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Stop Driving Blind: Why Supply Chain Visibility is so Critical for Growth

By Mike Warvel | Fri, Oct 06, 2017

Have you ever driven your car with your eyes closed—for just a second?  Pretty scary, right? The same goes for driving your business.

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API Management 101: A Functional Overview

By John Hawkins | Thu, Jun 22, 2017

API Management is a hot topic at the moment. Many have heard about it and have seen the flurry of products that have been introduced into the market in recent years. However, when speaking with our customers, it's clear to me that many do not know exactly what all the elements are that make up API Management. This can lead to a lack of understanding of the architecture and sometimes the benefits of API Management for their business. To help address this, we have created this post to help break down API Management into its constituent parts and help you see how your organisation might benefit.

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IBM Amplify Spotlight: Are You Causing Your Customers to Shop Elsewhere?

By Lori Angalich | Fri, Mar 17, 2017

IBM Amplify 2017 kicks off next week, and we're excited to be participating again as sponsors and presenters.  

For one of our sessions, we've teamed up with John Stelzer, IBM Senior Omni-channel Strategist, to share insights gained from comprehensive research on the topic of omnichannel retail. This includes several studies:

  • IBM Consumer Expectations Study, which covers what consumers expect
  • IBM 2016 Customer Experience Index, which describes how retailers are actually doing
  • IBM/Aberdeen Group 2016 InBalance Retailer Survey, which describes how retailers think they're doing

This session offers a rare opportunity to hear correlations and comparisons between these studies, see what's most important to consumers today, understand what has changed in recent times, and (if you're part of a retail organization) assess how your capabilities compare to other retailers.  

If you're attending IBM Amplify, read on to learn more about this session and add it to your agenda.  We hope to connect with you at Amplify and see you at the session!

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IBM Amplify Spotlight: DHL Shares the Formula for World Class Fulfillment

By Lori Angalich | Thu, Mar 16, 2017

We're excited to be presenting at IBM Amplify with our customer, DHL eCommerce and our partner, IBM on the topic of omnichannel order management and fulfillment. If you're attending Amplify, we hope you'll add this to your agenda. 

The session is timely because today DHL eCommerce announced the expansion of their e-Commerce Fulfillment solution in the US.  This solution enables retailers to accelerate fulfillment and delivery without increasing costs, which has been a challenge for most retailers due to the required capital and complexity.

The quote contained in the announcement provides an excellent background for our session on Wednesday morning:

“The e-commerce market in the U.S. is estimated to have grown by 15.6% in 2016 with sales topping $531 billion1, and increasingly e-tailers are seeking fulfillment solutions to enable an omni-channel experience for end consumers,” said Lee Spratt, CEO DHL eCommerce Americas, “We see a huge demand from U.S. e-commerce players needing best-in-class e-commerce logistics solutions and we’re expanding our capabilities to support these growing demands."

The Amplify session will provide detail on how the solution helps retailers improve their omnichannel commerce operations and the customer experience. If you're heading to Amplify, read on to learn more about the session and add it to your calendar.  

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IBM Interconnect Spotlight: AmerisourceBergen's B2B Journey to Transform Enterprise EDI

By Lori Angalich | Thu, Mar 16, 2017

IBM Interconnect 2017 is just around the corner, and we're excited to reconnect with many of our friends, customers, and partners while attending the event in Las Vegas next week.

If you're going to be there, we hope you'll add this session to your agenda. During this session, three speakers from AmerisourceBergen, a leading global healthcare solutions company, will describe their journey to achieving their EDI vision. It's a great B2B Integration success story, and we're thrilled to be presenting alongside them.

Read on for details—we hope to see you there!

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Real-Time Information Delivery in the Logistics Industry

By Lightwell | Wed, Mar 08, 2017

Logistics companies are constantly under pressure to deliver newer and more competitive services. Their customers have high expectations, drawn from experiences with online services such as Amazon, regarding the information they expect, and how they expect to receive it.

As we all know, the supply chain is already under immense pressure, and providing real-time order information can prove a headache in certain areas such as in-transit and customs.

Traditionally, these information requests have been managed using Web Services and EDI, but there are issues. EDI is great for interactions that trigger business processes, such as order and purchase order transactions, or initiating returns. However, when it comes to “secondary” interactions such as “where’s my order?” using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to make those calls is faster to set up and execute than Web Services or EDI.

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10 Great Reasons to Attend IBM Amplify 2017

By Lori Angalich | Wed, Mar 01, 2017

IBM Amplify 2017 is one of the year's most anticipated events for eCommerce, marketing and supply chain professionals who want to leverage the latest technologies to improve customer experiences, engagement, acquisition, and loyalty.  

This year's event is bound to be best yet. It will be held in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand from Monday, March 20 through Wednesday, March 22. Once again, Lightwell will be an IBM Amplify sponsor, will be participating in Solution Expo, and will be presenting in multiple breakout sessions.  For those of you planning to attend IBM Interconnect, you'll recognize that the conference is happening at the same time, just a couple of properties away. 

While there are so many reasons that we enjoy attending the IBM Amplify conference, we wanted to share 10 of our favorites for 2017 (in no particular order).

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Lifesaving, Real-Time Information Sharing in Health and Life Sciences

By Lightwell | Fri, Aug 19, 2016

Recently IBM teamed up with Pfizer to set up real-time patient monitoring for those suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.

While clearly this involves a heavy dose of the Internet of Things, using devices such as sensors, mobile devices and machines, getting the resulting data to the correct medical person is crucial. 

Historically, once that information had been sent to the data collection point, whether that be a hospital data center or a third party, web services would then be used to access it for further human or automatic processing. Web services are great established enterprise communication pathways, however APIs can be enabled no matter what the size of the asset or location capability.

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Analyst Perspective: Strategies for Overcoming Common B2B Integration Hurdles

By Lori Angalich | Thu, Aug 18, 2016

Watching the amazing 1-2-3 sweep by the U.S. in the 100m women's hurdles—along with so many other tremendous athletic achievements during the 2016 Olympics—can inspire us to find ways to overcome challenges in our personal and professional lives.

Those responsible for the business to business processes and technologies that keep supply chain, manufacturing, healthcare, financial, logistics, and many other critical processes running smoothly face a growing number of challenges—along with a growing number of demands.  

Of course, you have plenty of your own challenges to worry about, so you may be wondering why you should care about theirs. It's because their success can have far-reaching impact on our companies and on us as individuals—including ensuring that the products we want are available when and where we need them, enabling deliveries to occur on time, and ensuring our healthcare claims are paid.

What it Takes to Win

The always-on, global nature of today's business, along with escalating customer expectations, requires business to business integration and collaboration to be as seamless and flawless as possible. This is far from easy. It requires tying diverse replenishment systems and fulfillment systems together, and developing the trust required to make those processes work across boundaries.

It also requires bringing together diverse companies with varying degrees of technical sophistication, and having all of the right technology pieces (and skills) in place to support it. Our team at Lightwell knows all too well that in B2B integration and collaboration initiatives, there can be so many unknowns, and when working outside of the four walls of an organization, there is a lack of control.

An IBM survey found that 85% of organizations said their external business communities are vital to their success—yet 86% reported barriers that prevent full electronic automation with B2B partners. A majority of these companies continue to rely on email attachments to exchange business documents with some of their partners. A majority of them are concerned about the security of this approach—and for good reason.

Why Companies are Falling Behind

I recently interviewed Bryan Ball, Aberdeen Group's VP and Principal Analyst, Supply Chain Management, to explore the top challenges companies are facing with respect to their B2B Integration initiatives and what approaches he recommends for overcoming them.

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B2B E-Commerce and the Customer Experience: It's Complicated...But Critical

By Lori Angalich | Fri, Aug 12, 2016


As consumers, we tend to gravitate towards buying experiences that are easy, trustworthy and personalized. 

We've grown accustomed to great online experiences in our personal lives, through our interactions with the advanced business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce sites of some of the top retailers. These experiences have also raised our expectations that (despite the added complexity) business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce experiences should be just as good. 

Because of these expectations, consumer goods companies and manufacturers are challenged to establish flexible multichannel e-commerce platforms to meet the distinct demands of B2B, B2C and sometimes, B2B2C channels.

For these companies to solve this puzzle, delivering a B2C-style e-commerce experience is not just a defensive tactic: It also offers a huge growth opportunity.

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