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My group has the responsibility for defining the business requirements for front-end (customer interface) and back-end (processing) operations for a banking operation.

By
  • Sid Adelman, Michael Jennings, Clay Rehm
Published
  • August 04 2003, 1:00am EDT
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Q:

My group has the responsibility for defining the business requirements for front-end (customer interface) and back-end (processing) operations for a banking operation. User interviews (at all organization levels and in all fields – operations, technology, etc.) are essential but is there any documentation, other materials or references that could immediately help kick start this body of work?

Thank you.

A:

Sid Adelman’s Answer: There are two books with this information:

The Data Warehouse Lifecyle Toolkit by Ralph Kimball, Laura Reeves, Margy Ross and Warren Thornthwaite, Chapter 4, "Collecting the Requirements" and Business Intelligence Roadmap by Larissa Moss and Shaku Atre, Chapter 4, "Project Requirements Definition."

Clay Rehm’s Answer: I would recommend you look at the Project Management Institute (www.pmi.org). They have an extensive body of knowledge and they include sections on how to collect business requirements. In addition, I would recommend the book by Sid Adelman and Larissa Terpeluk Moss called Data Warehouse Project Management.

Michael Jennings’ Answer: Some of the first questions you need to ask are:

  • What are the critical success factors of the different organizations in the enterprise who need information?
  • What are the key information items that need to be tracked?
  • What are the key activities supporting the critical success factors identified, and what data is required for those activities?

Some of the questions you should be asking of each organizational level during the interviews are:

  1. Describe organization (e.g., organization chart).
  2. Brief description of functions of your organization.
  3. Brief description of your role and responsibilities.
  4. Fiscal year organization objectives.
  5. Sample business questions related to the objectives (key questions not answered easily today).
  6. Describe current information environment (key items currently traced/monitored, key performance indicators (KPIs), information delivery method, information form (graphical, percentage, dollars, ratios) and the tools and applications used to perform job functions (gather documentation on applications/tools where available).
  7. Issues or obstacles that prevent you from achieving your objectives (focus on information and business issues).
  8. Value of resolving key issues (provide quantitative value where possible).
  9. How would you measure success of data warehouse. (What would mean success of the data warehouse for you, for your organization?)

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