• June 6, 2005
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

BI Tools to Manage Real-Time Response

Business Objects today introduced real-time BI and operations capabilities with BusinessObjects XI Built for Operational BI. The platform additions make process optimization, guided decision-making, and embedded analytics available to all facets of an organization, accelerating a company's efforts to respond to changing business conditions. A number of new Business Objects technology partners have been recruited to integrate the new BI functions with their own offerings. BusinessObjects XI Built for Operational BI is an extension of the company's goal to make insight filter down through an organization by building process awareness and real-time feedback into all aspects of user tasks, linking operations and performance management. Two new components, BusinessObjects Process Tracker and BusinessObjects Process Analysis, are designed to align BI with business processes. These two utilities make embedded analytics available for users within the context of their business processes, combine BP data and alerting capabilities to create a real-time link between performance and operations, and provide a guided decision-making framework to define best practices and guide users through effective and repeatable decision-making processes. BusinessObjects Process Analysis enables user companies to quickly identify inefficient processes, and those whose trends are heading in the wrong direction, through real-time alerts and the ability to quantify the cost of inefficiency and make immediate changes. BusinessObjects Process Tracker builds repeatability and accountability into the decision-making process. The utility generates reports and analysis, provides a collaboration engine, and displays a milestone tracking and monitoring interface. "This is partly about real-time response, but mostly about integration of processes across the board, injecting BI to all levels of a company's operations," says Karl Van den Bergh, director of corporate development for Business Objects. Services industries may reap the most immediate benefits, he says. "An insurance claims agent, for example, can use this to gather the intelligence needed to process claims more quickly, improving speed and customer satisfaction, while providing measurable performance data to the next higher level of the organization." According to Lou Agosta, independent technology analyst, real-time BPM has become a buzzword for companies looking to reposition their BI products and services. "BPM, real-time analytics, BI, whatever you want to call it, it's a combination of software and services," Agosta says. "There has been a big trend to operationalize BI, and it looks like Business Objects got there first with a package--but it still requires integration." "As vendors have gotten better at building systems to track performance, there has been a movement toward bringing that data into the process of operating a business, not by seeing what happened last week or last quarter but by understanding what's happening right now," says Guy Creese, managing partner for Ballardvale Research. "An important part of the equation is being able to act on the intelligence in a timely manner. It makes sense to save the real-time analytics for real crises that must be fixed rapidly. Too much actionable information can also stall the decision process, or promote navel-gazing." A handful of new partners are taking on the job of integration by adding the BI enhancements to their own product lines. Lombardi Software and Ultimus already use BusinessObjects XI in their BPM suites. Other partners announced along with the product enhancement include CommerceQuest, Nsite, Savvion, and Singularity. "Business Objects has stolen a march on the competition," Agosta says. "Analytics and reporting are no longer about what a company has already done, they're operational and tactical now." Related articles: NCR Brings Power to Marketers
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