Thursday, April 18, 2013

What you learned in school - applied to Sierra Nevada Brewery

I remember some discussion in my recent IT classes about the "network effect", an idea that academia uses to describe a good or service whose value increases as more people/nodes have access to it. For example, a technologically more advanced social networking site would likely run into a brick wall against Facebook due to their existing customer base. 

It took me a bit to put two and two together to realize that this same "network effect" was the driver in the Sierra Nevada Brewery case study video that I recently commented on. In this case, the effect applies to access to accurate, timely, information within the organization. For example, the QA department benefits from the fact that Fermentation and Filtration use the same system, even for their own purposes.  

This case study highlighted the value of obtaining IT support, whereas the norm for industrial users tends to be a struggle. The other point was enterprise wide workflow integration, where their initial pilot system was deliberately created in two areas that couldn't slow production - data acquisition and reporting. 

It's cool to see when an organization can access its data centrally and apply that to the business flow across departments. This is a microcosm of what I understand is a significant aspect of what the Digital/Internet Revolution is supposed to bring.  


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