It is not a monumental task to roam around a company and fill out a list of files available from existing systems to add to what is available in your Control Tower. The magic is to try and coordinate/integrate them! The technologies that create these files never seem to be the same and prove difficult to integrate. There might only be a similarity at a higher level. Sometimes many files are created and will require a lot of effort sorting through redundant data. These are sometimes termed “assemblies”.
Then you will find other data feeds that are created by related systems. Some of these systems are purchased and others have been created in-house. And yes, they depend on a higher-level integration effort of one kind or another. So why are they still not right and don't fit into the perfect scheme of things?
- Different technologies
- Lots of redundant data
- Not cross-functional (obviously not because they were created in a “silo”)
The conclusion we are working towards is that every data element that we will be displaying in our control tower MUST be based on common definitions.
- Every component (business unit, warehouse, etc) in the supply chain has a unique identifier.
- Every data element (purchase order, invoice and on and on) has a unique definition all the way across the supply chain.
Now you can see the whole picture. It is no longer a complex nightmare. You can easily look at options and consequences to develop new plans. You have VISIBILITY all across the supply chain!
Because a supply chain platform is built around a comprehensive, integrated architecture that uses a single technology, single data elements, single definitions, you have the power to run the whole show-not just a piece of it.
You now have
Consistency: functions work the same in all applications.
Cross-functional Awareness: Every application knows what is happening in every other application. Now each component can react accordingly in time to prevent “mishaps”.
I can point at the sky and say it is blue, and you will concur. But are you really seeing that blue the way I am seeing it? Perhaps you have just learnt to call what you see "blue", but in actual experience you are seeing nothing like the vivid, rich, blue I see. You are an imposter, calling my blue by the same name as yours, but not really seeing it the way I do. Or, even worse, perhaps I am the one seeing a pale imitation blue, while you see a blue that is infinitely richer and more splendid than mine. (Quote from a BBC special)