No matter the industry, digital business networks are transforming the way organizations work. Connecting people, processes, and systems across multiple enterprises, solutions such as SAP Business Network help automate transactions and create transparent, resilient, and sustainable supply chains.
But if an organization operates in a regulated environment, it may face considerable obstacles in establishing these digital business networks. When organizations are involved in the purchasing and manufacturing of goods related to national security or provide services to local constituents, they have heightened security constraints that can make digital connections with third parties problematic.
Despite this need for extra security, their objectives are similar to commercial organizations. They need to achieve closer connectedness with external supply chain partners to help ensure smooth product supply.
Adhering to Stringent Security Standards
Organizations handling highly classified information, such as aerospace and defense companies, must comply with cloud security directives such as International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 800-53 regulations. These directives set out stringent security standards for the hosting and support of digital business networks, as well as robust rules for managing access to sensitive data.
However, with security requirements set so high, regulated organizations often fail to establish a digital business network at all. And without one, they must instead adopt a far less efficient point-to-point approach involving e-mails, phone calls, and numerous spreadsheets for communicating with business partners and suppliers.
Missing Out on Effective Supplier Collaboration
Without the ability for all parties, whether internal or external to the organization, to see real-time information stored in one location, effective collaboration is a challenge – to put it mildly. A lack of integration and transparency makes processes slow and cumbersome. What employees using a digital business network can achieve in hours can take days or weeks if they must make phone calls or send e-mails to request information or initiate a task. The result is a fundamental inability to execute tasks accurately and quickly. And this leads to all the things that supply chain professionals work diligently to avoid: stockout situations on materials they need, overstock on materials they don’t need, poor customer service, and higher supply chain costs.
The COVID-19 pandemic created a long-lasting effect on supply chain processes, and many organizations are still impacted today. Collaboration and resiliency across an enterprise are key to remaining proactive in unprecedented situations that could result in lasting negative effects to an organization.
How Can SAP Help?
Established to help protect the mission-critical operations of highly regulated organizations, SAP National Security Services (SAP NS2) can enable customers, such as security contractors and government and defense agencies, to run SAP applications without sacrificing security. By deploying SAP Business Network through SAP NS2, organizations can benefit from the capabilities of SAP’s commercial offering for SAP Business Network while remaining protected by the required U.S. security regulations. The SAP NS2 sovereign deployment model uses U.S.-based support teams to help control how SAP Business Network is governed and how its data is secured.
In addition to the SAP NS2 Secure Data Cloud service, access to SAP’s vast network of trading partners can help organizations connect new suppliers and expand their supply chain operations. Organizations can connect with supply chain partners digitally to break down siloed business processes and eliminate data visibility barriers. As a result, they can make decisions in real time, providing transparency to all those that need to know what’s happening and why. Through the shared visibility of critical business information, organizations can quickly adapt to change, drive reliable and resilient product flow across their supply chain, and ensure high customer service and on-time delivery of goods and services.
Visit us online to find out more about how you can deploy SAP Business Network.
Lillian Chang is senior vice president at SAP National Security Services (SAP NS2).