Microsoft launched the preview of Supply Chain Center, a new solution for predicting and solving supply chain issues.

Microsoft develops several solutions for logistics, including product procurement and inventory management. Most solutions are housed in Microsoft Dynamics 365, its ERP and CRM portfolio.

Despite the centralized portfolio, Microsoft finds the offering fragmented. Organizations often streamline supply chains with tools from several vendors. Dynamics 365, for example, is regularly used in conjunction with solutions from SAP and Oracle.

Microsoft argues that the lack of data flows between solutions is problematic. According to the tech giant, supply chain issues are increasingly frequent and complex. Organizations need to connect all relevant systems and data to timely predict and solve problems.

Hence, Microsoft launched the Supply Chain Center preview. First, the solution helps users integrate data from various ERP systems. Second, the solution provides multiple modules for predicting and preventing supply chain issues.

Microsoft Supply Chain Center

During the announcement, Microsoft shed light on two of the modules. ‘Supply and demand insights’ predicts supply shortages; ‘order management’ predicts product demand. Organizations can automate procurement and deliveries based on the predictions.

Both modules use data related to logistics, including inventory, procurement and sales. The more relevant data an organization inputs, the more accurate the forecasts are. The Data Manager tool, part of the Supply Chain Center, helps organizations integrate data from third-party solutions.

Modules from partners

The offering of modules promises to expand over time. Microsoft allows partners to provide custom modules in the Supply Chain Center. One of the partners is Overhaul, the developer of a software solution that predicts issues in freighter deliveries. The software is one of the partner modules made available in the Supply Chain Center.

When integrating a data source with the Supply Chain Center, the data is available to every module in the offering. In that respect, integrations are a long-term investment. Organizations that integrate their data can quickly get existing and future modules up and running.

Microsoft and Databricks

Microsoft’s approach is similar to Databricks. In recent months, Databricks launched several industry-specific analytics solutions, including Databricks Lakehouse for Retail. The solution provides access to several third-party tools that predict supply and demand.

Like Microsoft’s modules, Databricks’ tools rely on logistics data. Users integrate their data into a central environment dubbed ‘Lakehouse’. Once you a data stream is integrated, the data is usable by the analytics tools of Databricks’ various partners.

Databricks calls the tools ‘accelerators’ while Microsoft sticks to ‘modules’. Databricks stores data in a ‘Lakehouse’ while Microsoft calls the environment ‘Dataverse’. The descriptions differ, but the solutions are similar.