Charlotte's Future
Citywide Newsroom
Citizen Service
Print this PageSite Feedback
City's Business Intelligence Olympiad named "Bright Idea"
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Contact: Traci Ethridge, Communications & Marketing Officer, Shared Services

The City of Charlotte’s Business Intelligence (BI) Olympiad was one of 13 innovative government initiatives recognized as a Bright Idea by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Charlotte’s BI Olympiad program was the only initiative selected from the State of North Carolina and will be showcased as a Bright Idea on the Ash Center’s Government Innovators Network, an online platform for practitioners and policymakers to share innovative public policy solutions.
Charlotte’s BI Olympiad aims to continuously use measurable best practices through visual analysis in an effort to improve the delivery of data to decision-makers across City departments. The program, which features a biannual head-to-head team competition among BI analyst teams, also establishes delivery benchmarks, identifies areas for training and drives continuous BI improvements.
The real-world scenarios used in the Olympiads, such as the perfect storm and bio-terrorism events, require analysts to deliver their products from a business standpoint, while also factoring in the impact to citizens. “The City has tons of data. The question is: how do we use it effectively to make decisions and address complex community issues? ” said Charlotte Assistant City Manager Julie Burch. “The Olympiad experience has provided a great opportunity for City staff to learn about and apply the latest tools of technology so that data can be analyzed and visualized in meaningful ways for decision-makers.”
The success of BI Olympiads over the last five years has allowed the City to form an extensive BI Community where analysts have access to the depth of knowledge and resources of the group.  Dr. Jock Mackinlay, an internationally recognized data visualization expert and an Olympiad judge in 2008 and 2010 stated that “the City’s BI analysts had improved to the point that the winning team in 2008 would have not been competitive in 2010”.  Business partners supporting the Olympiad were: Ciber, ESRI, Mariner, Tableau, the University of North Carolina Charlotte, and VIA Insights.