When it comes to spend and supply chain analysis today, we're nearly always limited by the availability of -- and in some cases, the creativity to consider varying -- underlying data sets to guide our drilling. But the future of supply chain analytics looks to be potentially broader and more expansive, factoring in millions of potential data points into single queries, if we're to believe futures like this. In the above-linked Supply Chain Management Review column, Frank Quinn quotes Deloitte procurement/supply chain lead Jerry O'Dwyer, who uses the phrase "advanced analytics" to describe a "supercharged supply chain" analytics environment.
According to Jerry, "Advanced analytics involves sometimes millions of data points ... often gathered from multiple locations around the globe. The patterns, trends, and other insights revealed through this analysis aids decision-making across the full supply chain spectrum -- plan, source, make, deliver, return." Jerry argues that technology is at the core of this new trend (I argue that BI technology as we know it is just one component -- automated data acquisition, integration, normalization, alerting and presentation are also critically important).
Perhaps this future state represents a melding of the type of customer data integration (CDI) and enterprise master patient index (EMPI) capabilities that Initiate Systems (now part of IBM) and BIQ, in my view the most powerful desktop analytical toolset for analyzing supply chain data, could provide. Regardless, I agree with the final assumption in the article that at some point, we'll exhaust much of the low hanging fruit that more simplistic data analysis can provide (although there will always be additional opportunities in procurement as suppliers overcharge or change SKUs, frontline employees knowingly or unknowingly engage in new maverick or off-contract spending, etc.).
In the second installment of this post, I'll share a few thoughts about some of the types of analysis that will be possible in the future (and that early adopters are already pushing the spend and supply chain limits with today). In the meantime, we encourage you to download our free reports that tackle the subject in more detail: