These days, the external connections to your business systems are becoming just as important as the internal connections. Giving partners, vendors, and customers secure access to relevant information and systems — and vice-versa — is paying significant dividends to some companies. In this issue we profile two of them: SupplyOn and Day & Zimmermann.
Using the Web and SAP NetWeaver, each company takes a different approach to connecting with outside systems. SupplyOn was created as a buying hub for automotive manufacturers, which means that the SupplyOn portal has always had a connection with its partners’ procurement systems. As SupplyOn grew from primarily a transaction hub to a collaborative procurement platform, the complexity of the external connections increased. So did the value of the service.
Today, SupplyOn’s interfaces to its customers’ back-end systems securely integrate logistics data and RFIs. Customers can then find the vendors that meet their requirements, place an order, and plan how to get the product where it needs to go. That level of service would be difficult, if not impossible, to duplicate without integrating the back-end systems of the participating companies.
Day & Zimmermann had a different kind of challenge. A long-time leader in the managed services business, the company needed a way to differentiate itself from competitors so that it was not competing on price alone. It saw an opportunity within its private security business. After 9-11, certain businesses were required to report certain types of incidences when they occur.
The company’s solution was to create a portal where its security personnel could report incidences at client sites. Incident reports could then be routed to the appropriate people within the client site using the client’s systems. That concept evolved into a centralized communications and reporting hub that both Day & Zimmermann and client staff could use. Since the portal was linked to Day & Zimmermann’s SAP systems, information relevant to billing could be sent to the company’s accounting systems from the client site.
Both companies took an innovative approach to implementing new technology, and it produced the desired result. The added levels of service this tactic made possible helped both SupplyOn and Day & Zimmermann to stand above their rivals.