272478_l_srgb_s_glIn this series, I previously covered the importance of a business intelligence competency center (BICC) for any organization to take its BI program to the highest level of competency. In today’s blog, I’ll focus on different types of BICC organizational models.

BICC Organizational Models

BICCs can take a number of organization forms or models – the most common are the BICC as part of IT, a virtual BICC, BICC as part of operations, or a distributed BICC. BICCs often start out in a distributed or virtual form. Each model has its own pros and cons, and your organization is likely to change its model as it matures. The best model fit for your organization depends on your culture, but one or more models will work in your environment.

BICC model Chart

Figure: BICC Models

Top Benefits of BICCs

BICCs create many improvements in business intelligence (BI) and analytics. The top three benefits are:

  • Better collaboration between business and IT, ensuring a business driven BI/analytics strategy
  • Increased use/adoption of BI and analytic investments through best practices, evangelization and use of “sand boxes”
  • Improved data quality and data management, enabling more time for analysis vs. preparation and validation

These three areas should ultimately result in increased revenue, decreased expenses, and improved operational efficiency.

Challenges

BICCs face a number of challenges, but two key related ones are visibility and funding. Having an executive business intelligence champion at the senior management level is a must. But even with an executive champion, the BICC’s value may not be fully recognized. Define measureable key performance indicators and communicate them through a BICC dashboard or scorecard for awareness.

Most frequently used metrics are in delivered return areas, such as pipeline, cost, usage, and quality, and operational performance areas such as uptime, load time, outage, and education. Post the dashboard on a BICC wiki or community site; post your charter; tout BI success stories; post upcoming educational courses/webcasts; and add links to analytic sandboxes. Constant communication is key. BICCs that keep awareness of their capabilities and value front and center struggle far less with funding than those that aren’t visible.

Forming or Evolving Your BICC

If you don’t have a BICC, then you need the basics of building an organization.

  • Find an executive business champion
  • Define your charter/mission
  • Decide on your form, define roles, and fill with the right candidates
  • Create a roadmap for the BICC, with initial vs. near future state
  • Launch the BICC, focusing on defining your strategy and documenting/amassing current BI related standards and processes

Take Your BICC to the Next Level

If you already have a BICC, evaluate what you need to do to take it to the next level. Conduct a BICC assessment as part of an annual BI strategy review.

  • Review your current and projected 18-month business intelligence capabilities with the business areas. Identify pains/issues and rank them based on anticipated business value.
  • Review your current BICC state by addressing governance, program management, education, support, etc. Assess your current level—both the existence and completeness of these capabilities. Rank areas for improvement based on anticipated business value.
  • Review gaps in your current BI strategy and BICC. Identify areas of improvement and rank them.
  • Create a BI strategy and BICC roadmap to close the gaps.

Participate in the BICC Survey:

Compare where you are vs. other organizations on your BI governance. Whether you already have a BICC or are just looking to create one, participate in our new BICC Survey.

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Other blogs in this series: