Your supply chain is probably a mess, Microsoft says it has the answer

Supply chain visualization

Image: Shutterstock

Microsoft has announced the Microsoft Supply Chain Platform, a combination of its artificial intelligence, collaboration, low-code, security and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications.

The set of Microsoft applications and platforms include Dynamics 365, Microsoft Teams, Power BI, Power Automate, Power Apps, Azure Machine Learning, Azure Synapse Analytics, Azure IoT, the Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform, Azure Active Directory, Defender for IoT, and Microsoft Security Services for Enterprise.

Microsoft wants customers to build a connected supply chain with the aid of its low-code development platform PowerApps. To reduce risk, it supports demand management, supply chain intelligence, supply and demand insights, performance tracking, supplier management and real-time collaboration.

It also covers fulfilment optimisation, pricing management, warehouse management, inventory optimisation, order track and trace, and more.

Microsoft reckons enterprises are being overloaded with petabytes of data that are spread across legacy systems, enterprise resource planning (ERP) programs, and custom solutions, which leaves them with a fragmented view of their supply chain.

Microsoft has also launched the preview of the Microsoft Supply Chain Center, which promises to track world events that may impact a customer’s supply chain, orchestrate actions across a supply chain, and use AI to reduce supply and demand mismatches. This is the core of the Supply Chain Platform, according to Microsoft.

“Although supply chain disruption is not new, its complexity and the rate of change are outpacing organizations’ ability to address issues at a global scale. Many solutions today are narrowly focused on supply chain execution and management and are not ready to support this new reality,” said Charles Lamanna, corporate vice president, Microsoft Business Applications and Platform, in a press release.

“Businesses are dealing with petabytes of data spread across legacy systems, ERP, supply chain management and point solutions, resulting in a fragmented view of the supply chain,” Lamanna said.

“Supply chain agility and resilience are directly tied to how well organizations connect and orchestrate their data across all relevant systems. The Microsoft Supply Chain Platform and Supply Chain Center enable organizations to make the most of their existing investments to gain insights and act quickly.”

While it aims to be a platform for the whole supply chain, it will still work with companies like Accenture, Avanade, EY, KPMG, PwC and TCS as partners.

The Microsoft Supply Chain Center will be fed with data from Dynamics 365, as well as SAP and Oracle ERP systems, and standalone supply chain systems.

The Data Manager feature in Supply Chain Center enables data ingestion to provide visibility across the supply chain. Preview launch partners include C.H. Robinson, FedEx, FourKites and Overhaul.

Supply Chain Center offers prebuilt modules to address supply chain disruptions, including the supply and demand insights module, the order management module, a built-in Teams integration, and partner modules within the center.

Microsoft notes that the center runs off a Dataverse common data service environment, meaning data is consistent regardless of the module being used and eliminates the need to reconcile which reports have the latest information.

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