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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…

Stratum.Connector Processing Options

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Stratum Under CoversStratum.Connector provides different options for updating the Viewer Analysis Services cube and database with data from the Stratum database. Stratum.Connector V6.0 offered two main processing options. The recently released Stratum.Connector V6.3 introduced a third option. The various processing options were also re-named in V6.3 to better reflect their functionality.

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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…

Is That Dashboard Really a Dashboard?

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DashboardIf your dashboard tells you that sales are down, but not why they’re down, do you really have a dashboard?

Simply stated, the answer is NO.  A dashboard that shows key performance indicators or a list of metrics – but doesn’t provide the details to help you determine why those metrics are up or down – is not a dashboard (or at least, not an effective dashboard).

An effective dashboard should show you key performance metrics, provide comparisons to prior time periods and expected values, and then offer up further information that can help you explain performance variances.  Some people may feel that’s too much information – we prefer charts that “pop” and animated gauges, right?  Yes, dashboards must be easy to read – and good design is a must.  But combine this with information that actually solves the business problem – like how do I improve sales – and your users will embrace them. View Article…

Using the Right Tools in the Demand Planning Process

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Demand PlanningDemand planning in the intelligent enterprise requires the “right tool for the right job.” Arguably the most over used tool is the spreadsheet for many good reasons – availability, ease of use and user experience to name a few.  Of course the downside is well documented – loss of control, multiple versions of the truth, and the eventual overwhelming nature of large data sets that characterize detailed demand planning processes.

On the other side of the argument is the important requirements of demand planning tools such as an infrastructure that provides a persistent system of record for pre- and post-forecast analysis, a robust time series forecast engine that’s automated and easy to use, and a collaboration platform for refining the forecast results.  Let’s look at each characteristic in more detail. View Article…

Creating a More Collaborative Supply Chain

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Creating a More Collaborative Supply ChainNew sales channels powered by the Internet, build-to-order scenarios, increased competition and more demanding customers are changing the face of manufacturing. To sync up with these changes, traditional supply chains are evolving into “value chains” that truly share and integrate information.

According to Gartner, collaboration between vendors and suppliers ultimately increases value to customers and “to provide profitable commitments, each enterprise in the demand chain must increase the level of information it share with the others.” Manufacturers must adopt a collaborative business model to anticipate the changes that occurs both upstream and downstream in their supply chain.

Given the rising collaborative nature of supply chains, especially as any manufacturers work with dozens of vendors and suppliers, sharing and integrating information is no longer optional – it’s essential.  Manufacturers need to have the ability to collaborate with every member of their supply chain, and they must have the analytics needed to assist them in being as competitive as possible.  In order to truly collaborate with their supplier and vendors, manufacturers need to be able to share information down and across the entire supply chain at a moment’s notice.   View Article…

Why Do So Many BI Initiatives Fail?

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Sucess FailureThe benefits of a successful business intelligence initiative are hard to ignore. Collecting and organizing data from multiple sources and presenting insightful analytics help drive a more intelligent enterprise and make businesses more competitive in an increasingly crowded market. But according to Dresner Advisory Services (DAS) Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study, 59% of BI projects aren’t successful. And fewer than 30% of business intelligence projects meet the objectives of the business, according to research from analyst Gartner. Why are so many BI initiatives failing to take hold in enterprises? View Article…