In my last post, I discussed the “Power of Ten” – Ten critical success factors for realizing the dream of using Business Intelligence to run business ‘intelligently’ across strategic, tactical & operational domains.

First in that list are the “Transaction Processing Systems” themselves. The whole fascinating world of Data Warehousing, BI, Analytics et al owes its existence in large measure to the ubiquitous, all powerful, business transaction processing systems, in short, OLTP systems.

Business, when stripped of its abstractness, is actually a continuum of activities or transactions. The two broad categories of business operations, viz. making & selling, are operationalized through infinite number of activities taking place both within & across organizational boundaries. Thanks to the giant strides that have taken place in the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) area, the business transactions are ably & beautifully (the artist in me!) captured by those systems. Traditionally the data that is captured by these OLTP systems are fed downstream to the Business Intelligence infrastructure for collation, cleansing, aggregation & analysis.

It is no surprise that the rapid growth witnessed in the BI market both for products & services, is due to the proliferation of powerful operational systems like SAP, Oracle Apps, Peoplesoft, Siebel etc.

Alas, that is where the good news ends. Though the powerful OLTP systems are good at providing business data to downstream analytical systems, they are not as good (as yet!) in receiving & making use of information coming back to them from the analytical systems. The feedback loop is crucial to address the issue of Operational BI.

This leads to my: Enabler 1 – Proliferation of agile, modular & robust transaction processing systems.

  • Agile to adapt to changing business conditions fed in from analytical systems
  • Modular to accommodate for new components needed to close the feedback loop
  • Robust to ensure that the increase in complexity of the OLTP systems does not break it

To add more variety to your thoughts on Operational BI, you can read the following blog by Mike Lampa at the BI-BestPractices website.

Posted by Karthikeyan Sankaran
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July 27th, 2007

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