Sunday, November 14, 2010

The future of business intelligence (BI) is beyond DSS. It makes rich contextual collaboration (as in Avaya Flare) a reality

Business intelligence (BI) is the phrase used to describe data driven decision Support System (DSS). Large amount of data get analyzed. The systems help identify trends, relationship between data sets and identify anomalies. Results get represented as briefing books, through report and query tools and executive information systems.  Target audiences are analysts and selected executives supporting their decision processes. Collaborative decision making has been the new trend.  Gartner stated it in their strategic planning assumption: "In 2009, collaborative decision making will emerge as a new product category that combines social media software with BU platform capabilities."
What we are talking about in this blog goes way beyond this. The world of Business Intelligence is poised to change dramatically. Connected sensors and data collection are everywhere or can get easily created even by non-geeks.
Look at these stories:
  • Product and services rating systems are part of purchasing platforms (e.g. Amazon, trip-advisor).
  • Purchasing transaction data and credit card information are captured my many organizations.
  • Connected sensors or ID devices are being built into a multitude of products: From smart-phones, Bluetooth headsets, shoes (Nike), RFID tags embedded in car wheels (originally purposed to support the manufacturing process) to wireless scales
  • High end sensor technologies become available to everybody. A great example is computer vision programmable & usable by nonprogrammers (like openCV) - allowing computers to capture information and make decisions based on what they see. 
These input and sensor data get fed into on-line services. Over time these will turn into a sensor web with API's for automated access through other services. Plus all documents and communication in organizations become retrievable and searchable. As a consequence new services will appear leveraging all these data to provide business intelligence to a much broader audience in organizations and to the individual. Why is that relevant today?
Human's invented organization thousands of years ago because division of labor and specialization are key drivers for efficiency, quality and speed. However with the division of labor comes the need to collaborate - that is bridging the gaps between the individual specialists or specialist organizations. Making collaboration most effective is thus the next step in organizational development. Business Intelligence has the potential to supply the context information making the collaboration most effective - thus creating what I call "Contextual collaboration".
With that Business Intelligence will move substantial beyond its origin - Decision Support Systems (DSS).  New services will appear delivering contextual information to individuals and groups in an organization and in their private life. This will move BI out of the ivory tower of analysts and specialized executives - making it a main stream tool available to everyone. And personal BI sounds new or frightening? I bet you used it already and loved it: didn't you use personal BI last time when you purchased a product online - picking that product with the most stars in the online retailers customer ratings?
Key element of the Avaya Flare user experience is contextual collaboration. Information from BI systems can get fed to Avaya Flare - presenting the information required to make collaboration most effective. 

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