BI Zen Part #2

I know this blog is a long time coming.  Part 1 was in March and the reason for the delay is I’ve had an internal conflict going on between saying what I think is happening with BICC vs what I want to see happen. Let’s see if I can explain.


Recently Eric Vallo & Timo Elliott had a Facebook Live conversation where they discussed the points of failure for BICC.  I listened intensely to the conversation as they are both experts in their field and I left the conversation thinking about one thing, does the BICC still exist and if not do we really need it to?


I found my answer in my yoga class.  Didn’t see that one coming did you? In my fundamentals of yoga class, it’s often repeated that yoga is a practice and to me that’s exactly what BICC should be treated as, a practice. Practice in this case meaning it’s always teaching you and pushing our bodies to the limits with intense focus.  Your BI Practice should be the same.  As the instructor leads through the yoga practice demonstrating the poses, the focus is on form and modifying to what feels right in your body.  Can’t your BI Practice do the same for your analytics?  Giving you structure where you need it and flexibility to adjust where you need to meet a specific business need.


Focus in BICC is usually split between governance of data, methodologies for BI development and tool set. The focus of BICC has also been shifting past just reporting on what has happened to predicting what will happen. Bringing real-time analytics and predictive analytics to the forefront not just as buzz words but as a requirement to stay competitive in your field.  This is a change in focus that drives different rules, tools and skills. I’m not sure the previous trends in running BICCs can keep up or even are the right structure for this change.


A big chunk missing is the actual practice of BI and the people who do it.  Not just the rules you abide by but the quality of the product you develop and its impact on your organization. These actions are taken not just by report developers but by analytics developers and consumers. Design and control are no longer limited to just within IT or your BICC. Data and analytics are part of the everyday language and process in almost all job functions.


So maybe the BICC is dead and it should be replaced with a Analytics Practice something that has a further reach beyond the limits of an individual department that is engaging and well useful to consumers and developers pushing your analytics to new limits for speed, accuracy and usability.  All the rules and regulations are helpful and in most situations needed but often restrict the creativity and practical use of your analytics standards causing departments to reach outside and beyond IT to find their own solutions (i.e. Where did all these Tableau licenses come from?)


So what can you do?  You can’t control everything but some things you have to.  You need to know what is in your analytics practice that needs to be rules and what needs to be guidelines. You need to provide your developers (whatever dept they are in) the proper training and guidance in order to make their best decisions possible on what data to use, what tool to use and how to use those 2 things together can create actionable observations for your organization.


It all begins with an engagement within your community. Working within your organization to determine the rules versus the guidelines. Providing communication channels where contributions can be made not just by the individuals within the organization with the BI responsibility but also the creators and consumers of content.


Take your BICC back to the next level as an Analytics Practice.  Push your practice to be bring more value to your organization by looking into what’s going to happen instead of looking behind you at what has happened. Push accurate data visualized beautifully in ways that brings real action. Lead by example showcase those wins and most of all breathe!

This is just my 2 cents, love to hear yours.



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