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Wrapping Up 2020: 5 Key Trends in the Supply Chain

artificial intelligence big data daas data quality management supply chain Nov 24, 2020

As 2020 is coming to an end, it’s time to take a look at where the supply chain industry stands, after the most challenging year in history for supply chains – and for the economy as a whole. 5 key trends have emerged over the past years, with many of them having accelerated during 2020 because of the COVID crisis.

1. Push to become a data driven organization: For supply chains to become more flexible and resilient, organizations have to automate wherever possible and electronically link the different stakeholders. The resulting instant data will allow to track orders in real-time, mitigate any risks and make smarter and faster decisions.

2. Data quality management: Becoming a data driven organization is one thing, but what if your data isn’t accurate or complete? It can lead to major missteps when making business decisions. Gartner has estimated that poor data quality is costing organizations an average of $15M per year in losses. This is why data quality management is so important: A combination of the right people, processes and technologies, all with the common goal of improving the quality of your data and determining the data metrics that matter most to your company.

3. SaaS: SaaS has become the gold standard for all businesses, from innovative start-ups to old-school multinationals. The usage of and demand for SaaS products has grown dramatically over the years. This trend continued in 2020 and is not likely to stop. In supply chains specifically, a variety of ERP and PLM systems are helping organizations achieve more agile and efficient processes. However, it is key to have all the data collected in one place. Companies without an integrated solution will see a negative impact on the reporting and the ability to pull accurate information out of the system.

4. Big data: Big data is very different from old school data management. Businesses manage considerable amounts of data. What signifies whether these data are ‘big’ are the 3 Vs of Big Data: volume, velocity and variety. Analyzing big data is becoming a key basis of competition, underpinning new waves of productivity growth, innovation, and consumer surplus, according to research by MGI and McKinsey’s Business Technology Office.

5. DaaS: As most organizations have now started to collect data through digitization, it is easy to get overwhelmed. After all, supply chain experts are rarely trained to be data experts as well. This is why you need Data as a Service to make sense of all the data collected and provide meaningful insights. DaaS providers have both the process and the data knowledge to provide organizations with the right metrics and valuable reports. They can help to uncover the problems, understand why they occur and suggest action plans.

It is clear that data will continue to play a major role in 2021. The biggest challenge will be to maintain control over the multitude of data collected. With the “data tsunami” that organizations are experiencing today, many will start looking for tools (like Artificial Intelligence) and services (like DaaS), which will help them take control over this unprecedented flow of data. This is why the data management market is poised for huge growth in 2021 and beyond.

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