Chain collaboration is in many industries one of the biggest business opportunities. It can help to improve the quality and sustainability of products and processes, and at the same time reduce costs and all sorts of risks. By cooperating with their chain partners companies gain more control over their operations and can more capably meet market demand.
The foundation of successful collaboration is transparency realized through the collection, transformation, and distribution of correct, up-to-date and useful information. At the heart of this process sits Business Intelligence or Business Analytics, meaning the methodical exploration of usually large amounts of business and market data in order to gain new insights that inform decisions. No installation of our chain information management system ChainPoint comes without it and it is especially in this area we expect many breakthrough innovations to hit the market in the next few years.
For chain collaboration purposes we see three main trends. Probably the most notable are what business analysts call Self-service BI. Business Intelligence used to be the sole domain of IT specialists, but this will change dramatically. In the near future, Business Intelligence will be at the fingertips of every business manager so they won’t have to wait weeks or months for their information requests to be answered. Employing user-friendly applications and technologies like interactive visualization they will be able to provide for their own needs and thus be much more responsive to their business environment.
The second trend is coined BI Mobile. Serving the 24/7 economy the business workforce will increasingly use mobile devices, like smartphones and tablet-PCs, to keep in touch with markets and operations. The periodic assessment of past business activities will still be important, but it becomes ever more crucial to know what is going on right now. In times of social media and real-time notifications, many companies only have hours or less to respond adequately to chances as well as threads.
The last trend we denominate as Big Data. Humans, and the devices and sensors they apply, produce more data every year. This holds tremendous opportunities but is also very complex to manage. The structured data (e.g. in databases), as well as the unstructured information (e.g. in social media) that we like to employ, is extracted from an increasing amount of internal and external sources. This not only asks for more processing power and system interfaces, but also new ways to combine this data into meaningful information.
Being in the business of chain information management, we’ve already gained a lot of expertise in this last area. But we are confident that we will gradually conquer new territories in all three. Please drop us a line if you want to learn more about what Business Intelligence can do for your agro and food chain.