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What is operational intelligence?

Here's why getting operational intelligence from process data is essential for efficiencies that will make an impact on your company and your market, and how you can make these insights automatic.

Data is one of the biggest missed opportunities in business today. Your company's data could be used for getting insights to improve. Using data for business intelligence shows you what is happening right now, and what happened in the past to get you here. 

Business intelligence collects and analyzes many types of historical data to use for strategic planning throughout the business from revenue growth and customer experience to product development or the way your company operates. 

Operational intelligence is an important facet of business intelligence that focuses on the latter. It is about analyzing internal and external factors like employee workflows, vendor management, and the software systems that both rely on in order to learn how to make these processes more efficient. 

How can you use data for operational intelligence? Then, how do you make it automatic? We explore the benefits below.

 

Put your data to use

When you use technology to digitize your processes, all activity information from a myriad of software systems—like what actions are taken or when steps progress—get collected and stored. This system-generated data holds critical information about your processes. But it often ends up in silos, which can’t lead to meaningful insight on a full process that involves different, disconnected systems. 

Operational intelligence connects and leverages this information and visualizes it into a definitive record to provide a complete picture of a process, so you can find areas for improvement. In a consolidated, real-time report, it becomes clear which steps take longest, leading to a pattern of bottlenecks. Once identified, the issues can begin to be resolved.

Operational intelligence tools also enable organizations to confidently address opportunities and assess risks before they arise. The data is there, but putting it into a readily available and comprehensive format allows workers to feel, and be, informed about every aspect of their internal operations, and enables them to make decisions and take action in the moment.

 

Make continuous improvement

The goal of continuous improvement is for management to constantly assess what works, replace what does not, and understand what to do next to keep optimizing the time, cost and effort of doing business to keep each as low as possible. They can’t do this without reliable operational intelligence data.

Continuous improvement is a never-ending cycle, hence “continuous,” but that does not mean the benefits are never reached. Data and continuous improvement work hand-in-hand to generate real results in a short period of time. Leaders who know where they want to drive or grow their business and truly focus on improving their operations tend to get there faster.

 

Achieve operational excellence

The goal of continuous improvement, operational excellence is strategically designed to make the company consistently the best among its competitors by leveraging operations improvements and efficiencies to achieve business growth. It means focusing on meeting customer expectations through the continuous improvement of operational processes and the culture of the organization. 

Achieving operational excellence involves an understanding of what the market wants, then creating an uninterrupted value stream that always feeds the need in the most effective way, even if it changes. Operational intelligence can both help you find out what that need is and how it can be solved.

It’s also important to use data to create a value stream that every employee at every level is able to see and understand the flow of value to the customer, and is able to fix that flow before it breaks down. There needs to be a visible flow of information that the employee can recognize whether or not it is normal or abnormal, and what actions to take in either situation for success.

 

How to use automation and operational intelligence with Catalytic

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to using operational intelligence is how to collect, standardize and report on process data throughout many moving pieces that involve multiple systems, people and types of information. 

An integrated, data-based workflow automation platform like Catalytic—which connects your people, data, and systems—enables easy, built-in operational intelligence and a system of record for consolidated workflow data.

As Catalytic orchestrates your operational processes, the Smart Workflow Engine’s self-managing data tables automatically organize data from each workflow into Insights—an operational intelligence dashboard to identify areas for improvement in real-time. To read more about how to use Catalytic and the built-in Insights dashboard for operational intelligence and continuous improvement, download our data sheet.

Written by Catalytic