Historically, business intelligence initiatives have focussed on providing self service dashboards and reports which are used to surface information to business stakeholders.
Typically, the data shown on these reports is over long term, strategic time horizons - showing things such as sales by quarter or customer renewals over the last week. Decisions can made from this data, but they are longer term and more strategic than operational.
In recent years, businesses have increasingly been moving towards more operational scenarios that enable their people to see what is happening in the business right now. This turns business intelligence from a backward-looking activity into a real-time live view of your business, which can guide your employees “next best actions” in order to improve business outcomes.
Faster operational business intelligence is an improvement, but only an incremental one. Now we have this faster data infrastructure, we need to move beyond real-time dashboards and reports towards automating responses to situations before they even impact a KPI.
Examples of this include:
- Logistics - Having identified that a certain warehouse is shipping orders late, we might wish to re-route orders to another destination until the original warehouse has caught up;
- eCommerce - Automatically issuing an offer to a customer at risk of churn;
- Telco - Automatically prioritising calls for high value customers contacting a call centre.
This is the definition of an intelligent and real time business, where we are observing the state of the world, processing data intelligently and in real time, and automating responses intelligently and automatically. Any of the above algorithms could create more business value than yet-another-dashboard which nobody ever checks.
As we mention in a recent article Step Away From The Dashboard, faster reports and dashboards are really in danger of limiting the potential of real-time data and analytics. Let's move beyond them towards intelligent automation.