Photo appears courtesy of Todd Huffman. Data seems to be the be-all end-all of today’s business world. We have access to more data than ever before, but no one seems to know what to do with it. Enter Tableau. I spent three days in a Tableau class this summer to learn how to use this software package to discover interesting insights that can be found by analyzing data about a company’s customers and products. The Tableau software is a data visualization tool that allows you to explore and better understand your data and create insightful visuals and dashboard displays to help with decision making. Using the analytical tools and robust visualization the software contains can unveil trends, correlations and meaningful statistics that are not obvious by just looking at the raw data. Tableau also enables a story about the data to be told in a format that is interactive allowing for slicing and dicing of the data to answer questions from your audience during a presentation to reveal even more insights on the fly. This software is powerful and easy to use and is being utilized by many organizations to uncover a wealth of information from their data to help with decision making.
Photo appears courtesy of ITU Pictures. Recently I was reading a white paper about how Advanced Vehicle Technology is changing the Transportation Industry. They were talking about "connected trucks" equipped with IOT (Internet of Things) devices (devices with sensors that can communicate with other devices) that can monitor things like temperature, location and speed and produce data that can be used to drive predictive analytics for companies. I started thinking about how we can leverage the EDI software we use (Liaison's Delta/ECS) to get this data from carriers to the senders and receivers of the goods.
Photo appears courtesy of Shane Global. Teaching college level classes is always challenging and fun. The students have a great desire to succeed in their field in business, but lack the knowledge of how business works and what they will actually be doing once they join the full time work force.
This blog was written by Faith Lamprey, Aurora's President, and is reposted with permission from Providence College School of Business. This past year, for the first time ever, online sales in the U.S. surpassed in store purchases. An annual survey byanalytics firm comScore and UPS found that U.S.consumers are buying more things online than instores.The survey, now in its fifth year, polled more than 5,000consumers who made at least two online purchases in a three-month period.
Up next in the Aurora Team Biography Series is Aurora's Sales and Marketing Manager, Shandra Locken. Shandra first arrived in the EDI world in the spring of 2008, not knowing how to spell EDI. With the help of her colleagues, she was quoting VAN services and Liaison's Athena web-based EDI solution within a few weeks. Had you asked her 20 years ago if she thought she would be selling EDI services someday, she would have said, "What is EDI?" That is always the first question as you may have learned from our blog. It's our most viewed blog article ever.
Photo appears courtesy of Phill Dolby. I spend a lot of time each summer trying to streamline and automate as many of our processes and procedures as I can. It saves time and, if done correctly, makes our data more accurate and timely. I feel taking the time to do this is well worth the effort and it makes us more profitable in the long run as it frees me up to do other things.
Picture appears courtesy of Michael Wifall. In March of 2012, I wrote a blog titled "No Purge Routine? Are You Becoming an e-Hoarder?" Now, in June of 2016 I find myself dealing with that topic and also with a pet peeve of mine, documentation of procedures and process steps. Let me explain why all of this popped up suddenly.
Photo appears courtesy of Derek Σωκράτης Finch. There have been a lot of articles complaining about the Millennial Generation in the workplace. I teach college classes and have been able to get to know this new generation that is now in college and will soon be entering the workforce. Many refer to this new crop of young adults as Post Millennials, Gen Z or iGen as they have grown up with the Internet.
Photo appears courtesy of the Auburn Alumni Association. One of our Aurora EDI Alliance ERP partners asked an interesting question the other day. He asked if he should start developing his maps to be sent in JSON instead of XML. He felt that JSON was more popular than XML. That started me thinking about this as we have been asked to do a lot of XML mapping lately, but not much JSON.
Over the years as EDI consultants, we have done modifications to many maps-ones we created and ones created by others. We have seen a great variety of maps, from well thought out and well constructed to "what were
they thinking!" Once an EDI map is written, tested, and in production it should run with no errors that were caused by the map. (Please do not get me started on errors
caused by incorrect or missing data from the ERP system!) So why have we spent so much time "fixing" maps that are in production and have been running fine for a long time? All of the examples below are emergency
situations, which always seems to occur when there is a big rush order.
Maps made of Straw: The prime thing we see in these maps is that the original author of the map hard coded data that should have been retrieved from the database. Sure, you only sell to one department of a company today so why bother trying to find out where that data is on the database? And if it is not stored on the database, why be the squeaky wheel who insists that the data should be a field on the invoice file?
Maps made of Wood: Another "fix" we have done many times is to add segments for discounts and allowances. Again, the map had been working and now it does not cross-foot. What is happening in reality here is changes in business processes – these maps didn’t suddenly "break.” But Management does not see it that way. Another issue is 3rd party testing. Management has had to pay extra to go through testing the EDI documents for a new customer. They
expect the maps to work perfectly as soon as that testing is done. It is hard to explain that testing with "Widgets" (rather than real items), is not the same as testing with real data. In other words, this 3rd party testing is not truly testing the maps, it is really only testing the connection. Unless you have built this post-testing phase into your budget, you will have issues defending the
additional time it takes to get a map running smoothly.
Maps made of Brick: These are the maps where the map author took the time to hard code as little as possible, did a careful review of the mapping specifications to ensure all segments are coded properly and tested for as many situations as possible. Granted, you cannot anticipate every situation and you cannot guarantee that your trading partners will adhere to their own standards, but focus on what you can control and take the time to integrate the map as closely as you can to your ERP system. This will result in a map that has a solid foundation, and will avoid some of these pitfalls described above.