social-network-linksThere are plenty of social networks beyond Facebook. Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, and Pinterest have made themselves useful but haven’t been able to gain the traction of Facebook. But Facebook is gaining a reputation as ‘grandpa’s’ network as it becomes almost a public utility. The younger population that was responsible for popularizing the site is moving to newer systems like Snapchat, Kik Messenger, oOVoo, WhatsApp, Vine, Tinder, and others that specialize in fast paced interactions.

scan-to-cloud-filingThe cloud and its advantages are everywhere, right? Every mobile device and every consumer web service is based on cloud technologies. Every day startups take to the cloud, building new applications, hosting data and services in publicly available storage sites and moving data between local storage in the office and inexpensive hosting. But even with all this activity and concentration on the benefits of cloud based environments a frighteningly small percentage of B2B transactions move electronically.

retail appsRetail drives a big portion of the EDI traffic along the supply chain. Whether it’s online retail or brick and mortar retail, the issues are the same. But let’s face it… sometimes it’s just easier to find the product you’re looking for by using a search engine online rather than wandering aimlessly through the aisles of a big box store. Increasingly, retailers are supplementing the in-store experience with apps on shoppers’ mobile devices.

supply chain integrationLet’s have some fun with math. What EDI translator does your company use? For that matter, what ERP, 3PL, or other service is on your short list? Next, how many trading partners do you have? And finally, what EDI, ERP, and other electronic systems do they use? It doesn’t really matter whether you have the answers to these questions. What you would get even if you use the smallest estimates available is a very large number of permutations. How is it possible then to maintain compatibility and also keep up with the accelerated pace of today’s supply chain?

online-shoppingOmni-channel has become a dated term. In this age of digital information available anytime and anywhere there are precious few shopping decisions being made without fact based information. A MasterCard report from 2015 shows that 8 out of 10 purchases made by retail shoppers are informed by some kind of digital information. With 80 percent of purchase decisions influenced by shopper research, their decisions about just where to buy is likely to come down to convenience and timing rather than loyalty. Omni-channel shopping is now just plain shopping.

saascloudConfusion reigns over whether hosted or software as a service (SaaS) is the better choice for that next software overhaul. It doesn't help that so many hosted vendors are touting their wares as SaaS or Cloud. Of course, there's a reason for the blurring of label lines – SaaS is on an upswing in most markets. Put another way: everyone has their heads in the Cloud these days.

outrageous billThere’s no question that the cost of EDI service has come down over the years. The availability of inexpensive Internet connections, DIY connections, direct transfer, and the shifting landscape of EDI service providers have combined to reduce the overall costs of transferring order transactions between trading partners. But has transfer pricing bottomed out yet?

cloud in the sunlightSome time ago we sent out a survey asking about your perceptions of SaaS, Cloud computing, and Hosted solutions. Of course we were interested in EDI solutions, but the question is a generic one that applies to any application. The responses we received ranged from fairly detailed explanations of each, to "I don't know what these are." So for those who are unfamiliar with the differences, here is a primmer on the major differences and some discussion of the advantages of each. This falls far short of a full detailed explanation, but the basic concepts are accurate.

Chain of supplyIn a world that is becoming increasingly interconnected, supply chain effectiveness is becoming a key success factor for the global economy. Given this reality, the findings of a recent Deloitte survey are rather alarming. The study shows that only 38 percent of supply chain executives are either extremely or very confident that their supply chain organization has the competencies needed today.

561-futurecrystalballYep, it’s that time of year…. time to reflect on how our predictions for 2015 turned out and to look in our crystal ball to guess what may be the compelling stories of 2016. It’s a tough job but somebody’s gotta do it!

2015 was big for supply chains, electronic commerce, and all the technologies ec-bp.com readers follow. Around this time last year, I wrote that we’d see lots of interest in cloud technology, omnichannel consumers, driverless vehicles, robotics, drones, 3D printing and, most importantly, Big Data and IoT. In retrospect, that was like shooting the proverbial fish in a barrel. We indeed witnessed high levels of activity for all those topics, but allow me to make a few quick observations......