Tornadoes & Strawberry Yogurt

Aggregating data across multiple enterprise systems isn’t something new. Companies like SAP and Oracle have offered such end-to-end solutions for years now, and the largest supply chain organizations in the world have already bought-in.

Supply chain organizations concern themselves with sourcing products from all over the world to get anywhere else in the world. Supply chain organizations adopt these massive systems is to gain all the efficiency and performance they can out of their organizations. With the kind of data an organization like Walmart collects, they can tell you how sales of Strawberry Yogurt go up 14% after a tornado in Kansas and Iowa.

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt by

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt by located on Flickr:

By the way, that tidbit isn’t fact, but it’s probably closer to true than you’d think, and you’d best believe that Walmart, Sears Holdings Corporation, Grainger, Roundy’s, Safeway and other supply chain organizations battle for their share of the retail markets because they can act on such moments — because of their rich ability to make meaning out of all their data.

This is the realm of “business intelligence” and most people involved in organizational learning remain immune to such discussions because SCORM courseware doesn’t generate a lot of interesting information to be pulled into other technologies in these bigger enterprise systems.

And that brings us to today’s post. The “Tin Can” API enables courseware (and a bunch of other things) to generate activity data, which is much more interesting to mash up with data generated from the rest of your organization’s systems. Potentially big platforms like SAP and Oracle can adopt the Experience API. Truth be told, they already have LMS offerings and Content Management functionality that is completely seamless with the rest of their platform.

Your organization might not be so big. You may have your own needs. And for you, an open format to mash-up data across your organization might be really helpful in figuring out how to help people learn to do better in their roles, and prepare for the roles they need to take on. Since “Tin Can” works with just about every programming language, chances are you can extend your existing products to talk with one tongue.

Then, right when your metaphorical tornado hits, you’ll have all the strawberry yogurt you’ll need.

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