Co-authored by James Mason, Senior Consultant, Infosys Consulting

If you are reading this, you are well aware of the push toward digital transformation. Almost every industry is now buzzing with innovations around blockchain, AI, and robotic process automation. For any forward-thinking firm, sustained success in today’s marketplace means embracing the disruptive technologies at play to stay ahead of the curve. The benefits of digital transformation—predictability, agility, sustainability, and traceability—are tremendous. But the evolution needed to achieve it has the potential to disrupt entire value chains.


A Case Study in Focus

While providing guidance at a large global food distributor and retailer, we discovered that the challenges they faced would be difficult to solve without addressing foundational flaws. The firm had allowed its various business units—assembled from years of acquisitions—to operate in near isolation, creating an environment cluttered with redundancy, inefficiency, and competing priorities.

Within the unit we were brought in to work with directly, there were multiple (but similar) lines of business with overly-specialized systems and disparate processes and data. Operating in this way led to expansive point-to-point system integration (even as other areas of the business had invested in scalable integration solutions).

This fragmented approach to technology investment created little in the way of an orchestrated future view of how the organization would function in the future.

 To create the foundation for the necessary evolution, we knew they needed to ensure that:

  • The same “language” is spoken among systems (internal and external)
  • A common, scalable way to connect systems is leveraged
  • A future-oriented strategy is promoted within senior management


Mastering your ‘Master Data’

Absence of clean and consistent transactional records is a major issue for any organization. But more prevalent—and impactful to the success of digital transformation—are challenges with master data. In a world of legacy technology, business unit siloes, and external system integration, how many versions of common fields are you maintaining? And how will transactions from various systems be put in the same context, leading to cross-system insights?

Ideally, this data governance should take place in each of the source systems, but this may not be possible for every organization. A master data management (MDM) solution can alleviate this issue. At a minimum, firms should leverage a common taxonomy to organize terminology and establish the relationships between systems. Without addressing this, any digital transformation will be slow, or irrelevant.


Systems Integration

The strategy for system integration can make or break a digital transformation. Point-to-point integrations are the main danger here. These simple, common solutions lack flexibility and scale, and are therefore not appropriate for a digital future. Because we do not know how or to what extent systems will need to be integrated down the road, we are likely setting ourselves up for a lot of rework and duplication. In a digital organization, integrations should be adaptable to new needs, extend across the organization, and facilitate swift changes. To accomplish this, organizations need to deploy and develop a single integration platform.


Architectural Oversight

Architectural oversight is critical and requires a holistic view of all systems and how they integrate (enterprise architecture) and a clear strategic vision of how new initiatives will be chosen for resource allocation (portfolio management). Together, these 3 components will drive technology decision-making and enable an organization to effectively plan out its digital journey.

Is there a single point of failure? Do information siloes exist? Are there untapped opportunities to create new or stronger capabilities? A future-oriented mindset, combining the above 3 tools, will provide the framing needed to find, understand, and address these (and other) structural issues within an organization. But these should not be static—as new organizational strategies arise, they should be adjusted and advanced as necessary.

If firms can address these 3 challenges, true digital transformation is within grasp.

Co-authored by James Mason, Senior Consultant, Infosys Consulting

Sylvie Thompson

Sylvie Thompson

Associate Partner, Infosys Consulting

Sylvie is a passionate and results-oriented supply chain executive. Her experience with supply chain start-ups has demonstrated to her that supply chain professionals must question the status quo in order to deliver next-generation solutions. She is a believer in hands-on experimentation in order to deliver maximum results. Sylvie has developed and implemented numerous supply chain transformation initiatives for her clients and has extensive experience working with leading retailers and consumer brand owners. A supporter of lifelong learning, she continues to seek out fresh and innovative new ideas and insights through a network of supply change thought leaders. She is also giving back to the field as a guest lecturer at the University of Maryland.

James Mason

James Mason

Senior Consultant, Infosys Consulting

James Mason is a senior consultant in our Supply Chain Management practice and is based out of our Atlanta office. He has over 7 years of consulting experience, delivering and leading projects in operational strategy and data & analytics, spanning various industries including: CPG, retail, manufacturing, financial services, life sciences, and media/communications. James holds an MBA in strategy consulting and marketing analytics from Emory Goizueta Business School and a Bachelors in industrial & systems engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This