Business leaders today recognize the power of big data to transform the ways their companies develop winning strategies and compete against other businesses. And yet, many organizations still don’t have the tools and processes necessary to extract value from the data they collect.
Platforms dedicated to data analysis are the solution. The trouble then becomes choosing the right platform, though, from two main options — operational analytics platforms and business intelligence platforms.
What are Operational Analytics and Business Intelligence?
Both operational analytics (OA) and business intelligence (BI) are ways of using data to inform decision-making within an organization, so it’s easy to confuse the two. There are, however, some key differences between them.
Business intelligence is a method of transforming historical data sets into easy-to-understand reports and summaries that business leaders can use to glean valuable insights. There is a range of available tools that facilitate this process. Business intelligence platforms do not make predictions about what will happen if business leaders pursue a certain course of action, nor do they instruct them to choose one action over another. Rather, this technology helps decision-makers within an organization understand trends in the data they have collected.
By contrast, operational analytics revolves around continuous monitoring and analysis of big data. This form of analytics allows business leaders to make decisions on the fly based on the most up-to-date, real-time data they have. With operational analytics, you can sync data directly from your data warehouse into your business tools so everyone in your organization can do more with the data you collect.
The Advantages of Operational Analytics Over Business Intelligence
Either of these processes can be useful to an enterprise, but operational analytics offers some clear advantages over business intelligence. These advantages include:
Unlike BI, OA allows for predictive analysis. You can use OA to determine how likely a certain future outcome is compared to a different outcome, for example. Being able to make educated predictions about what’s going to happen in the future is immensely helpful when you’re developing business strategies. If you can anticipate future developments, you’re better equipped to change course if necessary and give your business the best chance at success.
Because operational analytics platforms continuously stream data rather than just looking at static data, OA allows businesses to gain real-time insights about what’s happening inside and outside of their organizations. These platforms update automatically to give your team the most current information possible.
The difference between using historical data and real-time data might not sound like much in theory, but it’s hugely impactful in practice. Say, for instance, a company encounters a problem in the production process. With real-time data, the company would be able to immediately analyze the source of the issue and identify the best strategies for remedying the problem quickly. A BI platform, on the other hand, could take hours or even days to identify and analyze the problem. Every minute counts in a competitive business landscape, and that’s simply time most businesses can’t afford to lose.
Data silos are a common problem for companies trying to utilize data in decision-making. When you’re dealing with a data silo, one department has access to certain data sets, but the rest of the organization cannot easily or fully access them.
OA platforms eliminate this issue by allowing you to sync data right from your data warehouse into the tools your team uses every day. Once in your frontline tools, the data your business collects is more accessible and understandable to everyone in your organization. They can do more with your data and work more effectively between departments this way.
Operational Analytics Use Cases
Companies in any industry can use OA to gain insights and develop stronger business strategies. To better understand how OA might work in practice, consider these use cases:
Banks and other financial institutions can apply OA to detect fraud when it happens and determine the likelihood that a loan applicant will default, for example. Using many different streams of data such as client spending patterns, credit history, and employment, an OA platform will help financial institutions categorize clients according to credit risk with real-time adjustments. This analysis will help the institutions pair customers with the products most suitable for their needs.
Marketing often isn’t an exact science. Rather, it requires some experimentation to determine what works and what doesn’t. OA platforms can facilitate those experiments, allowing marketing managers to run and analyze multiple trials at the same time. The platform will collect data on the experiments and offer insights on them that marketing managers can use to determine the best marketing strategy going forward.
Customer support is a very common application of OA technology. Customer service teams can utilize OA platforms to automatically sort and prioritize tickets according to product metrics. The OA platforms allow customer support teams to quickly look through incredible amounts of data and resolve issues customers are having. OA can even proactively identify risks to help prevent issues before they arise.
How Live Earth Makes Operational Analytics Simple
Live Earth’s operational analytics platform allows enterprises to access all the benefits of OA in one convenient solution. Traditional BI tools don’t provide the real-time data analysis modern companies need, but Live Earth solves that problem with continuous intelligence.
Gone are the days of having to struggle with data silos and complications when sharing insights between departments. Live Earth makes it easy to gain a comprehensive view of your data, glean insights from it, and transform those insights into strategic actions.
To Sum Up
Operational analytics and business intelligence are both strategies for analyzing data, but OA offers some clear advantages over BI for companies looking to get the most out of their data. Factors that affect your business can change in an instant, and you need real-time analysis that can keep up with those changes. OA enables real-time visibility and insights from your data that will help you gain a competitive advantage in any industry. For more information about how Live Earth can help your business harness the power of operational analytics, contact us today.