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Written by Pat Saporito

BI Strategy:  BICC, a Key Element to Your BI Program

In the November edition of ACT newsletter, we discussed the importance of a BI Compentency Center to any organization working on taking their BI program to the highest level of competency  ("BI Strategy: BI Competency Centers Take Center Stage...Again.")  In this edition, we will focus on different types of BICC organizational models, visibility and funding and how to get a BICC started or evolve your existing BICC.

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.  BICC’s often start as out in a distributed or virtual form. Each model has its own pros and cons and your organization is likely to change as it matures. The best model fit for your organization depends on your culture, but one of more models will work in your environment.


BICCs create many improvements in business intelligence and analytics; the top three benefits are:

  • Better collaboration between business and IT, ensuring a business driven BI/analytic strategy
  • Increased use/adoption of BI  and analytic investments through best practices, evangelization and “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.

Visibility & Funding

BICC’s face a number of challenges but two key related ones are visibility and funding. Having a BICC 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 KPIs and communicate them thru a BICC Dashboard or Scorecard for awareness. Most frequently used metrics are in Delivered Return areas such as Pipeline, Cost, Useage and Quality and Operational Performance areas such as Uptime, Load Time, Outage and Education. Post the dashboard on a BICC Wiki or Community; post your charter, tout BI success stories, post upcoming educational courses/webcasts and add links to analytic sandboxes. BICCs that keep awareness of their capabilities and value front and center, struggle far less with funding than those who are not 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 champion
  • Define your charter/mission
  • Decide on your form, define roles and fill with the right candidates.
  • Layout a roadmap for the BICC, initial vs. near future state
  • Launch the BICC, focusing on defining your strategy and documenting/amassing current BI related standards and processes

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 months business intelligence capabilities with the business areas. Identify pains/issues and rank them based on anticipated business value
  • Review your current BICC state addressing governance, program management, education, support, etc.  Assess your current level both of 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.