For any IT leader new to an organization, gaining employee trust is paramount — especially when, like PepsiCo’s Athina Kanioura, you’ve been brought in to transform the way work gets done.

Kanioura, who was hired away from Accenture two years ago to serve as the food and beverage multinational’s first chief strategy and transformation officer, says earning employee trust was one of her greatest challenges in those early months. Tapped to guide the company’s digital journey, as she had for firms such as P&G and Adidas, Kanioura has roughly 1,000 data engineers, software engineers, and data scientists working on a “human-centered model” to transform PepsiCo into a next-generation company.

“People become embedded into the ways of working successfully,” she says. “Me coming in from the outside and proposing so much change —  the associates and midlevel management are the ones that must be empowered and that is the most difficult aspect of any kind of transformation.”

Now halfway into its five-year digital transformation, PepsiCo has checked off many important boxes — including employee buy-in, Kanioura says, “because one way or another every associate in every plant, data center, data warehouse, and store are using a derivative of this transformation.”

The $247 billion conglomerate, one of the largest food and beverage companies in the world, is developing a modernized data and cloud infrastructure replete with automated processes and workflows. To date the company has moved 5,000 applications to Microsoft Azure as it applies predictive analytics, AI, robotics, and process automation in many of its business operations.

PepsiCo’s migration to the cloud has paid off in in many ways, Kanioura says — in speed, flexibility, and agility, reducing on-demand forecasting from weeks to days or hours, and in feeding its supply chain more accurately and frequently.

“We want to ensure that the monetary value realization is captured across the board, and so far, we are very happy with the financial KPIs, which translate to business implementations which gave us a positive ROI,” Kanioura says. “But there is more room to go. We expect within the next three years, the majority of our applications will be moved to the cloud.”

The company is also refining its data analytics operations, and it is deploying advanced manufacturing using IoT devices, as well as AI-enhanced robotics. PepsiCo also plans to evolve its network modeling to become more “prescriptive,” anticipating events and making planning adjustments rather than reacting to market conditions, she says.

Upskilling for the digital future

The digital overhaul of nearly all PepsiCo’s business processes and operations has no doubt contributed to the company’s expected 12% growth for the current fiscal year over FY2021’s reported $79.5 billion in revenue. But with automation comes questions about the long-term viability of a range of current roles.

Kanioura insists the transformation’s goal is not distributing pink slips. In fact, she says, PepsiCo, which employs about 300,000 workers across the globe, is transforming all its human capital for the digital era.

“We are upskilling every employee of PepsiCo, whether you know someone who sits in company headquarters or you’re sitting in a plant or out selling our products,” Kanioura says.

One core program developed to achieve this goal, PepsiCo Digital Academy, provides employees with a common foundational understanding of the value of data and analytics and how they can use that information in their own roles, the IT chief says.

Digital Academy was launched last year, and to date roughly 27,000 employees have participated in digital training, with almost 140,000 views on digital training content, according to the company.

One HR employee took some courses in data analytics and found a new job within the company helping to advance digital transformation.

“I was always passionate about advanced analytics and took courses where I augmented my digital skills and acquired new ones,” says Ashley McCown, senior data analyst in PepsiCo’s People Analytics division. “These new skills enabled me to take on a new role where I am able to leverage advanced analytics to solve HR problems.”

IDC analyst Craig Powers says increased automation inevitably leads to some job losses. But enterprises are sincerely trying to upskill their employees to retain institutional knowledge necessary to realize the growth a digital transformation is designed to generate, he says.

“Is it possible to upskill all employees in a large organization to be digital experts? Not likely,” Powers says. “However, for the sake of success and efficiency in digital transformations, companies should be looking to educate and upskill as many internal people as they can, because their knowledge of the organization’s business processes is hard to replace.”

Enterprises like PepsiCo are also battling for new digital recruits even as they develop digital talent from within.

To that end, PepsiCo has launched two Digital Hubs — one in Dallas and one in Barcelona — to create more than 500 new data and digital jobs over the next three years. The hubs are designed to accelerate how PepsiCo “develops, centralizes, and deploys critical digital capabilities” across its global operations, according to the company.

Blending analytics and AI

Since taking over, Kanioura has applied the expertise she developed as chief analytics and AI officer at Accenture to advance PepsiCo’s data infrastructure, a strategy that includes building out a data lake and AI capabilities with partners such as Microsoft and Databricks.

Analytics and AI are integral to Kanioura’s vision for PepsiCo’s future, one that centers on enhancing three key pillars: consumer experience, commercial excellence, and operational excellence. “Every data set, every data KPI, or every data field is as important as the app,” she says. “Yes, the data is key. But the big unlock is MLops. The importance of using AI for data ops is critical. What we are trying to do is operationalize all our analytics and algorithmic libraries.”

PepsiCo will use a combination of customized Microsoft Azure and Databricks AI frameworks and machine learning models to redefine its operations even as it develops its own homegrown framework, “which is very specific to the needs of PepsiCo,” says Kanioura. “AI in this company is something that we absolutely debated down and it’s evident in many of our transformations across the globe.”

Gartner analyst Sid Nag says PepsiCo has adopted many of the technologies that are driving the next phase of enterprise digital transformation.

“The next frontier in IT services will be driven by the nexus of cloud, edge, 5G, AI, IoT, and data and analytics,” Nag says, adding that digital business initiatives built on these technologies can help enterprises interact more closely with their customers, thereby improving customer experience and engagement. “Digital touchpoints supported by cloud environments are the mechanism to connect the digital and physical worlds and are essential for the digital economy to execute on and accelerate digital business initiatives.”

Kanioura says PepsiCo’s success over the past two-plus years has laid the groundwork for an evolved, insight-driven enterprise. But for her, the most impactful achievement has been fostering employee trust across all layers of the organization.

“I expected more resistance,” she says. “I didn’t get too much resistance and that’s the toughest thing — to grow with what we were proposing. If you’re going to bet parts of your business and part of your critical business to a transformation like this, you need to be convinced that it will not cannibalize or disturb your growth trajectory.”

Analytics, Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation

As a young Indian girl growing up in Glasgow, Scotland, Gina Gill was attracted to IT from an early age. She took computer studies in secondary school before going onto computer science and management science at university. But her career journey to become CDIO at the Ministry of Justice, where she is responsible for supporting the 70,000 staff working in courts, prisons and probation services, wasn’t straightforward.

Gill started her working life as a software developer and took on a variety of programme delivery, operational and commercial roles before joining the Civil Service in 2017, having previously worked mostly in financial services for the Financial Conduct Authority, Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays Capital.

She joined the Ministry of Justice as COO to the digital function, and later became CDIO on an interim basis prior to being appointed full-time in February 2021.

Now responsible for all digital and technology services across the MoJ—bar the courts and tribunal service, where she provides end-user compute and infrastructure, but not software—Gill has set about revamping a 17th-century institution, with an emphasis on aligning with central government, making it more user-focused, and modernising legacy IT.

A digital transformation strategy for 2025

Like many of her predecessors and current peers, Gill, who spoke at the Official CIO UK Summit in mid-October, endeavoured to make strides in a UK government known to overcomplicate its digital transformation efforts with a plethora of strategies, and be rife with ministers playing high-stakes musical chairs.

At one point, there were 40 strategies across the MoJ, and Gill simplified the vision for her teams through the creation of the department’s 2025 digital strategy.

“It was about summing up the ‘So what?’ What are we here to do as a digital function?” she says. “And what are the things that we need to focus on over the next three years?”

With the vision of delivering a ‘world-class justice system that works for everyone in society’, Gill explains that the strategy centres on addressing legacy technology and improving data accessibility, as well as building services that better support users. The latter, she admits, requires a cultural shift and more talent in an increasingly challenging recruitment market.

“We need to work differently, so cultural change is needed in terms of policy, and operational and digital teams need to work together to define the service upfront,” she says.

The strategy has been designed to protect the public, reduce reoffending, and improve safety in prisons—and it’s starting to deliver.

The MoJ has also deployed in-cell and education services for prisoners to help reduce reoffending by making time spent in cell more worthwhile. New digital services have been introduced to calculate prisoner release dates, and to help arrange accommodation upon release. There’s a move away from paper forms, and while in probation, the MoJ has built a new digital service to cut the time it takes to prepare a case for sentence in half.

“It’s about operational efficiency, but it’s more than that,” says Gill. “It’s about making our services simpler for our users, whether they’re internal or external,” adding that prison officers should spend more time with offenders than systems, and caseworkers on legal aid or guardianship.

Collaborating with the CDDO

In January 2021, the Cabinet Office launched the Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) to set digital, data and technology (DDaT) strategy in collaboration with government digital leaders, and to monitor the progress of digital and data programmes.

It was initially met with a lukewarm response, with some suggesting it added further complexity and management in an already top-heavy civil service, and others saying it would improve visibility and oversight on programmes underway across central government.

When the CDDO announced the new ‘Transforming for a digital future’strategyearlier this year, industry figures also questioned how departmental strategies would work in the face of increased centralisation. But Gill has seen the advantages.

 “We were working on our strategy at the same time as [the CDDO was] working on the broader strategy,” she says. “That piece of work was genuinely the biggest collaboration effort I think I’ve ever seen.”

“[The CDDO] worked with CIOs across all government departments, with permanent secretaries and ministers. It was about getting buy-in from everyone, but also working with us to make sure that what we were agreeing resonated, and was part of our priorities and was achievable.”

Gill believes that the CDDO’s introduction has brought department CIOs together to discuss common challenges and collaborate on government-wide policies, such as the new DDaT framework, the spending review, and the 2025 civil service strategy. Yet put to her that this latest government strategy is little different than previous iterations, many of which have promised to improve citizen services, reduce technical debt, and enhance access to data, she admits that the new CDDO strategy doesn’t necessarily break ground.

“It’s not new,” she says. “I said this when I launched our strategy that I’m not going to tell you anything ground-breaking.”

She did, however, add: “If I look at the CDDO strategy, there are more specific measures in terms of what we’re looking to collectively achieve. And it has that buy-in from departments. Rather than a strategy being developed somewhere in a in a dark room, and then sent out to everyone to say, ‘Please do this’, we’re actually part of it.”

Promoting the DDaT profession, women in tech

In May, then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to cut up to 91,000 jobs in the civil service, saying it had become ‘swollen’ due to Brexit and the Coronavirus pandemic.

After being challenged by civil service union PCS, the 20% headcount reduction has subsequently been shelved under new PM Rishi Sunak, with another of Johnson’s policies—the cancellation of the fast-track apprenticeship scheme—reinstated.

At a time of economic instability, Gill believes the fledgling DDaT profession must be protected against the possibility of future cuts.

“It’s a really important profession,” says Gill. “As with private sector organisations, we’ve got issues in terms of recruiting and retaining enough skilled people. The market has gone absolutely crazy since Covid.

“We’re working on what our proposition is, what’s our offer because we’re never going to pay the highest salary the marketplace. It’s largely about the mission, the culture and the flexibility we can offer.”

Given this, there’s an understanding that talent can come from other areas. Gill says that up to 40% of her digital teams started out in operational roles, where they got the opportunity to understand the business and its users, while 39% of the digital and technology function are now women.

She believes the key to encouraging more women into the industry lies in storytelling and workplace flexibility. The other aspect is how to get young women and girls interested in a digital career by capturing their imagination at a young age, and get them interested in technical roles.

“It’s about taking away the myths that you’ve got to be really technical, or you’ve got to have come from this background,” she says. “It’s building that understanding of the sheer range of roles and skill sets you need to be successful in DDaT.”

A focus on legacy and delivery

As a ministerial department that oversees four million in-person and remote court cases a year, serves more than 80,000 prisoners, and distributes approximately £1.7bn in legal aid, the MoJ is a juggernaut in its own right with 86,000 internal colleagues operating across 13 organisations and 1,000 sites.And while the pace of change may feel glacial, new obstacles constantly emerge.

In recent months, it has faced junior barristers striking over low pay, and seen two quick-fire changes in prime minister, a sombre autumn budget and a Public Accounts Committee review, which found that legacy systems, poor supplier oversight and overspending were dearly costing the taxpayer. On this last point, Gill, noting that the review is specific to electronic monitoring, says MoJ is working “closely with the programme leadership to improve delivery models and ensure there’s functional expertise and governance in the future.

Now her focus turns from strategy to delivery, ROI and building digital culture.

“It’s about getting some delivery done against that strategy, and being able to measure and demonstrate the benefits,” she says. “The thing I want to get right over the next three years is that cultural shift. If I deliver nothing else other than the organisation understanding the potential of digital, then I’ll be super happy.”

Chief Digital Officer, IT Leadership, Women in IT

Most everyone agrees: Before the pandemic, creating a company culture and encouraging people’s connection with their colleagues was simpler – many SMBs had a shared office where employees could gather, work, and collaborate. Today, things are dramatically different – and HR and IT leaders must shift their strategies in kind.

In this 4th episode of our 5-episode podcast, Essential Connections: The Business Owner’s Guide to Growth During Economic Uncertainty, we explore the way employee engagement has changed, and how business and tech leaders can nurture a healthy and productive workforce in new times with a focus on strong connections.

“It’s been kind of a crazy three years. I feel like we keep using the word unprecedented … there’s so much going on. We shifted a lot for our people. And we had to do it very quickly, in response to the pandemic,” says Jo Deal, Chief Human Resources Officer at Go To. “But I think what people want from work and from … what they want from each other, that cultural kind of human connection piece, has not changed.”

“Connections is what is important to people,” she continues. “We value working with other people and connecting with our colleagues and with our customers.” As a result, SMB tech and business leaders must consider what technology and tools can do to make those connections possible.

“You don’t have any raw materials, you don’t have a production, you just have people,” she notes. “That’s key. If your people are engaged at work with their work and connected to the culture of the company and to each other, if they know what’s going on, they know what the company’s mission is, and they know how they connect with it, then I really believe amazing things can happen.”

Listen in to learn all the details, including actionable insights on how to establish and maintain connections, even when the definition of work has changed, and how to create an equal experience for everybody, no matter where they are.

Be sure to listen to other episodes in our series, Essential Connections: The Business Owner’s Guide to Growth During Economic Uncertainty, and learn how you can future-proof your business with agile IT leadership.

IT Leadership, Small and Medium Business

Genesis Chief Digital Officer Peter Kennedy on being visionary and playing the long game, identifying the capacity and ambition for change in any business, and the importance of CIOs being ‘value creators not risk mitigators’.

Watch this episode:

CIO, CIO Leadership Live

If you’re looking to accelerate your organization’s digital transformation, the good news is that there are some proven principles you can apply. By employing Value Stream Management (VSM), some top enterprises are now better positioned to speed their transformation—and seeing multimillion-dollar savings as well.

If you’re not familiar with this concept, the basic premise is this: Through VSM, executives gain the visibility to align teams, workflows, and investments around one key aspect: customer value. In the process, they can break down the silos that stifle digital transformation. Following are a couple of real-world examples of what this means for leading enterprises.

Here are some highlights from a new Harvard Business Review Analytic Services Report, sponsored by Broadcom.

The Boeing Company

One of the world’s largest aerospace companies, The Boeing Company has been employing VSM for several years now. Through VSM, they optimized resource utilization and reduced waste.

“We always thought we were doing a good job of producing value until we started to work through this,” explained Lynda Van Vleet, Boeing’s portfolio management systems product manager. “In our first two years, we saved hundreds of millions of dollars. But that wasn’t our goal. I think a lot of organizations look at this as a way of saving money because you usually do, but if you start out looking at it as a way of creating value, that just comes along with it.”

The organization changed legacy approaches to product management and project investment. This enabled them to speed up their ability to innovate and pursue digital transformation. They created cross-functional teams that empowered employees to spend more time and effort on delivering customer value.

By establishing cross-team visibility, leaders were able to spot redundancies. For example, they saw how different IT organizations had their own analytics teams. “We had people in every organization doing the same thing,” explained Van Vleet. Boeing’s executives established a single analytics team to realign the work more efficiently and improve consistency.

Verizon

A multinational telecommunications company, Verizon offers another example of the power of VSM. Through their VSM implementation, they also gained advantages that translated to multimillion-dollar cost savings.

As Jason Newman, senior manager, systems engineering, Connected Solutions Group strategy and operations at Verizon, revealed to HBR, “We had some siloed organizations, and everything worked great within the silo, but as the company introduced products that crossed boundaries—the method of everyone focused on their own space wasn’t cutting it.”

By implementing VSM, the team has been able to foster the free flow of information across teams and gain dramatically improved visibility into value streams. Leaders have acquired deep information that has fueled more accurate, data-driven decisions about governance and staffing. 

VSM equips executives with the information needed to understand the impact of strategy shifts, including who is affected and which strategic goals might be jeopardized. Now, when executives are contemplating strategic changes, VSM gives them the information to quickly understand “who is impacted and which strategic goals might be jeopardized,” Newman stated. “Just the efficiencies gained from governing and staffing were multimillion-dollar cost savings.”

Conclusion

By employing VSM theories and tools, teams around the world are realizing massive benefits. To learn more about how some top enterprises have made VSM work in practice, be sure to read the briefing paper from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, “Using Value Stream Management to Speed Digital Transformation and Eliminate the Silos.” Sponsored by Broadcom, this report features the insights of industry analysts and expert VSM practitioners, who share some of the key lessons drawn from successful VSM initiatives. You can also visit ValueOps by Broadcom to learn more about the benefits and how to get started with VSM.

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Explore ValueOps Value Stream Management, built to manage what you value most. 

Digital Transformation

Don’t miss CIO’s Future of Digital Innovation Summit and Awards Canada, happening on November 29-30 produced by IDC and CIO, in partnership with TECHNATION. Registration is complimentary, and attendees will have the opportunity to gain the latest knowledge in innovation from experts in a broad range of industries.

The conference will kick off on November 29 with a keynote from Lee-Anne McAlear, Program Director, the Centre of Excellence in Innovation Management, York University. McAlear will focus on digital leadership in a time of continuous change. Kelley Irwin, Chief Information Officer, Electrical Safety Authority, Kalyan Chakravarthy, Chief Information Officer, the Regional Municipality of Durham, and Kyla Lougheed, Digital Transformation Lead, United Way Greater Toronto, will participate in the CIO Panel: Jumpstarting Innovation for Customer & Employee Experience. Theywill discuss developing new innovative capabilities to improve the customer and employee experience. In this interactive group session, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions, share your thoughts, and dive into some of the lessons learned when implementing innovative projects.

The afternoon sessions include collaborative solutions for hybrid work environments presented by Aruna Ravichandran, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer, Webex by Cisco, and Culture, Growth, and the Modern Digital Enterprise, in which Sabina Schneider, Chief Solutions Officer – North America, Globant, will focus on current and future business environments. The day will end with a highly anticipated session on Transforming the Technology Foundations for Business Enablement and Agility with CIO Awards Canada Winners CIBC, represented by Richard Jardim, Executive Vice-President and CIO, and Bradley Fedosoff, Senior Vice-President, Architecture, Data and Analytics.

Day one offers a full day of insights and discussions with Canadian CIOs and senior technology leaders who are building digital innovation and transforming into digital businesses. Check out the full agenda here.

Day two, November 30, kicks off with a presentation on The End Game: How to Deliver Sustained Digital Innovation, lead by Nancy Gohring, Research Director, Future of Digital Innovation, IDC. Immediately following her presentation, you’ll be able to ask questions about the future of digital business. The final session before the double awards ceremony will be a fireside chat with Shaifa Kanji, Assistant Deputy Minister, Chief Digital Officer of DTSS, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, interviewed by Angela Mondou, President and CEO of TECHNATION, who will discuss accelerated digitization in Canada. The summit will cap off with the best of the best, with the unveiling of TECHNATION’s Ingenious Awards, and then the CIO Awards Ceremony where we celebrate Canadian organizations that are using technology to innovate and deliver business value. To attend the summit and access the full agenda, register today.

C-Suite

Digital transformation initiatives have picked up in the retail sector in recent years as store chains compete for brand awareness and sales in a rapidly evolving market. By 2026, retailers’ global investments in digital transformation tools are expected to reach $388 billion, growing by 18% a year.

That may sound like retail leaders are all in, ready to use new technology tools to extract maximum value out of their operations; ready to embrace change and grab the future by the horns.   

But the truth is many are probably not prepared for what’s ahead. Having worked with retailers on technology projects for 15 years, I’m impressed with their ability to build businesses that hold their own and endure in the face of adversity. I’m also impressed with their willingness to integrate new technologies in their businesses. But I’m concerned that they’re not shifting their mindsets quickly enough to adapt to the changes that are coming.

Are they adopting digital strategies that serve both younger and older populations? Are they successfully untangling their “spaghetti architectures”? Are they using technology to win the margin game? And are they evolving their mindsets to do a better job of collaborating with outside experts?

These common challenges apply to retail organizations of all shapes and sizes – large and small, high-margin and low-margin, global and regional, online, and offline. How retailers react to these challenges will determine how well their technology investments truly transform the businesses they run.

Pivoting to Digital While Serving an Aging Population

As Generation Z consumers come of age, retailers face the challenge of catering to two audiences whose needs often conflict with each other. Younger digital natives are earning more money and commanding more attention from the stores they buy from. They’ve embraced the on-demand mentality of being able to research products online, order from their couches and, if necessary, do in-store pickups without having to stand in line. These habits clash with those of retailers’ aging customer base, which is used to visiting stores, browsing, comparing products, and scouting for the best deals.  

So, the challenge looms: How do stores serve their younger populations’ hunger for innovation while not overwhelming their aging populations with too many digital practices? The answer is to make changes – in incremental steps.

The pandemic ushered in a first round of changes. To offer safer shopping opportunities, retailers invested in contactless payments and stepped up their services for in-store pickup. And online ordering accelerated. As long-term customers’ digital uneasiness subsides, more are using technology their adapt longstanding shopping practices.

The future will offer more opportunities to cater to both sets of customers. Home Depot, for example, is upgrading its wi-fi systems to make it easier for customers to design, visualize, and buy materials for their projects. The chain is rolling out new hand-held devices that allow associates to easily check pricing and inventory availability in hand or from more than 40 feet away, which is helpful when serving customers and locating products in overhead storage.

Untangling Their ‘Spaghetti Architectures’

Retailers have long used back-end technologies to run specific aspects of their business. They were among the earliest adopters of ERP, distribution management, warehouse logistics management, and POS. But while these systems continue to work well for their certain purposes, they’re becoming increasingly ill equipped to handle the demands of a growing digital enterprise.

Can the systems connect stock information from the warehouse to the online store to show what’s available? And how is that data reconciled into the POS systems to determine in-store product quantity? Can data be used to predict future demand based on weather or local events? Without a central data repository, retailers find themselves hitting a barrier where they can’t build point-to-point-to-point connectivity in what’s turned into “a spaghetti architecture.”

To compete in the future, retailers will have to create architectures that rethink the entire flow of data through their systems. It’s not just improving interfaces. It’s about making the data architecture data centric.

Betterware de Mexico, a direct-to-consumer seller of home goods and other supplies, created a data-centric infrastructure to improve its ability to keep pace with orders. Increasing compute capacity and deploying a hybrid cloud strategy ensured against system crashes, enabling the chain to make better use of data to optimize its distribution routing strategies. More efficient order processing and delivery helped the company reach more households and grow its market share in Mexico to 24% by the end of 2021.  

Winning the Margin Game with Strategic Use of Data

It’s no secret that retailers operate on thinner margins than most other industries. Walmart, for example, earned $13.6 billion on sales of $573 billion in its latest fiscal year. That’s a 2.39% margin. Every penny saved goes directly to a retailer’s bottom line.

To drive higher profits, retailers will have to make better use of technology to generate efficiencies in their overall distribution engine. They can do this by using data to ensure that they match supply with demand. This is particularly important in the grocery industry where better demand forecasting through AI and machine learning creates less waste, allowing chains to improve their sustainability and make more money.

Salling Group, a Danish department store retailer, provides a glimpse into the future through the success its achieved bringing business intelligence into its real-time merchandising insights. It automatically pulls real-time sales and inventory data from point-of-sale systems at every store, correlating real-time information with historical and seasonal data. This correlation determines precisely what products are needed at each store to meet projected consumer demand. It produces 8,000 reports that are automatically emailed to executive management and all 1,500 stores each morning by 6:00 a.m.

Changing the Mindset and the Culture

To truly transform a business, technology will take an enterprise only so far. The willingness to collaborate with outside experts and try new processes is often as important as the systems designed to derive insights and generate efficiencies.

Until recently retailers’ transformation efforts have often been held back by the operational styles of the leaders in the sector. Many retail chains continue to be run by descendants of the families that started them and ran them for decades, if not centuries. The chains established their strong reputations over time, and leaders preferred to trust their own instincts when it comes to merchandising and distribution rather than rely on outside advice related to IT.

It’s time for retail to change its mindset, in the same way the auto industry has in recent years. In the past car makers bought IT services the same way they bought parts – gathering up vendors and negotiating the lowest price. Now that cars have evolved into data centers on wheels, car makers are engaging with IT suppliers as partners that can help them optimize their use of AI and machine learning algorithms.

Outside IT providers that work on data solutions across industries can help retailers approach transformations from a new vantage point. They can help retailers develop systems that can predict conditions, optimize routes, and create merchandising strategies that connect with the consumer.

That mindset shift is starting to happen. The more retailers go all in, the more they can overcome the challenges that are ahead of them.

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About Christian Reichenbach

Christian Reichenbach is a digital advisor for exploratory, digital business transformations. He advises customers worldwide on how to establish connected economy business models, designs and builds minimum viable products, and drives operating model changes toward a more innovative, efficient, and productive way of doing business. In an edge-centric, data-driven, and cloud-enabled world, he is an evangelist for the role that digital plays in advancing the way we live and work by engineering contemporary experiences. As an enthusiast for digitalization, Christian bridges the gap between technology, user experiences, and business benefits. He also talks with senior executives and runs ideation session to unveil new opportunities for digital business models.

Digital Transformation, IT Leadership, Retail Industry

As the world works to reverse climate change through decarbonization and reduced reliance on fossil fuels, the oil and gas industry finds itself at the epicenter of this challenge. Governments, institutional investors, consumers, and employees continue to exert growing pressure on oil and gas providers to decarbonize and adopt renewable solutions. In response, oil and gas majors are making headway in terms of carbon reporting, net-zero targets, and accountability. Many have even spun up renewable energy arms.

Innovation underpins corporate sustainability efforts. From an investment standpoint, sustainable solutions can also perform double duty, often yielding significant added value such as productivity and efficiency gains and new revenue streams. Increasingly, oil and gas companies are making strategic technology investments to accelerate sustainable digital transformation and deliver a competitive advantage. In this article, we’ll share opportunities for oil and gas companies to increase sustainability while achieving other business benefits.

Understand and reduce the environmental impact of services and workloads

Ironically, while technology holds the key to sustainability, it has also contributed to the problem. Recent studies indicate that data centers consume one percent of the world’s electricity, and The Royal Society estimates that digital technology contributes up to 5.9% of global emissions.

While inefficient equipment, buildings, and HVAC systems contribute to the problem, one of the most significant factors is the underutilization of data center equipment. Up to 25% of data center power is consumed by equipment that no longer performs useful work,[i] and only 10-30% of server capacity is used.[ii] Furthermore, according to HPE internal data, average storage utilization hovers around 40%.[iii] While organizations must plan for usage spikes and failovers, they also have opportunities to clean up workloads, retire unused equipment, and leverage newer, more efficient hardware and solutions.

Power savings represents just part of the equation. If an enterprise can do more work with less hardware, using fewer servers, licenses, and people, they save money while lowering carbon emissions.

Apply technology to improve efficiency, productivity, and sustainability

Clear visibility across infrastructure enables organizations to identify opportunities to expand operational efficiency, meet sustainability goals, and improve productivity. Using intelligent automation, oil and gas companies can monitor workloads and boost server utilization to optimize their investments while reducing their environmental footprint.

Infrastructure management solutions enable organizations to simplify lifecycle management through automation and surface new ways to operate more sustainably and efficiently. Oil and gas companies are also deploying self-healing solutions that predict, detect, and correct issues across the infrastructure using artificial intelligence and machine learning, often before the operator is aware of an issue. 

Furthermore, monitoring solutions allow companies to track real-time energy consumption, enabling them to reposition energy-heavy workloads to locations with lower energy costs or optimize usage for carbon emissions.

Make asset management more sustainable

Oil and gas customers rely on the latest technologies to give them a competitive edge. This often means replacing assets with several years of useful life remaining.

Upcycling programs can help enterprise businesses manage the financial and sustainability impacts of surplus equipment. Many companies have budget or purchasing policy constraints or do not need the latest top-performing equipment. By securing reasonable compensation for used equipment from such companies, oil and gas companies can extend the useful life of their assets and further reduce waste.

Drive sustainable digital transformation with HPE GreenLake

Through strategic investments, oil and gas companies not only increase their sustainability but can also reap additional rewards, such as increased efficiency and productivity, while maintaining a competitive edge.

HPE has a unique vantage point rooted in its own sustainability journey. HPE is committed to becoming a net-zero enterprise by 2040 and offers a portfolio of sustainable innovation, technologies, solutions, and cloud services. The HPE GreenLake edge-to-cloud platform can reduce the environmental impact of IT by enabling customers to flexibly scale IT to meet their needs, thereby improving utilization levels and avoiding the waste of overprovisioning.

GDT can help your organization make the most of HPE solutions to fast-forward sustainability, grow stronger, and become more resilient. Contact the experts at GDT to learn more about how we can help you accelerate sustainable digital transformation.

[i] Jon Taylor and Jonathan Koomey (2017) “Zombie/Comatose Servers Redux,” available at: https://www.anthesisgroup.com/report-zombie-and-comatose-servers-redux-jon-taylor-and-jonathan-koomey/  (accessed October 18, 2022)

[ii] Uptime Institute (2020) “Beyond PUE: Tackling IT’s wasted terawatts,” available at: https://uptimeinstitute.com/beyond-pue-tackling-it%E2%80%99s-wasted-terawatts (accessed October 18, 2022)

[iii] Storage Utilization: HPE customer experience

Innovation

By Thomas Been, DataStax

Bringing a promising idea to life with an application that solves a hard problem or creates an amazing experience (or does both)—this is the developer’s dream. But even if that dream comes true, real success can only be achieved if the groundwork has been laid for high growth.

DataStax set out to identify enterprises and builders that define the future of data and have planned and prepared to scale to whatever demand their growing businesses and customer bases place upon them.

These “Digital Champions” have built data-driven, high-growth businesses. They are the visionaries and driving forces in using real-time data and the cloud to deliver unprecedented value to their organizations. As you’ll read below, the hard work, vision, and ingenuity of these builders has led to significant success and recognition for their organizations.

It’s not easy. Developers are often hampered by the laundry list of challenges that can stymie growth, productivity, speed, and innovation, including data silos, technical debt, and data architectures that aren’t scalable.

The first four in the DataStax Digital Champions series—Overstock, Temporal, Alpha Ori, and Uniphore—have overcome these hurdles thanks to their use of modern data technologies to build and run fast-growing, real-time applications that delight consumers and power businesses. Read on to learn more about their journeys, and keep an eye out for upcoming Digital Champions.

Overstock

While at Overstock, Devin Bost played a key role in building an organization-wide data fabric to leverage real-time data to help the online retailer expand into new markets, provide a powerful experience to its customers, and ultimately drive shareholder value.

Bost, the company’s former senior data engineer, explained how Overstock’s data architecture handles extremely high volumes—it processes between four billion and 10 billion events per day—and expects to expand that significantly.

The company’s prowess at harnessing real-time data made them a shoo-in to earn the title of Digital Champion.

Learn more about why Overstock is a DataStax Digital Champion here.

Temporal

Temporal’s superpower is making life easier for developers. It does so by offering a workflow orchestration engine: Enterprises provide the business logic and Temporal handles all the parts that require specialized expertise, like persistence and resilience.

So it’s no surprise that the company’s platform, built by CTO Samar Abbas and his Temporal co-founder Maxim Fateev, has experienced rapid success and high-growth in the three years since the company was launched. Its open-source software code is used by the likes of Netflix and Instacart, and just this year Temporal secured a $103 million Series B round that put its valuation at $1.5 billion.

We’re proud to recognize Temporal as a Digital Champion.

Learn more about why Temporal is a DataStax Digital Champion here.

Alpha Ori

With approximately 90% of world trade transported by sea, Alpha Ori Technologies recognized a great opportunity to apply cutting-edge, real-time information solutions to the maritime transportation industry.

Cofounded in 2016 by Praveen Viswanath, the company’s platform offers intelligent analytics, alerts, and insights from data gathered from over 260 vessels. The results have been impressive, says Viswanath, who is Alpha Ori’s chief architect: since inception, the platform has saved its users an aggregate 44,000 metric tons of fuel, resulting in an aggregate $5 million in cost savings and preventing the release of 137,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

The results have garnered Viswanath glowing recognition. He recently received the Constellation Supernova Award for business transformation.

We are pleased to recognize Alpha Ori as a Digital Champion.

Learn more about why Alpha Ori is a DataStax Digital Champion here.

Uniphore

Uniphore’s Saurabh Saxena knows that when it comes to winning new customers, conversations are the most important asset—and huge volumes of real-time data are key to generating value from that asset.

Founded in 2008, Uniphore offers a platform that analyzes sentiments with AI in real-time. Saxena, who is Uniphore’s head of technology and vice president of engineering, explained how his company’s platform seamlessly captures and processes about 200 data points on every meeting participant’s face at 24 frames per second—this can add up to 4 million records generated in a single meeting.

Uniphore’s innovation has generated explosive growth, and its promising future has garnered continued interest from the investment community (the company earlier this year announced a $400 million funding round that boosted its valuation to $2.5 billion).

DataStax is proud to have helped Uniphore handle the massive volumes of real-time data that its platform generates, and is pleased to recognize the company as a Digital Champion.

Learn more about why Uniphore is a DataStax Digital Champion here.

We’re honored to partner with companies like Overstock, Temporal, Alpha Ori and Uniphore on their journey to success with high-growth applications and platforms, by speeding their time to market and ensuring that their data architectures have the runway to scale to whatever their success throws at them.

Does your organization fit the Digital Champion mold? Contact me to nominate a Digital Champion today!

About Thomas Been:

DataStax

Thomas leads marketing at DataStax. He has helped businesses transform with data and technology for more than 20 years, in sales and marketing leadership roles at Sybase (acquired by SAP), TIBCO, and Druva.

Enterprise Applications, IT Leadership