May 16, 2016

Cloud Technology's Role in SCRM Transformation

Wayne Caccamo

cloud computing supply chain risk managementCloud or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) as a technology and business deployment model has won the war versus the traditional on-premise model for software, as it has transformed the development, delivery, and deployment of most categories of business applications. The economic benefits are well known and proven at this point such as ease of deployment, maintenance/upgrades, and financing (e.g. annual subscription versus one-time license). As a result, virtually all new applications are developed for the cloud; on-premise application development is in maintenance-only mode.

But, you knew that.

What you may not fully appreciate is that, in the case of supply chain risk management (SCRM), the cloud has not only transformed the economics of delivering tools that automate existing processes, but it has transformed what is possible.

As a result of cloud technology, the SCRM process has been completely redefined by the enablement of two core capabilities that can be described as the pillars of a true paradigm shift.

Supplier Collaboration

Before the cloud, if suppliers regularly shared information at all with customers it was directly via emails going back and forth between themselves and their many customers (of course, this is still the primary way this is done). There was no incentive for a supplier to share anything more than what they were asked for. For most the process was, and still is, extremely inefficient for the supplier. This is because they receive an overwhelming number of requests, asking for the same general information, with an unlimited number of variations, and in different formats.

Further, the responses were likely to be inconsistent and unreliable as the data changed rapidly and were sourced from a variety of information silos. To share this information in a secure way would require IT to vet and set-up point-to-point access between hundreds of suppliers (e.g. using EDI connections) and individual customers. For the suppler this meant, separate secure connections with potentially hundreds of customers.

With the new supplier information exchange model pioneered by Resilinc, suppliers can publish their information once to a secure centralized repository and share it with multiple customers upon their approval. As a result, Resilinc refers to itself as the LinkedIn for supply chain intelligence.

The promise of a more productive, efficient, and secure process for sharing and updating information about supply chain risk posture, recovery capabilities, capacity, compliance, etc. provides suppliers with an incentive to be more transparent. And, it provides customers the reliable intelligence they need to ensure business continuity and make supply chain resilience a competitive advantage.

Big Data and Analytics

The power of a single centralized information repository – the proverbial single version of truth – has been the Holy Grail enterprise application value propositions since their beginning. But, this was not possible or at least practical in an inter-enterprise environment.

Now that we have all the reliable information in one place we can create analytics that can provide insights never before imaginable. Individual companies can do sophisticated what-if scenario planning, simulations, and contemplate a future richer in predictive and even prescriptive analytic algorithms.

Individual companies can and are obviously benefiting from this today based on the information for which they have access privileges. But, perhaps even more exciting is insights that will be generated from information aggregated from all suppliers that can be used at the “industry level” to advance and improve the resiliency of entire industry supply chains. This is the truly “big data” opportunity locked in the Resilinc global supplier repository which already includes millions of data points regarding not only suppliers, but supplier sites, products, and parts/components. At Resilinc, our vision is to play a significant role in driving resilient global supply chains leveraging what is already the largest repository of global supply chain intelligence in the world.

And, once again, none of this was possible before the cloud.

To learn more about Resilinc's cloud technology, please click here.


Topics: supply chain visibility, supply chain resiliency, supply chain risk management, cloud SCRM