September 05 , 2016

Successful digital business networks in five steps

by Buyer-Supplier Ecosystem, Digitalization, Business network

There is no denying that summer is over. The evenings are drawing in and getting colder. Many northern birds are noticing this and heading south.

In the fall cranes migrate to better climate zones. Businesses could actually learn a great deal from wedges of cranes. Cranes fly in a V-shaped formation, with the leading bird showing the way and the rest making noise. The birds are not complaining – quite the contrary, they are cheering each other on. When the leading bird, which has the most demanding and strenuous job, gets tired the cranes change places. They also take a short break if one of the birds runs out of energy. Flying in a V-shaped formation is highly efficient: the birds can respond to changes rapidly and achieve their desired result. The entire wedge is always headed in the right direction, at a steady pace. Eventually the cranes reach their destination and they can rest, eat and enjoy the sun. It is time for them to relax and feel proud of their achievement.

Digitalization is disrupting traditional operating models at an incredible rate, and the world is changing so rapidly that no company – large or small – can survive on its own. The digital transformation has changed daily routines, reporting, the sharing of information, interaction with customers and even the competitive situation. Companies must have continuous access to real-time information and must be able to communicate with customers and suppliers – no matter where they are located. In supply chains, for example, the need for change arises among the customers, and the suppliers must be informed of this need as soon as possible. Much like a wedge of cranes, companies must understand in real time how changes in their networks affect their business development and creation of added value.

As much as 80 per cent of a company’s data is located outside the company. This data may be difficult to access, as it is located in external trading partners’ systems or third-party marketplaces. Over the course of history, many companies have developed data communication connections with their customers and suppliers, but this development has often taken place at the request of external partners. For example, customers may have demanded an electronic invoicing process. The companies have delivered, but have neglected their own development potential. From a procurement department’s perspective, it may seem that major suppliers have been included in the digital order process, while medium-sized and small suppliers have been overlooked.

During the fall, I am going to write about the five most important steps in creating effective digital business networks. I will focus on the relationship between the buyer and the supplier in particular, as well as how to ensure full transparency in terms of the cost of procurement. I will be discussing measures that not only digitize procurement and supply chain processes, but also bring considerable cost benefits to purchasing. Above all, companies will be able to develop their cooperation with suppliers and keep up to date with the changes that affect their business operations.

I will discuss the first step in two weeks.

Heikki Pulli

Stay tuned!
Heikki Pulli

Heikki Pulli
Tel. +358 50 3866 233

The writer has fifteen years of experience in customer-focused business development, particularly electronic supply chain management, electronic invoicing, and integration and data management solutions. At OpusCapita, he is working with B2B integration solutions and for promoting digital business networks among customers and stakeholders.


Read more blog posts about Buyer-Supplier Ecosystem