Why has digital transformation become a priority for most organizations today?

Access to customer data allows businesses to optimise their resources for greater operational efficiency

As firms that are part of a supply chain or part of an ecosystem innovate and change their models, others in the ecosystem are forced to do the same to stay in the game.

In the supply chain and logistics world, the advent of the ‘digital supply chain’, one that breaks down the inefficiencies associated with the lack of transparency across the supply chain, is a game-changer. The goal is to have all information visible to all players (including the customer) in the supply chain real-time. Advanced analytics and algorithms built over this data will enable every player in the chain to re-adjust and optimize their resource — whether it be raw material, warehousing space or logistical alignment. Swiss Steel, a leading European supplier of engineering steel, now collects data from its workers using smart devices and from machines using sensors and brings it all together on a cloud-based networked platform. This has helped Swiss Steel significantly improve its safety procedures, price products flexibly, and reduce costs by utilizing real-time data in planning and management processes .

In addition, collaborative social platforms are emerging that are allowing all participants in a supply chain to collaborate more transparently and efficiently. Add blockchain technology to this mix, and the digital supply chain would truly have arrived.

In some cases, pressures from outside the immediate ecosystem — societal (e.g. Japan’s Society 5.0 initiative, see next section) and even regulatory or governmental pressures (as with the push for cashless payment systems in India) — are also pushing the digital agenda.

Big data collected by loT to help develop technologies that serve societal goals and interests
Digital transformation will not be limited to specific businesses and services but will become a broader societal movement. The digital revolution is permeating every aspect of our lives, causing fundamental changes in the way we live, work and collaborate. Japan’s ambitious ‘Society 5.0’ 10 is an interesting example of how the concept will evolve. Society 5.0 aims to resolve issues in healthcare, infrastructure upkeep and management, mobility, environmental degradation, and urban decongestion, amongst others by utilizing the combinatorial power of real-time data and new technologies that can harness the power of this data.

As part of Society 5.0, Japan aims to “create a society where we can resolve various social challenges by incorporating the innovations of the fourth industrial revolution (e.g. loT, big data, artificial intelligence (Al), robot, and the sharing economy) into every industry and social life. Big Data collected by loT will be converted into a new type of intelligence by Al and will reach every corner of society. As we move into Society 5.0, all people’s lives will be more comfortable and sustainable as people are provided with only the products and services in the amounts and at the time needed.”

Digital Society, a research program being undertaken by Dutch universities aims to brings together data and computer scientists with social scientists and humanitarian scholars and aims to “take on a leadership role in multidisciplinary research for a human-centred digital society” and develop technologies and applications that serve societal goals and interests.

ln Summary, embracing the digital revolution is not an option but an absolute necessity for survival in today’s world.