Earlier today, Endeca announced that Ford has deployed a new spend analysis solution. But calling this a "spend analysis" solution only captures a small piece of what the tool is capable of. According to the press release, "the solution supports a corporate initiative to reduce direct material costs and identify opportunities for parts consolidation and efficiencies for existing and new vehicle programs. The Endeca solution integrates data from more than seven different source systems. These include purchasing, finance, supplier, engineering, and part catalog applications, offering sourcing professionals 360-degree visibility of part and supplier related data."
I've seen a similar application of the Endeca solution and I've got to say that it's like absolutely nothing else on the market -- and you realize this after 10 seconds (static screen shots don't do it justice -- you've to start to play, and in their vernacular, go "off-roading"). The ability to combine structured (e.g., spend) and non-structured (e.g., catalog or part data) information with a UI that allows users to get at the same information in countless ways is unique. As is the ability to discover relationships between data sets. While some may criticize the concept of drill-able dashboards, they clearly have been living in an old BI paradigm. Drill, baby drill, I say. Just make sure you're leaving Cognos or Business Objects -- not to mention the entire old-fashioned report-driven approach to getting at information -- at home.
- Jason Busch