I said so….
Saw the announcement from Llamasoft this morning regarding the Llama.ai platform. Essentially , Llamasoft disrupted themselves before any other product would disrupt them. Companies like Noodle.ai were already making their presence felt. Classic optimization tools, however fancy the interface are, were on the road to becoming legacy. The world was getting fixated with “AI Tools”. And like any strategically apt organization would do, Llamasoft decided to disrupt themselves. Great move !
In my perspective, one key skill that executives MUST HAVE now, in this age of rapidly evolving business landscape, is to anticipate the short to mid term implications of what is happening around you now. Believe me, you may be champion of a process, say clinical Supply Chain, but it does not matter as much as your ability to anticipate how evolution around you will impact your business. Long term predictions are useless now but you can at least visualize next three stairs on the staircase.
In May of last year, I published a LinkedIn article on the topic of Self service Machine Learning platforms.It was about what is happening in this space now, what are the implications of the current trends and where it is headed. It was not Supply Chain focused but was a generic overview. The link can be found here:
The gist of my article can be summarized into two key points:
(1) Self service tools will soon become the new normal, pushing many “coding focused” folks currently masquerading as Data Scientists out of work. The actual Data Scientists will design and build such self service platforms
(2) Because there will be so many of these platforms in the market, the space will soon become very competitive. One aspect that I highlighted in my article under the section -“How to make your self service platform more successful” was:
The only way to differentiate and put your tool on the top is to help clients leverage your tool to create innovative, never before implemented solutions. Create unique opportunities for your clients leveraging your tool.
Why is the Solution aspect important ?
Because at the end of it all- what your clients care about is solutions to their problems. If that could have been done with a magic wand instead of your platform, they would have invested in that wand, not your platform. All that matters to the client is that you provide them a tool that can help them solve their business problems and challenges in a sustainable way.
Since these platforms are built on premises that the end users leverages no or minimal code, the key aspect will be:
What are the unique business challenges that can be solved leveraging these platforms ?
The reason I have emphasized “unique” above is that these platforms will not be purchased with the intention of solving classic optimization problems. Hundreds of tools already exist to solve those classic problems.
The way to differentiate is to solve problems that can’t be solved using the classic toolbox of off the shelf Supply Chain tools.
And the “Solution designer” comes into picture
And this is where platforms like these need Solution designers. Is Solution designer a new role ? Hopefully not. Think about these people as Supply Chain engineers with 3PL companies. In a 3PL context, these folks analyze client processes and propose solutions that the 3PL can provide to help clients make their logistics processes more efficient.
In the context of self service AI solutions, these folks can be Data Scientists or people with functional (Industry) experience who are also very well cognizant with Data Science principles.