Omnichannel selling has always been complex, with integrations to multiple systems and data sources making it time-consuming and expensive to get a complete picture of your inventory position. Microsoft’s Inventory Visibility Add-in for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain (also called the Inventory Visibility Service, or IVS) makes it easier to get that real-time, accurate view of inventory, even for high-volume businesses like omnichannel retailers. First introduced in 2021, the Inventory Visibility Service makes integrating multiple source systems and aggregating that data into a single view easy, fast, and flexible. Read on to learn more about the Inventory Visibility Service and get answers to common questions.

What is the Inventory Visibility Service?

The IVS is a microservice that works as an integration system that allows you to aggregate all your inventory data from different systems and use it in near real time. You can combine data from Dynamics 365 with other data sources like third-party order management systems, third-party ERP systems, Point-of-Sale systems, and WMS systems. IVS contains APIs that let you view, adjust, and soft reserve inventory. Inventory Visibility is built on Dataverse, making it easy to extend and use with Power Platform tools.

Does Inventory Visibility change the data in the connected source systems?

IVS primarily functions as a visibility service, exposing the inventory levels of all the connected data sources but without the ability to change them. However, new functionality is being added all the time. For example, Available-to-Promise (ATP) calculations for up to three months in advance were released in 10.0.32, plus the ability to create sales orders directly from soft reservations.

How does the Inventory Visibility Service work?

IVS acts as a middleman between Dynamics 365 Supply Chain, Dataverse, and any external system you want to connect. IVS does its magic through APIs and an in-memory cache. You can access it through a web interface or its data through an analytics tool like Power BI. Integrations with external systems are enabled via REST APIs, that allow you to view, and place soft reservations on inventory. Additionally, IVS allows you to define different physical measures, such as ordered, arrived, allocated, and more. IVS offers extensibility by allowing the addition of new data sources, inventory status measures, and inventory dimensions via the configuration app. The flexibility of IVS empowers organizations to adapt and accommodate changes in their data sources and inventory dimensions. IVS integrates with Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management and periodically calls the system to retrieve updated inventory levels. The architecture eliminates the need for continuous querying of the back-end ERP system, minimizing the impact on system performance.

Soft reservations help you avoid overselling

The soft reservation concept makes performing high volumes of transactions from multiple source systems easy. Let's look at an example: say we have an eCommerce system that's viewing inventory in real time from IVS. When a customer adds an item to their cart, the eCommerce system places a soft reservation on that item so that it can't be consumed by another system while the customer continues shopping. The eCommerce system gets a soft reservation ID that it will later use when it pushes the sales order to Dynamics 365. When the customer makes a purchase , D365 recognizes the soft reservation ID and converts it to a physical reservation with no worry of double inventory consumption.

Why we love IVS for omnichannel and eCommerce implementations

While IVS is powerful and useful for any organization that has inventory, we’re particularly excited about its use case for eCommerce businesses, especially high-volume eCommerce or selling across multiple sites. The Inventory Visibility Service greatly simplifies the integrations out to those sites, allowing you to manage inventory and orders in real time while removing the load from Dynamics 365 and other external systems.

The roadmap for Inventory Visibility: the future is clear

The Inventory Visibility Service acts as a powerful tool in Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, enabling seamless integration, expanded data sources, and near real-time inventory visibility. By leveraging IVS, organizations can enhance their inventory management capabilities, make data-driven decisions, and integrate their supply chain processes with external systems effectively. The roadmap for Inventory Visibility (and Supply Chain in general) looks exciting!