Operational Visibility is the process of monitoring business transactions and events to track various situations relating to inefficiencies and threats at real-time. Organizations can gain competitive advantage if they reduce the time between an event and when decisions can be made in response to it. In a typical production environment, event-centric approach will be providing valuable information that can lead to an immediate alert of any inefficiency. Further, these metrics will allow the executive management and operational leaders to take further analysis down to the lowest details and performing root cause analysis.
Operational Visibility or Operational Intelligence might often be compared to Business Intelligence. The primary difference between these two is that operational visibility is based on real-time or near-time event-centric, but business intelligence is more of data-centric (postmortem of business transactions). Event centric operational visibility often provides real-time event analytics on processed and in-process data which makes the business react faster. Operational visibility or intelligence can be applied across different industries like telecommunication, retail, financial services and shipping and logistics. Operational intelligence will also provide a single centralized view of work items irrespective of their geographical location. Each case or item can be tracked end-to-end to produce a comprehensive audit trail, historic and predictive management information. At a geographical location, managers can also automatically or manually allocate tasks in real-time to the most applicable resource to meet SLA’s based on the predictive analysis.
In a retail supply chain industry Operational intelligence can be used to monitor electrical grids to spot outages or find patterns in sensor reading of certain equipment to avoid any equipment failure. These are short-term quick decisions which will improve efficiency of any existing system. Operational intelligence system generally runs throughout the day or 24×7 to capture every event and data from different systems. The biggest challenge of Operational intelligence will be big data when every permutation of each metric along with its associated dimensions is persisted. But an efficient event processing system will be able to scale dynamically and respond to multiple queries.
There are two major technology components that may help to establish highly efficient process of operation visibility.
- Complex Event Processor
- Business Activity Monitor
Complex Event Processor (CEP)
CEP is not a complete application. Rather, CEP logic is subsumed within some larger application system or process that does something else. CEP is woven into the fabric and flow of transaction processing systems or other applications that support real-time or near-real-time operational activities. Complex Event processing enables one to identify meaningful events, such as opportunities or threats, and respond to them as quickly as possible. CEP does the data analytics with the data collected by the other component like BAM. CEP provides real time analytics usually through the application of event pattern recognition against event streams. Different patterns are used by CEP for data analytics. CEP will also be intelligent enough to respond to various event patterns and sequences. This in turn can trigger an alert if CEP identifies any fault that needs immediate attention.
Business Activity Monitor (BAM)
Business activity monitoring (BAM) is tool that aids in monitoring of business processes, as those processes are implemented in computer systems. BAM is an enterprise solution primarily intended to provide a real-time summary of business processes to operations managers and upper management. BAM can work in conjunction with CEP to form an effective operational intelligence system. BAM does the process of collecting data from various events through the life cycle of one or more systems. This real time data is fed to CEP for processing. BAM can also be used to do post processing of data analytics and can also provide a GUI to see the events and data captured from these events.
Operational Intelligence provides the much needed visibility and ease to make decisions based on real-time data on a day-to-day basis. With Operational Intelligence analysis can take place in tandem, so that problems can be spotted and dealt with sooner than the conventional after-the-fact Business Intelligence. The end result of this practice improves the business operations and efficiency.
Note: The above article is authored by Mr.Gopinath Elangovan from Enterprise Integration & Information Management Practice @ Aspire Systems.
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