Supply Chain Business Intelligence Is More Than Just Technology

August 20, 2014
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Supply Chain Business IntelligenceSuccessful implementation of Supply Chain Business Intelligence requires more than just a technology platform

Once a company decides to evaluate a BI system to enhance their supply chain applications, typically the specifications for the physical implementation are dictated by the IT department, and requires their bu

Supply Chain Business IntelligenceSuccessful implementation of Supply Chain Business Intelligence requires more than just a technology platform

Once a company decides to evaluate a BI system to enhance their supply chain applications, typically the specifications for the physical implementation are dictated by the IT department, and requires their buy-in. The physical implementation of the BI software by the IT department is usually successful, however, there is more to BI than just the software.

People

The People and the Process must also be considered in order for a viable supply chain business intelligence solution to exist. The people part of the equation represents the user needs. Businesses must align user needs and skills with business needs, such as if additional training is required to help employees understand how to develop key performance indicators (KPI’s), how to tie metrics to goals and, most importantly, how to become a data-driven user.

Sometimes, incentive programs for departments and even individuals need to be employed in order to change behavior and align it with the expectations of the company. Consider using SMART goals to incentive employees. Employees must be bought in because they are the ultimate consumers of business intelligence solutions.

The people, however, are ineffective in their application of business intelligence data and solutions if the processes are not in place to support data-driven decisions.

Process

The processes refer to business goals that must be considered to help drive successful changes in the business. These include the vision of the C-level executives, the rules of engagement as it relates to supporting the business strategy laid out by the executives, and how they impact corporate goals. A successful implementation of a supply chain business analytic system requires clear project management that uses road-maps and sanctioned corporate standards to align and tie BI efforts to business goals.

Furthermore, it is critical that corporate intellectual property is captured through the standardization and documentation of business processes.

Technology

Interestingly the technology implementation requires the most hard dollar costs, and returns the least in terms of ROI. The real value in Holistic BI is in garnering the corporate buy in or, in other words, training the people to make better data-driven business decisions based on the data.

IT departments are charged with maintaining and deploying technology solutions that support business intelligence, including hardware and software. Important software components include technologies that can aggregate multiple sources of data; cleanse and prepare the data for analysis; provide reporting and analytic capabilities; modeling and demand forecasting capabilities.

More advanced implementations of supply chain business intelligence systems include ways to disseminate or push information to the supply chain, customers, vendors and distributors. Also, easy to use mobile applications help companies collaborate internally with key stakeholders as well as customers and suppliers.

These three important aspects, the peopleprocess and technology must be in alignment for a Supply Chain Business Intelligence solution to be effective.