Part three of my series on a BI Centre of Excellence looks at the roadmap to establishing the centre. Next week will focus on the resources required.
The following three attributes are essential for the successful establishment of a BI Centre of Excellence
- Active senior management support, and establishment of a cross functional steering committee
- Early identification of competency centre leadership
- Adherence to a defined and structured timeline to achieving functional competency centre operation
It is essential to reinforce that more than anything else your BI centre of excellence for BI must have an active mandate and involvement from the senior executive to sustain optimised delivery of an organisational BI strategy. This leadership is a key factor in the ability to successfully deliver the initial benefits of the centre of excellence within a narrow time frame and for establishing long term benefits.
It may not be enough to just rely upon internal resources when you undertake stakeholder research for the centre of excellenc. Dependent upon the structure of your organisation, you are likely to need to be in contact with stakeholders outside such as advisors for financial services organisations, or parallel government agencies in the public sector.
For many stakeholders, involvement up front and appreciation of their opinions and requirements will be a key determinant of ongoing positive opinion towards the centre. Furthermore, targets of the research must not just be at the executive level. Often key users of BI outcomes in organisations are in administrative and support functions acting as a conduit for senior executives and will have strong operational and functional insights.
Road-Map for Implementation: The implementation of a Centre of Excellence for BI needs to be completed with a well-structured approach. To avoid a long, drawn out implementation which carries the real risk of failure, using a four stage Plan -> Design -> Implement -> Operate process, organisations may be able to develop a BI competency centre to an operate stage within 90 days.
Key activities for the Plan stage
- Assess, and obtain agreement on centre of excellence structure. This must include scope and guidelines on the reach and control of the centre of excellence into the organisational BI framework
- Understand business requirements for current and future BI investment
- Understand current solution capabilities, delivered internally and externally
- Identify internal constraints to BI outcomes
- Identify external constraints to positive BI outcomes
- Spotlight the focus culture required for success
- List initial proposed projects
Key activities for the Design stage
- Communicate the charter of the centre of excellence. The broader the communication, the increased likelihood of wide organisational involvement to the process
- Develop matrix of roles and responsibilities for members of centre of excellence
- Identify internal availability of skills and competency required.
- Focus on HR issues for employees attached to the centre of excellence highlighting training, career path, evaluation and compensation issues.
- Identify standards, tools and process methodology to be leveraged
- Prepare measurement tools for the investment in the competency centre
- Identify technology infrastructure required, and work with IT to deliver to new requirements
Key activities for the Implement stage
- Hire and on-board key employees. Preference should be to internal candidates if the BI skill set is readily available internally
- Establish project governance requirements and framework
- Identify initial seed projects requiring the competency centre
- Prepare plan for management of identified ongoing issues with BI within organisation
- Work to consolidate external providers, and ensure that they buy-in to the centre of excellence methodology
- Manage data repositories
- Prepare training plans for team members of the centre of excellence
Key activities for the Operate Stage
- Evaluate ongoing projects, then prioritise in order of business value and outcomes
- Drive strategic plan for BI related projects with a focus on ensuring skill allocation and budget management
- Enhance depth of uptake of BI across the organisation by communication of outcomes, case studies and education
- Establishment of training programs for skilling both competency centre employees and others involved in BI programs
- Develop maintenance programs for existing BI investments
- Establish power users and future centre of excellence sub-groups as the capability matures