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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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The Case for API Management Over Web Services

By John Hawkins | Thu, Aug 11, 2016

Back in the day, Web Services were the de facto standard for accessing "systems of record." Out of this grew the secured ESB architecture that is synonymous with enterprise architecture.

More and more, projects are utilising API Management in those architectures now and pushing on Web Services' door.

In this blog, I'll explain why social factors—as much as technical onesare enabling API Management to make inroads into 'traditional' SOA architectures. I'll also show that API Management is much more than the "API Economy."

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API vs EDI: Complementary, Not Competitive.

By John Hawkins | Tue, Aug 02, 2016

It’s hard not to notice the up-swell of API Management in the press in recent times. If you come from an EDI background you may dismiss API Management as not being relevant. I also often hear the contrary view: that EDI is old-school and that APIs are taking over. 

I don’t believe either to be true. 

There are plenty of Qualities of Service that EDI gives in spades that API Management simply doesn’t touch and vice-versa. In this blog I’ll review those differences and show how API and EDI are complementary technologies, not competitive ones. I'll also suggest where the future lies for these two differing technologies and that, actually, the comparison isn't EDI vs API—but should be API vs Web Services.

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Omnichannel Order Orchestration: Increase Visibility, Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction

By Lori Angalich | Thu, Jul 28, 2016

Q&A with Alora Chistiakoff, Director of Commerce Services at Lightwell

We caught up with Alora Chistiakoff to discuss the challenges retailers are facing and the best practices around omnichannel order management and fulfillment. Here is a summary of what we discussed. 

  • What are the challenges to fulfilling orders across multiple locations?

Alora:  For retailers, there’s rarely one single source of truth for inventory information. There’s inventory from the store (in a POS), warehouse (in a WMS), drop ship inventory (in purchase orders), in-transit, on-order, on-demand, etcetera. To accurately understand fulfillment options, all of these pieces must be brought together into a single source, such as an order management system.

The real-time nature of this information is particularly important for retailers. A given warehouse might not be able to fulfill an order during a morning wave, but could put everything in place to ship the order later that afternoon.

They must quickly decide which is more important: getting the order out from the closest distribution center in the afternoon, or sending it in the morning from a location farther away at a higher shipping cost. Having sophisticated order orchestration capabilities is critical for this.

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Managed file transfer for HIPAA compliance: MFT succeeds where FTP fails

By Lightwell | Wed, Jul 27, 2016

In the healthcare industry, electronic health record systems have become a staple. Now more than ever, companies are looking to comply with the Administrative Simplification section of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which calls for the use of an electronic system for records instead of an outdated manual one.

However, with more organizations adopting EHR systems, the time has come for them to also upgrade their file transfer solution. Although file transfer protocols may have served this purpose in the past, managed file transfer systems are now necessary to fully ensure that sensitive patient data remains confidential.

Rise of EHR

According to Modern Healthcare, 80 percent of all office-based physicians had some sort of electronic system in place for the management of health records in 2013. Research shows that the adoption of such solutions has increased over the past few years, jumping by nearly 10 percent between 2012 and 2013 alone.

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Are you ready to “Outthink Ordinary” at IBM Amplify?

By Julie Baker | Thu, May 05, 2016

The annual event IBM describes as an opportunity to “learn new ways to understand your customers, turn insight into action, and transform the ordinary into the extraordinary” is swooping into Tampa from May 16-18. Lightwell is thrilled to be part of creating that opportunity. Will you be there?

If you aren’t registered yet, check out our previous blog post for the top 12 reasons to attend IBM Amplify. And if you need a couple more reasons, how about an opening keynote address by Academy Award nominee, author, and entrepreneur (don’t you just love Fabletics?), Kate Hudson, and a live performance by Grammy-nominated musical artist, Elle King!

As a Gold Sponsor of the conference this year, Lightwell is hosting a Solution Center booth (#610) and participating in two sessions. Here are the details.

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Are you worried about a consumer data breach?

By Mark Reinsager | Wed, Apr 20, 2016

If you type "data breach" into Google, you'll get thousands of results, including news stories about high-profile breaches at Target, Barnes and Noble, Home Depot, and Wendy’s. Data breaches are top of mind for consumers, but merchants are also concerned...with good reason. The 2014 JP Morgan Chase breach affected 76 million households and seven million businesses.

Consumers are worried.  

A recent Unisys study found 59% of consumers are afraid of having their credit card data stolen or abused.  While the EMV chip card technology has helped alleviate the risk of fraud with Card Present transactions in POS devices, the Card Not Present (CNP) fraud is skyrocketing. 

In Europe, the CNP fraud rate rose from 25% in pre-EMV 2004 to 64% in 2010, as reported by the European Central Bank.  This substantiates why 49% of consumers feel vulnerable to security risks when transacting online, as reported by Kaspersky Lab.

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Analyst Perspective: What’s Driving the Need for Improved B2B Integration and Collaboration Capabilities?

By Lori Angalich | Thu, Apr 07, 2016

The Need for Speed and Greater Responsiveness

There’s no question that the speed of business is increasing. Meeting customers’ escalating expectations places extreme pressure on companies to improve top line revenue, respond to customer and partner demands, and reduce costs. For many companies, the infrastructure just isn’t there to support this level of speed and responsiveness.

This underlying need for speed is one of the main reasons why companies are investing in their B2B integration initiatives.  In fact, according to Aberdeen Group research, the number of leaders engaging in a B2B integration initiative has more than doubled in percentage over the last few years.

These B2B integration initiatives are focused on removing barriers and improving communication and collaboration between suppliers and customers.  This is not only to meet customer expectations, but to improve processes, minimize delays, and ultimately improve visibility across supply chain. All of this drives strategic advantages.

We recently interviewed Bryan Ball, Aberdeen Group Vice President and Group Director, Supply Chain Management, on this topic to produce an eight-part video series entitled B2B Integration and Collaboration: The Leader's Advantage.  

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