Microsoft unveils new supply chain hub platform —


Microsoft unveils new supply chain hub platform

Microsoft on Monday introduced Microsoft Supply Chain Platform, which brings together various Microsoft services and partner solutions to meet supply chain management needs.

The Microsoft Supply Chain platform enables organizations to take advantage of various Microsoft services, namely Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Teams, and Power Platform. It also works with the Microsoft Teams collaboration service.

Supply Chain Central Console
The main distinguishing feature of this platform is the Microsoft Supply Chain Center, a management console currently in preview. It “works natively with existing supply chain data and applications.”

Supply Chain Center will work with the Microsoft Dynamics 365 enterprise resource planning (ERP) service, but it will also work with “other ERP vendors, including SAP and Oracle, as well as standalone supply chain systems,” according to Microsoft.

Supply Chain Center includes Data Manager functionality, which is supposed to enable “data ingestion and orchestration”. It currently supports “native experiences” from “launch partners CH Robinson, FedEx, FourKites and Overhaul”.

Module support
Supply Chain Center comes with two modules created by Microsoft, but it can also use modules created by partners.

Microsoft modules in Supply Chain Center include:

  • The “Supply and Demand Insights” module, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to predict supply constraints, overstocks or potentially missed orders. This module has a “Smart News Insights” feature that displays information about related external events in the Supply Chain Center portal.
  • The “Order Management Module,” which uses real-time inventory data and AI to “quickly respond to future order volumes.” It has predefined connectors to work with partners’ “order taking, delivery and third-party logistics services”.

On the partner side, Overhaul currently offers a module that will work with the Microsoft Supply Chain Center preview, although the details have not been outlined.

Partner onboarding efforts
The Microsoft Supply Chain platform can integrate with other supply chain solutions. It seems to require the help of a partner.

To this end, Microsoft has listed “Accenture, Avanade, EY, KPMG, PwC, and TCS” as integrator partners and advisors.

The Microsoft Supply Chain platform also works with various existing supply chain software solutions. Microsoft has listed solutions from “Blue Yonder, Cosmo Tech, Experlogix, Flintfox, inVia Robotics, K3, O9 Solutions, SAS, Sonata, To-Increase Software and many more” as supported.

Select supply chain platform features are coming to Dynamics 365
Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP service added functionality enabled through modules. Some of these modules have functions that seem similar to certain features of Microsoft Supply Chain Platform.

Despite this circumstance, some Dynamics 365 users will have access to Supply Chain Platform tools, Microsoft said.

For example, users of the Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management module “automatically access Supply Chain Center.” Additionally, users of the Dynamics 365 Intelligent Order Management module “will automatically have access to Supply Chain Center and the Order Management module at launch.”

Possible duplication of functionality between the capabilities of the new platform and the modules offered with the Dynamics 365 service was not elaborated upon in Microsoft’s announcements.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media’s Converge360 group.