In our last edition, Susan shared her views on the state of information integration. She took us through an historical perspective of data warehousing and the current approach to the challenges of EII. In this edition, she shares her thoughts on where she sees the future of the Real-Time Enterprise.
The Real-Time Enterprise
The real-time enterprise is moving towards a seamless integration between structured data, semi-structured and unstructured content, documents, e-mail threads, and proof of delivery for example, with minimal manual intervention being required over and above the high demands of faster and easier access to information.
In other words the focus of information integration within the organisation, is shifting to a more process-level integration, analytics, and trend analysis. The aim is to organise people, data, process and technologies as part of a critical and continuous organisational infrastructure.
The Real-Time Enterprise is related to business performance and business needs. Major emphasis is placed on Business Process Monitoring but unfortunately only those that grasp their business processes really well are well positioned to take advantage of information delivered in real-time.
With a Real Time Enterprise framework in place, it becomes increasingly possible to complete business imperatives more quickly, or even enable them to happen in the first place. In addition, accurate decision-making is enhanced within a relevant time frame, for example, just-in-time analytics.
Thus the next wave of business intelligence has increased attention to business performance management (BPM). As the scope expands organisations will opt for business process management and an information integration platform, which is fully integrated with their Business Intelligence tools and analytical suites.
The future will be process-oriented, with systems created by using a process model to direct the interaction of various systems and all relevant components. Functions of these systems will be exposed as services, and the process engine will be sophisticated enough to capture all the rules of the business process at various levels. Aiming for reduction of manual intervention and adjustments to data that span across organisational boundaries (manual intervention typically increases the cost and is prone to data errors – the cause for most data quality problems.)
Although substantial progress is being made regarding universal connectivity that is required to link processes, information and systems – it still means significant investment in integration technologies and the software platform.
One must not disregard the fact that old style methods of data Integration (the process of mapping dissimilar codes to a common base, developing consistent data elements) will still play an important role. The area of focus for data warehouse remains on subject-oriented (around natural data groups, not applications boundaries) and offers many great advantages (one being that of data that is organized by time and is stored in diverse time slices). Inclusion of the data warehouse is already a reality in EII and soon in the real-time enterprise infrastructure will become a de facto standard.