The Evolution of Digital Control Towers: Command Centers for Decision Making

DCT to Command Center Blog Image

In recent years, it is very likely your company has gone from being “data poor” to “data rich.”

Companies have invested significant resources in building data repositories – leveraging data lakes and data warehouses to bring data from multiple fragmented source systems into one location, with a goal of providing a “single source of truth” for the business.

Putting that data to use was the next challenge. Reporting tools gave teams the ability to build dashboards and reports with the goal of sifting that data for insights into operations. Digital control towers delivered customized dashboards gathering data, KPIs, and relevant supply chain information into one place to support decision making.

Digital control towers made it easier to respond to problems and enabled better communication and data sharing in the face of disruption. Yet while the business intelligence and visibility they provide can be powerful, today’s challenges have exposed the limitations of these solutions:

  • Digital control towers demand a great deal of time and expertise. Business users still have to interpret the information they’re receiving and determine the right course of action.
  • They offer minimal or no predictive capabilities. A digital control tower cannot make intelligent recommendations, nor can it learn from the outcomes of past decisions to improve the insights it offers in the future.
  • They lack end-to-end business visibility. In most cases, digital control towers are focused on supply chain issues. They aren’t designed to consider data and decisions made in other parts of the business that impact decision making.
  • Digital control towers have limited ability to execute decisions. Even with a digital control tower that delivers valuable insights, business users spend a great deal of time manually updating transactional systems to put a plan into action.

With so many decisions to make and so many demands on their time, most business users cannot make decisions for the entire product portfolio at the lowest level of granularity. Instead, they find themselves focusing only on a smaller number of critical decisions. Add to this the fact of uncertain market conditions (including volatile, variable demand and unpredictable lead times) and it becomes clear that companies need a new solution that goes beyond digital control towers.

Your company needs greater accuracy and agility in order to maintain and grow your competitive advantage in today’s marketplace.

The advantage of Decision Intelligence

These challenges are not going away. In fact, the growing emphasis on sustainability and social responsibility are increasing the number of factors that must be considered in supply chain decision making. Traditional transactional and planning (ERP) systems alone cannot contend with the forces which have accelerated the pace of planning cycles from quarterly or monthly to weekly or, in some cases, daily.

While collecting data and creating insights is a critical first step, it is not enough. Supply chain planners need targeted insights and actionable recommendations – and the ability to take decisions and execute them quickly. Decision Intelligence is the solution to these challenges. A Decision Intelligence platform combines the data, intelligence, automation, and engagement that companies need to digitize, augment, and even automate decision making.

Decision Intelligence is necessary in today’s business environment. The limitations of past technology and processes make it difficult to solve mission-critical problems quickly. Often, knowing there’s an issue, diagnosing the cause, and responding to it requires accessing multiple systems and/or spreadsheets.

And, while “data-rich” companies have more data available than ever, too often that data is poorly structured and difficult to access. The constant influx of new data complicates efforts to deal with those challenges manually.

Companies also lack enough experienced people to analyze and interpret the data that is available – and, as we said above, those people are often overloaded.

Decision Intelligence solves the challenges of making data-driven decisions in this type of environment. AI and machine learning make it possible to analyze data more quickly and accurately to understand the business impact, recommend a course of action, act on it, and then learn from the outcome and measure the impact of that decision.

From control towers to command centers

By design, Decision Intelligence goes beyond traditional supply chain control towers to create end-to-end visibility. A Decision Intelligence platform becomes your command center for decision making for the entire business. It goes beyond historical visualization of the supply chain to predict performance across products, suppliers, distributors, customers, and others.

With Decision Intelligence, your company can digitize decision-making processes and, in many cases, take action autonomously when conditions match business rules that you define.

With a Decision Intelligence platform, your company can:

  • Gather and harmonize data from virtually all sources, including cloud-based and on-premise systems and third parties, without having to replace your existing infrastructure or solutions;
  • Benefit from end-to-end visibility by applying analytics and machine learning models in real time;
  • Utilize these intelligent capabilities to generate actionable, data-driven recommendations and predictions – delivered by an explainable, “glass box” AI that users can easily understand;
  • Execute decisions more quickly, as the platform writes back to your source systems of record automatically – ensuring that both the decision and its outcome are factored into the data model for future recommendations.

With this approach, leaders can make sure that tactical decisions remain aligned with the wider goals of the enterprise. Complete supply chain visibility leads to faster, data-driven decisions, enabling companies to better respond to customer needs while balancing performance, service levels, and other priorities.

You can see this decision-making command center in action with Aera Decision Cloud™ – watch our Future Now webinar where we’ll show you how this process works with our Decision Intelligence platform, then give you an example of how to connect the dots using our Root Cause Analysis Skill. You’ll learn more about this powerful platform and see the impact that Decision Intelligence is having today at some of the world’s best-known consumer brands.

See Aera in action.

Schedule Demo