With geopolitical conflict and climate change roiling global shipping corridors from the Suez Canal to Panama and elsewhere, enterprises rely increasingly on cloud-based business networks and artificial intelligence (AI) applications to extend visibility, facilitate collaboration, and ensure they stay one step ahead of the looming threat of disruption.

Meanwhile, as legislation to bolster transparency in supply chains takes hold around the world, the digital platforms through which trading partners carry out interconnected operational processes have become indispensable for managing risk, advancing sustainability objectives, and verifying adherence to ethical business practices – even as volatility in international commerce gathers pace.

After rebounding from several years of logjammed seaports, idled factories, and quarantined workers, many businesses find that though COVID-19 has receded, disruption stubbornly persists. Yet visibility across all aspects of the supply chain – from sourcing raw materials and managing logistics capacity to securing working capital solutions and managing dispersed physical assets – remains paramount in the quest to ensure business continuity, instill operational resilience, and deepen competitive advantage.

SAP Business Network powers transparency, resiliency, and sustainability

To help provide businesses with the 360-degree visibility and collaborative capabilities they require across complex trading relationships, SAP Business Network can connect people, processes, and systems across multiple enterprises to help digitize transactions, harness data-driven insights, and create transparent, resilient, and sustainable supply chains. Through SAP Business Network for Procurement, trading partners can gain process efficiencies, improve supply assurance, and achieve business process and regulatory compliance by increasing operational transparency. With SAP Business Network Supply Chain Collaboration, companies can achieve supply chain visibility by enabling plan-driven automation, optimizing capacity and inventory, and streamlining workflow. Aided by SAP Business Network for Logistics, shippers and carriers can work together in unison, track and trace goods in transit, and achieve transparency throughout the supply chain by optimizing logistics processes, increasing on-time deliveries, and mitigating third-party risk. Relying on SAP Business Network Asset Collaboration, owners, operators, and service providers can strengthen joint processes and the flow of shared information through a single, consistent version of asset master data to help streamline asset maintenance processes and reduce maintenance costs. With the benefit of SAP Business Network for Finance, trading partners can enhance payment security, free up working capital through early-payment discounts, and leverage access to capital bound up in outstanding receivables.

By linking together the routine business processes of trading partners, cloud-based networks establish the breadth of data necessary to apply predictive and generative AI applications to yield meaningful insights and outcomes. Through large language models and other forms of machine learning, cloud-based applications create new content with characteristics resembling that which precedes it. With every successive effort, generative AI sharpens its ability to tailor desired content.

As the world’s largest platform for business-to-business commerce, SAP Business Network can present an ideal setting for generative AI, in that it helps bring together an extremely large volume of trading partners across hundreds of millions of transactions representing US$5.3 trillion in commerce annually. Later this year, generative AI capabilities in SAP Business Network will be able to help detect errors and present automatic summaries when businesses create invoices. AI will also enable the network to help enrich catalog content and discovery posting responses for suppliers.

SAP Business Network has accumulated significant structured content over many years to help generate broad operational insights for trading partners. When buyers, suppliers, carriers, and financing solution providers share operational data with each other in real time, the mutual value they create can be exponential rather than additive, enabling all participants in commerce to plan ahead with confidence, continuity, and enduring resilience.

For further information on SAP Business Network and how we are equipping enterprises large and small with the digital tools needed to counter disruption, visit sap.com/businessnetwork.

Jörn Keller is executive vice president and chief product officer of SAP Business Network.

Stay in touch and follow SAP News on LinkedIn