by Pat Saporito, Senior Director, BI Center of Excellence, SAP

Four employees gathered around a digital tabletChallenges resulting from the Big Data explosion are leading many organizations to either develop a BI Competency Center (BICC) or enhance the capabilities of their existing center, sometimes referred to as a BI Center of Excellence (CoE).

The challenges driving this interest in BICCs are:

User demand for analytics

  • In response to the sheer volume and variety of new data types, users are demanding more analytics
  • Long wait times for IT to deliver analytics is causing user frustration
  • User frustration is growing as the ability to do it themselves is hindered by the lack of robust, yet easy-to-use, visualization and exploration tools
  • IT is pushing for user self-service so that it can focus on higher value and more skilled activities such as data management.

Data management and access

  • Mobile devices, social media, and machine-generated data are key contributors to the data explosion phenomena.
  • Finding, evaluating, and selecting the right tools to manage, analyze, and enable action on non-structured data types such as videos, web logs, and social media comments has IT scrambling.

Data quality and data confidence issues

  • These issues are forcing organizations to enhance their data governance programs to improve usability of data.
  • Lack of data confidence  has led users to create their own data sets, creating yet more data islands and requiring already strained resources (both in the business and IT) to spend time on data validation or reconciliation instead of analysis.
  • IT is implementing end-user data dictionary tools to improve data understandability.

All of these challenges fall well within the scope of BICCs to address. Organizations that don’t  have a BICC are looking at pilot programs (usually tied to a key initiative) to stand one up within four to six weeks.

BICCs Rise to the Challenges

The leading organizations that do have a BICC are reviewing and updating their business intelligence (BI) strategies to include improved transparency, communication, and governance in collaboration with the business to ensure a business-driven strategy.

They are enhancing analytic portals with dashboard and scorecards that show their BI project pipeline, cost, usage, quality, systems performance, training and other key performance indicators (KPIs). They are also adding metrics to reflect BI adoption and self service to measure their overall data driven information culture. Lastly, they are augmenting their BICCs with BI Communities of Practice to share internal best practices and provide mentoring and leadership.

Two key roles within the BICC become paramount:

  • Communication analysts are helping to build or mature information culture by assisting with training and development, and with user adoption and best practice sharing.
  • KPI analysts are engaging in a true value management approach, not only for the initial business case, but also in post-implementation assessments that help ensure ongoing analytic program funding.

Let us hear from you on your BICC.

  • How have you used your BICC to tackle big data?
  • What KPIs are you tracking? Do you have a dashboard to share?
  • Any challenges you’d like feedback on? Are there lessons learned that you’d like to share?

Additional Resources

For more information on BI Strategy and BICCs view our new Video series:

“BI and Your Success”- 5-part video series

  • Designing a BI Strategy
  • Building a Business Case for a BI Strategy
  • Progressing Along the BI Maturity Curve
  • Developing a BI Competency Center
  • Forging an Information Culture

SAP Community Network Blogs on BICCs: