The BI Cantos: Establishing a Center of Enablement


The BI Cantos: Establishing a Center of Enablement

Most people call these support groups centers of excellence. “Center of Enablement” has a more helping vibe. The idea behind a CoE is to help your entire team obtain more knowledge and skill in:

  • Data tools you’ve selected
    • Extraction
    • Loading
    • Transformation
    • Storage (database)
    • Design (architecture, schema)
    • Dashboard (data visualization)
  • Data visualization best practices
  • Performance tuning best practices
  • Data governance best practices
  • Data security best practices

Ask a process improvement manager (mentioned earlier) to help establish one for you. If you don’t have someone with that experience, get consulting help.

Why Is a CoE a Critical Factor for Success?

Staff your Center of Enablement with your most passionate analysts. IT staff can advise them as needed. Consider contracting expert resources to support them, especially at the start and on an ongoing basis. The goal of any CoE should be to encourage learning regardless of skill level. Enablement implies that you want to bestow knowledge to anyone who wants to advance their skills.

To develop a data culture, provide your company with many learning opportunities. You must encourage people to ask for help and provide them with learning options that fit their work schedule and availability.

The Place

A CoE can be physical, virtual or a combination of both. A central meeting room is desirable and accessible if all your employees work in a single building. During your BI implementation, you should have a meeting room space that could be a CoE during the project. Geographically distributed teams can establish virtual spaces. COVID-19 demonstrated that virtual meeting spaces can work well.

BI User Group Meetings

Most software companies have established local user groups. For example, Tableau Software (a data visualization software company) has an extensive and active user group community. Suppose you have BI software user groups in your town. Please use them. The people they meet can be a source of inspiration and free training. Public user groups are another way your enablement center can encourage skill development.

Key members of your CoE should participate in leadership roles in user groups that align with your learning objectives. Your CoE staff will learn more advanced skills by participating in local user groups. Your employees will also meet people from other industries with more mature BI systems. Participating in user groups provides high value for little to no cost.

You should establish an internal BI user group whether or not you have a local public user group. Your CoE team leaders should establish an internal user group with regular meetings. Monthly or quarterly meeting cadences work best.

More Motivating Than Money

Motivated people are passionate about what they do—they like to share their knowledge with others and enjoy talking about something cool they have built.

Your CoE can help you identify future leaders from the ranks of your most passionate team members. The CoE can establish bonds across teams within your company.

Outside speakers are willing to deliver presentations at no cost to motivated audiences. Authors of books related to business intelligence can be another source of content for meetings.

Creating an internal user group is a great way to get low-cost training, encourage sharing and provide budding talent on your team a way to express their skill and knowledge.

When to Establish a Center of Enablement

Establish a CoE team as soon as you’ve finished the first sprint that results in production data. Focus on training new users in the system as each sprint delivers another portion of your overall project.

Aim to bring at least one team member from every team up to an intermediate skill level. Some people will become excited by the potential of the BI system and will continue to develop their skills and knowledge of best practices.

Invite people that do great work to present how they utilized the BI system to improve their teams’ performance. Success breeds excitement.

In the next post, we’ll discuss ways to measure ROI on Business Intelligence system investments.

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Dan Murray

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