Supply Chain Spotlight / Executive Commentary

5 Lessons Learned from Avnet’s Big Data Implementation…So Far

As the hype around big data is starting to fade, the hard work of implementation begins for many organizations. I’d like to share some of the most valuable lessons we, at Avnet, have learned so far on our journey to big data success.


Avnet’s recent migration to SAP’s HANA has delivered some incredible jumps in performance. With HANA in place, we’re seeing query response times that are 5 to 6 times faster than our previous business intelligence platform could deliver, and some complex queries are coming back 15 to 20 times faster than before. While this kind of improvement validates the platform investment, it only represents a minute portion of the potential benefits a big data platform like HANA can bring. Now, we have to work closely with our business units to convert that potential into measurable value for our employees, customers and suppliers.

scn-exe-sec-no2MASTER YOUR DATA

The old expression “garbage in, garbage out” absolutely applies here. The larger and more complex your data environment is, the more you need a strong Master Data Governance policy in place to ensure the information coming into the implementation is clean, and truly compares information “apples to apples.” In addition, if your processes for collecting data aren’t consistent and complete across your businesses and regions, the resulting analytics won’t be accurate. Having documented, consistent processes is essential.


Once the technical implementation is complete, you’ll need true quantitative data scientists to properly create the predictive scenarios and analytics models you need. These individuals may already exist in some organizations, but many others will have to go out and hire that skill set. Remember, analytics alone are useful; but providing unique intelligence that helps business leaders make the right decisions is the ultimate goal for any big data investment. Be sure to support your leaders by giving them the assistance they need to understand the analytics before they make critical business decisions based on them.


To help ensure that expectations and excitement are grounded in the reality of your big data rollout, be sure to devote strategic and tactical resources to execute a sound change management campaign as you go. We’ve had a great deal of success at Avnet standardizing on the ADKAR® change management model from Prosci.

scn-exe-sec-no5MOBILITY IS A MUST

Having the ability to request and view reports anywhere, anytime has been one of the most requested features of our big data rollout. Avnet’s leaders spend most of their time on the move, either between meetings or traveling, and the data is only of value if it’s delivered in a timely basis in a way the audience can easily understand and access. So, when it comes to designing our end-reporting capabilities, ensuring that our business leaders are able to request and view analytics reports on demand through their tablets or smartphones has been a top priority and a major adoption enabler.