The performance of most businesses is directly proportional to the effectiveness of their supply chain strategies. And it might come as a shocker, but even today many businesses have supply chain strategies that are not lined up to their business goals or these strategies are not communicated well enough within the business. Hence, it becomes imperative for businesses to take a pragmatic approach–after having gained an understanding of industry best practices–for developing supply chain policies and strategies that not only meet the needs of the business, but also drives real service and bottom line improvement.

Having helped over 250 customers around the world address their procurement, supply chain, and analytics needs, Bristlecone, which is a premier supply chain advisory and analytics SaaS+ firm, understands the need of the hour and what it takes to master one’s supply chain and operations. Bristlecone Pulse 2017 – a premier supply chain customer-facing event–is one place where top experts and industry leaders, who have mastered the intricacies of supply chains, will come together to share insights and educate participants on not just how to keep their supply chain safe and thriving, but also how to gain a competitive edge in the market. At Bristlecone Pulse 2017, sessions will be focused at the future of cyber security, how BPaaS is driving value beyond traditional approaches, and strategies on digitalizing the supply chain, innovation, analytics and IoT, among other topics. Some of the distinguished speakers featured at Bristlecone Pulse 2017 are John Rossman, Industry leader on Disruptive Innovation; Lora Cecere, Founder of Supply Chain Insights; Jeff Klaben, Chief Security Officer at SRI International; and Amber Salley, Director on the Gartner Supply Chain Technology Research team.

Bristlecone has enabled strategic, incremental value for customers across multiple industry verticals. And with its singular focus on addressing procurement, supply chain and analytics challenges, Bristlecone helps businesses to diagnose, design, enable and enhance their operations by encapsulating years of experience into pre-configured solutions, accelerated deployments and enhancement packs for the leading supply chain technologies. Gartner has recognized Bristlecone as one of the top ten system integrators and Bristlecone’s planning, sourcing, and procurement practices have been rated as the best in the industry.

Learn more about the future of cyber security and other aspects of supply chain at Bristlecone Pulse 2017, which will be held from February 8 to 10, 2017 at The Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa.

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Empowering 3 A’s (Agility, Adaptability, Alignment) of Supply Chain with Anaplan

Today, with globalization and technology advancement, immense opportunities are opening up in business. Companies can source globally, reach more customers, explore new business, expand product-lines, and exercise better control over an increasingly diverse line of businesses at a much quicker pace.

With this explosion in opportunities and scope of the supply chain, new challenges are also rising.  There are opportunities in terms of more avenues, suppliers, buyers, better control, and better connectivity. However, there are challenges because of the mammoth volume of data that is getting generated with every passing minute. This data deluge appears to be an insurmountable challenge when you are trying to do a what if analysis, a comparative study, a multi-dimensional analysis and finally generating actionable insights. If we refer to the concept of “Triple-A Supply Chain” (published in the Harvard Business Review by Hua Lee in 2004  the three A’s of the Supply Chain: Agility, Adaptability and Alignment, have become extremely relevant in today’s supply chain management. Because now it’s not only about maximizing profit or maximizing customer satisfaction but the combination of both, which is expected out of a highly effective Supply Chain Network. Today, supply chain effectiveness is the prime focus of business.

Planning is gaining more importance to achieve the best of the 3 As. Therefore, a shift from a conventional MS-Excel tool towards new intelligent tools is being witnessed widely and is taken very seriously in the present business environment. There are no second thoughts about MS-Excel being a wonderful tool that is very easy to learn and use. However, being a planner, I have experienced that planners work in silos when they use MS-Excel and this application is not effective to analyze large volumes of data with multiple levels of hierarchies. Anaplan is one of those visionary planning tools which is easy to use, has a quick turnaround time, no coding requirement, and has already been adopted by 60000+ users..Let us see how Anaplan can help the 3 A’s of Supply Chain (Agility, Adaptability and Alignment) with a focus on achieving effective and evolved Supply Chain Networks.
Agility: Being agile, is to anticipate/sense the demand-supply variabilities and being able to respond quickly and efficiently. Properly analyzed historical and present data, along with scenario analysis (What-ifs) are highly reliable pointers to the same. Anaplan’s multi dimension analysis ability helps extensively in being agile when analyzing data. Typically, a planning sheet contains multiple sets of data across various levels and hierarchies (e.g., product hierarchies, organization levels, etc.). [HD1] Multi dimension ability allows planners to analyze data at each level of hierarchy, across all dimensions in a single worksheet. Anaplan enables planners to quickly create scenarios and view them at various levels of hierarchy enabling agile and informed decision making.

Adaptability: Adaptability is mostly about the long-term  perspective of the company with regards to responding to the market changes. Efficient utilization of technology & capacity, establishing strategic partnership with key stakeholders (e.g. suppliers, contract manufacturers, and logistic partners) and structural changes in the supply chain network are among the key factors, which need to be kept in focus to turn a company into a more adaptive and future-ready unit for the markets.

Anaplan being a cloud-based application provides lot of flexibility and freedom to sync data from almost anywhere. The data sync with Anaplan across departments/parties creates a high visibility and predictability in developing planning models like long-term-capacity-planning (LTCP), short-term-capacity-planning etc and therefore helps the company to be more adaptive and prepared for future changes.

Alignment: Collaboration with suppliers and customers is the key to take a matured supply chain to the next level and the importance of collaboration cannot be over stated. Effective and seamless collaboration also helps in getting critical alerts, such as over commitment of supplier capacity, supplier/distributor resource balancing, and so on.

Mostly, planners or users from different departments/parties are unwilling to share their worksheets with others. This approach leads to siloed working and lack of collaboration. Anaplan provides restricted access management by assigning different roles to different individuals. This ensures that data privacy can be maintained while allowing data sync to happen which would be required for various calculations or analysis. Anaplan’s dynamic dashboarding ability can be easily used by top management to take decisions after analyzing multiple what-if scenerios without navigating across multiple sheets.

In the future, supply chain would be more data and analytics driven. Planning and analysis of data at each level of the supply chain will determine  its contribution to an organization’s success. In view of all these factors, Anaplan is a pioneering and highly promising tool, which can redefine the supply chain through its excellent enablers for planners, analysts, or higher management.

Do you want your supply chain to be agile, adaptable and aligned with Anaplan? You can contact us at:

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Warehousing Integration AND Challenges

Warehousing is one of the most critical functions in supply chain as it acts as a node in linking the material flows between the supplier and customer. In today’s competitive market environment companies are continuously forced to improve their warehousing operations. Warehouses have been going through various challenges such as supply chains becoming more integrated and shorter, globalized operation, customers are more demanding and rapidly occurring technology changes. In order to cope with these challenges, organizations are investing in specialized Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) to manage their In-house (Private) warehouses and improving integration and collaboration with Third Party Warehouse partners (3PL)..

Need for Integration

Warehouses can be of various types like production warehouses, distribution centres etc., depending on their role and function within the supply chain. However most of them share some of the general pattern of material flow and typical operations include receiving, put away, order picking, packing, sorting and shipping. Whatever may be the warehousing strategy of an organization, integration automation is required between business management software or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and the systems managing the shop floor warehouse operations.

People in back office who manage sales, procurement, order processing, production planning, financials etc. in ERP system have to communicate the expectations and instructions to warehouse operators in real time and need to receive timely updates on status of activities performed and change in inventory.

Warehousing Integration


Fig: Need for Warehousing Integration

Expectations and Instructions from ERP include Sales Orders, Purchase Orders, Delivery Instructions (Inbound & Outbound), Advance Shipping Notices etc.

Operation Confirmations from Warehouse include Goods Receipts, Goods Issues, Activity updates like Picking/Packing/Putaway confirmations, Stock Adjustments during cycle counts etc.

Master data and Inventory levels also have to be periodically synchronized between both systems.

Automating data flow through integration helps to eliminate manual data entry, human error, catch problems early, reduce lead times and improve customer service.


In-house or Private Warehouse Integration

Organizations who manage their own warehouses not only have to select and implement the best-fit WMS software, but, in addition, also face an even bigger challenge of making sure any WMS integration works with other systems, particularly any existing ERP software. WMS software package falls under the following three categories:

Native WMS module from current ERP vendor – In this case, the WMS module is designed and developed by the ERP vendor with the rest of the ERP system in mind. Therefore, the WMS is inherently and truly integrated because it uses technologies common to both systems. So there is no need for additional integration.

WMS add-on package offered by current ERP vendor – In this case, the WMS software is sold as an independent bolt-on package by the ERP vendor. Since both the software are provided by the same vendor, the integration solution is generally provided out-of-box through direct systems connection or via preconfigured content in middleware (generally from same vendor or partner vendor). So there would be very few custom interface programs during implementation. But it might not be truly plug and play as vendor advertises.

WMS from a third-party vendor – The best-of-breed WMS systems often fall into this category. For the organizations that need high end software capabilities, this may be the only valid option. Implementing this stand-alone WMS solution requires complex integration which has a tremendous impact on overall system stability and the efficiency of day-today work.

Below are some of the common challenges faced in this integration:

  • Time & Cost – Time and costs to integrate a proposed WMS software should also be a major consideration while evaluating TCO. Warehouse operations can be pretty complex in nature and integration needs to support different business documents and various business scenarios & rules involved. Gathering requirement, mapping in system, thorough testing and deployment can take a lot of effort & time.
  • Business & Time Critical – Warehousing transactions are very business critical and time sensitive. Any loss of data or delay in data transmission can have a major impact on other related business functions. For example, transactions such as PO goods receipts can affect the available to sell value in the ERP, and thus affecting potential sales.
  • Large Volumes – Daily volume of warehousing transactions can be pretty huge with demand for large number of order fulfilments and frequent real time updates. Integration should be capable to handle such volumes also scalable enough to manage higher loads in future with growth in business.
  • Application Standards – WMS software in the market come with different capabilities to communicate with other applications. Format of data exchanged is generally specific to each WMS like Text files etc. and multiple modes of transmission may exist like File transfer, Web services, Application Queues, Direct communication with underlying database etc. Due to lack of any specific standards or guidelines, it is imperative that integration takes a lead in analysing and deciding on the optimum solution to meet business needs.
  • Error Handling – Complexities in warehousing integration generally add to delays in identifying, monitoring, and addressing issues. Errors can come from multiple sources like bad or incomplete data from upstream system (Business users), failed jobs, logic errors in integration systems, logic errors in processing end systems. These can prove to be very costly if not corrected in time which may lead to returns, covering costs for overnight shipments to avoid deliver delays etc. So there is a need to have proactive monitoring capability in place to identify issues and communicate to business users immediately. High level of traceability has to be built in to seamlessly track business data flow in all systems involved.
  • Touch Points – Deciding on integration touch points is one of the important considerations during WMS implementation. There are some obvious candidates like item master data, orders, stock adjustments, receipts etc. but more exotic transactions need some thought. For example, Customer and Supplier returns, typically these are handled manually as the volume and workflow complexity usually means the cost for integration outweighs the benefit.
  • Resilience & ROI – For new warehousing requirement, ad hoc integration solutions may seem very appealing due to shorter deployment cycle. But they become hard to maintain and counterproductive should integration needs grow. Integrations need to be highly flexible, scalable and reusable. Deploying solutions with EAI (Enterprise Application Integration) best practices & future ready technologies, even though time taking, help to provide the required resilience & better ROI for warehousing implementation in long run.
  • WMS Vendor lock-in – Organizations only realize the dangers of lock-in once they are trapped with rising support and maintenance costs, slow and expensive change processes, and the prospect of prohibitive costs to develop an equivalent solution from scratch. Integration solutions can help to prevent vendor lock-in by avoiding short term vision. This can be done by documenting the processes clearly, retaining business logic at ERP end as much as possible even if it might be more convenient to move it to WMS end, preferring to add extensibility features from the beginning.



Fig: Challenges in Warehousing Integration

Third Party managed Warehouse Integration

Organizations who outsource warehousing operations to focus on their core competencies need full-scale business to business (B2B) collaboration with their 3PL Warehousing partner. This involves building and maintaining solid B2B integration strategy to support the business needs. While the challenges that are faced in In-house warehouse integration are still very much relevant here, the Business to Business nature of communication adds its own set of complexities.

Below are the additional challenges impacting integration:

  • Industry Standards – Communicating with 3PL partner using B2B standards (industry common language) can be very challenging for an organization due to lack the budget, resources and expertise to implement sophisticated technologies such as EDI and XML. To support B2B technologies companies might need to purchase specialized integration software. Additionally, they need to train or hire someone with B2B skills to support integration.
  • Security – Security is one of the biggest concerns in B2B integration. Business sensitive warehousing data should not be transmitted over open networks (internet) in an insecure manner. To meet the security compliance standards for B2B integration, organizations need to invest in systems capable of secure communication using protocols like SFTP, FTPS, HTTPS, AS2 etc. Data is transferred by secure authentication using certificates/keys and encryption-decryption mechanisms.
  • SLA Compliance – Service level agreements (SLAs) are a staple of customer and service provider transactions. SLAs establish objective criteria for assessing the performance of business-to-business (B2B) processes and operations. Several aspects of performance are measured with SLAs including the accuracy and completeness of data exchanged between businesses, timeliness, responsiveness, and visibility of processes that manage data exchange, how available and dependable B2B infrastructure services are etc. Compliance with SLAs governing B2B integration performance is important to nearly all businesses. Business activities can be obstructed if they fail to comply.
  • Partner Management – Exchanging B2B information effectively is only part of trading with a new partner. It is important to ensure that the physical supply chain can be monitored end-to-end and in real time. When onboarding new trading partners, it is worth considering how to achieve this level of visibility and how to deploy the information captured to improve the service companies receive from suppliers and provide to customers.
  • Auditing – B2B integration requires a centralized audit trail to facilitate regulatory compliance, risk management and customer service. As soon as an error or inconsistency occurs, history that led to point of failure is of immediate interest. It is important that a compete history complete history is available so that every single action in B2B server that led to failure situation can be reviewed and there is no ambiguity between company and 3PL partner.
  • Slow Maturity – Implementing Integration solution using B2B industry standards cannot be done in an ad- hoc manner. There needs to be comprehensive B2B strategy in place with a roadmap which complements long term vision of the organization. The true ROI and cost savings can only be realized once the model matures and adoption rates improve among the trading partners, which might take many years.

The integration of disparate best of breed WMS solutions to ERP platforms is an increasingly common trend in the emerging enterprise market space. This poses a major challenge and risk and having the right strategy and integration partner can make or break the success of Warehousing implementation.


Bristlecone has solved integration challenges across industries like CPG, Retail, Automotive, High-Tech, Chemicals etc. Our Integration services have enabled customers to build a clear integration strategy and helped them reduce integration costs and reduce time to rollout of critical business applications. Our Supply chain experience helps us see business processes end to end and helps us see the picture that many vendors can’t, the need of the business.

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Is Supply Chain Growth Enough?

Why Being Socially Compliant can take your Brand to the Next Level

The “parmesan cheese” scam had a global retailer discover that its parmesan cheese brands labeled “100% grated parmesan cheese” contained no actual parmesan – based on the findings by Food & Drug Administration. The story hit the newspapers by storm. That’s just one of several instances how well known brands have, somewhat, become lax in their dealings in procurement and overall supply chain management.
In another example, a leading sportswear brand made the headlines for its suppliers’ alleged labor exploitation around the world. A global food manufacturer in recent months was adversely impacted by horse meat being found in its products.

Such instances clearly throw light on the ever-increasing responsibilities of today’s procurement personnel. Their duty is no longer limited to cutting down costs. Their responsibilities stretch far beyond cost containment and budget adherence. They need to ensure their supply chain is not just agile, but socially compliant as well.

With social compliance, companies embrace every stage of the supply chain and pay heed to employee safety, protection from hazardous activities, forced and child labor and other pressing matters. Companies need to take measures for stringent rules and regulations and comply with standards to ensure that they take care of every stakeholder that is a part of the ecosystem.

Compliance failure can lead to injury, illness and death, not to mention lasting damage to the company’s brand. According to CAPS Research, in 2015, as much as 83% of all corporate spending went to thousands of global suppliers and a minimal amount was earmarked for corporate manufacturing plants, personnel, and operations infrastructure.

In this day and age, it is essential to closely and carefully monitor supplier raw material, performance and its compliance with ethics and global standards.

Big firms that rely heavily on contractors and sub-contractors with hundreds of suppliers, have a complex task ahead. Besides being agile and lean in their dealings, they need to ensure that protecting their ethical imperatives, image and standing is priority.

How contractors perform or what kind of behavior they show, and whether they are ethical in their activities will have a direct impact on the parent brand. Poor working conditions, child labor, inaccurate financial transactions, skirting environmental regulations, or substandard raw materials can turn into infamous headlines, negatively impacting the contracting organization. Thus, companies should focus on monitoring and vet supplier performance besides products. Government regulations enforce social responsibility, and consumers end up punishing the companies that don’t handle themselves responsibly.

Organizations need to focus not just on delivering great products, but nurturing the environment, internal and external. Companies should follow guidelines to avoid lapses that can hinder performance. When followed to the T, the pointers provided here will help brands to uphold their status.

  • Do not tolerate corruption in any form: Employers may implement clear anti-corruption policies for employees, suppliers, and the extended supply chain. Employee training should be included to support the implementation of such policies.
  • Promote diversity and inclusion throughout the organization: Diversity continues to be a hot-button topic, for a good reason. Fostering a diverse group of suppliers, employees, external partners, and affiliates will create a culture of inclusion, not exclusion.
  • Support environmental precaution and promote environmental responsibility: Organizations should strive to comply with, and whenever possible, exceed compliance with all applicable environmental laws, regulations and protocols. We suggest providing all employees with training and the resources needed to make environmentally conscious decisions.
  • Value, respect, and enforce human rights: Human beings have universal, natural rights and status regardless of legal jurisdiction and local factors. Organizations should not continue with suppliers who violate those rights.

Being socially responsible is not an end, but a journey. It takes several years – not to mention tremendous investments—to build a brand. Collaborate with suppliers who have strong ethical backgrounds and who understand that sustainability is built by embracing the interests of all stakeholders. Communication is the key. Let your suppliers and partners know your standing right from the beginning to ensure a smooth voyage and sustainable brand growth.

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Getting The Most Out of Your ERP Investments through Bristlecone ValueMS™ Part-2

The Bristlecone ValueMS Advantage

Our Focus Areas are detailed out below.


Our comprehensive set of AMS Offerings cover a wide range of spectrum from Application operations & Infrastructure support to Application Management and goes up to Value Delivery and benefit optimization.


For more information, please visit

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Getting The Most Out of Your ERP Investments through Bristlecone ValueMS™ Part-1

In today’s world, enterprises need to be nimble and react to market changes to stay relevant and competitive. A high-performance IT infrastructure is essential and needs to operate at the speed of business. Twenty-first century IT organizations are moving towards Business Outcome from an SLA-based setup, and in doing so, becoming Business Partners rather than just enablers. That’s quite a shift from earlier times.

In response—the Target Operating model and the Pricing model are also evolving. There were times when Time & Material or Fixed Price model were used as a pricing model. However, now it is mostly elements-based costing—for example, cost per ticket or cost per user/seat, cost per simple enhancement, or outcome-based pricing. Those pricing models offer businesses the flexibility to pay as they use and introduce a context of variability. Similarly, the target operating model has moved away from Staff Augmentation to Co-Sourcing, and finally to Managed Services.

With over 20 years of experience in managing complex IT applications and infrastructure environments, Bristlecone is well positioned to offer a full set of Application Support and Maintenance solutions. It can help organizations move from traditional support and pricing models to the more New-age, Agile, and Outcome-based models. Businesses can proactively start taking advantage of changes in their environments.

Bristlecone’s ValueMS™ Framework

ValueMS – Bristlecone’s end-to-end, outcome-based managed services framework replaces the traditional ticket-focused models with focus on optimizing business value.

ValueMS transforms IT into a strategic profit center. This framework helps IT leaders manage and govern their application landscape by reducing Tickets, creating CTI-based targeted Knowledge bases, ensuring true left-shift, taking up Problem Management proactively, implementing effective Automation, and aligning the operating model to offer agility and flexibility for changing business needs.

This framework lays foundation in the transition phase and then builds on, further optimizing during the Manage phase, only to take the Customer’s Application Management to the next maturity level in ValueMS’s Transform stage.


Bristlecone’s ValueMS™ is creating a paradigm shift in application support. ValueMS delivers value beyond traditional application management, giving organizations more time and funds to transform business with greater agility and efficiency. With committed operational gains, our solution helps focus on what you do best by providing seamless visibility and monitoring into business operations. In short, ValueMS focuses on IT so that enterprises can focus on their businesses.

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Sustainability: Where Do You Strive for It in Your Supply Chain?

I’m on my flight home from the Supply Chain Insights Global Summit, where Lora Cecere welcomed global supply chain leaders to imagine The Supply Chain of 2030. Presenters shared examples of Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, and how they are digitalizing their supply chains. Themes emerged, such as the importance of talent, the need to better combine business process teams with I/T, and the significance of long-term strategy. One topic arose this year in almost every presentation: Sustainability.

Two separate speakers said the same words: “Sustainability is our DNA” – and they showed data supporting this. But how often do most supply chain leaders think of their efforts in terms of sustainability? How do they lessen environmental impact, add social value and reduce risk without weakening economic performance? The need for greater transparency pushes companies to show where they are actually making meaningful improvement instead of just saying the right soundbites. The supply chain is a critical component of a company’s sustainability efforts.

Lean manufacturing, inventory reduction and transportation optimization are an obvious start. As the supply chain becomes more orchestrated around automation, waste will be reduced and processes will be more continuous. 3D printing is decreasing consumption. Developments in biochemical engineering are reducing volatility. Operational excellence will require companies to push towards more sustainable practices.

Jeremiah Owyang, founder of Crowd Companies, spoke about embracing the autonomous supply chain. He shared how self-driving vehicles will revolutionize not only automotive manufacturing and driver services; industries from hospitality to health care will evolve. This single example will have a huge effect on sustainability – beginning with the reduction of emissions and the transition to electrically powered cars – and going well beyond automobiles. Municipalities will also evolve as grey concrete can “make way for green space as ride-sharing in self-driving cars forces cities to reconfigure developments.”

Our move to a Collaborative Economy is all about sustainability – getting what we need from our communities. New platforms have enabled us to leverage and give new purpose to assets already in existence. Supply chains will need to invite disruption and businesses will need to embrace permanent change to be sustainable in the long term.

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Evolved Complexity of Identity Management

As we all know, when we do research for the solutions like identity management or access management solution, several other factors come into the picture. Finding a right solution to solve multiple business problems which offers significant and ongoing ROI as well, is not an easy task.

System networks and new OSs are proliferating day by day. Mobile workforce and new gadgets are increasing explosively in numbers and connecting to the enterprise network beyond organizational control. All these together make org network threat prone.


There might be many aspects of IT security, worth discussing. But, here in this blog I’d rather focus on just one aspect and that is “Identity and Access Management” (IAM).

In growing network of any enterprise – either on premise or on cloud – the most significant fact is integration of identities. Identity provisioning, governance, compliance and privileged access management are core capability of Identity and Access Management Solution.

Identity Management application does life cycle management of an identity (user or employee). Considering a typical scenario of an employee joining an organization. Employee would require access to different applications in the organization like email account, technical helpdesk, HR helpdesk, any ERP application, or so. With time trend is changing from on premise applications to cloud based services which increases complexity of data and information management, integration and accessibility to the same.

For instance, Organization has its HRMS in SAP ERP. The HR executive can only create the employee identity with certain attributes, in SAP HRMS only. To create user accounts in different corporate applications (on premise or on cloud) based on employee identity in SAP HRMS, you would require a centralized solution. IAM is the centralized solution for you. Using IAM, you can provision user accounts manually or automatically in different target applications. IAM can perform all CRUD operations from single portal to all different target applications. IAM is the solution for large and growing enterprises to maintain user identity along with user authentication and authorization to organization resources. IAM provides features of scalability as per organization requirement.

IAM delivers an end-to-end user authentication, Single Sign-on (SSO), and authorization protection. IAM enable enterprises to access securely from remote devices like smart phones, tablets and laptops. IAM does also seamlessly integrate social identities with enterprise applications. IAM enables organization compliance with SOX (The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002).

Considering above instance, based on job role, employee will have certain level of authorization in certain applications. As a project manager, employee would be able to access project details in certain applications, other than that a team member will not be able to access such project details in same applications. To manage roles and groups an entitlement server need to be installed in the landscape for entitlement management of users.

How Bristlecone Helps You

Bristlecone is a certified Oracle partner and possess years of experience in Oracle products development and support services. Bristlecone does also provide consulting services for IAM integration with SAP eco system and other targets.

Bristlecone specialized in cloud connector development and integration. Based on organization need, Bristlecone does also provide custom solutions for cloud applications.

Partner Opportunities
We also work with strategic partners to develop cost-effective, scalable, and easy to deploy custom & joint solutions that build intellectual property that differentiate partners from their competitors, refocus their subject matter experts on higher priorities, and grow new market offerings to their clients.

Feel free to reach out our sales team for any kind of support and enquiry on IAM solutions.

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The Digital Transformation of the Supply Chain: SAP Integrated Business Planning implementation at Cargill

What is Digital Transformation?

There’s a technology-enabled business revolution occurring right now that knows no borders and seemingly has no limits. It represents the relentless pursuit of the conversion of our physical world into an environment represented by information, software, analytics, technology-enabled business processes, bits and bytes. Digits that move across the globe at lightning speed connecting people and businesses in new, innovative and ground-breaking ways.

This revolution is called Digital Transformation, or DT, and while it seems to be the thing everyone is currently talking about, it really is nothing new. It was put into motion with the advent of the first computer, and with every passing year it gains tremendous speed, depth and breadth. It grows only stronger as each mobile device, tablet and connected sensor is imagined and sold. It has the same exponential growth curve as the Internet, and as more people and devices connect it only gains more strength.

Those established supply chains and value chains on which your company depends are transforming into networked, digitized business processes and services at an ever faster pace, whether you like it or not. Technology trends like hyper-connectivity, big data, cloud, Internet of Things and security provide new opportunities for companies to reimagine their business and how they engage with their customers and users.

Impact of Digital Transformation on Supply Chains

Digital Transformation is a hot topic because there are industries who are more digitally inclined than others. While it is more natural to certain industries, slowly but surely all businesses will move towards digital transformation because at the heart of it the changes are in place to help organizations’ relationship with their customers.

Supply chain tends to be one of the industries that is a bit slower to transform but full digitalization is doable. The value proposition for fully supply chains is that it increases efficiency.
Research shows that in the supply chain sector, technologies such as RFID, GPS, and sensors enable organizations to transform their existing hybrid supply chain structures into more agile and collaborative digital models. Supply Chain Visibility Platforms/Tools, Big Data Analytics, Simulation Tools, and Cloud are seen as the biggest technology enablers of digital supply chain transformation.

Unlike hybrid supply chain models, digital supply chains enable business process automation, organizational flexibility, and digital management of corporate assets. In order to reap maximum benefits from digital supply chain models, it is important that companies internalize it as an integral part of the overall business model and organizational structure. Localized disconnected initiatives, and silo based operations pose a serious threat to competitiveness in an increasingly digital world.

The expected benefits of digital supply chain transformation include, but go well beyond, cost reductions for logistics, inventory, and maintenance, improvements in customer service and higher overall equipment effectiveness. Perhaps more importantly, digital supply chain transformation is expected to dramatically improve an organization’s agility. Agility is necessary to respond to changing market conditions, to new market entrants that can threaten existing business models or to unexpected supply chain disruptions. Such disruptions have already caused major harm to the financial performances and reputations of countless organization over the years.

But in today’s globalized and outsourced world, digital transformation can only be successful if companies approach it with a holistic view of their entire value chain. That value chain can include hundreds of partners. So connectivity between partners, cross-company access to data, and the use network-wide analytics become the key focus areas.

Supply chain leaders must take advantage of the opportunities that come with digital transformation in order to stay competitive in today’s global market. Digitization does not mean applying the latest technologies, it means aligning digital initiatives with supply chain goals and adopting a Digital Operating Model to find the untapped potential of existing resources and capabilities, thus resulting in a higher level of performance.

Where does SAP fit in Digital Transformation plans?

Those who recognize the reality of Digital Transformation should think about investing in the latest SAP innovations. This means evaluating SAP HANA and SAP S/4HANA , as well as SAP Ariba, Concur, SAP Fieldglass, SAP Hybris, SuccessFactors and SAP Cloud for Customer.

In July 2014, SAP announced the launch of a new cloud-based architecture for supply chain management that includes S&OP. The product naming is SAP IBP and includes SAP Integrated Business Planning for Sales and Operations, SAP Integrated Business Planning for Inventory, SAP Integrated Business Planning for Supply, and SAP Supply Chain Control Tower. It is a unified data model for demand management, supply planning and financial modeling deployed as a cloud-based solution operating natively on the HANA architecture. The solutions within IBP contain new capabilities for collaborative workflow and optimization.

Implementing SAP Integrated Business Planning at Cargill

Cargill began its journey with SAP Integrated Business planning with a robust, end to end implementation in the Cargill Salt Business, which started in April 2015 with a design workshop. During the summer months, the team conducted an iterative functional build, test, and training approach to enable a Go Live in the 4th quarter of 2015. The goal of the program, which included SAP Integrated Business Planning for Sales and Operations and SAP Integrated Business Planning for response and supply, was to enhance the company’s existing sales and operations planning (S&OP) process and increase the robustness of its what-if analysis capabilities.

The business benefits of the transformation at Cargill

Cargill is seeing business benefits through a ‘’ single data model tying together supply chain, commercial, and financial information, enabling true integrated business planning processes’’.

They include:

  • Generating additional revenue, cost, and margin projections supporting the S&OP process and what-if analysis
  • Increasing efficiencies and capabilities in what-if analysis
  • Enhancing user-friendliness, reducing learning curves and improving user adoption
  • Enabling real-time analytics and improving decision-making effectiveness
  • Accelerating delivery time
  • Gaining the scalability and flexibility to meet diverse business and process maturity levels

No matter where your company is on the Digital Transformation adoption journey, there is a good chance there are hundreds of other companies grappling with the same difficult questions. This is why you should attend ASUG New England event on July 28th at EMC premises to be educated, to network and learn from ASUG members but also influence SAP as it continues to refine and mature its solutions.

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