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Decoding the Information Revolution

By Daniel Cavallin, CIO, Celistics

Daniel Cavallin, CIO, Celistics

Data Consolidation and Conversion

One of the main challenges in the supply chain industry is the data consolidation. Very often, not all the links of a chain are directed by the same entity and, as a consequence, each one uses a different code to refer to the same products or clients. Master Data Management (MDM) strategies and standard processes under the same collaborative model are the key to confront this challenge. Once the data consolidation barrier has been breached, the second challenge is to convert it to relevant information where each entity can see the fruit of their collaboration through the analysis that can only be achieved with the global vision of the process.

“The key to make the right decision in supply chain is to have the information in real time”

Machine Learning—The Future

I think we are living an information revolution. There is big data everywhere, but Business Intelligence (BI) exists today mainly in the people; it is the people who analyze the dashboard and make the decisions, based on what, empiric experience? The future in Business Intelligence is to provide the algorithms to do the analysis, furthermore, to provide a mechanism to self-learning and adapt the algorithms to be more accurate every time. This is the base of machine learning; this is what we are going to see in the next few years to come.

Social Network and Electronic Wallets

I think there are many opportunities to create technologies. I think the digital social network’s boom and its insertion in the day to day business is one of them, creating predictive models based on popular opinions and comments, understanding people’s feelings, and measuring every word. That is a big challenge. Another revolution happening today is the way people pay for things. We are looking at how Apple, Google, and others, are implementing electronic wallets and creating different ways to pay. This technology can change the world; the bank is now in our pockets, not on the streets. Do we really need banks to make purchases? Can we do it Peer to Peer? We’ll see.

The Algorithm of Things

In the logistics world, the IOT will have a huge impact. The key to make the right decision in supply chain is to have the information in real time. If we have sensors in freight forwards, warehouses, and even in retail stores, we are going to know in real time what is happening, but this kind of velocity can’t be handled by humans. The Internet of Things needs a partner, The Algorithm of Things. Big data has no meaning if we can’t analyze it and make decisions right away, this is the time for mathematicians and scientists to enter in business, and the algorithms can’t be statics, they have to adapt following the behaviors of the consumers. Machine learning is getting closer and closer, a big challenge for the IT industry.

Added Value to Clients

CIOs today have a big responsibility. It’s not only about having all the systems up and running; it’s about innovation, and transformation. More of the IT efforts go to improve processes, efficiency. Here it’s easy, there are lots of ERPs and business applications that can help you; the tricky part is outside the company. The services and products you are creating, leveraged by the power of information bringing added value to our partners, is the key. Demand planning complements sales and operations while retail sales complements inventory management of the warehouses. Finding the information that complements your clients’ needs is the key to create a unique product, always a competitive advantage.

IT's New Role is the Transformation of the Business Model

In a highly demanding and competitive world, companies have to offer something more, something different. We immediately think of innovation as investing in some new technology that will change the world, but that does not have to be the case. Innovation can be simple and can have a huge impact. The CIO has to work with other C-levels, not necessarily on transforming the internal process through automation, but instead on focusing on the business model. Changing or adapting the business model can make a difference. When HP decides to sell Ink Injection printers for a very low price, even below-cost,knowing that they will sell the cartridges with a big margin that way, they are innovating in business model; Uber did not create a new technology, they created a new business model; Netflix changed the way people rent movies, the old business models simply died. If you are going to innovate in your company, focus on the business model and bring people the feeling that your product or service is better for them in this new way.

Converting Data into Information

If you are a CIO starting in any industry, you have to focus on three things; Business Continuity, Business Applications, and Products and Services. From the beginning, architect a data warehouse, keep your data clean and organized and find ways to convert it into information, adding value to your services. Don’t automate a process that doesn’t exist, don’t sponsor a project that is not of IT, involvement of the users is the key. Develop it with an agile framework and never stop to be creative, to innovate.