All systems designers know that you must have sound requirements in order to design any system, including a data warehouse or data mart. Every project methodology includes a section on gathering requirements. Why, then, do so many organizations struggle with this? Many project teams do not have access to actual business decision-makers. Other teams dutifully meet with groups of users, but then struggle with what was collected.

The primary purpose of gathering business requirements is to understand what the business community needs from their analytical environment. You want to understand the basic purpose of the business group and the challenges facing them. You need to have a general understanding of what they do and also of what they would like to do if time, money and technology were not in the way. This provides an overall frame of reference to use as the basis for the rest of the project and helps all of the team members to have a common foundation in the business.

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