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Leverage your ERP investment and let data fuel your growth

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is the backbone of many organisations. Providing comprehensive management reports across all business operations, marketing and sales, production and delivery, service and finance. Business leaders are now able to see up to the minute operational performance and react decisively as data is accurate, automated and highly visible. This intelligence informs what has happened, in each department and in easy to use business intelligence reports. In some cases, this extends to advising customers so they can keep up to date with tracking. While this makes us more informed than ever before, it doesn’t necessarily help managers make the right decisions on what to do next or where to target resources.

To make the right decisions business leaders try to understand the relationship between reports, understand why performance varies and the cause and effect between data points. This is where insight, innovation and competitive advantage can be gained; such as knowing the impact of marketing campaigns on leads and orders, how output performance will impact on revenue or which political and economic factors disrupt supply chains. Analysing all these possible relationships requires heavy data manipulation, time consuming collaboration across business units and IT, and likely many years of experience and instinct.

Imagine now that you’re able to take a glimpse into the future and see a prediction based on all the historical performance indicators. Highly tuned models that understand cause and effect across your organisation, linking both internal and external data sources. Analysis tools, not just reports, that give you the ability to test multiple scenarios and take the guess work out of planning. Take this a step further with machine learning where your organisational systems begin making decisions for themselves, based on many more data points than humans can calculate in a fraction of the time. Here we get into the realms of predictive and prescriptive analytics. Leveraging the data already being captured in systems like ERP, HR, Finance and combining these with all other relevant data sources which might not be in structured tables such as sensors on production equipment and customer reviews on websites. Organisational systems now learn, offer recommendations based on all the facts and provide options based on targets such as how to drive more profit, speed up delivery and provide exceptional customer satisfaction.

For some organisations this might feel like a very expensive overhaul to business operations without very specific clearly defined business benefits. It can also be hard to know where to start, but for others this is the new normal and they are winning. A Harvard Business Review study of data driven organisations shows they are more profitable and they are winning more business than digital laggards [1]. The OCF DATA methodology takes businesses on the journey using existing frameworks that demystify often used buzzwords and phrases such as Industry 4.0 or the 4th Industrial Revolution. Our combined data science and business analysts identify the most appropriate starting point for organisations with ROI milestones to ensure value is delivered at every step. As a guide we see competitive advantage being realised in four clear categories:

#1 Customer engagement
Personalise customer engagement with relevant price, promotion and products to increase sales and understand customer segments in more detail. Use sentiment analysis to stay in tune with feedback and quickly respond to what your customers say about your products and brands.

#2 Enterprise planning
Take advantage of connected data to see predictions on demand, supply chain fluidity, operational and resource availability. Create ‘what if’ scenarios to be aware of all the risks and be prepared with mitigation strategies with your suppliers.

#3 Production
Move from a fail and fix model to predict and prevent when it comes to production facilities and maintain maximum up-time. Optimise complex production, identify underperforming resources and implement timely corrections to optimise asset utilisation.

#4 Service
Understand what happens with your products when they’re in service. Nobody know your products better than you. Offer new levels of support, training and advice based on performance and how your products are being used.

OCF DATA combines business process, data science and technology to help companies like yours get the most out of their data. For a discussion on how data can be better used in your business please get in touch or leave a comment below. We’d love to hear if you’re already seeing the benefits or are looking for a place to start.


[1] REF: The Digital Business Divide: Analysing the operating impact of digital transformation // Harvard Business Review