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BI strategy: Clear data view

T.C. Seow | Dec. 16, 2013
Tetra Pak's data journey is one of constant business alignment through one single view of truth.

Fredrik Ohlsson, Tetra Pak
Photo: Fredrik Ohlsson

Data is at the centre of packaging and processing firm Tetra Pak. From logistics to equipment supply and maintenance to food processing quality control, much of its business operations is underpinned and controlled by information derived from its vast global operations, said Fredrik Ohlsson, Senior Architect, Business Intelligence & Master Data,Tetra Pak South East Asia.

In fact, the company is moving towards realising its data analytics goal by further streamlining and harmonising its entire global IT infrastructure towards realising its big data as well as business alignment goals by next year, in a journey which started back in 2005 when the organisation decided to consolidate, centralise and maintain a single "view of truth," said Ohlsson.

"Everybody is trying to use and understand historical data to gain competitive advantage,"he said."What we have done in the past is mostly what I'd call 'forensic analytics', or more academically,'descriptive analytics'—we try to understand what has happened. We also have diagnostic analytics but that's where analytics stop. The next stage is predictive data."

Ohlsson added that whileTetra Pak has a strong descriptive and diagnostic analytics platform, what it aims to do now is to be more predictive. "In terms of cost and demand, transportation, store optimisation, we're also looking at how we can predict when machines at customers' sites need maintenance. That's also entering the big data area because we're looking at machine generated data."

These are big goals for Ohlsson, who, apart from being the technical program manager, is also the architect for Tetra Pak's entire business intelligence and master data. "One is a managerial role, while in the other, I'm overall accountable for the BI roadmap and master data roadmap."

The data journey
For Tetra Pak, its data journey started back in 2005 when the company realised that to gain visibility, it had to ensure that everyone within the company would see one common set of data, which Ohlsson referred to as "one view of truth". Tetra Pak has grown for many years to become a very large multinational corporation, said Ohlsson."The environment has become so complex that we needed [business-IT] alignment. It's the CFO who initiated the alignment back then. It's also the CFO who initiated the first BI program to get one view of the truth."

At the basic level, data collected from various sources within the business processes had to be cleansed so that the quality of data would become unquestionable. He said: "To improve that is a long journey. We implemented globally common processes and common definitions, supported by one common ERP system. We also put in place a management program and data drivers to ensure we have stewardship, governance in place, and control how data is entered into the system and how data is used. If you trust the data, you use it."

 

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