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April 2021
Realising Digital’s Full
Potential in the Value Chain
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, manufacturers, retailers and service
providers revamped delivery and operations models virtually overnight to ensure
their consumers had access to familiar goods and services. Many companies found
they had to upgrade the infrastructure supporting the new “path to consumption”
value chain, and turned to digital to accomplish this. As we spoke with executives
across Europe who lead such digitising efforts, they described a diverse range of
deployments, but digital can — and must — deliver far more. In this ebook, we
explore how businesses can realise digital’s full potential across their value chain.
< Back to Contents
2 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain < Back to Contents
Contents
Click a link below to jump to that section.
3	Introduction
5	 Think bigger about digital
10	
Put experience at the center of digital initiatives
14	 Supercharge decision-making with AI
16	 Overcome barriers to optimising digital returns
20	 Successes and lessons shared
24	 What’s next
“Looking at
transformation
holistically is
key to aligning
customer systems
to core systems.”
CTO, travel and hospitality group
3 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain  Back to Contents
Introduction
Digital has become an important tool in the “path to consumption” value chain — and yet still has more to offer.
Manufacturers, service providers and retailers have doubled down on their digital initiatives.
That became apparent in our conversations late
in 2020 with more than 40 senior executives who
told us about the recent top digital initiatives in
their companies. The executives represented
companies in a variety of consumer-facing goods
and services industries across Europe. All had
embarked on ambitious projects, some of which
spanned multiple operating areas. Most of these
projects had been launched before the COVID-19
pandemic struck, then continued, with project
teams collaborating from remote locations via
tools like Microsoft Teams. Some projects took on
new urgency in the pandemic, such as retailers
solving the logistics of last-mile delivery from
their retail stores instead of warehouses. At least
one robotics process automation (RPA) project
launched because of COVID-19, when a company
simply didn’t have the human power to tackle
paperwork associated with a divestiture.
Executives shared these details, explaining why
these projects took priority; where they ran into
implementation obstacles; and lessons learned
and success measures. These common themes
emerged from our conversations:
	
❙ Digital is everywhere in the value chain but
only rarely supports an end-to-end digital
strategy. Organisations have matured beyond
using digital for simple point solutions but
could still expand their vision for how to use
digital to retool value chains.
	
❙ Experience is ultimately the end game for
most digital initiatives. Experience is broadly
defined, from closing contracts in the field
to tracking machine parts throughout their
lifecycle. Creating a common vision of the
customer experience across the organisation
can drive more cohesion among digital efforts.
	
❙ Creating intelligence by unlocking data
silos is an imperative. Organisations only
rarely mentioned AI and machine learning
applications, tools that could help them
supercharge returns from work they are doing
to consolidate data stores to tap them for
historical analysis, forecasting and customer
insights.
	
❙ Legacy system inertia slows and
complicates digital initiatives. Modernisation
is overdue. Heritage systems and processes
they support often have a larger-than-expected
impact on modern technology.
Consumer Goods
Construction
Utilities
Travel  Hospitality
Retail
Real Estate
Manufacturing
Logistics
Energy
4 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain  Back to Contents
	
❙ Project and change management remain challenges as
the stakes for their success grow larger. Organisations
must adopt experience-oriented approaches to ensure
stakeholder adoption and full return on digital investments.
	
❙ Sustainability and the circular economy are emerging.
Companies need a strong digital foundation on which
to build sustainable, environmentally sensitive practices
to satisfy growing consumer demand for products and
services from green businesses.
We explore these themes throughout this ebook. We examine
how to engineer a modern business through a holistic digital
strategy centered on delivering a well-defined customer
experience. We discuss building this experience with insights
based on deep, rich data stores, tapped with intelligent
decisioning tools. We also look at how to overcome common
barriers to digital success and lessons shared. Executing these
steps will help position companies to realise maximum return
from their digital investments in the future of experience,
technology and work.
5 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain  Back to Contents
“Essentially we had to create
a new organisation with a
functional ERP, industrial IT
and modernised processes.”
Operations director, manufacturing
Think bigger about digital
“Our goal was a stable
infrastructure with best of
breed online and backend
technologies.”
IT director, retail conglomerate
“The key to transformation
was to improve the
experience for customers
and employees, and define
the way we operate the
digital company.”
Global digitisation lead, energy company
“Being more predictive
about plant maintenance
would help us manage
those costs.”
Head of IT  digital, energy producer
“Our people must close
contracts while they’re
in the field to capture
business away from our
competitors.”
Digital transformation lead,
agricultural supply company
“A master data pool
would supply intelligence
to all our operational and
supply chain needs.”
Director, global shared services,
energy producer
Respondent Voices
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Supply Chain/Logistics Operations Internal Support Services Sales, Marketing  Customer Services
	
❙ RPA
	
❙ Robotics
	
❙ IoT track n trace
	
❙ SAP Ariba
	
❙ Goods-to-person system
	
❙ Field personnel augmentation
	
❙ Predictive analytics
	
❙ Digital finance
	
❙ RPA
	
❙ ERP consolidation
	
❙ Enterprise asset management
	
❙ Master data management
 analytics
	
❙ SAP optimisation
	
❙ Workflow automation
	
❙ PLM consolidation
	
❙ AWS migration
	
❙ Data platform modernisation
	
❙ Microservices adoption
	
❙ Remote/work from home support
	
❙ Customer portals
	
❙ Mobile apps
	
❙ Track n trace
	
❙ CRM system
consolidation
	
❙ Direct-to-consumer
sales/e-commerce
	
❙ Mobile app development
	
❙ Business intelligence
	
❙ Paperless contracting
	
❙ Virtual events
	
❙ Web transformation
	
❙ Business intelligence
visualisation
*Some projects encompassed more than one category.
Response base: 40 European executives
Figure 1
Digital projects from the respondents’ organisations
15
10
21
36
59
Number of Projects in Scope*
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7 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain
We asked each executive about the three top digital projects under way in their
company. Many projects were ambitious and required some integration with systems in
other segments of the value chain. Clearly, digital is no longer synonymous with “point
solution.” Yet organisations could drive still more value out of these ambitious digital
projects. Here’s how:
	
❙ Articulate a vision and business case for
the comprehensive digitisation of the
value chain. Many projects concentrated
on one value chain segment, with links to
other segments being incidental vs. being
deliberately targeted and strengthened.
Projects focused on supply chain logistics
did not necessarily incorporate a finance or
customer-facing component. Customer-
facing initiatives did not always have obvious
operations and logistics integration. Chief
digital officers, chief information officers and
chief operating officers may all be leading
different digital initiatives with their own distinct
perspectives. This reality makes it extremely
difficult to develop a coherent strategy. Large
islands of tactical digital may arise that don’t
map to the organisation’s business strategy.
	
❙ Create digital capabilities in the service
of an overarching guiding vision. Digital
is delivered via a new technology stack that
gives companies the power to reimagine how
they can be better at delivering the product
or service that has made them great. A few
executives did describe visions for using digital
to drive new experiences and intelligence
throughout their value chain, even if their
efforts are nascent. These visions can be bolder
and should help guide the choices made and
capabilities created in each segment of the
value chain.
Projects focused on
supply chain logistics
did not necessarily
incorporate a
finance or customer-
facing component.
Customer-facing
initiatives did not
always have obvious
operations and
logistics integration.
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8 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain
Figure 2
Consumer/worker/investor value realized through...
enabled by...
powered by...
Data
Instrumentation
fueled by...
acquired from...
running on...
A foundation of tech fit-for-purpose for the modern enterprise.
Foundation Technology
(Cloud, Platforms, ERP systems, 5G, Blockchain and more)
Business Value
Experiences
Software Engineering
Intelligence
On a new architecture for work
Every organisation must master this stack at scale to drive business in the Fourth Industrial Revo-
lution. Applying this — process by process, experience by experience — across every value chain is
how we build the modern enterprise.
	
❙ Aim to iterate vs. overthink. An organisation
that takes two years to develop an overarching
vision will find technology advances have likely
outpaced its thinking. Yet reckless development
is wasteful and unsatisfactory. Focusing on
delivering an optimal customer experience
(also likely a moving target) should provide
direction about what processes to reimagine
and capabilities to build. Companies can then
move forward via rapid prototyping, feedback
and iterations of minimum viable products.
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“We had to match digital competition and build deeper
partnerships with customers vs. transaction-based
relationships — without hiring more field personnel”
Digital transformation lead, agricultural conglomerate
Put experience at the center of digital initiatives
“Our customers have high expectations for fast resolution
of issues with their components, so we needed full
traceability throughout the product lifecycle.”
Global SCM digitisation lead, manufacturing
“We wanted to understand
individual customers so
we could personalise our
interactions with them.”
Deputy CIO, retailer
“We were seeing a 30%
drop rate during the
customer journey and had
to optimise that experience.”
CTO, travel  hospitality group
“The goal is to make our customer-facing systems
more responsive, with more efficient integration
with data and backend supply chain systems.”
Director of technology for retail  digital, retailer
Respondent Voices
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Cost pressure
Technology innovation opportunity
Technology obsolescence
Adapt to new customer needs
Adapt to competition
Business continuity
Reorganisation
4%
6%
6%
17%
17%
19%
31%
Response base: 40 European executives
Figure 3
Multiple drivers of digital business change
Many decision-makers explicitly named improved customer
experience as a key objective of a digital initiative. The
pandemic has sharpened this focus because the “Amazon
experience” has become the benchmark for any digital
experience. This is true for experiences across both the
business-to-business and business-to-consumer links in the
path-to-consumption value chain.
Organisations targeted a variety of stakeholders to please:
customers, internal business users, field personnel and
suppliers. Yet very often, we heard companies assume
experience would improve as a byproduct of digital delivery.
It was not surprising to us that several executives said they
“missed” their improved experience targets. Here’s how to
help ensure ancillary goals, such as reduced costs and new
technology features, deliver expected returns:
	
❙ All digital initiatives must center on the organisation’s
customer experience vision. Insights into the customer
journey will determine what the experience should be
and all the touchpoints at which the experience must be
delivered. With that clear picture, companies may then
define the capabilities required to support that experience.
These capabilities are interrelated, so companies must take
a holistic approach to each initiative, considering how a
change in one capability may require changes elsewhere.
Stated reason for transformation
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❙ The cost of not thinking holistically about digital is high. Without
the digital ecosystem in mind, it’s all too easy to create a process or
function that contradicts the goals for the customer experience. A supply
chain initiative may be designed to minimise delivery costs paid by the
customer by shifting to a different last-mile carrier. Yet sales intelligence
shows customers are willing to pay a premium for greater visibility and
fast delivery — qualities the new process does not deliver. The customer
experience is undermined because the supply chain initiative was not
aligned with the sales insight.
	
❙ The effort to coordinate digital across value chain segments is
higher — but so is the payback. Take the objective of delivering a
seamless, continuous experience no matter which facility, store or
branch a customer visits across Europe. An IT team might propose a new
master data management or CRM system. Yet such systems alone could
not deliver a harmonised experience at every touchpoint unless they
incorporated human-centered experience design. That design also will
help identify all the customer data required to provide the intelligence
needed to refine products and services and retool fulfillment processes,
such as consolidating or adding distribution centers. These refinements
then are executed with customer experience in mind, forming a virtuous,
value-creating loop.
	
❙ Prepare to know your customer forever. Some companies already
have invested in understanding customer journeys. Customers are
continuously generating data and new tools, which are still rapidly
advancing, enable new insights. As one retailer explained, the company
had never before been able to know its customers as unique individuals.
Also, data gathered during the COVID-19 pandemic will be extremely
valuable to understand which customer behaviour shifts will be lasting
and how new expectations and habits should shape a company’s next
generation of products and services.
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The experience-driven digital ecosystem
Digital initiatives across the value chain should align with a common,
company-wide vision of the desired customer experience.
Figure 4
Interest
Awareness
Search
Reputation
Purchase
Experience
Socialize
Journey
Channels
Digital  Tech
Capabilities Product
Development
Distribution
and Logistics
Service
Quality
Product Portfolio
Management
Physical Stores
Network
Data and Analytics
Experience
13 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain  Back to Contents
“Our teams required a
transparent, common way
of looking at a single source
of truth so they had deeper
insights and could make
better decisions.”
Senior manager,
digital transformation, automaker
Supercharge decision-making with AI
“We were able to say
‘no’ with confidence to
initiatives based on data
we collected and insights
data provided us. ”
CTO, Energy services and solutions
company
“The goal was to increase
plant production through
analysis of historical data
that could show how to
overcome a recurring
bottleneck.”
Head of IT  digital, energy producer
Respondent Voices
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14 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain
Manufacturers have meticulously tracked
material and finished product movements
for years. Utilities, logistics service providers,
and major retail and hospitality players have
increasingly moved much of their customer
engagement online. All these efforts have
created a treasure trove of data from across
the value chain.
Organisations are using digital to unlock
these vast data stores and are applying tools
to understand processes and customers with
more granularity to generate insights and
intelligence they can act on. One energy
producer created a big data platform and
used it to analyse historic data about oil flow
during the extraction process. Processing the
data with AI indicated how it could increase the
flow without additional equipment, improving
potential revenue from the production facility.
Despite such potential, only a handful of
companies mentioned using AI tools to drive
more value from their data. Here’s how to
address that gap:
	
❙ Put data in the cloud. Modern cloud-
based platforms make more data accessible
throughout an organisation, streamlining
data extraction from key systems, including
legacy applications. Cloud offers flexible data
structures and architectures that enable
organisations to quickly tap into and monetise
data resources.
	
❙ Invest in improving data quality. Machine
learning tools and algorithms must learn
from clean and structured data sources.
Tools exist to make it easier for organisations
to clean older pools of data. Going forward,
companies need data quality management
teams to evangelise data quality and provide
governance for long-term data integrity. Team
members work with product owners and users
to help them understand why data quality is
essential and how it will enable more accurate
predictions and analysis. Data quality must be
a company-wide initiative, not the responsibility
of a single department.
	
❙ Focus on use cases when building insights
from disparate data sources. Focusing on
a pain point and identifying the data needed
to solve it is an effective way to avoid “boiling
the data ocean” and to see faster returns from
AI tools. This is especially true when one data
source turns out to support several use cases.
Too often, data engineering teams load data
that is not relevant to the problem at hand.
	
❙ Make data beautiful for business users.
Providing intuitive, attractive tools will help
convert stakeholders used to making decisions
based on instinct or anecdotes to using
business intelligence and analytics. Several
executives explained business users did
not always automatically comprehend how
analytics tools could derive insights from data.
15 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain  Back to Contents
“We tried too many
transformations at
the same time.”
Innovation director,
sports equipment maker
Overcoming barriers to optimising digital returns
“Our pace of change was
constrained because of
our complex old internal
IT estate.”
Head of IS delivery, utility
“It was very difficult for our
engineers to let go of their
experience and trust the data.”
Head of IT  digital, energy producer
“We saw quite a lot of resistance
to change, both in adopting the
technology and in accepting the
new processes.”
Change transformation program director,
real estate  hospitality
Transformation
management/planning
Legacy
technology
Change
management
Respondent Voices
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16 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain
Bring realistic resources to transformation
Many executives told us project scoping,
requirement gathering and stakeholder
expectations management were challenging
and sometimes led to delays in project
implementation. One company’s global
enterprise resource planning (ERP) rollout
was delayed because it launched too many
concurrent transformations, all of which required
the same resources. For others, rolling out a new
digitised process across regions often went slowly,
if it occurred at all, because processes had not
been harmonised before or during the project’s
development. This meant some projects fell short
of expected productivity gains.
Our recommendations:
	
❙ Resource management is key. Our
conversations reinforced our observation that
key decision-makers often are involved in too
many projects. That generally results in projects
not receiving sufficient attention or bottlenecks
occurring as decisions and direction lag.
Creating an enterprise project management
office (PMO) is still the clear way to prevent
this. A PMO looks at the resources each project
requires in terms of tools and finances as well
as attention from executive management. It’s
easy to develop a business case for a PMO
when an organisation thinks about the value
at risk. A PMO does require everyone to be
transparent about their available resources and
how they are being allocated.
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17 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain
Uncork legacy bottlenecks
Many of our conversations revealed that projects bogged down where digital initiatives had to share data with legacy systems.
Here’s how to deal with heritage hurdles:
	
❙ Modernise applications to speed digital deployment.
This makes vital data in legacy systems more readily
consumable by modern applications. While we don’t
advocate reviewing the IT landscape from alpha to omega
before every project, it is important to understand what
data will come from or be supplied to a legacy system to
drive the desired customer experience. This knowledge will
help prioritise which applications to address first, often by
modernising and migrating them to cloud environments.
	
❙ Take a phased approach that delivers quick, visible
wins. Have a vision for what the fully modernised process
or system will accomplish, then deconstruct that into
smaller, manageable projects. That could be as simple as
training a software bot to complete a rote data entry task
that creates cost savings and returns time to stakeholders.
These successes demonstrate how digital can improve
work experiences and start building acceptance and even
demand for change.
	
❙ Use containers, microservices and the cloud to
accelerate modernisation efforts. These tools make
it easier to reuse existing knowledge artifacts in legacy
systems without affecting the responsiveness of modern
systems. It also enables other digital investments like AI, RPA,
IoT, etc. to interact in the ecosystem without standardising
all the underlying platforms. Our experience has shown that
application modernisation leads to 30% efficiency gains
in the IT landscape, resulting in up to a 25% increase in
revenue generation from the affected applications.
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18 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain
Change management
Every executive we interviewed cited significant change management
challenges as the main reason why intended users, either internal
or external, did not adopt a digital tool as expected. Digital offerings
did not necessarily sell themselves. Some professionals did not trust
new data-driven processes vs. their own body of knowledge and
experience. Others did not take time to learn the capabilities of new
tools, while others expected far more than the tools and processes
delivered. Limited adoption typically meant slower ROI.
While digital creates new change challenges — such as the managers
at one company that had to learn how to supervise industrial robots
— it also creates ways to overcome the age-old conundrum of
how to manage change successfully. Here’s how to accelerate true
acceptance of digital change:
	
❙ Change management today must be delivered as an
experience vs. a process. Today, stakeholders must be engaged
as cocreators of new tools and processes. Gathering information
for an impact assessment and other traditional exercises should
not be the work of a small, centralised team. Instead, during
workshops, affected stakeholders should collaborate with each
other, drawing on their expertise to solve the challenge and/or take
advantage of an opportunity. Stakeholders learn more about how
their work affects the customer experience and value chain when
engaging with each other. Through cocreated solutions, they’ll also
have more ownership in the new process, service or product, i.e., a
vested interest in its success.
	
❙ Demonstrate the power of digital tools. Whenever appropriate,
change management communication and engagement
mechanisms should be delivered on digital platforms and devices.
Use high quality videos and podcasts and online training tools.
Gamify training to stimulate engagement. Build and empower
online change communities to create grassroots support; monitor
the sentiment of the community to identify and address concerns
and issues before they become entrenched obstacles.
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“The time it took to find
the right data went
from days to seconds.”
Global SCM digitisation lead,
energy company
Successes and lessons shared
“More data for inventory
management was an
unexpected benefit from
our robotic deployment.”
CIO, robotics, manufacturer
“The conversion, stability and
scalability of the platform was
massively improved. We can
experiment with more frequent
releases and get quick feedback.
Online customer volume and
revenues have grown.”
IT director, delivery  operations, ecommerce
“We have broken down the silos
between IT and the business.”
Customer service manager,
utility company
“RPA gave us a quick
implementation and faster
ROI, which gave relief
to users vs. waiting for a
long-term solution.”
Senior manager, digital
transformation, automaker
“We can now spin up
environments in 30
minutes compared
to two to four weeks
before.”
CIO, retail company
Respondent Voices
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20 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain
Most decision-makers we spoke with reported at least some measure of success with
their digital initiatives. Many of these metrics struck us as being department-centric
vs. organization-wide. The pandemic and rapid pivot-to-digital across the path to
consumption value chain requires benefits to quickly percolate across the enterprise.
It’s likely different business functions will have unique metrics, such as the speed of
delivering a key report or real-time monitoring of machinery health. It can be easy to
achieve some of these and yet be disappointed in the overall digital effort. Focusing on
goals for tactical areas — even as broad as supply chain management and logistics —
could create islands of digital that don’t necessarily improve the customer experience.
Ask these two questions to help guard against that occurring:
	
❙ Does the digital initiative help the
company deliver the next generation
of the products or services at which
it excels? The digital technology stack
of intelligent decisioning built on data
stores on top of a cloud infrastructure
makes it possible for companies to
reimagine and create new experiences
around the products or services for
which they are known. Projects and their
success metrics must be evaluated in the
context of the company’s overarching
business strategy and digital vision.
	
❙ Does everyone share the vision? An
effective way to get everyone on the
same page is to fully define the customer
experience to be delivered. Then
everyone must understand this vision.
Ask four or five leaders in key areas to
explain the vision. If each has a different
answer or perspective, efforts likely will
be out of alignment. That conceivably
can lead to one area thinking it has met
the objective while another complains
the new tool or process does not deliver
their required capabilities.
21 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain  Back to Contents
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18
Cost/Value
Revenue
Customer experiences
Transparency
Agile mindset
Speed
100%
80-100%
60-80%
40-60%
40%
Achievement
of objectives
Number of initiatives
Response base: 40 European executives
Figure 5
Succeeding with digital initiatives
Many of the executives reported digital projects were successful, particularly in cost
reduction. Companies can derive even greater benefits by also focusing on customer
experience in their digital initiatives.
Shared learnings
	
❙ Get the right input early. This is essential to avoid wasted
time and effort. One executive said a team spent a great
deal of time perfecting data warehouse requirements before
considering the use cases, so the features they delivered
turned out to have limited value. At another company, a
team developing a customer portal had plenty of input from
internal stakeholders but limited contact with the customers.
The first iterations of the tool did not meet the customers’
needs and slowed adoption.
	
❙ Balance planning with agility. Given that traditional
project management, waterfall development and change
management tend to require comprehensive initial
planning, it is challenging for companies to adopt faster,
more iterative approaches to digital initiatives. Technology is
changing too quickly to attempt to build and follow a long-
term implementation plan. Keep the customer experience
in view and determine what systems, capabilities and
data are necessary to deliver it. Use that insight to guide
planning — such as examining data structures of just the
affected applications or determining processes that must be
reimagined before automation gets under way.
	
❙ Have a plan for MVPs and pilots. A German manufacturer
told us that having clear criteria for when to move from
experiments and minimum viable products (MVPs) to a pilot
22 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain  Back to Contents
and when to scale pilots was an essential learning. Initially the company
did not have a clear framework for managing innovation, nor was there
a common definition of success among all project stakeholders. Without
this framework, many MVPs remained at the initial stage and pilots were
not scaled. After addressing these issues, the manufacturer scaled more
pilots into production. A UK retailer noted that training and coaching
senior business executives on Agile practices and decision-making
increased its success rate on pilots.
	
❙ Identify champions and create incentives. Several executives noted
strong leadership support made it easier to hurdle change management
obstacles. Lacking that, stakeholders often “went back to their own ways”
of doing things, as one director put it. Another effective strategy was to
make regional or country leaders responsible for adoption success and
link it to their performance reviews.
	
❙ Accelerate deployment with diversely skilled development pods.
Having people who fully understand the business as well as full-stack
developers in a pod makes the Agile methodology even more effective.
To successfully divest a line of business, one company had to review
and sort thousands of contracts — a process fraught with warranty and
financial risk that could take potentially years to complete. By bringing
together a team with AI and RPA experts alongside power business users
and using Agile methods, the company had a prototype automation
developed in a week — and the contracts sorted within a month.
23 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain  Back to Contents
“Sustainability is the
key driver in all our
transformation projects,
regardless of technology.”
Senior manager, digital transformation,
carmaker
What’s next
“Everything we do is
linked to ESR in some
way in terms of cost
of delivery, waste,
environmental impact and
fuel consumed.”
IT director, retail conglomerate
“Carbon emission now
must be included in
every business case.”
Head of IT  digital, energy producer
“The entire five-year
plan and projects for
our industry revolves
around environment and
sustainability.”
Customer service manager, utility
“[Environmental  Social
Responsibility] is part of
contracting with suppliers
and selecting packaging
materials.”
Vice president, ecommerce, consumer
goods company
“ESR is central to our
product and service
differentiation. We have
even calculated our
footprint reduction from
number of servers avoided
through this program.”
CTO, real estate and hospitality group
Respondent Voices
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24 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain
Several companies told us that environmental concerns and sustainability goals are
becoming indirect or direct drivers of their digital initiatives. Customers increasingly will
demand sustainably sourced and developed goods. Organisations with digitised value
chains will have the flexibility required to meet these new challenges. Here is where to
prepare:
	
❙ Real-time data flows will be critical to thriving in the circular economy.
Sustainable solutions and products will be driven by insights about using energy and
other resources more efficiently, designing components for reuse and repurposing
waste. Environmental sensors and IoT, smart grids and AI all are poised to take
important roles in organisations’ sustainability efforts.
	
❙ Customer sentiment insights will be more important than ever. Responsible
sourcing and environmental protections will increase the cost of goods and services.
Some customers undoubtedly are willing to pay premiums for sustainable offerings.
Others may resist. As green competitors emerge, organisations will need to
understand their customers’ specific journeys and what costs their markets will bear. In
our recent sustainability research, a majority of respondents told us they expect their
sustainability investments will increase sales and improve brand reputation.
	
❙ Digital must go deeper and more broadly into the value chain for companies
to deliver sustainability-driven innovation. Constraints created by climate change
and consumer pressure to reduce waste and use sustainable materials and processes
will demand businesses find new and creative ways to use their resources. Data, AI
and analytics, along with Agile methods and human-centered design, will need to be
present throughout the value chain, informing all processes.
25 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain  Back to Contents
Realising digital’s full potential will deliver
lasting value
The challenges of making digital work to its full potential across the value
chain are considerable. Yet this work can reshape not just a company’s
bottom line but also the impact it makes on the environment and natural
resources. Businesses that expand their digital visions to reimagine how
they deliver experiences, products and services will see greater immediate
returns on digital as well as have a powerful, yet flexible foundation for
meeting emerging challenges and opportunities.
Back to Contents
26 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain
Marc Pfister
Consulting Lead for Retail, Consumer Goods  Manufacturing, Switzerland, Cognizant
Marc Pfister is the consulting partner for retail and consumer goods in Switzerland, focusing on
technology and business strategy, transformation and change management, helping clients realise
their potential through digital transformation. His consulting experience includes product strategy,
digital portfolio definition, programme recovery, operating model design and implementation,
organisation design, change management and leadership development. Prior to Cognizant, Marc
worked for the Swiss Federal Office of Information Technology, Hay Group, Accenture and Siemens,
and has worked in the UK, India and all over Europe. Marc can be reached at Marc.Pfister@cognizant.com
| www.linkedin.com/in/marc-pfister-6a68831/.
Alexander Broj
Head of Consulting, DACH, Cognizant
Alexander Broj leads the market consulting team in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH). He
serves clients in the manufacturing, consumer goods and retail industries and help them to build
modern business and technology architectures that generate business value. Prior to Cognizant, Alex
was a partner at PwC and BearingPoint as well as an executive in IBM’s Global Business Services. He
received a diploma in computer science at the Technical University at Darmstadt. Alex can be reached
at Alexander.Broj@cognizant.com | www.linkedin.com/in/alexanderbroj/.
About the authors
Acknowledgements
The authors would like to thank Chittaranjan Dash, Dijk Doron, Anja Fischer,Julien Jeanneret, Thomas Kramer, Laura
McLean, Ankit Pande and Arvind Pal Singh — Cognizant client partners and research participants — for their time and
contributions to this ebook.
World Headquarters
300 Frank W. Burr Blvd. Suite 600
Teaneck, NJ 07666 USA
Phone: +1 201 801 0233
Fax: +1 201 801 0243
Toll Free: +1 888 937 3277
European Headquarters
1 Kingdom Street
Paddington Central
London W2 6BD England
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7297 7600
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7121 0102
India Operations Headquarters
#5/535 Old Mahabalipuram Road
Okkiyam Pettai, Thoraipakkam
Chennai, 600 096 India
Phone: +91 (0) 44 4209 6000
Fax: +91 (0) 44 4209 6060
APAC Headquarters
1 Changi Business Park Crescent,
Plaza 8@CBP # 07-04/05/06,
Tower A, Singapore 486025
Phone: + 65 6812 4051
Fax: + 65 6324 4051
About Cognizant
Cognizant (Nasdaq-100: CTSH) is one of the world’s leading professional services companies, transforming clients’
business, operating and technology models for the digital era. Our unique industry-based, consultative approach helps
clients envision, build and run more innovative and efficient businesses. Headquartered in the U.S., Cognizant is ranked 194
on the Fortune 500 and is consistently listed among the most admired companies in the world. Learn how Cognizant helps
clients lead with digital at www.cognizant.com or follow us @Cognizant.
© Copyright 2021, Cognizant. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the express written permission from Cognizant.
The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.
Codex 6539
Learn More
For more information and to find out more
about Cognizant Consulting, visit
www.cognizant.com/consulting

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Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain

  • 1. April 2021 Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, manufacturers, retailers and service providers revamped delivery and operations models virtually overnight to ensure their consumers had access to familiar goods and services. Many companies found they had to upgrade the infrastructure supporting the new “path to consumption” value chain, and turned to digital to accomplish this. As we spoke with executives across Europe who lead such digitising efforts, they described a diverse range of deployments, but digital can — and must — deliver far more. In this ebook, we explore how businesses can realise digital’s full potential across their value chain.
  • 2. < Back to Contents 2 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain < Back to Contents Contents Click a link below to jump to that section. 3 Introduction 5 Think bigger about digital 10 Put experience at the center of digital initiatives 14 Supercharge decision-making with AI 16 Overcome barriers to optimising digital returns 20 Successes and lessons shared 24 What’s next “Looking at transformation holistically is key to aligning customer systems to core systems.” CTO, travel and hospitality group
  • 3. 3 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain Back to Contents Introduction Digital has become an important tool in the “path to consumption” value chain — and yet still has more to offer. Manufacturers, service providers and retailers have doubled down on their digital initiatives. That became apparent in our conversations late in 2020 with more than 40 senior executives who told us about the recent top digital initiatives in their companies. The executives represented companies in a variety of consumer-facing goods and services industries across Europe. All had embarked on ambitious projects, some of which spanned multiple operating areas. Most of these projects had been launched before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, then continued, with project teams collaborating from remote locations via tools like Microsoft Teams. Some projects took on new urgency in the pandemic, such as retailers solving the logistics of last-mile delivery from their retail stores instead of warehouses. At least one robotics process automation (RPA) project launched because of COVID-19, when a company simply didn’t have the human power to tackle paperwork associated with a divestiture. Executives shared these details, explaining why these projects took priority; where they ran into implementation obstacles; and lessons learned and success measures. These common themes emerged from our conversations: ❙ Digital is everywhere in the value chain but only rarely supports an end-to-end digital strategy. Organisations have matured beyond using digital for simple point solutions but could still expand their vision for how to use digital to retool value chains. ❙ Experience is ultimately the end game for most digital initiatives. Experience is broadly defined, from closing contracts in the field to tracking machine parts throughout their lifecycle. Creating a common vision of the customer experience across the organisation can drive more cohesion among digital efforts. ❙ Creating intelligence by unlocking data silos is an imperative. Organisations only rarely mentioned AI and machine learning applications, tools that could help them supercharge returns from work they are doing to consolidate data stores to tap them for historical analysis, forecasting and customer insights. ❙ Legacy system inertia slows and complicates digital initiatives. Modernisation is overdue. Heritage systems and processes they support often have a larger-than-expected impact on modern technology.
  • 4. Consumer Goods Construction Utilities Travel Hospitality Retail Real Estate Manufacturing Logistics Energy 4 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain Back to Contents ❙ Project and change management remain challenges as the stakes for their success grow larger. Organisations must adopt experience-oriented approaches to ensure stakeholder adoption and full return on digital investments. ❙ Sustainability and the circular economy are emerging. Companies need a strong digital foundation on which to build sustainable, environmentally sensitive practices to satisfy growing consumer demand for products and services from green businesses. We explore these themes throughout this ebook. We examine how to engineer a modern business through a holistic digital strategy centered on delivering a well-defined customer experience. We discuss building this experience with insights based on deep, rich data stores, tapped with intelligent decisioning tools. We also look at how to overcome common barriers to digital success and lessons shared. Executing these steps will help position companies to realise maximum return from their digital investments in the future of experience, technology and work.
  • 5. 5 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain Back to Contents “Essentially we had to create a new organisation with a functional ERP, industrial IT and modernised processes.” Operations director, manufacturing Think bigger about digital “Our goal was a stable infrastructure with best of breed online and backend technologies.” IT director, retail conglomerate “The key to transformation was to improve the experience for customers and employees, and define the way we operate the digital company.” Global digitisation lead, energy company “Being more predictive about plant maintenance would help us manage those costs.” Head of IT digital, energy producer “Our people must close contracts while they’re in the field to capture business away from our competitors.” Digital transformation lead, agricultural supply company “A master data pool would supply intelligence to all our operational and supply chain needs.” Director, global shared services, energy producer Respondent Voices
  • 6. 6 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain Back to Contents Supply Chain/Logistics Operations Internal Support Services Sales, Marketing Customer Services ❙ RPA ❙ Robotics ❙ IoT track n trace ❙ SAP Ariba ❙ Goods-to-person system ❙ Field personnel augmentation ❙ Predictive analytics ❙ Digital finance ❙ RPA ❙ ERP consolidation ❙ Enterprise asset management ❙ Master data management analytics ❙ SAP optimisation ❙ Workflow automation ❙ PLM consolidation ❙ AWS migration ❙ Data platform modernisation ❙ Microservices adoption ❙ Remote/work from home support ❙ Customer portals ❙ Mobile apps ❙ Track n trace ❙ CRM system consolidation ❙ Direct-to-consumer sales/e-commerce ❙ Mobile app development ❙ Business intelligence ❙ Paperless contracting ❙ Virtual events ❙ Web transformation ❙ Business intelligence visualisation *Some projects encompassed more than one category. Response base: 40 European executives Figure 1 Digital projects from the respondents’ organisations 15 10 21 36 59 Number of Projects in Scope*
  • 7. Back to Contents 7 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain We asked each executive about the three top digital projects under way in their company. Many projects were ambitious and required some integration with systems in other segments of the value chain. Clearly, digital is no longer synonymous with “point solution.” Yet organisations could drive still more value out of these ambitious digital projects. Here’s how: ❙ Articulate a vision and business case for the comprehensive digitisation of the value chain. Many projects concentrated on one value chain segment, with links to other segments being incidental vs. being deliberately targeted and strengthened. Projects focused on supply chain logistics did not necessarily incorporate a finance or customer-facing component. Customer- facing initiatives did not always have obvious operations and logistics integration. Chief digital officers, chief information officers and chief operating officers may all be leading different digital initiatives with their own distinct perspectives. This reality makes it extremely difficult to develop a coherent strategy. Large islands of tactical digital may arise that don’t map to the organisation’s business strategy. ❙ Create digital capabilities in the service of an overarching guiding vision. Digital is delivered via a new technology stack that gives companies the power to reimagine how they can be better at delivering the product or service that has made them great. A few executives did describe visions for using digital to drive new experiences and intelligence throughout their value chain, even if their efforts are nascent. These visions can be bolder and should help guide the choices made and capabilities created in each segment of the value chain. Projects focused on supply chain logistics did not necessarily incorporate a finance or customer- facing component. Customer-facing initiatives did not always have obvious operations and logistics integration.
  • 8. Back to Contents 8 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain Figure 2 Consumer/worker/investor value realized through... enabled by... powered by... Data Instrumentation fueled by... acquired from... running on... A foundation of tech fit-for-purpose for the modern enterprise. Foundation Technology (Cloud, Platforms, ERP systems, 5G, Blockchain and more) Business Value Experiences Software Engineering Intelligence On a new architecture for work Every organisation must master this stack at scale to drive business in the Fourth Industrial Revo- lution. Applying this — process by process, experience by experience — across every value chain is how we build the modern enterprise. ❙ Aim to iterate vs. overthink. An organisation that takes two years to develop an overarching vision will find technology advances have likely outpaced its thinking. Yet reckless development is wasteful and unsatisfactory. Focusing on delivering an optimal customer experience (also likely a moving target) should provide direction about what processes to reimagine and capabilities to build. Companies can then move forward via rapid prototyping, feedback and iterations of minimum viable products.
  • 9. 9 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain Back to Contents “We had to match digital competition and build deeper partnerships with customers vs. transaction-based relationships — without hiring more field personnel” Digital transformation lead, agricultural conglomerate Put experience at the center of digital initiatives “Our customers have high expectations for fast resolution of issues with their components, so we needed full traceability throughout the product lifecycle.” Global SCM digitisation lead, manufacturing “We wanted to understand individual customers so we could personalise our interactions with them.” Deputy CIO, retailer “We were seeing a 30% drop rate during the customer journey and had to optimise that experience.” CTO, travel hospitality group “The goal is to make our customer-facing systems more responsive, with more efficient integration with data and backend supply chain systems.” Director of technology for retail digital, retailer Respondent Voices
  • 10. 10 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain Back to Contents Cost pressure Technology innovation opportunity Technology obsolescence Adapt to new customer needs Adapt to competition Business continuity Reorganisation 4% 6% 6% 17% 17% 19% 31% Response base: 40 European executives Figure 3 Multiple drivers of digital business change Many decision-makers explicitly named improved customer experience as a key objective of a digital initiative. The pandemic has sharpened this focus because the “Amazon experience” has become the benchmark for any digital experience. This is true for experiences across both the business-to-business and business-to-consumer links in the path-to-consumption value chain. Organisations targeted a variety of stakeholders to please: customers, internal business users, field personnel and suppliers. Yet very often, we heard companies assume experience would improve as a byproduct of digital delivery. It was not surprising to us that several executives said they “missed” their improved experience targets. Here’s how to help ensure ancillary goals, such as reduced costs and new technology features, deliver expected returns: ❙ All digital initiatives must center on the organisation’s customer experience vision. Insights into the customer journey will determine what the experience should be and all the touchpoints at which the experience must be delivered. With that clear picture, companies may then define the capabilities required to support that experience. These capabilities are interrelated, so companies must take a holistic approach to each initiative, considering how a change in one capability may require changes elsewhere. Stated reason for transformation
  • 11. 11 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain Back to Contents ❙ The cost of not thinking holistically about digital is high. Without the digital ecosystem in mind, it’s all too easy to create a process or function that contradicts the goals for the customer experience. A supply chain initiative may be designed to minimise delivery costs paid by the customer by shifting to a different last-mile carrier. Yet sales intelligence shows customers are willing to pay a premium for greater visibility and fast delivery — qualities the new process does not deliver. The customer experience is undermined because the supply chain initiative was not aligned with the sales insight. ❙ The effort to coordinate digital across value chain segments is higher — but so is the payback. Take the objective of delivering a seamless, continuous experience no matter which facility, store or branch a customer visits across Europe. An IT team might propose a new master data management or CRM system. Yet such systems alone could not deliver a harmonised experience at every touchpoint unless they incorporated human-centered experience design. That design also will help identify all the customer data required to provide the intelligence needed to refine products and services and retool fulfillment processes, such as consolidating or adding distribution centers. These refinements then are executed with customer experience in mind, forming a virtuous, value-creating loop. ❙ Prepare to know your customer forever. Some companies already have invested in understanding customer journeys. Customers are continuously generating data and new tools, which are still rapidly advancing, enable new insights. As one retailer explained, the company had never before been able to know its customers as unique individuals. Also, data gathered during the COVID-19 pandemic will be extremely valuable to understand which customer behaviour shifts will be lasting and how new expectations and habits should shape a company’s next generation of products and services.
  • 12. 12 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain Back to Contents The experience-driven digital ecosystem Digital initiatives across the value chain should align with a common, company-wide vision of the desired customer experience. Figure 4 Interest Awareness Search Reputation Purchase Experience Socialize Journey Channels Digital Tech Capabilities Product Development Distribution and Logistics Service Quality Product Portfolio Management Physical Stores Network Data and Analytics Experience
  • 13. 13 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain Back to Contents “Our teams required a transparent, common way of looking at a single source of truth so they had deeper insights and could make better decisions.” Senior manager, digital transformation, automaker Supercharge decision-making with AI “We were able to say ‘no’ with confidence to initiatives based on data we collected and insights data provided us. ” CTO, Energy services and solutions company “The goal was to increase plant production through analysis of historical data that could show how to overcome a recurring bottleneck.” Head of IT digital, energy producer Respondent Voices
  • 14. Back to Contents 14 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain Manufacturers have meticulously tracked material and finished product movements for years. Utilities, logistics service providers, and major retail and hospitality players have increasingly moved much of their customer engagement online. All these efforts have created a treasure trove of data from across the value chain. Organisations are using digital to unlock these vast data stores and are applying tools to understand processes and customers with more granularity to generate insights and intelligence they can act on. One energy producer created a big data platform and used it to analyse historic data about oil flow during the extraction process. Processing the data with AI indicated how it could increase the flow without additional equipment, improving potential revenue from the production facility. Despite such potential, only a handful of companies mentioned using AI tools to drive more value from their data. Here’s how to address that gap: ❙ Put data in the cloud. Modern cloud- based platforms make more data accessible throughout an organisation, streamlining data extraction from key systems, including legacy applications. Cloud offers flexible data structures and architectures that enable organisations to quickly tap into and monetise data resources. ❙ Invest in improving data quality. Machine learning tools and algorithms must learn from clean and structured data sources. Tools exist to make it easier for organisations to clean older pools of data. Going forward, companies need data quality management teams to evangelise data quality and provide governance for long-term data integrity. Team members work with product owners and users to help them understand why data quality is essential and how it will enable more accurate predictions and analysis. Data quality must be a company-wide initiative, not the responsibility of a single department. ❙ Focus on use cases when building insights from disparate data sources. Focusing on a pain point and identifying the data needed to solve it is an effective way to avoid “boiling the data ocean” and to see faster returns from AI tools. This is especially true when one data source turns out to support several use cases. Too often, data engineering teams load data that is not relevant to the problem at hand. ❙ Make data beautiful for business users. Providing intuitive, attractive tools will help convert stakeholders used to making decisions based on instinct or anecdotes to using business intelligence and analytics. Several executives explained business users did not always automatically comprehend how analytics tools could derive insights from data.
  • 15. 15 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain Back to Contents “We tried too many transformations at the same time.” Innovation director, sports equipment maker Overcoming barriers to optimising digital returns “Our pace of change was constrained because of our complex old internal IT estate.” Head of IS delivery, utility “It was very difficult for our engineers to let go of their experience and trust the data.” Head of IT digital, energy producer “We saw quite a lot of resistance to change, both in adopting the technology and in accepting the new processes.” Change transformation program director, real estate hospitality Transformation management/planning Legacy technology Change management Respondent Voices
  • 16. Back to Contents 16 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain Bring realistic resources to transformation Many executives told us project scoping, requirement gathering and stakeholder expectations management were challenging and sometimes led to delays in project implementation. One company’s global enterprise resource planning (ERP) rollout was delayed because it launched too many concurrent transformations, all of which required the same resources. For others, rolling out a new digitised process across regions often went slowly, if it occurred at all, because processes had not been harmonised before or during the project’s development. This meant some projects fell short of expected productivity gains. Our recommendations: ❙ Resource management is key. Our conversations reinforced our observation that key decision-makers often are involved in too many projects. That generally results in projects not receiving sufficient attention or bottlenecks occurring as decisions and direction lag. Creating an enterprise project management office (PMO) is still the clear way to prevent this. A PMO looks at the resources each project requires in terms of tools and finances as well as attention from executive management. It’s easy to develop a business case for a PMO when an organisation thinks about the value at risk. A PMO does require everyone to be transparent about their available resources and how they are being allocated.
  • 17. Back to Contents 17 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain Uncork legacy bottlenecks Many of our conversations revealed that projects bogged down where digital initiatives had to share data with legacy systems. Here’s how to deal with heritage hurdles: ❙ Modernise applications to speed digital deployment. This makes vital data in legacy systems more readily consumable by modern applications. While we don’t advocate reviewing the IT landscape from alpha to omega before every project, it is important to understand what data will come from or be supplied to a legacy system to drive the desired customer experience. This knowledge will help prioritise which applications to address first, often by modernising and migrating them to cloud environments. ❙ Take a phased approach that delivers quick, visible wins. Have a vision for what the fully modernised process or system will accomplish, then deconstruct that into smaller, manageable projects. That could be as simple as training a software bot to complete a rote data entry task that creates cost savings and returns time to stakeholders. These successes demonstrate how digital can improve work experiences and start building acceptance and even demand for change. ❙ Use containers, microservices and the cloud to accelerate modernisation efforts. These tools make it easier to reuse existing knowledge artifacts in legacy systems without affecting the responsiveness of modern systems. It also enables other digital investments like AI, RPA, IoT, etc. to interact in the ecosystem without standardising all the underlying platforms. Our experience has shown that application modernisation leads to 30% efficiency gains in the IT landscape, resulting in up to a 25% increase in revenue generation from the affected applications.
  • 18. Back to Contents 18 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain Change management Every executive we interviewed cited significant change management challenges as the main reason why intended users, either internal or external, did not adopt a digital tool as expected. Digital offerings did not necessarily sell themselves. Some professionals did not trust new data-driven processes vs. their own body of knowledge and experience. Others did not take time to learn the capabilities of new tools, while others expected far more than the tools and processes delivered. Limited adoption typically meant slower ROI. While digital creates new change challenges — such as the managers at one company that had to learn how to supervise industrial robots — it also creates ways to overcome the age-old conundrum of how to manage change successfully. Here’s how to accelerate true acceptance of digital change: ❙ Change management today must be delivered as an experience vs. a process. Today, stakeholders must be engaged as cocreators of new tools and processes. Gathering information for an impact assessment and other traditional exercises should not be the work of a small, centralised team. Instead, during workshops, affected stakeholders should collaborate with each other, drawing on their expertise to solve the challenge and/or take advantage of an opportunity. Stakeholders learn more about how their work affects the customer experience and value chain when engaging with each other. Through cocreated solutions, they’ll also have more ownership in the new process, service or product, i.e., a vested interest in its success. ❙ Demonstrate the power of digital tools. Whenever appropriate, change management communication and engagement mechanisms should be delivered on digital platforms and devices. Use high quality videos and podcasts and online training tools. Gamify training to stimulate engagement. Build and empower online change communities to create grassroots support; monitor the sentiment of the community to identify and address concerns and issues before they become entrenched obstacles.
  • 19. 19 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain Back to Contents “The time it took to find the right data went from days to seconds.” Global SCM digitisation lead, energy company Successes and lessons shared “More data for inventory management was an unexpected benefit from our robotic deployment.” CIO, robotics, manufacturer “The conversion, stability and scalability of the platform was massively improved. We can experiment with more frequent releases and get quick feedback. Online customer volume and revenues have grown.” IT director, delivery operations, ecommerce “We have broken down the silos between IT and the business.” Customer service manager, utility company “RPA gave us a quick implementation and faster ROI, which gave relief to users vs. waiting for a long-term solution.” Senior manager, digital transformation, automaker “We can now spin up environments in 30 minutes compared to two to four weeks before.” CIO, retail company Respondent Voices
  • 20. Back to Contents 20 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain Most decision-makers we spoke with reported at least some measure of success with their digital initiatives. Many of these metrics struck us as being department-centric vs. organization-wide. The pandemic and rapid pivot-to-digital across the path to consumption value chain requires benefits to quickly percolate across the enterprise. It’s likely different business functions will have unique metrics, such as the speed of delivering a key report or real-time monitoring of machinery health. It can be easy to achieve some of these and yet be disappointed in the overall digital effort. Focusing on goals for tactical areas — even as broad as supply chain management and logistics — could create islands of digital that don’t necessarily improve the customer experience. Ask these two questions to help guard against that occurring: ❙ Does the digital initiative help the company deliver the next generation of the products or services at which it excels? The digital technology stack of intelligent decisioning built on data stores on top of a cloud infrastructure makes it possible for companies to reimagine and create new experiences around the products or services for which they are known. Projects and their success metrics must be evaluated in the context of the company’s overarching business strategy and digital vision. ❙ Does everyone share the vision? An effective way to get everyone on the same page is to fully define the customer experience to be delivered. Then everyone must understand this vision. Ask four or five leaders in key areas to explain the vision. If each has a different answer or perspective, efforts likely will be out of alignment. That conceivably can lead to one area thinking it has met the objective while another complains the new tool or process does not deliver their required capabilities.
  • 21. 21 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain Back to Contents 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 Cost/Value Revenue Customer experiences Transparency Agile mindset Speed 100% 80-100% 60-80% 40-60% 40% Achievement of objectives Number of initiatives Response base: 40 European executives Figure 5 Succeeding with digital initiatives Many of the executives reported digital projects were successful, particularly in cost reduction. Companies can derive even greater benefits by also focusing on customer experience in their digital initiatives. Shared learnings ❙ Get the right input early. This is essential to avoid wasted time and effort. One executive said a team spent a great deal of time perfecting data warehouse requirements before considering the use cases, so the features they delivered turned out to have limited value. At another company, a team developing a customer portal had plenty of input from internal stakeholders but limited contact with the customers. The first iterations of the tool did not meet the customers’ needs and slowed adoption. ❙ Balance planning with agility. Given that traditional project management, waterfall development and change management tend to require comprehensive initial planning, it is challenging for companies to adopt faster, more iterative approaches to digital initiatives. Technology is changing too quickly to attempt to build and follow a long- term implementation plan. Keep the customer experience in view and determine what systems, capabilities and data are necessary to deliver it. Use that insight to guide planning — such as examining data structures of just the affected applications or determining processes that must be reimagined before automation gets under way. ❙ Have a plan for MVPs and pilots. A German manufacturer told us that having clear criteria for when to move from experiments and minimum viable products (MVPs) to a pilot
  • 22. 22 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain Back to Contents and when to scale pilots was an essential learning. Initially the company did not have a clear framework for managing innovation, nor was there a common definition of success among all project stakeholders. Without this framework, many MVPs remained at the initial stage and pilots were not scaled. After addressing these issues, the manufacturer scaled more pilots into production. A UK retailer noted that training and coaching senior business executives on Agile practices and decision-making increased its success rate on pilots. ❙ Identify champions and create incentives. Several executives noted strong leadership support made it easier to hurdle change management obstacles. Lacking that, stakeholders often “went back to their own ways” of doing things, as one director put it. Another effective strategy was to make regional or country leaders responsible for adoption success and link it to their performance reviews. ❙ Accelerate deployment with diversely skilled development pods. Having people who fully understand the business as well as full-stack developers in a pod makes the Agile methodology even more effective. To successfully divest a line of business, one company had to review and sort thousands of contracts — a process fraught with warranty and financial risk that could take potentially years to complete. By bringing together a team with AI and RPA experts alongside power business users and using Agile methods, the company had a prototype automation developed in a week — and the contracts sorted within a month.
  • 23. 23 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain Back to Contents “Sustainability is the key driver in all our transformation projects, regardless of technology.” Senior manager, digital transformation, carmaker What’s next “Everything we do is linked to ESR in some way in terms of cost of delivery, waste, environmental impact and fuel consumed.” IT director, retail conglomerate “Carbon emission now must be included in every business case.” Head of IT digital, energy producer “The entire five-year plan and projects for our industry revolves around environment and sustainability.” Customer service manager, utility “[Environmental Social Responsibility] is part of contracting with suppliers and selecting packaging materials.” Vice president, ecommerce, consumer goods company “ESR is central to our product and service differentiation. We have even calculated our footprint reduction from number of servers avoided through this program.” CTO, real estate and hospitality group Respondent Voices
  • 24. Back to Contents 24 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain Several companies told us that environmental concerns and sustainability goals are becoming indirect or direct drivers of their digital initiatives. Customers increasingly will demand sustainably sourced and developed goods. Organisations with digitised value chains will have the flexibility required to meet these new challenges. Here is where to prepare: ❙ Real-time data flows will be critical to thriving in the circular economy. Sustainable solutions and products will be driven by insights about using energy and other resources more efficiently, designing components for reuse and repurposing waste. Environmental sensors and IoT, smart grids and AI all are poised to take important roles in organisations’ sustainability efforts. ❙ Customer sentiment insights will be more important than ever. Responsible sourcing and environmental protections will increase the cost of goods and services. Some customers undoubtedly are willing to pay premiums for sustainable offerings. Others may resist. As green competitors emerge, organisations will need to understand their customers’ specific journeys and what costs their markets will bear. In our recent sustainability research, a majority of respondents told us they expect their sustainability investments will increase sales and improve brand reputation. ❙ Digital must go deeper and more broadly into the value chain for companies to deliver sustainability-driven innovation. Constraints created by climate change and consumer pressure to reduce waste and use sustainable materials and processes will demand businesses find new and creative ways to use their resources. Data, AI and analytics, along with Agile methods and human-centered design, will need to be present throughout the value chain, informing all processes.
  • 25. 25 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain Back to Contents Realising digital’s full potential will deliver lasting value The challenges of making digital work to its full potential across the value chain are considerable. Yet this work can reshape not just a company’s bottom line but also the impact it makes on the environment and natural resources. Businesses that expand their digital visions to reimagine how they deliver experiences, products and services will see greater immediate returns on digital as well as have a powerful, yet flexible foundation for meeting emerging challenges and opportunities.
  • 26. Back to Contents 26 / Realising Digital’s Full Potential in the Value Chain Marc Pfister Consulting Lead for Retail, Consumer Goods Manufacturing, Switzerland, Cognizant Marc Pfister is the consulting partner for retail and consumer goods in Switzerland, focusing on technology and business strategy, transformation and change management, helping clients realise their potential through digital transformation. His consulting experience includes product strategy, digital portfolio definition, programme recovery, operating model design and implementation, organisation design, change management and leadership development. Prior to Cognizant, Marc worked for the Swiss Federal Office of Information Technology, Hay Group, Accenture and Siemens, and has worked in the UK, India and all over Europe. Marc can be reached at Marc.Pfister@cognizant.com | www.linkedin.com/in/marc-pfister-6a68831/. Alexander Broj Head of Consulting, DACH, Cognizant Alexander Broj leads the market consulting team in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH). He serves clients in the manufacturing, consumer goods and retail industries and help them to build modern business and technology architectures that generate business value. Prior to Cognizant, Alex was a partner at PwC and BearingPoint as well as an executive in IBM’s Global Business Services. He received a diploma in computer science at the Technical University at Darmstadt. Alex can be reached at Alexander.Broj@cognizant.com | www.linkedin.com/in/alexanderbroj/. About the authors Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank Chittaranjan Dash, Dijk Doron, Anja Fischer,Julien Jeanneret, Thomas Kramer, Laura McLean, Ankit Pande and Arvind Pal Singh — Cognizant client partners and research participants — for their time and contributions to this ebook.
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