The phrase "You're only as successful as your last project" is not reserved for business intelligence but feels particularly applicable these days. It's no secret that BI teams are under pressure to engage or re-engage business users. They need to explain why BI isn't like other IT development efforts. They need to remind distracted executives of BI's value. They need to have an answer for the ubiquitous question, "What have you done for me lately?"

The good news is also the bad news. End users are smarter than ever. Many of them have co-opted BI by acquiring their own tools and have funded their own skill development to create specific functionality. As BI is increasingly adopted across organizations, it has become a free-for-all of brand-new silos, unmanaged data, duplicate work efforts and poor data quality, all of which lead to misaligned business decisions. Translation: We're spending too much time and money getting information and not using it cohesively. In response, many BI teams have chosen to launch a center of excellence as a way of refocusing attention on the unique nature of BI projects and the processes that come with them. But such a big project can easily backfire and lead to more chaos. We need to know when the time is right for a BI COE.

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