Success Story: Lenovo

PC powerhouse Lenovo chooses Axway B2B platform to manage entire supply chain

  • Headquarters

    China, USA, Singapore
  • Industry

  • Challenge

    Bring global B2B integration and exchange platform in-house to reduce costs

  • Solution

  • Results

    • Easy-to-use, scalable and resilient B2B platform supports continuous on-boarding of partners and increase in message volumes
    • Message flows are secured with a solution matching Lenovo’s architecture requirements and security policy
    • Lenovo teams independently manage data exchange and integration at a reduced cost

Using Axway B2B, Lenovo now internally manages the exchange of purchase orders, acknowledgements, shipping notifications, sales reports, delivery notices, invoices and inventory reports with its partners worldwide.

Lenovo is dedicated to building exceptionally engineered personal computers. Lenovo’s business model is built on innovation, operational efficiency and customer satisfaction as well as a focus on investment in emerging markets. Formed by Lenovo Group’s acquisition of the former IBM Personal Computing Division, the company develops, manufactures and markets reliable, high-quality, secure and easy-to-use technology products and services worldwide. Lenovo has major research centers in Yokohama, Japan; Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, China; and Raleigh, North Carolina.

Lenovo is a global corporation with sizeable operations on six continents, operating in more than 60 countries, and selling products in 160. The company employs more than 27,000 people worldwide. For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011, the Group’s sales increased by 30.0 percent year-on-year to US$21.6 billion. Lenovo’s market strengths span not only market geographies, but also the world’s consumer and business PC markets.

Bringing B2B Integration and Trading In-House

To reduce costs and manage capabilities internally

Lenovo’s main objective was to fully manage its B2B infrastructure internally. Much of the company’s IT had been outsourced for several years, including the management of B2B transactions with partners.

When it became apparent that bringing capabilities in-house would significantly reduce development and operating costs, Lenovo conducted a thorough market study to identify the right vendor. Axway won Lenovo’s business above its competitors. Axway was chosen for three reasons:

  1. Axway has a strong local support team. Lenovo’s datacentre is located in Beijing and nearly all of Lenovo IT is also located in Beijing, so local support is very important to the company.
  2. Axway offered more competitive pricing than the competition.
  3. Axway’s technology is very highly rated among leading industry analysts. As the proud manufacturer of innovative, best-in-class PCs, Lenovo strives to choose best-in-class software solutions.

Large Two-Phased Project

To interface with global partners and internal applications

Axway’s B2B platform is set up to optimally support Lenovo global B2B business. More than 300 partners will be deployed to the B2B platform. The partners include channels, customers, suppliers, OEMs, service partners, banks, customs, carriers, 3PLs (third-party logistics providers), and others. Regions where partners are located include Greater China, Asia Pacific, North America, EMEA, Latin America, and additional regions as the company grows in support of emerging markets. The daily message volume will be at least 100,000 after all partners have been on-boarded. The platform needed to support concurrent development, testing and the  production environment with a tight partner on-boarding process.

The first phase has been successfully completed. It involved setting up the platform, implementing connectivity with about 30 local trading partners, such as major China region partner Suning®, one of the largest privately-owned electrical appliance retailers in China, as well as ten major global channel partners including IBM. Business messaging protocols such as AS2, RosettaNet, and EDI message formats such as EDIFACT, RosettaNet PIP business document format, and generic XML have been put into production. DHL is a Lenovo 3PL partner that provides warehousing services in Brazil, and exchanges inventory reports with Lenovo. Connectivity  with back-end applications, such as Lenovo’s ERP, has also been successfully completed during Phase One.

Lenovo is now internally managing the exchange of purchase orders, acknowledgements, shipping notifications, sales reports, delivery notices, invoices and inventory reports with its partners. A generic model for future quick deployments has been established in preparation for Phase Two of the project. One of the features Lenovo likes best about the solution is related to Axway Interchange, because it is very convenient to set up any type of connection with trading partners. The system is also very scalable in terms of performance and connectivity, which is also of great importance as Lenovo moves towards Phase Two.

Phase Two involves extensive on-boarding of partners with the solution offering nearly all existing B2B protocols. Transformation and routing services are being implemented with Integrator. End-to-end Business Activity Monitoring will be implemented using Axway Sentinel. Ultimately, the system will manage Lenovo’s entire supply  chain. Axway’s B2B platform is obviously extremely critical to Lenovo’s business, and together with Axway, the necessary architecture and features to ensure its high availability have been put in place.

Mission Critical Global Business Platform

Enhanced security required to protect data

Lenovo decided to implement Axway Secure Relay at two DMZs located in different regional zones. Each partner is attached to a specific zone and communicates with the corresponding DMZ. Secure Relay ensures that business data is not stored in the DMZ, and acts as a secured bridge with Axway Interchange. Located in the DMZ, Axway Secure Relay performs the message routing from the DMZ to Interchange. Interchange manages authentication, confidentiality, integrity and non-repudiation of data with a built-in PKI and certificate management. Since sensitive data is being exchanged with external entities, security becomes a number one priority. Both from an architectural point of view, and a product features point of view, Axway provided the level of security required.

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