When we say Business Intelligence (BI) or Analytics, normally, we mean presenting facts or data in a very meaningful, simple, visual / tabular representation. BI is usually intended to provide various types of insights; including trends, comparisons, growths / declines, measurement system analysis by various dimensional variables, geographical representations of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) etc.; into a vast ocean of data. Then there are what-if analysis, predictive analytics and more advanced statistical analytics or BI areas. All of these are intended to be a Decision Support System (DSS). BI and Analytics is generally viewed as a set of tools or an application, including but not limited to, interactive analysis; aimed at assisting in better and informed decision making.

Very rarely do we see BI as a Decision Measurement System Analysis (DMS), in addition to being a DSS. Whereas, as a businessman or an executive in the organization, I want to be able to, primarily, identify and address issues / pain points. I want to be able to identify the strengths and make decisions to act based on the strengths. I would like to identify opportunities and decide on course of action for possible threats / risks. The entire SWOT analysis can possibly be rolled into a BI solution / application for my organization. Having spent the moolah in investing in the BI solution or in taking the relevant decisions, the question that I would like an answer to is: “How have my decisions worked?”. Not to mention to try and quantify, if not qualify, the return on my investment in BI / Analytics.

This is where the role of BI comes in acting also as a measurement system analysis. Let us say, as the operations / infrastructure head of an airport, I took a decision in January 2009 to increase the number of runways by 1 additional runway, due to the increased traffic and demands. And, the same was implemented w.e.f 31st March 2013. Now, I wish to see the impact of that decision / implementation, to identify how it has helped in better Turnaround Time for take-offs / landings. Thus, I have a point in time, pre and post which I am comparing a particular KPI. Rather than just comparing pre and post any given point in time, I would much rather compare vis-a-vis a particular decision implementation.

And, it is not just this particular KPI, I would also look at other KPIs, like number of Air Traffic Movements (flights) or revenue etc. with respect to this decision / implementation date. It is not as simple as it appears here, there is more to it than meets the eye; which we will look at in a separate sequel to this blog. But, in essence, I would like to see a pre-decision and a post-decision impact and not only one decision, but several of my large scale decisions. That is when the effective BI / Analytics solution will be in place. In another blog, we will see how to learn from my previous decisions, as well. Till then, let us think DMS also for BI.

Measurement System Analysis

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