Improving Business Performance

This is the continuation of the transcript of DM Radio’s program titled “What You See Is What You ‘Get’ – How Data Visualization Conveys Insight,”.

Dale Skeen:  That’s what you really want to discover. You know you can look at the bits and bytes going around network. That tells you how well your network devices are performing.  But it doesn't tell you how well your business is performing.

Exposing that gap is what operational intelligence is about. Being able to fill that gap typically requires visualizing the right information, at the right time.  And it has to do a lot with contextual information, which is not something we’ve talked a lot about so far.

Eric Kavanagh:  Yeah. That's a good point. I guess the big question in my mind is how do you figure out first of all what to show and then how to show it?

Obviously it depends on the industry but maybe let's go with that electric company you were talking about before. I mean, yeah, we’re just talking about piecing together a dashboard and making sure to link various dependencies.

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Business Performance Thresholds

In this case it would be certain thresholds that you don't want to go below or above. Obviously, in the summer time in Texas this would be heat waves that put a great strain on the grid. You know being able to kind of ascertain when a critical moment is coming obviously.

That’s sort of a low hanging fruit, I suppose. But in terms of other used cases or business value, what are some of the contextual data that you are able to bring in or help them find? Or what are they able to find on their own to complete the picture?

Dale Skeen:  Well, the first contextual data is having a business transaction out of process context.  Again, remember that the business transactions are running over multiple systems so that was not easy to do.

We looked at log files and the data left behind by these systems that they run. You can run process discovery tools against the raw data itself to see where all these transactions tend to flow. So that's one part of the information you need to bring in.

Performance Oriented Data

Next, you want to bring in performance oriented data that is more at a business level. Once you have the things on business process context, you can measure, for example, how long it stays and what's your first step.

So you bring the performance level information to that.  Lay on top of that your business objectives. I have an SLA, for example, that will take no more than 10 minutes disruption to change a customer phone right into another.  Or that service order can be conceded within three minutes or three days depending on what type of service order that is.

You lay these types of goal oriented business objectives on top of that.  What you have are these dashboards. They start to become rich, fully layered, and of course for a particular user you have different roles of users that you mentioned.  Some of them you may want to emphasize one layer or another.

One may just be looking at the performance objective themselves.  One may just be looking at outliers when the process sort of went off the rails if you will and you can detect that as well.

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Build a BI Trial

And then you know there’s additional information that you can continue to layer and build a trial based on a role or based on an objective.  But these are exactly the type of information that we provide for them.

We turn them from being what I would call reactive player problems to managing their performance to being proactive. They can see problems when they occur or they can anticipate performance problems before they happen.

Eric Kavanagh:  Yeah.  Well, that's the key -- being able to identify something and respond to it before it becomes a serious problem. It’s the old “a stitch in time save nine” cliché that I have always loved.

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