As far as decision makers are concerned, information technology’s real value is to be found in the information that the technology yields –information that is relevant, accessible, and actionable. Historically, managers have had to extract and recompile data manually and then make sense of the data, convert it into useful information, and ultimately take action – often a laborious and tedious process.
It was almost like staring at one of those autostereograms so popular in the 1990’s. These pictures contained innumerable dots and patterns of color. And if you stared long enough and REALLY concentrated, you could eventually see a larger 3-D image that made sense. (http://www-ai.ijs.si/sirds/horse.jpg) Fortunately, today’s data mining technologies can automatically extract, compile, transform, and present pixels of data into useful information. It’s called Business Intelligence (BI). With BI, decision makers can see a larger, simplified picture of their operations yet give them the ability to drill down to the core of the opportunity or problem.
Data mining lets executives delve as deeply as the available data allows for the BI they need; and not only data existing within their own data libraries, but also available data which resides in others. BI can be an extremely vital source of useful financial, operational, and marketing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
A common requirement of BI is digital dashboards which can display KPIs in real time; as soon as the data is available, the dashboard is updated. Some times referred to as EIS (Executive Information Systems), real-time dashboards offer granularity - a view into the operation from the corporate “30,000-foot” level down to the individual employee or customer. For example, granularity lets health care providers view trends in care at a corporate level with the ability to drill down to a specific patient or resident.
Flexibility and responsiveness are also critical components of effective dashboards. Executives can select how they view the information using charts, graphs, and tables. Also, dashboards can generate real-time automated alerts via email or texting when specified KPIs exceed or descend below acceptable performance thresholds. Ultimately, BI enables managers to respond effectively to emerging performance trends as well as regulatory and competitive pressures.
The process of data mining can readily uncover hidden patterns of Business Intelligence (BI). But how many ways can you slice and dice the data? The answer is, “Any way you choose.” But data mining can be like peeling an onion - the more you peel, the more it may bring you to tears. Whether they are tears of joy or sorrow will depend on what you do with the information. And that’s another story we’ll share with you next time.
- Data mining is indispensible in helping today's decision makers discover hidden patterns of vital BI.
- In real time, executives can view their financial, operational, and marketing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
- Dashboards give managers granularity, flexibility, and responsiveness.