Myths About Business Intelligence in Supply Chain Projects

In our last post, we focused on why Business Intelligence (BI) is critical to successful supply chain projects ( Now we will take a look at two myths that we have seen while implementing BI and analytics as part of supply chain transformation projects at companies across industries.

Myth 1: The Reporting Will Work “Out of the Box”

Often we have found that reporting and business intelligence requirements get put to the side during supply chain software implementations because, while companies understand the importance of setting up the needed visibility for managers, supervisors, and end users, the reports and dashboards are generally expected to just “work.” Many vendors sell this idea when they demo BI as an add-on to packed software solutions. However, this is a common misconception. Packaged BI solutions on the market rarely allow for a one-size-fits-all approach. Additionally, the focus, testing, and training in a supply chain implementation is often on the transactional systems (WMS, TMS, etc.) until at the last minute someone asks, “What about the reports?” It is necessary to review any packaged solutions and incorporate BI design into the design phase of the project. Identifying a BI team early in the project will ensure users have the tools required to fully use transactional systems. Also, as part of the BI design, companies can gather and collect base line metrics to help justify the ROI of projects as part of the implementation. The ultimate lesson of this myth is that each company will have specific needs that need to be identified as part of the project design. Don’t assume that your BI will “just work” out of the box. Continue reading “Myths About Business Intelligence in Supply Chain Projects”

5 Reasons BI is Critical to Successful Supply Chain Projects

Over the past 10 years, we have received questions from various companies across industries about why Business Intelligence (BI) can make or break large, complex supply chain implementations (e.g. including ERP, CRM, SRM, and best of breed execution systems such as WMS, TMS, and LMS). We have listed our most common answers below.
  1. Better visibility to make operational decisions
This may seem obvious to most people. However, business intelligence which includes tactical operational reporting, dashboards, and alerts also should include bringing your execution data into an Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) in a timely manner so that it can be incorporated into overall meaningful KPIs. When bringing on new systems and/or upgrading existing systems in your network, often the required visibility for the business to make decisions in real-time is lost at one of these levels. Spending the time upfront to (1) outline your overall data strategy; (2) identify the system(s) that will be used to collect, clean, and integrate the necessary data; (3) ensure your data strategy is aligned with the operational strategy (what information is needed and when to make decisions); can ultimately ensure the business can make data driven decisions, boost moral, and ensure that you are performing at your best. Continue reading “5 Reasons BI is Critical to Successful Supply Chain Projects”