Here Comes the Omnichain
The value chain encompasses all the activities involved in delivering a product or service to customers. In the pharmaceutical industry, for example, that includes everything from raw materials suppliers to drugstores that sell the end products and all the steps in between: manufacturing active ingredients, pills and solutions, packaging products and managing the logistics of delivering them to pharmacies. In traditional value chains, players usually have a well-defined role that does not change much. The manufacturer makes the product and the distributor transports it to the retailer, who sells it to the end user. However, with big data, value chains become more flexible and dynamic. Participants can take on new roles and connect directly with others within the ecosystem, breaking away from the linear value chain structure. For example, manufacturers can also be retailers. Players in these ecosystems inhabit a common ground in which they can compete and cooperate at the same time, depending on their role at any point in time. Through direct selling, manufacturers can compete with retailers, although they usually collaborate in the value chain. This new environment in which relationships evolve and change rapidly depending on the circumstances, is dynamic. This is the omnichain (Cordón, Caballero, Ferreiro 2015). This paper aims to provide an in-depth picture of the omnichain: its definition, drivers and key dilemmas. Using several examples, it shows how value chains are evolving and bringing the omnichain closer to people’s daily lives. It also suggests how value chains could evolve in the future.