The road to digitalization: How can companies ensure IT and Operations are moving forward together?

 

Author: Demet Sönmez

 

Digitalization. It’s the word in the minds, on the lips, and at the top of the strategic agendas of practically every executive across various industries including manufacturing, aviation, oil & gas, retail, logistics, automotive, natural resources, and public transport.

According to a Gartner survey, 62% of supply chain CEOs have put in place a management initiative or transformation program to make their company more digital, while 54% of these leaders say their most important digital business ambition is transformation.

But what exactly does this supply chain digitalization entail? It involves the transformation and alignment of your company’s people, processes, data, and technology. Indeed, successful digital transformation requires more than merely investing in and implementing advanced technologies – it also necessitates the evolution and integration of your company’s processes, data, and people.

Every digital transformation is, in essence, a human transformation, as it necessitates a profound change in ways of working for employees from the boardroom to the warehouse to the shop floor.

And – in many cases – digitalization initiatives fail due to lack of cooperation and collaboration among key stakeholders in a particular organization.

If your company wants to move forward on its digital journey, it is imperative that everyone – across various functions including IT, Sales, Marketing, Procurement, Logistics, and Operations – is aligned and headed in the same direction.

Although all the key stakeholders in your company may be striving to achieve the same ultimate objective (which is to digitalize) on the strategic level, if various departments all pursue different agendas (driven by their daily operational concerns) then your digital journey will probably come to a standstill.

 

The gap between IT and Operations 

An ever-increasing number of companies are interested in investing in automated, algorithm-based planning and decision making optimization software solutions, like ICRON – as this marks a key and essential step on their digital journeys.

But when the time comes to actually deploy these software solutions, what often happens is that various departments – especially IT and Operations – have different (and sometimes conflicting) priorities and agendas, and the implementation hits an impasse.

IT is typically (and rightfully) concerned with matters such as data security, standardization, and management, IT infrastructure, and tech support, while Operations is usually focused on supply chain issues such as customer orders, demand forecasts, production capacity, inventory levels, and logistics.

There is thus a significant disconnect between IT and Operations, and if the software solution fails to address these two departments’ separate needs and concerns and promote cross-functional alignment then the software investment and implementation will likely fail to deliver the value it is supposed to.

 

Addressing issues, ensuring alignment

In order for companies to bridge the gap IT and Operations and move forward on their digital journeys, it is imperative for them to choose the right technology products and partners that can help to address the concerns of all key stakeholders and to cultivate successful cross-functional alignment and collaboration.

For example, a best-of-breed planning and decision making software provider, like ICRON, will ensure that your company’s data, people, processes are effectively aligned and integrated.

How is ICRON able to do this?

Firstly, ICRON’s team – which consists of world-class academics and supply chain professionals – possesses the technical expertise and industry experience necessary to understand and solve the issues of both IT and Operations. During the implementation of the solution and after that in a support role, ICRON specialists work with customers to ensure that our technology meets the needs of all stakeholders in their organization.

Secondly, ICRON provides a single, unified software platform through which all stakeholders – from IT and Operations as well as other departments – can work together to utilize the technology, digitalize their processes, and realize immense business benefits.

Embedded in the ICRON software platform itself are three critical features that help to bridge the gap between various departments, especially IT and Operations:

1) Data integration: ICRON provides an integrated environment that automatically gathers and processes raw data from all sources throughout the organization – including ERP, CRM, and MES systems, as well as IoT and mobile devices – and utilizes this data to generate optimized plans, projections, and recommendations. With ICRON, total data integration can be accomplished quickly and in the least disruptive manner – taking into account all relevant IT data protocols and processes. ICRON is also capable of integrating with IT security and user authentication systems such as Active Directory.

And once ICRON is up and running, all key stakeholders – from IT, Operations, and other departments – can gain access the latest data, plans and projections and use them to make the best possible business decisions.

2)  Seamless collaboration: Through the ICRON platform, companies can enable complete, cross-functional visibility and collaboration. All stakeholders from different departments across the organization can attain real-time visibility over the latest strategic, tactical, and operational plans and decisions and easily communicate and work together as a unified team.

3) Advanced analysis and visualization: One of the hallmarks of the ICRON platform is its flexibility. ICRON allows you to effortlessly configure and customize your workspaces and dashboards to meet the needs of your entire organization. With ICRON, your IT, Operations, and other departments will be able to visualize, analyze, and manage your company’s unique business processes and workflows.

These three features (which are all built into the ICRON platform) along with the vast experience of the ICRON team (which has been developed through more than 500 implementations over the past 26 years) help to bridge the gap between IT, Operations, and other departments and foster cross-functional integration, alignment, and collaboration.

ICRON provides a planning and decision making optimization solution that addresses the concerns and fulfills the requirements of all stakeholders – ensuring everyone is on board and moving forward together on the company’s digital journey.

 

Your company’s road to digitalization

Gartner predicts that by 2020, 75% of companies will effectively be a digital business or will be in the process of becoming one. Think about your company: Where will you be on your digital journey next year?

Each company’s road to digitalization is uniquely challenging and complex. To reach the destination (and successfully transform company’s data, technology, processes, and people), you need to make sure that everyone in your organization – especially IT and Operations – is collaborating to drive digitalization throughout your enterprise.

The right technology partners (with the right products and expertise) can help you to integrate, align, and optimize your operations and ultimately achieve a truly end-to-end digital supply chain.


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