Jul 14, 2021

The Hackett Group 2021 Digital Award Winners

4 min
We take a look at the winner's of The Hackett Group's 2021 Digital Awards, and spotlight Bosch, winner of Procure-to-Pay

The Hackett Group, Inc. has announced the winners of its 2021 Digital Awards. The awards spotlight the trailblazers taking on digital transformation solutions, including automation, advanced analytics, and AI to hyper-automate end-to-end business operations.

This year, the winners are: 

Plan-to-Results (Data Analytics): Alcon

Purchase-to-Pay: Bosch

Account-to-Report: Citibank

Order-to-Cash: Mondelēz International

IT Opportunity-to-Deployment: Reckitt

Hire-to-Retire: Vodafone Procurement Company

Hire-to-Retire: Wipro Limited

Four finalists were also recognised: Johnson & Johnson; Philips; Takeda Pharmaceuticals; and Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc.

Notably, this year’s winners are taking a much more aggressive approach to digital transformation.

“It’s exceptionally interesting to see how companies are maturing in their use of digital technologies,” said Paul Morrison, Principal and Global Lead of Smart Automation at The Hackett Group. “This year’s winners and finalists are much more ambitious than what we’ve seen previously. Many are taking a hyper-automation approach to end-to-end operational processes, with a strong emphasis on process optimization and driving quantifiable improvements for customers and other stakeholders. These companies are looking to do more than simply reengineer. They’re reimagining and systematically transforming how they work in finance, procurement, HR and IT.

“From a technology perspective, we’re also seeing companies being more ambitious this year about the building blocks they use. They are getting better at integrating a wider range of technologies to drive greater levels of benefits,” said Morrison. “This is the first year a majority of the winners integrated automation, analytics, and machine learning, and the first year we’ve seen a winner using Blockchain.”

According to Vin Kumar, Managing Partner and Digital Operations Advisory Practice Leader at The Hackett Group, “Overall, three strong themes this year have been comprehensive automation of end-to-end processes, acceleration of digital transformation, and a greater focus on business enablement. The global pandemic has pushed companies to move much more quickly in terms of digital transformation, and it has underscored the value of becoming leaner, smarter, and more agile. There’s a much sharper focus on the requirements of the function being transformed. It’s not just speculative ‘build it, and they will come’ development.

Let’s take a look at Bosch, winner of procure-to-pay and a global leader in industry 4.0 and digital supply chains.

Bosch: Purchasing of the future— Innovative and globally connected


“Digitalized supply chains reduce both costs and CO₂ emissions.” - Stefan Asenkerschbaumer, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Management of Robert Bosch GmbH

“In a connected world, digitalised supply chains are crucial if we are to meet the personalised, highly specific requirements of our customers more quickly. Those who fail to digitalise optimisation will lose out,” said Prof. Stefan Asenkerschbaumer, deputy chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. “Small and medium-sized enterprises in particular still have a lot of potential to generate further growth and improve their competitive positions.

Bosch is unearthing competitive advantage through concrete digital procurement measures. Through the digitalisation of the procurement process, Bosch is increasing efficiencies and transparency within the purchasing function.

By 2021, Bosch aimed to have more than 85 per cent of its global purchasing volume handled via cloud and platform solutions. Along with its partners, the company is leveraging the SupplyOn platform for data acquisition, communication and exchange. 

“This enables us to work closely connected and to ensure the reliable exchange of information and the quality of our cooperation in the long term – in the sense of efficient project handling based on mutual appreciation and for mutual success.” says their website.

A Total Cost of Ownership (TOC) Approach

As David Loseby spoke to in the July edition of Procurement Magazine, there is much more to procurement than cost. Loseby lent us his acronym for the determining factors he believes procurement leaders should live by when evaluating suppliers. Here, Bosch speaks to theirs.

“We push new processes in digitalisation and continuously strive for improvements. This claim links us with our suppliers. We continuously evaluate the overall performance of our suppliers. The cost basis is not the only decisive factor, but also – in terms of the total cost approach – the sum of various key figures such as quality, costs, delivery reliability and sustainability. However, and this is important to Bosch, this evaluation is done transparently and fairly. The most efficient suppliers are appointed as preferred suppliers, they participate to a greater extent in new projects, are involved in development projects at an early stage and grow with us as market leader. To honour outstanding performance and further strengthen the reputation of our most efficient suppliers, we have been awarding them with the Bosch Global Supplier Award since 1987.”


Keep your eye on this space for more companies getting it right.

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Jul 31, 2021

3 Marketplace Myths in the Rush to Digital Supply Chains

Lincoln Lincoln, Vice Presiden...
6 min
Lincoln Lincoln, Vice President, Head of Global Sales at CloudBlue, exposes 3 marketplace myths in the rush to digital supply chains

The coronavirus-induced rapid digital transformation has thrust online marketplaces into the spotlight. Sellers now desperately want and need to get in on this revolution but do not always completely understand the implications of marketplace selling in the rush to establish their digital supply chain.

The hype is understandable. Online marketplaces offer a flexible business opportunity with relatively low start-up costs, provide an additional channel to market and sell products, reduce marketing costs, and facilitate expansion into new geographic markets.

They also help vendors meet consumers where and how they shop as consumers prefer marketplaces over brand websites for various reasons, including customer reviews, product comparisons, fast and free shipping, and easy returns. In 2020, marketplaces comprised 62% of global e-commerce sales, with the top 100 selling a total of $2.67 trillion.

The prospects are enticing. However, setting a marketplace strategy up for success calls for understanding what it actually means to sell digital services and subscriptions at scale. Let’s clear the air by dispelling some common myths.  

1) It’s just one marketplace and done.

Joining or creating a marketplace is not the be-all and end-all to ensure an efficient digital supply chain. It is just one avenue to digital transformation—and often, the solution is more than one marketplace; it can be two or three or more. Companies might even have a unique marketplace for different verticals, with their small and medium-sized marketplace different to their corporate marketplace.

Ample, convenient, and varied purchase points help shape a next-level customer experience and allows for greater agility. Vendors that promote in three or more channels can see a 200% increase in gross sales. So sellers need to strategically diversify their sales channels with the help of a sustainable strategy and be aware that a marketplace serves as an extension of their overall digital presence and an important part of branding.

In order to prepare for a multi-marketplace offering and draw up a winning game plan, vendors should take some crucial factors into consideration and avoid certain pitfalls:

  • Select the right marketplace: It may be tempting to take a spray-and-pray approach and list your offerings on as many marketplaces as possible, but it usually leads to poor results and wasted resources. It can also leave customers with an inconsistent impression of your products and services. Find your core competencies and look for platforms that fit your multi-marketplace strategy and allow you to sell well with competitive price points and acceptable margins. Remember that quality trumps quantity.
  • Tailor your content to each marketplace: Apart from the fact that duplicate content strategy is a red flag for search engines like Google, it implies lack of discretion and respect for your target audience. Carefully study your chosen channels, identify the unique drivers for success on each of them—including what they require, how their algorithms work, and what its users respond to best.  
  • Know the right timing: A major element of a successful multi-marketplace strategy is listing the right offerings in the right place, and at the right time. This requires you to keep close tabs on the market demand, the latest trends and opportunities, and consumer behaviour on each channel.
  • Align your multi-marketplace sales strategies with your overall objectives: As a marketplace is an extended arm of your business, your sales strategies there should eventually help you advance your mission, vision, and values as a seller if you want to achieve sustainable growth.

2) Backend operations are negligible and a headache.

It is not just the shiny front end of the marketplace. Businesses should have powerful backends for catalogue and subscription management, which involves much more than simple publication. But although selling through multiple marketplaces may seem like an incredible amount of work, a wide range of technologies are available that take this daily tedium off your plate and out of the realm of human error.

Automate all steps of the process for best results, including bringing your offerings to various marketplaces, registering purchase orders and billing as well as managing upgrades, downgrades, and cancelled subscriptions.

It is also paramount that sellers have the right technology in place to seamlessly connect their infrastructure, workforce, and partners through data. It not only optimises the operations but also enables better collaboration across all the players involved, offers easy access to consumer data and analytics from every channel, helps consolidate data silos, and unifies the customer experience.

Most importantly, automation and data integration provide actionable insights. Accessing insights enables sellers to react in real-time and pushes them to improve and innovate around the consumer’s experience, needs, expectations, and buying behaviour—which eventually helps them stay relevant and competitive.  

3) Ecosystem is just a buzzword.  

Sellers should not underestimate the power of strategic alliances. The ultimate goal of marketplace selling is to effectively orchestrate an ecosystem, with partnerships unlocking distributed innovation and enabling new revenue-generation streams for you and your entire network.

Since a strong network of partners can offer products and services beyond that of a single company, a well-managed ecosystem can create a positive feedback loop and help you achieve a competitive advantage that would be unattainable alone.

In fact, an ecosystem advantage is the best result of digital supply chain creation as it can exponentially multiply the value and utility that your business has to offer to your customers without incurring the exponential costs of doing so.

To start building your ecosystem, you should first adopt an ecosystem mindset. Traditional selling is conducted manually and face to face, and any changes in the products, as well as sales and marketing strategy, are communicated to each partner reseller individually. In order to scale in an ecosystem, this is no longer possible. You must shift to automating every aspect of your business such as sales, marketing, and fulfilment or your business will never grow at scale.

And don’t reinvent the wheel. Companies that try to go it alone and build their own marketplace management platforms will get left behind because the time, energy, and expense it takes is too much. Instead, businesses should rally around a standardized technology solution to help companies quickly and easily build and manage digital ecosystems.

Software vendors especially are advised to build products with ecosystems in mind. Ask yourself: “How can I bundle this product into a holistic solution within an ecosystem?” You should also look to simplify full-time product delivery and customer service to fit into and stand out in an ecosystem.

A worthwhile endeavour

Every smart strategy starts with asking the right questions, and jumping on the multi-marketplace bandwagon is no exception. Layout a detailed, clear roadmap from end to end. Ask yourself who you are targeting and what the problem you are trying to solve is. Then chart the entire customer experience from their point of research and purchase to delivery of the product, the payment process, and post-delivery services.

Starting here will ultimately touch on all other areas of consideration, including contract flows, publishing, provisioning, order flows, billing and invoicing, channel management, reporting, business intelligence, and subscription management.

With this sales journey front of mind, today’s myths and misconceptions should not disrupt your move to the digital supply chain. It is just a matter of building your image on different marketplaces slowly and steadily, with a cautious eye on the bottom line of your business. And it sure is worth the effort.


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