Part 05: Core element organization

„Business Intelligence Organization includes all kind of schedules, processes and regulations for people who are part of the business intelligence initiative“

The outcome of the BI Organization is in general a Business Intelligence Competence Center, a BI Governance and rules of agility.

Business Intelligence Competence Center as the institution for data

As BI becomes increasingly more strategic, many organizations are responding by creating working teams of IT and BI users, now commonly known as BI Competency Centers (BICC). A BICC is an organizational structure that groups people with interrelated disciplines, domains of knowledge, experiences and skills, for the purpose of promoting expertise throughout an organization.

  • Promote and provide delivery enablement through a consistent set of BI skills, standards, and best practices.
  • Enable repeatable successful BI deployment through the development and focus of people, technology and process—in ways that makes sense to an entire organization or division, rather than just a ‘single project’.

What roles and personnel are involved in the BICC?

Once you have defined the scope of your BICC, you should have a solid appreciation of the skills required to support your endeavor. The right selection of people and appropriate skills are paramount to the success of your BICC. The most successful BICCs maintain a mix of skills where individuals either in of themselves or the as the sum of all parts manage the balance between technical and business acumen. The mandate of your BICC will determine which skills, roles and staffing requirements are needed. As your BICC matures and the scope of its function diversifies, additions and changes to the roles and skills will be required to meet the service and capacity needs of your organization.

As an absolute minimum, the BICC will be comprised of the following basic roles:

  • BICC Director/Manager
  • Business Analyst
  • Technical consultant

But what is more important than defining roles in a BICC is to define tasks and responsibilities based on business and technical requirements. After this step, I would define roles based on tasks and responsibilities. This way guarantees a person independent discussion.


BI Governance as guideline to reduce the daily challenge

BI governance shall reduce the daily challenge of Business Intelligence. It is important to define and implement an infrastructure that will support enterprise goals. That infrastructure includes the hardware, software, staffing, and strategy needed to glean intelligence from data. To understand the BI governance process, you need to understand the progression of business intelligence. Your company may be among many that approach BI in a problem/solution framework. When a problem is identified, the solution may be a tool, a data mart, or a data warehouse. You would then purchase the appropriate supplies, and voilà, you would have business intelligence. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

When you use the problem/solution framework, you omit a high-level view of all the available resources; you focus on only one a small area. Although you may have the best possible solution for one problem, that solution may generate more problems or impact previous solutions. At the very least, a total business picture, essential for good decision making, will not be possible. You’ll end up managing multiple tool sets, supporting diverse end users, increasing inconsistency, encouraging redundancy, and making poor business decisions.

In addition, dependencies on source systems can complicate manners. Training and end-user support also come into play, of course, and a framework for supporting BI efforts will provide an approach for managing BI projects and enhancements.

The benefits of a consistent methodology are many. If you can create a repeatable process, you can increase the success of a project and support continuous improvement while reducing the time to market.

BI governance builds in flexibility by creating robust processes capable of scaling to any size and scope, and all aspects related to the approach of BI efforts are clearly defined. Along with a mechanism to manage your BI strategy, BI governance provides measurements for gauging success. One non-tangible benefit: improved morale as the staff involved builds their knowledge base and shortens their learning curve.


Agile is the new waterfall

The problem of business intelligence initiatives are for example long implementation processes. Business people need data or dashboards and reports but the developers do not deliver it. This causes a huge unhappiness and sometimes a rejection of the finally delivered solutions. In order to solve this problem, there is a new methodology called “Agile”, which shall guarantee a fast implementation process of new requirements and business needs.

Agile Business Intelligence refers to the use of the agile software development methodology for BI projects to reduce the time-to-value of traditional BI and helps in quickly adapting to changing business needs. Agile BI enables the BI team and managers to make better business decisions. Agile methodology works on the iterative principle; this provides the new features of software to the end users sooner than the traditional waterfall process which delivers only the final product. With Agile the requirements and design phases overlap with development, thus reducing the development cycles for faster delivery. It promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development and delivery, a time-boxed iterative approach, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change. Agile BI encourages business users and IT professionals to think about their data differently and it characterized by low Total Cost of Change (TCC). With agile BI, the focus is not on solving every BI problem at once but rather on delivering pieces of BI functionality in manageable chunks via shorter development cycles and documenting each cycle as it happens. Many companies fail to deliver right information to the right business managers at the right time.


About Tobias Riedner
Tobias Riedner foundet in 2015. He works and worked as innovator, consultant, analyst and educator in the fields of business intelligence and data warehousing. He learned a lot from the best consultants, managers und educators in the past and shares his knowledge worldwide. He works for a steady growing traditional company which is a leader in industry 4.0.