Digital Transformation

This week’s webinar notes are from a May 23rd event hosted by BravoSolution (part of their 2017 Real World Procurement Series) and presented by Dr. Rob Handfield, Executive Director of the Supply Chain Resource Cooperative, and the co-author of The Procurement Value Proposition and a new title being released in June, The LIVING Supply Chain: The Evolving Imperative of Operating in Real Time. The webinar is already available on demand here.

 

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This content is also available as a podcast on BMP Radio.

Kelly: Hello, and thank you for joining us today. This is Kelly Barner, Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point. Today I welcome Dr. Carsten Linz as my guest. Carsten is an entrepreneurial leader and expert on innovation-led business transformation that I met in the process of reviewing his recently co-authored book, "Radical Business Model Transformation: Gaining Competitive Edge in a Disruptive World." I will make sure there is a link to my review on today's BlogTalkRadio episode page so that you can learn more about the book. And if you're interested in more of Carsten's writings, I will also share a link to his blog where he further explains and explores some of the themes from the book.

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Last week, Procurious ran a webinar on cognitive technology along with panelists from IBM, Cognitive Scale, and the Entrepreneur’s Fund. The webinar is available on demand as a free, 2-part course on Procurious. For more about the webinar, or to view it on demand, click here.

As you might expect, terminology and definitions were very important in this webinar. What is cognitive computing? How is it different than AI? And who, exactly, is Watson?

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This should be a very sobering thought for anyone in business. The company that you toil and work so hard to make succeed is statistically unlikely to exist in a decade.” (p. 5)

Building Digital Culture: A Practical Guide to Successful Digital Transformation by Daniel Rowles (@DanielRowles) and Thomas Brown (@ThinkStuff) (Kogan Page, 2017) is the reason I review books. While I was reading this book, I was interrupting everyone I know to share ideas and quotes. If you are looking for an engaging, readable text that moves at the same speed as the digital world it describes, buy this book.

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“Companies that dominated the national market for decades are suddenly confronted with new competitors that are redefining entire industries and hence restricting the incumbents’ strategic freedom to shape their future.” (p. 6)

Radical Business Model Transformation: Gaining the competitive edge in a disruptive world by Carsten Linz, Günter Müller-Stewens, and Alexander Zimmermann (Kogan Page, 2017) presents readers with the same challenge question the authors asked each other during the writing process: ‘Are we being radical enough?’

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“Because technology has become an extension of the knowledge worker’s business and personal life, it has become apparent that to separate the two is not just pointless, it is impossible.” (p. 15)

 

Tomorrow Today: How Ai Impacts How We Work, Live And Think
(And It’s Not What You Expect) by Donal Daly, CEO of Altify, is exactly my kind of book. Not only does it discuss recent developments in automation and AI and illustrate their impact on business and society through recent news stories, it is so full of enthusiasm for the future that it must have been written by someone with a background in sales.

Targeted at ‘knowledge workers’, this book addresses the challenges and opportunities faced across functions – sales, marketing, procurement, finance, etc. Will the rise of the machines eliminate the need for professionals who see themselves as strategic and value oriented today? Will humans and AI (Augmented rather than Artificial using Daly’s definition) settle into a kind of symbiosis that harnesses the advantages of each into a powerful combined capability? These questions – which might be dark and intimidating in a different context – are addressed head on and without hesitation.

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Some of you may be aware of smart contracts. They are a new approach to contracting which uses technology to execute and enforce the negotiated terms. In this article we explore what the future of contracting may look like with smart contracts.

What is a Smart Contract?

In essence it is the creation of a contract using computer code rather than the written word. The computer software is then used to enforce and manage the contract, enabling both parties to utilise the contract as a living breathing document.

“’Smart contract’ can refer to any contract which is capable of
executing and/or enforcing itself.”

 

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This week’s webinar notes are from an event presented by Bertrand Maltaverne, Senior Business Consultant at Pool4Tool, and hosted by Procurify. You can view the webinar on demand here. In the meantime, you may enjoy listening to a recent BMP Radio podcast with Bertrand and “Sourcing Doctor” Michael Lamoureax. Bertrand also has a great blog on Medium: check it out here. 

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According to TechInsider, there are warehouse robots currently in place that could potentially boost productivity up to 800%. Yes, you read that correctly: eight hundred percent. With huge boosts in productivity, it comes as no surprise that companies such as Amazon are taking automation to the next level, but what impact will it have on their employees? If the numbers stack up, the robot takeover could be imminent, but that does not necessarily mean human warehouse employees will become obsolete.

As with most technological advances, employees must adapt.  Remember when basic computers were introduced to the workplace? Let’s take a look at some of the robots being used today, how they’re being utilized, and most importantly, what it means already or is going to mean for their human ‘coworkers.’

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Scenario 1: The supplier contacts you in writing to state they have submitted the wrong pricing in the bid…what is your first response?

 - Tough luck you submitted it

 - That’s typical of suppliers, always trying to trick you

  - Expect the price is going to increase

 - Interested to see if they are submitting a lower price

Scenario 2: The supplier approaches you and states they think they have a solution to deliver the contract more efficiently...what is your first feeling?

 - They are looking to upsell

  - I don’t believe them

  - They are trying to make me look bad

  - Want to discuss in a supportive and engaging manner

Scenario 3: The business reduces its requirements 2% in the contract and understandably do not want to pay for what is not required. Do you;

 - Tell the supplier to “suck it up” and not re-negotiate the contract

 - Re-negotiate the contract to ensure they are fairly compensated

 

Unfortunately we all know the responses because it is an attitude that is the default towards suppliers; confrontation & mistrust. For many within procurement it is a justified attitude because in the past any leniency has been abused by suppliers.

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“In other words, an effective management of a firm’s digital supply chain will have a positive impact on productivity and growth; ignorance will very likely result in the loss of competitive advantage and have a detrimental effect on performance.” (e-Logistics, p. 4)

 

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This week’s webinar notes are from a February 3rd webinar hosted by SAP Ariba and presented by Ed Cone at Oxford Economics and James J. McDonald and Luisa Gonzalez at COACH. The event is available on demand here.

 

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This week’s webinar notes are from a December 1st event hosted by the Harvard Business Review. The speakers/presenters were Michael Porter (yes, that Michael Porter) and PTC CEO James Heppelmann. The event is available on demand here.

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This week’s webinar notes are from a November 19th event hosted by BravoSolution and presented by Mickey North Rizza, their VP of Strategic Services and former AMR Research/Gartner analyst. As of December 2nd, the event was not yet available on demand on their website. In the meantime, BravoSolution does have a whitepaper with the same title written by North Rizza if you are interested in more. Click here to download it.

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These notes are based on attending an October 13th webinar hosted by HfS Research. The event can be viewed on demand here.

The panel included two HfS team members (Phil Fersht and Charles Sutherland) and two executives from Cognizant: Robert Hoyle Brown and Matt Smith. I listened to the event end to end twice – once live and once on demand. The topic of automation is fascinating and it was well covered and discussed in this webinar. My challenge was to figure out what this growing trend means for procurement.

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These notes are from a September 2nd webinar presented by Alexander Linden, Research Director at Gartner. The event is available on demand and can be viewed here. You don’t have to be a hard core analyst to benefit from this event – the take aways were interesting and applicable to procurement even though it wasn’t a procurement-specific event.

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These notes are from an August 18th webinar by the Institute for Robotic Process Automation (IRPA). The primary speakers were Barry Matthews Managing Director at Alsbridge, and Eric Shander, Vice President of Global Technology Services at IBM Global Services.

I’ve been covering all of the Robotis Process Automation (RPA) events based on IRPA’s recently released ebook meant to educate people about RPA. The most important things to know are that RPA is best suited to logic-based, repeatable tasks currently performed by in house employees or third party outsourcers. In some cases, robots can even provide governance or oversight of other robots. The other thing to know is that these aren’t mechanical robots – they are software robots: programs designed to handle tasks and learn over time.

The piece of this particular event that I found the most compelling was the potential for negative impact, or the ‘bad and ugly’ as they put it in the webinar. Let’s face it, as much as people decry the impact of offshoring, RPA’s cost structure and scalability raises a significantly larger concern about job loss. The honest truth is that RPA will have an effect on jobs, but it may not be quite what people think.

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These notes are from an event that originally ran on July 28th. If you are interested in viewing the entire webinar on demand, it is available on the Proxima Group’s site here. The panelists were Mark Simester, Marketing Director at Warburtons, Charles Ping, Chief Executive at Fuel, and John Butcher, Marketing Specialist at Proxima and the moderator was Jonathan Cooper-Bagnall, Proxima’s Commercial Director.

While the focus of this event was how procurement can play a role in better managing digital marketing spend, the insights shared during the panel discussion provided plenty of insight about how procurement can improve our dealings with marketing in general. Since marketing is often one of the last hold out functions, we can use all the advice we can get.

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Many thanks to the Market Dojo team for their cooperation and collaboration on this post - proof that they have attention spans longer than goldfish. 

 

Everywhere you look, there is evidence that the pace of the world is picking up. We share our status instantly in 140 characters or less. Meetings are routinely scheduled for 30 minutes rather than an hour. We check email, make phone calls, catch up on the news, etc. while walking from one place to another so we are fully informed when we arrive. Saying, “Oh, I hadn’t seen that yet...” is likely to be received with skeptical looks and rolled eyes.

 

As an active part of this constantly updating, clipped environment, procurement professionals need to be aware of the general pace of interaction between people and organizations. We have to be both purposeful and accurate if we are going to hold people’s attention long enough to get from them what we need.

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On June 5th, I covered a webinar on Robotic Process Automation (see my notes here). At the time, they announced the planned release of an eBook on the topic. It is now available for free as a download after joining the Institute for Robotic Process Automation (IRPA) - which is also free - or on Amazon for $9.99.

Unless you are a hard-core Kindle user, I’d recommend the free download, but that’s just me. The eBook is 35 very readable PDF pages that make the case for RPA equally to audiences in IT, procurement, and service providers. The best thing about the eBook is the prevalence of discipline agnostic case studies. Although the basic RPA concept is not too complex, its application may seem a little abstract. The frequent examples in the eBook make the idea easy to embrace.

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