Birst fine-tunes collaborative BI platform for supply chain use
Birst Inc. is extending its collaborative business intelligence (BI) and analytics platform outside the firewall with a new set of capabilities aimed at supply chain optimization. The extensions to Birst’s Networked BI platform are intended to let players in the supply chain adjust to changes in supply and demand more quickly, better understand resource allocations and build extranets that enable customers, suppliers and employees to manage and share their own data without affecting the central database.
Birst’s “networked BI” concept uses a single canonical version of data with slices that are parceled out to users for their own analysis using tools like Excel, Tableau Software Inc.’s Tableau and the R analytical programming language. Users can create their own calculations, templates and views of data and share them inside – and now outside – the organization without changing the central data store.
Supply chains involve large and often complex networks of internal and external constituents. Sharing data with other partners in the network is a good way to improve efficiency, but it comes with a risk of inadvertent data disclosure or corruption that holds many companies back from sharing more aggressively.
Birst says its platform enables individuals in logistics, for example, to pull in traffic and weather data from external sources and combine it with shipping schedules from internal master records to optimize truck delivery routes. Birst’s automated extract/transform/load feature, called Birst Automated Data Refinement, automates the extraction, transformation and refinement of data from multiple disparate sources to prepare it for analysis. Users can then share that data with customers or suppliers without the risk of disclosing proprietary information. Executives can consolidate data from multiple departments to get a holistic view of the supply chain.
Birst said its extranet capabilities enable collaboration with external suppliers and customers so that manufacturers can fine-tune their forecasts to align with the needs of other constituents without losing control of security. Gartner Inc. recently awarded Birst its highest score for extranet deployment and designated it as the only BI provider to be ranked as one of the top two providers across all five use cases it evaluated.
Citrix Systems Inc. used Birst to harmonize data from more than 400 sources, including multiple customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning systems, and apply it to a logistics operation spanning 120 suppliers and 130,000 customers around the world. “We were trying to solve the problem with eight million spreadsheets that were from multiple organizations and outdated by the time they came together,” said Fred Tiso, Citrix vice president of worldwide operations, in a published case study. “There was no single version of the truth. We couldn’t trust the data, and it just took forever.”
Using Birst for supply chain logistics, the company increased inventory turns five-fold and achieve 99 percent on-time delivery. It also cut days-in-inventory by 35 percent.
Birst wouldn’t disclose pricing information, but the software lists for $1,445 in the Amazon Web Services Marketplace.
Image courtesy Birst
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