Home ยป What Is Software Supply Chain Management?

Is there such a thing as Software Supply Chain Management?

supply chain

Software Supply Chain Management (SSCM), is it truly something new? Is it hype? Or a new buzzword to drive millions in consulting revenue? Let’s explore what SSCM means.

What is a software supply chain? Is it the same as a hard-good supply chain? If the software supply chain is the same as the typical hard-good supply chain, what’s the difference besides the “software” piece?

What’s a Supply Chain?

First, let’s baseline the definition of a supply chain. What is a supply chain? How does the authoritative source define a “supply chain”? Heck, who is the definitive “supply chain” glossary source?

The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) is our authoritative source. Why CSCMP and not someone else? CSCMP specializes in supply chain research, professional literacy, and connecting supply chain practitioners worldwide. The CSCMP mission is “To advance the supply chain profession by connecting, educating, and developing the world’s supply chain management professionals throughout their careers.” Their primary focus of “developing, defining, understanding and enhancing the supply chain management profession on a global basis” is why they are our authoritative source.

Second, how does CSCMP define a supply chain? They state on their CSCMP Supply Chain Management Definitions and Glossary page, “With the supply chain covering a broad range of disciplines, the definition of what is a supply chain can be unclear.” What? Our authoritative source has no official definition!

What is Supply Chain Management?

When one looks closer, they’ll see that CSCMP defines “supply chain management.” How can they describe the act of managing a supply chain without a supply chain definition? A supply chain is not a thing. It’s not a noun. A supply chain is a series of reactions to an input stimulus that results in some expected outcome. Hold on, did we define a supply chain? Possibly, although what use is this definition? Does it concretely change what we do? No, the process of organizing & orchestrating these stimuli, expected outcomes, and series of reactions is what matters.  

Let’s define what matters. What is supply chain management? The CSCMP states,

 "Supply chain management encompasses the planning and management of all activities involved in sourcing and procurement, conversion, and all logistics management activities. Importantly, it also includes coordination and collaboration with channel partners, which can be suppliers, intermediaries, third party service providers, and customers. In essence, supply chain management integrates supply and demand management within and across companies."

What is SSCM?

Alright, this CSCMP definition paints a clear picture. How does this definition change when one puts the word “software” in front of the term “supply chain management.” One cannot place the word “software” in front of “supply chain management” and relay what software supply chain management is. Why? The management of such a series of reactions to an input stimulus, the signal to create software, is different enough from the expected outcomes of a hard-good supply chain that the CSCMP definition needs some updating.

How would one then define software supply chain management? How about this.

"Software Supply chain management encompasses the planning and management of all activities involved in design, sourcing and procurement, conversion software development, and all logistics management software delivery activities. Importantly, it also includes coordination and collaboration with channel partners, which can be open source, suppliers, intermediaries, third party service providers, and customers. In essence, software supply chain management integrates supply and demand ideation to runtime management within and across companies."

SSCM Defined

In conclusion, Software Supply Chain Management (SSCM) is denied as:  

Software supply chain management encompasses the planning and management of all activities involved in design, sourcing, procurement, software development, and software delivery activities. Importantly, it also includes coordination and collaboration with channel partners, which can be open source, suppliers, intermediaries, third-party service providers, and customers. In essence, software supply chain management integrates ideation to runtime management within and across companies.