The Boulder BI Brain Trust


InfoNOW Aims at Channel Data Management

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InfoNOW logo.pngInfoNow, a Denver company, sorted through their offerings and future plans. Keith Knowles, VP Marketing, and Joe Zurawski, VP Business Development, presented their story. Their focus was on ChannelInsight, their SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) offering connecting distribution network of thousands of 'trading partners' with 'product vendors'. See us in action!

Starting in 1990 as an asset location service to find the nearest ATM. Rode the Dot-Com bubble. Declined and broaden their solution offerings. Currently they are doing over $10M annual revenue with a hundred employees. Customers include hi-tech companies like Seagate, AMD, APC, Lexmark, HP, Polycom, Targus, and Samsung.

What is a channel? That is the key concept behind InfoNow's value proposition. In the chart below, the up-stream parties manufacture goods and distribute through their down-stream channels. In other words, InfoNow is focusing on demand chain management, primarily for Business-to-Business transactions.
InfoNOW chart 1.jpgMy insight came when I realized the complexity of managing a typical demand chain. The decision dimensions explode across number of distributors, layers of distributors, multiple identities per customer, data formats via various data links, and so on.

InfoNow breaks their services into the following five stages.
InfoNOW chart 3.jpgWe went through a series of slides elaborating on each stage. It is amazing the complexity in B-to-B transactions and amazing the potential business value of specific analytics of each stage. Pricing is also complex and is based upon services provided at each stage.

The thought that stuck me is that generic BI tools are/will fade into infrastructure. The growth potential is to apply specific analytics that are smart about specific business processes. Many IT professionals are clueless about the details of what happens in hidden clerical operations that fill the gaps in generic applications. As I mentioned in another blog, SaaS folks like InfoNow are not providing software but best practices in tough business processes.

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