How to estimate cost of BI deployment

Initial business intelligence (BI) deployment efforts are often difficult to predict and may dwarf the investment you made in BI platform software. The effort and costs associated with professional services, whether you use internal staff or...

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Initial business intelligence (BI) deployment efforts are often difficult to predict and may dwarf the investment you made in BI platform software.

The effort and costs associated with professional services, whether you use internal staff or hire contractors, depend not only on the complexity of business requirements like metrics, measures, reports, dashboards, and alerts, but also on the number of data sources you are integrating, the complexity of your data integration processes, and logical and physical data modelling.

At the very least Forrester recommends considering the following components and their complexity to estimate development, system integration and deployment effort:

Top down business requirements such number of


  • Goals and objectives
  • Metrics, Measures
  • Attributes and dimensions

Tool installation and configuration (may not be necessary if you are using preconfigured cloud based SaaS platforms)
  • ETL
  • BI
  • DBMS
  • Desktop clients
  • Mobile clients
Source applications integration

  • Number of data sources, number of tables and columns in each
  • Account for source system model complexity
  • Account for documentation availability and quality
  • Account for added complexity due to high volumes and job scheduling and dependencies
Data modelling
  • Conceptual, logical, dimensional and physical models for...
  • Staging area, ODS, DW, data marts, cubes, aggregates
  • Account for added complexity due to high data volumes and high number of simultaneous users

Data usage deliverables including

  • Queries (account for added complexity due to high data volumes and/or high number of simultaneous users)
  • Reports
  • Dashboards
  • Predictive models
  • Triggers and alerts
Information delivery integration tasks

  • Desktop client integration
  • Portal integration
  • Mobile client integration
  • Localisation

Added tasks to setup and deploy test, UAT and production environments and processes

Based on these and many other components and variables Forrester created a customisable spread sheet model. We recommend using this new BI deployment effort estimation tool to improve the accuracy of your BI budget planning and forecasting. The tool is also useful to improve the accuracy of BI cost estimates as part of your overall BI business case / BI ROI model.

Posted by Boris Evelson

Related Forrester Research

BI Effort and Price Estimation Model

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