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TOP 10 Investment companies in the USA

June 2018 • USA EDITION

SENTIENT TECHNOLOGIES CEO Babak Hodjat on creating the world’s largest distributed AI platform

SCHNITZER STEEL Sustainable procurement at the global leader in metals recycling

Disrupting the transport and logistics industry with data and digital assets


FOREWORD WELCOME TO THE latest edition of Business Chief USA. This June, we have an issue jam-packed with insight for business leaders. For our leadership feature this month, Babak Hodjat, CEO of Sentient Technologies, discusses his plans for the future of the company and the current state of play with artificial intelligence Meanwhile, we caught up with Everbridge, a company which manages critical events from terror attacks and natural disasters to IT outages by using state-of-the-art software to keep businesses running and employees safe. Finally, looking into people management, Sony Electronics’ Head of Corporate Communications Cheryl Goodman discusses the rise of women in STEM and how females can be encouraged to make it to the top. Shedding a more global light on the subject, we asked Lloyd Snowden of Oliver Wight to talk us through the importance of value

chains in sustainable business planning, and how making the most of them can add to any business. We’ve also brought you the most exciting businesses Los Angeles have to offer and looked at Investopedia’s ‘Best Wealth Management Firms’ and Fortune’s ‘40 Best Companies in Financial Services’ to bring you a list of the top 10 investment companies in the United States, by revenue. Be sure to take a look at our company profiles where we share the most exciting new developments for big businesses in the region. This month features Oportun, T5 Data Centers, the UCSF PCMB Project, Server Farm and more. We hope you enjoy this month’s magazine, and as always welcome your feedback on Twitter. @Business_Chief

Enjoy the issue! www.businesschief.com www.bizclikmedia.com

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F E AT U R E S

REDEFINING

TRANSPORTATION

AND LOGISTICS THROUGH DATA

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Schneider National SUPPLY CHAIN

L E A D E R S H I P & S T R AT E G Y

TECHNOLOGY

PEOPLE

CRITICAL EVENT MANAGEMENT across a changing landscape

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52 SONY ELECTRONICS and the rise of women in STEM


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CITY FOCUS

HOW MORE CAN BE DONE TO MAKE THE MOST OF VALUE CHAINS CITY FOCUS

LOS ANGELES

S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y

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TOP 10

90

TOP 10

INVESTMENT COMPANIES IN THE US

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C O M PA N Y P R O F I L ES

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Schnitzer Steel

SUPPLY CHAIN

State of Hawai SUPPLY CHAIN

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122

NAHB Industry forward CONSTRUCTION


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UCSF PCMB Project The Precision Cancer Medicine Building (PCMB) BIM4FM Project CONSTRUCTION

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160 Opurtun

Server Farm

TECHNOLOGY

CONSTRUCTION

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POWERING DATA-DRIVEN DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IN MANUFACTURING Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) Hybrid IT technology is enabling original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as GE Digital enter a world powered by Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity and data analytics – where nothing ever breaks. These benefits are being passed on to customers, allowing them to adopt new business models, streamline operational processes and create more innovative products and services. Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) Hybrid IT technology is enabling original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as GE Digital enter a world powered by Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity and data analytics – where nothing ever breaks. These benefits are being passed on to customers, allowing them to adopt new business models, streamline operational processes and create more innovative products and services.

CHALLENGE For OEMs, the current idea economy is all about turning ideas into value faster than the competition. With the vast amounts of data gathered from a growing number of IoT endpoints, manufacturers can drive operational efficiencies, deliver better user experiences, and develop new capabilities. However, while leveraging technology to improve performance is critical to remaining successful, it’s not as easy as it sounds. This is due to a variety of factors, including: • Bespoke systems: Many existing industrial systems are purpose-built, with distinct protocols and limited capabilities. However, right now, what companies need are cross-platform visibility and insights. • Implementation difficulties: The lack of mature skills and resources for IoT implementation means that the integration of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) has become essential in driving productivity and business results. • Alignment between IT and operations: The financial risk and uncertainty resulting from IoT adoption has driven companies to use a mix of SaaS, Hybrid and Cloud-first strategies, which must now be connected to each other.

SOLUTION To combat these challenges, HPE OEM has built hybrid IT solutions that include pioneering edge computing and analytic data techniques, to help manufacturers turn vast quantities data into real-time, actionable insights. These solutions have been designed to adapt to a variety of business challenges. For example, GE Digital harnessed them to create Predix – the operating system for the Industrial Internet – to drive its own business transformation, as well as that of other manufacturers. As the world’s first and only industrial cloud platform, GE Predix is turning data into actionable insights from the edge to the cloud, and employing the latest innovations to optimize assets and operations – all supported by a robust ecosystem that accelerates app development. With the HPE-powered Predix, manufacturers can leverage big data and analytics in conjunction with industrial expertise to achieve real gains in productivity,

BENEFITS The partnership between HPE OEM and GE Digital is helping national electric utility company Saudi Electricity achieve an ambitious modernization of Saudi Arabia’s electricity infrastructure. Working with the HPE OEM and GE Digital Alliance, Saudi Electricity implemented an industry-leading Industrial IoT platform that supports machine learning and predictive maintenance technologies. This allows them to improve the company’s quality of service while minimizing energy costs. By 2020, Saudi Electricity expects to this continuing partnership to yield a $19B reduction in operational and capital costs, 3x increase in power generation capacity and improved reliability, and 100% control of critical electrical assets. Ultimately, companies seeking to thrive in the idea economy must implement data-driven digital transformation Ul practices. By identifying problems before they occur, manufacturers will derive improved quality, reduced production time and machine downtime, and lower production costs – and then pass these benefits on to the customer. The collaboration between HPE OEM and GE Digital is a powerful example of how hybrid IT platforms are giving manufacturers real-time visibility across heterogeneous systems, putting them in a safe and secure environment that enables decisions to be made quickly, accurately, and intelligently.


REDEFINING

TRANSPORTATION

AND LOGISTICS

THROUGH DATA


For more than 80 years, Schneider has delivered unrivalled transportation and logistics services. Now the company is continuing to redefine the industry through data and cognitive intelligence Written by Dale Benton Produced by Andy Turner


SCHNEIDER

S

chneider, one of the leading providers of truckload, intermodal and logistics services in North America lives by a promise to deliver for their customers. That promise is increasingly important in a world moving faster than ever, with continually rising expectations on service and partnership. It is essentially a promise to deliver tomorrow’s world today, and Schneider’s approach to innovation, technology and data science position it well to do just that. The company plays an integral part in the supply chain of many of the leading names in omnichannel retail, consumer goods, manufacturing and other industries. In order to continuously add value to this ecosystem, Schneider requires a level of technological expertise not often thought of in the transportation industry. Luckily for Schneider, it has a deep history of innovation and a solid foundation of “pragmatic

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innovation” driving its success. That’s what Shaleen Devgun, EVP & CIO of Schneider, feels differentiates the company and enables service like no other. “Our success as one of the largest truckload, intermodal and logistics services providers in North America lies in our ability to connect and get data from our digital assets,” he says. “But it doesn’t stop there – it then becomes a question of garnering intelligence from that data by asking what it is telling us and making informed decisions – all in near-real time.” Schneider has a long history of developing and implementing technology that helped transform the industry. It was one of the first companies to utilize a platform that could track movements of every tractor or trailer back in 1979, implemented satellite technology in the late 80’s, and introduced a selfservice track and trace capability in 1997. Furthermore, Schneider


S U P P LY C H A I N

“TECHNOLOGY IS IN OUR DNA” – Shaleen Devgun, EVP & CIO of Schneider

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See it all at hpe.com

We see something. Amid the streams of ones and zeros, we see a world where oceans of data yield sparks of insight and unending questions are being answered. A world where every space is intelligent and each connection is seamless. Where cutting-edge computing has the power to carry mankind to new planets, and faster data analysis accelerates the race for a cure. Where solutions come before problems arise and physicists have the power to map the universe’s origins. We see a world where Everything Computes, and what’s next is extraordinary. ©Copyright 2018 Hewlett Packard Enterprise Development LP.


S U P P LY C H A I N

LTL JUST GOT A WHOLE LOT EASIER

evolved from a mainframe to a more modern technical architecture that has helped drive much of the organization’s growth. Devgun goes as far as saying that Schneider is in fact a technology company masquerading as a trucking company. “Technology is in our DNA,” says Devgun. “And where we are today, with over 10,000 tractors and over 50,000 trailers and containers – that we see as effectively digital assets – our future depends on leveraging

our platform to collect this data, and build on it through analytics, to create insight that we’ve never had before.” This approach to technology and innovation, with a sharp focus on capturing and utilizing data, is part of a transformational journey that Schneider has been on since 2007. The company worked with Oracle to create a horizontally integrated platform, designed to connect and digitize not only Schneider’s value chain, but also its customer’s. It’s called the Quest platform,

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SCHNEIDER

“WHERE TECHNOLOGY MAY HAVE HISTORICALLY BEEN VIEWED AS A SOLUTION TO A PROBLEM, TECHNOLOGY IS NOW CREATING NEW BUSINESS MODELS AND OPPORTUNITIES” – Mark Rourke, Schneider’s Chief Operating Officer

and Schneider uses it to digest all of the information that is coming from its digital assets in the field and create operational insights. “With Quest we’ve created digitization across our value chain. It connects to every aspect of our business and to our customers, and, more importantly, it connects our customers’ customers to them,” says Devgun. “Through the Quest platform, we are able to deploy advanced analytics and decision sciences to create and share insights across the most important aspects of our business, which are

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safety and business performance.” Technology adoption in transportation has accelerated and Schneider represents a company that disrupts and redefines the art of the possible. “Where technology may have historically been viewed as a solution to a problem, technology is now creating new business models and opportunities,” says Schneider’s Chief Operating Officer Mark Rourke. “It really reinforces our belief that technology has evolved to a ‘nerve center’ component of our company versus a traditional cost center.”


S U P P LY C H A I N

Mark Rourke Schneider’s Chief Operating Officer

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SCHNEIDER

Devgun couldn’t agree more. “We are witnessing this in full force when it comes to the adoption of social, mobile and contextual technologies,” he says. “Innovation is driving changes and evolutions in the industry that enable nonindustry disrupters to come in and challenge the existing models.” So how does Schneider approach

Year Founded

1935

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this changing landscape? With the same pragmatic approach that it has had for over 80 years, only in today’s world its very much centred around disrupting traditional models and ways of thinking. “We will always look at what’s changing and think of how we apply our pragmatic approach to it in a way that produces results for our


S U P P LY C H A I N

customers, our drivers and associates, and our business” Devgun says. “We are constantly striving to drive value for our shareholders, our customers and our driver associates. So, we ask ourselves, ‘how do we create value for each of the actors in our ecosystem through the use of technology?’” “That’s what drives our

strategy. That’s what drives our thinking with technology.” A key component in any organization is often one that is lost throughout the technology conversation – the people. Technology and solutions are only tools, but it takes the right people with the right skillset to drive efficiencies and deliver on a promise. Devgun cannot stress enough how

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DATA HAS NEVER BEEN MORE IMPORTANT FOR COMPANIES. AND IT’S NEVER BEEN HARDER TO MANAGE.

We started with users and built a different kind of data platform. Only Delphix can offer self-service data to accelerate workflows for developers, data scientists, and analysts, so enterprises can better leverage data as a strategic asset. We enable data to flow freely, securely, and at lower cost—on prem and across clouds. The results can transform a business: faster, higher quality releases, insights, and automation. Welcome to the world of automated data flow. Welcome to Delphix.

DE L P HI X .CO M


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important a role driver associates play in the Schneider ecosystem. “To me, technology is going to help everybody in the organization rise higher in the value chain,” he says. “It’s going to take away the transactional, and the commoditized pieces of their job, and make them more valuable.” This is a sentiment shared by Brian Stuelpner, VP of Strategy, Planning & Architecture. “When we talk about automation and cognitive intelligence, it’s about augmenting the individual,” he says. “What we are trying to

do is help our people be more effective, so that they can focus on the right things and drive value.” “This will be key to our success now, and in the future.” As a company that places its customers and drivers at the very center of what it does, particularly in an ever-evolving space, the importance of understanding how their needs are evolving cannot be understated. With increasing power in the palm of their hands, the customer of 2018, in any industry, is one that demands

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SCHNEIDER

instant gratification and is one that is much more in tune with what’s happening behind the scenes. This effect is what Devgun sees influencing buying behavior and an unparalleled understanding by customers of the nuts and bolts of the supply chain. “As they demand more information and greater access to that information, what impact does that have on the supply chain?” says Devgun. “Their expectations surrounding visibility

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have dramatically changed, and we are seeing this more and more in the e-commerce space. Our push into e-commerce with dual first-tofinal mile acquisitions in 2016 help highlight our belief that the growth of the e-commerce channel, and the platforms that enable it, are becoming extremely important and must be a focus area for us going forward.” E-commerce is only one of several examples of how technology is changing and transforming the


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“OUR SUCCESS IS DEPENDENT ON OUR ABILITY TO DELIVER VALUE QUICKLY AND USE OUR AGILITY TO STAY AHEAD OF THE MARKET” – Brian Stuelpner, VP of Strategy, Planning & Architecture

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Finally, a cloud you can love.

Experts in Enterprise Cloud © 2018 AHEAD, LLC. All rights Reserved.

Learn more at www.thinkahead.com


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supply chain industry. Blockchain, automation and cognitive intelligence are all key technology terms that are dominating the innovation conversation, and Devgun recognizes that as more companies embrace technology, they must continue to understand what works, what doesn’t, and more importantly, what will best serve their customers. “Technology should never be adopted for technology’s sake,” he says. “We can talk about our pragmatic approach to innovation, but the real significance lies in showing how we can create real, tangible value for the actors in our ecosystem.” Technology has also redefined the idea of competition and how companies can differentiate from one another. For Stuelpner, in order to continue to succeed in this industry, a company like Schneider must be agile and be willing to take some risks. “The rate and pace of change is requiring a nimbleness not seen before,” says Stuelpner. “Our

success is dependent on our ability to deliver value quickly and use our agility to stay ahead of the market.” This has seen Schneider push its own capabilities as an organization through innovative hackathons, design thinking and an adoption of agile – all focused on helping create a culture that learns, adapts and improves much quicker than ever before. “We’re developing our organization and our associates, pulling in outside thinking, and challenging the status quo in order to drive us forward,” Stuelpner says. “As we look to the future – our future – we see one defined by automation, cognitive intelligence and aggregation. A marketplace is being created that requires us to think differently and invest differently to enable success. The disruption is all around us, but we see ourselves as having the ability to ‘disrupt the disruptors’ based on our technical know-how, our industry expertise and approach to driving positive change with our customers.” While it is impossible to predict

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the future of the transportation and logistics industry, Devgun and Stuelpner believe that whatever that future will be, it will be one defined by technology. As it embraces the future, Schneider can call upon more than 80 years of innovation and technology investment to help light the path forward and then completely redefine it. “We want to skate to where the puck is going to be tomorrow, not where it is today,” says Devgun. “Our belief is that through the use of our data analytics and technology, we can get there before anyone else. “At Schneider, I’d say we have a clear strategy and vision for the future, and as an organization, we are investing and aligning our people to achieve that vision.”

“WE ASK OURSELVES, HOW DO WE CREATE VALUE FOR EACH OF THE ACTORS IN OUR ECOSYSTEM THROUGH THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY?” – Shaleen Devgun, EVP & CIO of Schneider National

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LEADERSHIP


Sentient Technologies CEO Babak Hodjat discusses his plans for the future of the company and the current state of play with artificial intelligence Writ ten by MARK SPENCE


LEADERSHIP BABAK HODJAT IS CEO and co-founder of San Francisco-based Sentient Technologies. He was one of the team responsible for developing the core technology that went on to become Apple’s Siri. To date, Sentient has raised over $170mn in financing and developed the world’s largest distributed AI platform. This platform is being leveraged across several industries including finance where Sentient’s AI autonomously runs its own hedge fund, and ecommerce where AI powers on-the-fly personalization

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and conversion optimization for major retailers such as Sunglass Hut and Skechers. Sentient has also delved into healthcare, where it has been working on early Sepsis diagnosis, and agriculture, which has seen the company partner with with MIT’s openAg initiative on optimized food growth. With AI technology increasingly under scrutiny thanks to some highprofile advances in the industry and continued question marks over its deployment, Business Chief sat down with the Sentient


“AI has previously over-promised and underdelivered. When you tell someone that your system is AI they expect it to do things that are almost on the verge of mystical and magical�

CEO to find out more about his plans for the future and the challenges of running a major AI business. Tell us more about Sentient, your platforms and where you’re at today. Sentient is an artificial intelligence company and we have built a platform that uses various AI techniques including evolutionary computation, deep learning and rule-based systems. The platform brings those techniques together in a framework that allows modelling, creativity and adaptivity.

Babak Hodjat, CEO, Sentient

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“There’s one more hurdle to pass before AI can be widely used… to take it out of the hands of the PHDs and specialists and make it easy to deploy in various domains” Babak Hodjat, CEO, Sentient


LEADERSHIP This is called the LEAF evolutionary AI framework. We’re a product company and currently support two products. Sentient has clearly evolved rapidly but where do your roots lie and where is the business moving? Sentient started off building a hedge fund that is AI-powered by LEAF core technology. It launched back in 2016 and established a pretty good life track record – and it’s growing. It’s now open for investments into the fund. For the past two years or so, Sentient has been focused on digital marketing and full-funnel AI enablement. When we think of the digital marketing industry, consumers are coming in through ads and outreached to a journey typically online or on mobile. That journey is a mix of exploration and exploitation. These customers want to know what services are available, or they might have in mind a particular product they’re looking for, and then that leads to some form of conversion. For example, buying a product or signing up for a service. Or not. At this point, the business might want to remarket back to them to get them back. That whole journey is orchestrated

by the LEAF core platform. The first product we have in that area is web and mobile optimization, a fullfunnel, multi-variant CRO product called Sentient Ascend. It’s a fast product to get up and running, with only a couple of lines of javascript required to be inserted in a website’s header, and it’s AI-enabled. That product is growing at a fast pace. We have a large community of companies using it and the principle of the product is that we’re not only brokering the relationship between consumer and service or product and enabling that exploration and exploitation but, at the same time, we are optimizing and maximizing the KPIs of the business that provides that relationship. The centerpiece is the AI. What are the key challenges of running an AI-focused business, specifically regarding expectations versus reality and the hype that tends to surround AI systems and products? It’s a difficult one, and there are many, but typically it’s around posing a problem and expecting AI to come up with a solution. Within that, there are challenges around actually posing the problem correctly and how to use the technology, which is quite complex in itself. There’s also a challenge regarding how you 33


‘TO DATE, SENTIENT HAS RAISED OVER $170MN IN FINANCING’

market and promote yourself: AI has previously over-promised and underdelivered. When you tell someone that your system is AI they expect it to do things that are almost on the verge of mystical and magical! What you want to do is sell the product on its own merit versus the fact that it is using this advanced technology in the background – that’s one of the biggest issues. For example, in trading you want the track record to speak for itself and in the case of digital marketing it is all about the case study and conversion rate improvement. A positive and negative aspect of AI hype these days is the fact that many businesses are seeking AI solutions and enablement without quite understanding what it actually is. So, AI-related companies are in a position now where they are spending time defining what AI is first and then selling that, which is pretty unique. Looking ahead, what are your future plans and hopes for the business? More generally, what do you expect to see in terms of AI advancements? Digital marketing is a large domain and there is coherence in that journey for the customer, from engagement

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LEADERSHIP

to conversion, and there are many different pieces of software that come into play, all adjacent and all standing to benefit from knowledge discovered in one area. So, even though we started with web optimization and ecommerce and are now working into advertising, there are many other areas that we plan to work on and expand our technology into. The roadmap is there and it affords us the focus and opportunity to present ourselves as we penetrate more into that digital marketing journey. We

hope to disrupt the digital marketing world with AI being the centerpiece. What about your long term hopes for AI deployment in general? One of my hopes is that we can democratize the use of AI. The current attention on AI is around breakthroughs and the need and availability of data, but there’s one more hurdle to pass before AI can be widely used. That hurdle is to take it out of the hands of the PHDs and specialists and make it easy to deploy 35


“Some of these discussions around AI ‘taking over’ and singularity are just noise that is unhelpful because it’s irrelevant” Babak Hodjat, CEO, Sentient

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LEADERSHIP in various domains. We believe that everything is an AI problem ultimately. Anywhere you have a decision cycle you can AI enable it. My hope is we can make the creation of AI systems easier. One of the major discussion points around AI is the question of ethics. Where do you stand on that? For me, there’s an ethical question around technology generally so I don’t think it’s specifically all about AI. A great example is setting your credit score, which does not have any AI involvement but it’s still something we don’t know or understand. What happens to our private data when we navigate the web? Often AI is not involved in exploiting it, but we don’t understand it so, of course, there are ethics involved there and every day we hear about how they have not been observed. My general sense is that the ethics of technology are very important and are lagging because technology is advancing at such a rapid pace. It’s our collective responsibility. It’s not just a question for AI scientists and practitioners but humanity as a whole to pay more attention to ethics and

the use of technology. By virtue of that, if we solve these problems we won’t have any issue with AI either. Finally, there have been some very prominent and outspoken critics of AI who fear the potential capability of the technology you’re talking about. There have been accusations that perhaps, given the rapid rate of development within AI in particular, that we’ll find ourselves in a dystopian futuristic scenario that will too easily spiral out of control. There are many other application areas of AI to be explored. For example, there’s healthcare and agriculture, where we’ve done some interesting research work, and I think those are the areas we should focus on and talk about. Some of these discussions around AI ‘taking over’ and singularity are just noise that is unhelpful because it’s irrelevant. It also tends to come from people who don’t understand the state of the technology and how far away we actually are from some of these science fiction outcomes.

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H O M E TO I N D U ST RY– L E AD I N G D I G ITAL B U S I N ES S P L AT FO R M S


“We recently worked with BizClik Media on an article which characterizes and explains the total value that Kudu Supply Chain has on company growth plans. From start to the finish, it was a pleasure working with the BizClik team. The feedback we have received from different audience groups on the article was phenomenal. It has attracted a lot of interest and attention to our company, our growth plans and has definitely created additional value to what we are trying to achieve.”

– Murat Ungun, Senior VP Supply Chain Kudu Corp

HAVE YOU SEEN OUR OTHER TITLES?


CRITICAL EVENT MANAGEMENT across a changing landscape In a fast-changing world, businesses and governments alike must become more proactive in dealing with a variety of threats. Javier Colado, SVP of International Sales at Everbridge, tells us more


TECHNOLOGY

Writ ten by OLIVIA MINNOCK


TECHNOLOGY IN AN AGE where theft isn’t just of physical goods but of data, and criminals don’t just break into buildings but into digital ecosystems, security threats are becoming much harder and more complex to manage. Throw natural disasters and terror attacks into the mix, and 21st century security is about managing the unpredictable at an ever-increasing pace. Critical event management company Everbridge helps governments and business not only react to, but also prepare for and anticipate such threats. We caught up with Javier

Colado, SVP of International Sales at Everbridge, to find out how the business takes care of companies and incidents of every shape and size, and where it plans to go next. Colado has worked with several global businesses like McAfee and SAP and as such is well-placed to head up Everbridge’s journey in an increasingly connected world. “I chose to come to Everbridge for two reasons: firstly, it’s unique in the market as our solutions help keep people safe and can even save lives; secondly, there is huge potential for us to grow out of the USA,” he explains.

“WE ENABLE CORPORATIONS AND COMMUNITIES TO QUICKLY AND CONTEXTUALLY REACH ANYONE ON ANY DEVICE, ANYWHERE AT ANY TIME” JAVIER COLADO SVP International Sales, Everbridge

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In a nutshell, critical event management involves helping organizations deal with events as they happen, from active shooter incidents to internet outages. “Businesses today typically manage critical events in silos that use disparate data sources and unintegrated tools, making it difficult to achieve a common operational view of threats and of the status of response,” Colado explains. “A Critical Event Management (CEM) platform like ours helps unify this process by offering a combination of real-time monitoring, situational awareness and integrated

response and collaboration solutions from a single, enterprise-wide view.” This platform helps businesses to not only keep employees safe, but also monitor potential threats so they can grow proactively across less familiar locations such as emerging markets. Everbridge was founded in the wake of 9/11. It became clear that a tech-based solution was needed to enable communication during critical incidents. “We saw government agencies struggle to communicate with citizens and businesses,” says Colado. “The technology wasn’t what it was today, but the event demonstrated that emergency responders needed a technology platform to help them protect the public during a major emergency.” Everbridge wanted to move away from the existing method of emergency response which largely consisted of a one-way ‘blast’ message. Instead, the Everbridge platform allows tailored communication specific to a situation for the specific recipient, through any means, to any location. “We also incorporate business rules, workflows and logic to enable contextual and effective communications and allow users to verify and confirm delivery 43


TECHNOLOGY and receipt,” Colado adds. Since 2002 when Everbridge was founded, it has been necessary to adapt this offering to not only help government organizations get crucial messages out there, but also “global businesses, large healthcare organizations, leading universities, transportation hubs, IT operations teams and much more”. This has led to the service expanding to both operational and emergency-oriented applications. In short, there are many less dramatic incidents that can also pose threats to a business’

operations and profits, and it became a priority to deal with these as well. Coldao adds: “Beyond our core mass notification services, we have developed an industry-leading set of applications to improve organizational responses for all these diverse types of events to help keep people safe and businesses running faster.” Such issues range from IT outages, power outages, facility issues and scheduling challenges to supply-chain interruptions. In 2017, Everbridge’s platform dealt with over 2bn messages across 200 countries and territories.

“WHERE TRADITIONAL EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION AND PHYSICAL SECURITY SOLUTIONS FOCUS ON AN INDIVIDUAL’S STATIC HOME OR WORK ADDRESS, SAFETY CONNECTION UTILIZES MULTIPLE METHODS TO DYNAMICALLY LOCATE, NOTIFY AND INSTRUCT INDIVIDUALS” JAVIER COLADO SVP International Sales, Everbridge

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As well as helping organizations send secure messages to their staff at work or home, there is a lot more to the service. “We also enable multimodal delivery to dynamic – actual and predicted – locations,” says Coldao. “This is particularly critical when reaching mobile, travelling and remote workers. Overall, we enable corporations and communities to quickly and contextually reach anyone on any device, anywhere at any time. “Our CEM platform also helps organizations develop a common operating picture of their risk events,

with the ability to assess threats impacting assets or systems, locate responders, resolvers and stakeholders, automate incident response workflows and analyze all results to improve future response efforts.” Applications such as Safety Connection, IT Alerting and Visual Command Centre all serve to keep employees safe during incidents as well as improving efficiency and maintaining, where possible, ‘business as usual’. For example, last year Everbridge worked with London-based financial

The Everbridge Critical Event Management (CEM) suite demo

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TECHNOLOGY services giant, Willis Towers Watson, which manages over 140,000 staff in 140 countries. “They used the Everbridge platform while monitoring the approach of Hurricane Irma toward America in 2017.” This software helped the company decide to close 12 offices in Florida and inform 700 workers of the emergency decision. Coldao adds: “The company was then able to verify the safety of all colleagues as the storm hit, and advised when they could return to the office. Various messages were also sent to colleagues due to be travelling in the region.” The security and safety market has of course developed due to technology transformation. “The historic market for corporate security and safety solutions has been focused on establishing perimeters (e.g. locks, alarms and guards) to keep threats to employees outside of the physical premises,” says Colado. “However, it’s been necessary to shift away from this given the nature of today’s increasingly mobile workforce.” Everbridge recently conducted a survey of the key safety and security issues facing businesses today. It found that organizations were largely concerned by the risk of workplace 46

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violence. Only 79% felt they were even somewhat prepared for an active shooter event, and businesses stated that the biggest challenge faced was communicating with people in an impacted building. 37% of businesses said they maintained an accurate record of where employees are expected to be during working hours, and only 25% dynamically locate employees when a threat occurs in order to tailor their alerts. Therefore, in emergencies like shooting situations, terror attacks and natural disasters, it’s clear that a CEM platform like Everbridge’s could provide a much-needed solution in an oft-overlooked area. Indeed, with the labor force becoming increasingly made up of mobile – and indeed temporary or freelance – workers, corporations are finding it even harder to deal with threats, from keeping up-to-date with exact locations to checking in on people’s personal safety. Everbridge’s software not only helps companies during these events but can also help them find out where it is safe for their staff to operate when contemplating expansion. Everbridge Safety Connection focusses on


79%

keeping mobile staff informed. “Where traditional emergency notification and physical security solutions focus on an individual’s static home or work address, Safety Connection utilizes multiple methods to dynamically locate, notify and instruct individuals,” Colado explains. “When

THE NUMBER OF BUSINESSES THAT FELT THEY WERE EVEN SOMEWHAT PREPARED FOR A CRITICAL EVENT

deployed, security professionals can aggregate near real-time location data from multiple sources, including building access control systems and travel management systems to send notifications to individuals and employees who might be in dangerous situations.” 47


TECHNOLOGY

“OUR IPO WAS A SIGNIFICANT MOMENT WITHIN THE COMPANY’S HISTORY AS IT NOT ONLY DEMONSTRATED THE EMERGENCE OF EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS AS A MAJOR MARKET BUT ALSO OUR LEADERSHIP POSITION WITHIN IT” JAVIER COLADO SVP International Sales,

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So far, Everbridge’s offering has garnered interest from well-known clients such as airports, investment banks and the UK’s NHS (in fact, around one third of FTSE 100 companies use Everbridge) as well as faith from investors. In 2016, the company made its debut on the stock exchange and since then its stock price has increased by over 200%. Everbridge’s $100mn revenue in 2017 marked 36% year-on-year growth. “Our IPO was a significant moment within the company’s history,” says Colado, “as it not only demonstrated the emergence of emergency communications as a major market but also our leadership position within it.” Everbridge is set to continue on this path of rapid growth with its recent acquisition of United Messaging Systems, a leading European provider of critical communications. Will this be a step toward dominating the European market? “Given the importance of mobile delivery internationally, UMS’ unique ability to message the mobile phones of anyone connected to a carrier’s cell towers significantly enhances Everbridge’s ability to protect people worldwide,” says Colado, adding that UMS has

over 1,000 customers in Northern Europe and reaches over 500mn people with public notifications, using its Population Alerting System (PAS) to provide two-way SMS broadcasting. “Together we will provide the broadest delivery capability for critical communications worldwide… UMS accelerates our international growth and creates the most comprehensive CEM platform for business, state and local government, and now entire countries. UMS provides Everbridge with a passionate and customerfocused team of experts, differentiated technology, and a shared mission to keep people safe and businesses running during a critical event.” Overall, this European expansion will only add to Everbridge’s capability to deal with any event the world throws at it, and to help its clients do the same. While expanding out of the US and into Europe and the wider world will come with its challenges, such as GDPR compliance and generally making sure customers’ data is looked after and only used when truly necessary, it is also an opportunity to utilize the latest technology to keep people safe and keep the business world running like clockwork. 49


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Business process outsourcing and the digital revolution

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PEOPLE

SONY ELECTRONICS and the rise of women in STEM


Business Chief speaks to the tech giant’s Head of Corporate Communications Cheryl Goodman on her career in technology and how other ambitious females can rise in the industry Wr i t t e n by TO M WA D LOW 53


PEOPLE

T

he world of technology is still largely dominated by men. Almost all statistics (and there are many) point towards low female participation in STEM industries, from educational uptake all the way through to representation at boardroom level. The world of technology is still largely dominated by men. Almost all statistics (and there are many) point towards low female participation in STEM industries, from educational uptake all the way through to representation at boardroom level. Take UNESCO Institute for Statistic’s 2017 Women in Science factsheet – globally, it says just 28.8% of the scientific research and development

workforce are female, although figures are higher in Central Asia (47.2%), Latin America (44.7%) and Central and Eastern Europe (39.6%). Further, United Nations research reveals that women who start out in business roles in tech-intensive industries leave for other industries at high rates – 53% of women compared to 31% of men. This in turn leads to an extremely low presence in the boardroom, with IT industries struggling to hit 15% in terms of female representation at the highest leadership levels. A bleak picture perhaps, but many of the world’s top technology companies are actively seeking to

Sony played an active role in San Diego Women’s Week, held in March

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Sony headquarters becomes the hub for best practices and methods for women to live their fullest mission, wherever they are, whether that’s in Sony Electronics or down the street in a competitor’s company” CHERYL GOODMAN Head of Corporate Communications for Sony Electronics

address the divide and drive women in STEM numbers significantly north. One such industry heavyweight is Sony. In 2016, the percentage of management positions held by women across the tech firm’s global operations stood at 24%, almost double the proportion seen in the 2011 financial year (12.7%). In the US, this figure rises to nearer 36%. Cheryl Goodman, Head of Corporate Communications for Sony Electronics, is among this 36%. Stationed at the company’s base in San Diego, she is tasked with the formidable challenge 55


of driving a greater understanding of key developments in an everchanging world of innovation. “Is it a headache? Yes,” she tells Business Chief. “I think there are a lot of nuances. When you walk into that television aisle I’m sure you look at the TVs and you see new HD, 4K, and all these acronyms and you probably think to yourself, ‘why do I care?’ “So, we have to drive that ‘why you care’, and we have to drive understanding. I figure if I can explain

28.8%

of scientific research and development personnel are female 56

June 2018

to my mom what all these acronyms mean, and why she should care, then we’re at a good spot. So, we try to drive understanding down to the very base level. It all equals quality.” Goodman is certainly wellqualified and prepared to negotiate the communications conundrum of such rapid advances in technology. Having majored in political science and television media at San Diego State University, she has worked through the rise of web and increase in the

36%

of the management positions held by women at Sony (USA)


PEOPLE number of ways we consume media. Starting out at San Diego’s KGTV News, she moved to MP3.com and Lindows before a long stint in PR and marketing at Qualcomm. It was here that Goodman ramped up her involvement in championing the wider ‘women in STEM’ agenda, chiefly through membership and local leadership of Athena, a professional development organization helping women develop careers in STEM industries. Goodman served as Executive Director for the San Diego branch between January 2016 and August 2017, during which time she doubled

the number of technology and life science partnerships and helped break numerous fundraising records. “Then I moved to Sony,” she says, “and nine months later, two grey hairs later, I can tell you it is a phenomenal place. It had to be if I was to consider leaving my mission at Athena.” A big part her decision was the approach to diversity of Sony Electronics President and COO Mike Fasulo. “My boss believes it is tried, true, and proven that diversity is a positive impact for the bottom line,” Goodman adds. “I had just not seen that before. For him it is a business imperative, and that’s why I’m here

Sony is committed to the nationwide Women Unlimited Mentoring Programme

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PEOPLE today to illustrate and support that.” These beliefs are backed up by action. For three consecutive years Sony Electronics has been named among the best places to work in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index, scoring a maximum 100 each time. “It’s a big acknowledgement,” Goodman says. “This is a very wellrespected organization, and in the past 11 years we have had at least a very high 90s ranking. So, while it is the trend for many technology companies to pull together some type of gender agenda to check the box, Sony Electronics has been walking the walk and talking the talk for over a decade. “Our president even wears the pin on his lapel every single day, and he brings it up at every meeting. It’s part of his DNA and it trickles down to the leadership and business as a whole.” This is no better demonstrated than by Sony’s commitment to the nationwide Women Unlimited Mentoring Program. Designed to build talent management strategies through mentorship, Sony is supporting the participation of more than 70 women from its San Diego base. Goodman is joined by Julie Wenzel, 58

June 2018

While it is the trend for many technology companies to pull together some type of gender agenda to check the box, Sony Electronics has been walking the walk and talking the talk for over a decade” CHERYL GOODMAN Head of Corporate Communications for Sony Electronics

Senior Manager of Community Relations, who is taking part in a lead program aimed at middle management and above. She describes her experience to date: “It really provides a great opportunity to not only experience a couple of different mentors from outside organizations at an executive level, but an opportunity to look at your career path, identify areas where you’d like to grow and put together a


strategy for getting there. “It’s been a very positive experience and is a great chance to meet women from various industries and understand challenges and opportunities regardless of where you work.” Further still, Sony has become something of a hub in San Diego and Southern California, be it through participation with Athena, sponsoring the YWCA TWIN Awards or holding events for the North County Chamber of Commerce Women’s Week. For the latter, Naomi Tutu, daughter of cleric and human rights activist

Desmond Tutu, recently addressed an audience at Sony Electronics. “Sony headquarters becomes the hub for best practices and methods for women to live their fullest mission, wherever they are, whether that’s in Sony Electronics or down the street in a competitor’s company,” Goodman explains. “We like to hold the conversation, we like to curate the conversation.” Goodman is also keen to stress how Sony’s own products can be molded by and contribute to that conversation. She cites Koov, an 59


PEOPLE all-in-one coding, robotics and design kit that combines digital coding with physical building to teach the next generation of problem solvers and innovators. Launched in February, it is targeted at children as young as eight years old. “We don’t target necessarily girls or boys,” Goodman adds. “We are targeting coding as a skill, something the nation needs.” Indeed, 4.4mn computer and IT jobs will exist in the USA alone by 2024, according to the country’s Bureau of Labor and Statistics. An added complication, revealed by a World Economic Forum report, is that 65% of children entering primary school today

will work in jobs that do not yet exist. However, while uncertainty remains as to the future makeup of the workforce, Goodman is full of advice for women seeking to develop careers in STEM today. “Number one is that your contribution level is more important than the color of your skin or your gender,” she insists. “Bottom line is the value that you add to the organization. When we hire we are looking for people to solve the problem with the skills that they have, regardless of what they look like or what gender they are. So, it is about quality, it is about skill, and it is about contribution. “If you experience any pushback in

KOOV: The coding and robotics kit for the next generation of young innovators

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We’ve got a long way to go, but I’ll say, again, the key theme is that this is an industry issue. This is a business issue. Gender equality impacts the bottom line. It impacts our return on investment, and we will continue to support this moving forward as long as I can imagine” CHERYL GOODMAN Head of Corporate Communications for Sony Electronics

your career, I would challenge you to find mentors. Find successful women in your realm to partner with and help navigate your path. I would also recommend joining an organization, whether it’s an organization for your industry at large, or a women’s organization in your local chapter.” Goodman’s final piece of advice is to find a mentor in a top leadership position, which in many cases, she says, will be male. “Find someone in leadership that you trust to ask what the key issues for the organization at large are, and make sure that your contributions are in line with these needs.” And what of Sony Electronics? How can it improve on three years of perfect scoring from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index? “We’ve got a long way to go,” Goodman says, “but I’ll say, again, the key theme is that this is an industry issue. This is a business issue. Gender equality impacts the bottom line. It impacts our return on investment, and we will continue to support this moving forward as long as I can imagine. “Is it complete? Is our work done? No.” 61


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HOW MORE CAN BE DONE TO MAKE THE MOST OF VALUE CHAINS Business Chief looks at how some of the traditional theories about value chains align with modern business realities Written by STUART HODGE

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S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y

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S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y THE CONCEPT OF a value chain was first introduced to the public consciousness by American business strategist and economic theorist Michael Porter more than 30 years ago in his best-selling book Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance. Porter was talking about these ideas as early as the late 1970s, so the concept has existed for a long time, but the way that companies create and exploit maximum value has changed immeasurably in the intervening

three or four decades. This is largely given the huge societal changes and the exponential acceleration and increased prevalence of technology in our daily lives. Veteran Harvard academic Porter showed he hasn’t missed a beat either when he appeared at the World Business Forum in New York City last year. Porter spoke about how smarter, connected products are changing the market landscape by increasing ability to monitor, control and optimize systems. This still ties in with his original

P O R T E R ’ S G E N E R I C VA L U E C H A I N

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“You must understand your customers or consumers and what they see as value. It’s then about making sure that each of the different supply points, or nodes of our supply chain, understand which part of that value they need to deliver”  LOYD SNOWDEN L Business Transformation Specialist, Oliver Wight EAME

value chain concept, which is comprised of both primary and supporting business activities and how they can affect the margin.Generally speaking, the ideas and ideals of the generic value chain model still hold true, but as well as the world around us, what has also changed is the way that companies do business and the way that different suppliers engage with one another. There is less of an emphasis now on interpersonal relationships and it’s more about leveraging technology to extract maximum value at the various points in the supply chain. Lloyd Snowden is a business transformation specialist for UK-based consultancy Oliver Wight EAME, and he feels that value chains are becoming even more important to businesses as they become more savvy and aware. “You must understand your customers or consumers and what they see as value. It’s then about making sure that each of the different supply points, or nodes of our supply chain, understand which part of that value they need to deliver,” explains Snowden. “You then take, with this understanding of the value to be delivered, and push it right the way back through your supply chain, so that each node of the supply chain then delivers that same value back to the customer. “The value chain is something that is starting to grow a lot more, because I think more and more companies today are also embracing strategic planning. Those kind of integrated, strategic plans didn’t exist in the same way 10 years ago. Because 67


S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y people are starting to understand those strategic directions and when possible the strategies of their customers, the ability to understand the anticipated value, I believe, has grown. Therefore, there’s a greater interest in people and companies talking about the value chain today than there has been in the past.” So, businesses are more aware of where value can be extracted and how supply chains can be turned into value chains, but how is it done? Obviously, the plethora of technological aids available to companies makes it easier to pinpoint where value can be created or extracted, but given that businesses in the same supply chain are sometimes competing for the same customer base, how can you engender the necessary level of trust for a value chain to function as it should? According to Snowden, it comes back to the ideals of being transparent and exhibiting best business practice wherever possible and, once again, knowing your customers. “Excellent delivery in a mature business is enabled through transparency,” Snowden says. “Ensuring visibility of performance and improvement 68

June 2018

activity, along with a good, accurate, clear and relevant communication. One set of numbers, accurate data, sharing information and slinging strategy between supply points, or nodes, that would possibly, traditionally, be at arms-length from each other. What you need to try and to do is get this to be a much more open relationship, to enable that value to be understood and delivered. “I guess it all depends where you sit in the supply chain, to some extent. But say we’re a company in the middle of the supply chain, with the customers and the consumers at one end and our suppliers at the other – we’re the manufacturing warehouse, or logistics element. I would need a clear understanding of who my key customers are, their key requirements, and what they value from those requirements. “You need to have some real, open, collaborative dialogue with them. Not just vendor, managed inventory level of collaboration, but where we might be sharing strategies, where we have real trust between our organizations. Could I align my strategies of business to that customer direction? That would be delivering better value.


“W hen companies are much better at performing, they change their focus from the management of the short term and firefighting to ‘eyes up and look out’, so they’re able to better understand the marketplace”  LOYD SNOWDEN L Business Transformation Specialist, Oliver Wight EAME

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“If I then look back through the supply chain to the key suppliers that I have, can I get the relationship between me and my key suppliers to the point where they want their strategy to align with mine? If we’ve got all of that kind of strategic alignment and those different thought processes going on, then the ability for people to deliver value is going to be much higher than if it was independent businesses with their own strategies trying to supply things for you.” Teamwork makes the dream work – or as legendary luxury hotelier and entrepreneur Horst H. Schulze once stated: “In life and business, relationships are important – but they are empty unless they are established and based upon trust.” When it comes to the creation of value chains, that has never been truer. It requires all parties to be honest and transparent and operate fairly and ethically, with the benefits of the customer at the forefront of their thinking. Obviously creating value impacts positively on margins and that can only be a good thing, but it requires the buy-in of all stakeholders. Snowden reckons it’s right for companies to be wary of trust potentially backfiring but he also says it’s an area where businesses often lack maturity. “If companies don’t actually understand the market place and they’re firefighting, then there’s no time for them to lift their head up and say, ‘what are we doing wrong? And what can we do to put it right? And how do we align that to what we’ve got in the marketplace?’ That is very often part of the problem. When companies are much better at performing, 70

June 2018

“In life and business, relationships are important – but they are empty unless they are established and based upon trust”  ORST H. SCHULZE H Luxury hotelier and entrepreneur


S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y they change their focus from the management of the short term and firefighting to ‘eyes up and look out’, so they’re able to better understand the marketplace. Why? Because they’re in control, have stopped firefighting and therefore can spend more time understanding their markets, customers, consumers and competition.” Snowden goes on to explain that this is phase one of business maturity on the Oliver Wight Maturity Model. Essentially what that means is having a managed environment. Phase two is a led

environment, where a company is moving more towards percentile perfection. Snowden estimates that around nine out of 10 businesses find themselves mired somewhere

between phase one and phase two, and estimates that more than half of those are still in phase one. If that’s the case, there is more to be done with regards to maximizing the opportunities to create value and build a value chain. Whether increasing numbers can successfully achieve this remains to be seen. For a final thought, we’ll

go back to the original critical thinker, Porter. Speaking at an event at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, in the Netherlands a couple of years ago, he said: “Creating shared value means addressing societal needs and challenges through business itself, with a business model – and making a profit. In fact, some of the greatest opportunities for business are meeting the unmet needs of society.” Therein lies the challenge in the months and years to come. 71


CITY FOCUS

LOS AN

Headline

Seque rest volorum aute velestio intem illibus es qui ut alit et, sita iuntur? Writ ten by AUTHOR


NGELES THERE’S MUCH MORE TO LOS ANGELES THAN HOLLYWOOD BLOCKBUSTERS. WE HAVE BROUGHT YOU A BREAKDOWN OF THE MOST EXCITING BUSINESSES THIS VIBRANT CITY AND ITS SURROUNDINGS HAVE TO OFFER Edited by OLIVIA MINNOCK


CITY FOCUS

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Home to nearly 4mn people and California’s most populous city, Los Angeles is the heart of the country’s thriving entertainment industry that spans from video games, film and television to music production and recording. Though the city’s name is synonymous with these industries,

its economy is also driven by sectors like tourism, international trade, fashion, aerospace, petroleum, apparel and technology. The Global Financial Centres Index ranked Los Angeles as having the sixth most competitive financial centre in the United States and the 19th in the world.

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2017 FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES In 2017, there were 53 Californian companies on the Fortune 500 list. Of those, three call Los Angeles their headquarters and represent the diversity of businesses that call the ‘The Movie Capital of the World’ home.

AECOM A construction and engineering firm, Aecom focuses on building, designing, operating and financing infrastructure assets in over 150 countries around the world. Aecom ranked 161st on Fortune’s list.

www.aecom.com

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S CBRE GROUP INC Coming in at 214th on the Fortune 500 list, CBRE Group Inc. focuses on providing commercial real estate services that harness the power of the industry’s best technology and intelligence. 

www.cbre.us

RELIANCE STEEL & ALUMINUM CO. Reliance purchases bulk metal from mills before processing and selling it to machine shops and other businesses. The company secured the 320th spot on the Fortune list. 

www.rsac.com

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AN IDEAL LOCATION TO OPEN FOR BUSINESS When considering a location for a business, the metropolitan area of Los Angeles offers unique advantages that set it apart from other areas.

IN 2017, 53 CALIFORNIAN COMPANIES FEATURED IN THE FORTUNE 500

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READY-MADE WORKFORCE AND MARKET With nearly 10mn residents in Los Angeles County alone, the metropolis offers a ready-made market for a diverse array of services and products. Across the five-county area that includes Los Angeles County, as well as San Bernardino County, Ventura County, Orange County and Riverside County, there is a labour force of up to 9mn people. A large number of these possess at least a bachelor’s degree.

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GLOBAL LEADER As an international city, Los Angeles is well positioned to reach nearby markets such as Northern California, Nevada and Arizona. Destinations worldwide are easily accessible via the Port of Los Angeles, which together with the adjoining Long Beach port, is the western hemisphere’s most important, and the key to trade with Pacific Rim areas and beyond.

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LA HAS THE SIXTH MOST COMPETITIVE FINANCIAL CENTRE IN THE US

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INTERNATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE Not surprisingly, Los Angeles offers dedicated resources for both advice and networking for companies hoping to extend their reach into international markets. The Foreign Trade Association is designed to foster, promote and encourage economic growth and international commerce worldwide – and in Southern California in particular.

foreigntradeassociation.com

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THE WORLD TRADE CENTRE The World Trade Centre Association Los Angeles is focused on bringing the talents of Los Angeles to the attention of the global market.

www.wtcla.org

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BUSINESSES TO WATCH IN LOS ANGELES The tech industry in Southern California spurred nearly $7bn in funding last year with startups launched, monetary support elicited from investors and top talent flocking to the region. Los Angeles County is home to some of the world’s most innovative startups. Here are a few to keep an eye on for this year and beyond.

THE FIVE-COUNTY AREA INCLUDING LA BOASTS A WORKFORCE OF 9MN

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GOAT GOAT serves as a method of authenticating sneakers in order to weed out fakes. The GOAT platform enables sellers to list their sneakers and buyers to purchase authentic merchandise. It recently closed a $25mn funding round and is currently building its base team in Los Angeles.

www.goat.com/collections/the-greatest-los-angeles

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CITY FOCUS

KEYPR Aimed at casinos, luxury residences and hotels, Keypr uses a cloud-based platform to transform both the guest experience and the hospitality industry itself. In 2017, Keypr raised $19mn in funding and added Mark Anderson, a former Fox and Sony executive, as its COO (Chief Operating Officer). 

www.keypr.com

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LOCAL ROOTS FARMS Local Roots Farms designs farms that are fully controllable, hyperefficient and can fit neatly into a standard shipping container. Able to grow the equivalent of five acres of farmland, the Local Roots Farms platform uses vertical shelving to maximize space and provides farms with the technology to change their produce distribution methods to better suit their individual needs. The company is based in Vernon, California, which is just south of LA’s downtown area.

www.localrootsfarms.com

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PEERSTREET Founded in 2014 by Brett Crosby, a former executive at Google, and Brew Johnson, a real estate attorney, the PeerStreet platform empowers investors to more easily invest in real estate loans. The company, which raised more than $26mn in funding, uses its platform to allow both institutions and people to invest in real estatebacked loans directly. Its numbers as of late 2016 are staggering: the company facilitated more than half a billion dollars in investments with no losses to investors. It also grew almost 300% from 2015.

www.peerstreet.com

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TOP 10

TOP 10 INVESTMENT COMPANIES IN THE US

We took a look at Investopedia’s ‘Best Wealth Management Firms’ and Fortune’s ‘40 Best Companies in Financial Services’ to bring you a list of the top 10 investment companies in the United States, by revenue Writ ten by SHANNON LEWIS


USAA – $24BN www.usaa.com/inet

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CAPITAL ONE FINANCIAL – $23BN www.capitalone.com

According to its company website, Capital One Financial is one of the top 10 largest banks in the United States by deposits. Bringing in $23bn in revenue, according to Fortune, it places fifth on Fortune’s ‘40 Best Companies in Financial Services’, and 145th on the Fortune 500. Located in McLean, Virginia, Capital One Financial has been providing financial services for consumers, small businesses, and largerscale commercial clients since its foundation in 1994. It employees 47,300 people and serves around 45mn customer accounts.

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USAA takes the top spot on Fortune’s ‘40 Best Companies in Financial Services’ for its employee-oriented business practices. It oversees 28,738 employees, according to Fortune, and employee accounts detail how “the company listens to every single employee for improvement and innovation ideas”. With headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, Fortune places USAA’s revenue at $24bn. The company places seventh on Fortune’s ‘100 Best Companies to Work for in 2017’ and seventh on Forbes’ ‘America’s Top Companies for Compensation and Benefits’. It has also had strong ties to the United States military community and their families since it opened in 1922.

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TOP 10

AMERICAN EXPRESS – $32.8BN

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FIRST HORIZON NATIONAL – $26BN www.firsthorizon.com

First Horizon National operates as a series of companies, including First Tennessee Bank, FTB Advisors, Capital Bank, and FTN Financial offices, stretching across Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. It places 23rd on Fortune’s ‘40 Best Companies in Financial Services’, with $26bn in revenue, according to Fortune. According to its company website, it is the 14th oldest national bank charter in the United States, having been founded in 1864. First Horizon National oversees a total of 4,300 employees.

www.americanexpress.com/uk

American Express provides a wide array of services. Though more famously known for its credit card and travel services, its investment branch operates under the name ‘American Express Ventures’. Founded in 1850, it currently makes $13.8bn in revenue, according to Fortune, and places 13th on Fortune’s ‘40 Best Companies in Financial Services’. With headquarters in New York City, the company has over 56,400 staff. It does well in the way of company image, placing 23rd on Forbes’ ‘World’s Most Valuable Brands’, 97th on Forbes’ Global 2000, 189th on Forbes’ ‘Best Employers for Diversity’, and 356th on Forbes’ ‘World’s Best Employers’.

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GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP – $36.85BN www.goldmansachs.com

According to Investopedia, Goldman Sachs Group was founded in 1869, making it one of the oldest banking firms in the United States. With a revenue of $36.85bn, according to Investopedia, the group has $249.6bn US Private Client assets under management (AUM). According to Advisory, it is one of the 11 best investment companies worldwide, with the financial a rating of 5/5. It places second on a Guardian UK list naming the top investment and investment banking employers as designated by graduates and students. Headquartered in New York City, it places 49th on Forbes’ ‘The World’s Biggest Public Companies’, and second on Forbes’ ‘Top Ten Investment Banks to Work For’.

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MORGAN STANLEY WEALTH MANAGEMENT – $37.91BN www.morganstanley.com

Founded in New York in 1935, Morgan Stanley is now a global giant with 55,794 employees across the world, according to Investopedia. With $507bn in US Private Client AUM, it brings in $37.91bn in revenue, according to Investopedia. It places fourth on the Guardian’s top investment employers, according to graduates, 23rd on Forbes’ ‘25 Biggest Banks of 2017’, and 60th on Forbes’ ‘The World’s Biggest Public Companies’. Morgan Stanley reaches 42 countries around the world and has a strong presence in 542 cities. and second on Forbes’ ‘Top Ten Investment Banks to Work For’.

05 Video: Eagles for Impact 2018: Summary


TOP 10

04

JP MORGAN PRIVATE BANK –$47.3BN www.jpmorgan.com

JP Morgan is one of the largest investment banks in the world. In 2017 it reported a revenue of $99bn, of which its investment banking branch contributed $47.3bn, according to Investopedia. Founded in New York City in 1871, it now has reach in 60 countries across the world, with over 260,000 employees in total. It has a US Private Client AUM of $661bn and was afforded the top spot on the Guardian UK’s list of the top investment banking employers, according to students and graduates. It also places on Advisory’s top 11 investment banks list, with a score of 3/5. and second on Forbes’ ‘Top Ten Investment Banks to Work For’.

CITIGROUP –$84.02BN www.citigroup.com/citi

Citigroup is the investment branch of banking company Citibank. While Citibank dates back to 1812, Citigroup has been around since 1998, operating out of New York City. It has a revenue of $84.02bn, and a US Private Client AUM of $106.8bn, according to Investopedia. With 129,000 employees, it operates in around 160 countries under three subsets: Global Consumer Banking, which focuses on traditional banking services, Institutional Clients Group, which focuses on corporate, institutional, and investment banking, and its Corporate sector.

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BANK OF AMERICA GLOBAL WEALTH AND INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT – $92.21BN www.bankofamerica.com/planning/compareservices.go

Bank of America’s investment branch, Bank of America Global Wealth and Investment Management, places second on our list. It has a revenue of $92.21bn, and a US Private Client AUM of $1.1trn, according to Investopedia. Founded in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1904, it currently operates in over 40 countries. It places seventh on Forbes’ ‘The World’s Biggest Public Companies’ and fifth on the Guardian UK’s list of the top investing employers according to graduates. The company employs a massive 208,000 staff across the world.

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WELLS FARGO – $97.57BN www.wellsfargo.com

Topping our list with a revenue of $97.57bn, according to Investopedia, is Wells Fargo, one of the largest banks in America. In fact, according to Forbes it is the fourth largest bank, and it places fifth on Forbes’ ‘The World’s Biggest Public Companies’. It has $967bn US Private Client AUM, according to Investopedia, and operates out of San Francisco, California. It places 7th on Investment News’ list of the top investment banks, with a score of 824 out of 1,000. Since opening its doors in 1852, it has expanded to a workforce of over 269,000.

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Inside Schnitzer Steel’s sustainable

supplier programme


Senior Director of Procurement Marcus Folino discusses how procurement plays an increasingly strategic function at Schnitzer Steel Written by Catherine Sturman Produced by Denitra Price


SCHNITZER STEEL

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hroughout the last five years, supply, including appliances, the mining and metals industry manufacturing scrap and other local has faced a number of sources of construction-related macroeconomic challenges and has recycling, for example. There’s a lot been focused on implementing new of growth coming from many areas.” technologies to provide significant By honing in on industry trends, cost control, cost management Schnitzer Steel has gained essential and enhanced optimisation. foresight in the re-evaluation of its One of the oldest companies operational platforms to deliver in the business, Schnitzer consistent positive outcomes. By Steel Industries, Inc., is investing in its procurement continuing to lead the capabilities, it has way, establishing sought to transform its an impressive procurement function Established in footprint, with from one which is approximately 100 somewhat tactical, Portland, Oregon in locations spanning into one which is the US, Canada more strategic. and Puerto Rico. With past senior roles “We purchased roughly across manufacturing, 400,000 end-of-life vehicles last logistics and strategic year, from which we harvest parts and sourcing operations, Folino’s role recycle through our platform. There’s as Director of Strategic Sourcing a lot of opportunity that is tied to our at logistics and transportation purchases of automobiles, the overall company Con-way (now part of XPO economy and the replacement rate of Logistics), fully opened his eyes automobiles,” explains Senior Director to the potential that procurement of Procurement Marcus Folino. can bring to organisations. “We also have a variety of other “At Con-way, I found myself programs and sources of metal rebuilding the strategic sourcing

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function that had already been created. Originally the focus was domestic, North American sourcing and later on, I worked with the international business and took the strategic sourcing function globally. It was a great opportunity and a good challenge, which led me to this role,” he says. Procurement transformation In order to transform the non-scrap procurement function into one which is increasingly strategic, Schnitzer Steel has placed significant emphasis on three main areas: its tools, its people and its processes to support the company’s ongoing strategy. Folino is nothing but complimentary about the team’s capabilities upon joining the organisation, but outlines where Schnitzer Steel had opportunities to enhance its existing approach “We had a solid and committed group of purchasing professionals at the business unit level. They possessed significant domain expertise in the mining and metals industry and substantial tenure within the Schnitzer business divisions.

“There’s a lot of growth coming from many areas” – MarcusFolino, Senior Director of Procurement

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They already were a group of people that had a strong work ethic, which is really representative of our company’s culture,” he says. Schnitzer’s people have remained a key pillar in the company’s procurement transformation, and throughout the past three years, the firm has introduced essential change management, incorporating lean concepts and process improvement, as well as standardised existing processes and invested in multiskilling its exceptional workforce. “We invested in further training for the purchasing group, and I brought in additional talent with specific strategic sourcing, project management and contract management expertise. From a timing perspective, we decided to recruit the sourcing expertise from the market alongside investing to develop it internally,” adds Folino. “One of the existing benefits to our organisational structure is that we maintained our purchasing staff co-located with the business. Consequently, there are many day-to-day working

relationships which we continue to maintain and further develop.” Supplier management Working closely with its supply base, Schnitzer Steel has leveraged its spend to effectively manage potential risks, as well as invest in new digital tools across its complex procurement processes. “We went through a very aggressive selection process with the focus on finding a platform supplier of procurement tools. From here, we implemented a contract management system and another module of this application to manage supplier data. While we were evaluating the supply base, we were running request for proposals (RFPs) and signing contracts,” Folino explains. “We went from an environment where the spend under contract was managed with limited procurement tools or systems, to one where we had a formalised policy, a procurement platform and a focus on contract management. Today, we have around half of our total spend under contract.” By implementing a supplier

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SCHNITZER STEEL

“We went through a very aggressive selection process with the focus on finding a platform supplier of procurement tools” – MarcusFolino, Senior Director of Procurement

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Schnitzer Steel has placed significant emphasis on three main areas: its tools, its people and its processes

management program within the first few months of its procurement transformation, Schnitzer Steel has also harnessed the capabilities of strategic suppliers to drive the consolidation of its supply base, reducing the number of suppliers by about half. “We segmented our supply base and those suppliers that we could develop by applying specific evaluation criteria. We also identified the suppliers that we could target

for consolidation. Through a rigorous process, we determined what our current supply base in each of our core areas of spend would be,” explains Folino. “We learned more about our suppliers, enhanced communication, and then managed their ability to execute,” he continues. “This whole process has been invaluable. Once we established the basic mechanics, we continued to integrate key internal stakeholders to help guide the direction of the

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Schnitzer Steel has approximately

100 locations services and goods that suppliers are providing.”

spanning the US, Canada and Puerto Rico

Expansion plans Aligned with its objective to grow the volume of materials processed through its platforms going forward, Schnitzer Steel is leveraging new technologies to deliver faster, more efficient, effective support across its procurement operations. “This year we have been seeing the benefits of the past few years of our purchasing and procurement transformation,” says Folino. “One area we are now looking into is supplier diversity programs. This has been rolled into part of our ‘Know

Our Supplier’ efforts. As we’ve implemented new technologies, we’re starting to capture better information on our supply base, which is now moving towards a supplier self-service model.” One of Schnitzer Steel’s goals is to drive increased volumes through its current footprint, whilst looking at ways to further its ambition to deliver sustainable working practices which benefit customers, suppliers, our people and the communities which we serve.

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How an Aloha culture steers procurement in the State of Hawaii


The State of Hawaii exists in a geographical and political situation unlike that of any other state of the USA. To be a leader there demands qualities of respect, vision and spiritual empathy with its people Written by John Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Hanlon Produced by Denitra Price


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ike most people in Hawaii, when we spoke to Sarah Allen in the middle of May she was preoccupied with the rumblings of Kilauea. There are hundreds of islands in the Hawaii Archipelago but the ‘Big Island’, home to Kilauea, is the largest in area and the active volcano has created a lava lake that threatens to spill over – if it hits water enormous steam explosions that could send 10-ton molten rocks a kilometer from its crater. So it’s little wonder that Sarah Allen, the State’s Procurement Administrator and Chief Procurement Officer, in common with other government leaders, is concerned. Disaster management is very much within her remit. The remoteness of the islands means that food security is very important. If a hurricane were to close the harbors, food, already more expensive than on the mainland, would have to be flown in. In the longer term, the global food shortages that are predicted could impact Hawaii harder and sooner. “We have no food security here in these islands,” Allen says. “Disaster preparedness

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Sarah Allen Hawaii State Procurement Administrator/Chief Procurement Officer

Sarah Allen is the Administrator of the State of Hawaii Procurement Office and the Chief Procurement Officer for the Executive Branch. Allen’s expertise is in contracting, acquisition and financial management. From 2007 to 2013, she was a Senior Manager for ASI Government Inc., during which she acted as Executive Advisor to the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. Prior to that, she was a Senior Acquisition Analyst from 2006 to 2007 for CACI at the Pentagon, and served in the U.S. Air Force as a Commissioned Contracting Officer from 2004 to 2006 and a NonCommissioned Officer at Hickam Air Force Base from 2000 to 2004. Allen earned a Global Executive Master of Business Administration from George Mason University, a Master of Acquisition Management from the American Graduate University, and a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Auditing from the University of South Africa


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“Hawaiian culture is a simple sense of living life and taking care of each other and of the land” – Sarah Allen, Hawaii State Procurement Administrator/Chief Procurement Officer

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and improving our systems for procurement are two major areas that I have taken responsibility for on top of my other work.â&#x20AC;? And overseeing contracting and acquisition for an entire state is no small task. Allen is CPO of the executive branch and her State Procurement Office (SPO) serves as the central authority on procurement statutes and rules

Hawaii Stakeholders in Disaster Preparedness 2015

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for all government bodies of the State and all 21 CPO jurisdictions. Allen was appointed to this job in 2013 by then Governor Neil Abercrombie and after a rigorous reselection process was confirmed in 2017 for another four-year term by the current incumbent David Ige, and ratified by the State Senate.


S U P P LY C H A I N

A leader’s journey How Allen’s early realization that she had a talent for leadership brought her to Hawaii is a story worth telling. Born and educated in South Africa, she spent her first 10 years collecting, as she puts it, accounting, auditing and tax experience there. “As early as the age of nine I somehow had a

fascination with leadership.” Another early fascination, for space and aviation, brought her to the USA in 2000, where within five months of arriving she persuaded the Air Force to sign her up. “The Air Force put me into contracts, where I was able to do very well probably because of my background in finance and

NAICS - HIePRO: Transition from NIGP to NAICS Code

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“Aloha is learning to hold every relationship tenderly. It is allowing courage to be defined while still maintaining grace. It is leading as a servant and operating in ways that unite” – Sarah Allen, Hawaii State Procurement Administrator/Chief Procurement Officer

2018 SPO Team

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accounting,” she says. Through serving for six years as an enlisted person and a commissioned officer, she built up experience of working in contracts, and transferred as a contractor to the Pentagon working on classified army contracts. By 2007 Allen had transferred to the National Geospatial Agency (NGA) – “I like to refer to that as Google Earth for spies,” she quips. Not a bad description, considering that she was at the Agency at a time of some critical operations including the tracking and targeting of Osama bin Laden. “It was even more exciting for contracts and acquisitions which is what the federal folks call procurement,” she continues. Working under another woman leader there, at a time when the organization was striving to justify its continued existence, she participated in the creating of cross functional teams across the 16,000-strong agency, and procurement was tasked to introduce ‘agile acquisition’. “I was lucky enough to be the executive advisor to the top procurement official and so I was integral with that program, managing all the

multiple cross functional teams and hundreds of subtasks within them.” In 2012 Allen left her job with the NGA and took herself to Hawaii. Why here? “Because I missed it, and it was a place I really felt at home,” she answers. We should explain that as new recruit, after basic training her first posting was to Hickam Air Force Base near the famous Pearl Harbor. On arrival, late at night, she was greeted by a senior airman who placed a lei (the traditional flower garland) round her neck. “I was disconcerted from the stress of basic training and not sleeping, just trying to survive and with no idea what I was in for. But as soon as I put my feet on the ground, with all the air smelling of flowers from the lei, I fell in love with the islands.” That love never left her. As she explains, people coming from the mainland either get it or they don’t. “It is a place where east meets west. Added to that we have this underlying beautiful Hawaiian culture that is a simple sense of living life and taking care of each other and of the land.” The contrast with the Washington environment was stark. Over there,

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Andrew Lum_Business Management Analyst

Carey Ann Sasaki_ Purchasing Specialist

Lori Cervantes

John Vedder

“From day one when I told the story I told them it’s really important that we have fun in this job” – Sarah Allen, Hawaii State Procurement Administrator/Chief Procurement Officer

Ruth Baker


S U P P LY C H A I N

Hilo Training_Owen Kano and Mara Smith

the only thing that drives people is getting the job done. But in Hawaii the relationship always comes first. “I was looking for a place where I could find an elevated spiritual culture and I certainly find that here,” Allen says. This is not to suggest that Allen didn’t enjoy her work before. She blesses the Air Force for helping her overcome culture shock, teaching her what she calls ‘the heartbeat of America and American culture’, and giving her a sense of pride in belonging to a great nation that was very different from the ambivalence of a troubled South Africa.

Nevertheless, Hawaii clearly captured her heart. Its culture of ‘Aloha’ fits her management style. “Aloha is learning to hold every relationship tenderly. It is allowing courage to be defined while still maintaining grace. It is leading as a servant and operating in ways that unite.” Talking story When it comes to procurement systems, Hawaii is very young compared with the East Coast. When Allen arrived, the teams were working with antiquated systems and mindsets. Procurement meant no more than doing deals and buying things. “My experience on the federal

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side includes the entire acquisition life cycle so that was definitely a new idea that I was able to bring in.” Her instinct, budgets aside, was not to pursue a crash technology transformation program. The relationship came first. She felt she had to make her people realize their true worth. “In Hawaii relationships are started when you ‘talk story’. At my first meeting with the staff I shared a story about the ‘tree of procurement’, its roots representing the statutes and the rules, the trunk the Governor’s policies, the branches the departments and agencies and the leaves, all the transactions.” The people themselves were represented by the Pueo owl, unique to Hawaii and inhabiting the tree. The owl now appears on everything from T-shirts to PowerPoint presentations. “They really connected with that idea,” enthuses Allen. It

conveyed they were not just clerks but professionals. “We need to elevate procurement specialists in their own minds, and their communities and their leaders too.” So, there was indeed a transformation over her first four-year term. It has involved training, and Allen has been working hard to improve compensation levels: “They are now aware that their role is customer service, which is not how they used to see it. And right from day one when I told the story I told them it’s really important that we have fun in this job.” For example, sharing food plays a big part in the daily life of the department. Another thing Allen introduced was a certification program to recognize achievement. Twice a year Pueo certificates are awarded, and the annual procurement conference SPOCON that she created two

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years ago brings together procurement specialists from across the islands with contractors and other stakeholders. At the same time she introduced a procurement award that all the counties, state agencies and CPO agencies can compete for. “I haven’t got a big budget but I can give them training and I can give them an emotional lift up, support them mentally and assist them to elevate themselves.” The to-do list Allen has set herself a raft of goals.

One of them is to move towards an e-procurement system. Without access to the analytics and metrics she’s used to it is difficult to get vision of her spend and to prepare reports for the legislature. Many states, she observes, prefer agile e-procurement solutions, built on a self-funding catalog based model, over large-scale ERP systems. This is the approach to digitization that she favors. “It would give us incredible power to transform, bring efficiencies and add transparency.” Still, she is very satisfied with the tools her team has created on a very

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SPO Awards


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small budget. Now that they have a life-cycle view of procurement and customer service, Allen is looking to introduce them to pricing analysis and contract law. “The multi-billion contracts and programs we work on are a fantastic opportunity for us to get involved with the economic sustainability of Hawaii,” she adds. As we saw, contingency management and food security are key areas of concern. Leveraging state food programs in collaboration with the departments of agriculture and defense would reduce the islands’ dependence on food from the mainland and stimulate local supply chains, and she remarks on the juxtaposition between the shortterm political view, and the long-term need. She’s also partnered with the Counties for Kauai and Big Island, as part of the Governor’s Executive Task Force on managing the floods and the lava, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to conduct compliant

procurements for federal aid. Hawaii’s main source of revenue is tourism, another area Allen sees scope for reform. The island’s 10 commercial airports have long wanted to group themselves under an airports authority and Allen is very committed to helping them to do that. “We need a focus on points of entry and exit. I want them to be really successful and to work seamlessly with the Department of Transportation, the governor’s office and the airport authorities.” It’s a shame, she adds, that the legislation to create a central authority has stalled over recent years. Despite Hawaii’s laid-back image, islanders are really hard-working. Their processes may not be familiar to outsiders but they are effective. For Allen, the Aloha spirit is about awareness of self-worth, but with humility. “I am still learning every day. Aloha has really helped shape me as a leader: it has taught me that while the mission is important, it’s subservient to the spirit of people and place.”

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early 80% of new homes in the US today are built by National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) members, which include single-family and multifamily homes. The NAHB has over 700 state and local associations, and 140,000 members. Roughly a third of members are homebuilders and remodelers. The NAHB provides educational opportunities, and hosts a student competition every year at the International Buildersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Show (IBS), which is the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest residential and light commercial construction trade show that brings 60,000 visitors from 100 countries to see the newest and best products in the industry. The NAHB offers many opportunities to get people involved in the industry and make connections with industry leaders early on. Becoming an NAHB member has many benefits including discounts online, in stores, at car dealerships, credit card companies, hotels, and car rentals. Member benefits also include access to student scholarships, classes, and trainings in different

areas such as design-build, building safety, project management, risk management, green building, and The Builder Assessment Review (BAR). Building safety has always been a primary concern in the construction industry. In order to raise public awareness on this issue, the NAHB has started a campaign called Safety 365 to provide information and resources to the public to keep construction workers safe, and eliminate preventable accidents, injuries, and deaths. The Safety 365 campaign highlights different aspects of construction safety each month, and also promotes safety outside of the job. The NAHB offers classes, safety training materials, and news updates to educate employers and workers on safety and health hazards in the industry and on the jobsite to comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements. The NAHB also supports the increase in sustainable or green building in response to rising energy costs, the need to improve air quality,

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T H E N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F H O M E B U I L D E R S

Chantal Contreras, NAHB President at CSULB

ensuring clean water, and conserving water usage. The goal of sustainable buildings is high performance through construction and development techniques, materials, and designs that minimize the homeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s impact on the environment and conservation natural resources. Sustainable buildings are moving towards using more efficient systems; some of the energy conservation systems include

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high-performance windows, energyefficient appliances, lighting, better insulation, and HVAC systems. Another important factor that contributes to green building is water conserving systems such as waterefficient appliances, fixtures, filtration systems, and low-maintenance landscaping and irrigation systems. Using better resources like high performance engineered wood, wood


alternatives, allergen-free materials, and recycled building materials also aid in sustainable building. Lastly, using effective HVAC equipment, formaldehyde-free finishes, and products with minimum off-gassing or low-VOCs will ultimately better the homeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s indoor air quality. Sustainable buildings not only encourage environmental awareness and more efficient uses of scarce resources, but also result in an improved living environment and lower utility bills. The NAHB continues to follow current issues that arise in the industry. Some of the hottest topics in the industry right now are that design build is on the rise, as

design-bid-build seems to be winding down, collaborative approaches are becoming more and more common for projects. Cyber risks are an enormous issue nowadays, as the rise of technology becomes more advanced, the exposure to information is put at risk for many companies and digitally collaborative programs including building information modeling (BIM). The rise of robotics in the construction industry in projected to make construction sites virtually human-free by 2050 by using drones to monitor site status, smart sensors to track people on-site, and radiofrequency identification to track site equipment and materials.

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T H E N AT I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N O F H O M E B U I L D E R S

Residential construction is governed by building codes and standards set by local and state laws. These codes often reflect local construction practices, climate, and geography. Most US communities have adopted the International Code Councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s I-Codes. The I-Codes address all aspects of single-family

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and multifamily construction, including structural and MEP, and energy conservation requirements. The codes protect public health and safety, and have now turned to energy efficiency, sustainability, and property protection. But some of these energy code changes are benefiting specific product manufacturers and


take away consumer flexibility. The ICC codes are updated every three years, and the NAHB analyzes their impact on new and existing buildings. Their role is to ensure that the ICC evaluates all proposals objectively and that any changes or additional code requirements that are adopted are necessary and cost-effective. Through

NAHB efforts, the International Code Councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Board of Directors now requires cost impact information. If that information is not included, the proposed change will be rejected. If you are interested in learning more about the NAHB or becoming a member, please visit our website at www.NAHB.org.

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The Precision Cancer Medicine Building A purposeful building with leading facilities management


Delivering industry-leading clinical treatment and worldclass research, the University of California, San Francisco is set to revolutionise the healthcare sector once more with its state-of-the-art Precision Cancer Medicine Building Written by Laura Mullan Produced by Tom Venturo


UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN FRANCISCO

The UCSF Health recently was named among the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s premier medical institutions for the 17th consecutive year, ranking as the fifth best hospital in the country and the top-ranked hospital in California, according to US News & World Report

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lobally recognized for its world-class research and patient care, the University of California, San Francisco, (UCSF) is set to continue its legacy as a leading healthcare provider with its state-ofthe-art facility for cancer treatment. Located at UCSF Health Mission Bay, the Precision Cancer Medicine Building (PCMB) is an unprecedented advance for people with cancer.

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Championing personalized evidence-based treatments, the 180,000 square foot, seven-story facility aims to place patients and their families at the center of efforts to ensure that care is carefully tailored to each individualâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biology and life circumstances. This year, the American Cancer Society, predicts that approximately 1.7mn people will be diagnosed


CONSTRUCTION

with cancer across the country. Bruce Mace, Director of Facilities Management at UCSF Health, believes that this state-of-the-art facility not only signals a new chapter for the institution, but will also change the way we treat the disease. “The Precision Cancer Medicine Building is a new way of looking at cancer treatment,” explains Mace. “It speaks to utilizing different

modalities of treatment – whether it may be chemotherapy, radiation or holistic treatment, for instance – and mixing those modalities to target the individual’s needs because all cancers are different at a genetic level. The Precision Cancer Medicine Building is a facility which is going to allow the further development of the precision cancer treatment option.” Consistently topping the

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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN FRANCISCO

leader-board rankings, UCSF Health has earned a strong reputation for its medical outpatient care and academic research.

the university’s industry-leading clinical practices and world-class research capability to transform the way we approach cancer care.

Combining leading research and clinical practice UCSF Health was recently named among the nation’s premier medical institutions for the 17th consecutive year, ranking as the fifth best hospital in the country and the top-ranked hospital in California, according to US News & World Report. Meanwhile, its academic offering has also received worldwide recognition, being rated among the best universities in the world, according to another ranking by US News & World Report. Just a few steps away from the Benioff Children’s Hospital, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Research Building and UCSF Bakar Cancer Hospital, the LEED-certified Precision Cancer Medicine Building aims to connect the University’s Mission Bay and Mount Zion practices into one location. In doing so, it hopes to marry

A multi-modal approach to cancer treatment “UCSF Health has different cancer treatments that take place at different locations so the knowledge that is learned, the treatments that are utilized, and the services that are provided to our range of cancer patients is spread across our campuses,” says Mace. “The Precision Cancer Medicine Building aims to become the very core of our cancer program. “UCSF’s educational side – all the research, research buildings, and the educational components – are close to our Mission Bay Hospital, and so PCMB aims to take the knowledge that’s gained to the bedside in a very short pipeline,” he adds. “The learning and treatment cycle is very small and it’s always spinning, which will ensure that we provide the finest care to our patients.” Set to open its doors in mid-2019,

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‘The UCSF Health recently was named among the nation’s premier medical institutions for the 17th consecutive year, ranking as the fifth best hospital in the country and the topranked hospital in California, according to US News & World Report’ w w w. b u s i n e s s c h i e f . c o m

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the Precision Cancer Medicine Building is notable not just because of its poignant mission and ethos. It’s also being brought to life through an innovative approach to construction and facilities management. Emphasising facilities management With a background in construction, architecture, planning and design, Mace has been Director of Facilities Management at UCSF for the past eight years. He says that although facilities management can sometimes be viewed as an afterthought in the construction sector, facilities management has been involved front and center in the Precision Cancer Medicine Building’s vision. “Facilities management is about the environment of care,” explains Mace. “It’s all the infrastructure systems that directly support patient care throughout our hospital system. “Today, we have roughly 120 buildings and four hospitals. In the case of Mission Bay Hospital and the Precision Cancer Medicine Building,

we are a tertiary and quaternary acute care treatment enterprise. We get some of the most difficult, most acute cases here so it’s hypercritical that we deliver a stable, safe environment for the care of that segment of our patient population.” During the construction phase, Mace has tried to make facilities management a key consideration by harnessing the latest cutting-edge technologies. Championing collaboration between people, systems, and business structures, UCSF Health has taken an integrated project delivery (IPD) approach to the building delivery which has been consolidated by its use of a Building Information Modeling for Facilities Management (BIM4FM) system. Integrating technologies IBM Maximo and Autodesk Revit (BIM360), Mace and his team have created what he describes as a “living as-operated model of the building that we can utilize on a daily basis”. Leveraging this state-of-the-art computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), UCSF

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has created an in-depth, meticulous and functional model of the Precision Cancer Medicine Building that won’t just be used during construction; it will also be used for facility management operational purposes. Technological ingenuity Responsible for serving acute care of patients with cancer, 100% uptime will be critical at the Precision Cancer Medicine Building.

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Mace believes that the university’s latest BIM4FM system goes the extra mile to ensure the facility runs smoothly and that facilities management remains a priority. “IBM Maximo is a computerized maintenance management system, so it manipulates work orders and preventative maintenance and it also tracks the work history and the repair history,” he explains. “It’s all the information surrounding the about


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60,000 assets that we are responsible for on a daily basis. So, medical gas delivery, electricity, air handlers and each piece of equipment – you name it. They’re all found within this system. “This information is illustrated in a detailed 3D model through Autodesk Revit, integrated within IBM Maximo utilizing the Autodesk Large Model Forge Viewer, so if I look at my screen and touch an eye wash, for example, it will give me

the work order history, repair history and I can also open a work order to start the management cycle.” Value-adding BIM4FM With such a substantial investment, Mace believes that the system will truly add value to day-to-day operations, championing best in class practices. “What’s the value of the BIM4FM system?” reflects Mace. “Well, for example, if we have a leak on a pipe

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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN FRANCISCO

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The university’s BIM4FM system ensures the facility’s operations run smoothly

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system, we can touch that leak in the model and it will identify where the upstream isolation valve is, i.e., how we can turn it off immediately. It will also tell us the downstream areas that will be impacted by loss of water, and it’ll give us all the information on the system itself – pipe size, flow, materials - all the things we need to know to repair it. “One particular case which really opened my eyes up to the possibilities of the system was an incident in the middle of the night where we had a leak somewhere within a 7-story firerated encased structural steel column chase and the engineers couldn’t identify and isolate where the water was coming from,” reflects Mace. “They called both the Chief Engineer

Chris Shirar and myself, and for the first time ever, instead of going to look at reams of 2D paper plan sets, we ran for the electronic model and asked building engineers to turn off the necessary systems one at a time as we worked our way through the model. We had it diagnosed, isolated and repaired by the next morning when, in the past, that kind of a leak could’ve taken two or three days to completely diagnose, isolate, contain and repair, costing us valuable patient care hours as well as revenue. This system is going to save us huge amounts of time and I think that’s the most critical added value.” Through this scrupulous BIM4FM model, UCSF Health can explore every individual asset in the building,

“That’s sort of the magic sauce, that facilities management is a key focus and is a contributing driver in the project” – Bruce Mace, Director of Facilities Management

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“I think the learning experience here is what’s tremendously exciting” – Bruce Mace, Director of Facilities Management

whether its eye washes or pipes, at the touch of a button. All the data is in one place so the system reduces the need for paper, quickens the speed of repairs and ensures the best practice in facilities management. “What really changed is we’re facilities management. We’re responsible for the operation of the building at the end of the cycle, yet, for the first time ever, our department was invited by VP and Senior Capital Project Architect Stuart Eckblad to submit a BIM Execution Plan (BEP) and a Data Dictionary for inclusion in writing the specification requirements of the “best-value” contract,” observes Mace. “That’s sort of the magic sauce, that facilities management is a key focus and is a contributing driver in the project.” Harnessing big data Unlike traditional BIM models, UCSF Health’s model for the Precision Cancer Medicine Building uses much more data to deliver a more detailed model, despite using just 5% of the mammoth data it has acquired. “There’s a lot of data that goes into

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UCSF has 120 buildings and four hospitals

building a BIM building,” notes Mace. “The Level of Development (LOD) can be, and typically in construction, is about LOD 300. We currently use 5% of the huge volume of data we have that relates directly to fire and life safety, regulatory, patient care and environment of care and we have a LOD of 400 or 500. The added level of detail for these specific items is more granular and that’s critical.” The implementation of this cutting-edge integration has been a true learning experience for the

team at UCSF Health, but thanks to its close collaboration with the builders, the tradesmen, the programmers and all those involved, UCSF Health has pioneered a new way of going about construction and facilities management. Working alongside experts from Stantec, Cupertino, Southland, CRTKL, VueOps, Honeywell and Rudolph & Sletten required the expansion of “working session” collaboration and a quantum leap in work process

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for this data output demand. “This hasn’t been done before,” says Mace candidly. “It’s forced us to be very collaborative. We want to be. It’s a very big change for the university and the industry. I think it’s helping us bring about cultural industry change.” A changing culture Looking to the future, the Precision Cancer Medicine Building is set to open next year and will undoubtedly deliver the world-class care UCSF Health is known for. However, its innovative BIM4FM platform isn’t just confined to this ongoing project. Mace and his team are already implementing this electronic operations model to the Mission Bay Hospital and the Gateway Medical Building over the coming months. “In the future, all of our buildings as we build them new will be to this standard,” he says. “We also want to take the data and integrate it not just with new builds but also connect it with already-built projects. With regard to use cases and system-wide benefits, the UCSF

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Health BIM4FM team has partnered with the University of California Office of the President to participate in a “Construction/Procurement Center of Excellence” to support shared development of a focused effort to connect real-time construction and


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life-cycle data with other downstream users. Program manager Dylan Paul indicates that the timely and accurate collection of such data during construction has the potential to save the UC system over $70mn annually. “The learning experience here

is what’s tremendously exciting,” concludes Mace. “I think we’re making huge headway on our milestones approach and the myriad benefits of harnessing the data output of object-based architecture keep coming into view.”

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TM

SERVERFARM MAKING THE PHYSICAL AGILE


Written by Laura Mullan Produced by Lewis Vaughan

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With a data centre portfolio of more than a million sq ft, ServerFarm has positioned itself as a leader in the data centre industry

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ith mobile computing, 5G technology, and the internet of things (IoT) rapidly entering the fray, the data centre market is expected to thrive over the coming years. In fact, according to a report by Research and Markets, the global colocation data centre market is expected to grow to $54.8bn by 2020. But in an industry that has been defined by innovation and rapid growth, what’s the next step for the data centre space? Moving forward, ServerFarm believes that its strategy of moving physical data centre assets into the virtual world is going to elevate the company to new heights. The benefit of virtualising servers and infrastructure is clear: it breaks the link between the physical and digital and in doing so, it creates the foundation for a more dynamic, flexible and efficient data centre. Jim Shanahan, VP of Global

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Operations, says that it was this unique take on data centres which first drew him to the firm. “When I joined ServerFarm I saw an opportunity to change things; to take what in many organisations has been a rather pedestrian approach to the physical assets of the data centre and bring that into the modern world by taking everything physical – space, power and cooling, as well as compute and putting it in a private cloud with a comprehensive online interface to make it as easy as possible for end users,” explains Shanahan. “This is an industry that is growing but also changing very quickly,” adds VP of Sales Arun Shenoy. “I think we’ve come to the realisation that some of the approaches, especially in the mechanical and electrical side, are not keeping pace with the IT environment from an innovation perspective. “At ServerFarm we believe that


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Jim Shanahan VP OF GLOBAL OPERATIONS Jim Shanahan is Head of Global Operations and European Business at ServerFarm. He is responsible for activities across the company’s fleet of data centres, where Serverfarm selfperforms its own facility management, smarthands and bare-metal cloud operations. Mr. Shanahan also leads ServerFarm’s expansion as the company moves into a number of firsttier European markets. Shanahan has previously headed the global DC business of ABB’s software division and served as MD of the international business of Lee Technologies. An Electrical Engineer, Jim started his career with Amdahl Computers and PM Group as a design consultant.


S E R V E R FA R M

A member of ServerFarm’s staff working on a server rack

“We remove the pain of managing all of the physical assets in a data centre. As we see it, we are still the only company that has the ability to genuinely take all of the physical assets of the data centre, including the existing assets of an enterprise, and virtualise them for our customers” Arun Shenoy VP of Sales our customers are trying to transform their companies into organisations that care less about the physical aspects that make up a data centre, so that they can focus more on the business applications that enable growth and transformation. “That is ultimately our role in the data centre space,” he continues. “We remove the pain of managing all of the physical assets in a data centre. As we see it, we are still the

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only company that has the ability to genuinely take all of the physical assets of the data centre, including the existing assets of an enterprise, and virtualise them for our customers.” In doing so, the US headquartered firm helps to create data centres that are more instrumented, monitored, reliable and ultimately more efficient, from both an energy and cost-perspective, than a customer could achieve by themselves.


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Arun Shenoy VP OF SALES Arun Shenoy is responsible for developing the success of ServerFarmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s data centre colocation and InCommand Services business globally. He joins from Schneider Electric where he was Vice President of the IT and Data Centre business in the UK & Ireland. Shenoy has also worked for major companies including Intel, ABB, IBM and Romonet in general management, sales and marketing roles with over 20 years in software, services and technology markets. europe.businesschief.com

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The pair believe that it is this ability to manage everything physical in a digital world which is ServerFarm’s unique selling point. Originally launched by the international real estate development company, Red Sea Group, ServerFarm also has a distinctive customer-centric ethos ingrained in its DNA. With sister companies focused on hospitality, Shanahan says that the firm understands that customer service is king. “We apply a customer focus to the data centre space and it has served us very well,” says Shanahan. “Like the real estate or hospitality business, we value customer service above everything else. “We try to be very flexible in our approach to customers because everybody’s needs are different. We will go the extra mile to try and give those customers whatever they need and it pays off because we have customers that will follow us around the world.” Nowhere can this customer loyalty be seen better than the firm’s newly-opened data centre in London, in what is its first step into the European market. The latest acquisition adds to ServerFarm’s growing data centre estate with locations in California, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington and Toronto among others. In doing so it adds a further 120,000 sq ft to the company’s footprint,

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bringing it to over 1mn sq ft today. Located five minutes from Heathrow airport, the 8MW London data centre has attracted customers from across the globe as Shanahan believes London is “one of the most sought-after locations” in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “It was a natural choice for us to go to London as part of our push into Europe,” notes Shanahan. “We’ve been eyeing a number of other opportunities throughout the region so I’d say when it comes to future expansions – watch this space.” “We’ve managed to get one of our US customers onboard into a multi-megawatt capacity environment for them in around eight or nine weeks – that is something that is quite unheard of in this industry,” continues Shenoy. “I think it really speaks volumes about the way that we plan our environments and how we share our roadmap with our clients and align with their expansion plans.” In London, ServerFarm took an existing data centre and significantly upgraded it with completely new infrastructure, new technologies and new ways of working. Through the major refurbishment, it has helped drive cost-efficiency and reduce waste. “The existing tenants now get extra capacity that they otherwise had no use for and they’re able to monetise that,” explains Shanahan. “The data centre gets a new lease of life, it increases capacity and reliability for our customers and geographically, it’s in an area into which customers are keen to expand.

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ServerFarm staff discussing InCommand in CH1 control room

50+ Number of employees at ServerFarm


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ServerFarm STATS The global colocation data centre market is expected to grow to $54.8bn by 2020 according to a report by Research and Markets.

We follow our customer where they need to be and as a result, we can be more dynamic and flexible than other players in the market.” Driving agility and flexibility, the company’s InCommand solution further defines the company from its competitors, allowing consumers to see the current state of the data centre and gain the insights needed to plan for ‘what-if’ scenarios. With the technological innovation,

ServerFarm provides customers with a portal that offers unprecedented asset lifecycle management, data, power connectivity and streamlined workflows. As the data centre industry shifts towards more hybrid solutions, this flexibility is more important than ever before, explains Shanahan. “InCommand is the eyes and ears of the data centre,” he explains. “It’s the processes that govern

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Three-story London data center in an established commercial park, five minutes from Heathrow airport. Immediate capacity available

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“We’ve been eyeing a number of other opportunities throughout the region so I’d say when it comes to future expansions – watch this space” Jim Shanahan VP of Global Operations

ServerFarm LONDON The London data center is ServerFarm’s first European property adding another 120,000 square feet to its existing data centre portfolio of more than 1 million square feet. 

everything and because it’s delivered as a service through our people and our training, it becomes an all-encompassing operating system. We’ve used that to deliver some of the highest efficiency data centres. Nobody else in the industry is doing anything like this, providing this combination of people, processes and portal in such a compelling way to get such good results. “The InCommand system is linked to the in-house management systems, building management systems and electrical power management systems, so it knows instantly what’s going on in every data centre in every corner of the world and can pre-diagnose a range of issues,” he adds. “So, for example, if a chiller unit is running at less than maximum efficiency, it can diagnose this and raise a ticket to carry out a preventive maintenance task on it.” Yet, perhaps the most impressive aspect of the firm’s solutions is the customer-centricity it provides by giving clients access to ServerFarm’s people, processes and platforms. “I think what makes our customer experience very dynamic is the fact that, through InCommand, our customer is very closely connected to our operational environment,” observes Shenoy. “Together with our customers we’re creating a better experience regardless of their physical location.” “We’re coming to the market with a tool which, if you were using the capacity management feature

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S E R V E R FA R M ServerFarm’s Mike Whitman, DC Operations, and Sam Brown, VP of Engineering/ Construction touring CH1 in Chicago

“InCommand is the eyes and ears of the data centre” Jim Shanahan VP of Global Operations

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of InCommand, for example, you could identify how much spare capacity you had, and it helps you to maximise the use of all your capacity, so avoids or postpones the need for more capacity,” adds Shanahan. “We’re maximising customer efficiency which helps us to become trusted partners to our customers. Then they can see their interest is our interest. We’re helping our customers make the best use of the services, the capacity, the power and cooling that they buy from us and through our portal they also have such great visibility. Therefore, our customers are loyal to us.” “With the rollout of 5G and regulations like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) underway, the data centre space is changing rapidly,” says Shenoy. “I think by 2020, ‘things’ on the internet - in terms of the endpoint devices and applications – will outnumber consumers,” Shenoy says. “There will be more data and traffic generated by things rather than people and that requires infrastructure to be thought about, designed

and delivered very differently. “5G and new regulatory requirements will also accelerate change. We find ourselves in a market that is changing size and shape quite dramatically. Our customers find that a very challenging environment, and therefore they need companies like ServerFarm who understand how to manage those physical environments.” Security is now, more than ever, a prevalent issue in the data centre sector, and it is something Shanahan and his team are keen to tackle head-on. “I think it’s becoming evident to us that in the next number of years the challenges that are out there in terms of individual hackers, nationstate threats, and physical and logical security are suddenly becoming a real issue for people,” he notes. “I think we’re going to experience a sea of change in how concerned consumers and organisations are about their data and accordingly, we have taken steps to provide what we see as one of the most secure solutions in the industry with routine assessments and penetration testing

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Toronto is a highly secure, concurrently maintainable data Centre constructed to ensure an optimal PUE and flexibility for ongoing customer operations.

by cybersecurity professionals.” Attracting and hiring talent and expertise is a challenge for any company, especially in IT and the data centre space. But with a strong sense of purpose and a holistic approach to training, ServerFarm has circumvented the challenge and grown a strong and capable team. “We hire the best-in-class,” notes Shanahan. “The majority of our personnel are equally trained in

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mechanical and electrical, physical and IT and then we also have a team of high-level specialists for each of those areas. This means we have a holistic approach to how we train and retain our people. It actually pays off very well for us in customer service and our personnel’s satisfaction levels. “I think we’re quite unique in the industry because we have a real purpose,” adds Shenoy. “We’ve created a fast-moving


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2004 The year that ServerFarm was founded

environment because of our strong growth but we’re also innovating. That combination of a fastgrowing organisation which has a purpose and really focuses on innovation is a tough environment to replicate anywhere else. I think this is in part why we have such a high retention rate.” It seems this sense of purpose has cemented ServerFarm’s position as an expert data centre organisation. Combined with the firm’s customerfocus, the US company is set to continue on this upward trajectory in the years to come. TM

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45MN AND COUNTING

How Oportun leverages technology to power financial inclusion Oportunâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Vice President of IT, Hiba Sharief, discusses how the organizationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s three-year roadmap has helped prepare the company for rapid growth and scalability

Written by Catherine Sturman Produced by Lucy Verde


OPORTUN

T

here are an estimated 45mn people in the United States with little or no credit history according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). “Our goal is to be able to lend them the money they need today while helping them establish the credit history that will help them move forward with their lives tomorrow,” comments Oportun VP of IT, Hiba Sharief. Oportun’s work providing unsecured loans to people with limited or no credit history earned it the 2018 LendIt Award for Financial Inclusion and recognition as a Finalist in the inaugural WSJ Financial Inclusion Challenge for the US this year. According to Sharief, people underestimate the importance of having a credit history and score. “When I moved to the United States in the mid-90s, we couldn’t even get an apartment without someone running a credit check,” she says. Oportun disbursed its first loan in 2006 from a folding card table at a grocery store in California. By 31 March 2018, it had disbursed more than $5bn dollars through more than

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two million loans. It currently operates 270-plus retail locations in low-tomoderate income neighborhoods in addition to contact centers and a mobile platform. “We want our customers to choose the option that works best for them, whether that means applying in person, using their mobile phone to apply online or calling one of our contact center agents,” adds Sharief.

Hiba Sharief VP of IT

Hiba Sharief is a seasoned technology executive fueled by a passion for innovation, growth and impact. She currently serves as Vice President of Information Technology at Oportun, a financial technology company with the mission of providing affordable loans to people with little or no credit history so they can establish credit and build a better future. In her role, Sharief leverages more than 15 years of leadership and hands-on expertise in the areas of technology strategy, architecture, and largescale business and technology transformations to build and lead effective, cross-functional teams that can enable business agility and results


TECHNOLOGY

“Our ambition is to help anyone who has a financial need and cannot get access to funds, because either they’re credit invisible or they have a really thin credit file” – VP of IT, Hiba Sharief

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OPORTUN

The leadership team at Oportun

Rethink. Redesign. Reimagine. Digital Transformation Solutions that challenge the status quo and unlock new business possiblities and value.

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TECHNOLOGY

Year founded

2005

(Formerly known as Progreso Financiero)

Helping Oportun scale Sharief joined the company in 2015 and was drawn to Oportun for two reasons: First, she believed in the company’s mission and saw an opportunity to find purpose and meaning at work. Second, she knew that her expertise in technology could help Oportun scale its business and help more people. “As a startup, Oportun had systems and processes that worked well, but drawing from my experience, I knew we needed to put a roadmap in place

for our systems to keep pace with the Company’s rapid growth,” said Sharief. Within her first few weeks at Oportun, Sharief got her team aligned to a roadmap that had two prongs: “Quick Wins” to ensure near-term systems stability and four long-term programs that would help prepare Oportun for future growth and scalability. These programs included robust efforts around technology architecture and infrastructure, security, process design, and collaboration.

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Technology architecture For the technology architecture work stream, the primary goal was to deliver resilience, availability and scalability while providing the engineering team with the solutions and self-service capabilities they needed to deliver software solutions to our customers. “One of the first things we did was a financial analysis, including a total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis to look at the different options for both refreshing the current infrastructure and moving to the cloud,” Sharief explains. As part of the threeyear roadmap she established, the team’s first order of business was to bolster its IT infrastructure and set it up for future scale. “People think that the cloud is cheaper, but it can get really expensive, really fast,” adds Sharief, who explained that cost optimization needs to be a constant priority. “Today, everyone on the team finds ways to improve processes, reduce costs, or get more done with the same or less.” Security “The financial services industry is

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highly regulated, and the risks of external and internal cyber threats need to be well managed. The Security strategy established by Tyson Kopczynski, VP of Security, is holistic in nature. ACT SMART is an acronym we use to describe how a focus on Awareness, Culture and Technology through Solutions, Monitoring, Advisory, Response and Testing will lead to empowerment and transparency,” notes Sharief. Similar to technology, Oportun has chosen to deliver Security as a Service, including everything from the physical security of retail locations to the Security Operations Center (SOC). Process Design In the spirit of having a holistic ‘people, process and technology’ approach to transformation, Sharief’s strategy was heavily focused on establishing and maturing processes. “Upon joining Oportun, we conducted a Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) assessment of key processes used to manage technology,” she recalls. “It is incredible to see how we matured


TECHNOLOGY

in some areas. A great example is enterprise service management, where our leader Eduard Jooste has presented innovative solutions at this year’s ServiceNow Knowledge18 conference.” Collaboration Adopting large-scale collaboration platforms and video-conferencing technologies have enabled the talent strategy at Oportun to hire and retain top talent, regardless of location. “With a growing global footprint across the US and Mexico, I love seeing all the faces on camera when we meet as a team,” Sharief says. She strongly believes that when people are involved in meaningful work, treated as professionals and happy, they will be more engaged, empowered and productive.

“We want our customers to choose the option that works best for them, whether that means applying in person, using their mobile phone to apply online or calling one of our contact center agents” – VP of IT, Hiba Sharief

Key to Success: Culture At Oportun, the technology teams see themselves as business leaders, not just technology specialists. According to Sharief, her team has taken best practices and helped the other parts of the organization adopt them for

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â&#x20AC;˘ Oportun has won the LendIt 2018 Industry Award for Financial Inclusion â&#x20AC;˘ Oportun provides unsecured loans to those with limited or no credit history

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TECHNOLOGY

“It is incredible to see how we matured in some areas. A great example is Enterprise Service Management, where our leader Eduard Jooste has presented innovative solutions at this year’s ServiceNow Knowledge18 conference” – VP of IT, Hiba Sharief

different purposes. Likewise, some agile approaches used for software development are now used in other parts of the organization to manage large business initiatives. Hiba explained that the key to Oportun’s success in scaling as a business has been as much about the people and culture as it has been about implementing the right technologies and processes. “People often underestimate the importance of culture, but we’ve found that hiring people with a growth mindset and a thirst to learn and improve is absolutely critical.” Oportun’s corporate culture emphasizes the importance of learning. The CEO, Raul Vazquez, regularly shares podcasts and books that inspire him and encourages others to do the same. The technology team meets weekly and takes turns teaching each other about different topics. “Everyone is as serious about learning and improving as they are about helping the company achieve its mission of helping more of the 45mn people in the US who are shut out of the financial mainstream because of their lack of credit history.” It is that attitude and culture to which Sharief attributes Oportun’s success. “It is also why it is hard to imagine a more interesting and fulfilling workplace where everyone is striving to push the envelope.”

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The source of value

Procurement executives across the globe continue to see the potential they can unlock throughout the supply chain. They understand that business today is about engaging, collaborating, adapting instantly to evolving needs, and finding new sources of value. Getting that value, however, can prove a challenge.

Business Chief - USA  
Business Chief - USA