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Executive Summary

Operational Business Intelligence: The State of the Art

Executive Summary

In this report, we examine the current state of the art in designing and implementing operational business intelligence (BI) solutions. The report consolidates and updates our three previous BeyeNETWORK research reports on operational BI.

BI solutions have evolved to focus on operational BI – the ability to more effectively manage and optimize daily business activities by seamlessly integrating BI analytics within operational processes. Objectives are:

  • Reducing latencies through more real-time data collection,
  • Analysis and decision making, and
  • Creating a closed-loop decision cycle where the results of BIanalytics are incorporated back into operations.

There are two types of operational BI: data analytics (analytics based on data in a data warehouse) and event analytics (analysis of events as they flow into and through operational systems). These two types are supported by the following approaches to implementing operational BI: enhance the data warehouse environment to meet operational BI requirements and integrate BI analytics within specific business processes through embedded BI services (services that can be directly embedded in or called by operational processes).

Techniques and technologies important in implementing operational BI include:

  • Data propagation and changed data capture;
  • Data federation;
  • Prebuilt data analytics;
  • Analysis of in-flight event datausing simple or complex event processing;
  • Services architecture;
  • Predictive analytics;
  • Exploitation of the power of database software; and
  • The use of rules engines for automated alerts, recommendations and actions.

In this report, we also present case studies describing companies that have implemented operational BI solutions. Each is a customer of a sponsor of this report:

  • Monster Technologies (Corda Technologies),
  • SinglePoint (GoldenGate Software) and
  • Norfolk Southern and a large e-business company (Teradata).

These customers described the ability to make better and faster business decisions based on current, accurate, integrated and actionable information as a key benefit of their operational BI solutions. Other benefits include flexibility in meeting business requirements, improved customer relations, empowered users and more effective management, better performance through automation, reduced cost and the ability to align strategy with daily operations.

Implementing successful operational BI solutions presents a number of challenges because BI analytics are now integrated within business processes. We discuss best practices in the areas of selecting the right project, understanding business processes and users, accessing and integrating the right data, developing an integrated infrastructure and delivering a robust solution.

The ultimate goal of operational BI is a more dynamic enterprise that can optimize business processes and performance and enhance competitiveness through increased flexibility and agility. The effort and investment to achieve this are well worth it.

Read the entire study.