More Benefits of the Cloud

ChainLink Research recently published an interesting article on cloud-based data models.  The article can be found here.

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The view of data is rapidly improving, thanks to advances in Cloud-based solutions.

ChainLink references the following benefits that can be achieved by using The Cloud:

  • Economics: The Cloud is a more economical model: support and maintenance costs are reduced for both the customer and the provider due to a simpler multi-tenant model where upgrades are more easily introduced into the system as they become available. Customers are also able to avoid the costly and disruptive “rip and replace” approach.
  • Collaboration: Businesses are increasingly interconnected and people across the supply chain want to share information more easily.  The Cloud makes sharing information, exchanging ideas and solving problems easier – especially across the supply chain.
  • Connectivity and Visibility: Businesses want access to information outside of the data center and outside of the office. Governments are requiring more transparent access to data to address regulatory requirements. Globalization and traceability requirements can be far easier to address in the Cloud. ChainLink  specifically mentions that “for products that require condition monitoring, tracking has gone from sometime to real-time.”  The Cloud facilitates faster, real-time information sharing.
  • Community: The article references that The Cloud enables an inter-enterprise community which is critical for today’s complex supply chains. ChainLink lists several benefits including more to trading-partner dialog than transactions, such as finding new suppliers, obtaining industry information, communicating with the community about changes in compliance and regulations.

These are key benefits that can help improve quality across supply chains, especially where temperature sensitive goods such as fresh, frozen and packaged foods and bio-pharmaceuticals are involved.  Thanks to solutions incorporating RFID temperature monitors, we’re now able to collect vast quantities of information. But the information is only of value when it’s actionable – that is, when it is easy to use.  Cloud-based solutions, such as ZEST Data Services provide the ability to improve supply chain efficiencies by simplifying and speeding access to the actionable data necessary for improved decision making and collaboration.

ChainLink concludes that The Cloud brings “Power to the User”.  I’d go a step further and say that it the entire supply chain wins when actionable, useful data is made more readily and rapidly available.

Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing

 

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Asset Management vs. Asset Tracking…the View from E-ISG

Today I welcome guest blogger Jackie Luo, Chief Executive Officer of E-ISG Asset Intelligence, an Intelleflex partner that provides an enterprise asset management software solution for mid-sized enterprises and government agencies.  Jackie has a range of experiences in the mobile and enterprise software industries and believes that the power of mobility and cloud-based application will bring much more efficient asset management solution to enterprises. I trust you’ll find her perspectives insightful and you can email her by clicking here.

Kevin Payne

Senior Director of Marketing, Intelleflex

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Jackie Luo

CEO of E-ISG Asset Intelligence

I often hear people mix these two terms “asset tracking” and “asset management”.  It’s easy to mix them because they are both associated with assets, and require some form of barcodes, tracking devices and some kind of software to collect and display data. But they are different, in scope, goals, and business processes.

  • Scope: Asset tracking typically covers a subset of assets, while asset management should cover enterprise wide physical and IT assets, including buildings, equipment, IT hardware and software, consumables and capitalized assets. For example, you need to track all your vehicles, so you put GPS devices in your vehicle to track their location, driving history, etc. You need to track a particular batch of shipment in order to know the condition during shipment, so you put some sensor devices on these shipments to monitor the temperature, humidity, etc.   Enterprise asset management is much broader in scope. It seeks visibility to the physical and fiscal information of all your assets, e.g. where they are, who have them, purchase cost, replacement value, maintenance schedule,  so you can make the best decision on how to use your assets. In the context of enterprise wide assets, items for asset tracking, like vehicles or some high value and mobile equipment are items in sub categories in the entire enterprise asset registry.
  • Business processes: Enterprise asset management is a key process in a business operation. It touches cross functional departments like procurement, facilities management, IT services, and financial reporting. The business process for asset tracking is most likely simpler, and touches fewer cross functional points.  Consequently, the effectiveness in managing enterprise assets has C-level visibility, while the responsibility for asset tracking most likely resides in individual departments.
  • Goals: The goals for asset management include 1) reduce the spend on equipment purchases, 2) optimize the life-cycle costs of equipment 3) institute accountability of assets, and 4) reduce the risks in asset management (e.g. theft, improper disposal of assets, failure in compliance). The goals for asset tracking are often specific to the category of assets, for example, on time shipment, utilization rates of a piece of equipment.

Although asset tracking and asset management are different, there is no reason why the tools to support these business processes should be separate. Since enterprise asset management addresses the entire portfolio of assets, a company’s enterprise asset management solutions should also be able to address specific asset tracking needs.  What does it means for the end users? They don’t have to switch applications. They don’t need to enter data twice. They don’t have to import and export data between applications. These should be the basic requirements in an asset management solution. Moreover, with the increasing use of RFID tags in asset tracking, an asset management software solution should have built in support to RFID tag reading workflow. This will eliminate expensive RFID middleware or customization.  You can learn more about E-ISG’s solution here.