Flying blind? The case for Operational Intelligence

Flying blind? The case for Operational Intelligence

You know how you have to spend so much time trying to find information that you need to make decisions and get stuff done? You know how difficult it sometimes seems to just ‘know’ exactly what’s going on across the business?

For many of us, this is a daily reality. We spend a ton of our day just looking for information. Even at the lower end of estimates, it’s a fifth of every day. At the higher end, try 35 percent of the day, or nearly two fifths.

And as you know, this isn’t ‘happy time’. Instead, it tends to be distinctly frustrating, irritating and even anxiety-inducing, searching through folders, emails, papers (!), file shares, drawers, everywhere else except where the darned thing was supposed to be. (A quick note here to solve an enduring mystery: the reason it’s always in the last place you look is simple. You stop looking once it’s found).

Now consider how much better things would be if, instead of constantly searching for information, the information you need to do your job came looking for you.

This, right here, is the case for operational intelligence. It turns the usual way of working on its head, with the establishment of systems and processes that deliver valuable information directly to where and when it’s needed.

Now, you’ve no doubt heard of ‘business intelligence’. Operational intelligence is a subset of BI; where BI is primarily data-centric, OI is activity- or event-centric. OI takes streaming data from your existing systems and processes, analyses it and turns it into alerts and notifications. That’s what I mean by ‘the information comes looking for you’. When something’s up, in other words, OI tells you about it.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the components and concepts involved in creating an OI solution; note that these presuppose the presence of an ERP system, including Business Process Management and Workflow, and, of course, other software and processes which you use to run your business (those with, for example, an accounting package and a spreadsheet are NOT ready for OI!):

  • Business activity monitoring (BAM): These are the ‘sensors’ (software based) which collect information from, as implied, business activities. The monitoring is subject to analysis, which is set up to ‘identify’ thresholds or conditions, which then feed into a dashboard or which can be linked to other methods of alerting ‘those who need to know’: text messages or emails, for example (also called multi-channel publishing and notification).
  • Complex event processing (CEP): This describes continuous analysis of real-time information (streaming information) which is generated when things happen within the business. It can be contextualised with historical data to help identify anomalies and exceptions.
  • A metadata framework is generally introduced which models and links events to resources

A dimensional database can be used, which collects information ‘as it happens’; this can also be used for additional intelligence, such as root cause analysis.

Essentially, OI augments your people by helping them out with the stuff they generally aren’t that good at. You know: drudgery, searching for information, trying to figure out what’s going on in some distant part of the organisation. By tapping existing information and conveniently presenting it, decisions are easier to make. Interventions can happen before the proverbial plane flies into the proverbial mountain.

Better, smarter decisions are an obvious ‘good thing’. People who have better tools tend to be happier, too. After all, especially as we get older, we’ve got enough stuff to try and find in our personal lives. The last thing anyone wants is the same problem at work: ‘Now, where was it, again?’.

To find out more about how operational intelligence can give your company an efficiency boost, get in touch. Our consultants are always happy to help.

Juanita Potgieter

Juanita Potgieter

With over 10 years’ experience in various marketing fields, Juanita is an action-oriented Marketing Manager with a proven track record of creating marketing initiatives and managing new product development to drive growth. Prior to joining Verde, Juanita worked within strategic business development and marketing management roles at several international companies.

More posts by Juanita Potgieter