The problem is the data

Richard Sharpe Analytics & Big Data


“Harnessing the true power of data driven insight is the holy grail of future business.  A wealth of this data comes from the supply chain.  But, while the information is there, companies are not yet capitalizing on its real value as a source of insight capable of shaping the future of the enterprise.”

—DHL Supply Chain, Lisa Harrington, Senior Research Fellow – University of Maryland,
“The Predictive Enterprise: Where Data Science Meets Supply Chain”  (January 2016)

With all of the talk about analytics and big data, why are so many companies still struggling with the adoption of new technologies and methodologies that harness the true power of data-driven insights?

The reasons can vary, but the common complaint that I hear centers on data:

Our data still sits in silos and it is difficult to integrate.   

We have pulled all our data together, but people still don’t trust it.  

As a large company, we have a long way to go to be able to support advanced analytics with the current state of our data.

Does this resonate with you for your company? If so, doing nothing to move down the path to gain this Holy Grail is nonsensical.

This problem has been solved by many forward-thinking companies using advances in cloud computing solutions and focused methodologies. They took on the challenge and solved this “secret” to gain significant operating advantages.

Take a look at the ROI figures from a recent Gartner research report, “Deconstructing Supply Chain Analytics,” by Noha Tohamy (also referenced in the DHL paper mentioned above).


After reviewing the ROI, make an honest assessment about your organization’s capability to use the power of analytics that exist today. Consider the competitive advantage of having one source of trusted data and the full use of business-focused analytics to transform your enterprise.

If your problem centers on the state of your data, what is more important than to eliminate that barrier? The task may be significant, but it starts by recognizing that it can be done. Seek the support of your Senior Management to create a cross-functional Team charged with defining a road map that includes an ongoing data-governance process. If needed, seek outside assistance to help with the process. You will discover that it is not so much rocket science as it is perseverance!

I would love to hear your thoughts.

All the best,


Richard Sharpe

Richard Sharpe is CEO of Competitive Insights, LLC (CI), a founding officer of the American Logistics Aid Network(ALAN) and designated by DC Velocityas a Rainmaker in the industry. For the last 25 years, Richard has been passionate about driving business value through the adoption of process and technology innovations. His current focus is to support CI’s mission to enable companies to gain maximum value through specific, precise and actionable insights across the organization for smarter growth. CI delivers Enterprise Profit Insights (EPI) solutions that enable cross-functional users to increase and protect profitability. Prior to his current role, Richard was President of CAPS Logistics, the forerunner of supply chain optimization. Richard is a frequent speaker at national conferences and leading academic institutions. His current focus is to challenge executives to improve their company’s competitive position by turning enterprise wide data from a liability to an asset through the use of applied business analytics.