Companies have relied on BI tools for years to gain insights, drive strategy and identify investment opportunities based on historical data.

But in today’s fast-paced, data-driven world, valuable insights may be overlooked with traditional BI methods. As a BI consultant, you may be noticing opportunities lost from the inability to glean actionable insights from data —as it changes.

Those opportunities may be regained with the promise of operational intelligence. Operational intelligence takes fresh, diverse data streams, mingles them with historical data, and analyzes them in parallel to provide powerful feedback and enhance competitiveness; right when the iron is hot. Using in-memory computing technology, live, fast-changing data can be stored, updated and analyzed continuously.

In effect, operational intelligence takes BI efforts to the next level and can offer surprising new opportunities to refine processes, and improve the trajectory towards business goals.

Business Insights

As you know, BI usually draws insights from stable, static datasets, extrapolating long-term trends gleaned from historical data. On the other hand, operational intelligence seeks out short-lived business opportunities and offers insights that have a short-term, but highly valuable, window of opportunity. How does it do that? It integrates streaming data with historical information to create a comprehensive view from which it can generate immediate feedback.

Don’t confuse operational intelligence with “real time” analytics. The latter refers to accelerated, interactive analyses of what are typically huge, historical datasets, and doesn’t involve live data. With real time analytics, accelerated algorithms allow important data patterns and long-term trends to emerge in short order, helping to make BI more interactive.

But operational intelligence takes it one step further: capturing business opportunities as they arise.

A Worthy Challenge

While implementation may have its challenges, operational intelligence provides great promise for upgrading the performance of live systems in a variety of industries. In manufacturing, for example, it can enable systems that continuously compare streams of live data with historical models to monitor performance, improve processes, achieve operational goals more efficiently, and prevent costly failures.

In the cable TV industry, providers can track customer program selections, combine this information with historical data and preferences, and make intelligent recommendations in the moment – while the viewer is active. And brick and mortar retailers can use it to assist sales associates in making personalized recommendations that match a customer’s immediate needs.

The benefits of operational intelligence are far-reaching and its applications are wide.