ODYSSEY: The Leader in Defense Commerce Solutions Blog

4 Trends Shaping the World of Data in 2017

Posted by James Lusk on Thu, Apr 20, 2017 @ 13:04 PM

data.jpeg

Data is commonly defined as, “facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis.” With the help of technology, the process of collecting and analyzing data continues to evolve and is now bigger than ever. Businesses are relying on mass amounts of data to gain insights into their customers and meet their objectives.

Data is especially important for suppliers to the Department of Defense (DoD). For example, our industry maintains a vast amount of information like Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Item Unique Identification (IUID) to effectively track and ship products, meet DoD requirements and complete transactions.

We’ve noticed a few trends that are shaping how we use data, and these trends aren’t slowing down in 2017. 

Data volumes continue to grow

As the internet of things (IoT) continues to grow, the amount of data created worldwide is expected to increase tenfold by 2025. That’s a lot of data. In fact, according to an International Data Corp (IDC) white paper, “By 2025, an average connected person anywhere in the world will interact with connected devices nearly 4,800 times per day – basically one interaction every 18 seconds.” 

From a business perspective, organizations need to be strategic about what portion of that data to manage and how to manage it. If not done correctly, organizations could lose revenue, provide poor customer experiences and suffer operational issues. 

More and more data moves to the cloud

Due to the increasing amount of data, organizations are taking more of their applications to the cloud and out of their data centers.  Data centers can be expensive to manage, especially for small businesses, and companies today don’t want to be required to lock in for multiple years to on-premises equipment. 

The cloud is based on subscription services, is scalable to your business needs, and offers greater flexibility. There are many benefits to working with cloud service providers that offer the big data processing platform, as well as the expertise. For these reasons, many organizations have already moved to the cloud, and even more will follow suit.

Many of the DoD suppliers we work with enjoy the ability to work in the same dashboard as their coworkers located around the country. All data in the dashboard is updated in real-time through the cloud.

Companies place great importance on security

Although a slow process, companies seem to finally be catching on to the importance of data security and are putting resources toward it.  And as more companies than ever are relying on data, they will be forced to evaluate and improve their privacy and security procedures. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2018, 50% of business ethics violations will be related to data.

We want immediate gratification

Today, most everything can be done with the click of a button, leading customers to demand instant gratification. The same goes for companies when it comes to their data analytics. Executives and managers want to see analytics that offer immediate, actionable data. Gone are the days of waiting hours or even days to get answers and insights. Real-time data programs, like Odyssey, offer the ability to make accurate and real-time decisions, based on the data provided. Fresh, timely insights will be more important than ever. 

These trends have already emerged, but they will only continue to drive the world of data in the years to come. All businesses, especially those working with the Department of Defense, should see themselves as data-driven companies. Executives and data professionals should keep a close eye on these trends and adapt their data strategies as needed.

By collecting and analyzing the right data, DoD suppliers can save time, money and resources getting the job done. Learn more about our data-driven services here.

Topics: cloud computing, data, IUID, RFID, department of defense

The Evolution of Inventory Management

Posted by James Lusk on Wed, Apr 5, 2017 @ 13:04 PM

Evolution of Inventory Management 2.jpg

Inventory management continues to evolve. Like many other processes, the evolution is driven by the need for greater efficiency and accuracy. Today, suppliers have the ability to use real-time, cloud-based software, like Odyssey, to track and manage inventory and shipments. Let’s take a look at how we got here.

Manual Counting

Inventory management was very primitive before the Industrial Revolution. Some of the first people to rely on inventory management were shopkeepers and merchants, who would count the number of units at the end of each day, determine how many were sold and do their best to forecast future needs. The process of manually counting the physical inventory would often take hours or even days, and as you can imagine, it wasn’t very accurate.

Punch Card System

The Industrial Revolution completely transformed the inventory management process as efficiency and mass production became the main goals of businesses. The punch card system was the “next big thing”, designed by a team at Harvard University in the early 1930’s. The tiny holes in sheets of paper allowed punch cards to correspond with catalog items that were readable by computers. The information would be passed to employees in the storeroom, who would then bring the item up front to the customer. Companies could keep track of which products were being ordered and record inventory and sales data based on the punch cards customers filled out. Unfortunately, this process was too expensive and too slow to remain widely used and to keep up with rising business challenges. 

The Modern Bar Code

The first version of the modern bar code was created in the 1940’s and 1950’s and was composed of ultraviolet light-sensitive ink and reader to track items for sale. As technology improved in the 1980’s and 1990’s, the bar code system became more efficient, affordable and widely adopted. The implantation of more advanced computers and software allowed the modern bar code to flourish for years. At this point, inventory tracking by hand was replaced by scanning products, but inputting information into computers was still done by hand.

Radio Frequency Identification

RFID (radio frequency identification) technology has become a staple in warehouses, factories, and retail stores during the 2000’s. RFID uses a microchip to transmit information about a product, such as type, manufacturer and serial number, to a data collection device. The introduction of RFID technology means that businesses no longer needed to input data by hand and barcode readers could instantly update their databases. The technology is also a game-changer for vendors because they can ensure their products are properly available, and they have constant access to real-time sales data.

The Odyssey team believes that today’s Department of Defense commerce requires an IT platform that can make sense of requirements and provide an automated environment to easily react and respond in real-time. Utilizing the most dynamic cloud- based software levels the playing field for all organizations and users. A five-person company can enjoy the same benefits as a 500-person company. We are always happy to talk to you about your business needs and help you create a more efficient and cost-saving process. You can also watch a demo here.

 

 

Topics: inventory management, RFID, Passive RFID, business technology, cloud computing

Should Your Company Switch to the Cloud?

Posted by James Lusk on Mon, Dec 12, 2016 @ 11:12 AM

Cloud .jpg

 

To Cloud or not to Cloud? As ‘The Cloud’ has become one of the biggest buzzwords of the past few years, many companies are asking themselves if it’s time to switch from their current software solutions (or lack thereof) to cloud computing.

 Research from International Data Corporation (IDC) suggests that worldwide spending on cloud services could double from almost $70 billion in 2015 to over $141 billion in 2019. A different study from SearchCIO indicates that 73% of organizations planned to deploy cloud services by the end of 2015 and the rest plan for the end of 2017. Why are so many organizations switching to the cloud? 

We’ve put together a few reasons why the cloud is a big deal:

 Simplicity & Flexibility.

The dramatic ease of implementation is a strong reason for adopting cloud services. For large organizations, installing and going live with new on-premise software can take years. With cloud software, it takes significantly less time to get started, sometimes a matter of weeks. Often times, an organization’s circumstances change and priorities, resources and budgets can shift, which stalls traditional time-intensive IT projects. However, cloud software can easily adapt as your organization changes and grows.

With Odyssey, there is no software to install, manage or maintain. There are also no updates to purchase, disks to load, or internal IT specialists needed.  The platform creates a compliant, transparent and repeatable process while eliminating the logistical underground.  This ensures that the DoD process is standardized and simple for you.

Level The Playing Field.

Moving to the cloud gives everyone access to enterprise-class technology, whether you are a large company or small business. The cloud allows smaller businesses to act just as fast as or even faster than big, established competitors, while remaining lean and nimble.

Cloud software even levels the playing field for large companies. Large organizations that have employees working in multiple locations can communicate and work together in real-time.

By harnessing the most dynamic software available through the cloud, Odyssey’s dashboard levels the playing field for all organizations and users. Odyssey’s cloud-based services ensure DoD commerce and compliance is managed in real-time, with full mobility, and no forced overhead or additional IT management or support.

Increased Collaboration.

Speaking of Odyssey’s dashboard, cloud computing enables employees situated in various locations to collaborate easily.  Being able to view and edit documents in real-time alongside colleagues in different physical locations leads to increased productivity and higher quality work. By providing simultaneous syncing, working and sharing documents and records in real time, cloud computing helps increase the collaboration and efficiency of your employees.

For example, with Odyssey’s software, your shipping and logistics, contract, sales and accounting departments can all work together in real-time to complete DoD commerce. There’s no redundant data entry, no back and forth handing off of documentation and no opportunity for error.

Reliability & Consistency.

One of the main complaints we hear from business owners who are considering switching to Odyssey is that they want to focus on the work that really matters. They are too distracted by the inconsistencies and headaches of multiple tools and manual processes. With a cloud-based software, everything is automated and streamlined to help you finally leave those headaches behind.

In the world of Department of Defense commerce, many companies don’t have software and rely on manual data-entry government websites. As you can imagine, manually entering the same data multiple times into unrelated websites can take a substantial amount of time and effort. With Odyssey’s software, companies don’t need to enter or manage any RFID or UID code data. The cloud platform takes care of everything. Our partners have transformed their DoD commerce by streamlining the entire work-flow process into a review environment, rather than relying on manual data entry. This ensures reliable shipments through a consistent and simple process.

Up-To-Date Results.

With the cloud, your organization will always have up-to-date software. You won’t have to worry about upgrading software each time a new version is released. Cloud software automatically updates without you having to think about it.  

In addition, your organization will always have access to up-to-date analytics and results. Because everything takes place and can be viewed in real-time, cloud-based platforms provide insights that you might have missed otherwise. And, in today’s world, businesses are expected to provide these insights on how to improve processes and everyday functions for their clients.

Odyssey offers a myriad of reports notifying management of transaction status, completed work, expected revenue, market analysis, competition survey and wins and losses. In addition, we work closely with the DoD to implement and distribute all upcoming DoD compliance changes throughout the cloud. Your organization will always be up-to-date with DoD requirements.

Have we convinced you yet? It’s time to switch to the cloud! Learn more about how we can help you here.

 

Topics: cloud, cloud computing, department of defense, DoD, DoD approved software