The AI Revolution: Enable a smarter business network


The AI Revolution

5 min read

A critical task of business and IT leadership is understanding how emerging technologies will impact your business and industry.

Some technologies cause ripples and others cause waves of progress and disruption. Today, we see a surge of innovative and potentially disruptive technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Technology leaders and analysts point to AI as perhaps the most transformative of our era.

Digital capability, with cognitive enablement as a key element, is already defining the competitive edge.1

Pew Research Center predicts that “By 2025, artificial intelligence will be built into the algorithmic architecture of countless functions of business and communication, increasing relevance, reducing noise, increasing efficiency and reducing risk across everything from finding information to making transactions.”

TechRepublic concurs, noting that technology and economics are aligning in a way that puts us at “a tipping point after which the use of artificial intelligence will become commonplace.”

That tipping point is approaching quickly. In a recent survey for IBM, over half of supply chain professionals said they believe their organization lacks visibility. Over a third (35%) of respondents believe that AI is the technology to help them improve supply chain visibility for faster and more informed decisions.2


Technology that ‘thinks’

4 min read

AI technologies like IBM Watson can understand, reason, learn and interact with enormous speed and scale.

AI-enabled systems use natural language processing and machine learning to absorb and analyze all forms of data – including structured and unstructured, internal and external. As these systems continue to learn about that data and related subjects and processes, they get “smarter,” delivering greater value.


AI-powered systems understand imagery, language and other unstructured data like humans do.


They can reason, grasp underlying concepts, form hypotheses, and infer and extract ideas.


With each data point, interaction and outcome, they develop and sharpen expertise, so they never stop learning.


With abilities to see, talk and hear, AI-powered systems interact with humans in a natural way.

According to Wired magazine, “In simple terms, machine learning is a branch of the larger discipline of artificial intelligence, which involves the design and construction of computer applications or systems that are able to learn based on their data inputs and/or outputs. Basically, a machine learning system learns by experience. The discipline of machine learning also incorporates other data analysis disciplines, ranging from predictive analytics and data mining to pattern recognition.”

AI technologies drive business value by:

  • Accelerating data processing and analysis
  • Speeding and simplifying business processes
  • Unlocking new insights, in context
  • Enabling better, faster decision making
  • Delivering highly optimized outcomes
  • Detecting anomalies, proactively

Analysts advise CIOs and IT leaders to start thinking now about how AI technology can drive significant value for their organization.


Modernizing B2B networks with AI

4 min read

Globalization. Digitalization. The accelerating pace of business driven by heightened customer expectations. The environment your business operates in is changing...

The environment your business operates in is changing - and the need for IT and B2B agility is rising. What capabilities does your B2B network need to meet the challenge?

“Gone are the days when enterprises could maintain competitive positioning and meet customer expectations with a ‘good enough’ approach to B2B integration.”
— Saurabh Sharma, Principal Analyst, Ovum

AI technology's ability to understand, correlate and collate the digital transactional data that you exchange with third-party partners provides new levels of visibility and insight into transactional intelligence. You can search and view the entire lifecycle of a transaction in real-time and in context - and drill down to see the details of a specific transaction.

Correlate data across dozens of data points for each transaction to enable deep visibility into business transactions. You can gain insights across the entire order-to-cash or procure-to-pay cycle, down to the underlying order, shipment and receipt details.

Access to this level of data and transactional visibility enables users to monitor transactions and performance against KPls and other internal benchmarks. Critical information can also be mined and used to improve customer service and partner engagement.

AI monitors day-to-day document trends between you and your trading partners. When it discovers an anomaly, it provides an early warning signal so you can investigate and proactively address the problem, before it impacts your business. It works behind the scenes, tracking the contents of EDI-based supply chain documents and learning what is typical activity across document volume, velocity, and value patterns so it can identify anomalies.

A masked woman works at a computer

The value of AI-enabled transactional intelligence

Improve productivity with AI

  1. Enable business users to self-serve the information they need, using natural language search
  2. Deepen visibility in real-time and in context across your B2B transaction lifecycles

Quickly react to B2B transaction anomalies

  1. Leverage AI machine learning, pattern detection, and data science expertise
  2. Detect and flag anomalies in volume, velocity, and value patterns

Empower supply chain and other LOB users

How much time does your IT staff spend responding to questions from line-of-business (LOB) users about the status of a transaction or order and related customer service issues? How many hundreds of IT hours are spent annually answering the question "where is my order?" How satisfied are LOB users with the level of service you are able to provide?

A Vanson Bourne survey of more than 600 IT and business professionals across the globe reported that participants spent on average 80 minutes to find the status of a B2B document.3

B2B and EDI networks are essential, but companies struggle to maximize value from the data they contain. AI-enabled networks allow IT to transform the wealth of data and information in these systems into analytics and intelligence that LOB and supply chain users and executives can use to improve performance.

The transactional intelligence and correlation of data and documents makes accessing information significantly easier and faster. When combined with AI’s natural language search and expert guidance, accessing information from a complex set of systems and partners is user-friendly.

LOB executives and users can search and answer their own B2B transactional questions. This searchability allows IT to spend less time responding to queries from users and more time on higher-level tasks.


Building a better business network

5 min read

AI technologies process large amounts of data at tremendous scale and speed, analyzing, under- standing and correlating that data from across systems and processes.

These capabilities modernize your business network, making it faster and more efficient, speeding transactions, information flows, sharing, and onboarding of suppliers and partners.

With AI, you can improve supplier and partner collaboration and interaction to build frictionless, productive and advantageous business relationships.

Every company is on a B2B journey. Where are you?

IBM can help you on your B2B journey as you build a business network for the future.

IBM Sterling Supply Chain Business Network establishes and leverages digital connections with all your suppliers and partners. It automates, digitizes and correlates all B2B data and documents to deliver deep search and new levels of visibility into the B2B transaction lifecycle and partner performance.

With IBM Sterling Supply Chain Business Network, you can search and view your entire business transaction landscape. Your business users have the real-time information and intelligence they need to improve processes, make better decisions and optimize outcomes.

Users can apply AI and natural language search to see a transaction's entire life cycle in real time and context — or drill down to granular details of a specific transaction.  If something is out of range, anomaly detection alerts your team before a supply chain disruption occurs. multi-enterprise edition

IBM Sterling

IBM Sterling Supply Chain Suite optimizes the supply chain organization’s existing systems and capabilities to provide greater visibility, transparency, and insight into supply chain data and processes. IBM Sterling Supply Chain Suite embeds robust AI capabilities and optimizes digital connections with partners to empower organizations to predict and mitigate disruptions and risks better, as well as drive collaboration and innovation, while reducing costs.

Discover how AI can deliver deep search and visibility into B2B transaction lifecycles and gain the insights needed to make faster and more informed decisions.

1 The Path to a Thinking Supply Chain, IDC, August 2020
2 IBM Supply Chain Data Report, Vanson Bourne, November 2019
3 IBM Supply Chain Data Report, Vanson Bourne, November 2019