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Business & ICT Trends, Applied to Your Organisation

Setting up a BICC

Posted on April 26th, 2011 by TimClaes

Topic of the week – Shift from BI to Performance management (2nd article: Setting up a BICC)


One of the top priorities you need to highlight in your list of to do’s, when setting up a strategic framework for BI, is getting the right, enterprise-wide organisation structure in place, with a clearly defined set of rules and responsibilities, reporting directly to C-level management. This is often called a BICC – Business Intelligence Competence Center.

This is easier said then done as you typically will have one of the following 2 scenarios that will take place at your organisation:

  1. The business is in the driver seat of the BI initiatives and too many business people are included in the BICC, resulting into data governance issues, scalability issues, performance issues, …
  2. ICT is in the driver seat and too many ICT experts are included in the BICC, leadings towards high maintenance costs, long development cycles, many end user restrictions, …

 

Needless to point out that both scenarios will fail and that the truth lays in the middle. You simply need a good mix of business people and ICT experts to make it work.  I often use the following figure as a discussion instrument. It helps the customer to structure their thoughts and will assist you in various debates on how the BICC should look like. In the end you are talking about people and that is always a sensitive topic, no matter where you are positioned in the organisation.

Setting up the BICC

It sounds obvious, but the objectives of the BICC should be transparant, clear and communicated throughout the organisation. Only then it will be possible to define the services (or functions) offered by the BICC. At this stage it is as important to also define what will not be serviced by the BICC, so that no misunderstandings exist right from the start. Typical services that should be looked at are:

  • Data governance and data stewardship
  • Information delivery
  • Data acquisition
  • Support (1st line, 2nd line & 3rd line)
  • Training
  • BI Program management
  • Vendor management

 

Each of these topics need to be described in detail, including the roles and responsibilities, without adding any names at this moment in time. Once the roles and responsibilities are defined, the competences of each profile can be completed and the discussion can start which roles are absolutely necessary within the physical BICC structure and which roles can be positioned virtually and/or temporary. At this moment in time you should also draw all the possible communication flows between the BICC and the rest of your organisation and the frequency of these flows (ad hoc, weekly, monthly, …)

Only now the discussion about people should start, beginning with the amount of people we need, to fulfill the necessary competences, and  making an inventory of the available people. In my experience you will always need to foresee a transition period and a structured training plan to get the right people in place. Good people are always occupied. Depending on the role sometimes the attitude is more important than the skills.

And last but not least an iterative governance mechanism should be put in place to periodically review the staffing and the performance of the BICC,  to be able to adjust flexibly to the always changing needs of your organisation.

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