Over the weekend, an uncle of mine dropped in for a courtesy call. He is one of those gentlemen people admire for their breadth of knowledge and insatiable curiosity. After some chit-chat about family and holidays, he turned to me.
“So son… how are things at work”.
“Exciting… we are seeing excellent customer traction. And… we just renamed our company last week”, I replied.
“Oh… what is the new name and why did you guys change it?”
“It’s called OpsVeda now. The previous one was quite a mouthful”, my wife chipped in making no attempt to hide that the old name (VSSOD) did not explain what we did.
“Well… that is not the primary reason for the change. The new name is a better reflection of what we do”, I protested. “OpsVeda stands for the Veda of operations… or a guide to good operations. Operational Intelligence. Incidentally that is also the name of our platform.”
“Interesting”, he said. By then he was intrigued… thanks in no small measure to the many years he has spent managing manufacturing and sales operations for an electrical equipment maker. “But how are you guys making Operations Intelligent”?
“Our software helps operations teams focus on the transactions that really need their attention. These large customers have an extremely high volume of business – orders, procurement, shipments, manufacturing… A vast majority of transactions do not need any intervention and would follow the normal process to completion. We refer to this approach as managing by exception”. I explained.
“Ok… but ‘management by exception’ is an old concept. It used to be the flavor of the day on and off during my time as well”, he quipped. “But what do you mean by an exception?”
“By exception, we refer to any event that is a deviation from the norm. Generally they would result in financial losses or customer dissatisfaction or both”, I said.
“Something like the fire at the Bangladesh garment factory last year?”
“Definitely, but not just that. Even less deadly incidents that happen more frequently… like a customer about to being put on credit block, a delay in an upstream process at supplier or at a manufacturing plant, or not confirming the order on time etc.” I said. “These could result in shipment delays, or last minute expedite or the order going to the competitor. OpsVeda analyzes streams of business activities, changes to transactions and related data and highlights those transactions that are likely to deviate from committed SLAs allowing operations to take corrective action. Without that they would be lost in a sea of data”, I added and followed it up by showing him a recorded demo of OpsVeda.
By now my uncle’s curiosity was piqued even more. “Have you watched Seconds From Disaster”, he asked, referring to the popular documentary series from National Geographic. I told him that I had seen one or two episodes.
“Well… there is a chain of critical events that lead to the disaster”, he said referring to the way events that unfold before the disaster are analyzed in the documentary to highlight how some of them actually foretold what is going to happen. “In your examples, the exception or disaster really is a potential delay, impacted shipment or the customer going to a competitor”. He kept looking at my eyes to see if I would agree. After a moment of silence from both sides, he added, the credit block, or an overdue confirmation are critical events before the disaster. The good thing is that for your customers, your software takes note of those events and helps them prevent the exception or disaster by pushing the critical event right on their face.”
“Oh… Ok. I get it now”, I said nodding my head. “I still prefer the word exception… fortunately no lives are lost and disaster sounds like a strong word”.
“Ok, son I will concur”, he said. “But remember, if you don’t pay attention to the critical chain of events, you could end up losing customers and that could kill the business. Not as bad as losing human lives but still terrible”.
Needless to say, I agree to that!! OpsVeda Operational Intelligence. See ‘what is about to happen’!