Supply Chain

Supply chain optimization and maturity requires focus on the ecosystem

A recent IDC global survey and report investigated the state of digital maturity in supply chains and revealed to what extent ongoing disruptions have been driving companies to rethink their investments in supply chain optimization. While the IDC paper reveals that companies have re-focused on business value and the need to improve such things as their supply chain visibility and their procure to pay process, Gartner has been advocating toward focusing on external ecosystem collaboration as a means to  create a resilient supply chain.   

Current state of digital maturity and supply chain optimization efforts 

According to IDC, there are two ways to look at supply chain maturity. The IDC supply chain model looks at supply chain resiliency broadly across strategy, people/culture, supply chain processes and the deployment of technology. The second, B2B maturity model looks at B2B integration specifically across procure to pay and order to cash. What these two models have in common are that only few companies report achieving the highest levels of maturity, with most having realized modest levels of digital tools and B2B integration, according to surveys described in the IDC report titled, Next-Generation B2B Integration Enables a Digital-First, Resilient Supply Chain, sponsored by OpenTextTM

The chart shows B2B integration maturity by level and % of respondents, indicating 4% of respondents report being at level 1, 32% at level 2, 59% at level 3 and 5% at level 4.
B2B integration maturity by level.

Barriers to supply chain optimization  

Despite the clear correlation of digital maturity and superior business outcomes, it is not at all surprising that so few companies have achieved the highest level of digital maturity. The challenge of supply chain optimization efforts often comes down to the difficultly in detailing the business case fully and to justify its return on investment. However, both the pandemic and subsequent disruptions have revealed persistent gaps in most organizations’ ability to counteract these disruptions, providing increased pressure (and funding) to take action, to improve supply chain operations and modernize B2B technologies.  

Organizations have also realized that disruption can occur across the breadth of the supply chain. The capabilities and tools necessary to better manage risk, both proactively and reactively, must span that width. This is where the emergence of cloud integration platforms that integrate the disparate elements of supply, demand and fulfilment can help. Many forward-looking companies are finding great benefits by focusing on ecosystems and multi-enterprise supply chain commerce networks. In fact, Gartner has been communicating the need to increasingly focus on external collaboration and ecosystem coordination for higher supply chain maturity for some time.  

Improve supply chain maturity by focusing on ecosystem collaboration 

Similar to the IDC survey, Gartner asserts that most organizations are positioned with moderate levels of mature technology, with many lacking external collaboration or ecosystem coordination, which includes end-to-end supply chain visibility, end-to-end process orchestration and end-to-end decision making.  

Gartner sees collaborative digital ecosystems as a key enabler of customer experience and business growth at the highest level of supply chain maturity. Ecosystem collaboration tools are digital technologies and services that create a collaborative work environment for suppliers across all tiers, customers, 3PLs, vendors, governments, end users and more, to generate new and continuous shared value opportunities. Ecosystem collaboration solutions and services therefore support continuous maturity in advancing to real-time digital connections across people, data, machines, systems, processes and things. Gartner predicts that by 2026, more than 50% of large organizations will compete as collaborative digital ecosystems

How to achieve higher levels of supply chain maturity 

Gartner suggests that to achieve the highest level of digital maturity, companies need to: 

  • purposefully rethink their technology architecture as opposed to rolling forward with their current implementation 
  • ensure their technology architecture is composable and componentized to maintain flexibility for the business 
  • seek out enterprise architecture that can weave and integrate those composable and componentized capabilities together systematically 
  • chose a forward-thinking vendor who can roadmap your current and future capabilities and technology architecture 

As a leader in B2B integration and with ongoing investments in our Business Network, OpenText helps companies transform and future proof supply chain integration environments. Our customers gain modern supply chain integration capabilities to support deeper ecosystem collaboration and increased levels of supply chain maturity.  

Naomi Skinner

As Senior Manager, Product Marketing for OpenText Business Network, Naomi leads product marketing efforts for B2B integration in the supply chain space as well as in healthcare. Experienced marketer across various industries, Naomi enjoys translating complex concepts into simple terms.

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