CP4 is a solution designed to bring the enterprise data model reachable for your decision makers or planners who rely on their experiences and analysis from data to provide various estimations, precision planning and projection for your business. The works have been done in Excel for decades. Even with your enterprise systems, e.g., ERP, up running, the planners cannot benefit from the transaction systems, and due to lack of the flexibility the planners need, they still have to use Excel and constantly export data from the enterprise system. Although data can be exported into Excel, the business logic, data relationships and model dependencies were lost during data exporting. When the data models and business logic in the enterprise system got disconnected from the planner’s own data models in Excel, the precision of planning in Excel cannot be improved with the details from the existing enterprise system becuase planner can not manipulate the enterprise data model easily for their own estimation and simulation tasks. CP4 is designed to tackle this long neglected issues by traditional enterprise software since the flexibility and simulation capabilities are crucial for the planners, yet too context specific to be standardised.
CP4 has a mission to upgrade enterprise planning and simulation capabilities to match with traditional enterprise systems complex data models, but need to provide Excel’s flexibility and user experiences. While the enterprise systems such as ERP, CRM, SRM, SCM, SEM, PLM, BI, EDW, MES were introduced in past 30 years, the processes based software successfully manage the transactions, but the planning, estimation, and simulation were still left out inside numerous Excels. The reason is that the traditional enterprise software can not fulfill the nature of planner’s need to work with their experiences and the flexibility to manipulate enterprise data models. Furthermore, the cost to work with traditional enterprise system has been significantly increased due to the complexity, but the extra development in the system cannot fulfil the flexibility needed by planner while Excel can provide the flexibility yet without the precision. After decades of enterprise software advances, we are in the time where most routine works can be operated in large enterprise systems, but most knowledge and experience based planners can not utilise those data model easily, and still use their own Excels.
CP4 is created to tackle a mission impossible for traditional approaches. Both the complex data models and flexibility in creation must co-exist for the business users to do their planning tasks. CP4 uses an 1+1+N architecture including one cube server to connect and integrate discrete data and computing sources; one simulation server to provide the simulation scratch board to allow user freely manipulate and assemble business logics for simulation and estimation purposes; and lastly N applications to provide user interfaces and interactions to support other process related tasks as close as possible to the planner’s needs. The applications can be built in any forms with one principle that they should match the planner’s specific needs with minimal development efforts. Usually those applications provide the unique functionality not available from the traditional enterprise systems.
CP4 does not and cannot replace any traditional enterprise system because the design of enterprise systems are working on process-oriented transactions. They require clear requirements with pre-determined business rules and logic. That is also the main reason they are not suitable for planning and simulations, which require various data models, business logics and empirical formulas that can be changes all the time depending on the goal varied with contexts. In fact, the simulation draft of CP4 is more painting board for artist, and all the cubes are paints, brushes and any other tools needed to complete an art work. They can not follow the same structure as in traditional enterprise systems. Hence, we do need to realise CP4 must be a sandbox platform letting users to freely adjust any enterprise data models, imaging possible future events, simulate possible impacts by manipulating operation data to reconstruct future scenarios and infer impacts of possible actions.
CP4 does not intend to replace Excel, and in fact, the simulation scratch board even can be used to interact with Excel directly. For CP4, components of Excel is just another data source which can best represents empirical experiences. Inside CP4, all data model, regardless their origins are treated equally as cubes for interchangeable operation and communication. More importantly, for many Excels record empirical models and innovative estimation ideas that may not be suitable to open to others, then, in this case, those knowledge can still be kept inside own Excels but still be usable as CP4. It is very clear distinction for when to use Excel or CP4. If all the data are users own guess, Excel is sufficient, but if the user needs more precise estimation based on enterprise data, CP4 is a better option to work with. CP4 is designed to bring enterprise data models to the planner and not vice versa. Although there is no boundary for cubes creation and assembly of cubes for simulation, there is strict validation when simulated models are brought back to any business application. That means, CP4 is truly a discovery tool for planner to work with enterprise data models to explore future estimation and planning, just like in Excel with the precision supported from the enterprise systems. With your own CP4, your enterprise can take a quantum leap to in time-based competition by envisioning your possible futures today.