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Comparing Performance to Plan with a BI Solution: It Should be Simple…

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Compare Sales to PlanTo plan or not to plan … this is not the question for this entry, although it is an interesting topic.  In this post, I’d like to suggest a simple way to save time by taking further advantage of your business intelligence system to see just how close you are to the plan you established for this year’s performance.

When we talk to our customers about Flexible Information Delivery or FID (see my earlier posts), part of that concept is “what is it that we are trying to deliver?”  Generally, we are trying to deliver either a comparative view, a trended view or a graphic view of information.  There are many variations and combinations of these view types but they tend to be variations on a theme.

Then it’s what type of information are we delivering? Of course the answer to that question can be many and varied — just look at all the different types of information that can be collected and viewed in a solution like Silvon Stratum.  But, one of the most common comparisons that we see is “sales to plan.”

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Increasing Customer Value with CRM Analytics

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CRM AnalyticsToday, the availability of econometric, demographic, lifestyle and psychographic data, business intelligence systems, the internet, and other customer access techniques are helping marketing and senior management make customer care a reality rather than just a vision. Companies no longer want to treat their customer base as a homogeneous collection of revenue-generating units; they want to – or rather, must – get up close and personal with each of them individually.

CRM takes a holistic view of the customer by trying to understand the total value of each customer over their entire life rather than on a transaction-by-transaction basis.  This allows businesses to serve the customer better and maximize profitability through increased loyalty.  View Article…

How Manufacturers Can Be More Efficient with Business Intelligence

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Mfg-Efficiency-BlogManufacturers today are facing more complex business challenges than ever before. In order to stay competitive in a global marketplace manufacturers are under pressure to produce higher quality goods at faster response times and with lower costs. Mass customization, outsourcing, and leaner margins are also increasing competitive pressures. Labor and machine resources often continue to be underutilized, making it harder for manufacturers to keep pace with demand, and many businesses still have limited insight to the production costs they actually incur.

Without a 360-degree view of their business and the ability to pinpoint bottlenecks and pain points, manufacturers cannot be as efficient as they need to be to keep up in today’s marketplace.

On any given day production managers, shift supervisors and business managers are faced with numerous questions relating to manufacturing processes that ultimately impact their efficiency and their bottom line. For instance, View Article…

Understanding Stratum.Viewer

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Stratum Under CoversThis is the fourth and last in a series of blog entries where I have been discussing the four main integrated components of Stratum. I have covered Stratum.ServerStratum.Planner and Stratum.Connector. Today I will discuss Stratum.Viewer.

Stratum.Viewer is an HTML web client that serves end users wishing to access and analyze the data stored in the Microsoft Analysis Services OLAP cube generated by Stratum.Connector.  Stratum.Viewer is installed on a Windows server and as part of the installation process we create a Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) website that utilizes Windows Authentication to secure access to Viewer.

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The Supply Chain Side of Business Intelligence

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The Supply Chain Side of Business IntelligenceGetting a 360-degree view of their supply chain is critical for manufacturers and distributors in today’s business world. With business intelligence – or BI – software, companies have unparalleled insight and visibility to their supply chain performance and can better understand how their company actually functions (versus how they expect it to), find ways to optimize vendor relationships, as well as monitor the myriad of factors that impact supply chain performance.

Here are three things that business intelligence software can do for the supply chain:

Plan What the Supply Chain Should Do View Article…

Understanding Stratum.Connector

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Stratum Under CoversThis is the third in a series of blog entries where I will be discussing the four main integrated components that make up Stratum. My first two blogs covered Stratum.Server and Stratum.Planner. Today I will discuss Stratum.Connector.  And in my next post, I’ll provide an overview of Stratum.Viewer.

Stratum.Connector is the Windows server-based middleware component that connects the Stratum Data Base (DB) to Microsoft Analysis Services. It allows for the selection of any or all of the Stratum DB dimensions/attributes, categories, measures and time periods which are then used by the Connector to automatically create a Microsoft Analysis Services OLAP cube which serves as the data store for analysis with Stratum.Viewer. View Article…

Self-Service BI – Fill It Up!

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Self ServiceThe concept of self-service business intelligence has been around for some time.  But in today’s business economy, providing consumers of information with direct access to data is essential.  Even more important is doing so without IT assistance.

Like the rest of us, IT professionals are being asked to do more with the same or fewer resources.  If they aren’t maintaining legacy applications, IT organizations typically are installing new systems to support various business operations – system implementations that consume huge amounts of their time.

Self-service BI is more than just providing a set of ‘tools’ to the end-user community so they can create, execute and maintain reports and queries on their own so IT while IT focuses on other core projects.  View Article…

4 Roadblocks to Strategic Spend Management

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Road signsManufacturers and distributors often begin a spend management initiative by starting a labor-intensive data-gathering project. Asking questions like What do we spend, with whom, why, and on whose authorization gives companies a better understanding how money flows through their organization and supply chain. Which materials and services, once the procurement is automated, will yield the quickest results? The fastest?

Purchasing professionals can get a clear look at how their vendors impact their spending habits. At first glance, one may think that finding the answers to these questions is easy. However, many companies have implemented division-based systems that make achieving cross-enterprise visibility a challenge. The supply chain crosses departments and silos, so only looking at one component doesn’t give companies the 360-degree view they need to achieve strategic spend management.

Here are 4 of the biggest roadblocks to strategic spend management: View Article…

Flexible Information Delivery – FID, for short (Part II)

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FID-BlogIn my earlier post on Flexible Information Delivery (or FID), I described a few ways in which different types of users may want to view their business performance information.   With an open, non-proprietary data base for information storage and management we can easily continue to expand our delivery methods.

Let’s look at some of the information delivery methods that Silvon provides as examples that you may want to consider for FID in your enterprise.

Supply Chain Business Analytics Provides Better Vendor Management

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VendorAnalysisA key factor of supply chain vendor management is collaboration between partners. Sharing information and collaborating ensures that manufacturers are able to make use of supply chain partner information to help fulfill demand more quickly within order cycle times. In addition, manufacturers can become more nimble, which will result in reduced lead times because supply chains are more clearly visible. Inventory will be reduced, stockouts will be eliminated and products that are not selling can be removed. But in order to build a stronger network of vendors, manufacturers need to get a 360 degree view of how their vendors are performing, where the weak links are, and where areas of opportunity for vendor management lie. All of this and more can be done with supply chain business analytics. View Article…