Operational BI is an oxymoron because BI is the discipline of gathering, transforming and integrating data from diverse systems, cleansing it and storing it for long-term analytical and reporting purposes with tools. That's "BI tools," that are designed for report development and distribution, interactive data analysis and automated visual alerts and displays. This process lacks three essential characteristics to be termed "operational".
- Real-time capabilities
- Direct, programmatic links to the operational systems that initiate actions
- Process Intelligence, understanding the steps in a process, not just the data it generates
A serious drawback to most data integration approaches is the inability to unwind the process and follow the thread back to the source systems. Once data is extracted, transformed and loaded into a data warehouse or mart, that lineage, though perhaps documented in the metadata, is essentially dead. It can't be operational if it can't interact with the operational systems.
Source: Intelligent Enterprise, http://www.intelligententerprise.com
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