Analyst Insight: In the supply chain sector, the speed of data generation and movement is ever-increasing, and is triggering the need for sophisticated and real-time analysis tools in order to manage supply chain processes effectively. But is technology really the only answer?
-Jorge GarcÃƒÂa, BI research analyst at Technology Evaluation Centers
New mobile applications can check the state of the supply chain at every step. Business intelligence (BI) tools can analyze data no matter where you are. Complex event processing systems can process events and transactions in real time. Business activity monitoring systems can do likewise for critical business information. Modern tools can cleanse, transform and structure data for most effective exploitation.
But as supply chain processes increase in complexity, the old phrase "garbage in: garbage out" still applies. Data becomes actionable information only if you keep the following guidelines in mind:
Ensuring that your data tells the truth is one of your most important considerations. No matter which technology you use, data accuracy is key.
Abstraction refers to the ability to provide each type of user with the necessary amount of information to focus on, and to avoid providing data that simply creates "noise" for information workers.
Real-time data might be necessary for some businesses, but it isn't necessary for all businesses. For most businesses, the important thing is that data be delivered "on time." That means it arrives at the exact moment that the user needs it - not before, not after. Whether it's fast and useless or slow and useless, data delivered at the wrong time is still useless.
Data must be perceived as a homogeneous and stable source of information to promote consistent use by information workers.
In 2011, mobile and cloud-based applications will enable supply chain organizations to deploy analytical solutions more rapidly. However, a balance of technology and implementation methodology is key to improving supply chain process quality, as well as process analysis via business intelligence solutions. Innovative methodologies such as agile BI implementation will be used to a greater extent in order to enable faster and more reliable application deployment.
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