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New NIC-place Data Lake maximizes value of business logistics data using customized Big Data analytics
The logistics solution NIC-place, which has been operating since 2009, is now expanding its application to include the so-called "Data Lake". It enables customers to securely store, use and analyze their valuable historical business data on logistical processes and partner networks in the most innovative way to increase the value of their data. The new Data Lake manages and stores the more than 10 billion data sets of the NIC-place logistics software in a similar way to a mass storage or archive system, but with far more analysis potential for customers such as carriers, logistics companies, freight forwarders, food and pharmaceutical manufacturers, trading companies, chemical and mineral oil producers. In line with the overarching customization principle of the entire software solution, the Data Lake was designed for self-administrative use by the customer to generate valuable business insights, e.g. in the form of company-specific KPIs, and therefore maximize overall efficiency within the company.
In NIC-place's Data Lake, all logistics data from a wide variety of sources, such as the telematics and transport planning systems (TMS) and ETA-algorithms, which were previously processed in the production environment, come together. "With the Data Lake, we are taking a further step towards making logistics data available in a secure and meaningful way for our customers to use with flexibility and generate valuable insights" Pete Jendras, Managing Director of NIC-place, says about the motives behind an extra stored Data Lake.
The amount and depth of available information and data play a decisive role with regard to the possibilities and effectiveness of the analysis. "The more data available from the customer, the more meaningful evaluations can be designed on the part of the customer. The interplay of information from our Tourboard on transports and shipments and from the Data Control Center (DCC) on partners and data sources is particularly interesting," says Jendras, explaining the connection between both. There are virtually no limits to the individual Big Data analyses: Depending on the range of features used by the customer, simple master data queries, e.g. on the asset fleet, POI locations, subcontractor assignments and users, through to extensive and detailed business intelligence (BI) analyses can be generated. For example, with regard to transport processes with shipment reference, most frequently driven routes, loaded goods, arrival times and deviations from the target (events). It has never been easier to expand NIC-place's scope of services quickly and in a benefit-oriented manner, because externally created analyses can also be integrated directly back into the NIC-place Dashboard at any time using so-called "in-frame technology", if required, in order to avoid inefficient media breaks or high project development costs for the customer.
The Data Lake was designed with the same developer know-how as the entire NIC-place application and offers the same upscale data protection and security concepts when storing the complex data. Similarly, controlled access is provided exclusively to the respective company's own data via secure interfaces and only depending on various access authorizations, such as dedicated IP addresses, for the respective user.
Currently, the Data Lake offers standardized interfaces to the well-known data tools "Superset" from Apache Software Foundation and "Power BI" from Microsoft for the visualization of raw data. In addition, customer-specific interfaces can be implemented. With the help of the query tools, users can independently create BI analyses optimized for their individual use cases and have them clearly displayed in the form of graphics or tables. Superset from Apache, for example, offers a high level of access security, since web-based access takes place directly via the NIC-place own server hosted in Germany and no data transfer to externally stored data centers or cloud services is necessary.
In addition to individual solutions based on the new Data Lake that customer-internal departments are developing, NIC-place customers without their own IT resources will also be able to improve their logistics processes based on extensive insights in the near future. "We will also be providing our own solutions in the coming months, which will also enable small and medium-sized customers without technological know-how to benefit from their own data treasure and increasing digitalization," says Jendras. Here, NIC-place aims to provide cost-effective standard analytics Dashboards that map the most important generally applicable logistics KPIs.
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