Companies today are looking across the enterprise for new opportunities to
improve business performance. As performance management becomes more
closely intertwined with operations, business intelligence itself is moving ever
closer to operations. By analyzing real-time data, feedback and input to
operations managers can be immediate and impactful. Performance
management is also penetrating lower levels. Effective business managers are
pushing the decision point down so that decisions are made as close to the
customer as possible.
Business intelligence traditionally aggregated data from operational sources into
a data warehouse for financial reporting and analysis. This infrastructure
provides valuable information for rear-view mirror financial reporting. But
business performance management demands a real-time dialog. This calls for an
evolution of business intelligence.
Whereas traditional BI solutions focus on strategic planning and high-level
decision-making, operational BI is a newer form of BI that empowers executives,
line-of-business managers and other business professionals across the
enterprise. Operationally focused BI provides access to both dynamic
(transactional) and static (historical) data in a real-time environment.
Leading analyst firm IDC clearly understands the relationship between operations
and performance management. Dan Vesset, Dennis Byron, and Brian
McDonough wrote; “Today’s global markets require businesses to share
information in real-time, between multiple business entities and throughout the
enterprise. Critical business decisions are made on operational levels that
increasingly impact top-line revenues and bottom-line profitability and forwardthinking
companies are already mandating collaborative environments to improve
business processes and productivity, to build and maintain a competitive edge”.
InetSoft Operational Business Intelligence (BI)
The InetSoft operational BI solution has a successful track record because it
provides three fundamental capabilities beyond the typical reporting and analysis
tools available today. These capabilities are: a collaborative environment, the
ability to perform exploratory business analysis, and seamless integration with
business processes and applications.
Collaboration through Building Blocks
Business operations rely on many entities and departments throughout an
organization. Performance management and improvement are inherently
collaborative across these entities. Data and distilled information flows in both
directions and in iterations. Disagreements and discrepancies invariably occur
and require reconciliation. Reports and analysis based on a financial data
warehouse need to be correlated with operational data so that business
managers can drilldown. Business managers’ findings may further involve other
domain experts to identify root causes and actions.
Traditional collaboration is achieved through a mixture of business intelligence
reports, desktop application files, emails and other means. It’s the equivalent of
collaborative document editing through email. The limitations of this approach
become apparent as the number of parties involved grows. There is no uniform
way to publish information. The scattered information raises the question of
trustworthiness that is a major concern of auditing and compliance. Moreover,
collaborating parties cannot easily build upon each other’s work.
The rapidly growing Wikipedia on the web is quickly overtaking the traditional
encyclopedia, and is produced by a user community. Wiki refers to web-based
online publishing that is openly available to participants. Collaboration is the
foundation instead of a consequence. Domain experts participate by building
upon existing work in a uniform and open editing environment.
InetSoft’s operational business intelligence solutions are designed with the same
concept. Domain experts bring their knowledge of a business area and the
associated data blocks, reports and visualization sheets. These objects are not
only intelligence themselves but also the building blocks for future intelligence
needs, even when data sources and formats are dissimilar. The uniform
infrastructure exposes the needed data and intelligence while leaving the details
to the respective domain experts.
This approach drives direct productivity gains throughout the organization and
minimizes both the initial IT investment and on-going maintenance. It also
leverages existing investments in business intelligence for new uses.
Exploration is the process of finding information without a specific question in
mind. On the other hand, traditional ad hoc query is for answering a specific
question. The dynamic of operations makes exploration essential to make sense
of the quickly changing environment.
Investigating the cause of financial performance is an example of exploration. An
operations manager needs to sift through a wide array of possibilities. Real-time
data, like a newly launched marketing campaign, needs to be aggregated with
historic data, like sales trends, for a complete view.
Traditional BI invests expensive IT resources to incorporate new data into the BI
infrastructure before any analysis is possible. The implementation cycle is long
and carries high risk. If the new campaign is discontinued, the IT efforts will be
wasted. If inadequate questions are defined, the new implementation will not
serve the original purpose.
InetSoft operational BI combines data block technology with visualization for
highly dynamic analysis. Data blocks assemble disparate data sources including
databases, data warehouses, web services and flat files for data exploration.
Visualization uses intuitive presentation and interactivity to allow users to analyze
the data from new angles.
Real-time data integration and user simplicity provide
business managers with a powerful exploration tool
This low overhead approach opens the door for a wide range of operational
business intelligence needs that otherwise would be too expensive to serve.
Building advanced BI requirements from the results of exploration also drastically
improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the BI implementation.
Integration: People, Process and Technology
Integration is not only a technological concern. It is more about the people and
Operational users are a more diverse group than traditional BI users. In addition
to highly trained analysts, operational users include basic office users and
sophisticated business managers. An operational BI solution must be easy to use
so that every member of this population can play a role. It also needs to allow IT
to work with users collaboratively.
Operational BI needs to deliver immediately actionable items tightly linked to
existing systems. This requires an unprecedented degree of integration between
operational BI and business processes. In fact, operational BI often becomes a
seamless part of everyday business applications.
Integration beyond the superficial level becomes possible only if technology
standards are applied. SOA, XML and application servers are ready components.
Fully leveraging standard platforms also drastically reduces the total cost of
InetSoft’s operational BI platform integrates people and processes through
standards based technology. Analysts and domain experts collaborate through
InetSoft’s data blocks to explore and visualize complex data. Managerial
dashboards, scorecards, and alerts focus on distilled, high level KPIs identified
by exploration. Production reports and interactive reports disseminate business
intelligence down to the front line in a secure environment.
InetSoft establishes a revolutionary new approach to data analysis, incorporating
the best practices of traditional business intelligence. The end result transforms
BI from a predominantly IT centric initiative to a more business user directed
InetSoft has earned its reputation of excellence as a leading global operational
business intelligence solution provider by delivering innovative, award-winning
software and professional services for over a decade. Today, InetSoft serves
over 3,000 customers and over a million users worldwide, including twenty five
percent of the Fortune 500. Companies select InetSoft for its open-standards
innovation, low TCO and rapid ROI. The company is dedicated to providing
market-leading innovation, performance that delivers a competitive advantage,
and industry-leading services.
For more information on InetSoft operational BI software, please call: 732-424-0400, email:
email@example.com or visit: www.inetsoft.com