Metamorphosis

How Lytica became a unique analytics company: Part 24

I have been absent from the blogging scene for a few months as I have been immersed in roadmap planning, budgets, customer visits and demonstrations of our technological capability. Oh yes, I have also been distracted by fundraising needed to make our company and product visions a reality.

We are in interesting times and change is all around us but being aware of that doesn’t save us from its silent sneak attack. Suddenly we are hit with a “Where am I?” moment that makes us reassess what’s being done and how we’re doing it. Think about transformational IoT (Internet of Things) objects enabling a connected home and revolutionizing home entertainment, self driving cars and SaaS business models; they bring forward unforeseen opportunities and risks due to transformative aspects not evident on the surface.

Sometimes things (like material shortages) feel like they will never change or end, but under the surface change is brewing. Our shortage and price metrics suggest there may be some shortages relief on the horizon – but there is still pain in the chain.

In 2017 we began our journey with artificial intelligence and, in 2018, put in place powerful new core technologies that enable far more than we envisioned when we began; core technologies that are beginning to transform our company. The heart of Lytica is benchmarking and price prediction on e-components and our mission has been to improve our component coverage and accuracy. To do this, we have been focused on algorithms, models and a plethora of technologies with associated, strange sounding jargon which is so left brain that I sometimes feel we may not be in our right mind. That aside, we have an impressive technology arsenal containing things like automated document readers, data cleansers and inference engines that have gone a long way to create our high-quality reference libraries and prediction applications.

The capability of our underlying technology allows us to extend our focus and address more than just direct materials cost, enabling us to provide solutions that attack attracted overhead and operational inefficiency which we have already demonstrated to some of our customers who struggle with dirty data issues. These solutions are broadly applicable across an organization, driving a positive impact in Operations, Sales, Engineering, Finance and other business units. They broaden our value proposition, garnering interest from companies selling components in addition to our traditional customer base of those who buy them.

While we were primarily focused on technology, we have also spent time over the past quarter rethinking customer experience and expectation, looking at how we attract, onboard and retain customers. We recognize that we can do better and have already begun making changes,  with more coming into play around mid year. Some of you may have noticed that we added a chatbot to our new website which enables the ability to book an appointment with us for a one on one call.  This is readily available technology, but it is also the emergence of changing how we engage with new customers. Consider it our first step in evolving Lytica’s customer interaction from a traditional model to a Software as a Service (SaaS) approach where access to information is simplified and specific needs are quickly addressed. Another aspect of this evolution has been welcoming Dory Meynert to Lytica as Vice President, Customer Engagement & Product Solutions. Many of you may know Dory from his past roles with leading EMS, OEM and distribution companies and we are excited to have him working to transform our product definitions, onboarding practices and delivery methods.

In 2019, I want to see an improvement and increase in Lytica’s direct teaming with customers to ensure that our value is maximized within their company. Our customers have been giving us data for many years and there is much we can learn from this to enhance our predictions and better our service. While there is value in hindsight, there is more from foresight through this increased engagement which will take form in product development, product assessment, requirements definition and through ATC participation options.

Completion of our 2018 product roadmap remains in the 2019 plan along with many new, forehead smacking, “YES!” ideas to drive Lytica forward. Stay tuned for future blogs – you may even experience some of these changes before I am able to write about them. Good things are on the way!

Ken Bradley is the Chairman/CTO & founder of Lytica Inc., a provider of supply chain analytics tools and Silecta Inc., a SCM Operations consultancy.

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