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Clarity, Complex Event Processing Combine to Create High-Definition Supply Chain Solution

Analyst Insight: Visibility continues to be cited as a critical must-have to manage supply chains. Globalization and growing awareness of the risks induced by outsourcing has exacerbated the need to understand complex events. Yet most companies can only peer into the mist. Large blind sides exist across the chain. Fortunately, solutions are evolving to eliminate these blind sides, providing more clarity and the tools to manage multiparty coordination and seize upside opportunities. – Ann Grackin, CEO, ChainLink Research

Clarity, Complex Event Processing Combine to Create High-Definition Supply Chain Solution

Greater visibility is a persistent need by supply chain professionals. Visibility systems should addresses the “now”—not planning or transaction systems. To understand events, we need attributes about the event: Exactly where is it occurring? How fast is it occurring? Why is it occurring?  What are the conditions of people and assets in that situation?  Most of the so-called visibility systems today rely on a messaging-only  foundation.  But in order to answer the above we need a multidimensional picture of events.

First, we need a better definition of the visibility system.

A system that provides a current picture of events as they occur. The data is continuously refreshed so the user gets the most current multidimensional picture of what is occurring. Further, the system should have methods to understand the cause of events and the ability to impact future outcomes.

So what’s required? 

• Visual—a geo-spatial context for processes in motion.

• Informed— continuous streams of information about:

• What - sensor data about assets and their condition

• Where - location data on where events are actually occurring

• Why - conditions such as environment, geological and other data such as weather traffic, crowds, public events, etc.

• How - specific relevant business data such as order, shipment, demand.

- Multiparty—Enterprise-centric solutions have data movement through multiple translations and multiple fire walls, introducing latency and errors in the process.  Multiparty platforms can provide business communications (documents and messaging), social analytics and other information-as-a-service offerings on a shared platform with trading networks. 

- Relevant—Rules Engine—Alerts and events need deeper analysis and more nuanced rules engines that sit on top of data streams to capture relevant occurrences and prioritize activities for specific use cases.

- Insightful—CEP or Complex Event Processing—answering ‘why’ often means analyzing a series of events. CEP is an important addition to supply chain solutions, allowing analysis of multiple compounding events to understand causals and build responsive intelligence—actionable data for decision making that can positively impact future events.

- Responsive—Predictive analytics allows us to seize upside opportunities or mitigate risks in the future

Addressing the need to reduce inaccurate data at the end points or data sources should be automated. Out with manual processes and spreadsheets and in with scanning, sensing and location-based data! With this capability we can gain immediate insights, reduce blind sides and respond.

There is a growing set of offerings in different functional areas from supply management, transportation,  home delivery services , demand, service management to name a few.

                                                     The Outlook

Geo-spatial, location and sensor data are becoming available through information-as-a-service offerings. CEP systems are evolving so the average user—not data scientists—can evaluate complex events. Visibility systems are rapidly evolving to exploit these capabilities on a single platform with access through their mobile devices.  In the perpetual chase to stay ahead of business events supply chain execs will continue to acquire visibility/CEP as a major part of their supply chain portfolio.

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