How LLamasoft Is Designing Success For Customers’ Supply Chains

Ann Arbor, Michigan-based supply chain design software business LLamasoft is considered one of the fastest growing technology companies in North America. The company was founded by Don Hicks and Toby Brzoznowski in the late 1990s, and offers a number of innovative solutions that help some of the world’s best-known brands make smarter, faster decisions about their supply chain operations.

Its flagship software, Supply Chain Guru, is used for optimizing and simulating supply chain network operations and modeling potential changes based on performance, costs and risks. Last year, LLamasoft released Supply Chain Guru X, the newest generation of its software, which enables companies to build living models of their end-to-end supply chains. Customers can easily visualize inefficiencies, optimize for significant improvements in cost, service and risk, and test hundreds of potential scenarios for continuous supply chain improvement and innovation. Also released was Demand Guru, a new solution that empowers companies to improve their supply chain design and strategic business initiatives by incorporating powerful causative demand modeling.

In 2012, LLamasoft raised $6 million in funding, led by MK Capital. Nike also became a strategic investment partner that year, taking a minority share in October. Jumping forward to 2015, LLamasoft had a big year – acquiring IBM’s LogicTools supply chain applications business, raising $50 million in Series B funding from Goldman Sachs to fund expansion and R&D, and acquiring South Africa-based Barloworld.

Several months ago, TPG Capital, the investment group behind companies like Uber, McAfee and Airbnb, invested over $200 million in LLamasoft after seeing great promise in the company and fully understanding the value its technology delivers to customers.

Today, LLamasoft counts among its 700 customers companies such as Michael Kors, Land O’ Lakes, Johnson & Johnson, and Wayfair. The company estimates that it signs 30 to 40 new clients per quarter. When I asked Brzoznowski if he could share some of LLamasoft’s customer success stories, he pointed out a few recent examples of customer use cases including Michael Kors, U.S. Silica, Hewlett-Packard and Johnson & Johnson.

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A Tale of Two Disciplines: Data Scientist and Business Analyst

data scientist and BA

The ability to use data to achieve enterprise goals requires advanced skills that many organizations don’t yet have. But they are looking to add them – and fast. The question is, what type of big data expert is needed? Does an organization need a data scientist or does it need a business analyst? Maybe it even needs both. These two titles are often used interchangeably, and confusion abounds.

Business analysts typically have educational backgrounds in business and humanities. They find and extract valuable information from a variety of sources to evaluate past, present, and future business performance – and then determine which analytical models and approaches will help explain solutions to the end users who need them.

With educational backgrounds in computer science, mathematics, and technology, data scientists are digital builders. They use statistical programming to actually construct the framework for gathering and using the data by creating and implementing algorithms to do it. Such algorithms help businesses with decision making, data management, and the creation of data visualizations to help explain the data that they gather.

Read more at A Tale of Two Disciplines: Data Scientist and Business Analyst

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