If your analytics efforts are lacking user adoption, a business intelligence competency centre (BICC) could be the answer. Debra Hamilton reports.
Leading portable storage solutions provider, Mobile Mini, spent recent months taking a more strategic approach to BI including implementing a Business Intelligence Competency Centre (BICC) in an effort to overcome numerous business challenges including quality assurance issues, inconsistent KPIs, lack of governance, heavy reliance on limited IT resources, and low adoption rates.
For those unfamiliar with what a BICC is, Gartner defines it as a centre for BI that encompasses governance, program management, BI strategy, education and training and support – basically all the aspects required to take a more strategic approach to BI.
Phoenix, Arizona-based Mobile Mini, which has been in business for more than 30 years, has more than 150 locations in North America and 15 in the UK. It was struggling with large quantities of diverse data but not enough business intelligence.
“We were at a level one in terms of our stage of business intelligence maturity, where we really had a long way to grow,” Sinkwitz said. The company decided to implement a BICC to leverage the organisation’s technology investments, transform its data into “actionable analytics”, and to teach the organisation how to best utilise this information.
This emphasis on turning insights into action means that adoption of BI technologies is critical to success.
“That’s how we see a lot of BI projects fail – they lack adoption,” Sinkwitz said. “Implementing a BICC enabled us to start identifying key stakeholders within the business as well as key power users; then get them trained up and implement a framework and methodology of continuous communication.”
Mobile Mini has implemented SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence for their front-end reporting solution, and SAP HANA as their back end. The company is using SAP HANA to provide real-time reporting. “It’s a game changer,” said Sinkwitz. Timely information with no delays for data to be loaded into the enterprise data warehouse (EDW) each night is having a big impact. “Now it’s straight live off the system, straight into HANA, and it returns very quickly. And that’s huge, that technology step has made a big difference to us,” she said.
The company is seeing some positive changes from these efforts.
“We’re starting to see the reporting change from tabular or data dump reporting, into actionable insights. We’re getting into visual analytics – things that we can look at and take action on right away, rather than having to spend a lot of time churning through data,” she said.
Sinkwitz believes that any company interested in growing its investment in BI and increasing their data and analytics maturity level can benefit significantly by implementing a BICC. Drawing on Mobile Mini’s experience, she has shared three keys for success.
Firstly, as with most transformation projects, executive leadership and sponsorship is a must.
“Without that sponsorship from the top, it’s impossible to be successful. We’re really fortunate at Mobile Mini that our CEO is very BI-savvy and into actionable insights and bringing the organisation forward,” Sinkwitz said.
Her second key element is taking a holistic approach to implementation. “You can’t just put data governance in place and think you’ll be successful. You have to have all the pillars in place,” she emphasised, adding that these include governance, training and quality assurance.
And finally, Sinkwitz is a firm believer in the power of training and communication – and that there is literally no such thing as over-communicating and over-educating. These two elements will help the organisation through employee turnover, new leadership, new products and new datasets.
“Ongoing training and communication is critical to continuous engagement and success,” she said.
Heather Sinkwitz will share more insights at Mastering SAP in Melbourne on 13-15 March 2018. The event combines four conferences and communities – Financials, HR & Payroll, Business Analytics and Technologies. Find out more and register at www.masteringsapconference.com/aus/ – use the code InsideSAP200 to save $200 on the lowest available rate.