What is Hadoop and What Does it Mean for Supply Chain Management?

Hadoop sounds like it should be the name of a children’s toy, something like a Bop It or Silly Putty. But as Steve Banker explains in an article for Forbes, Hadoop is actually an open source, distributed data management platform that could elevate your supply chain in new ways.


Hadoop is very useful for managing unstructured and semi-structured data, like images and call center transcripts. Since it is open source, there are a variety of enhancements and add-ons available for it. This is good, because Hadoop is inherently pretty challenging to work with, to such an extent that you can even pay for it as a managed service. Major IT vendors like HP, Intel, and IBM are all investing big in Hadoop’s potential to manage unstructured data, so its future presence in business is practically already a foregone conclusion.  What does this mean for supply chain professionals? Banker says:

Unstructured data is potentially useful for emerging supply chain risk management applications, to drive a better understanding of the supply chain programs at leading competitors, and for recruiting and retaining supply chain talent.

He just reminds us that choosing the right analytic database and toolset is crucial if you want Hadoop to actually be effective. If you can get past the large technical boundaries to entry, Hadoop has a lot of potential to increase your forecasting skills in the supply chain. You can read Banker’s full article here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevebanker/2014/08/01/what-is-hadoop-and-what-does-it-mean-for-supply-chain-management/

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