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Rethinking the Traditional Control Tower

Stuff happens. That’s just the way things work. These days, more stuff seems to be happening more often—so it’s no surprise that the concept of control towers is so popular. Executives, analysts and partners increasingly recognize the need to make better business decisions by connecting what is actually happening to how it impacts the business and taking the best course of action to achieve strategic goals. E2open makes this a reality.

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Downfalls of the Traditional Approach

Being equipped when “stuff happens” means knowing what’s going on at every tier in your supply chain, understanding cross-functional impacts, quickly executing on decisions and continuously monitoring and optimizing the results—all in real time. The traditional approach of attempting multiple departmental control towers with an additional control tower overlay to tie them all together can’t accomplish this. Traditional methods just reinforce siloed decisions and suboptimal outcomes. These might look good on a department’s functional scorecard, but they undermine overall business objectives.

A New Way of Thinking

The level of agility required to capture growth opportunities—plus resiliency to manage today’s risks—demands a new way of thinking: Out with the silos and overlays, in with an operating platform! Why? An operating platform brings together all the data you need to see what’s happening, combined with all the applications, artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics necessary to understand what disruptions mean to the business, recommend the best course of action, put decisions into effect and then learn for next time.

E2open brings all these control tower capabilities together on a single operating platform to give you the data, applications and AI you need to reach new levels of agility and resiliency. This strategic platform is powered by the world’s largest network to connect all tiers of all ecosystems—including internal operations, channel partners, suppliers, and logistics and global trade providers—for true end-to-end decision-making without boundaries or functional silos.

Buyer Beware

With all the hype around control towers, it’s important to recognize that not all control tower capabilities are created equal. Consider the following questions to cut through the noise.

How do you get your data?

  • Knowing what’s happening across every tier in your supply chain means you first need to connect them all and get decision-grade data. This requires a multi-enterprise network. The classic control tower overlay approach to build your own connections through application programming interfaces (APIs) doesn’t economically scale.

  • With networks, size matters. Choose a large network with hundreds of thousands of partners across the specific ecosystems important for your business. This is essential for time-to-value, total cost of ownership and even the financial viability of most deployments.

How do you make sense of the data?

  • Data without applications is meaningless, as are applications without data. Look for an operating platform that includes data from all relevant sources and a full suite of planning and execution applications to power cross-functional business decisions. A mere control tower overlay can’t do this.

  • Departmental control towers lead to siloed outcomes because the big picture is missing. Even if your initial use case is functional in scope, an operating platform with a full range of applications will protect your investment and provide a path to grow.

How do you collaborate across your supply chain?

  • Collaboration means many things to many different people. For most, it’s about internal back-and-forth communication between departments within an enterprise—but that’s just the starting point. What’s critical in control tower use cases is connecting and communicating with external partners across multiple tiers and ecosystems. 


  • Meaningful collaboration is persona-based and process-driven, enabling internal and external parties to share views and actions across any supply chain function, tier or channel. Everyone is informed and empowered to make decisions and initiate immediate, relevant actions. This saves time by reducing disruptions and maximizes freedom for capitalizing on opportunities.

How proven is the AI?

  • Field-proven AI is a core requirement for enabling complex, cross-functional business decision-making and managing masses of data from ecosystem partners. Challenge vendors to demonstrate that their AI is robust and field-proven, because its reliability directly affects the future of your business.

  • Just as with applications, AI is useless without data to feed it. Don’t evaluate AI employed in control tower use cases in a vacuum. Instead, assess the robustness and quality of the AI in conjunction with the system’s ability to get the data required to power AI-related actions.

Analyst Report

Nucleus Research: Control Tower Technology Value Matrix 2020

Nucleus Research examined all vendor solutions in the Control Tower market landscape. E2open has once again been named a Leader, ranked as the strongest in functionality for three years running.

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Analyst Report

Gartner 2020 Magic Quadrant for Multienterprise Supply Chain Business Networks

Learn why E2open has been placed by Gartner as a Leader in the Magic Quadrant positioned highest and furthest for Completeness of Vision and Ability to Execute.

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Analyst Report

Gartner Research Brief: Remove the Clouds of Confusion When Shopping for a Supply Chain Control Tower

This complimentary Gartner Research Brief helps you learn about setting a level playing field when comparing control tower technology solutions, regardless of the size of your company.

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Take the New Approach to Control Towers

Reach new heights of agility and resiliency with control tower capabilities that reside on a single operating platform and provide the data, applications and AI you need.

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