Obsidian offers a very valuable accompaniment for conventional business intelligence tools, as it provides a 360º vision of IT services, allowing for analysis of the impact of IT services on business processes.
Although we usually talk generically about business intelligence, it really encompasses two different yet closely related concepts: business intelligence (BI) and business analytics (BA). However, an official definition has never been agreed upon. In fact, we could even say that there are as many different definitions as there are experts working in the field. For many, BI is part of BA. For others, it is very much the opposite. Some also believe them to be converging terms. Others see them as complimentary disciplines, or even complete opposites.
Business Intelligence vs Business Analytics
In an attempt to shed some light on the matter, we have outlined below our definition of these terms and how they relate to Obsidian: The objective of business intelligence is to build data models using multiple sources. These sources provide knowledge to help support decision making processes.
The purpose of business analytics is to analyse the data models provided by business intelligence and apply statistical techniques and artificial intelligence. The objective is order to understand the “why” behind the data, its distribution and forecasting.
Perhaps another difference between BI and BA is that the former is traditionally associated with the generation of models using multiple sources, creating dashboards and reports, and its distribution across the entire organisation.
On the other hand, the world of BA is associated more with the act of drawing conclusions from data models, applying multiple techniques: descriptive analytics, discovering visual patterns, predictive modelling, machine learning etc.
In fact, the world of analytics has made popular the concept of self-service analytics: Each user is provided with the necessary tools and data to complete their own analysis and obtain their own individual conclusions.
As the years have gone by, the line dividing the two disciplines has become increasingly blurred, and practically all tools present in the Gartner magic quadrant show characteristics belonging to both BI and BA disciplines.
Obsidian and business intelligence tools
According to the previously outlined definitions, Obsidian would be considered a type of specific BI for service management. It provides a holistic model of IT services and their impact on business.
It is based on a service modelling methodology which gathers data both for real time and historical analysis. With it, Obsidian’s objective is the real time and historic monitoring of the fulfillment of SLAs. This, therefore, means that analysis is not part of its purpose.
This model can be used as a base for classic BI tools, in order to create a more complete model. Obsidian offers a very valuable accompaniment for conventional business intelligence tools, as it provides a 360º vision of IT services, allowing for analysis of the impact of IT services on business processes.
Obsidian with analysis and visualisation tools
In order to complete analysis, you will, first of all, need a data model. This model can be very simple and can be built using Excel or any other corporate tool. On the contrary, it can be built using business intelligence models.
Obsidian provides a complete model for service management which would be impossible to natively build with analysis tools.
This means that Obsidian does not compete with analysis tools, as both are mutually beneficial.
What Obsidian does contribute to analysis tools is:
- A data model for service level and SLA compliance. Analysis tools don’t have a real time calculation engine. Nor do they offer mechanisms for adding indicators for the generation of service level indicators using infrastructure and software metrics.
- An additional level of analysis. All the data added at service level can be used by Business Analytics tools to analyse behaviours, detect patterns, etc. It can also be integrated with classic BI models and provide additional drill down criteria of business data.
On the other hand, visual analytic functionalities incorporated within Obsidian are not comparable to those offered by commercial analysis platforms. It will always be useful to have a tool of this type in order to get the most out of the information provided by Obsidian.
Integration with Obsidian
Obsidian’s data model can be consulted from any BI/BA tool in two different ways:
- Using Obsidian’s REST webservice which facilitates information on service and component levels. It also facilitates the natural language processing of real time indicators, reports and notifications.
- Direct access using Obsidian’s MySQL database, whose relational model is documented in the administration manual.
Examples of integration with Business Intelligence and Analytics tools
Select any of the below links to see different examples of the integration of Obsidian with Business Intelligence and Business Analytics platforms.
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