Business Intelligence Competence Center

BI systems can be classified as highly complex and interdisciplinary, requiring the involvement and work of many people. Increasingly, organizations are not able to properly coordinate them through traditional IT departments. There are opinions that complex IT projects, such as BI systems, should be entrusted to specialized entities. In this case, BI competence center may be such a cell (Dresner et al., 2002). In principle, a BI competence center takes over information management, ranging from identifying the source of its creation and ending with its effective use. It is responsible for coordinating and adjusting BI initiatives to the firm’s goals, in particular

■ developing a coherent analytical approach throughout an entire organization;

■ coordinating various analytical initiatives in an organization;

■ conducting complex analyses in cooperation with management staff;

■ introduction of standards in defining models, data architectures, and common business terms;

■ setting standards for BI tools; and

■ user training in the independent use of BI tools, data access mechanisms and their operation.

It is assumed that a BI competence center should gather experts in the fields of business, data analysis, and computer science who would support the management in making intelligent decisions.

Developing business skills within a BI competence center means primarily

■ understanding the nature and needs of individual departments of an organization, such as finance, sales and marketing, human resources, logistics;

■ ability to communicate with the management and combine BI initiatives with the firm’s strategic goals; and

■ supporting the management in analyzing and creating various business cases. In particular, analytical competences include:

■ studying business problems and creating models that enable their analysis;

■ data mining, discovering patterns, relationships, anomalies, and trends;

■ cooperation with the IT department to identify data for the needs of specific analyses or applications;

■ effective utilization of various techniques ranging from simple data aggregation to statistical analysis and complicated data mining;

■ liquidity development and maintenance in the use of analytical tools;

■ extraction of new information and knowledge and creating appropriate recommendations for their utilization; and

■ user training in the use of data.

Business analysts gathered around a BI center should be responsible for providing valuable knowledge and substantive care from the perspective of the end user and business entities, while creating good relationships with individual departments of an organization. They should also help in the transformation of data to a data warehouse (for the needs of future analyses) and preparation of training for users (in the use of BI data and tools).

As part of the BI competence center, it is recommended to develop IT knowledge and skills which is mainly associated with

■ access to relevant data sources and skills to manage them,

■ BI tools and technologies and data administration, and

■ implication of BI infrastructure on the functioning of an organization.

It is believed that fitting a BI competence center within organizational structures can be different and depends on the sector and its characteristics. Sometimes, the current IT department turns out to be the right place - provided that information technologies are treated as strategic tools for an organization. It may also be beneficial to place it next to the financial department - but mainly in a situation where it has evolved from a financial control function to management control. A BI competence center cannot focus on the business discipline chosen only. Therefore, placing it within one department makes sense when organizational policy does not limit cooperation between individual departments of an enterprise, on the contrary, it encourages it.


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