How do you know that you have delivered an effective Business Intelligence (BI) Tool Assessment to a demanding client? Using the checklist below will provide you with a starting point indicating that the client has received value.

  1. Executive Summary – The assessment will have provided background information on how this project came into existence. You will have included business situations which have led to issues or concerns. For example, you may reference a client with 25+ different tools in use corporate-wide, with overlapping functionality, lacking any standard architecture, and many departments independently purchasing tools without any consistent process. The summary will also contain objectives, and what is expected to be delivered as a result of the assessment.
  2. "Leave-behinds" – The assessment will have yielded documents and tools which can be socialized for future reference. The assessment, in the form of a PowerPoint or Word document, will be the main deliverable. It should stand on its own, so that it tells a story and does not require a tremendous amount of voice-over or interpretation. For added bonus, consider leaving the client with spreadsheets or other documents that will aid the client in comparing tools, vendors or provide any ratings among them. Any lists or supporting diagrams would have been best delivered as an attachment, or in the appendix which can also be used to support, plan, and scope future projects.
  3. Functionality – The assessment will have contained comprehensive input from business and technical users who have articulated tool requirements through interactive and facilitated sessions; or by combing through existing documentation. It is important that you have captured a 360 degree perception of the tool not only from the user community but from leaders, sponsors, and other stakeholders. Maturity models showing analytic intensity are a great way to depict this graphically. Any gaps in functionality will have been documented. Consider providing a mapping of tools versus desired functionality. The client will have also appreciated you providing any association between their vision and Market Trends in Business Intelligence.
  4. Cost Benefit Analysis – The assessment will have highlighted costs as a result of any recommended changes. This analysis will include:
    • Cost of acquiring any new tools and savings realized by retiring any current tools
    • Cost of migrating from existing tool to new tool
    • Cost of training user population
    • Cost of converting existing reports and developing new BI reports
    • Maintenance cost of new software and savings realized by reduction in maintenance of existing tools
    • Payback period for any recommended changes
  5. Current State Analysis – The assessment will have:
    • Uncovered important findings which affect the business
    • Documented any challenges regarding tool usage. These may be attributed to training or merely technical shortcomings of the tool itself. Success factors such as ease of use or cost are equally important
    • Noted business value related to subject areas such as customers, campaigns, or marketing
    • Brought to light any future vision of tools and how they would support the business
  6. Recommendations – The assessment will have:
    • Presented those tools which will be a part of the future BI Tool landscape
    • Provided a roadmap for getting to the desired end state
    • Related and provided the recommendations as a solution to the client's problems
    • Prioritized recommendations based on client's BI Strategy
  7. Impact – The assessment will have used context diagrams, architecture models, or other documentation to convey how the following will be impacted as a result of going to the future state:
    • Business Functions
    • Report Development, Content, and Delivery
    • Data Integration
    • Report Users and Organizations
    • Software Architecture and Hardware Infrastructure
    • Product Support

By focusing on the seven key points above, you will be positioned to also deliver successfully on other types of assessments or efforts where a presentation or communication to client management is critical in establishing or maintaining an ongoing strategic relationship.