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Making BI productive

Meridith Levenson wrote an interesting article on Business Intelligence: Not Just for Bosses Anymore in CIO Magazine. There are some great comments in here:

The new system hasn't made the business better - at least not yet - only better informed

A classic comment on BI. Reporting and understanding are great but knowing what your problems or bottlenecks are is just the beginning. You must be able to change in response.

Today, the big potential for BI is using it at the operational level to improve business processes

Well certainly the big potential for "business intelligence" though not perhaps "BI" in the classic definition. I remain unconvinced that using the same technologies that help executives understand their business to help operational staff improve their execution of a process or, more dramatically, improving the way an automated process runs, is viable.

the core of BI is still reporting rather than process management

Yup. Hence the distinction above between "BI" and "business intelligence"

CIOs who don't use BI to transform business operations put their companies at a disadvantage
It's about using BI to make us smarter
BI is about more than decision support

These three taken together say it all. You must find a way to transform your business operations by using what has happened in the past to inform your choices for the future. You must get smarter and this means doing more than just decision support. It means:

  • Implementing a decisioning platform that allows you to change the way you execute decisions quickly and effectively and so deliver agility and consistency. A business rules management system is key.
  • Being able to turn your understanding of the data into predictions about the future so that these predictions can inform your decision-making
  • Being able to embed these predictions into operational systems so that ever interaction with your customers, suppliers etc is as precise as possible. This is the promise of EDM.
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