Data & Databases
Major databases such as ERP systems, legacy systems, transactional data archived and stored for reference should be considered standard intelligence as they provide the very base for any data comparison and measurement.
For example product delivery data as a basis for historic performance could be compared to projected output planning numbers by supply chain and production units. Or replenishment data would provide an outlook for intermediates availability, furthermore being used by business planners for production forecast.
Setting these data in comparison with market studies that project on future developments of markets and industries could trigger important conclusions in terms of trends and thus supply assurance or market down- or up-turns.
While standard systems and well established databases might be fairly easy to tackle as integration would only be done once, the vast majority of standalone, separate and home-grown databases pose a different level of challenge. Intelligence can be built from these resources as well, either by integrating this data in to existing global, centralized databases and systems or by snatching valuable data off those spreadsheets and archive (which could be done by either pull or push interfaces).
In large corporations many employees might operate their own special spreadsheets, MS Access databases and the likes for the reason of quick access and full control. While working fast not only means efficient it needs to be considered that these individuals rid the organization of something incredibly important: cross-unit fertilization and with that huge opportunities in terms of synergy and mutual effectiveness.
In order to change this, thorough internal research needs to be conducted first. There is no use in preventing employees to use their own spreadsheets as long as their uncovered needs are not satisfied. So, while establishing an inventory of existing databases and data depositories all requirements approached by those solutions need to be carefully evaluated and addressed with any central solution.Chances are, some individual solutions will persist for all the right reasons, which doesn’t make not-sharing right on the other hand though.