In our first blog, we provided an introduction to Configuration Hub, including an overview of how it empowers customers of IBM Sterling Supply Chain Business Network (SCBN) to make modifications to how data is processed through the network to support ever-changing business requirements. This installment walks through a specific example to explain how Configuration Hub works and delivers value.
Let’s start with a typical supply chain use case, where data flows between a customer and a trading partner and document transformation happens along the way. The transformation is necessary because, as is often the case, the two organizations have different back-end systems and individualized data requirements.
As discussed in the previous blog, code lists contain a set of substitution values to be used during the transformation and may change frequently. Incorrect or missing values can paralyze a business flow. Our initial release of Configuration Hub allows customers to edit their own code list data without having to contact their IT team or IBM support – saving time and money.
In this example, imagine that a company called LightTree regularly receives purchase orders (POs) from Elementary Resellers who is one of their trading partners. POs have been flowing fine for several months but now that has changed.
Angela, who works for LightTree, learns that the daily PO from Elementary Resellers has failed while flowing through IBM Sterling SCBN. While investigating the details of the failure, she uncovers that the transformation of the PO has failed due to an unrecognizable substitution value of “half-pallet”.
She contacts her local product management team and finds out that they updated their product catalog to intentionally support smaller orders. To do this, the product managers have introduced the ability to purchase some items in a half-pallet rather than a full-pallet. Unfortunately, they forgot to advise Angela in advance so that she could determine any impacts to her digital supply chain. Angela now realizes that she needs to update her UnitsOfMeasure code list, so that the new half-pallet quantity can be handled properly during document transformation.
Luckily, Angela has recently started using Configuration Hub and knows that she can quickly fix the issue by performing a few simple steps within the solution:
- Check out the code list and make her updates
- Upload the code list and deploy for test
- Confirm and then deploy the code list to production
Let’s look at this in more detail to see how Configuration Hub helps:
First, Angela locates the UnitsOfMeasure code list in the system and is presented with information such as a usage description, a change history and access to any version of the code list.
She checks out the code list which immediately locks the code list, thereby preventing competing updates from other members of her team. It also triggers the download of the code list to her local system for update:
The data is easily modifiable using her local spreadsheet tool. So, Angela opens the code list file and adds the new entries required to support the new half-pallet types of orders:
She then uploads her modifications and deploys the revised code list in the test environment using the guided process within Configuration Hub:
Angela runs a test PO through the system to validate that her code list updates are performing as expected and confirms that orders with half-pallets now work. She then follows the simple, one-click path to deploy her changes to production. Angela gets immediate feedback indicating the deployment to production is successful and she knows that it will now be possible to properly process the PO from Elementary:
In summary, in just a few quick steps Angela was able to identify the root cause of the issue, make her changes and get production business flows working again by using Configuration Hub. And she did this without having to engage her local IT team or open a ticket with IBM.
If this type of capability sounds interesting to you, here’s how to learn more:
- Register and meet with IBM Sterling SCBN experts at Think 2020
- Reach out to your IBM Project Executive, or through IBM Support
- Read more in the IBM Knowledge Center here
- Keri-Anne Lounsbury, Business Solution Architect, IBM Sterling Supply Chain (email@example.com)
- Jim Luneke, Sr. Offering Manager, IBM Sterling Supply Chain (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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