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The Value Of Digital Transformation In The Chemicals Industry

In 2013, several UK supermarket chains discovered that products they were selling as beef were actually made at least partly—and in some cases, entirely—from horsemeat. The resulting uproar led to a series of product recalls, prompted stricter food testing, and spurred the European food industry to take a closer look at how unlabeled or mislabeled ingredients were finding their way into the food chain.

By 2020, a scandal like this will be eminently preventable.

The separation between bovine and equine will become immutable with Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, which will track the provenance and identity of every animal from stall to store, adding the data to a blockchain that anyone can check but no one can alter.

Food processing companies will be able to use that blockchain to confirm and label the contents of their products accordingly—down to the specific farms and animals represented in every individual package. That level of detail may be too much information for shoppers, but they will at least be able to trust that their meatballs come from the appropriate species.

The Spine of Digitalization

Q118 CoverFeature img1 spine The Value Of Digital Transformation In The Chemicals Industry

Keeping food safer and more traceable is just the beginning, however. Improvements in the supply chain, which have been incremental for decades despite billions of dollars of technology investments, are about to go exponential. Emerging technologies are converging to transform the supply chain from tactical to strategic, from an easily replicable commodity to a new source of competitive differentiation.

You may already be thinking about how to take advantage of blockchain technology, which makes data and transactions immutable, transparent, and verifiable (see “What Is Blockchain and How Does It Work?”). That will be a powerful tool to boost supply chain speed and efficiency—always a worthy goal, but hardly a disruptive one.

However, if you think of blockchain as the spine of digitalization and technologies such as AI, the IoT, 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, and drones as the limbs, you have a powerful supply chain body that can leapfrog ahead of its competition.

What Is Blockchain and How Does It Work?

Here’s why blockchain technology is critical to transforming the supply chain.

Blockchain is essentially a sequential, distributed ledger of transactions that is constantly updated on a global network of computers. The ownership and history of a transaction is embedded in the blockchain at the transaction’s earliest stages and verified at every subsequent stage.

A blockchain network uses vast amounts of computing power to encrypt the ledger as it’s being written. This makes it possible for every computer in the network to verify the transactions safely and transparently. The more organizations that participate in the ledger, the more complex and secure the encryption becomes, making it increasingly tamperproof.

Why does blockchain matter for the supply chain?

  • It enables the safe exchange of value without a central verifying partner, which makes transactions faster and less expensive.
  • It dramatically simplifies recordkeeping by establishing a single, authoritative view of the truth across all parties.
  • It builds a secure, immutable history and chain of custody as different parties handle the items being shipped, and it updates the relevant documentation.
  • By doing these things, blockchain allows companies to create smart contracts based on programmable business logic, which can execute themselves autonomously and thereby save time and money by reducing friction and intermediaries.

Hints of the Future

Q118 CoverFeature img2 future The Value Of Digital Transformation In The Chemicals IndustryIn the mid-1990s, when the World Wide Web was in its infancy, we had no idea that the internet would become so large and pervasive, nor that we’d find a way to carry it all in our pockets on small slabs of glass.

But we could tell that it had vast potential.

Today, with the combination of emerging technologies that promise to turbocharge digital transformation, we’re just beginning to see how we might turn the supply chain into a source of competitive advantage (see “What’s the Magic Combination?”).

What’s the Magic Combination?

Those who focus on blockchain in isolation will miss out on a much bigger supply chain opportunity.

Many experts believe emerging technologies will work with blockchain to digitalize the supply chain and create new business models:

  • Blockchain will provide the foundation of automated trust for all parties in the supply chain.
  • The IoT will link objects—from tiny devices to large machines—and generate data about status, locations, and transactions that will be recorded on the blockchain.
  • 3D printing will extend the supply chain to the customer’s doorstep with hyperlocal manufacturing of parts and products with IoT sensors built into the items and/or their packaging. Every manufactured object will be smart, connected, and able to communicate so that it can be tracked and traced as needed.
  • Big Data management tools will process all the information streaming in around the clock from IoT sensors.
  • AI and machine learning will analyze this enormous amount of data to reveal patterns and enable true predictability in every area of the supply chain.

Combining these technologies with powerful analytics tools to predict trends will make lack of visibility into the supply chain a thing of the past. Organizations will be able to examine a single machine across its entire lifecycle and identify areas where they can improve performance and increase return on investment. They’ll be able to follow and monitor every component of a product, from design through delivery and service. They’ll be able to trigger and track automated actions between and among partners and customers to provide customized transactions in real time based on real data.

After decades of talk about markets of one, companies will finally have the power to create them—at scale and profitably.

Amazon, for example, is becoming as much a logistics company as a retailer. Its ordering and delivery systems are so streamlined that its customers can launch and complete a same-day transaction with a push of a single IP-enabled button or a word to its ever-attentive AI device, Alexa. And this level of experimentation and innovation is bubbling up across industries.

Consider manufacturing, where the IoT is transforming automation inside already highly automated factories. Machine-to-machine communication is enabling robots to set up, provision, and unload equipment quickly and accurately with minimal human intervention. Meanwhile, sensors across the factory floor are already capable of gathering such information as how often each machine needs maintenance or how much raw material to order given current production trends.

Once they harvest enough data, businesses will be able to feed it through machine learning algorithms to identify trends that forecast future outcomes. At that point, the supply chain will start to become both automated and predictive. We’ll begin to see business models that include proactively scheduling maintenance, replacing parts just before they’re likely to break, and automatically ordering materials and initiating customer shipments.

Italian train operator Trenitalia, for example, has put IoT sensors on its locomotives and passenger cars and is using analytics and in-memory computing to gauge the health of its trains in real time, according to an article in Computer Weekly. “It is now possible to affordably collect huge amounts of data from hundreds of sensors in a single train, analyse that data in real time and detect problems before they actually happen,” Trenitalia’s CIO Danilo Gismondi told Computer Weekly.

The project, which is scheduled to be completed in 2018, will change Trenitalia’s business model, allowing it to schedule more trips and make each one more profitable. The railway company will be able to better plan parts inventories and determine which lines are consistently performing poorly and need upgrades. The new system will save €100 million a year, according to ARC Advisory Group.

New business models continue to evolve as 3D printers become more sophisticated and affordable, making it possible to move the end of the supply chain closer to the customer. Companies can design parts and products in materials ranging from carbon fiber to chocolate and then print those items in their warehouse, at a conveniently located third-party vendor, or even on the client’s premises.

In addition to minimizing their shipping expenses and reducing fulfillment time, companies will be able to offer more personalized or customized items affordably in small quantities. For example, clothing retailer Ministry of Supply recently installed a 3D printer at its Boston store that enables it to make an article of clothing to a customer’s specifications in under 90 minutes, according to an article in Forbes.

This kind of highly distributed manufacturing has potential across many industries. It could even create a market for secure manufacturing for highly regulated sectors, allowing a manufacturer to transmit encrypted templates to printers in tightly protected locations, for example.

Meanwhile, organizations are investigating ways of using blockchain technology to authenticate, track and trace, automate, and otherwise manage transactions and interactions, both internally and within their vendor and customer networks. The ability to collect data, record it on the blockchain for immediate verification, and make that trustworthy data available for any application delivers indisputable value in any business context. The supply chain will be no exception.

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Blockchain Is the Change Driver

The supply chain is configured as we know it today because it’s impossible to create a contract that accounts for every possible contingency. Consider cross-border financial transfers, which are so complex and must meet so many regulations that they require a tremendous number of intermediaries to plug the gaps: lawyers, accountants, customer service reps, warehouse operators, bankers, and more. By reducing that complexity, blockchain technology makes intermediaries less necessary—a transformation that is revolutionary even when measured only in cost savings.

“If you’re selling 100 items a minute, 24 hours a day, reducing the cost of the supply chain by just $ 1 per item saves you more than $ 52.5 million a year,” notes Dirk Lonser, SAP go-to-market leader at DXC Technology, an IT services company. “By replacing manual processes and multiple peer-to-peer connections through fax or e-mail with a single medium where everyone can exchange verified information instantaneously, blockchain will boost profit margins exponentially without raising prices or even increasing individual productivity.”

But the potential for blockchain extends far beyond cost cutting and streamlining, says Irfan Khan, CEO of supply chain management consulting and systems integration firm Bristlecone, a Mahindra Group company. It will give companies ways to differentiate.

“Blockchain will let enterprises more accurately trace faulty parts or products from end users back to factories for recalls,” Khan says. “It will streamline supplier onboarding, contracting, and management by creating an integrated platform that the company’s entire network can access in real time. It will give vendors secure, transparent visibility into inventory 24×7. And at a time when counterfeiting is a real concern in multiple industries, it will make it easy for both retailers and customers to check product authenticity.”

Blockchain allows all the critical steps of the supply chain to go electronic and become irrefutably verifiable by all the critical parties within minutes: the seller and buyer, banks, logistics carriers, and import and export officials. Although the key parts of the process remain the same as in today’s analog supply chain, performing them electronically with blockchain technology shortens each stage from hours or days to seconds while eliminating reams of wasteful paperwork. With goods moving that quickly, companies have ample room for designing new business models around manufacturing, service, and delivery.

Q118 CoverFeature img4 roadblock The Value Of Digital Transformation In The Chemicals Industry

Challenges on the Path to Adoption

For all this to work, however, the data on the blockchain must be correct from the beginning. The pills, produce, or parts on the delivery truck need to be the same as the items listed on the manifest at the loading dock. Every use case assumes that the data is accurate—and that will only happen when everything that’s manufactured is smart, connected, and able to self-verify automatically with the help of machine learning tuned to detect errors and potential fraud.

Companies are already seeing the possibilities of applying this bundle of emerging technologies to the supply chain. IDC projects that by 2021, at least 25% of Forbes Global 2000 (G2000) companies will use blockchain services as a foundation for digital trust at scale; 30% of top global manufacturers and retailers will do so by 2020. IDC also predicts that by 2020, up to 10% of pilot and production blockchain-distributed ledgers will incorporate data from IoT sensors.

Despite IDC’s optimism, though, the biggest barrier to adoption is the early stage level of enterprise use cases, particularly around blockchain. Currently, the sole significant enterprise blockchain production system is the virtual currency Bitcoin, which has unfortunately been tainted by its associations with speculation, dubious financial transactions, and the so-called dark web.

The technology is still in a sufficiently early stage that there’s significant uncertainty about its ability to handle the massive amounts of data a global enterprise supply chain generates daily. Never mind that it’s completely unregulated, with no global standard. There’s also a critical global shortage of experts who can explain emerging technologies like blockchain, the IoT, and machine learning to nontechnology industries and educate organizations in how the technologies can improve their supply chain processes. Finally, there is concern about how blockchain’s complex algorithms gobble computing power—and electricity (see “Blockchain Blackouts”).

Blockchain Blackouts

Q118 CoverFeature img5 blackout The Value Of Digital Transformation In The Chemicals IndustryBlockchain is a power glutton. Can technology mediate the issue?

A major concern today is the enormous carbon footprint of the networks creating and solving the algorithmic problems that keep blockchains secure. Although virtual currency enthusiasts claim the problem is overstated, Michael Reed, head of blockchain technology for Intel, has been widely quoted as saying that the energy demands of blockchains are a significant drain on the world’s electricity resources.

Indeed, Wired magazine has estimated that by July 2019, the Bitcoin network alone will require more energy than the entire United States currently uses and that by February 2020 it will use as much electricity as the entire world does today.

Still, computing power is becoming more energy efficient by the day and sticking with paperwork will become too slow, so experts—Intel’s Reed among them—consider this a solvable problem.

“We don’t know yet what the market will adopt. In a decade, it might be status quo or best practice, or it could be the next Betamax, a great technology for which there was no demand,” Lonser says. “Even highly regulated industries that need greater transparency in the entire supply chain are moving fairly slowly.”

Blockchain will require acceptance by a critical mass of companies, governments, and other organizations before it displaces paper documentation. It’s a chicken-and-egg issue: multiple companies need to adopt these technologies at the same time so they can build a blockchain to exchange information, yet getting multiple companies to do anything simultaneously is a challenge. Some early initiatives are already underway, though:

  • A London-based startup called Everledger is using blockchain and IoT technology to track the provenance, ownership, and lifecycles of valuable assets. The company began by tracking diamonds from mine to jewelry using roughly 200 different characteristics, with a goal of stopping both the demand for and the supply of “conflict diamonds”—diamonds mined in war zones and sold to finance insurgencies. It has since expanded to cover wine, artwork, and other high-value items to prevent fraud and verify authenticity.
  • In September 2017, SAP announced the creation of its SAP Leonardo Blockchain Co-Innovation program, a group of 27 enterprise customers interested in co-innovating around blockchain and creating business buy-in. The diverse group of participants includes management and technology services companies Capgemini and Deloitte, cosmetics company Natura Cosméticos S.A., and Moog Inc., a manufacturer of precision motion control systems.
  • Two of Europe’s largest shipping ports—Rotterdam and Antwerp—are working on blockchain projects to streamline interaction with port customers. The Antwerp terminal authority says eliminating paperwork could cut the costs of container transport by as much as 50%.
  • The Chinese online shopping behemoth Alibaba is experimenting with blockchain to verify the authenticity of food products and catch counterfeits before they endanger people’s health and lives.
  • Technology and transportation executives have teamed up to create the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), a forum for developing blockchain standards and education for the freight industry.

It’s likely that the first blockchain-based enterprise supply chain use case will emerge in the next year among companies that see it as an opportunity to bolster their legal compliance and improve business processes. Once that happens, expect others to follow.

Q118 CoverFeature img7 milk The Value Of Digital Transformation In The Chemicals Industry

Customers Will Expect Change

It’s only a matter of time before the supply chain becomes a competitive driver. The question for today’s enterprises is how to prepare for the shift. Customers are going to expect constant, granular visibility into their transactions and faster, more customized service every step of the way. Organizations will need to be ready to meet those expectations.

If organizations have manual business processes that could never be automated before, now is the time to see if it’s possible. Organizations that have made initial investments in emerging technologies are looking at how their pilot projects are paying off and where they might extend to the supply chain. They are starting to think creatively about how to combine technologies to offer a product, service, or business model not possible before.

A manufacturer will load a self-driving truck with a 3D printer capable of creating a customer’s ordered item en route to delivering it. A vendor will capture the market for a socially responsible product by allowing its customers to track the product’s production and verify that none of its subcontractors use slave labor. And a supermarket chain will win over customers by persuading them that their choice of supermarket is also a choice between being certain of what’s in their food and simply hoping that what’s on the label matches what’s inside.

At that point, a smart supply chain won’t just be a competitive edge. It will become a competitive necessity. D!

About the Authors

Gil Perez is Senior Vice President, Internet of Things and Digital Supply Chain, at SAP.

Tom Raftery is Global Vice President, Futurist, and Internet of Things Evangelist, at SAP.

Hans Thalbauer is Senior Vice President, Internet of Things and Digital Supply Chain, at SAP.

Dan Wellers is Global Lead, Digital Futures, at SAP.

Fawn Fitter is a freelance writer specializing in business and technology.

Read more thought provoking articles in the latest issue of the Digitalist Magazine, Executive Quarterly.


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Finding position of the maximum value of each subset

 Finding position of the maximum value of each subset

I have the following set:

list = {{32/39, 1/5, 0, 0, 0}, {5/33, 3/5, 1/3, 0, 3/4}};

I need to find the position of maximum value from each subset.
I tried

Position[list, Max[list]]

and it gives the position {{1,1}}. But my result should be {{1,1}, {2,5}}/

2 Answers

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Dynamic value within Table not being evaluated

 Dynamic value within Table not being evaluated

This is a bit of a follow-up question to my post here. I’m now attempting to replicate the same general code using Connect Four (7×6 grid instead of 3×3).

However, when I pass a Dynamic value to my createBox function, it seems to use values such as board$ 3379[[1,6]] instead of using the actual board variable. I believe this relates to the RuleDelayed issue described here but using With doesn’t seem to help.

When I remove the Dynamic function before board[[x,y]] it works as intended.

createBox[elem_] := Module[{},
    {{White, Rectangle[]}
     , Switch[elem
      , "A", {Red, Disk[{0.5, 0.5}, 0.4]}
      , "B", {Blue, Disk[{0.5, 0.5}, 0.4]}
      , " ", {Thick, Circle[{0.5, 0.5}, 0.4]}
      , _, {}
     }, ImageSize -> 50, Frame -> True, FrameStyle -> Thickness[.02], 
    FrameTicks -> None

   {board = ConstantArray[" ", {7, 6}], player = "A"},
     With[{y = y, x = x}
      , EventHandler[
       createBox[Dynamic@board[[x, y]]]
       , {"MouseClicked" :> (
          If[board[[y, x]] === " ",
            board[[x, y]] = "A";
     , {y, Length@board[[1]], 1, -1}, {x, Length@board}
     ], Spacings -> {0, 0}
   ], WindowTitle -> "Connect Four", WindowSize -> All

Is there a better way to structure this?

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Top 10 Data Quality Blogs of 2017 – Understanding Its Value in a Big Data World

Our Best of 2017 series continues with a look at our top data quality blogs of the year. With Syncsort’s addition of Trillium Software, we shared a number of posts around the value data quality brings across the full spectrum of data-based business initiatives.

Let the countdown begin! Here’s a look at this year’s most popular data quality blogs:

As part of this “Golden Record” series which spoke to the importance of validating and enriching data fields in your customer database — email, telephone, mailing and IP address — to attract and retain business. This final part of the 3-part series reviews the most common use cases for “Golden Records.” Read more >

During this year’s Enterprise Data World conference, it was clear that many organizations are wrestling with the rapid changes in information management and governance necessitated, and many are assessing where they are in this process, even questioning “where to start?”  Read more >

If you’ve followed the enterprise software industry over the past ten years, you’ve probably picked up on a key trend that has led successful vendors to prominence and others to their demise – making data “fit for purpose.” To be successful, you need to have a good understanding about what your data IS, what it DOES, and the value wedge of what it MEANS to your organization. Read more >

You know Big Data is important for business. But do you know just how important – in terms of cold, hard cash – it is, or how to maximize data’s value? If not, this post is for you. Read more >

As part of our educational “Summer School” blog series, this guide to data governance pulls together a number of resources on the matter – everything from a basic introduction to today’s top trends. Read more >

Which weapons do you store in your fraud-detection arsenal? If data quality tools aren’t among them, then you’re not doing all you can to catch and disrupt fraudulent transactions.  Here’s why it’s essential for fraud detection. Read more >

blog banner landscape Top 10 Data Quality Blogs of 2017 – Understanding Its Value in a Big Data World

Trillium Software participated and was a sponsor for our partner Collibra at their annual Collibra Data Citizens ’17 conference in Jersey City. There were some key takeaways as to what data governance challenges were front and center with over 350 attendees, and what kinds of related solutions attracted their attention. Read more >

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are reshaping the technology world. But machine learning is only as effective as the data that drives it. In other words, if you want to implement effective machine learning, you need to pay attention to data quality. Read more >

Another post from our educational “Summer School” blog series, this data quality guide reviews its use cases and current trends. Read more >

If you work with data, you’ve probably heard the term data quality more than a few times. But what is it? Do you know what data quality actually means, and what data quality analysts do? If not, this article’s for you. Read more >

BONUS: Check out our free eBook, The New Rules for Your Data Landscape, to discover how today’s new data supply chain impacts how data is moved, manipulated, and cleansed.

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Not Fake News: Technology Can Drive Investor Value Creation for Startups

Posted by Mark Woodhams, Oracle NetSuite EMEA Vice President

Projections, market analysis, product demos and marketing campaigns are key to getting the attention of a private equity (PE) investor. Is it enough? Initially, the answer is probably yes. For the long-term, more and more of those same investors are pointing to an increased reliance on a range of value-generating tools necessary in today’s investment environment.

Judging by conversations at a recent NetSuite event putting PE investors in touch with founders and owners, one of those tools essential for investor value creation is technology. Start-ups and scale-ups, take note: This is not fake news.

“We used to rely on leverage,” said Rob Foreman, Chief Investment Officer at Primary Capital Partners, a PE investment specialist. “Today, I’m no longer able to count on buying well and selling well in the way that I might have been able to do, say, 10 years ago.”

iStock 46488008 LARGE Not Fake News: Technology Can Drive Investor Value Creation for StartupsThe result, he says, means either an increased focus on fast growth businesses in which to invest or active value creation. Smart investors are devoting more and more time to the latter. Foreman was speaking at a NetSuite event aimed at helping start-up and scale-up companies better understand the investment community.

There are many ways to slice and dice value creation tools and techniques. Foreman places them into four broad categories: structural, revenue growth drivers, good housekeeping and professionalisation.

  • Structural: activity such as roll-outs, carve-outs, acquisitions and internalisation.
  • Revenue Growth Drivers: new product development, customer acquisition, retention and upsell, channel expansion, and pricing strategy.
  • Good Housekeeping: efficiency through cash management, cost reductions and sales performance improvements.
  • Professionalisation: management bandwidth, succession planning, management information systems development and systems implementation.

It’s under professionalisation that you’ll find technology as a facilitator, driver and measure of business growth.

Technology allows for three things. It fosters efficiency, enables faster and more effective decision making and demonstrates business maturity. Let’s take each in turn.

First, a good technology platform is the basis for operational efficiency, delivering a single and consistent view of business activity. It helps identify inefficiencies, smooths the path to investment and provides visibility during mergers, acquisitions and carve outs.

Second, technology enables effective decision-making. “Lots of businesses have lots of data they don’t use. It’s about trying to get dashboards for easier management decision making,” noted Primary Capital Partners’ Rob Foreman. That’s why MIS development matters. Customer churn, incremental product development costs and customer acquisition costs are all dashboard KPIs (key performance indicators) that aid informed decision making at speed. Without these, investors and owners are flying blind.

Third, technology is a useful proxy indicator of business maturity, an illustration that founders and owners understand the information needs of investors.

“It’s surprising how rarely there are proper financial numbers available,” said Thomas Studd, Partner at Vitruvian Partners, another private equity specialist. “It’s quite rare that I see a business plan that has a cash flow forecast. So whenever I do see cash flow statements I always think it’s a good start.”

Think back to those other value creation tools and techniques and it’s clear that technology plays a role there too. For example, technology allows the business to measure cash management, effectiveness of cost reduction, retention, upsell and the cost of customer acquisitions, to name but five.

The data good technology spawns cuts across traditional company siloes and draws on the synergies between traditional departmental metrics. That’s why at NetSuite we’ve created a unified, fully integrated system that combines financial accounting, enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), professional services automation (PSA) and ecommerce. And because they are cloud-based, data and dashboards can be shared by functional heads and investors alike.

Our track record suggests that we can deliver the value creation discussed here. For example, we’ve proved the start-ups and scale-ups subject to investment can cut order-to-cash cycle by 50%, accelerate financial close by 20-50%. They can also reduce audit preparation by 50%, invoicing costs by 25-75% and days sales outstanding (DSO) by 10-20%. Finally, they can reduce IT costs by 50%, a material saving to the bottom line.

For private equity investors looking to create value and for start-ups and scale-ups looking to demonstrate future growth, it appears that technology is a good place to start.

Learn more about how NetSuite is helping private equity firms with its Private Equity Services Practice.

Posted on Fri, December 15, 2017
by NetSuite filed under

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Managed HA/DR Services Add a Wealth of Value

Vision Solutions, which recently merged with Syncsort, has been in the business of high availability and disaster recovery for more than two decades. The article below about the value of HA/DR managed services originally appeared on their blog.

Attempting to manage all of your HA/DR needs in-house is admirable, but so is understanding the need for specialized help. According to the 2017 State of Resilience Report, Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS/RaaS) revenue is projected to grow dramatically over the next three years as more and more businesses are seeing its value.

blog banner 2017 State of Resilience Report Managed HA/DR Services Add a Wealth of Value

How Managed HA/DR Services Add Value

Delegating the routine upkeep of your HA/DR infrastructure to a managed service provider not only frees IT staff for more sophisticated challenges, it actually saves money down the line in maintenance costs and lost productivity due to downtime. But beside the obvious time and money advantages managed services boast, here are four specific benefits your organization will enjoy:

1. The Latest and Greatest

Managed services providers are responsible for updating your environment whenever application or system changes happen. That means you will always be running the best versions of your IT tools. Even a simple software update can be all it takes to get a leg up on the competition.

2. You Will Get the Memo

When a company does nothing but monitor your HA/DR environment, they can provide status and error reports featuring details you never realized were important. You can extract a great deal of value just through a fresh perspective from an objective source.

3. An Apple a Day

Daily, preventative maintenance of your IT environment is a cornerstone of managed services. Even when the inevitable unplanned outage happens, having a managed services infrastructure in place allows you to reduce downtime and continue meeting your high service standards.

4. Freedom to be Selfish

The right partner will put in the effort to understand your specific environment and configure their service in a way that works best for you and your team. You can even choose from a number of packages to ensure you’re not wasting money on services you don’t need.

Of course, this only scratches the surface of what managed services can do for your organization. Vision Solutions offers Managed Services to handle all of the monitoring, optimization, software updates and testing of your Vision HA/DR solutions so that staff can focus on other IT priorities.  Download our free 2017 State of Resilience report to review the latest trends in HA/DR planning.

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Modeling Deposit Price Elasticity: Where’s the Value?

Deposit Price Elasticity Modeling FICO Modeling Deposit Price Elasticity: Where’s the Value?

The ability to model deposit price elasticity is becoming a core component of deposit portfolio management. In my previous posts on this topic, I discussed:

This post focuses on benefits once models have been completed and are in use. What should you expect to gain from deposit price elasticity models and what can you do with them to maximize benefit to the business?

The main function of a deposit pricing team is to forecast the future performance of their portfolio and a substantial amount of time is spent answering questions such as: How much new money will this rate bring in? How will this cannibalize my more profitable back book? What is the impact of the new rate on my portfolio P&L? What if the market changes rates?

Scientifically derived deposit price elasticity models streamline the answering of these and other questions. Moreover, as the core of a deposit forecasting solution, these models improve the accuracy, efficiency and accountability of the entire pricing process.


Price elasticity models are not affected by qualitative bias and provide a level of accuracy not achievable by gut instinct alone. Rather than focusing on individual products, the modeling suite should have the ability to create simulations of the entire portfolio, incorporating balance movements into and out of the bank as well as the effect price changes have on other products and the resulting impact on the bottom line. Simulations of future behavior should have the ability to predict the impact of price changes and allow the user to flex assumptions around competitor pricing, changes to the macroeconomic environment and internal profit assumptions.

Using this approach we achieve a better understanding of customer behaviors and the associated sensitivities of the bank’s liquidity as a whole. The best system of models tracks the impact of price changes so that previous decisions can be reviewed, appraised and the results fed back into the model calibration. This closed-loop process ensures models are continuously learning and adapting to changing market sentiment.


Another significant benefit of pricing analytics is that they accelerate the decision making process. Pricing managers can rapidly generate a number of different scenarios to study alternative pricing strategies, changes in competitor pricing assumptions or wider market factors. Providing the business with appropriate forecasting levers allows them to focus their expertise on pricing. Generation of evidence to justify pricing decisions becomes an automated process and this makes it possible to quickly iterate towards a pricing strategy that achieves the desired portfolio outcome.


When recommendations are based on transparent model drivers, conversations with internal stakeholders or senior management become easier as forecasted balances can be directly related back to internal or external modeling factors. The demonstrable action-effect behavior of pricing models also extends beyond the organization as they facilitate conversations with regulators.

In recent times, the regulatory burden on bank executives has grown such that transparency of the underlying pricing models is paramount. Pricing decisions must be explainable and the inputs and assumptions that sit behind them thoroughly documented. An ideal price-elasticity solution provides transparency to the underlying models, automates much of this governance process and provides an auditable structure for the entire pricing process.

Towards Optimization & Beyond

As I have discussed, price elasticity models that predict flows into, out of and between products are key to gaining a full understanding of a deposits portfolio. They serve as part of a broader analytic infrastructure underpinned by a strong data management system and a highly skilled analytic workforce. Ultimately, they empower the pricing team to make better decisions that are more accurate, quickly identified, and easily explained. These improved, data-driven processes have myriad benefits for everyone from the pricing analyst through senior management, partner stakeholders such as treasury, finance, marketing, and even external auditors.

However, the full value of a deposits portfolio can only be completely unlocked through the application of optimization, which is the final frontier in the construction of a comprehensive pricing solution. Full price optimization has the ability to discover revenue where a simple forecasting tool cannot. It optimally trades off balances and revenue across every product in the portfolio and finds the most efficient path to achieving the desired business outcome.

In my next post, I’ll discuss price optimization in more detail and how it can directly generate value to the deposits business.

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Get our latest eBook – Mainframe Challenge: Unlocking the Value of Legacy Data

If your organization is running legacy systems, you’re likely struggling to fully integrate your legacy data into new data analytics platforms and your business intelligence deliverables. That siloed data can also compromise data governance and security.

In our latest eBook, Mainframe Challenge: Unlocking the Value of Legacy Data, we review ways to help you tackle these obstacles so you can unlock the value of your mainframe data.

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How to Use C# 7 Value Tuples in ASP.NET MVC

With the release of Visual Studio 2017, I wanted to use the new Value Tuples that were introduced in C# 7 in a MVC project I was working on. However, I ran into some issues which I discuss below.

Firstly, Value Tuples are included with .Net 4.7, but if the project’s target framework is lower than that, they can still be used by installing the System.ValueTuple nuget package.

image thumb How to Use C# 7 Value Tuples in ASP.NET MVC

After either using .Net 4.7 or installing the nuget package, when attempting to use Value Tuples you may find that the project fails to build, with no errors in the error log, and errors in the output log like error CS1026: ) expected. This is due to the Microsoft.Net.Compiliers nuget package that is included by default when creating a new MVC project is version 1.3.2. This needs to be updated to at least version 2.0.1.

There is also an error that occurs when using the Value Tuples in Razor views:

The type ‘ValueType’ is defined in an assembly that is not referenced. You must add a reference to assembly ‘System.Runtime, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a’.
This can be resolved by adding a reference to System.Runtime in the compilation section of the web.config e.g:



However even after fixing this error, the use of Value Tuples in Razor views is still partially limited. Trying to directly set the model of a view to be a Value Tuple or using the new instantiation syntax (e.g. (Name: “John Smith”, Age: 25)) in a Razor view gives a “Feature ‘tuples’ is not available in C# 6.  Please use language version 7 or greater” error.

image thumb 1 How to Use C# 7 Value Tuples in ASP.NET MVC

However, if the tuple is a property of the model, that it can be used without errors.

For an example of how the Value Tuples can be used I have created a small test application. That allows a user to update their current Business Unit.

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image thumb 3 How to Use C# 7 Value Tuples in ASP.NET MVC

In this method we are first deconstructing a Value Tuple that has been returned by the GetLoggedInUser method, this allows us to use the results as normal variables since in this case we only need the name. We are also retrieving the users current Business Unit and a List of all Business Units that are returned as Value Tuples.

image thumb 4 How to Use C# 7 Value Tuples in ASP.NET MVC

Here you can see that we can still use the named parameters of the Value Tuples in the view, including the ones in a List. This is much nicer then the Item1… syntax of the regular tuples.

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Leading with Customer Experience, Value, Technology, and Credibility

rsz bigstock golden trophy cup on table 155670149 1 Leading with Customer Experience, Value, Technology, and Credibility

When I was an industry analyst, I always felt that the most enlightening and valuable research came from first hand, end user feedback. Who better to hear from than practicing professionals doing real world work? Pleasing customers with enterprise software isn’t for the faint of heart and if you really want unvarnished insights, end users should be the core of your critical feedback loop.

It’s for this reason the team at TIBCO is so excited to see the results of The Wisdom of Crowds® Business Intelligence and Enterprise Planning Market Studies delivered by Dresner Advisory Services, LLC. This research speaks directly to the end user community on a wide variety of categories to unearth a complete view of market realities, plans, and perceptions from users in all roles and across industries.

This month Dresner Advisory Services announced its 2017 Industry Excellence Awards based on high vendor ratings in their most recent research. TIBCO Spotfire achieved awards as a Customer Experience Leader and a Value Leader, while TIBCO Statistica received the Technology Leader and Credibility Leader awards. Both solutions were acknowledged for their overall strength in sales, support, consulting services, and more. Vendors who are awarded Customer Experience and Technology leaders are executing at a high level for sales and service, as well as product and technology. Credibility and Value leaders have customers who reflect a high level of confidence and sense of value for the price paid.

Dresner’s Wisdom of Crowds research started in 2010 and dives deep when appraising vendors performance by tracking 33 different criteria across 7 topic areas that include, Sales Experience, Value for Price Paid, Technology/Product, Technical Support, Consulting Services, Customer Recommendation, and Vendor Integrity.

The Wisdom of Crowds research examines the details of our industry and surfaces positive trends that point to great progress for Business Intelligence and Analytic consumers. When reviewing the the Value dimension of the Dresner report a positive trend emerges: Since 2012, respondents to the survey are scoring the vendors with progressively higher value scores year over year. Keeping up with this competitive landscape puts pressure on solution providers, making it harder to compete and in the case of Spotfire even more satisfying to be among the leaders in this area.

Dresner tracks 12 different criteria to score product quality and usefulness, which includes robustness/sophistication of technology, completeness of functionality, reliability of technology, scalability, integration of components within product, integration with third-party technologies, overall usability, ease of installation, ease of administration, customization and extensibility, online training, forums and documentation, and ease of upgrades and migration to new versions. All saw increases in 2017 except ease of upgrades again. This trend points to increased competition and maturity in the market, making it more difficult to rise to leadership positions in the research.

The vendor credibility model employed by Dresner combines the value for price paid as scored by the user along with a vendor’s integrity score (honesty and truthfulness in all dealings) and recommendation score (customers willingness to recommend the vendor) to create an overall confidence dimension. The value and confidence dimensions position where a vendor is placed in the overall rankings. TIBCO Statistica placement among credibility leaders is an award to be proud of considering the competition and the scoring criteria.

The 2017 Industry Excellence Awards speak highly of TIBCO’s analytic strategy and our Connected Intelligence approach to digital transformation. To differentiate and maintain competitive advantage, smart companies should rely on solutions that lead in Customer Experience, Value, Technology, and Credibility.

Read more about the 2017 Excellence Awards here.

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