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"Business executives are increasingly looking for tangible proof that a strategic investment in business intelligence and data warehousing technology will reap bottom-line dividends. The ROI model built into HCR's BI Business Value Tool is robust and will help you and your sponsor better understand the financial implications of any BI/DW investment. Better yet, you can use it on an ongoing basis to chart the ROI of your BI maturity."Wayne Eckerson
Wayne Eckerson, Director, TDWI Research, Creator of TDWI's BI  Maturity Model
Business Intelligence Business Value Tool

This BI ROI calculator helps organizations assess/estimate the costs and benefits (ROI) of business intelligence initiatives.

This Excel tool is an advanced/comprehensive business value model (Business Intelligence ROI calculator) to support the development of business cases for enterprise-scale business intelligence projects. It provides a robust structure to help organizations assess the business value (costs, benefits, and ROI) of BI initiatives. It also helps to assess the organization's current (as-is) and expected (to-be) maturity levels using TDWIs Maturity Model.

This workbook can be used as a standard corporate business case template for BI initiatives. It can also be used by consultants and technology vendors to articulate the business value of their BI products and solutions.

This tool was developed by Hall Consulting & Research LLC and is adapted from TDWI's BI Maturity Model and other research.

Model Features

  • Comprehensive BI capability/maturity assessment
  • Supports most types of enterprise-scale BI initiatives. Includes sample cost and benefit data for common BI initiatives.
    • Enhance/deploy BI applications
    • Incorporate (or integrate with) new source systems
    • Build/enhance the data warehouse platform
    • Build/enhance the BI platform
  • Comprehensive assessment of BI initiative costs and benefits
    • Costs: hardware; software; IT labor, training, and services; and user labor and training
    • Benefits: IT labor TCO savings, user productivity benefits, revenue growth, and non-financial key performance indicators
  • Comprehensive financial analysis. Calculates project cash flow, cost-benefit analysis, ROI, NPV, IRR, and payback period
  • Supports rapid (30 minute) or detailed (5+ day) assessments. This model was designed to provide either a rapid assessment (by just entering/selecting basic organizational profile, maturity, and desired initiative information) or a very detailed (5+ day) assessment by modifying hundreds of detailed inputs.
  • Protected, yet customizable: Essentially all values can be modified. Many custom cost and benefit items can be added. Formulas and other areas of the model that should not be modified are protected (locked) to maintain integrity. HCR can provide additional fee-based customization, if desired.
  • Based on industry-standard calculations and industry-leading methodologies. It is as transparent as possible so the user is able to understand how the costs and benefits are calculated.
  • Provides default values. Default values (labor costs, user type mix, financial information, etc.) are provided based on your organization's industry, geography, organization size and initiative type to enable more rapid assessments. Extensive research was conducted to find highly reputation sources for these. Data/estimate sources are listed. You may overwrite any of the pre-populated defaults. Sample cost and benefit data is also provided throughout the model based on profile data, maturity levels, and initiatives selected.
  • User-friendly. The workbook contains instructions, descriptions, and references. Results are updated real-time and are displayed graphically throughout the model. Some versions include macros to restore default values. Although the model is user-friendly, we recommend users have at least a moderately-advanced understanding of business value concepts to develop a credible business case.
  • See Terms of Use.

    NOTE: Pre-populatoed cost and benefit data should not be used for making investment decisions. This data is not meant to represent average/typical project results and is not based on statistically-valid research. Pre-populated data should only be used as a starting place for assessing the business value of your initiatives(s). Initiative costs and benefits will differ substantially from one organization to another (even within the same industry).

Model Components / Flowchart

TThe flowchart below graphically presents the components of the model and how to navigate the model.

BI ROI Tool Flowchart

Model Methodology

This model assesses the costs and benefits of enhancing (investing in) the organization's business intelligence (BI) capabilities. The model assesses the organizations BI maturity levels and capabilities. The model is adapted from TDWIs BI Maturity model and research from a variety of industry analysts and subject matter experts. Research has shown that there is a strong correlation between maturity/capability levels and business performance: business performance tends to improve as the organization invests into advancing capability/maturity levels.

The user selects the extent to which the organization expects to invest into implementing a variety of BI initiatives.

The model then simulates "To-Be" BI Maturity Scores based on initiatives selected by the model user. The model estimates costs required to implement the new capabilities/solutions, including hardware, software, IT labor, and user labor. It then simulates benefits (user productivity, IT labor, cost savings, and revenue growth) enabled by the solutions selected. The model also simulates improvements to KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) enabled by the solutions selected. The formulas to calculate default costs and benefits are based on a variety of "rules of thumb", research, customer experiences, and input from subject matter experts.

The results (including cash flow, ROI, NPV, and payback period) are included in the "ROI" worksheet.

The model provides a robust structure to assist the organization in assessing the costs and benefits of investing in BI initiatives. However, this tool cannot accurately/credibly estimate costs/benefits without significant user review, validation, and adjustment of many data inputs. The detailed inputs need to be customized to each particular organization and set of initiatives. Results will differ significantly from one organization to another.

BI Core Products

The products and software tools below (and perhaps others) may be needed to deploy the initiatives selected. Hardware, software, and labor required to deploy these products are estimated in this tool.

  • Data warehouse database products
  • Integration / ETL products
  • Development tools
  • Reporting / Query / OLAP products
  • Portal / Collaboration / Workflow products
  • Performance Management / Scorecarding products
  • Other IT products
  • Casual User products
  • Power User products

Costs (the investment)

All one-time and on-going costs required to implement/deploy, adopt, maintain, and support the solution

Hardware Software IT Labor, Services, & Training End-user Labor & Training
  • Servers
  • Client devices
  • Storage
  • Networking equipment
  • Client/server applications
  • Client/server operating systems
  • Client access licenses (CALs)
  • Databases
  • Utilities
  • Planning, Evaluation and Project Management
  • Engineering
  • Development
  • Lab Testing
  • Pilot Testing
  • Rollout
  • Performance Tuning
  • Documentation
  • Implementation User Support
  • Consultants
  • External Services
  • Maintenance/ support
  • IT training (formal external, formal internal, self study)
  • Solution planning & testing
  • Downtime (Unable to be productive); e.g. during implementation of the solution
  • Resolution of issues related to the new solution
  • System configuration
  • Data entry
  • End-user training and ramp–up


Quantified Benefits

Direct and Indirect benefits enabled by the initiative – the "return" part of ROI

IT Labor/Services TCO Savings Other Direct Cost Savings User Productivity Benefits Revenue Growth
  • Report creation
  • Database administration
  • Data management
  • Application Development
  • Integration
  • Administration & Other
  • IT Savings
    • Legacy BI systems
  • Business Savings
    • Travel Expenses
    • Business Services
    • Operating Expenses
  • Data & Information Access/Analysis
  • Collaboration
  • Decision-making
  • Workflow (routing)
  • Improved Sales Effectiveness
  • Improved Marketing Effectiveness
  • Improved Customer Service
  • New/Expanded Channels/Geographies
  • New/Enhanced Products/Services
  • Improved Product Availability (fill rate, up-time)

Non-Financial KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)

Not all benefits can credibly be translated into financial ($) benefit terms. These are sometimes referred to as intangible benefits. The workbook provides a structure to estimate how the initiative may impact non-financial KPIs. There are 4-7 specific metrics/KPIs in each category below:


BI Initiatives/Capabilities/span>

Enhance/deploy BI applications

Marketing / Sales

Supply Chain / Operations


Other / General Management

  • Customer/channel performance analysis, segmentation, and optimization
  • Customer behavior/loyalty/churn analysis
  • Campaign management/analysis
  • Pricing optimization
  • Call center analytic apps
  • Sales analytic apps
  • Sales force automation
  • Supply chain analytics/optimization
  • Production and inventory analysis
  • Demand forecasting/planning
  • Fulfillment management analysis
  • Logistics management analysis
  • Business process/activity monitoring (BAM)
  • Web analytics
  • Financial analysis
  • Financial planning
  • Profitability management
  • Activity-based costing
  • Financial reporting
  • Financial consolidation
  • Development environment for custom analytic applications
  • Business performance management/ balanced scorecard/KPIs
  • Fraud, waste, and abuse detection
  • HR/workforce analytics
  • Competitive intelligence
  • Risk management
  • Compliance management

Incorporate (or integrate with) new source systems

Marketing / Sales

Supply Chain / Operations



  • Order entry
  • Product data
  • Sales/customer data
  • Marketing / campaign data
  • Manufacturing
  • Logistics, warehousing, distribution
  • Purchasing
  • Support / services
  • General ledger
  • Accounts payable
  • Accounts receivable
  • Treasury and cash management
  • Project accounting
  • Fixed assets
  • Human resources
  • Research and development
  • IT

Build/enhance the data warehouse platform

Architecture standards & adherence

Data management

Data integration/ETL

Data warehouse / data marts


  • Governance
  • Architecture
  • Robust security
  • Metadata definitions
  • Metadata management
  • High data quality
  • Automated synchronization
  • Refresh rate
  • Standardized data marts
  • A single, central DW
  • High performance/reliability
  • Robust development tools
  • Extensible / supports web services
  • User app development

Build/enhance the BI platform


Scorecards / Dashboards

Analytical tools

Workflow and collaboration

  • Centralized reporting
  • User-empowered reporting
  • Report scheduling, subscription, distribution
  • Supports variety of report types
  • Ad hoc query
  • Individualized dashboards
  • Enterprise scorecards
  • Automated/integrated KPIs
  • Alerts and notifications
  • Broad-reach analytic tools
  • BI/DW platform integration with user tools (e.g. Excel)
  • Advanced data visualization
  • Advanced analytics
  • Predictive analysis
  • Collaboration portal integration
  • Integrated workflow
  • Business activity monitoring
  • Automated corrective action

About TDWI's Maturity Model

TThe tool is based on TDWI's BI Maturity Model, which consists of five stages: Infant, Child, Teenager, Adult, and Sage. There are also two major obstacles: the Gulf, which occurs between the Infant and Child stages, and the Chasm, which occurs between the Teenager and Adult stages. As organizations progress through the stages, they reap greater business value from their BI investments and achieve greater consistency in the way they define shared terms and metrics. The key elements of TDWI's BI Maturity Model are illustrated below.

The model contains eight categories that represent dimensions of TDWI's BI Maturity Model. The eight categories are:

1.Scope. To what extent does the BI/DW program support all parts of the organization and all potential users?

2.Sponsorship. To what degree are BI/DW sponsors engaged and committed to the program?

3.Funding. How successful is the BI/DW team in securing funding to meet business requirements?

4.Value. How effectively does the BI/DW solution meet business needs and expectations?

5.Architecture. How advanced is the BI/DW architecture, and to what degree do groups adhere to architectural standards?

6.Data. To what degree does the data provided by the BI/DW environment meet business requirements?

7.Development. How effective is the BI/DW team's approach to managing projects and developing solutions?

8.Delivery. How aligned are reporting/analysis capabilities with user requirements and what is the extent of usage?

The chart below provides a quick synopsis of the levels of maturity for each dimension in the model. The value statements in some categories, such as delivery and value, are additive, not exclusive, as an organization moves from stage to stage.

Sample Maturity Level Comparison
BI Maturity Model

Reference BI Architecture

BI/DW Environment - Any architecture or system that integrates data from multiple sources and gives business users the ability to query, report, analyze, monitor, or mine the data to make decisions, develop plans, or take action. The diagram below depicts a classic BI/DW environment.

DW - The back-end or IT-centric portion of a BI/DW environment. The tasks and processes involved in collecting, moving, cleaning, transforming, and loading data into a data warehouse or data mart.

BI - The front-end or user-centric portion of a BI/DW environment. The tools and processes that enable users to query, report, analyze, monitor, and mine integrated information to make decisions, develop plans, or take action.

Sample Results Report
BI ROI Tool Sample Results Report

Terms of Use / Use Rights / End-User License Agreement (EULA)/span>

By using the software/document, you accept these terms. If you do not accept them, do not use the software.

  • This is a free "Preview": You may use, copy, redistribute, display, print, and reproduce this software/document.
  • You may use, copy, redistribute, display, print, and reproduce this software/document
  • You may NOT distribute this software/document to anyone except employees or contractors of the organization
  • You may NOT sell, rent, lease, or lend this software/document or portions/derivations of it
  • You may NOT create derivative works from or "reverse-engineer" this software/document
  • You may only modify portions of the software/document designated as "Input" cells (light yellow cells with double-outline and blue text).
  • You must maintain all copyright and other notices contained in this software/document.
  • You may incorporate only static (e.g. values, graphics) portions of this software/document within other documents (e.g. a business case report) as long as the dynamic (e.g. equations, macros) functionality of the workbook is not also incorporated or duplicated.


Results should be considered estimates only. It is intended to help guide customers in better understanding approximate costs and benefits of various scenarios. Due to limitations of simulation tools, actual results may differ significantly. Deployment/investment decisions should not be based on the results of this tool alone -- it is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

This information is provided to you as a tool "as is" with the understanding that there are no representations or warranties of any kind either express or implied. TDWI, HCR, and suppliers/vendors disclaim all warranties including, but not limited to, implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. TDWI, HCR, and suppliers do not warrant or make any representations regarding the use, validity, accuracy or reliability of the tool or the results of the use of the tool. In no event shall TDWI, HCR or suppliers be liable for any damages, including those arising as a result of TDWI, HCR or supplier negligence, whether those damages are direct, consequential, incidental, or special, flowing from your use of or inability to use the tool, or information provided herewith, or results of the tool's use, even if TDWI, HCR, or suppliers has been advised of the possibility of such damages.

Model Support

TDWI/HCR does not provide free support for this model. However, we do welcome any comments, suggestions, and feedback.

HCR can provide fee-based services, including telephonic support, workbook customizations, and comprehensive consulting engagements to assist with business case development and validation.

Model Use Instructions

1. Read the "Terms of Use" and "Disclaimer".

2. Before making any changes to the workbook, save the workbook under a different name. This will preserve the original default values and formulas so you may return to them at a later time. Clicking the blue "Restore Defaults" icons will return inputs to their original values (for versions that contain macros).

3. Navigate the workbook using the worksheet tabs at the bottom. Start with the "Profile" tab. This worksheet contains the most important cost and benefit drivers. You will also see a summary view of the costs and benefits of the scenario modeled. Enter/edit data in the "input" (light yellow) cells. Edit (overwrite) the default values to customize results for your particular organization/initiative.

4. Review the "ROI" worksheet to pre-view the costs and benefits.

5. Complete the Maturity Assessment ("Maturity" worksheet) and select initiatives ("Initiatives" worksheet) to be simulated.

6. Review the detailed default metrics and calculations in the "Costs" (red tab) and Benefit (green tabs) worksheets. Although not required, we recommend completing the "Costs" worksheet first to more clearly define the initiative. Not all benefit worksheets are appropriate for all initiative types (for example, some infrastructure initiatives may not have any revenue impacts).

7. The "Financial Analysis" report (or any other worksheet) can be printed or saved as PDF/XPS. Portions of the model may be incorporated (e.g. "Paste Special As Picture") into a more comprehensive business case-type report.

8. Additional instructions are provided in the model

9. If fee-based consultative guidance and/or customizations are desired, contact HCR.