At every second, consumers make thousands of decisions on what to buy and where to buy it. With the rise of digital products and services, consumer behavior has gotten even more complex. How do businesses understand the what and where behind the demand—how do they get a full picture of these ever-changing consumer trends and behaviors quickly enough to take advantage of them?
The answer is actionable, real-time demand intelligence provided by a platform that taps into the power of business ecosystems and connects them to drive outstanding operating results and create ongoing strategic advantage. Intelligence exchanges provide companies—and their business partners—with unique, valuable demand intelligence that they cannot get anywhere else. When businesses have the right insights into consumer demand, they can rise to lead their industries by coordinating supply chains and distribution networks to stay ahead of market trends, efficiently responding to fulfill demand, and being resilient in difficult times and agile in good ones.
Intelligence exchanges go beyond business-as-usual approaches to forecasting and responding to demand in 6 significant ways, providing companies with:
(1) Data about demand, not only sales.
Having data about both demand and sales is important because no business has 100% market share of their industry. With only sales data in hand, information about unfulfilled demand goes unknown and opportunities for profitable growth are missed. When they have timely, detailed intelligence about upcoming changes in demand companies have the accurate picture they need to align their ecosystems and to effectively allocate resources, inventory and promotional spend.
(2) Data from many sources, not only your data.
To get the data you need to create a relevant picture of demand in your market, you will need a variety of internal and external sources. Some of the data you need is public, for example weather forecasts that affect foot traffic and seasonal purchases. And, your business partners have some of the data you need, for example, promotion plans. Intelligence exchanges provide a safe, secure way from them to share that data to be used in modeling, but not exposed to you and the rest of your network.
(3) Timely data on relevant dimensions and with the granularity you need.
Intelligence exchanges provide a range of intelligence that aligns with the speed and length of the supply side and the buying cycles in your industry. For example, in the case of a perishable food product, it may take months to make changes on the supply side, but the distribution side has very short cycles—with orders being placed multiple times per week. An intelligence exchange can help you accommodate both by providing a variety of relevant product, location, and customer data to cover both sides of the equation. Intelligence exchanges can also provide hyperlocal insights based on the precise geographic locations where your business operates on broader insights based on a wide range of places or intelligence about product demand at both the SKU and category levels.
(4) A platform that combines data management and many analytical methods so you get actionable intelligence and understand what is driving trends.
Due to the variability of available data and market volatility, you’ll need to employ methods that deal with sparse/spotty data and be able to accurately forecast for the periods in which your business operates. An intelligence exchange automatically converts data sets as they are received into the form that’s needed to use that in concert with other data for real-time updating of models that use multiple methods, from traditional statistics to AI, to deliver highly accurate forecasts that you can rely on to make time-critical operating decisions.
(5) The ability to monitor model performance and to automatically update and adjust them.
An intelligence exchange monitors the performance of existing models, automatically ingests new data, updates the models, and shares the intelligence across your ecosystem so you and your partners have the accurate, up-to-date demand intelligence needed fill short-terms gaps and to ramp up or down over time without timing risks or the outsized investments in IT and attracting and retaining data scientists that few businesses can afford.
(6) The ability to automatically operationalize demand intelligence, putting it to work in your systems and making it accessible to your partners in real-time.
An intelligence exchange instantly shares demand intelligence across your ecosystem, helping you respond to opportunities as they come and to avoid costly friction and time lags caused by manual or partially automated forecasting and response processes. When it automatically deploys intelligence to operational systems across your company and your partner network you gain a meaningful competitive advantage over companies that distribute internal reports with historical sales data, do forecasts, share them in PowerPoint presentations, adjusting them based on perceptions of their accuracy and willingness to share information with partners, then email what’s approved to partners (if they share them at all). As a result, with an intelligence exchange you’ll gain share by being the first to identify gaps in current plans, optimize product and resource allocations, and adjust merchandising.
These 6 advantages that intelligence exchanges uniquely offer can help your business stay ahead of market trends, instantaneously respond to consumer demand, and optimize its supply chain, distribution network, and, most importantly what’s available at the restaurants, stores, and places where purchases are made. Whether you need to meet consumer activity in a neighborhood, a region, or all over the country, an intelligence exchange provides you with the actionable, comprehensive insights you need to keep your business running smoothly even when market conditions prove hectic.
Especially in volatile, disrupted markets with challenging cycle times, intelligence exchanges make setting up your business for growth easy. No other platform offers a way as convenient and secure as an intelligence exchange to put real-time demand intelligence to work for your business and to stay connected and aligned with your partners and customers.