Supply chain managers can now finally get an accurate view of their end-to-end process by connecting data across inventory, distribution and EDI applications.
Back office operations don’t always get their deserved attention because they function out of view of the customer. In this four-part blog series, we’ll discover how data connectivity and back office functions go hand in hand.
Managing the supply chain is usually thought of in terms of the movement of physical goods, from the procurement and storage of raw materials, to manufacturing and inventory control, through to the delivery of finished goods. Supply chain management, however, is also responsible for the vast amounts of data that controls the movement of those supplies and finished goods, purchasing processes, and the complete production flow.
Analytics used for decision making, statistical modeling, and inventory tracking that keeps accurate counts down to the single item all require instant access to real-time data. Capturing and analyzing this data provides more accurate insight for a 360-degree view of the business. But the use of disparate supply chain systems with no visibility of data between them creates a new set of challenges in data management.
Many companies have grown organically over decades, with applications and data storage needs changing throughout that time. Robust legacy systems contain key historical data. However, the explosion of innovative new applications, often cloud-based, has completely disrupted the industry by introducing simpler user-friendly interfaces. In supply chain management, this has been especially impactful through mobile-friendly app interfaces that empower users both in the warehouse and in the field.
Dedicated custom hardware devices and proprietary scanning tools have been replaced by simple smartphone apps. But where do these modernizations leave your legacy data? How do you connect your new business applications with your historical data, or your existing tracking programs with your new mobile data?
Many types of business applications, including business intelligence and analytics, need the capability to connect to different types of data in different locations, whether on-premises in data centers or offsite in the cloud. The most robust BI and analytics tools can connect to a wide variety of data stores to combine data from multiple systems into a cohesive single view for discovery and consistent reporting. Data that isn’t accessible to these tools becomes locked in a silo and hidden from business decision makers.
Many tools can align supply chain management processes with the capability to handle large quantities of data processing. SAP S/4HANA Cloud has a robust feature set with precision capabilities for warehouse management, transportation, and more. Supply chain managers experienced in SAP, however, will often still need to interface with business intelligence, analytics and big data tools, new mobile apps, or even other corporate data stores like SQL Server.
To power these connections and equip your reporting applications and dashboards, data connectors links disparate systems to your business data and reporting tools. SAP S/4HANA Cloud data can be connected directly to existing reporting tools and other applications via standard APIs, while continuing to enforce existing security settings.
Progress DataDirect JDBC, ODBC, and OData connectors and drivers provide the standard access layer necessary across business applications for fast, codeless accessibility to real-time data across legacy or cloud applications. Choosing a plug-and-play data connectivity solution that works right out of the box without costly customizations or enhancements adds value to your business data right from day one.
Are you interested in connecting your back office supply chain data with your corporate business tools? Check out our tutorial for step-by-step instructions on how to connect SAP S/4HANA Cloud to Tableau, or contact us for more information.
James Goodfellow is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Progress and focuses his efforts on the DataDirect suite of solutions. Through his tenure at companies like Progress and SAS, he has spent the bulk of his career launching successful marketing campaigns for data and analytics products. James blogs here and around the web on topics such as data connectivity, analytics, IoT, visualization and machine learning. You can follow him on twitter at @jcgoodfellow.
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