Understanding the “skill” aspect of Digital Strategy

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The Digital Supply Chain job description crisis ?

So since I opened my profile as “Open to work”, I have few recruiters reach out to me . “Digital” is the “IN” thing so most of the roles that came across were in the area of Digital Supply Chain. And at least three of them, that had “Digital” in the job title, were not exactly Digital Supply Chain roles in my opinion.

And that worries me….no…not from a job hunting aspect 😄. I politely turned them down. My worry is centered around the fact that we are still not very clear about what exactly should be the skillset of someone who should oversee your Digital Supply Chain startegy.

Fixation with the technology aspect

In the JD for the three roles that I mentioned earlier- 50% of the job description was centered around what was classic Business Intelligence role, in IT departments of organizations. I see the emphasis mostly around Master data management, database technologies, WMS configuration and implementation.

And that…is a big problem !

I see the same pattern repeating here, where many companies, drowning in the Data Science hype wave, “renamed” their business intelligence teams as Advanced analytics or Data Science teams.

If you survey organizations that have been successful with Data Science initiatives, you will find that all those companies already had robust analytics teams (like actual analytics-prespecriptive and predictive), even before the term “Data Science” came into existence. They already had the right type of talent. What they ended up doing in the new context was to add the recent tools to their toolchest, add more talent, reorganize the team- but they aleady had the “True Analytics mindset”.

And similarly- you need to build a Digital culture ( and mindset) to actually become a Digital enterprise.

The Digital Supply Chain mindset

And I am not going to provide a detailed description of skills you need or what your job description needs to look like. But let me, very briefly, explain the “Digital Supply Chain Mindset”. Digital culture in itself is a very comprehensive topic. There are books out there that standardize some aspects of what type of culture you need to build to build a true Digital enterprise but in my mind, it needs to be a very tailored approach.

However, coming back to the Digital Supply Chain mindset- you need to actually first ignore technology to think about Digital.

Sounds weird right ? Because we have been made to believe that Digital = Technology. Not in my playbook.

So the person who needs to define and manage your Digital strategy does not need to be an expert in traditional WMS systems, underlying tech stack and the backend databases. In a survey done recently by Peerless Media, 60% organizations believed that it was time to replace their WMS. And I will use this example to illustrate the Digital mindset- The Digital mindset of  someone who needs to spearhead your Digital Supply Chain startegy will look at this WMS opportunity initially from a totally different lens-

What is the corporate strategy of your org for next 5-10 years ? What will be the corresponding Logistics and Distribution strategy ? How does that logistics strategy translates into a Warehousing strategy that will align with other elements of a broader Supply Chain strategy ?


Then you start articulating the technology requirements, being vendor agnostic. What type of capabilities the tool need to have to support envisioned processes and flows ? How will it interact with an automated, smart warehouse loaded with sensors ? What type of analytical capabilties you envision in this tool?….list is long but you get the idea…right 😁

Don’t fall into Technology Fallacy

Remember…the core of your Digital Transformation exercise is your talent and their skills.

So go ahead and re-write your JD. Because if you really want IT folks handling your Digital Supply Chain startegy, you probably already have plenty in your organization. You don’t need to look outside for those skills.

Views expressed are my own.

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