This past year was unprecedented in many ways. The global fallout from COVID-19 strained governments, shutdown businesses, closed schools and impacted our population like the world has not experienced in over 100 years. The turmoil created stress and confusion for governments. The healthcare systems around the world, and corresponding readiness for a pandemic, were tested to capacity. Supply chains around the globe were upended. Due to executive orders to quarantine and the closing of businesses, unemployment numbers soared.
While many, even most industries struggled in 2020, the growth in some select industries is unrivaled. The growth was fueled by government stimulus, dovish federal reserve policy, new vaccines, and faith in the future. However, the more prominent actions that accelerated the growth in these industries, but also the shift to a more digital, virtual world. Specifically, the shift in how the workforce is functioning, consumers are spending, and even how services are being delivered. The shift has created a “new norm” where everybody accepts the changes. Many of these changes are here to stay.
As noted, not all industries, nor even all companies within these industries, benefited. The key differentiator between the companies that survived and the companies that accelerated was the depth of their digital footprint. While some companies naturally benefited, such as Zoom Communication due to remote work, others were able to pivot and leverage their previous digital transformation efforts to garner additional market share. Some of these companies have always been digital, while others invested in past strategic initiatives that allowed them to be better prepared. It is clear that companies with a significant digital footprint – Amazon, Grub Hub, Target, Chick-Fil-A, and many others – are the winners. Past digital transformation efforts allowed these companies to pivot more quickly, demonstrating an agility to adapt to the situation.
“The key differentiator between the companies that survived and the companies that accelerated was the depth of their digital footprint.” “Past digital transformation efforts allowed these companies to pivot more quickly, demonstrating an agility to adapt to the situation.”
These observations are readily apparent and are influencing other companies to make similar digital transformation investments. In the 2021 Technology Outlook from Deloitte, the key differentiators for companies are:
1. doubling down on their digital transformation efforts,
2. reorienting and reskilling their workforce, and
3. re-examining where and how manufacturing happens.
These are all strategic activities due to COVID-19. Furthermore, these activities will help companies to adapt, survive, and thrive in the future. With the 100% increase in digital transformation projects across enterprises, now is the right time to consider having maturing emerging technologies as part of your roadmap.
Most specifically, Blockchain, IoT, Cloud, and Artificial Intelligence should all be considered, both independently and together. Independently based on your specific use cases and together because each compliments the other in some way. Blockchain helps secure data and bring trust to transactions, real-time and immediate nature of smart contracts can leverage decisions made by AI bots to automate processes, and IoT can be used to bring large amounts of data into the ecosystem, helping the AI bots to make better decisions using trusted data. The positive impact of deploying these technologies strategically is bringing value to all industries.
“Now is the right time to consider having maturing emerging technologies as part of your roadmap. Most specifically, Blockchain, IoT, Cloud, and Artificial Intelligence should all be considered.”
In Retail, the University of Auburn’s Chain Integration Project (CHIP) has worked with over 20 brands to prove the viability of blockchain as a common platform for supply chain data sharing, using real data provided by some of the brands. Blockchain allows all parties to have control over what data they share and with whom. The research, focused on solving a $181 billion industry problem, leveraged over 200,000 products across 12 different supply chain nodes. The results were positive, and the participants are now focused on economics of making this a new reality for the industry.
Another example of emerging technology, specifically Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence working to improve a cross-industry challenge is Trust Your Supplier. Trust Your Supplier is a global business network focused on digitizing the relationship between Buyers (e.g., Procurement Organizations) and Suppliers (e.g., vendors, partners). This network is focused on facilitating the Supplier On-boarding process, including collection of critical data to help the Buyer evaluate the Supplier in terms of risk to the organization and its supply chain.
The Trust Your Supplier network helps companies to transform this process, which today is still often email, text documents and spreadsheets. Additionally, the deployment of Artificial Intelligence and other tools help to automate evaluation and qualification, focusing efforts where risk is identified instead of on mundane, non-critical information. This network is bringing trusted, secured, and verified data into the transactions between these companies providing significant benefit to all participants.
Today, the Trust Your Supplier network has over three dozen global Buyers and thousands of Suppliers representing over 70 countries and the numbers are growing daily. The benefits of a larger ecosystem are critical in this network. With an increasing number of relationships within Trust Your Supplier, the greater the benefits are across the ecosystem for all participants.
The biggest question for leaders is how can a blockchain-based digital transformation improve your procurement team’s day-to-day operations, increase trust in the quality of your products, strengthen your supply chain, and reduce risk in your organization. Learn more about blockchain’s array of use cases in digital transformation here, or reach out to Chainyard to discuss how it could fit in to your own strategy.
Chainyard, a digital transformation consulting specialist, has deep experience with blockchain consulting, cloud migration consulting, DevOps consulting, artificial intelligence consulting, machine learning consulting, user experience consulting, cybersecurity consulting, web portal development, mobile application development, and IT operations management.