By Tom Palmieri, Director, Operational Intelligence and Service Management, Melillo Consulting
By Tom Palmieri, Director, Operational Intelligence and Service Management, Melillo Consulting Executives sometimes struggle with where to begin when they are considering business software that detects patterns of behavior, as well as anomalies. They soon realize that merely being able to investigate events is insufficient. They frequently determine that real-time awareness is as vital as historical perspective, and that both are necessary to predict the next “big thing.”
Business intelligence (BI) is about analyzing what happened in the past and taking what is learned to support future decisions. It is usually a forensic process of sifting through data and producing reports that offer conclusions about what should be done differently in the future.
Operational intelligence (OI), however, is about measuring business operations in real time, fed by various streams of live data that come from systems, network, sensors, mobile devices, even social networks, weather stations, traffic monitors, etc. Executives in an OI environment can see what's happening in real time, detect unusual conditions as they occur and act on suspicious activity immediately.
Four Steps Toward Operational Intelligence
Implementation may feel like an overwhelming, daunting task, but it needn’t be. Here are some tips to guide you along the path toward gathering -- and then acting on -- operational intelligence.
Step 1: Search and Investigate
Here you can find and fix problems, you can correlate events across multiple data sources and you can automatically detect patterns across massive sets of data. For many people, that is night and day compared with what they're doing now. So, this could be a great place to start and deliver immediate immense return on investment.
Step 2: Proactive Monitoring
Monitoring systems in real time identifies issues and problems – such as security attacks – before they can escalate. At first, you’ll be able to intercept them before they impact your customers, your services and your revenue. But once you can get on top of that curve and start getting more proactive, the return on investment becomes even larger.
Step 3: Operational Visibility
End-to-end visibility across an entire operation helps break down silos across the infrastructure. Up to this point, the individual components of your infrastructure was the focus. Now, you can break down the barriers and bring all that data together. Even data that doesn’t seem at first to be related can correlate in a meaningful way. You may find some surprises hiding in your data.
Once you've reached this point on the OI maturity ladder, you have become an IT hero. You have taken operational intelligence to its fullest potential and have begun to gain true business insights. IT is an enabler for business and now your operation supports the growth of the bottom line. The level of OI that you have nurtured yields better-informed decisions by fully understanding business trends, patterns and behaviors.
With OI, you will be able to reduce costs across your enterprise. You'll be able to speed up implementations of new projects. You'll be able to improve the performance and stability of your existing systems. You'll be able to reduce risk – from keeping systems up and meeting your service-level agreements (SLAs) or preventing unwanted intrusions into your networks. And, most importantly, you’ll be a formidable competitor in your market.
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