Harnessing Technology to Manage Information


Technology is a critical driver when it comes to managing information. On one hand, mobile access with immediate results is key; providing everything customers need, when they need it has become more than a luxury - it’s become an expectation. On the other hand, there’s a growing amount of big data required to make that happen; huge databases of product information need to be harnessed in ways that allows suppliers, customers and associates access to exactly what they need as accurately and effortlessly as possible.

How Can You Achieve the Best of Both Worlds?

According to Jody Fales, Senior Director of IT at Anixter, it's a matter of thinking outside the box.

“That means going beyond reliably and safely delivering products. We’re now solidly in the business of solving challenges and leveraging extensive expertise and solutions to improve our customer’s businesses,” he says. “To that end, we now offer a portfolio of technology-based services and capitalize on key technology trends to deliver significant value.”

As mobile devices continue to multiply, the vision of “computing everywhere” is becoming a reality. Fales says it’s important to move fast, respond even faster and offer the ability to see what inventory is available, where it is and when it can be delivered. And it’s important to provide it all at the customer’s fingertips—out in the field or on the line—from their phone or tablet.

“Earlier this year, we had the privilege to visit with several of our Florida customers and heard firsthand the importance of providing immediate, accurate information to support customer needs,” he explains. “We are equipping our sales force with technology solutions to provide a mobile-enabled, one-stop shop for sales and inventory needs, which is simple to use and content rich.”

To do this, Fales and his team needed to find a way to harness big data, a term used to describe a huge amount of data that is so large, it is challenging to process. A key enabler to reign in big data and associated analytics is improving and managing the master data, often referred to as Master Data Management [MDM]. Fales likens quality MDM to jet fuel that allows for high-quality product data to be accessed with improved consistency, speed and accuracy.

“Managing data is a journey, not a destination,” he explains. “Anixter is on a strategic journey to cleanse, enrich and manage our data. It’s now published from a single source to the many systems and partners that consume it on a daily basis. We have leading technologies and strategic partnerships with both suppliers and leading industry data providers to enable and accelerate the journey.”

As Fales sees it, committing to the complicated business of turning big data into a consumable service for our customers today is only a step to unleashing even more potential tomorrow.

To learn more about Anixter's technical expertise, click here.