Introducing Typical Processes to Implement a BI project

Jim Sun

A Green field project means developing a BI system from scratch---there were no system environments before and the developers and architects need to build everything from nothing, and on average every year there are only 2 projects of this kind implemented throughout US. Although most of the SAP BI projects are not green field ones, there is still a methodology to guide the process of a BI project implementation. In this blog, I will briefly introduce the ASAP methodology and the typical steps are as follows:

  • Defining the scope: in this step, the stakeholders and management team will define the project scope for the BI platform, including writing the blue print for the whole project, the use of the BI system, timeline of the whole project, etc. In a word, all the project planning work will be done in this phase; the scope defines how the whole system will look and what it is designed for.
  • Functional specification development: functional specification is one of the main project documentation types in almost every project. In this document, detailed functional requirements will be covered, such as terminology explanation, detailed project time schedule, final deliverables, department data to be used, etc.
  • Technical specification development: similar to functional specification, technical specification focuses on the technical requirements of the project, such as data sources to be used, client tools, server and reporting configuration, data connection, ETL process and so on.
  • Development: this is the main part for every BI project. Most client companies will need to invite external resources and have them work with the IT team to develop the system. The external resource could be consultants, contractors or principal employees from SAP. Regardless of type of consultant, they are going to work with the internal IT team to implement the system and make sure it works properly on either technical or business side.
  • Testing: The testing phase is quite important for a project before going live. There are 3 types of testing: developer, integration and regression. Developer testing could include a broad spectrum of defect prevention and detection, in a word, developer testing looks for bugs and development defects, if any. Integration testing, as the name infers, is the phase that combinines different modules together and testing the whole system. Regression testing seeks to uncover new system bugs after applying patches or configuration changes. Regression testing could also include pressure testing.
  • Go live preparation: before going live, there is some preparation work such as load testing, performance testing, backup testing and so on.
  • Post go live support: after going live, support work will be still be needed for any potential downtime or crashes of either server or system. Most of time, the client will just have their own IT team trained to be the adminstrator for the BI system after going live. Of course, there are some cases when the client keeps several consultants to support the system after going live.
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