Introducing "smart" systems and business analytics into an organization is an IT challenge. Historically, IT has supported online transaction processing for internal operations and customer-facing systems, and then used batch processing to wrap up all of the activities at the end of a processing period. But, increasingly, businesses are beginning to incorporate smart systems that go beyond isolated enclaves of automation built into computers and networks and tap directly into the critical thinking behind mission-critical business processes.
To cite some examples:
Retailers like Amazon monitor traffic on their websites to determine the Web pages most frequently visited and also to log demographic information from sales so they can tailor product pitches to individual consumers.
Professional football teams like the Seattle Seahawks consolidate ticket sales transactions with customer demographics in a single database so that intelligence can be gathered and analyzed for the delivery of custom promotions to highly targeted segments of their customer base.
Primerica builds in business intelligence and automation to "bullet-proof" the insurance application process that its 95,000 in-field independent sales agents step through with clients to ensure that the process goes smoothly and correctly the first time.
SUSE Linux develops a tool that can create a virtual instance of a Linux image for virtualization that automatically checks that image for compatibility with the current Linux operating system and with IT’s compliance and other business rules--and with the click of a mouse, sends that image to any target platform---from an x86 computer all the way up to a mainframe.