In my recent columns, I described two of the most common techniques for gathering BI requirements – interviewing and facilitation. Another frequently used technique is building on what already exists. This incorporates three distinct approaches: analysis of existing queries and reports, inventory of spreadsheets and inventory of current extracts.

Businesspeople who are looking for business intelligence capabilities typically are not starting from a clean slate. Over time, they have established a series queries and reports that are executed on an ad hoc or regular basis. These reports contain data that they receive and purportedly use. Understanding these provides both advantages and disadvantages when gathering requirements. The major advantage is that using the existing deliverables helps to provide a basis for discussion. Commenting on something concrete is easier than generating new ideas. With the existing reports in hand, key questions to ask include:

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