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Developing A BI Business Case

A business case provides justification for a business to invest time and money into a particular project deliverable.

Estabishing valid business needs, and a good return on investment is critical to gaining support by the business for the proposed program of work.

BI Programs are no different from other organisational programs, hence developing a BI Business Case is a key founding step in the program establishement.

The three core components of a BI Business Case include:

  1. Establishing Business Drivers
  2. Proving the Value Proposition for a BI Program
  3. Defining a BI Roadmap

Other contents of the business case serve to support one or more of these components. Each of thse must be completed before the business will allocate investment.

The information required for the BI Business Case is gained through a formal process of Business Discovery.


Business Discovery

Business Discovery provides a structured means to inventory BI opportunities across business functions and illustrates a proven way to engage end users in articulating their business requirements and goals.

It is designed to cement an understanding across the enterprise of the business drivers, justification, and intended use of your business intelligence, data warehouse, or advanced analytics capabilities.

It compares your situation with key best-practices across industries.

The outcome of Buinsess Discovery is a recommended BI delivery approach and specific tactical steps.

A comprehensive set of high-level:

business requirements

forecasting budget needs

resource requirements - staff allocations and contract resources

BI roadmap [with indicative milestone timelines]

The Challenge

• Developing a “top down” needs analysis and business case
• Understanding the potential strategic business uses of BI
• Gathering business requirements
• Agreeing on priorities
• Low user adoption of an existing data warehouse
• Fulfilling the demand and supply curve for data and BI applications across multiple business functions

The Problem
Breaking through the “noise” to clarify business needs and outline steps to achieve BI goals
Are you new to business intelligence and data warehousing (BI/DW)? Are you searching for a clear view of how BI/DW fits into your business strategy – and what the value proposition is?
Or maybe you have a few BI applications under your belt, but need to resell the data warehouse program and “get the ear” of the business in order to move forward.
Many managers intuitively understand the efficiencies and potential value business intelligence and data warehouse programs can bring to their company. But they have difficulty articulating the business need and the discrete steps to move forward. Sometimes organizational politics gets in the way. Sometimes it’s ownership issues, lack of structured techniques, or inability to identify stakeholders. And sometimes IT and business just can’t seem to engage in meaningful dialog about strategic and operational requirements for BI.
Any of the following challenges could be signals that you need Business Discovery:
• Management wants a “top down” needs analysis and “business case”, but IT has neither an understanding of the potential business uses nor the costs of a solution.
• Management has funded an enterprise data warehouse but no one can agree on requirements or priorities.
• There’s a perception that business users have “given up on” BI. An existing data warehouse is barely used and management questions its value.
• Different lines of business express similar needs for data. For example, both Finance and Marketing want to understand customer profitability by segment.
• Different lines of business are undertaking suspiciously similar BI projects.
• The company lacks a structured method for gathering business requirements.

Critical Success Factors of an Enterprise Information Strategy

The Baseline Approach
Structured methods to engage end-users and gather business requirements
Baseline believes the success of business intelligence and data warehousing is directly proportional to the business requirements addressed. We don’t believe that companies who use their data warehouses as large data provisioning platforms are maximizing the value of the technology. Furthermore, a requirements-driven approach to BI can help a company further its mission to more closely align the business with IT.
Baseline’s Business Discovery service includes the following activities:
• Stakeholder interviews using structured interview techniques.
• Analysis of findings using metrics-based prioritization and scoring grids.
• Listing and categorization of key business questions.
• Identification of candidate BI applications and individual project objectives.
• Identification of core data subject areas.
• Establishment of business success metrics and organizational success criteria.
Baseline avoids the “requirements gathering by consensus” and “interactive JAD sessions” that many vendors and systems integrators use. Business Discovery shuns this “boil the ocean” approach to development – which often leads to further alienation of stakeholders and can jeopardize an existing or pending project.
The final Business Discovery deliverable presents high-level business requirements, describes the core business issues addressable through business intelligence, and recommends an implementation priority that leverages existing development skills, tools, and business relationships.
For many of our clients, Business Discovery often precedes the creation of an Application Portfolio and Business Case.

Your Value
A business-oriented, tactical roadmap – where to start and how to proceed

Business Discovery establishes the short- and long-term roadmap of your BI initiative and defines scope in small, controlled projects.

Business Discovery helps you launch a new BI/DW initiative or propel a moribund one forward by following acknowledged best practices:
• Approach data warehouse development incrementally.
• Make the data warehouse a business-driven program.
• Ensure that BI/DW is embraced as a business solution, not just a new technology.

Data-enabled solutions – namely business intelligence, data warehousing, and business analytics – means that no one outshines us at understanding how business uses data or helping IT deliver information solutions.

Business Discovery provides insight and interconnections of business needs, processes, data, and BI technology. This helps define the BI Roadmap and BI Maturity based upon valid business drivers and solid value proposition.


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