Are you prepared for digital transformation?

Unless you have blocked out every media message, it’s likely you’ve been exposed to the sweeping changes that digital innovation and technology are bringing to the business world. In fact, a few pundits have noted that the expectation for digital innovation and technology may surpass the business impact of the Internet.

The question is not a handwringing “what to do?” but rather “how can our organization take advantage?” Then, as quickly as possible, leap ahead of competition, grab market space and market share, garner a higher portion of wallet from customers, and make progress toward your goals.

In our experience, organizations typically grapple with three main goals:

1.   Connecting to their customers in a meaningful way—For example, an Australian customer we worked with saw the impact of moving from a manual paper-based sales order system to a digital-based system that is fast and accurate. And, it saw a typical 2-week contract renewal cycle reduced to just 1 hour. The Infor Digital Engineering team provided a way to evaluate existing processes, and propose the optimal mix of software solutions to help make this change happen.

2.   Improving employee engagement—With today’s multi-generational workforce and the ease of technologies like smartphones, iPads, apps, streaming, and such, many workers expect the work systems they use to operate much the same as those in their personal life. Working with several retail customers on work scheduling, we found it was typically incumbent on employees to go to the store to get their schedule. By examining the process, Infor digital engineers were able to understand the current operations, and integrate a digital system whereby employees are notified via text, email, or even their wearable technology about their work schedule.

3.   Creating greater operating efficiencies—That’s expected if you improve the connection to your customers and employees. But there is more opportunity here in the realm of data analytics. When it comes to digital innovation, this area is very important. Analytics used to mean a view of what was done yesterday, last week, or last month. But now, we can look forward with predictive and prescriptive analytic capabilities. There is solid research available discussing the impact of digital on growth. This slide from Dell Technologies shows 34% of businesses are evaluating what to do, and only 15% of companies are doing nothing. Don’t let that be you.

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About our Guest Blogger

Helen Masters
Vice President & Managing Director, Infor South Asia — ANZ & ASEAN

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Helen Masters is Vice President, South Asia – Infor ANZ & ASEAN where she is responsible for the development and promotion of global corporate products and seamless customer experience to augment market presence in the Pacific and ASEAN regions. These comprise Australia & New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Singapore.

In her role, Helen maintains new product lines with a focus on customer and partnership management and strategy-setting to grow business in Infor’s key micro-verticals in the South Asia region.

Prior to Infor, Helen was Vice President, Commercial and Emerging Markets, SAP; and Head, Emerging and Transformational Alliances Group, Cisco Systems where she was responsible for the launch of data business solutions.

Helen is a graduate of Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia and is also certified in Computer Programming.

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ERP Trends – Democracy in the Cloud

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The next great wave of technology is upon us, a global tsunami, heralding change in every facet of our lives. For manufacturers, the decade ahead will be transformative. As ERP deploys the power of Big Data and Predictive Analytics, harnesses the flow of information from the Internet of Things, incorporates Machine Learning, and immerses workers in an  increasingly intuitive UX, businesses will find themselves in possession of almost unimaginable agility, flexibility and control. Continue reading

Digital supply chain transformation: real and viable or just tech hype?

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The words “digital transformation” may appear to your colleagues as just the next tech hype. After all, weren’t we all just talking about cloud?

But just like cloud, digital transformation is real and viable — and here to stay.

Sure, but what is digital transformation exactly? There are as many definitions as there are pundits and luminaries. Infor President Duncan Angove talks about it this way: Digital transformation is about closing the gap between what your DIGITAL customers expect and what your ANALOG organisation can actually deliver. The aim of digital transformation is to go beyond merely automating a process or reducing costs, and to differentiate a company in significant ways from its competitors.

“Software and technology is disrupting every industry we look at,” Angove says. Whether it’s Uber in transportation or Airbnb in hostelry, every industry is being disrupted by the application of technology.

“Infor is at an interesting intersection, because we are a software cloud technology company that understands industries. So companies are coming to us, asking how we can help them navigate this digital disruption and take advantage of it.”

Here are just a few examples:

DSW – developing a strategy for a fresh customer experience

Nordstrom – creating a converged commerce experience for customers

Travis Perkins – delivering a variety of strategic, technical, and financial benefits

Fuller’s – deploying cloud software as the basis of a radical business process transformation to drive growth

Echoing these customers, Infor recently hosted groups of executives from the US and Europe to discuss digital transformation. Representing manufacturing, financial services, consumer packaged goods (CPG), retail, and media and entertainment all said their organisations have digital initiatives under way.

Within digital, three common themes emerged: executive leadership is essential; employee skills have to keep pace; and the data deluge must be harnessed into actionable insights. Here is a summary of one of the events.

So, where should your company start? Get inspired here.

 

About our Guest Blogger

Helen Masters
Vice President & Managing Director, Infor South Asia — ANZ & ASEAN

Helen Masters_VP ANZ & ASEAN_2_highres

Helen Masters is Vice President, South Asia – Infor ANZ & ASEAN where she is responsible for the development and promotion of global corporate products and seamless customer experience to augment market presence in the Pacific and ASEAN regions. These comprise Australia & New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Singapore.

In her role, Helen maintains new product lines with a focus on customer and partnership management and strategy-setting to grow business in Infor’s key micro-verticals in the South Asia region.

Prior to Infor, Helen was Vice President, Commercial and Emerging Markets, SAP; and Head, Emerging and Transformational Alliances Group, Cisco Systems where she was responsible for the launch of data business solutions.

Helen is a graduate of Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia and is also certified in Computer Programming.

Marketing teams are discovering great brand stories in supply chain

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The number of CMOs becoming more knowledgeable and enthusiastic about supply chain management is increasing as leading companies lean on supply chain attributes to position, promote and differentiate products, services and brands.  If you’re a marketer looking for a great story to tell about your company—one that will capture the hearts and minds of a generation of customers—you may need to look no further than your supply chain.

While product marketing and sales teams have always worked with supply chain to balance supply and demand and ensure a positive customer experience, the corporate marketing teams are waking up to the power of supply chain performance.  Supply chain performance is a big deal, a big differentiator, and a game-changer that can dictate the difference between generations of locked-in loyal customers and lost customers for life.

In the past, marketing leaders dug in to supply chain particulars when there was an issue that affected marketing—like a product recall or stockout over the holidays; or an environmental or social issue that might negatively impact the brand; or when there was a risk challenge that required public relations support, like a plant closure, natural disaster or political unrest.

But now, as the supply chain becomes more integral to competitive advantage, profitable growth and sustainable practices, a growing number of CMOs are recognizing that a high-performing supply chain is an important differentiator, and they are incorporating supply chain capabilities into messaging, campaigns, loyalty programs and even events. They are aware of the impact the supply chain can have on their brand—both positive and negative­—and they take proactive measures to protect and promote it.

To the visionary CMO, the supply chain doesn’t run in the background. The supply chain is part of the story. It is part of the customer experience and an ingredient in the brand promise. It’s become a visible component in the marketing mix.

Excellent examples of marketing that weave in supply chain stories abound.  Remember the Ralph Lauren sweaters for the Sochi Winter Olympics? They were the flagship product for Ralph Lauren’s “Made in America” line of apparel for the athletes, rolled out with the story of the Oregon ranchers who raise the sheep and shear the wool, and all the steps in the supply chain required to provide the red, white and blue yarn for the sweaters.  An example of a supply chain inspired marketing event is Amazon Prime Day, when Amazon marketed its Prime subscription service through a rotating lineup of retail specials and same-day shipping that showed off its supply chain supremacy. And there’s the ongoing Jimmy John restaurants’ “Freaky Fast” campaign that’s not just about speedy sandwich delivery, but also embodies an entire corporate culture and its nimble supply chain of fresh ingredients.

Beyond the aforementioned high-visibility examples, there’s the almost endless number of companies offering personalization options (pick your color, add that monogram, design the perfect product just for you!) enabled by supply chain mass customization and make-to-order flexibility. If you’re a marketer and you haven’t been thinking about supply chain, it’s time to start.  Your supply chain is – or could be – a key chapter in your brand story or the attribute that that turns your customers into evangelists.

Is your CMO forging a more strategic relationship with the supply chain organisation? If not, can the supply chain manager reach out to marketing to begin such a partnership? How could your firm’s supply chain performance be leveraged as a marketing tool? Weigh in with your thoughts. Read more

 

Meet our guest blogger:

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Jennifer K Daniels
Vice President, Marketing, APICS