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I have a firm belief that we are living in very exciting times. Those who are able to embrace the pace and flexibility required by the prevailing market conditions will prosper, those who remain inflexible and unresponsive to changing customer demand will fall by the wayside. One of the biggest barriers to achieving productivity and responsiveness is IT—it has become a bottleneck. Another barrier to achieving the goal is the lack of intelligence that drives most IT applications. They are just operating as a rapid functional replacement, and failing to exploit the data which is being generated within other elements of the IT infrastructure. A product that could meet that challenge and enable business to generate and deploy intelligence with speed, accuracy and without the need for specialised skills would be remarkable. I believe that InforSense is that remarkable tool.
Over the last decade Oracle has been busy developing its database into one of the most sophisticated analytics engines available to business. I have written before about how highly I regard many of these features such as their in-database data mining. I have worked with Oracle over many years and think that by a margin they do have the best of the general-purpose databases. InforSense is designed to sit on the Oracle analytics engine and shield the user from the need to learn PL*SQL or anything remotely technical.
It should be noted that in shielding the user from the arcane elements of what lies inside Oracle, InforSense is in no way diminishing the power and sophistication of what is there, it is just using a visual front-end as a sort of 5GL to enable people with various skill levels to exploit the power of what lies below without having to drop down into the technology. Using the InforSense IOE (In-Oracle Edition) all of the kernel functions of Oracle, which include data mining, text mining, data preprocessing, statistical analysis and some OLAP functions, can be united in a single graphical workflow to enable powerful analytics to be created and deployed without SQL or database programming—all that is required is knowledge of a business problem which needs to be solved.
The InforSense KDE (Knowledge Discovery Environment) makes that same power available to non-Oracle environments. Obviously the Oracle edition has the advantage because the data stays in situ and the analytics are being enacted at the kernel level. Data movement and manipulation, taking some 80% of the time taken to do analysis, means this is a major productivity enhancement. But of course not all data is in Oracle so the KDE is still an amazing way to build and deploy decision-making processes.
It is very hard in just words to explain how profound the capability of InforSense could be on how an enterprise could work once the tool is adopted. The tool encourages teams of users to work collaboratively to design workflows and to re-use them throughout the enterprise, but at the same time that does not mean one size fits all standardisation. Because of the way the workflows are deployed as readily adaptable, real time enactable modules, capable of in-flight modification without IT involvement, and with no need for IT to fear about users being likely to cause infrastructure failure, this is a giant step towards really achieving what is meant by business intelligence.
Today most organisations are operating without any real intelligence and, as a consequence, it is all but impossible to actually claim that anyone is really mastering customer relationships in a managed fashion; at best we are limiting the damage that is done. Management information is still bound into reporting, there is very little real knowledge capture, very little commentary and guidance to prompt the correct actions at the correct time to achieve the goal of maximising customer lifetime value. With InforSense we are starting to see that that goal is far from elusive. Further, because of the way that InforSense can be deployed throughout the enterprise, it is capable of taking existing investments in things such as a Siebel Call Centre and re-inventing their value proposition. By enabling intelligent real time interactions to be established, call centres can become not just a cost on the business and a necessary evil, but a vital proactive tool in developing customer relationships, a return to the ideals behind CRM when it was first thought about over a decade ago.
I am still coming to terms with what I believe that a tool like InforSense is capable of doing. I think it is a very significant tool, which merits very serious consideration. I would suggest that anyone who has Oracle and wants to be able to develop their business without being constrained by fears of technology it is a “no brainer”. I cannot think of a reason why you would not take InforSense IOE. For the non-Oracle environment I might have to think slightly longer, maybe two minutes, I do not think it would be a hard decision. I will be tracking what happens to InforSense and will be looking for it to spawn many imitators. I would suggest that it should be given serious consideration by all, with immediate effect.