Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer the province of science fiction: it’s here, and it can be leveraged by your supply chain to transform the way your company sources materials and delivers finished products.Continue reading
Application programming interfaces (APIs) are changing the ways companies do business. From integrating deeply with legacy backend systems to pulling in new data sources, organizations are finding new uses for existing data—and with it, more opportunities for revenue.
As the Internet of Things (IoT), omnichannel strategy, and hybrid cloud continue to evolve, APIs will be the glue that holds systems together and the key that simultaneously unlocks the door to opportunity.
Many organizations are looking to APIs to solve their integration challenges and move toward a more digital organization. According to MuleSoft’s Connectivity Benchmark Report, 72 percent of enterprises already have an API strategy−and generating revenue is the top priority.
As your organization moves forward with its own API strategy, it may help to draw inspiration from some of the most forward-thinking companies already leveraging APIs to better serve customers, employees, and partners—including the world’s most popular music streaming service, a logistics company that needed to serve a new market efficiently, and a retailer that needed to create better in-store and online experiences for customers.Continue reading
It’s no secret that customers expect a seamless and personalized experience, whether interacting with a company via a mobile device, computer, in-store, or on the phone with a customer service representative. As consumers (and B2B customers) ourselves, we have little—if any—patience for inconsistent information and impersonal interactions.
This not only applies to our shopping and purchasing experiences, but to our post-purchase experience as well: timeliness and accuracy of order status updates, if our order was delivered or available for pick up as promised, the quality of our interactions with representatives, and the ease of returning items.
Sounds obvious, but if you’re reading this blog post, you understand that meeting these expectations consistently is no small feat. Delivering flawless omnichannel shopping and post-purchase experiences can be exceedingly complex from technology, process, and training perspectives—especially for companies with multiple business models and brands, multiple marketplaces, a large number of items, and numerous store locations, warehouses, distribution centers, and fulfillment partners.
An omnichannel order management system (OMS) can play an essential role in meeting these expectations. Today’s sophisticated order management and fulfillment systems are capable of much more than capturing an order through and sending it to a back-end system for processing. Some can meet a wide range of customer demands, orchestrate order fulfillment across channels, facilitate an experience that engenders customer loyalty, and assist in maximizing profits for the company as well. In addition, these systems can provide critical business data to better inform decisions surrounding merchandising, returns, inventory, marketing, and other functions.
Most likely, if you are selling products online, you are already employing some sort of an order management system. It might be part of your ecommerce platform, ERP, or CRM system—or perhaps a home-grown, proprietary solution. However, as you may have recognized, these systems often fall short of meeting customer expectations.
If this is the case—and you want to improve the customer experience by leaps and bounds—consider some of the most critical components of an omnichannel order management system as you evaluate your options. Here are some questions you should be asking.Continue reading
It’s 11:00 p.m. Do you know where that critical shipment is?
When an important shipment containing parts essential to your flagship product is delayed in transit, the delay can resonate throughout your manufacturing process and impact orders. If you don’t know the problem exists in your supply chain, you’re left scrambling to fulfill orders and maintain production levels. Lack of supply chain visibility puts your business at risk, affecting not only your bottom line but also your company’s reputation.
According to research firm Gartner, supply chain visibility is a top priority among supply chain leaders and Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs) across a wide range of industries and geographies. And for good reasons: visibility into your supply chain not only lets you mitigate late shipment scenarios but also helps you proactively mitigate these problems. Supply chain visibility can also help you identify risks and potential savings.
When visibility is combined with business intelligence, predictive analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI)—organizations can gain unprecedented supply chain insights that can transform their operations.
While there are too many benefits to cover in a single blog post, let’s explore three benefits of supply chain visibility that are top-of-mind.Continue reading
With all the chatter about digital transformation and digital economy, application programming interfaces (APIs) have moved into the spotlight. As organizations are striving to transform by connecting their disparate systems, adding new capabilities on top of legacy software, and expanding into new channels, geographies, and business models—APIs can help solve integration challenges and enable organizations to focus on growing the business…not on IT issues.
APIs can open up numerous business opportunities and play a critical role in a company’s digital strategy. However, many enterprises aren’t leveraging them effectively to make their data stores and applications more accessible—and are therefore missing out on opportunities to serve internal and external customers better.
Also, this can mean missing out on significant revenue opportunities. The 2017 MuleSoft Connectivity Benchmark Report reports that over 50 percent of companies surveyed already are making money from their APIs or plan to in the near future. Additionally, 80 percent of large companies—those with over 10,000 employees—already make more than $5 million a year from APIs. If your organization doesn’t have an API strategy, it’s time to look at what APIs are and what they can do for you. Let’s explore this.Continue reading
Did you know that IBM merged a number of their top conferences—Interconnect, Amplify, World of Watson, Edge, and Connect—into one in 2018? If you haven’t already heard about it, IBM Think is IBM’s new flagship business and technology conference, taking place March 19–22, 2018 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
It’s a global event where over 40,000 business and technology innovators, leaders, and thinkers will gather in one place to share ideas, discuss topics like Artificial Intelligence, Cloud, Supply Chain, Blockchain, Omnichannel Commerce, Data Analytics, Integration, Security, IoT, and more—and enjoy some exceptional networking, entertainment, and fun along the way.
While there are many reasons to attend—including a few mentioned in the video below—you may be most interested in reading the highlights so that you can make plans quickly (the event is just weeks away). So, as someone who has attended quite a few conferences over the years, I’ll share in this post what I believe are some of the best reasons to attend. These are in no particular order.
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!Continue reading
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.
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!
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).Continue reading