Industry Insights

Actionable Business Insights Thru Analytics – Supercomputer Not Required

There is a new world’s most powerful supercomputer. IBM’s Sequoia topped the most recent ranking of the world’s best. With over one and a half million processor cores it clocks in at 16.32 petaflops or 16.32 quadrillion floating operations per second. I did a little internet searching for estimates of the processing power of the human brain and found figures ranging from around 1 to 20 petaflops. One petaflop is one quadrillion FLOPS. Calculations do not equal cognition but these are not fanciful numbers. So right about now you are living through the point in which a single computer is passing the total computational ability of a single human brain. Historic!

Impressive as this is, in the world of consumer products the issue is not so much about raw computational capability but rather about acquiring, selecting, and using the right information for the business operations’ needs. Both computers systems and human brains need useful information to work with. For people these are experiences and memories. At consumer products companies, systems running demand signal repositories (DSRs) bring together a range of data sources for business insights, from which a company can turn insights to actions.

DSRs make use of relevant, clean, and harmonized data. The quest for insights and market success are driving manufacturers beyond internal data such as ERP and enterprise planning systems to external POS, customer loyalty, syndicated and social media data sources, just to name a few. Some are already held within a CP company and underutilized and some are available but not yet acquired. Tapping these various data streams type and applying them to manage, improve and optimize planning and operational business processes for better marketplace success is the goal. Advances in computational capacity are impressive and important. But don’t forget that plenty of data exist which can be handled by but much more modest machines such as high-performance Netezza appliances.

The application of business analytics practices to these data can uncover valueable insights and give guidance for the CP company’s business processes, helping deliver better marketplace performance. Happily, you don’t need the world’s fastest supercomputer for that!


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