Organisations in a range of industries around the world use situational intelligence to reduce risk, increase safety and asset reliability, improve productivity, ensure regulatory compliance, raise customer satisfaction, lower costs and create new revenue opportunities.
Examples of how these businesses are utilising situational intelligence to make fast, confident decisions include:
The Six Categories of Situational Intelligence
Situational intelligence mirrors human brain processes on multi-faceted situations and events as it seeks to fully capitalise on all relevant sources of data. Decision-makers like to be able to digest information quickly and actually see what’s happening (and where and when it happens) so they can connect the dots faster than they can search for correlations within static spreadsheets or text. To this end, situational intelligence focuses on creating multi-dimensional visualisations of data so that information consumers can see, understand, and take action on unfolding situations at a glance. This “360° insight” includes the following six categories of intelligence:
#1: Operational intelligence
Operational assets (such as transmission lines, drilling rigs, cellular towers, delivery trucks, and inventory stores) are critical to the day-to-day performance of many businesses. The goal of operational intelligence is to acquire and analyse the data these assets constantly generate and keep tabs on the health of the assets so that proactive action can be taken to address issues, such as maintenance needs, before they impact service availability, safety, and operational efficiency.
#2: Environmental intelligence
Environmental events such as severe storms, heat waves, wildfires, and heavy snow can wreak havoc on operational performance. In other situations, environmental factors play a role in driving operational success. Consider the importance of wind, water, and solar in supporting green power for smart grids. Environmental intelligence utilises data from weather reports, satellite images, emergency services, and sensors to help organisations respond to changing conditions that can have either a negative or positive effect on their ongoing operations.
#3: Location intelligence
Having insight into where things are happening is extremely important for any organisation with geographically distributed assets, customers, and employees. When a mechanical problem grounds a plane in one city, being able to quickly arrange alternative plans for the delivery of inventory or goods on that plane is critical to avoiding disruptions in service (and profit). Location intelligence helps decision-makers’ actions be more precise and efficient.
For instance, stakeholders can use location information to answer the following types of questions: Where was the plane going? Are technical personnel available near the site to make the needed repairs? Are other planes available at or near the location to deliver the shipment? If not, what other transportation options are nearby? Which customers will be affected, where are they, and what are the revenue implications of non-delivery? The list goes on.
#4: Machine intelligence
Using machine intelligence, organisations can automate complex business rules and processes, identify behavioral anomalies, perform “what-if” simulations, and make reliable predictions about behavior of assets under certain conditions. Common questions can include: What is the likelihood of failure of certain assets over the next 10 years? How will costs and service levels be affected if I deploy new, smarter assets over the next two years versus the next five years? Why are all customers in this area reporting high service satisfaction levels except for these 10 customers?
#5: Social intelligence
The rise of social networks has given birth to volumes of data that can be mined to better understand the experiences of customers, prospects, and even individuals who are using competitors’ services. Social data can also be a useful tool for capturing insight quickly about what’s happening “on the ground.” A map tracking social media chatter can be a powerful visualisation aid, showing, for example, how many customers in the same neighbourhood are tweeting that they don’t have electric service.
#6: Business intelligence
Traditional BI tools are designed to slice and dice archived information and churn out pre-defined reports. Although BI by itself may not be able to meet the requirements of dynamic organisations, combining it with the five other categories of intelligence is unquestionably powerful. Imagine, for example, that in addition to looking at “sales by ZIP code,” a business user can view a map showing the majority of sales by city, neighbourhood, street, or any user-selected geospatial area. Perhaps a business wants to identify the effect of severe storms on sales in particular stores, view the impact of social media initiatives in various cities, or make more accurate predictions about buying patterns at different stores.
Supported by situational intelligence, BI becomes infinitely more useful, giving businesses the insight to be one step ahead instead of one step behind. The best part is that emerging technologies are enabling users to obtain this insight through a single software environment.
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*We reproduce this article from the old website (https://web.archive.org/web/20161105025841/http://situationalintelligence.net/what-is-situational-intelligence/) as it has been offline now.