Professional Round Table


Business Intelligence & the Systems Approach: From Data to Wisdom 
Chair: Dimitrios Varsos, Managing Director, MSI Conculting Group  

The twenty-first century organization works and networks in an interconnected world where ambiguity and uncertainty abound. This dynamic environment necessitates continuous vigilance over the forces that impact the organization’s performance, and continual refinement of the sociotechnical infrastructure that supports its purpose. Business Intelligence (BI) refers to a set of structured processes, architectures, and computer-based technologies, which convert data into meaningful information. Information, in turn, drives strategic, operational, and tactical decision-making, in every business landscape and level. Yet most traditional BI tools employed to support decision-makers lack the sophistication to effectively address the dynamic complexity that is inherent in the modern organization’s business environment, relying on the simplification rather than the holistic treatment of complexity. They tend to embrace a single perspective and direct attention to the symptoms rather than the underlying structures that are responsible for the manifestation of the symptoms in the first place. Hence, problems are often treated as static events and addressed within strict functional boundaries, ignoring complex networks of time delayed feedback mechanisms, which vary in strength and direction, and nonlinear relationships that exist between the intervention and the resulting consequences. Thus, the impact of a well-intentioned intervention on one part of the system, treated in isolation, may be entirely different than the (often counterintuitive) consequences that surface on other parts of the system, with entirely different short- and long-term results. Applying a systems approach to a traditional BI paradigm enables the decision-maker to transform the raw data that is generated or collected into the quality information that augments the knowledge that is essential to understanding the forces impacting the organization’s function, leading, ultimately, to the wisdom to balance short-term sacrifices, with long-term rewards. Wisdom encapsulates the essence of a systems approach, and the result of intergrading systems thinking, into every-day business operations.

Dimitrios Varsos

Dimitrios S. Varsos 
Department of Informatics, University of Piraeus,  
80, Karaoli & Dimitriou Street, GR-18534, Piraeus, Greece 
MSI Hellas Consulting Group, Irakleous 2, GR-11743, Athens, Greece

Dimitrios S. Varsos holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Informatics of the University of Piraeus. He received his Master’s Degree in Organization and Management, concentrating in Industrial Technical Management.  He is the co-founder and Managing Director of MSI Hellas Consulting Group. His work in research, consulting and education involves more than 140 corporations and governmental agencies in Europe, the U.S. and Russia. His research areas of interest include systems theory, complex adaptive systems, organizational theory, systemic methodologies, systems modeling and simulation. Mr. Varsos is a Member of the Board of Directors of the Hellenic Society for Systemic Studies (HSSS) and a lecturer in the Post-Graduate Professional Program Certified Systemic Analyst Professional (CSAP).


Business Intelligence & the Systems Approach: From Data to Wisdom