Business Chief USA March 2019

online.magazines

HHH USA

EDITION

MARCH 2019

www.businesschief.com

Unlocking

potential

through data

CUSTOMER-CENTRIC

FINTECH

DIGITAL

TRANSFORMATION

OF PROCUREMENT

VP Global Procurement

Nirav Mehta on the company’s

journey to customer centricity

TOP 10

Smartest cities

in the USA

City Focus

CHARLOTTE

Which companies are

leading its technology

transformation?


FOREWORD

W

elcome to the March issue of

Business Chief USA.

“What gives us an edge is our scale

– we’re the number one in the industry

and we have been at it the longest,”

says Ben Hawksworth, Chief Technology

Officer at Progressive

Leasing. In our lead feature

this month, Hawksworth

explains how the company

is helping creditchallenged

customers

with a disruptive digital

transformation that harnesses

agile methodology

and applies it to fintech at scale.

From its 27,000 retail locations and

online, Progressive Leasing’s leaseto-purchase

option has helped millions

of customers and their families.

Hawksworth insists that “we measure

usability, we practice design-first

thinking and, at the end of the day,

we’re really passionate about taking

the friction out of the process for our

customers at every step”.

Also highlighted this month is

Edgewell Personal Care, whose

motto of ‘challenge to win’ is taking

the company on a journey to transform

its procurement function,

enabling a consumer-centric, sustainable

future, and Infor USA, the

industry-leading software

company using cuttingedge

analytics, data

lake technology and its

own artificial intelligence

to unlock the human

potential of its customers.

This month’s City Focus

takes a look at Charlotte, North

Carolina, and three of the disruptive

‘unicorns’ that call it home. You can

also find Charlotte on our list of the

top 10 smart cities in the country.

Enjoy the issue!

Harry Menear

harry.menear@bizclikmedia.com

03

www.businesschief.com


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EDITION

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CONTENTS

10

Procurement’s

role in Edgewell’s

transformation

and digitization

44

Ahead of

the curve

SOFTWARE

ENABLING

5G

30


REINVENTING

UPSKILLING

FOR THE FOURTH

INDUSTRIAL

REVOLUTION

54

64 76

City Focus

CHARLOTTE

OPEN DATA ADDRESSING

WORLD HUNGER —

SOLVING THE

AGRICULTURAL CRISIS

FOR A MORE

SUSTAINABLE FUTURE

86

TOP 10

Smart cities

in the USA


CONTENTS

100 148

Progressive Leasing

Infor

162

116

Choice

Financial

PAY-O-MATIC

130

Boise State

University


214

Traffix

230

176

Calgary Drop-In

Dimension Data

186 248

Hyster

PBL Insurance

198

Emmerson

Packaging


10

MARCH 2019


SUPPLY CHAIN

Procurement’s

role in Edgewell’s

transformation

and digitization

11

WRIT TEN BY

CATHERINE STURMAN

PRODUCED BY

DENITRA PRICE

www.businesschief.com


EDGEWELL PERSONAL CARE

With the motto of ‘challenge to win’,

Edgewell Personal Care has been

on a journey to transform its

procurement function to enable

a consumer-centric, sustainable

future. VP Global Procurement

Nirav Mehta tells us more…

12

T

he procurement function has evolved

from purely transactional – such as

managing purchase orders, payments

and invoices – to a strategic role across

organizations. Shifting its value proposition to

become an integral part of a business, procurement

is expected to deliver a significant impact

on bottom line margins using innovative

sourcing strategies and cost saving levers. The

value proposition is evolving even further, where

procurement has sought to impact the top line

of an organization by delivering supplier-enabled

innovations, forming an integral part of

corporate social responsibility (CSR) and

sustainability objectives, mitigating all kinds of

external risk to supply continuity, finances or

even brand equity.

A clear example of that is how businesses,

presently faced with political uncertainty,

government regulations and ongoing trade

MARCH 2019


SUPPLY CHAIN

wars on a global scale, are looking at the

procurement function. Such volatility has put

unprecedented financial and supply chain

risks on businesses, which is where procurement

needs to be in driver’s seat.

On top of this, the ongoing digital disruptions

impacting every industry, has resulted in

increased pressure on businesses to transform

their models. The procurement

function must play a critical role in digital

transformations of businesses, while

also transforming itself.

“I believe these are significant

challenges, but it makes our role

in procurement very exciting and

valuable at the same time,” reflects

Nirav Mehta, Vice President of

Global Procurement at Edgewell

Personal Care (EPC). Joining the

business four years ago and

appointed as Vice President in 2018,

Mehta’s diverse background in the

consumer goods industry made him

the perfect choice to take the business

on its next stage of growth. Working

for Coty, Avon and L’Oréal amongst

others, he reflects that he joined “this

gem of a company” due to its “phenomenal

culture” and its “collaborative and

down-to-earth people.” With several

13

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EDGEWELL PERSONAL CARE

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SUPPLY CHAIN

“We have deployed

technology-enabled

solutions at every stage

of the procurement

value stream, with

the objective to

reduce redundancies,

and automate and

streamline processes”


Nirav Mehta,

Vice President of Global Procurement

at Edgewell Personal Care (EPC)

strong fundamentals in place for the

business to succeed long-term, including

strong personal care brands under its

umbrella, Mehta is enthusiastic about

the role procurement and supply chain

is playing in its transformation.

“We like to call ourselves a small big

company. It also describes our culture

and our entrepreneurial mindset to

a great extent. Like a startup, perhaps,

but with the resources of a large

organization,” he says wistfully. “We

are not so big that the bureaucracy and

politics of decision making, or lack of

empowerment can stifle our growth

and innovation. I believe this is a great

asset that we have, and we try to

leverage it. Our company’s motto, in

simple words, is ‘challenge to win’. We

consider ourselves challengers to our

competitors in the industry.”

Technology continues to accelerate

the transformation of every industry,

and the consumer-packaged goods

(CPG) and personal care sector is no

exception. Whether it is e-commerce

or direct-to-consumer type business

models. EPC was previously geared

15

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EDGEWELL PERSONAL CARE

16

towards competing with larger CPG

companies and serving large, brickand-mortar

type retailers. As digitization

continues to shift the goalposts,

a significant number of niche brands

are not only challenging market share

and the price positioning of bigger

players, but also the traditional business

models which have remained relatively

unchanged – until now.

“I would say even consumer behaviors

are changing,” observes Mehta.

“In the past, consumers used to be

a lot more loyal to big brand names,

but nowadays are looking for more

personalization and are more willing

and open to try new brands and new

products that appeal to their individuality,

that the values of these brands

align with the values of themselves.”

“You see this huge influx of really

small, niche piranha brands in every

consumer goods sector. That niche

value proposition is targeted to a very

specific segment of consumers,

appeals to them and is successful in

grabbing pieces of market share. At

the end of the day, when you add all

that up, it becomes a challenging

marketplace for incumbent players.”

MARCH 2019


SUPPLY CHAIN

With shifts in consumer behavior, an

evolving landscape from brick-and-mortar

to e-commerce, as well as business

models changing to direct-to-consumer

and subscription-type models, these

tensions, on top of such geopolitical

uncertainties, has created a hotbed

of challenges for companies like EPC.

EPC is undergoing a journey to transform

each area of the business. From taking

a closer look at changing consumer

behaviors and delivering agile innovation

through simplified ways of working, the

business is also deploying new digital

tools to become increasingly proactive

amidst changing market trends.

The procurement team at EPC is

at the front and center of navigating

through these complex challenges.

Recently, the business effectively

managed an ongoing threat posed

by the steel import tariffs by the US

government. Due to its proactive

approach, the business was one of

the first to be granted exemptions by

the US Department of Commerce.

“When the US government announced

the 25% tariff on imported

steel, it was one of the key challenges

we were facing in our shaving business

17

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Nirav Mehta

Nirav is a veteran of CPG industry. In his 20 years of

experience, he has worked across numerous leading

global CPG companies like Coty, Avon, L’Oreal and

Edgewell. He brings significant cross-functional leadership

experience in Plant Engineering, Manufacturing,

Package Engineering, Supply Chain, and Procurement.

Nirav is passionate about Procurement, as it demands

a combination of soft skills like Negotiations and

relationship building, as well as sound business acumen,

financial skills, macro-economics, and category expertise.

www.businesschief.com


EDGEWELL PERSONAL CARE

18

because our razors are manufactured

with imported blade steel. It was

a challenging situation because

something like that can immediately

have a big impact on the margins of

that line of business. We took a very

systematic, and what I would consider

a very organized approach towards

managing that risk in a four-step

approach,” he explains.

“The first step was to really understand

the policy, go down to the details

and really understand what the tariff

is being applied on. What categories

of steel is the tariff being applied for?

What countries are exempt? What

countries are not exempt? What are the

criteria for exemption? These tie back

to our category expertise as well, where

we had a very in-depth understanding

of the macroeconomics, the cost

drivers and the marketplace for blade

steel. This really helped us to incorporate

a sourcing strategy that would

allow us to manage some of these risks.

“The second step was assessing the

risk exposure, understanding the full

value stream within our supply chain

“In the past, consumers

used to be a lot more

loyal to big brand names,

but nowadays are looking

for more personalization

and are willing to try

new brands that appeal

to their individuality”


Nirav Mehta,

Vice President of Global Procurement

at Edgewell Personal Care (EPC)

MARCH 2019


SUPPLY CHAIN

CLICK TO WATCH: ‘EDGEWELL’

19

where there could be an impact. After that,

step three was taking some immediate actions.

We were very proactive in terms of filing

a petition, we were in very close contact with

our suppliers and made sure that we aggressively

appealed and made our case with the

US Department of Commerce. We also

sought advice from experts within the trade

field,” he continues.

“As a result of all these efforts, we were one

of the first to be granted an exemption for the

blade steel category. As a final step, we are

considering our long-term strategic decisions

and how we can build more flexibility and

agility within our supply chain and mitigate

www.businesschief.com


EDGEWELL PERSONAL CARE

20

such impacts in the future. Whether it is

alternative sourcing and manufacturing

strategies, or changing up product strategies

or our specifications. However, we are not

done here, as there are still ongoing efforts

to ensure we strategically manage impact

of tariffs on various other categories, including

imports from China.”

EPC Procurement Managers are tasked

with not only understanding EPC’s business

needs, but also develop their expertise on

macroeconomics, cost drivers, competitive

benchmarking, external innovations and more.

The procurement team is then able to utilize

this insight and intelligence to implement

multi-year sourcing strategies. These multiyear

strategies will then define how to deliver

further value within the different lines of

businesses at EPC. The team is also driving

value through commodity risk management

across all lines of business. By implementing

strategies for most of its commodities to share,

transfer, operationalize, deflect or even hedge

ongoing risks, EPC has different strategies

dependent on each commodity and what is

happening in the supply markets. Taking

advantage of these levers has allowed the

team to provide increased visibility to its

business stakeholders.

“It’s understanding where an impending

MARCH 2019


SUPPLY CHAIN

$2.3bn

Approximate

revenue

2015

Year founded

6,000

Approximate number

of employees

21

significant business risk is and being proactive

about mitigating and managing such risk,”

stresses Mehta. “It also helps us provide

a more accurate and consistent picture to our

shareholders and our investors in terms of

what they can expect from our financials.

I think that’s been a great value that the

procurement team has been able to deliver.”

To support this further, EPC has placed

significant investment in new technologies

to transform its procurement and supply

chain capabilities. Focusing first and foremost

on the basics, the business is presently

upgrading its ERP systems and overhauling

www.businesschief.com


EDGEWELL PERSONAL CARE

22

“We want to align with

suppliers that really

share our vision and

values and to include

more active

participation from

suppliers in terms

of sustainability”


Nirav Mehta,

Vice President of Global Procurement

at Edgewell Personal Care (EPC)

its digital foundations to provide the right

level of data integrity and governance.

“If you don’t have sound fundamentals

to build upon, you can easily end up

spending millions of dollars on some

technology and spinning your wheels but

not get the most out of it,” reflects Mehta.

“We have deployed technology-enabled

solutions at every stage of the procurement

value stream, with the objective

to reduce redundancies, automate where

possible and streamline processes.”

“We have digitized our sourcing

capabilities to a great extent by implementing

new technological solutions

for Spend Analytics, eRFx, Contracting

and Procure to Pay solutions. We are

also looking to transform our vendor

life cycle management,” says Mehta.

“What constitutes the onboarding of

new suppliers, vendor master automation

and self-service, to performance

MARCH 2019


SUPPLY CHAIN

23

management of our suppliers, to

offboarding and exiting suppliers upon

the ending of a relationship. We are

utilizing digital solutions not only to

make the procurement function more

efficient and streamlined, but also to

develop and train our colleagues.”

Introducing a web-based learning

and training platform, EPC has sought

to provide a personalized capability

assessment and training plan for every

individual within procurement. The

technology will aim to develop a consistent

level of competency across a number

of important focal areas, where the

existing skills and knowledge of every

employee is assessed against the

competencies and skills required for

their position, Mehta explains. The

technology will then illustrate a set of

interactive courses each employee

must take online to close any skills gap.

www.businesschief.com


EDGEWELL PERSONAL CARE

24

“All in all, we’ve been utilizing technology

solutions to a great extent. People, skill

and capability development, while having

streamlined, automated processes are

enabling faster decisions,” he says.

EPC’s technological focus has even

extended to towards its supply relationship

management (SRM). Developing

sophisticated criteria around segmenting

its supply base to gain a greater

understanding of its strategic suppliers,

as well as ones which are critical to the

business, EPC has issued scorecards

to measure supplier performance,

drive collaboration and improve the

overall performance and relationship

with its key partners.

EPC Procurement is also playing

a critical role in adding value to EPC’s

corporate social responsibility (CSR)

and sustainability priorities.

“We have a pretty strong supplier code

of conduct but we have also developed

a sustainable sourcing policy, where

we’ve made sustainability and corporate

social responsibility key factors in

determining our supplier selection and

onboarding criteria,” says Mehta. “We do

evaluations of our key suppliers based

on their commitment to their people, their

MARCH 2019


SUPPLY CHAIN

25

CSR, and how well they are managing

their environmental footprint. We want

to align with suppliers that really share

our vision and values and to include more

active participation from suppliers

in terms of sustainability. We in EPC

Procurement are in a unique position to

influence our suppliers to do the right

thing for the people and for the planet.”

Through three main pillars: people,

products and the planet, EPC has

a number of success stories highlighting

its commitment to ensuring a sustainable

future. Its recent Banana Boat sun care

line, Simply Perfect, now has 25% fewer

ingredients. Its Bulldog skincare brand

has also recently launched an original

natural bamboo razor instead of using

plastic, which has been met with

applause. “For Bulldog, we have also

www.businesschief.com


EDGEWELL PERSONAL CARE

COMPANY FACTS

• EPC adopted a hands-on

mitigation and trade tariff

management strategy,

leading the business to be

granted exemptions by the

US Department of Commerce

• EPC is upgrading its ERP

systems and overhauling its

digital foundations to provide

the right level of data

integrity and governance

26

• EPC is exploring innovative

technologies, such as robotic

process automation to automate

manual and repetitive

tasks, such as contract and

shopping cart reviews

MARCH 2019


SUPPLY CHAIN

moved from sourcing fossil fuel-based

plastic to bio-based plastic. When you look at

activities like the sourcing of our palm oil, we

have also made a commitment to source

100% of our palm oils from sustainable

sources,” adds Mehta.

By making a significant effort to transform

the procurement function and working to

ensure all its supply sources are fully

accountable, EPC continues to do the right

thing. Serving local communities and

developing sustainable products and

services which promote innovation, passion

and creativity across all avenues,

the company will continue to

challenge convention to drive

future growth, harness an agile

mindset as the CPG industry

continues to evolve, and deliver on

its long-term vision, placing consumers

at the core and supporting their

overall wellbeing.

27

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LEADERSHIP

30

MARCH 2019


Ahead of

31

the curve

Business Chief sits down with technology industry

veteran and entrepreneur Ravi Rishy-Maharaj

to talk about his journey, the challenges of doing

business 10 years ahead of the market, and how

he arrived at his latest project: GigSky

WRITTEN BY HARRY MENEAR

www.businesschief.com


LEADERSHIP

32

A

veteran of cutting-edge tech startups and

software giants, Ravi Rishy-Maharaj can look

back across a career spanning more than 30

years spent pushing the outer reaches of innovation.

“I’ve always had a drive for doing something new or

interesting anyhow, but what I’m interested in all of

the time it seems is solving a problem.” From electric

vehicle batteries in 1984 to video conference calling

in 1990, from Apple to his own startup Kinaare

Networks, he has remained firmly ahead of the curve.

This month, we talked to Rishy-Maharaj about his

journey, the challenges of doing business 10 years

ahead of the market, and how he arrived at his latest

project: GigSky.

Launched in 2010, GigSky provides users with

international data services using eSIM technology.

Today, GigSky is “on probably 100mn iPhones out

there by now,” says Rishy-Maharaj, as well as “Google,

which is supporting dual SIM Android coming up

this year. All of the mobile platforms that matter,

GigSky is integrated into them.” With his Palo Alto-

headquartered venture at the forefront of the eSIM

market, as well as delving into the applications of

IoT and blockchain, we asked Rishy-Maharaj about

a life led on the digital frontier. “My career, I think,

most of the time has just been enjoying moving from

one area of technology to another. I enjoy physics,

I enjoy chemistry, I enjoy electronics and software

programming and then system design and systems

architecture and computing, et cetera. It’s just

MARCH 2019


www.businesschief.com

33


LEADERSHIP

34

moving on from one interest to the

other and enjoying the ride.”

In 1984, Rishy-Maharaj started

working at PowerPlex, a four-person

startup funded by Brown, Boveri & Cie

and Magna International. “It was the

first greenwave of electric vehicles.

And we were working on bringing

sodium sulfur batteries to market.”

Laughing, he admits the market may

not have been ready to embrace the

technology in 1984. “The battery, it had

a couple of hundred sodium sulfur cells

in it. And the thing about sodium sulphur

is that it has to operate at 300 degrees

celcius for the charge to be created.

It was actually quite safe but, well,” he

laughs again, “it looked like a coffin.”

Rishy-Maharaj explains that in 1984,

“It turned out that the market wasn’t

ready for sodium sulfur batteries. The

electric vehicle then was a little ahead

of its time, if you know what I mean.”

Of course, half a decade later, in the

early 1990’s, concern over air quality

conditions lead to the beginning of

green vehicle adoption, although sales

of electric vehicles in the United States

didn’t exceed 500,000 until midway

through 2016. In 2018, the global electric

vehicle market reached over US$118bn

MARCH 2019


CLICK TO WATCH: ‘GETTING STARTED WITH GIGSKY SIM’

35

and in 2022, Bloomberg predicts

that EV pricing will reach parity with

gasoline-powered transportation.

Following two-and-a-half years

at PowerPlex, Rishy-Maharaj moved

to Compressed Natural Gas Fuel

Systems (CNG), where he worked

on designing a computer system

to augment gasoline fuel delivery

systems in cars. “In one instance you’re

running on gasoline, then you flick

a switch, and now you’re running on

compressed natural gas,” he says.

“But when you did that, you actually

switched over to a completely different

engine control system. I was the guy

designing that system.”

Rishy-Maharaj stayed with CNG

for two years before shifting industries

entirely. He ended up at Nortel Networks

in ‘88 as a switching engineer working

on Customer Local Area Signaling

System (CLASS), the precursor to

caller ID, signalling and voicemail. “My

career had been up to that point highly

technical,” he explains. At Nortel

Networks, Rishy-Maharaj seized the

opportunity to combine his engineering

expertise with a desire to explore more

business-centric opportunities. “Nortel

www.businesschief.com


LEADERSHIP

36

put together an exploratory marketing

group in 1990,” he says. “At that time,

we used to use dial up modems to

connect to the internet, or to connect

to the cloud, whatever the cloud was

at that point in time. We said, ‘hey look,

there’s this thing that’s happening.

People want to communicate, they want

to communicate better, et cetera.’ So

in 1990 we came up with a multimedia

communications concept.” Rishy-Maharaj

excitedly lists the functions: “It

was voice and video and file transfer

and point-to-point screen share. In 1990!

The video screen was only one inch and

in black and white. It was just amazing.

We launched the product, called Vivid,

that ran on a video compressing card that

had to go into Mac UCI because the

only computer that you could do this

on was an Apple computer. Windows

95 wasn’t out yet. Obviously,” he laughs.

“We kinda got in cahoots with Apple

in 1990,” he adds. “In fact, I was working

so closely with Apple out of Nortel in

Canada, Apple offered me an opportu-

MARCH 2019


37

nity to come down to California and

work for the company in 1995 as the

first telephony product manager they

ever had.” Rishy-Maharaj moved to

Cupertino, California that year from

Toronto. Even though the company

experienced challenges during the

mid-nineties, he looks back on his

tenure as an interesting and exciting

time. “Apple was going through some

very tough times in ‘95. Jobs was not

back yet. People were leaving. I ended

up running the whole networking and

communications product management

team for a while.” He chuckles and

groans in quick succession. “It was just

one thing after the other.”

After leaving Apple a little over a year

later, Rishy-Maharaj moved on to stints

at Sun Micro and OpenTV, working on

microelectronics implementation and

interactive entertainment software until,

in January 2000 he founded his own

company, Kinaare Networks. After his

experience with Universal Plug and

Play (UPnP) at Open TV, Rishy-Maharaj

www.businesschief.com


LEADERSHIP

38

wanted to explore new developments

in microelectronics and the cloud. He

reflects on that time in California with

his family: “We were still isolated on the

West Coast, 2,500 miles away from our

closest relatives. I was also pursuing

this idea that you could plug a device

into the internet and it would connect

to a cloud service and it would express

its capabilities. That became a service

discovery feature called : Kinaare Plug

and Play (KP&P).” His family’s separation

from their relatives in Toronto also

became part of the inspiration for

Kinaare’s first product. Combining the

desire to connect over large distances

with his new UPnP technology, the

company’s first product became an

intelligent picture frame. “You’d plug it

in, it would connect to the internet, it

would discover a server that it would

connect to, and then people would

subscribe to that service,” he explains.

“I thought of my family initially. The idea

was that people would publish, their

pictures that could be dispersed all

over the world and cycled through

these digital picture frames that would

be on your desk. People could share

their photos with each other.” Among

other products, Kinaare’s digital picture

“I’ve always had

a drive for doing

something new

or interesting

anyhow, but what

I’m interested

in most of the

time is solving

a problem”


Ravi Rishy-Maharaj,

Founder and Chief Executive

Officer, Gigsky

MARCH 2019


frame was an early entrant into the

Internet of Things (IoT) - a concept first

linked to an internet-enabled Coke

machine at Carnegie Mellon in 1982

and officially named in 1999. “IoT, cloud

services, services discovery, social by

sharing photos with each other. That

was the idea behind the company,”

Rishy-Maharaj says.

“But guess what? 2000, the whole

market collapsed.” The dot-com crash

caused over $5trn in damage to global

markets between March 2000 and

October 2002. Rishy Maharaj sighs.

“The market timing was just deplorable.

I put a lot of my money into that company.

I wiped out all my resources. In fact,

I had to declare bankruptcy at one

point in time.”

Although the market context

proved infertile, the technology at the

core of Kinaare has since become

part of the digital landscape. Once

again finding himself at the outer

limits of business-technology

innovation, Rishy-Maharaj took the

collapse of his company as a lesson

to be applied to the future. “Market

timing is a huge part of being an

entrepreneur,” he explains. “It didn’t

matter if I had a lot of money; I was too

39

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LEADERSHIP

40

far ahead of the market.” This realization

remained with him, and was central to

the inception of GigSky in 2008.

“When I started GigSky, I wanted to

solve an immediate problem so that,

once the product came to market,

people would see it as a solution to

a problem they had and buy it,” he

explains. Unfortunately, old habits die

hard. Rishy-Maharaj came up with the

idea for GigSky in 2008 while working

for a friend’s startup that required him

to travel far and often. You’d go to a

company and it would be like extracting

teeth to find a connection within their

network. There was no wifi. So some

guy would come running with a big, long

“The idea was that

people would

publish their pictures

and they would be

dispersed all over

the world through

these picture frames”


Ravi Rishy-Maharaj,

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Gigsky

ethernet cable plugged into some

connection point 100 meters down

the hall - it was just really painful.”

The frustrations of internet connection

in a world without ubiquitous wifi

prompted him to jury rig his own

solution from a portable wifi box and

a wifi dongle from a local carrier. “Local

carriers were selling plastic SIMs at

that point in time. The plastic sim would

come with local data service. Not a lot,

but I could still buy 250 megabytes of

local conductivity for maybe $20,

MARCH 2019


41

versus buying roaming service from

AT&T for $2,000.”

Even though GigSky passed on

building its own personal wifi hotspot,

the idea of switching between local

carriers for cheap data became the

core of the business. By sticking with

a data-only service, GigSky kept costs

low. “I really didn’t need to pay the telco

some big fee for roaming for voice.

Even though so many times people

said to me, ‘you should deliver a voice

service,’ I said, ‘No. It’s just about data.

Data will grow. Let’s focus on doing

that and doing it right.’ It was the right

thing to do.”

The first GigSky service launched in

early 2013, “And here we are,” says

Rishy-Maharaj. “We didn’t have to build

hardware, the programmable SIM

became eSIM, and the App ended up

being integrated directly into iOS and

Windows.” GigSky’s collaboration with

Apple began in 2014. “Someone at Apple

sent a message to our info email account

saying ‘We’d love to meet with one of

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LEADERSHIP

42

your directors. We’d like to talk to you

about your business.’” He laughs, “we

were wondering if it was junk mail or

somebody pulling a fast one. But lo and

behold it was Apple, and here we are on

probably 100mn iPhones.”

GigSky continues to grow each year,

helping its growing user base stay

connected, wherever they might be, for

a fair price. Rishy-Maharaj admits there

are challenges to finding competitive

pricing across over 190 countries. “We

try to ensure that, if you buy our five

gigabyte plan, you’re basically spending

$10 per gigabyte. Prices will get better

as we go along.”

He explains that “the idea behind the

eSIM is the ultimate in convenience. It’s

to provide the ultimate choice in terms

of connectivity. This year GigSky is going

to be integrated into dual eSIM android

devices going forward.” Airlines are

also using GigSky to collect data for

post-flight analysis, and Rishy-Maharaj

also hints at upcoming applications

involving blockchain. It’s no surprise that,

in the year the eSIM is predicted to

become mainstream, Rishy-Maharaj is

turning his eSIM company to explore

new technological frontiers. “How else

can the e-sim be leveraged with other

MARCH 2019


“We were wondering

if it was junk mail

or somebody pulling

a fast one. But lo and

behold it was Apple,

and here we are

on probably 100mn

iPhones”


Ravi Rishy-Maharaj,

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Gigsky

43

non-obvious technologies to deliver an

even better user experience? That’s

what we’re after at GigSky.” He laughs,

acknowledging his signature move as

he signs off. “I wish I had another 20

years to see what this thing turns into.

But the next few years at least are going

to be a very exciting time.”

www.businesschief.com


TECHNOLOGY

44

SOFTWARE

ENABLING 5G

Folke Rosengard, Head of Business

Development, Nokia Software,

explores how 5G serves as more than

just an answer to the burgeoning

IoT and digitalisation landscape

WRITTEN BY FOLKE ROSENGARD

MARCH 2019


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45


TECHNOLOGY

46

W

e at Nokia believe that we are in

front of one of the biggest upsides

in the whole telco industry in a

long time, thanks to the digitalization trend

and IOT. IOT will add a massive amount of

new connections; and the digitalization trend

creates a growing demand for a multitude of

diverse connections including use cases with

high bandwidth, low latency and ultrahigh

reliability. 5G is the ideal solution to respond

to this demand, however 5G is much more

than simply a new Radio Access Network

(RAN) generation. It comes with sophisticated

software that affects all parts of the

network, including how service providers

operate the network and how they offer

profitable and compelling services. It is a

whole new business system that enables service

providers to respond to the massive

demand fueled by the Internet of Things (IoT)

and digitalization trend in a profitable way.

5G requires a tight connection between

network, operations and business with all the

systems and processes working together to

deliver and monetize the 5G use cases for

consumers and enterprises. Software is the

key for realizing 5G capabilities in an efficient

way. Technical capabilities such as dynamic

slicing of mobile networks and a servicebased

architecture to enable multiple and

MARCH 2019


47

“5G is the ideal solution

to respond to this demand,

however 5G is much more than

simply a new Radio Access

Network (RAN) generation”


Folke Rosengard,

Head of Business Development,

Nokia Software

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TECHNOLOGY

48

“We believe ‘Cloud

Native software’

is a fundamental

principle for

software of the

5G era”


Folke Rosengard,

Head of Business Development,

Nokia Software

diverse use case requirements based

on agile, flexible and real-time digital

fabric are critical for telcos to maximize

and exploit 5G capabilities.

Network providers must have a strong

digital fabric that’s built on applications

with five key characteristics:

01. INTELLIGENT

Analytics and machine learning in

everything are critical to manage an

ever-growing volume of data. Great

experiences are the ones that are

personal, contextual and fast. These

rely on the ability to augment human

intelligence with machine learning and

analytics. They use the data to provide

a 360-degree view of the experience

and decide what actions will produce

the best outcomes.

02. AUTOMATED

Manual processes are too slow to

handle the big data explosion. As such,

intelligence workflows and bots should

push automation to extremes to ensure

we can drive insights to action with

efficiency and speed using closedloop

fundamentals.

MARCH 2019


CLICK TO WATCH: ‘5G IN ACTION’

49

03. SECURE

With more of our lives online, customers

must know they can trust their providers

to handle their data. The new digital

fabric must include security in its

foundation to provide customers with the

highest level of protection in the digital

world.

04. CLOUD-NATIVE

To respond with agility at a better cost

point, software needs to be built for the

cloud, from both the technological and

consumption-model perspectives.

05. OPEN

It’s unlikely that service providers will

rely solely on one infrastructure vendor

or partner, one revenue-sharing

relationship or service. Applications

must be multi-vendor, open and

lightweight - and the complexity of the

network must be removed or abstracted.

5G will enable a range of new use

cases with a variety of specific requirements.

To support each use case in an

optimal way, security capabilities will

need to be more flexible. For example,

security mechanisms used for ultra-low

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TECHNOLOGY

50

latency, mission-critical applications may

not be suitable for massive IoT deployments

where devices are inexpensive

sensors that have a very limited energy

budget and transmit data only occasionally.

Another driver for 5G security is the

changing ecosystem. Long-Term

Evolution (LTE) networks are dominated

by large monolithic deployments―each

controlled by a single network operator

that owns the network infrastructure

while also providing all network services.

In contrast, 5G networks may be

deployed by a number of specialized

stakeholders providing end-user 5G

network services.

We believe “Cloud Native software”

is a fundamental principle for software

for the 5G era. There are many

benefits of cloud native software for

telcos, including more efficient use of

cloud resources, operational simplicity

and horizontal scalability. Proven by

massive scale companies such as

Google, Twitter and Netflix over years

of use, horizontal scaling or adding

more containerized applications within

a cluster, enables providers to provision

the processing capacity they

need to process data quickly.

Managing and reducing the complexity,

while keeping operation costs under

MARCH 2019


51

control, can only be achieved through

injecting intelligence and automation into

the transformation process. As 5G

extends beyond radio technologies,

deep into the cloud, across mobile and

transport layers, it will be paramount to

combine data from RAN and non-RAN

sources and introduce machine

learning-enabled automation to create

algorithms for use cases that operate

across all these data sources.

Today, automation is popping up

almost everywhere in the network, and

“closed loops” are considered silver

bullets for killing complexity. A recent

study by Nokia Bell Labs concluded

that closed-loop automation can only

work in combination with a new

architecture and – even more important

– an implementation master plan.

The full benefit of automation can only

be realized if it’s done in concert. Small

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TECHNOLOGY

52

benefits can be – and are being – realized

with tactical, domain-specific

automations, but those benefits can

only be maximized if harmonized and

orchestrated across all domains.

As non-telco companies digitalize

their own product offerings, new

opportunities will emerge for telcos

and service providers. With the new

network characteristics of 5G and

cloud resources sitting close to

customers, these companies will be in

a position to offer capabilities no IT

cloud service provider can match.

Software helps communication

service providers to reinvent themselves

as digital service providers. A

key in this transformation is to recognize

the need for far greater agility with

frictionless business and operational

“With the new network characteristics of

5G and cloud resources sitting close

to customers, these companies will be in

a position to offer capabilities no IT

cloud service provider can match”


Folke Rosengard, Head of Business Development, Nokia Software

MARCH 2019


53

adaptability. In other words, digital

service providers need to act in and

capitalize on windows of digital time.

To operate in digital time, service

providers need a holistic and real-time

view of what’s happening with business

and operations to determine the next

best action to take – this applies for all

areas of operations from marketing to

product management, customer experience

management, network and service

operations, care and monetization.

www.businesschief.com


PEOPLE

54

REINVENTING

UPSKILLING

FOR THE FOURTH

INDUSTRIAL

REVOLUTION

With Industry 4.0 underway, Nick Lazaridis,

President of EMEA for HP Inc., explains

how ultimately, it’s the people behind the

screens and machines who enable digital

transformation

WRITTEN BY NICK LAZARIDIS,

PRESIDENT OF EMEA FOR HP INC

MARCH 2019


www.businesschief.com

55


PEOPLE

56

Today’s world moves at a

mind-blowing rate, and it’s only

going to get faster. Emerging

technologies like IoT, 5G, artificial

intelligence and 3D printing have

heralded the fourth industrial revolution

and proven their potential to

change the status quo. But it’s down to

us as business leaders to transform

our workforces and equip them to

make the most of this opportunity.

There is a need for real innovation and

change across every market and sector.

It’s no longer just about gaining a

competitive advantage, but taking steps

to build the organization of the future.

More than any that have come before,

the fourth Industrial Revolution holds

the opportunity for businesses

everywhere to transform their impact

on employees and, by extension,

society.

Looking back, the advent of new

technologies has often been associated

with resistance and fear because

of the impact it might have on workforces

and ‘business as usual’. The

reality is that these new technologies

MARCH 2019


57

are not a threat to work, but an

opportunity to automate the routine,

repetitive or low value tasks and apply

valuable human resources to more

creative and complex challenges.

Just as the PC changed the way we

work, as well as the skills needed to get

the job done, we are entering a new

chapter of change that will surpass

those before it in size, scale and scope.

The fourth Industrial Revolution has

the potential to create new, technologically-driven

value en masse - but

getting there calls for a human-centric

“The fourth Industrial

Revolution has the

potential to create new,

technologically-driven

value en masse – but

getting there calls

for a human-centric

approach and

investment in people”


Nick Lazaridis,

President of EMEA for HP Inc

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PEOPLE

58

“A truly diverse

representation of

backgrounds,

experiences and

opinions helps

challenge the status

quo and allow new

ways of thinking”


Nick Lazaridis,

President of EMEA for HP Inc

approach and investment in people.

It will look different to every business

and the extent of reinvention will vary,

but there are some commonalities as

to how we can build the skills of our

organizations for the future.

MANY HANDS MAKE BRIGHT WORK

The obvious business case for

diversity is that it is key to attracting

the best talent and engaging employees.

But it goes further than equal

representation and fair opportunities.

A truly diverse representation of

backgrounds, experiences and

opinions helps challenge the status

quo and allow new ways of thinking.

Real diversity of thought is becoming

essential in the global economy,

not just to attract the best talent but

to integrate broader cultural understandings

and add fresh perspectives

and processes. When you pair this

with inclusive workplace culture,

people feel more comfortable in

bringing their true selves to work and

their ideas to the table.

LEARN AS IF YOU WILL WORK FOREVER

A real investment in learning and

MARCH 2019


CLICK TO WATCH: ‘HP DEVICE AS A SERVICE (DAAS)

PROACTIVE MANAGEMENT’

59

development is crucial to recruiting

and developing a highly-skilled,

future-ready workforce. Within the

technology sector, there’s an urgent

need to diversify the STEM talent

pipeline and bring new thinking to the

fields of science that will shape our

tomorrow. They are crucial cornerstones

of the fourth Industrial Revolution

– and it’s only by ensuring fair

opportunities and representation that

we can consider them to be truly

innovative.

The opposite is also true, however.

Across all industries, there is a growing

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PEOPLE

60

focus on ‘soft’ and social skills,

particularly around communication

and emotional intelligence. These are

the skills that bolster creative thinking

and complex problem-solving – the

concepts that translate into a blueprint

for services and solutions of the future.

eLearning platforms and self-paced

programmes have changed the way we

can acquire and develop skills at work,

but in order to engage employees in a

shared mission those competencies

must be underpinned by a culture of

collaboration, knowledge and growth.

LEADING THE WAY

So how do you lead an organization

to transformation? Transform the

leadership of the organization. Put

simply, business leaders must embody

the values of the change they want to

make. HP itself was reinvented as a

multi-billion-dollar start-up, and we’re

seeing our strategy pay off – but

would be nothing without the strong

and motivated teams behind the

business. I’ve always tried to stick to

my leadership principles to help

create and foster that culture.

Managing cycles of innovation and

MARCH 2019


61

regular organizational change are part

of the job, but more substantial transformation

and reinvention need vision, role

models and commitment to successfully

bring a workforce on the journey.

Transforming an organization and

building skills requires everyone to be

open to change. Leadership teams

need to lead the charge with wholehearted

commitment and investment

in their development, to set the best

example for their organization.

If we are to believe that the only

constant is change, then there will

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PEOPLE

62

“This may well be

a technologydriven

revolution,

but ultimately it is

the people behind

the screens and

machines who

make the change”


Nick Lazaridis,

President of EMEA for HP Inc

MARCH 2019


always be a new skills gap to tackle.

Build a foundation for an organization

that’s open to change, committed to

learning and continuously improving,

and not afraid to fail along the way,

and you will build the basis for

tomorrow’s industry.

This may well be a technology-driven

revolution, but ultimately it is the people

behind the screens and machines who

make the change. As someone who

has spent their career reinventing in a

rapidly changing world, I’ve seen how

it’s possible to transform an organization

with positive impact for people and

planet. Technology might change the

way things are done, but it is squarely

within our power as the leaders of

industry to think creatively and solve

the challenges of tomorrow.

63

www.businesschief.com


SUSTAINABILITY

64

OPEN DATA ADDRESSING

WORLD HUNGER —

SOLVING THE

AGRICULTURAL CRISIS

FOR A MORE

SUSTAINABLE FUTURE

WRITTEN BY

ANDRÉ LAPERRIÈRE,

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GODAN

MARCH 2019


www.businesschief.com

65


SUSTAINABILITY

66

Today, hunger is bringing suffering

to over 795mn people across the

globe. Those affected currently do

not have access to enough food to live

sustainably. Although a majority of this

population are based in the world’s

most vulnerable regions, this does not

contain the issue within borders as

food security issues are also residing

in some of the most developed nations.

The UK is reportedly one of the most

food insecure nations in the European

Union, and it is by no means an

economically undeveloped nation.

The threat of an agricultural crisis is

very much a reality across the globe.

Crippling costs, poor weather conditions

and disease outbreaks have hit

landscapes, farmers and businesses

hard over the years and the potential

impacts can be tenfold. The UK for

example, has suffered from record

high temperatures, reported outbreaks

of foot and mouth disease and is also

in the midst of an uncertain trading

future as Brexit looms. In Africa, where

MARCH 2019


“OPEN DATA CAN

PLAY A CRITICAL

ROLE IN HELPING

TO ACHIEVE THE

SUSTAINABLE

DEVELOPMENT

GOALS PROPOSED

BY THE UNITED

NATIONS”


André Laperrière,

Executive Director, GODAN 67

water conservation issues, malnutrition

and hunger are still pertinent, climate

and weather are one of the principal

causes. The agricultural industry is a

volatile one, from either ends of the

globe. We are continuing to experience

the struggle to meet the growing

demands of the consumer, to combat

the fluctuation in supply, the instability

of markets and the lack of investment

in the agriculture industry in many

nations.

The agricultural crises in countries

across Africa present a notable

example of these issues. The continent’s

farming industries have been

suffering due to the lack of shared

information and data, most small-scale

isolated farmers in rural African

communities are missing out on new

and improved methods and best

practices of farming and agricultural

processes. This issue, married with the

water contamination crisis affecting

sub-Saharan Africa - where only 16%

of the population have access to clean

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SUSTAINABILITY

68

water and have no access to critical

information relating to water quality or

weather data -demonstrates how there

is the significant need for access to

Open Data to help bring about an end

to the crisis, save lives and create a

more sustainable future.

Open Data has developed alongside

technological advancements throughout

the years. However, its potential

impact on the agricultural space has

rarely been considered a key solution

to solving the food crisis. The potential

for the use of Open Data to combat

food issues can and should no longer

be ignored; not only because of the

relevant historical data and the

potential to increase production it can

provide, but its usefulness in monitoring

water supplies, anticipating

changes in the weather and also

sharing crucial information across

borders so that nations can learn best

practices from each other and prosper.

Through the use of satellite data,

remote sensing and mapping, farmers,

businesses and consumers in the

agricultural industry can harness the

most relevant and useful information to

improve and adapt practices, make

MARCH 2019


CLICK TO WATCH: ‘ANDRÉ LAPERRIERE AT SWAT4HCLS CONFERENCE,

ANTWERP, 3-6 DECEMBER 2018’

69

“THERE IS STILL A LONG WAY TO GO

BEFORE OPEN DATA ACCESS IS

GLOBALLY ACCEPTED AND UTILISED”


André Laperrière,

Executive Director, GODAN

better decisions and ensure sustainability.

Increasing access will trigger

innovations that will bring both

agriculture and nutrition to the next,

higher level of impact, improving

efficiency, yields, competitiveness and

ultimately increasing food security

across the world.

The Ghana-based organisation,

Esoko, presents a prime example of

the benefits of Open-Data access to

the industry by illustrating how mobile

phone technology can be integral to

allowing farmers and their buyers to

access Open Data to obtain information

to improve access to markets and

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SUSTAINABILITY

70

encourage fairer pricing based on

shared feedback. By utilising Open Data

to collect data on a national scale, the

technology solution TradeNet was born,

enabling farmers to share and access

data through SMS with customers and

other farmers. This data is obtained

through existing channels such as

weather data channels and other basic

technology, to enable a self-sustainable

business model combining data,

farmers, customers, markets/ dealers

and phone companies on an open

system to benefit the livelihoods of

hundreds and thousands of families.

Those using the technology can both

collect and input data regarding the

selling price of basic commodities, such

as the prices of seeds and fertilizers and

send daily updates to farmers through

SMS. Thus, the farmers can determine

their input costs, increasing their selling

profit by utilizing the information made

available to them. Now, more than

350,000 farmers have joined the Esoko

platform in 10 countries in Africa and it

continues to expand.

In the West, countries such as The

MARCH 2019


“FOOD SECURITY ISSUES

ARE ALSO RESIDING

IN SOME OF THE MOST

DEVELOPED NATIONS”


André Laperrière,

Executive Director, GODAN

71

Netherlands are also benefitting from

the offerings of Open Data as more web

applications aiming to improve accessibility

to Open Data are unlocking

valuable data related to historical

weather patterns and food consumption

data, accessible to those involved in

agriculture and the environment. Similar

to the organisation in Ghana, these

applications are also user-generated,

allowing farmers and those in the

agricultural sector to input data for all

participants to see, allowing best

practices to be shared and adapted.

In the south, the ‘digital divide’ has

played a huge role in agricultural crises,

as large industrialized farms are

becoming more cost efficient and

competitive, while the small traditional

farmers are gradually bringing

themselves out of the markets. This is

due to the large industrial farms/

wealthy countries and businesses that

already make efficient use of data to

improve techniques, products, market

access, rapidly increasing their

competitiveness in the world markets.

Open Data can play a critical role in

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SUSTAINABILITY

72

helping to achieve the Sustainable

Development Goals proposed by the

United Nations. Open Data can help

foster economic growth and job

creation, improve efficiency and

effectiveness of public services by

allowing the cross fertilization and

synergy of different industries, sectors

and governments leading to new

practices, new equipment and new

technologies that in turn, lead to better

yields and the stimulation of private

and public economies. This will in turn,

improve government transparency,

citizen participation and accountability

through the sharing of data across

communities and borders.

However, there is still a long way to

go before Open Data access is globally

accepted and utilised. This drive and

determination for it to be a success

needs to be welcomed by respective

governments and organisations across

the globe and pushed to the top of the

agenda. With the correct approach

and implementation methods in place,

Open Data can have a high economic

and social return on investment for

countries all over the globe and in all

stages of development. Areas in Africa,

MARCH 2019


“NOW, MORE THAN

350,000 FARMERS

HAVE JOINED THE

ESOKO PLATFORM

IN 10 COUNTRIES

IN AFRICA”


André Laperrière,

Executive Director, GODAN

73

Latin America, Asia and Europe have

already demonstrated how increased

access to data can help develop

economies and farming practices,

taking a significant step forward to

achieving sustainability and solving the

hunger crisis.

www.businesschief.com


April 29-30, 2019

The Ritz Carlton, Atlan


ta | Atlanta, GA


CITY FOCUS

76

City Focus

CHARL

Business Chief takes a look at Charlotte,

North Carolina, and some of the companies

that are leading its smart city mission

WRITTEN BY HARRY MENEAR

MARCH 2019


OTTE 77

www.businesschief.com


CITY FOCUS | CHARLOTTE

78

Officially founded in 1768 and named

Charlotte Town as a tribute to Queen

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz,

the wife of King George III, Charlotte is a city of

both tradition and revolution. Home to 860,000

people, NBA team the Carolina Hornets as

well as the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, Charlotte

is also, according to Mental Floss, the Pimento

Cheese Capital of the world. The North Carolina

city may have a rich connection with its

past (including a local belief that the town

issued its own declaration of independence

from British rule a full year before the rest of

the thirteen colonies) but the government

and people of Charlotte have eyes firmly

fixed on the future.

NORTH END SMART DISTRICT

Starting in 2010, Charlotte has undergone

a transformative journey into one of the world’s

smartest cities. Ranked 20th on the global

smart city rankings in 2018 by the Eden Strategy

Institute, Charlotte places ahead of modern

MARCH 2019


metropolises like Copenhagen, Washington

DC and Vancouver with a successful clean

energy program that achieved a 19% reduction

in energy consumption. Also, according

to the report, “the city designated the North

End Smart District (NESD) as a comprehensive

first step to piloting smart city initiatives

on a large scale, engaging and partnering with

community leaders and residents, companies

and entrepreneurs, non-profits, and

City departments.”

Situated between North Davidson Street

and Atando Avenue, the North End Smart

District is made up of eight neighborhoods

to the north of the city’s uptown. According

to the City of Charlotte, the District aims to

be “a community that uses data and technology

to make decisions that impact mobility,

safety, energy, public services, education

and environmental health”. Supported by

governmental initiatives, Charlotte’s startup

scene has grown into one of the most vibrant

entrepreneurial ecosystems in the country.

As of October 2018, the city is home to three

unicorns - startup companies with a market

valuation of over $1bn. Business Chief takes

a look at three of the Queen City’s greatest

success stories.

79

www.businesschief.com


CITY FOCUS | CHARLOTTE

80

AVIDXCHANGE

Founded in 2000, AvidXchange is an

industry leader in automating invoice

and payment processes in the real

estate, financial services, energy, and

construction sectors, according to

Bloomberg. The company became

a unicorn in July 2017, making it the

second-oldest of the three.

In January 2019, Extent Research

named AvidXchange as one of the top

players in the Global Check Printing

Software Market. In the same month,

the company announced plans to

invest $41mn in Mecklenburg County,

expanding their Charlotte Headquarters

to create at least 1,200 new tech

jobs on the periphery of the North End

Smart District, according to the North

Carolina 100.

“We launched AvidXchange 18 years

ago in a coffee shop in Charlotte with

five employees. Since then, we’ve grown

to 1,200 employees and we’re proud

to call North Carolina home,” AvidXchange

CEO Michael Praeger said.

“I’m thrilled to have the State’s continued

support as we look to double our

employee base in the next five years.”

www.avidxchange.com

MARCH 2019


81

RED VENTURES

Also founded in 2000, Red Ventures

was the first Charlotte startup to attain

unicorn status in 2015. The company

operates a portfolio of technologies,

digital assets, and strategic partnerships

that connect consumers across

three continents to brands like Bankrate,

creditcards.com, the Points Guy

and NextAdvisor.

In January 2009, Ric Elias, co-founder

and CEO of Red Ventures, was on board

the infamous crash landing of US Airways

Flight 1549 on the Hudson river. On the

10th anniversary of the crash, Elias talked

with Forbes magazine about the ways

in which the event changed both his life

and the future of Red Ventures.

“For starters, the plan for Red Ventures

completely changed after the

incident,” Elias said. “We went from

wanting to build a company that we

could sell to deciding that Red Ventures

will never be for sale. We turned

the company into a perch from where

to live a life. This freed us from outside

www.businesschief.com


CITY FOCUS | CHARLOTTE

82

expectations. It gave us the freedom

and creativity to explore all sorts of

new ways to build a company.”

Currently, Red Ventures employs

3,600 people across 13 offices worldwide.

Although the official

headquarters has since been moved

to South Carolina, Charlotte remains

the company’s spiritual home and second-largest

base, with a large hand in

the local community and Charlotte’s

smart city mission. In an effort to

focus on the social component of its

tech transformation, the Charlotte

Government runs a number of programs,

including TechCharlotte: a

housing and neighborhood services

initiative that not only creates a new,

free community technology access

space, but also partners with Red

Ventures Road to Hire and others to

provide training and access to jobs.

www.redventures.com

TRESATA INC

After acquiring a further $50mn in

funding in October 2018, predictive

analytics company Tresata became

Charlotte’s third unicorn, with a total

valuation of $1bn. Based in the South

End of the city, the company develops

software platforms for real-time customer

intelligence management. Its

software enables businesses to monetize

customer data by collecting,

curating, computing, and converting it

to customer intelligence across all

existing and growing data assets,

according to Bloomberg.

“Our software is uniquely able to

automate data analysis to solve for

complex business problems, allowing

MARCH 2019


83

decision-makers to address industry’s

and society’s biggest challenges,”

Tresata co-founder and CEO

Abhishek Mehta said in a statement.

According to a report by SiliconAN-

GLE, the $50mn represented the first

outside funding accepted by the company.

Founder and Chief Executive

Officer Abhishek Mehta explained in

the report that he always saw revenue

as the cheapest source of funding.

“We have had tremendous interest

from investors ever since we started

the company and never found the

right partner,” Mehta said in an interview.

“This time, with GCP, we found

that partner. With GCP, we have someone

on our side who believes strongly

in our vision — that in data lies the

power to enrich life. We are excited

about this investment, as it is a validation

of the confidence our clients have

placed in us from the beginning.”

tresata.com

www.businesschief.com


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arch.com


TOP 10

86

MARCH 2019


TOP 10

Smart Cities

in the USA

By 2050, over two-thirds of the world’s population

will live in cities. As urban populations soar and

technology becomes more ingrained in our

day-to-day lives, smart cities are becoming an

increasingly common reality. Business Chief takes

a look at the top 10 Smart City Governments in

the US, according to the Eden Strategy Institute’s

2018 ranking.

87

WRITTEN BY HARRY MENEAR

www.businesschief.com


TOP 10

10

88

Atlanta

GEORGIA

With a population of 490,000, Atlanta is the most heavily forested

urban area in the United States, with 47.9% of the city covered by

trees, according to the National Forest Service. SmartATL, the city’s

forward-looking mission plan began with the creation of a smart district

in its North Avenue Smart Corridor. Since then, Atlanta’s public

and private sectors have been experimenting with IoT sensors for

data collection, video surveillance to assist with traffic management,

interactive LED street lights, and autonomous vehicles. According to

the Eden Strategy Institute (ESI), what sets the Georgia state capitol

apart from other smart cities is it’s drive to transform at scale.

www.atlantaga.org

MARCH 2019


09

89

Los Angeles

CALIFORNIA

The second-largest city in the US by population, Los Angeles, California,

is home to over 4mn people. Coupled with the geological challenges

of a municipality built on the earthquake-prone San Andreas Fault,

the landscape of Los Angeles is characterized by its sprawl. According

to the ESI, the city prizes resilience and sustainability through open

data in the pursuit of its smart city goals. Los Angeles has an online

portal for the distribution of large datasets and statistics on traffic,

pollution, infrastructure, demographics, economic, health, climate,

and cultural activities.

www.lacity.org

www.businesschief.com


TOP 10

08

90

Columbus

OHIO

The state capital of Ohio, Columbus is home to approximately 900,000

people. In 2015, the US Department of Transportation held a Smart

City Challenge for cities to submit proposals for smart transportation

systems that improved urban mobility. Named the winner of the challenge

in 2016, Columbus received $40mn in funding to support the

revolutionizing of its transportation network. Last year, the city launched

its proprietary operating system for a citywide campaign of data gathering.

Columbus Mayor, Andrew Ginther, said in a press release:

“Fundamental to ‘becoming smart’ as a city is discovering how to use

data to improve city services and quality of life for residents.

www.columbus.gov

MARCH 2019


07

91

Washington

DC

Situated on the Potomac river between Maryland and Virginia, the

District of Columbia is home to the city of Washington, the federal capital

of the US, and has a population of approximately 700,000. The city’s

smart city initiatives are overseen by Lab@DC. According to the ESI,

Lab@DC uses scientific research methods to test and improve municipal

policies. The organization is composed of a team of social scientists,

data scientists, operation experts, and policymakers who collectively

experiment with new policy ideas, evaluate policy outcomes, and distil

insights. The organization has been responsible for the introduction of

body cameras to the DC police force, flexible rent programs to combat

homelessness, and litter reduction initiatives.

smarter.dc.gov

www.businesschief.com


TOP 10

06

Photo © City of Charlotte on Facebook

92

Charlotte

NORTH CAROLINA

Founded in 1768, Charlotte, North Carolina, is a city with a rebellious

and forward-looking spirit, even claiming to have submitted its own

declaration of independence from British rule a year before the rest

of the thirteen colonies. Now, the city is embracing its own smart city

vision, with the creation of the North End Smart District, “a community

that uses data and technology to make decisions that impact mobility,

safety, energy, public services, education and environmental health.”

The city itself is home to three unicorn startups: AvidXchange, Red

Ventures, and Tresata.

www.charlottenc.gov

MARCH 2019


05

93

Seattle

WASHINGTON

Home to tech giants like Microsoft, Amazon and Valve, Seattle,

Washington, has a history of leadership in the digital age. Microsoft

announced in January its commitment to invest $500mn in affordable

housing to offset the income inequality caused by the area’s

saturation with high-pay, high-skill tech jobs. The city also values its

partnerships with academic institutions like the University of Washington.

In a GeekWire report, Bill Howe, AD of the eScience Institute

at the UW said: “We have the right folks at the University of Washington

studying research issues; we have the right mindset in the city to

treat this as a priority. Data is in the water here.”

www.seattle.gov

www.businesschief.com


TOP 10

04

94

Chicago

ILLINOIS

Chicago, Illinois is the third-largest city in the United States, with

a population of over 2.7 M people. ESI highlights the emphasis placed

on using technology to engage with societal problems. “Chicago

launched “Smart Chicago” in partnership with a local foundation and

fund, to co-create smart city solutions with residents through civic

participation, functioning alongside the government’s own systematic

application of smart city solutions.” Chicago, like Los Angeles, is

utilizing open data practices to engage the community in information

and knowledge exchange in order to create a more livable city.

www.citytechcollaborative.org

MARCH 2019


03

95

San Francisco

CALIFORNIA

Home to over 880,000 people, San Francisco, California is also home

to some of the United States’ most successful tech startups: Uber,

Lyft, Airbnb, Twitter and Dropbox to name a few. The city was a finalist

in the 2016 Smart City Challenge, receiving $11mn which has been

divided between six initiatives to reduce transit problems. According

to the Bipartisan Policy Center, the SFpark project uses wireless

sensors to create smarter parking management through demand-

responsive pricing. Like Los Angeles and Chicago, San Francisco has

also taken steps to review the way the city handles data. The city

appointed its first Chief Data Officer, Joy Bonaguro as a result.

sfgov.org

www.businesschief.com


TOP 10

02

96

Boston

MASSACHUSETTS

Boston, which is home to over 685,000 people, as well

as some of the most prestigious academic institutions in

the world, has adopted a citizen-centric approach to its

smart city policies. “Boston believes that a truly smart

city should allow its residents to define what exactly “smart”

means to them,” writes the ESI. This idea is expressed by

the city’s civic experiments known as the Beta Blocks which

attempt to build more meaningful relationships between

communities, companies, researchers, and designers.

The first event in this program was the “Robot Block Party

for 4,500 participants to discuss artificial intelligence,

autonomous vehicles, and robotics.”.

wwwwww.boston.gov/departments/new-urbanmechanics/beta-blocks

MARCH 2019


Photos © City of Boston [Top Left & Right]

97

www.businesschief.com


TOP 10

01

98

New York

NEW YORK

Over 8.6mn people live in New York City. With a population

more than double the size of the country’s second

largest city, NYC faces a unique set of challenges.

To cope with the complexities of scale, the New York

government has taken steps to decentralize its leadership,

splitting its smart city initiatives between the

Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the Mayor’s Office of

Recovery and Resiliency and the Mayor’s Office of the

Chief Technology Officer. Together these offices implement

their portfolio of projects with flexibility, involving

other departments and agencies as required. Collectively

they are focusing on smart water, waste and electric

lighting management to reduce environmental impact

while coping with the city’s ever-growing population.

www1.nyc.gov

MARCH 2019


www.businesschief.com

99


100

MARCH 2019


FINTECH

Agility and customercentricity:

Progressive

Leasing’s recipe

for fintech success

WRIT TEN BY

LAURA MULLAN

PRODUCED BY

ANDY TURNER

101

www.businesschief.com


PROGRESSIVE LEASING

Harnessing agile methodology

and a customer-centric

approach, Progressive Leasing

provides simple and affordable

purchase options for creditchallenged

consumers

102

Y

ou could argue that in no sector is disruption

more palpable than in finance. For

a long time, new entrants found it difficult

to break into the market – but the rise of fintech

companies has quickly changed that. These

disruptors have helped to usher in a new era where

technological prowess and a customer-centric

approach have loosened the grasp of incumbents

on the market. It’s also provided greater choice for

customers, allowing them to select the business

which best caters to their needs. But what about

the rising number of consumers who are being

turned down by primary and secondary financing?

Where do those with less-than-perfect credit fit

into the equation?

Respecting that these customers were underserved

and appreciating this was an untapped

market, Progressive Leasing, a wholly-owned

subsidiary of Aaron’s Inc., has made its mark. For

over 19 years, the firm has provided simple and

affordable purchase options for credit-challenged

consumers and it now stands as the largest and

longest-tenured virtual lease-to-own provider in the

MARCH 2019


FINTECH

103

www.businesschief.com


PROGRESSIVE LEASING

104

“The culture

is really one

of the main

reasons

I joined the

company”


Ben Hawksworth,

Chief Technology Officer,

Progressive Leasing

US. Ben Hawksworth, Chief Technology

Officer (CTO), says the firm ultimately

owes its success to two things: its deep

customer focus and its significant scale.

“What gives us an edge is our scale

– we’re the number one in the industry

and we have been at it the longest,” he

observes. “With US$2bn in revenue,

thousands of retail partners and a very

loyal customer base, this scale has

proven to be a real competitive advantage

for us and it’s one we hope to

leverage as we move forward.” Indeed,

today Progressive Leasing’s lease-toown

option has helped millions of

customers and their families, meaning

that they can buy the goods they need

(whether it’s a mattress or a mobile

phone), even if they have imperfect

credit or an inability to pay for their

purchase upfront. Looking

forward, Hawksworth is wellequipped

to steer the firm as

it grows in size. A seasoned

business and technology leader,

Hawksworth spent almost two

decades at the two largest payment

providers in the US. As such, he has

first-hand experience of how to scale

technology. “When you’re dealing with

thousands of transactions a second,

MARCH 2019


FINTECH

CLICK TO WATCH: ‘CUSTOMER STORY’

105

you have to design your systems and

think about your products and processes

a little bit differently,” he says. “You

have to ensure that they’re hardened,

that they can withstand the forces of

uptime, reliability and accuracy.”

Hawksworth and his team have

worked diligently to ensure that the

customer remains front and center

of the firm’s vision. As a digitally-focused

business, this journey starts

with software development and, more

specifically, product development. “We

have an intense focus on our products

and solutions and how they meet our

customers’ needs,” Hawksworth

explains. “From our Quality Engineers

to our CEO, everyone is involved in

the product experience creation. We

measure usability, practice design-first

thinking and, at the end of the day,

we’re really passionate about taking

the friction out of the process for our

customers at every step.” To sum this

up, one of the firm’s core values is to

‘innovate and simplify’. This simple

mantra, Hawksworth believes, is one

which is central to Progressive Leasing’s

way of thinking.

To put this vision into motion, the

www.businesschief.com


PROGRESSIVE LEASING

106

business has turned its attention to agile

methodology, a software development

practice which helps teams respond

to the unpredictability of constructing

software. Hawksworth and his

colleagues have practiced an agile

approach at a team level for quite some

time but the real challenge was how to

scale this as teams naturally became

more interdependent on each other and

as products became more complex in

a rapidly growing organization.

This is where Progressive Leasing

first had the idea for an Agile Portfolio

Office (APO). Hawksworth describes

this as a place which “brings a center

of gravity to our software development

lifecycle and adds central accountability

to the process of development”.

Essentially, this helped to put a structure

in place which enabled collaboration,

allowed the firm to scale and to promote

visibility into the product development

lifecycle. Progressive Leasing then

decided to take this one step further

by exploring a dual track, agile product

development methodology where

discovering what to build is just as

important as the building process.

“Our analysis showed that we spent too

much time figuring out the feasibility

$2bn

Approximate

revenue

1999

Year founded

1,600

Approximate number

of employees

of a product or a feature during the actual

execution of the sprint work itself,”

explains Hawksworth. “Dual-track puts

accountability on three people – the

product manager, the UX designer and

the tech lead – to assess the feasibility,

effort and scope of an idea. It allows us to

truly determine whether or not an idea is

worth building before we start the work.”

MARCH 2019


FINTECH

107

Successful ideas from the discovery

track are then followed up through

a so-called delivery track. This allows

Progressive Leasing to concentrate its

energy and efforts on projects which will

deliver value. “By spending a little more

time upfront, it makes for a much more

rewarding experience for our engineers

and product managers,” he adds.

Hawksworth has only just scratched

the surface of Progressive Leasing’s

journey. The business is also implementing

an API management platform from

Google which he says will “give the

business the ability to innovate on the

edge” allowing it to innovate more quickly,

consistently and securely. In line with

its customer focus, Progressive Leasing

www.businesschief.com


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innovative technology and industry leading

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FINTECH

“We measure

usability, we

practice designfirst

thinking and,

at the end of the

day, we’re really

passionate about

taking the friction

out of the process

for our customers

at every step”


Ben Hawksworth,

Chief Technology Officer,

Progressive Leasing

is also exploring new ways to reach and

interact with its customers. This often

involves tailoring the customer journey

to the type of device they’re using. “It

means that we’re increasingly putting

more and more of the process into our

customers’ devices whether that’s a

mobile phone or a tablet,” he says. “That’s

really where we can take technology

and deliver a better experience for

our customers and retail partners.”

Additionally, Hawksworth highlights

how the firm is also striving to make its

workflow more “content driven” using

a content management platform to

deliver real-time, uniquely customizable

workflows for its retail partners.

As a digitally-driven firm, product

development isn’t just a technology

issue at Progressive Leasing: it’s

company wide. As the company rapidly

grows, constraints and bottlenecks are

something that every department faces.

Hawksworth says: “I have the ability and

the pleasure to be able to sit down with

our CEO and talk about how maybe

a legacy design or a legacy constraint

creates friction or slows down our

delivery process. We can easily talk

about investing in the foundation as

much as in new features and products,”

reflects Hawksworth. “We really try

to balance staying focused on product

innovation and eliminating legacy

constraints.” Another challenge with

software development undoubtedly

lies in customer transparency. It’s

a core value for Progressive Leasing

which the company won’t concede on.

“That’s really the key quest for us,”

Hawksworth admits. “We never want to

109

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FINTECH

111

compromise on customer transparency

and, simultaneously, we want to deliver

the best user experience that we possibly

can. Those two things can naturally be

at odds with one another and so it’s up

to us to find that perfect harmony.”

This is a delicate balancing act that

is undoubtedly paying off. Progressive

Leasing has grown nearly 10 times in

size over the past six years, with its

success culminating in a bumper Black

Friday holiday. “We had the single most

successful day in the company’s history

which was a testament to the hard work

that our product, engineering, sales and

operations teams put into the business,”

says Hawksworth proudly. “It

demonstrated that we met our own

expectations of flawless execution on

our most successful day.” However,

such growth brings along its own

challenges and opportunities – one of

which involves attracting and retaining

key talent. Today, the business has

several hundred people working in its

technology and product department

with more being added every day.

Headquartered in Salt Lake City, a

region which has been dubbed ‘Silicon

Slopes’ for its buzzing tech scene,

www.businesschief.com


PROGRESSIVE LEASING

112

MARCH 2019


FINTECH

Progressive Leasing has to work hard

to ensure it not only gets the best talent,

but that these individuals also work

well within the firm’s culture. Progressive’s

innovative recruitment team has

turned to firms like Tekmark Global

Solutions to find unique skills and the

best talent – but for Hawksworth, it’s

not about skills alone. “In this competitive

market, we have to move quickly but

we also feel very strongly about spending

quality time with candidates to make

sure they are going to be a good cultural

fit,” says Hawksworth. “The culture is

really one of the main reasons I joined

the company. It’s second to none. It’s

great to see Progressive Leasing has

managed to maintain this culture even

though we’ve grown to be a two-billiondollar

company and my job is to make

sure we keep it strong and vibrant. Firms

like Tekmark understand how important

culture is for us and they speak the

Progressive story innately with candidates

to attract the right talent required

to sustain our growth.”

Progressive Leasing owes a lot to its

team, and it also relies on key partners,

both externally and internally, to maintain

113

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PROGRESSIVE LEASING

114

its rapid momentum. “Internally, my

biggest partner is our Chief Product

Officer and our VP of Product. We

simply can’t afford to be misaligned.

If we aren’t running in the exact same

direction, at the exact same target,

we will not be able to deliver our vision.

Meanwhile, externally, we’ve leveraged

a firm called Silicon Valley Product

Group (SVPG) to help us to fine-tune

our process and ensure that we’re all

on the same page.” With this support,

Progressive Leasing is set to continue

on its upward trajectory and whilst no

one can predict where the finance

sector will head in the future, one thing

“We have an

intense focus

on our products

and solutions

and how they

meet our customers’

needs”


Ben Hawksworth,

Chief Technology Officer,

Progressive Leasing

MARCH 2019


FINTECH

115

is for certain – Progressive Leasing will

remain laser-focused on the customer

experience. “We believe that really

listening to our customers will give us

the best roadmap to our ongoing

success,” Hawksworth affirms.

www.businesschief.com


116

PAYOMATIC:

DIGITAL

TRANSFORMATION

TOWARDS MOBILE

ENABLEMENT

WRIT TEN BY

JOHN O’HANLON

PRODUCED BY

ANDY TURNER

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

117

www.businesschief.com


PAYOMATIC

For more than 60 years, Payomatic

Corporation has filled the

space between the formal banking

system and the cash economy

for millions of New Yorkers. Today

money works differently than

it used to, catalyzing a new

digitally enabled customer focus

118

T

he blue and yellow PAYOMATIC banner

is a familiar sight in and around New York,

standing above almost 150 stores or

Money Centers. Nearly half of these are open 24

hours a day. Since its origins in the 1950s, the

company has provided an essential alternative to

the formal banking system, providing the ‘underbanked

and unbanked’ population with the facility

to cash checks, pay bills and remit money overseas,

among other services. The New York metropolitan

area has always attracted a huge population of

migrant and immigrant workers, and though these

are by no means the only group to benefit from

such services, they typically work irregular hours,

maybe in multiple employments and get paid in

cash or by check. Not infrequently they are

supporting dependents overseas, necessitating

a reliable and quick way to remit funds.

For these customers, the bureaucracy of the

traditional banking route is not easily accessible.

However, at PAYOMATIC, they can take care of all

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

119

www.businesschief.com


PAYOMATIC

120

“We endeavored

to build a

single source

of truth for

the customer”


Steve Mayotte

Chief Information Officer,

PAYOMATIC

of their business in one place. At the

same time as cashing a check, they

are able to pay utility bills, buy money

orders, and even try their luck with the

NY Lottery. The ability to walk in off

the street into a welcoming store environment

is important to them, and for

the many shift workers whose labor

keeps the city humming, the latenight

availability of so many stores is

a boon. PAYOMATIC is the largest

financial services provider and

Western Union’s biggest reseller in

the New York area.

FROM CONSULTANT TO CIO

Like everyone else PAYOMATIC

customers are busy people who want

to take full advantage of the tools

technology affords them. As a

retail-type business with a large high

street presence and the overhead

costs that go with that, PAYOMATIC

decided some eight years ago that it

needed to bring all of its systems up

to date and take advantage of the

technology that had infiltrated

the traditional banks. It partnered

with Modus Agency, an

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

award-winning digital innovation

consultancy, to develop a multiyear

plan focused on modernizing

PAYOMATIC’s legacy software

platforms. Modus’s Steven Mayotte

and his team worked on this plan and

developed a roadmap, working closely

with PAYOMATIC’s CIO and COO.

In 2013 Mayotte transitioned from

Modus to become Vice President for

IT at PAYOMATIC, and in 2015 he was

appointed CIO. It was a seamless

progression, he explains. “When I first

engaged with PAYOMATIC the company

faced problems that are familiar in the

retail and financial service space. With

150 locations, each one had a disparate

view of the customer and each

transaction was a function of that store.”

Each time a customer came in with

a check to cash, the customer service

representative (CSR), or teller at the

counter, had to take a risk on behalf of

the company, making decisions about

that customer and the issuer (‘maker’)

of the check – and underwrite that risk.

“If someone hit one location with a fraudulent

check they’d probably move on to

hit ten or 15 other stores because the

systems did not talk to one another.”

Another issue was that the stores

leverage distribution of around 15

121

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FinTech. MarTech. HealthTech.

Whatever your tech, it’s all really HumanTech.

Driven by innovation, design thinking, and a deep

understanding of human behavior, we create digital products

and experiences that businesses—and humans—love.

The HumanTech Company

modus-made.com


TECHNOLOGY

partner products. Each of these, like

PAYOMATIC’s largest partner for

remittances and international payments,

Western Union, has proprietary

procedures. “There were disparate

systems that tellers were expected to

know how to use, then enter back into

the main transactional systems, mostly

in real time. Losses from fraud and

teller error were high. The company

had not really evolved to make use of

the more modern technologies

available. We endeavored to build

a single source of truth for the customer,

as well as an online transactional

system that could integrate with every

third party in real time through application

programming interfaces (APIs).”

DIRECTED TO DIGITAL

This was an ambitious goal but an

essential first step in the digital journey,

he says – to consolidate data from the

customer, the maker, and all other

sources, create better analytics to

understand customer behavior, achieve

123

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Steven Mayotte

Steve Mayotte is responsible for building and

developing technology systems and

infrastructure for all the PAYOMATIC

businesses and for leading the company’s

digital transformation. He is responsible for

developing and implementing PAYOMATIC’s

information security strategy and data

engineering, analytics, and machine learning

strategy. Mayotte has more than 12 years of

experience in financial services and hightech

consulting. Prior to joining

PAYOMATIC, he served as Service

Delivery Manager for Modus Agency.

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PAYOMATIC

124

transparency into fraud patterns as

well as underwriting models, and align

these within the business so that

accurate information would be available

to its leadership for better decision

making. It had been tackled before in

the financial space, he acknowledges,

but having looked at existing platforms,

his team found that none of them

would fit PAYOMATIC’s unique hybrid

business model in the space between

retail and financial services.

Partnering with Modus Agency for

software development, a custom-written

platform known as TL2 was created that

can not only encompass the inventory

management and tracking of the product

(cash) but also recognize all of the

treasury functions required by the

Federal Reserve and the banking

system as well as multiple partner

systems. The new platform removed the

burden from 800 CSRs of working with

multiple platforms when completing

customer transactions, dramatically

reduced fraud losses and made it

much easier to manage the peaks

and troughs that the stores experience

on paydays, holidays and at

different times of day or night. “We

have seen dramatic cost savings and

efficiencies at every level,” says Mayotte.

“This platform

paved the way for us to automate

back-office processes and enhance the

in-store customer experience.”

Building on the success of new

transactional platform PAYOMATIC

turned its focus to data. From data

silos, the company has achieved data

democratization. “At first we leveraged

external partners to help us with data

warehousing and ETL processes, then

as our capabilities matured we hired a


TECHNOLOGY

“Migrating to

managed cloud

solutions lets

our team focus on

delivering

business value

rather than on

hosting and setup”


Steve Mayotte

Chief Information Officer,

PAYOMATIC

125

dedicated team internally focused on

data engineering. The team partnered

with analysts and built a platform

enabling on-demand data exploration

and reporting in our on-premise

infrastructure. As we’ve grown, the size

of our data continues to expand

exponentially. To deal with the problem

we are architecting our next generation

data platform running on the public

cloud.” Mayotte is looking at Tableau for

data visualization and Apache Hadoop

for large-scale data processing on the

public cloud. “Migrating to managed

cloud solutions lets our team focus on

delivering business value rather than

on hosting and setup.”

He’s proud of the way his staff has

been able to develop their skills and

learned how to leverage the efficiencies

presented by the public cloud. For

example, PAYOMATIC uses AWS

managed Kubernetes to run their

microservice workloads. “Previously

our deployment times weren’t bad but

they took the better part of a day running

a mixture of automated scripts, manual

procedures, and testing: now with our

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PAYOMATIC

126

investment in DevOps, continuous

integration, and continuous delivery we

can deploy our microservices workloads

to Production in minutes!” It’s especially

gratifying to him to have built a focused,

tight-knit team that has delivered results

like these when other companies

might have engaged Big Four consultants

costing millions of dollars.

These days, development teams

have a big tool chest they can raid. For

example, Terraform, the infrastructureas-a-service

(IaaS) tool from HashiCorp

has, Mayotte testifies, played a huge

“The organization,

having tackled

the behind-thescenes

technology

was ready to

start engaging

with customers

in a new channel”


Steve Mayotte

Chief Information Officer,

PAYOMATIC

part in the DevOps work of his teams,

enabling them to easily access Amazon

or other cloud resources.

Cybersecurity laws are evolving, he

points out, with New York being the

first state to publish financial service

sector information security regulations.

“Our CISO and his team are responsible

for security compliance and we use

IBM QRadar and other cloud-based

SIEM (security information and event

management) monitoring software tools

to detect cybersecurity attacks and

network breaches.” PAYOMATIC has

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

5mn +

Checks cashed

annually

1958

Year founded

1,000

Approximate number

of employees

127

invested scrupulously in tools and auditing

from a risk management perspective,

and is fully compliant with the New

York State Department of Financial

Services (NYS DFS) Part 500 cybersecurity

regulations for financial institutions.

INPOWER: CARD ON THE RUN

Two years ago, Payomatic started to

develop its hottest new offering,

a prepaid MasterCard that allows

Payomatic customers to pay bills,

withdraw money from an ATM, shop

online, or have paychecks and other

government checks like tax refunds

directly deposited, all without a traditional

bank account. The inPOWER

card, accredited to the highest PCI

Level 1 standard, has not been on the

market long, having been launched in

November 2018 but, linked to a new

mobile app it’s already transforming

customer engagement, he enthuses.

“The organization, having tackled the

behind-the-scenes technology was

ready to start engaging with customers

in a new channel – mobile.”

Payomatic partnered with a mobile

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PAYOMATIC

128

COMPANY FACTS

commerce specialist to identify the

highest value opportunities to transform

consumer experience and extend the

familiar store experience into the

digital world. Assigning a dedicated

product team, Stuzo researched the

customer base to produce a product

strategy and roadmap. The result

was a mobile app for iOS and Android

that launched with the inPOWER

card. “All of the services supporting

the mobile app run on AWS cloud.

The app’s initial features focus on

inPOWER customers with plans for

new products and features in 2019.

Early customer adoption has been

excellent. We are really excited about

mobile as an alternative distribution

channel to the stores. It gives us a much

closer relationship and understanding

of the customer and their behavior.”

Connecting the in-store experience

with the digital experience will be

his focus over the coming year, he

continues, adding features like staging

transactions, which are making it easier

to complete them in store or even ‘on

the run’ using mobile technology.

“Utility payments make up a large

portion of our bill pay-ment transac-

“We are really exc

about mobile as

an alternative

distribution chan

to the stores”


Steve Mayotte

Chief Information Officer,

PAYOMATIC

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

ited

nel

tion volume. Say a customer has been

saving up to pay multiple bills at the

month’s end. When they come to visit

a store there is a lengthy data entry

process to complete all their transactions.

Our vision is that customers

store their bills in our mobile app and

choose to process their payments

in-store or through the mobile app. ”

Steven Mayotte has a palpable

relish for his role as CIO of PAY-

OMATIC, which he says is not really

about technology so much as about

customer engagement. “Younger

customers would probably rather not

come into a store at all, but they are

always going to need our financial

services. My view is that we must

meet the customer wherever and

however they want to be met. We need

to be relevant to all our customers for

the next 30 years or more and the

technology is just serving to advance

that strategy.”

129

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130

CAMPUS-WIDE

TECHNOLOGY

TRANSFORMATION

WRITTEN BY

HARRY MENEAR

PRODUCED BY

CRAIG DANIELS

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

131

www.businesschief.com


BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY

132

BRIAN BOLT, DEPUTY CIO OF BOISE STATE

UNIVERSITY, DISCUSSES THE UNIQUE

CHALLENGES OF EFFECTING

TECHNOLOGICAL TRANSFORMATION IN

AN ENTERPRISE-SCALE EDUCATIONAL

INSTITUTION

F

or the most part, the days

when an employee would

graduate school or college,

secure a job, work for 30 years and

collect a commemorative watch have

gone the way of the stegosaurus, the

French Monarchy and Betamax. The

US Bureau of Labor found that, in 2018,

the median number of years wage and

salary workers spent in a single job

was just 4.2. Brian Bolt began working

at Boise State as a student employee

in 1997, and then as a full-time employee

in 1999. After leaving for a couple

years, Bolt returned and has been with

the University’s IT organization ever

since. He earned his MBA from Boise

State in 2006 and became Deputy

Chief Information Officer in 2015. His

long career in higher-ed IT allows for

an increasingly unique perspective as

an innovator and solutioner.

“I came to Boise to pursue a Bachelor’s

Degree. I built on my fondness for

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

133

computers and joined a pilot program

learning something that doesn’t exist

anymore called Novell NetWare,” he

reminisces. “It was basically a file and

print service. And that’s where I got my

start that led to a student employment

job on campus.” Bolt’s career with

Boise State has long outlived Novell

NetWare, which released its final update

in 2009. Over the course of his

20-year IT career he has been at the

heart of major changes to the campus’

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Protect your cloud, network, endpoints and campus through automation, analytics and integration.

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TECHNOLOGY

135

IT governance. We sat down with Bolt

to find out about the challenges of effecting

technological transformation

and change management across an

enterprise-scale higher learning institution,

and about Boise State’s current

plans to implement a campus-wide

Customer Relationship Management

(CRM) approach to use data analysis

to improve and maintain Boise’s university-student

relationships.

Located in the West of Idaho, Boise

State University was founded in 1932

by the Episcopal Church, becoming an

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BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY

136

independent junior college two years

later. In 2019, wwwwit has over 24,000

attendees and was reclassified in

2015 as a Carnegie doctoral research

university, as well as placing 45th on

the US News and World Report’s 2019

list of Most Innovative Universities. This

year is also on track to have the institution’s

largest first-year class in the

university’s history.

To manage the ever-growing student

body, Bolt and the rest of the Boise

State’s IT department are working

to begin the implementation of their

campus-wide CRM over the next year,

with incremental rollouts expected to

begin in late 2019. “We don’t yet have

a CRM for students that are in the

K-12 environment. They’re our future

pipeline if you’re looking at it from

a strictly sales point of view. And at the

other end of the spectrum, we have

programs at the university that cater to

the retirement community and ongoing

education. The lifespan of a customer

for us could be 60 years long,” explains

Bolt. “But right now, we only have a

CRM for the bookends of our lifecycle:

applicants and alumni. We have nothing

in between that manages the most

important part.” Managing IT governance

strategy at an enterprise-scale

educational institution presents its own

unique difficulties, particularly when

implementing campus-wide technology

transformation. Bolt reflects on

the challenges to be faced in order to

successfully roll out the CRM: “There’s

managing technology change in a very

disparate environment, learning how

to manage change rollouts, and also

being accepting of the fact that some

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

137

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Brian Bolt

Brian began his academic studies at Boise State in

1996 and started his IT career the following year.

After learning about the higher-ed environment as

a departmental Network Administrator, he moved to

the central IT office as a Systems Engineer. From

there, he progressed into management roles within

technical operations until founding the Project

Management Office in 2011. He currently serves

as Deputy CIO.

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BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY

138

“THE LIFESPAN OF

A CUSTOMER FOR US

COULD BE 60 YEARS

LONG, BUT RIGHT

NOW WE ONLY HAVE

A CRM FOR THE

BOOKENDS OF THAT

LIFECYCLE: APPLIC-

ANTS AND ALUMNI”


Brian Bolt,

Deputy Chief Information Office,

Boise State University

of the technologies we have may have

reached the end of their lifecycle.”

Over the course of his career at Boise,

Bolt has faced each of these challenges

and more.

Though his career at Boise State began

working with the Novell NetWare

operating system, by 2007 Bolt could

see that transformation and transition

were long overdue. “At one point

in time, universities were looked to as

leaders with regard to technology and

its adoption,” he says, “but I think in the

90s the corporate world started to get

ahead.” Technology, Bolt points out,

became more entrenched and slower

moving in academia. “So, we held

onto our Novell infrastructure for a lot

longer than the corporate world ever

did. Which is fine. It’s just kind of the

way that universities work, and there’s

a reason why universities have been

around for a long time. They’re typically

deliberate about their decision-making

process.” Boise’s relationship with

Novell came to an end as a result of

reduced reliability due to vendors not

being able to invest as much money in

maintenance updates. “We were probably

one of the last schools running

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TECHNOLOGY

CLICK TO WATCH: ‘MILLION DOLLAR SCHOLARS’

139

Novell’s technology,” he says. “It was

a dying technology that wasn’t being

maintained as well as it could be.”

Bolt reflects that the transition that

followed Boise leaving Novell behind

was one of the “big breaks” of his

career. “I received an invitation to the

Googleplex to learn about Google

Apps for Education. This was 2007,

remember,” he notes, “the early days.”

Bolt attended the Googleplex in 2007

to learn about the work being done

to bring Google apps to educational

institutions. Excited by the possibilities,

Bolt returned to Boise and pitched

the idea to management and IT “and

that was the first domino of removing

Novell from our environment.” He

laughs before admitting that “it was

kind of the Wild West of IT governance

back then. We kind of inflicted

change on campus, and the first year

afterwards was pretty rocky. We had

some people that were very satisfied

and some people that were really not.

We had rocked their world by taking

away their email client and calendaring

system they’d been using for ten years.”

The fallout from the implementation of

Google Apps taught Bolt valuable les-

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BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY

24,000+

Approximate number

of students

200+

Programs of study

140

1,135

Full time staff

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

141

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BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY

142

sons about the benefits of staggered

rollouts and pilot programs. “I learned

a lot about what happens after a project

goes live in a large, disparate organization

such as a higher-ed institution,” he

says. “If you’re afforded the opportunity

to start small and rollout incrementally,

that’s a good path to take.”

Bolt has worked with Boise State’s

current Chief Information Officer, Max

Davis-Johnson, since he joined the

university from Arizona State in 2010.

“Max was a game changer in terms

of how the university viewed technology

as more of a strategic partner

rather than just a cost center,” says

Bolt. Davis-Johnson was responsible

for implementing the university’s

Roadmap series of transformational

projects across campus. Excitedly,

Bolt says, “As a result of that, we got

a data warehouse off the ground, and

we implemented our first student and

faculty portal.” Then, he explains,

the IT department used these large

projects as a base on which to build

up its governance structure.

With either large-scale projects or

gradual transformation of IT governance

strategies, Bolt reasserts the

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

fact that technological transformation

across universities is about managing

the expectations and response

of diverse user groups. “Thankfully

we’re in 2019 now, and not in 2008,” he

says, reflecting on the overall level of

technological literacy. “Our faculty and

staff have become more adept at using

technology. I think ten years has made

a lot of difference.” On the other hand,

the expectations of students have

changed, influenced by a generation of

social media users and online consumers.

“Some of our applications and

systems had more of a legacy look and

feel,” didn’t provoke positive responses

from the student body. “They want to

see the stuff that provides convenience

more than anything else,” explains

Bolt. “And that takes us into the current

generation of thinking, which uses data

to provide that,” which is at the heart of

Boise’s new CRM.

“Right now, we have a task force in

place. We have a charge that’s been

given to us by three of the University’s

six Vice Presidents,” says Bolt. The

task force is exploring a unique approach

to the process, which took shape during

the department’s exploration of the

143

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BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY

144

solutions offered by Amazon Web

Services. “We decided to go down the

AWS route,” says Bolt, reflecting that

it took a year-and-a-half to unite the IT,

purchasing and legal departments in

support of “buying a commodity as a

service, not a capital investment.” He

laughs, “no kidding. So after eighteen

months, we had a signed contract with

AWS, which provided us a suite of tools

to use for new projects.” Once the

department had access to AWS, their

governance strategy took a note from

the academia playbook: “we work a

lot with faculty members that seek out

grant opportunities. Granting agencies,

such as National Institute of Health,

will put out a call for proposals along

the lines of ‘we have a need. Write your

response, and we may or may not give

you money to do the research’. We

decided to do something similar within

our own organization and call it a ‘call

for participation’.” The team drafted up

a call for participation, asking for applications

and solutions for AWS machine

learning and data lake storage. “The response

was interesting,” chuckles Bolt.

“We have seven participants from our

technology office, and the person who

“THERE’S A REASON

WHY UNIVERSITIES

HAVE BEEN AROUND

FOR A LONG TIME.

THEY’RE TYPICALLY

DELIBERATE ABOUT

THEIR DECISION-

MAKING PROCESS”


Brian Bolt,

Deputy Chief Information Office,

Boise State University

wanted to be our project manager was

actually our solutions architect, so he

really decided to stretch his skills.” He

reflects that, “one of the reasons why

this worked is that we had the business

unit say they wanted to be part of it as

well. They actually brought the problem

to us. They wanted to forecast demand

for the Summer sessions so that they

would know how many classes to

schedule and how many adjunct professors

to hire.” Regardless of the level

of success the project achieves, Bolt is

excited to both broaden the horizons

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

145

and skillsets of the participants, and

to use it as a springboard for the next

initiative: exploring applications for

Amazon Alexa. “It’s going to be done

by our Director of Development,” Bolt

says. “He wants to invest in Alexa skills

and figure out where those fit in our

environment, because smart speakers

are everywhere in our personal lives.

Trying to figure out where they best

fit in an educational environment is

definitely an interest.”

Of course, finding applications

for AWS and planning the rollout of

a campus-wide CRM are just two of

the many projects on Bolt’s desk. He

reflects that, “one of the biggest things

I’ve been involved with the past year

has been restarting our IT governance

structure. There’s not necessarily

a command and control model in

the university. So, when it comes to a

finite resource such as IT, we have a

lot of demands placed on us to deliver

x, y and z, and without structure as

to which large projects we should be

working on and where we’re going, the

gap in stakeholder support creates a

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BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY

146

fair amount of chaos.” To solve this,

over the past year Bolt and his committee

co-chair, Boise’s Dean of Extended

Studies, have put together a list of

large development projects. The system

has added structure, Bolt explains

that “getting that framework put into

place has been a good thing. It’s been

a year-long process to get that set up

and I think we’ll benefit from that. So

will the university. Because we’re working

on their goals. Not necessarily our

goals. And that’s hugely beneficial to

all parties.”

“It’s great that we have a scope for

what we want to deliver, an area we

want to deliver to, and a partner in

a particular school on campus that’s

willing to work with us,” he says. Bolt’s

team is currently in the procurement

phase. Hoping to learn from their

experiences with AWS, Bolt estimates

“we’ll shorten that process from 18

months down to a four-or-five-month

process. We’ve learned a lot, and I think

we’ve learned how to partner better

with areas on campus to expedite

things like this. So, we’re hoping to have

a technology and a path chosen by

early summer.

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TECHNOLOGY

147

“This has a chance of being a transformational

project for us because it

essentially creates a CRM with a very

long lifecycle.” The Boise State CRM

will manage student data, allowing the

university to “know how to best advise

its students by pulling information from

its systems of record. That can really

help us understand the entire makeup

of the individual,” says Bolt. Looking

back on a career of large technological

changes, incremental progress and

unique challenges, Bolt looks forward

to another exciting chapter in the his-

tory of an institution he knows like the

back of his hand. “Our challenges and

successes over the past ten years

have put us in a spot where we can be

successful with something as large as

a campus-wide CRM.”

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INFOR, USA

148

The Infor

OS Platform:

Leveraging an

API gateway

and data to

unlock human

potential

WRIT TEN BY

HARRY MENEAR

PRODUCED BY

CRAIG DANIELS

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

149

www.businesschief.com


INFOR, USA

We sit down with Joseph

Pascaretta and Massimo

Capoccia of Infor, USA to

talk about Infor OS, Infor ION,

Birst Analytics, Coleman AI

and Infor Data Lake.

150

I

was actually a customer of Infor before

I joined the organization,” remembers Joseph

Pascaretta, Vice President & General

Manager Infor OS at Infor, USA. “I liked it as an

organization so much that I joined the company.

It feels like a large start-up.” Massimo Capoccia,

Senior Vice President Infor OS, Technology confirms:

“I have a career where I’ve had the opportunity to

build a platform from scratch, from the beginning.

That has been an amazing journey.”

Between them, Pascaretta and Capoccia have

over 16 years’ experience at Infor. Headquartered

in New York and with 168 offices globally, as well as

over 15,000 employees serving 68,000 customers,

Infor is a global leader in business cloud software

products for companies in industry specific markets.

“We believe that data is really at the center of unleashing

human potential,” says Pascaretta. “We have

an Intelligent Cloud Digital Gateway: a way to be

able to bring all of that data together, but then allow

organizations to innovate effectively and quickly,

leveraging real tools and assets all delivered in

the Cloud.”

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TECHNOLOGY

151

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INFOR, USA

“I was actually

a customer of

Infor. I liked it

so much that

I joined the

organization”


Joseph Pascaretta,

Vice President & General Manager, Infor

152

From the Infor OS API gateway and

integration of third-party applications,

to its own Coleman Artificial Intelligence

(AI), to an infinitely scalable Data Lake,

Infor understands the necessity for

powerful machine learning systems

to handle the vast quantities of data

inherent to Industry 4.0. Infor is applying

machine learning to Big Data and

scaling it infinitely using the power

of cloud computing. Pascaretta notes

that the integration of data, AI and

cloud scalability is “the huge value

proposition of what we’re doing and

the major differentiator”. He adds:

“No other enterprise software organization

is doing what we’re doing. They’re

doing elements of it in pockets and silos,

but not all together as one integrated

platform solution delivered fully in

the Cloud.”

“Thinking about data as the critical

asset is really the foundation of all this,”

says Pascaretta. Traditionally, companies

store data in data warehouses

which filter all incoming data that has

already been processed for specific

purposes. “The first mistake that

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

enterprise organizations make when

you want to have data storage for

multiple person consumption is that

they think that the data warehouse is

the place to be,” notes Capoccia. “But

that’s actually what people were doing

five or 10 years ago.” With the everincreasing

quantities of data enterprises

are presented with, the necessary

approach Infor recognises is to pair

Big Data with AI applications. “If you

want to use the same data that has

been filtered for analytics for an AI

application, you’re going to miss a lot of

other types of data,” Massimo explains.

153

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Joseph Pascaretta

Joseph is Vice President & General Manager for

the Infor OS business unit where he is responsible

for global growth, business development and

strategic partnerships. During his career, Joseph

has held a number of business development,

business strategy, engineering, sales and

marketing roles in software and technology fields

and has been recognized as Ernst & Young

Entrepreneur of the Year for Product Solutions.

Joseph specializes in building businesses and

launching innovative new products and solutions.

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INFOR, USA

154

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Massimo Capoccia

An experienced and impassioned technology

executive, Massimo Capoccia specializes

in technology, software architectures, and

enterprise software strategy. He has built three

architectures and platforms from the ground-up

and understands the life-cycle management of

a software product. In his current role as Senior

Vice President Infor OS, Technology, he invests

his time meeting with customers and prospects,

discussing strategic value of software, and

supervising architecture development projects.

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

“We really believe in

offering complete solutions,

both on the platform and

on the application. So if

a functionality is not really

our core, we partner

with a third party”


Massimo Capoccia,

Senior Vice President Infor OS, Technology

155

“If you want to do an enterprise search,

you’re going to miss other types of

data as well. So, a data warehouse is not

complete, per se. You need a different

type of storage that allows you to store

structured and unstructured data all

together in a very cheap way.”

This is where Infor’s Data Lake comes

into play. “The Data Lake stays on

Amazon Web Services (AWS) AmazonS3

technology, which is available all

the time and is very cheap and scalable,”

Capoccia explains, adding that the Data

Lake stores “all the transactions, all the

market data, all the documents, all the

IoT readings”. “Everything you think of

when you think about data – it can go

there,” he adds. “From the Infor Data

Lake, we will integrate automatically

with a data warehouse. We have an

elastic search as well as an index, so

you can search the data warehouse

even built for indexing data like you

would do with a Google search.”

Infor ensures the security of its Data

Lake using its proprietary security

platform. “We have a huge investment

in security,” says Massimo. “We provide

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TECHNOLOGY

CLICK TO WATCH: MASSIMO CAPOCCIA, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT

INFOR OS, TECHNOLOGY - INTRODUCTION TO INFOR OS

157

a single sign-on, user management,

and permission management platforms.”

Traditionally, there is a danger of gaps

in security appearing between a core

platform and third-party software,

but Infor prides itself on the degree to

which its OS integrates with third-party

applications. “Even if you would build

an application on top of Infor, maybe an

AOI platform, it would still respect the

security,” Capoccia notes.

Once Infor has gathered a customer’s

data, its AI and analytics services

come into play. “Being able to consume

“You need

a different type

of storage that

allows you

to store structured

and unstructured

data all together

in a very

cheap way”


Massimo Capoccia,

Senior Vice President Infor OS, Technology

www.businesschief.com


INFOR, USA

COMPANY FACTS

•●19 of the top 20

aerospace companies

•●9 of the top 10

high tech companies

● •●18 of the 25 largest

US healthcare

delivery networks

•●18 of the 20 largest

US cities

158

•●19 of the top 20

automotive suppliers

•●17 of the top 20

industrial distributors

•●15 of the top 20

global retailers

•●4 of the top 5 brewers

•●17 of the top 20

global banks

•●9 of the 10 largest

global hotel brands

•●8 of the top 10

global luxury brands

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

and leverage analytics and business

intelligence across all of an enterprise’s

back-end systems is definitely key,”

says Pascaretta. “So we leverage our

Infor Birst Analytics platform that is

designed to optimize complex business

processes. The idea is that it’s

faster time to value and it’s deployed

in the cloud. So once you have that

data together, being able to see into

the data and leverage analytics and

business intelligence around it is

definitely critical.”

Named after the inspiring physicist

and mathematician Katherine Coleman

Johnson, whose trail-blazing

work helped NASA land on the moon,

Infor’s Coleman AI platform represents

a giant leap for artificial intelligence

at scale. This platform allows users

to retrieve, analyse and leverage data into

business decisions such as preventative

maintenance, inventory optimization

and inventory predictions. The Infor

Coleman AI platform also recognizes

patterns in behavior to help businesses

automate processes like purchasing.

“Every time multiple users ask a question,

we’ll apply machine learning to optimize

the answers back to the users,” Capoc-

159

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INFOR, USA

INFOR, USA

$3.1bn+

Approximate

revenue

2002

Year founded

160

15,000+

Approximate number

of employees

“We really believe in offering complete

solutions, both on the platform and on

the application. So if a functionality is

not really our core, we partner with a

third party,” says Capoccia.

“HCL Technologies is another one of

our great strategic partners, not only

from an implementation side but also

for next generation digital transformation

engineering and delivery,” Pascaretta

adds. He explains that HCL

provides customer-specific engineercia

explains. Coleman’s automation

services also extend to ordering and

invoicing. To transfer paper invoices to

a digital format for Coleman, Infor has

partnered with Ephesoft for its ocular

character recognition (OCR) needs.

With such a strong focus on proprietary

software, Infor draws a sharp

divide between high investment, high

focus in-house products and the use of

trusted third-party partners also

working on the cutting edge of tech.

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

161

ing expertise when a client wants “to

take their technology to the next level”.

The two companies first partnered in

2015, with HCL dedicating hundreds of

employees to support Infor.

2019 will be an exciting year for Infor,

Pascaretta and Capoccia agree. The

Infor Data Lake will have a global

compliance platform built on top of its

existing security systems, and new

features on Coleman AI are set to

launch, as well as Infor OS support for

external users. “Once you have data,

being able to unleash and innovate -

that’s a key thing to what we’re

providing,” Pascaretta concludes.

www.businesschief.com


162

WRIT TEN BY

ANDREW WOODS

PRODUCED BY

TOM VENTURO

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

163

www.businesschief.com


CHOICE FINANCIAL

We speak to CIO Tim Heilman at

Choice Financial regarding its

recent technological innovations

that place people front and center

164

T

here is a certain tale that typifies

Choice Bank, according to its Chief

Brand and Innovation Officer, Tim

Heilman. “We had a customer call one of our

locations, simply needing to run to the bank

to do a deposit; I believe the account was

overdrawn,” Heilman explains. “However, this

customer had run out of gas on his way to the

bank and so he was simply calling the bank

to say: ‘You’re not going to believe this but

I am on my way to see you, and now my car’s

out of gas.’ I think the typical response from

a bank would be something like, ‘Oh, we

apologize, that’s too bad. Just run that check

in whenever you can.’ However, the employee

said, ‘Where are you at? I will be right there.’

The employee went straight to the customer,

took receipt of his check, and actually delivered

some gas to get his car started, so he could

go about his day. People first, banking second,”

he summarizes.

People First is an enduring mantra for the

North American community bank. Headquartered

in North Dakota, Choice is a financial

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

165

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CHOICE FINANCIAL

166

“This isn’t banking first:

it’s whatever you’re

shopping for, or

whatever you’re

doing, that initiates

a desire or a need

for banking”


Tim Heilman,

Chief Brand and Innovation Officer,

Choice Bank

institution that prides itself on a communal

responsibility and personal touch.

Heilman often describes the company

has having a family feel – and the loyalty

this engenders has kept him at the

company for the past 15 years, where

he has seen the bank grow immensely

since its founding in 2001. Choice is

the result of a merger involving four

local banks: Citizens State Bank Grafton-

Petersburg (with locations in Grafton

and Petersburg), First Capital Bank of

North Dakota (with locations in West

Fargo and Goodrich), First State Bank

Langdon and Walhalla State Bank.

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

167

Each local bank was known for its

strong community banking culture and

it’s clear that Choice Bank has kept this

up as a sum of those parts.

PEOPLE FIRST

Heilman is in charge of the bank’s

technological solutions and his enthusiasm

is infectious. “I am in charge of

the overall brand for the organization.

Choice is a community bank and forwardthinking

in the technological sense so

we blended that together in People First.

We truly put people before banking. We

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CHOICE FINANCIAL

168

have created an atmosphere of empowering

employees to do things that go

above and beyond what a typical

banking experience would be. That

is our focus.”

Heilman has been involved in a lot of

technological changes at Choice since

he took on the role. The North Dakota

native has overseen and directly led

numerous IT operations, with his role

evolving to include brand marketing

and innovation. “My role allows me to

really focus in on communication,” he

explains. “Externally, we are building

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

some great community involvement

pieces where we take a truly philanthropic

approach, when it comes to

giving back to our community. Obviously,

that’s a responsibility of a community

bank, but we really like to show in

big ways how we can make those differences

to people’s lives in the communities

we serve. I want to have genuine,

authentic relationships and be able to

serve customers with value-add services

that are not expected or typically delivered

by a bank. Part of what we’re doing

internally is the initiative I call ‘being

philanthropic’. Instead of adding five

more banking locations in a specific

community, we might partner with

a handful of other community leaders

to help build something that the communities

can actually use. We’d rather

do that than have a lavish facility; it just

isn’t that important to us. We’d rather

give back to our communities.”

Choice has recently reinvigorated an

initiative to get children interested in

personal finance and savings called

Adventure Club, which incentivizes kids

to save. “If you empower your children

to make their own decisions, they might

actually impress you with what they 169

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Tim Heilman

Tim Heilman joined Choice Financial in 2004 where he started

as a single IT department. Through the years, Tim’s role has

expanded into executive leadership and currently serves as

EVP, Chief Brand and Innovation Officer. Tim’s leadership

has guided Choice to be a leading edge innovator in

community banking technologies, and an early adopter

of IP technology and online account opening. He has

successfully guided Choice through multiple software

and system conversions and several other organizational

initiatives. Tim believes in the concept of high tech and

high touch, and above all else the importance of

great culture and great service.

www.businesschief.com


CHOICE FINANCIAL

EMPOWERING

the Financial World

At FIS, we provide the technology

and solutions to allow financial

institutions of all sizes to empower

their customers, their transactions,

and their business.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW FIS CAN

EMPOWER YOU, VISIT www.fisglobal.com

decide to do with their money,” Heilman

explains. “The solution has an app

that the child and parents both share

on their own devices. You can create

goals, objectives, rewards; it could be

anything that the parent and children

agree on. Once those goals and rewards

are set and achieved, then the money

slides from the parent account to the

child, which is instantaneous within the

app. Apple Pay is tied to it, and it has

real time notifications of what the child

is spending their money on. We also

have a company working out of San

Francisco that does HSAs (health

savings accounts) in what has been

a two-year relationship.” Every one of

Choice’s fintech partners has to be

a cultural fit, first, offering a product the

bank firmly believes in.

INTERNAL OPERATIONS

2009 represented a seismic shift at

Choice when its internal communications

became audio-visual. “It’s been

a 10-year transition,” Heilman explains.

“In fact, before that, in 2006 we switched

everything to full-on voice-over IP.

I think the biggest shift for us, and the

biggest opportunity we have taken

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

171

“Again, we’re using

a lot of Cisco

equipment but we

do have other vendors

in the back that are

helping us monitor the

network very closely”


Tim Heilman,

Chief Brand and Innovation Officer,

Choice Bank

advantage of, with technology, involves

the ability to communicate. Geographically,

we are quite spread out across

two states, and people that work with

others on a daily basis now have

the ability to see who they’re talking

to at any given time. There’s nothing

better than a face-to-face, in-person

discussion.”

A new employee receives a video

phone on day one so they can start

building relationships with other team

members. “This has made an organization

with close to 400 employees feel

like a small, intimate and authentic

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CHOICE FINANCIAL

172

organization,” Heilman explains. “I’ve

been really proud of how it’s brought

people closer together.” Choice’s

vendor of choice is Cisco which takes

care of all of the network, infrastructure

and security at the bank. “We’re using

a lot of Cisco equipment but we do have

other vendors in the back that are helping

us monitor the network very closely.”

Video communication, they like to

call video collaboration, has allowed

the bank to build greater bonds after

a number of acquisitions. Choice is

committed to keeping people in jobs

during acquisitions, a time when

typically 30% of staff can be laid off

right out of the gate. “Our goal, commensurate

with our culture, is to not lay

anybody off, and we’ve now done three

acquisitions,” says Heilman. “Plus, the

cultural shift (following an acquisition)

can take three to five years to sync up

when you bring two organizations together

and video collaborations really

help to reduce that timeframe.”

Choice views its fintech vendors,

such as Cisco, with the same value as

its customers and they work together

through those situations that need to

be fixed, or tricky installations that

require collaboration. “Collaboration

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

173

gets results,” says Heilman. “So, I think

maintaining the relationships and constantly

seeing if there’s some reciprocating

value that we can give back and

forth always goes a long way.”

FINTECH

Regarding the fintech side of Choice’s

operations Heilman is proud to be building

Banking-as-a-Service. “For about

two years now, we’ve gotten into what

we like to call Banking as a Service. If

you have a really good idea that can improve

banking, or you have a way to

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CHOICE FINANCIAL

174

“PeopleFirst is

what makes our

organization come

together. We have

true purpose in

defining why we do

what we do, and not

just what we do”


Tim Heilman,

Chief Brand and Innovation Officer,

Choice Bank

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

reinvent banking and the experience

that surrounds it, then we’d love to talk to

you. We started that process a couple of

years back.”

Heilman enthuses about frictionless banking,

which he sees as shaping the very future of

fintech. “This isn’t banking first: it’s whatever

you’re shopping for, or whatever you’re doing,

that initiates a desire or a need for banking.

It’s where we kind of come along for the ride,”

he explains. “That’s currently being built into

an existing system that’s already successful

to provide a service that way. It’s another

area that I see banking, as an industry, expanding

into. As far as growth strategies, and

what’s over the horizon, that’s typically what

I’m seeing. We’re also going to work with

a company in Sydney, Australia, which is getting

a product developed that incorporates AI into

mobile banking. It’s almost a personal finance

coach and that’s where I see things going.”

And It’s this rich combination of technology,

fintech and people that will see Choice Bank

continuing to grow across the everchanging

financial landscape.

175

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176

Protecting

companies on

their digital

transformation

journeys

WRITTEN BY

SOPHIE CHAPMAN

PRODUCED BY

CRAIG DANIELS

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

177

www.businesschief.com


DIMENSION DATA

As a supplier to Fortune

100 firms, Dimension

Data continues

to expand its digital

offerings to a variety

of industries

178

G

lobal system integrator – Dimension Data’s

operations span across 47 markets on

five continents. The company employs

more than 28,000 people and serves over 8,000

clients, and as a member of Japan’s Nippon

Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) Group, services

70% of Fortune 100 and 60% of Fortune 500

businesses. Dimension Data was established in the

South African capital city, Johannesburg, in 1983.

The company listed on the Johannesburg Stock

Exchange four years later, with international

expansion beginning in 1993 into the firm’s first

international market, Botswana. In the following

years the business reached the Asia Pacific region,

followed by the northern hemisphere. At the turn

of the century, Dimension Data listed on the

London Stock Exchange, raising raised US$1.25bn.

As the company continued to grow it won over

100 client, vendor, and industry awards in 2015,

and over 50 in the first half of the following year.

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

179

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DIMENSION DATA

180

‘We are one of their

largest global partners

with a shared heritage

spanning more than

25 years – and we have

Gold Partner status in

every region in which

we jointly operate’


Dimension Data

The company currently operates in

29 cities across 15 states in the US,

and partners with the some of the

largest global companies based in the

country, such as Cisco. “Cisco is the

worldwide leader in networking for the

Internet since 1984, and today, more

than 85% of all Internet traffic travels

across Cisco’s systems,” Dimension

Data states. “We are one of their

largest global partners with a shared

heritage spanning more than 25 years

– and we have Gold Partner status

in every region in which we jointly

operate.” Dimension Data has also

established Gold Partner status with

Microsoft in 21 countries and Titanium

Partner status with Dell EMC. US firms

such as NetApp, McAfee, and Oracle

have also partnered with the IT services

provider. In 2015, the company also

partnered with the Amaury Sports

Organisation (ASO), agreeing to

a five-year deal to be the technology

partner of for cycling events. As part of

the agreement, the company provides

telemetrics for the sports.

The firm aims to use technology to

accelerate the business of its clients,

targeting four key areas within its

services: digital infrastructure, hybrid,

cloud, workspaces of tomorrow, and

cybersecurity. Dimension Data noticed

the growth of IT-as-a-service across

these four sectors, allowing the

business to cover a range of offerings

from cloud advisory services to

on-premise cloud solutions. Due to its

work with both public and private cloud

computing, the company’s operations

are defined as hybrid cloud services.

The company has a holistic approach

towards its clients – from consulting

engagement to the management of IT

operations. Dimension Data also offers

what it dubs “omnichannel customer

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

CLICK TO WATCH: ‘WHO’S DIMENSION DATA?’

181

experience”, covering mobile, digital,

physical, Internet of Things (IoT),

automation, bots, virtual agents, video

and artificial intelligence (AI). “It’s

this frictionless switching between

channels that defines the omnichannel

experience… Our Omnichannel CX

works with you to get measurable

results in terms of winning new customers,

retaining existing customers,

improving productivity, and reducing

cost to serve.”

As well as its wide range of offerings,

the company’s technology solutions

have been designed for a variety of

industries – education, financial

services, healthcare, manufacturing,

media and communications, pharmaceutical,

retail and sport, stating: “We

offer broad technology expertise in

a range of verticals. Combined with

our strategic partnerships and robust

services portfolio, we can help you

achieve your digital transformation

objectives … Whether you’re an

educational institution, a manufacturer,

or a healthcare provider, we can

ensure your IT platforms and services

www.businesschief.com


TECHNOLOGY

‘The company’s technology solutions have

been designed for a variety of industries –

education, financial services, healthcare,

manufacturing, media and communications,

pharmaceutical, retail and sport’

Team Dimension Data sponsors a professional cycling team partnered with Qhubeka, a charity

programme in South Africa that aims to fund 5000 bicycles each year to help children attend

schools and adults to attend work. The team boasts Mark Cavendish in its ranks, a former

World Champion and winner of an incredible 30 stages of the Tour de France.

183

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DIMENSION DATA

184

‘Security is enabling

digitization. If you

look at fintech or

technology businesses,

they are leading

this charge’


Dimension data

are fit for purpose and future proof.”

For Dimension Data, cybersecurity is

becoming an increasingly profitable

business. “Cyber-attacks abound in

the digital age. Digital transformation

and hybrid IT are pushing security

perimeters off premises, into the cloud,

and into the workplace. As a result,

enforcing cybersecurity policies is

more complex than ever,” states the

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

1983

Year founded

28,000+

Approximate number

of employees

HQ

Johannesburg,

South Africa

company. The firm’s moto of “risk less,

achieve more” allows customers to

continue to embrace ongoing developments

and ensure their operations are

secure. The company offers a range of

solutions, including formulated policies,

predictive protection, and assessments

and responses. “Security is

and always will be big business. Big

dollar figures are quoted in terms of

what cybersecurity is doing to the world.

Security is enabling digitisation. If you

look at fintech or technology businesses,

they are leading this charge. Many

of these businesses are asset light,

whilst ensuring secure transactions,

so we think that security expands

beyond the physical perimeter into

the cloud environment.”

Dimension Data promises to enable

clients to keep up-to-date with new

technologies, tackling cybersecurity,

data and the cloud, and infrastructure.

“We deliver wherever you are, at every

stage of your technology journey,” the

company promises. “We invest heavily

in innovation to bring together the

world’s best technologies, from consulting,

technical and support services to

a fully managed service, to our global

client base.”

185

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INNOVATION

186

HELPS DRIVE

SUPPLY CHAIN

PRODUCTIVITY

WRIT TEN BY

JOHN O’HANLON

PRODUCED BY

DENITRA PRICE

MARCH 2019


SUPPLY CHAIN

187

www.businesschief.com


HYSTER

188

HYSTER COMPANY

IS POSITIONING ITSELF

TO MEET SEISMIC

CHANGES IN THE

WAREHOUSING AND

MATERIAL HANDLING

INDUSTRY. WE SPEAK

TO GIJO GEORGE,

BUSINESS UNIT

DIRECTOR FOR FOOD

AND BEVERAGE

A

ppointing Gijo George as

its first ever Business Unit

Director for Food and Beverage

was part of a wider Hyster Company

strategy to focus on a cultivating

a deeper understanding of the unique

challenges of key industry segments

and help influence marketing initiatives

and product development.

George is a seasoned supply chain

veteran, bringing to his newly-created

role not only 20 years of procurement

leadership, but also a deep knowledge

MARCH 2019


SUPPLY CHAIN

189

from a customer perspective – as

a Hyster national account customer

for 11 years. “I was a very active

customer, too,” he asserts. “Pursuing

innovative solutions for the business.

Hyster approached me to join their

marketing group because I had that

customer perspective on the food

and beverage side.”

THE CUSTOMER’S PERSPECTIVE

As a major cold storage and warehousing

company with more than 170 global

locations, the world’s largest cold chain

solutions provider faced some very

specialized material handling issues.

Warehouses that operate at -20

degrees put material handling equipment

under extreme stress: steel

becomes brittle, batteries lose power,

fluids become viscous.

“It was my job as a procurement

professional to cultivate a strong

supplier relationship. Hyster became

one of the preferred suppliers at that

time. Cold storage warehouses are

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HYSTER

190

among the most challenging warehouse

environments, mainly due to

condensation and the need for driver

comfort,” he says, “and Hyster has

become a serious competitor in the

sub-zero space.”

A good example is the new Class III

End Rider – designed with a variety of

industry-exclusive and best-in-class

ergonomic enhancements and productivity-enhancing

Smart features to help

operations boost labor efficiency and

increase throughput in order picking,

unloading and other warehouse tasks.

It was awarded “2018 Product of the

Year” by Material Handling Product News.

Hyster Company continues to apply

its expertise and customer feedback

from a broad global install base to

develop innovative solutions that build

on its reputation for strong, durable

equipment while integrating intelligent

software capabilities to help operations

meet increasingly demanding

productivity goals.

TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP

As in any industry requiring capital

investment in specialized equipment,

there is a temptation, especially among

smaller food and beverage operators,

to make purchase decisions based

“Hyster has

become

a serious

competitor

in the subzero

space”


Gijo George,

Business Unit Director for Food

and Beverage, Hyster

MARCH 2019


SUPPLY CHAIN

CLICK TO WATCH: ‘HYSTER: TOUGH AND RESOURCEFUL’

191

solely on price. Gijo George is a passionate

evangelist for the concept of total

cost of ownership (TCO) that reveals

the broader decisions facing a CPO.

“It’s our strategy to work very closely

with our customers to help them manage

their balance sheet.” For example, the

emphasis on operator comfort addressed

by the end rider can positively

impact broader labor issues prevalent

in many warehousing operations.

Recruiting and retaining skilled labor is

increasingly a challenge. With record

low unemployment, labor has become

a scarce and valuable resource. Some

statistics show productivity falling by as

much as 14% since 2013 and turnover

rates around 30% have been recorded

in ambient warehouses (60% in cold

stores). Average onboarding costs for a

skilled operator stand at around $10,000.

“Hyster is addressing the issue on

two fronts: focusing on robust telematics

solutions to measure performance

and productivity while engineering

ergonomic solutions to help improve

operator comfort and reduce potential

fatigue. We have some of the most

comfortable platforms in the industry,

designed to help minimize fatigue

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HYSTER

192

and absorb shock and vibration in a

multitude of operating environments.”

CLEVER COMFORT

Warehouses are not normally well-lit at

the picking point. The new Hyster End

Rider series of lift trucks have industryexclusive

LED platform lights to provide

operator awareness in low light or

congested areas and the LED fork

lights offer in-trailer illumination,

helping raise pedestrian awareness,

can reduce product damage and help

increase the bottom line.

The lift trucks also incorporate an

‘Intelligent’ suite of solutions providing

improved productivity, load stability

and ergonomics. An optional extended

operator platform provides more usable

foot space than the leading competitors,

allowing operators to adjust stance

to provide postural relief. The Ultra

Cushion reduces shock and vibration

to improve operator comfort and

provide steady footing.

George involves the financial leadership

to explain the real cost benefits of

such equipment. Acquisition costs are

MARCH 2019


SUPPLY CHAIN

balanced against operational costs,

end-of-life costs and labor costs. “I aim

to give the total picture; a better appreciation

of the decision they are about to

make - and for our current customers

we point out that trucks become more

expensive with every year that passes.

They can consider minimal technology

investments such as telemetry that

can be added onto older trucks. This

gives visibility into the way the truck is

operating and the ability to measure

and manage those costs. Our dedicated

fleet management organization works

as consultants and advisors to our

193

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Gijo George

Gijo brings over twenty years of experience in Procurement,

Supply Chain, Sales, and IT Applications. He currently

leads the Global Procurement function, responsible for

both Direct and Indirect supporting 170+ facilities. He has

extensive experience in Capital Expenditure Projects such

as construction, automation, assets and systems upgrades

and renovation as well as Goods and Services Procurement

for categories like Energy, Consumables, Contingent

Labor, etc. Prior to Americold, Gijo worked for Rock-Tenn,

The Home Depot, The Hackett Group, GeP, and consulted

for several Fortune 500 companies.

www.businesschief.com


HYSTER

STEEL

THAT

SUPPORTS

THE

WORLD

From our beginning in 1907, through our incorporation as

Steel of West Virginia, Inc. in 1982, to the present as a

wholly-owned subsidiary of Steel Dynamics, Inc., we have

had a long tradition of product innovation and process

improvement. As an ISO 9001:2015 certified manufacturer,

we continue to expand and improve our manufacturing

capabilities and production efficiencies. For our customers,

this means we will always be the low-cost, high-quality

producer.

Our structural steel sections are produced from electric furnace steel, continuously

cast and hot rolled on highly specialized mills. We produce special shapes

as well as standard beams, channels and MC channels. We also produce flat

bars at the newly acquired SWVA-Kentucky rolling mill. These products are

used by a wide range of OEM customers, including industrial truck and truck

trailer manufacturers, rail, off highway equipment, guardrail, solar energy, and

shipbuilding companies. We also have fabricating and processing capabilities,

both at SWVA, Inc. and at our subsidiaries Marshall Steel, Inc. and Steel Ventures,

Inc. SWVA, Inc. has been a long time supplier of forklift mast sections

and hanger bars to Hyster-Yale. It has been a true partnership as our team

designs our manufacturing systems to take care of this valued customer’s

needs. We look forward to continuing our partnership well into the future!

MARCH 2019

CALL US TODAY

1 (800) 624-3492

www.swvainc.com


SUPPLY CHAIN

accounts in order to streamline and

manage those costs.”

Hyster sale teams are also equipped

to support smaller customers that are

not ready to invest in large-scale fleet

enhancement. They may not realize

that they can adopt the latest and most

appropriate electric, lithium-ion, hydrogen

fuel cell or gas-powered units

without heavy capital investment. “We

have designed pay-per-use models

that make it economically feasible for

a ten-truck customer to take advantage

of a hydrogen fuel cell solution

that would yield 20% to 30% power

gain and 10% to 15% productivity gains

just from not having to refuel so much

and the resultant downtime.”

Gijo George spends a lot of his time

traveling the North American market to

learn at first hand what his customers

in different industries really want. Its

stakeholders, he has found, share the

Hyster vision of an ecologically and

economically sustainable end-to-end

supply chain. “We deploy a number of

strategies to collect customer feedback

and identify their pain points.

At the same time, as an organization

with manufacturing facilities globally,

“We have some

of the most

comfortable

platforms in

the industry,

designed to

help minimize

fatigue and

absorb shock

and vibration

in a multitude

of operating

environments”


Gijo George,

Business Unit Director for Food

and Beverage, Hyster

195

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HYSTER

we leverage the expertise and experience

of our best suppliers and solicit

opportunities to work with them to add

value to the product.”

196

CUBES TO LAKES

Fluctuations in the U.S. and global

steel economies are another factor

that affects the thinking of equipment

manufacturers. George maintains close

contact with his financial, procurement

and IT counterparts to focus on solutions

that make best economic sense while

optimizing lead times. “We utilize a lot

of just-in-time data management and

data mining tools, moving us from ‘data

MARCH 2019


SUPPLY CHAIN

cubes’ to data lakes which can swallow

the input costs, global price indices,

tariffs, tax information and the like, to

enable the best solutions and the best

decision making across the business.”

By focusing on the food and beverage

customers, Gijo George sits at the heart

of the business. After all, this fast

evolving, population-driven sector will

never decline, and Hyster is positioned

as a key player in its development.

A characteristic of operations in this

space is that they have purchased

piecemeal in the past, ending up with

a stable of equipment from different

suppliers. “Over time our customers

acquired different brands of equipment.

Another aspect of my job is to help them

understand how our brand is differentiated

in the market and educate them on

the TCO (total cost of ownership) that

they would be returning to the business.”

197

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Delivering

sustainability

through a

198

supply chain

transformation

WRIT TEN BY

DALE BENTON

PRODUCED BY

ARRON RAMPLING

MARCH 2019


SUPPLY CHAIN

199

www.businesschief.com


EMMERSON PACKAGING

SERGE CORRIVEAU, VICE PRESIDENT

OF SUPPLY CHAIN AT EMMERSON

PACKAGING, EXPLORES HOW

THE COMPANY’S SUPPLY CHAIN

TRANSFORMATION DELIVERS ON

ITS SUSTAINABILITY GOALS

200

A

cross the modern business landscape,

the perception of procurement and

supply chain management is undergoing

a dramatic transformation. Traditionally viewed as

a business support function and merely a cost

center, businesses all over the world are currently

investing into their supply chains as a recognition

that it is now viewed as a true business enabler. For

Emmerson Packaging, one of the leading flexible

packaging solutions providers in North America,

the supply chain has been built into the company’s

core operations since it was founded back in 1956.

For Serge Corriveau, Vice President of Supply

Chain, the supply chain management function of

Emmerson Packaging is the ‘WD40’ of the business.

“We’re like a machine and as long as we’re well oiled,

everything works and the business can continue to

be successful,” he says. “My motto is be brilliant, be

brief and be gone. If we’re not moving, innovating

and changing in a particular part of the business

then we look at that as a missed opportunity.”

Corriveau joined the business in 2013, initially

MARCH 2019


SUPPLY CHAIN

201

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EMMERSON PACKAGING

202

“WE’RE LIKE A MACHINE

AND AS LONG AS

WE’RE WELL OILED,

EVERYTHING WORKS

AND THE BUSINESS

CAN CONTINUE TO BE

SUCCESSFUL”


Serge Corrivea,

Vice President of Supply Chain,

Emmerson Packaging

working as a business analyst before

being given the role of change management

lead for a new SAP system

implementation. The implementation

of SAP provided the opportunity for

Emmerson Packaging to transform

its supply chain vertical. “Once the

model was presented, our CEO asked

me if I would like to lead the charge

in implementing the changes,” he says.

“I accepted the challenge and the rest

is history.”

The new supply chain vertical consists

of five departments within Emmerson

Packaging including warehousing, logistics,

purchasing, production planning

and customer service. The customer

service department was added to the

supply chain vertical in early 2018.

“Customer satisfaction is dependent on

the supply chain, so this recent addition

made perfect sense,” Corriveau says.

“Customer service is a fundamental

part of any successful business and

its very important in the supply chain

because it’s the source of customer

information, it provides the customer

with real-time information on product

availability and distribution operations,”

he says. “These departments

are particularly important in ensuring

MARCH 2019


SUPPLY CHAIN

CLICK TO WATCH: ‘EMMERSON PACKAGING ON MARITIME MADE’

203

a seamless supply chain and by overseeing

all five departments it ensures we

can support the overall strategy of the

business.” Corriveau had previously

worked with automotive giants Hyundai

and Kia and was familiar with working

in a large-scale company with “tons of

resources and a very strict structure”.

But as Emmerson Packaging set about

building a supply chain vertical, Corriveau

realized that enhanced inventory planning

and control was required. “The first

step before anything could be achieved

was to look at data, create and track

KPIs and make changes along the way in

order to reach a state of control,” he says.

“Once we reache that level of control,

you can step back and trust the team to

deliver. If something was to go sideways

then we’d react properly because we

are in control and being proactive. Clear

communication internally and externally

is so important”.

With data monitoring and KPIs

established, Emmerson Packaging

created an element of control over

inventory management and established

the same level of control over

logistics and purchasing. “Control

means making everything resource

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That’s why we’ve

joined Project STOP.

NOVA Chemicals is a Strategic

Partner in Project STOP, a global

initiative that brings corporations and

governments together to keep plastic

from reaching the world’s rivers and

oceans through the development

of waste collection services and

a recycling supply chain.

The immediate focus of that effort

is the countries of Southeast Asia,

where fast-growing economies

mean the demand for products

packaged in plastic are outpacing

governments’ abilities to meet the

challenge of waste management.

At NOVA Chemicals we’re

passionate about sustainability.

That’s why, along with investing

in Project STOP, we’re engaged in

R&D work focused on developing

packaging solutions that support

a circular economy.

We’re proud to play a key role

in Project STOP and its crucial

efforts to build a better future.

novachemicals.com

Copyright NOVA Chemicals Corp. 2019, all rights reserved.


Imagine a

future without

marine plastic

pollution.

It starts with making more plastics recyclable.

There is growing awareness and concern

about marine plastic pollution—and there’s

an increasing determination to put an end to it.

One part of the solution is Project STOP, a joint initiative

started in 2017 by SYSTEMIQ and Borealis to help stop

the flow of plastics and other materials into the world’s

rivers and oceans.

Another part of the solution is to further develop

infrastructure to collect and recycle plastic packaging,

especially in the world’s fast-developing nations.

Of course, that also requires making plastic goods,

particularly plastic packaging, more recyclable to

support a circular economy that puts more recycled

plastics into new products—and less into places

where they don’t belong.

Initiatives like Project STOP will test and develop new

solutions with the potential to seriously slow—and

eventually eliminate—the flow of plastics into the world’s

oceans. Together with work to develop more recycling

and recovery technologies and more recyclable products,

we can realize the promise of a circular economy.

Below are some emerging trends that are yielding

promising results.

More applications for recycled plastic material.

The plastics industry is investing in research and

development centered around technology for creating

“clean” recycled polyethylene and incorporating it into

finished products with performance comparable to

100% virgin plastic.

Simpler is better for the environment.

Many food packages are made with a mix of materials,

making them difficult to recycle. Companies are now

working with their suppliers to eliminate foil, nylon and

other materials and move to single-material, recyclable

flexible film structures.

The bottom line: Recyclable plastic

packaging has value as recyclate,

adding an incentive to implement new

waste collection and recycling systems

that can go a long way toward keeping

plastics out of the world’s oceans.

The more flexible, the smaller the footprint.

Replacing traditional materials like cans, glass and

cardboard with flexible plastic packaging significantly

reduces packaging volume, reducing the carbon

footprint during production and shipping.

One-piece closures for easier recyclability.

Another important trend is the shift from two-piece,

mixed-material closures to one-piece, recyclable

closures in beverage and other containers.

What about

food waste?

Advances in package integrity—

improved barrier, toughness and seal

—in polyethylene-based flexible film

structures help improve package integrity

and extend shelf life. That means less food

is spoiled, which reduces landfill waste

and even more importantly, helps to

address world hunger. It’s a win-win.


EMMERSON PACKAGING

206

based,” Corriveau says. “Data is key

there as it cannot be disputed. We

break each department down into

pieces and work through it one piece

at a time and it’s been a successful

strategy for the company”.

The advantages of data analytics

are plain to see, allowing the business

to make smarter decisions and

predictions, but building a supply chain

vertical in this organization highlighted

to Corriveau that the data “just wasn’t

there yet”. This forced the organization

to re-examine the perception of what

the supply chain actually is, as Corriveau

felt there was often a misplaced belief

that it was “just warehousing and

logistics”. “Supply chain for Emmerson

Packaging is so much more than that:

there’s production planning, manufacturing,

procurement, warehousing and

the list goes on,” he says. “Production

planning scheduling is the very heart of

our organization. We have worked hard

to nail down our data and forecasting

and are incredibly proud of where we

MARCH 2019


SUPPLY CHAIN

207

are. With new insight we were able to

make changes across the business,

for example moving the releases of

warehouses from customer service

to warehousing and logistics – this

streamlined the flow with our customers

as the information to deliver on this

promise resides in the supply chain”.

Emmerson Packaging’s customer

base continues to evolve. The modernday

customer demands transparency

in products and across supply chains.

Emmerson Packaging prides itself on

its commitment to sustainability as a

business and delivers on this not only

through its internal commitment but its

products – specifically recyclable and

biodegradable options. Corriveau was

proud to go into detail around Emmerson

Packaging’s SmartPack. Manufactured

through a process that significantly

reduces environmental impact

without compromising on quality or

lead times, SmartPack proved how

crucial it is to have control over the entire

supply chain. In order to achieve this

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EMMERSON PACKAGING

innovative and truly ground-breaking

process, Emmerson Packaging sought

out a strategic partner, which it found

in Nova Chemicals. “I cannot stress

enough the importance of having trusted

partners in everything you want to

achieve through the supply chain,” says

Corriveau. “We’ve been doing business

with Nova Chemicals for many years

and they have been instrumental in our

success because of their commitment

to innovation and our partnership.”

“We’ve had discussions with suppliers

in the past that wanted to cut corners.

We’re not willing to short change

the process and we ensure all of our

strategic partners are of the same

belief. Nova Chemicals agree with this

sentiment, having worked with us on

this SmartPack project and they

were keen to move fast.” Moving fast

proves key for Emmerson Packaging

as Corriveau notes that consumer

demands are changing and in order to

be ahead of the curve they need to be

proactive. “The new era of customers

place a greater emphasis on the

environmental impact of the products

We’re more than

a transportation

provider. We’re

a business partner

WHAT WE DO

We create, proactively communicate, and flawlessly

execute, innovative solutions that intertwine the needs

of our clients and comingle them with our

conveyances so that value is realized together.

OUR WHY, HOW & WHAT ARE

SIMPLY DEFINED AS:

Why: Adding Gray Matter to What Matters.

How: Developing Long-Lasting Tiered Relationships.

What: Create and Flawlessly Execute Innovative Solutions

Flawless Execution is a disciplined cycle of stating our objective; planning the

solution; proactive communication internally and externally; followed by

continuous improvement through learned results

WHY ONE FOR FREIGHT?

FIND US ON

Visit our Site

Get in Touch

MARCH 2019


SUPPLY CHAIN

209

they buy, and are going to greater

lengths than ever before to ensure

“they are not part of the problem, but

part of the solution”.

The demands of the customer extend

into certifications, with Emmerson

having proudly achieved Safe Quality

Foods (SQF) certification, among

others. While for many businesses the

customer drives these decisions,

Emmerson Packaging is proactive and

has higher expectations of its supplier

network and warehousing. “It’s about

trying to stay ahead of the customer

demand,” says Corriveau. “We approach

everything with the notion that sooner

or later, the customer is going to ask us

to elevate our game and go beyond

SQF certification – so we can’t be

chasing.” Emmerson achieves this

through a three-pillar approach: safety,

quality and productivity. “You can’t be

productive if you don’t produce quality

product.” he says. “And you can’t

produce quality products if you don’t

do it in a safe environment.”

To this end, Emmerson Packaging

invests heavily in safety programs

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EMMERSON PACKAGING

210

MARCH 2019


SUPPLY CHAIN

and internal reward systems designed to

encourage employees to go above and

beyond to be safe, produce quality products

and be productive. Corriveau believes

being safe

is the most important out of the three. “Once

you have employees who are working safe,

quality products and productivity follow,”

he says. “We want our employees to come

to work in a safe environment and at the end

of the day go home safely to their families.

We work hard to instill this quality into our

employees so they are safe inside and

outside of work.” Corriveau believes the

results speak for themselves as the company

has been recognized as one of Canada’s

Best Managed Companies for nine consecutive

years by Deloitte. For him, this recognition

echoes Emmerson Packaging’s CEO’s

sentiment that “our customers push us to be

better” because the company looks to

always be ahead of the curve, and therefore

needs a workforce that is ready to go above

and beyond.

Emmerson Packaging has three major

markets: frozen food, pet food and towel and

tissue otherwise referred to as “overwrap”.

Having two plants, one in the town of Amherst,

Nova Scotia and one in the small city of

Belleville, Ontario means that Emmerson

Packaging’s supply chain needs to be best in

211

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EMMERSON PACKAGING

212

class. “In some cases, there is

a large geographical distance from

these customers, so how do we compete?

By being better, fluid, and by

providing a seamless journey,” says

Corriveau. “We work hard with trusted

partners such as ONE For Freight,

a solutions first transportation company

that helps us achieve our goals. We

can compete with anyone on lead

time and service.”

As Emmerson Packaging continues

its journey of supply chain transformation

it does so with a key competitive

advantage that no other current

packaging producer has. Together with

“WE’RE NOT WILLING

TO CUT CORNERS

AND WE ENSURE ALL

OF OUR STRATEGIC

PARTNERS ARE OF

THE SAME BELIEF”


Serge Corrivea,

Vice President of Supply Chain,

Emmerson Packaging

trusted partners like Nova Chemicals,

the company not only produces its own

packaging but proactively works on

innovative and new concepts in its own

Research & Development department

and in-house laboratory. Emmerson

Packaging is also proud to be vertically

integrated and converts its own products.

Ultimately, the success of Emmerson

boils down to its commitment to

sustainability and its customers. “If our

MARCH 2019


SUPPLY CHAIN

1956

Year founded

450+

Approximate number

of employees

213

customers are successful, then and

only then do we get to be successful,”

says Corriveau. “From the very first

days of the company we’ve been

extremely proud of how we operate

and how we continue to strive to

reduce our impact on the environment.

Moving forward, it’s about looking at

what more can we do for our customers,

our employees and our communities.

By focusing on sustainability,

Emmerson Packaging believes they

can deliver a quality product to their

customers that not only meets the

demands of the market but is also

environmentally responsible”.

www.businesschief.com


214

A DIGITAL

TRANSFORMATION

WITH KEY PARTNERS

AT THE CORE

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

215

WRIT TEN BY

DALE BENTON

PRODUCED BY

JAMES BERRY

www.businesschief.com


TRAFFIX

CARLOS TRIVINO,

DIRECTOR OF IT, EXPLORES HOW

PARTNERS AND PEOPLE

PROVE KEY AMIDST TRAFFIX’S

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

216

or more than 40 years, Traffix has

F

provided comprehensive third-party

logistics and transportation solutions to

customers across North America and established

itself as a true market leader. Key to the company’s

continued success had been a strong vision that

places its customers, carriers and internal teams

at the forefront of everything it does. The company

describes itself as ‘the transportation people’ and

this in particular continues to be a true competitive

advantage at a time where technology has completely

redefined the industry over the last decade.

Carlos Trivino joined Traffix back in 2014 as

Director of IT for the company, bringing with him an

extensive history of experience in transportation,

logistics and technology implementation. He joined

the company with a simple mission of looking at

how Traffix could increasingly utilize technology to

better serve its customer base and he admits that

joining Traffix was almost a no-brainer. “I had done

some consulting with Traffix and after a while I just

felt that it was a great company,” he says. “It’s a

privately held company and has some key partners

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

217

Carlos Trivino

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

With 28 years’ experience in various disciplines in the

transportation industry, Carlos’ career has encompassed

a number of roles from dock floor right through to management.

With a passion for systems and technology, he

took on the role of System Operator and his career path

changed. As Information Technology Manager, Trivino

was tasked with supporting the growth, design and

development of new functionality within an in-house

FMS (Freight Management System).

www.businesschief.com


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Transformation

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TECHNOLOGY

“IT’S A PRIVATELY

HELD COMPANY

AND HAS SOME

KEY PARTNERS

WITHIN THE

COMPANY

THAT KNOW THE

BUSINESS VERY

WELL AND HAVE

BEEN EXTREMELY

SUCCESSFUL”


Carlos Trivino,

Director of IT, Traffix

within the company that know the business

very well and have been extremely

successful. Over time, as Traffix has

grown and evolved, my role now looks at

the technology partnerships, ensuring

that software and hardware partners

are vetted and align to what we want

to achieve as a company.”

In 2018, Traffix experienced significant

growth as its existing user base

of 60-70 users skyrocketed to close to

300 users at any given time. This placed

extreme pressure on the company as its

existing technology architecture was

only capable of handling the original

number of users. This prompted the

company to invest and embark on a

digital transformation which would see

Traffix respond to this growth spurt and

be ready to experience further growth

in the future. “We had to make a quick

decision as to what type of technology

we wanted and needed and what we

were going to leverage to achieve

our goal, which is to be one of the

top logistics companies in Canada,”

says Trivino.

Key to this growth plan, and to

Trivino’s own remit, was striking strategic

partnerships with technology vendors

which could accelerate Traffix’s growth

–this is where the company turned to

Gibraltar Solutions and Trimble Transportation

and Logistics (TMW). As a leading

Canadian technology provider, Gibraltar

Solutions recommended Nutanix

hyperconverged cloud infrastructure.

Nutanix will allow Traffix to leverage

cloud-based technology to effectively

monitor and manage a 24/7 operation

across its entire footprint. It also allows

Trivino and his IT team to “focus more on

219

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TRAFFIX

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enables customers to embrace the rapid technological evolution of the industry

and connect all aspects of transportation and logistics—trucks, drivers, back

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TECHNOLOGY THAT

TRANSFORMING THE WAY THE WORLD WORKS


TECHNOLOGY

221

the user experience and performance,

rather than worrying about the technology

and troubleshooting X or Y”, notes

Trivino. “We focus on the things that

really matter and that allows us to drive

true value across the organization.”

Traffix also leverages Citrix’s digital

workspace to deliver applications, which

allows the company to have greater

access to and understanding of data

flow. Trivino recognizes this as a key

trend across the industry. He notes that

companies and users were satisfied

with “minimal” information, but in recent

years customers are demanding more

information and visibility and accurate

data within their systems. “They want

to be able to do more analytics on their

side so that they can realize greater

cost savings and performance,” he says.

“The information would historically be

accessed by a server or a PC but now

it’s about remote desktops and hyper

converged technology, which is where

Citrix comes into play. The technology

through Citrix makes the data flow faster

and more efficient than ever before, not

only for end users to be able to access

but for us to be able to produce that

information.” In addition to Citrix Work-

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TRAFFIX

222

“WE FOCUS ON

THE THINGS THAT

REALLY MATTER

AND THAT

ALLOWS US

TO DRIVE

TRUE VALUE

ACROSS THE

ORGANIZATION”


Carlos Trivino,

Director of IT, Traffix

space, Traffix, with Gibraltar’s assistance,

also deployed Citrix SD-WAN, a next

generation WAN edge platform that

provides high performance and consistent

application delivery to its branch

offices. Within the branch, Citrix SD-WAN

also consolidated expensive routing and

security hardware, simplifying network

management and reducing costs.

In order to monitor and understand this

information flow it requires a comprehensive

and proven multi-modal dispatch,

operations and accounting system that

truly enables efficiency and scalability.

This is where TMW, through its Truck-

Mate solution, has been instrumental.

“Trimble Transportation is pleased to

be a critical part of the technology and

application backbone helping to fuel

Traffix’s explosive growth,” says Harald

Fritz, Vice President, TruckMate.

“Traffix’s collaboration and partnership

drive continuous improvement within

the TruckMate TMS including Command

Center, CRM, Agent Mobile Solution

and several complimentary, 3rd party

software solutions. Embedded business

intelligence (BI) capabilities and KPIs

provide critical data into the entire

decision continuum, from Sales through

execution to billing and the company’s

accounting and financials. Traffix is one

of the most innovative brokerage and

logistics providers always challenging

themselves and us to capitalize on

new opportunities.”

When it comes to scalability, the

Nutanix platform holds the key to Traffix’s

technology transformation, as it enables

the company to stack and grow without

“ripping everything out and buying a new

Storage Area Network (SAN)”. Through

Nutanix, Citrix, Gibraltar Solutions and

of course TMW, Traffix can invest and

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

223

put more resources into its infrastructure

as the business continues its rapid

growth with a significantly lower up-front

cost. For Trivino, it represents the value

both he and the company place in the

relationships Traffix looks to strike on

its continuous growth journey. “We look

to partner with people that want to

grow together with us. If we succeed,

the partner succeeds and so over time

they become strategy partners with us.”

With vast amounts of data and greater

access to that data, the conversation

inevitably turns towards security. Traffix

is investing heavily in cloud solutions and

automated technology, but how does

it ensure that this data is being stored

securely and that customers can trust

the company with sensitive information?

Traffix has a wide number of monitoring

systems that look closely at system

behavior. Should the system behavior

seem out of turn or erratic, then it creates

an email response to the personal and

alerts them to it. Citrix also plays a key

role in the security of data, securing

laptops and servers when out of use

to mitigate the risk of data leaks. Trivino

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TRAFFIX

224

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

“WE ALWAYS LIKE

TO LEVERAGE

THE PEOPLE

THAT HAVE

BEEN WITH THE

BUSINESS

A LONG TIME.

SOME HAVE

BEEN HERE

MANY YEARS,

OTHERS ARE

NEW. EACH AND

EVERY PERSON

BRINGS A LOT

OF VALUE TO

THE COMPANY”


Carlos Trivino,

Director of IT, Traffix

225

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TRAFFIX

226

1979

Year founded

300

Approximate number

of employees

notes that restructuring the technology

architecture of the company provided him

with an opportunity to look a little closer at

how Traffix could better monitor the

security of its data and effectively build in

a new level of threat protection.

As the company continues to explore the

possibilities of technology, the very core

of the business remains the same. Part of

the very reason Trivino joined the company

was the way it invests in its people, and

while Traffix introduces more new technology,

such as automation, to its operations,

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

these people will always remain key.

“We always like to leverage the people

that have been with the business a long

time. Some have been here many years;

others are new. Each and every person

brings a lot of value to the company,” he

says. “In the artificial intelligence (AI)

space, we are looking at the repetitive

nature of capturing information and

removing the person from that and

moving them into a role that will bring

a different but more important value

to the business.”

“We can strategically place them somewhere

where we can use their years of

experience in another area, and they

can focus more on the company itself.”

Trivino points to an example where the

business would place an employee

in a Team Lead role and support new

people coming in, helping them get to

grips with the technology and overall

Traffix operations. “They are teaching

the new employees and helping them

understand that this is how we operate,

this is how we do things, and basically

227

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TRAFFIX

228

“EACH PARTNER

HAS DIFFERENT

TYPES OF

SOFTWARE

THAT WE CAN

LEVERAGE FROM

AND SO WE WILL

LOOK MORE AT

GETTING THAT

DATA INTO OUR

SYSTEM, AND

VICE VERSA,

TO BE ABLE TO

GIVE OUR END

CUSTOMER THE

INFORMATION

THAT THEY NEED

A LOT QUICKER”


Carlos Trivino,

Director of IT, Traffix

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

overseeing that department and letting

go of that repetitive task that is very

mundane,” he adds.

Traffix’s digital transformation journey

shows no signs of slowing down. In

line with the company’s growth ambitions,

Traffix will continue to invest and

adopt innovative technologies in order

to continue to achieve rapid growth

and process information. 2018 proved

a pivotal year for achieving this as the

company focused on investing in its

network infrastructure, laying down

the foundation for the company’s digital

future. “What we’re focusing on now is

the user facing and customer facing

technology, so more software development

and more integration between key

partners,” says Trivino. “Each partner

has different types of software that

we can leverage from and so we will

look more at getting that data into our

system, and vice versa, to be able to

give our end customer the information

that they need a lot quicker.”

229

www.businesschief.com


FROM E-MAIL ROLLOUTS

TO BIOMETRIC SCANNERS:

TECHNOLOGY

TRANSFORMATION

230

AT THE CALGARY

DROP-IN CENTRE

We talk to Helen Knight, Director of IT,

and Paul Twigg of Sierra Systems/NTT DATA

Services, exploring their technological

transformation of the Calgary Drop-In Centre

to better the lives of its staff, volunteers

and the city’s homeless community

WRIT TEN BY

HARRY MENEAR

PRODUCED BY

ARRON RAMPLING

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

231

www.businesschief.com


CALGARY DROP-IN CENTRE

232

H

elen Wetherley Knight, Director of

Information Technology (IT) at the

Calgary Drop-In Centre (The DI), has

always been excited by computers. “My parents

met through computer dating,” she mentions, “so

I’m the product of that technology from the early

70’s. I started programming when I was nine and

I was very interested in technology, however, in

high school, I learned that ‘tech was for boys’, so

I backed away for a few years. Now, I am a pretty

loud advocate for keeping women engaged in

technology.” Knight has worked in IT for over 20

years, spending 12 of those years at Suncor

Energy while also running her own consulting

business, Helen Knight Consulting Inc. During that

time, she was also a regular volunteer at the Calgary

Drop-In Centre in the city’s downtown.

Serving over 10,000 people a year, the DI

provides essential care, health services, employment

training and housing support to those in

need. In 2018, the DI provided Calgary’s homeless

population with over 100,000 pieces of

clothing, served over 400,000 meals in its dining

hall, and provided 420,000 individual nights of

shelter. When, in 2016, the DI began searching for

a new IT Director, Knight’s volunteering record put

her at the top of the list. “There was a focus on

having someone with non-profit experience. I

was lucky to be considered because I had been a

volunteer.” She explains: “That speaks to one of

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

233

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CALGARY DROP-IN CENTRE

234

the opportunities at non-profits: there’s

so much emphasis placed on non-profit

expertise, and there are so few people

that have technical backgrounds with

non-profit experience, that the

technical needs of non-profits have

gone underserved for years.”

With the support of the DI Board,

Knight is effecting a four-year complete

technology transformation at the

Calgary Drop-In. She was keen to

discuss how her team is approaching

organizational change management

across one of Calgary’s largest non-

profits, her current and future plans to

use cutting-edge biometric technology

to increase efficiency and security, as

well as putting confidential personal

data back into the hands of Calgary’s

homeless population. In addition, Paul

Twigg, VP of Technology at Sierra

Systems, an NTT DATA Services

company, serves as the centre’s

strategic partner and plays a large

role in helping Knight implement her

ambitious technology transformation.

“I’m lucky that I walked in with years

of experience and a Master’s Degree in

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

CLICK TO WATCH: ‘FUELLED BY KINDNESS’

235

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CALGARY DROP-IN CENTRE

236

IT strategy, because there was a lot of

low hanging fruit,” explains Knight,

acknowledging that in the non-profit

sector, technology is difficult to invest

in without donor support. When she

arrived at the DI only 70 of 270 staff

had email addresses, so the first task

was to roll out Office365 across the

organization. She notes, “I made a mistake

by just sending out videos on how

to use the new tools – it took me about

four months to realize that I would be

more successful supporting this user

group in a room with a human being

they liked and trusted.”

Knight admits: “I had a lot to learn

about appropriately engaging this

compassionate, service-focused

audience with technology.” However, the

first steps of her technology transformation

quickly yielded fruit. By

calculating the opportunity cost of

wasted time due to the DI using

multiple free and donated tools and

databases, Knight was able to prove a

return on investment of US$1.5mn per

year, and return 20 hours per week

per person that could be spent manag-

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

“IT’S A LABOR OF

LOVE, BECAUSE

I BELIEVE THESE

TOOLS WILL

EFFECTIVELY

IMPROVE EVERY

ASPECT OF THE

STAFF’S LIVES”


Helen Knight

CIO/Director of Technology

Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre

ing relationships. “We went from our

volunteer and donor department using

five different calendars, answering

the phone full-time and carrying the

burden of disparate systems, to

having a push system where the

donors and volunteers engage

directly by registering on a website,

being onboarded by a system,

and signing up for the shifts that they

wanted, so the staff were able to

focus on relationship building,” she

recounts. “There was significant

change management and it was a

really careful process, but it’s a labor

237

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Helen Wetherley Knight, MBA

Fighting poverty with technology, Helen is the

Director of IT for the Calgary Drop-In Centre, the

most effective Homeless Shelter in Canada.

Leading an IT Transformation that will deliver

annual savings of $1.5 Million USD, Helen is

driving meaningful change for vulnerable

Calgarians. Helen is also a passionate advocate

for increasing gender diversity in IT, serves on

two non-profit boards and was a Canadian

CIO of the year finalist for 2018.

www.businesschief.com


Rooted in Community

We are proud to support The Calgary Drop-In Centre

with innovative technology solutions that help make

a positive emotional impact in the community,

and in people’s lives.

sierrasystems.com

of love,” Knight insists, “because I

believe that all of these tools will

effectively improve the staff’s lives.”

Knight stresses that the essence of

her technological transformation at the

Drop-In is the empowerment of its staff

and volunteers. “I’m not here to replace

anybody,” she insists. “I’m here to take

away busy work and pain. I think technologists

get into a lot of trouble when

they feel so confident that they reach

past their level of expertise and start

making policy decisions, or feel that

just because they can prove something

with data, that it’s the right and humane

thing to do,” she reflects. “I fully accept

that my skill-set ends at the technology,

and that the front-line workers are the

experts in client care”

Twigg, who has been working alongside

Knight and her team to bring

Sierra Systems’ expertise to bear on

the challenges of technological transformation

at the Drop-In, agrees. “It’s

not about cool tech. It’s about giving

a person experiencing homelessness

a bed, a sandwich, a laundry service

and everything else that comes with it,”

he emphasizes. “All non-profits require

technology. They just haven’t been


SECTOR

“IT’S NOT ABOUT COOL

TECH. IT’S ABOUT GIVING

A HOMELESS PERSON

A BED, A SANDWICH,

A LAUNDRY SERVICE

AND EVERYTHING ELSE

THAT COMES WITH IT”


Paul Twigg

VP of Technology

Sierra Systems/NTT DATA Services

able to invest in it because the charity

funding model makes it difficult to put

money into technology even though it

will save money down the line.”: Sierra

Systems, an NTT DATA Services company,

specializes in IT consulting in order

to provide its clients with innovative,

forward-thinking solutions.

The process of choosing a strategic

partner was fairly unconventional. “We

spent six months figuring out what the

exact problems were that we wanted

to solve instead of running to a bunch

239

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

Paul Twigg

Paul Twigg is the National VP of Technology for Sierra

Systems an NTT DATA Services Company. He is an

award winning IT business leader with executive and

hands-on experience in delivering leading edge cloud,

data and innovation services. He is a recognized

speaker and thought leader in the technology field

driving innovation and digital transformation ideas.

Paul is security cleared (Canadian Secret Level) and has

vast experience creating technology strategy to develop

creative and innovative data centric services tailored

towards increasing efficiencies and reducing costs

within an organization. He is a motivational leader who

enjoys building successful and productive teams.

www.businesschief.com


CALGARY DROP-IN CENTRE

240

of vendors and doing multiple demonstrations,”

Knight explains. “It’s the

opposite of how teams engage

vendors normally.” This approach

helped Knight choose a company that

would offer a complete service. “We

were really looking at solving the entire

problem,” she says. “The finance, the

HR, the IT, the client relationship, the

client service; the entire problem,

instead of discrete solutions.” This is

where Sierra Systems, a company

already involved in donating and

volunteering at the DI, came into play.

After identifying Microsoft Dynamics

as a customer relationship management

system that could cater to the

Drop-In’s needs, Knight considered

two companies. “One brought me

standard pricing, and Sierra, with

evidence of being donors and volunteers,

brought me their proposal at half

price,” says Knight. “I knew they were

in it with us. Sierra had the imagination

that we needed.”

Since then, the relationship has

evolved from client-vendor to much

more. In addition to back office initiatives

to improve efficiency and foster digital

engagement within the DI’s staff, Twigg

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

1.2mn

Meals served

in total

100,000+

Items of clothing

distributed

241

420,000+

Individual nights of

shelter provided

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CALGARY DROP-IN CENTRE

242

and his team have worked with Knight

to bring one of their more cutting-edge

initiatives towards maturity. For 10 years,

the Calgary Drop-In has used fingerprint

scanners in order to identify and

admit its clients. “It took anywhere

from about seven to 30 seconds to let

an individual in,” says Twigg. “Considering

that, since 2 February, it’s been

about -30ºF every day here in Calgary,

when you’ve got several hundred

people coming and going every day,

upgrading the intake systems will make

entering the facility much more efficient.”

To solve this problem, Knight is turning

to more modern forms of biometric

technology with higher accuracy rates,

reducing admission times to around

three seconds.

In addition, the nature of the DI’s

work requires it to keep client records.

“One billion people in the world don’t

have ID, including people who need

emergency services, are victims of

crime, have been evicted, are human

trafficking victims - maybe they’re

using drugs or have mental health

issues. Regardless of the client’s

history, we need to know who they are

so we can ensure we are meeting their

“GLOBALLY, ONE

BILLION PEOPLE ARE

WITHOUT ID,

INCLUDING PEOPLE

WHO NEED EMERGENCY

SERVICES”


Helen Knight, CIO/Director of Technology

Calgary Drop-in & Rehab Centre

unique needs.” At the heart of the new

biometric identification system the DI is

trialing is the desire to not only improve

the quality of patient care, but also to

“put the client in charge of their data”.

“There are 43 conflicting legislations

and ethical agreements governing

client data,” Knight explains. “I’m

a co-chair of a collaborative work group

trying to improve communication

between homeless-serving agencies

in the City of Calgary, and when we

tried to create a decision guide to

navigate them, there was no way to

figure it out; they all conflict and there’s

no way to prioritize the disparate

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

agreements.” By putting the decision

to share personal data back into the

hands of Calgary’s homeless population,

Twigg and Knight believe that

agencies serving vulnerable people

across the city can improve communication

and build a shared database to

better serve their community.

Ensuring the potential for privacy

and control remains in the hands of the

client, however, is a top priority for the

venture. “There’s a lot of personal

identifiable information that can’t be

shared between agencies,” says Twigg,

whose team has been collaborating

with Knight and the working group on

a solution. “We are designing an architecture

that implements blockchain to

allow a client’s health information to

remain encrypted and afford the client

the ability to share that information as

they move between agencies, or

decide what can and can’t be shared.”

In addition, the biometric data recorded

by the DI’s new systems, Knight

explains, is anonymous by design.

Another place where Knight wants to

deploy biometrics down the line is in

the way clients at the shelter supply

personal information, as well as book

medical and other appointments. “I’m

more comfortable being vulnerable to

243

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CALGARY DROP-IN CENTRE

244

“THE CLIENT

OWNS THE KEY,

AND THE DATA

IS ANONYMOUS

WITHOUT THEM

BEING THERE”


Helen Knight

CIO/Director of Technology

Calgary Drop-in and Rehab Centre

a system than a person,” she admits.

“On 3 January, we put a client selfserve

kiosk in the dining hall of the

Calgary Drop-In Centre. The feedback

from the clients has been very positive.

Wedesigned this kiosk with our wood

shop, where our clients learn woodworking

skills, added a touchscreen

monitor, and a donated PC. We built it

so that you could use a wheelchair or

a chair, so we didn’t have to move the

screens around to account for height

differences. All it does right now is two

things: it plays a video on data sharing,

why we want your data, and that it is

safe and secure; and it presents a form

where you can tell us what your barriers

are to finding housing.”

The form asks questions used to

identify the client’s barriers to housing:

“For example, are you comfortable

talking to a landlord?” says Knight.

“Some people can be afraid of authority

and may not be comfortable speaking

to a landlord. If we identify that is a

barrier, we’ll go with them.” Knight

notes that a client’s mistrust for human

authority may result in a reluctance to

reveal the information that would result

in them receiving help – but the kiosk

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

CLICK TO WATCH: ‘ROOTED IN COMMUNITY, SUPPORTED IN THE

CLOUD - CALGARY DROP-IN CENTER AND SIERRA SYSTEMS’

245

has built in anonymity and lacks a human

element. “Through a touchscreen computer,

we’re reaching a vulnerable

clientele and are serving them in a new

way,” she says. Knight has now ordered

two more kiosks based on this success.

“We are fulfilling an unmet need for some

clients and finding new ways to build

relationships,” she adds.

Knight and Sierra Systems’ plan to

use biometric identification in the DI

also extends to the kiosks. “Once we

finish a comprehensive privacy impact

assessment,” Knight says, “we can put

biometrics in the kiosks, so clients can

choose to opt in and receive personalized

services: book things like laundry

and medical appointments, find out

when they’re meeting a landlord - they

would have a portal to their lives.”

Clients would also be able to opt out of

the biometric customization. “We put in

this fabric flap,” she says, “so clients

know for a fact that they’re not being

recorded, and still have access to

helpful information, opening hours,

times and maps.”

Knight’s plans for the DI are exten-

www.businesschief.com


CALGARY DROP-IN CENTRE

INFORMATION

246

The Calgary Drop-In Centre

(the DI) is more than an

emergency shelter. They

provide essential care as well

as health services,

employment training, and

housing supports to people

who need help. Their

programs and services

connect people to permanent

housing that meets their

individual needs. To donate to

support this project please visit

calgarydropin.ca/tech

sive and ambitious, but she and Twigg

are eager, excited and optimistic.

Knight is working with the University of

Calgary and the University of Taiwan to

test biometrics with the potential to

detect sepsis and necrotic wounds, as

well as planning on using the proposed

transformation of the DI’s HR system, in

conjunction with weather and environmental

data, to predict workload.

“Helen’s a fantastic advocate, not just

for the Calgary Drop-In Centre, but for

the homeless community across

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

247

Canada,” says Twigg. “It would be our

dream if Helen was at the Calgary DI

for the next 10 years, because we

believe we could solve amazing

problems together. She understands

how to solve big problems, and we

believe we can match those ideas with

the technology and the thought leaders

that we have at Sierra Systems and

NTT DATA Services.” Knight makes it

clear that the technology transformation

she’s bringing to the DI isn’t about

giving the DI ‘competitive advantage’

over other agencies in Canada. “Nonprofit,

especially the homeless-serving

sector, is ripe for disruption, transformation

and return-on-investment,” she

says. “I see nothing but opportunity.”

www.businesschief.com


248

TM

INSURANCE LIMITED


TECHNOLOGY

Rewriting

the rule

book for

249

Canada’s

insurance

brokers

WRIT TEN BY

LAURA MULLAN

PRODUCED BY

GLEN WHITE


PBL INSURANCE LIMITED

Delivering one-to-one insurance

services with cutting-edge

technologies, PBL Insurance

is reshaping the way Canadian

insurance brokers do business

250

D

igitization is shaking up industries

across the globe and it seems the

insurance sector is no exception.

For PBL Insurance, which has provided risk

and insurance services to Canadians for

almost a century, there was no doubt that

digitization would be a central pillar of

its strategic plan. The firm’s Director

of Technology, Joey Faraone, says that

by undertaking a root-and-branch

digital transformation and overhauling

its legacy systems, PBL Insurance is

“re-writing the way insurance companies

do business in Canada”.

“I would say that technology is playing

a very big role in driving PBL’s transformation,”

he explains. “We went from

having some very old technology

pieces running our network to understanding

that now is the time to invest

and prepare the company for the next

20 years of the technology curve.”

Previously, Faraone says that PBL

Insurance didn’t have a focused internal

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

251

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TECHNOLOGY

technology direction and so the Canadian

firm decided to bring its digital strategy

in-house. “The company wanted to get

a better grasp on today’s technology

and look at where technology will take

the insurance industry in the future,”

he says. “I was brought in to lead the

development and management

of new technologies and ensure

that they align with the company’s

business strategy.”

Becoming a digital broker is no

easy feat, but this transformation

was firmly at the top of PBL’s

agenda. Starting from the ground

up, the Ontario-based company set

up brand new back-end infrastructure,

including new fiber circuits, routers and

253

Joey Faraone is a dedicated, dynamic and enthusiastic certified

IT professional who specializes in project managing innovative data

solutions to improve system stability, functionality and efficiency.

Faraone is quick to familiarize himself with the latest technologies

and industry developments while demonstrating a logical and

analytical approach to solving complex problems and issues.

Faraone is the Director of Technology at PBL Insurance where

he possesses excellent interpersonal and communication skills

and the ability to develop and maintain positive internal

and external relationships.

EXECUTIVE PROFILE

www.businesschief.com


PBL INSURANCE LIMITED

254

switches. “We’re wiping the slate clean

and redesigning everything. We’re rolling

out new technologies to help us minimize

the equipment footprint but not sacrifice

the service to our clients,” says Faraone.

One of the company’s most cogent

uses of technological innovation has

been how it has selected a new cuttingedge

broker management system. By

adopting TechCanary, a solution based

on Salesforce’s platform, PBL Insurance

is breaking away from the confines

of traditional insurance technology

software. In using a cloud-based,

analytics-driven system, Faraone says

it’s reducing administrative burdens

while simultaneously enhancing the

visibility of its operations.

“We are the first Canadian company

to move to the TechCanary platform,”

notes Faraone. “You could say there’s

a lot of eyes on us to see how the

solution is being rolled out in the

Canadian market.” With such a wide

range of clientele and data, Faraone

believes that the platform will help

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

“We have a one-on-one

direct relationship with

our clients. Our brokers,

our account executives

and our staff treat our

clients and customers

as one of their own”


Joey Faraone,

Director of Technology

255

the company meet its customers’ needs

and see what else it can do for them as

an organization. “It means that we don’t

have a one-way path for our clients, we

can have a four-lane highway,” he notes.

Shifting away from costly, hardwaredefined

private networking solutions,

PBL Insurance has also implanted

a new software-defined wide-area

network (SD-WAN). This gives PBL

the ability to leverage efficiencies and

create a more reliable network. It also

gives the broker the option to use

data optimization and analytics while

leveraging a breakthrough in routing

efficiencies, enhancing performance

and reliability with the flexibility and

affordability of a cloud service.

“With our new network being rolled

out, we’ve also put a lot of new contracts

in place and we’ve implemented

a new managed service provider (MSP),”

Faraone says. “This is helping us roll

out our network and enhance our user

experience internally. The experience

that our internal staff has been used to

www.businesschief.com


PBL INSURANCE LIMITED

256

versus where they are today has been

a complete 180-degree turnaround.”

Cloud technology has been a major

trend in the insurance industry. Aside

from its ability to lower costs and boost

productivity through mobile working,

it also offers a business continuity plan

and security. Not one to stay in the

shadows, PBL Insurance is embracing

cloud technology through its new

broker management system and

colocation site.

“We are moving towards the cloud

more and more every day,” Faraone

says. “There’s no downtime and there’s

no lag, so efficiency is huge with this

roll out. It’s ensuring that slow technology

isn’t being used as a scapegoat.

Our new broker management system

also uses cloud technology which

means our Account Executives can

log into our system from anywhere

and do business right on the spot.

“We also have a very good system

where we back up everything on our

network nightly and then we move it

to a colocation site which has its own

back-up there. Then we move it to the

cloud,” he continues. “It may sound like

there’s a back-up of a back-up, but it’s

very important to make sure that we

know where all of our data is and that

it’s accessible to us at a drop of a hat.

“It’s promoting efficiency and productivity,

but it will also change the customer

experience,” he continues. “By using

cloud technologies like TechCanary,

our customer will be able to get faster

quotes and faster service while we tie

everything together.”

With cutting-edge technologies being

rolled out every day, technology partnerships

have become critical to any digital

transformation. Faraone believes that

the company’s alliance with technology

innovators like MicroAge is helping to

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

257

“We are the first Canadian

company to move to

a TechCanary platform.

You could say there’s

a lot of eyes on us to see

how TechCanary is

being rolled out in the

Canadian market”


Joey Faraone,

Director of Technology

www.businesschief.com


PBL INSURANCE LIMITED

258

drive new ways of thinking. “MicroAge

is a global company which provides

insights with network engineers,”

Faraone explains. “We collaborate to

work on developing and understanding

the latest technologies to see how

we can implement them here at PBL

Insurance. We have continuous improvement

sessions on how we can cut a little

here, add a little there. This ensures that

we run in a very lean but efficient way.”

Behind any successful transformation

is the right team and a culture that

fosters innovation. With this in mind,

PBL Insurance strives to engage staff

by asking for opinions on the direction

they’d like to see the company go.

“When we decided to change broker

management systems there were a lot

of discussions, not just at the top but

among all users about who is going

be impacted by it. It’s changing the

complete way our staff do work

on a day-to-day basis,” comments

Faraone. “The system was received

very well. I think the fact that we

are evolving our technology and

our way of doing business is

helping to attract top talent to

the company because they

want to be part of this journey.”

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

CLICK TO WATCH: ‘TECHCANARY OVERVIEW’

259

With over 200 employees and 10

offices spread throughout the province,

PBL prides itself on being uniquely

Ontario based. Driving efficiency and

productivity with its new digital tools,

Faraone says that this transformation

is not just reducing costs and administrative

burden, it’s also freeing up more

time so that it can give its clients the

personable and responsive service

they expect.

“We have a one-on-one direct

relationship with our clients,” notes

Faraone. “I think that’s where we differ

from other brokers. With 10 strategic

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PBL INSURANCE LIMITED

260

“We’re wiping the slate

clean and redesigning

everything. We’re rolling

out new technologies

to enable us to minimize

the equipment

but not sacrifice the

service to our clients”


Joey Faraone,

Director of Technology

MARCH 2019


TECHNOLOGY

office locations throughout the province, we

have the ability to service our clients locally,

and we take pride in servicing communities

big and small in Ontario. Our brokers, our

Account Executives and our staff treat our

clients and customers as if they are one of

their own.”

Technology and customer service go hand

in hand at PBL Insurance, and as the industry

shifts under the influence of the technological

revolution it seems the company is ready for

any dynamic changes that may come its way.

“In five or 10 years, I expect PBL Insurance

will be the top broker in Ontario, building

partnerships yearly with other brokerages

in the industry,” predicts Faraone. “I believe

we will be a leader in innovation and that we

will be an example to other brokerages on

how they can leverage the latest technology

to their advantage. It’s not always about

spending the most money and getting

the latest and greatest, it’s about

understanding and fine-tuning technology

to your company’s needs.”

261

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