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Which BI Uses Will Finally Drive the Adoption of "Real-Time" Data Feeds?

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A question from Brian Gentile: which BI uses will finally drive the adoption of "real-time" data feeds?

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  • It is definitely an interesting question. Obviously some companies do use real-time BI or regular data feeds, but the actual large scale adoption of "real-time BI" is still slow in coming. In terms of some of the drivers, I see retail, manufacturing, and financial services driving the adoption curve of real-time data feeds up. Companies that require an up-to-date view of their customer behavior or that need to identify fraud seem to be in more need of constant data feeds in order to stay competitive and save money.

  • Strategic Business Intelligence is often used to understand business trends and management executives reflect on this information to formulate strategies. But over the years they have realized that latency, rigidity of information, lack of collaborative features, stale data has forced them to be reactive rather than being proactive decision makers.

    Operational BI addresses such problems and challenges by enabling exchange of information between decision makers and alerting the right people at the right time, transcending the organizational boundaries with the right KPIs of course

    In my opinion Operational BI play a key role in the adoption of “Real Time� data-feed and the demand will be mostly driven by SMEs as well as Large Enterprises as business today is more volatile and dynamic in nature.

  • Our company has personal experience/capabilities with this kind of real-time feeds. When business processes are outsourced, real-time feeds become necessary!

    Let me explain! Our software solutions are used by BPO service providers. They write contracts that include incentives for consistently meeting key performance Indicators (like Average Handle Time (AHT) for call venter processes or Productivity (contracts entered per hour), etc) and penalties for not meeting them.

    Since performance is tied to money, there is great incentive to monitor real-time feeds for KPis that are going South and performing corrective actions! There is hardly any use knowing that Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are breached but there is great incentive in knowing ahead of time, which ones are trending south!

    Bring in money aspects, boom goes adoption upward!

    Nobody has an incentive to monitor themselves to heck - It's more headaches for them. Why would they do it? But bring in Monetary linkages, real-time feeds become important!!

  • What is the benefit of real time vs. the cost of implementation? Over the course of decades of M&A, new product introduction, packaged software implemenation and bespoke app dev, how many core applications need to contribute data to an operational BI front end? In some cases the number of legacy systems is massive. The data coming from those systems needs considerable clean up and synchronization before it becomes meaningful, actionable information. The cost to do that could be prohibitive. Consolidation and rationalization of core systems would make real time access much easier. (Think lean IT)

    On the other side, the use of intelligent mobile devices, like iPhones, will drive/is driving a pattern of usage and access where the availability of operational BI will be expected. This expectation is an extension of what many consider the democratization of IT, or IT for the masses available directly to the business without IT oversight.

    Case in point - at the conference I just attended I spoke to a CIO for a utility company. They were interested in DW/BI solutions. I asked him how much he knew about their customers and he winced. He then said that their challenge is, on average, they purchase a company a month! The data has to come from all of those systems. Then he showed me his iPhone and told me all his users want the data displayed on that device, a Blackberry or an Android phone.

    He said he's crunched on both ends. Talk about the proverbial "rock and a hard place". The data mess on one side and rapidly shifting mobile platforms on the other.

    So that's a really long way of saying that the real time BI use case may be driven by the "all access, all the time" mentality created by intelligent devices but it won't be easy to deliver. In the final analysis it won't be whether or not you have real time access but what you do with it to positively impact your business.

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