There’s something happening in IT that looks an awful lot like the supply chain of the 1990s, when Dell and Gateway (and now Apple) stay on top of the market by owning the supply chain. It takes great skill to coordinate dozens of third party manufacturers, contractors, advertising firms and law firms to name a few. Today, the supply chain mentality has shifted to enterprise software, where a winning business is one that can manage APIs and virtualized environments to stitch together a comprehensive effort.
Helping to manage the “supply chain” is Hiperos, a compliance platform that keeps everyone on the same page. Hiperos creates a common language that all companies speak, breaking these companies down into data points that can be compared so Apple, for instance, can determine whether or not a supplier in Brazil or a site in Hong Kong is worth investment. Once you have the data, you can research each company and manage your compliance to meet fair trade regulations that affect a globalized economy. You can see a webinar on-demand to learn more about Hiperos here (avail. Friday, September 28, 2012).
In today’s CEO Series we hear from Greg Dickinson, the CEO of Hiperos. He discusses data as a common language, the new concept of the supply chain, and the best rule he’s ever broken.
How did you identify a need for Hiperos’ compliance platform from a business standpoint?
From our conversations with customers in all kinds of industries, we saw that 40 – 60% of a corporation’s business functions require the use of 3rd parties such as suppliers, channel partners, contract manufacturers, distributors, resellers, agents, brokers, etc. While the use of 3rd parties adds value to an organization, it also increases the risk of regulatory fines and can negatively impact the organization’s brand reputation or customer experience if that 3rd party steps out of line.
For the last 20 years, organizations have been building and buying technologies to automate internal processes, but there was no comprehensive yet flexible solution for automating the external process of managing and collaborating with 3rd parties. Hiperos’ recognition of this provided the impetus for our 3rd party compliance platform.
How can data be used as a common language to aid today’s globalization trends?
When combined with powerful analytics and management tools, data can be used to create actionable content that 3rd parties around the globe understand. By employing a common data communications and management framework, organizations and 3rd parties can better coordinate with each other and take action as needed.
To become meaningful and actionable across a global organization, data needs to be collected, assimilated, connected to other data, organized, translated, and presented in the appropriate context so that it transcends geographic and cultural boundaries.
In what ways have you seen IT architecture and management mimic global supply chains, made famous by companies like Dell, GM and Apple?
When dealing with 3rd parties there are many, many touch points and in the past, the only means of communication was via a phone. IT architecture has to bring an organization’s internal and external “voices” together seamlessly into one platform to share information across all time zones. Your 3rd party might be in the middle of their workday when you are sleeping. Technology and management must address that.
Dell and others created a global supply chain to meet each customer’s requested configuration at a transaction level. IT management and the architecture of today must address the individual needs of the knowledge worker through end user configuration.
Hiperos’ platform helps along the decision-making process for third-party team-ups on a worldwide scale, determining the best outcomes for tomorrow. What gives you confidence in the future?
Previously, 3rd party relationships were only perceived as contractual agreements. When technology is added to the relationship, it brings transparency, and with transparency you begin to build trust and an alignment of business goals. But to be successful, organizations need to change their mindset from treating 3rd parties as “just” a supplier/vendor to a “business partner”.
To avoid or remedy the current value shortfall, more and more companies are slowly but surely focusing on the notion of “increasing the size of the pie” when it comes to 3rd party relationships. This means that 3rd party performance evaluations will increasingly include not just Service Level Agreements, but contributions to innovation and ideation as well.
Given this dynamic, we feel very confident about our future. Hiperos is not a data collector, but rather, our solution manages these business relationships and provides actionable intelligence so organizations can make sound business decisions whether to continue, discontinue or improve the relationship of a 3rd party.
The best rule you’ve ever broken?
Every once in a great while, I’ve broken the rule of boarding by the group code shown on my boarding pass. I know the airlines want the planes to fill from back to front, but like a lot of people, I sometimes worry that my overnight bag won’t make it onto the flight.
Country you’d like to visit next?
I have always been fascinated by Arica ever since I watched “Born Free” as a child, and I find the idea of going on a safari and being out in the wild with animals very exciting. So in May of next year my Dad and I are going on a two week safari to southern Africa.
Trend you’re currently watching?
Analytics in the cloud. Will companies allow all the data required for analysis to leave their data centers?