Daily Archives: January 12, 2008

What Do Object Oriented Programming and Custom GUIs Have To Do With Actionable Data?

Note to the astute reader: This is essentially the same comment that I made in response to Jason Busch’s It’s Not Just About the Data — It’s About Acting on the Data┬ápost on Thursday.

I don’t know, but if anyone can tell me, I’d be grateful. The Supply Chain Management Review recently ran an article titled Supply Chain Measurement: Turning Data Into Action that, apparently, uses a three step process to help you transition from making measurements to taking actions, which is, of course, the reason you’re measuring in the first place. If the measurements indicate that there is something that can be improved, then you should take action.

The steps are outlined as follows:

  • Understand Interdependencies – Use Themes and Patterns
  • Identify the Tradeoffs and Analyze Root Causes
  • Develop and Prioritize Action Items

I could be wrong, but I thought that patterns were generally used in object oriented design to represent standard relationships and interactions between objects and classes, without specifying the final application objects or classes that will be involved. In addition, I thought that themes were pre-configured graphical user interface customizations that are generally used to customize the look and feel of an operating system or window manager. I don’t see what either of these have to do with supply chain measurements. Furthermore, this looks more like a prescription for modernizing a classic procedural software application into a modern object oriented software application than it does for supply chain improvement. I have to say I’m just a little confused.

The article doesn’t help much. With regard to understanding interdependencies, it says to think of the data as a narrative; your job is to reveal the final story. A narrative? Are we supposed to be writing a work of fiction? Then it says that the data can be sliced into different thematics and that it’s helpful to visually map the metrics to the themes. Are we supposed to be creating works of art?

Then it goes on to say a a successful analysis of themes, interdependencies and tradeoffs reveals is where the levers are in your supply chain. Levers? Where did they come from? Now you have to be a mad scientist too?!?

About the only thing I understood in this article is that supply chains are complex, and that’s why you shouldn’t try to summarize everything about a supply chain in a single, short, article. Because you end up using so many metaphors that, by the end of it, your audience will, like Pinky, be stunned so senseless that all they can do is ask about the metal floors.

Where Pinky and the Brain Devise A Plan To Market Their Strategy

Pinky and the Brain
They’re Pinky and the Brain
Yes, Pinky and the Brain
One is a genius, the other is insane
They’re advertising guys
Their mind is on the prize
They’re dinky
They’re Pinky and the Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain,
Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain

Before each night is done
Their plan will be unfurled
By the dawning of the sun
Take over the sourcing world

They’re Pinky and the Brain
Yes, Pinky and the Brain
Their twilight campaign
Is easy to explain
To prove their sourcing grace
They’ll overthrow the space
They’re dinky
They’re Pinky and the Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain,
Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, NARF!

Pinky Gee Brain, what are we going to do tonight?
Brain Same thing we do every night Pinky – try to take over the Sourcing World!
Pinky How are we going to do that, Brain? Narf?
Brain Remember last night’s lesson Pinky? Where I explained to you that we are going to market our strategy to take over the sourcing world?
Pinky And what’s our strategy again Brain?
Brain Come here, Pinky.
Pinky OK, Brain.
Brain Closer, Pinky.
Pinky Why Brain? Narf!
Brain Brain jumps up and conks Pinky on the head.
For that!
Pinky What’cha do that for, Brain?
Brain Because last night’s lesson in marketing took ALL night. Even an ADD chimpanzee hyped up on caffeine would remember it. We didn’t even get started on our plan to take over the world!
Pinky What was it about again, Brain?
Brain About marketing our strategy to the Napoleons who also want to take over the sourcing world! They will serve as our lieutenants as I lead us to victory!
Pinky I remember now Brain! Nog!
It was about how the world shares cheese and neapolitan ice cream and that’s why we have to take over the entire sourcing world at once!
Brain Yes, Pinky. If it makes it easier for your little pea-brain to understand, it’s about how the world shares cheese and neapolitan ice cream and that’s why we have to take over the entire sourcing world at once. But now that we’ve settled that, as part of our plan to market our strategy to take over the sourcing world, we need to create content that the Napoleons of tomorrow will want to read. We need to make sure that our first piece of content is really riveting.
Pinky We’re not going to play in the toolbox again, are we Brain? Last time the hammer fell on my foot, it really, really hurt.
Brain No Pinky, we’re not going to play in the toolbox again. We’re going to come up with inspirational content that will draw the Napoleons in like flies to a barn.
Pinky How are we going to do that, Brain?
Brain I’m working on it.
Brain paces the floor for a few minutes in deep thought. He stops just as a look of evil inspiration crosses his face.
Pinky, are you pondering what I’m pondering?
Pinky I think so, Brain, but I don’t see how hiring Britney as a personal life coach is going to help us with our image problem.
Brain No, you twit! We use the strategy of our biggest competitor, whose name I shall not utter, and find our own analyst or blogger who will write great content for us and then simply usurp that content to create our sourcing world domination web site. Since the central content will come from a trusted and credible source, our new site will be trusted and credible as soon as it launches. The Napoleons will flock to it! They’ll assume that because we too are smart enough to recognize the intelligence of the analyst or blogger, that we too must have intelligent things to say. So they’ll also read the messages we want them to read, and if we craft those messages carefully around the usurped content, a few of these Napoleons will buy in. They’ll spread the message and convince the other Napoleons. Soon we’ll have our own Napoleon army – and the sourcing world will be powerless to stop us!
Pinky But how are we going to do that, Brain? Unlike the competitor whose name you will not utter, who has a much bigger budget than we do, I don’t think we can afford to buy off any bloggers or analysts – except for that firm downtown, but their reputation seems to be fading – and I get the impression that most of the bloggers and analysts with the reputations we’d want don’t really like us very much.
Brain I know, Pinky. Which is why, instead of buying them off, we’re going to confuse them with humility.
Pinky I don’t think that’s going to work, Brain. Some of them are pretty smart! Narf!
Brain It only has to work long enough for them to take a close look at our new hypno-spend tool, Pinky.
Pinky The what?
Brain The hypno-spend tool. It’s our slicked up spend reporting demo tool with a brand new UI that uses pleasing colors, smooth curves, tranquil sound effects, and spinning coins to signal screen changes. When paired with our new demo specialist, whose soothing voice sounds just like Ben Stein, who has extensive training in hypnotism and suggestion, no one can resist our story that automated cleansing is the key to spend analysis.
Pinky But I thought analytics capability was the key to spend analysis, Brain! Narf!
Brain Smack! Brain smacks Pinky upside the head again.
I told you never to say that again!
Pinky I’m sorry, Brain.
Brain As I was saying, five minutes into the demo with our new hypno-spend tool, and they’ll believe the moon is made of green cheese!
Pinky Green Cheese! Yum! Can I have some, Brain?
Brain Pinky, you fool! I was just using a metaphor!
Pinky A metal floor? Like the one in our cage?
Brain No – a metaphor. Where you use a set of words to represent a concept.
Pinky Oh.
Brain Would you like a demo, Pinky!
Pinky Sure Brain.
Brain Pinky, Feast your eyes on the hypno-spend tool!
Dot Oooh! Pretty Colors!
Brain Dot! What are you doing here?
Pinky Dot? Dot! It’s good to see you! It’s been … it’s been …
Brain Years! Dot, what are you doing here?
Dot I came to say hello!
Pinky But didn’t Mr. Plotz forbid you from ever setting foot in this building?
Dot He did. But he also let us go.
Pinky Go where?
Brain She was fired, you twit!
Pinky Set on fire? Gosh! That sounds painful.
Brain No, no, NO, Pinky. She means she doesn’t work there anymore.
Pinky Oh.
Dot Yes, I’m free. Free to find new opportunities. Free to explore the sourcing world! Free to look at applications with such pretty colors!
Brain Do you like it? It’s our new prototype hypno-spend tool.
Dot Hypno-whattie?
Brain Hypno-spend tool. When it’s combined with our master Ben-Stein sound-alike hypnotist, anyone who sits through a five minute demo will believe that automated cleansing is the ultimate key to spend analysis!
Dot Okay. Whatever. I just think it’s pretty. But I think it would be even prettier with swirling pink instead of swirling purple.
Pinky Hey, that’s a great idea, Narf!
Dot Let me fix it for you!
Brain No! Don’t touch that! It’s still a prototype! There’s only two copies – one on the computer and one on the portable hard-drive!
Dot Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing!
Pinky Ooh! That’s sooo pretty!
Dot Just wait until you see … oops!
Brain Oops? What did you do?
Dot Well … you had your keys mapped a little differently than I’m used to … I kinda deleted it!
Brain DOT!
Dot You have a back-up, right?
Brain Of course I have a back-up. Pinky, hand me the back-up.
Pinky The what?
Brain The external hard drive. The shiny metal box I asked you to keep safe.
Pinky Oh, that. Just a sec, Brain. I’ll go get it.
Pinky disappears for a few seconds. He returns with an extra shiny external hard drive.
Here you go, Brain!
Brain Pinky, why does it feel a little bit damp?
Pinky Well, you told me to store it in the safest place I know, and the safest place I know is under my water bowl?
Brain You what?! Don’t you know that water shorts out electronics?
Dot Oh, don’t worry so much big Brain. I’m sure it’s okay.
Pinky Yeah, Brain! Nog! It’s just a little water!
Brain Let’s see it!
Brain hooks up the external hard drive. He hits the power switch. Ka-Boom!
Piinnkkyy!
Pinky Yes, Brain?
Brain It’s time to return to the marketing cage.
Pinky Why, Brain?
Brain To prepare for tomorrow night.
Pinky What are we going to do tomorrow night? Narf!
Brain The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the sourcing world!
Good night, Dot.
Dot Good night!

Pinky and the Brain
They’re Pinky and the Brain
Yes, Pinky and the Brain
One is a genius, the other is insane
They’re advertising guys
Their mind is on the prize
They’re dinky
They’re Pinky and the Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain,
Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain

Before each night is done
Their plan will be unfurled
By the dawning of the sun
Take over the sourcing world

They’re Pinky and the Brain
Yes, Pinky and the Brain
Their twilight campaign
Is easy to explain
To prove their sourcing grace
They’ll overthrow the space
They’re dinky
They’re Pinky and the Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain,
Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, NARF!