Infosys’ blog on industry solutions, trends, business process transformation and global implementation in Oracle.

« November 2012 | Main | January 2013 »

December 27, 2012

Relevance of Data Governance in Big Data

Enterprises always had more data than their infrastructure and processes could handle, even in past let aside the thought of deriving actionable intelligence for effective decisioning from them. The same problem has now intensified several folds with larger volumes, variety of data from social media, online channels & most critical is the "Urgency" to handle such data.

Back in 2009, Tony Fisher, author of book "The Data Asset : How Smart Companies Govern their data for Business Success" mentioned about various data initiatives at most Enterprises will either fail or underperform if the underlying data cannot be trusted. Key reason being Inconsistent, Inaccurate and Un-reliable data that seeped into the data lifecycle process. Reasons can be multi-fold:

  • Data Identification for initiatives wasn't complete - what data to acquire, how it's going to be consumed, is it meeting business objectives, who owns it..
  • Data Acquisition & Transformation didn't had right standards, structure, metadata definitions or data ownerships, policies, rules for transformations
  • Data Delivery wasn't well defined in terms of security, business user context, association of data with business process missing and so on so forth.

 

The most popular phrase in the Data world "Better data means better decisions" was always true, and is ever so true in today's big data world however the underlying assumptions still haven't changed for this phrase to hold true and those being - "The underlying data is accurate, trustworthy, reliable, in-Context and consistent" - Can we imagine this possible without a Solid Data Governance program in place?

 

We have heard the terms like "IT Business Alignment is critical to our Enterprise", "IT being a business enabler function" & similar other phrases. Taking a realistic dip-stick across Enterprise, only a handleful have been able to achieve the purpose those phrases were defined for. For most of the Enterprise's there still exists a gaps in IT and Business objectives, & CIO/CXo's struggle with aligning IT and Business objectives to the strategic goals of the Enterprises. Taking cue from the successful Enterprises, there's one very clear signal that stands out "An Effective Data Governance Program".

 

Ok, good time to understand what a Data Governance program means and comprises of.

Data Governance - Means to have a business driven data policy, ownership, stewardship, monitoring, standards and guidelines for entire Enterprise data life cycle right from acquistion to data consumption & archiving. The focus of Data Governance clearly being towards treating data as Asset for the Enterprise.The 6-Pillars of Data Governance as shown in Diagram 1 below along with Change management form the bare-bone for any data initiative within the Enterprise.

 

 

Image 1 DG.jpgDiagram 1 - Data Goverance

 

Fine, now let's spend sometime understanding the Big Data definition and how a Big data initiative should be launched

Simple Definition - Big data is High volume data, which comes in varietiy of formats, quite frequently via various channels & that cannot be only processed using traditional data processing methods and techniques, and carries lot of business value hidden within.

 

Classification of Big Data sets:

  1. Unstructured - Text, Videos, Audio, Images
  2. Semi-Structured - Emails, Software packages/modules, Spreadsheets, Financial reports
  3. Structured - DWH/BI Data, Sensor/machine data logs, RDBMS Data


Now that we understand the two - Big data and Data Governance, the diagram below depicts Data Goverance comes into play in bridging the gaps between the IT and Business alignment.

 

Image 2 DG.jpg

Diagram 2 - Data Governance Bridges the Gap between Business & IT Objectives

 

Any Big data initiative should consider the Volume (High), Variety (Multiple), Ambiguity (High), Frequency (High) and Quality (Unreliable) to be thoroughly identified, defined and analyzed by Data Architecture teams (Data Scientists, Data Analysts), in consultations with Business Stakeholders (Data and Business Process Owners). The outcomes from this exercise presented to the Data Governance council consisting of Enterprise Strategy owners, Business Process/Data Owners and IT Infrastructure specialists during early stage of such initiatives to nail out any gaps, discrepency and ensure that mapping of Big Data sets with Business process is defined. In this blog i still haven't peeled the pillars of Data Governance and how each discipline touches the Big Data challenges, i intend to do this in my next blog on Data Governance relevance in Big Data World.

 

Would be good to hear your experiences of embarking on Big Data journey with or without Data Governance as priority item on list.

December 12, 2012

Video: The Infosys Experience in Oracle Fusion Human Capital Management Suite

Mukesh Nakra, Associate Vice President, Consulting & Systems Integration, Infosys, speaks to the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) PartnerCast Channel about the Oracle-Infosys partnership, investments Infosys has made in Oracle Fusion Human Capital Management (HCM) suite, and our capabilities. Infosys is the first Oracle Fusion HCM 11g specialized partner.

Oracle.jpg

Posted with permission of Oracle Corporation

 

Machine-to-Machine Technology (M2M): Imperatives in Manufacturing Industry

Guest post by
Neha Barnawal, Senior Associate Consultant - Manufacturing vertical, Consulting & Systems Integration unit, Infosys

 

  • Continental Airlines had started its flights through Polar Regions last year with Boeing 737-700/800 and Boeing 757. The technology used is Satellite Communication wherein communication is maintained between the plane and the Air Traffic Controller automatically without pilot getting involved.  This set up is saving time and money both for the airlines and the passengers.
  • The UK government is targeting to plant more than 50 million smart meters in homes and business set-ups by 2020. A smart meter can provide real time energy usage information to the owners for utilities like electricity and gas. It can also enable the users to pass back the excess energy to the utility provider and get the credit in the subsequent bill.
  • With the On-Star service of General Motor, remote assistance is possible for a GM vehicle wherein an engine issue can be quick fixed remotely or any emergency services can be contacted in case of accidents or any kind of trouble.
  • Peer-to-Peer car sharing company Relay Rides has got into a deal with GM to provide an option to the On-Star subscribers to rent out their vehicles. With a satellite connected unit and a mobile App, the car owners can track their car, unlock the locked door and locate where the car is parked. The owner can charge the rental based on the parking location of the vehicle.

All the cases mentioned above have one thing in common - application of Machine-to-Machine technology. As most of us are aware of M2M; its usage can be traced back to World War II where navigation sensors were used to establish communication between satellites and rocket engines to be fired and guided.

Talking about the future of M2M technology, below are some findings as per a latest research paper by Oracle on M2M solution market:

  • M2M is seen by the organizations as an enabler of services rather than operational efficiency booster
  • As a ramification of the above point; remote security management and Integration of M2M solutions with the existing IT system become the areas of utmost priority
  • The complexity and cost involved in M2M solutions can be greatly optimized with cloud based services

So, how M2M adds value to manufacturing industry? It can enable information exchange between sensor and the controller, information gathering across the network channels and publication on mobile devices and over Internet. In the manufacturing eco system; below are few spheres impacted by M2M:

  • Supply Chain Management: In the modern supply chain system, the manufacturer deals with multiple suppliers, contractors and outsourced manufacturing units spread across geographies. This set up enhances the use of technology and requires seamless communication between different entities. M2M system can be configured for remote monitoring of inventory, sending reports and notifying suppliers on their phone/over internet in order to maintain Economic Order Quantity. An M2M system, which can collect delivery information using the barcode reader, feeds the same in the ERP system; providing up-to-date information to the finance team for billing.
  • In cases of globally distributed production facilities; M2M technology can monitor the status of the machines and readily provides real time information such as wear & tear, power on-off status, and usage of machines. A location information system can be used in informing service engineer quickly in case fault occurs in a remotely located machine.
  • With the use of the information gathered, a predictive model can be applied to anticipate the possible faults and hence reduction of machine downtime.  These information help in adherence to quality protocols and when fed to engineering team can provide insights for new product development
  • With the use of technologies like M2M and Internet of Things (IoT), many OEMs like ABB, Siemens etc are drifting beyond the traditional product based sales strategy and looking for new revenue streams and customer centric positioning from post sales services with the help of smart post sale service solutions.
  • With the help of component based, intelligent machines that have in built device level logic; safety can be ensured. Also, controllers can communicate among themselves and with the central controller to exchange the status and command signals.

So, how is M2M system designed? The players involved in the M2M ecosystem are:

  • Vendors to create wireless modules and provide platform for deployment of the M2M application. These are Semiconductor/Electronic firms like Motorola, Sierra Wireless/Wavecom, Telit etc.
  • Vendors to develop microprocessor Intellectual Properties, System on chips (SoCs) and silicon software like Intel, Texas Instruments
  • Network Infrastructure providers to enable communication over wireless/internet/mobile phone. Some of the companies involved are AT&T, Orange, Verizon, etc.
  • System Integrators to build the application integrating the M2M solution with the software component and customize based on the customer requirement. These firms bring domain, technology and process expertise for the customer.

Apart from the above listed parties, there are some players providing industry specific M2M solutions. Qualcomm is one such example that provides solution to capture real time machine data like performance over Internet.

Now what are the issues and challenges in M2M solution implementation? A critical one is security.  The system gathering the information of machines and production facilities is exposed to a third party (the Communication Service Provider) and so is the central controller that provides command signals. A significant investment on network infrastructure and security causes the return to be realized very late. Absence of a standard technology framework also poses a challenge to M2M implementation.

With several complimentary developments like standards in Telecom (Open Telco API, Parlay X), LTE, Rich Communication Services, Security protocols (OAuth 2.0), smart devices, M2M is very much on the radar screen for manufacturers.

Same Day Delivery and Growing importance of specific Optimization Technologies

E-Fulfillment and Promise for the same day delivery of Grocery and certain Durable Items are the areas where all most all the Retail Chains are trying to build their Competitive edge and grab the wallet share

In USA, Walmart, Amazon, even Google and e-Bay are trying to build and streamline the processes and enabling and supporting hardware and technologies to manage the same
 

 Couple of key areas where technological competitive edge will play a huge differentiation are 
 

In USA, Walmart, Amazon, even Google and e-Bay are trying to build and streamline the processes and enabling and supporting hardware and technologies to manage the same
 

  • Couple of key areas where technological competitive edge will play a huge differentiation are 
     
  • Deployment of optimized Parcel Technologies and delivery of those items to the destined address or Locker Boxes
     
  • Mobility Solution that will connect all the internal & external stakeholders and the entire Order Fulfillment processes
     
  • Local routing and scheduling  processes and technologies that will connect people, customers and Carriers that will help the Organization to create a highly satisfied customer base and build loyalties among the existing ones
     
  • Successful deployment of Reverse Logistics Processes and related technologies
     

Retailers have understood, and in early of the maturity cycle that meeting the same day Delivery expectation is no easy task, given the significant cost of Order fulfillment logistics involved
 

Many a time, it is becoming a losing proposition in terms of Cost to serve, in a particular product category or any specific segment of the customers
 

One needs significant investment in these technologies in CRP basis. These will help to connect with people, customers, technology and Carriers/3PLs in a synchronized manner
 

ü  Deployment of optimized Parcel Technologies and delivery of those items to the destined address or Locker Boxes
 

ü  Mobility Solution that will connect all the internal & external stakeholders and the entire Order Fulfillment processes
 

ü  Local routing and scheduling  processes and technologies that will connect people, customers and Carriers that will help the Organization to create a highly satisfied customer base and build loyalties among the existing ones
 

ü  Successful deployment of Reverse Logistics Processes and related technologies
 

Retailers have understood, and in early of the maturity cycle that meeting the same day Delivery expectation is no easy task, given the significant cost of Order fulfillment logistics involved
 

Many a time, it is becoming a losing proposition in terms of Cost to serve, in a particular product category or any specific segment of the customers
 

One needs significant investment in these technologies in CRP basis. These will help to connect with people, customers, technology and Carriers/3PLs in a synchronized manner

 

 

December 7, 2012

Supply Chain : Priorities of Investment in FY13

Currently, almost all companies are looking to build a truly scalable, modular, and responsive demand driven supply chain planning and execution platform that will go the well beyond its traditional boundaries and will encompass the Suppliers, Contract Manufacturers and Logistic Partners

Significant investment requirements are being justified in building a multi-echelon resilient supply chain network that will result in , reduction in response time, better customer satisfaction, reduction in order to delivery cycle time, improvement in demand forecast accuracy and reduction in inventory levels across multiple nodes
 

Most of the companies have understood or in the early of the maturity lifecycle that Supply Chain excellence matters and that investment in building  the excellence is being truly reflected in Gartner Top 25 SCM company survey where companies consistently outperformed their peers in the same industry segments in terms of EPS, and Wall Street numbers
 

Significant improvement in Processes along with successful Organization Change Management and followed by deployment of enabling, Supporting  Information technologies will have a significant bearing in improving the operating margin ,improving the Cash to Cash cycle and ROA.  Gartner SCM survey proved that point too
 

Couple of significant areas of investment from the point of view of Hi-Tech and Manufacturing companies that will give significant long term benefits in terms of improvement in financial numbers are,
 

ü  Building of a truly collaborative 'Supply Chain Collaboration and Integration platform with Tier 1 and Tier 2 Suppliers/Contract manufacturers' that will facilitate communication  with all the internal and external stakeholders and will bring down the overall transaction cost
 

ü  Building a truly collaborative Integration Business Planning model that is well past the simply balancing of Supply and Demand taking into constraints into account. A model that will take into account of Suppliers' Capacity and Financial Constraints and also Region specific / Country specific Consensus forecasting process
 

ü  Also investment and  improvement in  building  a Supply Chain visibility platform in terms of Supply, Demand, Manufacturing capacities & constraints, domestic and International Shipments , Supply Chain Risk management, Inventory positions  will give a significant competitive edge in today's highly fragment and uncertain market and will help in providing uniform customer experiences
 

 

From our discussions and engagement, with multiple Hi-Tech and Manufacturing companies, we found many of the well-established Fortune 500K companies are now investing heavily in building these capabilities and competencies too

 

 

December 3, 2012

Let's Explore LETZ!

In my previous blog titled 'Multiple Time Zones in Single Global Instance - A Business Perspective', I have discussed about the key business requirements and challenges in implementing multiple time zones in a single global instance from Finance and Accounting perspective. In this blog, we will discuss on How Oracle LETZ (Legal Entity Time Zone) Solution could address these challenges for Global companies that operate in multiple time zones in single global instance.

What is LETZ?
LETZ is a standard, but controlled Oracle feature introduced in 11.5.10. In LETZ, Oracle has identified certain transactional events and enabled conversion of legal date and period of those events from server time zone (Corporate Time Zone) to the time zone of the legal entity in which the event has occurred.

How to enable LETZ?
LETZ Oracle solution involves two configuration steps.
1. Turn on and Set the 'Enable Legal Entity Time Zone' profile option to 'Yes' at site level.
2. Set up the Time zone of the legal entity in HR Locations. Leave it blank for Non LETZ entities.

How does LETZ work?
The key changes with enabling LETZ solution are,
1. Inventory transactions are accounted and aligned with right GL periods based on local date/time (LETZ time).
2. The accounting cut-off  for period close is based on month end local time midnight. This allows early close of inventory periods when China business is brought in to North America Oracle Instance.
3. The cost cut-off date feature works on LETZ time. This will help to hold costing activity and MAC update after local time midnight and enables accurate Inventory subledger reconciliation with GL.
4. All the period close related standard oracle pending transactions validations work in LETZ time.
5. AR invoice date and GL dates are based on local Date/time for auto invoice.
6. Pay-On-Receipt invoice GL date is based on the local receipt date and time.

These changes enable global corporates to record accounting transactions in legal entity time zone and have a rolling close in local date/time.In addition, LETZ supports both Receipt and Period end accrual accounting, Returns debit memo accounting and also movement statistics applicable for European countries.

What are the Key considerations for implementing LETZ?
1. Work with Finance and Accounting business teams and get their buy-in.
2. Work with Oracle engagement team for Oracle Development approval for supporting LETZ.
3. Explore if you need to implement 'User Preferred Time Zone' along with LETZ.
4. Finalize the approach for how users will enter dates in Oracle or how external (3PL WMS) systems will send the dates.
5. Test all the transactional events applicable for your business and validate if it addresses all your business requirements. Also validate the complex IR-ISO and Intercompany business scenarios as required.
6. LETZ does not support price list validity, BPA validity and Currency conversion rate.

Subscribe to this blog's feed

Follow us on

Blogger Profiles

Infosys on Twitter