The globalization of freight and specialization of transport has created a remarkably rich information supply chain. This dynamic information supply chain fuels the whole logistics industry.
If you want to solve a problem in the logistics space, you have to tap into that global information supply chain and be able to make sense out of it. In order to harmonize data across multiple stakeholders, companies need an ecosystem platform. That platform lives in the cloud.
Currently most companies manage their operations with information systems that focus on what occurs within their four walls. ERP systems help automate data within a company, but they offer a myopic view of the world. They're designed to segregate and protect company data in secure fortresses. Through the lens of an ERP, a company is unable to look at the ecosystem.
You could give that ERP system all the data in the ecosystem and it couldn’t harmonize that data across multiple stakeholders. Cramming the global information supply chain into a singular financial model for running a business won’t let a company see everything there is to see.
The Cloud Enables a Neutral Third Party
Through a cloud-based platform, a third-party system can act as an intermediary between buyers and sellers of logistics services. Having a neutral arbiter improves relationships and helps make each party more profitable.
The cloud enables the third-party to aggregate content from all parties and make it safe. Thanks to the cloud, a third-party system can map between the financial systems of both buyers and sellers. It reconciles their different views of each transaction. It prohibits the middleman to adopt the model of just the buyer or the seller.
The neutral party performs these helpful roles from a seat at the center of all transactions. From its central position, the neutral party can compare and evaluate the documents from all sources. It can point out discrepancies and enable the parties to fix or resolve them. The neutral party is trustworthy because it has no stake in the outcome of any transactions.
The Cloud Offers the Most Practical Choice for a Global Ecosystem
Could this work without the cloud? In principle, a third-party could achieve similar results outside the cloud. Using a brick and mortar data center model, a third-party company would have to put feet on the ground to actually move data around. But for a global ecosystem, the implementation of these systems would be almost impossible.
In order to have global visibility into all that data acquisition and data distribution, you need to have global reach. For global companies, a cloud-based approach offers the only feasible way to achieve that. With thousands of trading partners it’s too expensive and time consuming to set up a separate data exchange with each.
A cloud platform, particularly one that has global infrastructure in place already, is the only cost effective way to do this. So if you want to deploy something to Europe you can do it. If I want to deploy something to Asia you can do it. On a central cloud platform, each company can exchange data with an unlimited number of sources. They can do so through a single point of integration.
True business intelligence in the supply chain requires companies to model and understand the data. Internally focused systems can’t see all of the patterns that are out there beyond the four walls of an enterprise. True visibility requires a global third-party to mediate the data flows and make sense of it all. By leveraging a cloud-based third-party platform, companies are now able to make sense of enormous data flows and drastically improve the performance of their global supply chains.