Operational BI Defined

According to Claudia Imhoff’s White Paper, Operational BI: Expanding BI Through New, Innovative Analytics Going Beyond the Traditional Data Warehouse, operational BI is defined as “a set of applications, services and technologies for monitoring, reporting on, analyzing and management the business performance of an organization’s daily business operations.”

Traditional BI and Data Warehousing is Not Optimized for Operational BI

In the same paper, Imhoff notes that “The traditional BI and data warehouse architecture has served us well for nearly twenty years, but it is beginning to strain to cope with these new operational BI requirements.”

Higher volumes, lower latencies and a new class of operational rather than strategic or tactical BI users are forcing new data integration approaches better aligned for operational BI.

Data Virtualization is a Key Operational BI Enabler

Data virtualization queries and joins data from multiple source systems on demand. This allows operational BI users to view both historical and real-time data without the expense of creating a real-time data warehouse infrastructure.

Operational BI solutions enabled by data virtualization can be implemented in several manners including Business ViewsData Services, Virtual Data Marts and/or Virtual Operational Data Stores.

Selected Examples

  • Well Operational BI – This energy firm wanted to provide well operations data to engineers, maintenance managers, and business analysts each requiring different slices of the data, optimally formatted for their wide range of specialized analysis tools including Business Objects, Excel, Tibco Spotfire, Matrikon ProcessNet, Microsoft Reporting and more. Using Cisco data virtualization, they now provide the common views and data services required.
  • IT Performance Management Dashboard – To gain a complete applications performance picture, IT operations managers monitor SLA and other system status metrics using CIS views sourced from a wide range of application management systems.