August 1, 2012 – Business intelligence competency centers have not enjoyed even close to the same hype and acceptance as BI in general, meaning enterprises are missing out on some advanced data and business strategy opportunities, according to a presentation from BI expert John Hagerty.

Hagerty, a VP distinguished analyst with Gartner Research, led a presentation Wednesday on returns, strategies and obstacles in establishing BI competency centers.

Business intelligence interest of late hasn’t waned, ranking as the number one CIO priority in 2008 and 2012, and never out of the top five in the years between, according to Gartner survey results. But competency centers – the arrangement of team members, processes and management of BI direction and output – have not taken hold, regardless of stated enterprise interest in recent years. Based on a Gartner BI event survey highlighted by Hagerty, just 27 percent of attendees had implemented some phase of a BI competency center. Another 41 percent expressed interest within 12 months, though Hagerty says that when analysts check back on those plans, few had moved forward.

Once initial BI implementations or upgrades are brought into the enterprise, much of the competency center effort loses its gusto, says Hagerty. Baseline acceptance of BI usually stalls when faced with the data standards and cross-departmental approaches that would be prompted by implementing a competency center, also known as a center of excellence. They suffer from a lack of investment and planning, too, though all of these factors ultimately overlook the degree to which a competency boosts data analysis and an evolving BI sector.

Hagerty spotlighted the benefits of BI competency centers compared with their counterparts. At enterprises with a BI center in place, an average of 33 percent of employees regularly used BI and analytics capabilities, compared with one-quarter of those without a competency practice. The maturity of BI in use is at odds, too, as organizations with a competency center more likely to have advanced data features like data mining and e-Discovery. And Hagerty says that enterprises with a BICC report larger budgets for their company-wide BI and staff than those operating without a center framework.

“To a person, a BICC fosters success,” Hagerty says. “It’s something that if you’ve already had some success it takes it to the next level. They all said that you don’t need a BICC to get started, but you do if you want to take analytics bigger and broader through your organization.”

Hagerty detailed skill sets for the three types of BICC team members, including:

Business leaders – engagement in business processes; executive credibility and persuasion; ongoing evangelism; prioritization linked to business impact; and metrics defined in performance framework

Analytic leaders – articulation of data/analysis to KPIs; build multidimensional models; business operation data analysis and validation; and distillation of data into business results

IT leaders – business savvy; analytic architectural patterns and standards; data management, integration, MDM and warehousing; and program management

For a rebroadcast of the presentation, click here.