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Every winner of a BI Best Practice Award has a BICC / COE

Nicolas Henry

Having just returned from the SAPInsider BI2015 event in Las Vegas and joined a few presentations on this topic I thought I’d write my own thoughts.

Although the concept of building Competence Centers or Centers of Excellence has been around for a while it seems a lot of people still struggle with what to expect from a team like this.

It’s not rocket science

So why are only one third of all projects deemed successful and why do 45% of IT projects overrun on cost and less than 50% of IT projects are completed on time?

In my opinion, although companies know what is needed, they get bogged down in all the processes and forget to use common sense. Agreed there are a lot of best practices around, a lot of BICC/CoE example models and a lot of people that will come up with a 20 man starting point with all the skills you can possible think you will need.

Take a step back and use the Nike strap line.

Nike

Where do I start to create a BICC/CoE

 

  1. Assess the current requirements of your company
  2. Define the top priorities
  3. 
Start small – you do not need 20 people to start – just get building and solving business problems. A small agile team will deliver results a lot faster.
  4. Deliver 1 small project successfully, on time and within budget (Make sure the budget and expectations are adequate) and then bid internally for other projects. Run the team like an internal consultancy team.
  5. Make sure the business users like it, use it and TALK about it internally. They need to sell your skills and your next project.

Having been part of a very successful CoE, no one needs to convince me about the benefits.

  • Having a group of people that both understand the chosen technologies and the company policies
  • Keeping this group together so people know each other and who they can ask which question
  • The team learns about the business problems and in quieter times can look into and test new technologies – innovation is key
  • BI becomes much more Agile
  • Speed to deliver eventually becomes very fast as everyone knows how to do it. There are examples of large projects failing while outsourced and being successful when delivered by an internal CoE in half the time and half the budget.
  • Maintaining the solution becomes easier as the know how is already in the team
  • Scale the team with more cost effective resources for larger projects and support while minimizing your risk.

And a few of the challenges

  • When we say an “internal” CoE that doesn’t mean all the resources are internal but it does mean you have to keep the core team together. Quite often consultants have a much better exposure to other tools, processes and innovations through their respective companies. Use their experience but keep them in the team.
  • Some BICC/CoE’s have given these teams a bad name by building in too many SLOW processes and not being Agile. Keep your team Agile
  • The misconception that you can totally outsource at low cost a team called “Centre of Excellence” is very misguided. To be “Excellent” you need experience and knowledge at the core of your team and it does come at a cost.
  • The cost however get’s mitigated by more successful projects. Cost of failed projects is often underestimated. Think of the loss of confidence as well as the monetary loss.
  • The BICC/CoE has to keep developing and working on projects so has to be able to scale up & down. This is where using multiple small, niche consultancies helps. If this team evolves into a non delivery team, how can they keep up to speed with business requirements and new tools
  • Make sure the team is a few years ahead in terms of technologies than the business users otherwise the business will look for other options.

If you are interested in the topic check out:

Securing long term success

Getting the best BI

An interesting presentations from Las Vegas on the BICC, the responsibilities and the benefits of a BICC/CoE can be found here

 

If you have any questions please contact us bi@xoomworks.com

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