Business Intelligence Competency Centers

Book review of Business Intelligence Competency Centers

Business Intelligence Competency Centers book cover

Business Intelligence Competency Centers by SAS/Wiley 2006Business Intelligence Competency Centers: A Team Approach to Maximizing Competitive Advantage by Gloria J. Miller, Dagmar Bräutigam, Stefanie V. Gerlach et. al. (ISBN 0-470-04447-0) was released by SAS and Wiley in May 2006.  According to Amazon, I purchased it on August 31, 2007. So as you can see, it’s taken me some time to get around to publishing a book review.

The term “Business Intelligence Competency Center” or BICC is still in fashion after Gartner started using it nearly a decade ago.  Some organizations use the term “Center of Excellence”.  Still others coin their own acronyms that no other organizations use, just to feel special.  But amidst a sea of business intelligence and analytics books, this is the only one that exclusively tackles the creation of a BICC.

While not completely free of “SAS is the best business intelligence tool EVER” bias, the book is surprisingly vendor agnostic. The book, while cohesive, is a collection of white papers, as each chapter has its own set of authors.  The chapters include:

  1. Introduction (What is a Business Intelligence Competency Center)
  2. Business Intelligence in the Organization
  3. Primary Functions of the Business Intelligence Competency Center
  4. Planning a Business Intelligence Competency Center: Using the Information Evolution Model
  5. Human Capital
  6. Knowledge Processes
  7. Culture
  8. Infrastructure
  9. Setting Up and Ensuring Ongoing Support
  10. Cases from the Field
  11. Ten Recommendations for a Highly Effective Business Intelligence Competency Center
I like the book (though not as much as Wayne Eckerson’s) and quote from it regularly.  It contains my favorite definition of business intelligence.
Business Intelligence is defined as getting the right information to the right people at the right time.
I recently reread the book to prepare my upcoming ASUG SAP BusinessObjects User Conference presentation, Secrets of a Business Intelligence Barista.  The information isn’t trendy or dated— it’s held up well over the past six years— although I’m ready for the publisher to release an updated and expanded second edition. My biggest criticism of the book is that it is a bit thin (224 pages). When you find a topic of interest, you may be disappointed that the author(s) did not go deeper. This criticism is common of some of the other book reviews I read. Also, there is no bibliography.
The core organizing principle of a BICC- combining business savvy and IT savvy into a single, cohesive organization remains as controversial now as it was six years ago.  Most BICCs or similar organizations are maintained in the IT Department, which doesn’t have a stomach for business savvy folks. To many IT managers, A BICC organization chart reminds them of Jamie Oswald‘s illustration of the offspring of a white buffalo and a unicorn. Sadly, the largest obstacle to BI success in many organizations is the Great Wall of China firewall that is constructed between an organizations’ business intelligence systems and its users.
The book isn’t highly technical, so like Wayne Eckerson’s Performance Dashboards, it could be the foundation of a 12-week business intelligence book club in your organization. Its definitions and diagrams can help business savvy and tech savvy leaders in your organization create or reform its BICC.
What resources has your organization found helpful in the creation of a Business Intelligence Competency Center?


Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased this book and did not receive it free from its publisher. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Author: Dallas Marks

I am an analytics and cloud architect, author, and trainer. An AWS certified blogger, SAP Mentor Alumni and co-author of the SAP Press book SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence: The Comprehensive Guide, I prefer piano keyboards over computer keyboards when not blogging or tweeting.

2 thoughts on “Business Intelligence Competency Centers”

  1. I have this same book and have leveraged it in the past as a valuable reference. However nothing beats the practical knowledge of having successfully implemented a BICC. All of which come with challenges, mostly driven by two more recent market pressures, cost of doing business balanced with the appetite to increase capability by leveraging emerging technologies to remain competitive with solutions that support Advanced Analytics & BI, Big Data, social media, and mobility to drive and or protect the business.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.