9 items tagged "business,"

  • 2016 wordt het jaar van de kunstmatige intelligentie

    Artificial-intelligence.jpg-1024x678December is traditiegetrouw de periode van het jaar om terug te blikken en oudjaarsdag is daarbij in het bijzonder natuurlijk de beste dag voor. Bij Numrush kijken we echter liever vooruit. Dat deden we begin december al met ons RUSH Magazine. In deze Gift Guide gaven we cadeautips aan de hand van een aantal thema’s waar we komend jaar veel over gaan horen.Eén onderwerp bleef bewust een beetje onderbelicht in onze Gift Guide. Aan de ene kant omdat het niet iets is wat je cadeau geeft, maar ook omdat het eigenlijk de diverse thema’s overstijgt. Ik heb het over kunstmatige intelligentie. Dat is natuurlijk niets nieuws, er is al ontzettend veel gebeurt op dat vlak, maar komend jaar zal de toepassing hiervan nog verder in een stroomversnelling raken.

  • Big data's big problem? Most companies don't realize they're already using it

    bigdatahCompanies are already actively using big data. They just don't call it that. While the phrase has problems, the technology is becoming more intrinsic to business.

    It turns out that no one knows what the heck big data is, and about the same number of companies are actually doing anything meaningful with it, according to a new study from Dresner Advisory Services. Surprised? More about the study? Click here.

    You shouldn't be. After all, despite years of big data prognostication, most companies still struggle to even put little data to use.

    This isn't to suggest that big data isn't a big deal, or that companies aren't deriving massive value today from their data. It is and they are. But, to get value from big data, companies first need to get real.

    Who needs it?

    As Datamation's James Maguire captures, Dresner Advisory Services doesn't see much adoption of big data.


    Just 17% of companies acknowledge using big data today, with another 47% putting it off into an indeterminate future. No wonder, then, that the report's authors conclude, "Despite an extended period of awareness building and hype, actual deployment of big data analytics is not broadly applicable to most organizations at the present time."

    Big data, big nothing?

    Well, no. After all, 59% of the report's respondents also claim big data is "critically important," despite not doing anything with it (apparently). Something is clearly going on here....

    That "something," I suspect, is just definitional.

    You keep using that word...

    Way back in the prehistoric world of 2012, NewVantage Partners upended the prevailing wisdom of what the "big" in big data actually meant. Despite tons of hype around petabyte-scale data problems, largely fueled by Hadoop and its ecosystem vendors, the reality was (and is) that most companies don't have petabyte-scale problems.

    The primary problems most companies struggle with involve variety and velocity of data, as the survey uncovered.

    The market is finally starting to grok this, investing increasing amounts of money in technologies that more easily manage diverse data types (e.g. NoSQL databases like MongoDB and DataStax-sponsored Cassandra), and handle streaming data (e.g. Apache Spark).

    At the same time, enterprises continue to turn to more traditional data infrastructure like Oracle. As DB-Engines found in its 2015 year-end review, Oracle was the biggest gainer in terms of overall popularity last year (measured in terms of job postings, tech forum mentions, Google searches, etc.).

    More than sexy-cool NoSQL. More than cloud-first Amazon. More than anything.

    Of course, some of this increased Oracle usage has nothing to do with big data, and everything to do with managing neat-and-tidy rows-and-column data. But, based on NewVantage Partners' survey data, this comparatively "small" data is still where most of the big data analytics action resides.

    Moving beyond this structured data, too, I suspect many companies still don't think of varied, high-velocity data as "big data." This may be one reason so few companies claim to be doing much of anything with big data. As MySQL database engineer Justin Swanhart put it, "Big data is meaningless. You might as well ask people what color database they want."

    In short, big data is alive and well, but companies don't necessarily think of it as "big."

    So what?

    For enterprises wondering if they're being left behind by big data, it's time to stop worrying. As Gartner analyst Nick Heudecker posits, "big data" has migrated into more familiar categories:

    • Advanced analytics and data science
    • Business intelligence and analytics
    • Enterprise information management
    • In-memory computing technology
    • Information infrastructure

    Most enterprises are already engaged in projects that put big data to use. They just don't call it that. Even so, there's still a lot of work to do. As Michael Schrage, a research fellow at MIT Sloan School's Center for Digital Business, puts it:

    "[The] most enduring impact of predictive analytics...comes less from quantitatively improving the quality of prediction than from dramatically changing how organizations think about problems and opportunities."

    In other words, companies may already own the requisite technologies to put big data to work. What they lack is a desire to fundamentally change how they put that data to work. It's one thing to have a group of analysts decipher data, and quite another to use that data analysis to fuel real-time changes in one's business.

    That's not the sort of thing you can buy from a vendor. It's something that has to change within the DNA of an enterprise. Between a more accurate understanding of big data, and actually doing something with it, enterprises have their work cut out for them.

    Source: techRepublic



  • Business and IT increasingly seen working together to drive digital transformation

    BusinessITAlignment NashvilleTN BusinessWaysBusiness units and IT teams are finding more opportunities to collaborate and share responsibilities as digital transformation takes on greater relevance within organizations, according to a new report by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), the world's leading technology association.

    The study finds that IT departments are taking on a greater strategic role, and working alongside business units to use technology as the linchpin to drive corporate evolution. 

    “This represents a dramatic shift from the traditional viewpoint, where business objectives were driven by business units and the technology team played a supporting role,” said Seth Robinson, senior director, technology analysis, at CompTIA.

    While IT’s enabling and supporting role still predominates in many organizations, the report shows that its strategic role is growing, with 43% of the 350 U.S. companies surveyed online in October 2016 saying technology enables business processes.

    Nearly 40% of the respondents said their organizations use technology to drive business outcomes, 36% say the technology function plays a critical role in strategy, and 34% are redefining their business thanks to technology.

    The process of becoming a digital organization provides learning opportunities for business as well as and IT staffs. “Adventures in ‘rogue IT’ have shown business units that there is more to a technology solution than they initially assumed,” Robinson said. “IT professionals are changing their behaviors, too, learning more about business objectives and goals so they can help drive strategies and serve as an educational resource on technical matters.”

    Source: Information Management, Bob Violino

  • Do you know what a data driven company is?

    Most companies today claim to be fluent in data, but as with most trends, these claims tend to be exaggerated. Com

    Data driven company 1396308504-data-driven-means-never-having-say-sorry

    panies are high on data, but what does it mean to be a data-driven company? I went ahead and asked a number of business leaders.

    According to Amir Orad, CEO of Sisense, a business intelligence software provider, true data-driven companies understand that data should be omnipresent and accessible.

    "A data-driven company is an organization where every person who can use data to make better decisions, has access to the data they need when they need it. being data-driven is not about seeing a few canned reports at the beginning of every day or week; it's about giving the business decision makers the power to explore data independently, even if they're working with big or disparate data sources."

    Asaf Yigal, the co-Founder of Logz.io, ELK as a service cloud platform, agrees, but emphasized the importance of measurability.

    "Data-driven complains are companies that relentlessly measure and monitor the pulse of the business and are doing so in a continuous and often automated manner."

    Companies often proudly talk about data-driven marketing, but forget that the company itself should be driven by data, internally and externally. It's also important to remember that internal data might help produce information that can be used for marketing and sales purposes.

    "There's a lot of talk about data-driven marketing and sales, etc., but not a lot about a company as a whole becoming data-driven," said Manish Sood, the founder and CEO of Reltio.

    Bryan Harwood from Outsell sets says a company needs to meet the following three objectives to qualify.


    1. It should be able to not only draw data from a variety of internal and external sources, but also be able to blend that data in an analytics engine and distill it down to actionable insights.

    2. These insights should drive real-time decision making that infuses every level of the organization.

    3. The data should yield quantifiable results downstream that in turn, inform the organization about which data sources are yielding results.

    Considering the increasing complexity of data growing larger in size, changing rapidly and spread between many disparate sources, accessibility alone is not enough.

    "Being data-driven is not about seeing a few canned reports at the beginning of every day or week; it's about giving the business decision makers the power to explore data independently, even if they're working with big or disparate data sources. They need to be able to ask questions and receive answers that are based on data before the decision is actually made -- today in many places the executive makes a 'gut-instinct' decision and then looks for the data to justify it. But if data is readily available and easy to analyze and to present in visual form, it becomes an inherent part of the decision-making process -- and that's what makes an organization truly data-driven," said Orad.

    The surge of a data-driven culture has also had a significant impact on how companies are structured. The complexity of data forces companies to merge different department to harness their individual strengths to make the most of data. Being data-driven means making use of massive quantities of unstructured data – text, video, voice.  In the past this belonged to the IT department which had a tough time

    extracting insights from it.


    From darkness to light: how to become data-driven

    According to most experts, the road to data fluency is not easy or glamorous.

    "To become a data-driven company the belief in the importance of the integrity and quality of information needs to perme

    ate the culture of the company at all levels. It is not enough to start a formal data governance program, becoming data-driven requires a disciplined shift in the mindset of all employees towards maintaining the integrity and quality of their data," said Chris Jennings, vice president of technology services at Collaborative Consulting.

    Yigal from Logz.io asks companies to treat data as religion.

    "Companies need to be religious with demanding to see the data before and after changes are being made. Especially in fast moving start-up companies where changes are easily made it's prudent to track the impact of every change."

    To make sure data is not only in the hands of IT and other data enthusiasts, organizations need to embrace a switch in culture. 

    Most experts agree that business intelligence needs to be in the hands of every decision maker in the company to make sure the entire staff is aligned and fighting the same battles.

    "This way, there are no 'different versions of the truth' floating around in disparate spreadsheets, and every user has a consistent experience across platforms," said Ulrik Pederson, CTO of TARGIT.


    Once the organization is prepared for the switch, there are three key components of becoming a data-driven organization.

    • Build a data warehouse
    • Connect the most critical data sources
    • Share data through dashboards, analyses, mobile business intelligence, storyboards, and report

    As data volume, variety, and velocity increase, so does the organization's ability to make use of it, especially if the cultural and technical elements are in place. Analytics, resources, and skills should not be limited to a few departments, and everyone, from sales to marketing and IT to finance, should leverage the benefits of data.

    Source: InfoWorld. This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network.

  • How to Do Big Data on a Budget?

    2016-02-11-1455188997-848612-shutterstock 274038974-thumbTo really make the most of big data, most businesses need to invest in some tools or services - software, hardware, maybe even new staff - and there's no doubt that the costs can add up. The good news is that big data doesn't have to cost the Earth and a small budget needn't prevent companies from stepping into the world of big data. Here are some tips and ideas to help keep costs down:

    Think about your business objectives
    Too many businesses focus on collecting as much data as possible which, in my view, misses the whole point of big data. The objective should be to focus on the data that helps you achieve your strategic objectives. The whole point of big data should be to learn something from your data, take action based on what you've learned and grow your business as a result. Limiting the scope of your data projects so they tightly match your business goals should help keep costs down, as you can focus only on the data you really need.

    Make use of the resources you already have
    Before you splash out on any new technology, it's worth looking at what you're already using in your business. Some of your existing infrastructure could have a role to play. Go through each of the four key infrastructure elements (data sources, data storage, data analysis and data output) and note what related technology or skills you already have in-house that could prove useful. For example, you may already be collecting useful customer data through your website or customer service department. Or you very likely have a wealth of financial and sales data that could provide insights. Just be aware that you may already have some very useful data that could help you achieve your business objectives, saving you time and money.

    Look for savings on software
    Open source (free) software, like Hadoop, exists for most of the essential big data tasks. And distributed storage systems are designed to run on cheap, off-the-shelf hardware. The popularity of Hadoop has really opened big data up to the masses - it allows anyone to use cheap off-the-shelf hardware and open source software to analyse data, providing they invest time in learning how. That's the trade-off: it will take some time and technical skill to get free software set up and working the way you want. So unless you have the expertise (or are willing to spend time developing it) it might be worth paying for professional technical help, or 'enterprise' versions of the software. These are generally customised versions of the free packages, designed to be easier to use, or specifically targeted at various industries.

    Take advantage of big data as a service (BDaaS)
    In the last few years many businesses have sprung up offering cloud-based big data services to help other companies and organisations solve their data dilemmas. This makes big data a possibility for even the smallest company, allowing them to harness external resources and skills very easily. At the moment, BDaaS is a somewhat vague term often used to describe a wide variety of outsourcing of various big data functions to the cloud. This can range from the supply of data, to the supply of analytical tools which interrogate the data (often through a web dashboard or control panel) to carrying out the actual analysis and providing reports. Some BDaaS providers also include consulting and advisory services within their BDaaS packages.

    BDaaS removes many of the hurdles associated with implementing a big data strategy and vastly lowers the barrier of entry. When you use BDaaS, all of the techy 'nuts and bolts' are, in theory, out of sight and out of mind, leaving you free to concentrate on business issues. BDaaS providers generally take this on for the customer - they have everything set up and ready to go - and you simply rent the use of their cloud-based storage and analytics engines and pay either for the time you use them or the amount of data crunched. Another great advantage is that BDaaS providers often take on the cost of compliance and data protection - something which can be a real burden for small businesses. When the data is stored on the BDaaS provider's servers, they are (generally) responsible for it.

    It's not just new BDaaS companies which are getting in on the act; some of the big corporations like IBM and HP are also offering their own versions of BDaaS. HP have made their big data analytics platform, Haven, available entirely through the cloud. This means that everything from storage to analytics and reporting is handled on HP systems which are leased to the customer via a monthly subscription - entirely eliminating infrastructure costs. And IBM's Analytics for Twitter service provides businesses with access to data and analytics on Twitter's 500 million tweets per day and 280 million monthly active users. The service provides analytical tools and applications for making sense of that messy, unstructured data and has trained 4,000 consultants to help businesses put plans into action to profit from them.

    As more and more companies realise the value of big data, more services will emerge to support them. And competition between suppliers should help keep subscription prices low, which is another advantage for those on a tight budget. I've already seen that BDaaS is making big data projects viable for many businesses that previously would have considered them out of reach - and I think it's something we'll see and hear a lot more about in the near future.

    Source: HuffPost

  • Kerstman in het land

    Kerstcadeau bijna 100 euro


    Consumenten die kerst vieren met cadeaus geven daar gemiddeld bijna 100 euro aan uit. Een ruime m
    eerderheid van de werkenden (70%) ontvangt ook van hun werkgever een cadeau.
    Dit concludeert het  ING Economisch Bureau uit een peiling onder ruim 60.000 mensen. Hieruit blijkt ook dat de helft van de werkenden vrij is tussen Kerst en Nieuwjaar. Nederland draait die dagen dus 'op halve kracht'.

    Bijna 100 euro

    Veel consumenten gaan voor kerst in de winkel of online op zoek naar boeken, sieraden, parfums en andere verrassingen voor hun naasten. Gemiddeld geven zij hier 97 euro aan uit. De kerstuitgaven lopen wel sterk uiteen. Zo zegt bijna een kwart (23%) meer dan 200 euro uit te geven aan cadeaus voor familie en vrienden. Bij één op de zes blijven de uitgaven beperkt tot maximaal 20 euro.


    Ook veel werkgevers tonen zich van hun goede kant. Zeven op de tien (70%) van de werknemers ontvangen een kerstpakket. Voor de meesten van hen (63%) was dat vorig jaar ook het geval. Een kleine groep (7%) krijgt dit jaar een pakket, terwijl ze vorig jaar nog met lege handen stonden. Zij zijn bijvoorbeeld van baan veranderd, of hun werkgever heeft besloten dit jaar wel een kerstpakket uit te delen. 30% moet het dit jaar zonder kerstpakket doen.

    Halve kracht

    De helft van de werkenden (50%) gaat na het uitpakken van alle kerstcadeaus weer maandag aan het werk. De andere helft neemt vrij tussen Kerst en Nieuwjaar. 

    Bron: BI, 24 december 2014
  • Oshkosh: het succes van een klantgerichte IT-strategie

    Het bedrijf Oshkosh zal niet voor iedereen bekend in de oren klinken, maar het is een grote multinational die wereldwijde zware voertuigen produceert. Oshkosh bestaat uit verschillende business units die ieder hun eigen doelgroep kennen, zoals defensie, brandweer, industrie, media, sleepdiensten, betonindustrie en vliegvelden. Er zijn onder meer fabrieken in Frankrijk en Engeland. De jaarlijkse omzet telt zo'n 8 miljard euro.

    Toen de Indiër Anupam Khare in april 2018 CIO werd van Oshkosh was hij al snel onder de indruk van het strategische planningsproces van het leiderschapsteam, en hij wilde IT hier graag een meer integraal onderdeel van maken.

    Het OLT (Oshkosh Leadership Team) begint dit proces door de algemene visie en strategische doelstellingen van het bedrijf te herzien. Om de nieuwe visie en doelstellingen te realiseren, sluit het team aan bij belangrijke bedrijfsbrede strategische initiatieven. Strategische initiatieven bestaan o.a. uit het mogelijk maken van een people first culture, aftermarket groei en operational excellence.

    Zodra de OLT de strategie en doelstellingen van de onderneming heeft herzien, ontwikkelen de leiders van elk van de vier segmenten van Oshkosh (Access, Commercial, Defense en Fire & Emergency) individuele strategische plannen die de algemene strategie van Oshkosh ondersteunen en integreren.

    "Omdat elk bedrijfssegment zijn eigen strategie ontwikkelt om te integreren met de algemene Oshkosh-strategie, heb ik besloten om hetzelfde te doen voor IT", zegt Khare. "Ons doel is om IT te runnen als een business, dus IT moet dezelfde strategische planningsprocessen volgen als onze bedrijfssegmenten", aldus Khare.

    Strategische IT-planning gekoppeld aan business planning

    Khare heeft een IT Strategy Board gevormd, waarin ook zijn IT-leiderschapsteam een aandeel heeft. Samen bekeken zij de strategische doelstellingen van elk bedrijfssegment in een zoektocht naar gemeenschappelijke kansen waar IT de bedrijfsstrategie mogelijk zou kunnen maken of verbeteren en uiteindelijk significante bedrijfswaarde zou kunnen toevoegen.

    De IT Strategy Board heeft deze gemeenschappelijke kansen omgezet in een algemene IT-strategie, met de volgefnde elementen:

    • People first - Het verbeteren van de digitale fitheid van het bedrijf, met een specifieke focus op klantgerichtheid.
    • Het runnen van IT als bedrijf, dat wil zeggen het leveren van kwaliteitsproducten en -diensten tegen marktprijzen.
    • Moderniseren en innoveren van de huidige infrastructuur en het applicatieportfolio.
    • Het leveren van geavanceerde mogelijkheden met een focus op analyse, digitale productie en kunstmatige intelligentie.
    • Beveiliging en ontsluiting van informatie, een dubbele focus op informatiebeveiliging en gebruikerservaring.

    Khare en zijn leiderschapsteam zijn vervolgens in gesprek gegaan met de OLT en de presidenten van de verschillende bedrijfssegmenten met de vraag: "Is deze strategie bevorderlijk voor de agenda van het bedrijf als geheel en voor uw business in het bijzonder?

    het antwoord was bevestigend. Met de support voor hun IT-strategie, begonnen met de betrekking van de tweede lijn van IT-leiderschap. "We hebben een workshop georganiseerd om de strategie te herzien en aan te passen op een meer granulair niveau," zegt Khare. "Het proces stelde ons in staat om een buy-in te creëren met zowel onze business stakeholders als met het bredere IT-team''.

    De implementatie van de IT-strategie

    Nu de IT-strategie op meerdere niveaus en in verschillende teams is duidelijk was, was het tijd voor de uitvoering. Om de strategie aan de IT-organisatie te communiceren, gebruikte Khare een driemaandelijks plenaire sessie waar alle 450 IT-teamleden aanwezig waren en een samenwerkingsplatform waar IT'ers elkaar kunnen vragen naar specifieke cases, strategieën of projecten.

    "We rollen de strategie trapsgewijs uit van de CEO naar elke IT-medewerker, ongeacht hun titel of functie," zegt Khare. "Ons doel is dat onze strategie geen PowerPoint is; het is echt.

    Om de strategie echt te maken, integreert Khare deze strategieën nu in specifieke prestatiemanagement doelstellingen voor zijn team, dat alleen tijd en middelen zal investeren in projecten die deze doelstellingen bevorderen.

    Om de digitale fitnessdoelstelling (#1 op bovenstaande lijst) te halen geven alle IT-leiders van Oshkosh digitale oriëntatiecursussen voor hun teams bijvoorbeeld. Voor het runnen van IT als bedrijf gebruikt elke leider nu een "business value dashboard" om een business-gerichte conversatie met hun stakeholders te faciliteren. Om te moderniseren en te innoveren, stimuleert het team initiatieven die variëren van software-gedefinieerde netwerken (SDN) tot ERP-upgrades. Voor geavanceerde mogelijkheden ontwikkelen ze een productoptimalisatiemodel en voor het beveiligen en mogelijk maken van informatie bouwt het team betere gebruikersinterfaces voor desktopbeveiligingstools.

    Om ervoor te zorgen dat alle Oshkosh werknemers de verbinding tussen de Oshkosh ondernemingsstrategie en IT begrijpt, sprak Khare op het wereldwijde congres van het bedrijf. "Mijn rol is om drie dingen te communiceren," sprak Khare. "Hoe onze IT-transformatie jouw business zal helpen slagen, hoe we jouw leven gemakkelijker gaan maken en hoe IT geobsedeerd is door de behoeften van onze klanten, zowel binnen als buiten het bedrijf", aldus Khare.

    De connectie tussen de bedrijfsstrategie en de IT-strategie

    Om de link tussen de business als geheel en de IT-strategie te verstevigen, brengt Khare ook de leiderschapskenmerken van het directiecomité in zijn IT-leiderschapsteam in. Dit zijn:

    • Nederigheid: "Onze CEO en senior leadership team worden gedreven door de waarde die ze creëren, niet door persoonlijke agenda's", zegt Khare. "Nederigheid is een van de eigenschappen die ik zoek in mijn IT-leiders. We spreken elkaar aan als we zien dat ego's in de weg zitten."
    • Oprichtersmentaliteit: ''The founders mentality: how to overcome the predictable crises of growth, door Chris Zook en James Allen, aan al zijn IT-leiders. "We geven een gevoel van eigenaarschap en persoonlijke betrokkenheid bij het succes van onze bedrijven en vermijden de complexiteit en bureaucratie die ons kan afremmen," zegt hij.
    • Klantenobsessie: "In IT hebben we onze focus verlegd van het voldoen aan onze SLA's naar het inleven in en het leveren van waarde aan onze zakelijke partners en onze klanten," zegt Khare. "Klantenobsessie speelt een belangrijke rol in de manier waarop we prioriteit geven aan investeringen", aldus Khare.

    Tot slot deelt Khare het volgende advies voor alle CIO's die op zoek zijn naar een gepassioneerde, strategische en klantgerichte IT-organisatie:

    "Breng niet je eigen team en strategie van je vorige bedrijf mee. Werk met business en IT leiders van bovenaf en van onderaf om een nieuwe aanpak en strategie te ontwikkelen. De strategie en cultuur van elk bedrijf zijn verschillend''.

    "Betrek uw team zodat ze deelnemen aan de creatie van de strategie. Ontwikkel een strategie samen met uw mensen, leg de strategie niet aan hen op".

    "Creëer een op waarde gebaseerd merk voor IT. In mijn team hebben we het nooit over SAP of Microsoft. We hebben het over de tevredenheid van onze klanten".

    Auteur: Martha Heller

    Bron: CIO

  • The uses of workforce analytics in inventory management

    Inventory management software can make a big difference in helping to decrease your inventory gap and boost your profit. Here's what to know:

    You know better than anybody how many variables are in play during an average day in warehouse and inventory management. There’s low-turnover merchandise to look after, high-demand merchandise to re-order and equipment breakdowns to contend with. With global e-commerce raising the bar for efficiency and competitiveness, it just makes good business sense to look atinventory management software for supply chains. Here’s what you should know.

    Why worry about inventory gap?

    The primary advantage of reducing your inventory gap through smarter inventory management is cost savings. You’re probably not surprised — any gap or delay between inventory (supply) and the satisfaction of customer needs (demand) means lost profits. You also don’t want your warehouses or your vendors moving more product than they actually need. Inventory management dashboards can bring you better forecasting, a more visible and accurate approach to inventory counts and much more. Managing inventory more closely can reduce some of the more intolerable sources of inventory gap too, such as employee theft. When there’s a repeatable workflow for the handling of products and an accurate-in-real-time inventory management system to back it up, the attractive nuisance of having so much valuable merchandise close at hand starts looking a little less attractive. Then, think about the requirements of multichannel ecommerce sales. If your company offers customers and vendors a variety of platforms from which they can place orders or request service, you need a single order processor to keep everything straight. With modern-day warehouse management, you can easily automate your system. This can reduce ergonomic hazards employees face regularly among other safety risks. Invest in a system that can automatically receive and prioritize orders and check orders against existing inventory. New software can also plot likely sales forecasts to inform production decisions. Maybe the bottom line here is that inventory gaps and poor inventory management are types of liabilities. They make you liable for employee theft. They make you liable to re-order product that’s already sitting in your warehouse. They might even make you the weak link in an otherwise efficient, well-running, multi-discipline supply chain. Here’s a closer look at some of the advantages of bringing modern inventory management software into your operations.

    Solve inventory problems proactively

    If you’re tired of playing catch-up or scrambling for a course of action after something unexpected happens, you’re a prime candidate for inventory management software. And one of the most common events in warehousing is finding out you have more — or less — inventory than you thought. The best software for warehousing is one that builds a digital database of every incoming and outgoing SKU scan, in real-time. You’ve probably done one or two scheduled hand counts and paper-based inventories in your time. But thanks to QR codes, bar codes, RF scanners, RFID tags and other technologies, your database of available inventory can now be up to date, always, with every change in custody accounted for, from shipping to warehouse stowing to order picking and, eventually, packing and labeling for shipment again. You can still do random counts for peace of mind, but you’ll never again wonder what you have or where it is — or whether you’ll be able to meet incoming demand.

    Better manage your available space

    Devising more efficient and logical workflows is equal parts science and art. First-In-First-Out stowing of products and picking of customer orders is important for any number of reasons — including time-sensitive products and, let’s be honest, the accumulation of dust in product racks that comes from un-churned product. But making sure items are stowed with FIFO and size requirements in mind can help on both of these fronts and more. Just like your warehouse management software can provide real-time information about the materials coming and going from your facility, it can also give you a better understanding of your available storage and racking space. And it can help you arrive at better and more efficient solutions. For your stowing needs, management and pathfinding software can direct employees to the appropriate areas of the warehouse and automatically find bins of appropriate size and configuration for the incoming freight. The best systems can maximize chances to practice FIFO as well as cut down on mis-stows. What does this development mean for inventory gap? For a start, it means you’ll have a much lower chance of letting sensitive products spoil on your shelves because newer product was stacked on top or in front of it. Losing that many potential sales and having to scramble for new inventory can be devastating, and your bottom line might never recover if it happens at the wrong time of year or in the wrong season.

    Balance anticipated sales with leaner manufacturing

    Have you ever been in a situation where your sales teams were requesting extra inventory so that they would never miss a sale, only to be rebuffed by your supply chain managers, who had already been moving to leaner manufacturing principles? Finding the ideal middle-ground is something inventory management software can help you with. Your operation probably depends on manufacturers interfacing with procurement managers in warehouses and retail stores. If that’s the case, the importance of being as proactive as possible about ordering (or not ordering) new inventory becomes apparent. For example, you might have a product that turns over in your warehouses only once or twice a year. But if your sales teams bring about an unexpected, off-season demand for one of those products, you want software that can call upon the necessary parties in as timely a fashion as possible to meet demand. And more than that, you want enough data coming in that this intelligent, de-centralized system is able to produce reliable lead time estimates for everybody waiting downstream.

    Final thoughts

    Bringing a deliberate and, as appropriate, technologically advanced approach to managing inventory can be helpful in a variety of ways — but most of all in helping make sure there’s never too wide a gap between what you’re earning and what you have the ability (or the inventory) to earn.

    Author: Megan Ray Nichols

    Source: Smart Data Collective

  • What To Do When A CIO Pushes Back On Your Agile BI Platform?

    CIO pushback is part of a typical growing pain of all business intelligence (BI) startups. It means your land and expand strategy is working. Once you start expanding beyond a single department CIOs will notice. As a general rule, the earlier the CIO is brought on board, the

    CEObetter. CIOs who feel left out are likely to raise more objections than those who are involved in the early stages.
    CIO pushback is part of a typical growing pain of all business intelligence (BI) startups. It means your land and expand strategy is working. Once you start expanding beyond a single department CIOs will notice. As a general rule, the earlier the CIO is brought on board, the better. 
    CIOs who feel left out are likely to raise more objections than those who are involved in the early stages.

    A number of BI vendors that started out with a strategy of purposely avoiding the CIO found over time that they had to change their strategies - ultimately, there’s no way round the CIO. Forrester has also noticed that the more a vendor gets the reputation of “going round” the CIO, the greater the resistance is from CIOs once they do get involved.

    There is of course also the situation where the business side doesn’t want the CIO involved, sometimes for very good reason. That notwithstanding, if there’s a dependency on the CIO when it comes to sign-off, Forrester would strongly recommend encouraging the business to bring him/her to the table.

    The two key aspects to bear in mind in this context are:

    ◾CIOs look for transparency. Have architecture diagrams to hand out, be prepared to explain your solution in as much technical detail as required, and have answers ready regarding the enterprise IT capabilities listed below.

    ◾Find out what’s keeping the CIO awake at night, and outline how your solution can help the CIO achieve his/her goals. A lot of CIOs struggle with delivering capabilities “at the speed of business”. Your solution can help them do that, but you’ll need to be proactive in delivering this message.

    Next, your platform needs to have capabilities that prove to the CIO that you can become part of the integrated enterprise BI ecosystem. If the following capabilities are not already part of your platform, Forrester strongly recommends putting them on your short term roadmap (in order of priority):

    1.Integrate with enterprise SSO (single sign on) platforms

    2.Offer robust BI on BI capabilities capabilities for enterprise IT can monitor how/who/when is using your application and take corrective action. For example

    ◾ If there are multiple end user generated redundant overlapping apps, consolidate them

    ◾If there are end user generated apps that are using non enterprise standard data sources, offer to point these apps to the enterprise standard data sources

    ◾If similar apps already exist in other enterprise BI platforms, offer user a choice to switch

    3.Integrate (via partnerships and certified integration) with enterprise grade ETL, Data Quality and MDM platforms

    4.Open up your semantic/metadata layer for bidirectional updates (import/export at the very minimum)

    5.Open up APIs for application integration and customization

    6.Open your application generated data model (metrics, KPIs, attributes, etc) so that other enterprise BI platforms can access it

    7.Address enterprise data security concerns by offering a hybrid cloud/on premise (BI platform in the cloud, some data in the cloud, but also some data on premise) architecture


    Author: Boris Evelson & Martha Bennett

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