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Business intelligence and analytics: Automating smart decision making

Business intelligence analytic technologies are evolving and both performance management and decision management can be leveraged by knowing what's out there. Offer your customers the information they need to make sound business decisions. Mark Smith of Ventana research offers advice in this Q & A.

IT Reseller Takeaway: When it comes to business analytics and business intelligence (BI) decision management and performance management best practices, business technologies are evolving and into integrating into larger platforms and tool sets. It's important to offer your customers knowledge about how to leverage the evolving technology and what to not do, so they can make sound business decisions. Our sister site interviewed Mark Smith, CEO and SVP of Ventana Research. Get his tips and advice in this excerpt from that Q&A.

Q: Where should a company start with a decision management project?

A: They should start by making sure they have a business case for a particular decision management project. And what I mean by that is, a business case that outlines that challenges that the company faces, and the benefits that could be achieved to address those challenges. Then they should use some of the best practices that I will outline in my presentation today. They should really start to look at things and start to then look at how they can impact either a line of business area if you're in IT, or if you're in a business area, look at areas where you need to drive improvements. So, areas where you haven't necessarily had the right results in performance is where you should be looking at these kinds of best practices. In my presentation I will talk about decision volumes, workforce decision skills, the need for self service, these are critical areas that you can use for input for driving a business case and better understanding how to start a decision management project.

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Q: Where do you think that BI, analytics and decision management technologies will actually evolve to?

A: Well, we're at a very interesting time where we are seeing technologies continue to evolve and integrate into larger platforms and tool sets. In my presentation today I will look at the diff technology "blocks," and many providers are now bringing one, two, three, four, five, but in the majority of cases -- two companies to evaluate. And so the industry and the technology are evolving at a pretty rapid pace, and the requirements for being more integrated into more systems have been driving additional mergers and acquisitions with companies.

And so the BI and analytics base is, beginning to understand the importance of rules and workflow and how the technology they have needs to be more integrated into the operational and real-time elements of decision management. And so we are really at an interesting time in leveraging the last decade of technology evolution and now, we're really looking at how these things become much more integrated into applications and application server platforms.

Q: Where do companies typically go wrong with decision management technology and or projects?

A: Great question. I think the answer to that is that they jump in to the technology first without having a good handle on what the business need is and the requirements and then determining what the tech is needed. So in many cases the company fails by not putting forward the right business case. The business case is important because it sets the benefits and the costs that are required to support the business needs. So that is classically where we see companies not really looking at the depth of the business needs, then going to the use case scenarios, and then out to the technology.

Read the rest of Mark Smith's interview at

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