Rethinking supply chains and transforming IT to deliver a future-fit tech strategy

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Two new reports from Forrester delve into how to revamp processes in an uncertain world and use technology to sense and respond quickly to market changes.

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Forrester has released two reports that deal with how to launch and pursue effective supply chain risk management and how tech leaders can future proof their strategies through four competencies.

The first report makes the case that “firms are only as good as their supply chain.” Without a risk management process, firms leave supply chains susceptible to risks that impact business, the report contends. 

Enterprises can use five strategies to shore up their supply chain and be ready to seize opportunities, the firm said. 

SEE: Three critical tech considerations for 2021 (TechRepublic)

“Savvy firms employ five strategic steps to anticipate risk, minimize impact of unplanned disruption, protect the customer experience, and bolster supply chain resilience,” the report said. “Organizations must ensure that their supply chains adopt principles from all five strategies—although different industries may operationalize them differently.”

  • The first step is to design supply chain networks that are efficient and resilient. CIOs can help their enterprises design supply chain networks to balance just-in-time efficiency with just-in-case resilience.

  • Step two is to assemble and empower a cross-functional supply chain risk team. This can be done in part, by creating a team “that has the right skills to undertake risk assessment and analysis and has the right level of authority to act.”

  • The third step is to simplify your supply chain. For example, “unnecessary complexity might be the result of a company’s over-reliance on overseas low-cost labor or of offering too many product options to customers.”

  • Step four is to implement the right tech stack, by considering “risk from multiple angles and model risk-based scenarios, visibility and centralized monitoring, planning, communication and response.”

  • The final step is to proactively prevent supply chain bottlenecks by considering data and apps.

Transforming IT 

 
The second Forrester report discusses how to future-fit tech strategy. It makes the case that the holy grail is revenue growth, but many organizations fail to hit their goals because “these firms are trying to achieve growth by using the same technologies and innovation methods they’ve applied for decades.”

As a result, the report said, “the outcomes are typically incremental.”

Because most companies are still in the early stages of IT and digital maturity, keeping up with customers is a challenge, the report states. Yet, “customer obsession remains the primary vision for business success” regardless of industry.

Tech leaders must focus equally on four competencies to properly future proof their tech strategies, according to Forrester: 

  • People: Leadership and culture combine to make a big impact on firms’ ability to be customer-obsessed. Yet, in most firms, people, leaders, and organizations aren’t ready for the future evolution of work.  

  • Process: A future-fit technology strategy’s adaptive capability enables the firm to have “the capacity to reconfigure [the firm’s] underlying business concept.” These firms can sense and respond proactively to changing market, technology, and societal conditions to seize competitive advantage. 

To this end, these firms can rapidly direct people, technology, and investment where they’re needed and are willing and able to change their business model to complement the new opportunity.   

  • Governance: Historically, technology governance focused on the CIO’s organization because it was the primary supplier of technology. Today, various stakeholders across the ecosystem select, develop, use, and enhance business technology. 

    Further, in customer-obsessed companies, budget control—and as a direct result, all governance—remains in the hands of the P&L owner. Thus, CIOs need a new approach to tech governance. By reimagining IT, you can begin to embrace technology-driven innovation.  

  • Technology: Look to three areas first for technology-driven innovation: Platforms for flexibility, emerging tech for new opportunities, and zero trust security and contextual privacy to better manage risk.  

CIOs “are lead actors in delivering a future-fit tech strategy,” the report noted. The mandate over the next five years, the report said, is for CIOs to serve as co-creators of the future of work and pursue adaptive capabilities for a future-fit tech strategy.

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