May 17, 2020

Comment: Building a digital transformation maturity model

Digital Disruption
digital supply chain
digital transformation supply chain
Matt Gunn, Infor
4 min
Developing a maturity model of supply chain digital transformation is critical for businesses
One of the hardest things to watch is your industry getting eaten from the inside as the slow inability to change paves the way for new competition and...

One of the hardest things to watch is your industry getting eaten from the inside as the slow inability to change paves the way for new competition and digital business models to disrupt and diminish your industry’s role in the world.

But such is the era we live in, where digital technologies have democratised business, and made it easier, faster, and less costly for anyone with a good idea to build a successful business.

Digital transformation maturity model

History is littered with examples of these disruptive changes. Brick-and-mortar retail and the rise of ecommerce, printed newspapers versus online, yellow cabs, and Uber. While old business models still coexist with the new ones, their influence has been reduced by newer, more accessible, and digitally-powered businesses. And countless hours and dollars have been spent trying to figure out how to stay relevant as customer tastes shift.

Change isn’t easy. Especially from within an enterprise, where transforming even the most menial of processes feels like moving mountains. But as we like to say, no enterprise is an empire unto itself. Today’s businesses rely on the partnership and coordination of many different suppliers, factories, carriers, and financiers to serve their customers on a global scale.

Indeed, the supply chain, where 80% of the data needed to run a business is ripe for change. And new digital technologies are changing the world of operations and logistics fast. Still for many, the question remains, “Where do I begin?”

The answer isn’t always easy. And no two journeys are alike. Digital transformation of the supply chain doesn’t magically happen with a flash and a bang, but with careful consideration toward an enterprise’s employees, its trading partners, and all of its key stakeholders down the line.

As with any journey, digital transformation of the supply chain is easier when you have a GPS. And while no two destinations are quite the same, many share similar characteristics – waypoints and landmarks along the way. It’s not just about measuring success (no one goes the same speed), but progress toward a specific outcome over time.

A maturity model is one way to think about your organization’s progress toward digital supply chain transformation. Rather than forcing change for the sake of change, or work toward a desired goal but with no sense of where to begin, this type of approach helps bring perspective to the many challenges that need to be addressed over time. As we think of it, digital transformation happens across four phases:

Stage 1: Intra-enterprise visibility

Transformative journeys begin with communication, especially within the four walls of an enterprise. The first step is all about aligning systems and processes internally in order to eliminate departmental and functional silos within the business. While it may seem low value, many executives would be surprised at how many internal challenges an assessment might show.

Stage 2: Networked supply chain

It’s said that individual businesses don’t compete – their supply chains do. Success today depends upon orchestration across the extended value chain. Traditionally, many enterprises have leaned on EDI for visibility across individual business partners, or data from a third-party logistics provider for comprehensive transportation visibility. But point systems don’t show the big picture, and logistics partners don’t always have information that covers the supply chain at great depth. To truly extend visibility and communications across the supply chain, all partners and suppliers must be connected across the same network, sharing a single view of the truth.

Stage 3: Customer integrated

End-to-end supply chain visibility opens up new possibilities to collaborate, improve/streamline processes, and turn insight into action. Businesses at this stage of maturity have a better sense of what customers want and when they want it; they gain the ability to sense and respond to demand patterns. At this stage, enhanced analytics and business intelligence turn insight into action through increased automation of systems, effectively extending systems like ERP or PLM beyond the four walls of the enterprise

Stage 4: Predictive

The first three stages of supply chain digital maturity are all about breaking down silos and building out a network of connected, integrated, and responsive nodes across the global supply chain. This stage builds upon all of the preceding work, truly taking a business into the future – the network itself, fully connected to suppliers and demand signals, with enhanced automation and connectivity across, becomes predictive.

What Technologies Will Get You There?

With this view of transformation in mind, it’s worth noting that no single piece of hardware or software solves the problem, getting businesses to that desired end state. It takes a village, so to speak – not to mention the flexibility and extensibility of a cloud-based platform to deliver the type of change most enterprises need in order to stay relevant in an increasingly digital future.

But as businesses evolve and adopt more of the technology needed to drive digital transformation, they will begin to see greater benefits across the supply chain. Remember: no two journeys are a like. But with a good GPS and the right mix of communication and collaboration across the extended supply chain, businesses can drive truly meaningful change.

To learn more about the digital transformation maturity model, please download the report.

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Jun 18, 2021

New speakers announced for Procurement & Supply Chain Live

2 min
Two leading executives join the lineup for this September’s inaugural supply chain and procurement live event, Procurement & Supply Chain Live

Two leading executives in supply chain transformation have been confirmed for this year's Procurement & Supply Chain Live event. 

Procurement & Supply Chain Live is the perfect opportunity to hear from prominent executives at the world’s leading procurement and supply chain businesses. The event will be streamed live from Tobacco Dock, London via the leading networking platform Brella.

CLICK HERE to sign up for Procurement & Supply Chain Live today and enjoy special early bird rates

The three-day show, running 28-30 September 2021, is an essential deep dive into the industry, with influential speakers sharing insights and strategies from their organisations, group roundtable discussions, and fireside chats. 

We take a look at the latest additions to the already amazing lineup of speakers announced so far, and what they will bring to the flagship event.

Shaun Plunkett 

VP Global Supply Chain at Macmillan Education Ltd

Shaun Plunkett

Shaun Plunkett has over 30 years of supply chain leadership experience in FMCG, entertainment and media sectors, supporting multi-billion euro businesses including Universal Music, EMI, Sony Music, Harper Collins and Associated British Foods. He has a track record of successfully delivering transformational change coupled with award winning operating models and developing and coaching global teams. Plunkett says that challenging the status quo is at the heart of what drives him on a daily basis - and encouraging others to continuously push the boundaries. 

Read more about Plunkett’s involvement in Macmillan Education’s supply chain transformation HERE

Vikram Singla

Digital Transformation Lead, Oracle UK and Board Member, CILT at Macmillan Education Ltd

Vikram Singla

Vikram Singla is digital transformation director at Oracle, UK. He helps supply chain and finance business leaders leverage technology to deliver meaningful business outcomes for their organisations. He also serves on the board if CILT (Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport) – UK and is an Honorary Visiting Fellow at Anglian Ruskin University. Singla has more than 25 years’ experience in the technology sector, and in global supply chain transformation, including deploying business transformation programmes for Fortune 500 firms. In his spare time, Singla is a passionate brand ambassador for Cancer Research.


Plunkett and Singla join a growing line-up of speakers, including: Sheri R. Hinish, IBM; Robert Copeland, G4S; Daniel Weise, BCG; Mark Bromley, Mastercard; David Loseby, Rolls Royce; and Ninian Wilson, Vodafone Procurement Company. 

CLICK HERE to secure your place at Procurement & Supply Chain Live

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