By Gustavo Estrella, SVP of Technology, OnProcess Technology
Manipulating Supply Chain Data
On Process Technology specializes in providing managed services for companies with complex, global post-sales supply chains. We use Microsoft solutions to optimize service supply chain processes so our clients can gain efficiencies and grow profits and revenue. The versatility of the tools and interfaces enable us to manipulate supply chain data in ways our customers find difficult, if not impossible, to do on their own, and create a standard model from which we can offer managed services. Based on Microsoft Solutions, it is not unusual for us to deliver projects that took clients six months on their own in just a couple of weeks.
The core of our platform is based on SQL Servers, which we use to normalize supply chain data from multiple systems, and Microsoft Power BI and Microsoft Reporting Services for performing service supply chain analytics and reporting. We also use Visual Studio to build applications and web services to connect to customers’ systems of record, and Share Point for internal and external collaboration. Microsoft Open Interfaces and APIs
I continue to be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to integrate all the Microsoft solutions. It has become much easier during the past 5 years-- thanks to Microsoft’s open interfaces and APIs. The products are very much plug-and-play and very mature. Microsoft has clearly put a lot of effort into enabling its technologies to work well both standalone and integrated. This enables us to implement faster and eases support.
There are three key to their success.
1) Microsoft’s products are well-tested and mature across the portfolio.
2) Microsoft products are very cost-effective for the functionality they deliver.
3) There’s a great support community of technicians, consultants and engineers.
A Granular Tracking
We developed an integrated supply chain management solution called On Process 360 Platform that we use to deliver our revenue enablement, triage, service fulfillment, reverse logistics, transportation order management and spend management services. The platform enables us to automate and provide full visibility and actionable analyses across all these service areas. We route the workflow in a global scale while also maintaining very granular tracking for visibility and management. We’ve built dashboards that give our clients a complete view of the work we do on their behalf on an up-to-the-minute basis.
A Less Disruptive Route
Microsoft products make it extremely easy to deploy in production, whether on a pilot basis or specific client engagement, and to scale. Many vendors require you to make a much bigger commit from spend, planning or organizational perspectives. With Microsoft, however, we can evolve in a more organic way that’s much less disruptive to the environment.
A Foundation for Data Repository
As a data-driven organization, the ability to easily use SQL Server as foundation for data repository and integrate it with tools like Excel for more specific data analysis and manipulation is extremely valuable.
The fact that Microsoft solutions are so prevalent around the world makes it much easier for global companies like ours to get new employees productive and collaborate with clients. Training people on how to use Excel isn’t really needed, for instance, since it’s a core knowledge that people already have when they come to us.
Microsoft has done an extremely good job extending their offerings to be consumable via cloud through Azure. The flexibility of housing critical data in your own data center and more transient workflow in the cloud allows you to leverage your own investments quite well.
Smarter, Cost-Effective Tactics
I see standard mistakes like lack of planning and lack of broad infrastructure view. If there’s no planning or overarching architecture, failures will occur.
“We believe that our proprietary i-3PL solution does a phenomenal job of placing visibility and control at the fingertips of our customers as it continues to evolve”
IT departments often try to figure out technology at the same time that they’re trying to use it as opposed to leveraging an IT services company to help their staff with design and deployment. There are many IT services companies specializing in Microsoft products. Leveraging their best practices and expertise can be a smarter, more cost-effective way to develop and implement technology solutions, compared to trying to figure out everything internally.
A Core, Strategic Member
IT has become less of a technology challenge and more of a business management challenge. My role has expanded from that of leading an entity that delivers foundational services to being a core, strategic member of a solutions team. In a fast-moving market like supply chain, developing and delivering solutions in partnership with various business functions is critical, as are automation technologies and external IT service companies that enable you to be more dynamic and help speed time-to-market.
Fulfilling Strategic and Tactical Needs
CIOs must manage the vision and forward-thinking direction, while also steering and fulfilling tactical, immediate needs. The ability to translate technical challenges and realities to the business organization is lacking.