Business Intelligence Assessment

Before you embark on building a scorecard solution for your organization, you need to perform an assessment of your current business requirements, reporting and data base solutions.    Once you understand the goals of executive management using scorecards, you need to design and define your logical and physical data requirements.

The vision/scope document is the first deliverable for the plan phase of an scorecard project. The vision is the expansive view of the solution, while the scope defines what parts of the vision can be accomplished within the project constraints. Specific deliverables are determined based on project dependencies and milestones.

As defined by the Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF), a vision/scope document contains the following sections:

·         Executive summary

·         Opportunity/problem statement

·         Business benefits

·         Vision statement

·         Decision-making criteria

·         User profiles

·         Solution concept

·         Usage scenarios

·         Project team

·         Critical success factors

·         Risk management

·         Initial project schedule


Executive Summary

This is a brief, but comprehensive summary statement of the ideas and decisions that are developed during the envisioning phase. The summary should represent the team and customer agreement on the desired solution and overall project direction.

Opportunity/Problem Statement

This section of the vision/scope document describes the customer’s current situation and problems that the scorecards are trying to solve. The information in this section can discuss also the customer’s opportunity and the impact of capitalizing on the opportunity and how the customer’s business problem is relevant to business strategy and drivers.

Business Benefits

This section describes how the customer derives value from the proposed scorecards by specifically connecting the business goals and objectives to the specific performance expectations realized from the project. You can include a gap analysis in this section, but it is not required. The benefits listed in this section should directly correspond to the problems listed in the previous section. For example, you can map the business benefits to the business problems by including the following topics in the business benefits section:

·         Business goals and objectives

·         Business metrics

·         Business assumptions and constraints

·         Gap analysis

·         Benefits statement


Vision Statement

This section describes the project vision and provides the business intelligence project team and the customer with a common understanding of what the scorecard solution will achieve. The vision statement also helps to:

·         Establish an agreement with the customer about the goal(s) of the project.

·         Establish the decision-making criteria for the project.

·         Make the project trade-offs.


Decision-Making Criteria

The decision-making criteria section provides information about the ship date, resources, and feature criteria. If more than one of these criteria are constrained, the greater the chance that the project will not succeed in all respects. It is important to discuss with the customer the relative priorities of the ship date, resources, and features included in the project. For example, if the ship date is critical, it may be necessary to increase the resources available to the project or to limit the features included in the project.

User Profiles

This section describes the roles and other important characteristics about the various users of the scorecard solution, such as business managers, system administrators, developers, and so on. Different types of users can be grouped together by functional areas, such as technical and non-technical. For example, users are from both the IT and business areas of the customer’s organization. The user roles and characteristics identify what the users are doing that the solution will facilitate and can be expressed in terms of activities.

Solution Concept

The solution concept section outlines the approach and architecture at a very high level. This includes an understanding of the users and their needs, the features and functions of the business intelligence solution, acceptance criteria, and the architectural and technical design approaches. The purpose of the solution concept is to the BISO project provide team with limited but sufficient detail to prove the BISO to be complete and correct, to perform several types of analyses including feasibility studies, risk analysis, usability studies, and performance analysis, and to communicate the proposed solution to the customer and other key stakeholders.

Usage Scenarios

This section describes the basic scenarios in which the BISO will be used. The scenarios should correspond to the roles defined in the User Profiles section and list key events that occur within the user’s environment. The events should be described by their objectives, key activities, the sequence of those activities, and the expected results.

Project Team

This section describes roles and responsibilities of members of the BISO project team. It can include also information about team interaction, such as the frequency of meetings, how common team documents will be maintained, and so on.

Critical Success Factors

The critical success factors section identifies key issues that influence the success of the project. It can include also issues or concerns that may have a negative impact on the project. Relevant factors can include: people, processes, technology, management, and competition.

The factors listed in this section are important because they help determine when the BISO environment is successfully completed. Reaching a common understanding with the customer about such issues at an early stage in the project contributes to a harmonious project conclusion.

Risk Management

The purpose of the risk management section is to define and establish a common understanding between you and your customer about risk management and risk management procedures. All projects have risks that can hinder the critical success factors of the project. To minimize the impact of these risks, they must be identified as early as possible so that you can develop mitigating plans.

Initial Project Schedule

This section provides an initial project schedule. Whether or not the schedule is realistic, given the features and resources available to the project, at a very minimum it should be possible to establish solid milestones in the initial project schedule.  Below is a sample project plan for assessing, developing and deploying a Business Scorecard Manager solution.

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