When Intelligence Becomes Operational Intelligence

As organizations continue their paths to digitalization, the breadth and depth of available data are widening. All that intelligence needs to be interpreted before it can be informative. Tailoring this data to deliver the right insights at the right moment helps close the gap between insights and action, ultimately leading businesses to new opportunities and better decisions. This Operational Intelligence is the result of real-time data and analytics used to improve situational awareness for business decisions every hour of every day. It improves how markets are evaluated. It supports more informed decisions. Ultimately, it creates clarity from complexity the moment a decision is needed.


The difference between Operational Intelligence and Business Intelligence

Operational Intelligence is not Business Intelligence. Business Intelligence offers a combination of historical and recent data with trend analysis to help identify opportunities and benchmark realistic key performance indicators. Operational Intelligence delivers real-time data and analytics to improve situational awareness and support critical business decisions while conditions are changing. Both depend on automated data-gathering and sophisticated data-modeling techniques, but only Operational Intelligence supports decisions and actions grounded in real-time data as it is gathered or generated.

Operational Intelligence creates clarity from complexity at the moment a decision is needed.

Consider the requirements of a container ship at sea. Business Intelligence tells the captain how many miles were sailed, how much fuel has been burned, and an overview of the route taken. The captain and maritime operations team use the information to analyze, report on, and identify future performance improvement opportunities. Operational Intelligence provides the captain with current wave heights, surface winds, and updated weather forecasts — real-time data that affect vessel safety and speed decisions, even route changes at sea. The ability to identify, understand, and take advantage of an opportunity or take corrective action in real time is at the heart of Operational Intelligence.

All along the global supply chain, real-time insights are uncovering opportunities and helping eliminate uncertainty. Decisions influenced by changes in the weather, fuel prices, carbon emissions, commodity prices, and other variables all need Operational Intelligence to prosper in our dynamic world.


Integrated data drives Operational Intelligence

To capitalize on Operational Intelligence, a company must harness the available data, integrating both internal and external data sets and constantly incorporating newly generated, relevant data. Streaming data feeds and event analytics are modeled and tuned to surface industry-specific — and often task-specific — insights for operational instruction, process adjustments, and uncovering new opportunities. However, the foundation of this end-to-end visibility is digitization and the ability to ingest the required data. As more and more industries along the global supply chain adopt digital business practices, the breadth and depth of data increases, and Operational Intelligence tools will deliver more and more impact.


Operational Intelligence at work

With Operational Intelligence, the ability to create what-if scenarios and assess potential outcomes allows for more confident decision-making and improved implementation. This kind of flexibility is not limited to a specific industry or business process. It is becoming critical for any business that intends to make agile, confident decisions in a dynamic environment.

For suppliers and wholesalers in the refined fuels industry, Operational Intelligence on market demand and volume provide a competitive edge. Traditionally, this industry leveraged year-over-year data and past performance as benchmarks for predicting demand. Using an Operational Intelligence platform, like Energy Digital Commerce, offers market participants a near-real-time view of market conditions and transactions, down to grade and city-level demand data. This allows companies to uncover and capitalize on day deals while optimizing their ability to put the right product in the right markets at the right time, helping better manage available inventory and improve their margins.

Operational Intelligence is critical for businesses that need to move with their markets and plan for risk.

For those in the sports and outdoor events industry, integration of real-time weather analytics is imperative for the safety of players, fans, and crew. More than just starting or stopping activity, Operational Intelligence informs planning and risk thresholds for event day structure, crowd, and crew safety. Timely insights can also influence an event’s profit margins, including the effect of weather forecasts on ticket sales and food and beverage inventory. Even for indoor facilities, climate control and custodial cost decisions require analysis based on multiple data sets.


An operationally intelligent supply chain

Applied broadly, Operational Intelligence allows organizations to see and better respond to what’s happening along their supply chain. This is critical for the optimal management of the complex logistics that drive the global economy. The external factors that can disrupt the delivery of goods and services have a real impact. Tapping into integrated, data-driven insights to assess the potential impacts and work with real-time situational context can help avoid issues, reduce delays, and improve efficiency. The precise arrival time of a container ship carrying goods and predicted wind speeds at that time can affect the offloading of cargo. Current and predicted road conditions can impact delivery to distribution centers and idle staff for hours. Using Operational Intelligence can help organizations be more efficient from the first leg to the last mile.

Learn how DTN delivers Operational Intelligence to industries across the globe.