Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Effectively Gather BW Functional Requirements

Preview Gary Nolan’s upcoming SAP PRESS book Efficient SAP NetWeaver BI Implementation and Project Management to help understand and avoid some of the most common implementation concerns. The book, released in May 2007, provides implementation strategies, templates, and advice for effective BW scope management, configuration, and the overall BW implementation process.

Key Concept

When developing any data warehouse solution, it helps to have a set of documents that you can complete to define and set the scope of development. These documents act as a template that the members of the project team and the business can fill out to provide a clear and repeatable process for requirements gathering. This should allow you to identify gaps as early as possible in the design process.

One of the biggest and most important challenges in any implementation is gathering and understanding the end user and process team functional requirements. These functional requirements represent the scope of analysis needs and expectations (both now and in the future) of the end user. These typically involve all of the following:

  • Business reasons for the project and business questions answered by the implementation

  • Critical success factors for the implementation

  • Source systems that are involved and the scope of information needed from each

  • Intended audience and stakeholders and their analysis needs

  • Any major transformation that is needed in order to provide the information

  • Security requirements to prevent unauthorized use

This process involves one seemingly simple task: Find out exactly what the end users’ analysis requirements are, both now and in the future, and build the BW system to these requirements. Although simple in concept, in practice gathering and reaching a clear understanding and agreement on a complete set of BW functional requirements is not always so simple.

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