Why Digital Transformation is Crucial for Modern Supply Chains
— To succeed in digital transformation, companies must view their HR team as active contributors to business decisions and embed digital changes into everyday tasks, while future supply chain professionals will need skills in project management and technology, supported by artificial intelligence in hiring processes according to Partho Chakraborty, Associate Director for P&O IT at Novartis.
The following are the main takeaways from his recent interview. You can watch the entire interview here.
Shifting Perception of P&O to Business Enablers
Pivotal to Chakraborty's view is the idea of reimagining the role of People and Organization (P&O). He envisions a shift from P&O functioning merely as a support arm, to acting as proactive business enablers. With almost two decades of experience, he underscores the importance of meaningful metrics and data-driven insights in shaping informed business decisions. For P&O to be truly effective, it must break free from a supporting role and become an integral part of the business ecosystem.
Essentials for a Successful Supply Chain Digital Transformation
Digital transformation, according to Chakraborty, is a journey, not a destination. It permeates the core of an organization's operations and demands several key elements for success:
1.Cultivating a culture receptive to change and transformation, led from the top.
2.Weaving digital transformation into the daily tasks and workflows of employees, hence driving the transformation from the ground up.
3.Recognizing that the road to transformation involves risk-taking, failure, learning, and evolution.
Chakraborty also identifies three critical mindsets for orchestrating a successful digital transformation:
1.A future-oriented approach to recruitment.
2.A sound understanding of the transformation-enabling technology.
3.Solid project management capabilities.
Current HR Trends and Essential Skill Sets for Future Supply Chain Professionals
With a firm eye on the future, Chakraborty perceives project management acumen and a strong grip on IT and automation as indispensable skills for supply chain professionals. He insists that the success of digital transformation is inseparable from the success of its employees, thereby stressing the need to nurture a transformation-friendly culture within an organization.
As we move towards a more technologically driven HR landscape, Chakraborty underscores the growing role of AI and machine learning in talent acquisition. He deems people analytics as a game-changer, yielding invaluable insights for hiring decisions. HR should also lean into technologies that reduce manual intervention, thus allowing P&O teams to focus on activities that add value and enable the business. And in embracing technology, Chakraborty suggests that new tools such as ChatGPT and Metaverse could be leveraged to enhance processes like onboarding, making P&O operations more efficient.
Good afternoon, Parcel. Mainly thanks for taking the time to have the interview recording today. And I hope you're excited for a discussion. So let's get right into it if you can start first please by introducing yourself and share what you do.
Sure. Thank you, Rajee, for inviting me. I am part of Chakraborty, and I will work with Novartis, as associate director, IT people and organization services.
I have seventeen years of experience within shared service domain.
And that is within P and O. That is people in organization.
I have worked with various sector starting with setting their shared services, and these sectors vary from banking service industry, agribusiness, energy pharma to be the most recent one.
I find working into this multiple transformation projects within shared services, quite exciting.
And I try to help organizations scale their business.
Thank you, Partha.
Still on the topic of your background and experience. Right? What excites you about your current field?
So piano has been very close to my heart because I have invested around seventeen years within this domain.
And I love this rule because I pursue to make a change within the perception that people have for PNO. So people feel that this is a support function, but I want to make PNO business enablers. So so that's what keeps me on my tool. I help them provide ride insight, so that from my chart point of view, they can make right business decisions, and I enjoy delivering business mattresses month on month year on year, that that has been my goal. It is kind of a tankless job, but I I take quite pride in driving data insights and and making PNO as business enabler, rather than just a business function or a support function.
Very interesting, and thanks for sharing Partho. So for today, let's spend a bit more time to discuss about supply chain topics from an HR or a people point of view And let's start first by talking about supply chain digital transformations as it's very relevant today. So the first question is, when supply chain organizations would embark on a digital transformation journey, What impact does it have from a people perspective?
So so if you see digital transformation is quite a key thing because if we want to deliver business at industrial revolution four point o level, we have to embark on this journey of digital transformation, and supply chain forms a key a backbone of every organization. Because if your supply chain network is not working well, you will not be able to achieve your digital transformation So first thing that I feel that culture management and change management is very essential, because it is a top driven approach So if you want to embark on a digital transformation, the first thing that people should do as leaders is to encourage people to imbibe this within their culture of the organization.
The leadership should be supportive of changes, be it incremental, be it innovative changes, be it radical, changes, they should encourage people to accept change, because people are not willing to accept change. So this change management becomes an inevitable part.
Another piece that I feel is very important is if you want to transform your journey, you have to imbibe that into day to day activity of your people. So a digital transformation needs to be driven at a grass root level. So the best is of advice that I can give is to attach it to the k r a of each and every people within the organization or within the supply chain organization if you are trying to drive digital transformation. So that no matter how small changes are, people are recognized for that. People are appreciated for their effort, and and leaders and, you know, partner play a very integral role in bringing those use cases to the entire organization for change.
And and last but not the least, if you are embarking on digital transformation, it's it's not a goal. It's a journey. So so you have to play in the game, it has to be a long game, and people should be willing to fail and fail fast.
So that if you fail, you can pick up a new piece of experiment or project and then move forward within this digital transformation.
Thank you, part of a very nice answer, and still on the topic of digital transformations, what might be some of the key points that organizations should keep in mind as they embark on a digital transformation journey.
So digital transformation journey as you rightly said, it's it's a journey. It's not a goal. So it has to be a constant process.
So across all department unit and across all levels, we have to gather a culture of transformation, where people should be willing enough to take up the culture of change. Because unless we build upon the culture of change, it it is pretty difficult to drive a transformative journey.
The next thing that people should keep in mind while they are doing a transformative journey is to do it for a reason. They should focus on a problem that they are willing to solve for the organization if they are embarking on this digital transformation journey. Not just do it for the heck of doing it because our competitors are doing it. We should also do it. No. We should focus on the problems that we want to solve with this journey of transformation.
And in order to understand the value of this journey, we have to have good use cases. For example, if we want to improve our customer service approach within supply chain management. How can we integrate AI ML chatbots to support our customer service?
Get a seamless delivery of these services.
So use cases become very important, and and how do we focus on the problem that we are willing to solve? So we have to define those hypotheses, test those hypotheses, and then move to scale.
The next piece of advice that I can give is automate, simplify, and scale.
As I said, this journey has to be driven at a cross route level. So we have to encourage people to simplifying things that they do on a day to day basis.
They have to think of easier way to do things that they are doing in orthodox manner. So people should be encouraged, and these people who are bringing in those changes, not everyone is going to give you a great idea or or a transformative idea. So people who are the change makers should be encouraged, rewarded, recognized.
But we have to keep in mind that the philosophy remains the same, that we automate things. We simplify things and then if it produces results, we scale things. So automate simplify and scale is the mantra.
And recognizing people who are bringing those changes with help of leadership, with help of p n o business partner, that that would also help.
They're interesting, and thank you for sharing up part though. Now, still on the same topic, right, if organizations aim to embark on a transformation journey. What are maybe some of the different skill sets and mindsets that you think is required?
In order to have and deliver a successful transformation?
Yeah. This question is pretty close to the domain that I work with. So this is quite close to p n o or HR standpoint. Because if you want to embark on digital transformative journey, you have to think of future. Every organization that is trying to deliver transformation within them, they are aiming for future.
And and so does they need to do while they are recruiting talent within their organization. So they have to recruit for future.
So, people who are doing a particular set of job, they need to be ready to change and adapt to new technology, new ways of working, new domain all together. For example, if if someone is in supply chain, but they have to move into ID supporting supply chain, then they should be willing to do that. So higher for the future is one key important thing if a organization is embarking on a digital transformation journey.
The next piece is understanding the technology.
Is also a very key piece of advice that I can give to any organization that is undergoing a transformative journey. Because if you are not understanding the technology which is going to be your support in order to drive digital transformation, then you would not be able to implement the solutions that you are aiming for. For example, people should be, like, keeping a few basic information around the data analytics piece, how the software life cycle works, how the implementation piece work for driving any new solution within your organizational network And last but, not the least, is project management.
Project management becomes very essential because all these transformative journeys would be comprising of smaller projects and program that each and every individual would be leading at some point in their journey within the organization.
So having a basic understanding or fundamental understanding of project management also helps And for the organization's standpoint, you will not have all the required talent or information that you want, try this digital journey.
So you can also rely upon gig economy, which is building very fast, which has all the capability and these gig workers are doing it out of their own passion. So you can break down those bigger projects into smaller pieces, give it out to the economy, get it done, at a cheaper cost at a faster pace and then embed it within the organization network or organization ecosystem.
Thank you, Partha, for for sharing. Now another topic that our supply chain professionals might be interested to learn from you today is on capability development.
And as such, what do you think are skill sets that supply chain professionals should develop now? In order to be competitive in the future?
And then, this is quite related to the last questions that you had So people are the biggest asset of the organization, and and the organization cannot thrive on this digital journey without their people supporting them. So if the digital journey has to be successful, people when the organization needs to be successful.
They have to imbibe that culture, which I spoke of digital transformation.
It has to be driven through their okRs and KRs where where they are given I I would say a task or or challenge in terms of driving some sort of simplification approach within their day to day activity. So that smaller simplification changes can result into a bigger yield.
The next piece that I would like to focus that people have to be educated on information technology. So the digital divide needs to be limited. People should be aware of information technology. They should be aware of automation, how it happens. They should be aware of project management skill.
And and these are constant learning that they need to have -- Mhmm.
-- in mind if they want to grow within an organization, which is going through a transformative change.
The other piece that the organization can focus upon is focusing on customer requirements. So you can drive digital transformation with certain goal. But whether those goals are getting aligned to your customer needs or not, is very, very essential, and that is good to drive your success criterias.
So, your voice of customers, or the pain areas of the customer is that you have to rely upon and bring in those sort of solution. And as I, like earlier said, that focus on the problem, not on the solution piece. Because once you focus on the problem, that's when you get a very rich solution, which will help you drive this digital transformation journey.
As I already mentioned that project management skills like PMBs, from agile, these are becoming day to day activity within any project. So so this is going to be a very core platform or or I would say a core offering that people can learn and and excel within their careers, because it will be agnostic of a particular domain. So you can understand the project management and the project principal would remain the same beat, and HR project beat, a supply chain project beat any sort of project. So Project management is going to play a very crucial role in delivering high performing projects at a stringent time lines with the necessary resources that you have in place.
Thank you, Parto. Now, before we end, let's shift the focus a bit to more HR. Obviously, HR teams enable different teams such as supply chain to achieve their goals. What might be some of the new trends and developments now in the HR function that can maybe help further support our supply chain teams?
So as you said, supply chain is going through transformative journey and and PNO happens to be a business enabler. So if PNO is not providing the right set of people to do the right set of activity, then the organization won't be able to deliver those transformative changes. So one thing to keep in mind is a track right set of talent.
Be very competitive in the market in terms of attracting those talents. So these days in order to attract talent, there are multiple platforms which can help like hard view eightfold dot a I, which uses new technologies like AI, machine learning, gamification to attract the best talent from multiple sources through your free sources like LinkedIn, Campbell, and through job board just well. So so that's one piece. Next is, if you can limit in the human intervention of p n o people in terms of data input. For example, I had to retrieve that can go through a lot of automation where the data flows from source to the HCM software where the data is stored. That makes life simpler for a lot of PNR resources who who can be freed up and can focus on things which matter rather than doing mundane activity of data entry.
The next biggest thing is data.
People data is going to be one of the biggest piece of information that is going to help.
P and O become a business enabler. So people analytics is going to be a game changer for us in next few years where you would be getting the right set of insight in terms of what sort of talent we need to hire, what sort of talent stick to the organization well build various data models to drive business matrices which are not performing well. For example, some mattresses in terms of accuracies are not coming green, then then these business and insights can help you figure out what's the problem area. And the next thing is to imbibe new technologies like Chad GPT met ours all these things into the onboarding process into the customer service process of PNO so that life becomes a little simpler for people who are actually delivering P and O services to the organization.
And and when people get those response within a quick turnaround time, people can focus on what matters the most in our digital transformation journey. So so they can focus better on their key projects. They can focus better on their key deliverables, which they need to deliver on time. And and as an organization, it would work seamlessly as if P and O can support or enable business to do the right set of thing at the right point of time.
Thank you, Arthur. It was good to have you today. Thank you so much.
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