You Could Take Full Advantage of Operational Intelligence

Think of operations as the circulatory system of your business. The organs – supply chains, manufacturing lines, mobile networks, product development and field service – are fed by a bloodstream of processes. All together, these operations nurture your line of business to produce the sales, customer services and satisfaction that in turn drive your success at the bottom line.

To fully benefit from a future of IoT and Big Data analytics, it will just as important to apply analytic intelligence to operations as it is, or will be, to your marketing and product-sales efforts. An understanding of how intelligent processes will impact your business is therefore essential in planning for the future.

Not Your Father’s Operations
To start, realize that today’s operations landscape is well advanced beyond the conventional functions of the past decades. Newer technologies have strengthened and revitalized the processes that bind and control operational functions. Newer, cross-functional processes flow throughout the organization.

Up-to-the-minute changes instantly inform manufacturing. New manufacturing advances instantly inform product development. Improvements in mobile networks are communicated instantly to field service.

In a complex manufacturing process, for example, IoT analytics can help predict and resolve an equipment failure even before it happens. Here, the analytics pipeline is constantly taking in factory-floor data, then correlating that data with “context” information on maintenance history and mean-time-between failure ratios for the manufacturing equipment.

The analytics pipeline then adds real-time situational data, such as the status of the equipment, along with error trends and scheduling. Machine-learning or other models use this information to then predict any quality issues, and the prescriptive analytics module determines what the next-best action should be.

If service is warranted, the analytics can trigger an automated workflow to dispatch a technician with precise instructions on how to find and resolve the anomaly.

A field-service application would work much the same way for a complex product, with the analytics pipeline creating a workflow to schedule a repair to the product, or sending a service technician to “repair” the product in the field before it fails.

Making It Better, Smarter…And Strategic
All this and more will get better – smarter and faster – as IoT analytics take hold. As an example of what to expect from tomorrow’s operational intelligence, consider the growth of robotic process automation, or RPA. It’s one of today’s hotter topics, and for good reason.

“RPA scenarios span a wide spectrum,” CIO.com recently pointed out, noting that they range “From something as simple as generating an automatic response to an email to deploying thousands of bots, each programmed to complete a specific task, to automate jobs in an ERP system.”

RPA, fueled by ever-more-sophisticated machine-learning capabilities, will take over much of the decision-making required to direct operations processes. This will free up human resources to apply their domain knowledge and technical expertise to create better analytic outcomes, thus creating infinite loops of continuous process improvement.

Perhaps the best part of operational intelligence, however, is its linkage with business strategy. Rather than having thousands of bots running wild, an operational intelligence infrastructure should be capable of linking all process improvements with the organization’s strategic goals.

This is where you, as a business decision-maker, come in, making sure that the IoT analytics, and the processes they control, will work to the good of the organization and the benefit of its strategic direction.

Check out Vitria WHAT IF white paper to learn how service operations performance can benefit from an advanced analytic solution.

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