data to answer business questions.

Business requirements should detail:

  • The specific types of business information needed by each core business user group
  • Analytical techniques or decision support needed to address strategic and tactical issues
  • Business processes that need improvement
  • How information is to be used - such as, conduct marketing campaigns, manufacture and ship products, buy raw materials, provide services to customers
  • What data must be integrated with other data

Without a compelling business case and concrete BI requirements that relate directly to the activities of the business, BI Programs are underfunded, limiting the business impact they can create.

 

Six Steps to BI requirements

Business requirements define business improvement opportunities [ BIOs] and must include:

  1. A targeted business process
  2. How BI can improve the process
  3. When BI will be used
  4. What kind of BI is needed
  5. Who will use it
  6. How improvements will be measured

Most BI investments need to address:

  • Better alignment of BI with business strategy
  • Improved data quality
  • Better integration of BI systems with other systems, such as CRM or ERP
  • Better understanding of user needs and requirements
  • Improved user training

Next: Developing a BI Blueprint

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