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University Alliances (UA) Research spotlights researcher, Suparna Goswami from Technische Universität München (TUM).

The goal of this series is largely consistent with the goal of the UA Spotlight Series, to exchange insights with UA professors, students, researchers and others goswami_photo.JPGlinked to Universities from around the world. Here we focus on researchers and their experience.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am originally from India and moved to Germany about three years ago. Here, I work as a research group leader in the Chair for Information Systems in Technische Universität München (TUM). I previously lived in Singapore, where I did my PhD from the National University of Singapore. Before embarking on an academic career, I worked for four years as a Consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM Global Consulting.

I enjoy travelling, especially to places that have a historical background. Therefore, living in Munich is particularly advantageous, as many attractive travel destinations are just a short plane ride away. Also, Munich itself is a very nice city and offers many possibilities in times of free-time activities.

Share a bit about your SAP and UA Research background.

I have been active in the UA Research since 2009, when I joined the CVLBA (Center for Very Large Business Applications) Munich. My research focuses on how information systems and applications can help in supply chain management. In this context, the various SAP applications for Purchasing, Planning and Optimization and SCM are particularly relevant to my research for understanding the kind of integration that these systems make possible between a firm and its supplier and buyer. At the same time the results of my research can result in actionable guidelines regarding how these applications can be configured and used for better supply chain performance.

Tell us about your current research projects.

The project I am currently working on is Information Visibility in Supplier Value Networks.

Supplier value networks refer to inter-firm structures consisting of more than two firms, and are formed with the purpose of optimizing the sourcing of raw materials and services in order to realize better performance across supply chains. Information visibility, which is achieved through the sharing of relevant supply chain information, can help these value networks in meeting the performance expectations and members firms in realizing the competitive advantages.

This projects aims towards enhancing information visibility in value networks, by first identifying the various kinds of information that needs to be shared within value networks, identifying the means of sharing/obtaining the required information, and finally investigating the performance implications of information visibility. Business applications and information systems play an important role in managing such networks and enabling information visibility within them.

The findings from this research so far indicate that firms need to have both demand-side and supply-side information in order to be able to realize strategic performance gains. Demand-side information refers to the information that is primarily obtained from a firm’s downstream customers, while supply-side information is obtained from upstream suppliers. Interestingly, it was also found that firms choose to focus more on managing information sharing in the supply-side of their supply chain, rather than also on the demand side. Further, it was found that a more collaborative relationship based on cooperation and trust between a firm and its supplier or customer has positive implications for information visibility.

SAP has several applications for supply chain management. In particular, the SAP APO – which allows for coordinated planning and optimization between a firm and its supplier/customer can be used to enhance information visibility in supply chain relationships. In this project, we analyzed how the SAP APO can be used to share various kinds of information within the context of supply chains, and the implications of such information sharing. The UCC located within TUM provided us with excellent opportunities to gain access to the SAP APO system, have access to relevant documents and trainings to understand the system and its capabilities better, and therefore derive implications from an information visibility perspective.

What do you like most about the University Alliances Community on the new Jive platform? How does this help/improve your SAP knowledge?
I find the new University Alliances Community much more interactive. In particular I like the Spotlight feature, as it helps us to find out about other SAP UA researchers and educators, their research activities, and other fun facts related to their life. Also, the UA Community platform gives me a platform that I can use for getting answers and solutions regarding some of the SAP related questions that I encounter during my research.

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