An article on Microsoft's new Business Scorecard Manager in the Wall Street Journal was brought to my attention this morning. Titled "Microsoft Unveils Tool to Analyze Business Data" it discussed another extension to Microsoft's range of Business Intelligence tools. Happy as I am to see this broadening of the target for business intelligence tools, I think the comment made by Lewis Levin is particularly noteworthy:
"Our view is that decisions are made at all levels of the organization"
Now I completely agree with Lewis. I also agree that more access to simple to understand summaries of progress to date, the state of the business etc would be useful for almost anyone (assuming you build a scorecard that makes sense to them). I do think, however, that the power of analysis or analytics to a front-line person or to a customer in a self-service model, comes from improving the decisions made at the point of contact. This means being able to embed both the analysis and the actions to take as a result in operational systems and websites. This is the basic premise behind EDM and the use of a combination of business rules and predictive analytics to "operationalize" business intelligence.
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