Business Network

OpenText Enterprise World 2016 – More Business Network!

Enterprise World

If you’re going to take time away from your busy schedule to attend a vendor event, that event had better be relevant to your job, your business and the OpenText solutions you use. This year, Enterprise World has more B2B and secure messaging. We’ve reduced the number of keynote sessions and added 300% more Business Network breakout sessions to give you valuable insights, such as: How OpenText™ Trading Grid® Analytics delivers unprecedented supply chain intelligence How to reduce onboarding times by more than 50% and better manage supplier information How B2B mobility improves your supply chain responsiveness How to automate your procure-to-pay and order-to-cash processes How to jumpstart your Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives with pervasive integration and embedded analytics already available in the Grid Here is how you can GET MORE at Enterprise World 2016 More B2B Presence B2B is a leading strategic investment area for OpenText, and this is clearly reflected at Enterprise World 2016. You will find more than 40 Business Network breakout sessions. Check out these and other sessions: B2B Outsourcing Top 5 Best Practices (B2B-101) How to Achieve Global Shipment Visibility in Your Supply Chain (B2B-209) Improving Vendor Compliance and Relationships Through Automated Deductions Management (B2B-211) More Peer Presenters & Networking Attend Enterprise World 2016 and hear real use cases from your industry peers.  Gain insights and best practices from B2B customers, including MillerCoors, KeyBank, Northbay, Sutter Health and more. Check out these and other sessions: From Zero to Hero: How MillerCoors Transformed its Supply Chain (B2B-105) How KeyBank Grew Customer Satisfaction and Competitiveness with B2B Managed Services (TBD) Fax Customer Panel: Peer Best Practice Sharing with Northbay, Sutter Health (FAX-208) We are also providing more networking opportunities to help you build valuable professional relationships. More Technical Sessions Breakout sessions will cover detailed product updates and roadmap reviews so you can take advantage of the latest capabilities in your solution, and plan for what’s coming next – OpenText™ B2B Managed Services,  OpenText™ Trading Grid VAN and OpenText™ BizManager™ gateway. Technical experts leading discussions are eager to obtain your feedback on priorities and directions. Check out these and other sessions: Roadmap Roundup: BizManager B2B Gateway (B2B-203) Roadmap Roundup: Trading Grid Messaging Service (B2B-204) BizManager Transformation Mapper Workshop (UTR-1-6612) Get a Handle on Document Exchange: Trends in Connectivity and Communications Protocols (B2B-212) More Support & Implementation Best Practices Solution consultants and support experts will provide practical advice for optimizing your solutions, at all stages of their lifecycle. We will arm you with tips and tricks to be more effective in your role. Check out these and other sessions: The New Experience: Business Network Customer Support Update (B2B-215) Simplify & Optimize Your SAP Implementation with B2B Managed Services (B2B-102) How to Get the Most from Business Network Professional Services (B2B-216) More Strategic Direction To be successful, you need to stay ahead of major trends and other disruptive forces. Your B2B ecosystem is no exception. At Enterprise World 2016, you will learn about the impact of digital disruption, the Internet of Things, a bimodal supply chain, embedded analytics, and the movement to cloud and outsourced business models. Turn the buzz into reality and gain practical insights to get started in your organization now—leveraging the investments you’ve already made in OpenText B2B. Check out these and other sessions: Use Business Network Pervasive Integration to Kickstart Your IoT Initiative (B2B-107) Gain Supply Chain Intelligence with Trading Grid Analytics (B2B-207) Assess Your B2B Maturity: Are You Leading or Lagging Your Industry Peers? (B2B-100) More Industry Sessions OpenText understands that industries are bound by common markets, opportunities, and challenges. Learn more from your industry peers at Enterprise World 2016 with the following sessions, among others. Select your industry on the registration page for more. Financial Services: How KeyBank Grew Customer Satisfaction and Competitiveness with B2B Managed Services (TBD) Integration for Banks and Corporate Treasury (B2B-104) Business Networks for Financial Services and Insurance (FNS-200) Manufacturing: Simplify & Optimize Your SAP Implementation with B2B Managed Services (B2B-102) Improve Your Supply Chain Performance With Supplier KPIs (B2B-208) How Will Digital Disruption Impact Manufacturing (MFG-200) Retail: Improving Vendor Compliance and Relationships Through automated Deductions Management (B2B-211) Creating a 360-Degree View of Your Customers with Big Data Analytics (ANA-101) More Value You will get more value from Enterprise World 2016. In addition to these highlights, expect many opportunities to engage with OpenText B2B experts. Also GET MORE at Innovation Labs, Expo Labs, and Customer Reference Roundtables. And don’t forget the Business Network fax and secure messaging portfolio—helping you manage the exchange of unstructured information. Check out these and other sessions: Using OpenText Capture Center to Integrate Faxes into Your Applications (FAX-204) Best Practices in Deploying Secure Messaging Across Your Enterprise (FAX-202) Simplify & Save Money: Extend Faxing to the Cloud (FAX-201) You can register now.

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Fax in Your B2B Digital Transformation

fax

The journey of digital transformation. It’s likely that your supply chain has already started the trip. If not, then it’s very likely to start soon. Catalysts may be corporate events like mergers and acquisitions; initiatives like supply chain visibility; or IT projects like an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system upgrade. Throughout the trip it’s important to consider your B2B partners — including distributors, transportation carriers, banks, insurance providers, or purchasing organizations — that help you deliver the level of quality in products or services that your customers expect. Your largest partners may already be on a similar journey of digital transformation so you can count on them to move forward with you, perhaps your mid-sized partners are as well, especially those with enough capacity or IT resources to support their B2B infrastructure. But what about your smallest partners? They may have little or no IT resources to support B2B processes and so rely on manual methods for invoices, purchase orders, delivery notices, and other B2B documents. To send these documents they will likely rely on a fax machine. If your business receives these faxes on a regular basis then you may have a community of small partners that could be left behind in the digital journey. It’s time to consider the fax in your B2B environment. According to a recent study, ‘The Current and Future State of Digital Supply Chain’, 48% of respondents rely on fax, phone, and email to interact with supply chain partners. That number reflects a vast amount of manual processes that could simply be accepted as the status quo. Businesses that seek to increase their visibility and transform their supply chain can lose sight of the fax—and the smallest partners as a result. With OpenText™ Fax2EDI, OpenText™ Business Network customers can automate fax-based processes with their trading partners. Cloud-based image capture services transform supply chain documents received via fax or email into machine-readable information, ready for integration into your back-office systems. So the next time you see a B2B document received through a fax machine consider the trading partner on the other end. Will they join in you in the transformation of your supply chain?

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Achieve Deeper Supply Chain Intelligence with Trading Grid Analytics

supply chain analytics

In an earlier blog I discussed how analytics could be applied across supply chain processes to help businesses make more informed decisions relating to their trading partner communities. Big Data analytics has been used across supply chain operations for a few years, however the real power of analytics can only be realized if it is actually applied across the transactions flowing between trading partners. Embedding analytics to transaction flows allows companies to get a more accurate ‘pulse’ of what is going on across supply chain operations. In this blog, I would like to introduce a new offering as part of our Release 16 launch, OpenText™ Trading Grid Analytics. The OpenText™ Business Network processes over 16 billion EDI related transactions per year and this provides a rich seam of information to mine for improved supply chain intelligence. Last year,OpenText expanded its portfolio of Enterprise Information Management solutions with the acquisition of an industry leading embedded analytics company. The analytics solution that OpenText acquired is being embedded within a number of cloud-based SaaS offerings that are connected to OpenText’s Business Network. Trading Grid Analytics provides the ability to mine transaction flows for both operational and business specific metrics.  I explained the difference between operational and business metrics in my previous blog, but just to recap here briefly: Operational metrics can be defined as: delivering transactional data intelligence and volume trends needed to improve operational efficiencies and drive company profitability. Business metrics can be defined as: delivering the business process visibility required to make better decisions faster, spot and pursue market opportunities, mitigate risk and gain business agility. Trading Grid Analytics will initially offer a total of nine out-of-the-box metrics (covering EDIFACT and ANSI X12 based transactions), which will be made up of two operational and seven business metrics, all of which are displayed in a series of highly graphical reporting dashboards. Operational Metrics Volume by Document Type – Number and type of documents sent and received over a period of time (days, months, years) Volume by Trading Partners – Number and type of documents sent and received, ordered by top 10 and bottom 10 partners Business Metrics ASN Timeliness – Number of timely ASN creation instances as a percentage of total ASNs for a time period Price Variance – The actual invoiced cost of a purchased item, compared to the price at the time of order Invoice Accuracy – Measures whether invoices accurately reflect orders placed in terms of product, quantities, and price by supplier, during a specified period of time Quantity Variance – The remaining quantity to be invoiced from a purchase order, equalling the difference between the quantity delivered and the quantity invoiced for goods received Order Acceptance – Fully acknowledged POs as a percentage of total number of POs within a given period of time Top Partners by Spend – Top trading partners by the economic spend over a period of time Top Products by Spend – Top products by economic spend over time Supply chain leaders and procurement professionals need an accurate picture of what is going on across their trading partner communities so that they can, for example, identify leading trading partners and have information available to support the negotiation of new supply contracts. Trading Grid Analytics is a cloud-based analytics platform that offers: Better Productivity – Allows any transaction related issues to be identified and resolved more quickly Better Insight – Deeper insights into transactional and supply chain information driving more informed decisions Better Control – Improved visibility to exceptions and underperforming partners allows corrective action to be taken earlier in a business process Better Engagement – Collaborate more closely with top partners and mitigate risk with under-performing partners Better Innovation – Cloud-based reporting portal provides access any time, any place or anywhere More information about Trading Grid Analytics is available here. You can also learn more about the benefits of supply chain analytics.

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What is a Business Network?

Business network

Companies do business outside of their so-called ‘four walls’.  Meaning, they rely on other businesses to accomplish their objective; hence, the importance of business-to-business (B2B) collaboration.  Companies source raw materials, semi-finished goods or services from other companies to manufacture products or to deliver services.  In turn, they sell those products and services to other businesses, consumers, or patients. Along the path to a finished product or service, many other organizations are involved — transportation carriers, distributors, banks, agents, insurance providers, purchasing organizations and more. The list is long.  Among these organizations, procure-to-pay, order-to-cash, corporate-to-bank and other business processes take place.  It’s a complex trading partner ecosystem, one that is always in flux, depending on current market or geopolitical environments. Supporting all of these business processes, of course, is information.  Emails, orders, invoices, ship notices, customs documents, designs, inventory status, pricing, and more. This list is long as well.  Information flows are necessary to support business flows, although often the business applications that run these business processes are not optimized for efficient information flow — especially when that information comes from many different types of systems, in different formats, sent by different protocols, and in different media (XML, EDI, paper, fax, email, etc).  That is where business networks come in. Business networks are cloud collaboration platforms that extend business processes and applications with the required information flows to digitize and automate key business processes.  Business networks are the fiber that hold the economic tapestry together.  A business network may be focused on a specific business process (e-invoicing), on a certain function (indirect procurement), on a specific industry (Automotive), or on a geographic region (EMEA). Ideally, your business network spans all of the above, delivering flexibility and growth of your digitization efforts into the future, regardless of where they may go — buy-side, sell-side, direct and indirect procurement, multi-industry, and global.  This is the OpenText™ Business Network. OpenText Business Network simplifies the inherent complexities in trading partner ecosystems, by providing a single connection that digitizes all information flows, whether they are suppliers, customers, banks or other valued partners — anywhere in the world. As a result, customer requirements can be complied with, suppliers managed, and organizations can focus on delivering their core business objectives.  OpenText Business Network is comprised of multiple solutions, from B2B integration, community management, procure-to-pay, fax, secure messaging, and notifications to provide a complete portfolio of B2B Managed Services solutions. With Release 16, Business Network goes beyond information flows to deliver unparalleled opportunity for digital transformation across extended business communities.  The OpenText™ Business Network Cloud 16 offers hyper automation, pervasive integration, and deep visibility, enabling leaders in the digital economy to leverage information across their extended ecosystem, incorporating trading partners and business processes. Release 16 represents a $2B investment over a 3-year time period to support digital transformation and create a better way to work.  It represents how OpenText is moving beyond Information Exchange (our former name), with a new Trading Grid Analytics service, broader procure-to-pay process support, expanded trading partner enablers and new mobile interfaces that enable anywhere, anytime access. Begin your journey and explore OpenText Business Network Cloud 16!

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Cloud 16 – A Better Way to Work

Cloud 16

As organizations form their digital strategy, cloud is a critical consideration. Organizations that capitalize on new digital methods will be the ones that thrive; building new relationships with their customers and suppliers, optimizing their processes and creating new revenue streams. These organizations demand speed, agility, flexibility, and scalability that can be realized by taking advantage of cloud and hybrid cloud benefits. In short, they demand a “Better Way to Work.” The OpenText Cloud provides a global, secure cloud environment optimized for delivering Enterprise Information Management (EIM) solutions. We own and operate our own cloud, with a global infrastructure and operations across more than 40 data centers and satellite centers around the globe. Our commitment and expertise in cloud security, privacy and trust are key reasons customers trust us to manage their critical applications and information. We have invested greatly into our cloud and virtually all of our products are available to customers in the OpenText Cloud. OpenText Cloud 16: A Better Way to Work   Cloud 16 extends the flexibility for customers to operate in cloud, hybrid cloud and cloud-to-cloud scenarios. Customers have a plethora of integration and deployment options available to them so they are able to have their business problems addressed exactly how and where they need it. This release includes massive innovation across all of the EIM areas with advances in OpenText Cloud Managed Services, Business Network Services and OpenText SaaS applications. The Cloud 16 Digital Platform: Content Cloud 16: Delivering enterprise content management applications in the cloud to accelerate deployment, provide superior managed services and drive productivity through digital transformation. ECM in the cloud can be easier to deploy and less expensive to maintain than building and hosting your own infrastructure, and it can provide maximum flexibility while freeing up IT resources. It is quickly and easily scalable, so businesses can seamlessly adapt and expand without needing to install new hardware. Making the move to cloud means that IT resources can shift the management of ECM solutions to vendor experts, allowing IT to focus on the business critical operations that can help fuel business transformation. Highlights of Content Cloud 16 include: Managed Services for Content Suite 16- Upgrading and maintaining on premises applications can be a costly and daunting task. Let us upgrade your Content Suite into the cloud and we will manage it for you. Amplify the value of your existing applications and never worry about upgrades again. Content Suite Platform Cloud Edition- Optimized for the cloud, this package lets customers quickly purchase and deploy in cloud and hybrid-cloud scenarios. This new package combines cloud operational efficiencies with the flexibility and configurability you would expect from an on-premises deployment. OpenText Core and Content Suite integration-Customers can now securely collaborate in the cloud with Core and have content governed with Content Suite. Archive Center Cloud Edition- An enterprise archiving service running in the OpenText Cloud as a public cloud service. Customers only pay for what they use each month, based on the number of users that log on, transaction volume, and the volume of storage used. Without the need for up-front investment in infrastructure and software, it offers a cost-effective solution that scales with user’s needs. More information on Content Cloud 16 Experience Cloud 16: Empowering businesses to increase user engagement and improve customer satisfaction while avoiding time spent on managing applications or infrastructure. Experience Cloud 16 includes: Managed Services for the Experience Suite so you can upgrade your current implementation into the OpenText Cloud and have us manage it for you. Media Management Cloud Edition brings simple, cloud-based media management that is easily purchased and quickly deployed. Communications Center Enterprise brings tailored Customer Communications as a managed service in the OpenText Cloud. Communications Center CRM provides document generation with Salesforce integration. SAP DAM and SAP Document Presentment are also available as managed services. More information on Experience Cloud 16 Process Cloud 16: Enabling businesses to rapidly automate their business processes and have the platform managed by EIM specialists in the OpenText Cloud. Key innovations in Process Cloud 16 include: Process Suite as a managed service, with expert management by EIM specialists. Process Suite has several advances including entity modelling, case management and analytics integration providing process intelligence. Contract Center provides a complete solution for all types of contracts including buy-side, sell-side and other legal agreements. More information on Process Cloud 16 Business Network 16: The evolution of information exchange, OpenText Business Network provides a cloud ecosystem of interconnected trading partners with hyper automation, pervasive integration, and deep visibility across extended business processes, enabling compliance and accelerated time to revenue. The largest B2B network in the world powers customers’ extended trading ecosystems—now with embedded supply chain analytics, mobility for anytime, anywhere access, and deeper support for the entire procure-to-pay processes. Key advances in this release include: Logistics Track and Trace Supply chain analytics Trading partner digitization Invoice compliance Enhanced EMEA data sovereignty Mobility More information on Business Network 16 Analytics Cloud 16: Providing embedded analytics for EIM applications and for custom content sources, fully managed by EIM experts in the OpenText Cloud. Big Data Analytics Cloud Edition is a complete advanced analytics managed service in the cloud. It includes advanced analytics software, maintenance, cloud management plus professional and learning services to accelerate Big Data initiatives. Analytics integration with EIM Suites allows customers of all types to take advantage of advanced and predictive analytics. More information on Analytics Cloud 16 For existing on-premises customers, it is time to consider upgrading to the OpenText Cloud. For new customers, now is the time to subscribe to our cloud offerings and realize the benefits of agility, flexibility and scalability in solving your business problems. Whatever application, solution or information flow your organization requires to meet your business need, we can help to manage your cloud, hybrid cloud or cloud-to-cloud implementation. Experience a better way to work!

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Improving Vendor Compliance Through Deduction Management

vendor compliance

For retailers, vendor compliance programs are designed to help streamline and standardize the management of expense offset with vendors and/or suppliers. If you are a retailer buying from hundreds (maybe thousands) of vendors, having the ability to ensure shipment and supply chain consistency can save you significant operational costs. But this can create challenges for vendors, who may sell to hundreds of retailers, and need to follow the guidelines for each retailer and/or customer. In order to help with the complexity for both the retailer and the vendor, retailers publish vendor compliance manuals with standards and expectations for doing business with them. (Note –  if you do a web search for “vendor compliance manual” you can see examples of these by various retailers). But, as a retailer, simply publishing standards often isn’t enough for vendors to comply with, unless there is also some form of incentive as well. The incentive typically takes the form of penalties for non-compliance, also known as “chargebacks” or “deductions”. The process for capturing non-compliance, applying penalties, allowing the vendor to challenge specific deductions and then billing or reducing payments can be complex and time-consuming. If the process takes too long, a vendor may send multiple non-compliant shipments before they can be advised of any wrong-doing. Since the real goal of chargebacks is not to generate revenue, but to reduce non-compliance, timely notification and clear communication is essential to a successful program. So how can a retailer automate this process? The simplest answer is through a deduction management solution. One option is the OpenText™ Deduction Management solution, a cloud-based system for capturing non-compliance, automating internal reviews, notifying vendors, managing the dispute process, and scorecarding vendor performance. You can read more about the OpenText Deduction Management solution and view a demonstration of the mobile deduction capture feature running on an Apple iPad Mini below.  

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Creating Interactive Dialog With Your Customers

interactive dialog

What if each customer felt that every communication with you was not only well managed, but a meaningful, interactive dialog? What if every employee engaging with your customers could generate communications that not only inform but engage? Imagine using your customer communications to turn documents into dialog, communications into conversations. Every touchpoint with your customer is an opportunity to engage in a meaningful and relevant exchange. In today’s digital market place, the customer is empowered like never before. As a result businesses need to exploit every opportunity to communicate as clearly and consistently as possible across every channel and medium; whether online or offline, on paper or electronically. Most companies have yet to exploit the potential for driving additional business through customer-facing communications. These communications, the data that feeds them, and the exchanges between a customer and a company are critical assets for strengthening relationships and fueling sales. Tailoring each customer’s correspondence with personally relevant information, informing and engaging customers with every communication, deepens the relationship. The ability to work more personally with customers, even in regular mass-distributed communications such as bills, invoices, statements, notifications etc., is a strong competitive edge. Acquiring new customers can cost five times more than satisfying and retaining current customers, and a two percent increase in customer retention has the same effect on profits as cutting costs by ten percent. Yet research has shown that 68 percent of customers who break away from a relationship with a company and go elsewhere do so because they feel unknown and unwanted. This alone justifies efforts to connect more personally at every touchpoint of the customer’s journey and to create easy, frictionless, ways for customers to initiate and manage their own contact. Smarter Communications Improve Revenue and Streamline Costs: Enable business managers to drive business: Direct, hands-on connections to customer communications remove the lag time between seeing a business opportunity or necessity and acting on it. Business managers create and manage marketing messages and campaigns and the rules that deliver them to the right customer at the right time. Match the message to the customer: Whether it’s welcome packs, order confirmations, delivery notices, invoices, or statements, personalized documents build customer loyalty. Even at high volumes and processing speeds, personalizing every document, including cross/up-sell offers or other notices can be tuned to each customer. Let the customer control the conversation: Through simple self-service, customers can specify their preferred channels; print, fax, email, mobile, web, and other electronic channels. This variety of choice empowers customers and also gives you multiple channels for new services or business development initiatives. Interactive content presentment: Rich media, dynamic charts and graphs on communications not only provide better information, they create dialogues between supplier and client. Each touchpoint brings you closer to your customer, providing valuable insight and a better customer experience. Find out more about how you can use OpenText™ Communications Center to establish a modern communication processing environment in your enterprise. Using data from your existing business systems (without requiring any changes to those systems) to dynamically generate the communications you use to run your business and correspond with your customers, partners, suppliers, and employees.

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How IoT Will Enable Future Device Managed Inventory Processes

Last week I spent a very productive day with a leading technology analyst discussing the Internet of Things (IoT). The analyst had recently switched to covering IoT instead of B2B integration and EDI, so we had a very interesting discussion relating to the role of IoT in the supply chain, and how it will help to introduce more self-sensing, closed-loop processes to companies across multiple industries. I have been closely following the IoT sector for nearly three years now and have posted a few blogs on this subject. In this blog I wanted to highlight one significant area that I covered in an interview for Forbes magazine last year. I hadn’t realised the significance of the article at the time, which discusses how in the future, connected devices or things could potentially initiate some form of procurement process by themselves using analytics-based techniques to measure usage or consumption patterns for the connected device concerned. Say hello to Device Managed Inventory (DMI)! The analyst was quite surprised that this concept had not been mentioned before, and asked the ten participants in our meeting to search for the term “Device Managed Inventory” on Google, and only our reference was found. It’s rare to lay claim to a new industry term, but I certainly believe that we will see rapid adoption of DMI as more and more supply chain-related devices get connected to IoT platforms around the world. DMI is really an evolution of Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) which has been around for years. Companies across the retail and high tech sectors have deployed VMI processes with key trading partners to help streamline their supply chain operations. VMI is part of a family of business models in which the buyer of a product provides certain information to a vendor (supply chain) supplier of that product and the supplier takes full responsibility for maintaining an agreed inventory of the material, usually at the buyer’s consumption location. A 3PL provider could also be involved to make sure that the buyer has the required level of inventory by adjusting the demand and supply gaps. The aim of VMI is to essentially prevent the buyer from running out of stock and to minimise inventory across supply chains, for example in warehouses or regional fulfillment centres. EDI has been central to this particular process for many years. The key to making DMI work smoothly is to efficiently collect information from sensors attached to the connected device, as in the case of the vending machine example shown below, and then feed this information into an analytics platform. Analytics routines would then continuously monitor consumption patterns, compare with stock levels, and when the levels get near to or below a predefined level, a procurement process would be initiated by the connected device and an automated EDI transaction would be generated and sent to the supplier for fulfillment. This application of DMI is really a form of Proactive Replenishment, the aim being to ensure that stock levels are always within a certain set of min/max levels and hence ensure that customer satisfaction levels are maintained. DMI would certainly be useful for replenishing stock levels in retail stores, maintaining fluid levels within gasoline storage tanks or parts quantities in storage bins located next to manufacturing production lines. This type of scenario, whereby the connected device initiates an EDI transaction, could also be applied in a Predictive Maintenance scenario. So for example sensors fitted to a vehicle’s water pump could detect water flow rate changes, perhaps due to a leaking seal or crack in the casing. This information would be transmitted to a vehicle service centre where new parts could be proactively ordered with the relevant supplier. The driver of the car would be notified that the water pump would likely fail within a 1000 miles and their vehicle would be booked in to have the replacement part fitted. I have discussed both of these scenarios in an earlier blog, where I looked at use cases for IoT across the supply chain and how analytics could leverage information flowing across the supply chain to make more informed decisions. Many of the key building blocks to make the above scenarios a reality actually exist today. MQTT, for example, is a relatively new open source communications protocol used to connect devices to a network. To learn more about how analytics will drive future supply chain operations, take a look at this earlier blog. Read more from the analyst I spoke with, who described DMI as a “Gob-Smacking B2B IT Mash-up”, in his blog here.

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“Exclusivity” is a Bad Word When it Comes to Patient Information Sharing

In a new Market Spotlight by IDC researcher Judy Hanover, she discusses the often rocky road of patient information sharing in healthcare, the contentious topic of interoperability as it relates to patient information sharing, and the importance of getting it right.  Judy will be presenting her findings on 24 March in a webinar – “The Rocky Road to Patient Information Sharing in the Health Network”. Interoperability is one of the most widely used terms in healthcare information exchange today.  It eludes many healthcare organizations that are struggling to achieve it, forcing many to give up the cause along the way.  Yet, interoperability is not a lost cause, and achieving it doesn’t need to be either. So, why do so many healthcare providers, networks and organizations struggle to achieve interoperability when exchanging patient information across multiple providers?  The answer is usually found in technology gaps and exclusivity, rather than “inclusivity”. Despite the claims of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) vendors regarding EMR systems, these widely used tools have done little to help the exchange of information across different EMR systems.  A recent survey of nearly 3,000 medical professionals state that the biggest barrier to interoperability is EMR technical incompatibility. Eighty-six percent of those surveyed stated that the major barrier to interoperability of health systems is “EMR systems that are not capable of sharing information with other EMR systems because of technical shortcomings or incompatibility”[i].  This presents a barrier with forbidding impact: the inability to effectively exchange patient information leads to incomplete medical records, missed or delayed diagnosis, repeat tests performed because of missing information, and so the list goes on. Surprisingly, the same survey found that 63% of respondents stated the #2 reason for interoperability was “EMR vendors’ unwillingness to share information with competing EMR systems despite being technically capable”.  Is this right?  Not only are EMRs not playing nicely, they may be actually boycotting the game? Is there a network of exclusivity among the vital patient information trapped in disparate EMR systems? Surely EMR system information exchange should be inclusive to enable easy and efficient sharing of patient information with anyone, anywhere – always? Hanover states in her report, “As it became clear that the wide array of EHR products that went into use would not create an interoperable healthcare ecosystem on their own, the Direct Project was initiated in 2010 to develop standards and protocols to facilitate interoperability and healthcare reform.” What if you could bypass the technology gaps, shortcomings, and incompatibility of exchanging information between EMRs?  And instead, leverage technology designed to provide interoperability and rich patient information exchange among systems, regardless of the underlying platform?  Inclusivity, rather than exclusivity. Join IDC analyst Judy Hanover on 24 March, as she presents her findings in a Market Spotlight entitled, “The Rocky Road to Patient Information Sharing in the Health Network”.  This webinar will highlight the current landscape of patient information sharing, how care fails when messaging does, and future trends in healthcare. [i] Interoperation Research Study, data fielded by EAS Planning, April, 2015.

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Integrating Logistics Visibility into your Supply Chain Network

B2B communications

Companies seeking to build a digital supply chain network with their suppliers frequently turn to EDI to digitize transactions and help with automation – placing orders, receiving advanced ship notices, receiving invoices and sending remittance advice. However, in the middle of this automated process, organizations often find themselves having to resort to manual processes for logistics visibility, in order to figure out when a shipment is supposed to arrive, especially for goods shipped via ocean carriers. If you are placing thousands of orders a month and receiving thousands of shipments, this manual process for checking ship status can be expensive as well as a potential risk to your business. This is where OpenText Active Orders new logistics track and trace capability comes in. First, Active Orders allows you to set up digital communication relationships with 3PLs and carriers. Second, as Advance Ship Notices (ASNs) are sent to you from your supplier, Active Orders forwards them to the carriers you have booked transportation with, requesting status updates. Using templates that you build, Active Orders will notify you when a shipment is expected to be late, based on current status. In the Active Orders portal you can see all shipments in transit, including which are at risk of being late, without having to make multiple phone calls, or  look up their status on multiple websites. Active Orders aggregates this information across multiple suppliers, carriers and 3PLs, providing the information your business needs – all in one place. Without this visibility, you could be carrying too much stock in your company, increasing your costs unnecessarily, or regularly running out of stock on certain items, decreasing customer satisfaction with your brand. OpenText Active Orders is a complete purchase-to-pay process for both digital and non-digital trading partners – providing end-to-end visibility of transactions in process – including logistics visibility. Learn more about Active Orders, or discover how one company using Active Orders succeeded in automating and optimizing their purchase-to-pay processes, resulting in increased productivity, reduced paper waste and less time spent troubleshooting and fixing transactions.

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WEBINAR: Electronic Signatures with OpenText and DocuSign

If you have ever purchased or even refinanced a home, you have experienced the hundreds of signatures and initials required to get this done. I’ve had my share of waiting for, and paying for, FedEx packages—or even worse, trying to get my all-in-one printer to print and then fax back 50+ pages. I must have re-tried one fax 10 times with all of the paper jams. Then, when I thought all of the pages finally went through, I was told that they “didn’t get it” and I would have to start all over. This is not what you want to hear when your rate lock is about to expire! A few years ago, I bought another house, but this time I was told that everything could be done online. I signed and initialed tons of pages in no time. I hit submit and I was done! Did I mention that this fantastic time-saving tech was from a company called DocuSign? While we often hear that all successful businesses will one day be 100% digital, tedious, manual processes like obtaining signatures make that reality seem eons away. As I experienced, documents are often printed, then sent out via overnight mail or faxed, and then they are signed, returned, and stored. Aside from the costs associated with that cumbersome process, organizations risk losing visibility into the status of the document by breaking the digital workflow—leading to lost documents and a struggle to correctly determine where to store or archive the document. To improve efficiency in signature processes, OpenText provides several solutions for electronic signatures—and has recently also partnered with DocuSign to provide its Digital Transaction Management (DTM) solutions. DocuSign’s DTM solutions enable organizations to obtain secure, managed, and legally compliant electronic signatures anytime, anywhere, and from any device. The time and burden that employees associate with paper signature processes is reduced. DocuSign also helps to ensure enterprises meet compliance and information governance standards through its complete, easy-to-monitor audit trail—capturing all activities associated with the document, time stamps, and the location of where the document was signed. DocuSign has use cases in sales, human resources, finance, IT/operations, legal, marketing, facilities, support, product management, procurement, and more, and its benefits include: Return on Investment (ROI) – DocuSign creates an immediate ROI, with its instant savings on print supplies and shipping costs and long-term savings of costs and time due to faster workflows for closing sales, onboarding candidates, and much more. Customers report saving more than $30 per envelope. Customer Experience – Faster workflows and the reduction of tedious steps—such as locating fax machines or shipping locations—mean happier customers, as well as happier employees. Compliance – When documents are printed and mailed around to individual participants, form fields might be missed, and documents could easily get lost in transition. DocuSign helps enterprises with a faster workflow that includes system controls to ensure forms are filled out properly and documents are never lost—and its complete audit trail lets users know which step of the process a document is in every step of the way. For more on how DocuSign for OpenText can help your enterprise achieve these benefits, please view our webinar recording here.

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HIMSS16: OpenText Prescribes Healthier Patient and Business Outcomes

contact centers

This year’s Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference is right around the corner.  As a HIMSS North American Emerald Corporate Member, OpenText is proudly participating in the event, taking place February 29 – March 4 in fabulous Las Vegas. This year’s event is shaping up to be a great one.  Not only will OpenText continue to showcase the #1 fax server in the healthcare industry, OpenText RightFax, but joining the conversation is OpenText Analytics, a powerful analytics tools to help make better business decisions and drive better business outcomes. Join us at HIMSS and talk to our industry experts to learn how OpenText is driving greater productivity, efficiency and security in the healthcare industry. With so many reasons to talk to the healthcare experts at OpenText, we’ve narrowed it down to our favorites…. Top 3 Reasons to Visit OpenText at HIMSS Save money. Make the shift to hybrid faxing with RightFax and RightFax Connect: Hybrid faxing combines the power of your on-premises RightFax system with the simplicity of RightFax Connect for cloud-based fax transmission. Learn how to save money and make your RightFax environment even easier to manage. Drive compliance. Better patient information exchange with RightFax Healthcare Direct: RightFax is the only fax server that combines fax and Direct messaging in a single solution with RightFax Healthcare Direct. Learn how you can accelerate your road to interoperability with Direct through this new innovative solution. Make better decisions. Learn about OpenText Analytics products and revolutionize your reporting and analytics infrastructure. This will give you the tools to build the best data-driven enterprise apps. With live data analytics seamlessly incorporated into your apps, you can track, report, and analyze your data in real time. Be sure to visit OpenText at Booth #12113 Hall G, and learn how OpenText will help you save money, increase the security and compliance of patient information exchange, and make better decisions through data analytics.

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Want to get your message across securely? Follow Sony’s CEO and fax it.

marketing, call centers

Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton is becoming the new poster boy for faxing. The executive recently revealed during a media industry conference that his fax machine is getting a lot of use these days, as he prefers to send hand-written notes via fax instead of sending an email. Lynton said he’s surprised by how quickly he can jot down a thought and fax it. While email may be even quicker, he explained that by taking a minute to put pen-to-paper and then sending a fax can be preferable to firing off emails in haste – the electronic version of speaking before thinking. The folks at Sony Entertainment have some experience in seeking out alternatives to email, following the hack of its network in 2014. As I mentioned in a recent blog on the topic, during the aftermath of the hack Sony employees took to picking up the phone, writing notes, and faxing in order to communicate with each other. Of these options, fax is the form of communication that can go from one party to the other safely and securely. Fax is a secure communication; so won’t be intercepted or hacked. A phone call can be overheard or recorded, and leaves a paper trail. Notes can be mislaid, stolen or confiscated, the latter possibly by an authority figure – cue those second-grade memories for some of us! A better alternative to fax machines is electronic faxing – no paper is required to send notes and other important content that you don’t want intercepted.  Learn more about how fax with cloud delivery is an ideal alternative to fax machines. What’s an executive to do? Fax, fax, fax.

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Understanding the Basics of Supply Chain Analytics

vendor compliance

Today’s supply chains move millions of shipments around the world each year, but just think for a moment about the information required to ensure these shipments get from A to B safely and on time. The information flows, primarily based on EDI/B2B transactions, to support today’s global supply chains are growing in volume year-on-year. What benefits could a business obtain by being able to monitor these information flows and obtain deeper insights into what makes supply chains ‘tick’? Say hello to supply chain analytics. Monitoring the day-by-day, hour-by-hour, or minute-by-minute ‘pulse’ of a supply chain could potentially bring significant operational and business benefits to a company. From a supply chain point of view, companies are looking for answers to questions such as: Who are my top suppliers and how many B2B transactions have I exchanged with them? Who are my top (and bottom) performing suppliers based on specific key performance indicators such as complete orders, accurate shipments, on-time deliveries and processing of payments? For which suppliers/customers has the order/payment volume increased or decreased by more than 30% over the last 12 months? Which of my customers sent me the most orders during the end of year holiday period and which ones sent many changes? Here at OpenText we are processing over 16 billion transactions per year across our Trading Grid B2B network. These transactions are feeding global supply chains with rich information to help ensure that orders are processed in time, deliveries are shipped to the correct destinations and invoices not only get paid on time but comply with the ever increasing number of compliance regulations. Now what if you could apply Big Data analytics to supply chain operations in order to obtain deeper insights into how your digital information flows are supporting your physical shipment flows around the world? According to many leading analysts, Business Intelligence and Analytics are the most important focus areas for the CIO in 2016. Big Data analytics has been around for a few years now, really emerging in 2010 with mobile and cloud based technologies, but it is really only over the last two years that companies have started to embrace Big Data across the enterprise. You only have to look at recruitment websites to see that one of the hottest jobs in the market at the moment are for Big Data Scientists, those that can understand rich data sets, analyse and then report on them. There are many EDI document standards supporting today’s global supply chains, with ANSI and EDIFACT formats being the most prevalent. But if you go to the EDI document level there are really just two types of information that are useful from a supply chain analytics point of view. Firstly,operational-based information and secondly, business specific information, so what does this information actually look like? Operational information could be considered as the type of documents flowing between trading partners across a supply chain, so this would include Purchase Orders, Invoices, Advanced Ship Notices (ASNs) and Order Acknowledgements. The volume of these transactions could run into thousands, or for a large global company, millions per year. What if you could use this information to determine the volume of transactions by document type and volume of transactions by trading partner? Applying analytics, let’s call it operational in nature, could help to determine the top trading partners that a company deals with on an annual basis and also provide insights into the most popular document types being exchanged. Chances are, companies doing business only in North America will be exchanging more ANSI-based documents while companies doing business on a global basis will be using EDIFACT. So, Operational Analytics could be defined as delivering transactional data intelligence and volume trends needed to improve operational efficiencies and drive company profitability. Business information could be considered as the data from within each document type. So for example for an ASN, it would contain information such as delivery address, shipment details, quantity, sender details etc. What if you could actually perform deep introspection on each business transaction as it flows across a B2B network and then use this information to produce a series of business-related trends that could be reviewed, and if necessary, acted upon? Applying analytics, in this case business analytics, could potentially help a business to determine ASN timeliness, Invoice Accuracy, Price Variance and so on. If there are any exceptions or errors then the business can take corrective action and resolve any problems much sooner. So, Business Analytics could be defined as delivering business process visibility required to make better decisions faster, spot and pursue market opportunities, mitigate risk and gain business agility. Applying operational and business analytics to a pool of billions of transactions flowing across a business network could transform the day to day work activities of supply chain, logistics and procurement professionals around the world. Let me briefly highlight two use cases for supply chain analytics. The retail industry is highly consumer driven and seasonal in nature which introduces significant fluctuations in the procurement process. Being able to monitor the volume of documents, by type, across a business network can potentially provide retailers with some interesting indirect insights into consumer demand in different markets around the world. Applying operational analytics, especially when applied to a few years of historical data could help to forecast potential order volumes and therefore allow retailers to be better prepared for seasonal fluctuations. Operational analytics, based on B2B transactions could potentially transform the retail industry, making it more responsive to consumer demands and ensure that inventory levels are aligned more accurately with expected demand levels. In the automotive industry, ‘ASN Timeliness’ is one of the most important variables measured to ensure that Just-in-Time production lines are running smoothly. ASN timeliness can be defined as the number of ASNs sent on time divided by the total number of shipments within a specified time period. Many automotive companies use ASN timeliness as the basis of monitoring the performance of their trading partner community. Applying business analytics in this case allows a car manufacturer to not only monitor supplier performance from an ASN delivery point of view, but also compare suppliers against each other to create a top ten ranking of delivery. What if you could monitor the ‘live’ transactions flowing across a business network and apply business analytics to monitor trends and exceptions before they impact the business? As shown by the ASN timeliness chart above you can use analytics to very quickly assess and compare the performance of your trading partners. Some car manufacturers use ASN timeliness as the basis of determining whether penalties or even contract termination should be applied. So in summary, applying analytics across trading partner information flowing across a business network could: Provide a complete 360 degree view of supply chain activities Offer deeper insights into transaction based trading partner activities Provide earlier identification of exceptions, allowing corrective action to be taken sooner and prevent supply chain disruptions Allow more informed business decisions to be made The  two examples above are based on company specific transactions flowing across a business network, but what about looking at a community as a whole? Applying analytics to an entire community of companies connected to a business network could provide some interesting insights into business/industry activity as a whole. Every month the manufacturing industry, one of the main contributors towards a country’s GDP, waits to hear from global economists as to how each country around the world has performed. The Purchasers Managers Index (PMI) measures eight key metrics each month, for example number of new orders, stock levels, production output and changes in employment levels. A PMI number above 50 signifies that a country is in growth and a number below 50 signifies contraction. Three periods of contraction will normally signify that a country is going into recession. The numbers below relate to the January 2016 manufacturing PMI numbers for the G8 member countries. You can quickly see here that Japan and Italy tied in January as the fastest growing economies in relation to manufacturing PMI. OpenText™ Trading Grid connects over 600,000 companies, and processes over 16 billion transactions with a commerce value of over $6.5 trillion. Applying analytics to this scale of transaction volumes could provide deep and very rich insights at both industry and country level as to what is happening from a business growth or contraction perspective. If you were to apply analytics to a community of trading partners on this scale then in theory our results should be broadly in line with the PMI trends, especially as many of the order volumes for example being measured as part of the PMI process are actually moving across our Trading Grid infrastructure as EDI transactions. I have only scratched the surface in this blog about how analytics can be used to provide operational, business, customer and community-related insights to supply chain operations and further blogs over the next few months will take a closer look at each of these areas. If you would like to see how analytics can be used in a different situation, in this case to monitor the US elections coverage, take a look at our Election Tracker. Also take a look at Trading Grid Analytics, a new breed of embedded analytics that provide insights across entire business flows.

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Enabling the Digital Supply Network at OpenText’s UK Innovation Tour

Since joining OpenText in January 2014, through the acquisition of GXS, I have presented many sessions on our Innovation Tour stops and at our major annual conference, Enterprise World. No sooner did Enterprise World finish last November, we have been busy planning for our 2016 Innovation Tour. We have five Innovation Tour stops this year, starting in Sydney, then moving onto Tokyo, Germany, Paris and finally the UK. We also have a number of shorter events in other locations such as Singapore. The aim of these events is to educate, inspire and ultimately demonstrate how our portfolio of Enterprise Information Management solutions can enable a better way to work in the digital world. Our event in London this year is being hosted on the 10th March at the etc Venues Conference Centre, St Paul’s, Aldgate and it will offer a comprehensive agenda with keynote and customer sessions in the morning and over twenty breakout sessions (split into five key themes) in the afternoon. We will also have an expo area where all the solutions being discussed in the breakout sessions will be brought to life across a series of demo pods. As with the photo at the top of this blog post, the future of enterprise IT infrastructures is becoming increasingly cloudy and we will be discussing a number of cloud and on premises based solutions at the event. If you are from a supply chain, B2B or EDI background or you are responsible for managing trading partner activities across a business network we have three breakout sessions which may be of interest to you. Details of these sessions are shown below. Our CEO recently posted a blog discussing how supply chains are evolving into supply networks, and it certainly provides a view of the future of the business network. We will have three business network themed sessions during the event in London: Use your business network to optimise your supply chain while focusing on your core business – The digital experience requires a network, trading partners, extreme automation, and deep visibility across all key functions, from transactions and cash management through to the physical supply chain. However, conducting business electronically with your extensive trading partner ecosystem is hard work, costly, and worse -a distraction to your core business. To keep up with the pace of market and technology change and remain competitive, you need to digitise and optimise your supply chain. This session discusses how OpenText Business Network helps your organisation drive efficiency, speed, time to market, and focus on your core business – so you can add more value to your customers. Creating a 360-degree view of your supply chain with business network – Achieving a true 360 degree view of supply chain operations is becoming a key challenge faced by many companies. From obtaining end to end visibility of B2B transactions, tracking shipments across third party logistics providers, through to being able to ‘mine’ transaction based information using Big Data analytics techniques. Collectively these can all contribute towards addressing the challenge of improving end to end visibility across a supply chain. This session will introduce how the OpenText Business Network can leverage analytics and visibility based solutions to help provide a window into your supply chain. This session also discusses how achieving deeper visibility into transactions enables informed decision making. Connect business processes and secure messaging to ensure compliance and increase productivity – Businesses share information in a variety of ways, but employees often avoid or circumvent official sharing mechanisms because they are hard to use and inefficient. OpenText Business Network offers a variety of solutions for sharing messages, files, faxes, SMS and voice in a simple, but secure and auditable manner. These solutions integrate into a variety of business applications – including OpenText Content Suite, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Office, SAP, and Oracle – and provide APIs for custom integration to other applications. Attend this session to learn how customers are using these solutions to improve compliance and increase productivity in business communications. We have many other sessions planned for London, covering our entire Enterprise Information Management portfolio, please register below for further information.  

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Applying a ‘Marginal Gains’ Approach to Improving Retail Supply Chain Performance

Today’s retailers are under constant pressure to adapt their business strategies to meet ever changing consumer demands whilst at the same time improve the day to day performance of their supply chain operations. This blog will discuss how adopting a ‘marginal gains’ approach to implementing a B2B environment can help improve the overall performance of retail based supply chain operations. The retail industry has undergone a significant transformation in recent years. I thought it would be interesting to highlight a number of key trends that will impact the retail industry in 2016. Omni-Channel Retail Continues to Become More Pervasive – Omni-channel retailing has been one of the main trends to impact retailers in recent years. The growth in adoption of online mobile retail has changed the dynamics of consumer buying patterns and retail distribution. Even though ‘brick and mortar’ stores will continue to have a place in the high street, the ability to quickly price compare online and review online product and store details is transforming the way in which consumers choose how and where to buy their goods. Retailers therefore need to be able to source goods at competitive prices as well as ensure they are working with ‘responsive’ suppliers that can work with ever changing consumer demands. Low Price, Discount Retailers Continue to be a key Growth Segment – Price is king in the retail sector and low cost ‘brand name’ products have fuelled the growth in the discount store sector. In some countries such as the UK, the quality of the store experience in some cases has taken second place to new discount stores that can offer the same goods for significantly less. The discount store concept is built on a number of key principles, especially in relation to low overheads, simplified logistics processes and finely tuned supply chain operations. To align with the low cost dynamics of the discount stores, retailers will have to provide relatively low cost methods to seamlessly collaborate with suppliers. Retailers Invest in ‘Last Mile’ Shipment Delivery Services – So called ‘Last Mile’ delivery is a key logistics related challenge for today’s retailers. Online retailers such as Amazon are experimenting with a number of new technologies, for example their drone based Prime Air delivery service, to complement their existing delivery methods. Last mile delivery is especially important in busy city centres and retailers that can find a way to deliver products efficiently to a consumer will be able to develop a strong advantage over their competitors. New Technologies Driving Improved In Store Customer Experience – Retailers are starting to leverage new disruptive technologies to improve the in store buying experience and encourage repeat purchases. The exponential growth in mobile devices has allowed today’s consumer to become more ‘informed’, not just before they enter a brick and mortar store, but while they are inside, for example doing online price comparisons before making a buying decision. To help influence the buying decision retailers will increase the use of technologies such as ‘augmented reality’ for product demonstrations and beacon location technologies to try and draw consumers into making a purchase within their stores. Improved 360 Degree Visibility of Retail Supply Chains – Retailers will continue to look for new ways to improve visibility into consumer buying patterns and supply chain operations. In fact in the retail sector, consumer buying patterns and supply chain operations are intrinsically linked. The use of big data analytics in the retail sector will continue to grow exponentially as retailers look for different ways to mine consumer related buying information and align with transaction based shipping information from supply chain operations. From analysing consumer buying patterns from loyalty card schemes through to monitoring the end to end performance of a ‘last mile’ third party logistics provider, ensuring that you have a complete 360 degree view of retail and logistics operations can literally make or break a retail business. So with these technology trends changing consumer buying habits and impacting the future operation of retail supply chains, how can retailers establish a B2B platform that supports their future business requirements and at the same time improve the overall performance of their supply chain operations? Adopting a Marginal Gains Approach to Improving Retail Network Performance Over the years many management theories have been developed to improve supply chain operations.  One of the most famous theories to be developed and indeed put into extensive practice across the Japanese manufacturing industry is Kaizen. Kaizen is a process that was initially developed to help with the continuous improvement of working practices and personal efficiencies. In a similar way, the ‘marginal gains’ theory was developed to achieve a similar effect, that is to make small incremental adjustments to a process, that collectively help to significantly improve overall performance of that process. I will go into further details on the exact details of a marginal gains approach in a future blog, but in elite sports such as Formula One Racing, Rowing, Sailing and Cycling it has now become common place. In a world where the difference between first and second, ie winning and losing, can be miniscule and as a result significant time, money and effort is placed on finding ways to get an advantage on the competition. If you don’t evolve and improve your performance then you will get left behind and the same happens in business. The marginal gains theory originally came from British Cycling, masterminded in the build up to the Beijing Olympics by their Performance Director, Sir Dave Brailsford. Brailsford now runs the incredibly successful Team Sky. In summary, the principle that Brailsford introduced was that if you could improve every variable underpinning or influencing your performance by just 1% then cumulatively you get a significant performance improvement or in the case of the British Cycle terms, an “aggregate of marginal gains”. The British Cycle Team has examined everything that impacts on bike speed and systematically looked to make improvements to equipment, technology, rider preparation, fitness, rider mindset, coaching and so the list goes on. The trick is being able to identify all these key variables and then from a marginal gains point of view being able to act on them in some way so as to make improvements and strive for performance excellence. Let me now discuss how this approach can be applied to a supply chain environment and in particular developing a B2B network to work seamlessly with trading partners around the world. B2B networks are incredibly complicated and many companies are unable to establish full B2B capabilities from day one. A better approach would be to take a step by step approach, ie onboard all trading partners to a single network first and ensure you can trade electronically with them. Then look at improving the people to people or collaboration across the supply chain, then look at automating specific business processes such as invoicing and perhaps introduce tools to provide end to end visibility. The introduction of each additional piece of functionality could be considered as taking a marginal gains approach to improving the overall efficiency of a B2B network and I have summarised this approach in the diagram below. Retailers can certainly benefit from adopting a marginal gains approach to improving their supply chain operations and given that trading partner engagement is a key part of today’s retail industry I thought for the purposes of this blog I would expand on how companies can use collaborative B2B solutions to improve trading partner engagement. I will expand on the other five improvement areas in a future blog entry. As discussed earlier, the retail industry is becoming increasingly omni-channel in nature and retailers are beginning to adopt ‘mobile first’ strategies to appeal to today’s consumer. Ensuring that store shelves remain full whilst at the same time trying to increase the number of inventory turns and improve service quality is becoming a difficult area to balance. Key to this is ensuring that retailers are able to work seamlessly with trading partners, whether suppliers, logistics providers or financial institutions. A recent OpenText sponsored study with IDC Manufacturing Insights found that many CPG based suppliers had a relatively low adoption of B2B technologies. In fact 94% of CPG companies that responded to the study said that they traded electronically with less than 50% of their trading partners. Anything that can help automate their business processes will help to strengthen the relationships with their customers, namely the retailers. Exchanging transactions electronically with trading partners is only one part of the equation, the other part is ensuring that you have a suitable environment for managing the people to people interactions across a supply chain. Retailers, and in fact companies in many other industries, face a constant challenge to manage their trading partner communities effectively and there are a number of issues, for example: There is no single source of supplier contact information Minimal automation of supplier setup and registration Continuing need to onboard suppliers faster, especially when entering new markets Reduce overall supplier onboarding and associated management costs Monitor supply chain risk & performance Overcome ERP and Master Data Management Integrity issues Embracing legal and regulatory compliance issues OpenText Active Community is an enterprise wide collaboration platform that helps companies improve the way in which they engage or collaborate with their trading partner community. By providing a web based collaboration platform that allows suppliers to update their own contact information as and when required helps to ensure that you can reach out to a supplier community in a more efficient manner. At the end of the day if a supplier wishes to do business with a retailer then it is in their own interest to at least make sure they are contactable. Active Community not only allows companies to keep up to date contact information about each and every supplier, it also provides a platform to send out regular communications to a trading partner community. We will be delivering a webinar in the near future which will go into more details about the key technical features of Active Community, but essentially the cloud based platform provides two key capabilities that allows retailers to collaborate effectively with their trading partner community: Supplier Registration: automates and accelerate the setup of new suppliers. Retailers will typically have hundreds or thousands of suppliers located in different parts of the world and ensuring that they can be onboarded as quickly as possible is important. Simplifying the supplier registration process helps to: Centralize the supplier management process and helps to simplify ongoing management and maintenance of a supplier community Reduce the time and cost associated with executing supplier registration processes Accelerate time to market which in turn improves market competitiveness and increases sales opportunities Reduce data errors by registering suppliers through an online collaborative approval process Information Management: helps to ensure that supplier information is available from a central hub and is kept up to date. It also allows suppliers to be segmented as required, for example which suppliers are EDI enabled, which suppliers are receiving purchase orders electronically etc. Providing a 360 degree view of supplier related information offers a number of benefits: Provides a holistic view of supplier information from a single contact database. Offers a fully configurable platform to reflect one or many business requirements as desired by a hub Improve data control by enabling the governance of self-service access to supplier information Synchronize data with back-office systems such as ERP and CRM Today’s retailers are under pressure to reduce costs and at the same time adapt their business models to meet constantly changing consumer demands. Adopting a marginal gains approach to managing a B2B environment and the associated trading partner community can help to better align a retail operation to the needs of the consumer market. Improving trading partner engagement is only one part of developing a marginal gains approach to establishing a B2B environment to support a business and I will expand on this concept in a future blog entry. In the meantime if you would like further information on Active Community then please visit our website.

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ON DIGITAL-First Fridays: It is a Network, Not a Chain

In the digital world the supply chain is not a chain, it’s a network. The network is made up of connections between businesses, suppliers, partners, and customers. The customer sits at the hub of this network, driving the supply chain, assembling goods and services from a variety of vendors. Participation is plug-and-play, with suppliers filling in gaps to deliver satisfying customer experiences. The customer experience is really only as good as the supply network that supports it. The “value chain” of the past has been replaced by the consumer’s “whole-life platform”. As part of this platform, consumers expect mass customization, same-day delivery, dynamic pricing, and real-time visibility. All of these expectations are impacting today’s supply chain (which is really a network). The full potential of Digital cannot be realized without reinventing the supply chain. In the digital world, supply networks are flexible, with fully integrated end-to-end processes and commerce. Low-cost suppliers and digital manufacturers have agility built into their production lines. Operations can scale rapidly—at a global level—so they are digitalized and run in the Cloud. New channels are used to serve new markets. The entire network is enriched through analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT). There is visibility at all nodes in the graph. Analytics move beyond contributing to supply chain optimization, revealing customer preferences and new paths to value. Better decisions can be made, so that better products and services can be delivered, faster. The IoT will streamline the exchange of data and commerce across the network, with Business-to-Business (B2B) integration operating as the collaborative platform for managing global business transactions, securely and compliantly. Every high-performing supply chain is essentially a dynamic digital network. Over the next few years, more than half of the Global 2,000s will re-design their supply chains into networks to support digital business. The IoT will play a central role not only in creating wired, intelligent, and instrumented supply networks, but also a global, connected network. I’ll examine how in more detail my next post in this series. For more thoughts ON DIGITAL, download the book.  

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Enterprise Challenge #41 Only 182 of my 360 Degrees are in Focus

digital disrupt webinar

Like so many words in the English language, the word visibility can mean different things depending on the context. The Oxford Dictionary defines visibility as the “state of being able to see or be seen.” For example, when we see a weather report, visibility is the distance at which objects can clearly be seen. But what does it mean when discussing the supply chain? In the supply chain context, we can “see” visibility in a couple of ways to support the goal of driving a more efficient supply chain. Supply chain visibility is the ability to see what is happening now—to know the status of each and every order, shipment and invoice—especially when the status is ‘red’ and needs risk mitigation, or if there is an untapped opportunity to pursue. This visibility allows an enterprise to make quick adjustments to keep their supply chain moving. For instance, a manufacturer in Detroit, Michigan can send a purchase order to its supplier in Japan, receive an electronic document that the item is out-of-stock, and immediately react by sending the purchase order to an alternative supplier in Brazil – all in just minutes. Armed with this information, businesses can effectively manage bottlenecks, plan for delays, and proactively manage customer expectations. In short, they can resolve issues before they have a negative impact on business performance. Without this visibility, it could take days to realize your stock of an item is about to be depleted with no replacement on order – resulting in lost sales because of disrupted production schedules or failure to meet customer demand. This scenario assumes digital exchange of information to speed transaction flow and enable automation. That is what OpenText does. We provide solutions that enable the digital exchange of information between buyers, suppliers and other supply chain partners. OpenText B2B Managed Services handles the complexity of connecting to trading partners of all sizes and digital capabilities. And OpenText Trading Grid—the largest B2B network in the world—provides the Cloud foundation for global information exchange. Supply Chain Visibility is also the ability to look back and analyze performance over time (which, in turn, provides the foundation to look forward and predict). Buying organizations need visibility into frequency of order errors or late deliveries by suppliers. These metrics provide the information needed to help identify potential problems in the supply chain and make adjustments. For example, consider a reliable supplier who has more recently been missing delivery deadlines and sending incomplete orders. The supplier’s change in behavior may indicate a need to change terms with the supplier or, if the behavior continues, may indicate the need to consider alternative suppliers. Without this visibility, you could miss a seasonal sales opportunity – again resulting in lost sales – because you are relying on a supplier who has trouble meeting deadlines. To help with this visibility, OpenText has added supplier performance metrics to OpenText Active Orders. Active Orders enables digitizing and automating supply chain processes with small and medium-size suppliers that are not ready or able to implement traditional EDI or B2B integration through a simple, intuitive web portal. Data from digital trading partners can also be captured, giving you a complete view of all suppliers. With metrics on supplier performance, manufacturers are able to manage underperforming trading partners—ultimately mitigating risk to business performance—and determine the most strategic trading partners to do more business with.  

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New Resolution for Retailers in 2016: Take Charge of Your Chargebacks

How many errors and chargebacks are going through your distribution centers or system unchecked during this holiday season? There’s a significant chance it’s more than you expect. Consider the cost incurred when shipments arrive on incorrectly stacked palets, ASNs arrive invalid or late, and cartons have unscannable barcodes. All of this can be costing you millions. Based on our insight into the retail industry and speaking with our customers, on average 2% of your retail sales revenue is offset by chargebacks. Say, for example, your annual sales revenue is $5 billion and 50% of that revenue is earned during the holidays. That means you are experiencing $50 million in errors and chargebacks every year. What’s your estimated total? If you don’t have a complete deduction management process then it’s likely to be much higher than your actual amounts. Some retailers have in-house or legacy processes to identify and assess their chargebacks while others don’t have an established process at all. In both cases, it’s extremely likely that errors are slipping through your distribution centers or systems. Not only are the errors unaccounted for but there are missed opportunities to notify vendors and avoid similar errors for future shipments. The benefits of a complete deduction management solution go far beyond the cost offsets. Better communication with vendors means a better working relationship and avoidance of similar errors down the road. By combining communication with more timely and accurate data, retailers can achieve better transparency with their vendors. This can further strengthen the retailer-vendor relationship and ensure that products arrive on floors without any cause for delay. Improve your vendor compliance program in 2016. See how Stage Stores achieved both compliance and collaboration with its vendors in a recent OpenText Success Story.

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The Holiday Evolution: Santa, Mercedes-Benz, UPS, Amazon… and EDI?

One of my favorite commercials each year is Santa climbing into his red Mercedes coupe, the viewers being asked, “How else do you think Santa delivers all those presents in one night?”  It’s clever marketing, even to those unlikely to get a Benz under the tree this year… or ever.  Of course, for those with young children, the ad may lead to some tough questions on how Santa does, in fact, deliver presents around the globe in one evening.  “Holiday magic,” maybe the simplest answer.  But there is more to it than that. It’s more apropos to think of UPS as Santa’s new network of sleighs.  If they were red, it would be spot on.  And Amazon.com has become the North Pole, where kids (and adults!) know everything under the Sun is available for purchase—with instant gratification.  It is difficult enough to wait until a holiday occasion to buy what we want with the ease and convenience of Amazon.com.  When we do shop for the holidays, what can beat the selection, the lack of crowds, free 2-day shipping, and no hassle/no leaving the house return policies? Instead of listening for sleigh bells, the clatter of reindeer hooves on the roof, or the ho-ho-ho of Santa coming down the chimney, my children listen for the rumble of the UPS truck coming down the street, the squealing of the brakes.  Eyes light up with amazement… will it stop at our house, or the neighbors?  The anxiety of it all… and on an almost daily basis this close to the holidays.  Instead of sneaking around the house looking for gifts, or shaking the presents already under the tree, my daughter sizes up the Amazon box and ascertains a Kindle could fit perfectly in that box! The holidays have evolved.  Personally, I like it this way.  It’s convenient.  It’s simple.  But there is more to the evolution than meets the eyes of my children, and even for most adults.  It’s the complex network of transactions that take place to make holiday shopping and shipping so fast, so (relatively) error proof.  What’s really delivering those packages?  It’s EDI—electronic document interchange. EDI is the standard vehicle—Santa’s virtual sleigh—that ensures orders are placed, shipments are sent, goods are received, payments are made and received between manufacturers and retailers/e-tailers.  Without the automation and integration of transactions that make retail and e-commerce work on a global basis, there would be no gifts to buy, no orders to place, no shipments to receive.  EDI may have been around for decades, but with the speed of digital shopping today, it’s more important and relevant than ever.  Out of stocks and back orders are no longer acceptable.  We want our gifts now, so Santa’s elves better keep up, or we simply shop online somewhere else.  EDI powers global supply chains for all industries.  Even the Mercedes Benz in my favorite commercial was assembled and delivered with EDI powering a complex global network of suppliers, distributors, logistics providers and buyers. So when you visit the North Pole at Amazon.com, and when you see Santa’s brown UPS sleigh flying down the street—or even when you drive your car, be it a Mercedes or not—know that it’s EDI making it all work in the background, alongside Santa’s elves.  Discover more about how EDI and other B2B services make the holidays, automobiles, and every other type of supply chain work efficiently.

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