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1.4 The Business Vision for the Information-Enabled Enterprise

As we’ve discussed, the future information environment will have unprecedented volumes and velocity, creating a virtual and constant influx of data, where enterprises that leverage this information will gain a significant competitive advantage over those that do not.

What does the information-enabled enterprise look like? What new capabilities set it apart and above the information powers of today? Looking forward, we can envision new characteristics for an information-enabled enterprise that empower it to combine vast amounts of structured and unstructured information in new ways, integrate it, analyze it, and deliver it to decision-makers in powerful new formats and timeframes, and give the organization a line of sight to see the future and anticipate change.

We can think of this as an evolution from traditional reporting to advanced predictive analytics. Many organizations still struggle with becoming effective reporters, meaning that even their weekly, monthly, or quarterly views of the past are not reliable or complete enough to help them fix what is broken. Some firms are beginning to advance to a level of being able to “sense and respond” where they can measure and identify performance, risks, and opportunities quickly enough to take corrective action based on a workable level of immediacy that is responsive to business stimuli. Then there are a few of the most sophisticated who are on a path to advance to the next step in analytic maturity that involves having the capability to “anticipate and shape.” In this mode, they leverage information in order to predict the road ahead, see future obstacles and opportunities, and shape their strategies and decisions to optimize the results to their ultimate advantage. This concept is shown in Figure 1.2 where you can see the evolution of the information-enabled enterprise.

In an information-enabled enterprise, these capabilities are achieved through better intelligence that is obtained through the sophisticated use of data, empowered by a new analytical vision of Enterprise Information Architecture. Table 1.2 describes characteristics of each phase of this evolution.

Table 1.2 Phases of Evolution

Focus Area

Historical Reporting

Sense and Respond

Anticipate and Shape

Information sources

Information is collected from internal transactional systems.

Event-based information is collected and integrated from transactional, planning, CRM, and external data providers.

Actionable data is analyzed and collected from many sources, including external sources, new instrumented data, and unstructured and societal data.

Processing

Some large databases are processed in batches and create snapshots of the past.

Large quantities of data process and deliver information quickly.

Large quantities of Structured and Unstructured Data are processed in real time.

Source of insight

Personal experience and informed guess-work are used to make decisions.

Many of the most important decision points are supported by data-driven facts.

Analytical tools are pervasive and user-friendly. Information is delivered anytime, anywhere, over the channels and devices of the user’s choice.

Ability to see backward and forward

Historical data is used for “post-mortem” reporting and tracking.

Insights garnered through events enable decision makers to smartly consider future actions.

Sophisticated simulations and modeling are performed to more accurately predict outcomes.

Events

Events are identified and analyzed “after the fact.”

Events are tracked in real time, and sophisticated rules enable the automation and rapid speed of response.

Events are anticipated and actions are taken before the event occurs.

Performance and risk

Although some performance measuring is in place, there is minimal measurement of risk factors.

Action is taken after a risk event occurs.

Actions are taken that mitigate risk and improve performance.

Knowing the facts

Information is coded and interpreted differently by Line of Business (LOB) and departments.

Many departments have integrated views of information.

The organization has “one version of the truth,” which is defined and understood in the same way across the enterprise.

Summaries and details

Information has limited levels of detail and summary.

Information has many levels of detail and summary.

The needs of the individual and the environment are understood at different levels and delivered in personalized views.

Unstructured Data

Content and unstructured information is used only transactionally. For example, it is used for its primary purpose and then discarded or archived.

Vast stores of content are managed and analyzed, including e-mail, voice, Short Message Service (SMS), images, and video on a standalone basis.

Unstructured information is integrated with structured data and used for decision making and as knowledge at the point of interaction/use.

Wisdom and knowledge

Expertise and wisdom are products of experience and networking.

Information is gathered, stored, and accessed through knowledge systems.

New collective wisdom is generated via information and collaboration.

Lifetime of insight

Information is used for monthly, quarterly, and annual reporting.

Relevant information is used across the enterprise, having implications both up and down the value chain (for example, the flow from suppliers to customers).

Information is turned into institutional knowledge and accessed and used in new ways across the extended enterprise.

Integration

Linking of information across boundaries is difficult.

Key systems are integrated to capture important events.

People, systems, and external entities constantly connect and “speak” to each other seamlessly.

Timeliness and access

Users are not provided the information they need to make timely decisions.

Information is delivered in ways that are useful to the context of the situation.

Analytical results are timely, personalized, and actionable.

People

Significant time is spent “chasing and reconciling” data.

Time is spent responding to events as they occur.

People focus on planning, innovation, performance improvement, and risk mitigation.

Innovation

Innovation is seen as a discrete function of research and development or product managers.

Knowledge workers provide innovative responses to events.

Innovation is derived from all segments of the enterprise and from external sources.

Resource management

The enterprise continues to deploy more people to information management.

The enterprise actively seeks to optimize performance by making information more readily available.

Skills and culture are focused on improved analytical decision making at all levels of the organization.

Decision approval

Most decision making is top down and based on financial results.

Formal decision-making processes are in place to expedite approvals and executive sign-off.

Decision-making authority is delegated to more people and requires less managerial and administrative oversight. Employees are encouraged to solve issues immediately and locally.

Incentives

Incentives are aligned to key financial measures.

Incentives are performance- and decision-based.

Incentives are aligned to balanced performance measures with an emphasis on innovation.

These characteristics begin to “color in” the information-enabled enterprise. This said, the specific characteristics and capabilities for each enterprise are defined and built based on the needs and priorities of each organization. Determining this mix and establishing a vision for becoming an Information-Enabled Enterprise are the first and most important steps an organization can take on their enterprise information journey.

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