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Bridging the gap in data analytics by machine learning and AI

Bridging the gap in data analytics

Machine Learning and AI are two exciting application areas that enable programs to automatically learn and improve from experience

Location data has become by default for businesses as well as private consumers. Although, consumers are experiencing exponential digital developments through major technology giants, the digital transformation for governments and industries is slowing down.

A major survey by McKinsey shows that less than 1% of all data collected is analyzed. Data grows quickly, and all data has a location factor. However, only a fraction of this data is analyzed for smart decision making. We translate data from the dynamically changing environment to make data-driven decisions. This is done by converting real-time data into usable information; while self-learning algorithms embedded in our solutions help continually improve predictions.

Machine Learning and AI are two exciting application areas that enable programs to automatically learn and improve from experience. Our customers have greatly benefited from Machine Learning to create sustainable and light solutions.

Towards Sustainability 

In the Netherlands, the government has an initiative called ‘common ground’ that strives to create a future-proof municipal IT infrastructure. IMAGEM contributes to this initiative for all government customers through the VALLEY – a concept of reusing applications and pay per use models. Our model supports the development of society in collaboration with government, industry and citizens.

Source: Wouter Brokx


 

Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many enterprises and organizations in Vietnam and China. For direct consultation, please feel free to contact us.

Regional internet of things RIoT mitigates COVID-19 crisis

Regional Internet of Things group RIoT plans webinar to fight virus

In this time of fear and confusion, NC RIoT will be sharing a message of hope and progress as leaders in the tech space share how the Internet of Things and Data can mitigate the effects of the current COVID-19 crisis and prepare for others in the future.

This virtual event will explore novel ways that technology and data can be used to combat pandemics & protect public health.

RIoT [the Regional Internet of Things users group] has always expressed its belief in technology’s role of promoting economic growth, but now more than ever, we’d like to highlight its role in defending public health. Although living in a modern, connected world has enabled the quicker spread of the virus, our modernity can also be our white knight if we start putting our advancements to better use in the public health sector. Tune in to the discussion to learn more.

Featured Speakers Include:

+ Tom Snyder (Executive Director – RIoT) – Moderator

+ Veena Misra (Center Director – ASSIST) – Wearable sensors for persistent health monitoring

+ Brian Bender (Chief Science Officer – Intake) – Personal health monitoring

+ Ashlee Valente (Senior Scientist – Torus) & John Harer (CEO – Torus) – Analytics for massively complex systems like global health

+ Steve Bennett (Director of Public Sector Practice – SAS) – AI for faster vaccine development

+ Emil Runge (Director of Programs – BARDA/First Flight Venture Center) – Funding opportunities for COVID research

+ Michael Levy (President – Digital Health Institute for Transformation) – Keeping mental health front of mind

+ Nick Jordan (CEO – Smashing Boxes) – Data use across EHR systems

+ Manal El-Ramly (Director, Board of Directors – Newsco) – Information dissemination via the screens all around us

Can the Internet of Things play a role in the future when we are challenged by the next contagion? WRAL TechWire reached out to Tom Snyder, executive director of NC RIoT, a large and growing users group focusing on research and commercialization surrounding IoT device and application development, for his analysis.


Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many enterprises and organizations in Vietnam and China. For direct consultation, please feel free to contact us.

The Potential of ERP Amid a Pandemic

The Potential of ERP Amid a Pandemic

Automation on the plant floor can keep production flowing to refill store shelves. But the biggest problem manufacturers face right now is a disruption to the supply chain.

In the middle of a global health crisis, the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic portends a drastic shift in the way the world will work in the future.

Whether it’s the need to ramp up production of hand sanitizer or convert automotive plants to produce more respirators, manufacturers are under pressure now more than ever to do more with less. The production floor is operating with skeleton crews to minimize possible exposure to the virus, and plant managers are in need of a better way to maintain visibility into the process. All of this points to the potential of implementing more automation on the plant floor.

In fact, the making of toilet paper is a highly automated process, as shown in the National Geographic documentary “Chasing Paper,” which highlights Sofidel, a manufacturer of toilet paper and paper towels. So, even if operators aren’t in the plant, more paper is on its way, people, do not panic.

The biggest bottleneck in the great paper chase—or for any product right now—is the supply chain. New research indicates that a weakened supply chain is the biggest business disruption related to COVID-19.

According to ABI Research, the impact of Coronavirus is both global and unpredictable, and the supply chain shock it is causing will most definitely and substantially cut into the worldwide manufacturing revenue of $15 trillion currently forecasted for 2020 by the global tech market advisory firm.

The virus will have both short- and long-term ramifications for manufacturers. “Initially, plant managers and factory owners will be looking to secure supplies and be getting an appreciation of constraints further up the supply chain plus how much influence they have on their suppliers,” explains Michael Larner, principal analyst at ABI Research. In the longer term, manufacturers will need to conduct an extensive due diligence process as they need to understand their risk exposure, including the operations of their supplier’s suppliers. “To mitigate supply chain risks, manufacturers should not only not source components from a single supplier but also, as COVID-19 has highlighted, shouldn’t source from suppliers in a single location.”

As a result, ABI Research forecasts that the supply chain impact of COVID-19 will spur manufacturers’ spend on enterprise resource planning (ERP), to reach $14 billion in 2024. While many ERP platforms include modules for inventory control and supply chain management, in light of the outbreak, many manufacturers will also turn to specialist providers. “Supply chain orchestration requires software to be more than a system of record and provide risk analysis and run simulations, enabling manufacturers to understand and prepare for supply chain shocks,” Larner said.

ERP providers agree that COVID-19—and panic buying which quickly exhausted the supply chain—has exposed a major vulnerability in manufacturing operations.

“Business processes need to be re-evaluated as this situation has turned the supply chain on its head,” said Steve Dombroski, senior manager for the consumer, food, and beverage market at QAD, a provider of adaptive ERP software. “Traditional methods of building safety stocks and buffer inventories have been replaced with Just-In-Time (JIT) item location forecasting to minimize re-deployment of inventories and to minimize inventory costs. Running JIT on inventories down and upstream through the supply chain caused delays.” This points to the need for manufacturers to address adaptability across the supply chain. “Manufacturing companies utilize two supply chains today; the physical supply chain consisting of all products and the digital supply chain that contains all information. Synchronizing both supply chains with all manufacturing, distribution, and procurement processes will enable companies to be flexible and agile.”

So, while all eyes are on automation, like robotics and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) sensors, to flow product through the line, none of that matters if the manufacturer doesn’t have a steady flow of raw materials. “COVID-19 demonstrates that manufacturers need to be as focused on their supplier’s capabilities as they are on their factory floor,” ABI’s Larner concludes.

Source: Stephanie Neil


Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many businesses in manufacturingdistribution, and retail in Vietnam and China. Particularly, the supply chain management module of Epicor ERP is one of the strongest features of this solution and has been utilized and continously improved for over 40 years, even during this Covid-19. For direct consultation, please feel free to contact us.

facts about Internet of Things (IoT) to prevent future pandemics

These Facts Will Change Your Mind About the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things market expands way beyond smart homes and can even be used to prevent future pandemics.

Thanks to advances in technology and the proliferation of connected devices, the Internet of Things era has arrived.

It’s been years in the making but appears poised to go mainstream. According to the consulting firm McKinsey, the number of IoT-connected devices is forecast to hit 43 billion by 2023, almost three times the number of devices in 2018. Companies and consumers are using IoT to control their heating and cooling systems remotely, doctors use it to monitor patients, and manufacturers track products across the supply chain.

There are a lot of reasons why IoT is growing in popularity. Convenience and on-the-go-access are two big ones. But there are also those jaw-dropping reasons that will surprise even the biggest IoT skeptic. Here’s a look at four of them.

1. It can help prevent the spread of diseases like COVID-19

The novel coronavirus outbreak is having a devastating impact on people around the globe. Spain, Italy, and France are effectively shut down, and schools and businesses across the United States are closed. The stock market has been whipsawing between huge gains and losses, and the global economy is taking a major hit.

While IoT can’t stop COVID-19 (the disease caused by the coronavirus) from spreading, it can be used to prevent future pandemics. In an IoT world outlined by the financial consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, a network of sensors placed throughout the world would be used to monitor individuals for infections, acting as an early detection system. That would reduce uncertainty in the stock market and provide governments with proof to quickly act on and stop the spread.

Implementing this on a global scale isn’t likely anytime soon. Some countries, China included, will be able to do it within their borders. Add facial recognition and GPS to the mix, and Frost & Sullivan’s global research director for IoT, Dilip Sarangan, says countries would be able to monitor those who have contracted the virus and track whom they come into contact with. That could prevent virus outbreaks from becoming pandemics. “While this may sound like a police state to many, ultimately, leveraging IoT and [artificial intelligence] AI may be the most logical way to prevent highly infectious diseases from spreading rapidly in a world that is getting smaller every day with air travel,” said Sarangan in a recent report.

There’s a slew of companies that can benefit from these early defense systems, including equipment makers and network operators. In the U.S. the wireless network providers AT&T (NYSE:T), Verizon (NYSE:VZ), T-Mobile USA (NASDAQ:TMUS), and Sprint (NYSE:S) are big beneficiaries as data is transmitted across the world.

2. 5G will proliferate the number of connected devices

With COVID-19 spreading around the world, commerce has come to a screeching halt, and that’s particularly true in the smartphone market. Hit by supply chain issues in China and a lack of demand as the number of people in quarantine grow, several mobile-phone-related companies including Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) have issued guidance warnings for their current quarters.

Despite the business interruptions, the buildout of 5G will eventually pick up, driving what is expected to be a huge smartphone upgrade cycle. It’s also expected to increase the number of devices connected to the internet, thanks to the speed and security 5G brings. With 5G networks, data can be sent back and forth between millions of devices in seconds, something not possible with existing 4G networks. That will result in billions of new devices outside of smartphones and tablets that connect to the internet.

The melding of 5G and IoT will be behind the adoption of smart cities and connected cars. It will also enable doctors to remotely treat patients and help robotic surgery become the norm. Gartner expects there to be 5.8 billion connected devices by the end of this year. That’s up 21% from the 4.8 billion at the end of 2019.

3. More than $1 trillion will be spent on IoT

Love it or hate it, the IoT market is exploding with no end in sight. Trillions of dollars are being spent on IoT start-ups as investors clamor to get in on the leaders of tomorrow. The interest is coming from an array of venture capitalists who are pouring tons of money into the market — for good reason. According to IDC, yearly spending on IoT is projected to surpass $1 trillion by 2022, growing at a double-digit rate. That bodes well for equipment providers like Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO). With global traffic poised to triple thanks to 5G, Cisco and its peers will be able to provide the hardware needed to facilitate the movement of the data.

There are a lot of IoT use cases, but the ones drawing the biggest investments are those focused on the business market. IDC projected IoT spending by the manufacturing industry would hit $100 billion in 2019, while production asset management will attract $4.2 billion, smart home $44.1 billion, and freight monitoring $41.7 billion. The areas that are expected to see the fastest growth and thus the biggest investment dollars through 2022 include automation, electric vehicle charging, agriculture field monitoring, bedside telemetry, and in-store marketing, IDC predicted.

4. Most consumers and businesses want government IoT security regulations

The combination of IoT and 5G will transform society for the better, but that doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing ahead. There are a lot of security risks to consumers and businesses that can’t be left unchecked.

It’s something that both businesses and consumers are worried about. According to a recent survey of consumers and businesses by digital security company Gemalto, 90% of businesses and consumers believe the IoT industry should be regulated by the government. What’s more, 61% of businesses think IoT regulation should dictate who is responsible for securing the data throughout its journey.

Of the consumers polled, 65% said they are worried a hacker could take over their IoT device. Meanwhile, 60% said they are afraid their data will fall into the wrong hands. Those fears aren’t unfounded. Security from Kaspersky Labs spotted more than 100 million attacks on IoT devices in the first half of 2019 alone.

Without a doubt, risks abound as more devices are connected to the internet. But with such wide-ranging benefits and investor interest, even IoT naysayers can’t deny the market is poised to explode. Those four jaw-dropping facts alone prove it.

Source: Donna Fuscaldo


Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many enterprises and organizations in Vietnam and China. For direct consultation, please feel free to contact us.

end of enterprise resource planning

The end of enterprise resource planning

end of enterprise resource planninghe Harvard Business Review ran an article in 1990 by management consultant and former Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer science professor Michael Hammer titled “Reengineering Work: Don’t Automate, Obliterate.” Hammer, recognized as the seminal theorist of reengineering, the consultant-driven discipline of streamlining work processes, encouraged businesses to radically restructure rather than rely on information technology to automate work.

This proved impossible. While the 1990s is now viewed as an epoch of business reengineering, the revamp of work processes advanced hand in hand with the rise of centralized corporate IT, enabled by enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.

The 2020s, on the other hand, appear poised for the final takedown of monolithic business IT in response to a new revolution in work processes spurred and enabled by digitization. IT managers in the chemical industry, among the first industries to opt for ERP systems, are preparing for a new wave of change in business management software.

To understand the likely changes ahead, it helps to look back at the provenance and evolution of IT systems currently in operation at most chemical companies.

The computing infrastructures that emerged some 30 years ago supported efficiency gains, the kind also targeted by business reengineering. But ERP software installations also caused years-long headaches for many companies as they converted from hodgepodge mixes of software to monolithic IT systems covering most financial aspects of business and plant operations.

During this period, SAP, a German software firm started by former IBM engineers, rose to prominence in ERP. Starting with its first customer, the UK’s Imperial Chemical Industries, SAP swept the chemical sector. By the early 2000s, many major companies had lashed their operations to the firm’s R/3 software.
By today’s standards, the IT platforms of the early 21st century are museum pieces. Cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and big data have fundamentally changed IT and the workplace.

SAP and other major vendors of ERP software, including Oracle and JD Edwards, have introduced successive generations of their products over the years that chip away at the monolithic, comparatively lethargic control of early IT architectures. In the process, a modular approach to IT has emerged in which specialized software for specific work functions can be added to a centralized, often multivendor network of business management software with an ERP system at the core.

Industry watchers agree that the next step is to re-engineer the core.

“Enterprise resource planning has evolved far beyond its original purpose and scope,” the consulting firm Gartner writes in a report issued last year. “It now represents different things to different organizations, but in all cases is no longer focused on ‘resources’ or ‘planning.’ ” The view is echoed by Forrester, another consulting firm, in a recent report: “Today, we see the beginning of a new era of operational systems that are so different that calling them ERP no longer makes sense.”

The abbreviation is still in use, however, despite the alternatives floated, such as Forrester’s DOP, for digital operations platform. Gartner characterizes the current, modular state of business software as postmodern ERP. Mike Guay, a senior analyst with the firm, describes a “hybrid approach” in which specialist companies like Salesforce.com, a provider of customer relationship software, can add modules to an ERP system.

Guay notes that ERP vendors have partnered with and acquired specialized software providers to offer hybrid networks. SAP, for example, acquired SuccessFactors, a cloud-based human resources management services provider, and now offers the service as an adjunct to its core software.

In Guay’s view, today’s generation of postmodern software is starting to give way to something more abstract. This fourth generation of ERP—counting hodgepodge computing and monolithic software as the first and second—will dismantle the familiar image of centralized control.

GENERATIONS

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software’s path is from dispersed to monolithic to dispersed again.

end of enterprise resource planning

1980s to 1990s: Best of breed

 Functionally focused software

 Multiple vendors

 Lack of central control

can businesses stop automating

1990s to 2000s: Monolithic

 One core software product

 Centralized information technology

 Oversight by the corporate IT department

can enterprises stop automating

2010 to the foreseeable future: Postmodern ERP

 Networking of specialized software

 Maintenance of a central ERP backbone

 Access to cloud-based software and services

 Oversight by independent business departments

can we stop automation

Emerging architecture: Beyond ERP

 Supporting digitized business functions

 Greater automation with artificial intelligence

 Functional applications easily added to core IT

 Breakdown of business function silos

 Programming and oversight by power users

▸ Rise of functional applications

Source: Gartner.

“In 3 to 5 years,” he says, “IT focus will shift from doing most of the development in IT departments to architecting an environment in which the end-users — the power users in their departments—will actually be able to build applications. Low-code/no-code development platforms are emerging as a standard in the market right now.”

Liz Herbert, a vice president, and principal analyst at Forrester says business software is now driven by the speed at which data can be processed. “ERP conjures up overly complex, slow-moving technology that may not live up to expectations,” she says. “Technology has changed dramatically. It is much more cloud-based, much more built for intelligence, more for flexibility and easy extensibility by business users. Not everything has to rely on programmers and IT departments.”

Artificial intelligence will play an increasing role in business IT, Herbert says. AI was initially harnessed to improve error detection and automation accuracy, but the technique is ramping up. She points to two examples at SAP: Ariba, software for managing materials procurement that employs IBM’s Watson AI technology, and Concur, a travel and expense system that applies AI to vetting expense reports using data from receipts.

The latest iteration of SAP’s ERP software, S/4Hana, reflects the changes the consultants see. It stores tables in columns rather than in standard row arrangements, vastly increasing the speed of data analysis, the firm says. The database allows transactional and analytical work to be done simultaneously.

Joe Binkley, SAP’s director of cloud platform product marketing, notes that S/4Hana employs in-memory data processing, in which data is stored in random-access memory rather than disk storage or relational databases. “It means we are able to dramatically recast our systems and do things in seconds that used to require waiting days to complete.”

Dave Dunn, head of marketing for chemicals at SAP, says the company remains the dominant supplier of ERP software in the sector, counting 6,500 users it categorizes as chemical companies. A modular approach to adding software, such as Salesforce.com and SAP’s own adjuncts in areas like materials sourcing, has advanced with upgrades to R/3 in recent years. This includes a version called ECC consisting of a suite of business management software modules that put the tool to reach for smaller companies.

“Only the large guys could afford it years ago,” Dunn says. “With S/4 and ECC, a load of smaller, mid-tier companies has implemented SAP because it is simpler and much faster, to implement.”

Melanie Kalmar, chief information officer at Dow, says the company is focused on simplifying work processes and making it easier for customers to do business with Dow. – Credit: Dow

Dow, an early adopter of ERP, has rolled with the changes at SAP for decades. The company gained somewhat of a renegade reputation years ago by skipping an upgrade to R/3 when most of its cohorts converted. Dow eventually undertook a multimillion-dollar conversion to a version of the SAP software to which users add targeted software products, essentially the first step into Gartner’s postmodern ERP world. Since then, Dow has pushed further.

“Over the past few years, we have migrated capabilities to software-as-a-service solutions,” says Melanie Kalmar, chief information officer at Dow, referring to a technique of accessing software from cloud-based providers and paying a service fee rather than purchasing it. “Our current focus is all about simplification in how we do work. This means making it easier for our customers to do business with us while providing capabilities for our employees that make their job easier and them more empowered.”

Dow will continue adding “best-in-class” applications to its ERP system, Kalmar says while eliminating applications that fall short. “There is no plan to move away from our core ERP capabilities or to move away from our strategy of one global ERP instance,” she says.

DuPont is similarly working to adapt its core SAP system to a new generation of business IT. “We are constantly working to simplify yet modernize our enterprise-wide systems, including our legacy ERP,” says Steve Larrabee, chief information officer for the company. “Artificial intelligence, particularly in the R&D and manufacturing spaces, has helped significantly advance the roll of IT-based technology as a key business and value driver.”

Larrabee adds that modernizing and evolving from a monolithic ERP system does not lessen the importance of a core IT infrastructure. Centralized data, or “master data,” support old and new technologies, he says, and are necessary to “provide real-time information both to optimize our working processes and guide our decision-making.”

Evonik Industries, another longtime SAP user, is also sticking with its core system. “For Evonik’s core transactional business processes, like ‘order to cash’ or ‘plan to produce,’ a reliable and on-time information flow is key,” says Bettina Uhlich, the firm’s chief information officer. “You just want to have the right data at the right time in the right place. For this, well-integrated IT architecture is a key success factor. We see the monolithic ERP as an advantage.” She points to the company’s success in integrating the ERP system of J.M. Huber’s silica business, which Evonik acquired in 2017.

But Evonik also moves in the postmodern ERP world described by Gartner. “Business IT architecture can now draw from a far bigger solution portfolio than just SAP,” Uhlich says. “This might make it more challenging for the IT department, but it is clearly an advantage for the business.”

And challenges lie ahead. A move underway at Evonik to convert to SAP’s S/4Hana by next year will be more thorough than a mere software upgrade, Uhlich says. It will be a conversion of Evonik’s core ERP to a wholly new architecture.

Not all SAP users are Goliaths like Dow and Evonik. Borchers, a paint additives company, has been a customer since 2008, shortly after Lanxess sold the business to OM Group. When OMG sold Borchers to investors in 2017, Borchers upgraded to an SAP product called Suite on Hana—essentially ECC software running on the same database as S/4Hana.

Borchers plans to fully upgrade to S/4 by 2022, says Jonathan Mortlock, the firm’s chief information officer. He wants to act before SAP terminates maintenance coverage for Suite on Hana, at which time he foresees a rush of upgrades by companies that are all competing for support from SAP.

And there are plenty of other ERP software options for small to midsize chemical companies. Datacom, a supplier of distribution and process management ERP software, is one example. It began serving the chemical industry with its Chempax software in 1981.

Sage Group, a UK-based supplier of ERP software, is another. The company’s software is often sold by firms that adapt its software for specific markets. Net at Work, for example, enhances Sage software with functionality geared to chemical companies in a product called Chem at Work.

MFG Chemical, a midsize specialty chemical company based in Dalton, Georgia, installed its first ERP system, Datacor’s Chempax, 9 years ago. “It basically houses all our supplier information,” says Andrew Hopkins, MFG’s quality assurance manager. Formulas and raw material lists and prices are stored and managed on the system, which accesses data from a network drive or central data server.

MFG also uses software called OESuite supplied by a company called Operational Sustainability. It coordinates information on changes to production procedures and functions independently from Chempax.

MFG is considering implementing a materials resource planning (MRP) module that already resides in its Chempax system, Hopkins says. While the company would likely benefit from MRP, which keeps track of orders and inventory, he says it would be a complex installation given the number of customers and products the company deals with.

Bettina Uhlich, chief information officer at Evonik Industries, says the firm will move to SAP’s latest ERP software, S/4Hana, by next year. – Credit: Evonik Industries

Reducing complexity remains a key target in business software development. Vestiges of monolithic ERP remain in place at most companies, as do vendor service agreements and a need for support in upgrading or adding to systems. Software developers aim to simplify upgrades by allowing businesses to configure IT in a distributed fashion that includes gateways to customers and suppliers.

As new software options emerge, users are expected to have more discretion in adding applications using low- or no-code techniques that have moved into IT architectures since they were introduced about 20 years ago.

No-code approaches are especially likely to surge in next-generation business computing. Software developers such as Itesign, a German start-up targeting a midyear product launch, envision a future in which IT departments equip corporate networks with menus of options from which users choose applications to add to their work processes, according to CEO Jan Philippe Wimmer.

Those IT departments of the future, Forrester’s Herbert notes, will be headed by business analysts as opposed to computer technicians. In fact, she envisions a complete dissolution of the core ERP system, a shift that will challenge IT departments to keep add-on applications from reverting to the kind of IT hodgepodge that led to monolithic ERP software in the first place.

But industry watchers agree that the ERP model born in the age of reengineering has already been obliterated. “It is no longer about systems solely within an enterprise,” Guay and colleagues write in Gartner’s recent report. ERP “has simply become a three-letter acronym for something that most people cannot describe other than to name a vendor or a list of modules. Whether or not we continue to use the acronym remains uncertain.”

Source: Rick Mullin


Epicor ERP is one of the few software that has already applied the low or no-code approach. Indeed, many Epicor users of Data V Tech in China and Vietnam, rarely have to face any of code-related hassles thanks to the experience of the consultants and the flexibility as well as customizability of the system per se. More importantly, Epicor has sucessfully built up reputation in the chemical industry in the world. For further information, please feel free to contact us. We will get back to you the soonest.

COVID-19 Pandemic as a Big Data Analytics Issue

Understanding the COVID-19 Pandemic as a Big Data Analytics Issue

Big data analytics techniques are well-suited for tracking and controlling the spread of COVID-19 around the world.

The rapid, global spread of COVID-19 has brought advanced big data analytics tools front and center, with entities from all sectors of the healthcare industry seeking to monitor and reduce the impact of this virus.

Researchers and developers are increasingly using artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing to track and contain coronavirus, as well as gain a more comprehensive understanding of the disease.

In the months since COVID-19 hit the US, researchers have been hard at work trying to uncover the nature of the virus – why it affects some more than others, what measures can help reduce the spread, and where the disease will likely go next.

At the core of these efforts is something with which the healthcare industry is very familiar: Data.

James Hendler, RPISource: Xtelligent Healthcare Media

“This is, in essence, a big data problem. We’re trying to track the spread of disease around the world,” James Hendler, the Tetherless World Professor of Computer, Web, and Cognitive Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and director of the Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Applications (IDEA), told HealthITAnalytics.

At RPI, researchers are using big data and analytics to better comprehend coronavirus from a number of different angles. The institute recently announced that it would offer government entities, research organizations, and industry access to innovative AI tools, as well as experts in data and public health to help combat COVID-19.

“We’re working with several organizations on modeling and dealing with the virus directly using a supercomputer, and we’ve been creating some websites where we track all the open data and documents we can find to help our researchers find what they’re looking for,” Hendler said.

“We also have some work we’ve been doing in understanding social media responses to the pandemic. One project, in particular, has focused on tracking data from Chinese social media as coronavirus spread there in mid-January, and then comparing it to American data.”

Between recognizing signs and symptoms, tracking the virus, and monitoring the availability of hospital resources, researchers are dealing with enormous amounts of information – too much for humans to comprehend and analyze on their own. It’s a situation that is seemingly tailor-made for advanced analytics technologies, Hendler noted.

“There are several big data components to this pandemic where artificial intelligence can play a big role,” he said.

“One component is biomedical research. A lot of work is going on to try to develop a vaccine to find out whether there is any current drugs work against COVID-19. All of those projects require molecular modeling, and many of them are using AI and machine learning to map things we know about the virus to things in pharmacological databases and genomic databases.”

Several big-name organizations have launched projects like these – Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and others have recently offered researchers free access to open datasets and analytics tools to help them develop COVID-19 solutions faster.

“AI can eliminate many false tracks and allow us to identify potential targets. So instead of trying 100 or 1000 different things, we can narrow it down to a much smaller size much faster. That’s going to accelerate the eventual finding of the vaccine,” Hendler said.

Researchers are also leveraging AI to evaluate the effects of COVID-19 interventions on individuals across the country, Hendler stated.

“A second component has to do with natural language processing and social media. What can we extract from social media that can help our scientists? What can we learn about how people are bearing the burdens and stresses of the pandemic?” he said.

“With SARS and other outbreaks, we never really had to figure out how different social distancing techniques are impacting the spread in different places. You can’t just compare numbers, because there are a lot of other factors to consider. AI is very good at that kind of multi-factor learning and a lot of people are trying to apply those techniques now.”

At UTHealth, a team developed an AI tool that showed the need for stricter, immediate interventions in the Greater Houston area. And at Stanford University, researchers have launched a data-driven model that predicts possible outcomes of various intervention strategies.

Using big data and analytics tools of their own, Hendler and his team is aiming to do something similar.

“We have a lot of time-series data from China, we have information about airline transportation, and we have population models for each country. Now we’re looking at doing this in our own region, and seeing if we can track and predict the spread based on the kind of social measures taken within different regions,” he said.

“We want to prototype that in our region and then scale it up to the US, and then eventually, the world.”

AI can also help organizations draw on research from the past, applying this knowledge to present and future situations.

“A third area where AI can make an impact is in mining scientific literature,” Hendler said.

“In past years, you had hundreds of grad students reading papers and trying to figure out what was going on. At many universities, there’s a lot of effort to say, ‘What can we learn from what’s already been published?’”

While AI and other analytics technologies appear to be the best possible tools for assessing and mitigating a global pandemic, researchers can’t always access what they need to build these models.

“The ideal data is hospital data that would tell us who is experiencing certain impacts from the virus,” Hendler said.

“For example, one project we’d love to do would be to correlate environmental or genomic factors to the people who are getting advanced respiratory problems, which is what’s killing most people with this disease. Is there a genetic component to that? Is it something where environmental factors are some kind of comorbidity? But can we get that kind of data because of HIPAA restrictions.”

Instead, research teams should focus on extracting insights from the information they do have available, Hendler said.

“Information about how people are moving, the effect of travel restrictions or stay at home orders, how many people have what – that’s data we can get. The more details we can get, the better, and a lot of that data are starting to be shared because you don’t have to say who the people are, just where the people are,” he said.

The unprecedented impact of coronavirus around the world has sparked the need for unprecedented partnerships, and these collaborations will contribute significantly to finding viable solutions.

“In healthcare, academia, and industry are mostly set up for people to stay in their own lanes. But people are rapidly beginning to realize that attacking this problem is going to require a collaborative effort,” Hendler concluded.

“To make any real progress in this situation, you need to bring together people who understand the computation and AI, people who understand the biological and biomedical implications, and people who understand population models. It’s a very interdisciplinary problem, and to make any headway, we need the data and we need the team.”

Source: Jessica Kent


With the assistance of ERP software, many manufacturers in Vietnam and China remain active during this pandemic without accelerating the spread of the pandemic. This solution has proved its high value during this crisis as it allows workers to work from home and connection as well as internal/external communication to continue seamlessly.

Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many businesses in Asia Pacific. For direct consultation, please feel free to contact us.

Epicor ERP for cosmetics manufacturing in Dubai

Dubai-based cosmetics manufacturing firm enhances operations with Epicor ERP

Epicor Software Corporation has announced that Epoch Cosmetics and Toiletries has selected enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, Epicor ERP, to improve manufacturing and warehousing operations and streamline information flow across the company.

                                        Amel Gardner, Epicor

Epicor partner, Cork Information Technology, will work with Epoch Cosmetics and Toiletries’ stakeholders to bring the full power of the Epicor platform to the company and its employees.

Dubai-based Epoch Cosmetics & Toiletries produces aerosols, deodorants, air fresheners and cosmetics for markets all around the world—including its native United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, India, West Africa, Egypt, Oman, the UK, France, and the US.

The company supplies major brands—such as Elegant, Inspire, Pleasure, Hot & Cold, Mehas and The Scent—to distributors, and also offers contract manufacturing to other brands.

Having grown from a handful of employees to a monthly production capacity of more than two million products in just 10 years, Epoch Cosmetics & Toiletries realised they would need to replace their existing ERP solution to continue to expand and grow.

“As we grew, our legacy system was not catering to our needs, especially in manufacturing, warehousing and sales,” said Abbas Hamid, director at Epoch Cosmetics & Toiletries.

The company’s warehousing issues stemmed from a lack of real-time accuracy and visibility for on-hand stock levels from the front-end system. The necessity to implement manual workarounds was impacting productivity, and inaccuracies were affecting stock valuation.

In addition, stock retrieval was employee-driven, rather than system-driven, leading to further inaccuracies if goods were not correctly stored. Other complications existed based on the absence of a stock-taking module in the legacy ERP, requiring warehouse employees to perform an entirely manual reconciliation.

“In addition, the manufacturing module within the legacy system only captured the cost of materials, so labour costs and direct costs were never captured. These had to be generated through manual calculations and estimations, which affected our financials,” added Hamid.

Reporting was also cumbersome, with pending PO reports and shipment tracking requiring manual preparation, and the system offered no capability for real-time reporting.

Epoch Cosmetics & Toiletries decided it needed an ERP system that was tailored to their business operations, was easy to deploy and use, and would be flexible enough to allow the company to grow unimpeded. After considering four major ERP vendors, Hamid and his team selected Epicor ERP due to the manufacturing-centric focus and native functionality of the solution.

“While we obviously needed some level of customisation, we were very clear that we wanted to adapt to a system and be in line with best industry practices, rather than the other way around—where the system has to adapt to us,” added Hamid.

Epoch Cosmetics & Toiletries’ stakeholders were particularly drawn to the real-time reporting functionality of Epicor ERP, as well as its multi-region capabilities, so that future expansion plans would not be hampered and that consolidated reports could be easily compiled.

Implementation is expected to be completed by May 2020, and the company’s project team is currently working with regional Epicor partner, Cork Information Technology, to deploy the new solution to more than 40 users in the UAE. Supply chain, sales, CRM, manufacturing, finance and asset management will all be key areas of functionality that are expected to help enhance Epoch Cosmetics & Toiletries’ operations.

“All across the Middle East and North Africa region, manufacturing companies are trying to digitally transform, so that operations are optimised continually,” said Amel Gardner, regional director, Middle East, Africa and India (MEAI), Epicor. “Processes that are overly manual impede growth, so digitisation is the key to agility. Epoch Cosmetics & Toiletries realised its legacy architecture was holding back the fulfilment of its regional ambitions. When you have the vision to shake off the old and embrace the new, extraordinary things can happen. We are confident that with Epicor ERP in place, the company will march quickly towards a new horizon.”

Source: Tahawultech


Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many manufacturing businesses in Vietnam and China. For further information, please feel free to contact us.

future of ERPs in blockchain

Blockchain And The Future of ERP (Part 2)

In my previous article, I discussed how blockchain helps create legally enforceable trust across organizations. By providing a distributed digital signature capability, enterprise blockchains like Hyperledger Fabric give us a strong foundation to build on.

However, this impressive technology is involved and, depending on the use case, could be a perfect fit or overkill. FIDO devices that are being adopted for user authentication can also be used to digitally sign business transactions, providing a low-cost and easy-to-deploy alternative. Let’s explore in more detail how such solutions might look.

Business View

Let’s consider a large company that’s conducting business electronically with a smaller vendor. The company, let’s call it ABC, is designated as a “holder of records” for mutually signed digital transactions. Based on the nature of the business, the risk of company ABC deleting the records and claiming that no agreement was ever reached is considered immaterial, but both companies want to ensure that the details of the agreed-upon transactions cannot be disputed.

Technical View

First, a quick background on FIDO. The goal of FIDO is to eliminate passwords by introducing new authentication technology based on biometrics and/or special hardware tokens. It may come as a surprise that most of us already have FIDO-enabled devices. Every Android 7.0+ or iOS 13.3 phone, Windows 10 or Mac OS computer is a FIDO-enabled device. Most FIDO hardware tokens cost less than $50. The Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari browsers already have built-in support for FIDO through WebAuthn standard. As such, it’s easy for software vendors to add support for FIDO devices, and it’s a low-cost option for organizations to enable their users to use FIDO devices.

While there is a lot of information online about FIDO as an authentication technology, we are going to focus on a less-known capability of FIDO devices to digitally sign any information we want — in our case, business transactions.
FIDO devices can generate a virtually unlimited number of private/public key pairs that can be used for various purposes. Private keys never leave the FIDO device, and public keys are shared with the target application (e.g., an ERP system). A typical authentication use case involves an application sending a user browser a random string (challenge), asking a user to sign it using the private key within a FIDO device. The application can then verify the signature by using the public key stored for that user. If the signature is valid, it proves that a user is in a possession of the originally registered FIDO device and, in the case of biometric-based devices, the FIDO device successfully verified biometrics (e.g., fingerprints on a phone).

However, we can easily modify the above flow and replace a random challenge with the data we want to digitally sign from our business transaction. More specifically, we can follow the same overall approach as used in blockchain ledgers: Combine all the business data we need to sign using JSON, XML or any other format. Generate a hash of that business data, and then send that hash to a FIDO device to be digitally signed. We can then store our business data along with a hash and its digital signature, thus creating our own digital ledger.

Almost done, but it’s important not to lose track of our final objective: creating trust by making transactions legally enforceable. We can now verify that the transaction was signed by a user with a given FIDO device, but if the dispute goes to court, then we need to undeniably tie it to the organization that a user belongs to (i.e., prove that the company agreed to both this user and this particular FIDO device being used for signing transactions on behalf of the company).

This can be done by creating a file with a user public key and a statement authorizing the user to use it on behalf of his company. After being signed with a corporate certificate the file can be uploaded into an ERP system to prove that a public key is tied to the user’s company. This is a one-time registration process that each user has to go through.

Let’s review how the process would look from an end-user perspective:

One-Time Registration

• A user representing a vendor is set up in company ABC’s ERP system with FIDO authentication. To make it more specific, let’s say a user is using a Windows 10 laptop with facial recognition.

• The system generates a file (could be a PDF, CSR, etc.) that includes the user’s public key.

• A user signs the file with their company (vendor) certificate. This can be done in more than one way. For example, a user may already have a company-issued certificate and use Adobe UI to sign a PDF file. Alternatively, a user may forward the file to the legal or the IT team for a signature.

• A user uploads a signed file into the ERP.

Day-To-Day Use

• A user logs in into the ERP, picks a transaction and clicks on the “sign” or “approve” button.

• Windows 10 confirms the user’s identity through facial recognition and digitally signs a transaction.

• Company ABC’s ERP stores a transaction with a digital signature.

Dispute perspective

In case of a legal dispute, company ABC, as an agreed holder of records, has to produce a transaction along with both parties’ digital signatures. A transaction is digitally tied to a user with a given FIDO key, and that the FIDO key is digitally tied to the vendor’s corporate certificate, thus creating a digital chain directly from the business transaction to the vendor company.

Summary

We’ve already seen software vendors (Oracle and Amazon, for example) expand their solutions to offer new blockchain-like alternatives with the aim of building trust for stored data. However, any lightweight alternative to blockchain sacrifices on some aspects of trust. It’s important to fully understand the level of trust required in a given business scenario and then pick a technology that does it in the most economical way.

Source: Dmitri Tyles


Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many businesses in manufacturingdistribution, and retail in Vietnam and China. For direct consultation, please feel free to contact us.

blockchain and future ERP

Blockchain And The Future Of ERPs (Part 1)

Let’s start by asking ourselves a basic question: How has the ERP industry been making money since inception? The high-level answer is obvious: by selling solutions for automating business processes within an enterprise. The word “within” is critical. Whether it’s front- or back-office functions, it’s still all about internal business processes. However, most businesses operate within an ecosystem of partners and vendors. With the economy becoming more and more integrated, the need for cross-company collaboration only grows. But how many ERPs today offer a comprehensive set of “out of the box” solutions for automating external business processes? None.

How did we end up with a very mature industry for automating internal processes and a very immature industry for automating external business processes? Why is it that the capability to approve an invoice within the AP department was offered by most ERPs years ago, but if a vendor needs to approve your invoice, it’s likely done via a semi-manual process outside of an ERP even today? What is that invisible barrier that separates often rather similar business processes inside and outside of the enterprise?

It’s All About Trust

Let’s consider a scenario where an ERP used by company ABC offers secure screens specifically designed to make business arrangements with its vendors (deliver or buy goods, approve invoices, etc.). This is not an unrealistic scenario if company ABC is big and has a lot of pull over vendors in its ecosystem. Can’t we then automate business processes between company ABC and its vendors in the exact same manner as if we are dealing with internal automation? It’s not that simple.

Let’s say an agreement was reached through the above solution but later two companies are involved in a lawsuit. Can company ABC use records from its own ERP database to prove specifics of the contract? Probably not, as anybody knows that company ABC can easily manufacture any transactions in its own system (i.e., the above solution is not legally enforceable and has limited business value). The lack of trust between businesses is that barrier that was holding external automation back for so many years. To cross this barrier, we need to make records in an ERP legally enforceable for all collaborating parties.

What About Digital Signatures?

Digital signatures have been around for years and are accepted by courts in most countries. It seems like a great technology for creating legally enforceable transactions. However, it’s rare to see this capability built into an ERP. There are a few reasons for that.

The first challenge is the need to procure and store private/public keys (effectively SSL/TLS certificates) for each user. If a third-party vendor is used, then we run into the cost, privacy, usability and scalability concerns. Existing software used for digital signing is generally built around documents (i.e., real legal paperwork), but this paradigm doesn’t necessarily scale well or provide the necessary user experience if we need to sign transactions in an ERP.

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? I believe there is, and it comes from what, on the surface, looks like an unrelated technology — FIDO (fast ID online) or Web Authentication standard. While the primary purpose of FIDO is to solve the authentication scenario by digitally signing a random string sent by a server, FIDO devices can also be used to digitally sign any business transaction. Imagine a vendor digitally signing any cross-company ERP transaction using facial recognition or a fingerprint scanner on a phone without the complexity or inconvenience of a third-party solution.

Why Blockchain?

If digital signatures combined with FIDO authentication devices are so great, then why do we need to talk about blockchain? It all comes down to one simple scenario: While a digitally signed transaction can’t be altered without detection, it can still be deleted without a trace.

In other words, regardless of how unbreakable the digital signature is, if it’s only stored in one place that’s owned by an interested party, we still can’t achieve legally enforceable trust. This is exactly where blockchain comes in, since it is essentially a distributed digital signature. In case of enterprise blockchains, such as an open-source Hyperledger project, each participant in the blockchain has their own node and stores their own copy of all signed transactions, protecting themselves from a scenario in which company ABC may decide to delete its own entry.

Incorporating blockchain technology into ERP products while allowing partners in the business ecosystem to store their own copies of digitally signed transactions in an economical way would be a transformational step for the ERP industry. It would open the door for ERP systems to no longer be internally bound but instead focus on and automate the entire end-to-end business processes.

We see this trend starting already with large companies (e.g., in the supply chain sector) initiating projects to create blockchain-based solutions and include smaller companies within their ecosystems. However, few organizations can afford such projects. While major cloud providers are already offering blockchain as a service, it’s a PaaS-type offering. This means you get blockchain nodes deployed for you (which certainly helps), but all the business rules (smart contracts), flows and interactions need to be designed per the needs of a specific project. Not only that, but the company driving the project needs to get buy-in from its partners to participate in the blockchain and maybe pay for their nodes.

We can think back to the days when ERPs were not widely adopted and companies typically had their own homegrown solutions for HR, billing, payroll and other workplace functions. This is where the blockchain technology is today, with larger enterprises seeing so much value in automating external business processes that they are willing to invest in and create their own unique homegrown solutions. But what we really need is for ERP vendors to step up, think through most typical business flows and deliver those blockchain-based solutions as SaaS offerings with all the smart contracts and flows provided as part of an ERP.

Source: Dmitri Tyles


Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many businesses in manufacturingdistribution, and retail in Vietnam and China. For direct consultation, please feel free to contact us.

how to manage an ERP and keep it updated

How to manage an ERP and keep it up to date

ERP refers to a set of structures that ties together all the business processes of the agency and allows the flow of information among strategies and features.

It facilitates to standardize, streamline, and combine tactics across HR, finance, distribution, supply chain integrating a business enterprise’s various facets into one complete system so JDE managed services are best to maintain ERP. The underlying software uses an incorporated platform and commonplace records definitions.

Nowadays, ERP structures even offer commercial enterprise intelligence, income force automation, and advertising automation. In fact, maximum e-commerce web sites are now tightly connected to some form of ERP again-quit. An effective ERP implementation requires now not simply the right software program, however also thorough documentation, buy-in from key stakeholders, communiqué with companies, and worker schooling.

Also, ERP can provide the whole lot from expanded productiveness and information protection to scalability and cost financial savings, with the fundamental motives indicated underneath. Whilst commercial enterprise processes and records are computerized and centralized, employees will locate that they have got much less guide work, benefit easier reporting abilities, and may proactively control ordinary operations with a way fewer disruptions.

Upgrading Your System

Your carrier or maintenance plan allows you keep your software program walking easily through persevered get right of entry to enhancements, updates, service packs, tax and regulatory updates that can be essential, and extra all of which can be solely to be had to clients on an energetic plan and are not to be had for legacy structures.

Document business process

After you’ve decided to pursue ERP, the most essential task is making sure that your commercial enterprise techniques are well-documented and that it’s compiled in one place. This consists of the obvious main techniques like procure-to-pay and order-to-cash, but must also cover even the most granular ordinary sports such as employee onboarding or approval of time cards. You must try this before you’re taking other steps due to the fact every undocumented process turns into an assumption, and each assumption includes threats. Further, this documentation presents leadership with a clear view of the scope, complexity, and minimal requirements of the task.

Data Conversion

There’s a method that happens closer to the end of each ERP implementation referred to as information conversion that sounds tremendously straightforward and benign. additionally, it is an awful lot extra complicated than expected, even though, and it’s far a not unusual cause of delays and put up-launch troubles. Information conversion is essential to guide and tedious work, and it commonly requires work from practical sources, who’re most acquainted with the character of the records. Small errors can create massive problems, once facts are migrated, so it’s fine to ensure that you have a sturdy technique to high-quality warranty.

 

Source: Business Matters

 


Data V Tech is proud to be one of the leading ERP vendors in the Asia Pacific. We have implemented Epicor ERP for many businesses in manufacturingdistribution, and retail in Vietnam and China. For direct consultation, please feel free to contact us.