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2018: The year we make meaningful progress on digital transformation

Perhaps it would have been better to describe it as a digital evolution – more of an ongoing process than an instantaneous change.

By ·
By ·

Editor’s Note: Guy Courtin, is Vice President, Industry & Solution Strategy, Infor Retail

It feels like the buzz around digital transformation came and went, and we have since moved on to other topics like blockchain and AI. But has digital transformation truly lost its swagger? The reality is most companies realized digitization was never a simple switch they could flip, instantly connecting all the shared data among businesses, their suppliers and trading partners to what is happening in the physical supply chain. 

Perhaps it would have been better to describe it as a digital evolution – more of an ongoing process than an instantaneous change. A series of advancements that includes bar codes, robotics, EDI, and the Internet have steadily been introduced to the supply chain for decades. But up until now most of these technologies were not easily connected beyond the four walls of enterprise. What we will see in 2018 is a perfect storm; Moore’s law applied at global scale, bringing greater connectivity and cloud-powered supercomputing to businesses. Here is what that means for your supply chain.

More digitization means greater visibility

Greater visibility leads to improved processes and new business opportunities. The essential value of digital connectivity is the ability to see and measure that which is otherwise dark. One of the fundamental challenges with supply chains consistency and clarity of process. When will my stuff get here? When will I get paid? When everyone is working in a networked environment, there is only one version of the truth. It makes answering those fundamental questions easier for everyone.

Digitization fuels the ubiquitous network

Supply chains are, by nature, a network. That network has always strived to be more connected, more transparent and more collaborative. These have long been ambitions rather than reality – in part because of the limitation of available technology. Enterprise resource planning software handled what happened within the four walls, and EDI helped connect one party to another. But gaps in connectivity persisted. Now through the power of global platform-agnostic business networks, companies can truly connect with all parties within the supply chain, extending connectivity beyond the enterprise to a global scale.

Connectivity means no one gets left behind

The issues within supply chains are often due to problems we cannot see. By breaking down organizational silos while also enhancing connectivity between suppliers, businesses are better positioned to sense demand, respond to unforeseen risks and disruptions, and truly orchestrate the many moving parts across the global supply chain. We live in a highly distributed world. Our supply chains and the software we use should reflect that.

We have only just begun to realize the power of digital transformation. But to effect meaningful change, businesses need to recognize there is a long journey ahead. That journey begins with greater connectivity within the enterprise and an understanding that there are stages of maturity supply chains can benchmark themselves against as they evolve.


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From the December 2018
This is a comprehensive guide to services, products and educational opportunities targeted specifically to supply chain professionals.
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A.T. Kearney’s Global Business Policy Council Predictions Released
GBPC’s 10 major predictions, fleshed out in the study, are based on continuous scanning of the...

New Research Indicates Greener Supply Chains Mean More Profit
Transparency is key when selecting new suppliers as 85% of businesses want to achieve a...
New Survey Measures Potential Impact of Tariffs on U.S. Supply Chains
The proportion of total output produced abroad is meanwhile expected to rise very marginally.