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Need for supply chain management services is growing

New IDC report maps out the competitive landscape.

To stay alive and competitive, organizations will increasingly face the need to integrate their supply chains, according to International Data Corp. (IDC), Framingham, Mass. As a result, supply chain management (SCM), which used to be an optional way for companies to improve their performance, is now becoming mandatory at many companies.

"In the past, supply chain management projects were undertaken by companies that wanted to differentiate themselves in the marketplace and achieve operational excellence," said Nelly Zaharinov, senior research analyst with IDC's Supply Chain Services research program. "Today, however, these projects are becoming a necessity for many of the big, middle-market and dot- com organizations due to their growing need for collaboration and integration."

SCM is the continuous process of integrating suppliers and trading partners into an organization's operations to optimize resources and streamline the flow of information, goods, and services from the point of origination to the point of sale. According to IDC, current market conditions are creating lucrative opportunities for firms that provide supply chain consulting, implementation, operations management, training support, and e-supply chain services.

"The increasing complexity and variety of the available software solutions, the demands of the new e-business paradigm, and the need for ever-shortening implementation time frames are just some of the factors causing companies to seek the help of supply chain management service vendors in strategizing, planning, enhancing, integrating, and even managing their supply chains," Zaharinov said.

Players from a variety of backgrounds are all vying to get in on the SCM opportunity, including consulting firms, systems integrators, systems vendors, and business process outsourcers.

"The supply chain management market is emerging as one of the most important opportunities for service providers to capture the increasingly important business-to-business projects that will enable both new and old economy firms with advanced Web-based supply chain capability," Zaharinov said.

About the report

IDC's new report, "Supply Chain Innovators: Market Analysis and Competitive Review of the Top 10 Service Providers" (IDC #B22123), analyzes the supply chain services market and the Internet's impact on it. The report discusses opportunities and challenges facing vendors that deliver consulting, implementations, operations management, training, support, and e-supply chain services. It includes recommendations for vendors and end users positioning and deploying supply chain service initiatives. The report also outlines the leading vendors' strategies, portfolio offerings, and delivery models, and profiles Andersen Consulting, Arthur Andersen, Cap Gemini, CSC, Deloitte Consulting, EDS, Ernst & Young, IBM Global Services, KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

To order a copy of the report, contact Cheryl Toffel at 800-343-4952, ext. 4389, or at

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