Questions to Ask when Gathering Business Intelligence Requirements
When starting any project requirements are the key to being successful. Business intelligence projects are no different and even harder to document. It is critical to gather the appropriate requirements to deliver the project being requested to provide the business value being sought. Often times Business Analyst are leveraged to gather information on the project. While I encourage using BA’s for their knowledge and help with documentation. I often find they lack experience on requirements gathering for BI projects. Have a BI Architect work with existing BA’s to help teach them what questions to ask.
First start with the project sponsors and get an overall understanding of what value the project is going to deliver. Since they are willing to pay for the project in time and resources, what do they really expect at the end of the project? Are they looking for faster report delivery, more accurate information, alerting or notifications? Keep asking questions until everyone understand the value to the business in terms of increasing revenue, decreasing expenses or improve performance. If the project does not fulfill one of these three items, it is not adding value.
- Where does the data come from?
- How well do you trust the data?
- How often are you questioned about data from that system?
- Is the system being used for the project a critical application to the company?
- How can this project eliminate unnecessary steps in a process?
- How can this project alert users to problems in the processes sooner to be proactive and not reactive?
- What existing reports or processes can be eliminated in this project?
- Can any legacy systems be shutdown as a result of this project? If so, what is the ROI of not having to support the legacy system?
- How will users leverage the BI system to make their roles more efficient?