Gartner: Three-steps to supply chain digital transformation
Physical capabilities blended with emerging digital innovation is the key to achieving a successful supply chain digital transformation which can drive growth, mitigate risk and optimise costs according to consultants Gartner.
“By first developing the foundational supply chain capabilities and then incorporating proven business and technology innovations, leading supply chains can move beyond exploration to integration and optimisation,'' commented Gartner.
Outlined in the report Three-Step Plan for Supply Chain Digital Transformation, Gartner has mapped out their definitive three-step plan for supply chain digital transformation.
“Digital is a key priority for most supply chain leaders, but fewer than half have defined or plan to implement a supply chain digital transformation roadmap that addresses both short-term improvements and a strategic long-term vision.
“Supply chain digital transformation is proven to drive growth, mitigate risk and optimise costs, but requires strong alignment between business and supply chain strategy to succeed,” said Gartner.
According to the report, more advanced capabilities provide a springboard for developing innovative ways of working, new business models and game-changing competitive advantages.
- Embed supply chain in the digital ecosystem
An organisation’s digital ecosystem is a network of people, businesses and things interacting through real-time integrated solutions.
“By leveraging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data, information is shared effectively across the digital ecosystem. These technologies can also inform decision making and drive efficiencies across the supply chain ecosystem.
Technology can blur boundaries between internal and external partners. “To enable the execution of everyday supply chain processes in a digital ecosystem, supply chain leaders need to determine the role that digital technology plays and validate and manage partners’ physical and digital requirements,” recommended Gartner.
- Implement autonomous supply chain
The introduction and pervasiveness of artificial intelligence (AI) into supply chains can introduce autonomous processes into their functions that augment — not replace — people.
“AI is expected to be able to progressively make a range of complex decisions, more autonomously (for example; better predict demand, set inventory levels, reroute transportation, redesign the supply and distribution network),” comment Gartner.
The paper recommends supply chain leaders need to ensure their organisations are ready for digital business.
“This means becoming more informed about the application of digital technologies and the operating practices best suited to leverage them. They should also know how to align and deploy their expertise across workflows, rather than require business partners to come to them.”
- Synchronise with digital business
Supply chain leaders can play a crucial role in identifying and addressing any gaps in their organisation’s response to the challenge of digital business. “Synchronising physical capabilities with digital ones builds resilience in supply chains,” commented Gartner.
“Supply chain leaders, as a result, are better able to identify potential disruption within the supply chain ecosystem, mitigate those disruptions and minimize impacts to supply chain costs or service. Key to synchronisation are: Proactive risk mitigation, real-time asset optimisation, autonomous operational responses, instant demand shaping and sensing, and proactive corporate social responsibility management.
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.