Treasure For You

Heirloom Seal of the Realm

Heirloom Seal of the Realm is a historical story in China about 2200 years ago. In China, jade is symbolic of the inter beauty within humans. This jade was carved as an imperial seal as the embodiment of authentic power of emperor received from heaven. No matter which dynasty, the emperors will use this seal to show their rightness of owning the power. As a result, the seal was passed from dynasty to dynasty for over thousands years, but during one of the most chaotic periods of time in China, the jade was no longer recorded and believed lost during 10th to 14th centuries.

The treasure is not about the price value of the jade but about its symbolic meaning of authority power passed beyond human beings. Seeking the treasure is to prove the ownership of such the authentic power because of its symbolic meaning from the origin and the inheritance of emperors cross dynasties. The history is a sequence of inter-related events, and same for the evolution of an enterprise. The growth and falling of an enterprise are also the results of a sequence of decisions. At every decision point, the decision maker must face the uncertainty and make a decision based on both the business context and individual judgement. CP4 has no capabilities to predict future, but it can provide the decision supports from available data sources allowing the decision maker to manage the uncertainty in a rational and structural way.

There was a legend related to the discovery of Heirloom Seal of Realm, the discovered person presented the rock to one of the king in Chu country. The king asked a jade crafter to examine and the crafter thought this was simply a normal rock and not a priceless jade, so the king ordered to cut one of the discovered person’s legs. When the king die, the person presented the rock again to the successor, but same story happened again and he lost another leg. When the successor became the king, the person did not present the rock this time but crying for over 3 days to bleed in eyes. When the king was aware of the incident, the king asked why he cried to bleed. This person said, I am not crying for losing my two legs, but crying for the treasure jade being treated as a rock. That was then the king asked the jade crafter to open the rock and finally reveal the priceless jade, which was made for Heirloom Seal of the Realm.

The story has an analogy to express how important it is to be able to identify the treasure by recognising the essence of an “object”. On the one hand, whether CP4 can be a hidden treasure or not awaiting for enterprise to discover. On the other hand, CP4 is created to tackle an essential and fundamental issue faced by all enterprises, but ignored for decades. That is, when key decision makers need to envision the future possibilities, how can they analyse the uncertain in a structured and informative way. We here present CP4 as a natural rock and wait for your identification to carve into a valuable jade specifically for your enterprise.

Discrete Data Computation

CP4 is designed as a discrete data computation platform where enterprise data models from different sources can be linked and normalised into cubes. Those cubes can support the planner and enterprise users to utilise their experience based data model, usually individually hold within their own Excels. Discrete data means the data sources can come from different systems including legacy systems, enterprise systems, existing Excel worksheets and empirical experiences in one’s mind. Since they are from different sources, they usually cannot directly communicated to each other due to the incompatibility among different data models. non-normalised data model. CP4’s cube server will be responsible to normalise those data models, so they can communicate and interchangeable within cube server. There are also complex business logic, algorithms and empirical formula from the original data sources. It is important that a cube can utilise the computation power from their original source systems, hence, enterprise user can easily work with those computation capabilities directly through cubes including existing Excel sheets, external pattern detection algorithms or a adaptive learning algorithms, etc..

The mostly frequently asked question is that if we can do it in Excel why do we need CP4. The answer is straightforward, if the data and formula you used can be created and limited to your personal Excel worksheet, Excel is sufficient. However, if you wish to improve the precision by utilising enterprise data model and business logic already built in an enterprise systems, CP4 is the right tool to let you to work with complex data models like in Excel. The fundamental difference to use or not to use CP4 is the precision and the time to reach the same precision. We do see many business sacrifice the precision by keeping the same Excel operation for 20-30 years. The question is whether they can compete in the market when their competitor can use the enterprise data to achieve the precision in simulating future plans and profitability impacts.

Simulation Scratch Board

Simulation scratch board is designed for the planner and knowledge worker to assemble, explore and envision the future scenarios using actual enterprise data and empirical or heuristic formula available. The freely arrangeable and connectable cubes provide the sandbox environment opening up for the user’s creativity in constructing the simulated scenarios. The normalised cubes allows different data models be linked and referenced to build the realistic simulation. If you plays legos before, each cube type is like a lego block with different shape, and different cubes are the same shape with different or same colours, while the final created structure from those building blocks is the simulated scenario.

CP4 uses cube server to normalise data models from discrete and distributed sources into CP4. CP4 does not duplicate data into cube server, but maintain the reference to external source. Every link is a string attached to one of the enterprise data. Cube is not only data, but also the computation capabilities from the data source. If you imagine yourself as a puppet master, you can also have an analogy for a puppet master to play a theme. Considering the puppet master’s sticks with multiple connect strings linked to different part of the puppet to play a story, CP4 simulation scratch board is the puppet master’s stage, the story is the simulation scenario, the moveable puppet parts are the discrete data sources, the string attached are the normalised cube and the stick to connect strings are the interconnected cubes created inside the simulation scratch board. When all the elements are ready, you, as a puppet master, can determine how to play the story your own way.

Collaborative Platform

CP4 provides the collaborative capabilities differing from other social media. CP4’s collaborative design supports business users to clearly identify role and responsibilities through collaborative cubes. There are two types of collaborative dialogues, one is descriptive dialogues, and another one is workflow dialogue. The descriptive dialogue is the same as typical social chatting features, but the workflow dialogue has business semantic between one user to another one during the communication. The business semantic allows one user to establish the normalised format for collaborative conversation / commitment using cubes, the recipient party can work with the passed cube to collaboratively work with the sending party, or provide their own cube to encapsulate the sending cube to adding capabilities. The interconnectivity among cubes allows any changes from one source cube to automatically re-computing other cubes which have used the source cubes. Similar to Excel, when you establish the relationship between two cells, they are inter-connected and the change on source cell will immediately impact the target cell. The main difference with Excel is that the cell is now replaced by a cube which may have more attributes and computation logics.

The nature of the interconnectivity’s of cubes can support the collaborative planning and the simultaneously simulation. For a complex planning task, e.g., a sudden rush order, or an disruptive event impacting supply chain, there is a need for planners from different business units to work together to estimate the impacts and possible actions to resolve the challenge. CP4 then can provide the collaborative simulation even if planners are located around the world. By passing the required planning cubes, one planner can provide their estimation by communication with workflow dialogue by passing cubes and connecting cubes. Furthermore, with the interconnected cubes, all planners can start simultaneous simulation based on the different scenario contexts. For a time-based competition, CP4’s collaborative platform aims to optimise the enterprise response speed significantly.

Another important collaborative feature is to clearly distinguish the responsibility of each party and provide the communication patterns for the commitments. The descriptive dialogue is not a firm commitment, but the workflow dialog does understandable by CP4, then, can track the progress for the commitment, or record the failure of commitment. The communications among different users and departments can be used to reconstruct the collaborative patterns among a company’s knowledge workers. CP4’s collaborative capabilities can also provide the analysis to improve the precision of estimation by compare the actual enterprise data with estimation retrospectively, and also break down the error distributions. Collaborative platform is a general purpose application in CP4, if Skype communicates voice, Line communicates words and expressions, FB communicates relationships, Instagram communicates photos, Slack communicates work materials, then, CP4 communicates computable data models.

Progressive Transformation

Traditional enterprise system implementation can easily take years, particularly for a large scaled enterprise including major data migration from legacy systems. This is necessary for enterprise system to work within consistent data models. The planner and knowledge worker although can use the enterprise system for daily transactional operation, is very difficult to do flexible estimation, planning and simulation tasks since the data models are fixed inside the enterprise systems and the simulation works requires flexibility of changing the data models and business logic and heuristic / empirical formulas. CP4 is designed to make sure business improvements and business values are not limited to the enterprise systems, but should be multiplied by more systems and data sources with computation flexibility. Hence, CP4 provides weekly and monthly progressive transformation for enterprise planning, which will be totally opposite to the concept of big-bend go-live.

Different types of cubes can be continuously extended and available for simulation and collaboration. Once a cube type is deployed, user can freely define their own cubes without restrictions. More data sources from difference systems with discrete data models can be brought into the CP4 world by defining them as new data cube types. When more and more cube types are available, more complex simulation and planing can be conducted. CP4 is designed for accumulatively reconstruction, that means, the changes can evolve and the past can be reproduced. CP4 is used to manage uncertain, however, after certain period of time, some business logic may become firm and no need to handle uncertainty. In this case, the business logic should be built directly into traditional enterprise system. CP4 is most suitable to manage constant changes and data model’s evolution.

A another benefit for progressive transformation is to provide a rapid workable and flexible system with minimal cost and IT efforts. The required flexibility and constant changing logics are owned by the planners and knowledge workers, and there is no need to spend IT efforts to re-program the system. Due to the modularisation and encapuslation of cube types, CP4 is robust to constant adjustments. The main goal is to deliver the business values with minimal time and minimal cost. Furthermore, there is no need to change existing enterprise system, hence, the cost to adaptive changing or even rebuilt the systems is so much lower than enhancements of traditional enterprise system. Consequently, CP4 can support the rapid enterprise organisation, process, and data model changes without redo IT systems, so your enterprise can continue to evolve much faster than your competitors.

SME’s and LE’s Playground

CP4 is designed as two deployment options. For small size company, our recommendation is to use the cloud version, the cloud version can allow you to build your own what-if simulation models while preserving the business logics in cloud server instead of in individual’s Excel worksheets. The cloud version can save costs for IT and systems since by simply upload data, define your own data model, you can quickly connect them for your own planning and simulation purpose. For median-size company, our recommendation will be using cloud service to evaluate and estimation which part of the works can be put on cloud and which part remains in your own enterprise landscape. Whether to integrate your own enterprise data models into cloud or deploy an on-premise may depend on the nature of data sensitivity, cost and speed. For large enterprise, we will recommend on-premise implementation due to the planning and simulation data are often confidential data, and knowledge from experiences and empirical models are also core confidential know-how.

The different playgrounds are interchangeable between private cloud and on-premise, means an enterprise can switch the preferred model and evolve with their needs and size. Typically, starting from public cloud CP4, and gradually moving into hybrid mode with own enterprise system, and lastly to on-premise model. Such a deployment mode shifting can be done seamlessly as CP4 is designed for normalisation of custom development, hence, your own CP4 will always be yours unique CP4 to evolve with your enterprise your own way.

1 + 1 + N

CP4’s architecture can be defined as 1 + 1 + N. The first “1″ is the cube server which supports linkages between a cube and a data source from an enterprise system, external service, external data, and any empirical information created by a knowledge worker. The second “1” is the simulation server which provides the simulation scratch board for a user to creatively design his/her own versions of future envision. The “N” represents unlimited custom built applications. CP4 is a platform and how it can be used efficiently will depend on the business scenarios and business contexts. Most of the scenarios we work with may not be available from traditional enterprise systems, hence, the N is to fulfil the functional gap and usually are built for a very specific business process but need to utilise the cube’s flexibility efficiently, e.g., design of incentive performance plan.

The 1 + 1 + N design is in fact align with traditional enterprise system to make sure the planners can use CP4 as an upgraded enterprise Excel. The cube server can be mapped to enterprise system, and simulation server can be mapped to the business intelligence system while the N can be mapped to enterprise apps. The design is to make sure all the user interface can get closer to exactly what the planner needs. The cube server brings all enterprise data in front of the planner to use while the simulation service provides the innovative space for the planner to build own envision the future. However, when any simulated cubes were brought back into the enterprise data models, strict validation must be enforced. That is the balance to keep the rigid control of enterprise data models with the freely creative design in simulation. Compared to ERP/BI, CP4 creates an equivalent landscape for enterprise planning, estimation, and what-if simulation for an enterprise. The goal is elevate the planning system to match the sophisticated enterprise trisection systems, so your enterprise can be ready for the fierce competitions in Industrial 4.0 period.