Whether using ERP systems and trying to integrate with small to medium business financial or lifecycle solutions, an enterprise should not be in a position where they risk financial or security losses, but instead should be able to connect to anything, anywhere and at any time.
Literally since the initial adoption of technological information systems, companies of all sizes have grown a (sometimes unknowingly) technological debt through the requirement and expectation to have to migrate to newer platforms in order to continue growth and competition. With companies nowadays embracing contractors and partners as part of their supply chain and lifecycle management, there is also a continued requirement to support a growing number of external technological applications, whether via various exposed APIs, or shortfalls in security appliances.
With modern cyber security and technological warfare, enterprises are no longer just creating further technological debt, but also creating more attack vectors, opening them to large scale embarrassment and potential criminal activity.
In the ideal world, a company should not have to be concerned with regards to connectivity issues or attack vectors and should be able to utilise current information systems in order to expand their partner / supplier base without the high costs involved in a new IT rollout project. Whether using ERP systems and trying to integrate with small to medium business financial or lifecycle solutions, an enterprise should not be in a position where they risk financial or security losses, but instead should be able to connect to anything, anywhere and at any time.
In practice, most technologists would say this is almost impossible, but EyA’s unique internet operating system as a full stack of technology layers has broken the impossible and is allowing companies to win the game against technological debt and connectivity.
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With current technological implementations, it is extremely hard for businesses to connect efficiently and without increasing attack vectors within any part of the interconnectivity of multiple companies. With a vast number of different information system platforms, the problem increases exponentially. Either enterprises are forced to support many different solutions, or suppliers to the enterprise are required to use exposed solutions, adding to their internal administrative loads. For instance, a successful, established elevator company in the UK must use a number of enterprise portals, manually entering information from their internal systems onto each different client’s portals. The allocation of two full time staff is required for this task alone.
Added to the administrative load, enterprises and their entire ecosystem of supply chain and lifecycle management are haemorrhaging valuable data which could easily decrease operational costs through the entire supply chain and even facilities / project management through the poor interoperability of data exchange.
Enterprises are now faced with an ever-increasing requirement to reduce costs, reduce emissions and increase efficiency, all whilst trying to “glue” together disparate systems.
The above diagram depicts the typical situation within a supply chain where, even with a small number of participants, communications are lost through unlinked data exchange. Both the supplier and contractor here are required to manually transfer information from their data stores into the web portal provided by their client. Mistakes and very likely, lack of data tables and fields will lead to information being missed out and the supplier will be required to receive orders through the enterprise portal and complete with a delay between supply and invoice. A great deal of product information may be lost in translation and transactions slowed down through the lack of connectivity.
Added to this, the supplier(s) to the supplier / contractor and even communication between the original supplier, contractor and further supplier and the web of information loss, uncertainty and very likely mistakes in the supply process lead to delays, financial loss, pressure on staff and ultimately, the complete breakdown in confidence within the entire supply chain itself.
In an attempt to increase efficiency and reduce data exchange errors, the enterprise with their suppliers may agree on linking the individual and often completely different information systems together using APIs, connectors and / or developing crude connectivity patches to attempt to create some form of inter connectivity. During the process, it is often required for all participants within the matrix to open up “holes” in their security. At this point all within the supply chain have added requirements of trust of the enterprise (and the enterprise of them) on insider threat, up to date security and software patching and upgrades to software not breaking the links between the solutions.
Even in this situation, there is still a lack of supplier-to-supplier connectivity and supplier to contractor connectivity. With this in mind, the further challenge would be to link all participants in a complex matrix, which exponentially increases risk, costs and trust issues within the entire chain. With very simple mistakes, any one of the supply chains may leak or penetrate into data which they were not entitled to or an attacker may be able to access the entire data within the chain through attacking the weakest participant within it.
Finally, there would be very likely the situation where it is not possible to connect various parties within the supply chain due to legacy or simply no budget from the supplier to be able to develop their solution to connect into the matrix. Those suppliers may be forced to use the web portal, or even dropped from the supply chain through non-conformance.
The above diagram depicts a potential disaster situation, with only one more enterprise client included within the matrix. In the above, we demonstrate the further connectivity between suppliers to each other and the contractor, along with those connecting to the second enterprise.
The non-conforming suppliers in the top right are now in a position where they are forced to use a second portal to manually transfer / input information, increasing the requirement on labour within their companies. However, the matrix of connected partners has become extremely complicated with further holes opened in security and ultimately, the huge increase in attack vector footprint opportunities for hackers. Within this matrix, the large red connecting arrow between the two enterprises should not be there. Unfortunately, with the complexity of the matrix and connectivity, there will always be the chance of two competing enterprises unknowingly transferring intellectual property to the other party.
In summary, the current solutions available to every type of supply chain or lifecycle management are not viable unless constricted to a very small number of participants, or the forcing of suppliers to utilise web portals or apps to support their client(s).
Within the multiple technology layers of the EyA platform lays our common modelling language, which acts as a translator between any form of information system(s) in the world. Direct connections within the entire supply chain are not required and only that information which is permitted will ever be exchanged within the matrix, no matter how large and complex it may be.
Information systems of any size, from a simple mobile app, WordPress e-commerce or basic financial system, through to the gigantic enterprise information systems can communicate with ease through the translation of mapped objects to their developed common language template within EyA. Whether using an enterprise cluster of EyA nodes, or a micro node in the EyA cloud, costs are reduced exponentially, and efficiency increases to surpass all expectations of all participants.
Simple connectors are setup between any of the information systems and their EyA node, which can accept any form of data or media. Whether a company chooses to distribute their entire data onto their node(s), or a subset of bidirectional data from their information systems to their node, the choices are completely flexible and can be changed dynamically at any given point in time.
The above diagram depicts the previously complex matrix but transformed into the EyA platform. Within this, we have shown each enterprise having their own EyA node(s) within their data centre. Whether this be on premise, or cloud does not matter. We have also shown each of the suppliers connected through micro nodes within the EyA cloud, demonstrating the ease of adoption and cost-effective connection for even the smallest of businesses.
From the diagram above, it is easy to see that the enterprise in this situation can connect one or more of their internal information systems through object connectors to the subscribed template. Each department can subscribe to any number of parameters within the template and data exchange in any direction is then possible. Field names do not need to match the parameter in the template, and conversion of data types is taken care of in real-time through the object connector(s).
Suppliers and contractors can also, when permissioned, connect to the template and its associated assets, whether it be all information, or a small subset. All parties are then able to exchange granular information about any given asset created from a template and transfer ownership between suppliers and clients with a simple, atomic transaction. All parties do not need to worry about security or history as the information stored within the node(s) is immutable and ledgered, so all history is available for ultra-fast SQL type querying.
Through utilising software connectors and subscribing to templates developed by any party within the matrix (usually the client in this situation), the flow of data and ultimately the supply chain flow is instantaneous and leveraging EyA’s underlying Corda DLT, transactions are atomic and permissions granular, making on and off boarding of suppliers / contractors instant.
With the supply chain efficiency increased and very little requirement on expense to adopt EyA into any organisation, organisations are no longer faced with the technological debt when usually forced to traverse to new solutions to embrace their supply chain.
Additionally with the increased reliability of high-quality data entering all participants within the supply chain and the vastly decreased administrative footprint, the matrix allows for huge operational cost reduction for all within it.
All participants are able to consider their data as a key part of their operation, with cross sector pollination of data and the EyA Envision federated machine learning solution, deliver the highest quality analytics of data whilst preserving privacy for all within the chain.