What CIOs, CDOs And CTOs Need To Know About Supply Chain Resilience

Daniel Riedel is SVP, Strategic Services for Copado, where he is responsible for delivering DevSecOps capabilities to enterprise customers.

We have heard it on the news, we’ve felt it in the pocketbook, we’ve seen it at the stores and we’ve experienced the delays in ordering everything from laptops to cars: Our global supply chain is in complete disarray.

To be able to address these challenges, it will be critical for organizations to have better visibility and observability of their supply chains. That visibility will come from digital transformation initiatives, which is still a critical challenge that most organizations haven’t solved. It always comes down to the data, which is not easy to get to. When dealing with global supply chains, the sheer complexity of so many third-party organizations, which each have their own digital transformation challenges, makes observability a hard problem to solve.

These cracks throughout the system have shown how fragile our global supply chain has become. Only 20% of enterprises are able to fully view and observe their supply chains—effectively making them blind. With so much at stake, and so much opportunity for improvement, it is going to become table stakes to have full visibility to maintain its competitive advantage.

With great challenges come great opportunity.

The supply chain challenge can also be a game-changing opportunity. The challenge comes at a crucial time when we are seeing a recession approach where layoffs have already begun. As a CIO, CDO or CTO, articulating the value of your projects will be under great scrutiny by the CFO. Understanding how you can help the business be more competitive while being more cost-effective will be crucial. Those executives who decide to invest in methodologies and technologies that give them results that create a more profitable company will win.

Complex systems require systematic solutions.

The data being collected is held in many different systems, and much of it is still manually entered and maintained. On average, organizations are paying a million dollars a year, of which $600,000 is just in manually entering invoicing data. Salesforce, ServiceNow, SAP, Microsoft and Oracle all have the ability to manage and track this information and are absolutely providing the capability to do so.

Having each of these systems talk to each other—and be able to adapt to the pace of change that now surrounds digital transformation and supply chain management—is not easy. That’s where the CIO, CDO and CTO have so much value in helping solve these problems.

Data means DevSecOps.

To enable organizations to sustain the frequent releases required to enable supply chain visibility and observability requires DevSecOps. These systems need the resilient management of complex workflows to continuously streamline operations. DevSecOps continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) has decades of methodology and tooling driving software delivery. DevSecOps security and compliance automation are required to protect data and software platforms underpinning the supply chain ecosystem.

One of the most critical pieces of DevSecOps is the testing methodologies that underpin every software release.

Rapidity, agility and speed require testing.

Enterprises have a large mix of data platforms that need to interact and share data. Supply chain visibility adds data from third parties that all operate on an additional mix of platforms. Orchestrating these systems together seamlessly requires not only DevSecOps capabilities and methodologies but strong testing tools that can ensure there is no downtime and the quality of the software releases.

Testing software requires multiple facets, so when it comes to managing testing around enterprise tools such as Salesforce and ServiceNow, end-to-end testing and regression testing are critical.

End-to-end testing and regression testing are critical for supply chain visibility.

End-to-end testing is the process of testing a software environment’s workflow from beginning to end. It is crucial in supply chain visibility because of the heavy reliance on UI and data exchange within the applications and partners. Employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX) will be relying heavily on the interaction to be able to create reliable updates and insights within the supply chain ecosystem. There will be constant updates to multiple systems that can be affected by any aspect of your supply chain ecosystem, and some may not even be controlled by your organization and could be initiated by a vendor or partner. Those effects can have horrific results if not tested for. On the other hand, the speed at which an organization can release dramatically increases when organizations can test the UI.

Regression testing is the full or partial test that ensures that a software release did not have a breaking change. It is different from end-to-end testing as it often tests the component parts of software, as opposed to end-to-end testing. Regression testing is crucial to give an organization confidence that a release will not break any part of the software platform. These breaks also cause potential downtime or errors that can be expensive.

Testing needs to be automated to provide maximum gains.

Organizations and systems integrators that manage enterprise software platforms rely on manual QA processes to provide a lot of these testing capabilities. Systems today have become too large and too complex, and manual testing is cumbersome, expensive, and can not keep pace with the changes in the industry. With regression and end-to-end testing powered by AI and robotic frameworks, that manual effort can be applied to building automated tests that run faster and are more consistent. The automated tests build a much better ecosystem for delivering quality software to support supply chain functions.

Supply chain issues will continue to be a significant challenge for the global economy. Organizations that build out visibility and observability capabilities in their enterprise platforms will have an advantage over others. DevSecOps and testing are the most important tools when it comes to supporting the CX, EX and data environments that underpin supply chain visibility. These tools will help improve the ability to manage the global supply chain challenges that will be here for years to come.

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