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December 1, 2023

The Role of the Cloud in Digital Transformation

The recent supply chain disruptions have made it clear that businesses need to embrace digital transformation to remain competitive. With the help of digital technology, organisations can unlock opportunities and accelerate their journey to value and growth.

In this interview, Ampy Aswin, Director of Supply Chain and Logistics Industry Solutions APAC at Google Cloud, shares her insights on why supply chain digitalization is important, how cloud computing can make supply chains more robust and resilient, and how companies can maximize the value and benefits of their digital transformation journey.

The Importance of Supply Chain Digitalization

According to Aswin, digital transformation is the process of embedding data-powered innovations to unlock value for businesses. And when it comes to supply chain, digitalization is vital for three reasons:

1. Delivering Exceptional Customer Experiences

By leveraging data to understand customers’ expectations and running operations profitably by focusing on an efficient and effective supply fulfillment, companies can deliver exceptional customer experiences. In other words, digitalization helps companies understand their customers better and fulfill their demands more effectively.

"By leveraging data to understand customer expectations, organizations can run operations profitably by focusing on an efficient and effective supply fulfillment."

Ampy Aswin —
Director of Supply Chain and Logistics
Industry Solutions APAC at Google

2. Building a Resilient and Sustainable Supply Chain

Supply chains are responsible for delivering goods and services to meet consumer demand. However, there are numerous factors affecting demand, from changing consumer expectations, channel preferences, and market dynamics to supply chain disruptions from external factors like climate impacts, geopolitical tensions, and regulatory changes. A resilient supply chain is one that can respond to these challenges and adapt to changing market conditions. By using data to predict and respond to risks, companies can build a resilient and sustainable supply chain that runs in a circular and socially responsible way.

"A resilient and sustainable supply chain is crucial for organizations to be able to respond to market changes and disruptions."

3. Driving Higher Productivity

Supply chain transformation also helps drive higher productivity by running the supply chain much more autonomously, automating routine tasks, and liberating supply chain professionals to spend more time with customers and partners to drive collaboration opportunities and proactively anticipate and respond to potential issues.

"Driving supply chain transformation helps drive higher productivity by running the supply chain much more autonomously."

Utilizing Cloud Computing to Make Supply Chains More Robust and Resilient

Aswin explained that cloud technology enables a digital supply chain twin that provides real-time visibility of information in an integrated manner across the entire chain, ensuring a single version of truth. This helps companies make their supply chains more robust and resilient.

"Cloud technology enables a digital supply chain twin that provides real-time visibility of information in an integrated manner across the entire chain, thus ensuring a single version of truth."

1. Enabling Agility

A resilient supply chain is one that is agile. Agility is the ability to rapidly act and respond. This requires knowing what's happening in the moment, and that requires real-time visibility. Most organisations are challenged by static, siloed, limited, and different versions of data that prevent them from rapidly responding to demand changes and supply disruptions. A digital supply chain twin enables a seamless information flow across the entire supply chain from suppliers to customers and logistics service providers without hard-wiring data, thus replacing the need for email, phone, and SMS exchanges.

2. Providing Predictive Analytics

Cloud computing also helps drive better decision-making by utilizing intelligent artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to provide predictive analytics. By pulling in real-time data signals such as weather, traffic information, and news alerts, companies can make better-informed decisions.

3. Empowering Individuals and Teams

Cloud computing helps empower individuals and teams who are closest to the source of supply or demand changes to respond, rather than wait for changes in the centralized plan. By utilizing the power of cloud computing, companies can create a more collaborative, efficient, and responsive supply chain.

Maximizing the Value and Benefits of Digital Transformation

When it comes to digital transformation, companies need to prioritize areas where they can get immediate value and execute it in a phased manner while focusing on their long-term roadmap. Aswin suggests that before embarking on any transformation program, companies must have absolute clarity of vision and the problems they want to solve.

Without clarity of vision, it will create confusion across the organization. Any major transformation requires adopting a robust change management discipline. After having clarity of vision, companies should ensure they communicate and enroll everyone into the vision, invest in developing the needed new skills, and equip teams with enough resources to avoid unnecessary frustration. Companies should also sustain the momentum with quick wins and celebrate success.

The Takeaways

  • 1.

    Digital transformation is vital for businesses to unlock opportunities and accelerate their journey to value and growth.

  • 2.

    Supply chain digitalization is important for delivering exceptional customer experiences, building a resilient and sustainable supply chain, and driving higher productivity.

  • 3.

    Cloud computing enables a digital supply chain twin that provides real-time visibility of information in an integrated manner across the entire chain, ensuring a single version of truth, and empowering individuals and teams to respond.

  • 4.

    Before embarking on any transformation program, companies must have absolute clarity of vision and the problems they want to solve, invest in developing the needed new skills, and equip teams with enough resources to avoid frustration.

  • 5.

    Companies should prioritize areas where they can get immediate value and execute it in a phased manner while focusing on their long-term roadmap.

  • 6.

    Sustaining momentum with quick wins and celebrating success is crucial for the success of any digital transformation journey.

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