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New Frontiers in Business Intelligence

Nari Kannan

Drawbacks of Business Intelligence Tools When Handling Business Processes

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Business Intelligence tools have always evolved as a sort of a Rear-View Mirror, Post-Mortem Analysis set of tools.

How much of widget X did we sell in Region Z, Zone B by Saleperson G?

How did we perform on Accounts Receivables from Customer X, Period Y?

How much did we spend on Tea and Coffee in each of our offices?

These were are all Sales Intelligence Tools and Data warehouses or Financial Intelligence Tools or Data warehouses. Well understood paradigms, tools and evolved set of capabilities.

However, Business Processes and Operational Intelligence tools are very much lacking, not in conceptualization or technical capabilities.

It is in conceptualizing what is needed in Business Intelligence solutions in order to be able to do a good job at Process Improvement and what kinds of information do you need to be collecting in Business Intelligence tools and Data Warehousing solutions so that they can be useful for Process Improvement!

The whole idea of collecting Sales Intelligence is to gain insights into the products or services you are selling, who you are selling to and who is interested in buying, sales performance of your sales force and others.

The idea of Financial Intelligence is to gain insights into where you are getting your revenues from, how you are managing your cash, collections and disbursements, where you are spending your money, and others.

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.

The other is also that business processes are hardly confined to any one corporation or enterprise any more. The entire supply chain from Order to Manufacture to Shipping to Cash to PostSales Support are all handled by more than one organization, many of them outsourced to third parties.

The customer experience now is in the hands of many different parties but as far as the customer is concerned they are dealing with XYZ Insurance or Dell Computers when they buy a PC and expect it to be shipped to them as promised. Any delays in the chain by any party affects the main business that the customer thinks he/she is dealing with.

You need to have a clear idea of how the process is flowing. Something like a Visio flow diagram that clearly shows handoffs, expected turnaround times from each of the parties involved in the chain. In addition, the Business Intelligence solutions need to capture and report on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are crucial for the execution of business processes in slice and dice report formats like Sales and Financial Intelligence solutions provide.

So you need to capture Business Process Flow as well as have the traditional Data Warehousing and analysis capabilities that exist currently.

Thus we see that traditional Business Intelligence solutions have a ways to go before hey address effectively, BI applications in the area of Process Improvement!

Something to think about!

There exist limitless opportunities in every industry. Where there is an open mind, there will always be a frontier! - Charles F. Kettering


1 Comment

Fully agree with you. Infact these are to be covered in the definition of value chain models. It should be possible to such intelligence information in these models.

Nari Kannan's blog explores how new approaches to business intelligence can help organizations improve the performance of business processes--whether these processes are creative or operational, internally-focused or customer-facing, intra-departmental or across functions.

Nari Kannan

Nari Kannan started and serves as the CEO of appsparq, a Mobile Applications development company based in Louisville, KY with offices in Singapore and India. Nari has over two decades of experience in computer systems development, translating product and service strategy into meaningful technology solutions, and both people and product development. Prior to this, he has served as both Chief Technology Officer and Vice President- Engineering in six successful startups, two of which he co-founded. He has proven experience in building companies, engineering teams, and software solutions from scratch in the United States and India. Prior to this, Nari started Ajira Technologies, Inc., in Pleasanton, CA, where he served as Chief Executive Officer for more than six years. While at Ajira, Nari was instrumental in developing service process management solutions that modeled, monitored, and analyzed business processes, initially targeting the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Telecom, and Banking verticals in India, and Finance, Insurance, and Healthcare verticals in the United States. Prior to this, he served as VP-Engineering at Ensenda, an ASP for local delivery services. He also served variously as Chief Technology Officer or VP-Engineering at other Bay-Area venture funded startups such as Kadiri and Ensera. He began his career at Digital Equipment Corporation as a Senior Software Engineer. Nari has a long involvement with Customer Support and other customer facing processes. At Digital Equipment Corporation he was involved with their 1800 person customer support center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was tasked with coming up with innovative tools to help customer support people do their jobs better. He holds a U.S patent for a software invention that automatically redirected email requests for customer support to the right group by digesting the contents of the request and guessing at which software or hardware support group is best equipped to handle it. At Ensera, he led a 45 person team in developing an internet based ASP service for handling auto insurance claims, coordinating information flow between end-customers, Insurance companies, Repair shops and Parts suppliers. Ensera was acquired by Mitchell Corporation in San Diego. Nari holds a B.S. degree in Physics from Loyola College, and an M.B.A degree from the University of Madras in Madras, India. He graduated with a M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1985. Contact Information: Nari Kannan. Email: nari@appsparq.com Mobile: 925 353 0197. Website: www.appsparq.com View more .


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