The Need For Situational Intelligence
Today’s businesses are faced with a growing volume of IT data (enterprise), OT data (operational), XT data (external), and data from the Internet of Things (IoT). In fact the “smarter” an organization gets, the more data that pours in from devices, meters, sensors, and from the IoT, adding to the mass of data scattered throughout the organization. That data is stored in spreadsheets, documents and various repositories.
According to industry analyst, Forrester Research, only 12% of an organization’s data is ever analyzed. A significant reason for this low data usage is that the data resides in disparate systems that often form silos of data that make it difficult or impossible to manually collect, correlate and interpret data. When humans cannot understand data in large volumes and/or high velocities decisions are made without the benefit of insights. Or even worse, decisions are deferred temporarily or permanently. Uninformed and untaken decisions cause inefficiencies, sub-optimal productivity, avoidable waste, higher costs, and increased exposure to service level misses, penalties and risks.
Many organizations have one or more business intelligence products at their disposal. However considering the data usage and analysis statistics reveal that the majority of an organization’s data is neither analyzed nor used to drive decision-making suggests that those products do not meet organizational decision-support needs.
Context for Business and Operational Decisions
Enter situational intelligence, a proven approach to uniting data from across an organization and providing the context needed for fast, confident decision-making. Situational intelligence is about correlating, analyzing and visualizing disparate data, and identifying, out of a massive amount of data, the assets, issues and resources that require attention. Data from enterprise (ERP, CRM, etc.), operational (meters, devices, sensors, etc.) and external (weather, social media, fires, etc.) systems is accessed, analyzed and presented to users to bring attention to, and facilitate an understanding of, a situation that requires decisions to be made and action to be taken.
Examples of a situation:
- A storm is approaching. What assets, equipment and customers will be affected? What steps should be taken to prepare for the storm? Who should be notified of potential service disruptions?
- Assets are aging and need to be replaced. Which assets should be replaced first? Which assets can be maintained instead of replaced? Can replacement be deferred for some assets without increasing risk? Which assets are most critical in the network?
- Sensors attached to vehicles are producing useful information. Which vehicles are going too fast? Which vehicles are behind schedule? Which vehicles are going to be slowed by conditions ahead of them? Are more efficient routes possible?
Situational intelligence provides 360-degree insight into these situations, arming users with the understanding of what, where, when, why and how the situation occurred, is occurring now, or might occur in the future.
The Benefits of Situational Intelligence
Situational intelligence has been proven to deliver a range of benefits to companies in different industries. These benefits include:
Reduce Costs and Risk – By identifying assets and issues that most need attention, and prioritizing and simplifying the actions to take, situational intelligence applications are amazingly adept at lowering operating costs and reducing the risk of unplanned failures
Boost Productivity – With all your data in a single pane of glass, personnel across your business are able to break down silos, collaborate like never before and focus on execution instead of manual data collection and correlation
Deliver Unmatched Service – Situational intelligence applications provide a 360 degree view of your business, facilitating real-time responsiveness to your customers, exceeding service quality expectations and keeping disruptions to a minimum
Future-proof Your Business – Respond to disruptive market forces with the flexibility of situational intelligence, adapting easily to new competitive, functional and regulatory demands, and positioning you to grow your business and margins
How Situational Intelligence Excels over Business Intelligence
Situational intelligence is inherently different from a traditional business intelligence approach to decision-making. The following table summarizes some of these distinctions:
|Business Intelligence (BI)||Situational Intelligence (SI)|
|Data formats||Handles enterprise data and data in relational database format||Correlates business, operational and external data, regardless of format and structure|
|Data access||Data is replicated in a data warehouse or analytics database in a pre-defined format||Data is retrieved from big data or source systems as it is needed, and processed in-memory|
|Data dimensions||Visualizes data organized by pre-defined data attributes (e.g. zip code)||Correlates, analyzes and visualizes spatial, time-series and graph data along with enterprise data. Users select the data set to be analyzed (e.g. a region on a map).|
|Data currency||Visualizes historical data||Analyzes and visualizes historical and real-time data, and uses predictive analytics to predict likely outcomes and prescriptive analytics to favorably influence actual outcomes|
|Decision support||Provides a summary of what happened. Users drill down for increasing levels of detail.||Provides drillable insight that spans what, where, when, why and how something happened, is happening, or might happen in the future, in aggregated form and through details of individual assets, resources and events|
|Decision initiation||Users initiate a request to retrieve data and other outputs||Users initiate can a request to retrieve data & outputs and/or updated data and alarms or alerts are pushed to users’ screens when the underlying data changes or other based on other configurable triggers|
|Decision-making process||All available data is presented to users who can filter and analyze data, then take action via other systems||Data from different systems is analyzed to identify salient events and data points that are visualized to stand out using highlighting, alarms and other methods. Users explore data in multiple formats that include maps, charts, diagrams, tables, documents, videos, etc. Action can be taken via the UI of other systems. All of which are integrated into a single SI application window that maximizes efficiency.|
Transform Your Operations With Situational Intelligence
Organizations in a range of industries around the world use situational intelligence to reduce risk, increase safety and asset reliability, improve productivity, ensure regulatory compliance, raise customer satisfaction, lower costs and create new revenue opportunities. Examples of how these businesses are utilizing situational intelligence to make fast, confident decisions include:
- Anticipate and respond faster to unplanned service disruptions
- Accurately match variability of customer demand with available capacity
- Identify and proactively rectify high-risk assets
- Optimize asset and network performance
- Detect theft or fraud
- Perform root-cause analysis to determine why assets failed
- Prioritize operational tasks based on financial impacts
- Proactively inform customers of service delays or failures
- Improve cross-functional collaboration and communication
- Optimize personnel schedules under constantly-changing conditions