How to draw up a Business Intelligence project specification?

Business Intelligence involves collecting and analyzing data to help businesses make better decisions.

29 November 2021

In the digital age where data reigns supreme, choosing the right software to turn your data into actionable information can be an important choice.

You will consider that all suppliers do not offer the same functionality. If you do not understand your business needs and requirements, it can be easy to get distracted by the trivial features a supplier may offer.

Taking the time to write a BI specification will help define your requirements and what you should look for in a supplier. But how do you write a BI specification? Follow the guide!


Define your Business Intelligence requirements

Like any other project, understanding your Business Intelligence requirements is one of the most important steps. Start by asking yourself these key questions:

Why do you need Business Intelligence?

When answering this question, consider the past, present and future. BI must address past challenges and current needs. Moreover, BI will have to adapt to meet future needs.

What data do you currently have?

The data assessment uncovers the data assets in your current environment. This assessment helps you understand the data you have and can suggest BI requirements.

What functionality do you need?

A technology assessment allows architects and other visionaries to envision the future and plan retrospectively for a BI solution that will get you there. Based on the resources your company currently uses, define the best deployment option for your company.

Answering these questions before you start looking will help you identify pain points and better understand your needs. It will then be easier for you to create a BI specification and evaluate software more effectively. Save time by collecting these requirements once. The set of requirements will be used both in the selection phase and in the implementation phase.


List your BI requirements

Here are the main BI requirements you should consider in your list.

Functional requirements

This is about determining the core functions that would add the most value to the work of your company and your employees. For example, many companies work across borders, which requires insourcing and localization tools. Collaboration tools, such as messaging, comment threads or email, make it easier to start and continue important conversations.

Dashboard and data visualization

Visualizing data through a dashboard is one of the most important requirements of BI software. By translating information into a visual medium, data visualization transforms complex results into easily understandable conclusion that the user can interpret, customize, and share with others. In other words, data visualization makes it easier to present and assimilate information.

Connectivity of data sources

If you use ERP or CRM software in your business such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, make sure a potential solution supports or integrates with your tools to extend BI benefits to your other platforms. By proceeding in this way, you will ensure that your BI tool will provide you with full visibility into all of your operations and process.


Security is one of the most important issues in software, especially when choosing a cloud deployment. It makes sense, therefore, that checking a potential provider’s security protocols and certifications is a good practice when selecting software.

User filtering and permissions are essential features of a BI solution. Additional features such as activities tracking, auditing, line-level security and monitoring keep an even closer eye on data security.

Mobile BI

Business Intelligence no longer stays in the office, it goes everywhere with us. If your employees or users are often on the move, mobile device support is essential to ensure that everyone has access to the platform, no matter where they are working. Mobile support often includes notifications that allow users to take immediate action. Some platforms support offline mode to allow access to information even when there is limited or no network availability.

Extensibility, availability, and scalability

These three features collectively refer to the ability of the software to be expanded as your business needs change. These factors will affect the long-term viability and user adoption of a business intelligence solution like Sage Enterprise Intelligence as your business continues to generate more and more data. So be sure to choose a tool that can keep up with your company's expected growth when developing your BI requirements.

As soon as you gathered your requirements, you can properly evaluate providers that meet one of your key requirements from the start in order to save you valuable time in the selection process.

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