Digital Supply Chain

A digital supply chain connects every component of your digital offerings, from product development, to pricing, launch, marketing and sales, provisioning, management, and customer support. It should effectively address customer demand and facilitate purchasing.

Multi-dimensional commerce is a related concept that emphasizes seamless integration and interoperability across all areas of a digital supply chain. An effective multi-dimensional commerce plan is vital for a successful omnichannel approach that supports customers and continued sales.

There are some similarities between a digital and traditional supply chain, although the specific processes and commodities involved are substantially different. While both center on the production and distribution of a good to eventually deliver it to a customer, a digital supply chain is distinct because of the wholly or partially intangible nature of the product or service involved. This type of supply chain can also include the provisioning and management of physical devices for manufacturing companies and other organizations.

Creating a seamless digital supply chain requires the integration of several complex backend technologies, including billing, identity, a sales and management portal, and a customer support solution.

Building a strong strategy for digital supply chain management

A digital supply chain should be supplemented with useful and relevant strategies to support success, adjust to changes in a market, and align with customer needs and priorities.

Effective digital supply chain management starts with alignment and goal-setting among company leaders. In their Insights webpage, Gartner stressed the importance of establishing and confirming a digital vision—describing the type of experience an organization wants to provide to clients—and then determining the supply chain components needed to deliver it. Without a clear plan for its own digital supply chain, a business can experience difficulty developing efficient processes, aligning resources, and engaging with and delivering value to customers.

Recognizing all stakeholders

As you begin to develop or refine your digital supply chain management process, be sure to account for all the stakeholders involved. Your company and its clients are likely at the top of the list already. However, digital supply chains increasingly include third parties, like developers, vendors, and partners, as well.

Providing the digital technology developers and partners need to participate in your supply chain enables success. For example, prioritizing the inclusion of a developer center in your strategy can streamline the integration and testing of new products. With this prioritization in place, your organization can offer more relevant products and services to customers. That ultimately means additional opportunities for your company to secure revenue.

Supporting clients

Providing an exceptional experience for clients, and using the right digital technology to do so, is similarly crucial. As an integral part of any successful digital supply chain, businesses can extract and analyze data related to product use and reliability, as well as numerous other valuable metrics. The specifics will differ from one company to the next, but every business can facilitate a better customer experience by anticipating failures, outages, delays, and similar concerns, then developing processes to proactively address them.

McKinsey points to three key types of support that are broadly valued by customers: easily and instantly accessible information about a company’s offerings, fast lead times, and responsive, high-quality service. Keeping these concepts in mind throughout the development of your digital supply chain, as well as during any update and improvement phase, can lead to more positive outcomes through happier and more engaged customers.

The value of automation

Effective automation can be valuable throughout a digital supply chain. Systems that automatically share relevant data with customers, reduce lead times, and provide access to relevant and useful self-service options can underpin your organization’s efforts to deliver consistently positive experiences.

When those processes don’t require a significant level of employee involvement, your staff can focus on more complex issues that require uniquely human skills, like critical thinking and cross-team communication.

Multi-dimensional commerce and the digital supply chain

Technology changes and evolves at a rapid pace, so incorporating new and innovative tools to support digital logistics and streamline customer interactions is an attractive strategy. However, companies must also take the growing complexity of digital commerce into account as well.

Beneficial, revenue-driven concepts like reseller programs and the incorporation of third-party offerings into a digital marketplace can make the digital supply chain increasingly difficult to manage if a successful supply chain management strategy isn’t also in place to support it.

Ideally, your digital supply chain should empower your efforts to quickly and accurately add, configure, bundle, price, and bill for your company’s offerings. It should offer the same capabilities around complementary products and services sourced from partners and third-party developers as well.

Multi-dimensional commerce emphasizes reliability, integration, and interoperability across a company’s digital supply chain. It considers digital supply chain operations holistically and offers solutions for frequent challenges related to digital commerce.

With the right platform and an expert support in place, businesses can implement a digital supply chain capable of selling any offering through any channel on any device. What should your supply chain strategy include?

  • An extensible, technology-agnostic solution that focuses on accommodating new channels and use cases keeps your digital supply chain strategy relevant.
  • A focus on single integration points through API-driven platforms supports this objective, as it makes logistics less complicated and therefore creates better experiences for your customers and your staff.
  • The inclusion of developer tools that facilitate the integration and testing of new products reduces time to market and can also help to control costs.

Consistently supporting your customers

In the digital economy, enduring and positive customer relationships can be even more important than a single purchase.

This distinction is a critical factor for subscription commerce in particular, in which value stems from recurring payments (as opposed to infrequent and large purchases). Supporting customers throughout their journeys can lead to a better perception of your business and an increased willingness on the part of customers to engage with it.

Multi-dimensional commerce reinforces efforts to build strong relationships with your clients. Through an API-addressable digital platform, your staff can personalize the customers’ experience from initial interaction through purchasing and use. Tailoring the experience to each client allows your organization to own the customer experience in its entirety. And the advantages of multi-dimensional commerce outlined previously, like prioritizing and accommodating new channels and use cases, mean a continued emphasis on experiences that lead to mutually beneficial client-provider relationships.

Optimizing your digital supply chain

Seamless integration and interoperability is a clear sign of a dependable and useful digital supply chain. An agile strategy that takes future developments in technology, planning, operations, and customer preferences into account can position your company for more broad and sustainable success.

A reactive strategy centers on addressing risks after they emerge, which diverts attention from building seamless customer interactions and consistent long-term relationships. Setting your organization up to innovate and accommodate any potential digital use case allows for a proactive strategy focused on realizing the greatest benefit.

AppDirect provides a comprehensive platform for facilitating multi-dimensional commerce and strengthening your digital supply chain. Selling any digital product, through any channel, on any device, along with interoperable solutions that automate sales and provisioning, can empower your company to innovate quickly, adapt to changing customer demands, and scale for the future.

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