What’s 7bridges all about - your questions answered

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4 Minutes Read


Earlier this month, our Solutions Engineer, Cory Haley, and Bobby Boehm, of consultancy Professional Supply Chain Resources, came together for a webinar about invoice auditing. At 7bridges, we tend to think of invoice auditing as the first step toward transforming your supply chain. But the questions they received after covered a wide range of topics and we think that the answers can be helpful in understanding both AI and 7bridges a little better.

(Haven't seen the webinar yet? You can check it out On-Demand here.)

Here are the questions we received during the webinar:

 

"What is the difference between programming and AI?"

This question was an interesting one for our speakers to tackle, neither of them being engineers. But Cory gave us a good analogy. Imagine you’re playing a guitar. The frets and the strings are the code. Putting them together, you get chords which are the programme. It’s when you expertly draw the chords together in a harmonious way that you get a song or, in this case, AI. Of course, Bobby made a great point that most supply chain leaders can probably relate to: “I just want it to get done.”

 

"How do you address data quality issues?..."

“More than having data, the data quality is the biggest issue. For example, upstream process and data mismatched from different supply chain entities and not knowing which is to be trusted.”

Everyone comes across data quality issues. It comes from there being so much of it available nowadays. Most of the conversations we start with supply chain leaders starts with that feeling. And we do, naturally, have preferred formats to receive data in. It makes it a smoother process on our end. But we also know that’s not always an option.

One area where we differ is that we can be hands-on in those cases. We’re here to steward the right data onto the platform. We don’t want to import bad data just as much as you don’t want to use it. 

It’s important to not let this be the point at which you hit data overwhelm though, Cory says. Instead, we can work on that data together and bring it into an environment where we can look at it, interrogate it and figure out the best path forward for it.

 

"Who owns the digital twin?"

During the webinar, Cory and Bobby talked about using platforms like 7bridges to create digital twins of your supply chain. This means using data from your supply chain to make a virtual ‘map’ of your network paired with real-time data which you can use to run simulations. Using these simulations isn’t as complicated and science fiction-related as it sounds. Instead, think of them as useful ways to explore how your ideas or decisions can impact your supply chain.

As to who owns these digital twins, the answer is twofold. First, the data is, of course yours. We’ll never stop you from gathering it up and moving it somewhere else. The structure of the digital twin and the AI that makes simulation possible, on the other hand, is all part of the 7bridges platform. That means that it can’t be transferred into other systems. (Though we can always look at integrations if that makes sense for your situation.)

Read more: What is a digital twin for supply chains?

 

"What makes 7bridges different from other invoice auditing options you've seen before?"

Bobby, who we work with through a mutual customer, tackled this question during the webinar. From his perspective, it’s the AI piece that really makes a difference. To paraphrase him, the AI stores the information and capabilities so you can make better decisions going forward. He shares that, while you can still see some returns with typical ‘once-and-done’ audits, the AI gives you more capabilities and better decision making. For example, you can see and analyse trends or alternative lanes.

Read more: How invoice auditing works with 7bridges

 

"If your platform is deployed in an organisation, won't the providers and carriers improve on contract adherence?"

This is actually a question we get a lot in early conversations with businesses. And the answer is pretty simple. They just don’t. With their own heavily entrenched systems and the pain of change being much greater than the pain of staying the same (and eating the cost of mistakes), carriers don’t tend to put effort into improving adherence per customers. There can be a lot more to it and supply chain complexity is no small part of it. But the overall answer is simply that they don’t get better at it, so continually auditing is important. 

 

"What prevents most organisations from getting started with AI?"

According to Bobby, supply chain leaders struggle with the time and resources needed in most situations. He also shares that anytime you say ‘IT-project’, it can lead to feeling overwhelmed and unclear on how to get started.

Cory’s advice? Just get started. You’re sitting on enough information today that, by working with a partner, you can get started on the road to AI right now. What we see get in the way is more about a mindset shift about how to approach it. The way we work starts with the audit process because it doesn’t take a lot of time (think weeks, not months) and it doesn’t need your business’s IT resources. And it also sets your data up in a structured way that makes any future changes much easier.

 

"There are many AI engines out there, are all AI engines basically the same? If not, what is it about 7bridges AI that is different?"

This is the one we didn’t have a chance to answer live.

Here, we need to talk about the difference between AI engines and AI platforms. Google, Microsoft and others have AI engines, true. Those engines are tools used to create AI applications. They’re the building blocks that data and AI engineers wield to create useful AI-driven applications and platforms. 

 

Meanwhile, AI platforms involve the use of machines to perform functions usually reserved for humans. Like checking every invoice that comes in with 7bridges rather than a team of humans. Humans who could, instead, be doing work that machines still aren’t any good at like thinking strategically.

 

7bridges is an AI platform that helps businesses innovate toward smarter supply chains. What our customers do with that is:

  1. Combine their existing data with our real-time data network and resources and then
  2. Use the AI that our skillful team of engineers created to test out theories, explore new options, catch mistakes early and make the best decisions possible.

 

You can think of our AI as a sidekick or an assistant almost. Let humans think big picture and AI can figure out the details of making it work.

 



Do you have questions you haven’t seen the answer to? Send them our way. We’re always happy to talk about smarter supply chains.


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