Dr Carsten Hansen, Founder of SourcingHaus Research and Consulting Group, explores the transformation of sustainability in procurement and envisions a future where sustainability and procurement are fully integrated and mainstreamed.
Diana Monterrubio, Procurement Global Strategic Leader at Teleperformance talks with The CPOstrategy Podcast about her opinions on technology, AI and the way forward for women in procurement roles.
Global procurement executive Fadi El Mouallem discusses the value of talent in procurement in today’s world.
Sanja Cancar-Todorovic, eMBA, MM., Head of Enterprise Procurement, Outsourcing and Third-Party Risk Management Leader, discusses gender imbalance in procurement and the benefits of organisations reaching parity in the industry.
If you enjoyed our podcast and would like to read or hear more from Sanja, her new book ‘BE BOLD and Brilliant: Unlocking your Personal and Professional Potential’ is available to purchase from Amazon in both Kindle and paperback format.
The CPOstrategy Podcast: Unleashing the opportunity of procurement
Simon Whatson, Vice President of Efficio Consulting, speaks to us about the changing digital procurement function.
We also discuss how leadership styles are changing as the pace of technology adoption accelerates.
The Digital Insight speaks to Nirav Patel, CEO of Bristlecone (a supply chain company of the $19bn Mahindra group), who discusses how businesses can cope with persistent, global supply chain issues – and outlines the concerns looming on the horizon.
EyeCare Partners works in partnership with clinicians and healthcare leaders to achieve the best patient and business outcomes and this has had dramatic results, such as a 1,500% revenue growth since 2015.
EyeCare Partners is growing through acquisitions, by providing strategic capital and operational support to its network of partner practices in 680 locations across 18 states. In February 2020, this growth was boosted when Swiss private equity firm Partners Group acquired a controlling stake in EyeCare Partners. “They’re a very interesting group,” he says. “They’re very heavy on investment, plus they have a very, very impenetrable and robust sustainability platform too, which is very near and dear to my heart through my time at Unilever,” This level of growth is fuelled significantly by increasing demand for eye care over the longer term, driven by an ageing US population and an increased incidence rate of eye diseases. But this level of growth requires an agile and resilient operational enterprise.
Bringing a wealth of experience to the table, Kuvesh Ayer, CPO for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority discusses procurement transformation and being prepared for anything…
Tell us about yourself and your current role…
I’m currently the chief procurement officer for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The MTA embarked on a huge transformation effort across all its operating divisions to transform the organization into a more efficient, effective one.
I got a call one day asking if I’d be interested in this position and I decided, “Okay, it sounds interesting and very challenging,” and decided to throw my hat in a ring. Lo and behold, it’s two years down the line – it’s gone like a flash. Overall, my responsibilities include managing the MTAs procurement and sourcing operations, which also include the logistics, warehousing, and distribution aspects...”
Modern procurement has undergone so much change in recent years, it is finally achieving recognition as a true strategic business enabler. Empowered by data-driven insights and digitised systems and tools, procurement occupies a unique position at the heart of an enterprise’s operations, supply chains and growth. How are leading companies creating sustainable digital capabilities and how do companies do this at scale?
The Digital Insight team decided to take a deeper dive into this fascinating area and assembled an incredible panel of digital procurement CEOs to find out more and share procurement’s relationship with data, intelligence (and its maturity), as well as the opportunities emerging from these insights and the technology that captures them too. You can watch the full video discussion here…
The panel covered…
Data in procurement
- With more access to data in procurement than ever before, how does this differ from 5-10 years ago?
- Where is this data coming from?
- What does this mean for the role of procurement?
Evaluating and dealing with risk
- Is there more risk in the supply chain now than ever before?
- How has evaluating risk changed for better or for worse?
- Are the risks becoming increasingly dynamic and changing?
Opportunities in procurement
- With the capturing and understanding of data, is this now a unique opportunity for procurement, to act as an “intelligence hub” across multiple domains from risk to sustainability and cost to innovation?
- How do we capitalise on this opportunity?
- What role will ProcureTech vendors/players have in this?
- How important is it for business to adopt a continuous approach with respect to the data that they gather on their vendors and how do they feed this data into their digital procurement platforms?
Joining The Digital Insight were…
Ilya Levtov (CEO Craft)
Craft serves large companies (Fortune 100, FTSE 100) and government entities with comprehensive insight and intelligence on their supply chains.
Success doesn’t happen overnight
“…the challenge and struggle that a lot of enterprises are finding themselves in is how to filter down and get to the right answers. The only thing we’ve seen reliably successful is to take a spirit of experimentation and curiosity and not to be hell bent on getting the answer or a positive ROI for the CPO next month, but to say, it’s going to take some back and forth. That’s the way we personally love to work with clients. We say: there’s a ton of stuff you know, there’s a ton of stuff we know, but we’ve got to work together and iterate with different data sets, different models, different risk models, in order to come to the right answers. It’s going to take some time, but we will make progress if you take a medium to long-term view. That’s when you’re going to get those answers and those models working… not overnight.” Ilya Levtov (CEO Craft)
Aleksandr Yampolskiy (CEO Security Scorecard)
Security Scorecard pioneered the way in which it collects all kinds of data points from all over the world and how it uses those data points to reduce them to a score representing the likelihood of a company to suffer a data breach. Security Scorecard is utilised by over 1,500 plus top enterprises all over the world to hold their suppliers and third-party vendors accountable, and to make insurance underwriting decisions.
Now is the time for procurement!
“Now is actually a great time to be in procurement. Procurement is being disrupted through the proliferation of new types of information and data that enable us to make better decisions. For the first time, it makes it possible for procurement to move from being a support function, to being a business enabler and a value creator at the forefront of the innovation. It’s a very exciting time to be in the procurement space today.” Aleksandr Yampolskiy (CEO Security Scorecard)
Cynthia Figge (CEO CSRHub)
CSRHub is a big data platform and one of the largest aggregators of structured ESG data, covering companies worldwide.
Risk in the supply chain
“…risk has gone up dramatically in the supply chain, at least from an ESG or sustainability perspective. Some of the data has been backward looking, in other words, if there is some great disruption or something bad happens, then there are news ripples and that is important. But now where I’m seeing companies shifting is they really want to know about a company’s performance across all these dimensions of environment, social and governance, so that there can be some sense of predictability and an ability to screen across actual performance issues in advance of some kind of a bad event. We’re seeing a demand for that data and that understanding of the suppliers in the value stream: are they really measuring up? Are there some risks there in terms of what we can see around performance and benchmarking?” Cynthia Figge (CEO CSRHub)
Lance Younger CEO of ProcureTech
ProcureTech are building the digital future of procurement. Solving the most pressing social, environmental and economic challenges requires new thinking and a new platform for procurement leaders, entrepreneurs and the digital procurement ecosystem.
ProcureTech is home to the ProcureTech100 – the definitive global 100 pioneering digital procurement solutions.
Together with ProcureTechSOURCE and ProcureTechEXPERTS, they will accelerate, smarter solution selection and digital procurement ecosystems that will empower procurement transformation.
The tipping point of procurement
“…We’re at a tipping point for procurement in terms of a transformation, which began at the start of this decade. Most procurement functions, if you were to assess them from a digitalisation or data perspective, will score three to four, maybe five (out of ten). You have one or two that are leading lights, but I think that procurement overall is struggling to keep up with the changes in data access and data proliferation and not because of the technology, but because of the people. We don’t have enough people with the right skills to be able to help procurement transform at the pace at which we need it to change.”
The latest episode of Digital Insight welcomes Sam Achampong, Head of CIPS MENA as we discuss procurement maturity and how the Middle East is on a journey towards being recognised as a procurement benchmark for the rest of the world.
“Procurement, in the Middle East was still a developing function and to some extent it still lagged behind other parts of the world in terms of overall maturity and recognition of the function itself. That’s where we were pre-COVID and I think everyone involved in the profession at any level recognizes that. Significant efforts were being made to improve that and they have been going on for many years to try and elevate procurement. The efforts to bring the full procurement supply chain really to the fore in the region had been going on for a while. COVID has accelerated those efforts significantly.
Can the Middle East become THE global benchmark for procurement?
Undoubtedly. I think, it’s the old cliche of “it’s not a question of if, but when”. You have is organizations out here who are very ambitious, innovative and very keen to be at the forefront of business operations and not only maturity but performance.
When it comes to procurement, they’re very ambitious, very keen to have the best systems in place. Those that have that ambition, in this day and age, are very blessed that there is an abundance of technology that serves procurement and supply chain that they’re able to utilize, and there’s a huge adoption of technology relevant to procurement and supply chain, in this region. For that reason alone, I can really see the organizations out here really leapfrogging others around the world and fulfilling that ambition to be world-leading where it comes to procurement and supply chain.
You see a real adoption of all sorts of solutions, whether it’s dashboards, eSourcing systems, supplier relation management systems, or a whole gamut of solutions that allow practitioners to be a lot more strategic and less transactional.
The added benefit that organizations have here is that, at the point that they are fully versed and fully engaged with procurement at the very highest level, they already have these tools at their disposal. They don’t have to learn them. They don’t have to unlearn anything. So ,they’re perfectly placed to really be world-leading.”
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE BELOW:
What does being a leader really mean to an individual and to an organisation?
We learn from a young age about the significance of mentorship and role models, people who can guide us, teach us and inform our development both in life and in our careers.
But do we talk about them enough? When it comes to dealing with transformation, evolution and change, what then becomes of the leader, the mentor and the role model?
Rachel Lemos, Director of procurement at Canadian Western Bank, joins Dale Benton to discuss how role models, mentors and leadership has and continues to defined her own professional journey.
“Success is borne out of the people surrounding you. You cannot think of success by looking to one person, one leader – that’s a failure right there”
In times of great change, the responsibility to lead and to inspire now rests upon her shoulders. In her journey, Lemos has come up against the barriers and the challenges of being a woman in largely male dominated industry space. These are a crucial part of hers and any female procurement professional’s story.
“We’re far away from where we should be. But we see that there is a change, there’s a trend and there’s willingness for organisations to develop more and more women into leaders,” says Lemos. “My personal experience has shown that the more you progress in your career, the more challenges you face because you’re dealing with something that people are just not comfortable with. You have to be prepared to deal with the discomfort they may be experiencing with a lot of diplomacy and be prepared to start difficult conversations sometimes, and touch on the discomfort of other people when you are sitting at that leadership table.”
Enabling positive change for an organisation is the key for any leader and Lemos recognises the duality of her role; to enable positive change for a business from a procurement perspective, but also to enable positive change as a female leader and to open the doors to future female leaders. “I have a responsibility to coach, to inspire, to mentor,” she says, “I take personal time to do that. It’s not only with my team. Very often I get people asking me to help them and be their mentor. Interestingly enough, I have also received a few invites from men in procurement for mentoring too, which I’m always happy to provide.”
“It is a responsibility. You can’t just dismiss that. You’re not here just to look into your career path, but what you do in your career influences others. My advice for females is this: come with an open heart and with a winning attitude. Give your best, be humble to learn, step back when you need to and be ready to advance when the opportunity presents itself. Results are not gender based and they speak for themselves and they speak loud many times. So if you present results, if you do your best, you’re in the right place and you will succeed.”
Lemos also stops to take a moment and invest time assessing her teams in order to understand and support their career goals. Talent is crucial and when change is constant it can be easy to lose that talent as you focus too much on what can be, rather than what it is. “You should always keep an eye on and review what type of talent you have and how you are working to retain those talents,” she says. “It’s really the responsibility of the leader to assess, understand, see what the gaps are in your people. Can we build in time to develop? Do those individuals want to develop? Because you can’t just assume they are open to change.”
“Results are not gender based and they speak for themselves and they speak loud many times”
This isn’t the sole responsibility of Lemos, or other CPOs, alone. It’s a shared responsibility of all levels of the leadership team to get together and have what she describes as “mature and honest” conversations that identify what the endgame is, what’s needed to get there, and identify any gaps in our teams that need to be addressed.
“Success is borne out of the people surrounding you. You cannot think of success by looking to one person, one leader – that’s a failure right there,” she says. “It’s becoming rare to see leaders taking interest in people’s journeys and career goals. You need to be candid. You need to be honest, and you need to be having those conversations and that’s how you grow your team and achieve any form of success.”
Welcome to part two of the Data transformation trilogy with Paul Bailo, a leading digital transformation executive.
In this installment we take a look at Change management, two words that will either unlock your transformation, or block it. Love it or hate it, change management is vital to any transformation, so why is it so polarizing?
Transformation and change are and perhaps always will be, the key topics defining the business conversation.
And for every headline that focuses on a new technology, or indeed a strategic roadmap, how often do people address the elephant in the room that is change management?
Leading executives will tell you about the significance of change management, but what does that mean? What makes change management more than just another trendy buzzword that gets trotted out when you need to try and quantify change? What is wrong with our approach to change management?
It’s all well and good saying change management is necessary and essential to transformation, but what are you doing to address it? What does change management look like for an organisation? As with any journey, there has to be a beginning, so what first steps do you need to take to act on the promise of change management, but also to fully embrace the change in the first place?
We all knot the importance of sponsorship. Get the backing of the board, and the teams around you, and change comes naturally.Leaving you to wonder; what were you even worried about?
Any leading executive will tell you that if you don’t have the sponsorship of those around you, you’ve failed before you’ve started. It makes sense of course,, if you don’t buy into an idea, are you just going to willingly go along with it?
This is where storytelling comes in, obtaining quick wins and achieving results and being able to establish a sense of credibility in what you’re doing.
But, change is different and people aren’t always wired to accept change immediately. You can be the best storyteller in the world, and have all the data in your hands to prove that change is good, but for some, that sponsorship just will not come your way….so the question then becomes; what happens now?
Missed part one? Watch The Data Transformation Trilogy Part 1: C-level talent and leadership; do you have it?
Change is needed – but change is overwhelming. An increase in data is an increase in knowledge. And an increase in knowledge is an increase in power…making change isn’t easy. Make the mistake, and the results could be catastrophic. Remain frozen in fear, and fall away into irrelevance. The only way to succeed is to try.
Change is hard and while isn’t always priority number one, change is necessary to evolve as a business.
So when you are about to embark on a change journey, and you cast your eye over your organization, your processes,, your strategic roadmap and both your existing and future technologies….consider how you’re going to get there. Consider the sponsorship you need, the wins and how you can cultivate the culture that’s required in order to embrace change.
It’s time we reconsidered our love hate relationship with change management….
According to a recent report from EV volumes, 2020 was a great year for plug-in vehicles.
It reveals that global Battery Electric Vehicles +Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicle sales hit 3,24 million, compared to 2,26 million for the year previous.
- The UK government announced the end of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK by 2030 putting the UK on course to be the fastest G7 country to decarbonise cars and vans,
- the state of California will ban the sale of new gasoline-powered passenger cars and trucks starting in 2035, Norway, aims to become the world’s first country to end the sale of fossil fuel-powered cars, setting a 2025 deadline. Fully electric vehicles now make up about 60% of monthly sales in Norway
- Sales of new energy vehicles (NEV) will make up 50% of overall new car sales in China, the world’s biggest auto market, by 2035,
But this is all future talk. Lets think less about 2025, 2030 and 2035, and think about 2021 and the paths we are on right now.
What has the last ten years brought in terms of EV development, and where are we right now when it comes to the EV market?
Paul Loustalan, a partner with Reddie & Grose, a provider of patents, trade marks and designs and particularly patents coming from the EV market, sits down with Dale Benton to explore the significant advancements made in the global EV market.
The next ten years will be an interesting time for the automotive industry:
- Jaguar announced that it will Turn All Electric By 2025,
Change isn’t coming. It’s already here.
But much like any other industry, the larger players dominate the headlines (and the market) but the smaller players bring about true disruption. In the financial space, the larger incumbents were once upon a time disinterested in what the start ups and fintechs were doing, but now they are making radical changes in order to catch up to them and cater to the new financial customers of today. So is it fair to assume that the smaller start-ups and disruptors in the EV and automotive space, are forcing the bigger companies to not only look over their shoulders, but think about their own futures?
If you were to look around the world right now EVs are here. As noted already, global EV and Plug in hybrid sales soared to 3,24 million in 2020. But for some, EVs remain just out of reach. We were lead to believe we’d all be driving fully automated EVs by now, and yet we aren’t.
EVs are something that we’ve spoken about for many years as coming soon. But as we can see they’re here right now. So why is there still a perception that, despite the promises and government mandates, EVs will always remain a technology of the future?
We know the benefits, we see what it can and will and already is doing in terms of carbon emissions and energy consumption, but as with any technology there will always be the challenge of; do the customers want it? For every customer who wants a new, energy efficient car, there will be one who is happy to continue using what works best for them – and why shouldn’t they?
It can never be as black as white as saying; there are those who want the new and those who don’t, and companies need to cater to all consumers and ease those who are reluctant into the new era of the automotive industry.
As with any technology, when it works, it sells itself. We as consumers can see it operating successfully and the benefits it will bring to our lives. In the automotive industry, we think of a car and outside of cosmetics – we simply ask that it works and that it allows us to go about our daily lives with relative ease.
If it can save us some money, and reduce our carbon footprint, then even better. Success stories sell. But what significance is there in focusing on failure? Can that actually be a good thing in terms of the conversation surrounding EV technology? Can we gain more from hearing about those failures than we would by simply focusing on the successes?
As we speak in 2021, the next 10 years are going to see huge shifts in the EV market and we will start to see them in the next four. We don’t know for sure what’s going to happen and how well its going to pan out. But we can see trends and see data and anticipate the next wave of innovation.
Whatever the future has in store for us all, EVs are here. People are driving them right now. And there’s going to be more of them appearing on the roads and parked up on the driveways as the world moves away from diesel and petrol combustion engine vehicles.
As a market leader in a world of continuous change and digital disruption? What more could you be doing to embrace true digital disruption and deliver on the promise of tomorrow to an ever evolving customer base?
Amanda Heintz, Devops and IT Automation Release Manager at Schneider, joins us to talk about what it’s like to work in an industry that is still perceived to be lagging behind in the digital conversation due to legacy infrastructure and an antiquated operating model…
The question then is, what is Schneider doing to define and redefine the technology market of transportation?
The benefits of embracing innovation and implementing new technologies are clear to see and yet as we speak in 2021 one could argue that there is still evidence to suggest that there is resistance and hesitance to take the risk of digital transformation. It stands to reason that many organisations could be too afraid to embark on a digital transformation journey, despite the seemingly endless cases of major success for those that have done so already.
Listen to Amanda on the Bitsize episode of The Digital Insight podcast below:
With transformation, there are common challenges that come with legacy infrastructure, and with transition and change, so how can businesses cope with such a major shift?
There s no such thing as a guarantee of success. As much as we’d love it. We often speak of successes and looking at what went right, but perhaps more importantly should we explore the importance of admitting that things have not worked out according to plan.
It is no secret that change comes from recognising that there is a need to adapt and to evolve, so the greatest lessons can come from the smallest of missteps.
Digital transformation, disruption, and embracing innovation and change, is no easy task. It is no secret that we all look to other organisations, other industries for inspiration and we look for the big companies that are recognised as the benchmark for innovation, but when you are one of these companies, and you are in an industry that has that label of falling behind the pace, how aware of you of your responsibility to help drive the industry forward?
Schneider is but one example of the many organisations (big or small( that are truly embracing innovation and disruption and doing so in a way that will help propel the industry forward.
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Why not check out some of our recent episodes of The Digital Insight below:
That’s certainly what Michael Jansen, CEO and Founder of Cityzenith believes, as he joined Dale Benton to discuss the booming digital twin technology market and how it can help prevent and respond to something like the COVID19 pandemic.
According to a recent report from ABI Research, the digital twin market is expected to grow from $3.8bn, as of 2019, to $35.8bn per year by 2025, with more than 500 urban digital twins expected to be in use.
So what’s behind this expected growth? Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, COVID19 has meant that now more than ever before we need to increase resilience and optimise resource management.
Examples of digital twin technology can be seen all over the world. The most notable examples is in its use in urban planning, but we also see it in the healthcare industry to virtualise the healthcare experience in order to optimize patient care, cost, and performance.
“Digital Twins developed to aggregate, manage, analyze, visualize, and predict information in today’s smartcities, manufacturing plants, and building construction sites, can be successfully re-purposed to provide a unique information management solution to the current Covid-19 crisis, now and later, at any scale”
Another example, and perhaps one of the more famous ones, is in aerospace. Back in the 1970s, NASA developed what is believed to be the first digital twin to better analyse and foresee any problem involving the airframes, engine, or other components to ensure the safety of the people aboard the Apollo 13 shuttle.
Digital twin technology can also play a key role in the monitoring of and response to natural disasters, so is it out of the question to suggest it can help prevent and respond to something like the COVID19 pandemic?
Listen to the Bitesize episode of The Digital Podcast below:
The digital twin technology market is most certainly booming and in just 4 short years, we will see a monumental shift in the adoption and implementation of digital twin technology.
As the technology continues to grow, so too will the use cases and as Jansen himself discussed, Digital Twins developed to aggregate, manage, analyze, visualize, and predict information in today’s smart cities, manufacturing plants, and building construction sites, can be successfully re-purposed to provide a unique information management solution to the current Covid-19 crisis, now and later, at any scale.
Find out more about the impact of COVID-19 on the Implementation of Digital Twins in the Global Building Industry.
Is access to fast and reliable supplier data more important now than ever before?
Stephany Lapierre, CEO of Tealbook and Jim Bureau, CEO of JAGGAER as sat down with Dale Benton to discuss a new partnership between the two that will provide enriched supplier data for JAGGAER customers through access to Tealbook’s Supplier Intelligence Platform.
Why not listen to Bitesize episode of this discussion below:
According to a recent report from ABI Research, the digital twin market is expected to grow from $3.8bn , as of 2019, to $35.8bn per year by 2025, with more than 500 urban digital twins expected to be in use.
So what’s behind this expected growth? Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, COVID19 has meant that now more than ever before we need to increase resilience and optimise resource management.
Michael Jansen, CEO of Cityzenith, sits down with us to explore the booming digital twin market and what role digital twins could play in tackling a global pandemic…
Read the whitepaper here:
In another episode of The Digital Insight Bitesize, we take a look at cybersecurity.
With a recent report indicating that leading retailers across the EU and US are running outdated applications, leaving them vulnerable to cyber attacks, we ask:
Can you be complacent when it comes to your approach to cyber security?
Traditionally such matters would be placed on the desk of the CIO and the IT teams, but Is it their responsibility to focus on cyber security? There’s certainly an argument that the wider organization could and should be more involved.
In a year defined by crisis, how has the COVID19 pandemic impacted the cybersecurity conversation moving forward?
Answering these questions for us today is Stephan Kornakowski of Output24, a leading cyber assessment company focused on enabling its customers to achieve maximum value from their evolving technology investments…
“By re-conceiving the infrastructure of a bank, the way that a bank delivers its services, you can take an order of magnitude off the cost and you can bring a level of experience to the customer that’s not hamstrung by old tech, by old thinking, by siloed approaches…” James Shanahan, CEO of Revolut Singapore
We continue our look into the psychyology of the subscriber, with Bhavesh Vaghela, CEO of Singula Decisions.
In this episode we’re focusing on Part 2: Growth and how brands can RISE TO THE CHALLENGES OF A POST-PANDEMIC RECESSION AND SHIFTING CONSUMER PRIORITIES?
Download the report now at:
This episode is part two fo a three part discussion. For part one, which focuses on Acquisition, check out our previous episode below and stay tuned for part three.
How prepared is the retail sector to fully embrace a digital supply chain? Answering that question on The Digital Insight, is Wayne Snyder, Vice President, Retail Industry Strategy for EMEA, at Blue Yonder and Janet Godsell, Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Strategy at University of Warwick.
Together, we look at The Retail Supply Chain Digital Readiness report released earlier this year as part of a collaboration between Blue Yonder and the University of Warwick.
The latest episode of the Digital Insight welcomes Mark Wright, Director of Climb Online, a successful entrepreneur with a passion for business and a love of digital marketing and the winner of the Apprentice UK back in 2014.
Mark discusses the importance of speaking the right business language when operating in a crowded digital marketing sector and we also explore how, as long as you have the passion, the drive, the knowledge and a brutal honesty – then you have what it takes to succeed.
And as an additional treat…
The latest episode of The Digital Insight welcomes Marius Galdikas, CEO of ConnectPay, a digital banking alternative for online-focused businesses.
In this episode, Nell Walker talks to Galdikas about how COVID-19 pandemic has caused a spike in digital banking fraud, the upsides of this difficult time from a fintech perspective, and the future of cash in an increasingly online society.
The latest episode of The Digital Insight welcomes David Ingram, CPO of Unilever, who discusses the company’s $1bn investment towards protecting the environment, and what that means for the future of this Earth.
“We have a common purpose about making sustainable living complex, which makes the job of sustainability and procurement around sustainability that bit easier because there’s a great interconnection through the company…”
David Ingram, CPO, Unilever
Differentiate with digital: Designing your digital experience ecosystem with Laurence Parkes, CEO of Rufus Leonard
Organisations that use technology to make a meaningful difference to people’s lives grow four times faster than their competitors [Forrester]. To tap into this potential, brands need to overcome digital sameness to deliver an experience that drives sustained competitive advantage, resilience and growth. Increasingly an organisation’s mission (expressed in its brand strategy) is delivered through its digital activities. It’s therefore essential to have the digital ecosystem (platforms, people and processes) that can deliver your brand promise.
“The critical piece to any digital transformation, is the planning phase – and it is truly the hardest”
Our Digital Transformation Trilogy continues with Dr Paul J. Bailo, a digital thought leader par excellence, taking us through the importance of planning to a successful digital transformation programme.
“I don’t see how any organisation in this current world could survive without a true digital leadership model.” Dr Paul J. Bailo, Executive – Digital Strategy, Data & Innovation
Dr Paul J. Bailo, a digital thought leader par excellence, takes us through the importance of leadership to a successful digital transformation programme
Will COVID-19 be the tipping point for digital transformation in Procurement? That was the questions asked by Ivalua as part of a recent study, and the question that Alex Saric, CMO of Ivalua, sits down to explore in today’s episode.
We also look at whether COVID-19 has propelled the digital procurement conversation forward or held it back as organisations look at cutting costs during uncertain times? And we ask: what will become of the traditional supplier relationship model and what role will digital solutions continue to play in defining the supplier relationships of the future?
Rich Ham, CEO of Fine Tune joins the Digital Insight to discuss why the world needs a company like Fine Tune, how it works with clients to deal with ‘nuisance’ expenses, and how it specialises in categories where procurement – for all their best intentions in becoming more strategic and driving value – tends to fail.
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The Digital Insight is joined by three fantastic guests; Ian Thompson – Regional Director, Ivalua, Iain Campbell McKenna – Managing Director – Sourcing Solved and Jon Hansen, Writer and Speaker – Procurement Insights.
Together, we look to explore the crucial role that procurement is playing as we navigate the COVID19 pandemic. We closely examine how the strategic evolution of procurement (through transformational change) is now well and truly under the spotlight and we also try to imagine what the future of procurement will look like in a post COVID19 world.
In the latest episode of The Digital Insight, Lance Younger, Managing Director and Jonathan Sing, Project Manager of Inverto, discuss how, as the spotlight is well and truly shining on the function, COVID19 will represent a defining moment in the history of procurement while also playing a key role in defining its future.
Tania Seary, one of the most globally influential members of the procurement & supply chain world joins the Digital Insight to discuss what made her fall in love’ with procurement and how Procurious, the world’s first and leading online business network dedicated to procurement and supply chain professionals, was truly ‘ahead of its time.
Tania also explores how COVID-19 will be a truly defining moment in the future of procurement.
This week’s Digital Insight welcomes back Dr Marcell Vollmer, Chief Innovation Officer at Celonis. In this episode, we discuss the most important asset to any organisation undergoing digital transformation; the people.
The latest episode of The Digital Insight welcomes Dr Marcell Vollmer, Chief Innovation Officer, Celonis, as we discuss some of the biggest pitfalls in digital transformation and how best to overcome them and successfully navigate this ever evolving journey.
Join us again next time for part two of our discussion with Dr Marcell Vollmer, where we look a little closer at just how important the people are to any organisation in a digital transformation.
How do we achieve success in times of great digital disruption? Over on The Digital Insight Podcast, we asked a number of key executives from a wide range of industries what they consider to be the key to success.
“I think there’s really two parts. The first is; be curious. Find out what you can learn, what you can experience, what you can do or you can question about how you operate and how others operate and how you can bring that into what you do. And the second, and I give this advice a lot, is to understand how do you continue to be a better version of yourself? Not someone else, but yourself. Challenge yourself to question how you can continually self-improve the person you are, and the one you want to be.” – Mike Dargan, Group Chief Information Officer UBS
“Everybody has to realise, with new technologies that it’s difficult at times to get people grounded into the mission that the new technologies are supposed to support. You’re solving a problem with these new technologies or you’re helping to solve a problem, but this problem is basically something that you want to enhance in your mission. You have to think of technology as an enabler for your particular mission. A lot of people forget that. They just think, “I want to have new technology because it’s cool.” – Frank Kozniecy, CIO, United States Air Force
“I would say the key ingredient is to keep an open mind. Lead with courage instead of fear. If you allow yourself to be training and learning and reading frequently, you’re actually always going to be a step closer to understanding what that disruption could look like and prepare yourself for it” – Carolyn Chin Parry, IT Woman of the Year at IT Asia Awards 2019
“We’ve got an exciting opportunity that we’re going to see transformational stuff in the next 10 years, I think, that none of us can imagine. And all of it being affordable, and getting more and more affordable. But with it comes a lot of threats we didn’t imagine. When social media first came, no one thought about some of the things we were going to see. Whether you believe or not that the elections are influenced, or swayed, or misrepresented, and who gets into power. None of that was discussed, because we weren’t thinking that far ahead. It’s only coming to fray now. Some of the implications of that, and drone technology, and other things. It’s an interesting time, and it presents opportunity, if you’re willing to change and grab the opportunity, and utilize what’s available to benefit your business and your career.” – Ian Moyse, Sales Director, Natterbox,
“It’s really about not the organization transforming around me, but it’s about, well, what am I personally willing to do differently? What am I willing to learn? How am I willing to take on new practices, spend my time differently, prioritize my business results and my schedule, and my hiring practices too? What are you willing to do differently?” John Rossman, former leader at Amazon and author of Think like Amazon
For more valuable C-Level perspective into the core issues surrounding business transformation and digital disruption and the most inspiring executive insights from those leading transformation strategies within the worlds biggest and best-known companies subscribe to The Digital Insight
Part two of The Digital Insight’s discussion with Pat Lynes, Founder and CEO of Sullivan and Stanley. Lynes explores the concept of operational buy-in and engagement through digital transformation and he also tells us how Sullivan and Stanley works with organisations to deliver strategic change teams on demand.
In part one of a two-part discussion, Pat Lynes, Founder and CEO of Sullivan & Stanley explores how digital transformation has forced companies to rethink their operating models particularly when it comes to the skill sets and capabilities required.
With the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus dominating the global news, what impact will this have on global supply chains? Alejandro Alvarez, Partner: Operations Performance at Ayming, joins the Digital Insight as we discuss, with China’s role so crucial in the global supply chain, how businesses may soon be affected more than people realise.
The latest episode of The Digital Insight welcomes back Mike Cadieux, procurement fanatic and founder of Procurement Foundry, as he discusses the role of the professional as the procurement function continues to evolve.
It’s time for the professional to truly get to know the business around them.
The latest episode of the Digital Insight welcomes Michael Cadieux, a procurement industry fanatic obsessed with making procurement cool, and the founder of Procurement Foundry, to pick apart exactly why procurement needs to be made cool and how Michael plans to achieve that. Michael also details why the Procurement Foundry is the world’s premier sourcing industry community.
In the latest episode of The Digital Insight, we travelled to London to speak with John Adams, Group CPO of Barratt Development, as he explores how the company’s competitive edge comes from a supply chain that is well equipped and capable of catering to the demands of today, and of tomorrow.
The latest episode of The Digital Insight welcomes Ranjit Rajan, a thought leader on the impact of digital transformation on economies, business, and the technology industry, with a specialization in the emerging markets of the Middle East and Africa.
In this episode, we explore the digital transformation and innovation curve of the UAE, the challenges and overall progress of the UAE Vision 2021, and we look at how technology and innovation can help establish the UAE as one of the happiest countries in the world.
This episode of The CPOstrategy Podcast welcomes a man who has been described as many things: a global insuretech leader; an inspiration; a mentor, and even the ‘WD-40’ of insurance.
The CPOstrategy Podcast welcomes him as Rob Galbraith, an industry leader in fintech, a popular keynote speaker and the author of Amazon bestseller, The End Of Insurance As We Know It.
Robert explores the current insuretech landscape and how, despite lagging behind other industry sectors, insuretech is a space of great opportunity and even greater risk.
In the latest episode of The Digital Insight, Dan Jelfs, Senior Vice President of global sales at Mobica believes that, as a result of increasing connectivity between everyone and everything, we are on the cusp of a digital revolution. Dan also explores how in turn this has made technology more pervasive and a key driver of strategic change to businesses and their business models.
This episode of The CPOstrategy Podcast welcomes John Vass, the global industry lead at Tradeshift, to discuss procurement technology and the shift in perspectives within procurement and supply chains towards technology, and how it has changed the way in which organisations connect and engage with suppliers.
We also explore John’s role as a panelist at Asia Pacific Procurement Congress 2019, which looked at how organisations can navigate the increasing complexities which make procurement more challenging than ever before.
“The biggest shift is the thought process around the technology. So rather than using a technology just for doing something tactical, it’s actually being used to connect with your supply base.” – John Vass, Global Industry Lead, Tradeshift.
The Digital Insight, welcomes Frank Vorrath, Executive Partner of Supply Chain at Gartner back for part five of a six-part supply chain masterclass.
In this episode, Frank explores the business of supply chain outlook for 2020 as he details his 10 predictions for the year ahead.
The latest episode of The Digital Insight welcomes CJ Das, CIO of SimpleTire.
With over 20 years experience from being a software manager to becoming a chief digital officer and in his current role as CIO, CJ looks to answer a simple question, what is digital transformation?
The latest episode of The Digital Insight welcomes Lisa Moyle, Director of Strategy at VC Innovations.
Lisa discusses the disruptive market that is financial services, and she explores what it means to seek out and embrace innovation – whether you’re an incumbent or a startup.
Lisa also discusses how VC Innovations works to enable businesses to demonstrate thought leadership and expertise, educate the market on new solutions and products develop and maintain business relationships and associate their brands to a community, theme, or subject.
In the latest episode of The Digital Insight, George Booth, Chief Procurement Officer at Lloyds Banking Group explores risk assurance and whether it’s become a top priority for the CPO of today.
George also talks about how big data, AI, and blockchain are redefining the sourcing function and in turn, redefining the role of the procurement professional. We also discuss how, in the digital age, balancing the need to identify and onboard new fintechs with a need to protect the business from inherent risks cause significant challenges, but also opportunity.
The latest episode of the Digital Insight welcomes Jim Marous, internationally recognised financial industry strategist, and the publisher of the Digital Banking Report and Sonia Wedrychowicz, an experienced technology transformation professional, having worked in the business management and corporate consumer banking across Europe, North America, and Asia for over 25 years.
Jim and Sonia discuss how digital transformation is more than technology and explore the leadership and cultural issues surrounding digital transformation in banking
In the latest episode of the Digital Insight podcast, author and ex-Amazon Director John Rossman discusses the concept of digital transformation.
Rossman lays out 50 (and a half) ideas that businesses and organisations should be considering as they look to transform their operations, embrace innovation and prepare for the next era of business.
In 2002, Rossman took up the role of Director of Merchant Integration at Amazon, overseeing the launch of the Marketplace business – one of the largest third-party selling networks around and responsible for 58% for all units shipped and sold.
In 2004, Rossman moved to become Director of Enterprise Services, overseeing e-commerce infrastructure for worldwide retailers such as Target and Marks & Spencers.
When Rossman left after nearly four years at Amazon, his consultancy role soon started to show him the ‘Amazon effect’ and the impact this ideology was having on the business world.
It is this that Rossman draws upon as the driving force in his new book, Think Like Amazon.
“Several years after I left Amazon,” said Rossman, “one of my clients at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation came to me and said: ‘John, I’ve seen how you’ve put the little anecdotes and manoeuvres from Amazon into our business – it’s really impactful and I think you should write a book about it.”
“My inspiration for the book was that, really. Passing on those little moves, teaching clients to take authentic things from Amazon, and implementing them into your own business at the appropriate point and appropriate approach to help make change happen.”
“Being digital, and digital transformation, has many different definitions and there’s not really one correct answer,” Rossman continues.
“I believe that being digital is the combination of speed and agility. Speed is about being able to do a repetitive action extremely quickly and efficiency – that’s really operational excellence.
“Agility, meanwhile, is about sensing and then making change happen. That’s the ability of the business to innovate within itself.”
The Digital Insight is the technology, supply chain & procurement podcast that delivers valuable C-Level perspective into the core issues surrounding business transformation and digital disruption.
Each episode brings the most inspiring executive insights from those driving transformation strategies within the world’s most exciting companies.
Recent episodes have featured insights from Natterbox’s Ian Moyse, Women in IT Asia’s Woman of the Year, Carolyn Chin-Parry, and Gartner’s Executive Partner of Supply Chain, Frank Vorrath.
Don’t miss out on the chance to expand your own knowledge and skillset – subscribe now!
Part four of a six-part supply chain masterclass with Frank Vorrath, Executive Partner of supply chain at Gartner. Frank explains how to build a supply chain excellence operating system, enabled by a centre of excellence.
One of the key things identified within your concept of a supply chain excellence operating system is two-directional thinking, where you’ve got people working in the business and people working on the business – could you elaborate on that, please?
Transformations are really driven by future growth ambitions of those organisations, or if they are looking and expanding into new areas and new business models. Lots of things are changing very fast and exponentially. If you look at that, that sets limitations for organisations to actually do the same things as they did in the past. From a structural point of view, your current capabilities won’t allow you to compete in the future. You have to think about how you are going to approach that.
There’s also a limitation in terms of resources. The concept of perform and transform is simple to understand, which means you still have to focus on your core business and create results and good performance, while at the same time transforming. The concept is almost like running a sprint and a marathon at the same time. If you think about what you can do with the same setup and structure you have without investing, and potentially a different set of excellences, then it’s probably stretching your current resources to a limit.
If you think about the transform activity you have to do as an organisation, you think more about what you need to do to be successful in the future. If you think about the sprints, you still have to focus on your core business and on day-to-day good performance, and you also need to think about what enables you to perform day to day, running these sprints, making sure you keep and stay focused on delivering performance end results to your business and to your customers as well meeting their objectives and needs, but also transforming the organisation at the same time and building the new muscles you need in the future related to the capabilities.
What sort of challenge does this balancing act, between the two areas, present?
If you do that with your current resources you have available in your business you may find yourself in a position that is too much a stretch for your resources: to be able to deliver on your expectations. Somewhere, you need to balance it. The question is can you balance that with your existing resources and the existing structure you have, or perhaps you have to set up a different structure – where you have people working in the business and people working on the transformation. Both are equally important to you as a business because one is really keeping the lights on and delivering the performance you need today, which is finding the capabilities you have to build for the future. That needs to be balanced. Is it easy? Probably not. But is it required? Absolutely.
Where does change management come into the equation?
With change management and transformations, it’s really shifting the mindset and the behaviour and actions towards generating more an improved and sustainable business performance and results. It’s about having clarity of the destination, and a clear understanding of why are you doing this, and what you want and need in order to transform.
The next important part of change management is role modelling. Your leadership plays such an important role here in championing the transformation with clear and defined specific communication and milestones. Taking people along with you on this journey and having an understanding of ‘walk the talk’, and being visible and aligned on a leadership level creates the pull in an organisation.
There’s also organisational capabilities, the resources I need, the financial commitment that an organisation has to make to transform, because it can be dependent on the maturity of that organisation. Sometimes you have to be able to invest first to generate the benefits later on. You have to be able to have governance in that model, which is strictly focused on priorities for the business as an outcome and is steering the organisation through that transformation. The culture and the mindset of the people, the knowledge and skills have to be in place, and it has to be somewhere measured and sustained.
Also, you have to be able to reinforce. How do you align your goals and objectives and your incentives structures on the two important activities, perform and transform, in a balanced way? Not just incentivising generating results today, but also incentivising transforming the organisation to be able to compete in the future. It’s not just continuous improvement. It’s building an operating system, considering what drives change, creating push and pull in an organisation, and really with the mindset of the future to improve, as well as building muscle, creating sustainable business performance and end results, and meeting the never-ending customer expectations in future.
How does a role model approach help overcome the challenges in change?
It has to start at the top of an organisation, which means you have to be very clear, very concise and compelling. People need to understand why you are doing this, and be very clear about the outcome, when you want to do certain things, and what it’s actually going to do for the organisation. Take people along the journey and bring them in a way in that they have a stake in the game, so they are able to participate and provide their input into the transformation. That’s really important when you start your change management and transformation.
You also have to somewhere create an excitement factor for your people to believe that the future you’re going to create for them is a future where they want to be part of, where they want to be proud of, so they are excited to actually take you as an organization forward into that future.
How do you bring the customer into the conversation?
It’s key to incorporate customers into it. Don’t be shy in asking your customer how can you serve them better. How can you create more a collaborative joint partnership together? It’s no longer about vendor and supply and customer relationship, it’s about a partnership on a more strategic level. As a business, if you’re able to figure that out and bring your key customers in, listen to them and make them part of it, or even make them a joint development in terms of building an operating system, even better. You may want to consider joint investments into building the capabilities you need in future, especially in areas when it comes to looking into talent related to emerging technologies, data, data scientists, etc.
You really have a scarcity and you have to build and think about how you want to build these kinds of talents in your organisation from a different perspective and different ways. You may want to do this jointly together with your customers, because they probably have the same needs like you have in their own business, and the same kind of limitation and challenges to find the right talents. Instead of just doing it on your own and being completely internally focused, combine the inside out with the outside in. The key in that is your customer or your customers.
How important is it to develop an end to end supply chain IT strategy and technology roadmap so that the technology and the procurement transformation are aligned?
You have to have an end-to-end view of your technology. Technology can’t be seen in isolation with what you are trying to accomplish with the strategic objectives of your business related to the value proposition you have. Technology and digitalisation, you can be taken from two angles and that’s what I’m seeing currently happening in the marketplace. On the one side, you see companies focusing and creating new business models through digitalisation related to their products and services, selling outcomes and solutions instead of selling products and devices.
On the other side, you see a lot of activity in terms of digitalisation in the supply chain. These two things are connected, but we also know that 70% of the initiatives currently in the marketplace are disconnected. Technology is creating new business models, using data to access and provide insights to your business for better and informed decision making. Data could also mean monetising that data and creating new business models. Technology, from your business process optimisation point of view, can create a new level of maturity in terms of efficiency.
That’s where a lot of companies are focusing on and deploying new technologies because they want to figure out if there are business benefits they can introduce to the business and to harness new capabilities and with automated processes that reduce time, errors, cost, and also increase the efficiencies they have in their business. To be able to do that, you need to have a blueprint and an understanding of where you are at currently with your technology landscape and your applications, and also where you want to grow in the future.
What is the overall journey of this centre of excellence system, where it starts with developing infrastructure, building supply chain excellence capabilities, and then reaching a stage where that supply chain excellence is woven within the organisation’s DNA?
The ideas of transform and perform, and the resource constraints that organisations are having by using the same resources has been recognised in the market widely and you have seen over the last couple of years more and more organisations actually building a centre of excellence. With a centre of excellence, you have to consider that there are different centres of excellence. Now you have to have a functional centre of excellence where you just focus on building the maturity in certain areas of your supply chain.
You could also have a logistics centre of excellence. You could have other centres of excellence, like a manufacturing centre of excellence. The goal is to design your centre of excellence and be aligned with the main activity across your whole value chain, which means if you are a manufacturing organisation and a supply chain organisation or procurement, you would organise your centre of excellence in a way that would incorporate the strategy element into that. There are different ways of structuring a supply chain centre of excellence.
My recommendation, if a business can afford it, would be to focus on end to end, rather than just functional, because if you just focus on functional excellence, again, your integration and collaboration across the different functions might be a bit of a challenge.
Is excellence an ever-moving target?
You always have to work on that. You’re never done. If you really think about your plan of a transformation, does it stop after three years? No, it’s not going to stop.
What you’re hoping for when you had enough momentum, excitement and generated the results, is the building of a culture and a DNA. That is probably the longest part of a transformation which is never-ending, because if you think about it from a leadership point of view, when you build it with your team and operating system, you want to build something which is sustainable and not dependent on you as a leader or your team. It should be there, even if you move on. It should be part of the culture so that people and generations after can still build from what was built, to make it better.
Frank Konieczny, Chief Technology Officer at the US Air Force (USAF), discusses the importance of remaining mission-focused in an ever-evolving technological world.
How did you find yourself working as CTO for the USAF?
It’s unusual because moving from industry into government is kind of the opposite way that most people do things. I was the Chief Technology Officer, CIO, and Operations Director at a large government telecommunications contractor. One of my friends was at the Air Force and he was trying to get his technology established. I told him I’d go to the Air Force if he could give me a CTO position – a true CTO position.
They wanted an injection of commercial capabilities and commercial experience into the government. It was kind of a new thing. You see it now more than ever, more people from the industry come into government because they want that injection of talent and capability and difference of opinion.
What was meant by a “true CTO” role?
I think I was the first in a position described as CTO in any of the departments, the Army, the Navy, the Coast Guard etc. I was already a CTO and kind of knew what we were going to do, but it was a question of the scope of the responsibilities across the Air Force, which is rather large.
Now we talk about me being a Chief Information Technology Officer because there is another CTO for R&D who covers airplane platform development, such as materials and wingspans. I only get involved in the IT part of it.
The question was: what should a CTO do and what expanse should they have? That’s what is unique about it, they had never thought about doing this before. They had technical advisors come in, but they had never had a true CTO across the Air Force.
What did you bring to the role?
I had both operational experience and CIO experience as well as technology experience, which was unusual. I could look at it from various viewpoints that would normally be more pigeonholed into their viewpoints.
My role was to bring new technology into the organisational structure as it was, which was difficult at first because this was brand new to them and we had to convince everybody this was a good idea. That was a big difference.
Most of the stuff we do in the Air Force involves written requirements. You generate a proposal and then a vendor comes in and wins the bid and everybody’s very happy. But they never think about how you inject technology or what technology you want to really go for because a lot of the stuff was requirements based upon your prior history and your knowledge. I was bringing in new types of capabilities that they hadn’t seen before.
Have you had to work to obtain an “operational buy-in” from multiple stakeholders?
I had to set up what we call the target baseline architecture because that’s the only way they could see something. The difficulty comes from them wanting to see some capability. They want to see something on paper. You have to show them that you have the intelligence and capability to do this.
You also have to present something that says, “Here’s a problem I know you have and here are some technologies that you should start investigating.”
We put this into a target baseline. The target baseline for us is identifying what’s going to happen for a particular problem area within two years; what you should be going for and what technologies are available for two years out.
It was a different way of looking at it because most of the planning cycles for the government are 10 years out. We’re in an age where 10 years out isn’t possible or you can’t even determine as we barely what’s going to happen in the next year.
As an example, early on they were doing some testing on a test platform. When they brought it into the real network, it never worked right. They would say: “I don’t understand. We tested it.” I would tell them that in the industry, you don’t do that.
You test it on a test network and you bring it to the real network and then you test it in the real network and you control it. You just have to make sure because the network is so complex. They never did it like that. They wanted to make sure it was perfect before moving.
I convinced them that they should be testing on the real production network and they should control it in a different way than they were doing it before. A lot of it is a trust issue. They have to be able to trust that you do understand the technology and you do understand some of the problem spaces.
I was a duty contractor before, I had worked with all the components and different problem spaces that they have and I was a project manager for a very large system for the Army. I knew what the problem spaces for the components were.
Do you think you’ve been successful on this front?
It’s taken multiple years to get there, but we are doing different experiments in the way the organisation does things. Everybody believes we have to risk, everybody believes we have to do continuous monitoring, everybody believes that anything we feel is going to have a problem is fixed and has to be more agile.
It’s just a question of introducing people to the capabilities that are really out there and getting them away from the 10-year plan issue.
Have you experienced a situation where organisations look to technology without understanding its true value? And just implement for the sake of implementing?
There are plenty of shiny objects that people want without understanding the ramifications of using that shiny object. Since the Air Forceis distributed across the globe, we get a lot of that coming in the form of “Hey, we want to try this.”
A lot of times they do try and they find out that it’s not extendable to the entire Air Force. I have a rapport with the rest of the organisations, so they come back and say, “Hey, we tried this. This may be interesting. Why don’t you consider it for the entire organisation?”
It’s not a question of stopping innovation in the field. It’s a question of how do you look at innovation in the field and determine if it’s applicable to the entire enterprise and how you would move it to the entire enterprise and support it.
How is the role of the CTO changing?
What you will find in the field, especially in the Air Force, is that we have a lot of officers moving around every two years or so because that’s the normal pattern. They are now depending more upon looking at the CTO as the person that understands the mission and what they need to continue with. That’s the way we established it.
We have CTOs and all the major commands out in the field and a few of the functional commands as well. We have established a foothold, if you will, throughout the organisation, because that’s a dependency. A lot of the officers depend upon the CTO to tell them, “Is this a good idea or not?”
Are you being faced by a new generation of Air Force officer – one that is digitally-led and tech-enabled?
The new officers want everything now. That’s normal. We all do that. Anything new is cool. Then again, it’s just a question of bringing them back into the mission focus, what is really going to support the mission as opposed to anything else.
I think we’ve succeeded in that because we do push them back to the missions, and we’re actually encouraging this now, which is kind of interesting because we have competitions from airmen coming in and saying, “Hey, this is a new technology that we want to produce out there.”
We’re actually giving them money to do things to support their endeavours and everything else. A lot of times that falls back to me or one of the other CTOs to actually watch them to make sure they’re doing it correctly.
We also have more competition now from small businesses. We actually support research and development of small businesses to put new technology out into the field and we actually work with people. So, we have turned ourselves into a technology engine looking at various technologies rather than just writing RFPs and sending them out.
What’s changed about your role since joining the organisation?
Most CTOs don’t have airplane manufacturing associated with them. In industry, most CTOs are CTOs basically for IT. The only difference is we change the duty title a little bit because we wanted to emphasise that we’re focusing on IT as opposed to anything else, but as opposed to actually doing material testing for new wings and evaluating the capabilities and the vibrations of wings, giving new designs and everything else and the engines associated with it, things like that.
We have this way of looking at the R&D effort before it gets into a technology point where you can actually feel it. That’s the R&D piece of it. The IT piece is everything after that, basically.
When you talk to the CTO of most organisations they will tell you they’re all IT because there may be some pieces of manufacturing, but most of them are not in the manufacturing area except for watching, making sure the equipment actually works. That’s not what they’re doing.
They’re not designing manufacturing equipment per se, unless again, there’s an IT component of automation, artificial intelligence and everything else. It’s not that I don’t work with things on airplanes. I just don’t design airplanes.
How do you ensure that, as a technology professional, you are continuing to learn and remain ahead of the game?
I read a lot. That’s nothing new, but I try to stay abreast of what’s going on. Our tech vendors keep me abreast of what’s really going on with their push. I look at what technology is actually happening and where we should be going. It’s just one of those things.
I read a lot in the field and see what’s happening so I can see where we’re progressing, and the question then becomes, “How can we best move in that direction?”
What are some of your current initiatives as CTO?
We’ve been trying to bring mobility to the airman for a while now. The aircraft are mobile but for the airmen, mobility is a big key because what we’re trying to add connectivity to an iPad or whatsoever and send information on it to them because there’s no connectivity out in the field, on the airfield. One of the big pushes right now is pulling LTE and 5G out into the bases to start doing some of this capability.
Does it form a broader question as to what are we ultimately looking to do? We’re trying to make sure that aircraft get maintained quickly, effectively, in a certain way. We want to make sure that the parts that we want can be ordered directly right there when the repairman is there trying to fix the aircraft.
It’d be nice if we were sitting at a depot and the part could automatically be automated, being moved out to where the repairman is in some automated vehicle. That’s one of the ways we look at going forward with the mission because that mission is important.
Where do you think the next industry shift will come from?
The next shift is AI. It’s such a buzzword right now, but we’re starting to see more and more of augmented support via computers, via neural nets and machine learning capabilities. We’re seeing it more and more and we’re seeing some places where we can actually start using it now. I think that the push is how to effectively use AI technologies to enable a mission. Because a lot of people look at it and say they need it, without even knowing what it is.
With new technologies and faster processing speeds, we can achieve more results with AI. As the processing has increased capability, we see that there’s some applicability for AI to run in real-time. We’ve been doing AI for around 20 years. I was coding expert systems way back when they were just coming out. Right now, we have processing capabilities that support some of this.
At the USAF, we’re trying to analyse data and be more of a data-driven organization, so long as it supports the mission. Everybody says, “Hey, I have to have it,” and you’re like, “Great. Give me a problem and I can tell you what applicable AI techniques there are for that problem space”. As we progress, you’re seeing more and more of that occurring, even though it’s still hype.
How important will people remain?
People believe that their job is going to go away because of AI. AI is just an enabler to do your job better. You still have to be there. We talk about autonomous operations such as autonomous cars. Autonomous cars have a lot of problems with them right now because they have to make decisions really fast and they have to do it correctly.
Then there’s the ethical behaviour of automated entities. We’re going through this right now with AI. AI is just code somebody coded in a particular way. There may be some bias in that code as to conclusions, but you don’t know that. So, you have to understand all this. You just can’t say, “Hey, it’s really great. We’re going to go forward with it and proceed,” because that’s not how it works.
Everybody has to realise, with new technologies that it’s difficult at times to get people grounded into the mission that the new technologies are supposed to support. You’re solving a problem with these new technologies or you’re helping to solve a problem, but this problem is basically something that you want to enhance in your mission. You have to think of technology as an enabler for your particular mission. A lot of people forget that. They just think, “I want to have new technology because it’s cool.”
The Digital Insight podcast speaks exclusively to Ian Moyse, Natterbox’s EMEA Sales Director, to discuss what he describes as one of the most important skill sets in the modern day – the need for acceptance, the receptiveness of innovation and digitisation, and the ability to be agile as a technology professional.
“I fell into technology from an early age because I saw one of those old ZX81 1KB computers and I was mesmerised. It was very much a case of going ‘what is this?’ It was a revolution,” says Moyse on his beginnings in technology.
“Compared to today’s tech, you wouldn’t even blink, but it hooked me in.”
Moyse then touches on his professional beginnings, explaining: “I initially was a programmer and could program in varying degrees ten different computer languages.
“I went to work for IBM, but moved into sales on the basis of ‘I really understand and have a passion for this stuff, I know what I’m talking about – how hard can this be?'”
“Technology has completely transformed the sales industry. Now, you have to be more informed and much more aware of what you can do for the customer.”
Recently crowned the IT Woman of The Year at the 2019 Women IT Asia Awards, Carolyn Chin-Parry is a true digital leader, having worked with a number of companies around the world to embrace digital transformation.
In this episode, Carolyn speaks to the challenge of transformation as well as the successes. We explore her passion for humanising digital transformation where no one is left behind as we continue our journey into the new digital era.
“Everyone is at a different journey, and at a different maturity level. Even if you’re a similar-sized industry player within the same industry and market, it doesn’t mean that your journey for transformation to survive looks the same,” Carolyn explains in our exclusive interview.
“If you look inwardly, there are different cultures and there are different appetites for risk as well as exploration around transformation. There are different directors, a different c-suite. It really depends on the company culture as well as the senior leadership to really drive a real transformation journey.”
Carolyn Chin-Parry continues: “Some players who wake up seeing themselves far behind, and some are really advanced. But even if you look at those leaders in a certain sector, they still have plenty of challenges in front of them.”
“I’ve worked in technology, and traditionally most people would have looked at technology or in particular IT as a cost centre. In this new era of Industry 4.0 and beyond, technology is actually now a value creator, and is very much a case of an enabler to survive.”
“Lead with courage instead of fear. If you allow yourself to be training and learning and reading frequently, you’re actually always going to be a step closer to understanding what that disruption could look like and prepare yourself for it.”
Part four of a six-part supply chain masterclass with Frank Vorrath, Executive Partner, Supply Chain, Gartner.
In this episode, Frank explores the concept of transforming organisational structures and talent development in order to prepare for the next era of business growth.
“Companies that really understand and develop the talent they have, while also looking from the outside to consistently bring new talent into the business, are winners in tomorrow’s marketplaces.” – Frank Vorrath, Executive Partner, Supply Chain, Gartner.
Frank Konieczny, Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. Air Force, talks about how the role of the CTO is changing in a bid to add stability and assurance throughout organizations.
“What you will find in the field, especially in the Air Force is that we have a lot of officers moving around every two years or so because that’s the normal pattern,” said Konieczny in the podcast.
“They are now depending more upon looking at the CTO as the person that understands the mission and what they need to continue with. That’s the way we established it.
“We have CTOs and all the major commands out in the field and a few of the functional commands as well. We have established a foothold, if you will, throughout the organization, because that’s a dependency. A lot of the officers depend upon the CTO to tell them, ‘Is this a good idea or not?'”
Neill Hart, Head of Productivity and Programs at Computer Systems Integration (CSI), speaks exclusively to The Digital Insight about how the company has moved beyond simple systems integration and helps customers find and exploit a ‘perpetual edge’ in technology innovation and digital transformation. Click here to listen to the full podcast!
“As Head of Productivity and Programs at CSI and the head of enablement, I am the middle ground between strategy and execution. We take the company strategy, which is very much centred on digital transformation, and using utility or cloud computing, we take it to the market in a way that makes sense for our client base.
Companies will have three or four desired outcomes; grow the business, save money, innovate faster and to protect (data, reputation etc.). Traditionally it’s to save money. On-premise data centres require capex investment, you have to buy equipment, run it in a data centre and pay for electricity and power, operations etc. The offer of cloud or utility computing is that use what you need and only pay for what you use. You don’t pay a lot to the water company if you don’t turn the taps on. That’s the dream of utility computing or cloud computing is that you break away from the capex investment. It’s inflexible. If you run out of capacity with an on-premise data centre, you have to buy some more equipment and that takes weeks or months to arrive. With cloud, if you need some more you pay for more…”
“Great companies need to do three things: out-think, out-compete and outperform their competitors…” Frank Vorrath, Executive Partner of Supply Chain at Gartner.
This week, in the third episode of an exclusive six-part supply-chain masterclass, Frank Vorrath, Executive Partner of Supply Chain at Gartner, reveals how supply chain excellence operating systems can really help build the muscle of an organisation, as enterprises evolve and react to volatile markets, increased competition and rising customer expectations.
“There are still many companies struggling to make long term commitments, and not really addressing the balance between the uncertainty of short-term financial performance and long-term investments, to build better capabilities. Now for many, many years, there has been continuous improvement initiatives being around standardisation of processes and all these good things, but we need to take that to the next level of building truly end-to-end capabilities.
We’re talking about building something which creates more sustainable business performance and results… When I talk about a supply chain excellence operating system, it’s really to build the muscle in an organisation, to be able to cope with future requirements, from the customer side in responding to customer expectations, but also being able to compete differently in the marketplace and building capabilities related to people, processes, technology as an enabling element…”
A global leader in procurement and supply chain, Sam Achampong is Head of CIPS MENA, and responsible for influencing supply chain and procurement transformation across the region.
So, could you give us a brief outline of your role at CIPS MENA?
CIPS works in a number of ways. I guess if you look at a triangle, there’s three main areas we work in. One is education, and that’s around our qualifications. Another is around thought leadership in terms of the events and social networks we create. The other is around our B2B operations where we work directly with organisations to work on the capability development of their own procurement teams, and their procurement organisation.
The operation in the Middle East has been around for about 10 years now. In terms of the region, I think we acknowledge that the level of maturity in procurement is in many ways a little bit behind more established areas of the world. But over the past 10 years that gap has been closing. So, we’ve seen some significant strides in terms of how people view procurement, and how strategic people see procurement. However, there remains a lag in recognising it as a strategic function. We continue to work with organisations and individuals in this region to improve that.
What are the challenges procurement is facing in MENA at the moment? Skill shortages or technology uptake?
So, it’s a bit of both. There are skills shortages, because there is a lack of people who have those commensurate professional and strategic skills in procurement in the region. So, let’s call them licensed procurement professionals; people who are actually qualified in procurement practice, and who have the skills in that function. So, that’s a skills gap that only CPOs in the region will acknowledge.
The other thing is the recognition of the profession itself. So, when you go above the actual stakeholders around procurement, your CFO, CEOs, the C-suite and others, the recognition of procurement as a strategic function is lacking in many ways here. So, what that means is, you find that a lot of procurement departments are being used as transactional departments, who are either performing a compliance role, or a simple transactional role. So, that obviously diminishes the role of procurement and diminishes the effectiveness of what procurement can deliver in this region. really is a lack of depth in the market of people who have those skills when they are called upon. So as a result, you cannot look to a major organisation or a particular job description, procurement category manager, for example, in a major bank and assume that they have the necessary skills that you would expect a procurement IT category manager to have. Because there just isn’t that depth of skills in many areas.
However, as I’ve said, there have been big strides over the past five to eight years to improve that. So, there are real centres of excellence around the region who have been working for a long time to overhaul their entire departments. You’re talking about some of the major organisations like ADNOC, the major oil company, or SABIC in Saudi Arabia, around to Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi, who’ve been working very hard for a few years to ensure that procurement becomes a strategic function, and that the people who work in it are professionals.
Would you recommend more professional qualifications being introduced in the region?
Yeah, that’s the other side of it. So, there is looking for people in the market who already have those skills, that’s one side of it. The other side is putting together the infrastructure, whereby people are able to get hold of those skills. So, that’s the backbone of what we’re trying to do. We set up several study centres across the region where people can go and study CIPS qualifications anywhere around the region from Lebanon, to Bahrain, to Saudi Arabia, to the United Arab Emirates, to Egypt. In addition to that, we’ve worked very closely with a lot of organisations to set up in-house procurement academies, whereby we work directly with them to upscale their teams to the highest level over a period of time. There are two areas in which we work. One is the B2B, and the other is just for the B2C where you have the student network and the individuals who want to attain those skills.
We’re working with a lot of the educational establishments to work with them to ensure that procurement qualifications, skills and standards are available in the local university network. So, we’ve done that across the region, where we work with centres of education, to help them put in place skills and qualifications that are commensurate with leading procurement practice.
I guess, the other side is away from the people. It’s a case of how people actually do procurement. So, what are the strategic games, what are the processes, practices? We’ve also worked with several organisations to provide advisory services to look at how they actually do procurement and guide them into putting into place procurement practices that are leading practices to help achieve value. You’ll see organisations like the Dubai Expo 2020 project, who have recently gone through what we call the CIPS Procurement Excellence Program, where we review how they do procurement and guide them towards best practice.
Have you encountered a stark contrast between, broadly speaking, the Middle East and the North Africa region?
In the Gulf, you will find real centres of excellence and some real heavyweights in the public and private sectors, who have invested in putting together skilled procurement professionals, and invested in how their departments manage procurement strategically. So, you will find some very educated and strategic people.
When you look more to North Africa, Egypt is a very populous and academic country. So, you do find a lot of people from the academic perspective, who have come through a level of education to attain procurement skills; maybe not to the highest level, in terms of strength and depth, but that’s the angle that happens in North Africa rather than companies sponsoring people to go through qualifications.
West Africa, again, is slightly different. You have countries in West Africa, like Ghana, who are working very hard now to establish procurement centres of excellence among the public sector. So again, we’re working very hard with them to put in place structures that defend how they build up the reputation of good public procurement within those areas.
So, there are differences between the Gulf, North Africa and West Africa and several subtleties between the public and the private sector. But interestingly, I think what’s happened over the years is that there’s always been a gulf in the maturity levels of the practice of procurement and many other professions. What’s happened over the last two or three, or three or four years is the advent of technology. So, there’s an element now where people are looking to leap frog the long route of getting people highly qualified and educated in procurement and are instead trying to invest in technology to do that procurement for them, which makes sense to a certain perspective. But obviously, the caution has always been to make sure that whoever is working on procurement for you, in terms of people, are highly skilled commercial managers, because it’s clear that you cannot rely fully on technology.
I can recall one particular instance where the prerogative was to try and eradicate as much as possible, the ethics and procurement fraud from the procurement life cycle. So, the solution that was being implemented was a whole-scale eSourcing suite, which is a good idea in terms of transparency. But of course, the fact is that probably 80% of procurement fraud is carried out at the specification stage. So, you still do need to work on the people, otherwise, you’re not really eradicating the problem.
You touched upon ethics, and obviously transparency within the supply chain is a hot topic globally, so I guess within MENA, building trust is a very important part attracting foreign investment, for example…
I think you’re right, and for any country or region that’s looking to attract foreign investment, it’s incumbent on them to create an environment conducive to that investment coming in. And key to that is procurement, the reputation of how business is done, and how supplies interact, and how organisations are gained through those transactions across the supply chain to obtain value is absolutely crucial to attracting investment.
So, ethics is key. We work with a number of organisations across the region, specifically on that subject. In fact, there are several organisations who now have the CIPS Ethics Kite Mark where all of their team have, specifically on that subject, been trained in ethics. The organisation can demonstrate that people within their team, as long as they procure anything, they have a full knowledge of what the subject is. Now, if you look at some statistics, and in terms of the effect on procurement, I think procurement fraud is like taking up 20% of the cost of doing business in developing countries, and 10% of the cost of doing procurement anywhere else. So, I guess for those areas of those countries who can ill afford it, that becomes a really, really important topic to address because it directly affects their affordability to invest in infrastructure and other areas, as it’s adding to the cost of doing business.
Technology is driving a lot of the procurement transformation stories at the moment and obviously MENA has had sort of issues such as the uptake of technology in the past and concepts such as cashless banking, plus they’ve had cyber security weaknesses. What kind of challenges have you seen there with regards to the technological side of it?
People have access to the latest technology, and people do have access to, and are able to purchase, the best solution they can afford. So, if there is an issue that it’s sometimes a case of people over specifying what they want. So, an organisation may have acquired the latest ERP or eSourcing suite, or solution, that is applicable to their operations, and to a certain extent, other organisations have seen that and said, “Okay, well, we’ll have that as well,” without aligning it directly to what they need.
So, there has been, to a certain extent, some over specification, which procurement transformations are now addressing. There are an awful lot of procurement transformation going on, where organisations are actually really looking at what they’ve done over the last 18 months and sizing or repointing how technology is adding value.
So, you have people looking at developing marketplaces, where they haven’t thought about it before. A lot of organisations are creating their own marketplaces where everyone could be a buyer, rather than continue to centralise procurement across the procurement team. So, they are making use of those cloud-based systems and those marketplaces enabled by some of the technological solutions out there.
Do you see blockchain playing a bigger part in procurement transformation?
There’s a lot going on around blockchain at the moment. We have the UAE government, for example, who have said that they will become the first blockchain government by 2020. And there are several practical examples of how blockchain is used around scanning trans-shipments etc. There are many other examples from around the world and the region. I think the reality is that blockchain is not yet an end-to-end solution. I think when it is, then you’ll see the benefits of the really embedded end-to-end blockchain solutions where people either have an in-house blockchain or a localised blockchain across groups of businesses; a corporate blockchain.
I think that’s where regions like the Middle East will come to the fore, because they are perfectly positioned to be leaders in the adoption of this technology. Because they don’t have a lot of legacy systems and practices to hinder their adoption of new technologies. They also have very strong advocacy at government level. If the UAE government, for example, says that they will become the first blockchain government by 2020. Well, that means that everyone’s going to have to participate in that transformation. Because if the government will make that a priority, then certainly everyone else does it. So, there’s a great opportunity for wide scale adoption of blockchain technology, when end-to-end solutions are implemented. Companies out here are very, very open to the technological changes.
This week’s exclusive podcast features SAP Ariba’s Chief Digital Officer Dr. Marcell Vollmer who examines the integral elements to a successful procurement transformation and how it aligns with, and helps steer, a company’s strategic aims
Procurement is undergoing a revolution. No longer a reactive back-office function, designed to keep costs down, procurement is evolving into a vital, strategic aid that provides the c-suite with extensive insights and forecasts that affect the entire business. The chief procurement officer is now a vital cog in the corporate hierarchy who helps to drive value and to steer the business forward.
With any revolution, there are revolutionaries, and SAP’s Chief Digital Officer, Marcell Vollmer is one such figure. Vollmer has helped to forge a new identity for the CPO during his time at SAP. Vollmer’s current role at SAP, the global advisory and strategy, is helping its clients define and execute digital transformation strategies, including the procurement and supply chain functions. “Digital transformation is about focusing on a vision for the future,” he explains.
So, where does a procurement transformation begin? “I think the most important thing for digital transformation is to focus on the structure, the organisation, the process side, and then finally on the systems,” Vollmer tells us, from his Munich office. “Oh, and don’t forget the people and the change management on the journey, who are key to the overall success.” It’s no surprise that many businesses are preparing for the future as everyone wants to understand, learn and adapt to a constantly shifting landscape. And although procurement is emerging into a progressive role, Vollmer is quick to point out the volatility of technological change. Our CEO Bill McDermott says: ‘Change has never moved as fast as now, and it will never move as slow as today.’”
“Part of my role is helping them to cluster a little bit and structure the agenda because the change is so fast. 50% of all the companies on the Fortune 500 list for the year 2000 are no longer on that list. The speed (of change) is tremendous. Change has never moved this fast, and it will never move this slowly again, and so everyone is currently concerned a little bit and wants to prepare for the future.”
Vollmer is passionate regarding the massive potential of strategy-driven procurement as part of an overall transformation and is very much engaged in client-facing work within the procurement space. “Purchasing was not necessarily seen as a value contributing function and was viewed as the operational side, transacting, getting what the business needs,” he tells us. “And this has fundamentally changed. Procurement today has a more important role in the business, to make procurement awesome.”
The user experience
The user experience is absolutely key amid a digital transformation. Modern procurement systems have provided CPOs and their teams with the tools to transform the operations and function of their department, but there’s more to making procurement than just the tools. “Everyone expects an ‘Apple easy’ or a ‘Google fast’ experience when you interact with a system,” Vollmer explains. “(Procurement) needs to be an awesome experience and it needs to have a great user experience, but it also needs to provide all the insights needed, that you can get from the spend data,” he explains. “You have to do the demand planning and aggregation to really get everything for the best possible price depending on the quality and timings you need. The golden time in procurement can be optimised and is a great experience for everyone engaging and interacting with the procurement function.”
Many procurement and supply chain strategists and consultants are seeing a massive sea-change in the CPO’s role, which is seen by many as a stepping stone into the role of CEO. This is something Vollmer also endorses. “Look at Tim Cook (CEO Apple); he was a chief supply chain officer,” says Marcell. “Procurement was reporting into his function, and what has he done? Not only is he now the CEO, but he has also contributed by inventing the Gorilla Glass for the iPhone to a great product experience. In the meantime, we have more than 2.2 billion iPhones sold. So, wow, there really is something that comes after procurement.”
Indeed, Vollmer was a CPO. And a chief operating officer. Currently, Vollmer is a chief digital officer. As Vollmer has demonstrated, procurement is evolving into a talent pool. “It’s a place where people want to work, because that’s my experience. When I talk to other CPOs, it is the most beautiful place you can be. You understand the business model and really know what the business is doing. You can see areas of the business that represent opportunities. ‘Oh, that’s an area where I want to be next in my career.’”
For procurement to fully transform the increasingly redundant perceptions it creates, it needs to work a little bit better on the marketing side, according to Vollmer. “Starting as a trainee buyer, to potentially make it to a CPO, is a model which will no longer exist in the future,” he explains. “The number one reason is that we are tending more towards project-based work, a gig economy, to use this term. Millennials and Generation Z want to get more experience. They are not necessarily saying, ‘I want to work for a great company and procurement is a good spot for me to start, and most likely end, my career.’”
Vollmer is clearly excited about the future and sees procurement sat at the forefront of business transformation. “We are at the very beginning of the fourth industrial revolution. We are also at the beginning of a lot of technologies and machine intelligence is the most disruptive technology. I believe that this is a time of change and we need to prepare ourselves. And I believe procurement will have a seat at the table of modern businesses. Artificial intelligence is changing the world in the same way the steam engine or electricity did. And machine learning is basically a part of artificial intelligence. What’s currently becoming part of the business is internet off syncs and connected devices, which are being implemented more and more on the business side. Everything is related to automation in a broader sense and to analytics, including big data and predictive analytics. But then also bridging it back to the machine intelligence; the prescriptive guidance, using not only descriptive information, not only predicting something based on historical data, but also using other sources like weather forecasts. We have seen, for example, that Ferrero was heavily impacted one year back, a little bit more than one year back, when the hazelnut was impacted by the dry weather. And this is really where you see the connection between the different technologies, being absolutely key.”
When it comes to procurement transformation it’s vital to have a vision. What is the future for your function? Vollmer has a very distinct notion of what that vision should be “And this is not limited to procurement,” Vollmer explains. “I would say that this is part of all discussions regarding the future of the back office. Therefore, the digital transformation starts with a vision. What do you really want to do with your function? How do you want to create value? On the procurement side, as in finance, HR, or IT, you can see what’s coming with cloud, with the hyperscalers, and the change in IT and how we consume software using cloud solutions. It’s a new business model. And therefore, I believe that you need to think about how you want to define the future for your function.”
A transformation is all well and good, but how do you create value? According to Vollmer, this follows on from the vision. “You start with the structure,” he explains. “Start with the organisational side. What do you want to do? Which functions might you need? Which functions do you have already and might get impacted by automation or by machine intelligence and other disruptive technologies? And therefore, derive from that; think about the process side. How can you really help the business to be faster, to have fewer hours in the different processes, to be predictive in what is needed and also manage risk and secure a sustainable supply chain. This will really drive value for your organisation.”
Connecting with internet offsyncs and certain parts of the production of the supply chain is definitely adding value. “When you see automation with robotic processes helping your transactional processes become more automated, you can see the next level of machine learning. So, it’s not only the robotics process automation, which is just comparing a with b, and then if b is correct, going to c, and then to d and so on. It is also learning, ‘Oh wow, there is a lot that is happening when I see this in d happening. Basically, here are the root causes and this is something that can be done, that is most likely happening, and can be already integrated.’”
Vollmer is a big fan of concrete use cases to get quick wins during transformative processes. “You are not joining a journey for the next two, three, five years. In the past, big IT implementations were lasting. I think that time is over. You need to be much faster today as the change is very rapid and you need to prepare yourself for it. A lot of people fear the change, the speed, and the disruption and what might come and how their jobs might get impacted. I always say: ‘Yes, there is a high risk that your job will be changing. But look back at the past 10 years. How many times has your job already changed?’ At the World Economic Forum in Davos, this January, it was reconfirmed that until 2022, artificial intelligence will create 58 million additional jobs. Disruptive technology will change your job, but on the other side it will also provide great new opportunities. So many new jobs are getting created and there will also be a big shift from task. So technical operational tasks might disappear, but strategic value-adding tasks might show up, including everything related to analytics.”
The biggest challenge of any transformation involves the people. Change management represents a massive cultural shift in the workplace and it’s vital you get it right. “I always say, don’t forget the people. Because we all know we have limitations in the team science we have today. Even as procurement creates hard savings for example, more people could potentially save more money. But is procurement in the situation where it can get new resources or new talent? Most likely not. Whatever you do, people are the most valuable assets in your organisation. So be careful in how you define and drive your transformation, because you need the people to be successful. No one is smart enough to run everything on her or his own. It’s a team approach and so think about the people.”
So, what makes for a good CPO? “A really good CPO, understands the business model and can collaborate with the right groups as a business partner to really create value and gets a seat at the table of the business by providing everything that is needed, including all the new innovative solutions or products the company can use to be successful in the future. It is also about creating and developing a great team, which can contribute and drive the value-generating activities. So, good leadership skills are absolutely mandatory. That’s what a CPO needs, to be successful in the future.”
“One answer to the skills gap in UK tech? Women.” This week, the Digital Insight is joined by Rachel McElroy, Sales and Marketing Director at cloud specialists Cranford Group, who discusses how women could provide the answer to the skills shortage in the UK’s technology sector.
This week is part two of a six-part supply chain master class with Frank Vorrath, Executive Partner Supply Chain at Gartner. Frank has years of experience working on the frontline of supply chain management, and this week he’s detailing the hidden potential of a strategy-driven supply chain… Listen now!
In this week’s episode, we chat with Vennard Wright, CIO of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC).
Vennard Wright, twice voted ‘CIO of the Year’, is the man entrusted with driving massive changes across the WSSC.
Vennard speaks exclusively to The Digital Insight regarding digital transformation, diversity in the workplace and Hillary Clinton… Listen to the podcast here!
The Digital Insight speaks to Mike Dargan, Group CIO at the Switzerland-based bank UBS regarding digital transformation, as part of an exclusive series of podcasts…
Could you tell us the five pillars to digital transformation that UBS is implementing and how you’ve been getting them off the ground?
So, we introduced a framework for innovation or digital transformation, which were really the levers by which we achieve things, which is the A, B, C, D, E. A for AI and Automation, B for unbundling, C for cloud, D for data, and E for experience. These are really the levers we pull to try and drive the transformation. It’s also a good way for people to remember what we’re doing, and that will give the right focus to each of the areas.
Now, all of these are super linked. You can only really do this if you’ve got a cloud strategy because you can operate, obviously, in a hyper-scale environment. Getting the data organised is important to drive the right experience.
AI and automation is one of the biggest. We’ve been focused first on robotics or robotic process automation and moving along the value chain to try and drive AI, which can come in many different forms. The first is doing it in a very structured way, so almost like an event, and then moving into machine learning, which can be NLP (natural language processing) and chatbots.
The first area of focus is really in the non-client facing space, so what we’re doing in HR is to have a chatbot. What we’re doing in technology is to have a smart bot which helps everyone when they have a technology issue. They can communicate live if they do. The computer itself will resolve issues and drive things in that way. Click here to listen to the podcast!