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New Frontiers in Business Intelligence

Nari Kannan

When is BI too much BI?

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Top Secret America is a fascinating report in the Washington Post by Dana Priest and William Arkin. They talk about how the U.S Counter Terrorism activities devolved, after 9/11, into too many agencies doing the same thing but not very effectively protecting the public with the replicated intelligence they produced.

Here is an example of what all this effort failed to identify in their own words:

Somewhere in that deluge was even more vital data. Partial names of someone in Yemen. A reference to a Nigerian radical who had gone to Yemen. A report of a father in Nigeria worried about a son who had become interested in radical teachings and had disappeared inside Yemen.

These were all clues to what would happen when a Nigerian named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab left Yemen and eventually boarded a plane in Amsterdam bound for Detroit. But nobody put them together because, as officials would testify later, the system had gotten so big that the lines of responsibility had become hopelessly blurred.

In the past, I have argued for Skunk Works within companies where BI efforts are undertaken by different departments on their own since no one central effort gave them exactly what they needed.

Now playing Devil's Advocate, this is what can happen when you have too many BI efforts within a company also.

There may be too many fractional versions of the truth floating around that the key truths may be missed!

Sales may have insights into why sales is tanking, but finance may know only that sales is tanking but not why. Manufacturing may know only that they need to slow down production and reduce existing inventories.

The CEO may be missing the whole picture in the meanwhile.

Too many fractional BI efforts stand the risk of moving in the opposite direction too much.

Sometimes too much BI may be harmful also!

So what may be the answer? Somebody should be responsible for distilling a single version of the truth - pick any one version and consistenly follow it for action. As long as it is the same version it will effectively show what is important - trends!

Something to think about, reflecting upon the study in Washington Post!

Information is not knowledge - Albert Einstein

 

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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