BI in Action

Michael Dortch

Why BI Needs BPM

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This Wednesday is the ebizQ "BI in Action" Virtual Conference (for which you should register now, if you have not done so already). In the run-up to that event, I thought I would take on in this space and the "BPM in Action" blog some of what I consider the "big issues" regarding to and relating BPM and BI. Herewith, one of those – why BI needs BPM to deliver maximum business benefit and value. (My thoughts on why BPM needs BI, conveniently enough, can be found along with the musings of some of my learned ebizQ BI blogmates at the aforementioned "BPM in Action" blog.)

There are several key elements in the "life cycle" management of BI, its supporting information streams, and what I like to think of as the larger and more valuable issue of business knowledge. These include, but need not be limited to, capture, definition, development, management, prioritization, refinement/revision, and retirement. Success with each of these elements requires effective, consistent processes – in other words, effective, consistent BPM. Effective, consistent processes are needed to identify, prioritize, and take full advantage of the intelligence in question.

BI also needs BPM also needs BI to know what to do next. That is to say, beyond the elements listed above, those responsible for BI should always be looking forward a bit further than the nearest, hottest fire. BPM is similarly intended to help business decision-makers to address both immediate and longer-term situations and opportunities. If BI is to become and remain both responsive and proactive, it needs ways to become informed by and about any significant ripples or shifts on the BPM front. (For example, if monitoring indicates a sudden decrease or increase in the use of particular business processes, these may be linked to changes in or near the environment that can and/or should affect the information streams and/or processes supporting BI efforts.)

Perhaps most crucial, though, is BI's need for BPM to provide meaningful context for BI. BI is both an end in and of itself, and a means to an end. The self-referential end for BI is to provide maximum knowledge about the business and events and developments that affect the business and its surrounding ecosystem. But what good is that, beyond providing some limited kind of validation and/or gratification, if it cannot be translated into action that furthers and serves the larger goals of the business? I'll take that one myself: no good at all.

BPM, ideally, provides the context within which BI takes on "marching orders" that give it meaning and business value. At some enterprises, in fact, the BI-BPM relationship has become bi-directional. Input and feedback from BI efforts are considered part of information pool that drives BPM decisions, just as BPM efforts and their results increasingly inform BI decisions and processes.

It is therefore incumbent upon everyone focused primarily on BI to expand that focus to include BPM. Ideally, that focus-expansion effort has already begun. Whether it has or not, this Wednesday's "BI in Action" Virtual Conference provides an ideal opportunity to step up your efforts to maximize the business value of every investment you make in BI and in BPM. Start by registering, and make sure to attend the keynote Webinar, "Business Intelligence: Driving Business Performance," as well as the follow-up presentation, "The Current State of the Business Intelligence Market." These will prepare you to intensify your BI and BPM efforts – and for the sure-to-be-lively panel discussion, "The Role of BI in BPM and SOA." I'll have more to say about that panel tomorrow, in my discussions of the other big issue relating BPM and BI – how best to link and integrate them. Meanwhile, though, make sure you register for and attend Wednesday's "BI in Action" Virtual Conference!

Globalization, shrinking business cycles, and increasing competitive pressures are placing demands on business managers to make faster and better decisions. Managers require both real-time visibility into their business operations and sophisticated analytical tools to help them navigate the increasingly fast paced and complex business environment.

Michael Dortch

Michael Dortch is a veteran information entrepreneur and information technology (IT) industry analyst, consultant, speaker, writer, evangelist and provocateur. He has been striving to empower buyers, sellers and users of IT solutions since 1979. Seriously! ;-)

Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. View more

Madan Sheina

Madan Sheina is principal analyst within Ovum's Software Applications group and is based in Northern California.

Madan has fifteen years' experience working in the IT industry both as an analyst and a journalist. His research covers a range of information management technologies, with a sharp focus on business intelligence, knowledge management and data integration software.

Madan is well respected in the IT industry for his clear, incisive and no-nonsense analysis style. He has advised leading ISVs on market positioning and product development strategy, IT users on product evaluation and selection, and the financial investment community on technology trends. View more


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