This is a transcript of The Axway Podcast of the same name.
ANNOUNCER: From Phoenix, Arizona, this is The Axway Podcast. Here’s your host, Mike Pallagi.
PALLAGI: Operational intelligence — a category of real-time dynamic, business analytics that delivers visibility and insight into data, streaming events, and business operations — seems to be getting more and more press lately. Organizations seem to be realizing that there are lots of opportunities to pull together data and make better business decisions. So to learn more about this, I caught up with Laurent Van Huffel, Axway’s Vice President of Sales for Operational Intelligence, and asked him what’s driving today’s enterprises to use operational intelligence to improve operations?
VAN HUFFEL: There are multiple reasons for why the enterprise will use operational intelligence. Let me just start with a few things. One is, typically organizations, or specifically operations, are organized in silos. So many of the staff, or business operations people who make sure that the executions of the business process happened as it should — and at the end of the day, the commitment that had been made by the company to their customers are fulfilled every day — have a difficulty to ensure that this is happening, because they don’t have an end-to-end visibility of the executions of this process. So they’re kind of blind: they can see one piece but not the whole (of) pieces.
PALLAGI: Laurent said another reason is that organizations are just tired of being reactive rather than proactive. Historically, when something goes wrong, like a payment not being made, for instance, companies often learn about the missed payment only once they get a complaint from the unpaid party. And that creates a bunch of issues, everything from damaged reputations to missed SLAs. And all of that can be very costly. So being able to resolve process issues in real time before it impacts your customers’ businesses is one of operational intelligence’s big perks. But there are others, too.
VAN HUFFEL: Three major benefits, or three major business drivers, for which you know you would build a business case for companies: one is risk mitigation, the second one is operational efficiency, and the third one is customer experience improvement.
PALLAGI: Before Laurent goes into all that, it’s important to keep in mind that every business process has multiple stakeholders who work together to execute the business process straight through to the end. Supervisors, executives, managers. Sometimes payments even have to be manually returned. There’s still no shortage of things for actual human beings to do in this process. But anyway, here’s Laurent again.
VAN HUFFEL: Operational intelligence, first and foremost, has to deliver actionable intelligence that is customized and tailored to each stakeholder, because each stakeholder has different operational objectives and therefore they have different concerns. And those concerns are about what could happen to prevent them (from meeting) the objectives. You need to deliver contextual content in the form of digital dashboards or alerts to different people.
PALLAGI: Laurent said that operational intelligence solutions should be agnostic from the underlying competing infrastructure so that they can collect information from different sources and create high-level, end-to-end views. And then as the operational intelligence solution is collecting data, it should crunch the numbers — a whole raft of numbers, really — to figure out ahead of time what might go wrong, a sort of high-tech prognostication.
VAN HUFFEL: So, for instance, you have an order that has been stuck into a business step for too long. Or you have an abnormal number of payments that failed their STP route and are going into manual repair. Why would there be a concern, for instance, is that because if you have way more (payments) going for repair than (usual), maybe you’re going to exceed your manpower capacity to repair those payments fast enough. And therefore you may miss an important payment cut off.
PALLAGI: So it collects real-time data from multiple sources, analyzes this information into a matrix that’s been configured to create the business logic to address each of the concerns of each of the stakeholders, and it publishes that information in the form of actionable intelligence to dashboards or via alerts so that everyone who needs to know about it will know about it.
VAN HUFFEL: It’s not just pure real-time information as well. You need to compare real-time information with historical, contextual data.
PALLAGI: For example, maybe you might want to compare your activity today to a typical day’s activity throughout the last month.
VAN HUFFEL: Depending on who you are, you are going to expect different type of information because that information has to address the specific objective that you have. You will expect personalized and production-ready solutions in a few days. You can deploy… There is no coding that comes into play. It’s all point-and-click, drag-and-drop, in order to configure the right business logic to create those dashboards. And again you are going to create the logic depending on… To provide the right content to the right persons.
PALLAGI: Laurent noted that “an operational intelligence solution is very incremental.” And what I gathered from that is that it’s got a quick learning curve — you can customize dashboards in about two or three days, but then once you do, you’ve undertaken a journey, rather than arrived at a destination. Because you’ll start with a dashboard that’s configured one way, but as business conditions change, modifications will almost always be necessary.
VAN HUFFEL: And that’s perfectly okay. You will maybe you want to modify the layout or you want to add additional KPIs or new information in order to meet new demands or new changing conditions. Because there was a dashboard editor that allows you to make those changes extremely easily and very quickly, then you will continually adapt the content of the dashboards to your business, to your own test, if you will, and so on. Very authoritative, very incremental. It’s quick, it’s agile, it’s contextual. You can mix real-time information with historical, contextual information. You can create reports. You can receive alerts if you are not in front of your computer.
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