Helping manufacturers manage their increasingly complex global supply chains, Microsoft Corp. and Infosys Technologies have forged a new go-to-market alliance around improving supply chain visibility and collaboration. The two companies today are jointly launching a set of solutions, services and a center of excellence to help manufacturers build next-generation supply chains with improved performance and better visibility across their enterprises and trading partners.
According to a new Infosys/Microsoft survey released today, half of business decision-makers within high-tech manufacturing companies report increasing complexity in their global supply chains. In fact, nearly two-thirds report growth in their number of products, geographies and suppliers. As a result of this complexity, the average supply chain professional spends roughly 25 percent of his or her time finding and re-working supply chain data to get it to the required level of granularity and format.
“In today’s high-tech supply network, lack of visibility can be a significant hurdle to effective planning and execution,” said Tyler Bryson, general manager, U.S. Manufacturing and Resources Sector, Microsoft. “Most of the supply chain challenges can be traced to factors such as poor collaboration, inadequate tools and technology, and challenges in getting the right data into the right format — and into the right people’s hands in a timely fashion.”
To tackle these challenges, Infosys and Microsoft will jointly bring to market solutions that provide capabilities for performance management, analytics, collaboration and event-based exception management. These include specialized modules that provide data and intelligence for supply chain professionals to manage performance of after-sales service, procurement, inventory and demand management functions. The Infosys Service Performance Workbench and Infosys Procurement Workbench modules are available immediately, with others to follow. The modules contain pre-built intellectual property and accelerators in the form of process frameworks, data models, analytical tools, best-in-class performance metrics and key performance indicator scorecards tailored for specific supply chain roles.
The joint solutions also include proprietary connectors developed by Infosys and Microsoft to help facilitate the integration of these modules with existing business systems, such as enterprise resource planning applications and supply chain execution systems. In addition, the solutions are built upon core Microsoft technologies, such as Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.
“Infosys and Microsoft have a long history of helping manufacturers with the solutions they require for effective supply chain management,” said Sanjay Jalona, vice president and U.S. head of manufacturing at Infosys Technologies. “It’s rewarding to help manufacturers improve their global supply chain performance with solutions that gather and analyze data across the enterprise and its trading partners, and provide improved visibility and insight for supply chain pros to take quick, informed actions using a familiar, easy-to-use interface.”
Infosys provides the consulting, implementation and support services for customers to ensure the solutions are configured and delivered to meet their specific needs. Through years of consulting experience, Infosys has developed a best-practices approach for multi-enterprise collaboration. As a result, approximately 80 percent of the solutions Infosys and Microsoft will bring to market contain pre-built frameworks, tools and connectors, including out-of-the-box Microsoft Office Business Applications (OBAs). Built on the Microsoft Office platform, OBAs help integrate complex, back-office systems with the familiar interfaces of Microsoft’s popular Office suite of productivity tools, accelerating solution development and user adoption.
Supply Chain Center of Excellence
As part of the alliance, Microsoft and Infosys have also launched an online supply chain center of excellence at https://www.nextgenerationsupplychains.com. This Web-based portal will serve as an online community for manufacturers and trading partners to receive updates on Microsoft and Infosys solutions, discuss supply chain issues and perspectives, access productivity tools for professionals, and more.