Microsoft uses data to overcome COVID-19 supply chain disruptions

The pandemic has sent the global economy into a frenzy. Businesses needed to move fast.

Microsoft depends on its consumer product supply chains to do business. So when the pandemic hit and the ensuing disruption hit businesses around the world, the company had to act quickly.

“Data is key, and I have a philosophy which is to run your business by facts and figures,” said Jonathan Allen (pictured, right), director of global network modeling, design and planning at Microsoft. “It’s about how we take our physical supply chain and digitize it to have a digital mapping and duplicating what is happening physically digitally throughout the supply chain.

Allen and Cassie Wang (pictured, left), senior design and global network model engineer at Microsoft, spoke to industry analyst theCUBE Lisa Martin during the Coupa Inspire Event, an exclusive broadcast on theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s live streaming studio. They discussed Microsoft’s approach to revitalizing its supply chain and how Coupa Software Inc. has helped. (*Disclosure below.)

How Coupa fits into the equation

While most of Microsoft’s fame comes from the software side of its business, the company also offers a host of hardware products in its global marketplace: primarily within its Xbox and Surface product ecosystems. With a complex supply chain spanning distributors, retailers and direct-to-consumer sales, the company needed to design an efficient network that could support all of its products, customers, delivery channels and seasonal changes in demand, according to Allen.

Microsoft has never hesitated to turn to external tools to improve the delivery of its customer service. And the company relied on Coupa’s suite of products to better digitize its supply chain and make critical data more actionable.

“TThe main thing we take from Coupa is the data guru and also the supply chain guru. So Data Guru has really allowed us to have people who do not have have extensive experience in data manipulation. They can use it, very directly, working on the data,” Wang explained.

Going forward, Microsoft plans to balance its goals by focusing on both sustainability and technology, which are a priority for the company over the next decade, according to Wang.

“How to take advantage of apps, tools, advanced technologies for us to achieve a sweet balance between sustainability and technology, the supply chain? she concludes.

Here’s the full video interview, some of SiliconANGLE and theCUBE’s coverage of the Coupa Inspire Event.

(*Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the Coupa Inspire event. Neither Coupa Software Inc., the sponsor of theCUBE event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over theCUBE content or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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