Supply Chain Gets Power from SOA

According to a new Aberdeen Group research report, "Service-Oriented Architecture in the Supply Chain: What Supply Chain Managers Need to Know," companies are adopting SOA to solve their most pressing technology issues. The study involved nearly 300 executives and found that 45 percent of companies surveyed have SOA or Web services projects involving the supply chain under way. Moreover, almost 20 percent of respondents plan to launch similar projects in the next 12 months.

"We found that when companies do indeed compete with their supply chains, most are entering the battle with their technology arms tied behind their backs," says John Fontanella, senior vice president of supply chain research. "Service-oriented architecture gives companies the very real opportunity to accelerate information integration while configuring business processes that can quickly meet internal and trading partner requirements."

The study also found that in today's enterprise, supply chain management is supported by a variety of software applications and services that are not well integrated or flexible enough to meet changing business requirements.

Other key research findings include:

  • 94 percent of those surveyed use a combination of best-of-breed applications, On-Demand services, enterprise resource planning systems, and desktop applications to manage supply chains.
  • The flexibility required from supply chain applications far outstrips their ability to provide it. In fact, 61 percent of those surveyed said they are forced to employ manual application workarounds to meet requirements--or limit the services offered to customers.
  • The companies most likely to adopt SOA in the near term tend to buy applications that best fit their current technology requirements; they are less likely to have a corporate-wide ERP consolidation program in place.

The research report concludes that, with SOA, technology will finally support business processes rather than having supply chain applications dictate them.

Go to Aberdeen to obtain a complimentary copy of this report.