Friday, May 08, 2009

From Business Intelligence to Organizational Intelligence

#orgintelligence ...

Business Intelligence (BI) is one component of what I'm calling Organizational Intelligence, so let's look at some useful trends within the BI world that are relevant to Org Intelligence, as well as some criticisms of the current state of the art in BI.

Real-time, event-driven process-driven BI

Over the past couple of years, we've seen the emergence of real-time BI platforms such as SeeWhy. Champions of realtime BI suggest that it can address weakness of conventional BI, including
  • out-of-date information
  • failure to identify process problems
  • lack of suitability as predictors
[source: Three Weaknesses in Business Intelligence Today, CIO magazine, October 2007)

Last month Charles Nicholls (SeeWhy CEO) attacked IBM in his blog for (as he claims) neglecting the web: What about the web, IBM? At eBizQ, Michael Dortch offers a more balanced view: Some Shafts of Light. The real proof will be if IBM's new Business Analytics and Optimization Services unit will address the kind of real-time process issues identified by SeeWhy a couple of years ago.

Nari Kannan also criticizes conventional BI for its lack of connection to the business process. Drawbacks of Business Intelligence Tools When Handling Business Processes.

"When it comes to Process or Operational Intelligence, the problem becomes slightly different. Post mortem, rear view mirror kind of information is not very useful. Knowing that you screwed up a patient's surgery experience or the Automobile Insurance Claim, after the fact is not as useful as getting real-time information as and when it is happening and you have a chance to set things right."

Collaborative decision-making

In January, Gartner published some forecasts about the BI market for the next three years, including this.

In 2009, collaborative decision making will emerge as a new product category that combines social software with BI Platform capabilities. The emergence of social software presents an opportunity for savvy IT leaders to exploit the groundswell of interest in informal collaboration. Instead of promoting a formal, top-down decision-making initiative, these IT leaders will tap people's natural inclination to use social software to collaborate and make decisions.

Dave Linthicum agrees.
"This is occurring now, and is a huge area of growth in BI, if you ask me. With all of that good data being placed on the social networks these days, the BI applications around mining that data is going to be extremely valuable."

Collaborative BI

I predicted the emergence of collaborative business intelligence nearly four years ago (Service-Oriented Business Intelligence). So I am very happy to see early signs that this might now be moving into the realm of practical application. If you are a BI toolmaker or advanced user, I'd be delighted to talk to you.

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