When I blogged recently about the benefits that best-in-class companies achieve via their operational business intelligence efforts, I only hinted at the specifics of how these companies manage to move their BI data closer to the business processes impacted by the information.
So I was thrilled to see a story on CIO.com India that offers some valuable how-tos gleaned from the real-world experiences of several companies.
The somewhat obvious answer of using a single application suite to monitor all of the data flowing through an organization just isn't a realistic approach for most folks, says the VP of enterprise technology for SLM Corp. (Sallie Mae):
Processes don't fit into single systems anymore.
The solution for Freescale Semiconductor, as detailed in the story, revolves around its data warehouse. Leveraging a significant investment, the company continues to use the warehouse as a central repository for data. The data is transformed into common formats and common analytics rules are employed.
The key difference: time-critical information (production data is the example offered) is gathered more frequently and often supplemented with new types of operational data.
Similar approaches have been adopted by airline Aeromexico Connect and transportation logistics provider Transplace. Aeromexico Connect, for example, updates its passenger data and fare yields every hour for analysis.
Rather than using its data warehouse as the platform for real-time data analysis, Fannie Mae uses software tools to analyze its transactional data to determine which Web pages yield high rates of abandonment from loan applicants.
While it may seem tempting to apply on-the-fly techniques to a variety of data analyses, an AMR Research analyst warns CIOs not to overdo it. Doing so typically requires a big infrastructure upgrade that may not be worth it. Not all processes -- or even most -- need to be monitored in real-time. Says analyst John Hagerty:
Clients have a hard time consuming information more than daily.
Selecting the right kind of data for real-time analysis, however, can make IT "a hero to the business," says the Fannie Mae VP.
Business now has insight into completion rate baselines that they did not have before, as well as improved insight into how our customers are using our online product. As the business absorbs this data, they can begin to optimize our business processes.