Intelligent Analytics

Business Intelligence Software BuyerView 2014 Highlights

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As a business intelligence software provider, Silvon is always looking for research that helps us better understand the BI market (where it’s been and where it’s headed) as well as what our customers are looking for in a BI solution. We recently read the 2014 BI Software BuyerView report from Software Advice, who researches BI intelligence tools, and found some really interesting highlights regarding the state of the industry.

Here are three key findings from their report:

View Article…

Guidelines for Estimating the Payback of a Demand Forecasting Solution

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ROIMost companies that make the decision to move to an automated demand forecasting solution are primarily driven by:

  • Obvious forecast accuracy challenges
  • Highly variable process that requires too much local knowledge of the company’s products – loss of a knowledge worker
  • Lack of time and knowledge to produce the detail level forecasts required to support a more efficient manufacturing or distribution system
  • Downstream inventory problems that are clearly driven by forecasting problems
  • An attempt to drive more cooperation and ownership between sales and operations through a consensus-based forecast

In this post, I’ll describe what you should expect to pay when making an automated forecasting solution investment.  And I’ll offer up some general guidelines for estimating the ROI and payback from bringing such a solution onboard in a manufacturing or distribution business. View Article…

An Evolutionary Approach to BI

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BusinessIntelligencePhased deployment is a strategy that favors an incremental approach to rolling out Business Intelligence (BI) solutions, typically starting with a single department or application within a company. In contrast to enterprise-wide deployment, phased deployment allows early lessons learned to shape future roll-outs and ultimately bring greater visibility and performance management to business users on an enterprise level.

Here’s a proven 5-step strategy to follow when deploying and evolving with BI. View Article…

Assessing the Lifetime Value of Your Customers

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Customer Lifetime ValueCustomer Lifetime Value (CLV) is a critical concept for virtually every organization that’s customer-centric. At a granular level, it helps companies decide which tactics to use for which customer. At a more macro level, it is the key ingredient in calculating customer equity.  Yet, it’s one of the most overlooked and least understood metrics in business — even though it’s one of the easiest to figure out.

Why is this particular number so important? Mainly because it will give you an idea of how much repeat business you can expect from a particular customer, which in turn will help you decide how much you’re willing to spend to “buy” that customer for your business.  Once you know how frequently a customer buys and how much he or she spends, you will better understand how to allocate your resources in terms of customer retention programs and other services you’ll need to not only keep your customers, but keep them happy. View Article…

The Right Processes Will Make or Break Demand Planning

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MakeOrBreakManaging an effective demand planning process is challenging even in a small company and can be the primary source of problems or solutions to many enterprise planning challenges.  Demand planning people are rarely heroes and often villains — becoming the source of everyone’s anger and criticism.  Even so, they are still the go-to people when answers are needed.  In many ways this simply proves that demand planning is one of the key upstream processes in running an efficient intelligent enterprise.

There are several facets to a structured demand planning process that need special attention View Article…

Why Retailers Should Care About Data Mining

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RetailIn an increasingly competitive market space, retailers need to know everything they can about their customers: who they are, what they buy, when they buy, why they buy? And thanks to the amount of data flying around about customer buying behaviors retailers can answer all those questions and more, provided they have the technology needed to collect, organize, clean, and analyze that information. With data mining as part of a business intelligence initiative, retailers can have real answers to real questions in real-time.

Here are 3 reasons why retailers should care about the data mining abilities a business intelligence platform can give them: View Article…

Improving Demand Forecasting

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Why Improving Demand Forecasting Matters for ManufacturersEvery major company decision, from financial planning to project execution, starts with a prediction of future sales—so demand forecast accuracy matters. Under-estimating demand means running out of product when customer demand is at its highest, costing the company immediate revenue AND hurting your relationship with your customer base. Over-estimating demand means companies have to invest upfront in a lot of extra inventory, which then can’t be quickly turned around into a profit. With inventory typically comprising between 25% and 40% of assets, demand uncertainty is also often the single largest influence on stock levels. View Article…

What Business Intelligence Software Can Do For Manufacturing Companies

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What Business Intelligence Software Can Do For Manufacturing CompaniesManufacturing businesses are constantly driving for better performance in multiple arenas: higher returns on invested capital, lower product and overhead costs, better asset utilization, greater customer retention, higher perfect order rates, reduced working capital needs…the list goes on. More and more manufacturers are adopting enterprise performance management software and business intelligence analytics to help reach their performance goals. Business intelligence enables manufacturers to analyze the effectiveness of their lean manufacturing efforts, assess the efficiency their production operations, and pinpoint any variances that may occur that cut into profits. View Article…

Comparing Performance to Plan with BI: It Should be Simple… (Part II)

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Compare Sales to PlanIn my last post I discussed getting your plan into your BI system.  This allows for easy comparison to actuals so that you can monitor your performance vs. your plan.  In that previous post I assumed that your plan and actuals were captured at similar business roll ups.  For example, if you had a sales plan that was created by division, region, rep and customer you very likely have your actual sales captured by those same levels.  This makes for easy comparison of sales to plan.

Now let’s consider the situation when the actual sales are captured one way, and the sales plan is created another.  View Article…