You Can’t Be Strategic Without Operational Intelligence

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Jul 25, 2017

In today’s connected business, companies implementing enterprise software need to have more than just a transactional system that can help ensure that a product arrives in the right place at the right time. Enterprise solutions should be able to go beyond functions such as training, licensing and certification documentation to bring together other data points that provide true enterprise-wide operational intelligence that can address the readiness of the workforce to meet business goals, service-level agreements and customer expectations.

Business Intelligence vs. Operational Intelligence

Many enterprise systems don’t have this enterprise-wide view, resulting in information gaps and disjointed integration. In order to proactively manage all of a company’s key resources, enterprise solutions should either include or be complemented by tools for better intelligence.

Many executives want real-time views of KPIs critical to the business, but these traditional BI-driven metrics only provide historical data with no context in terms of business goals.

Corporate performance management (CPM), a discipline largely focused on financials, at least places KPIs in the context of corporate goals. But lacking operational intelligence, executives are looking at past data to inform future decisions – driving the company forward while looking in the rear-view mirror.

Operational intelligence on the other hand provides full visibility of an organization’s value stream across the entire enterprise, uniting data from far-flung systems where work is performed to provide single version of truth. It can even monitor and identify business activities, inefficiencies, failures and opportunities and recommend an immediate decision or action.

How can this help you?

This approach can help businesses identify and solve problems in three key areas that otherwise may have gone under the radar – regulatory compliance, risk mitigation and departmental performance.

  1. Regulatory compliance: In project-driven industrial environments, a company may dynamically scale up and down to accommodate different sized projects. With OI monitoring, businesses can ensure only employees that are properly trained and have the right skills perform a certain job – safely and in accordance with regulations. This is especially important as businesses regularly adapt to new industry or geographic requirements with each new contract.
  2. Departmental performance: Traditional software can effectively hide under-performance as the system isn’t broad enough to capture all the relevant information. This underlying problem may not become apparent until a more comprehensive analysis is done, often at an end of a quarter or year – even then it can be difficult to track down exactly why losses occurred. But with OI, software can help solve financial under-performance caused by failure to meet key deliverables. For example, managers can see if a department is charging incorrectly or if there was idle time billed against contracts that should not have been charged.
  3. Risk mitigation: When the unthinkable happens, businesses need to be prepared. Just as businesses need visibility into the risks of not having certain parts or tools at hand, OI software can give full visibility into risk caused by a lack of successful planning or a shallow skills pool. An OI application gives businesses clear signals as to whether a given role or position could represent a vulnerability. If an engineering department is a constraint, if a key employee resigns, or if the ability to deliver on a contract is jeopardized, businesses are notified and can take immediate action.

HR benefits of operational intelligence

In short, OI software can address both the strategic and operational sides of human resources.

On the operational side, do you have enough people on shift to deliver the man-hours required by the production plan, and how much overtime will this entail? How does this overtime contribute to total cost, and at what point does hiring become attractive?

On the strategic side, OI provides the list of different skills and competencies required to perform various tasks, with the ability to rank these skill sets and capabilities in order of preference. It is also possible to define in quantitative terms whether an employee is a beginner, intermediate or expert in a certain skill set, which may affect scheduling and decision making. Once expertise is defined, employees can be attached to specific jobs with skills matched accordingly. Management can then identify any deficits and where they need to shore up on skill levels.

Intelligent HR

An organization should be able to understand and manage its staff with the same degree of rigor as they do with their physical assets. Only with enterprise-wide HR software can businesses make proactive decisions about how each individual contributes to achieving organizational goals.


See also: “An Emerging Trend For HR’s Data: Analytics-as-a-Service”


With OI, management teams will be able to more rapidly respond to or even anticipate human resources constraints without disrupting critical business operations.