There is no collection of data in any other area of a business as massive and complex as that created across the supply chain. Unfortunately, companies have not been able to convert these massive troves of data into anything meaningful because:
- Systems across the supply chain have traditionally not communicated with one another. So, data sets sit in silos.
- Most legacy systems do not have an easy and intuitive reporting interface.
A new breed of innovative supply chain leaders realizes that the first step to eliminating these challenges is recognizing the importance of actionable analytics. For there to be a solid data and analytics foundation will likely involve investing in an agile, modern, and lightweight analytics product. Here are some trends I’ve seen across the best of modern supply chain analytics products in the market today:
Connected data sets provide a more robust analytics layer.
I have written about how the future of supply chain tech stacks belongs to horizontal platforms. Connected product suites with open APIs inherently provide a robust analytics foundational layer. Aggregating varied data sets is the most critical step to complete before any analytics roadmap is executed. To accomplish this, companies are increasingly turning to horizontal platforms with open architecture philosophies.
The best analytics products help each user type self-guide and self-navigate their journeys across the supply chain.
What does this mean? Supply chain data is massive, and software products can shock and confuse users with their innumerable screens and functionality. The role of smart analytics is not just actionable insights but also delivering an intelligent, configurable user experience for every type of customer, so they can sail across only the parts of the product that add value to their job functions. This configurable experience is possible through the discovery process during a customer’s onboarding, where software providers and their customers can map every user type to configured journeys. Additionally, data gathered from a user’s behavior and navigation map can help further optimize their future user journeys. For example, home screen landing page dashboards can be configured for different user types. Each dashboard identifies the top priorities, summaries, and exceptions, further helping each user intelligently map their next steps.
Leveraging data exchanges with the ability to sell and buy data is becoming an indisputable advantage.
Data is the most valuable and differentiating asset for companies. Only recently have companies had access to all their supply chain data in an aggregated and usable form on the cloud – important because cloud data platforms provide the speed to conduct high-performance analytics. Only recently have companies been able to share and monetize this data. This is both radical and transformative because this data exchange, especially when combined with syndicated and macroeconomic data, can mean a better supply chain for everyone. This sharing can increase supply chain flexibility and reduce execution risks.
Configurable reports raise the bar for users by leveraging a combination of connected data sets and superior user interfaces.
Analytics reports in legacy reports are static, meaning they provide a single view of a data cut, leaving users feeling like they have been served an incomplete cut of the data. Users can choose the level of aggregation, time window, chart types, and parameters to view with configurable reports, giving them a view of the data that is the correct answer to their question in real-time.
Keep it simple stupid. Indeed, the best designs are the simplest designs. While underlying data is complex and massive, the best analytics systems can convert that complexity into beautiful and easy-to-read dashboards and reports for end-users.