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November 22, 2007

Business computing: using your intelligence

With the growth of fringe business intelligence areas such as corporate performance management, we have moved away from a historic view of data to a need to take real-time data and apply it 'instantly' for more adaptive decision-making. However, it seems organizations are using these solutions for little more than monitoring at the most basic level, meaning they are really missing a trick.

By CBR Staff Writer

Organizations are missing out on the full benefits of fringe business intelligence solutions.

All of the technologies around the business intelligence (BI) space are intended to make decision-making more relevant to the business, but in order for this to become really effective, organizations need to ‘join up’ the various BI tools.

Thus, if we take data collected and stored (traditional BI) and apply this to a process we can build up a more accurate picture of what happened, when it happened, and from that extrapolate why it happened. Once these three elements are in place, we can start to look at applying trend analysis techniques to become proactive in our decision-making techniques.

In terms of gathering data (in the broad sense), we need to know how processes were affected by infrastructure issues (the purview of IT systems management), how processes were affected by process ‘failure’ (the information for which would be gained from a business process management solution), and/or how processes were affected by data inconsistency or non-availability (which is a data management issue). The three elements are inextricably tied together, and for this more proactive use of BI (in the loosest sense of the term), all three have to be managed both separately but also at the points of intersection.

Relying on a single solution such as business activity monitoring to provide all the detail required for decision making is naive in the extreme, just as to rely on a data warehouse solution in the past failed to address all of those needs. Data from all parts of the internal infrastructure (across the whole of the organization – not just the technical aspect) has to be incorporated with external data that might affect the decision-making process.

The key word here is ‘process.’ Decision making is itself a process that has to be managed in the same way as any other process. The decision-making tools that come with many business process management solutions are ineffective if taken out of a larger process picture.

Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (www.butlergroup.com)

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