Most BI platforms and supply chain management (SCM) applications fall short in capturing and modeling the intricacies of global supply chain networks. It's not easy to gain broad intelligence given that companies usually have two or more SCM apps, one or more ERP systems and best-of-breed apps linking inventory replenishment and transportation management.
SCM vendors are adding BI and performance management capabilities to their applications. Therefore, it's not unusual to find dashboards, activity monitors and integrated event management tools for supply chain planning, manufacturing execution, warehouse management, transportation management or supplier relationship management.
To get a bigger picture, many companies have rushed to adopt BI platforms that tap into enterprise data warehouses or operational data stores that capture transaction data from the main ERP and SCM systems. Yet this strategy often fails to support distributed decision making, master data management, visibility of trading partners and predictive performance management analytics that evaluate supply chain "what-if" planning scenarios.
Some BI vendors have made progress, but none supports trading partner visibility and detailed supply-and-demand scenario planning, which requires integrating trading partner data and a mix of planning and transaction information. To take these steps, businesses are turning to vendors including IBM, Kalido, Saqqara and Tibco for trading partner master data management; Interlace, Kinaxis or SymphonyRPM for scenario planning; and RiverOne, seeCommerce or Viewlocity for trading partner visibility. Be on the lookout for SCM-related integrations and acquisitions.
Business rules are the foundation of any business — business processes are, in a sense, no more than the embodiment of business rules. So how familiar are you with this important concept? Clearly articulated and easy to read, Business Rules Concepts, 2nd edition, by Ronald G Ross of Business Rule Solutions, will help you get there in comfort. Encouragingly slim (134 pages), a friendly and to-the-point style and good textual and graphical presentation make this a great read for your next short flight. (Note to author: For the next edition, add a couple of pages listing available rules management solutions.) — Rajan Chandras