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Ty Bordner
Vice President,
Solutions Consulting
Amber Road

Supply Chain Comment

Ty Bordner, Vice President of Solutions Consulting, has over 19 years of experience in the Global Trade Management software market. At Amber Road, he is responsible for customer and prospect focused solution creation.

Prior to joining Amber Road, Ty spent 10 years with JPMorgan Chase Vastera in various leadership roles, including oversight for Engineering, Solutions Consulting and Product Management. During his tenure he helped manage the company through multiple growth stages from startup, through IPO, to achieving annual revenues in excess of $80 million. Prior to joining Vastera, Ty worked for GXS (formerly GE Information Services).

Ty holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Longwood University, and a master's degree in computer science from Johns Hopkins University.

March 24 , 2016

Software Configurability Underpins Global Supply Chain Performance

Configurability Becomes More Important as Business Users Require More Control Over how to Access and Interact With a Variety of Software Systems


Let’s talk about software configurability.  What is it really?  Why is it important?  How does it impact supply chain operations? Or, is it important at all?

No matter what we do for a living, it is a safe bet to say that we all interact with software on a daily basis.  It could be the software that controls your passenger side mirror in the car, your smart phone operating system or your supply chain software that makes optimal sourcing decisions.

Bordner Says...

The goal of these applications is to help diverse companies manage their businesses across the world, and the volume and complexity of the requirements is high.

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If software is to be written to perform a very specific function, like controlling the passenger side mirror on your car, it does not require much configurability.  On the other hand, our smart phones need a high degree of configurability where users can easily make adjustments when desired; whether for changing the power settings, switching to airplane mode, or downloading a new app on your mobile device.  Can you imagine if you needed to send your iPhone back to Apple to have it customized to install a new app?   That just wouldn’t work in today’s world where consumers view configurability as paramount for a smartphone.

As we move up the software food chain into the world of enterprise applications, like Supply Chain Management (SCM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Resource Management (CRM), or Global Trade Management (GTM) applications, configurability becomes even more important as business users require more control over how to access and interact with a variety of software systems.  

In a perfect world, your SCM or other application would fit the needs of your business perfectly in a so called “out-of-the-box” fashion.   But, because the goal of these applications is to help diverse companies manage their businesses across the world, the volume and complexity of the requirements is high.  It really is not possible to design an enterprise application that solves all possible needs for all companies in a given market.

Many people reference the cloud based Salesforce.com application as the gold standard for configurability in the CRM market.  Salesforce.com provides the ability to quickly add new fields, create new reports and easily integrate with other applications.  The fact that they have provided this flexible architecture as part of a cloud based application is impressive and has clearly contributed to the rapid growth of the company.   

However, the level of complexity increases substantially when you move out of the CRM realm and into the area of SCM or GTM.  In these worlds, entities such as purchase orders, shipments, sales orders, customers, suppliers, export transactions, import entries, bills of material, and many more must be managed.  It is easy to see that the level of complexity and consequently the number of business requirements can grow exponentially; thus requiring a higher degree of configurability within the software solution. This degree of configurability allows companies and their users to easily adapt the software to their specific supply chain processes rather than having to conform their business processes to the software.  As a result, software configurability positively impacts global supply chain performance by boosting speed to market and improving supply chain adaptability to changing business conditions.  

When evaluating SCM, GTM or other enterprise software, it is unlikely that a software vendor will provide you with a complete solution to solve all your requirements out-of-the-box and is why you should place a high priority on software configurability.   In summary, when making SCM or other software selections, it’s imperative to consider the vendor’s software architecture in support of configurability and how it can provide a foundation for maximizing global supply chain performance, without requiring a software customization - the equivalent of sending your smart phone back to the manufacturer to have a new app installed!  And, who wants that?

To discover more about the benefits Amber Road can bring to your global trade program, please visit www.AmberRoad.com. Ty Bordner can be reached at Solutions@AmberRoad.com.

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