Microsoft, Infosys focus on supply chain

By , InfoWorld |  IT Management, compliance, Infosys

Microsoft and IT services provider Infosys Technologies revealed on Thursday an alliance around improving supply chain visibility and collaboration.

Announced at the Microsoft Global High Tech Summit 2009 event in Santa Clara, Calif., the companies are launching solutions, services, and a "center of excellence" to help manufacturers build next-generation supply chains offering improved performance and better visibility across their enterprises and trading partners.

[ Improving the supply chain can also mean  taking small steps to make operations greener. ]

The companies also released a survey that found that half of business decision makers within high-tech manufacturing companies report increasing complexity in global supply chains. Because of this complexity, the average supply chain professional spends about 25 percent of their time finding and re-working supply chain data to get to the needed level of granularity and format.

"I think there exists a whitespace in the marketplace today that this partnership can address," said Sanjay Jalona, vice president of high tech and manufacturing at Infosys. As part of the two companies' supply chain visibility and collaboration platform, the partnership focuses on information, integration and collaboration, Jalona said.

A Microsoft official noted increasing complexity in supply chains.

"This goal of getting simplification into what is an increasingly complex environment is not going away," said Tyler Bryson, general manager of the manufacturing sector at Microsoft. "At a time when our industry needs to improve, the complexity is increasing."   Each incremental supplier, for example, adds seven new touch points to an organization, Bryson said.

"What we have tried to [do at Microsoft and Infosys] is come together and talk about what solutions we could bring to market to leverage the best of our two companies," said Bryson.

Infosys and Microsoft will offer solutions for performance management, analytics, collaboration, and event-based exception markets. Specialized modules will be rolled out to provide data and intelligence for supply chain professionals to manage performance of after-sales service, procurement, inventory, and demand management. Infosys Service Performance Workbench and Infosys Procurement Workbench are available now with others to follow.

Modules contain intellectual property and accelerators in the form of process frameworks, data models, analytical tools, performance metrics and performance indicator scorecards for specific supply chain roles.

The joint solutions also feature proprietary connectors to help integrate modules with existing business systems such as ERP and supply chain execution systems. Offerings are built on Microsoft technologies such as BizTalk Server 2006, SQL Server 2008 and Office SharePoint Server 2007.

Eighty percent of solutions to be brought to market by Infosys and Microsoft are to feature pre-built frameworks, tools and connectors, including out-of-the-box Microsoft Office Business Applications.

The online supply chain center of excellence serves as a Web portal to receive updates on Microsoft and Infosys solutions, discuss supply chain issues and perspectives and access productivity tools, the companies said.

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