Business Chief USA August 2020

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AMERICA

businesschief.com

AUGUST 2020

ELEVATING HUMAN

POTENTIAL THROUGH

AUTOMATION

RESILIENCE

IN FLEXIBILITY

MOST VALUABLE

DIGITAL

TECHNOLOGY

BRANDS

Jeff Richardson, CDO on its state

of the art cloud infrastructure


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FOREWORD

W

elcome to the August edition of

Business Chief North America.

This month’s cover features Jeff

Richardson, CDO at Bentley Systems,

on the state of the art cloud

infrastructure which benefits internal

and external stakeholders. “Living in

a cloud-focused world, security is huge

for us,” he tells us. “Our CIO, Claire

Rutkowski, came on board in October

2016 and has been heavily focused on

integrating a robust and industry-leading

cloud security platform. Along with

instituting a security office, we have

beefed up our security staff and

infrastructure by around 800% in the

past five years.”

Other leaders we speak with in this

issue include Sankar Krishnan, EVP

and Industry Head, Banking and Capital

Markets at Capgemini, who discusses

the investor management landscape

prior to and post COVID-19, “Since

World War II, I would say we have never

had a situation like this where it has

been very difficult to predict outcomes in

terms of where the world is going. These

are unprecedented times and investor

management is front and centre.”

Elsewhere, we explore the HR

technology trends of 2020 and look

more closely at the benefits they can

provide an organisation that is looking

to digitally transform its HR operations.

In addition, we speak to Max Cheprasov,

Chief Automation Officer at Dentsu

Aegis Network on why developing an

AI and automation strategy is essential

to modern enterprises’ future, and our

Top 10 ranks the region’s most valuable

digital technology brands.

Do you have a story to share?

If you would like to be featured in an

upcoming issue of Business Chief

North America, please get in touch at

georgia.wilson@bizclikmedia.com

Enjoy the issue!

Georgia Wilson

03

businesschief.com


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PUBLISHED BY

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Georgia Wilson

EDITORAL DIRECTOR

Matt High

CREATIVE TEAM

Oscar Hathaway

Erin Hancox

Sophia Forte

Sophie-Ann Pinnell

PRODUCTION MANAGER

Owen Martin

DIGITAL VIDEO PRODUCERS

Kieran Waite

Sam Kemp

MARKETING DIRECTOR

Leigh Manning

DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER

Shirin Sadr

DIGITAL MARKETING EXECUTIVE

Kayleigh Shooter

MANAGING DIRECTOR

Mike Sadr

Jake Megeary

Nicholas Bochmann

Ryan Hall

MEDIA SALES DIRECTOR

James White

DIGITAL MEDIA DIRECTOR

Jason Westgate

CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER

Stacy Norman

PRESIDENT & CEO

Glen White

PRODUCTION DIRECTORS

Georgia Allen

Daniela Kianicková

PROJECT DIRECTORS

Arron Rampling

Craig Killingback

businesschief.com


CONTENTS

12

30


HR operations

and platform

technology

trends

60

44

74

88

AI:

ENTERPRISE

CHALLENGES &

OPPORTUNITIES

102

MOST VALUABLE

DIGITAL

TECHNOLOGY

BRANDS


122

AltaMed Health Services

150

Digital Realty

136

COLOTRAQ

166

Interstitial Systems

International Inc


198

Estruxture

Data Centers

176

McDermott

International Inc.

212

WSIB

236

SAP Global Center

of Excellence

252

NIH STRIDES

Initiative


You see a shipping terminal.

We see the missing container

that will shut down production.

C3.ai transforms

Manufacturing.

© 2020 C3.ai, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

is a mark of C3.ai, Inc.


268

SMC

286

Bentley Systems

300

World Vision

314

Mastercard

328

MSU Federal

Credit Union

342

OTIP


12

Dentsu Aegis:

elevating human

potential through

automation

WRITTEN BY

WILL GIRLING

PRODUCED BY

MIKE SADR

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

13


DENTSU AEGIS NETWORK

Max Cheprasov, Chief Automation

Officer, explains why developing

an AI and automation strategy

is essential to modern enterprises’

future

14

D

entsu Aegis Network prides itself on being

a company with a talent for innovativethinking

and being thoroughly in-tune with

the technological zeitgeist. When we last spoke with

the global marketing group which operates in over

145 countries, we learned how a highly client-centric

approach was defining its mission to introduce

digital transformation and lay the foundations for a

next-gen way of operating. Despite the discussion

occurring at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic,

Dentsu Aegis demonstrated the confidence and

optimism that only great teams guided by visionary

leadership can achieve under such duress. Now, we

revisit the company to explore one of the prevailing

tech trends in modern business: artificial intelligence

(AI) and automation.

Having spent six years (2011 to 2017) as Senior VP

and Head of Operations and Technology at iProspect

– a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dentsu Aegis – Max

Cheprasov took on the role of Chief Automation

Officer for Dentsu Aegis Americas in November 2017.

Considering himself a “digital native”, Cheprasov says

that his transition into the role was a natural one and

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

15


DENTSU AEGIS NETWORK

16

“There’s always a

need for creativity

and ingenuity

when designing

your own unique

and differentiated

business strategy”


Max Cheprasov,

Chief Automation Officer, Dentsu Aegis

was a decision guided by a long-term

mission: “I transitioned into this new role

to focus on acceleration of intelligent

automation solutions and to promote

best practice across Dentsu globally.”

In a career clearly defined by his commitment

to finding new and better ways

to service clients and enable employees

to do their best work, Cheprasov is a

believer in going beyond convention and

working out cutting-edge tech solutions

to everyday problems. “There’s always

a need for creativity and ingenuity when

designing your own unique and differentiated

business strategy,” he says. It is

this attitude that he brings to bear on his

daily activities at Dentsu Aegis.

An early enthusiast of AI’s potential

in business, Cheprasov embarked on

his first automation-related project in

2016 by experimenting with natural

language processing (NLP) and natural

language generation (NLG) technology

for data analysis reports and insights.

It was because of this project that he

and Dentsu Aegis’ leadership team

became convinced that it was an avenue

worth exploring with high priority.

Certain that AI could lead to a dramatic

boost in business performance and

AUGUST 2020


The future of AI and your business

CLICK TO WATCH | 2:26

17

customer experience, Cheprasov

established an eight-year road map

(2017 to 2025) and the company formally

established the Dentsu Aegis

Automation Centre of Expertise

(CoE). “Today, we have over 400 people

engaged with the CoE as part of

our global community of automation

champions and experts. But, as far

as I’m concerned, this is still only the

beginning; the future of automation

should be placed in the hands of every

single employee,” he states. With the

goal of making teams as efficient, productive

and happy as possible, the CoE

functions to optimise the working lives

of a company’s employees. Capable

of augmenting workloads by automating

a boring or repetitive task, Dentsu

Aegis can help mitigate or eliminate

the laborious strain caused by routine

tasks, approval turnarounds and bottlenecks.

“We can automate a process

end-to-end and give that time back

to employees to handle more critical

tasks that cannot be automated, such

as creative, critical, strategic thinking,

complex problem solving and more.

Our mission is to elevate human potential,”

says Cheprasov.

businesschief.com


DENTSU AEGIS NETWORK

18

AUGUST 2020


“Our mission is

to elevate human

potential”


Max Cheprasov,

Chief Automation Officer, Dentsu Aegis

19

www.businesschief.com


DENTSU AEGIS NETWORK

20

Of course, this aim would be very difficult

without a suitably agile workforce

behind the scenes at Dentsu Aegis,

and this is exactly what Cheprasov

says the company has. “I think we have

a unique workplace culture. One word

to describe everybody in the business,

across 65,000 professionals, is that

we’re ‘entrepreneurial’ by the nature of

how we’ve grown.” Having expanded

rapidly over the last five years due

to a fast-paced M&A (mergers and

acquisitions) strategy, the company

has continually rejuvenated itself by

incorporating the trend-setting new

ideas of the startups and other firms

it has acquired. “We operate without

borders and limitations as one enterprise

across 145 countries, where highly

collaborative teams of highly intelligent,

optimistic and passionate people are

working together and willing to take

calculated risks to achieve impressive

results for Dentsu Aegis and our

clients,” he continues. Indeed, with over

150 acquisitions made and a growing

capacity for innovation, talent and scale,

Cheprasov’s observation that “there’s

AUGUST 2020


no future in staying the same” certainly

rings true.

As well as its robust internal collaboration,

Dentsu Aegis also prides itself

on working well with other companies

which share its vision and mission.

With regard to the company’s pursuit

of automated superiority, Cheprasov

highlights FortressIQ, Catalytic and

UiPath as essential partners: “We used

Catalytic’s AI-enabled platform to

design an automated RFP (request for

proposal) workflow, in combination with

NLP and ML (machine learning). As a

result, we reduced the time it takes to

compile the initial draft of the response

from two weeks to just several minutes.

Our most recent project with UiPath

EXECUTIVE PROFILE:

Max Cheprasov

Title: Chief Automation Officer Company: Dentsu Aegis Network

Industry: Marketing & Advertising Location: New York

21

As Chief Automation Officer at Dentsu, Max Cheprasov leads the Automation

COE on a mission to “Elevate Human Potential”. Dentsu, with its 65,000+

employees, is a global media and digital marketing communications company

focused on innovating the way brands are built. The COE

harmonizes Operational Excellence with AI and Automation

to create the never-before digital exoskeleton for the enterprise.

Max has 20+ years of experience within the Digital Economy,

specializing in digital transformation, operational excellence,

and AI-powered automation. Prior to his current role,

Max served as the Senior Vice President of Operations,

PMO, BPO, and Technology for iProspect between

2011-2017. Max holds an MBA degree from JWMI and

professional certificates from Stanford University,

MIT, and PMI, among others.

businesschief.com


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“I think we have a unique

workplace culture.

One word to describe

everybody in the

business, across 65,000

professionals, is that

we’re ‘entrepreneurial’

by nature of how we’ve

grown”


Max Cheprasov,

Chief Automation Officer, Dentsu Aegis

required a deeper partnership with

their Professional Services group, as

we needed to temporarily add 10 RPA

(robotic process automation) experts

to our team to help us build 60 bots in

six weeks. As a result, the software

bots have automated 157,000 hours

of work during their first deployment,

completing over 600,000 tasks. Finally,

FortressIQ helps us accelerate process

mining and process discovery, exponentially

improving our ability to identify new

use-cases for automation and process

reengineering. Additionally, the time

and motion analyses led to improved

23

FORTRESSIQ

Founded in 2017, FortressIQ is the

creator of a cognitive automation

platform which is capable of

accelerating digital transformation

through a combination of ANN,

NLP and ML, as well as OCR. Able

to quickly grasp the fundamentals

of a business’ operations, the

platform enables the collection

of swift insights which can be

used in the development of

an automation strategy.

Commenting on the relationship

that Dentsu Aegis shares with

FortressIQ, Cheprasov praises the

company’s technology and states

that without its partnership

“it would have taken over 30

business analysts to gather the

same level of detail and insight

that [FortressIQ’s] AI was able to

capture if it was done manually.”

Pankaj Chowdhry,

Founder & CEO, FortressIQ

businesschief.com


DENTSU AEGIS NETWORK

24

SOPs, compliance and training. Using

FiQ’s artificial neural network (ANN),

NLP, and ML models, in combination

with advanced computer vision (OCR),

we automatically mined, modelled

and documented data for over 2,200

processes in five months with just two

people operating the system.”

On the subject of automation,

Cheprasov is evangelical about its growing

importance, not only for Dentsu Aegis

but for its clients and modern business

generally. “Automation is just a natural

evolution from operational excellence,”

he explains. “Traditional operational

workflows are no longer sustainable; the

workforce is changing rapidly, yet very

few global companies are ready to manage

their workforce with people, bots

and AI working side by side.” He asks

every company to consider the subject

of advancing technology seriously; it

is an aspect of business which is both

exciting and intimidating – staying on top

of it and processing the large amounts

of data accessible requires automation

integrated into every process. It

was because of this that Cheprasov

formulated his seven-year roadmap.

“It’s in response to client demands for

AUGUST 2020


The transformation of AI & Automation

CLICK TO WATCH | 2:11

25

businesschief.com


DENTSU AEGIS NETWORK

2013

Year founded

50,000

Number of

employees

26

Covid 19 and the impact of technology

CLICK TO WATCH | 3:01

AUGUST 2020


27

higher levels of agility and consistent

operational excellence,” he explains.

As such, Dentsu Aegis plans to go

beyond traditional forms of automation

(AI, ML, RPA, etc) to fulfil its quest

for ever-greater heights of operational

efficiency. This brings the conversation

back to the importance of

collaborating with startups in the sector:

“We continue to monitor who the

emerging players are; there’s a lot of

new startups that have fantastic ways

of applying AI to different problems

in business,” he says.

When considering the future, not just

of Dentsu Aegis but also automation

generally, Cheprasov identifies two

key trends: hyperautomation and the

democratisation of AI. The former,

a term with Industry 4.0 connotations,

imagines an operational state which

combines digitisation with connectivity

and AI to create a supremely automated

system capable of seamless

interoperability; regarding the latter,

he adds this: “The future of automation

should be placed in the hands of

every employee, giving them access

businesschief.com


DENTSU AEGIS NETWORK

28

to low-code or no-code platforms and

providing the necessary training and

support.” This, Cheprasov anticipates,

will lead to unprecedented efficiency

gains for workers and unlock the human

potential in a way which was unfeasible

previously. As the post-COVID-19 world

continues to make companies re-examine

their relationship with technology,

Dentsu Aegis is already expanding

into the less overt considerations that

furthering automation entails, such as

its CSR activities with AutonomyWorks.

“Their goal is to create new job opportunities

for individuals with autism and similar

disabilities. At Dentsu, we recognise

society as one of our key stakeholders

and one of our key objectives right now

is to upskill the organisation’s workforce

with the necessary automation skills to

AUGUST 2020


“Automation is just

a natural evolution

from operational

excellence”


Max Cheprasov,

Chief Automation Officer, Dentsu Aegis

accelerate the work that they currently

do for their clients.”

Considering what the rest of

2020 might hold for Dentsu Aegis,

Cheprasov summarises its goal as

continuing to help its clients win, keep

and grow their own customer bases.

If the COVID-19 disruption has taught

the company anything, it’s that close

collaboration, an agile mindset and

an innovative attitude will help Dentsu

Aegis navigate the lingering aspects

of disruption, which, in turn, will help its

clients. “Every business today needs

to have an AI and automation strategy

and plan,” Cheprasov concludes. “By

2025, AI-powered companies will be

10 times more efficient and hold twice

the market share over organisations

that fail to embrace the technology

today. I think we have reached a point

in the evolution of intelligent automation

when you can no longer delay

this decision.”

29

businesschief.com


LEADERSHIP & STRATEGY

32

AUGUST 2020


33

COVID-19:

THE CHANGING

LANDSCAPE

WRITTEN BY

GEORGIA WILSON

OF INVESTOR

MANAGEMENT

businesschief.com


LEADERSHIP & STRATEGY

Sankar Krishnan, EVP and Industry

Head, Banking and Capital Markets

at Capgemini, discusses the

investor management landscape

prior to and post COVID-19

34


S

ince World War II, I would say we have

never had a situation like this where it has

been very difficult to predict outcomes

in terms of where the world is going. These are

unprecedented times and investor management is

front and centre. In some ways it has taken a beating,

but in others it’s trying to correct itself,” states

Sankar Krishnan, EVP and Industry Head, Banking

and Capital Markets, Capgemini. Over the last

four months, the entire investor management ecosystem

has been significantly disrupted which is

creating new challenges for organisations and how

they effectively maintain open communication with

shareholders relating to company performance

and guidance for the future, as well as providing

a deeper understanding of the industry.

THE BEST STRATEGY FOR EFFECTIVE

INVESTOR MANAGEMENT

Prior to COVID-19 Krishnan believed that the

best strategy for effective investor management

was “transparency, followed by leaders providing

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

35


LEADERSHIP & STRATEGY

36

a consistent strategy, followed by a

measurement process that gives a

true representation of how an organisation

is doing compared to what was

discussed in the previous shareholders

meeting. This approach has an

effective impact on an organisation’s

valuation and velocity in the stock

market. I believed that this was a very

good model because you could easily

compare a company’s performance

based on previous history. This was

a good system across many sectors

that brought together the consumers,

the asset management industry,

the wealth management industry and

investment management industry,

and from an investor management

perspective, the better CEOs, are

also the better communicators.”

However, post COVID-19 Krishnan

details that, although “due to nobody’s

fault, there are a lot of unknowns.

We don’t know much about this virus

in terms of when it will disappear or

when there will be a vaccine. As a

AUGUST 2020


“I think overall it is

about finding out

how traditional

companies can save

a lot of costs as they

get called upon

to invest more and

more in digital for

the rest of the year”


Sankar Krishnan,

EVP and Industry Head, Banking

and Capital Markets, Capgemini

37

result it is very difficult to predict the

future of any organisation or industry

at the moment. Therefore, from an

investor management perspective

we are witnessing on average a 95%

to 97% work from home raito, as well

as a lot of organisations unable to

predict with any accuracy the future

cash flow, with COVID-19 costing

them between 10 and 25%, as well as

entire economies being propped up

by their governments - the US alone

has announced close to US$2.3trn in

the first phase with more to follow. As

a result, it is very difficult to predict

business outcomes, therefore some

have decided that to give this guidance

after a time of total economic

uncertainty would be wrong due to

there being so many variables.” Giving

examples of these variables Krishnan

explains that “we do not know when

a vaccine would be ready, in a country

like the US even if a vaccine is

developed, what will be the process

to reach over 250 million Americans?

businesschief.com


LEADERSHIP & STRATEGY

38

We also don’t know if there is going to

be a variation of the virus that comes

in winter and what the retail sector is

going to look like. A lot of the traditional

companies have fallen down

due to being replaced by technology

companies that can meet the change

in customer behaviour and demands.”

Ultimately, Krishnan highlights

that all of these inputs in the investor

management models would provide

outputs, which would be shared with

the entire investment community,

fostering good investor relations.

However, “the models are not able

to produce the outputs with a high

degree of probability. At best you can

give a range or a best guesstimate,

because investor management is

facing global impact that crosses

industries, companies, consumers

and governments. While the virus

may affect regions differently, there

is no doubt that each country and

industry will be impacted considerably,

unfortunately a lot of the survivors will

depend on having at least an 80% to

90% capacity utilisation. This creates

AUGUST 2020


What is investor management/

investor relations?

Investor management/investor relations (IR) is defined by the National

Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) as “a strategic management

responsibility that integrates finance, communication, marketing and

securities law compliance to enable the most effective two-way

communication between a company, the financial community, and other

constituencies, which ultimately contributes to a company’s securities

achieving fair valuation.”


Source: Institute for Public Relations

39

What the average investor should be doing

during the coronavirus economic crisis

CLICK TO WATCH | 3:33

businesschief.com


LEADERSHIP & STRATEGY

“We don’t know much

about this virus in terms

of when it will disappear

or when there will be

a vaccine, as a result

it is very difficult to

predict the future of any

organisation or industry”

40


Sankar Krishnan,

EVP and Industry Head, Banking

and Capital Markets, Capgemini

AUGUST 2020


problems for the investment management

industry, because you are faced

with the challenges of not being able

to give guidance on any aspect of it,

but life must go on. You have to make

some assumptions and carry on, and

I’m sure the public will understand if

you’ve got some elements wrong. But

I think we’ve got to deal with fighting

the virus at the moment and I have no

doubt that things will get better however

this is the current landscape for

the investor management industry.”

EMERGING TRENDS AND INNOVATIONS

AS A RESULT OF COVID-19

Krishnan believes that “every cloud

has a silver lining”. First and foremost,

Krishnan highlights that the drive to

digital has been extremely fast. “I

think a lot of the industries due to

COVID-19 have become digitally savvy

and responsible. A record number

of people have begun to use digital

apps - at Capgemini we conduct a lot

of research reports relating to retail,

banking and fintech - interestingly 80%

of people surveyed do not want to go

into a bank, and will not choose a bank

if they are not able to use a digital way

41

businesschief.com


LEADERSHIP & STRATEGY

42

“I think a lot of the

industries due to

COVID-19 have

become digitally

savvy and digitally

responsible”


Sankar Krishnan,

EVP and Industry Head, Banking

and Capital Markets, Capgemini

to access the bank’s products. As a

result we are seeing new business

models are emerging, such as massive

organisations moving to a 95% to

97% worked at home situation which

was not easy to achieve. I believe we

are also seeing improvements in business

contingency planning, as people

return to work we are seeing a lot of

new technologies emerging as well as

ways of working. It is interesting to see

different sectors adapting to the current

environments such as restaurants

becoming drive thrus or takeaway only;

AUGUST 2020


What makes a leading investor

relations team?

To ensure that an investor relations department provides value to the organisation,

those within the team need to ensure that they are consistent, clear

and honest with their communication. However, leading experts within investor

relations explain that while these are the fundamentals to drive true value

within an organisation, it is vital for a investor relations department to:

Have a financial orientation

“15 or 20 years ago, you could probably successfully work in IR with a strictly

communications background. Now, though, you must have that financial

background,” explains Regina Nethery, VP of Investor Relations for Humana.

Foster deep knowledge of the company, industry and sectors,

as well as constructive dissatisfaction.

43

“You should never assume that what’s worked in the past is appropriate for the

present or future,” says Chris Jakubik, VP of Investor Relations at Kraft Food

Know who the go-to sources are

“Don’t worry about organisational layers or protocol and deal directly with

the people who have the information you need,” comments Dexter Congbalay,

VP of Investor Relations at Mondelez International.

Know the three Ts:

Timeliness, transparency and trust, “The investment community values

an IR organisation that demonstrates its commitment to building relationships

based on trust and candor,” says Charles Triano, SVP of Investor

Relations at Pfizer


Source: Deloitte

businesschief.com


LEADERSHIP & STRATEGY

“These are

unprecedented

times and investor

management is

front and centre”


Sankar Krishnan,

EVP and Industry Head, Banking

and Capital Markets, Capgemini

44

the healthcare industry adopting 3D

printing capabilities to mass produce

personal protective equipment (PPE);

the insurance industry using drones

to survey damages; and the finance

industry using chatbots to continue its

services to customers. Across each

industry, we are seeing these kinds

of deployment, resulting in business

operations, as we know them, evolving

very quickly and out of this will come

new business models.”

With digital innovations and implementations

on the rise, Krishna

believes that this increase in use of

digital solutions for investor relations

due to COVID-19 is an interesting

concept to see how these disruptive

technologies will be used in day to

day operations. “Given the fact that

2020 is pretty much written off, it is

not going to be so much about 2020,

it will be more forward looking at 2021

and beyond. One of the good things

that have come out of the virus is the

lowering of interest rates. So even

though you may lose 2020, 2021 and

beyond will have low interest rates for

AUGUST 2020


45

discounted cash flow, the challenge

however is to show this in your digital

model. I would also say that now

digital channels are the single largest

revenue channel for most organisations,

it will be very interesting to

see from an investor management

viewpoint, the impact that this has on

an organisations performance, and

whether a more digital approach will

be a model of choice post COVID-19.

Then there are aspects such as negotiation

of contracts for office space

where companies have been vacant

for the last four months and how that

shows on the balance sheet. These

are some of the things I see from an

investor relations perspective - how

will the investor management teams

be able to digitally communicate with

the shareholders and how you can

make the information digitally available.

I think overall it is about finding out

how traditional companies can save a

lot of costs as they get called upon to

invest more and more in digital for the

rest of the year.”

businesschief.com


HUMAN CAPITAL

HR operations

and platform

technology trends

020

46

AUGUST 2020

WRITTEN BY GEORGIA WILSON


usinesschief.com

47


HUMAN CAPITAL

Business Chief explores

the HR technology trends

of 2020 and the benefits

they can provide an

organisation looking to

digitally transform its HR

• • • • • • •

48

Over the last five years, digital transformation

has redefined the ways in

which organisations operate and seen an

increasing number of companies deploy digital

solutions rapidly and at scale. As a result

of this shift in mindset towards a digitally led

culture, talent management and the need for

new skills is changing how ‘traditional’ HR

systems operate.

“In a recent survey, two-thirds of business

leaders told us that if their company does

not digitalise more by 2020, it will no longer

be competitive. But in HR, digitalisation is

changing everything, from core functions

like the way we hire and develop talent, to

introducing new burdens such as raising

performance. We found that 88% of chief

HR officers say they need to invest in three

or more technologies over the next two

years. It’s a huge undertaking and it’s no

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

49


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50

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Accenture Software: Simplifying HR

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51

surprise many executives feel completely

lost,” says Brian Kropp, Group

Vice President at Gartner.

With organisations facing being left

behind if they do not ramp up their

efforts to digitally transform, here are

the top HR technology trends that

could help them do so.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) AND

ROBOTIC PROCESS AUTOMATION (RPA)

Whilst it may sound conflicting to suggest

that implementing more technology

can make operations increasingly

human, Emily He, SVP of Global

Marketing at Oracle, states that “the fascinating

part of this AI revolution, is how

automation is actually pushing the workforce

to become less techy and more

human.” Agreeing with He, Ben Eubanks,

an HR industry analyst and influencer

believes that “Every time work has been

automated in the past, the resulting jobs

and tasks have been more human in

nature as we automate the less human

aspects. These core human skills are

important today, but they’ll matter even

more in the future.”

businesschief.com


HUMAN CAPITAL

Top 10 benefits of

Cloud platforms for

HR operations

• Reduced paperwork

• Real time and accurate analysis

• Increased employee engagement

• 24/7 access to information

• Fast deployment

52

• Cost effective solutions

• Improved security and GDPR

policies

• Easier to innovate, a more flexible

solution

• Ensuring that HR operations keep

up with innovation across the

organisation

• Predictive analytics

Source: TrustRadius

AUGUST 2020


Key areas within HR that have

benefited from AI include analysis

of employee surveys - known as

voice of employee (VOE) analytics

- and removing human bias. “Our

new research shows that AI tools

are better than humans at analysing

employee surveys,” comments

Eubanks, while IBM states that “as we

work to develop AI systems we can

trust, it’s critical to develop and train

these systems with data that is unbiased

and to develop algorithms that

can be easily explained.”

When it comes to robotic process

automation (RPA) the technology

encompasses the likes of chatbots,

natural language processing (NPL),

machine learning, and AI. These capabilities

can improve communications

and increase productivity via access to

the right data at the right time. Future

trends for RPA within the HR sector

include chatbots, with predictions that

HR chatbots will be implemented at

more than 50% of companies by 2022.

Common questions asked to chatbots

relate to payment, holiday leaves,

social benefits and employee general

rights. By having the technology

53

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HUMAN CAPITAL

54

answer these simple questions companies

can help to alleviate the burden on

HR departments. “These bots can act

as self-service platforms that allow the

HR personnel to focus on responding

to more complex and urgent questions

that warrant their attention,” comments

Jeremy Nunn, Forbes Council Member.

VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED REALITY AND

WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY

One technology gaining momentum in

the HR sector is the use of virtual reality

(VR) and augmented reality (AR).

The technology can help recruiting and

onboarding processes by establishing

simulated environments that test a

candidate’s job-specific skills, sharing

a virtual tour of your office space and

bolstering recruitment efforts.

According to a study conducted by

Dr. Candice Lanius of The University

of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), Dr.

Lanius recorded more than 140 students’

speeches while monitoring their

heart rate via wearable technology.

AUGUST 2020


“In a recent survey,

two-thirds of

business leaders

told us that if their

company does

not digitalise more

by 2020, it

will no longer be

competitive”

• • • • • • •

55

Brian Kropp,

Group Vice President, Gartner

Based on the data, Dr. Lanius adjusted

the curriculums to better prepare

students to combat public speaking

anxiety. This trend is predicted to

emerge within HR to track heart rate,

body temperature, pupil dilation and

other factors to provide an insight into

employee stressors.

EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE, HR GUIDANCE

AND REAL-TIME PERFORMANCE FEEDBACK

It was reported by Gartner that

among HR professionals in 2019,

employee experience was one of the

most important aspects of their initiatives,

and will remain as a top priority

through 2020 as they look to drive

engagement and foster employeecentric

cultures.

“Put systems, tools, and processes

in place that enhance, not limit,

their employees’ daily tasks and

schedule but beyond the tools the

most important is the value of the

relationship and the respect to your

people. Your employee is your first

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HUMAN CAPITAL

56

customer,” noted François Bornibus,

the President of Lenovo.Such tools

can include the use of real time performance

feedback to allow employees

and employers to receive regular,

consistent feedback in real-time. This

allows managers to have meaningful

forward-looking conversations relating

to employee development, which can

increase engagement and productivity.

The concept of HR guidance

via an Organisation Guidance

System (OGS) is also predicted to

grow. Dave Ulrich, speaker, author,

professor and thought partner on

HR, leadership, and organisation

sees “HR delivering value by offering

more ‘guidance’ rather than

simply scorecards, dashboards or

predictive analytics.” Such systems

would identify not only the desired

outcomes of organisation investments

but the roadmap to reach the

outcomes and the requirements for

sustainable progression. An OGS

allows an organisation to identify

desired outcomes relating to talent,

organisation, leadership and human

resources allowing HR professionals

to provide a framework for solutions.

AUGUST 2020


Digital HR saving

facts and figures

• Organisations can save 40% of

their data load time when using

a data conversion and migration

extension to reduce errors during

mass uploads

• US$80,000 can be saved with a

test data and optimisation extension

to secure personal data,

avoiding penalty payments

57

• US$100,000 can be saved with a

data validation and monitoring

extension for defensive reporting

efforts due to reducing the number

of queries

• A document creation extension

can help users to build and manage

templates easily

Source: Accenture

businesschief.com


HUMAN CAPITAL

“88% of chief HR

officers say they

need to invest in

three or more

technologies over

the next two years”

• • • • • • •

58

Brian Kropp,

Group Vice President, Gartner

NEW WORKING MODELS

AND GENERATION-Z

New working models are changing

the way in which organisations adopt

technology. While more flexible

working environments and remote

working is not a new concept with the

outbreak of COVID-19, the increase

in remote working has been exponential.

As a result, organisations are

looking to rapidly adopt remote working

capabilities such as cloud and

digital communication technologies

like Zoom and Microsoft Teams,

as well as ensuring they have the

correct policies in place to effectively

support their remote workers. This

new style of working is only further

being driven by the technologically

savvy, Generation-Z which are beginning

to enter the workforce.

INTEGRATED SYSTEMS AND

CLOUD TECHNOLOGY

With the average HR function using 11

different systems just for recruiting,

AUGUST 2020


59

and the continued rise of digital

transformation, the importance

of integrated systems to maintain

accuracy and efficiency continues

to grow. In addition to integrated

systems, high quality software is also

critical. The ability to process large

amounts of data via the integrated

system is a valuable capability for

HR professionals in order to save

time and resources. This capability is

driven by having a robust and reliable

software solution that is adaptable

as the company grows, which will ultimately

improve a HR team’s reporting

and analytics capabilities.

However, “from an HR perspective,

any changes to existing systems

must be carefully considered and

skillfully executed,” highlighted Venky

Seshadri, Senior Sales Director and

Product Manager at Accenture. While

some capabilities will be more critical

than others and will vary depending on

the business, one thing is for certain,

that when digital technologies are

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HUMAN CAPITAL

60

“From an HR

perspective, any

changes to existing

systems must

be carefully

considered and

skillfully executed

• • • • • • •

Venky Seshadri,

Senior Sales Director and Product

Manager, Accenture

AUGUST 2020


effectively adopted the capabilities

bring value to organisations to drive

sustainable and efficient operations.

Within HR innovative technologies

can help to better deliver an

organisation’s HR, services. “Digital

technologies remove some of the

mystery behind HR processes,” adds

Seshadri, by involving the workforce in

recruitment, onboarding, performance

review, learning and career development

procedures, as well as opening

up the ‘anytime-anywhere’ services

with the use of mobility, social media

platforms and smartphones.

While HR platforms can be built inhouse,

utilising a cloud platform is a

more cost and time effective solution.

The technology also provides flexibility

and control for HR professionals to

effectively customise applications to

suit requirements, as well as the ability

to make better decisions, improve

efficiency, improve employee experiences,

and improve HR compliance.

61

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DIGITAL STRATEGY

62

DESIGNING

A DIGITAL

STRATEGY

AND

THE IMPACT

OF COVID-19

Business Chief takes a look at

McKinsey’s 10 factors for a successful

digital transformation strategy

and the impact of COVID-19

WRITTEN BY GEORGIA WILSON

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

63


DIGITAL STRATEGY

When it comes to designing a digital

transformation strategy, McKinsey

explains that “clear targets, management

buy-in, and targeting easy wins

early are just some of the key aspects of

a successful digital transformation. Firms

should also look to rapidly up-skill the digital

expertise of their workers, and deploy agile

ways of working.”

64

REALISING DIGITAL POTENTIAL

– 10 FACTORS FOR A SUCCESSFUL DIGITAL

TRANSFORMATION FRAMEWORK

While it is no secret that digital transformation

and industry 4.0 are providing organisations

with a multitude of opportunities for customer

experience, growth, innovation, optimisation,

transparency and agility, to drive sustainable

and efficient operations.

“However, mounting evidence shows that

digital transformations are easier said than

done, with more than half of all UK projects

estimated to fail at realising their desired

goals,” says McKnisey. To help organisations

navigate the challenges of developing

a successful digital transformation strategy,

McKinsey outlines 10 factors that can help

an organisation realise the digital potential

for an effective strategy.

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

65


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First on the list is senior management

buy-in. When it comes to budgets

and decision making, having executives

onboard and taking a proactive

approach will drive quicker decision

making and gain support across the

entire organisation, as well as a smooth

transition process and clear priority

focus. “The CEO cannot simply sanction

a digital transformation; he or

she must communicate a vision of

what needs to be achieved, and why,

in order to demonstrate that digital

is an unquestionable priority,” states

McKinsey, this clear communication

is crucial to maintain momentum and

reduce failures when digitally transforming

operations, which leads to

the importance of identifying key milestones

and targets to aim for, with a

clear roadmap and regular progress

updates. “Targets are needed for

each source of value creation – cost

savings, revenues, improved performance

of agents, and satisfaction

of employees and customers—and

for new ways of working and the new

capabilities required,” adds McKinsey.

Another key element to designing

a digital transformation strategy is

investment. When it comes to investing

in a digital transformation strategy,

McKinsey explains that “investment

is likely to result in lower profits for a

while. But without it there is a serious

risk to profits in the longer term”.

Organisations willing to truly commit

to the investment needed will be able

to pull off a digital transformation

strategy. While investment is a core

element of designing a digital transformation

strategy, resources are not

unlimited and particularly in the current

climate it is important to manage

the risk when investing in projects.

McKinsey therefore, highlights the

importance of sequencing initiatives.

As the more value a digital transformation

captures, the more it becomes

self-funding and builds great support.

67

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DIGITAL STRATEGY

68

“A company’s financial pressures

will shape the sequencing to some

degree. So will its IT, if legacy systems

restrict initial choices. Companies

must be more flexible. It could prove

hard to recruit the particular people

needed, while technology and customer

behaviour will continue to

evolve. When initiatives are successful

and deliver the intended financial benefits,

the board and top team should

be emboldened to push to achieve

more,” states McKinsey. As a result

the establishment of ‘easy win targets’

in order to build the momentum for

the projects – known as a ‘lighthouse

project’ – could be a key way to build

support. These short term and well

defined projects act as a measurable

model for projects going forward that

are perhaps more broader.

As an increasing number of organisations

look to design a digital

transformation strategy, there has

also been a rise in the need for skilled

talent, in particular a Chief Digital

Officer (CDO) to lead the digital

disruption and innovation. Recent

statistics show that 19% of top global

companies now have a CDO – 60%

AUGUST 2020


How Coronavirus is Impacting Big Tech

CLICK TO WATCH | 1:03

69

of which have been hired since 2015.

“The importance of securing a highcalibre

launch team, often under a

CDO, cannot be overstated. A CDO

can prove invaluable in co-ordinating

a transformation – avoiding duplication

by devising a methodology for

the redesign of customer journeys

that can be replicated across the

organisation as digitisation efforts

are extended.”

With this in mind, the importance of

having a central launch team managing

the overall operations leads into

the need for agile ways working. With

speed and autonomy at its core,

agility as a process is defined as the

division of tasks into short phases

of work and the frequent reassessment

and adaptation of plans. CDOs

and executive leaders can help to

promote new ways of working within

an organisation that are essential for

digital success, including: agile product

development, maintaining focus

on customers, and cross-functional

teams. McKinsey does however, highlight

that “separating a digital component

from the rest of the organisation is

not entirely the answer. They can start

businesschief.com


DIGITAL STRATEGY

70

to create channel conflict, particularly

if innovations threaten to cannibalise

revenue streams. The digital unit

therefore needs to be reintegrated at

some stage, and that becomes more

difficult as time passes. Whatever the

choice, the ultimate goal has to be to

enmesh the old and the new.”

A recurring theme within these key

factors is the need for a digital mindset

to maintain momentum. It is

important for organisations designing

a digital transformation strategy to

encourage a digital culture. One way

to develop such culture is through

education. It is important for employees

to understand the changes that

are happening within the organisation

and how the changes will impact their

way of working. It is also important

when it comes to education to boost

the skills and system. The success

of a digital transformation strategy

requires the ability to acquire and

develop competencies relating to

digital skills, technologies, processes

and operating models to avoid skill

gaps and shortages.

Ultimately, “whatever structures

a company chooses initially, it will

reach the stage when only a fundamental

organisational redesign will do,”

comments McKinsey. Organisations

will need to redesign many fundamental

aspects of its operating model

in order to realise the true potential

of a digital transformation strategy.

“Silos drawn along functional lines

have always been a drag on collaboration

and performance in large

organisations. In the digital age, when

companies need to reinvent the way

they work on the fly, an inability to connect

all parts of the organisation to

AUGUST 2020


71

share data, expertise, and talent can

be crippling,” concludes McKinsey.

THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON

DESIGNING A DIGITAL

TRANSFORMATION STRATEGY

When it comes to the future of digital

transformation, organisations, when

asked ‘who led your digital transformation?’

will answer, ‘COVID-19’.

It is no secret that since the outbreak

of COVID-19, organisations all over

the world have had their operations

impacted by the virus. While 70% of

organisations had a digital transformation

strategy in place, most were

not far enough ahead to make the

impact of COVID-19 a non-issue.

As a result, organisations have been

forced to drive rapid digital transformation

in order to adapt to new

working constraints as a result

of lockdown measures.

“This is certainly a before-and-after

moment in the history of the economy

and the digital transformation,” noted

Andrew Filev, a Forbes contributor.

“Even when the COVID-19 outbreak

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DIGITAL STRATEGY

72

is contained, it’s unlikely things will

return to normal. Instead, we’re seeing

the forced acceleration of previously

slow-moving trends that are likely to

shape the future for the long haul.”

Accelerated adoption of digital

trends as a result of COVID-19 include:

TELECOMMUTING

While remote working is not an unfamiliar

concept, a recent survey revealed

that 49% of workers have never worked

from home. As a result, telecommuting

technology has been the most widely

adopted change due to the outbreak

of COVID-19. “Whatever objections

businesses have previously had to

telecommuting, COVID-19 may be

the moment that brings it into the

mainstream and shows leaders that

with the right technology, culture,

and expectations, employees can

be just as productive and effective

from home,” says Filev.

ON-DEMAND FOOD AND SERVICES

With thousands of businesses due

to social distancing guidelines forced

AUGUST 2020


to close, the on-demand economy

has further reinforced its importance

as part of digital transformation. With

the likes of Uber Eats and Just Eat,

digital delivery apps are providing

revenue for those who had to close

their brick and mortar stores.

“If it works for restaurants, we may

see new aggressive adoption of driveup

or on-demand local delivery of

essential goods as a result. Some

businesses might even find this model

provides lower costs, helps manage

inventory, and makes revenue more

predictable,” believes Filev. However,

“communities and surrounding businesses

may need to compensate

for a decrease in foot traffic in certain

anchor locations, and it could also

mean the painful loss of jobs in the

retail and service sector.”

73

FIVE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION FACTS

• 70% of companies have

a digital transformation strategy

in place or working on one

• Top industries for digital-first

business strategies include:

services (95%), financial services

(93%) and healthcare (92%)

• Top benefits of digital transformation

include: improved

operational efficiency (40%),

faster time to market (36%)

and the ability to meet

customer expectations (35%)

• 27% of organisations believe

digital transformation is a matter

of survival

• 55% of organisations without

a digital transformation

strategy believe they have

less than a year before they

begin to lose market share

Source: Forbes

businesschief.com


DIGITAL STRATEGY

WHAT DIGITAL

TRANSFORMATION

MEANS TO

ORGANISATIONS

• 52% believe it enables worker

productivity, via tools such

as artificial intelligent (AI)

assisted processes

74

• 49% believe it has the

ability to better manage

business performance with

data availability

• 46% believe it helps

meet customer experience

expectations

Source: FinancesOnline

VIRTUAL EVENTS

Events is an industry hit particularly

hard due to the impact of COVID-19,

alongside the travel and hospitality

industry that supports it. As a result,

conferences and trade shows have

been cancelled or postponed due

to mitigate the spread of the virus.

However, some of these events are

turning to technology, transforming

their physical event into a virtual one,

something “which in the end may not

just be a 2020 phenomenon but the

new standard for experiences,” highlights

Filev. It is unknown yet as to

whether virtual events will drive business

to the same extent that a

physical one can, “but if they can, their

appeal may be lasting. With lower

costs for attendees and promoters

AUGUST 2020


75

and more flexibility in content formats,

I wouldn’t be surprised to see some

events remain virtual in the future.”

THE CLOUD

The cloud is the driving force that

has allowed organisations to rapidly

adapt their operating models as the

disruption of COVID-19 impacted

their operations. Cloud technology

provides organisations with instant

communication from any location.

Ultimately, “digital transformation

has already saved millions of jobs,

helped slow the spread of the virus,

and allowed businesses to maintain

a level of normalcy amidst a chaotic

situation,” concludes Filev.

businesschief.com


TECHNOLOGY

76

AI:

ENTERPRISE

CHALLENGES &

OPPORTUNITIES

WRITTEN BY MARCUS LAWRENCE

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

77


TECHNOLOGY

AI and machine learning pose

major questions for nations at

all stages of development we

look at some of the challenges

and opportunities AI provides

78

A

rtificial intelligence (AI) has no

universal definition, though its

applications are perhaps its best descriptors.

As computing speed and power rise

while purchasing costs fall, the accelerated

development of AI systems, those capable

of completing actions typically reliant on

human cognition to be accomplished accurately

or at all, shows no signs of slowing

down. Businesses are integrating technologies

capable of automating simple tasks

across their operations, from data collation,

entry and analysis to payroll systems that

can accurately and securely calculate an

employee’s earnings against the myriad

factors that could affect them month

to month. The desire to work smarter

rather than harder, repurposing existing

staff freed from repetitive tasks so

that they can contribute to value-added

activities, is steering global business

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

79


TECHNOLOGY

AI & Manufacturing in Asia — Opportunities,

Challenges and Solutions: Microsoft Asia

CLICK TO WATCH | 3:02

81

“BOTH SKILLED

AND LOW-SKILLED

ROLES ARE UNDER

PRESSURE AS AI’S

CAPABILITIES GROW

AT AN EVER

ACCELERATED RATE”

towards a mindset that, if something

can be automated, it should be.

This is a stance that’s not without

its problems, of course, and in Asia

the challenges of AI adoption are

perhaps more stark than elsewhere.

McKinsey Global Institute’s (MGI)

‘Artificial Intelligence and Southeast

Asia’s Future’ report from 2017 cited

earlier research which found that 50%

of work activities conducted across

the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia

and Indonesia could be automated.

This work, cumulative across the four

businesschief.com


TECHNOLOGY

FACTS

“For their part, most of the companies across ASEAN will need to

make fundamental changes in management culture, including

adopting a data-driven style of decision making, and most

importantly, striking innovative partnerships with specialist firms

to incubate the scarce skill sets needed for AI efforts; a thoughtful

approach to strengthening the data infrastructure is also needed

to prioritise effort and investments”


McKinsey Global Insights

82

AUGUST 2020


iggest Southeast Asian (ASEAN)

economies, accounted for around

US$900bn in wages in 2017. On the

one hand, companies across those

four economies could stand to save

almost a collective $1trn by adopting

AI and automating those processes.

On the other, workers across those

companies, industries and economies

may either find themselves reassigned

or made redundant as the

money is invested elsewhere. In developing

economies such as those in

the ASEAN region, the threat to lowskilled

work from AI is compounded

by the nature of those economies:

delivering quality education and inclusion

at all levels is a challenge across

these populations and substantial

swathes of the countries’ poorest

stand to be left behind.

Both skilled and low-skilled roles

are under pressure as AI’s capabilities

grow at an ever accelerated rate.

McKinsey’s 2017 report found that

at least 30% of activities carried

83

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TECHNOLOGY

84

out across 60% of all occupations

could be automated, though it

noted: “Because automation applies

at the task level, AI seems likely to

change more occupations than it

will eliminate outright.” And, while

the aforementioned automation of

around 50% of tasks at a cost saving

of $900bn is staggering to consider,

“this does not mean that companies

will replace workers with machines

overnight just because it is technically

feasible to do so. The pace and extent

of automation will be determined by

how companies view the business

case, weighing considerations such

as the cost of these technology systems,

their ease of use, labour market

dynamics, the value that could be created,

the customer experience, their

own capabilities and regulatory and

social acceptance.”

The latter points made here are

perhaps the most vital impediments

to the potential havoc that AI could

wreak on labour markets ill-prepared

for its introduction: it won’t happen

immediately and there is time to

integrate the technology thoughtfully

across economies. In short, as has

AUGUST 2020


“WHERE AI’S

IMPLEMENTATION

COMES WITH RISKS,

IT ALSO COMES

WITH THE PROMISE

OF BENEFITING

INDIVIDUALS AND

SOCIETIES IN WAYS

BEYOND EFFICIENCY

IN BUSINESS”

85

been typically accomplished during

previous industrial and technological

revolutions, societies, government

spending and education can adapt to

the new normal as productivity rises

and wealth blossoms through gradual

adoption. What sets AI apart from

previous technological overhauls

of working life is its propensity to

extend beyond automation of repeatable,

predictable tasks. Where AI’s

implementation comes with risks, it

also comes with the promise of benefiting

individuals and societies in

ways beyond efficiency in business.

businesschief.com


TECHNOLOGY

86

McKinsey highlights some of the

key areas in its report, with the ability

for machine learning to “enhance

credit models and financial inclusion”,

as well as its applications for

healthcare, having clear and direct

benefits to populations across

developing countries. Preventative

and remote healthcare will be

supercharged by machine learning’s

ability to cross-reference medical

records and observations of physical

changes caught on camera to assess

whether a disease has taken hold

or progressed. Ophthalmic care, for

example, is limited for people in geographically

remote areas by the need

for specialist equipment and limited

availability of doctors specialising in

eyecare. Bangladesh is one example

where a patient may only need to

have photos taken of their eyes and

AUGUST 2020


FACTS

McKinsey highlights five

McKinsey highlights five

elements that must be tackled

elements that must be

for AI adoption within

tackled for AI adoption

enterprises:

within enterprises:

• Clearly defined use cases or

• Clearly defined use cases or

sources of value

sources of value

• Robust data ecosystems

• Robust data ecosystems

•A workforce that is adept at using

•A workforce that is adept at

systems and tools

using systems and tools

• Clear integration with workflows

• Clear integration with

in the core business

workflows in the core business

• An open culture that embraces a

• An open culture that embraces

‘test and learn’ approach

a ‘test and learn’ approach

87

have them uploaded to a machine

learning-enhanced platform for a

diagnosis to be made based on learnings

from other patients. Changes

over time may be minor and difficult

to detect by a human being, but such

signs can be caught and flagged by

the system as new images are supplied.

But, of course, for such ideas

to become reality, “most of the region

will need to build foundational digital

infrastructure and data ecosystems to

realise these types of opportunities,”

McKinsey says.

It is clear that Asia and the

ASEAN region is both replete with

opportunity and risks that must be

addressed when it comes to the

implementation of artificial intelligence

and its technological brethren,

machine learning, deep learning, and

RPA. Governments and enterprises

businesschief.com


TECHNOLOGY

“THE SKILL SETS NEEDED FROM

WORKFORCES WHOSE TRADITIONAL

ROLES HAVE BECOME AUTOMATED

MUST BE DELIVERED BY BOTH

BUSINESSES SEEKING TO UNLOCK

THE POTENTIAL FOR ABSTRACT HUMAN

INPUT AND VALUE-ADD ACTIVITIES”

88

AUGUST 2020


must face down considerable

challenges in order to unlock its

capacity for accelerated efficiency

and economic growth, improved

availability of credit and financial

inclusion, enhancements to healthcare

and more. The skill sets needed

from workforces whose traditional

roles have become automated must

be delivered by both businesses

seeking to unlock the potential for

abstract human input and value-add

activities, and governments who

stand on the verge of enormous

potential for growth and prosperity.

As the dust settles on a global pandemic

that has called computational

power to arms like never before, it

will be interesting to see how the

likes of the Philippines, Thailand,

Malaysia and Indonesia shift to take

advantage of AI.

89

businesschief.com


DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

90

AUGUST 2020


DIGITAL

TRANSFORMATION

IN CORPORATE

FINANCE

91

WRITTEN BY HARRY MENEAR

businesschief.com


DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

From AI and RPA

to advanced data analytics,

digital transformation in

the corporate finance sector

is poised to reach maturity

92

There’s no denying it: we’re in the midst of a digital

revolution. From remote telemedicine to blockchain

apps that stop blood diamond smugglers, and artificial

intelligence (AI) that verifies the freshness of

high-grade tuna, nearly every aspect of our lives is

becoming more and more saturated with technology.

Digital transformation is affecting every vertical

in every market across the globe. While some industries

have moved faster than others, each transformation

has followed an inflection point: the

technologies required to power significant transformation

reach a level of maturity and availability that

allows for change. The companies that are able

to embrace these technologies and successfully

use them to drive their operational and digital

transformations will gain a critical advantage over

their peers.

“The technologies needed to reimagine finance

are here and they will only get better,” observes

a recent report by global consultancy and accounting

firm Deloitte. "Plus, we can learn a lot from other

business functions. Modern factories give us a

AUGUST 2020


93

“The technologies needed

to reimagine finance are here

and they will only get better”


Deloitte

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“[Automation applications] are

evolving from simple individual task

automation to full process automation

that could improve the accuracy

of financial analysis and forecasts”


Gartner

glimpse of what automation can deliver.

Smart contracts show us new ways of

tracking assets. The lessons are out

there. We don’t have to reinvent the

wheel. We can focus instead on adapting

and adopting.”

The report continues, however, to

note that although the technologies

necessary to effect seismic change

across the industry are appearing (typically

in the form of pilot programs and

localised trials) there has yet to be

much evidence of scalable transformational

change. “The roadmaps to that

future are still being drawn.” This month,

Business Chief breaks down three of

the key trends affecting the relationship

between digital transformation and

the finance operation, and looks at how

companies can best adapt and thrive

under these new conditions.

INCREASED AUTOMATION

From manufacturing to supply chain

and logistics operations, automation is

the technological trend that is shaping

up to define the century. In the finance

sector, robotic process automation

(RPA) has the potential to reshape

the role of the finance professional,

as well as dramatically increasingly

the potential for value creation across

entire businesses.

It’s estimated that financial planning

and analysis (FA&P) professionals

spend as much as 80% of their workdays

95

businesschief.com


DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

96

on manual data gathering, consolidation,

verification, and formatting, leaving

just 20% for high-level analysis and

strategic planning. Significant RPA

adoption across the industry could

change all that. RPA uses AI to train

software bots to perform increasingly

complex yet repetitive digital tasks,

from processing claims and transactions,

to monitoring compliance and

auditing processes.

This technology is primarily manifesting

through a phenomenon known as

“co-bots”. Rather than removing humans

from the equation, the goal of a co-bot

deployment is not to replace the human

worker, but rather to augment that

worker’s abilities through repetitive

task automation, superior analysis, and

workflow management. For example,

“The modern CFO is evolving from being

a backwards-looking number collector

to a trailblazing strategic leader who uses

data and emerging technologies”


Marc Linden,

EVP, GM of Medium Segment

Native Cloud Solutions, Sage

AUGUST 2020


97

process automation is having a significant

impact on invoice management.

According to Manoj Shroff, MD,

Finance and Accounting Business

Process Lead at Accenture, using

AI-powered predictive technology,

finance departments are now able

to know with almost 95% accuracy

when a particular invoice will get paid.

Automation in finance is gaining

a good amount of traction in some of

the more developed markets. In the

US, for example, a report released

in June by ISG found that around 83%

of enterprise finance functions have

deployed RPA in some way, and

around 95% are experimenting with

or have deployed machine learning

businesschief.com


DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

98

technologies in their finance and

accounting processes.

Automation in finance has almost

unlimited potential to increase efficiency,

agility and ROI. As the technology

increases in sophistication, its applications

are “evolving from simple individual

task automation to full process automation

that could improve the accuracy of

financial analysis and forecasts,” according

to Gartner’s report on automation in

finance. Gartner also notes, however,

however, that the finance industry still

faces pressure to increase ROI from

automation deployments, adding that

“at the same time finance robotics must

be scaled out of shared services and

into other finance sub-functions such

as procurement and tax".

POWERFUL ANALYTICS

A technological trend that remains

closely linked with the increase in automation

deployments across the sector

is the growth and changing nature of

analytics. The ability for finance departments

to shift their energies away from

back-office reporting, and towards

forecasting and predictive analysis,

has powerful implications for industries

Digital Finance – Finance Transformation

at Deloitte

CLICK TO WATCH | 3:55

AUGUST 2020


like insurance and investment. The

power of data analytics to harness

and draw insights from vast pools of

data (that would simply not be feasible

for humans to manually evaluate) is

a game changer for the industry.

However, the game hasn’t been

changed yet. A report released earlier

this year by FSN, a mere 14% of financial

organisations are successfully harnessing

the large volumes of transaction data

they accumulate. These organisations

are either laden down by too much data,

constrained in accessing their data,

or hindered by the technology they are

using to analyse the data. The stakes

are high, as well; Gartner estimates

that each incorrect decision regarding

finance analytics can cost a business as

much as 1% of its revenue, a figure that

can mount dramatically over the course

of an unsuccessful transformation.

“CFOs must ask what technologies

will enable finance to deliver on-demand

reporting, how should data be governed

as reporting expands to integrate

financial and nonfinancial data,

and what skills finance will need to

deliver insight in an on-demand reporting

environment,” commented Craig

Wilton, Senior Director, Advisory,

Gartner. “Finance must balance the

need for accuracy with the need to

make a huge volume of data available

for decision-making, which is a new

muscle for many finance teams.”

99

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DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

THE ERA OF THE DIGITAL CFO

100

As digital transformation touches

every aspect of a business’

organisation, the need for digitally

forward-thinking executives is

extending beyond the CTO, CSO

and other, traditionally techfocused

roles.

A report from January of this year

by Sage found that 98% of CFOs

say their job has significantly

changed in the past five years,

with around 75% claiming that

they now play a critical role in

driving digital transformation

across their organisations.

“The modern CFO is evolving

from being a backwards-looking

number collector to a trailblazing

strategic leader who uses data

and emerging technologies, like

artificial intelligence and predictive

analytics, to create a vision for

the future of their business,” said

Marc Linden, Sage EVP and GM

of Medium Segment Native Cloud

Solutions, in a press release.

“The digitalisation of business

is fundamentally changing the

way finance leaders work and

embracing technological evolution

will separate the leaders from the

laggards in this new era. However,

a lack of cultural readiness in

the office of finance may slow

adoption of new technology and

hinder achieving optimal results

with any digital transformation.”

Simply being a tech-savvy leader

is not enough for the modern

CFO; the most successful

executives in this area need

to be drivers of both cultural

and digital transformation

throughout not only their own

finance departments, but the

entire company. “Company

culture plays a vital role in the

effective integration of any

technology,” cautioned Nancy

Harris, Managing Director, Sage

North America. “As CFOs are

driving digital transformation

forward, they must not overlook

the critical role they play in

ensuring teams have the skills

necessary to optimise these

solutions and allaying any

misperceptions and fears about

AUGUST 2020


101

AI and automation across the

wider organisation.”

However, if the modern CFO

can combine cutting-edge digital

adoption with smart, agile strategic

decision making, while working

to successfully create cultural

change and readiness for Industry

4,0 throughout their organisation,

they can be a formidable agent

of change. “CFOs have access to

the most important data in the

business and the insights pulled

from this data are critical to

driving the company forward,”

commented Marie-Helene Simard-

Brown, CFO, Costa Farms. “Data

such as inventory management,

compliance changes and financial

forecasting must be set up and

gathered properly in order to glean

the right insights and operational

efficiencies. This creates a real

opportunity for CFOs to be

innovation ‘change agents’ in

the digitalisation journey of

the business.”

businesschief.com


DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

“Finance must balance the need

for accuracy with the need to make

a huge volume of data available for

decision-making, which is a new muscle

for many finance teams”


Craig Wilton,

Senior Director, Advisory, Gartner

102

THE CHANGING ROLE

OF CORPORATE FINANCE

As automation and analytics steadily

take on a more mature role in the operation

of corporate finance divisions,

the roles of those business units, and

the finance professionals working

within them, is set to change dramatically.

This trend can best be described as

an upstream migration. As functions

like budgeting, processing and reporting

begin to approach full automation,

finance professionals will fulfil new

roles for their partners and clients.

According to Deloitte, with digital solutions

compensating fro routine workloads,

finance departments will have

increased opportunities to proactively

create value and direct strategy.

These new roles will include functions

like “scenario planning, advanced

forecasting, and better visualisation.

Teams of business partners will come

together to focus on the most complex

commercial decisions, moving around

the business as needed”.

AUGUST 2020


103

In essence, the digital transformation

of a finance department’s more

mechanical functions will create a

world where the lines between the

finance discipline and other business

functions like leadership, supply chain

and HR are increasingly blurred. This

interdisciplinary world will require

a shift in both attitude and training

focus for these departments, but has

the potential to promote agility and

cross-company communication.

“With operations automated, finance

will double down on business insights

and service,” predicts Deloitte.

“Whether Finance continues to direct

the resources currently under its

control will be dependent on its ability

to add value. That will require quality

insights and exceptional customer

service. Some finance organisations

will evolve into full-fledged business

service centers.”

businesschief.com


TOP 10

104

Most valuable

digital

technology

brands

WRITTEN BY GEORGIA WILSON

Business Chief North America ranks

the region’s top 10 most valuable digital

technology brands

WRITTEN BY WILL GIRLING

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

105


TOP 10

CEO

SAFRA CATZ

1977

YEAR

FOUNDED

HQ

REDWOOD CITY

CALIFORNIA

Photo © Oracle PR

106

10 Oracle

US$32.2bn

Founded in 1977 by Larry Ellison, Bob Miner and Ed Oates, Oracle

began its journey under the name Software Development

Laboratories. Between 1977 and 1982 the company took on one more

name – Relations Software Inc. – before becoming Oracle Corporation

in 1982. In 1986, the company went public and became one of the

largest database management companies the following year in 1987.

Oracle provides multiple industries with products and services that

address a wide variety of aspects in the corporate information

technology environment. Its expertise include cloud infrastructures,

cloud applications, on-premise infrastructure, data clouds and

on-premise applications.

AUGUST 2020


09 General Electric (GE)

US$34.3bn

Founded in 1892, General Electric (GE) has over 125 years of

experience in innovating and pioneering technology. Reflecting on

its heritage, GE highlights four areas where it has led the way for

technological transformation over the years.

• Transportation: “For over a century, GE’s creations have powered

vehicles in the air, at sea, and on land.”

• Power: “GE’s co-founder Thomas Edison created the first electrical

grid in 1882. Ever since, GE has played an integral role in generating

and delivering power.”

• Devices: “Our revolutionary breakthroughs have fundamentally

changed aspects of industry and daily life in manufacturing,

healthcare and materials science discoveries.”

• Environment: “We know that our company’s future success depends

upon our ability to create safer, cleaner, more efficient power,

products, and processes.”

107

CEO

H. LAWRENCE

CULP, JR.

1892

YEAR

FOUNDED

HQ

BOSTON

MASSACHUSETTS

businesschief.com


TOP 10

CEO

CHUCK ROBBINS

1984

YEAR

FOUNDED

HQ

SAN JOSE

CALIFORNIA

Photo © Gunawan Kartapranata

109

08 Cisco

US$34.5bn

Since its founding in 1984, Cisco has been striving to “seize

the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things

can happen when you connect the unconnected. An integral part

of our DNA is creating long-lasting customer partnerships,

working together to identify our customers’ needs and provide

solutions that fuel their success.” Cisco works to build

technological bridges to solve business challenges via network,

security, collaboration, internet of things (IoT) data center

and service provider capabilities.

businesschief.com


TOP 10

CEO

ROBERT SWAN

1968

YEAR

FOUNDED

HQ

SANTA CLARA

CALIFORNIA

110

07 Intel

US$38.8bn

Founded in 1968, Intel strives to shape the future of technology, by

creating “world-changing technology that enriches the lives of every

person on earth.” With the rise of devices, data, artificial intelligence

(AI), 5G and intelligent edge, Intel is focused on “unleashing the

potential of data to unlock Brand value for people, business and

society on a global scale.” Intel strives to “create world-changing

technology that enriches the lives of every person on earth. We believe

technology must constantly evolve to make more things possible and

all things easier, smarter, and more connected than ever before.”

AUGUST 2020


08 AT&T

US$41.3bn

Since 1876, AT&T has been striving to transform the way people live,

work and play. AT&T’s journey started with Alexander Graham Bell’s

telephone. “Since then, our legacy of innovation sparked the invention

of the transistor, as well as the solar cell, the communications satellite

and machine learning.” Throughout its history AT&T has been driving

innovation, but today, the company is striving to shape the future with

“premium content, high-speed networks, direct-to-consumer

relationships and an advanced ad technology platform. AT&T and its

employees are united by a shared desire to inspire progress and

change the world for the better.”

CEO

JOHN STANKEY

1876

YEAR

FOUNDED

HQ

DALLAS

TEXAS

111

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TOP 10

CEO

MARK ZUCKERBERG

2004

YEAR

FOUNDED

HQ

MENLO PARK

CALIFORNIA

Photo ©Anthony Quintano

05 Facebook

US$88.9bn

113

Co-founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerburg, Facebook is

“committed to building technology that helps people find ways to

be together.” Facebook is built on five core principles: giving

people a voice; building connections and communities; serving

everyone; keeping people safe and protecting privacy; and

prompt economic opportunities. Facebook’s mission is to “give

people the power to build community and bring the world closer

together.” It is a key reason why the company constantly iterates,

solves problems and promotes collaborative working to connect

people all over the world.

businesschief.com


TOP 10

04 Amazon

US$97bn

114

Founded in 1994, Amazon strives to have a positive impact on customers,

employees, small businesses, the economy, and communities. Guided

by its four principles; customer obsession rather than competitor focus;

a passion for invention; commitment to operational excellence; and

long-term thinking, Amazon operates in a variety of sectors including,

ecommerce, logistics, cloud technology and web services. As part of its

commitments, Amazon is striving to make big changes to protect the

planet. Its commitments to the Paris agreement include: 100% net zero

carbon by 2040; 80% renewable energy by 2024; 100% renewable

energy by 2030; and 50% shipments net zero carbon by 2030.

CEO

JEFF BEZOS

1994

YEAR

FOUNDED

HQ

SEATTLE

WASHINGTON

AUGUST 2020


CEO

ATYA NADELLA

1975

YEAR

FOUNDED

HQ

REDMOND

WASHINGTON

03 Microsoft

US$125.3bn

115

Since its founding in 1975, Microsoft has been striving to transform

the way that people live, work, play, and connect through technology.

“We are inspired every day by the genuine belief that we can change

the world for the better”, it says. Microsoft’s journey began in

Albuquerque with Bill Gates and Paul Allen developing software for

the Altair 8800, under the name Micro-Soft, for microprocessors and

software. In 1980, Gates and Allen struck a deal with IBM to provide

the operating system for the company’s first personal computer. In 1985,

Microsoft released Windows and by the late 1980s, the company was

one of the world’s largest personal-computer software companies.

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TOP 10

Grow stronger with Google

CLICK TO WATCH | 1:22

118

CEO

SUNDAR PICHAI

1995

YEAR

FOUNDED

HQ

MOUNTAIN VIEW

CALIFORNIA

AUGUST 2020


02

Google

US$167.7bn

In 1995, co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin – at Stanford

University – built a search engine that used links to determine the

importance of individual pages on the World Wide Web, giving it the

name Backrub. Soon after ‘Backrub’ was renamed Google – a play

on the mathematical expression for the number 1 followed by 100

zeros. Today, Google’s mission remains the same as it did in 1995,

“to organise the world’s information and make it universally

accessible and useful.”

119

businesschief.com


TOP 10

ACCENTURE’S TOP FIVE TECH TRENDS IN 2020

• Personalisation

“Redesigning digital experiences with new models that amplify

personal agency, transforming one-way experiences into true

collaborations.”

• Artificial intelligence (AI) and human collaboration

Business operations will be reimagined with human and artificial

intelligence (AI) collaboration. Taking “a new approach that uses

artificial intelligence to bring out the full power of people.”

• Moving away from the beta stage

“Overcome the ‘beta burden’. Addressing the new reality of product

ownership in the era of ‘forever beta.’”

• Moving beyond the walls of the enterprise

“Companies in every industry will unlock new opportunities by

introducing robots to the next frontier: the open world.”

• Innovative DNA

Accenture sees organisations building upon their capabilities and

ecosystem partnerships to assemble a unique innovative DNA.

Source: Accenture

AUGUST 2020


USE CASES OF TRENDING TECHNOLOGY – IOT,

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND BLOCKCHAIN – IN

GLOBAL SECTORS

• Automotive

• Education

IoT: crash avoidance, fleet

management and smart factories.

Artificial intelligence: autonomous

driving, driver assistance and

vehicle-to-vehicle communication.

Blockchain: vehicle title

management, counterfeit detection

and origination identification.

• Manufacturing

IoT: service monitoring,

production monitoring and

product insights. Artificial

intelligence: predictive

maintenance, intelligent

manufacturing and demand

sensing. Blockchain: compliance

management, IP management and

product traceability.

• Communication

IoT: connectivity, delivery and

monetization of iot services and

asset tracking and remote workers.

Artificial intelligence: network

maintenance and troubleshooting,

dynamic resource allocation and

customer experience. Blockchain:

roaming charge settlement, media

and game streaming, and security

and fraud.

IoT: facilities management,

personalized student experience

and student security. Artificial

intelligence: student enrollment,

personalised learning plans and

student success. Blockchain:

student records, digital rights

management and learning

marketplace.

• Finance

IoT: wearable technology,

insurance as a service and trade

finance. Artificial intelligence:

risk management, financial

planning and fraud prevention.

Blockchain: cross border

payment, identity management

and settlement trading.

• Healthcare

IoT: remote patient monitoring,

asset management and

medication adherence. Artificial

intelligence: fraud detection,

pattern based cybersecurity and

virtual nursing assistant.

Blockchain: claims management,

medical traceability and

credential validation.

Source: Oracle

businesschief.com


TOP 10

01

Apple

US$205.5bn

122

Founded in 1976, Apple is a multinational technology company that

designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer

software, and online services. “We’re a diverse collective of thinkers

and doers, continually reimagining what’s possible to help us all

do what we love in new ways. The same innovation that goes into

our products also applies to our practices — strengthening our

commitment to leave the world better than we found it.”Driving

business growth under one common goal – to create the best

customer experience, it explains that, “every new product we invent,

service we create, or store we open is the result of people working

together to make each other’s ideas stronger.”

CEO

TIM COOK

1976

YEAR

FOUNDED

HQ

CUPERTINO

CALIFORNIA

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

123


124

AltaMed’s digital

healthcare

transformation

AUGUST 2020


125

WRITTEN BY

LEILA HAWKINS

PRODUCED BY

GLEN WHITE

businesschief.com


ALTAMED HEALTH SERVICES

Raymond Lowe, Senior

Vice President and Chief

Information Officer at AltaMed

Health Services, discusses

clinical system transformation

and remote working

126

N

on-profit healthcare company AltaMed

Health Services was founded as the

East Los Angeles Barrio Free Clinic in

1969, with a mission to provide healthcare to the

underserved Latino and multi-ethnic population

of east Los Angeles. There was a lack of healthcare

available in this area and today they’re one

of the largest community health centres in the

country, serving nearly 300,000 patients with

more than 1,000,000 visits a year.

AltaMed serves everyone and anyone independent

of their ability to pay or their immigration

status. “We welcome everyone at AltaMed and we

are here to help them with primary care and their

health concerns, providing quality care without

exception” Lowe says. “At our core is social justice.”

Lowe joined AltaMed in January 2018. The

company had been going through a decade of

“explosive growth”, with the number of patients

they serve having increased tenfold.

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

127


ALTAMED HEALTH SERVICES

128

“Through our digital

transformation our

patients will have

access to healthcare

through mobile devices,

when and how they

want it”


Raymond Lowe,

Senior Vice President and

Chief Information Officer,

AltaMed Health Services

He launched its digital transformational

journey with a focus on

healthcare’s quadruple aim: improving

quality, improving patient experience,

improving provider satisfaction, and

lowering costs. In order to do this

Lowe set about developing a comprehensive

plan that was rapid, agile

and included input from business

stakeholders in clinical and financial

operation areas. “A DevOps initiative

or technology without operational

buy-in will likely not deliver the right

outcomes,” Lowe says. “I always

keep in mind what the corresponding

workflow is and what the KPIs are that

we need to meet for the organization,

thinking not just in terms of technology,

but from an operational perspective.

“Digital transformation is not easy,”

he adds. “Aligning the organization

requires flawless delivery of operations.

Good IT requires detailed planning and

strong operations to ensure the organization

will be successful. Ultimately,

I think IT needs to run like magic.”

The last two years have certainly

produced many benefits. AltaMed

has hardened core services, particularly

uptime and critical services,

AUGUST 2020


AltaMed Health Services

CLICK TO WATCH | 1:00

129

implementing cyber solutions to

address threats that arise with

increased remote working and telehealth

solutions. The company has

further been able to extend meeting

services so remote workers can collaborate

seamlessly regardless of

location and the number of attendees.

As well as managing televisits

and increased traffic to their patient

portal, they’ve deployed the Epic

electronic medical record system, a

new managed care software solution.

Virtualization has also been a

key element. “We’ve been able to

make our data centre to UTI tier III,

and we’ve added 350 new virtual

machines and 33 hosts in the last

two years within the VMware environment,”

Lowe explains.

To upgrade its network and cybersecurity

AltaMed has relied heavily

upon its partners. Lowe explains that

there was technical debt when he

first joined, and he needed to bring

the corporation to an enterprise class.

“Fortunately I have a good partner

network with Cisco and Presidio,

having worked with them previously

at Dignity Health, and Red8 is an

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ALTAMED HEALTH SERVICES

130

existing partner at AltaMed. We

did a baseline gap analysis to plan

how to correct the environment so

we could be at an enterprise level.

This involved collaborative working

both with my technology team and

my partners, and through that we

developed a remote multi-phase

programme. Ironically, most of it was

actually completed prior to COVID-19.

“The partnership with Cisco and

Presidio allowed AltaMed to transform

the network, switch route,

hyper converged infrastructure and

cybersecurity. My entire digital, video

and telehealth strategy is built upon

this framework and we are able to

work fast - taking the time to lay the

proper foundation allows you to move

fast and perform transformation at

the speed of light. We also entered

into enterprise licensing agreements

in the Collaboration (Webex) and

Cisco’s Security Umbrella.”

A partnership with NetApp and

Red8 allowed AltaMed to simplify data

management and non-disruptively

scale capacity, while cost-effectively

AUGUST 2020


supporting its general-purpose business

applications. Red8 also worked

with Lowe’s team consolidating

fragmented infrastructure, allowing

it to stabilize and grow the core of

its managed care business. They

also assisted in overall design and

deployment of data protection,

retention, and encryption.

“Partners really help to shorten the

time to market. No organization has

all the talent that’s necessary, and

great organizations are built on great

opportunity. I’ve been very fortunate

to have a very strong partner network

that has been an extension

of my team.” Lowe says.

The COVID-19 outbreak has substantially

changed the way the company

works. In keeping with social distancing

guidelines, AltaMed has

expanded video and telephonic

appointment it opened nine outdoor

testing sites including in some places

where there was no power or network

services. “We had to figure out how

to deploy corporate wireless out

into a parking lot to support a clinic,”

Lowe explains. “From an application

and DevOps perspective, in days

EXECUTIVE PROFILE:

Raymond

Lowe

Title: Senior Vice President / Chief

Information Officer

Company: AltaMed Health Services

Industry: Healthcare

Location: Los Angeles, USA

Ray Lowe serves as the Senior Vice

President / Chief Information Officer

of AltaMed Health Services. Ray

started at AltaMed Health Services in

January of 2018. Ray currently resides

in the Greater Los Angeles Area.

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ALTAMED HEALTH SERVICES

132

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

133


ALTAMED HEALTH SERVICES

“Taking the time to lay the

proper foundation allows

you to move fast and

perform transformation

at the speed of light”

134


Raymond Lowe,

Senior Vice President and

Chief Information Officer,

AltaMed Health Services

AUGUST 2020


we deployed a brand new build for

COVID-19 to support the testing sites”.

We needed increased infrastructure

uplift for virtual meetings to provide

rich video experience for our

patients, providers and employees.

For social distancing and remote

work we deployed 800 laptops

over a three-week period. Working

with Cisco and Presidio helped us

accelerate the implementation of

a thousand remote workers, which

happened in a matter of days.”

Lowe says this was a real test as to

nimbleness and agility. “Our teams

excelled during this crisis, meeting

the needs of our employees and continuing

to care for the underserved

population of Southern California.”

Looking ahead, he says some

of these changes will remain in place.

“Social distancing is now the norm,

and certain jobs may not return to

the office. From a technical perspective

we need to ensure that we

have a highly reliable network, connected

in a secure manner, allowing

employees to be productive either

on site or remotely.”

“From a patient perspective, many

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ALTAMED HEALTH SERVICES

136

people are very concerned about

being in crowds, so we are looking at

shifting the way we provide care with

a much heavier emphasis on video

and telephone services.” We are

deploying patient-centric care with

flexible walls, meaning our patients

won’t have to come to a clinic to see

a provider. They will be able to obtain

care from their location on their

schedule. Also for COVID-19 testing

we are deploying temperature kiosks

that prompt patients and employees

to answer CDC guideline questions

to ensure the safety for everyone.”

AltaMed’s digital journey has already

“A DevOps initiative

or technology without

operational buy-in will

likely not deliver the

right outcomes”


Raymond Lowe,

Senior Vice President and

Chief Information Officer,

AltaMed Health Services

seen it expand into these areas and

they are prepared to continue this

digital transformation. For patients

enroute to an appointment, AltaMed

has enabled them to check in to their

appointment on their phone, and wait

in their car until someone is ready

to see them. They will then receive

a text message reminder to let them

know when to enter the medical

building. To improve the quality of

care in the home for chronic disease

AUGUST 2020


1969

Year founded

3,170

Number of

employees

137

management, AltaMed is also working

on remote patient monitoring

for people with chronic diseases, for

instance by sending out glucometers

to track weight and blood pressure

in patients with diabetes, congestive

heart failure, hypertension and

COPD. For moms, it is deploying an

application that will provide education,

tracking and support during their

pregnancy journey.

AltaMed Health Services is an

organization that lives its mission

and values providing healthcare

to the most vulnerable and underserved

communities. “Through our

digital transformation, our patient

will have access to their providers

from their mobile device or home

when and how they want it.”

businesschief.com


138

Data center

sourcing made

simple

WRITTEN BY

JOHN O’HANLON

PRODUCED BY

GLEN WHITE

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

139


COLOTRAQ

Dany Bouchedid, CEO of

COLOTRAQ, on his vision to

provide colocation, managed

hosting, cloud, network and

data center services globally

140

G

reat businesses often spring from very

small seeds: the seed that grew into

COLOTRAQ was a lecture, one of a

series, from an early .com entrepreneur to a final

year ‘ecommerce’ class at NYU’s Stern School of

Business in 1999. The internet was largely unexplored

territory to the students of management

including Dany Bouchedid, who approached the

entrepreneur at the end of his talk, expressing his

interest and asking him for a tip. After a moment’s

thought, Jeff Bezos (for it was he) answered:

“Infrastructure.” The class hadn’t yet tackled this

subject but Bouchedid was sufficiently interested

to ask his professor for a reading list. “I never looked

back,” he says. After thoroughly acquainting himself

with the data center infrastructure that supports the

expanding internet, he founded COLOTRAQ as a

full-service consultancy to help companies and institutions

source data center colocation.

This proved a winning business model, and today

COLOTRAQ uses a global network of data centers

from over 400 service providers and has helped

more than 10,000 clients, giving them access to

AUGUST 2020


COLOTRAQ Covid Switchover Tech

CLICK TO WATCH | 1:30

141

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COLOTRAQ

142

“When it comes to the

whole as-a-service

concept, where does

the rubber meet the

road? It’s in the data

center”


Dany Bouchedid,

CEO, COLOTRAQ

upwards of 3,000 colocation and

managed hosting facilities. Its custombuilt

cloud-based software DCITRAQ

allows them to instantly identify, with

granular detail, the best data center

infrastructure (DCI) to deliver their

business goals. It also lets them compare,

in real time, the technical specs of

the different options facing them.

DCITRAQ was launched five years

ago, and has evolved since then with

new features. It is available to customers,

their consultants or agents

to dynamically compare and source

data center services such as physical

or wholesale colocation, managed

hosting, cloud and cybersecurity,

he explains. “You can have multiple

vendors compete for your business

through DCITRAQ.”

Essentially, DCITRAQ is a reverse

auction model for the data center

industry, costing the client nothing to

gain a transparent view of the physical,

virtualized and hybrid offerings

available from a huge pool of providers.

It gives the client all the information

they need about a provider from their

physical facilities to their software

capabilities and carriers. “The power

AUGUST 2020


COLOTRAQ Main Services Tech

CLICK TO WATCH | 1:29

143

of DCITRAQ lies in 21 years of experience

and thousands of projects. All

this information is collected to an intuitive

dashboard – all your deal history,

communications all fully integrated

with COLOTRAQ’s cloud based enterprise

accounting platform – and that

information is always up to date.”

Though the rise of the internet was

clearly going to drive demand for data

center services and be the basis for his

business expansion plan, Bouchedid

did wonder at first how someone who

seemed no more than a clever online

bookseller should have set such a

store on infrastructure. “It wasn’t till

Amazon launched AWS almost a

decade after Bezos gave that talk that

his master plan became clear: he had

been the retail king but now he was the

infrastructure king!”

When the corporate flight to the

cloud started, Bouchedid heard people

say the colocation business might

suffer as people started to abandon

on-premise solutions and put their

data and their operations in the hands

of AWS, Oracle, Azure and the like.

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COLOTRAQ

144

Far from it, he soon realized: “When

it comes to the whole as-a-service

concept, where does the rubber meet

the road? It’s in the data center!” For

COLOTRAQ, the effect has been that

the lower value, high churn business

did reduce as small business clients

moved to the cloud, but that was good

news. Its biggest market is now among

mid-market to large enterprises as well

as the providers of services over IP, such

as VoIP, UCaaS, IaaS and a host of services

driven by technologies like IoT or

blockchain. Large enterprises do tend to

favor a hybrid approach: good news for

COLOTRAQ, which is uniquely placed to

help them navigate these waters.

For 21 years COLOTRAQ has been

pitching digital transformation, virtualization

and outsourcing. Suddenly the

arrival of a global pandemic has meant

that instead of a phased introduction,

corporations are faced with an

urgent need to move to a distributed

workforce and off-prem systems as

an immediate survival strategy. As an

example, he cites telecoms: “You’d be

surprised at the number of organizations

that still retain PBX systems: we

are seeing an unprecedented take-up

of UCaaS.” For 10 years COLOTRAQ

has maintained its core systems

including its DCITRAQ platform in the

cloud so it experienced no disruption

whatever when lockdown came in.

Many businesses were totally

unprepared for the pandemic. One of

COLOTRAQ’s biggest projects currently

involves digitizing a large law

firm’s entire caseload and building

an enterprise portal enabling them

to virtualize all the complex information

that litigation requires, work on

the case and present it at a Zoom

AUGUST 2020


court session through screen sharing.

“Law is just one vertical that is

still quite archaic in many ways, with

lawyers showing up at court with

piles of papers – that is not much use

at a Zoom meeting. The many firms

who have not done so will be urgently

virtualizing their entire value chain.”

So called ‘traditional’ industries like

law or real-estate may be racing to

catch up, but the need of tech-based

verticals is just as pressing, for slightly

EXECUTIVE PROFILE:

Dany Bouchedid

Title: CEO

Company: COLOTRAQ

Dany Bouchedid is a relationship-driven entrepreneur, leader and visionary with

a proven track record of success in building, growing and managing multimillion

dollar enterprises. In 1999, he founded and is currently CEO of

COLOTRAQ, a full-service sourcing and consulting firm that helps companies

and institutions source data center colocation, managed hosting, cloud

computing, network infrastructure and other related telecom services in 140

countries. Dany has been published and quoted in various industry publications

and has been a speaker at several industry conferences. He has served on several

boards for both non-profits and corporations. Dany is the founder and president

of The Bouchedid Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable

organization whose mission is to identify and evaluate thousands of

charities and non-profit service organizations and rank them using a

proprietary algorithm to determine which causes to fund directly.

The foundation considers a multitude of variables including the

focus of the charity, the urgency and direness of their cause, and the

level of disenfranchisement and vulnerability of the group

they service. The ultimate goal is to fund the most

immediate and worthwhile causes that are affecting the

most underprivileged and neglected groups.

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Data center

and colocation

providers like

Equinix are

investing in

expanding their

footprint to meet

the demands of

their consumers

and changing

technologies.


Equinix and Colotraq:

joint data centre pioneers

Jules Johnston, Vice President, Americas Partner Sales

at data centre company Equinix, discusses the

company’s collaborative approach to interconnection.

Jules Johnston is Vice President, Americas Partner

Sales at data centre company Equinix. Having joined

in early 2016, she has overseen a move to new sales

channels as part of the company’s work. “The team

we’ve put together in the last few years has helped

the company go from what was single digits in terms

of partner-connected selling to something greater than

30% of our bookings globally,” she says. “We’re on a

path and committed to do the majority of our business

with partners, so it’s been very exciting to be part of

that. The team I lead today is the 40-person Americas

partner sales organisation, and our job is to work with

partners so that we can help our field and inside sellers

meet at the customer.”

While Equinix is renowned as a co-location and data

centre organisation, Johnston is clear that the company

takes a broader view. “We really think of ourselves as

an interconnection company and as the global platform

for digital business. So when companies build their

digital infrastructure and platforms within Equinix, what

they’re able to do is dynamically connect to the world’s

largest ecosystem of clouds, data, suppliers and

customers.” Constructing such an ecosystem has

required a significant amount of infrastructure. “Equinix

has invested in over 210 data centres around the world,

or international business exchanges, IBXs, as we call

them. That allows Equinix to be able to meet the needs

of any company today with global aspirations.”

Equinix works closely with colocation broker Colotraq,

with the organisation having been one of Equinix’s

master agents for around five years. “Colotraq is a

fellow pioneer in the data center space,” says Johnston.

“As one of the oldest master agents in telecom, they’ve

intersected with us naturally. Equinix started as a place

for the world’s networks to come together in a neutral

fashion and Colotraq also prides itself on being

network neutral.”

“One of the places that we intersect is in helping

customers in their network optimisation strategies,”

says Johnston. “We have the largest collection of

networks in the world in Equinix data centers, and

Colotraq advises companies on optimising their

network strategies and spend. We’ve had a really

long, productive association given that overlap.”

Incoming trends such as 5G, AI, IoT, blockchain

and more all signal a bright future for Equinix and

its cloud offering, with the company continuing

to prove invaluable for customers even during the

COVID-19 pandemic. “Equinix was able to help

a global financial powerhouse stand up 120,000

employees remotely in three days. In this current

climate, companies have a real need for that.

We’re able to use our digital platform to help

companies make those kinds of moves.”

Learn more

Jules Johnston @ Equinix

The partnership extends far beyond the

surface level, with Colotraq agents and

Equinix solutions architects jointly

meeting with customers to

advise on digital edge

strategy briefings.


COLOTRAQ

148

different reasons. Another big current

project involves a very popular

online gaming company: “They are

expanding their footprint like crazy,

and they need to get to the edge. Edge

computing has been a huge driver: any

business where there’s consumption

of streaming content or which is bandwidth-intensive

like streaming media,

music or online gaming needs to push

its network out to the edge, closer to

its end users and subscribers. That

is good news for colocation because

with edge computing you need to

control the location of your data center

equipment.” The mantra of ubiquity,

where it no longer matters where the

physical equipment is as long as you

have access to your application, does

not work for edge computing architecture

he noted. “Many businesses of this

nature are moving towards hybrid models

now. 20 years ago it was all about

location, then it shifted to the notion of

ubiquity: now we’ve come full circle.”

Blockchain is another major disruptor,

he continued. “You can’t have

your blockchain nodes on a public

cloud platform: the whole point is to

have the controls in place for all the

“It’s vital for any

entrepreneur to make

sure he is not outpaced

by the market he is in”


Dany Bouchedid,

CEO, COLOTRAQ

AUGUST 2020


different blockchain nodes, and the

only way to do that is by having racks

in each of your key markets, with georedundancy.”

Edge computing and

blockchain are developments where

a one-size-fits-all approach won’t

answer in the post-Covid world.

Looking ahead the company is

keeping a close eye on the internet of

things (IoT), in particular industrial IoT or

IIoT. “We have seen only the tip of the

iceberg: as manufacturing and logistics

really starts to implement IIoT devices

throughout the supply chain it will create

so much big data, for storage and to

have the computing power at the edge,

to be able to feed back data in real time

to those devices. This will escalate the

demand for colocation, create more

‘sprawl’ and get us closer to the edge,

where customers and subscribers

actually live and work. Many data center

providers to my knowledge are investing

in expanding their footprint.” The

industry has come full circle when even

AWS and VMware have gone physical

for the first time ever with their recently

launched Outposts, an integrated hardware

rack that seamlessly connects to

Amazon’s public cloud.

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COLOTRAQ

150

COLOTRAQ is a company that

thrives on change, and nothing drives

change like a pandemic. Every client he

speaks with is scrutinizing its IT infrastructure

and architecture like never

before, and that presents opportunities

in every aspect of the IT value chain

from their data center infrastructure

to their communications and their networks.

Security is again at the forefront:

“Hackers are having a field day thanks

to the lockdown, where businesses

secured their offices but not their

employees’ home networks, so we are

seeing cybersecurity projects coming

in relating to the post-pandemic world.”

“Over 21 years I have

been blessed by

having rock stars for

my employees and

that makes it really

easy to lead the

company”


Dany Bouchedid,

CEO, COLOTRAQ

The terrible economic and human cost

of the crisis will accelerate the pace of

change. Already the data center industry

was predicted to grow at an annual

rate of 25% over the next five years. “It’s

vital for any entrepreneur to make sure

he is not outpaced by the market he is

in. For COLOTRAQ, if we feel we can’t

handle demand at this scale we may

raise a capital growth round and staff

up – it will be a great problem to have!”

It would be nice if the realization

that IT consumes far more energy

AUGUST 2020


COLOTRAQ DCITRAQ Tech

CLICK TO WATCH | 2:19

151

worldwide than any other activity

would drive the greening of the

industry, but in Dany Bouchedid’s

opinion that goal will more probably

be reached though economic pressure.

“All operators are under pressure

from their shareholders to lower their

operating expenditure, and energy is

the biggest part of that. And that OpEx

is passed on to customers. There’s

a direct correlation between better

energy management and competitive

pricing.” All of these metrics are made

visible by DCITRAQ – it’s a good case

where the triple bottom line is driven by

profitability as well as social pressure

to combat climate change.

Meanwhile COLOTRAQ is happy to

share access to its platforms with the

many entrepreneurial players entering

the colocation space, and work with them.

“There will be more than enough space for

everyone, and I see new entrants as coopetition

rather than competition.”

businesschief.com


150

Digital Realty:

the global data

centre ecosystem

platform

WRITTEN

BY

MATT HIGH

PRODUCED BY

GLEN WHITE

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

151


DIGITAL REALTY

Chris Sharp, CTO at Digital

Realty, on powering data centre

digital transformation with

a global ecosystem platform

152


F

orget data lakes, we’re now talking about

some of the largest data oceans ever

created,” says Digital Realty’s Chris Sharp,

discussing the seismic evolution of data – and how

enterprise and hyperscale customers use that data

– towards a series of interconnected global, digital

ecosystems capable of supporting even the most

complex digital transformations.

Digital Realty, at which Sharp holds the role of

Chief Technology Officer, Executive Vice President

and Service Innovation, is a key enabler of those

transformations. The company supports the

global data centre, colocation, and interconnection

strategies of leading organisations worldwide

with a fit for purpose global data centre platform,

PlatformDIGITAL. This comprehensive solution

offers a model built around network, control,

and data hubs, and has been created to enable

the ever-changing data, security, and networking

demands of these global enterprises as they grow.

AUGUST 2020


153

2001

Year founded

$3bn+

Revenue in

US dollars

1,500

Number of

employees

businesschief.com


DIGITAL REALTY

154

“We are really focused on

supporting our customers

in their enterprise journey,

and a crucial aspect of

that is not only focusing

on what they need today,

but what they’ll absolutely

need tomorrow”


Chris Sharp,

Chief Technology Officer, Executive Vice

President and Service Innovation

The pace at which the global digital

economy has evolved has changed the

way enterprises in every sector create

and deliver value. Now more than ever

data, technology and an effective IT

strategy are essential to enterprises.

Equally so, is operating on demand,

ubiquitously and in a manner that is

augmented by real-time intelligence

at every point of business globally.

Yet, with that growth comes challenges.

For example, as data creation and

consumption rises, so too does the

need for effective tools, networks and

infrastructures to access and analyse

it. This creates data gravity – a point

that many enterprises reach as they

scale in a digital environment.

THE GLOBAL DATA TRANSFORMATION

Sharp is a seasoned technology leader,

with more than 20 years’ experience

and a proven track record of evolving

businesses to meet the most complex

and demanding technology trends.

From the countless enterprise organisations

that he and Digital Realty work

with, he identifies an overarching trend

driving change: as enterprises scale,

they deploy globally and need access

AUGUST 2020


to their data and public cloud-based

systems in a different way, yet they also

all need help managing the complexity

from this shift. “This is where, in my

experience, Digital Realty is really able

to differentiate itself from others in the

market,” he says. “We are dedicated

to supporting our customers in their

enterprise IT journey and a crucial

aspect of that is not only focusing on

what they need today, but also what

they’ll absolutely need tomorrow.

“It’s essential to recognise that all

enterprises and businesses – not just

the hyperscalers that we deal with – are

often going through significant digital

transformations,” he continues. “Part

of that, in terms of their data, is about

being able to deploy globally consistent

infrastructure to manage efficient

data exchanges, rethink data flows to a

broader set of partners, and build these

ecosystems of community interest.

Providing those organisations with an

innovative and market-leading platform

that’s exactly the same whether they’re

in Silicon Valley, Chicago, London,

Osaka, or any other location worldwide,

allows access to revenue and ecosystems

in a very repeatable fashion.”

EXECUTIVE PROFILE:

Chris Sharp

Title: Chief Technology Officer,

Executive Vice President and

Service Innovation

Location: Menlo Park, California

Chris has more than 20 years’

experience and a proven track record

of evolving businesses to meet the

most complex and demanding

technology trends. He has a strong

understanding of technology and its

business impact with a deep network

of relationships in the internet,

telecommunications and IT industry.

During his career, Chris has led

acquisition and integration for seven

successful companies since 2003,

valued over $3bn in managed network

services, colocation

and security

services.

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Good for Water.

Good for Business.

Ecolab and Nalco Water turn

real-time intelligence into actionable

insights that data centers can use

to optimize costs, maximize uptime

and meet the goal of

net-zero potable water use.

ecolab.com/nalco-water

Ecolab, Nalco Water and the logos are Trademarks of Ecolab USA Inc.

©2020 Ecolab USA Inc. All Rights Reserved 05/20


BUILDING A GLOBAL DATA CENTRE

PLATFORM

This approach, Sharp explains, is the

driver behind PlatformDIGITAL, which

he says is “about being entrenched

in what each customer needs and

truly supporting them on a global

basis. This is what directly drove our

recent announcement of expanding

PlatformDIGITAL with Interxion, adding

more value to our customers and deeper

reach into Europe and beyond. We have

a very different ethos at Digital Realty,

where we want to empower our customers

and be a true open platform.”

That ethos, as Sharp explains, mirrors

the broader evolution of the data centre

sector, as well as how companies –

indeed, all of us – use data. “We’ve

seen a shift wherein customers don’t

want to be siloed into different products

or different services – so, the

differences between collocation and

scale, for example. Typically, particularly

with how rapidly the landscape

is changing, you’ll see customers may

go into collocation and outgrow it very

quickly because the economics and

the sheer infrastructure they need just

can’t be provided through a collocation

model. From our perspective, it’s about

building out a robust platform that can

manage all of those different fields in

a seamless fashion. It’s why you’ll see

us stop talking about collocation and

scale, and just talk about ‘the platform’.

“That shift is really dictating the direction

of PlatformDIGITAL,” he adds. “You

don’t go to Hertz to rent a car for three

years, you know? It’s economics. So, for

us, it’s always about understanding a

customer’s requirements around sizing

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DIGITAL REALTY

Digital Realty:

PlatformDIGITAL

CLICK TO WATCH | 0:59

158

so we can work on an environment

that lets them ‘land and expand’. The

other critical challenge enterprises

face today beyond that blended set of

services, is really around what it means

to be open, so that they can get the full

value from the broader landscape that

they need access to.”

The last major challenge in the shift

to a global ecosystem is data gravity,

which Sharp describes as fundamental

to successful enterprise infrastructure.

By 2025, it is estimated that 463 exabytes

of data will be created daily worldwide.

And while that data was typically

created in a centralised place, the

proliferation of digital technologies,

smartphones, cloud, mobile analytics

and more means it is now being

created everywhere. That data must

still be aggregated in order to analyse,

understand, and learn from it.

When it collects, a growing number

of services and applications use it —

against this proliferation of devices,

data gravity interacts. This can result

in data that is near impossible to

move and, according to Digital Realty,

“unfavourable complexity when factoring

business locations, proximity to

AUGUST 2020


users, regulatory constraints, compliance

and data privacy.”

To grow globally, businesses must

use the global open platform approach

offered by Digital Realty to mitigate

the data gravity barriers created by

digital transformation. “Some of the

enterprises we work with aren’t fully

aware of the issue, or that they should

deploy in proximity to where all of this

data is burgeoning or being built, and

this is where PlatformDIGITAL brings

huge value,” Sharp notes. “So, we can

procure a cabinet in close proximity to

a customer’s data – say they are looking

to carry out some data analytics

and want to stand up an AI farm with

several GPU processors, for example –

which is a real game changer for many

of those enterprises we’re working

with. They’re all trying to work with data

analytics, to use multi-hybrid cloud

architectures and our platform does

that — when that data doesn’t have

to travel far because the customer is

immersed right in it, that’s probably

the most optimal architecture that an

enterprise could hope to achieve.” 159

Solve data gravity challenges and

scale digital business by implementing

the PlatformDIGITAL solution model

businesschief.com


DIGITAL REALTY

160

CONTROL, CONNECT, OPTIMISE

There is also a notable trend of enterprises

looking to move away from

running their own data centres and

data locations, Sharp reveals. He

explains that, in this context, solutions

like PlatformDIGITAL enable those

businesses to get ahead of the curve

before their footprint is too difficult to

move, adding that “we can expose the

benefits of having that fit-for-purpose

platform that’s heavily interconnected.

Believe me, I don’t run into any customers

that tell me they want to continue

building their own data centres.”

PlatformDIGITAL allows enterprises

to leverage full interconnection capabilities

across Digital Realty’s global

ecosystem, including cloud service

providers, partners, networks and

customers, that will drive their business.

According to the company, the

core benefits of the platform revolve

around three distinct opportunities: be

in control, be connected, be optimised.

In the case of control, for example,

standardising deployment and operations

on a single platform simplifies

infrastructure and reduces risk, while

the greater connection of a global

AUGUST 2020


“Forget data lakes,

we’re now talking

about some of the

largest data oceans

ever created”


Chris Sharp,

Chief Technology Officer, Executive Vice

President and Service Innovation

platform improves business performance

through participation in global

digital ecosystems; it also shortens the

time to connect with markets and other

players in that ecosystem.

The platform tailors infrastructure

deployments and controls matched

to specific business requirements,

irrespective of data centre size, scale,

location configuration, or ecosystem

configurations. In line with the scaling

of modern, digital enterprises, it lets

customers operate deployments as

part of a seamless extension of any

global infrastructure, says the company,

thus enabling global, distributed

workflows at centres of data exchange

to remove data gravity barriers.

CONNECTION AND SX FABRIC

“To embark on a digital transformation,

the first thing an enterprise needs is

storage,” Sharp says. “They need their

own data store, and that’s where the

IP for a lot of our customers comes

from, the ability to have that data store

and run analytics against it. You’re

no longer talking just about owning

land, but the ability to deploy high

power density infrastructure in close

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DIGITAL REALTY

162

proximity to that data store once you

factor in things like AI. There’s not an

industry out there today that isn’t looking

to up its data analytics capabilities

and it’s the proximity element that

PlatformDIGITAL enables in a very

efficient way.”

After storage, says Sharp, connectivity

is crucial. It is here that Digital

Realty’s Service Exchange (SX)

Fabric on PlatformDIGITAL proves

crucial. SX Fabric, which is powered

by Megaport’s multi-cloud and ecosystem

connectivity, is an automated

global exchange of data centre cloud

and connectivity solutions that enables

interconnected global workflows, the

integration of cloud and B2B ecosystems

with virtual interconnections,

and the ability to virtually connect

clouds and digital ecosystems both

locally and globally. “It essentially lets

enterprises click and procure,” says

Sharp. “They’re afforded a portal within

which they can pick any one of the

150-plus cloud on-ramps from all of the

top cloud providers globally through

SX - all without ever having to use an

AUGUST 2020


engineer, or even understanding the

level of complexity behind it.

“The work that we collaborated on

with Megaport on SX is really at the

highest level,” he continues. “It’s very

technically challenging to achieve

because it revolves around the hybrid

multi-cloud approach that a lot of

enterprises are taking, wherein they

need to establish a location to stand

up their private infrastructure and then

access multiple public clouds. From our

perspective, it was really about aligning

our enterprise customers in the market

and giving them as open a platform

as possible. We really like to invest

in our partners, not to compete with

them, and have those best-of-breed

relationships that let us deliver the best

capabilities to our customers.”

GLOBAL FOOTPRINT

SX Fabric is just one aspect of the vast

PlatformDIGITAL capability roadmap.

For example, the platform offers coverage

from more than 265 Digital Realty

data centres in 20 countries and 44

metropolitan areas. Connections are

offered through physical and virtual

cross-connects and includes more

than 2,000 ecosystem participants

— the company plans to extend this to

more than 10,000 in the future.

More recently, the business has

completed projects in Frankfurt,

Dublin, and Tokyo, locations that

Sharp describes as “hotbeds for

enterprise customers trying to access

revenue opportunities”. Take the new

Clonshaugh data centre in Dublin,

which forms part of an existing portfolio

in the Irish capital. Ireland’s data

centre economy is growing rapidly having

already contributed 7.13bn euros

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DIGITAL REALTY

164

to the nation’s overall economy in the

last decade. Digital Realty has invested

more than 200mn euros in Ireland

to date, with the latest Clonshaugh

development designed to underpin the

importance of data-led technologies

to Dublin’s economy.

The company has also expanded

PlatformDIGITAL in Germany, purchasing

1.35 acres of land in Frankfurt to

address increasing customer demand.

The new campus, purpose built for

those enterprises looking to exploit the

opportunities that PlatformDIGITAL

provides, will add an additional 6MW

of power to the company’s existing

28MW; it offers solutions from Network

Hubs through to Data Hubs.

“With our size and our balance sheet,

there’s rarely an opportunity in the

market that we don’t see,” says Sharp.

“If there’s an asset that will trade or

customer demand around an area

then we’ll spend a lot of time assessing

that prospect. We already have

one of the most robust platforms to

serve Europe with the recent expansion

of the Interxion assets, we’re

constantly watching for opportunities

in the Middle East and we also have an

eye on some of the deeper elements

of the African market. It’s also worth

AUGUST 2020


noting that we’re always looking to go

deeper into existing markets. That’s

particularly the case in terms of new

technologies, such as 5G or edge

computing, both of which will still

need efficient access back to the core

infrastructure we have today.”

Those new technologies aside, Chris

believes that the global ecosystem

model enabled by PlatformDIGITAL

will continue to dominate. “If you

would’ve told me 15 years ago that I’d

still be going to work in a data centre,

I’d have found it hard to believe,” he

states. “But what continues to draw

me in is my passion for those secular

trends we have discussed, as well as

other emerging trends like the personification

of the data centre becoming

a critical asset. Every industry and

every customer out there, regardless

of size, will need to have a fundamental

foundation like PlatformDIGITAL that

allows them to increase in power density,

increase interconnection, increase

in square footage or footprint, and

increase in global presence.”

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166

Interstitial

Systems: flooring

for data centre

efficiency

WRITTEN BY

WILLIAM SMITH

PRODUCED BY

GLEN WHITE

AUGUST 2020


.businesschief.com

167


INTERSTITIAL SYSTEMS

William Collier, owner

of Interstitial Systems,

on what the company’s

electromechanical raised

floor distribution system

offers data centres

168

I

nterstitial Systems is a manufacturer of

multilevel electromechanical raised floor

distribution systems for data centres.

William Collier is the company’s founder and owner,

bringing his extensive 42 years’ of industry experience

to the firm.

Collier emphasises both the simplicity of

Interstitial Systems’ TIER E/A electromechanical

raised floor distribution system offering, and the

enormous impact it can have. “It’s remarkable that

something as simple as dividing the underfloor

horizontally into two levels for wires and air can

have such a huge impact on the way a data centre

is designed, serviced and maintained.” Traditionally,

data centres have been built with conventional

raised flooring or on concrete. “That’s basically

the two options that are available,” says Collier.

“We’re the third option that nobody knows very

much about – what we refer to as an electromechanical

distribution system.”

AUGUST 2020

Pyramid floor structure

design to meet seismic

requirement


Remove unlimited number of floor panels without affecting structural integrity

169

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INTERSTITIAL SYSTEMS

Interstitial Systems:

Ventilation Effectiveness

CLICK TO WATCH | 0:19

170

Compared to conventional flooring,

Interstitial Systems’ approach comes

with a host of benefits for data centres.

“The beautiful part about our system is

you can open up an unlimited number

of floor panels for as long as you want

and never lose air pressure.

This is untrue for a traditional

raised floor. The

opening created when

four floor panels are

removed permits all of

the air produced by a

30 ton air conditioning

unit to escape. So if you open up four

floor panels, all of the cabinets in that

air handling unit’s zone downstream

from the opening are going to be

starved of air. Because of our pressurised

plenum, we’re able to distribute

air over a 200 foot area, meaning

we can push air 200 feet across the

room, whereas a typical raised floor air

conditioning unit can do no more than

30 to 35 feet at best. That allows us

to reconfigure the design of a room to

better optimise the space and improve

efficiency for the user.”

AUGUST 2020

William Collier


“White space

is gold and

cabinets are

diamonds”


William Collier,

Owner, Interstitial Systems

171

“It is our belief that in data centres,

white space is gold and cabinets are

diamonds,” says Collier. Accordingly,

the company emphasises achieving

maximum efficiency for its clients,

with clear examples of improvement.

“In a typical room, of around 10,000

square feet, the owner’s plan was to

put in 418 cabinets. With Tier E/A, the

owner could put 512 cabinets in that

room. That’s 22% or so more cabinets

in the same space. Every one of those

cabinets increases revenue. So if I

can put 94 more cabinets in the same

space, I have a compelling story to tell.”

Another crucial element of the data

centre puzzle is uptime, with redundancy

therefore being critical. “What

data centres typically look for is N+1

redundancy. So for every four or five

air handlers, designers add another for

redundancy. But this does not provide

effective redundancy unless the extra

unit is adjacent to the unit that goes

down. We, on the other hand, build a

central mechanical equipment room

and, by providing a mixing box, are

able to provide true N+1 redundancy

businesschief.com


Returning to work with chemical free disinfection.

Staying at work with a UVC air cleansing systems.

Sales And Installation Services

For Interstitial Systems

www.TekLightUVC.com

www.TekCleanUSA.com

770-383-1946

PARTNERS

“One of our methodologies when doing business is that we work

in a very lean and mean way,” says Collier. “We’ve been doing this

for a long time and we’ve always believed in working to the best

optimisation.” Consequently, the organisation chooses its

partners carefully, such as TekClean. “They’re in the data centre

cleaning business down in Atlanta. We teamed up with them

a long time ago thanks to their good reputation. I need a rep that

has responsibility, loyalty, is smart, savvy and just down to earth.

People that make good relationships and want to bring good

things to their customers.”

AUGUST 2020


“We’re the third

option that nobody

knows very much

about – what we

refer to as an

electromechanical

distribution system”


William Collier,

Owner, Interstitial Systems

for the entire room with a single extra

air handler. This is because of the Tier

E/A’s pressurised plenum’s superior

air distribution capabilities. We’ve just

planned a project where the original

design called for 32 air conditioning

units. We redesigned the room and did

the same with 26 air conditioning units.

Taking six air conditioning units out of

the equation for around $250,000 a

piece provides huge savings, and also

saves a great deal of energy.”

The company is continuing to

develop its capabilities. “Something

that we did with the trading pits for the

Chicago Mercantile Exchange is build

a terraced, raised floor for control

and command centres. Thanks to our

two-level approach, we can ensure

consistent air distribution in that pressurised

bottom plenum and allow

for the rapid change, relocation and

reconfiguration of power and structured

cabling underneath the floor.”

Achieving high tech solutions doesn’t

itself require anything too revolutionary

for Interstitial Systems, instead it

leverages technology smartly. “We’re

obviously big users of AutoCAD

because we typically receive a set of

plans, where the client says: ‘this is the

direction we’re going in, how would

you optimise the facility using your system?’

Then there’s computational fluid

dynamics analysis - again not a new

technology - but when used correctly it

is a powerful tool to head off any shortcomings

that might occur in a facility.”

Like all businesses worldwide,

Interstitial Systems has not been

unaffected by the ongoing COVID-19

pandemic. ButCollier is an eternal

optimist believing that this challenge

will eventually result in a better world.

“I can’t tell you how many people I’ve

talked to in the last 90 days that have

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INTERSTITIAL SYSTEMS

Generous Cable Cuts

–no need for gaskets

174

“It’s remarkable that

something as simple as

dividing the underfloor

horizontally into two levels

for wires and air can have

such a huge impact”

Power Wiring installed

in Wireway


William Collier,

Owner, Interstitial Systems

AUGUST 2020


said: ‘Oh my God, I pick up an extra

three hours a day not having to commute

to the office.’ That’s found time.

That’s family time. That’s quality of lifetime.

That’s exercise time. That’s all

kinds of time that allows people to do

things for themselves. And at the same

time, it’s helping the planet because

we’re not putting out all the emissions

from commuting back and forth.”

As for Interstitial Systems’ future,

Collier is confident it is treading the

right path. “We’re going to keep plowing

ahead, one job at a time. That’s what

we’ve always done and that’s what we’ll

always do. We want to bring the best

value to our customers. Everything’s

about relationships. You build networks,

you find like-minded people. And when

you find the people that appreciate

what you do, you love doing work with

them, you become a team. You become

partners. You even build friendships.

That’s how we like to do business.”

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176

AUGUST 2020


177

TRANSFORMING

OPERATIONS

THROUGH

DIGITISATION

WRITTEN BY

SEAN GALEA-PACE

PRODUCED BY

GLEN WHITE

businesschief.com


MCDERMOTT INTERNATIONAL INC

Mark Lowman, Vice President

of Operations at McDermott,

discusses the impact of COVID-19

in the oil and gas industry

178

M

cDermott is a premier, fully-integrated

provider of technology, engineering and

construction solutions to the energy industry.

Operating in over 54 countries, McDermott’s

locally focused and globally integrated resources

include more than 42,000 employees, a diversified

fleet of specialty marine construction vessels and

fabrication facilities worldwide.

Mark Lowman is Vice President of Operations

at McDermott. Having spent his early career as

a Submariner in the Royal Navy, Lowman worked

his way through the ranks to advance to Lieutenant

Commander, before spending a further four years

with the Royal Australian Navy. In 2000, Lowman

left the Navy and joined the oil and gas industry and,

over the next few years, gained experience as a

Project Manager delivering projects in the Subsea,

Offshore and Onshore business segments. In 2012,

he joined McDermott to oversee company fabrication

operations in Asia and to manage the Batam

Fabrication yard. Two years later, he stepped into

his current role as Vice President of Operations

and is now based in Houston, Texas. “I loved my

career with the Royal Navy, but I always knew I was

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

179



Makes operations and asset

optimization easier than it looks

ABB Ability Genix Industrial Analytics and AI Suite

In today’s trying times, we need every angle to solve business challenges faster. Analyzing data

can give us an edge. But deciding which data and how is a whole different game. As a leader in

digital technologies that help customers improve operations, we developed the ABB Ability

Genix Industrial Analytics and AI Suite. Genix takes data from distributed control systems and

devices, and combines it with data from information and engineering systems to provide multidimensional

analytics that help you increase production, optimize assets and streamline

business processes. Artificial Intelligence helps you produce predictive and prescriptive actions

to improve. The Genix platform is augmented with easy-to-use applications and supplemented

with expert ABB services to help you find the right solution to solve business challenges faster.

abb.com


ABB: accelerating digitalisation with McDermott

ABB is a leading global engineering company

that energizes the transformation of society

and industry to achieve a more productive,

sustainable future. By connecting software

to its electrification, robotics, automation and

motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of

technology to drive performance to new levels.

Heather Cykoski is the Group Vice President at ABB.

Having worked for the organisation since 2005 in

several different leadership positions, she has a

comprehensive understanding of the industry and

has observed her organisation’s digital

transformation journey first-hand. “It’s incredibly

interesting to be where we are today. Digitalisation

has been at the core of what we do for many years;

however, the acceleration of implementation today

is truly transformational,” explains Cykoski. “Now

is the time for those who lead in this space to

transform and deliver digital value to both our

own operations and to our customers. Today’s

challenging economy makes this more urgent than

ever. There is so much more to deliver, and we

need to deliver fast.”

Rajesh Ramachandran is the Chief Digital Officer

for ABB’s Industrial Automation business.

He joined ABB in February 2019 and brings over

three decades of experience in technology and

business leadership to ABB, having helped to

transform world-class multinational organisations

such as Oracle, Siemens, PayPal and more.

“Different customers are at different points of

their digital transformation journeys,” says

Ramachandran. “This is even true with the solution

providers as they are learning along with the

customers on what the real value of digital is to

drive business outcomes. In today’s highly

competitive landscape, industries are able to

embrace digital technologies — to address their core

challenges, while striving for operational excellence

and output of the highest quality. Digital

transformation has become a high priority due

to its promise of addressing strategic business

imperatives. Many companies are struggling with

how to leverage this potential. We believe the

industry must adopt a clear roadmap of how to

address digitalisation, from enabling it to

implementing it through focused solutions,

keeping in mind the longer digitalisation journey.

At ABB, we can help our customers effectively with

these challenges.”

“Having established a key, strategic business

relationship with McDermott, Cykoski affirms that

this collaboration is influential to mutual success.

“The partner ecosystem has changed. The

combination of a technology provider like ABB, and

an EPC like McDermott, supporting the end user,

is the trifecta that creates the perfect project,”

says Cykoski. “We know how important an EPC is:

80% of large projects go through an EPC. When

you look at digitalisation and partnerships, what it

truly means is that you trust one another and

collaborate to provide value. McDermott and ABB

both have very similar outlooks and values, and

that is key.”

“With the future in mind, Ramachandran has

a clear idea of what the partnership with

McDermott could hold. “We’re actively working

on how to build solutions together that have a

lifecycle value for customers, from design through

operations through continuous improvement,” he

says. “The trusted relationship that we have with

McDermott is important to ensure projects are

delivered on time at the right cost. There is now a

new normal in the industry following the pandemic.

It’s the right time for partners to come together

and develop, test and implement new technologies

that challenge traditional ways of working. We’re

confident that by working together, we will ensure

safer, smarter and more sustainable operations

across the industry. “It’s a great opportunity to

bring the combined power of domain knowledge

and leading technology to our customers. We’re

confident this joint value proposition will help our

customers succeed today and tomorrow .”

Learn more

ABB Partner Video

Makes operations and asset

optimization easier than it looks

ABB Ability Genix Industrial Analytics and AI Suite

In today’s trying times, we need every angle to solve business challenges faster. Analyzing data

can give us an edge. But deciding which data and how is a whole different game. As a leader in

digital technologies that help customers improve operations, we developed the ABB Ability

Genix Industrial Analytics and AI Suite. Genix takes data from distributed control systems and

devices, and combines it with data from information and engineering systems to provide multidimensional

analytics that help you increase production, optimize assets and streamline

business processes. Artificial Intelligence helps you produce predictive and prescriptive actions

to improve. The Genix platform is augmented with easy-to-use applications and supplemented

with expert ABB services to help you find the right solution to solve business challenges faster.

abb.com


MCDERMOTT INTERNATIONAL INC

182

“MCDERMOTT HAS

CREATED AN

ENVIRONMENT WHERE

EMPLOYEES ARE

ENCOURAGED TO

ENGAGE AND PROMOTE

THEIR IDEAS AND

WE HAVE A MANTRA

TO ‘TAKE THE LEAD”

Mark Lowman,

Vice President of Operations,

McDermott

going to move jobs eventually because

there comes a time when you can no

longer serve at sea,” explains Lowman.

He studied at Deakin University and

was awarded an MBA in Law, Finance,

Human Resources, Economics and

Marketing in 2001. He points to that

experience as vital in providing a network

of like-minded individuals. “That

programme had a big influence on me

as I got introduced to a number of senior

executives from other companies and

those conversations about opportunities

really drove me to switch my career.”

Lowman believes the oil and gas

industry has been slower to adopt new

technology than other industries, but

recognises that digitalisation is beginning

to have a greater influence on

operations. “When I started, digitalisation

was in its infancy in the industry,”

he explains. “McDermott was still working

in the same way it always had with

adequate systems and processes while

not fully understanding the benefits

of digitalisation. We have created our

Digital and Project Innovation Group who

are supported by resources across the

organisation. This allows us to educate

our employees and the leadership as

AUGUST 2020


Ship-to-Ship Motion

Measurement System

CLICK TO WATCH | 2:48

183

we prepare to evolve to a digital culture.

Digital disruption is very likely to upend

the way we operate.” Pointing to his

organisation’s ongoing digital transformation

journey, Lowman acknowledges

that there has been a combination of

small point solutions as well as longer

running programmes. “We’re leveraging

cloud technology in certain areas, such

as our ERP and utilising technology

platforms like PLM from the aerospace

and automotive industries,” he says. “We

have tried to ensure that we don’t have

an ‘only invented here’ mentality and are

always looking to leverage the best that

we can find. Going forward, our focus

is heavily on technologies which help

us improve collaboration, expand our

project predictability through analytics

and automate repetitive activities to free

up our people.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic

impacting businesses across the globe

during the first half of 2020, Lowman

recognises how difficult the challenge

of transforming operations rapidly was.

“There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has

had a significant influence on the way

businesses operate now,” he explains.

“Almost overnight, we had to switch

businesschief.com


MCDERMOTT INTERNATIONAL INC

184

AUGUST 2020


185

“THE KEY IS UNDERSTANDING

THE CUSTOMER’S DRIVERS”

Mark Lowman,

Vice President of Operations,

McDermott

businesschief.com


Make work life

as great as real life

Meet the expectations of today’s modern workforce

by using intuitive, intelligent technology and automated

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ServiceNow: driving digitalisation with McDermott

Kevin Galloway, Director of Enterprise

Sales, and Sunny Mahato, Advisory Solution,

Consultant at ServiceNow discusses their firm’s

partnership with McDermott.

ServiceNow is an industry leading SaaS

provider, helping to make the world work

better for people and has a mission to

improve the overall employee experience.

ServiceNow has formed a key, strategic

relationship with McDermott and helps the

organisation with their digital strategy. Kevin

Galloway is a Director of Enterprise Sales at

ServiceNow. Having been with the company

since February 2019, he has operated in the oil

and gas industry over the past decade and

has observed the rise of digital transformation

first-hand. “Before McDermott brought in

ServiceNow, they had a very manual process,”

he explains. “If there was an issue, it would

have to be passed around different employees

until it reached the right person. With

ServiceNow, we automate that process.” Sunny

Mahato is an experienced technology leader

with experience in strategic account software

sales cycles, advanced enterprise software

applications, business process optimisation,

solution development and consultancy. He

believes that ServiceNow’s solution is of

significant value to McDermott as it streamlines

the process considerably. “McDermott doesn’t

have to worry about maintaining or managing

the servers or having people go into the office

to look after it. It’s all driven from the cloud.”

Prior to joining forces with ServiceNow,

McDermott had no way of tracking inventory

or streamlining their HR processes. Galloway

believes that upon the beginning of the

partnership with his organisation, the cost

savings have been considerable. “McDermott

went from 100% manual intervention and

spreadsheets to now running our platform

which they now use as ERP,” he says. “They

track millions of dollars of assets automatically

through our platform and their onboarding

process has transformed from a manual

process to a workflow which streamlines that

process. Sometimes, people don’t realise

ServiceNow

the cost involved with some of these manual

processes and the cost savings are in the

millions.” Mahato affirms the importance

of displaying a compassionate and

understanding approach to customers and

employees alike. “Our mission is all about

showing compassion to not just employees

but also our customers, particularly in the

current challenging environment,” says Mahato.

“We want our employees and customers to

know that we stand with them.”

Looking to the future, Galloway has a clear

idea of the next stage of the partnership

with McDermott. “As we continue to grow our

relationship with McDermott, we want to begin

to leverage AI into our platform and machine

learning to help McDermott further automate

their environment,” explains Galloway.

“The world is going more mobile, particularly

because of COVID-19. Working from home isn’t

going to go away so being a cloud-based

mobile platform provider has become more

important than ever. The ability to connect

mobily and through an automated fashion is

vital.” Mahato adds that he believes in an agile

and lean approach in order to drive success

in the market. “We’re hopeful we can continue

to help McDermott with project management

and introducing greater technology such as AI

and ML,” adds Mahato. “It’s crucial to be as

proactive as possible instead of reactive.”


MCDERMOTT INTERNATIONAL INC

188

from a normal office environment to

virtual working. Travel restrictions meant

that we haven’t been able to visit our

customers face to face and as we’re a

global operation, travel was an essential

element to remain connected. COVID-

19 has forced us to make the switch

to online communications as well as

encouraged us to find innovative ways

of working together.” Lowman recognised

the importance of reassuring

employees while undergoing significant

disruption and change to everyday

operations. “Our employees needed

reassurance,” says Lowman. “We have

fabrication operations where we have

thousands of staff that work in close

proximity to one another and we need

to be able to communicate and reassure

them, while ensuring they understand

the evolution post-COVID-19.” Despite

the unprecedented challenge of the

coronavirus, McDermott managed to

keep all sites fully operational globally.

“From the beginning, our QMW

Fabrication operation on the Qingdao

coast, Shangdong province, Central

China, was able to respond quickly and

AUGUST 2020


EXECUTIVE PROFILE:

Mark Lowman

Title: Vice President of Operations

Industry: Oil & Energy

Company: McDermott

Location: Texas, USA

Mark Lowman is an accomplished, highly resourceful Executive Management

professional with a wealth of experience in managing multi-billion dollar

construction projects in the Oil and Gas industry from inception to delivery.

Prior to his career in the oil and gas industry, Mark had a successful naval

career moving from the ranks to Lieutenant Commander.

Mark has been with McDermott International Inc. for seven years in a variety

of roles, including as the Director of Fabrication in Batam, Indonesia, Senior

Director of Commercial Asia Pacific, and Vice President of Project Execution

in both Asia Pacific and in Houston. Prior to McDermott, Mark held

leadership positions at Technip Oceania Pty Ltd. Marks holds a Master of

Business from Deakin University and has degrees in Nuclear Engineering,

Naval Science and Operational Studies, from Britannia Royal Naval College

and Royal Naval College Greenwich.

189

Mark has a proven track record leading global

operations, building business and setting

up operations in new geographical areas and

countries. He is a results-driven business

leader who creates shared vision and leads

from the front, to build, empower and motivate

multi-cultural, cross-functional teams

to achieve goals.

businesschief.com


MCDERMOTT INTERNATIONAL INC

ONE MCDERMOTT WAY

Customers rely on McDermott

to deliver certainty to some

of the most complex projects,

from concept to commissioning.

To help provide consistency

and assurance of delivery,

McDermott has established the

“One McDermott Way” which

means the same vision, values and

processes are always observed.

“This particularly helped when

we combined with CB&I as we

put a huge amount of effort in

working as coming together

as one team,” says Lowman.

“McDermott has created an

environment where employees

are encouraged to engage and

promote their ideas and we have

a mantra to ‘take the lead.’”

190

AUGUST 2020


Our Vision is One

CLICK TO WATCH | 1:53

191

proactively by introducing control and

mitigation measures well in advance

of Government restrictions,” explains

Lowman. “This has also been the case

for all our fabrication yards including

Dubai, Indonesia and Mexico, as well as

our project construction sites in the US

and across the world.” McDermott took

the pandemic seriously from the outset

and quickly established global and local

area Crisis Management Teams. “We

very quickly and efficiently developed

procedures and processes to manage

our response to the pandemic, but more

importantly to keep our employees safe.”

McDermott currently has a backlog

of US$16bn worth of projects to execute

over the next few years. “This is a great

position to be in, particularly at a time

when market conditions are so uncertain,”

affirms Lowman. The projects

in question include BP Cassia – Cassia

C Greenfield and Gulf Coast Joint

Ventures – MEG project. “In terms of BP

Cassia, McDermott is undertaking the

procurement, construction and fabrication

of a 7,250 MT topsides and a 3,400

MT four-legged jacket and piles. That

project is progressing well and our fabrication

yard in Mexico has remained open

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“WHEN I STARTED,

DIGITALISATION WAS

IN ITS INFANCY

IN THE INDUSTRY”

Mark Lowman,

Vice President of Operations,

McDermott

during the pandemic and has responded

with remarkable productivity,” explains

Lowman. “With the MEG project, we’re

fabricating large modules in two of our

global fabrication yards. The first modules

were delivered in early April and they

are now in Texas where the construction

site is putting together and creating the

plant.” Despite the seismic shift in the

scale of projects, Lowman believes the

core foundations remain the same. “The

key is understanding the customer’s

drivers,” explains Lowman. “This will help

execute the project successfully and

provide a level of assurance to the customer.

As a project director, I would want

to build a project management team with

a high-level of experience. With some of

these larger multi-billion dollar projects,

you can’t do it as a one- man band.

You need a series of experienced,

industry professionals whom you can

trust to build the team and empower

them to align to the project goals.”

McDermott places considerable

value on sustainability and has established

several CSR initiatives. McDermott

holds an Annual Batam International

Golf Tournament which has been able

to raise over US$1mn to fund the building

of orphanages in Batam Island in

Indonesia, providing health kits to children,

digging wells for a nearby island

and offering a range of other events.

“We have a series of sustainability goals

that we’ve been developing over time,”

explains Lowman. “We like to engage

with the communities to ensure we

provide the support that is needed and

make sure that McDermott as a business

is conscious of the worldwide effort

to reduce carbon footprint.” Those goals

that Lowman mentioned centre around

developing sustainable solutions that

support energy transition, contributing

to sustainable growth, reducing

operational environmental footprint and

promoting workplace and community

wellbeing. Having previously focused on

193

businesschief.com


MCDERMOTT INTERNATIONAL INC

194

developing natural gas power technology

that produces low cost electricity

while providing zero carbon emissions

with NET Power, Lowman says that

McDermott remains well placed to keep

sustainability at the fore. “Everyone

understands that climate change is an

area that needs to be considered in

planning,” he says. “Clean Fuels and

NET Power have generated interests

and we’re still providing customers with

the opportunity to become engaged.”

Lowman recognises the importance

of partnerships and believes developing

key, strategic business relationships are

vital to success in the oil and gas industry.

“Due to the sheer size of some of the projects,

it means that you have to share the

risk and one partner may have a higher

level of expertise in a particular area

“DIGITAL DISRUPTION

IS VERY LIKELY

TO UPEND THE WAY

WE OPERATE”

Mark Lowman,

Vice President of Operations,

McDermott

than another,” he explains. “However,

by working together, this allows for

more confidence in delivery and we rely

on partners and vendors across the

globe.” Lowman points to McDermott’s

relationship with Baker Hughes and ABB

as particularly important. “We’ve been

working together on Subsea production

solutions in conjunction with Subsea

AUGUST 2020


195

umbilical rises and flow lines (SURF)

and by collaborating we’ve been able

to offer solutions to the market that can

deliver savings to the customer that are

potentially in the millions,” says Lowman.

“ABB is a great supporting company

that provides technical solutions to help

us position ourselves to win work. ABB

offers switchboard equipment for our

Onshore and Offshore business and

is extremely supportive. They’re also

involved in some of our management

discussions with customers in terms of

providing the best lower cost solutions

that the customer is always looking for.

The relationship is really built on aligned

goals and the ability to communicate

and work together effectively.”

businesschief.com


MCDERMOTT INTERNATIONAL INC

Striving to make the world better,

for everyone

To help solve the biggest flow-control challenges, customers worldwide

rely on the product brands, engineering, project management and service

expertise of Flowserve.

We help our customers lower operating costs, optimize performance,

prolong equipment life, mitigate risks and drive higher productivity.


“I BELIEVE WE WILL

EVOLVE AND BECOME

A DIFFERENT KIND

OF COMPANY, BUT WE

WILL ALWAYS BE HERE

TO DELIVER PROJECTS

TO OUR CUSTOMERS”

Mark Lowman,

Vice President of Operations,

McDermott

197

Having been around for almost 100

years, McDermott has significantly

evolved over the years. Following the

merger of McDermott and CB&I in

2018, the organisation has matured

into a company that has a presence

both Onshore and Offshore. “Despite

the challenges, we’ve adjusted and

grown,” affirms Lowman. “We continue

to be a company that prides

itself on technology-led solutions

and we have secured a partnership

with Lummus Technology for the

longer term. This relationship will

enable McDermott to remain at

the forefront of technology and the

ability to continue to offer project

concepts to final delivery to our

customers both upstream and downstream

from Petrochemical and LNG

plants, Storage Tanks and Offshore

and Subsea. I believe we will evolve

and become a different kind of company,

but we will always be here to

deliver projects to our customers.”

businesschief.com


198

eStruxture:

Canada’s

leading data

centre provider

WRITTEN BY

LEILA HAWKINS

PRODUCED BY

GLEN WHITE

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

199


ESTRUXTURE DATA CENTERS

Todd Coleman, eStruxture’s

President and CEO, explains

how a strategy of staying

local is resulting in more

locations, more capacity

and better connectivity

200


W

e believe in staying very local, providing

local knowledge and a local customer

touch,” says Todd Coleman, the founder

of eStruxture Data Centres. “We don’t believe in

being headquartered in different parts of the world

and running the business from afar.” This is a key

aspect of the operations of eStruxture, the data

centre company he established in 2017 in Montreal.

It’s an approach that’s served them well, as in

the three years since then it’s grown to encompass

six facilities in total, each serving specific

requirements.

MTL-1, the flagship site in downtown Montreal,

is housed in the former Montreal Stock Exchange

building. “That is a connectivity and cloud-neutral

hub, with 30,000 square feet and 5 MW of power”

Coleman explains. “We have a lot of customer

ecosystems here that require access to a large

and diverse meet-me-room from a telecom carrier

fibre perspective, but also rely on us to deliver

significant amounts of power density.”

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

201


ESTRUXTURE DATA CENTERS

202

“We’ve not only

survived, we’ve

thrived during

COVID-19”


Todd Coleman,

President and CEO, eStruxture

MTL-2 is 7 km away, and is a brand

new, state-of-the-art hyperscale facility

encompassing 190,000 square feet

and 30MW of power, while MTL-3 is

on the south shore of Montreal, and

was the first Uptime certified Tier III

facility in Quebec. “Regardless of the

customers’ needs, we can meet their

requirements,” Todd says. “If they want

to be in the central business district

and have extraordinarily low latency

and access to a diverse group of carriers,

we can offer that in our downtown

facility. If they want the ability to significantly

scale their space and power

requirements at hyperscale economics,

we have that opportunity in MTL-2,

and then all our facilities are directly

connected by our own dedicated,

diverse fibre ring.”

Additionally, there are two sites in

Vancouver, and a facility in Calgary

that the company recently acquired

in August 2019, ensuring eStruxture

has a presence in three of the top

data centre markets in Canada. They

remain focused solely on the Canadian

market. “We believe there is significant

benefit in being focused and knowing

a market, and having your sales

and operations staff based there,”

Coleman says. “Our Calgary employees

are from Calgary and understand

the Calgary market well, same with

Montreal and Vancouver. The people

we hire are industry veterans, and

that resonates with our customers,

they know that they can turn to us as

a trusted advisor.”

AUGUST 2020


eStruxture Data Centres Overview

CLICK TO WATCH | 1:24

203

2017

Year founded

360,000+

Square feet of own built

and operated facilities

65

Number of

employees

Montreal’s data centre market has

grown significantly over the last five years

due to the low cost of power and the

abundance of hydroelectricity. “It took a

large hyperscale cloud provider to come

into the market and really put Montreal

on the map. Our belief from early on was

that the customer power densities were

going to continue to grow, which they

have. When we entered the Canadian

market, it was still fairly nascent and we

had a belief that data would continue to

localise and customers that were largely

present in the US would find their way

north of the border.”

businesschief.com


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When Coleman founded eStruxture,

he was still an investor in Cologix, a

data centre company he co-founded

in 2010. While that business focused

on telecoms and interconnection,

with sites within or near large carrier

hotels, the aim with eStruxture was

to develop Tier III, enterprise class

data centres with massively scalable

space and power in major Canadian

markets. Today, its standard offering

allows customers to go to 30 kW per

rack without stranding space requiring

re-engineering of the cooling system,

something Coleman says is practically

unheard of in North America.

eStruxture aims to provide its customers

with the best service at the

best cost. “We work with our manufacturers

to understand what they’re

rolling out and drive them towards better

and more enhanced technologies

at the best cost performance. We’re

about consistency, control and proven

EXECUTIVE PROFILE:

Todd Coleman

205

Title: President and CEO

Location: Montreal, Quebec

Industry: Information Technology & Services

Todd Coleman is the President and CEO of eStruxture. Todd brings

more than 25 years experience in the IT, data centre and

telecommunications industries. Most recently, Todd was the Chief

Operating Officer and co-founder of Cologix. Todd has also held

several senior positions at Level 3 Communications, a global

telecommunications company, including Senior Vice President

of Data Centres, Senior Vice President of Media Operations

and President of Level 3 Communications Europe.

Todd holds a juris doctorate and a bachelor’s degree

in computer information systems.

businesschief.com


ESTRUXTURE DATA CENTERS

206

AUGUST 2020


207

“I’d say that’s the biggest innovation in

the thought process that we’ve adopted

in the last few years – not viewing our

customers as one-size fits all”


Todd Coleman,

President and CEO, eStruxture

businesschief.com


ESTRUXTURE DATA CENTRES

208

quality and stability. Most importantly,

we understand where our customers

are going. I’d say that’s the biggest

evolution in our thought process that

we’ve adopted in the last few years –

not viewing our customers as one-size

fits all. We work to better understand

our customer requirements at the

application level and design our data

centres to ensure maximum flexibility

to meet our customers’ requirements.”

Having strong partnerships with

companies that understand their business

needs is critical for eStruxture to

be a trusted advisor to its customers.

“We often receive zero financial benefit

when we work with customers as a

trusted advisor, but that’s part of our

AUGUST 2020


“The people we hire

are industry veterans,

and that resonates

with our customers”


Todd Coleman,

President and CEO, eStruxture

value proposition, to steer and advise

them as to who our partners are and

provide details on their offerings,

so our customers are able to be put

in direct contact as we hand them off

in a very warm and relationship-driven

way. That’s been hugely beneficial to

both our customers and partners alike.”

The company has a number of key

partner relationships, including with

Belden, a provider of network and

connectivity solutions, JAVCO, a

specialist in mission critical design

and engineering, and Vertiv, a mission

critical equipment manufacturer, many

of whom have been key partners since

the company was founded. “These

types of relationships speak volumes

to the partners that we bring in and

in how we value them, because they

enable us to stretch the rubber band

and grow indirectly, bringing people,

resources and technology to bear

to an opportunity that we might not

have had access to otherwise.”

Like so many organisations globally,

eStruxture has been touched by the

COVID-19 pandemic. In the early days

of the outbreak the company took

a step back to reevaluate its position

in terms of investments, customers

and key metrics. “Along the way, we

proved to ourselves that the business

was very resilient in these types of

economic downturns. Frankly, we’ve

not only survived, we’ve thrived during

COVID-19. Our sales funnel has never

been more robust than over the past

few months.”

Understanding that people’s needs

may have changed during COVID-19,

209

businesschief.com


ESTRUXTURE DATA CENTERS

“When we entered the

Canadian market it

was still fairly nascent”


Todd Coleman,

President and CEO, eStruxture

Belden Is a

Proud Partner

of eStruxture

Watch how Belden helps

eStruxture manage high ber

density while saving space with

the new DCX Optical Distribution

Frame (ODF) System.

Speak to Sales


211

they’ve offered incentives to customers

who need to quickly migrate

their IT and network infrastructure

or require immediate expansion of

capacity, and to encourage customers

to take advantage of eStruxture’s onsite

technicians to enable customers

to deal with issues remotely, in a bid

to protect both the facilities and the

customers’ and eStruxture’s employees

while the pandemic is ongoing.

Ultimately, to be successful,

Coleman says you need investors

that believe in you, as well as intimate

knowledge of the marketplace. “The

data centre market is a bit of a ‘build

it and they will come’ market, so you

need confidence in how it’s evolving,

and where new markets could turn into

data centre-centric markets that otherwise

weren’t previously. You really

need your finger on the pulse of the

marketplace and their localised nature

to truly understand them.”

businesschief.com


212

Combating

COVID-19

with rapid

digitalisation

WRITTEN BY

GEORGIA WILSON

PRODUCED BY

GLEN WHITE

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

213


WSIB

Samantha Liscio, Chief

Technology & Innovation

Officer at WSIB, discusses

industry trends, digital

transformation and the

impact of COVID-19

214

W

ithin the insurance industry, Samantha

Liscio, Chief Technology and Innovation

Officer at Workplace Safety and Insurance

Board (WSIB) has seen the sector mirror what the

organisation itself is experiencing internally. “It’s

that customer focus,” says Liscio. “Our customers

want to be able to deal with us anytime, anywhere

and however they want, so we need to ensure that

our products and services support that. This trend

is one of six key drivers for our 2020 IT strategy at

WSIB, to develop new channels and a sustainable

operating model that are digitally focused as well

as digitalising our core services and developing

our work-from-home operations. The other five

elements of our IT strategy include business intelligence

and analytics, cyber and digital security,

modernising applications, providing digital infrastructure

and modernising our operating models,

all with the customer experience in mind.”

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

215


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WSIB

218

“Our customers want

to be able to deal

with us anytime,

anywhere and

however they want,

so we need to ensure

that our products and

services support that”


Samantha Liscio,

Chief Technology and Innovation Officer,

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)

Expanding on the industry trends

emerging within insurance, Liscio

explains that rapid digitalisation is posing

challenges for insurance companies.

“Insurance companies tend to be older

companies that have been around a long

time and have been built on a foundation

of processes developed over decades,

sometimes centuries, which can be

longstanding and hard to change. These

longstanding business models however

do need to change to be flexible and

adaptable if they are to continue to

meet customer expectations.”

AUGUST 2020


Accessing your WSIB data

just got easier

CLICK TO WATCH | 0:50

219

businesschief.com


Leadingthrough

extraordinary

times

Thelast3decadesofTCSCanadahasbeenanepic

journeypartneringwithTopBanks&Insurancerms,

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Resource&Utilitymajors.Wehaveparticipatedin

innovationwithmarqueeacademicinstitutionsand

excitingntechs.Wehavecontinuedtoevolveasa

leadingjobcreatoronITservicesandhavemade

foundationalimpactsignitingthepassionoftheyounger

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Thelast3monthssawapronouncedeffectacross

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oftruth,activeemployeeengagement&well-being

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seenthreespecicthrustsamidstlockdownandan

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RESILIENT

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OuradoptionofaSecureBorderless

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Weareactivelyparticipatingin

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Topivotthischangemanagementandorganizational

WeareprivilegedtobeakeypartnerforWSIB,whohas106years’

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223

When it comes to its own IT strategy,

Liscio explains that WSIB adopts an

agile approach for rapid innovation

which encompases three key areas

working together to develop a minimum

viable product (MVP). “These key areas

include service design with a human

centered design approach, followed

by product owners identifying friction

points. Finally the DevsOp group takes

a scrum based approach to developing

MVPs to target customer pain points.

With this ‘digital factory’ approach you

can get about 80% of those immediate

needs met within the first MVP. Before,

that would have taken us more than

a year to develop a solution, by gathering

requirements, working on those,

developing, testing, and then putting

into production. With our new approach

we have been able to bring projects

live within three months of starting an

MVP which immediately addresses the

key customer pain points, and provides

a base for opportunities to build additional

functionality incrementally. This

approach has become our foundation

for the future.”

businesschief.com


“There are so many

opportunities for

IoT in the worker’s

compensation

space, especially

as it relates to

health and safety”


Samantha Liscio,

Chief Technology and Innovation Officer,

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)

Many of WSIB’s new digital products

are the outcome of this approach,

which it has engaged with key partners

for its agile-based solution development.

“Within the last few months,

partners such as Wipro and others

have helped us develop a new service

that provides secure digital access to

claims information for injured workers.

TCS – Tata consulting services – is our

strategic partner and have been instrumental

in transforming our end-to-end

quality assurance process with industry

best practices and innovations

in the area of Automation, AI, Cloud

Testing and Test Data Management,

EXECUTIVE PROFILE:

Samantha

Liscio

As Chief Technology and Innovation

Officer at the Workplace Safety and

Insurance Board, Samantha leads

digital transformation, leveraging

technology to streamline processes

and modernize the business, helping

the WSIB provide responsive services

to customers. Samantha drives IT

service excellence and directs

innovation while ensuring value from

technology investments. Samantha

has over 20 years of experience in IT

leadership roles in eHealth Ontario,

Accenture, and the Ontario Public

Service. Currently Samantha serves

on the Ryerson University IT Business

Management Program Advisory

Council and the Toronto CIO

Governing Body. She is a past board

chair for Cornerstone Family Violence

Prevention and a past board member

of the CIO Association of

Canada and the Institute for

Citizen-Centred Services.

Samantha holds a

Bachelor of Science

(Honours) and a PhD

from Queen’s

University in

Belfast.

225

businesschief.com


WSIB

226

which has meant that we’ve eliminated

95% of the defects from our projects by

implementing the optimized approach

and methodology that TCS has helped

us with. In addition to this we are also

looking into opportunities to harness

RPA, within our operations which

is also something that we are working

on with TCS.”

As part of the company’s digital strategy

to drive digitalisation in the heart

of its operations, Liscio details the

company’s adoption of cloud, internet

of things (IoT) and AI-enabled analytics.

CLOUD

“For the WSIB, cloud is an opportunity

to significantly accelerate the delivery

of value, both to our internal business

and to our end customers. From an IT

perspective, cloud deployments can

help to reduce risk. It’s complicated and

expensive to host, deploy and maintain

software that’s at the core of your business,

and so increasingly big vendors

offer those types of services better

than we can ourselves. They can help

us to use cloud native capabilities and

drive innovations. WSIB’s cloud strategy

focuses on the implementation

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

227


How CGI helped WSIB

transition to a fully remote

workforce

When Ontario Public Health declared a ‘Work From Home’

policy due to COVID-19, the WSIB, like many organizations,

faced an unprecedented challenge: How to quickly transition

to a fully remote workforce while maintaining service levels

for employers, and payment continuity for injured workers.

WSIB engaged CGI to support their transition

to the new working reality by providing tailored

end user computing and service desk solutions.

WSIB and CGI mobilized and united the resources

necessary, including senior management, technology,

and expert personnel. With highly collaborative and

creative thinking, WSIB and CGI were able to overcome

conventional limitations and transition 4,300

WSIB workers and their IT devices into a remote

workforce.

Careful planning and crisis management from the

deployed CGI service teams paid off when each

team readily handled the spike in call volumes and

increased handling times as WSIB workers moved

home. It was imperative that WSIB data remained

secure outside the traditional working environment,

and that end users experienced no service degradation

despite the increased load on technological

infrastructure.

Together, WSIB and CGI rapidly implemented a

range of risk management approaches to preserve

the customer experience of the WSIB workforce.

This included digitizing document handling, remote

desktop re-configuration, creating a new toll-free

helpline, and redeploying a number of support

teams. WSIB and CGI were subsequently able to

guide WSIB workers through the challenges of

setting up their workstations from home while in

parallel CGI quickly configured and issued over a

1,500 new laptops.

In just over 3 weeks, WSIB and CGI demonstrated

resiliency in crisis by transitioning all WSIB workers

to remote work arrangements while maintaining

critical service levels and uninterrupted payments

to injured workers.


CGI’s exceptional support enabled the WSIB to maintain critical services to injured

people from distributed locations while transitioning from a traditional bricks and

mortar operation to facilitating employees working from home. I look forward to

continuing this partnership and working collaboratively together.

– Samantha Liscio, WSIB Chief Technology & Innovation Officer


ABOUT CGI

Founded in 1976, CGI is among the largest IT and business consulting services firms in the world.

Operating across the globe, CGI delivers end-to-end capabilities, from strategic IT and business

consulting to systems integration, managed IT and business process services and intellectual property

solutions, helping clients achieve their goals, including becoming customer-centric digital enterprises.


of a hybrid cloud service model using

both public and private cloud, with

partners such as Microsoft Azure and

IBM. As a result we have a specific

software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution

approach that’s aligned to our application

strategy. We also have database

and integration-as-a-service offerings

and we are introducing other platformas-a-service

capabilities and providing

Windows and Linux virtual machines as

an infrastructure-as-a-service offering.

This is all underpinned by a restructured

network architecture and cloud management

platform.

“When the emergency

was declared in Ontario

in the middle of March,

the WSIB saw its

remote workforce

increase from about

2% to more than 99%

of the workforce in the

space of about 10 days”


Samantha Liscio,

Chief Technology and Innovation Officer,

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)

We’ve been thinking very carefully

about what our infrastructure needs

to look like when it comes to the cloud

and we are now underway with our

key partners.”

INTERNET OF THINGS (IOT)

“With the internet of things (IoT), it’s

an interesting point on our innovation

radar right now. There are so many

opportunities for IoT in the worker’s

compensation space, especially as

it relates to health and safety. So our

innovation lab is exploring things like

connected devices that can detect

fatigue. Devices that can be connected

to the wearer or the dashboard

of a truck — or both – that can detect

if they’re falling asleep and can alert

them. We’re also looking at things like

proper posture and biomechanics

which are especially important in the

construction industry where people are

lifting and bending and moving. Having

those kinds of devices that can be connected

to people or the surroundings

to provide real-time feedback rather

than corrective action after, this is

something really interesting that we are

working on in the lab relating to IoT.”

229

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230

AI ENABLED ANALYTICS

“On the analytics side, being an insurance

organisation, WSIB relies on predictive

analytics for things like risk scoring, case

based reserving, claims segmentation

models, anomaly detection and text mining.

As a result, business intelligence and

analytics is a key pillar for our IT strategy

and we’re investing in the capabilities,

the tools and the backend infrastructure

to be able to make decisions better and

faster. Currently we extricate data from

various data marts to create diagnostic

and predictive models. We’re in the

progress of creating a central data store

and intend to leverage in-database

analytics that will allow us to execute

extensive analytical workloads directly

against our data. That’s going to be really

important to us in increasing our decision

making speed.”

CYBERSECURITY

While innovations are revolutionising

the insurance industry, it is important

to remember that progress comes

with challenges, in particular cybersecurity.

“At WSIB we operate a 24

hours a day, seven days a week, 365

days a year security operation center,”

“Longstanding business

models however,

do need to change

to be flexible and

adaptable if they are

to continue to meet

customer expectations”


Samantha Liscio,

Chief Technology and Innovation Officer,

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)

AUGUST 2020


comments Liscio. “We keep track of

all of the security records we receive,

these are essentially all of the potential

hits on our perimeter from a security

perspective, and between January and

September last year we had more than

85 billion security records. Of those 85

billion we sent 19 billion to our security

information event monitoring system

for a second look to determine if they

are events that need to be monitored,

events that are relevant, events that are

possible threats or events that become

incidents. So in total that 85 billion was

whittled down to roughly 150 incidents

requiring action.” In order to combat

these potential threats, WSIB has a

cybersecurity strategy and strong governance

in place. “We’ve assessed our

main maturity across security and we’ve

taken an inventory of all of our critical

data and assets, so we know where

our crown jewels are and how those

are protected and we’ve applied the

appropriate controls to those protections.

We also conduct regular testing

via the likes of audits and penetration

testing, as well as monthly vulnerability

assessments.” In addition to harnessing

technology to maintain security, WSIB

has also established a breach response,

as well as awareness and training

programs in place, cyber security intelligence

and cyber security insurance.”

THE IMPACT OF COVID-19

“When the emergency was declared

in Ontario in the middle of March,

the WSIB saw its remote workforce

increase from about 2% to more than

99% of the workforce in the space

of a few weeks. With that sudden shift

to over 4,000 employees working

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from home, a host of issues can arise,

from inadequate video conferencing

capabilities due to connectivity at

the employee’s homes or additional

challenges in maintaining security

of confidential information outside the

office. But we’ve been able to effectively

direct the company on how best to

work remotely using our virtual private

network which is robust and secure.

We also have multi factor authentication

to ensure secure logins so that

those working from home can connect

to the WSIB systems and our

corporate collaboration tools such as

Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Teams

and OneDrive, as well as encrypting all

hard drives so that we could protect

and manage data remotely.”

In addition to these changes, Liscio

explains that provisions have also

been made for specific job functions

such as call centers. “You can imagine

that within a large company like WSIB

there is a large call center and our

service reps need to be able to answer

the phone. So even though they’re at

home, they still need to be in that call

233

Your next clearance

will be simple

CLICK TO WATCH | 0:21

businesschief.com


WSIB

234

center environment. To achieve this

we turned the WSIB computers into

soft phones, rolling out on-screen dial

pads to place and control calls from the

desktop. In addition we have deployed

more than 400 mobile devices in

a couple of weeks since the state of

emergency, so that end users working

from home could maintain critical

business services.”

Without the support of its partners,

Liscio emphasises, “would not have

been able to get more than 4,000 people

productively working from home

within a few weeks without the support

of our partners, especially CGI and RCI

Rogers who helped us expedite equipment

provisioning across their supply

chain and provide after-hours support

for our IT and front-line staff.”

While this has been a huge change

for WSIB, Liscio explains that now

they are effectively and productively

work from home, “the new normal

for us will be one where we probably

won’t be returning to our offices in

the same way as we worked before

and things like phones and desktop

computers will be retired and laptops

and cell phones will be the new

standard technology, providing that

kind of flexibility for mobile work. We

are also quickly digitising hard copy

mail and things like access requests.

When our customers ask for access

to their file, we would typically go find

all of the paper, scan all of that paper

and then send them boxes of paper.

With digitised access requests we can

share that information back with them

through encrypted email, making the

need to do these kinds of paper-based

processes again obsolete. In addition

AUGUST 2020


1914

Year founded

$2,165mn

Total comprehensive

income in US dollars (2018)

5,000

Approximate number

of employees

235

we are pivoting to accelerate the delivery

of online services for people with

claims, as well as identify additional

rapid-fire digital transformations and

we have adopted an electronic signature

solution to ensure we can still

procure, approve and authorise things

in a virtual way.

“Looking ahead, I see the key drivers

for change in the InsurTech sector

and for the WSIB being very similar.

Post COVID-19 there will be changes

in the workforce resulting in revenue

changes, premium deferrals, lower

interest rates, volatile investments.

Guided by our digital strategy, the

WSIB will respond by: Creating new

digital channels and digitizing our core

services, fully implementing a sustainable

IT operating model to support

the new digital WSIB and continuing

to support remote and flexible work.”

businesschief.com


236

The intelligent

enterprise driven

by 5G

WRITTEN BY

MATT HIGH

PRODUCED BY

GLEN WHITE

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

237


SAP SE

Frank Wilde, Vice President

Global Center of Excellence at

SAP, on the power of 5G and

data to enable digital change in

organisations

238


W

ith 5G, our business technology platform

and our IoT capabilities, we can

fundamentally change how our customers

operate and go to market, it’s an exciting

prospect and represents a step function change

for enterprises,” says Frank Wilde, Vice President

of the Global Center of Excellence (CoE) at SAP.

Wilde is a seasoned technology leader responsible

for driving innovation with SAP’s customers

using the latest technologies to digitally transform,

create enhanced customer experience as

well as unlock new revenue streams.

Given such an approach, Wilde and his Global

CoE colleagues work closely with customers to use

data and technology effectively, to think outside the

box and to innovate in a customer-centric fashion.

“We help them think differently about SAP, and think

differently about technology,” he explains. “We

take a data-driven approach, in doing so we bring a

team of data scientists and platform architects, and

we help the customer think about their data differently.

It’s like a test-drive - we’re not simply driven

by a particular technology, for example. Rather, we

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

239


SAP SE

240

“It’s a level of intelligence

and responsiveness that

we can bring to life that

we haven’t been able to

do before”


Frank Wilde,

Vice President, SAP

show how responsive our platforms

and technologies can be, how rapidly

we can change their business models,

and demonstrate how exciting the

possibilities are. Mentally, we really

change the dynamic.”

Central to this work with customers

is a blue sky approach to innovation

that runs through SAP, and is

a particular passion for Wilde. “It’s

the centerpiece of how we’re able

to instigate change,” he explains.

“Whatever the size of the customer

or the project, we work closely and

collaboratively to drive success. I love

solving problems - we all do - and

working together on the strategy, the

process and technology. An example

is work we recently launched with

Duke University in North Carolina.

They asked for our help to innovate,

and when we sat down together they

were unaware of our offerings and had

little idea we could support data science

and analytics, or that we used a

platform-based approach to support

innovation. And that’s where open

and honest conversations are crucial.

Often, we see that our customers

don’t always know what they need, or

AUGUST 2020


SAP 5G and Edge Services Tech

CLICK TO WATCH | 2:34

241

what is available, so that collaborative

approach we utilise is key.”

Change is an underlying driver of

our CoE’s work, in particular helping

organisations to better understand

technology so as to navigate a successful

digital transformation. “We

now have the ability for business

models on demand to come to life,”

Wilde says. “Look at an Uber or a

Lyft, and you’ll see the shift towards

a platform-based approach opposed

to relying on a dedicated application

or system to influence change. We

base our work around a platform that

- in its most basic form - is like Lego

blocks. We can create new businesses

or concepts in a very short

period of time with predefined and

pre-built services, or microservices.

“The acceleration of moving from

a mainframe environment to being on

the cusp of edge services and edge

computing, makes it exciting when

you can weave together the fabric of a

company in short order,” he continues.

“You just have to look at the Fortune

500 as an example; a third of those

businesses are slated to disappear

from that list in five to seven years

businesschief.com


5G

CONNECTIVITY

L e AD

SPORT TECH

ACCELERATOR

GUIDEWELL

INNOVATION

CENTER

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SMART &

CONNECTED

CITY

WHIT

SMART

HOME

AUTONOMOUS

SHUTTLES

GIGABIT

FIBER

LAKE NONA

IMPACT

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AN ecosystem FOR

COLLABORATIVE INNOVATION

Lake Nona is a 17-square-mile community built on the premise that a collaborative effort can spark

profound innovation. Designed and built from scratch, Lake Nona is anchored by clusters of excellence

in wellbeing, sports & performance, education and technology.

This fast-growing, neo-urban environment was created with the building blocks for the future, and is

pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a forward-thinking community. Connectivity, both physical

and digital, is the main engine that powers Lake Nona’s innovation ecosystem and is inspiring

businesses, institutions and individuals to thrive.

From its technologically rich and innovative infrastructure to its globally recognized clusters of excellence,

Lake Nona was created with a foundational strategy that guides not what is needed today, but

what is going to be required decades from now to remain a healthy, vibrant and innovative community.

JUAN SANTOS @ TAVISTOCK

DEVELOPMENT COMPANY


SAP SE

SAP Where to Start Tech

CLICK TO WATCH | 2:49

244

- there’s a rapid escalation of new business

models coming to life enabled by

technology, and it’s really the key trend

that’s dominating right now.”

In terms of technology, Wilde and

SAP drive customers to innovate

and use technology in a customercentric

way. To do this, he explains,

the company leverages its 49 years

of experience. “It lets us look at our

customers through a unique lens,” he

states. “When you marry data management,

analytics, and digital supply

chain services into a holistic platform,

it forms a powerful proposition that

can bring new technologies and business

models to life.” This proposition

is the result of a partnership between

SAP and Verizon that was announced

in October of 2019. The collaboration

sees Verizon’s network and platform

capabilities married with SAP’s software

and services.

Through this work, customers are

able to benefit from new technologies

such as 5G, software-defined networking,

and Verizon’s Intelligent Edge

Network capabilities. The former is an

AUGUST 2020


“With 5G, our business

technology platform and

our IoT capabilities, we

can fundamentally change

how our customers

operate and go to market”


Frank Wilde,

Vice President, SAP

exciting proposition for both Wilde and

SAP. SAP launched its 5G Council in

2018, for example, as a cross-industry

collaborative council of SAP customers

to better understand the changes

necessary to adopt 5G.

“5G represents a step function

change in terms of capability, it’s like

jumping from a bicycle to a race car,”

says Wilde. “You’re able to pull together

various aspects - data, AI, machine

learning and edge services - and build

a true hub and platform for innovation.

The 5G Council represents a 5G

245

EXECUTIVE PROFILE:

Frank Wilde

Title: Vice President Company: SAP SE

Industry: Software Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Frank Wilde leads data and data science innovation

focused on telecom & high tech as a Vice President

for SAP’s Global Center of Excellence. In this role,

Frank’s teams of data scientists and platform

architects spark innovative thinking with SAP’s

customers through a combination of data science

and design thinking.

businesschief.com


Throughout history,

there have always been problems.

No one likes them.

But problems inspire us

to make things better.

Smart loves

problems.

From skills gaps to blackouts,

city traffic to ocean plastic.

They even took us to the moon and back

on a single tank of gas.

Problems actually move the world forward.

And the people who dare to take them on

work with us every step of the way.

ibm.com/smart

IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com and Let’s put smart to work are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide.

See current list at ibm.com/trademark. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. ©International Business Machines Corp. 2019. B33820


“We can create new

businesses or concepts

in a very short period

of time with predefined

and pre-built services,

or microservices”


Frank Wilde,

Vice President, SAP

ecosystem comprising our customers,

partners and companies such as

Verizon and Ericsson, that addresses

new business models and monetisation

strategies. Also, we have worked

closely with Deloitte Consulting LLP to

create 5G ‘playbooks’ that show what

can be brought to life with the power of

5G in specific industries such as retail,

manufacturing and oil & gas.”

The technology may still be in its

relative early stages, but Wilde sees

enormous potential to fundamentally

change how businesses approach

innovation. In particular, he explains,

private deployment of 5G will likely gain

significant traction over the next few

years. “You look at manufacturing, for

example,” Wilde says. “We’ve worked

on an Industry 4.0 approach for several

manufacturers whereby we have created

a 5G environment that can support

innovations like autonomous vehicles,

augmented reality technology that

allows work to be digitally tracked as it

flows through the shop floor, and so on.

“Similarly, there’s huge potential in

the retail sector,” he continues. “For

example, 5G gives us the ability to use

video analytics at scale as well as mixed

reality to scan product contents or

look for drug interactions; you can also

introduce autonomous checkout and

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SAP SE

“Where current wireless

networks enable a 2D world,

5G and edge computing

coupled with SAP’s software

platform enable 3D,

immersive experiences for

consumers and employees”


Frank Wilde,

Vice President, SAP

248

AUGUST 2020


other innovations. As I said, 5G forms

an entirely new platform upon which we

can adopt these technologies for each

customer and sector across the value

chain. It really is an exciting prospect in

terms of transforming business.”

Where that prospect becomes truly

innovative, relates Wilde, is when 5G

is coupled with edge services. “If I can

have the processing occur on an IoT

sensor or on a vehicle, then I can create

a new experience or service,” he

explains, “which means you remove

any delays, any latency. It’s a level of

intelligence and responsiveness that

we can bring to life that we haven’t been

able to do before. There are productivity

changes there, too - you remove that

complexity from the shop floor and

change the experiences and effectiveness

of workers and you immediately

improve output. You’re going to see

significant change over the next five to

eight years as 5G rolls out, so we are

bullish on our predictions in that regard.”

Of course, many of the approaches

to business and digital strategies have

been disrupted as a result of the COVID-

19 pandemic. While the impact of a shift

to remote working has been felt by many

249

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SAP SE

SAP Centre of Intelligence Tech

CLICK TO WATCH | 1:31

250

“5G represents a stepchange

in terms of

function and capability;

it’s like jumping from a

bicycle to a race car”


Frank Wilde,

Vice President, SAP

industries worldwide, from a technology

perspective there is a general sentiment

that such a shift will focus many organisations

on technology adoption.

For Wilde, 5G and its associated

technologies could play a significant role

in a post-COVID environment. “It offers

a significant opportunity, particularly on

the retail side to remove contact or friction

from the experience. So, you could

introduce technology that shows optimised

routes through a store based on

previous shopping trips, or mixed reality

AUGUST 2020


1972

Year founded

$28bn+

Revenue in

US dollars

101,150

Number of

employees

251

technology that lets you identify the

contents of products with an immersive,

3D experience. Upon that is the capability

to build AI and chatbots, or a level of

dynamic content that satisfies consumer

needs without requiring face to face

interaction with a store’s employees.”

While no one is able to fully predict

the ‘new normal’ we face, when it

comes to 5G Wilde feels that SAP is

well placed in rolling out the technology

and working with customers to

remain ahead of the curve. “In the next

36 months you’re going to see a watershed

moment for 5G,” he states. “If I

look to 2021-22, when customers are

able to visualise the proof points we

have put in place and the potential of

edge services, data management and

5G woven together, then I see a strong

case for why they should all have it high

on their agenda ”

businesschief.com


252

WRITTEN BY

WILL GIRLING

PRODUCED BY

ARRON RAMPLING

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

253


NIH STRIDES INITIATIVE

Thomas Shaw, Senior Project

Manager, NIH STRIDES Initiative,

discusses the transformative

ability of cloud and how the

project fosters collaboration

254

I

t was in July 2018 that the first National

Institutes of Health (NIH) Science and

Technology Research Infrastructure for

Discovery, Experimentation and Sustainability

(STRIDES) Initiative was established. Partnering

with Google Cloud and then, two months later,

with Amazon Web Services (AWS), STRIDES was

conceived as a method for the NIH to fully engage

with cloud computing and explore its potential for

collaborative data sharing. Part of the NIH’s wider

strategy for digital transformation (the Strategic

Plan for Data Science), STRIDES has and will

continue to play an integral role in making the

organisation’s biomedical data easier to access,

use and integrate, as well as deliver a more costeffective

form of data management.

Joining as a Senior Project Manager in October

2018, only one month after the AWS partnership,

Thomas Shaw came from a highly experienced

technical background: graduating in 1986 with a

BSc in Computer Science from the University of

North Dakota, Shaw gained experience with the

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

255


Nereus Systems is an integral partner to

the success of the National Institute of

Health’s cloud migration, inclusive of our

award-winning engineering team and

program managers. The National Institute

of Health engaged with Nereus Systems to

provide logistical support as a partner for

their migration of cloud data into the

Google cloud (GCP) as well as providing

project plans, timelines, and timeline

projections on training through both

in-person and remote learning for their

scientist and researcher communities.

LEVERAGE YOUR GOALS


INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY

SOLUTIONS FOR A NEW WORLD

Cloud ATO

Nereus Systems is a next-generation partner and

integrator that works with the nation’s most important

government customers to help them realize their goals

while mitigating their risks. We do this by providing

insight into the threat landscape while also working

to provide XAAS or anything as a service. Our

customers include the Department of Defense,

Intelligence Community, Department of Energy, the

Civilian government, and many of their Subcontractors.

As additional support to our customers, we offer

Agencies the ability to fully automate their Authority

to Operate within multiple cloud environments.

We are able to meet and fully automate all 6 Steps of

the National Institute of Standards and Technologies

Risk Management Framework (NIST RMF) while

maintaining the continuous monitoring of step 6.

AI/ML

As we continue to innovate with our customers and

partners, Nereus Systems is investing heavily in AI/ML

in real-world applications to be able to utilize the

benefits of these developing technologies while being

realistic around their limitations. There will never be

a Silver Bullet to any problem set, but there are ways

in which a holistic approach to IT and Cyber will utilize

the best out of leading-edge systems. Deception,

lateral spread, and time to remediation through log

correlation are areas that we continue to focus on,

and provide real value to our customers while being

conscious of their IT budgets. Our eyes are on the

horizon, and we continually look for innovative

partners and solutions so that we can advise and

consult as opposed to being “a partner” that bothers

their clients.

Cyber Security and NIST

We understand that any customer moving into a cloud

environment is looking to be able to leverage a multicloud

environment for both cost savings as well as the

ability to utilize the technical advantages of their

prospective cloud providers. But to be truly efficient in

the use of cloud and next-generation tools a customer

must have confidence in their security and their own

compliance posture. At Nereus, we take both of these

as the backbone of our mission with our customers.

We continually innovate with our vendor partner

community to bring leading-edge security technology

to meet the ever-changing landscape. We also overlay

this with our NIST 800-171 compliance services that

bring our subcontractor community up to the

necessary DoD standards required to be able to

continue to support their customers. We do this by

Nereus

Innovative Cloud Navigation

utilizing the best and most efficient tool sets available

to assist in remediation as well as supporting you with

your compliance needs. Our goal here is to bring you

up to speed as quickly and as painlessly as possible

so that you are able to focus on your mission objective

and not your compliance posture.

I own a small aerospace engineering services business, and

Nereus has been invaluable for helping us get our arms

around how to secure and maintain our IT environment.

Before engaging with them, I really didn’t have a clear path

for how to successfully verify and maintain compliance to

the NIST SP 800-171 requirements. The deep bench of

experience that Nereus was able to assemble for me,

between their in-house employees and the personnel at

their partner network of companies, was impressive and

ensured that my system was in good hands. The team

members were able to provide us a solid System Security

Plan (SSP) update, Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

manual, and a vulnerability assessment that identified a

number of areas for improvement followed by an easy-tofollow

guide for shoring up these vulnerabilities. Nereus

was able to provide this much-needed service for us at a

price point that was far better than anything else I could

find - anywhere (and I’d been very thorough in my searches

in the year leading up to our engagement with Nereus).

They have taken a huge weight and worry off of my

shoulders, and I’m very happy that I’ve found the

to work within securing my company’s systems.

Tim Read, CEO T4 Engineering

We take great pride in the clients that we service

and adopt their missions as our own. Our collective

backgrounds, histories, and work ethic speak for

themselves and we hope we can leverage that

for your goals.


NIH STRIDES INITIATIVE

258

“When it comes

to healthcare in

the US, I’m always

curious about how

we can advance”


Thomas Shaw,

Senior Project Manager,

STRIDES Initiative

American Red Cross, the National

Center for Biotechnology Information

and even NASA. His career has been

an intermingling of technology and

healthcare, but this is no coincidence:

Shaw claims that the challenges of the

former and the inherent significance

of the latter made it an ideal combination.

“What’s most important to me is

‘what am I doing? What’s the project in

mind?’” he explains. “When it comes to

healthcare in the US, I’m always curious

about how we can advance.”

Recognising the NIH as an organisation

devoted to positive change and

making a difference in people’s lives,

Shaw became the first project manager

brought onboard for the STRIDES

Initiative and appreciated the team’s

open workplace culture: “You can go to

anybody and ask for help and people

will, regardless of what the issue is,”

he says. “At the same time, all of the

cloud service providers we are working

with display an identical attitude and

commitment: It’s not ‘we can’t do this’,

rather ‘how can we do this?’ and that’s

a wonderful environment to be in.” This

aspect has proven particularly crucial

because of STRIDES’ sheer scope:

AUGUST 2020


Next Generation Biomedical

Research using AWS

CLICK TO WATCH | 53:13

259

integrating data from across 2,700

NIH-funded Institutes and organisations

comprising research on topics

ranging from tooth decay to vaccines),

the amount of information necessary to

carry out the project is truly immense.

Offering support services to assist

in the utilisation of cloud resources, the

STRIDES Initiative covers consultation,

structured coordination between

the STRIDES team and the recipient’s

project or programme, a flexible project

billing setup regardless of how the

research is NIH-funded, cloud training

(both in-person and online resources)

and a variety of reports. Regarding

the latter, these can take the form of

monthly spend reports, supplementary

information and account monitoring

which will send timely alerts to possible

over-spending.

The fundamentals of the Initiative

rest on three pillars: access, collaboration

and innovation. However, large

volumes of data require a simplified,

integrated, easy-to-access platform

in order to be readily accessible and

cloud computing was the vital ingredient

which pulled STRIDES together.

According to Shaw, the move to cloud

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was “a big step forward” in the sense

that it liberated the sharing of information

whilst simultaneously maintaining

granular control over it. Making the

information accessible to research

staff without the need to download

it mitigated the need for substantial

investment in servers to house the

NIH’s collective data, thus saving costs

significantly. Indeed, Shaw states that,

without cloud, such a monumental

task might have been too expensive

to execute. “There have been prior

attempts to do what we’re achieving

with STRIDES, but, at that time, some

of the technology just wasn’t there for

it.” Now that communicating between

teams is easier than ever before, a

digital, cloud-powered NIH community

can explore each others’ work in new

EXECUTIVE PROFILE:

Thomas Shaw

261

Title: Senior Project Manager

Location: Burke, Virginia

Thomas Shaw is a Senior Project Manager on the NIH STRIDES Initiative.

He received a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of

North Dakota and a minor in Mathematics. Along with the over 20 years at

NIH, he has been the Director of Test Engineering and Configuration

Management at the American Red Cross and worked in many

different industry sectors including Secure Communications,

Industrial Automation and Medical Devices. He brings his

wealth of knowledge from these different arenas to the

forefront to foster highly functioning teams and is valued

for his ability to think outside the box to apply concepts

and ideas to solve complex problems in unconventional

ways. By seeing the big picture while being able to focus

on the details helps mitigate many risks by

addressing them ahead of time.

businesschief.com


NIH STRIDES INITIATIVE

262

and interesting ways. “We have an ecosystem

where people with access are

collaborating which will lead to innovation.

I think it’s really going to excite

people,” adds Shaw.

STRIDES’ ability to remove or lower

barriers to seamless collaboration and

data sharing is what Shaw calls “the

golden ticket” for working in cloud

space. “At this time, incurring egress

is the only way to move data from

one CSP (cloud service provider) to

another. Resolving the barriers of

CSP data-sharing will take research

to the next level,” he says. Shaw even

postulates that a future pandemic on

the scale of COVID-19 could be dealt

with more effectively within a mature

STRIDES ecosystem. The ability to

get quick access to cloud resources,

NIH-funded datasets and the ability

to work closely with fellow researchers

would be highly advantageous

in the fight against a new virus. “No

longer will that vital research remain

only in the domain of major universities

or organisations,” he continues.

“Instead the playing field will shift to a

more level place for research: large

funded institutes, researchers at

AUGUST 2020


underserved organisations, post-docs,

doctoral candidates and even retired

researchers with inspired insights

could contribute towards a solution.”

Although there is no way to predict

when a similar pandemic might occur

again, one thing appears certain: the

power of cloud as a binding agent for

coordinating a response will form the

basis of any effective plan.

The liberating potential of digital

transformation is exemplified by NIH’s

decision to pursue the STRIDES

Initiative, something Shaw claims was

the result of upper management’s

realisation that its legacy systems

would no longer be functional in the

modern digital era. Whilst 10 years ago

the Initiative’s aims would have been

difficult to execute, modern technology

has accelerated capacity beyond

imagining. “You would not have been

able to move 20 petabytes of data up

into the cloud in less than a year previously;

it would have probably taken a

couple of years at best,” he explains.

Such dynamic leaps make the team’s

open style of workplace culture even

more valuable, as their expertise and

receptiveness make them ideal for

263

businesschief.com


guiding others through the change.

Taking the time and effort to organise

training for NIH staff is something

Shaw takes pride in, particularly for

those who do not properly understand

the cloud. As such, he considers

STRIDES to be merely the latest iteration

of a project which will continue to

improve over the years: “The goal is to

maintain STRIDES and allow it to continue

in one form or another.”

Navigating the future successfully

will depend on partners as forwardthinking

as NIH itself. Key areas of

focus include data protection and

monitoring software for multi-cloud

data centres and providing STRIDES

with an effective and simplified method

for eliminating IT issues before they

become problematic. From infrastructure

assessments, security reviews,

access management, training and

many other services, STRIDES needs

collaborators who are as intrepid and

inspired to expand the frontiers of biomedical

research as it is. Successful

partners will be those companies that

are agile, free flowing and committed to

265

NIH STRIDES Cloud overview:

Key Concepts

CLICK TO WATCH | 11:10

businesschief.com


NIH STRIDES INITIATIVE

PARTNERSHIPS

266

The STRIDES Initiative’s first

partnership was with Google

Cloud in July 2018. Joe Corkery,

MD, Director of Product,

Healthcare and Life Sciences

at Google Cloud, said, “We’re

committed to working with the

NIH to create the best

environment possible for

biomedical research to flourish

across the country and across

the globe. Together, we’re

eliminating barriers to

accessing and making meaning

from the most important

datasets: the ones that have the

potential to advance science

and human health.”

Andrea T. Norris, CIO at NIH,

added: “By launching STRIDES,

we clearly show our strong

commitment to putting the most

advanced cloud computing tools

in the hands of scientists.

Beyond our partnership with

Google Cloud, we will seek to

add more industry partners to

assure that NIH continues to be

well poised to support the

future of biomedical research.”

Furthermore, “teaming with

AWS will give NIH researchers

powerful cloud-based resources

to more efficiently collaborate

and analyze data,” added Norris.

“AWS’s long standing leadership

in the cloud space will help

bolster the innovative research

being conducted through

NIH support.”

“We’re committed to providing

those researchers participating

in the STRIDES Initiative with

access to high-value NIH

datasets, enabling them to

further their research to study,

treat, and prevent the most

devastating diseases,” said

Teresa Carlson, VP at AWS.

AUGUST 2020


“The goal is to

maintain STRIDES

and allow it to

continue in one

form or another”


Thomas Shaw,

Senior Project Manager,

STRIDES Initiative

the STRIDES Initiative’s mission, whilst

also bringing cutting edge biomedical

information solutions to the cloud

space for NIH-funded research.

Looking ahead to the end of 2020

and the short-term future of STRIDES,

Shaw is optimistic that over 100 NIHfunded

institutions will have signed

up and enrolled in the Initiative, citing

a substantial uptick in the usage of

cloud resources since the beginning

of spring. The reason, he presumes,

is the exponential growth of data

being generated by facilities within

the NIH ecosystem: “The amount of

data has quadrupled in the past year

as interest has increased. I don’t see

much changing as far as our cloud is

concerned, apart from an increase in

usage as more and more people use

it.” Shaw intimates that the ‘new normal’,

or the revised attitudes to work in

the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,

could mean that STRIDES has come

along at the perfect time. With remote

working and a focus on the practical

convenience of digital, organisations

have awoken to the benefits of operating

in a cloud-based system. Now

that the collaborative ecosystem, of

which STRIDES anticipated, is starting

to become essential to the future of

research, Shaw adds that his team’s

mission will be to optimise and make it

as affordable as possible. “I think, if we

develop a superior model, other universities

will pick up on the idea and buy

into the STRIDES programme. Then,

down the road at some point, maybe

even corporations will do the same.”

267

businesschief.com


268

AUGUST 2020


SMC Corp of

America: delivering

competitivity

through IT

269

WRITTEN BY

MARCUS LAWRENCE

PRODUCED BY

MIKE SADR

businesschief.com


SMC CORPORATION OF AMERICA

Michael Loggins, Global VP of IT

at SMC of America, discusses the

strategic and technological shifts

driving the pneumatics leaders’

performance

270

S

MC, founded in Japan as Sintered

Metal Corporation in 1959, is one of the

world’s foremost pneumatic technology

developers and manufacturers with operations

in 81 countries. In 1972, the SMC Corporation

of America subsidiary was founded on the basis

of providing local delivery and strategy for the

American market, with that expertise yielding

a considerable degree of autonomy as the business

grew over the following decades. In recent

years and owing to shifts in customers’ technological

capabilities and expectations, that localised

strategy has changed.

“Every subsidiary was focused almost solely

on the customer base within their country,” says

Michael Loggins, Global Vice President of IT at

SMC USA. “Over the last several years, more and

more companies have become unbound by geography

- they work and get things done wherever

they need to. We’ve created programmes to deal

with the largest of those companies that have

become global in nature to understand how

we can be a better seller to them, to coordinate

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com


SMC CORPORATION OF AMERICA

272

“We want to make sure we continue to understand

our local market, but our customers are expecting

us to be and act like a global company”


Michael Loggins,

Global Vice President, IT,

SMC Corporation of America

our efforts from a manufacturing

standpoint and so on.”

These moves towards supporting

global customers were only the

beginning of a considerable shift in

the way SMC operates. “Those major,

globalised companies represent a

small fraction of our customer base.

We want to make sure we continue

to understand our local market, but

our customers are expecting us to

be and act like a global company so

we’ve been trying to figure out the

best way to do that. With changes

made over the last year, we’re ready

to pivot into fully becoming a globally

operating company.”

Recirculating chillers and heat exchangers

are installed to provide thermal stability for

applications in industrial and applied sciences

from laser cutting, welding, marking and plastic

injection molding. Lab science and analytical

equipment applications include:

mass spectrometry, gas chromatography,

MRIs, CT scanners, radiation therapy machines

and other medical equipment

AUGUST 2020


SMC Corporation Overview

CLICK TO WATCH | 1:58

273

Loggins joined the firm in 2006

as Manager of IT Operations and

progressed through a handful of

roles within the organisation before

becoming Global VP of IT in December

2019. The newly-created position is

an expansion of his recent role as

Director of IT from 2012 to 2019 which

was overlapped by an additional position

as European Director of IT from

2017 to 2019. With this experience and

understanding of IT that transcends

borders and SMC’s traditional model,

Loggins’ leadership is well placed

to ensure the necessary shifts from

an IT perspective will be thorough,

considered, and effective. The crux

of his projects and strategies, he

says, is to use IT as the differentiator

that supports SMC’s strategic

competitiveness.

“The responsibility we’ve taken

in IT is to build the infrastructure on

technological, operational, staff, policy

and procedural levels; whatever it

takes from an IT standpoint to ensure

we can share data and work with each

other geographic boundaries in a

productive manner,” he explains.

“We want to make sure that we’re not

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SMC CORPORATION OF AMERICA

276

The CQ2 compact cylinder is the world’s bestselling pneumatic cylinder and is supported globally.

The CQ2 is available in 15 bore sizes from 12mm to 200mm. It comes standard with male or female

piston rod threads. 42 standard options make it one of the most versatile cylinder series on the market.

For mounting flexibility, it is possible to mount auto switches on any of the 4 surfaces

a global company as a facade, but that

we actually operate as one in front of

our customers and other subsidiaries

whilst enabling SMC to maintain its

status as the world leader in pneumatic

manufacturing components.”

Loggins highlights the infusion

of tech capabilities with sales and

marketing, the use of authentically

produced YouTube videos showcasing

the firm’s offering, and the need to

react to the growing scope of smart

technologies such as IoT, automation,

and the data streams that tie operations

together as other major triggers

for the transformation. “Our customers

are changing,” Loggins notes.

“You’re not just solving a mechanical

problem any more, you’re also solving

a data problem, a connectivity problem,

a whole range of technological variables.”

Throughout the transformation,

SMC has ensured that its product

delivery meets the full suite of these

AUGUST 2020


“The cool thing,

especially from an agile

cultural standpoint, is

that we’re not leading

RPA’s implementation,

the other areas of the

business are guiding it”


Michael Loggins,

Global Vice President, IT,

SMC Corporation of America

needs, maximising value to customers

by providing a single source of

solutions that operate as moving parts

of SMC’s product ecosystem, cutting

the need for multiple vendors exerting

influence on process success.

Enacting change began with assessing

and understanding value at a

cultural level, guided by the need from

a company standpoint for IT to add

value both internally and externally.

“One of the hardest questions from

a cultural standpoint has been: how do

you determine value without inherent,

277

EXECUTIVE PROFILE:

Michael Loggins

Title: Global Vice President of Information Technology

Industry: Industrial Automation Location: Indiana

Michael Loggins is the Global Vice President of

IT at SMC Corporation of America. Having joined

in 2006 as a Manager of IT before rising to the

Director of IT position in 2012. In 2017, this

position was coupled with an additional role

as European Director of IT, with both

concluding in 2019 so he could assume

his new and current position.

businesschief.com


MOSERIT.COM

CONCENTRATED ON TECNOLOGY

FOCUSED

ON RESULTS

LEARN MORE

quantifiable indicators of this given to

us for specific projects? How do you

deliver against that value? We’re not

picking tasks apart or doing large, epic,

seemingly endless projects. We’re

trying to break that down and ensure

value at the point of delivery.”

Loggins says that implementing

KPIs to measure deliverable value is

a key project and a considerable challenge,

particularly as the traditionally

structured and mechanically-minded

organisation has operated for many

years on the basis of metrics relative

to those qualities. The introduction of

1972

Year founded

1,160

Number of

employees

new metrics, he says, can be a point

of friction, but they are essential to

effectively communicating the value

that SMC delivers. “Uptime, delivery

and lead-times have always been

captured but have not previously been

AUGUST 2020


How does the SIF-400, the training system

for Industry 4.0, work?

CLICK TO WATCH | 4:18

279

viewed through the lens of what they

mean to the culture or to the value

we provide.”

From a technological standpoint,

Loggins notes automation as one of

the key and recent elements of the

transformation. “SMC’s bread and

butter is making components that

allow other manufacturers to automate

their processes. Despite that,

a lot of our back-end, knowledgebased

processes are still very manual,

time consuming and require large

systems to complete the work at

scale. As we grew, those processes

could only be scaled by adding more

people.” The introduction of robotic

process automation (RPA) began in

Europe under Loggins’ leadership,

and is now being implemented for

the US operations as well. “The cool

thing, especially from an agile cultural

standpoint, is that we’re not leading

it, the other areas of the business

are. They’re assessing the processes

they want to be automated while we

provide the guidance and solutions

for them to conduct their own system

development and do what they need

to do.”

businesschief.com


SMC CORPORATION OF AMERICA

280

“We’re not picking tasks apart or doing

large, epic, seemingly endless projects.

We’re trying to break that down and

ensure value at the point of delivery”


Michael Loggins,

Global Vice President, IT,

SMC Corporation of America

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

281


SMC CORPORATION OF AMERICA

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“With changes made

over the last year, we’re

ready to pivot into fully

becoming a globally

operating company”


Michael Loggins,

Global Vice President, IT,

SMC Corporation of America

The streamlining of processes

through automation offers enormous

benefits both to SMC and its customers,

with faster delivery and

the labour saved for its workforce

being crucial. The core of the transformation,

Loggins says, is SMC’s

people. “Aptitude is important but

attitude is critical,” he says and,

as drivers of the transformation

on the ground, SMC’s staff have

been rewarded with an increase

in knowledge-based tasks in tandem

with the reduction of repetitive

ones, and positive shifts in work-life

LUCIDIA IT AND DELL

“Lucidia IT and Dell have

been our infrastructure

partners for around 10 years,

and over the last three years

they’ve been integral to

designing and building our

next generation end user

compute platforms in the US

and now, of course, globally.

We’re in the process of

building data centres in

Europe and we’re in the

architecture and design phase

for Asia, and both Lucidia and

Dell have done a great job of

partnering with our teams to

make sure they deliver

exactly what we need.”

283

businesschief.com


SMC CORPORATION OF AMERICA

284

MOSER CONSULTING

“Moser originally came in to help

SMC build security, governance

and compliance frameworks

around three years ago. Since

then, we have been leveraging

Moser Consulting to help with

governance, risk and compliance

maturity for our projects across

the globe. We’re trying now to scale

our US-implemented framework

and programmes with additional

maturity across the globe, and

Moser is essential to this. Moser

has a great deal of talent, and its

culture is very similar to our own

which helps with adaptability.”

AUGUST 2020


285

balances. This focus on employees

ensures high retention, and there

is considerable mobility between

different business units that enable

a breed of cohesion that is only possible

through mutual understandings

between departments. Not only

that, but these qualities ensure the

workforce is adaptable, emblematising

the Agile methodologies and

behaviours that Loggins and his

team have been seeking to imbue

across operations.

businesschief.com


286

AUGUST 2020


Bentley Systems’

cloud offering

drives business

resilience

287

WRITTEN BY

MARCUS LAWRENCE

PRODUCED BY

ARRON RAMPLING

businesschief.com


BENTLEY SYSTEMS

Jeff Richardson, CDO at Bentley

Systems, discusses the state of the

art cloud infrastructure that benefits

internal and external stakeholders

288

T

he global business community has

responded to the coronavirus pandemic

with considerably more focus on remote

working than has ever been seen before. For every

industry, from media to construction, demand

has rocketed for technological solutions that will

enable continued operations with minimal disruption.

Bentley Systems, a world-leading software

solutions developer serving major infrastructural

construction projects around the world, has long

been a proponent of this breed of tech, and today

boasts a cutting edge cloud infrastructure whose

benefits are more apparent than ever. In normal

times, its end-to-end suite of software solutions

for such large projects ensures a seamlessness of

delivery for its users while cutting-edge telemetry

capabilities mean development and subscriptions

are current, flexible, and fair. All of that remains true

during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the global

crisis has revealed that Bentley’s greatest strength

is perhaps in the flexibility it offers both external

and internal stakeholders.

Jeff Richardson,

CDO, Bentley Systems

AUGUST 2020


289

1984

Year founded

$700mn

Revenue in

US dollars

3,800

Number of

employees

businesschief.com


BENTLEY SYSTEMS

290

“We use the rules

of compliance

as foundational

guidelines, and we

always try to exceed

those guidelines by

orders of magnitude”


Jeff Richardson,

Chief Data Officer, Bentley Systems

Jeff Richardson, Chief Data Officer

at Bentley Systems, has been with the

company since 2004, rising through

the ranks from an SAP developer to the

head of the firm’s data lifecycle and data

strategies. In Richardson’s view, ‘global

mobility’ is 2020’s key trend, and it has

certainly become the undercurrent for

business in a world where face-to-face

contact is being kept to a minimum.

Businesses have quickly tried to adapt

to global mobility now that face-toface

culture is out the window, and we

instead need to have a culture of ‘can

you do your job globally, but remotely

to where you are?’” he says.

The scope of the construction projects

that Bentley facilitates means

the capability required goes way

beyond the collaboration tools and

Zoom meetings that have come to

pervade many industries. Building a

100-storey skyscraper, for example,

comes with immense data requirements,

with file sizes spanning

gigabytes and terabytes. “A single

BIM model, made of the structural elements

of the building, could be many,

many gigabytes of data. The question

is: how do remote workers seamlessly

AUGUST 2020


Bentley Systems:

ProjectWise Components

Center Overview

CLICK TO WATCH | 1:26

291

access files of that size to make edits,

updates and run analyses?”

Bentley’s state-of-the-art

ProjectWise 365 tools provide the

answer, with distributed file sharing

and caching technology that enable

workers to easily operate within the

cloud regardless of where and when

they are, all with the confidence that

the system is secure and continually

stress-tested against potential threats.

“Living in a cloud-focused world,

security is huge for us. Our CIO, Claire

Rutkowski, came on board in October

2016 and has been heavily focused

on integrating a robust and industryleading

cloud security platform. Along

with instituting a security office, we

have beefed up our security staff and

infrastructure by around 800% in

the past five years, we’re constantly

running penetration exercises on our

cloud infrastructure, and we are just

now implementing mock data breach

scenarios with our larger cloud infrastructure

compliance and data teams.

As we store more and more of our

users’ data in the cloud, it is both our

responsibility and desire to be as safe

and resilient as possible.”

businesschief.com


BENTLEY SYSTEMS

292

During this period of business

instability and uncertainty, Bentley’s

protections for its customers have

extended beyond its cybersecurity.

Owing to the business disruptions, the

company has waived the pay-what-youuse

subscription fees for ProjectWise

through to 30 September 2020; a

measure that ties closely with Bentley’s

mantra that its success is measured

by that of its users. The firm has been

a pioneer of this payment-by-usage

subscription model, known internally as

‘ELS contracts’, Richardson explains:

“We were selling contracts like that as

far as back as 2006 - I’ve never heard

of another company that was doing

the same that far back in time. With

the light telemetry we had available

to measure usage, we were able to

do that.” Data gathered from across

software suites has not only enabled

reactive and incisive development of

successive products, but has made

the pay-for-what-you-use model the

norm for Bentley for over a decade.

AUGUST 2020


EXECUTIVE PROFILE:

Jeff Richardson

Today, the latest data measurements

are even more precise and complex,

making for a robust service model

that is accurately proportionate to the

user’s needs. Not only does each contract

have an unlimited potential value

ceiling for Bentley, they also ensure

users are never encumbered with a

subscription that they don’t need and

actively use. The tech also paints a

picture of the usage increase that has

come with vaster proportions of workforces

working from home during the

Jeff Richardson is a seasoned data

and analytics executive leader with

a cloud-first focus on evolving

technology and trends.

Over a 17-year career, he has crafted

a results-driven strategy for growth

and delivered outcomes which have

helped Bentley achieve a leading

position in cloud technology, record

revenue and user growth.

A prolific speaker on the topics of

cloud, data and analytics, Richardson

can often be found at conferences

and networking events in the Greater

Philadelphia and mid-Atlantic area.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from

Providence College, where he

was also a Division I

swimmer, a master’s

degree in Statistics from

Central Connecticut State

University and recently

completed a business

capstone program

at Yale University.

293

businesschief.com


BENTLEY SYSTEMS

For an open

relationship

with your data.

Multi-cloud Data Integration & Analytics | qlik.com


295

COVID-19 pandemic. “When the crisis

hit, many companies who were using

other, server-based products in offices

became stuck and couldn’t access

those resources. For our customers,

the users of our distributed cloud products,

the transition was seamless and

we can actually see that in the telemetry.

It shows us that our work-sharing

products had no disruption in usage

during the country-based shutdowns

resulting from the pandemic. In fact,

our collaboration tools actually saw an

8-13% increase in usage, year on year,

from last year.”

“A single BIM model, made

of the structural elements

of the building, could be

many, many gigabytes

of data. The question is:

how do remote workers

seamlessly access files

of that size to make edits,

updates, and run analysis”


Jeff Richardson,

Chief Data Officer, Bentley Systems

businesschief.com


BENTLEY SYSTEMS

Partners

296

“Bentley tends to partner with

software vendors very tightly to

build solutions for things that work

for us and can be fed back into the

larger software development

ecosystem. SAP is a great example,

and we’ve been a tight partner with

them since about 2005. We use SAP

for all of our internal applications,

such as ERP and CRM systems, to

run operations internally along with

its people management and success

factors. We work very closely with

SAP to develop products that we’re

going to use, and I’m positive that

development is used to enhance

SAP’s only products too.”

“Over the past ten years, Qlik has

been a great software vendor and

partner for Bentley. We’re using the

most recent release of its cloudfocused

Sense technology, and it has

enabled us to build an analytical suite

in conjunction with our Microsoft

Azure partnership.”

“I have a close relationship with a lot

of the guys that started the company.

As an analytics and data storagefocused

cloud developer, Thoughtspot

is positioned to be the market leader

in cloud-based analytics.”

“We recently partnered with Snowflake

to support our cloud-first approach,

and it is rapidly growing to become

the leader in data warehousing and

storage technology. We’re going to use

Snowflake internally to store our featurelevel

data, which consists of huge

amounts of highly detailed telemetry

data. Their pricing structure is very

elastic, with a fair billing model focused

on pay-what-you-use, just like Bentley.”

AUGUST 2020


The sheer capability and flexibility

of Bentley’s cloud infrastructure, which

has in recent years been a huge investment

focus for the firm, has been

predicated on CEO Greg Bentley’s

insistence that its operations are

cloud-first and cloud-forward wherever

possible. This pioneering approach

to cloud, dating back to the launch

of Microsoft Azure and the subsequent

close partnership that the two

firms have shared since, has enabled

Bentley to both seize the opportunities

of cloud-centralised operations and

develop solutions in collaboration with

its key vendors to solidify its leadership

in the market. Not only that, but cloudbased

operations have made Bentley

enormously flexible in how it operates,

meaning that, of its 3,800 staff worldwide,

Richardson says that only 73

were unable to dive into the workingfrom-home

scenario of the coronavirus

pandemic from day one.

Across such global operations, this is

a great indicator of Bentley’s flexibility

at work. As the coronavirus pandemic

gathered pace, Senior Leadership of 297

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BENTLEY SYSTEMS

298

“Living in a cloud-focused

world, security is huge

for us. Our CIO, Claire

Rutkowski, came on board

in October 2016 and has

been heavily focused on

integrating a robust and

industry-leading cloud

security platform”


Jeff Richardson,

Chief Data Officer, Bentley Systems

IT meetings were held to workshop

worst case scenarios, and the preparation

that resulted has ensured what

Richardson calls a “totally seamless”

shift to the new normal. Questions of

access to vital resources from home,

including licences, hardware and

software were answered promptly in

a show of remarkable preparedness

in such unprecedented times.

“We use the rules of compliance

as foundational guidelines, and we

always try to exceed those guidelines

AUGUST 2020


299

by orders of magnitude; complying

whilst building infrastructure

that supports those guidelines in a

best practice sense, and exceeding

those standards as far as possible,”

Richardson enthuses, highlighting

the strategic focus that has ensured

Bentley Systems is ready for anything.

To close, Richardson shares the ethos

at the heart of Bentley’s operations:

“We don’t want to build cloud software

that’s reliable for today, we want to

build cloud software that’s reliable for

the next decade.” This sentiment is

reflected in Bentley’s continued ability

to serve its clients and continue as normal

internally, a powerful indicator that

Bentley’s cloud software will retain its

market leadership long into the future.

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300

AUGUST 2020


World Vision:

digitalising

operations to help

the vulnerable

WRITTEN BY

GEORGIA WILSON

PRODUCED BY

CAITLYN COLE

301

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WORLD VISION

Tim Covell, Supply Chain

Director, World Vision on

the organisation’s digital

transformation, COVID-19

and its efforts to help the

vulnerable

302

W

hen it comes to digital innovation at World

Vision, Tim Covell, Supply Chain Director

at the organisation explains that its strategy

is not necessarily ‘cutting edge’.

“We’re probably more on the other end of the

spectrum where we are intentionally not cutting

edge. Instead, we’re looking to be frugal, using

technology that has the highest return on investment

(ROI), as well as applications that provide the

most effective impact,” so when it comes to digital

transformation, World Vision is focusing its efforts

on its demand planning, fulfilment and distribution.

“In terms of demand planning, our stakeholders

and program leaders from around the world are

serving in various communities and they need to

have a simple and common tool that we can pull

from. Over time, we have developed a tool with a

fairly simple input process, and then we aggregate

all those answers into a global demand each year,

and this process has continued to be refined year

on year. When it comes to fulfilment and global

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WORLD VISION

“We are probably more on the other end of the spectrum

where we are intentionally not cutting edge. Instead we are

looking to be frugal, using technology that has the highest

return on investment (ROI), as well as applications that

provide the most effective impact”

304


Tim Covell,

Supply Chain Director, World Vision

distribution, I would say that we are still

on a journey about how we can build

global solutions. Here in the US, we

had a big win several years ago when

we introduced a common ERP system

for both managing donations as well

as ministry executions for serving

our communities. Now that we’re on

a common platform, the ability to move

products around to maintain control

has really been bolstered,” adds Covell.

He adds that, “Envista has been

our partner for a little over four years

and they have played an important

role in allowing us to utilise our ERP

for nonprofit application. A lot of what

we do is non-standard, we are using

an ERP built for profit in a nonprofit

organisation, so being able to manage

that efficiently and effectively we are

really thankful for Envista for providing

the expertise.” Other technology

World Vision has adopted to digitally

transform its operations include the

adoption of a new TMS system about

a year ago, “and so we are still going

through the learning curves of the system

and looking to be as effective as

AUGUST 2020


World Vision: supporting communities

to fight COVID-19 around the world

CLICK TO WATCH | 2:17

305

we can with that tool which has a huge

opportunity to be much more impactful

than the homegrown system that

we were using prior to that.”

Reflecting on the future of technology

at World Vision, Covell notes that

one area his team has been looking

into in the last year and will continue to

do so in the future is having an impact

assessment of donated Gifts in Kind

(GIK) to understand how to maximise

the freight dollar spend and where

the company can use it for the most

significant impact. “As a result we are

looking into improvements that we can

make to our operations when it comes

to technology to enable this in the future.”

When it comes to the importance

of technology, Covell believes that

“having connectivity to all of our

stakeholders, donors, carriers and

customers is critical. As a team – aside

from the ones who are continuing to

work in warehouses and distribution

– we are able to work from home.

The team that’s interacting with our

various stakeholders are able to work

from home and not miss a beat and

that has been excellent. However,

in my personal opinion, this is not

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WHO SERVE HIM

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going to be the new normal. I personally

believe that being together as

a team provides great value due to

the connectedness of the team.

Working from home creates challenges

that you need to overcome on a day

to day basis. So I don’t see this as the

new normal, I think the days of the

office aren’t numbered.”

Since the outbreak of COVID-19,

Covell explains that while its office

based teams have faced minimal

disruption, the operations of organisation

have not been without challenges.

“It’s interesting times for sure,” notes

1950

Year founded

$2.75bn

Revenue in

US dollars

10,000+

Number of

employees (Linkedin)

AUGUST 2020


Covell, “here in the United States we

have had to deal with not being able

to bring in our volunteers for our seven

sites in the US which we rely heavily

on to make our operations work. So

not having the volunteers has been

a significant disruption. In terms of

distribution, we are still getting donations

in from corporations which is

awesome, but the team has pivoted

to emergency response instead of

normal distributions, so we are currently

serving a global emergency

response as well as a local emergency

response, which putting all

these elements together makes a

very challenging environment,” comments

Covell. He believes that “the

US team has done an excellent job

setting up distribution hubs at 12 different

sites around the country and

have been ramping up efforts to get

food and essential supplies to each

of those hubs on top of serving 17 of

the most fragile countries impacted

by COVID-19.”

307

EXECUTIVE PROFILE:

Tim Covell

Title: Supply Chain Director Company: World Vision

Industry: Non-profit Organization Management

Tim has a BS in Operations Research/Systems Analysis from West

Point Military Academy, and a MS in Engineering Management

from Milwaukee School of Engineering. After some time serving

in the Army and then leading operations in transportation

services, he spent over 21 years at GE Healthcare in Milwaukee,

WI. During that time, he had experience in a variety of roles

from Mfg and Materials leadership to New Product Development

and Advanced Manufacturing Engineering. He recently joined

World Vision in Seattle, WA to lead the GIK Supply Chain

operation and has been serving there for 3 ½ years.

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WORLD VISION

308

When it comes to the future of the

industry, Covell details that “one of the

dynamics of poverty is the inability to

deal with emergencies or crises as

they emerge and you’re living paycheck

to paycheck, day to day just to get

by. Therefore, having an emergency

like COVID-19 reinforces the need for

organisations like World Vision and

many others to be engaged in caring

for and uplifting communities that

are struggling to break that cycle

of poverty. So for me, COVID-19

reinforces the criticality of our ministry

and services for the future.”

Reflecting on the organisation,

Covell explains that “World Vision

intends to provide a total business

solution for corporations, offering a

holistic approach with team activities,

kit builds, cash donations, and GIK.

We have an excellent team that works

with these corporations in terms of

developing relationships and working

AUGUST 2019


309

“Now that we’re on

a common platform,

the ability to move

products around to

maintain control has

really been bolstered”


Tim Covell,

Supply Chain Director, World Vision

with them. Then, once a donation

is made, my team then is the execution

arm, so our focus is on providing

a high level of service to the donor. In

particular, we focus on having a short

response time to get the product off of

their dock – which is typically a priority

for corporations – providing a reverse

logistics solution, integrating with the

donor’s operations. Finally, maintaining

that ministry focus and making

sure that we are a pull operation is key.

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WORLD VISION

310

“Having an emergency like COVID-19 reinforces

the need for organisations like World Vision and

many others to be engaged in caring for and

uplifting communities that are struggling to break

that cycle of poverty”


Tim Covell,

Supply Chain Director, World Vision

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

311


WORLD VISION

312

It’s important that we’re never taking

a product from a corporation

and then pushing it to a ministry site,

instead we make sure at every turn

that we’re responsive and sensitive

to what is needed at the ministry site

to care for people, making sure that

the product we’re sending is providing

value.”

However, this mission isn’t done

alone. Covell explains that World

Vision is a small team which relies

on its logistics partners significantly

internationally and domestically.

“In terms of international logistics

MX Shipping has been a core partner

specialising in access to really

challenging countries and last mile

scenarios. On the domestic side,

we have several core partners that

we work with including C.H. Robinson

“We make sure at every turn that we’re responsive

and sensitive to what is needed at the ministry site

to care for people, making sure that the product

we’re sending is providing value”


Tim Covell,

Supply Chain Director, World Vision

AUGUST 2020


313

and Radiant two key partners that

we lean heavily on. My philosophy is

to have a few core relationships and

not to jump around every year to build

strong relationships and grow together.

However, on the flip side, I’m not a fan

of being single sourced and not having

options, so having a few partners in

each category allows checks and balances

ensuring that we’re being cost

effective as we go forward.”

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314

A DIGITALLY

DISRUPTIVE

ORGANISATION

WRITTEN BY

GEORGIA WILSON

PRODUCED BY

SHIRIN SADR

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

315


MASTERCARD

Mohammed Kamal, Senior Vice

President, O&T, at Mastercard, on the

company’s unique operations, digital

transformation, technology trends

and its initiatives to combat COVID-19

316

W

hen it comes to the operations at

Mastercard, Mohammed Kamal,

Senior Vice President, O&T, reflects

on the history of the company. “Just looking

at Mastercard’s payment network, it has a

unique architecture with triple redundancy

built in, operating globally, peer to peer

and with local AI decisioning. The way

Mastercard and Mastercard’s network has

been built over the years is different from

some of our competitors, which I believe

provides a quicker and higher quality of

service for our customers. Beyond our historic

payments network, I think Mastercard

is in a position to disrupt itself. Where you

typically associate Mastercard with credit

card or debit card payments, being disruptive

has taken us into areas such as account-based

and bill payments, which have grown over the

years. While we’ve been diversifying into services

for some time, we’re also diversifying into

multiple payment rails that you typically wouldn’t

associate with Mastercard. For me this is one of

AUGUST 2020


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317


MASTERCARD

318

“Mastercard has very rigorous

business continuity plans

that are tested regularly

so we are ready to respond

when an unexpected crisis

happens, such as COVID-19”


Mohammed Kamal,

Senior Vice President, O&T, Mastercard

the big things that

makes Mastercard

unique compared

to some of our

competitors.”

Kamal adds:

“When I look at digital

transformation and

being disruptive, it is

important to move from a

place where the digital and

core businesses are not separate

to be successful. The core

business itself has to evolve into

being digital rather than adding a digital

veneer and keeping the existing

core processes in place.” This

approach is something that Kamal

sees as fundamental when digitally

transforming business operations.

“It’s visible when you look at a company,

which ones have added digital

as an afterthought, versus which

companies actually reinvented themselves

to be digitally native. Much of

the time the result is a hybrid.

Sometimes you’ll see competing

products within an organisation,

some that are digitally enabled but

which obviously started off in more of

AUGUST 2020


Inclusive access – Frictionless future of

payments

CLICK TO WATCH | 1:21

319

an analog form, and then you have

new products, built from the ground

up that are digitally native. I believe

for companies to be successful, it’s

important to really reimagine what’s

possible without the confines and

design assumptions of the non-digital

legacy products. If you build new

products from the ground up, I think it

opens up new doors when it comes

to their flexibility and agility. There is,

however, a tremendous amount of

underlying infrastructure and plumbing

needed to successfully pull off a

digital transformation. Digital is

much more data-rich, so it typically

goes hand in hand with more

advanced warehousing and analytics

capabilities. In addition, digital

tends to be exposed through web

and application programming interfaces

(APIs), which require their own

sets of supporting infrastructure and

security capabilities.

When it comes to the application

of cloud, data and analytics and artificial

intelligence (AI), Kamal states

that “all are obviously important but

for various reasons and applied

across different industries. For our

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MASTERCARD

322

organisation, which accumulates

large amounts of data, being able

to draw insights based on data is

extremely important and I would rank

this the highest out of the three. A lot

of our fraud engines and insight platforms

run on aggregated data which

is invaluable. We’re also, however,

enabling the exchange of data

between participants in an ecosystem.

Mastercard is very well

positioned as a network where we

bring together different parties - merchants,

billers, acquiring banks and

consumer banks - in a network.

These new, digitally native products,

one of their selling points is that they

enable a richer exchange of data

than their analog counterparts

through ISO 20022 messaging

standards. These standards provide

the capability to carry a lot more

information back and forth, driving

value for parties in the ecosystem.

This exchange of data enriches the

whole ecosystem, and provides for a

more symbiotic relationship between

us and our partners.”

AUGUST 2020


Reflecting on the capabilities cloud

technology can provide, Kamal

explains that “you can gain tremendous

amounts of value. But first it is

important to determine the best use

case for this technology. Mastercard,

for example, has a good footprint of

data centres around the world in different

regions. In some instances,

cloud makes sense and other times it

doesn’t, but the flexibility of cloud and

the ability to leverage an OPEX model

versus a CAPEX model provides scalability

and flexibility. I think there are

use cases, especially in the face of

nationalism, where you may need to

have something hosted in the cloud.

For that reason, I have generally taken

a hybrid cloud approach when going

down the path of cloud enabling solutions.

The greatest value I see,

however, is that the techniques

applied when using a hybrid-cloud

enabling platform generally make the

platform more scalable, agile and vendor

agnostic, which in itself is valuable

whether actually deployed in a public

cloud environment or not.

323

EXECUTIVE PROFILE:

Mohammed Kamal

Title: Senior Vice President, Consumer Applications

Mohammed Kamal is a payments industry technologist with

a passion for innovation and the Fintech space. He is

currently serving as the COO of Consumer applications at

Mastercard, leading a cross functional team with a mission

of enabling new payment flows leveraging real-time payments

(RTP). His responsibilities include technology and

operations for retail payments (p2m), BillPay & p2p

payment products. He is also responsible for

corporate & commercial M&A integration within

the Consumer Applications division.

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MASTERCARD

324

Mastercard has been leveraging AI

for its fraud services for over 10 years.

“We have very advanced fraud detection

capabilities that we provide our

customers,” says Kamal. “One of the

techniques that I think is interesting

with AI is the use of assistive AI versus

fully autonomous AI - or a mix of the

two, depending on the use case.

There’s still tremendous value in having

human intervention and making

sure a human is kept in the decision

making loop, but drastically empowered

as a result of the AI. For example,

fraud detection is sometimes one of

those use cases where selectively

involving the user in the decision making

process can provide for a better,

more confidence-inspiring user experience.

But other use cases could be

in the space of bill payments, where a

manual enrolment process

can take a consumer half an

hour - if not longer – trying to

identify and link with the different

billers they have a

relationship with. An assistive AI

solution can bring this time down

significantly, reducing friction for the

customer, yet keeping them in control

of their personal and financial data.”

Another technology trend Kamal

has seen emerge is the use of open

banking, “we’ve seen a huge amount

of action in this space. I use the term

‘open banking’ loosely because it differs

in different regions of the world,

but it’s the idea that the bank is opening

their ‘walled garden’ in a controlled

and secure way so that a customer

can use the data for their

benefit with other products.” In some

STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS

“When it comes to our partners such as Fulcrum Digital Inc., a critical

hallmark that we look for in a collaborator is flexibility and agility.

When collaborating with others we are looking for long term partners

that we can share both successes and failures with and create future

opportunities. We look for the type of collaborative partners that will

share in the risks and the rewards and I think being able to share in

that makes for a better relationship in the long run.”

AUGUST 2020


“When I look at digital transformation

and being disruptive, it is important

to move from a place where the

digital and core businesses are not

separate to be successful”


Mohammed Kamal,

Senior Vice President, O&T, Mastercard

cases the banks

themselves are

building new products

based on this

Open banking paradigm.

The Consumer

Application division here

at Mastercard is helping our

partners do just that. More

generally, in the industry, I am seeing

an increase in partnerships and

collaboration between banks, which

are well positioned with bank grade

security and safety compliance

built-in, with fintechs that are providing

customers experiences the

banks have not been able to provide

in the past. At Mastercard, we want

to support all members of

the open banking ecosystem.

We’re focused on

delivering solutions that will

enable these experiences,

whether that is delivered just

by a bank, just by a fintech,

or in partnership.”

With many organisations

around the world being

affected by the impact of

COVID-19, Kamal explains that

325

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MASTERCARD

1966

Year founded

$12.5bn+

Revenue in

US dollars (2017)

16,000

Number of

employees

“It’s visible when you look

at a company, which ones

have added digital as an

afterthought, versus

which companies actually

reinventing themselves

to be digitally native”


Mohammed Kamal,

Senior Vice President, O&T, Mastercard

“Mastercard has very rigorous business

continuity plans that are

tested regularly so we are ready to

respond when an unexpected crisis

happens, such as COVID-19.

As you would expect, the teams

are executing our operations very

well. We work very closely with our

customers as well as having our

AUGUST 2020


own VCP processes to ensure that as

our customers encounter challenges

within their business we are able to

accommodate them. Our continuity

plan not only looks at how our company

could be impacted but whether

our customers could be impacted,

what policy changes we could make,

what rule changes? And what can we

provide to help them?” Since the outbreak

Mastercard has been

implementing a variety of initiatives in

order to help its customers navigate

the impact of the pandemic.

When it comes to digital transformation

and adopting the current trends

within the technology space, Kamal

highlights the importance of having

the right products and services to be

able to capture the opportunities innovation

provides. “I think that’s the key

message, it’s not always easy to predict

what the market will need in one

go, but much of the time we are investing

in flexible underlying product

infrastructure, while the use cases

themselves develop more organically. I

think it’s important to build with flexibility

so that, while you may build a set of

technology or products for a particular

use case, or you have a business case

in mind, you also need to be able to

pivot the technology for different use

cases if the need should arise.”

327

businesschief.com


328

MSU FEDERAL

CREDIT UNION:

DIGITAL

DISRUPTION

IN FINTECH

WRITTEN BY

SEAN GALEA-PACE

PRODUCED BY

SHIRIN SADR

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

329


MSU FEDERAL CREDIT UNION

BENJAMIN MAXIM, ASSISTANT

VICE PRESIDENT OF DIGITAL

STRATEGY & INNOVATION,

DISCUSSES HIS ORGANISATION’S

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

APPROACH AMIDST COVID-19

330

M

SU Federal Credit Union was founded in

1937 to help members achieve financial

success and stability following the Great

Depression. It has remained dedicated to that same

mission for more than 82 years. Its mission statement

is simple: providing superior service while

assisting members and employees to achieve financial

security, their goals and ultimately, their dreams.

Benjamin Maxim is the Assistant Vice President of

Digital Strategy and Innovation for the Credit Union.

Maxim is well aware of the importance of leading in

the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s vital that

you’re a strong communicator and offer transparent

messaging,” he says. “Given the situation, people

are concerned and uncertain, and they need someone

to speak to them with confidence, understand

their fears, and try to alleviate their worries. During

times like these, it’s also important to continue to

invest in technological advancements as these

allow the organisation to continue to move forward.”

AUGUST 2020


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331


MSU FEDERAL CREDIT UNION

332

The pandemic has resulted in many

industries accelerating their digital

transformation journeys and adopting

new processes in order to avoid disruption

as much as possible. However,

financial institutions like MSUFCU were

already ahead of the curve. “Digital has

always been a focus and a priority of

ours,” affirms Maxim. “We’ve built robust

IT and UX teams in house to allow for

greater control, which has enabled us

to be extremely responsive to our members’

needs. Having the in-house teams

allows us to be nimble, agile and ready to

“I’M FOCUSED ON

CHAMPIONING

INNOVATION ACROSS

THE ORGANISATION

AND ANALYSING

EMERGING TRENDS

AND TECHNOLOGIES”


Benjamin Maxim,

Assistant Vice President of Digital

Strategy and Innovation, MSUFCU

AUGUST 2020


Quickly and Easily Lock Your Visa

with Card Lock from MSUFCU

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333

respond to the latest trends and technologies.

Additionally, we have established

several strategic partnerships with

vendors, allowing us to capitalise on

their strengths to enhance our own.”

In the last two years, MSUFCU

has launched its Member2Member℠

(M2M℠) transfer solution, in addition

to modernising its existing membership

and loan application process by

leveraging the ecommerce experience

of bundling products and services

together into one streamlined application.

“Within our membership base,

you can now send money through any

email address or phone number with

M2M℠ which has meant a decrease

in the volume of calls to our call center

and chats to our eServices team,” he

says. “This has improved efficiency

across the organisation.”

In October 2019, MSUFCU introduced

its first member-facing Chabot

to extend its service hours. “We have

an international membership living and

working in various time zones and it’s

important to us that we are accessible

to all of them as well as our members

in the U.S.,” explains Maxim. “This

solution enabled us to provide a better

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MSU FEDERAL CREDIT UNION

334

experience for our members – when

they need us. We continue to expand

our Chatbot’s capabilities, and through

this, our live chat employees and others

can focus on more complex and

meaningful transactions. In addition,

our eServices team has grown exponentially,

from just three employees

when I started 13 years ago, to more

than 75 employees today as our members’

behavior has changed over the

years becoming more comfortable

interacting through live chat and other

digital touch points.

“WE’VE BUILT ROBUST

IT AND UX TEAMS IN

HOUSE TO ALLOW FOR

GREATER CONTROL,

WHICH HAS ENABLED

US TO BE EXTREMELY

RESPONSIVE TO OUR

MEMBERS’ NEEDS”


Benjamin Maxim,

Assistant Vice President of Digital

Strategy and Innovation, MSUFCU

AUGUST 2020


“Whenever we release an innovation,

we do so in gradual stages. First, we

release it to a subset of employees and

members to gather feedback along the

way before going through the process

of introducing it to all employees, and

eventually to the full membership.

Receiving feedback early in the cycle

is key as it ensures we are able to

address any issues successfully.”

With a plethora of new innovations

on the horizon at MSUFCU, the organisation’s

digital drive shows no visible

signs of slowing. “We’re currently

investigating solutions with fintechs

335

EXECUTIVE PROFILE:

Benjamin Maxim

Benjamin Maxim joined MSU Federal Credit Union in 2007 and currently

serves as Assistant Vice President of Digital Strategy and Innovation.

He is responsible for assessing emerging business trends and

technologies, facilitating innovation throughout the Credit

Union, and providing strategic direction for existing and future

digital channels. Maxim began work initially as a Web Developer

and in 2014, he became E-Commerce Manager before moving

into roles including Assistant Vice President of Programming

and Development and Assistant Vice President of Software

Development. He earned a bachelor’s degree from

Michigan State University.

businesschief.com


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POSSIBLE WHEN YOU

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OF YOUR DATA.

JOIN THE DATA REVOLUTION

WITH TRELLANCE.


“WE’RE CURRENTLY

INVESTIGATING SOLUTIONS

WITH FINTECHS AND

IN-HOUSE INNOVATION TEAMS

THAT WILL HELP US INCREASE

MEMBER ENGAGEMENT WITH

OUR DIGITAL PLATFORMS,

REDUCE FRAUD AND CREATE

EFFICIENCIES THROUGH

AUTOMATION USING

TECHNOLOGIES LIKE RPA”


Benjamin Maxim,

Assistant Vice President of Digital

Strategy and Innovation, MSUFCU

and in-house innovation teams that

will help us increase member engagement

with our digital platforms, reduce

fraud and create efficiencies through

automation using technologies like

RPA,” says Maxim. “We understand

the importance of improving our

processes and the way we work; it’s

not just a case of bringing in another

person; there are ways we can leverage

technology to be both more

efficient and more effective. We are

also modernising our employee idea

submission process to encourage

collaboration and engagement from

337

MSUFCU’s Member2Member:

Send Money Effortlessly

to Your Friends and Family

CLICK TO WATCH | 1:00

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MSU FEDERAL CREDIT UNION

338

AUGUST 2020


all our employees as they are the ones

interacting with our members regularly,

so they have a better understanding of

member wants and needs.”

Maxim acknowledges the challenge

of a culture shift and is aware that some

employees might be reluctant to change.

“Our goal is to retain the employees we

have and to make sure they are in the

jobs that align with our business needs,

while also providing the training and support

they need to be successful in those

roles. However, if they are unwilling to

grow as individuals and learn new skills,

then it will be more difficult to retain

them long-term,” he explains.

Maxim understands the importance

of establishing key, strategic business

relationships and believes his organisation

is “only as good as its partners.”

MSUFCU has formed long-term and

mutually sustainable partnerships

with Jack Henry, their core banking

provider, and Visa over the past few

years, and Maxim credits them with

helping the organisation realise many

of its ambitions. “We’ve spent several

years solidifying our partnership with

Jack Henry’s leadership team and

developing a relationship with them.

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MSU FEDERAL CREDIT UNION

340

We’re at a point now where we’re cocreating

solutions in many cases. We

also provide feedback by beta testing

solutions they’re working on. We meet

with them regularly, and they provide

solutions that truly work for us. This

relationship is important to us because

if our core banking system isn’t strong,

then we can’t be as successful an

organisation as we’d like to be and

our members need us to be,” explains

Maxim. “Our relationship with our card

provider, Visa, is similar. We’ve worked

with them on a number of technological

initiatives. We were one of their first

clients to go live with their Card On/Off

“WE CONTINUE TO EXPAND

OUR CHATBOT’S CAPABILITIES,

AND THROUGH THIS, OUR

LIVE CHAT EMPLOYEES AND

OTHERS CAN FOCUS ON MORE

COMPLEX AND MEANINGFUL

TRANSACTIONS”


Benjamin Maxim,

Assistant Vice President of Digital

Strategy and Innovation, MSUFCU

solution, which enables people to lock

their credit card if they lose or misplace

it. We’re also working with them on

travel-related APIs and to reduce fraud

when travelling overseas. In addition,

we worked with Visa to develop our

Visa Signature cash back credit card.

Visa has been a great partner and has

enabled us to add many products and

services benefitting our membership.”

With the future in mind, Maxim has

an idea of the effect digital will continue

to have in the industry in the upcoming

AUGUST 2020


341

years. “I believe there will be varying

levels of comfort with people using

digital products,” he says. “People will

still want to interact with us in person

so it’s about how we use digital to augment

the experience they have with

us. We strive to provide a personalised

solution because everyone’s situation

is unique to them. As we innovate in the

digital financial space, we are focused

on personalisation, encouraging financial

wellness, and providing superior

digital service to our members. There

are many services, such as Netflix or

Amazon, that leverage their user’s data

to tailor an experience that is unique

to them, providing a personalised list

of options or recommendations and

the more the user is willing to share

the more individual the experience

becomes. We want to follow the same

process for financial services. The

influence of data is huge and its influence

will only continue to grow.”

businesschief.com


OTIP’s

technology

342

driven, peoplefirst

response

to COVID-19

WRITTEN BY

GEORGIA WILSON

PRODUCED BY

GLEN WHITE

AUGUST 2020


usinesschief.com

343


ONTARIO TEACHERS INSURANCE PLAN (OTIP)

Stacey Rous, EVP & CFO at OTIP

discusses the company’s people-first

strategy, technology trends and its

response to the impacts of COVID-19

344

W

hen it comes to the workforce at Ontario

Teachers Insurance Plan (OTIP), Stacey

Rous, EVP & CFO, shares that the organization

understands that staying connected, whether

with coworkers or senior leaders, is key. “Creating

that sense of community at work is really important,

as is the ability to listen and evaluate opinions,” she

says. “After anything we do as an organization, we

ask for feedback to develop a safe space for people

to talk about the organization in a collaborative way.

This allows us to be both responsive and agile in an

ever-changing world.”

This mindset played a key role in OTIP’s response

to COVID-19. Rous believes that relocating the majority

of our workforce to home offices has been the

biggest disruption to the company from the COVID-

19 pandemic. “We moved more than 600 people into

home offices in less than two weeks, moving them

onto a technology platform that is compatible with

working from home. Protecting the health and well

being of our employees was top of mind, but at the

same time we managed to accomplish this task while

maintaining our service to members.”

AUGUST 2020


1977

Year founded

$1.5bn

Revenue in

Canadian dollars

500+

Number of

employees

345

businesschief.com


Success begins and

ends with people.

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HR Benefits: Technology

and Experiences that Exceed

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As the leading provider of technology-enabled HR services

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With unmatched industry experience, Morneau Shepell

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for more than 50 years. We serve mid-sized and large

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We provide flexible and integrated benefits and

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Morneau Shepell’s proprietary benefits administration

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administration can be magnified and made prohibitively

costly to organizations that lack the right technology

platform. Our advanced enterprise technology provides

a comprehensive and innovative single system for all

benefit administration solutions, and is specifically

designed to support complex organizations. Our highly

flexible technology seamlessly integrates with clients’

existing platforms and infrastructures while providing

the security and compliance that is absolutely crucial.

Integral to our advanced platform is intuitive design

and navigation so participants can easily interact with

the system, and gain a benefits experience that meets

their consumer technology expectations.

Paul Sywulych @

Morneau Shepell

Online self-service on any device is standard, with features

and functionality covering all aspects of benefits

and pension administration, including decision support

tools and an AI virtual assistant.

“Morneau Shepell has been partnering with us for over

six years. They have helped OTIP through a digital transformation

process by streamlining our benefits administration

solution. The value of offering a single system to

our members that simplifies the administration process

and delivers the services that participants want and need

has enhanced the experience for both administrators and

plan participants. As our organization continues to digitally

transform and grow, having a proven and reliable partner

that understands our culture and truly cares about our

members is invaluable.” – Stacey Rous, Executive VP and

Chief Financial Officer, OTIP

Now more than ever, organizations need a complete

benefits administration solution that utilizes the

latest technology and a single platform to improve

accuracy and productivity, but also helps participants

improve their lives. Morneau Shepell’s solutions

deliver advanced technology for simpler, more

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and family assistance, health and wellness, recognition,

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consulting, actuarial and investment services.

By improving lives, we improve business.


ONTARIO TEACHERS INSURANCE PLAN (OTIP)

348

“We are a people-first

organisation. There

will always be tweaks

to how we work, but

our core strategy of

‘people first’ has not

and will not change”


Stacey Rous,

EVP & CFO, OTIP

Achieving this incredible feat was

not easy, and not done alone. Rous

says that OTIP’s partners and stakeholders

have been vital in adopting

this work from home strategy. “Prior to

COVID-19 we didn’t have the system

capacity for everyone to work from

home. We had been planning for 20

to 25%, but certainly not 100%. Our

partners really stepped up to help us

implement this capability once the

healthcare sector was under control,

allowing us to stay connected to our

employees and members.”

The OTIP Story

CLICK TO WATCH | 1:53

AUGUST 2020


EXECUTIVE PROFILE:

Stacey Rous

Stacey Rous is the Executive Vice

President and Chief Financial Officer at

OTIP, Ontario Teachers Insurance Plan.

OTIP serves the education community

across Ontario, providing health benefits

and other insurance needs as a not-forprofit

Trust. At OTIP, Stacey is

responsible for Finance and IT strategy,

including financial operations of the

company and accountable for the

Project Management Office. Stacey is an

accomplished financial executive known

for achieving financial and service

benchmarks by creating a compelling

vision, clearly communicating strategies

and providing strong leadership.

Over the years, Stacey has been

helping insurance and health care

organizations grow and improve

member experience with her finance

and operational expertise. She has

more than 25 years of progressive

leadership experience in operational

finance. Stacey has provided executive

financial leadership to the Waterloo

Wellington Local Health Integration

Network, Allianz Global Assistance and

Cowan Insurance Group of Companies.

Outside of her role with OTIP, Stacey is

actively involved in building strong

partnerships with communities to

make a positive impact on social issues

such as social isolations, poverty,

inequality and mental health. She

serves on the Board of the YMCA for

Kitchener Waterloo, the Canadian

Mental Health Association for Waterloo

Wellington and International Women’s

Forum Waterloo. She previously served

on the IWF Canada Sponsorship

Committee to raise funds for the IWF

World Leadership Conference.

Stacey is an MBA graduate from

Athabasca University and holder of

CPA designations in Canada and the

US. Throughout her career, she has

continued to seek educational

opportunities and certifications that

enhance her finance and operational

capabilities, including: Chartered

Professional Accountant (CPA, CMA)

designation, Certified Public

Accountant (US designation),

Chartered Global Management

Accountant (CGMA) designation

and Advanced Health Leadership

certification from the Rotman School

of Management Executive Program.

349

businesschief.com


Making a positive impact

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Brooklin Consulting: accelerating

productivity with OTIP

Brooklin Consulting is a management consulting organisation

with worldwide experience in several leading industries.

The firm helps companies overcome their unique

business challenges, discover their greatest opportunities

and achieve significant results. Brooklin Consulting has

over 30 years of experience in global consulting, primarily

focused on productivity improvement, strategic implementation

and digital transformation. Brooklin Consulting

specialises in achieving measurable results that improve

their client’s performance quickly and efficiently.

BizClik Media Interviews

Michael Flemming,

VP at Brooklin Consulting

Michael Flemming is the Vice President of Brooklin Consulting.

He leads projects to execute strategy and improve

productivity, working with both senior leaders and frontline

employees. Brooklin Consulting has formed a partnership

with Ontario Teachers Insurance Plan (OTIP) to help

improve productivity. Flemming believes this collaborative

business partnership is essential and is the “archetype”

of any successful consulting relationship. “We’re able to

build trust, and work closely with every level of the organisation,

which is the key to building solutions that drive

the largest impact and are sustainable beyond the term of

our engagement,” he says. “Every single change, large and

small, is developed with the front-line managers responsible

for the area. We work through the development and

testing of solutions, but most importantly, we see those

changes through to implementation. The collaboration

between consultants and operating managers ensures

changes are not just theoretical, but drive improvements

in the real world.”

When seeking to establish a mutually beneficial and sustainable

partnership, Flemming has a clear idea of what he

looks for. “We find that the most successful relationships

are the ones where we collaborate through every step of

the process, regardless if the problem is big or small,” he

explains. “We’re prepared to work with clients through

every step of the journey to find a solution that is going

to succeed. Solutions developed together are always

the most successful, and that is a key reason for the

strength of our relationship with OTIP, and a key reason

our projects have consistently generated 3:1 returns in

their first year, while at the same time improving customer

service and satisfaction.”

Over the next few years, Flemming expects the future of

Brooklin’s relationship with OTIP to continue to thrive as

new technology shakes up the industry. “Organisations

like OTIP need to be nimble and ready to change at a

moment’s notice in order to stay competitive, and I expect

key trends revolving around robotics and AI will push

analytical decision-making to the next level and provide

better quality to customers,” says Flemming. “We’ve

been able to install a culture of continuous improvement

with OTIP and help adopt those trends quickly and in a

meaningful way. I believe the continued strength of our

relationship will allow for those future opportunities to be

adopted efficiently and robustly.”

Stacey Rous, EVP & CFO at OTIP, says “The team at

Brooklin Consulting has supported OTIP through several

improvement projects over the past two years,

each resulting in a significant return on investment.

Their methodology has helped us transform our

management operating system, allowing for better

analytics, faster decision-making, and ultimately

improved service to our members. Most importantly,

they have helped our people to see challenges as

opportunities, leaving behind an approach to continuous

improvement that carries on internally beyond

the term of their engagements. I would strongly

recommend their services to organizations looking to

improve their operations.”

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“My best advice for

girls and women

looking to get into

tech is to seek out

a mentor or coach

in the industry”


Stacey Rous,

EVP & CFO, OTIP

Rous adds that she is extremely

proud of how OTIP’s employees have

adapted, driving new ways of connecting

with its members, clients and

employees, but at the same time not

exhausting them with the technology.

“Our members and our management

teams are very accepting that there

may be children in the background,

dogs barking or doorbell rings from

home deliveries, which previously

would have been considered very

unprofessional.”

She adds that the insurance industry

itself has not escaped impact from

the pandemic. “Our industry is under

extreme financial pressure. People’s

driving habits have changed, and there

is an expectation that auto premiums

will reduce accordingly. At the same

time, the closure of things like dental

offices and other health providers creates

a mountain of questions for us and

our members on how we handle things

like claim limits, cancelled procedures

and benefit premiums during and after

the pandemic.”

Rous believes that technology will be

key as COVID-19 continues to change

how organizations and the insurance

industry continues to operate. Post

pandemic, she says, a digital mindset

should be seen as a way of doing

business, whether that be on-line

virtual doctor’s appointments, or using

Telehealth and Telemedicine more

proactively. “COVID-19 should teach

us that it’s okay to do some things digitally.

We need to harness what we’ve

learned through this and not go back to

the old normal where it doesn’t make

sense. Many of these technologies

are so powerful, and they will be cost

effective for both our community and

our healthcare system .”

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businesschief.com


ONTARIO TEACHERS INSURANCE PLAN (OTIP)

While Rous thinks that we are a long

way from a post COVID-19 world, she

does believe that “we are entering into

a new normal and that the industry is

going to have to settle. For me the future

is about the financial stability of a company

going forward. I think the finance

and the tech folks are going to have their

hands full for quite some time.”

354

TECHNOLOGY TRENDS IN INSURANCE

Looking past the current pandemic,

Rous highlights that digital innovation,

artificial intelligence (AI) and data are

still the overriding trends in the insurance

industry, adding that “these are

the technologies that allow us better

understand and service our members.”

She details that, at the core, OTIP’s

digital transformation strategy is designed

to streamline communication and harness

data analytics, using a data warehouse

and data mapping to provide a seamless

service to its members. “This is something

that is still ongoing for us at OTIP. We have

only just scratched the surface of this journey,

however, the recent hiring of a new

director of data and digital technologies

supported by a dedicated team is going

to allow us to really grow this potential.”

“COVID-19 should

teach us that it’s

okay to do some

things digitally”


Stacey Rous,

EVP & CFO, OTIP

AUGUST 2020


When it comes to adopting innovative

technology to drive this strategy,

Rous explains that the organization

started using robotics in collaboration

with RPAI and Blue Prism Software.

“We were one of the first in Canada

in 2016 using robotics to reduce the

amount of non-value-added tasks

from our people,” she explains. For

OTIP, Rous continues, the use of

robotics is seen as an extension of

its workforce. “Our employees like it

because they can focus on the valueadd

work for our members.”

Rous continues, saying that even

though OTIP was one of the first in

Canada to use robotics, it was doing

very small projects. “We were more

in the investigation stage, using it to

understand how our members wanted

to do business with us. Now, with our

new director and dedicated team, we

are ramping up our innovation and

adoption of robotics for automation.”

With regards to developing these

technologies, Rous stresses the

importance of strategic partnerships.

“Our strategic partnerships

with Rogers, our internet provider, or

Central Logic, lay the foundation and

355

businesschief.com


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our insurance partners like Morneau,

Manulife, Economical and Aviva, are

all intertwined. We don’t want to build

our own tech, we want to build our own

intelligence around our members with

the help of the technology our strategic

partners provide. You don’t need to

own those technologies, you need to

leverage those technologies.”

WOMEN IN TECH

Rous believes strongly in the inclusion

of women in tech, a mindset that

is shared by the entire organization.

“From a woman in tech perspective, we

have a number of BSA and data specialists

– at least 50% – that are women,

which we are doing very well in,” she

explains. “On the traditional side of

tech, such as networking systems, the

figures are slightly less with about 25%

being women.”

Outside of the working environment,

Rous explains that the organization has

key people helping young girls learn

code, known as girls for coding, to

promote females joining the industry.

“However, I think it is still a generation 357

OTIP Sponsorship of Schools

Projects and Initiatives

CLICK TO WATCH | 1:54

businesschief.com


ONTARIO TEACHERS INSURANCE PLAN (OTIP)

358

away. Currently schools are working

to get the materials needed to show

girls the opportunities within the STEM

industry, but it is going to take time for

young girls to see themselves as coders.”

Rous, seen by many as a leader and

a mentor herself, shares that she did

not get where she is today by herself.

“My best advice for girls and women

looking to get into tech is to seek out

a mentor or coach in the industry. I

cannot underscore the importance of

finding people to help you through your

career. Gender isn’t important here. It

is about finding people who you trust

and are willing to help you navigate the

challenges you will face in this industry.

Don’t try and do it alone. You need

people out there advocating for you.”

WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS

Returning to the organization’s strategy,

Rous reiterates that regardless of

COVID-19 or changes in technology,

OTIP’s member-first approach has not

changed. “We are a people-first organization.

There will always be tweaks to

how we work, but our core strategy of

AUGUST 2020


“The recent hiring of a

new director of data

and digital technologies

supported by a

dedicated team is going

to allow us to really

grow this potential”


Stacey Rous,

EVP & CFO, OTIP

‘people first’ has not and will not change.”

Throughout the pandemic, OTIP has

been active in the communities it serves,

donating more than $250,000 to food

banks and mental health associations

across Canada. “I’m on the Canadian

Mental Health Association of Waterloo

Wellington and a recent study highlighted

that 70% of us are feeling

isolated due to that lack of connectivity,

which is having a detrimental effect on

all our mental health right now.”

In addition, she continues, 70% of

those same survey respondents said

they were concerned about becoming

sick from COVID-19, or losing someone

close to it. “This crisis remains at

the top of everyone’s mind. Given the

corresponding mental health challenges

we are going to see from an

industry perspective, we need to be

ready to help the people that maybe

unwell, and be there for both employees

and members to help them.”

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businesschief.com


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