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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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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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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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Connect with Lightwell at IBM InterConnect 2016

By Lori Angalich | Thu, Feb 18, 2016

Are you planning to be at the IBM InterConnect 2016 conference in Las Vegas? IBM InterConnect is one of our most anticipated industry events, and a number of our team members are preparing for their participation in the event, including:

The reasons to attend are numerous. Just check out the stats in the infographic on this page.  In addition to getting a break from the winter weather, the conference provides a great opportunity to learn more about the latest business technology challenges, trends, and best practices, while connecting with peers, partners, and industry thought leaders among the 25,000+ attendees.

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How the Duchess of Cambridge Influences Supply Chains

By Lightwell | Mon, Nov 02, 2015

Consumer Expectations Are Driving the Need for Greater Responsiveness

We’re sure that if you asked a supply chain director how much he was influenced by the Duchess of Cambridge or Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, eyebrows would be raised ever so slightly. They do, however, provide a perfect example of how consumer expectations of immediate satisfaction impact a supply chain.

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Why B2B Integration is Key to Gaining Greater Supply Chain Insight

By Lightwell | Tue, Oct 20, 2015

Modern life clips along at an unprecedented pace, and here at Lightwell we have been discussing the comparison of keeping up with the fast pace of life—and all the information that produces—to the experience of keeping up with the supply chain.

On a personal level, when you think back ten years ago, YouTube and Facebook were just getting going, and Twitter was a gleam in someone’s eye. Phones weren’t all that “smart” with people assuming they would just get smaller, and they definitely weren’t thinking “mobile revolution.”

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How B2B Integration Enables Demand Driven Supply Chains

By Lightwell | Mon, Oct 12, 2015

We’ve all been subject to the vagaries of the weather at one time or another--camping holidays, picnics and Wimbledon are all events that can be made or broken by inclement or unexpected weather. Who can forget the huge floods of late 2013/early 2014 causing large areas of the South West of the UK to become inaccessible?

This got us thinking, if you’re managing a supply chain, especially if you’re thinking about becoming demand driven, what would the business impact of these weather disasters be, and how would a demand driven supply chain cope compared to traditional one?

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Top Reasons to Attend the IBM Commerce Learning Academy in Dublin, Ireland

By Lightwell | Tue, Oct 06, 2015

We’re getting excited about the upcoming IBM Commerce Learning Academy 2015 event in Dublin, Ireland October 13-16. In fact, Lightwell is a Silver Sponsor of this year’s event.

Recently, when a couple of our customers asked us whether or not they should attend, unsurprisingly we responded (enthusiastically) that they should.  We thought we would share some of the reasoning behind this in this post.

Education and Insight

The IBM Commerce Learning Academy agenda has something for everyone--business and technical, deep dive and strategic level.  

For example, in the B2B integration technical sessions, presenters will share customer stories around the planning and issues involved in a B2B integration solution upgrade, as well as how your organization can handle the transformation from small scale integration to a high availability, high volume, multi-protocol environment. (See B2Bi Session 07 (B2BI S 07 in the IBM Commerce Learning Academy Technical Session Guide)).

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Top 3 benefits of leveraging managed IT services

By Lightwell | Thu, Mar 26, 2015

In recent years, demands for managed IT services has been on the rise. There are several reasons company leaders might opt for this approach, including the ability to cut internal costs, to maintain compliance with industry regulations or fill gaps in security.

According to Edward Ferrara, Forrester Research's principal research analyst serving security and risk professionals, a main factor driving businesses to turn to managed service providers is to alleviate certain internal pressures. With a managed IT service provider on their side, enterprise leaders can shift the way they utilize their corporate resources.

"End-user companies are looking to resolve headaches," Ferrara noted.

Managed IT services can do much more for a firm than just help solve and prevent in-house hassles. Utilizing managed IT services can provide a whole host of benefits for a company, including the following:

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IBM InterConnect Recap: Cloud, B2B Integration and Managed File Transfer Trends

By Lightwell | Mon, Mar 23, 2015

We’ve had few weeks to reflect on everything we learned at IBM InterConnect: from exploring the ever-changing cloud, mobile and big data landscape, to learning about new innovations in managed file transfer and B2B integration—and there’s a lot to take in. Finding “A New Way” to think about solving business problems and accelerating transformation was a key theme of the three-day cloud, mobile and technology conference in Las Vegas.

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