The Detailed Half Page Document!

Recently I overheard a conversation between two of my colleagues. One was requesting inputs for a task assigned, while the other was protesting that he didn’t have the time to prepare detailed documentation. The term “detailed documentation” appeared to send a shudder down the requestor’s spine. He promptly replied, “Please don’t give me anything lengthy… A half page document with ALL the details is what I need.”

For me, the request for the detailed half-pager was a poignant reminder of what information overload is doing to us. Most of us handle scores of emails every day. Social media posts crying for attention is increasing by the day – too many are “must read” or “must watch!” App notifications, SMS alerts, online campaigns… digital deluge has many headwaters. Given the overload, it is no surprise that we attend first to whatever is easily understood.  Lengthy emails, abstruse articles etc. get pushed to the bottom of the pile. The half-pager request was my colleague’s way of telling that he wants to know only what is needed to do the job. But, ironically after we “cut to the chase,” our innate curiosity and investigative nature gets the better of us. We start seeking more background information. As my colleague scrupulously added, “ALL the details” must be there.

The story is similar for teams managing enterprise operations. Deep & digitized supply chains generate more data than ever before – far more than what teams can handle. It is supposed to make the supply chain more efficient, but all too often teams end up making decisions that are less optimal than what they would have done in the past with minimal information. They need tools that can shield them from the data deluge, help them “cut to the chase” and pinpoint the transactions they need to work on. And of course, where needed they should be able to dig into details and find out how the tool arrived at its suggestions.

At OpsVeda, we were always aware that this is easier said than done. Even within the same industry/function, process variations are galore. That means the route to the optimal decision is also varied. This is where our patented PADS architecture comes in. It takes care of the first step of capturing the data from different processes in a consistent manner while preserving every detail. What’s more, it can then apply machine learning techniques to establish linkages between various data (activity) streams.

It is not just the process, even the measures used to identify scenarios/transactions warranting intervention vary a lot. Here our next innovation steps in. The Process Agnostic Measure Store or PAMS (patent pending) enables consistent computation of various business measures. Once again, there is no loss of detail around process differences though the code doing the computation might be the same across. That means the platform can provide several process-pertinent measures out-of-the-box. More importantly, if these measures don’t “cut to the chase”, PAMS makes it easier to assemble custom rules or apply machine learning to zero-in on the problem scenario or transaction.

Curiosity might kill cats but it keeps the supply-chainer alive! Even when systems identify the area to focus and prescribe the corrective action, a bit of background information always helps. Sometimes it is needed to carry out the action and at other times it gives the user the comfort that (s)he is headed the right way. In our platform, this is enabled by storyboards that are easily configured by a trained business user. They can set up not just the initial view that tells them what needs their attention but also the drill-downs that could take them to the supporting information that identified the issue. This is especially useful where the problem transactions are surfaced using machine learning techniques as these algorithms can behave a bit like the proverbial “black-box.” With OpsVeda, we also allow the user to do a deep dive and understand what the machine has “learned.” Again, this can also be set up as a drill-down so that the user truly understands why the system is suggesting something.

To summarize, OpsVeda is built ground-up for the operations user who is looking for the “Detailed Half Page Document.” If they want to just act, the system points them to the areas that need their attention without sinking them in the details. However, if they also decide to dig a little deeper the details are also there within the same “half page.”

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