Process Intelligence: new name, same tech

At the close of 2009, some of my IT World Canada colleagues and I got together for a roundtable during which we discussed various tech issues of 2009 and shared our predictions for what might transpire in 2010.

My prediction was that a vendor would come out with a new buzzword in the realm of data analytics and would proceed to say that the previous buzzword it hoped to oust was outmoded. I’ve already seen the term business intelligence get replaced by business analytics get replaced by operational intelligence. And, each new buzzword is accompanied by a new approach to analytics that claims to do what its predecessor was supposed to do.

At Software AG’s ProcessWorld 2010 user conference in June, I spoke to an executive and co-author of Process Intelligence for Dummies about where process intelligence fits  amid the whole business intelligence domain. He sang a famliar tune, telling me that process intelligence – a term coined by Software AG to mean real-time analytics reaped from business processes – now does what business intelligence could never do. He called it “Business intelligence in real time.”

Sure, if you want to get specific, you could differentiate between the two. You can say process intelligence is about reaping data from well-architected and efficient processes, whereas business intelligence  is about  reaping data from back-end systems like ERPs, CRMs, etc. But that’s getting too granular. Let’s not forget that the definition of whatever you want to call it is about affording an organization the ability to reap real-time data from across the organization – be it from processes or from IT systems – so that business leaders may make solid and timely decisions that positively affect the bottom line. 

That said, I don’t doubt that Software AG’s  process intelligence approach  does what it has set out to do. But there really is  no need to bash business intelligence in the process (pun intended).  

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau

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