What is “next generation” business intelligence?

Kim hands_on_head“In the 21st Century corporate world the ‘winners’ will be the companies that do the best job of converting enterprise knowledge into executable business intelligence in a timely fashion.”

Robert Kim Wilson, The 21st Century Knowledge Supply Chain

Familiar old terms – critical new meanings

The phrase “business intelligence” when used by many business professionals, often is in reference mainly to sales and marketing activities.In the new millennium business language, the term “intelligence” is being applied to virtually every conceivable aspect of the enterprise activity — from the boardroom to the break room.

Best-sellers like The World Is Flat, Blink, Th!nk, Freakonomics, Wikinomics, and Smartsourcing… contain resounding messages fundamentally creating new definitions forthe 21st Century business landscape.The authors provide compelling evidence that in all cases begins by distinguishing the differences between data, information, knowledge, and intelligence. Globalization of business supply chains, extraordinary technological advances, and rapidly evolving markets — have resulted in challenges to the contemporary enterprise that are replete with a new order of complexity and vast, endless streams of input into the business.

Not so many years ago it was a significant if not sufficient marketplace advantage for an enterprise to simply remain knowledgeable about what its customers wanted, and what the competitors were doing about it.If our best selling authors are correct, the business survival in the new millennium marketplace calls for much more than a good IT department feeding knowledgeable workers.

The 21st Century success stories will be about those enterprises who act more intelligently in virtually all areas of business: operations, human-resources, project management, IT, business development, administration, communications, community relations, regulatory compliance, and much much more.

The fundamental point is data, information, and knowledge must be compiled and applied by the enterprise in ways that create intelligent action – stimulated by what is called executable intelligence – and do so with a swift decisiveness unprecedented in the history of business on this planet.The “knowledge worker” of the late 20th Century, must by definition be replaced with the intelligent enterprise of the 21st Century.

So what is now missing in the intelligent enterprise equation?

It surely comes as no surprise to experienced boardrooms and executive think tanks, but all of the business elements necessary for transition into this new era of enterprise intelligence — are quite often, not yet in place.

  • How do people actually think and learn on-the-job?
  • What motivates our employees, associates, and partners to take their own individual initiative to gain more knowledge about their job?
  • Why is it that some of our smartest project teams make the poorest decisions?
  • Which business processes must be better leveraged to support our employees?<With all of the great collaboration technology that we have, why are our people so reluctant to use it?
  • Why is it so difficult to get our partners to share critical operational knowledge with us, especially when it is to the obvious advantage of all parties involved?
  • From the unique perspective of your own business, what is the difference between information and knowledge? And even if I did know this difference, does it really matter?

There is indeed a single business concept that answers the dilemma of becoming the 21st Century intelligent enterprise. The most successful enterprises in the foreseeable future will be those that fully understand and embrace the Knowledge Supply Chain.

In the next few postings, we will pose a definition for the Knowledge Supply Chain, and initiate a dialogue about its relevance in the 21st Century.
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