How to establish a Business Intelligence Competency Center and Steps for Value Creation
Business Intelligence Competency Center (BICC) is a team with clearly defined responsibilities, processes and functions for promoting and providing support the use of Business Intelligence in a business. A BICC is involved in the coordination of activities and resources to ensure that decisions made are backed by facts and that implementation is systematically undertaken. The team is responsible for the governance structure for BI and analytical programs, projects, practices software, and architecture. An effective BICC enables enterprises to attain greater efficiency, become agile and competitive by ensuring a high degree of information consumption and high rates of return on investment for BI.
What are the steps in Establishing a Business Intelligence Competency Center?
- STEP 1: Defining a vision
In this stage, the team seek to gain in-depth knowledge of the foundational elements required to establish a BICC. They start by identifying a theme, creating a conceptual plan, evaluating skill availability, budgeting and assessing the risk appetite of the organization. The goal of this stage is to create a BICC that is sensitive to the organization’s culture, business needs, goals and vision.
- STEP 2: Assessing the readiness of the enterprise
In this phase, the readiness of the organization to support a major BICC initiative is considered. Every aspect identified in the vision setting stage is analyzed in detail (governance, people, process and resources). A careful assessment and analysis of the current state and the business needs are important in determining the direction for building blocks and the design of the BICC. The BI team cooperates with the marketing department to create a brand and message for the BI system.
- STEP 3: Budgeting and obtaining funding
The cost of developing the BICC is assessed and funding obtained in this phase. The potential of the BICC to improve the business is the key selling point during this phase. With the availing of sponsorship, a BICC Team Leader needs to be identified to provide leadership, vision and sets the team’s targets. The team will need to whether and how to finance the infrastructure required in developing and operating cross-functional applications.
- STEP 4: Determining the BICC structure
The stage is highly influenced by the sponsors, the target key performance indicators and the sources of financing. With the increasing complexities in managing information across numerous platforms, it is important to have a proper structure that is flexible in place. The BICC must continuously strive to bridge the gap between business and Information Technology. The structure adopted should be capable of reducing costs and facilitating the adoption of the BICC components during its lifecycle to attain a return on investment.
- STEP 5: Determining the scope
The scope outlines the objectives of the project, timelines and the key performance indicators. Aspects that are not to be included in the BICC are clearly identified and communicated to management, stakeholders and the team. The identification and understanding of the scope gives the team focus and a sense of purpose during execution. It enables the team to set attainable goals and timelines to work towards in addition to having key points to determine progress. Depending on project demands, more staff can be hired to fasten the development of the project.
- STEP 6: Selection of the team
In this phase, a team representing key stakeholders from different business units and the IT directorate is identified. It is important to identify the right combination of personnel with requisite experience and skills that will ensure the success of the BICC. This team should consist of hardware experts, end-users, C-level, management representatives, software experts, and process leaders. Non employees such as consultants or contractors can be coopted into the team based on their expertise.
What are the Business Intelligence Competence Center Roles?
Regardless of the BICC organization model undertaken, all BICCs have four mandatory roles;
- BICC leader
The leader is responsible for the day to day operations of the BICC and reports to the BICC sponsor. The BICC leader needs to lobby users to adopt by highlighting the advantages of using business intelligence. He acts as the link between the IT department, the business and the BICC sponsor. He is also responsible for ensuring that standards specific to BI and procedures are strictly conformed with. In addition, he manages the BICC vendor relations and licensing. He is required to have unique leadership experience as he is responsible for the entire business Intelligence systems.
- Business analyst
He keeps records of all business and analytical knowledge available to the business intelligence competence center. He/she reviews business needs and cooperates with the staff of the development team to ensure applications are tailored to meet the needs of the users. He also works to ensure that the data is created to support the self-service of the end users and that supporting tools such as business glossary are in place and successfully accompanied by business definitions and calculations. The holder of this position requires strong business and analytical skills.
- Technical advisor
he is the foremost IT expert in the BICC. He is responsible for ensuring that the technical architecture meets service level agreements and aligns business and technical architecture, processes and standards. It is important for the holder of this position to possess technical knowledge of BI systems and a strong interest in the enterprise’s business.
- Data steward
The data steward is responsible for maintaining the business information assets, providing oversight of data models and data quality issues. The position’s holder investigates and corrects information when required by verifying against the systems from which the Business Intelligence system draws its information. He needs to possess the ability to go beyond the technical aspects of data model and understand how the data impacts the business.
What are the steps for Value Creation in your organization from Business Intelligence Competence Center?
- STEP 1: Ensure the value of the technology is fully exploited
The full exploitation of business intelligence holds great expectations and promise for improvements to the organization. The realization of these improvements is however hinged on other factors such as how well the Business Intelligence systems are utilized and supported in the organization. The knowledge of the business users to use BI and the ability of the business to address emerging issues resulting from the rollout of the BI system has a major impact on whether the system is exploited to its full potential. The main aim of BICC is to provide the businesses with solutions that are applicable and support the users in using them appropriately. Experts can be embedded in the system to make recommendations regarding what to be used, how it is used and why it should be used.
- STEP 2: Work towards integrating and consolidating business and analytical intelligence processes and initiatives
BI projects have a reputation of starting in isolation and out of sync with other BI projects being undertaken in the organization. This results into overlapping, redundancy, and information silos that do not permit the organization to connect different sources of information. There also exists the risk of provision of inconsistent solutions to the same problem, the integration of these systems is a costly affair for the organization. BICC is ideal in overcoming this inconsistency at the enterprise level. The BICC should be engaged in defining the overall BI strategy to shift the approach from tactical to strategic.
- STEP 3: Reduce the overall risk of implementation project and project realization
The risks associated with BICC include; the lack of the right project resources, poor coordination and investment in BI projects that do not fit in the overall BI architecture. BICC needs to take into consideration BI needs, design and the full architecture, BICC should ensure that all projects fit into the overall BI infrastructure. The BICC system needs to also ensure that the company exploits the full potential of BI skills and resources. Smooth project implementation and repeatability can be enhanced through provision of consistent definitions, processes and methodologies.
- STEP 4: Ensure end users fully understand data and act properly on analyses
Business users need to be aided with understanding which data is available to them for analysis, with recognition of which techniques to use for analysis or with full knowledge and acting properly on the information delivered. Another important aspect of BICC is to provide proper BI training and coaching to end users to ensure that they adequately, effectively and efficiently use BI technologies.
- STEP 5: Ensure that BI knowledge is shared throughout the organization
Businesses might be unable to see the benefits provided by BI. The BICC is important in educating the organization about the value and potentialities provided by BI. This value is not restricted to decision makers or business analysts as it can be beneficial to other business users.
A Business Intelligence Competence Center plays an important role in facilitating interactions within the organization. A BICC influence goes beyond that of an ordinary business unit by playing a major role in the organizational change and strategic processes. A BICC ensures a high degree of information flow and a return on investment on Business Intelligence by ensuring that BI systems are sensitive to the organization’s culture, business needs, goals and vision.