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
The three core components of a BI Business Case include:
- Establishing Business Drivers
- Proving the Value Proposition for a BI Program
- 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 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
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:
forecasting budget needs
resource requirements - staff allocations and contract resources
BI roadmap [with indicative milestone timelines]
• Developing a “top down” needs analysis and
• 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
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
Any of the following challenges could be signals that you need Business
• 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
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
• 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
• Identification of core data subject areas.
• Establishment of business success metrics and organizational
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
For many of our clients, Business Discovery often precedes the creation
of an Application Portfolio and Business Case.
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
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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