Strategic business intelligence (BI) is the greatest missed opportunity in information technology today. Strategic BI provides information to help executives and managers make decisions which lead to high-value business results that flow to the corporate bottom line. Why this is a missed opportunity is clear.

Most applications of BI are operations-focused: BI is used to support front-line staff, supervisors and managers charged with delivering services and processing the associated transactions. Implementations of enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM), financial and other applications in recent years are examples of IT investments focused on improving business operations. BI supports operations applications by organizing and delivering information ­– including exceptions and items that need attention ­– to operations people and helping them to do their jobs. BI takes operational data, standardizes it and applies BI analytics technology, making it useful for managing and analyzing operational activities. The left side of Figure 1 shows the critical nature of operations-focused BI.

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