This morning I had a session with Viisibility, a company with an interesting supply chain management and reporting solution.

Viisibiity builds customised web based communities that accesses member’s business systems, be they financial, planning, manufacturing, accounting or ERP. The key to Viisibility’s offering is that it is software agnostic, part of the package is the tools to convert data (be it from Oracle, Baan, SAP or whoever) and bring it into Viisibilities database, outside of the firewall.

According to MD Nick Shier, one key advantage of Viisibility’s offering is that it separates the components that a business wants to share with third parties, and those which it wants to keep private. Anything within the Viisibility community sits outside of the firewall while sensitive data sits inside. The communities themselves are secure, but secure in the clouds rather than behind the wall.

Nick showed me a few examples of what Viisibilty can do, one was for a building company where it enabled building clients to see real time progress updates of their project, subcontractors to manage their time depending on the building companies job book, and suppliers to manage deliveries and the like. A logical extension of this would be for the suppliers to the company to set up their own communities and thereby have sales and work orders brought into their own applications directly from customers data.

Aother example is their work for global power quality system provider Eaton. As Viisiability explains;

Eaton New Zealand uses Oracle as its ERP system, managing orders and customers in New Zealand, production in China, and shipping hubs in China (2), the USA, New Zealand and Belgium. While Oracle is eminently suitable for this task, Eaton finds it harder to share their information with community members outside its Christchurch office.

The investment in buying ERP licenses for new users, writing reports for each community member and managing the system would overwhelm potential returns.

So Viisibility sits over the top of Oracle at Eaton, as well as the various systems run by trading partners and logistics providers, and receives hourly updates on new orders, changes to existing orders and shipping information through to proof of delivery. This data is extracted from Oracle, and systems run by the other community members, and is transferred to the Viisibility servers based in secure Tier 1 data centres in Auckland and Sydney. Rules defined by Eaton ensure that their data is secure and only visible to those who need to know.

To the Eaton community, Viisibility is a secure, configurable web-site that shows all of the information they need. Notifications are sent out automatically once orders are loaded, if production timetables are changed, when orders are shipped, and when they are delivered.

End-of-day reports on customer activity and company performance are pushed to the appropriate recipients.

A schematic of how Viisability works for Eaton is shown below;

Viisibility is adamant that collaboration means more than having the ability to create a document between parties, or track versions of a file, they believe true collaboration is about creating an environment where different business’ systems can “talk” to each other – their solution allows this to occur.

Viisibility isn’t a pure play SaaS app – till now it has been fairly specific to the customer. This in itself might prove a bonus for Viisbility given that their target market is enterprise and that enterprise tends to balk at a “one size fits all” pure play SaaS offering.

All in all Viisibility is an impressive piece of work – they’ve picked up some prime customers internationally and are poised to grow their business significantly as the network effects of their initial successes take hold.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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