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Business Intelligence projects, like other software development projects, need an orderly process to achieve a high quality, high satisfaction result. The process must skillfully weave together collaboration with business stakeholders and technical design and implementation efforts. We take responsibility for managing and guiding you effectively through our seven-step process, outlined below. With our long-term experience and skill across many business domains, we achieve the optimal blend, leading to results that exceed less well integrated or merely technical approaches.

Business Intelligence

1 Project Scope & High-Level Requirements.
At the project start, we collect and assess both the formally stated objectives and goals of the project as well as the perspectives and priorities of all project stakeholders. We develop an understanding of the context in which the project is being executed. We facilitate collaboration and ensure that all stakeholders are identified and their needs are considered. We lay out both the business needs as well as the cost, timeline and other resource constraints, and identify the challenges and risks. With a clear view of the project at the start, we lay a solid foundation for project execution.

2 Detailed Requirements.
Detailed requirements gathering can be fairly extensive, depending on the nature of the project and the effort required to reach decisions. To minimize the time and cost, we guide stakeholders and domain experts through the important detail questions, focusing on the agreed priorities. Our experience allows us to gather the right answers— those which, if missed or discovered only later, can greatly increase project costs due to rework.

3 Implementation.
In the implementation phase, we build the project deliverables— for example, the custom reports and the required underlying database processing. The primary cost factor in this phase is the amount of underlying processing to be implemented. We minimize costs by maximizing re-use of what is already there, and by building only the lowest impact, most cost effective new processing required. When issues arise, our experience and perspective enables us to provide you with cost-saving options.

4 Testing.
It is important both for us and for you to be able to test the project deliverables (for example, new reports) using real data (deidentified if needed) in a test environment that you provide, or in a test environment that we create. We strive to establish an effective test environment as early as possible in the project.

During testing, we watch for:

• Anomalies in the data that violate earlier project assumptions. When these are found, we review them with you and determine how to resolve them. (Options typically include: filtering out the anomalies; including them as is; or ‘fixing’ the anomalies via preprocessing logic.) These issues may arise because users are using the upstream systems incorrectly or in ways that the project leaders were not aware of.

• Hidden assumptions and systemic factors that are inconsistent with earlier project requirements or design. In complex business domains such as medical informatics, the chances of finding such issues late in the project increase. We stress early testing to avoid late surprises, and apply thorough business and technical understanding to devise the most cost-effective solution when they occur.

Of course, in addition to identifying and responding to any anomalies which arise, we carefully execute test cases to ensure that all of the previously established requirements and specifications are met, and that the solution is ready for production release.

We strive for accurate answers at this stage, but recognize and make allowance for the reality that some questions can only be answered reliably later, and other answers will change as the project moves forward. We continually assess and monitor the risks. As we gather the requirement details, we also create an implementation plan that satisfies them and minimizes the risks from potential changes.

For example, for a custom report project with substantial processing requirements, the following factors may impact cost:

• The time required to establish agreement on the answers to the detailed requirements questions.

• The processing complexity that results from the requirements decisions.

• The report options, if any, that result from the requirements decisions. (Difficult requirements decisions often lead to the idea of making some thing “optional” or configurable. While this can often be done, it may add to the cost or impact report performance.)

For such projects, we create a specification document which captures all of the requirements details that have been gathered. The specification document becomes an essential reference for testing, training, and system or report utilization.

5 Production Deployment.
After careful review and coordination of the deployment logistics with your team, production deployment is usually straightforward. We can execute the complete installation or simply provide support to your team as you deploy. Your preferences as well as your IT infrastructure, policies and procedures determine the role we play.

6 Training.
The training effort depends on the complexity of the solution as well as the target audience. We can simply “train the trainer” or we may train all system users, as your needs and preferences dictate.

7 Support.
We provide the support necessary to ensure that you can use your new solution effectively to accomplish
your goals.

Support includes:

• Investigating any issues that arise, determining the root cause, and resolving them.

Issues may be due to:
• Bugs that were not caught in testing;

• Misunderstanding or insufficient training (that is, the solution is working as needed, but users need additional training to utilize it effectively);

• Data anomalies (often due to upstream user error or misbehavior of supporting systems);

• Invalid or incomplete business logic (for example, a report design is not meeting the business need).

• Answering supplemental training questions.

• Advising on how best to utilize the solution in the context of the entire system operation.

We are not satisfied until we know that you are satisfied and the solution is meeting or exceeding your expectations. We stand behind the quality of the solutions we provide.

Contact us to discuss your reporting challenges today.