Digital readiness is the Holy Grail we have been searching for but have not fully defined. Of course, the giants out there are the digital evangelists already reaping full benefits but the bulk of companies are small- to medium-sized and simply cannot keep up. Here is one dilemma – the nucleus supply chain forcing partners to “go digital” will not realize the promise of a digitized supply network until the full community have reached critical mass.
But we need a new paradigm because the old “one power-player in a network” is a thing of the past. Forcing suppliers into web portals is missing the core value of digitalization; to join a platform of partners having the same goal to become better, faster, cheaper in a value network to enrich customer journeys.
Data with different meaning from disparate sources (ERP, booking systems, spreadsheets) is the blocking point for a digital supply network that needs the ability to quickly onboard new stakeholders and exchange data beyond the scope of traditional EDI messages.
We all have a landscape of data silos and peer-to-peer integrations but need to move beyond that. We are drowning in “Big Data” that is by itself “dumb” until we solve the data integration problem to result in “Smart Big Data”. The emerging digital technologies of Semantic Web, Linked Data and Blockchain are now being tested by the Digital Cargo Forum (DCF) as enablers for going “Smart”.
The winners are the companies that control their data to enable smart collaboration, aligned meaning and consistent provisioning of these data (objects) to all its stakeholders and systems with no degradation of data quality or concerns for security. The focus needs to be to create data object synchronization from Sales to Cash, to enable systems integration and digitalization – 4-Way Match. By using this best practice from SCOR, great things can be done to develop short-, medium-, and long-term deliverables.
Starting small is a key theme for implementation to manage complexity and expectations of executive management. With this approach your team can deliver “smart” success stories in a controlled, least disruptive manner to build your new “Smart” digital network developed in a co-collaboration mode.