In today’s omnichannel retail environment, the perspective most shippers have on the value of supply chain software convergence has shifted. As recently as 2009, software convergence was a radical idea for most retailers. Back then, many supply chains still operated without a transportation management system, as Dwight Klappich, research Vice President for Gartner, notes in a recent interview with Logistics Management. The recession was in full swing and ecommerce was still in relative infancy, making the challenges of omnichannel commerce a problem for the future.

Six years ago companies could allot a few days from the time of receiving an order to shipping an item to a consumer. Today, not only does that process need to be completed in minutes in order to ensure that customers ordering same-day and next-day delivery will receive their orders on time, but it also needs to complete the fulfillment process with many more moving pieces. It’s not enough to manually analyze disparate systems. Omnichannel success demands a unified data set—which means the time for software convergence is here.

Indeed, a Gartner Supply Chain Technology User Wants and Needs Study identified “difficulty or inability to coordinate and synchronize end-to-end supply chain processes” as the top concern for shippers, cited by 42% of respondents. Fortunately roughly 18% of early adopting shippers are latching onto supply chain software convergence—these companies will have an advantage as consumer expectations continue to rise.

What does supply chain software convergence look like in practice? It means being able to know within minutes or even seconds—not days—exactly where products are in the warehouse and which bins need to be replenished. It means tying sales forecasting data to picking software to accurately predict how many new hires are needed to cover spikes in demand. With shoppers likewise demanding the benefits of seamless and on-time delivery, what’s really at stake with software convergence isn’t just higher operational standards—it’s also the customer experience and long-term customer loyalty.

Voxware has heard this same desire for supply chain convergence and insight from many customers, which lead us to develop Intellestra™: a predictive intelligence and business analytics tool purpose-built for the supply chain. It gives users the power to coordinate and synchronize end-to-end supply chain processes in a way that’s never been possible before. In other words, Intellestra™ is a powerful answer to the demand for supply chain software convergence that not only brings logistics into the present but also projects them into the future.