Business Decision Optimization. Evidence-Based Management. The Realtime, Predictive Enterprise.
On April 14, IBM launched Business Analytics & Optimization Services, a major expansion of its consulting organization that embraces all of these fronts. The move not only signals how the smarter planet vision is transforming into new value for IBM clients, but how that worldview will help individual organizations actually become more intelligent.
Business analytics may sound like an abstraction – (analytics simply means the science of analysis) – but it reflects a very tangible reality at the heart of Smarter Planet: because we can increasingly sense and gather information with unprecedented scale and precision, entire new spheres of knowledge and insight are within reach. We can measure and monitor just about anything, from the complex interactions in natural systems like Galway Bay to the ebb and flow of power over an intelligent electric grid.
As the new paper from IBM’s Institute of Business Value, Business Analytics & Optimization for the Intelligent Enterprise, notes:
The information explosion has permanently changed the way we experience the world: everything – and everyone – is leaving digital tracks. Intelligence is increasingly embedded in objects.
What company wouldn’t want to operate with the kind of highly instrumented, interconnected and realtime intelligence that business analytics promises? While that may seem like a rhetorical question, the study IBM conducted as part of the launch of the new analytics service found that nearly eight in ten business leaders were making decisions based on gut and instinct. Business analytics is meant to change that.
As Fred Balboni, the global leader of the new business analytics & optimization unit notes in this video to introduce the new service line, this new view of a smarter enterprise is not a matter of just feeding more information into organizations, or merely providing more business intelligence dashboards and reports. Business analytics as envisioned by IBM represents a shift from the management model of “sense & respond” (first articulated in the early ‘90s by an IBMer, Stephan H. Haeckel) to the more realtime and proactive paradigm: perceive.predict.perform.
This animated chart explains the perceive.predict.perform paradigm more fully, but the key difference is speed, continuous processing and predictive capabilities. The “dot” conceit is meant to reinforce the online and non-linear nature of the model. (For full-screen view, click the button on the lower right corner of the screen after starting the clip.)
Finally, while this frontier is still taking shape, I came across an article about a new medical device that brings some of the principles of business analytics down to a personal level, and serves as a decent analogy of how advanced analytics will help keep businesses healthy.
This new wireless sensor patch allows for automated early detection of heart failure.
“The patch measures temperature, heart and respiration rates, levels of physical activity, body position, and body-fluid levels, then beams data to a special cell-phone-like gadget in the patient’s pocket or home. From there, the data is wirelessly transmitted to the company’s servers, where algorithms detect anomalies and trigger alerts to doctors, who could then view the data from the Web or from their own mobile devices.”
Business analytics will do similar work: measuring and monitoring a complex mix of the organization’s operations and vital statistics. The net result: an enterprise that has fewer blind spots, makes better predictions, and can optimizes itself in bold new dimensions.
Jack Mason, IBM Global Business Services, Strategic Programs & Social Media