I need to come out with a better title than this to grab your attention. But then again, Governance is such an exciting topic, it sells itself.
We had a good turn-out for the two governance sessions held in Sydney and Melbourne. It was a surprise as we were competing with the two sexy topics of Big Data from Aster and Advance Analytics from Aprimo. As I said during the sessions, people who attended our sessions really wanted to be there.
So a big thank you to the people who attended and participated in the session and to the panelists who graciously shared their knowledge and expertise.
Gayatri Patel, eBay Monica Woolmer, Formation Data
John Rusnak, Mitre Corp Kurt Hartman, Teradata
Hanne Breddam, TDWI Mark Humphreys, Qantas
Here is my summary of the insights from the three topics covered during the sessions.
Business Intelligence Competency Centres (BICC)
BICC is an organisational approach that promotes BI usage through internal consulting teams who have deep knowledge of data and business. The approach also facilitates business access and usage of data; alignment of business and IT policies as well as the processes that enable BI to develop and flourish.
The key points from the discussions were:
- Enabling trust in the data so business can focus on the insight and not on whether it is reliable
- Coverage of BICC requires technical and business knowledge and orientation
- Self-service by business is important and encouraged by promoting what data, tools and help guidelines are available to facilitate execution
- BI requires flexibility and agreement of roles between Business and IT, it should not be rigid
Gayatri (eBay) highlighted their approach in democratizing data by simplifying how data is leveraged across the business, providing self-service tools to access data and enabling business to explore and personalize use of their own data. BICCs are spread across the business areas but are attached to the Finance Group.
Monica (Formation Data) stressed the need to have multi-disciplined teams together, IT teaching the business about data and business teaching IT on what insights are crucial. She has seen BICCs in different forms but it is important to put people together.
John (Mitre Corp) has used the Centre of Excellence (COE) approach as a sounding board for defining requirements that are then developed using external contractors. He added that their “help desk” function includes directing BI requests to a COE.
Hanne (TDWI) added that BICCs also include supporting business as usual reporting, adhoc analysis and BI development projects.
For Mark (Qantas), BICC function was crucial in maintaining the connection between the businesses ongoing usage of data and their outsourced partner.
DW Business Value Measurement
There are established practices in doing business case justification and post implementation assessments on projects. There is however ongoing challenges in keeping tabs on the ongoing value contribution of DWs. Our panelists provided the following insights from their experiences.
- Focus on increasing the visibility of the cost of usage - While cost are not necessarily charged to the business units, showing the cost of usage compels the business to assess the value there are generating from it.
- Usage Pattern Starting Point for Identifying Value - It is often the case that the DW are unaware of the business dependency on the DW particularly when what is visible to them are only the data extracts jobs. The task is to analyse the regular usage patterns and down loads and follow-through the food chain. A drastic approach (and it has happened) is to switch-off the DW for a day and find out were screams are coming from – this is not a recommended approach.
- Socialise results of Value and Usage patterns - If IT is not aware of the extent of usage, most business units are typically also unaware. Socialising usage patterns and down stream linkages and dependencies are ways to increase awareness of the value of the DW.
Offshoring and Outsourcing Practices for DW
We basically run out of time to do this topic justice. But there was common caution among the panelists in outsourcing DW and BI functions. Brief comments include:
Gayatri – Don’t do it. Data has to be owned internally. Even providing data to 3rd party partners (eg manufacturers/suppliers) are being managed internally within eBay.
Monica – Data Centre operations can be outsourced but distinguish the roles that you outsource, DBA operations and DBA development.
John – Just don’t do it!
Mark - Choose key suppliers wisely and outsource operations. Development needs to stay within the organisation.
That was it. It was a most informative and enjoyable session and thank you again to all panelist for their key insights. We hope to continue this governance thread in future Teradata Universe events. And yes, suggestions for a more catchy title are most welcome.
Renato Manongdo, Industry Consultant, Teradata