Coliance NEWSLETTER

May 2022 | Issue 1

01

This month, Coliance is celebrating their 20th anniversary since formation.

Coliance’s main purpose from the outset was to bring together a wealth of expertise to solve File Transfer

02

How has the pandemic shifted the way organisations manage their supply chains?

The arrival of COVID-19 marked a poignant moment for companies all over the world.

03

Tech Corner - Ensuring SOFTware doesn’t become HARDwork

In our technology corner, we select the most common issues encountered within the IBM user community and source the best answer links to help you find a solution.

04

From the world of business

Coliance homes in on recent developments and discussions in our industry

05

Helping your IT department untangle the business spaghetti - OPSIS

Business Solutions are ultimately run-on specialised software that can streamline your business's operations to achieve more visibility and productivity.

This Month Coliance is celebrating their 20th anniversary since formation

Coliance’s main purpose from the outset was to bring together a wealth of expertise to solve File Transfer and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) problems for our supply chain and finance clients, particularly in the IBM Sterling brand. Since then, we have advanced to a place where our customers now rely on us to resolve a multitude of integration problems from Managed File Transfer to EDI or API based issues.

“In our 20-year history, we have designed and developed a number of services and solutions that make our customer’s lives easier and more profitable”

Ian Wells – Chairman and co-founder of Coliance

In line with our ongoing achievements and our vision to keep improving the services we provide to our customers; we have introduced this quarterly newsletter which will show case a mixture of:

  • Relevant and updated business topics that are of special interest in this Industry
  • Questions and Answers to technical questions around API Management, Managed File Transfer and EDI
  • Thought provoking opinion pieces that discuss the world of integration and the direction that supply chain is heading in the future.

Firstly let’s reflect on the achievements that we are most proud of this quarter:

 

  • Our Managed File Transfer and EDI Service “Agora” has successfully solved our customer’s requirements to offer easy onboarding for smaller partners who had limited IT skills. Coliance’s customisable Web Portal handled their constraints effortlessly, taking the stress of onboarding away and introducing a user-friendly system that makes life easier for all parties.
  • Our small business services matched our client’s business needs with our assistance in handling PDF’s and the conversion of Excel files into machine readable data. Coliance was on hand to solve their business data needs and help them to drive long term success.
  • Of special recognition this quarter was our success in moving our customer’s on-premises SAP© ERP to Hana©. Coliance’s proven methodology and set of scripts that eased the onboarding of IBM B2Bi to Hana© was ground-breaking. We are thrilled that we were able to bring our client’s businesses into the digital future with better integrated business processes.
  • Lastly, we are excited to reveal our exciting new development which ensures our customer’s end-to-end visibility of transactions thus improving their customer services and easing all trouble shooting. Coliance exceeded their expectations with the introduction of our new solution “Opsis” (which we hope you will read more about later in this newsletter.)

“Coliance continues to solve our clients’ challenges with innovative design, ongoing improvement and practical solutions that cater to all their needs”.

Chris Thorpe - Technical Director

02

How has the pandemic shifted the way organisations manage their supply chains?​

The arrival of COVID-19 marked a poignant moment for companies all over the world. With the resulting mass lockdowns and tremendous shifts in consumer preferences, the pandemic quickly managed to exacerbate supply chain issues, bringing to light and magnifying an array of existing vulnerabilities that were previously going unnoticed.

Following the pandemic, supply chains all over the world have continued to face new pressures from what can only be described as a turbulent environment. From the Suez Canal Blockage to the Russia-Ukraine war, supply chains and their shortcomings have been placed under a giant magnifying glass. Significantly, these vulnerabilities have broader implications for most businesses. As a result, this increase in supply chain awareness has moved organisations to adjust their approaches to supply chain management.

Building upon this, the following article will explore how the pandemic has shifted the way organisations manage their supply chains.  

Why supply chains are taking centre-stage?

Before delving into how companies have shifted their approach to supply chain management, we must first outline exactly why supply chains are taking centre-stage.

Historically, after a turbulent period or what business jargon would classify as a black swan event (i.e the 2008 financial crisis), organisations tend to adjust aspects of their mode of operation. In the case of the finance industry, official institutions were forced to “stress test” their balance sheets to “assure preparedness for an economic shock.” Tech companies also faced the same fate after the mass uprise in cyber security attacks. Following the pandemic, supply chains are predicted to follow a similar path with stress tests becoming somewhat of a new standard.

The reason behind this is that supply chain vulnerabilities have and continue to threaten the standing of many corporations. Some supporting statistics have previously indicated that these issues were so dire following COVID that they resulted in up to 75% of companies experiencing negative impacts on their business.

Considering this, it follows then that supply chains have now become characterized as protagonists, or rather, central engines driving the profitability and well-being of companies all over the world. Many organisations recognise this and are now citing their supply chains as primary sources of profitability and value creation. Examples can be seen in many different organisations, including the likes of finance company Charles Schwab Corp. and utility firm Alliant Energy Corp.

How supply chain needs are changing

Prior to the pandemic and the never-ending array of unprecedented events, most supply chains operated off a model that prioritised low costs. Whilst profitable, this prioritisation is achieved by foregoing volume flexibility, which isn’t typically required in circumstances where stock fluctuations and supply chain needs can easily be predicted.

Unfortunately, with the pandemic and other environmental pressures, predictability is no longer a luxury. It is because of this that supply chains are having to become agile and adaptive. Just as financial organisations stress test to assure their preparedness for economic shocks, so to supply chains will have to prepare for whatever unprecedented events the year 2022 and beyond may bring.

Supply chain management in a post-COVID world

In order to prepare for the unpredictable, companies require greater visibility into their supply chains. Visibility is of particular importance because approximately 92% of leaders affirm that supply chain visibility is conducive to corporate success. Here, visibility is defined as establishing interconnected internal data that allows organisations to monitor production from all stages within the supply chain.

Today, many organisations have already started actively looking at how they can adjust their current supply chain strategy to meet these demands. At the heart of many of these strategies, is the utilisation of technological tools designed specifically to address these issues. A prime example of how technology can be used as a strategic supply chain management tool can be seen in the likes of Coliance.

Possessing over two decades of experience in working with supply chains, the company has an array of technical experts that solve complex supply chain management problems on a daily basis. Utilising their future-ready and scalable solutions, Coliance works to ensure that organisations can better prepare their supply chains for the demands of a post-covid world.

03

Tech Corner  – Ensuring SOFTware doesn’t become HARDwork

In our technology corner, we select the most common issues encountered within the IBM user community and source the best answer links to help you find a solution. If you are facing similar issues and need further guidance and assistance, contact us – we are happy to help.

  • Connecting SharePoint with IBM Sterling B2B Integrator.

View the discussion with technical experts.


Read more…

04

From the world of business

Will Supply Chain problems continue? 

An opinion by Institute for Govt. 

There are a range of disrupting factors currently being experienced in the supply chain.

Read more

Digital transformation can turn sustainability into your winning business strategy

Are we taking sustainability serious enough? Can digital business transformation aid in sustainable transformation?

Read more… 

Flexport Is Silicon Valley’s Solution to the Supply Chain Mess

Everybody is talking about how “supply cannot keep up” yet Flexport who own no trains, planes, or ships have become the fastest-growing

Read more

05


Helping your IT department untangle the business spaghetti

Business Solutions are ultimately run-on specialised software that can streamline your business’s operations to achieve more visibility and productivity. However, you must first “untangle the spaghetti” to find the best business solution that suits your organisation. This process is daunting, because connecting all your company’s needs and defining the correct workflow is filled with complexity.


As a quick example, your Purchasing system may run using security gateways, messaging systems, an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), an API Manager etc. Overlaying each individual piece of software is a layer of configuration that makes up the runtime for each specific business solution. i.e., security gateway policies, messaging systems queues, Enterprise Service Bus Flows, etc.


When viewed like this, we can see that business solutions take ‘paths’ through ‘systems’. These paths are complex and vary depending on the business problem being solved.

Coliance understands that every client desires end-to-end visibility in their transactions, improved customer service and easy trouble shooting.

Sometimes, however, this is unattainable with your IT team kept busy monitoring whether machines are running, or if the software installed is operational. They spend much of their time examining individual artifacts on these systems, as well as the queues and the flows. Chances are, they will not have an unobstructed view of those complex paths that the business solution uses through individual systems.

Coliance believes you should monitor your business – not your systems.

Our business monitoring solution OPSIS was written from the ground up to tackle this problem from the perspective of putting your business first.

OPSIS provides a business view primarily, allowing decisions to be based on the business first, not the infrastructure that runs it. We map out your company’s problem areas and examine your workflow to ensure that the software meets your individual requirements.

The above figure, for example, shows a typical ordering process. OPSIS reaches into the spaghetti that is the running solution and extracts the vital strands that are necessary to clearly show the business at hand and not the tangled maze underlying it.

Further analysis and deeper insight will provide the USER with the capability to fix ‘message specific issues.’

The above view shows the USER a particular order that has not been invoiced. The USER can therefore correct errors that are caused by corrupted or inaccurate orders without taking valuable time away from the IT team. Even if they have spare time, IT teams might not understand the complexity of the problem and will therefore not offer a viable solution for the subtle fixes required.

OPSIS provides insights into the business solution required, freeing your organisation to focus on incoming questions without engaging the IT department.

“Where is my customer’s order?” for example, is easily answered. It allows your organisation to engage and produce a solution in real time. In addition, OPSIS offers a secure business partner portal which allows your partners to ask the same or more detailed questions such as “What stage is my order at?” or “Has my order been dispatched?” 


This portal enables business partners to get real-time information on their orders without taking up the time of the business agents at all. 


Coliance has witnessed this process saving IT departments many issue solving hours that could be utilised to create new solutions and drive the business forward.

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