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Business Intelligence’s Villain: Requirements Specification Unmasked January 10, 2006

Posted by Cyril Brookes in BI Requirements Definition, General.

I want to share my ideas, concerns and expectations about the art and science of business intelligence requirements definition. If you like what you read here you’re welcome to comment.

BI reporting requirements specification is, in my view, the most under-researched, under-reported and misunderstood aspect of the BI context and IT generally.

Further, I believe it is the single most important reason why BI reporting systems fail to gain wholehearted support from their executive users. We in the BI community need to do better.

It seems to me that the players in the BI “game” have made great strides in all other aspects of the art. Data warehouses are now ubiquitous, data quality is improving, reporting tools are sophisticated, data mining high technology is adapted to most corporate areas, etc.

My favorite management author, the late Peter Drucker, famously observed: “Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things”. I think we do everything BI related efficiently, but the effectiveness is elusive. And the key to effectiveness is getting the right specification, with the right mix of information classes.

The need for a truly balanced “scorecard” remains uppermost. To me, balanced reporting requires more than the wider scope of factual information sources made part of the folklore by Kaplan and Norton. There are more dimensions out there to be considered. As this blog evolves I hope to cover them in detail. They include, in particular:

  • The need for tacit, or soft, information reporting with the hard data, and
  • A wider utilization of “smart” reporting; helping executives to understand the implications of what we present

I’ll share these and other results of my research and experience progressively – depending on how much interest these concepts generate.



1. Arun Bharrat - March 10, 2010

Its really a mandatory process which transforms the whole value of our BI project – “Successful”.I am just started to learn what BI is, and doing research on the same.These kind of post can really help people like me to learn the correct ground for the BI.Thank you.

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