Getting started – Requirements Gathering

Every project has a circular development path.

Building a business intelligence solution is no different. You need to get the requirements of your business users, build a prototype warehouse and a cube, conduct UAT and restart the process based on the feedback.  Let’s start with he first step Requirements gathering.

The aim of this is to find out what the business users want to use the data warehouse for, what information are they after to help them in their decision-making. Find out the use cases. Start by asking them a simple question: “what do you want to get out of the solution?” This will tell you what their aim is. Now break this down into what questions they want answered trough this solution. An example could be “what is the trend of sales for item A over the last year?” This gives clues that historical trending is required, information about sales down to the level of each item sold.

Identify all the questions that need to be answered. Note down what business group each question relates to. This will help recognise the sources of data and any points of contact. Once you feel that most of the questions have been asked, start considering one business group at a time.

Each business group will have their own specific set of requirements. Think of this as building a data cube for each business group. This is the Kimball approach that was discussed in earlier post. As an analyst building a BI solution think of all the information you need and ask those questions. Dig deeper and find any more questions that the group needs answered. We need to extract what the facts or the grain need to be.

Then find out what they would like to group the data by. This will start to define the dimensions of a mart. Find out the meta data description which will help you define the data transformation rules.

The process I have described above can be broken down into 5 steps:

  1. Define Subject area and Objective
  2. Brainstorm Business Usage Scenario
  3. List business questions for each scenario
  4. Derive the measures from the business questions
  5. Determine the dimensions and build a model

If you have any questions, please post a comment below and I will try to help you out.


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