Having spent over 20 years in the analytics space, I have seen how disparate data sources can be a poison pill for many organizations as they pursue analytics-related projects. The data sources vary from shadow systems to source ERP systems. They may also include data marts and data warehouses. I have worked with organizations that run dozens of ERP instances, sometimes from different ERP manufacturers. Disparate data is a common problem for many organizations. Data is constantly being produced, and that will not stop.
When selecting an S&OP or IBP platform, Demand Planning system, or Inventory Optimization application, it is crucial to ensure that the system be flexible enough to ingest data from multiple sources. It must also do this in an automated fashion. Removing the requirement for manual data integration is a must have, not a nice to have, requirement to enable your organization to scale effectively.
An additional key requirement for data integration is to dynamically refresh the data, through a scheduling feature or by continually “looking” for new data when it is ready to be ingested. This removes the need to manually start a data integration job or process, and allows your organization to yield greater benefits through automation. The latest available data is a key component to having the most up-to-date forecast, which is crucial when making procurement decisions in the supply chain.
After automating the ingestion of data from multiple sources, the next best practice is to enable notifications to the appropriate parties that the data import ran successfully, perhaps had changes to data that need attention or to help your organization “manage by exception.” These features enable your organization to scale your business. Having to search for changes in the data or forecast is a miserable, time-consuming process (think about how you currently use spreadsheets).
What if your data is growing so quickly that you have exceeded the limits of your system, or it is taking too long to run reports or forecasts? I have seen organizations that start a forecast or reporting process when they leave the office, hoping it is complete by the time they come back the next day. This is not rare, nor is it an exaggeration.
The Solution? Vanguard Software
If I’m describing your current process, you need a cutting-edge platform that scales, a system that can produce millions of forecasts per minute. There are not many out there that can meet those numbers. I know of one: Vanguard Software.
Our platform has robust data integration capabilities:
- Scalability: Integrates 1 or 100 data sources, 100 or 1,000,000 SKUs
- Automation: Automates all data integration requirements, and accurately performs millions of forecasts per minute
- Global support: Supports a few users in one site, to thousands of users in offices around the world, including multiple language support (over 100 languages)
Simply put, Vanguard Software is the best-kept secret on the market.