Supply chains remain a hot topic among organizations due to the continued disruption across industries. Boosted by increased attention from top management – and in some cases by government initiatives – investments in supply chain technology aimed at addressing the related challenges are driving digital transformation in global supply chains at an unprecedented speed and scale.
As organizations increasingly digitize and automate their supply chain processes, they are looking to unlock the power of data to improve supply chain visibility and their ability to respond faster to changing market conditions. However, gaining these benefits requires seamless collaboration with the full range of supply chain partners across their ecosystem, which is not an easy thing to achieve.
The future of supply chain collaboration holds a great promise, but to cash in organizations must address some key challenges that stand in their way.
Increasing need for digital collaboration calls for modernization of existing solutions
Supply chains are evolving into digital supply networks, which makes the technology that enables collaboration increasingly vital for organizations. Traditional EDI integration remains a key element in exchanging supply chain information, but it needs to be complemented with modern, often API-based integrations for things like real-time status updates, inquiries, and event tracking to enable richer and more timely collaboration between partners.
In addition, a large share of supply chain collaboration today still relies on unstructured information exchange, such as emails and phone calls – or even faxes and paper documents. To enable greater process automation and visibility, a lot of this communication needs to be replaced with structured data exchange by expanding the use of direct system integrations, portals, smart forms, optical character recognition, or other forms of extending the organization’s ability to capture and process data in an automated way.
Fragmentation of supply chain technologies puts strain on user experience
While a large portion of digital supply chain collaboration will leverage integrations and automated data exchange, particularly deep and strategic relationships between buyers and their suppliers may require users in both organizations to increasingly access, share and update information in multiple systems. This can range from gaining the insights they need for doing their job to collaborating around things like design documents.
There’s a limit on how much of this kind of diverse collaboration can be achieved within a single application, which means that many users involved in strategic supply chain collaboration will be required to log into and work across various applications to get things done. However, spreading activities between organizations across several applications hurts user experience and lowers productivity. In addition, it also increases information security risks around managing insider threats as external users are given access to multiple disparate systems. To tackle these challenges, organizations need a centralized way of managing access to supply chain information that covers both internal and external users.
Avoiding creation of new data siloes requires a unified approach
Increased digitization of business processes unavoidably increases the use of new and different types of technologies. As digital transformation of the supply chain advances, it is crucial to avoid creating data siloes, as they can fragment visibility into supply chain information and prevent efficient collaboration.
A crucial element in addressing this challenge is having a unified approach to integrating the different systems that are involved in supply chain collaboration. By leveraging a single platform for exchanging data with their ecosystem, organizations can track processes and their health end-to-end based on a single view without trying to piece it together from multiple sources.
OpenText at the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo™ 2022
The Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo is the leading conference for supply chain leaders to learn about the latest trends, analyst insights and market developments. At this year’s event, OpenText will be sharing its views on how organizations can leverage Business-to-Anything (B2A) integration approach for tackling the above challenges and evolve their digital supply chain collaboration to drive greater efficiency and visibility.
Join us at Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo 2022 conference (Orlando, June 6 – 8)