Sramana Mitra: Why is the rate of adoption not faster? Why is it that just that 200 corporations are the only ones adopting this?
Rob Bonavito: It’s a newer approach to sourcing. It gives you a lot more capability. The larger corporations are starting to look at it more. Like anything else, it starts to trickle down. We’re starting to see more interest from smaller-sized companies.
Sramana Mitra: Given this trend, where is this going? What kind of a world is going towards this direction?
Rob Bonavito: The buzzword around the industry now is digitalization. What does digitalization really mean? In my mind, it means that you’re basically creating a transparent world between the buyer and your entire supply chain. What that means is that things are automated, information is transmitted with ease. It’s bi-directional. It’s ubiquitous for that matter. It enables you to become more tightly coupled with your supply chain.
We talked about cloud computing. That’s where it lends itself to this on a global basis. Theses corporations that are trying to do business around the world, they can leverage this capability. That’s the long-term trend.
Sramana Mitra: What blocks are missing from this world becoming a reality where it’s a deeply coupled supply chain? What are open problems that you see that could be new areas where new entrepreneurs could be looking to start new companies?
Rob Bonavito: Like everything else, it’s a paradigm shift. It’s how companies used to do it. It’s looking at doing it in new ways. It’s those companies out there that are willing to take more of a chance. When I founded my first software company back in 1999, I heard all the time, “We don’t have Internet capability.” Look at today. It’s just adoption. It’s basically looking at things in new ways.
It’s just like that old saying. You have two people in the room. You give them a job to do. One guy gives you a hundred reasons on why he can’t do it. The other guy says he’ll do it. It’s a paradigm shift. It’s a direction that’s inevitable.
Sramana Mitra: If you were to start a new company today, where would you start this new company? Where do you see gaps in the space? I’m synthesizing a bit in my head. You need complex technology to be able to make all these suppliers and manufacturers shake hands at various points with complex algorithms.
It sounds like this kind of complex technology is not yet available in the mid market.