Gartner: Digital dexterity will leverage supply chains
Digital dexterity will be the key to developing the supply chain professional of 2025, reveals a report from consultants, Gartner.
The next four years are going to be critical for companies seeking to stay competitive with their supply chains - post COVID-19 - and developing employees with digital dexterity and data literacy will be vital for future success.
The consultation paper discusses the talent-related challenges and opportunities that Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs) will need to address in their efforts to remain competitive amid an ever-changing environment and to develop the supply chain professional of 2025.
According to Gartner, employees are not currently empowered to act with agility. “If CSCOs truly want to build an agile workforce, then they need to redesign work and focus on the capabilities that support digital,” says the report.
To achieve agility CSCOs need to identify and enable the people and capabilities necessary to support new digital workflows, recommends the support.
“Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) tapped digital business for increased investment in 2020. In fact, 47% expect to increase the speed of their digital initiatives to find innovative ways to drive growth,” comment Gartner.
However only 27% of leaders surveyed said they had the talent needed to meet current supply chain performance requirements especially as it will now require skills such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), deep learning and natural language processing (NPL).
As there is likely to be hyper-competition for these technology skills, Gartner says, CSCOs will have to work to improve the digital dexterity and data literacy of their existing workforce and redesign work to reduce complexity.
“When redesigning work, ensure that workflows (processes, tools) produce valuable work outcomes. A focus on simplification and elimination is key” say Gartner. This should include:
- Remove specific procedures, partners, rules that staff must follow to complete workflows or achieve specific work outcomes
- Consolidate systems, give preference to advanced solutions that reduce the need for supply chain staff to have a high degree of technical expertise
- Remove less essential competency requirements of supply chain roles when new, critical competencies are added to ensure that talent is focused on developing the right skills
“Adapting to new technologies and effectively leveraging data and analytics in the supply chain will require new capabilities,” comments Gartner.
“In order for employees to work digitally and support the efforts of becoming a digital business, supply chain roles will need to feature digital dexterity competencies. And with an increased focus on data and analytics in the supply chain, the average employee will need to develop skills in data literacy.”
The report, Gartner for Supply Chain Developing the Supply Chain Professional of 2025, highlights the importance of digital and data dexterity.
“Digital dexterity is composed of the beliefs, mindsets and behaviours that accelerate digital business transformation. It can be described in two dimensions, employees’: ambition and ability to build digital businesses; and ambition and ability to work digitally.
Competencies that drive digital dexterity include:
- Business acumen
Outcome-focused and aware of how work affects the end customer. Prioritises the business’s long-term goals over short-term and/or personal wins.
Successfully delivers work in novel, uncertain and ambiguous situations. Intellectually curious. Approaches obstacles with a persistent and positive attitude.
- Political savviness
Gains support from a range of stakeholders.
- Fusion collaboration
Leverages peers’ strengths to inform their work. Thrives in a team setting and can assimilate the contributions of peers into their own thinking. Clear communication.
- System thinking
Understands how their work affects other functions and the organisation as a whole.
“Data literacy is the ability to read, write and communicate data in context. To be data-literate, one must have an understanding of data sources and constructs, analytical methods and techniques applied, and the ability to describe the use-case application and resulting value.
Competencies that drive data literacy include:
Shares and discusses data and analytics and the decisions they support, and processes and outcomes they improve. Can describe how their company’s data enables collaboration with trading partners. Innovates on supply chain decisions with data.
Understands that information is a strategic asset. Can distinguish between data quality, master data management and information governance/stewardship. Can name multiple data sources that are relevant to the supply chain
Understands the following: difference between predictive and prescriptive analytics, analytics techniques and how they support the supply chain and NLP and natural language generation, ML and AI.
Actively supports the learning and development of others through social learning, on-the-job coaching and mentoring. Communicates the importance of data literacy.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.