IBM Introduces Predictive Analytics Optimization to the Supply Chain

About the only thing that gets us more excited than analytics is predictive analytics, and so when we saw an IBM press release entitled "IBM Introduces Predictive Analytics Software and Services that Forecast Asset Failure," we knew we had to ask some questions about a new IBM offering called Predictive Analytics Optimization (PAO). TEC went right to the source, and spoke with IBM’s director of business analytics strategy, Erick Brethenoux, to find out more.

Predictive Analytics

The need for predictive analytics has, of course, been around for some time, and there have been solutions to track maintenance requirements, predict critical failures, and such. More recently, however, the dramatic increase in computing power, and the advent of Big Data, has created new opportunities to deliver to deliver faster and more powerful predictive capabilities.

IBM Signature Solutions

PAO is the 4th offering to be rolled out in IBM’s Smarter Analytics Signature Solutions portfolio, following:


With this most recent announcement, IBM extends its predictive analytics capabilities into the supply chain area. As with IBM's other Signature Solutions, PAO is a customized offering of existing IBM solutions with a healthy dose of IBM’s consulting services to tailor the right mix of predictive analytics and optimization capabilities for the customer's requirements.

IBM Big Data platform

IBM PAO will use a mix of these IBM solutions depending on the customers' needs:

Focus on the Problem

IBM describes its Signature Solutions as a portfolio of “outcome-based analytic solutions,” the intent being for this to be a new approach for IBM, focusing the client on the problem rather than on the solutions being delivered. It is not difficult to imagine a range of supply chain problems as being good candidates for predictive analytical capabilities, including:

  • Better, faster, root case analysis

  • Monitoring assets for better utilization and maintenance

  • More efficient use and availability of spare parts

  • Higher asset availability

  • Predicting asset failure

  • More efficient use of labor

  • Better detection and management of warranty issues

IBM’s Signature Solutions are designed to take advantage of the recent explosion of data (particularly structured data, call center data, and machine-generated data), to provide new capabilities for addressing these and other areas. Among others, TEC has been projecting ever greater use of analytics within the supply chain realm. IBM has jumped into the arena with a software and services solution that can be customized for a range of uses in the automotive, electronics, aerospace, defense, manufacturing, mining, transportation, telecommunications, and energy industries.

Developing the Supply Chain Story

While IBM will not talk about how many deployments it have performed, and is still developing its supply chain story, you can expect to see a lot of attention and discussion about use cases in supply chain for the new predictive analytics capabilities that IBM and others are developing.

As TEC’s Jorge Garcia says in “Extending BI’s Reach with Predictive Analytics,” predictive analytics can be used, and is being used, in many different areas of many different types of organizations, and can significantly boost an enterprise’s analytical and decision-making capabilities. Watching what IBM, and others, are doing in the area of predictive analytics, particularly in the supply chain area, should be one heck of an exciting ride. We would enjoy hearing your thoughts and ideas, and how you are delivering, or using, predictive analytics.
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