SAP: the complexity of a modern supply chain
For most people, the bauxite mines dotting the coastline of rural Weipa, Australia, might seem like the ends of the earth. But for the world’s aluminum producers, the massive deposits of ore they contain represent the beginning of complex supply chains whose end result is the airplanes in which we fly, the siding with which we cover our homes, and the foil in which we reheat our meals.
On a personal level, the mining industry represents yet another beginning: my journey into the procurement business. When I set out on my career three decades ago, I could scarcely have imagined that cloud-based digital technologies would someday render places like Weipa less remote, supply chains more transparent, and business-to-business commerce more immediate. Yet certain lessons from those early days in the mining industry remain unchanged despite the years.
Above all, buyers and suppliers demand a positive outcome experience in the form of tangible results. Years ago, that meant delivering on time, per specifications, at consistently high quality. It meant keeping one’s word. It meant investing in relationships for the long run. Today, these same priorities hold true—but it’s also about expecting more from our spending and the way we manage it by taking greater advantage of data, insights, and advanced analytics. And it all starts with procurement.
Procurement networks equip business leaders with the visibility needed to maximize customer value. In addition, the transparency they make possible creates an ecosystem within which organizations harness the data-driven insights they need to anticipate disruptions to the supply chain—whether natural disasters or labor unrest or even armed conflict—and remedy them before they can dent the balance sheet. The next generation of procurement is bigger than transactions. It’s bigger than processes. It’s strategy and execution to drive real value, real results, and real impact for organizations. This is the next step forward in intelligent spend management.
SAP’s , for example, has the powerful ability to help during times of crisis, enabling organizations to manage risk and keep the promises they’ve made to customers. In fact, in response to the current state of global supply chain disruption, we have opened access to SAP Ariba Discovery so any buyer can post immediate sourcing needs and any of the 4 million suppliers on Ariba Network can respond at no cost through June 30, 2020. For additional details, visit .
There must be trusted partners within the supply chain. To deepen that trust, a 360° view of spend is critical. This newfound visibility, possible through a cloud-based business network, extends to all categories, from direct, maintenance, and indirect goods to external labor, which on average comprises . From the insights gained through , businesses achieve tangible results and measurable outcomes grounded in predictive analytics.
Meanwhile, keep in mind that digital networks create efficiencies in other ways too. They unshackle procurement professionals from the tactical tasks traditionally associated with the source-to-pay process by eliminating full steps, thanks to machine learning and robotic process automation, freeing up personnel to focus on strategic activities, such as on product development, shaping a mutually beneficial outcome experience, integrating aims into their operational systems, and shoring up the effectiveness of their .
Years ago, effectiveness in the supply chain—or in any endeavor, for that matter—required cementing the bonds of trust with the diverse sets of people who rely on each other’s success. The same principle remains true today. When I worked in Weipa, the people most vital to success, apart from our end-of-line customers and the traditional owners, were our miners. Still, no matter how different the cultures that converged there, we all put customers first.
Fast-forward to 2020, and digital networks reinforce the very same customer-first mentality—one that also offers a wider opportunity for diversity and inclusion but across greater distances and broader sets of stakeholders. For example, a procurement platform, aided by artificial intelligence, can ascertain whether one’s trading partners award business to organizations owned or managed by historically underrepresented groups of people. It can also determine whether a potential partner has in place the governance structures necessary to root out forced labor from the supply chain or to ensure the responsible stewardship of natural resources. In times of increasing complexity and uncertainty, business leaders must balance responsiveness with responsibility.
Across operational and reputational factors, digital networks extend visibility to encompass the full circle of procurement and supply chain requirements. Yet, in a sense, they bring me full circle as well. From my humble beginnings in Weipa to my current role in Silicon Valley, much has changed in the technology of procurement, elevating it to the forefront of competitive advantage. What endures is the paramount importance of relationships and the need for business leaders to seize the technology available to fortify them.
NetNumber: Time for a cloud-native transformation
NetNumber is accelerating the transition in the telecom industry to 5G as it starts a shift to cloud-native architecture to address the fast-paced demands of global subscribers and businesses.
NetNumber is offering the industry’s first cloud-native platform designed to ensure InterGENerational™ network performance addresses both the legacy and next-generation requirements of telecom networks.
“NetNumber has developed the industry’s most robust cloud-native, InterGENerational platform that addresses both the legacy and 5G requirements of telcos,” said Matt Rosenberg, Chief Revenue Officer of NetNumber.
The platform provides vertical and horizontal scale-out with low latency, coupled with a suite of data replication capabilities, which provide flexible architectural options that can evolve with the changing network over time.
“Cloud-based solutions from other vendors tend to be limited in terms of supporting particular network generations or protocols. We’ve created our latest platform TITAN.IUM to allow customers to take any generation of applications, any generation of legacy services and protocols and move them into the new world of cloud-native architecture,” said Rosenberg.
“This is a really important part for a carrier to harmonise their network, bring data services together, bring legacy with new together in order to make a more effective and efficient network, as well as reduce their cost as they scale forward,” he said.
Established in 1999, NetNumber has fostered a strong team environment that leverages the industry’s best skills to offer software solutions tailored for carriers of all dimensions. Based outside of Boston and with presence in over 20 countries, the company delivers a range of products that address all generations (2G, 3G, 4G, 5G) of network functions in the core network, deep rooted security products and services, STIR/ SHAKEN and set of options around data services in more than 90 countries.
Steeped in experience in building telecom solutions, software, protocol stacks, and integration of third party tools, the company’s development organisation has proven to supply to the industry with the most reliable and flexible solutions on the market.
“At NetNumber, we focus on our core competencies – we are dedicated to providing industry expertise in signaling, routing, security, subscriber management and data services. We provide customers a strong ROI through platform-based solutions that reduce Capex and Opex in the long-term,” commented Rosenberg.
Five reasons why customers choose NetNumber:
- Expertise - NetNumber has experts with deep knowledge in signaling/routing, security, and subscriber database management.
- Integration - An industry-first platform brings together domain services, applications, security, and global data services.
- Scale - NetNumber has the ability to seamlessly increase network efficiency using vertical and horizontal scaling.
- Speed - World-class solutions have the power to help companies create new service offerings and accelerate time to ROI.
- Savings - Customers enjoy significant savings in capex and opex, flexible deployment models, and investment protection.
NetNumber and Virgin Mobile MEA
“We're very proud of our partnership with Virgin Mobile MEA as they've taken the concept of the InterGENerational platform into their regional network strategy,” commented Rosenberg. “That’s accelerated how they develop exceptional services across the Middle East and Africa region.
“We work with them hand-in-hand to deliver multiple applications onto our platform which has enabled them to provide exceptional, advanced and innovative services to their customers across the Middle East, who demand high quality services.
“What they've really taken advantage of is scale. What I mean by that is they are putting multiple generations of applications and services onto the same platform and distributing that data across their network. That has resulted in an advantageous position of time to market and operational savings.
“Rather than having different applications for many different vendors that cause operational chaos, they've been able to consolidate that and reduce their operating costs by having everything on one common architecture. We’ve had a long-term relationship with Virgin Mobile in Saudi Arabia, and recently signed an agreement with Virgin Mobile in Kuwait.”
Rosenberg says that with these solutions, Virgin Mobile MEA can take advantage of getting to the market much quicker and faster—which is what today’s discerning customer demands.