Strategic BI delivers information that can help executives and managers make decisions that enhance revenues, contain costs, prevent losses and pursue new opportunities ­ decisions that improve a company's bottom line and its competitive position. However, two critical obstacles must be overcome to achieve success with strategic BI: financially justifying the BI investment and delivering high-value BI results that provide a real financial return. Unfortunately, standard IT project selection and delivery-management practices work against this success.

In most companies, project selection is based on financial justification as an essential factor for determining how best to use limited IT resources. Typically, financial justification is based on return on investment (ROI), a ratio, expressed as a percentage, of the projected investment and benefits. ROI is based on best knowledge of dollars to be invested and the value of benefits to be realized. Bankers use a process similar to that of selecting projects based on ROI when they determine which investments will be secure and safe. The project is selected, the investment is made and the financial results are monitored to see that the projected return is realized.

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