Software // Information Management
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8/6/2004
10:39 AM
Ted Kemp
Ted Kemp
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Real-Time BI

Real-time demands require real-time solutions, as they say. Increasingly, that's the creed of business intelligence.

Intelligence gained through analysis of the wrong data is ineffective and therefore is not, strictly speaking, "intelligence." Successful BI experts understand this much, at minimum: You've got to pick the right data to monitor and analyze, or applying the tools of analysis is a wasted effort. This is true for every level of business intelligence practitioner -- and more so for those whose enterprises want to be able to react to information in "real time."

I'm going to avoid getting hung up on whether real-time enterprises actually exist (they don't, but I'll save that for some other editorial). But suffice it to say that more and more, businesses want to carry out the whole cycle from data generation to business reaction -- gathering information, reporting it, analyzing it, and acting on it -- if not in real time, then at the very least really, really fast.

To do that, you’ve got to be looking at the right data. As Gartner group VP and research fellow Kenneth McGee outlines in a story we ran recently, that means a lot more than deploying some dashboard tool. To avoid business surprises like sales shortfalls or inventory out-of-stocks, managers need to stay vigilant to the warning signals that precede them. McGee clearly outlines a process for identifying what data to monitor in real time in order to spot those advance warnings.

Such guidelines can be hugely valuable to IT professionals whose managerial-side bosses want to avoid unexpected business disasters (which is all of them) and expect IT to help them do it (which is an increasing portion of them). McGee's plan entails not just determining and prioritizing business goals and the metrics that gauge them, but also understanding whether real-time information on those metrics allows an effective response at all.

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