During these past two days I have had the opportunity to attend and deliver a presentation at the Progress Software’s 2011 Revolution customer conference.  Progress Software develops enterprise software that supports business process management (BPM), event-driven visibility and open integration of information. The name Progress may not be a totally familiar name to the supply chain functional audience, but readers may want to keep this company on your radar scope.

The conference itself drew by my unofficial estimate, over a thousand people representing multiple industry sectors.  Progress customers tend to be those in the IT function, but make no mistake, IT is paying close attention to the needs of supply chain, particularly in the area of BPM and predictive analytics support of supply chain processes along with needs for information cockpits and control towers.

My talk addressed the emerging adoption of predictive analytics in supply chains and I was pleasantly surprised at the number of audience members, nearly a hundred, weighted toward IT and supply chain support. I also had the opportunity to have dinner with some of the conference attendees who are actually implementing control tower concepts such as Dell and others.

The key messages delivered in my presentation are that the planning of global supply chain resources are quickly moving toward the need for more prediction of events and outcomes. Traditional supply chain key performance indicators (KPI’s) such as on-time delivery, efficiency and quality will be supplemented by key responsive indicators (KSI) regarding how the supply chain responds to changes in demand, supply, or market opportunities. The converging forces of a more volatile and fast-changing business environment that requires quicker and more timely decision-making, coupled with the converging forces in IT technology have now provided the opportunity for supply chain teams to leverage needs for broader proactive global visibility, information access and more timely decision making.

Today, supply chains represent constant information in motion, and BPM approaches to capturing, analyzing and predicting outcomes can produce value for businesses. Various forms of supply chain control towers are being discussed and formulated by leading-edge organizations, and it was great to view an actual released control tower application that is now being offered by Progress.

In all cases, every organization should have some form of a joint business and IT roadmap that leverages planning processes into various forms of more predictive planning and analytics.

Does your organization have such a roadmap?

If you  desire more information or a further discussion or presentation on this important  topic, send us an email and we would be pleased to respond.  The address is: info <at> supply-chain-matters <dot> com.

Bob Ferrari