Driving Value and Collaboration with a Business Intelligence Competency Center

By: Jeff Brown, Director of Consulting Services at Navigator Management Partners and
Nehul Vyas, Business Intelligence Capability Lead at Navigator Management Partners

Collaboration is a key success factor for any business system implementation or initiative. This is particularly true when an organization is looking to gain more value from their data through a business intelligence (BI) program.  Establishing a value-added partnership between IT and groups within the business plays a critical role in not only gaining the most value from the program but ultimately what the solution looks like.  How can an organization proactively develop a platform to remediate potential strategic and tactical disconnects between IT, the business, and even departments within the business? Additionally, what methods can be leveraged to help drive organizational adoption of BI and develop an enterprise operating model that can support maintenance and continuous improvement initiatives for a BI program?  The Business Intelligence Competency Center (BICC), a form of a governance organization, is a key enabler of value within the data and business intelligence space. 

Each organization may develop their BICC platform in different ways as inter-departmental collaboration is embedded within the fabric of an organization; however, it is imperative that every organization understands the value proposition of a BICC. 

Generally speaking, the BICC is made up of resources from IT and various departments within the business. The role of a BICC serves to foster a value-added partnership between an organization’s IT function and its business groups. The BICC ensures a common enterprise approach is followed as it relates to data and business intelligence.  Some examples of ways in which a BICC can generate value are:
  • Strategy - An enterprise reporting and analytics strategy is formulated and implemented in collaboration between the business and IT.  The BI strategy provides guidance for all facets and roles within the organization to best leverage BI capabilities. Each business function has a firm understanding of what data and BI means to the organization and what the guiding principles are for BI within the enterprise.  IT understands its role in supporting and growing the BI capability.
  • Solution Design - Enterprise requirements and risks are identified proactively and communicated earlier in the process, establishing vested relationships between the business and IT.
  • Adoption - Results are more sustainable and adoption increased when both IT and business perspectives are part of the solutioning process. 
  • Best Practices - Enterprise BI best practices are developed between IT and business leadership, and, in turn, best practices are reinforced by BICC members, power users, and/or data stewards through a “practice what you preach” mentality. 
  • Business Process Improvement - Business process use cases are understood across departments and within IT. This drives a stronger capability to support business functions spanning from management level dashboards and KPIs, to tactical data needs of analyst roles, to data integration across systems.  In turn, the business gains a deeper awareness of BI capabilities to help drive business process efficiencies through the use of BI solutions. 
  • Governance – The BICC often provides governance to an organization’s information architecture. An enterprise BI program provides value in many ways such as a consistent approach, consistent architecture, and economies of scale, but one challenge can be governing the diverse groups of an entire organization. With its diverse representation, a BICC can provide that enterprise level governance including potentially serving as the business owner of the BI program. The BICC may be a component of a larger data governance organization or at a minimum should be a major contributor to such an organization to ensure a holistic perspective is provided to both data and ultimately the information generated from that data. 
Many case studies have illustrated how a BICC model has been a critical success factor for an organization’s BI program and data points quantify the value derived from the BICC model. No matter how it is stated, the need for true collaboration between IT and the business in the area of business intelligence is paramount.

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