Why BI-COE: Struggling to justify ROI?

March 1, 2012
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Current BI landscape is cluttered with too many tools and technologies. The plain vanilla BI deployments rarely produce desired results. This leaves IT teams to a mere data steward role rather being a potential business partner. Primary inhibiting factors are: exponential data growth, lack of best practices and leveraging prior experience.

Current BI landscape is cluttered with too many tools and technologies. The plain vanilla BI deployments rarely produce desired results. This leaves IT teams to a mere data steward role rather being a potential business partner. Primary inhibiting factors are: exponential data growth, lack of best practices and leveraging prior experience.

Organizations today need to focus on Business that derives deep insight into its products, services, customers, and geography and market initiatives. Thus to gain maximum business benefits, there is a need to leverage an effective BI Center of Excellence (BI COE) strategy that can meet the business intelligence requirements with an optimum ROI.

What is BI-COE – the Solution:

A CoE integrates the skills, resources and experience of both Business and IT to achieve the common goal of the enterprise: i.e. to achieve fast and accurate BI solutions for senior management to make a right decision at right time.

BI CoE is pooled expertise that supports the efficient implementation, enhancement and maintenance of common business processes and best practices built around the BI tools.

It is a cross-functional team with specific tasks, roles, responsibilities and processes for supporting and promoting the effective use of Business Intelligence across the organization. The functioning of this end-to-end BI implementation would include data integration, data quality, data management, reporting, KPIs, workflow and data visualization.

The following fig. depicts a typical BI COE concept that results in enabling organizations to establish a sustainable and successful BI-COE?
BICOE Conceptual View

Figure 1: A Typical BI COE Conceptual View

BI-COE Strategy:

Where do we start? Before we begin, it is essential to have a good grasp of the business domain to derive a clear set of requirements that define the business need. Elaborating on the same lines, following scoping aspects must be identified:

Scoping Aspects resized 600

Figure 2: BI COE – Scoping Aspects

Irrespective of a certain BI COE scenario, the requirements can be classified either as RFEs, Issues/Service Requests and Production Support activities. This is further illustrated in the following visual:

Next essential step in the process is deriving effort estimates for each kind of activity. Leveraging vast experience in delivering diverse BI/DW solutions, one can quantitatively evaluate the resources required to deploy the COE sustenance activity.

Parameters for sustenance activity resized 600

Figure 3: Parameters for sustenance activity

Deriving ROI for COE: ***IMP***

It is very important for organizations to compare and realize the difference between BI as Tool implementation and COE as Solution implementation.

For instance, consider an organization that wants to understand how users react to a new BI deployment project. In addition to analyzing current data, the BI CoE could provide comparisons with past BI deployment wherein conditions were different, as well as map user requirements appropriately and accurately in that context.

For an end to end BI deployment, it would have the following key parameters.

RFE, Issues Resolutions, Maintenance, Support, Service Level Agreement (SLAs), Time by Support. Defining every parameter will provide the scalability in implementing BI COE. A perfectly leveraged project has seen more than 40% Gross Margin Improvement through Service Products, which is to say the least remarkable.

The amount of data is enormous, and the BI CoE helps to chart an action course. Given an idea of the necessary parameters i.e. RFEs, Issues, Maintenance and Production support activities then the BI COE SMEs can quickly (<24 hours) analyze customer organizations’ requirements and come-up with the proposed BI COE solution with the ‘Gross margin’ , ‘Net Cost Savings’ and benefits.

After deriving the efforts and quantitatively evaluating the above initiatives, organizations clearly realize the difference between BI as tool implementation and COE as a solution to get the highest productivity, cost savings and best decision.