Sramana Mitra: When you talk about applications of big data in business process optimization or business process management, what kinds of business processes are you choosing to get involved in?
Dale Skeen: We call this [approach] operational intelligence. Some of the places where you might want to apply operational intelligence at the business process level are customer-facing processes or customer service, for example. We work with large telecommunication companies that have cellular networks with hundreds of thousands of cell towers. Those [towers] produce hundreds of thousands of events per second – we are talking about the quality of calls going across them. What the telecommunication companies would like to do is to capture this information, analyze it in real time, and act upon it in real time to serve their customers better. This way, they are able to identify their best customers or maximize processes that control [customers]. This is one example of us helping companies to get smarter about their operations.
Another example is contact centers, where you have certain processes: someone calls in and you make a trouble ticket for them. Then you start a process in which you fulfill that trouble ticket. However, it is possible that the customer becomes disgruntled with that service, process, or response. Then he becomes socially active and starts tweeting about it or makes posts on Facebook. These are negative responses. We thought it would be great if companies could monitor what their customers were saying about them and react accordingly. This is what we do with our technology. We enable business customers to become socially aware. In this case, for example, they can monitor the fact that a customer or a group of customers is having problems with their customer service. Then we can identify which customers they are, which business processes are affected by these problems, and then adapt business processes. The company can change the behavior of the representatives, for example. They are able to change the process and become actively involved. These are two concrete examples of how we work. We adapt big data to clients’ business processes.
SM: My understanding of Vitria is that it is a connector company. Is that still valid, or has it changed? What layer are you in? Do you apply connectors into big data systems, or are you providing big data infrastructure or applications themselves?
DS: We provide big data applications in the form of big data analytics. We provide the connection, which is in the enablement layer. We provide three things into this big data: visibility in real time, so we have useful visualization tools. The second capability we provide is real-time analytics. This way we can provide information in real time. This means you are able to understand trends and predictive behavior. The third thing we do is take action on big data by tying it to our previous generation of technology, which is based on BPM. These three capabilities – real-time visibility, real-time analytics and real-time action – are what we call operational intelligence over big data.