Supply chain event management or supply chain network systems are a new class of solutions designed to monitor, notify, analyze, measure, and control business process and execution types of activities. These systems take advantage of new architectural principles brought about by several forces: high-availability, publish and subscribe architectures; tools like Java; the maturity of artificial intelligence rule-based programming capabilities; emerging agent technologies; as well as web architectures and standards (such as SOAP and XML). These solutions allow not only open, real-time views into global information, but also the ability to pinpoint and drill into key information, sensing deviations in business plans versus execution expectations (unplanned events).
The network solutions today are the beginning of a fundamental rethinking of how software is developed, deployed, and used. There is a reason that major ERP firms are grappling with these new architectures and developing on these technologies platforms. They provide more responsiveness and ultimately a lower cost of ownership. They have the ability to allow virtual business models to operate in highly visible modes. As these solutions have been developed and rolled-out in this early market, vendors have developed a level of functional expertise, which focuses on logistics, supplier relationship management, and production management. In addition, these solutions can be purely collaborative inter-enterprise solutions, linking trading partners to operate policy and process activities over the Internet.
Another alternative is an internal architecture, which must also support execution-level activities. Interestingly, these solutions can not only perform execution-level support, but also perform next generation business intelligence application capabilities by providing real-time reporting and analytics.