Over the past years we have seen an emerge for the use of big data in the supply chain network. Big data is being used for better understanding market tendencies, as a strategic asset. Where possible it is also used in an operational way, to improve business operations. This makes us wonder where big data will bring us the coming year. What will drive the big data discussion and actions in 2017?

The big shift

A few years back the competition was on “who has the best software”. Today we see that having the best software alone isn’t going to beat the competition. Questions like “who has the best information”, and “who is able to use the data most effectively” are becoming more relevant. The emphasis on this discussion will only become more prevalent in 2017. The battle shifted from having the best software, to having the best analytics to analyze and capture the best, most relevant data. This will help you outperform competitors.

Volume – variety

We all know the three (some suggest 4, even 5) V’s related to Big Data: volume, variety and velocity. According to specialists of the MIT, variety will play an important role in the future. The volume of data out there is enormous, there are millions of time series available… but it is not the volume that brings the best value, it is the variety of the information that is a core added value. Diverse and relevant sources become more important than the amount of data available. Finding ways to capture that variety of information should undoubtly be on your business agenda in 2017.

Big data – Smart Data (Machine Learning)

Obtaining data is one thing, knowing which information is most wanted and needed for your organization, is one of the things that is understated nowadays; we see companies overloaded with huge volumes of data, but drowning in that big pool of data, because they don’t seem to find a way to capture their most valued data. That is where smart data will take over. The availability of machine learning tools, with the capability of selecting the most relevant data for you, will be a rising need for 2017. That is something which we at Solventure LIFe highly invest in. Our machine learning tool helps you steer your business in the right way by selecting the most relevant data for you.

Qualitative – Quantitative 

Working with multinational companies for more than a decade, has learnt us that human nature still has massive influence on (and over) business decisions. Just to give you an example: imagine a CEO telling you the following: “Looking at our sales history over the past year in China, it seems we have a growth rate of 10%, this is a real upward trend! And business reports are saying that the economy will grow even more for the next year. We can guarantee you that the company will add another 10% growth to the sales for the coming year… and so you get sales forecasts with upward trends, whilst reality might kick in just a bit later… the opposite way.

What if you could make better decisions? Not basing your sales forecasts on extrapolation techniques and irrelevant reports? What if you could grasp the information that is outside those company walls, and take in external market data into the equation. Having a tool that can look for and validate external leading indicators for your business?

At Solventure LIFe we have real business cases where these problems occurred and where we saw a massive improvement in forecast accuracy by using our machine learning software with predictive analytics to find out what were the leading indicators that could better predict where sales were going to end up next year. Not by human assumptions, but by data validation analytics. Not only in a qualitative way, but with quantitative output.

Early adopters – Mainstream

Companies may say or believe that their current business performance is good and that they are happy the way things are going. We are happy when we hear that companies are doing everything to obtain the best results. But don’t we all want to be the best in class? Better than we did last year, better than we did 5 years ago, but more important, better than our competitors?!

If we can believe trendwatchers, Big Data is King in 2017. Not only will the quest for the best information and the best tooling for information be prominent. What will make a difference for you, is how agile and open your business is to adopt new technologies to outperform its competitors?

Start today with looking at initiatives to improve your sales and operations planning practices. For more information about our leading indicator forecasting machine learning tool, read our e-book to discover the essentials!