Suppliers in implementation of digital innovation

Digital Discovery made a survey in January-April 2018 about the digital processes and actions. The target was to find out what practices are used and useful. The total number of respondents was 45 mainly from services and manufacturing.

Almost all of the respondents has used external suppliers to extend the bandwidth in digital activities. Several companies said that there is not enough professional experts on the supplier side. Some of the respondents said that their are looking for smaller suppliers to find new resources. However, the collaboration with startups is often experiments, only 13  out of 45 organisations said they have continual collaboration with startups. Only a few of the respondents had a partnership programs with vendors. This remarkable finding because most of the respondents are big companies, over 72% had more than 1000 employees. Thes startup collaboration was seen positive as one respondent said, “Discussions with new startups have been fruitful”.  

IT seems to be the area where outsourcing exists a lot, 84% of  respondents said that they use a lot or quite a lot of suppliers. Another area where the majority of respondents used suppliers is service design (54% of respondents). It is an interesting that the most innovative companies used a lot of service design. Hardware is also often provided by externals. In this case, hardware refers to robots, drones and other new digital devices.

For process  consultancy (21%), business consultancy (21 %)  and project management (13 %) vendor support were used much less. However, there were organisations that used a lot of suppliers in all areas. So the variation between outsourced and internal managed operations changes between the studied organisations.

In general, almost half, 42% of the respondents were  satisfied on their current suppliers. However, many mentioned that partners and suppliers have challenges to understand the business. As one respondent said, it is not enough to facilitate the workshops, you need to have business and process knowledge to really assist us. 

I was wondering, how wise is it execute everything by internal staff. There is a lot of opportunities for widening the collaboration, especially with start-ups.  Lack of resources was impeding digital innovation for the most of the companies. The biggest challenge for 55% of respondents was the recruitment and availability of internal specialists was a challenge for 36% of the companies. 

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