The BICC has great potential in South Africa

Business Intelligence (BI) has for a long time been claimed as a vital technology to the success of your enterprise. Increasingly Performance Management (PM) has become a measure of efficiency, effectiveness and productivity.

Greg Bogiages, Director at Cortell Corporate Performance Management (image: Cortell)

However, the effectiveness of BI tools has been somewhat limited by the mass of information within organisations. The Business Intelligence Competency Centre (BICC) emerged as a solution to deal with these information silos, improving operational efficiency in developing and delivering of BI projects. Over time this tool has shown that efficiency is only the starting point, and the BICC can evolve to play a role in devising smarter, more agile business decisions.

In order for BI and PM tools to necessary data needed by executives in the right format at the right time, it is vital to break down information and areas where BI and PM are not connected across the organisation. This enables business decisions to be made based on information from across the enterprise, not information confined to certain business units.

The concept of BICC is not fresh, Gartner coined the phrase over eight years ago, but centres delivering performance improvement across organisations has become clear. This aids in improving operational and process efficiency and business decision making within the organisation.

The BICC is also draws together various BI projects together, creating consistency and standardisation for more cost effective resource and information use. However, the BICC is not just about improving efficiency of BI. On the next level, it can move organisations from reactive to proactive, predictive analytical forecasting enabling agile, intelligent and strategic operations.

“From the perspective of the evolution of BI and PM, we typically find that organisations operate from one of three maturity levels. The first level is the organisation that still has siloed means of delivering information into the BI system, with multiple sources of data delivering multiple versions of the truth and duplicated data. The second level has implemented the BICC to enable delivery of information across siloes and improve operational processes, delivering accurate retrospective information from which to base decisions,” says Graham Cobb, European Industry Leader for Banking and Financial Markets – Business Analytics at IBM.

“The third level has only begun to emerge in the last year and a half to two years. Organisations with mature BICCs are able to deliver not just the rear-view information but are also able to examine performance going forward and predict what will happen to the business in the future. The third level is also beginning to use real-time information to make decisions in a more agile manner, to enable business analytics to be used to improve processes, customer relationships, supply chains and so on as changes happen and to allow for more effective planning in the future,” he adds.

At present driving BICC implementation is process efficiency and getting information into the right hands. But as the technology matures, organisations realise the BICC can be a strategic asset, driving strategy through to execution in a proactive way. Leveraging predictive analytics, performance can be improved and the results are fed back to strategic planning, enabling smart decision-making.

BICC is more prevalent in Europe and the United States, but South Africa offers great potential. BICC are few and far between, mainly within the banking and financial services sector, but they are still in their infancy. The BICC has great application in the local market, and once mature they could deliver enormous strategic and predictive analytical benefits.

 Greg Bogiages, Cortell Corporate Performance Management Director