Business Intelligence Competency Center, the Glue that Hold Business and Technology Together
>>Written by Pat Saporito, Global Center of Excellence, SAP
BICCs are critical to the success of an organization’s analytics. They are chartered to align business-driven objectives with information, applications, processes, training, policies and technology regardless of the size of an organization. Their capabilities span Human Capital, Knowledge Processes, Culture and Infrastructure. Yet many organizations struggle with where to start or how to evolve their BICCs.
In an earlier blog, I reviewed organizational models. In this one, I’ll discuss the skill sets required as well as key roles and responsibilities required for a successful BICC. I’ll also review some low risk, high impact “guerilla” tactics to get your BICC off the ground and to sustain its ongoing visibility.
Skills needed by effective BICCs fall into three key broad areas- business, IT and Analytics. Below are the capabilities needed within each of these areas:
- Business Skills: Linking to business strategy, defining priorities, leading organization and process change, and controlling funding. These often sit in the business, but IT needs to develop as well.
- IT Skills: Defining vision, maintaining programs, establishing standards, creating the technology roadmap, providing methodology leadership, maintaining an adaptable infrastructure, and improving data quality. These are traditionally technical skills, but business users need awareness of these skills especially standards and roadmap and play a key role in data quality.
- Analytic Skills: Developing user skills, defining business rules, identifying and extracting data, creating business views of data, discovering and exploring data, and enabling advanced analytical skills like statistical and text mining. Analytic skills are needed across the organization both in Business and IT areas.
Graphic 1: BICC Skills Requirements (Source: Gartner Group)
Roles and Responsibilities
There are a myriad of roles required by BICCs. But bear in mind they do not all need to reside within the BICC; some can be virtual roles that actually reside in the business such as business analysts and data stewards. Also I am purposely omitting development roles (programmers, data modelers, architects, etc.) which reside in an IT BI Development Team or in distributed Business BI development areas. I am also leaving out the role of business analyst, which is critical to an ongoing program and may reside in the business, IT or BICC.
The key roles that do need to exist within a BICC include:
- BICC Leader: Manages overall BICC program and BICC as well as vendor relationships, licensing, internal user groups and metadata. Leads analytic adoption. Ensures business alignment. Sets & monitors BICC KPIs. Secures funding. Aligns with Executive & BI Steering Committee.
- Chief Data Steward: Manages overall Data Governance and related initiatives, e.g., metadata management. Works with the Data Architect/Data Manager to develop the data architecture. IDs issues and recommends actions to address data quality and integrity. Chairs Data Governance Committee and is a member of BI Steering Committee.
- Knowledge Management Leader: Manages the overall KM practices, policies and procedures to maximize adoption of BICC capabilities. Includes BI standards, templates, etc. Identifies new training programs needed as well as currentness of existing training programs.
- BICC Support Leader: Manages overall BICC Support; ensures that user support issues are addressed.
- BICC Technical Leader: Manages technical environment for analytics. Ensures correct technical setup of BI solutions and advises on any connectivity, security or other technical capabilities required. Secondary support for BICC Service Desk. Often includes managing analytic application selection and license administration.
- BICC Communication Leader: communicates activities plans, and progress on current project. Creates intranet, community or other vehicle to communicate and build awareness of BI program progress and success.
Guerilla Tactics for Getting Your BICC Off the Ground
It’s important to pick projects that can be successful and to develop user evangelists that can help you sell successful projects. This will help you gain credibility and ensure ongoing funding for the BICC. The following are some tips.
- Pick a first initiative and make it a business success
- Stand up the BICC roles to support the initiative
- ID evangelists from the initiative and have them sell the success
Sell the Sizzle
- Use dashboards, scorecards, maps and other visual applications/tools
- Analytics is “white hot”, sell it
Go Beyond Reporting
- Stress self service capabilities and analysis vs. reporting
- Make it easy to use; use the right tool and make sure end users are trained
- Help users internalize BI as part of their success; drive culture change
- Create a BICC community and engage users to provide feedback
- Make it interactive and fun – e.g., see the SAP Data Geek 2.0 contest; develop your own or advocate external contests they can participate it. This is also a form of learning as well as recognition.
- Highlight successes, best practices and new capabilities on the community
Understanding the key roles and responsibilities needed for BICCs is critical to the BICC’s and your overall BI Strategy success. It is also important to understand the skills needed for these roles and to look for them either during your hiring process or to include them as part of professional development for existing business and technical staff.
Good morning from Ottawa, Canada. BICCs are a very interesting topic and certainly appear to have great value. As an accountant I'm always interested in forecasted impact on organizational objectives and especially net income. I wonder if you'd be kind enough to comment on items such as (1) changes to organizational structure (2) potential incremental costs to establish and operate (3) forecasted value - could be increased productivity, reduction in costs - other identified organizational objectives.