Supply Chains and Analytics in 2017 – What Will Change and Why? (Part 1)

We welcome this guest post from Kate Delimitros, a senior director at enterprise business intelligence provider Birst -- one of our first 'predictions' posts for the new year. Part 2 tomorrow.

‘It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future.’ This tongue-in-cheek statement from Nobel Prize-winning physicist Nils Bohr sums up many of the unexpected events of 2016 and our inability to forecast for 2017. Given that we will have a new U.S. President in January, the imminent triggering of Article 50 for the UK to leave the European Union in March, and the impact of both on financial markets to consider, making specific predictions seems futile.

Examining how companies can respond to an increasingly volatile landscape, however, is worthwhile. Use of analytics remains paramount. While data has been a hot topic for years, analysts have finally reached consensus that data for its own sake is not valuable. Rather, it is the ability to leverage data to make smarter decisions that has value.

Let us therefore consider the shift in priorities, as businesses apply modern analytic capabilities to making smarter decisions, in a year when everything else is up for grabs. Our first prediction is here, and you can read predictions 2 (Performance goals will be linked more closely within the enterprise) and 3 (The answer to everything will be in flux) tomorrow.

Prediction 1 – The supply chain ecosystem will drive after-market offerings

More companies will look to their supply chains to differentiate premium customer offerings. Most companies already capture data about sell-through, equipment performance and utilisation, but many do not re-package it meaningfully for their customers. By aggregating and visualising information with KPIs and benchmarks, analytics becomes a product or service of its own, and at a premium to the core offering.

Packaged as a standalone product or value-add service, analytic offerings yield higher margins in the form of differentiation, customer retention, and up-sell opportunities to bundle services with products. When you provide your customers with increased transparency on the performance of what they’ve purchased from you - as well as the information to further improve their performance on your products - they will develop greater levels of trust and dependence upon you, in even the most saturated market.

In fact, I’d argue that as more markets converge, analytic offerings are the only way to stay relevant and maintain the customer base. The alternative is that company sales strategies become a race to the bottom focused solely on price, and procurement will have to follow the same approach. Every negotiation then becomes a beat-down, instead of a partnership toward shared success.


Tune in tomorrow for more insight!

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