Business Intelligence Governance
Governance is a critical concept in facing the challenge of diminishing
IT budgets, and every increasing demand for IT capability and services.
The two key challenges of IT or IS departments today are:
- Alignment with the business
As most CIO's struggle with the challenge to meet both objectives,
QA and Governance can easily be pushed to the background of corporate
In an effort to categorize and then prioritize the requests coming
from the business, formal IT Governance processes became more critical.
It was soon discovered that Governance was also very successful
at aligning the IT organization to the strategic objectives of the
company by forcing discussion among corporate stakeholders to gain
agreement as to which projects had the potential for the highest
contribution to the company, and were therefore executed first.
IT Governance and Business Intelligence
Whilst the IT Governance process works very well for individual
projects or initiatives, certain programs, such as Business Intelligence,
were more difficult to categorize, as they applied right across
To help integrate BI into all IT programs, BI Governance became
a favored category to aid prioritizing BI requests along different
criteria such as:
- Project ROI
- Organizational Budget
- Internal Expertise Available
- Project Resource Availability
- IT Infrastructure Capacity
- Enterprise Strategic Value
BI Governance can be viewed from three perspectives:
- Guidelines - for defining the Architecture, Standards and Best
Practices to follow in Business Intelligence,
- Decision Category - a prioritization mechanism by which projects
can be approved, rejected and sequenced based on specific criteria.
- Role Definition - for establishing critical interaction and
negotiating responsibility between IT and the Business
Benefits of BI Governance
There is still a strong perception that implementing BI Governance
is a costly and complex exercise that provides little value.
Yet BI Governance helps:
- Bridge that critical link between corporate strategy and strategy
implementation. With 70% of strategy requiring some degree of
IT initiative, BI governance is an effective mechanism to effect
- Align people and resources to a particular project and documenting
a project plan to help clarify organizational readiness.
- A good BI Governance process will also establish proper Change
Management [CM], Quality Assurance [QA] and Training policies
that facilitate the user adoption process and promote the overall
use of BI. This is an important step in minimizing fear and resistance
to new technologies from business users.
- Drive infrastructure and technology decisions from both IT and
business perspectives. This significantly increases the likelihood
of choosing the right vendor/platform that meets the requirements
of both the business and IT.
- BI Governance is commonly thought of as an IT function. In fact,
Business Intelligence is also seen as an IT function. In reality,
BI sits firmly between business and IT. For this reason it is
a great alignment catalyst between IT and the business.
Establishing A BI Governance Structure
The following steps summarise the key steps in establishing a BI
- Identify an executive sponsor of BI Governance,
preferably from the CFO. This give business credibility to the
group and confirms budget allocation.
- Identify all business stakeholders within the
organization -Request one representative from each business area/department
- communicate them the benefits that BI governance. Discuss how
the BI Governance process can help them a solve technology gaps
and issues in their business areas.
- Define responsibilities of business resource
- these delegates will be responsible for sponsoring particular
projects for their home units, championing the benefits of initiatives
and juggling the departmental IT budget. The will also be responsible
for identifying people in their functional areas to support requirements
definition, assist IT staff with the business perspective of tasks
such as Data Modeling, Data Integration and act as super-users
and acceptance testers for the BI-Front End implementation.
- Identify IT stakeholders
- Define responsibilities of IT resource
- Gain support from IT Architecture and Project
- Intiate the BI Governance Group - meet to establish
a mission statement and specific strategies/goals and develop
a BI Governance Charter.
- Establish ongoing meeting schedules and communication
- Create BI Roadmap - identify all current and
planned initiatives - create a BI roadmap, identifying interdependencies,
precedents and joint business unit intiatives.
- Sign Off - Gain business acceptance and executive
approval of the roadmap.
Business Role In BI Governance
Too often, business units identify technology requirements to support
their capability and enhance their performance, yet are resistant
to support IT by providing expert resource to assist in the development
and implementation. This is an ongoing frustration by IT, which
often leads to engagement of external contractors, and delays the
progress of the project.
The roles required by business units for effective BI Governance
Present intiatives for approval by the BI Governance Group
Partifipate in all six key stages of development:
- Data Modelling - helping the data modeler understand
the current business processes and identify issues and future
business scenarios. They also own the metadata and object descriptions.
- Data Integration - provide knowledge of the
data and how it relates to business processes. This helps the
data steward to define data loading exception scenarios and approve
the recovery strategies proposed by IT.
- Data QA - They also have ownership of the Data
Quality criteria and policies for the initiative.
- Design & Standardisation - They can also
define naming standards, folder structures, report organization.
They are invaluable in helping establish guidelines to govern
the creation of additional end user objects (reports, metrics,
etc) which define the user experience.
- BI Tool Selection - as a super user they can
relate to the usability of BI tools from a business perspective,
and help gauge the understanding of implementation partners.
- Acceptance Testing - ownership of the user
IT Role in BI Governance
Traditionally, IT's role in BI Governance is from the Project
Management and technology development perspective.
Oerall, the role of IT in BI Governance is to manage critical decisions
- Selecting the proper tools
- Defining the BI architecture
- Establishing the proper infrastructure
- Data Modelling
- Data Integration
- Implementing the standards as defined by the BI Governance Committee
- Training the users
- Coordinating support and maintenance across the business areas.
Leadership is critical in the success of any project. Not only
should the project manager define and plan the project, but also
provide thought leadership and a strong methodology to manage the
Data Modeling is a visible part of the BI Governance model to ensure
business users participate in the data modeling sessions to ensure
business processes are accurately captured.
Data Integration resource work closely with business the business
to ensure the proper IT infrastructure is implemented. Traditionally,
IT owned the Tool selection process, however, more and more, this
responsibility is resting with the business, facilitated by the
Data Integration also includes the data Integration Architecture
and the implementation of data loading and data quality policies.
An Enterprise Architecture representative is an important part
of the BI Governance group to help define how the BI architecture
will fit within the Enterprise, and how the cost and performance
of each BI initiative may impact the cost and performance of other
BI Front End Configuration
The BI Front-end work is also a joint effort between business representatives
and IT. IT facilitate the selection of the BI tool and are best
able to assist the business in indentifying the long term value
of the tool in terms of scalability and extensibility.
Training is a key role often hotly negotiated between IT and the
Business. Training material takes a significant amount of time to
prepare and so is too often done ineffectively, to the peril of
the acceptance of the users. A good compromise is for IT and the
business to work together to develop training material, with IT
training the Trainer, and the Trainer then facilitating the adoption
and learning of the application by the business end users.
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