As the year entered its final quarter, I was revisiting some predictions pundits had made for 2019. It’s an interesting exercise I go through every year. Estimating soothsayer accuracy is not the objective. Some predictions will be right, a few wrong and in majority of the cases it will be difficult to say – either the data isn’t there or it’s too early for any decipherable trend. Regardless of their chances of coming true, the ideas are inspiring and make a good segue to predictions for the coming year.
Even if you live in a cave, chances are you haven’t missed the noise around ‘Supply Chain Visibility.’ The terms are many: “Control Tower”, “Operational Intelligence”, “Situation Room”, “Supply Chain Cockpit”, “Predictive ETA”, and so on. From software vendors to analysts to users, each group has coined its own terminology.
It was the penultimate day of my trip to our San Jose office. In the evening Vikas, Dinesh & I went for a short hike at the Alviso Marina County Park. It was a beautiful trail and the hike was uneventful except for Vikas’ narration of his past exploits with a mountain lion. After the hike Dinesh said that we should grab a quick drink and I suggested a nearby Mexican joint. “The place serves amazing guacamole. You should have that with tortilla,” I tried to tempt Vikas’ mostly vegetarian palate.
Look up an implementation plan for enterprise software, and “Custom Reports” will show up as a task with significant effort. However, talk to anybody who has gone through these implementations and they will tell you that almost 80% of the custom reports created are hardly used. In fact, most users will not even be aware of the existence of many of these reports.
Recently I overheard a conversation between two of my colleagues. One was requesting inputs for a task assigned, while the other was protesting that he didn’t have the time to prepare detailed documentation. The term “detailed documentation” appeared to send a shudder down the requestor’s spine. He promptly replied, “Please don’t give me anything lengthy… A half page document with ALL the details is what I need.”
Since the advent of BI, organizations of all sizes have pushed to broaden their spectrum of analytical insights. Of course, a key motivator for this effort was to improve operational efficiency. In many organizations, these efforts did not deliver to the management’s expectation. The root causes for the failure in most cases are information latency and lack of cross-functional linkage.
"An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed & direction unless acted on by an external force". No, this is not going to be a blog on the Basic Sciences... I mentioned Newton's first law of motion only to highlight an interesting parallel between the inertia of physical objects and human behavior. The latter is difficult to measure, but all of us have come across umpteen situations where we have modified our natural behavior in response to an event. And mostly these are changes for the good... improved driving habits when cops/cameras are in the vicinity, hitting the gym few days before a health check-up, quarter-end scramble by sales people etc. are examples of these. In the mentioned situations, cops, health-check up, and limited time have taken the role of Newton's "external force".