“If you look at where a lot of the inefficiencies are with transactional type of work today, a lot of that work that is done during the day-to-day operations is looking for information—basically through emails and trying to make sense of spreadsheets and worrying about what version such systems are,” said David Hamdani, Senior Product Marketing Manager, FusionOps. “With our platform, you don’t have to download extracted information from our application into Excel and you don’t have to email it. We’ve taken advantage of that social media aspect where the data is just pushed to our users—they don’t have to go and look for it. So if I was a business analyst, I could create the reports I want and push it out to my user group based on their role in the supply chain. And anytime they would click on the report, it would show the latest information, data and content. So they would not have to go and re-run any reports.”
And that content is the number one thing cognizant of any social or enterprise platform that a user has to look at, whether it’s the FusionOps application or any other industry platform, according to Shariq Mansoor, Founder and Chief Technology Officer of FusionOps.
“The content is 90 percent of the work,” he explained. “No matter which job you have, you need information to do your job. ‘What content do you want to provide? Is it valuable to the user? Why are people coming to your platform?’ These platforms are only going to be effective if you’re providing the right content. And getting the right content is not easy. That is why you have to first come up with these analytics—in our place, the content—and then you share that with the social networks.”
“All this content is provided not just by the Facebook or the user—you have other apps which provide content and they share things on your feed and collaborate on there,” Mansoor continued. “What we do as part of this feed is identify ‘how do we make that information relevant to the user to push to the user?’ If an enterprise is using Chatter or Yammer or some other enterprise social network feed, we can integrate with those to have our feed also show up there. So you’re creating your own network and sharing it for greater visibility. You have an integrated model where the information is flowing not just from FusionOps but also from other systems.”
The product company’s platform’s nearly 1,000 out-of-the-box dashboard reports and metrics are based on key metric insights it gained from its work with manufacturing and distribution companies of all sizes across the numerous industries that make up its client base. For example, a purchasing manager in an alternative medicine company may want to know: ‘If they’re spending too much on supplies? Do they have late deliveries? What purchase orders need to be pulled in?’
And such scenarios are patterns that metrics can be fine-tuned on. To meet such specific industry-tailored metrics—such as with retail, apparel or consumer packaged goods (CPG)—FusionOps expanded its application to support the SAP Apparel and Footwear (AFS) and Financial Supply Chain Management Solutions (FSCM). As such, FusionOps now automatically extracts AFS data and incorporates it into its cross-functional supply chain data model for 360-degree supply chain visibility.
For Varian Medical’s Marc Stevenson’s division based in Las Vegas, the FusionOps dashboard “gives me the capability to go in and very quickly look at the data-set for a wide range of data sets in order to either report to executive management as to the status of something or a historical result; or work with my team here,” he explained. “My team looks at critical metrics in relation to how much we spend, inventory levels, purchase price variance—key metrics that I will review with my team. So I can quickly go in and look at the dataset and make a quick decision based on that dataset. So I no longer have to go on the backend of SAP and pull a ton of data out and dump it into an Excel spreadsheet and try to manipulate that to get me that same result. I can just go into the dashboard and quickly see what I am looking for in order to either make a decision or to report up or down on it.”
While Varian’s Security & Inspection Products division only has a few of its internal staff using the FusionOps application to date (Varian Medical Systems has approximately 50 users across the board with the implemented FusionOps applications), Stevenson confirmed that its Dashboard is probably the most used piece of the overall platform—primarily for reporting and data review as the base for its decision-making.
The future of social enterprise
While such application models as FusionOps’ are not a new collaboration idea, its capabilities—including easier collaboration integration and “snapshot” data functionality—provide further insight into the adoption scenarios and new collaboration models that will be evident in the near future for business’s global supply chains as volume of data across other industries besides apparel continues to grow.