Insights for Procure-to-Pay and Finance Leaders

How the platform economy is driving supply change: notes from our Spring Innovation Summit

Supply chains are transforming and it’s imperative that businesses take action or risk falling behind. As the Harvard Business Review has said: “those [companies] that move quickly to digitize their supply chain will gain efficiencies, develop new business models and revenue streams.”

With this in mind, we were delighted to welcome our customers, analysts, and partners to our Innovation Summit in London last week to show how platforms and apps are helping businesses accelerate digital transformation in their supply chains.

If you missed it, we’ve captured the event’s biggest highlights:

The next frontier of digital transformation

Digital transformation isn’t a buzzword—it’s real, and it’s happening everywhere. In businesses, we’ve seen it on the sales side with many organizations using platforms like Salesforce to digitize the sales experience. We’ve also seen companies investing in the employer experience, leveraging solutions like Slack and Workday to build a more efficient and empowered workforce.

But we’ve seen very little transformation on the seller side, until now: supply chain is the next frontier for digital transformation. Don’t believe us? Data from IDC shows that by 2022 businesses will spend roughly $2 trillion on digital transformation, with the vast majority of investment going towards technology designed to transform supply chain operations.

The impact of this investment will be extraordinary. For one, businesses will become more agile, resilient, and profitable. While the free flow of data and capital will help create economic opportunity for businesses no matter where they are. This is transformational.

Technology designed to deliver outcomes

Networked platforms enriched by apps are crucial to the digital transformation of supply chains. This is because platforms provide a common infrastructure and a set of services that standardize how businesses connect—just think how Facebook has connected us in our personal lives.

When you enrich this platform with apps, anything is possible. For example, apps allow businesses to curate their supply chain experience, matching it to their unique processes, allowing businesses to reach their goals faster. Businesses can also use apps to curate their supplier experience by giving them the ability to access finance with ease, for example.

Most importantly, a platform enriched with apps isn’t static like most legacy supply chain solutions. They allow businesses to add or remove functionality to match their needs and achieve positive business outcomes. The future is all about adaptability.

Managing supply chain risks

Around the world, supply chain risk is increasing. For example, data from Resilinc EventWatch highlights that global supply chain risk events increased 36% in 2018. To make matters more complex, the origins of risk are frequently changing so when supply chain pros mitigate a big risk another will likely appear.

Yet despite the world becoming more complex, few businesses are working to build resilience in their supply chains. Instead, most companies rely on traditional methods like holding onto excess working capital as their primary resilience strategy, which is unsustainable and often creates more issues than it solves.

While digital transformation won’t bulletproof supply chains overnight, it’ll give companies a much better chance of managing the risks they face. This is because they’ll have rich data to pinpoint where their risks are and strategic insights to make decisions about how to manage them. Digital supply chain transformation will not just drive supply chain resilience, it’ll drive business resilience.

Mission critical

Supply chain challenges negatively impact company earnings and results, so digital supply chain transformation must be a top priority for every business. Remember, this doesn’t just mean turning paper digital by using static, siloed ‘digital’ solutions. It means harnessing best-of-breed networked platforms that allow businesses to redefine how they manage and interact with their supply chain to deliver positive business outcomes for all.

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