RFID (radio frequency identification) is impacting the supply chain in a big way, but don't look yet for business intelligence (BI) solutions that exploit the mountains of data that will be generated by this emerging technology - at least not from the pure-play BI vendors. Today, no BI vendor has a legitimate road map for leveraging RFID data for BI, and neither do the enterprise application vendors - although that is changing slowly. Until BI solutions emerge in 2007, product-driven enterprises should capture RFID data and model it for analysis themselves. In other words, don't hold your breath waiting for the ultimate RFID BI solution. Build it yourself.

RFID represents a new technology for collecting data about the supply chain, with the hope of positively impacting retailers (with on-time delivery of just the right inventory to meet demand), manufacturers (with more accurate demand for items to be made) and distributors (with more precise item location and routing). This impact will be measured by how well each process can be optimized and the level to which each can be synchronized. The measuring requires that appropriate targets, benchmarks and thresholds be established, and that is where BI technology will eventually be of great benefit. However, let's not jump to any conclusions just yet.

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