No business is an island

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Today, no business operates alone. In order to be successful globally, every business has to rely on an ecosystem of partners – suppliers, factories, logistics providers, financial institutions and others to efficiently serve customers and to find new ways to deliver value. The supply chain has transformed into a supply network – from linear to multidimensional.

And as each node adds new flavors of value, leaders are embracing the Value Network. The future belongs to these networked companies. Network connectivity - or Network ERP - provides an ecosystem view. It enables the entire network to operate as a single strategic entity instead of numerous disparate parties. Collectively, they form a value network capable of delivering new products and services that would otherwise be unachievable. At Inforum/Bridges 2016 in New York City, Infor and GT Nexus presented the company's vision of the networked business.

Infor CEO Charles Phillips said: "The history of ERP and ERP-like applications is that we automated things inside a single company inside the four walls of an enterprise. That was the design point. But the reality is that 80% of what companies do deals with data and partners outside of the organization. We truly believe that the future belongs to networked companies".

Making this point even further, GT Nexus President Kurt Cavano demonstrated a visualization of a typical day on the GT Nexus Commerce Cloud. With $220 million moving across the platform, about 37.000 shipments taking place, totaling some 285 million individual items.

In this single view, decision makers can have ERP data displayed simultaneously with real-time data from the extended network. Charles Phillips added: "This is data that ERP people had wanted for a decade and couldn't get if an external party was manufacturing the product. Now it's possible."

Many real world customer examples showcased what a networked business model with an ecosystem view can look like. A few examples of major, global organization embracing this strategy:

Cavano added that Nike runs its entire procure-to-pay process in the cloud on GT Nexus, Caterpillar is leveraging inbound and outbound visibility of movement of products to optimize their Supply Chain on GT Nexus and took $150 million of working capital out of their supply chain in the process.

Levi Strauss & Co. has a long history of investing in its people and the planet that dates all the way back to the Great Depression. Today Levi's "ecosystem view" includes encouraging factories overseas to operate under socially and environmentally responsible conditions by rewarding them with low-cost capital. For that purpose, Levi's and IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank, have launched an innovative supplier finance program on the GT Nexus Commerce Cloud. The program provides financial incentives for garment suppliers in developing countries to upgrade environmental, health and safety and labor standards. On stage at Bridges 2016 in New York, Michael Kobori, Levi Strauss & Co.'s Vice President of Sustainability said: "Sustainability is about more than compliance, it's a competitive advantage for global brands".

Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS Shoes, gave a keynote presentation at the Bridges 2016 conference in New York. Blake is the inventor of the famous One-for-One giving model. For every product his company sells, it gives away a product to a person in need – one for one.

During an inspiring account of what it took to turn his great idea of giving into a profitable business model that made TOMS the global fashion brand that it is today, Mycoskie made clear what critical role the GT Nexus Commerce Cloud has played. "If you don't have the ability to look into your supply chain, then you're going to be at a big disadvantage", Mycoskie said. TOMS has been on GT Nexus for over three years collaborating with its ecosystem of suppliers and allowing the organization to control inventory flows around the world.

Syngenta (Basel, Switzerland)
Marion Matthewman, Global Head of Logistics for Syngenta, explained the agribusiness provider's role in the global food supply chain. Syngenta, she declared, had a mission to feed the world. She went on to explain that a large percentage of the global food supply (60% of the world's tomatoes, for example) derive from the Syngenta supply chain ecosystem that touches some 8 million large scale farms and 450 million smallholder farms around the world. 60% of the world's food wouldn't be possible without crop protection and collaboration with farmers.

The GT Nexus Commerce Cloud connects Syngenta to their global ecoystem of partners, enabling them to collect, centralize, and analyse all information around shipments, inventory and trading partners. Data is collected and turned it into actionable intelligence right on the platform. Network-wide visibility improves both the accuracy and velocity of decisions as well as the collaboration between ecosystem partners.

These examples make it clear that the future belongs to companies able to marry their own processes and visibility to those beyond their own four walls, creating a network for success.

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