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Transforming Business Operations Leveraging Latest Microsoft Technologies, BizTalk & Azure Logic Apps
A leading supply chain management solutions company migrates to SharePoint online portal and automates the task of Freight Forwarding & Distributions for a better user experience.
The client is a leading supply chain management company delivering its customers a unique combination of global logistics, packaging optimization and materials sourcing solutions. It offers services of materials that optimize the supply of a product, packaging that can optimize the effectiveness of the product promotion and logistics that makes it a truly unique provider of supply chain management solutions.
The client decided to go on to SharePoint online rather than upgrading the on-premise version ad to leverage the PowerApps feature of Office 365.
The major challenges involved in the migration to share point online were to redesign the existing process that was based on the legacy system into Office 365. There was a need to migrate data from multiple locations such as SharePoint On-Premise, file servers, shared drives, etc. In addition, the client mainly dealt with material sourcing, global logistics and packaging optimization, hence the solution aimed to be delivered in an efficient way and to enhance performance. The processes were needed to be automated.
On the other hand, the challenges involved in Freight Forwarding and Distributions were:
Paperwork and manual process for the creation of shipments, sending shipment statuses, invoicing, etc. in SCM Application.
In order to expand the customer base system, need to Integrate with new trading partners who were using the standard and custom EDI (X12, EDIFACT) formats which is the most widely used standard in B2B scenarios.
A lot of customization was required to be done in order to create custom complex schemas (Flat File and XML) using the sample files provided by the external Partners, which was time taking and not efficient and easy to maintain in case of any changes.
Processing of different Excel Templates with custom .NET code in runtime.
For many trading partners based on business requirements, multiple output files must be produced against the received Source File which was quite a complex process.
It is vital for a supply chain management organization to keep up with the changing dynamics in the global economy and pioneer with solutions that innovate, optimize costs, and improve the profitability of the business. The client being a leader in supply chain solution provider sought a technology partner that would combine the best practices with the latest technology to provide comprehensive supply chain services to transform the operations and provide excellent services to their customers.
The two major objectives were:
Migration to SharePoint Online Portal:
Migration from SharePoint On-premise to SharePoint Online, making it a more feature-rich and modern look and feel.
To make the online portal mobile-friendly comprising of graphical reports & dashboards.
Development of Mobile Apps.
Automation of manual processes.
Management of Freight Forwarding & Distributions:
To automate the task of managing the supply chain using BizTalk.
A generic framework for all end users that can be deployed at various environments that communicates with customers, vendors, partners, and suppliers.
The Solution implemented for Migration to share point online portal:
JK Tech as solution partner successfully migrated from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint Online making it feature-rich and adding functionalities like SharePoint online modern sites and creating SharePoint Framework web parts for custom functionalities. The mobile app for “Travel expense approval”, “Wire transfer request” & many others were developed using Power Apps. SharePoint was made more user-friendly and provided with a detailed report comprising of PowerBI reports & dashboards. The approvers now could take action using a desktop or mobile device. There were customized themes for different department sites. The mobile app’s users can access mobile apps using any device to submit different approvals requests.
In addition, the manual process to upload the files in the SCM application was automated using Microsoft Flow, and integration was done with other applications.
Fig 1: Migration to SharePoint Online
The Solution implemented for the management of Freight Forwarding & Distributions:
The management of freight forwarding and distribution required synchronization of demand and supply and creating a robust system for efficient delivery of goods.
JK Tech implemented an automation framework using BizTalk and Azure Logic Apps that could handle all the message transactions between the client’s application and Trading Partners. The app configured client data format along with the source, destination, parties and agreements. In addition, a customized and standardized EDI solution was being used for multiple trading partners. The communication was made possible for different Trading Partners. The status of the transaction was recorded properly and in case of failure, the reason was also stated. By the Implementation of Azure Cloud Logic Apps, the client developed a capability of public and private API Service Offerings to its existing and new trading partners.
Migration to Azure cloud enhanced the capabilities of business users and product owners by providing a real-time view of transactions by integrating with Power BI Dashboard. In addition, using Microsoft Power Automate a process was built, which gave users the capability to re-process any required transactions. Any required failure notification alert was being notified to the Microsoft Teams channel and routed to the Support Portal for immediate action without much delay.
Fig 2: Freight Forwarding Workflow using Biztalk and Azure Logic Apps (Process Flow Showing ANSI X12 standards for EDI and REST/JSON API)
Fig 3: Integration Process flow (Using Azure Logic)
The overall increase in efficiency was up to 30-40 percent, post implementing the solution.
The solution provided was flexible and competent as it was based on the latest Microsoft technologies like SharePoint Online, PowerApps Flow.
The migration process (from OnPrem To Cloud) is proving to be very cost-effective, scalable and is capable to generate reports timely to the business.
The share point online portal was now mobile-friendly and available with a more comprehensible view for both desktop & mobile devices.
Using BizTalk Integration lot of paperwork processes communication was now done electronically, therefore saving a huge cost both in terms of time and resources and proved to be very efficient and reliable.
Integrating PowerBI with Logic App (Streaming Services) has again saved huge costs to the client in terms of resources and time. (Initially, the developer had to write custom SQL to pull out the required reports requiring a lot of time).
The PowerBI provided with a graphical representation of data for easy understanding.
The solution was compliant with the quality standard and was customized to cater to the client’s needs, hence enhancing customer satisfaction.
Public API Service Offerings enhanced business capabilities.
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