What to Look for in a Digital Transformation Agency
Embarking on the digital transformation of your supply chain or procurement operations can be daunting especially when your current team lacks sufficient digital talent.
But not to worry because you can enlist the help of a digital transformation agency to fill the skills gap and get your organization on the path to full digitization.
How do you choose the best digital transformation agency for your project? Follow some the upcoming tips below to confidently move ahead to accelerate your digital transformation in the supply chain and procurement.
Criteria for Choosing Your Procurement and Supply Chain Digital Transformation Agency:
1. Experience in Supply Chain and Procurement Digital Transformation
There are generalist and specialist digital transformation agencies and when you intend to get the most bang for you buck and a streamlined process with minimal hiccups, you are going to want to go with a specialist agency that focuses on supply and procurement.
A generalist consultancy like McKinsey & Company, the Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Company, or others will be able to help but the speed-to-value will be severely constrained when compared to a supply chain focused agency - or an agency that includes procurement transformation in their expertise.
2. Ability to Scale with the Project Size
Another consideration is the project size.
- Are you a domestic only supply chain group?
- Small business or enterprise?
Generally, by its nature, supply chain and procurement are enterprise level projects with complexity as their inherent nature.
For example, all clients Visichain services or have helped have been $1 billion USD plus companies with international offices on multiple continents and many layers of management to deal with along with the alignment of these countries regulatory imperatives.
Speaking from experience, Visichain has started on small procurement digital transformation projects and then, once our competence had been proven, we've moved on to full integration and building of custom software for multi-country supply chain operations and vendor relations with thousands of factories.
Scaling is key for the enterprise and a step-by-step framework for working together as the agencies team learns the workflow of your supply chain team will allow for scaling to build software that will be game changing for your company and a competitive edge against your competition.
For a small business, you'll want to seek a generalist agency or one that can allocate focus to projects of your size.
With enterprise level agencies, they tend to have qualifications that that a small company won't be able to meet.
3. Collaboration With Your Team
Outsourcing may be tempting but with large procurement transformation projects it is wise to have direct contact with your digital transformation partner because the stakes are high and not getting the specs right can cost millions of dollars and years of lost time.
Working with a digital transformation team that can come to your offices will save time and move the project along swiftly.
So, in conclusion regarding collaboration - to leverage expertise you will want to outsource your development projects; and, to maintain quality and speed of development you will want to have direct face-to-face contact with the project leads at the agency.
4. Ownership of the Intellectual Property
Going with an off-the-shelf platform solution may seem smart and the easiest or most economic way to move ahead, but without further analysis, jumping to conclusions like this can be short sighted and costly.
At Visichain for procurement and supply chain projects we recommend avoiding platform solutions and going with custom development because each procurement office operates differently.
Once you factor in all the modification and consultants needed to get your platform working with your business, you will have paid equal or more than going with a bespoke solution from the start.
The advantages of custom solutions include the ownership of the solution 100%. Compare this to the terms and conditions found in platform based solutions.
- Why trust the backbone of your supply operations to a third party?
- Why share data with a company that can use the data to improve solutions for your competitors?
When you consider the above two questions in the context of a competitive industry - like supply chain and sourcing - it should be obvious that you want to go with a custom solution where your organization owns all the data, process knowledge and intellectual property.
What is a supply chain but a collection of processes and relationships. This is your business advantage, beware of the platform trap.
5. Ability to Integrate Into Your Current Workflows
As with the platform problems noted above, you need the software to work with your business data with minimal changes to your business processes.
Any competent digital transformation agency should be able to easily integrate or adapt their solutions into your current workflows.
6. Waterfall Development vs Agile Development
There is no question about the process you will want your digital transformation agency to follow: Agile.
Agile development describe the process of consistent deployment to ensure you are getting usable software that meets the needs of your business quickly and not after years of development with no real world testing.
With the complexities involved in the digitization of business processes, especially in the procurement and supply chain fields, enterprises are best served by going with an experienced digital transformation agency that can manage large projects and deliver results quickly.
The best supply chain and procurement digital transformation agencies will work face-to-face with your team on a consistent schedule to develop solutions in an agile style and constantly deploy usable software at frequent intervals so you get speed-to-value within months instead of years.
Make sure you own the software being developed.
Our advice is biased towards custom solutions overs platforms (where you do not own the system that your business depends on) because we believe too much is at stake in the supply chain and procurement business to trust your business model to a 3rd party platform.
Following the above criteria when vetting agencies will help you find the right fit to ensure that your digital transformation process is a success.
Don't Get Left Behind
Schedule a free consultation with Visichain to ensure your supply chain and procurement operations continue to evolve and remain competitive in today's dynamic environment.