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February 2018 REPORT





TOP 10




18 & 19 APRIL 2018




Jordan Bitterman, CMO, The Weather Company

Anne Ravanona CEO & Founder, Global Invest Her

Mikko Hypponen, CRO, F-Secure

Bessie Lee CEO, withinlink


Brett Bibby VP of Engineering, Unity Technologies

FOREWORD “5G WILL BE a big disruptor and if we look back eight years from now, we won’t be able to imagine life without what it has enabled.” So says Flex CTO Dr Kevin Kettler, in a wide ranging and fascinating exclusive chat with Gigabit Magazine. It’s just one element of the transformative forces now beginning to make themselves felt in industries around the world, also charted in our pages this month. We speak with experts from NVIDIA, SAP, PwC and more to dig in on AI and better understand the near-term impacts the technology is likely to have over the next 12 months. One impact is certain, though – companies can no longer see investment in AI as a choice to remain competitive. IoT, similarly, is maturing as change driver. We talk to Dell and AMD about how they’re playing on the edge – literally – to build systems close enough to the action to unleash IoT’s awesome potential. Our deep-dives into the digital transformations shaping real businesses this month come from ZTE, Avaya, Flowserve, Aecon and more. As ever, join the conversation in Gigabit’s Linkedin group, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Enjoy the issue!



EUROPE NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA)

The inside track: CRM system trends in 2018

NFU Mutual DVLA Universal Electric Corp




MIDDLE EAST The Department of Culture and Tourism Dr. Arafat El Mourad (Al Hilal Bank) Emirates NBD Panda Retail




AUSTRALIA Heritage Bank

CANADA Aecon Group Inc Dicom Transportation Group Canada Inc.

> AI: Going deeper in 2018



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Flex: Intelligence on the edge of disruption CTO of Communications and Enterprise Compute Business Group at Flex, Dr Kevin Kettler, talks intelligence, cloud, and automation and looks to the potential 5G will bring for a “smart� world W r i t t e n b y TA M S I N O X F O R D

“5G WILL BE a big disruptor and if we look back eight years from now, we won’t be able to imagine life without what it has enabled.” Dr Kevin Kettler, Chief Technology Officer at Flex, is confident about the plethora of opportunities 5G development will offer. Indeed, he is no stranger to the potential-packed realm of technology. He has more than 25 years of experience working across the server, storage and compute market segments, having worked with companies such as IBM, Dell and Qualcomm. He has developed several patents in the United States, is a published author of books examining the topics of realtime/multimedia systems. As CTO, he is also immersed in the potential of intelligence in transforming industry and organisation. Flex is one of the largest supply chain companies in the world, leading in areas such as Internet of Things (IoT) and industries such as media and telecommunications. The company has worked with clients to create automation solutions with connectivity and IoT at their core. Flex, and Kettler, are keenly 10

February 2018

aware that industrial IoT has to evolve to meet the demands of the industry and technology, and put extensive thought into dealing with issues such as latency, bandwidth, security and regulation. “Our history has been as a manufacturing company and we’ve built ourselves up over the years, having increasingly become design partners,” explains Kettler. “We have a history of building out the


200,000 infrastructure associated with the cloud and connectivity. We have been a part of many different industries and in many cases, we have become the outright designers of the technology that our customers adopt and use.� Flex may not be a company name that everyone has heard of, but it has certainly made a name for itself in the telecoms, media and cloud industries and set itself in the lead when it comes to IoT implementations and


solutions. The organisation stands at the edge of the cloud and uses its understanding of concepts such as edge-computing, data volume, 5G and IoT to create solutions that blend technology and capability across market segment and industry. Today, the organisation operates across 13 industry segments, has more than 1,000 customers globally and a network of more than 200,000 professionals across 30 countries. 11


“We are very fortunate in our ability to engage with a variety of organisations – we are very much the ‘Switzerland’ of the technology space,” adds Kettler. “We are more than happy to build everything for everybody and, because of that, we have the benefit of seeing a lot of things that sometimes exist in competitive environments come together.” Flex enjoys exploring new ideas in product and technology that map back to market trends and unlock potential. Today, the company is working with an automotive group to help build some of the infrastructure associated with the compute and networking aspects of the autonomous vehicle. It has also worked with some big-name brands, helping them to build commercial and consumer-driven solutions that tap into the automation, 12

February 2018

intelligence and IoT trends. Kettler is quick to express is excitement about the potential of automation: “We are feeling the impact of this technology today and we are embracing it. Automation at its most fundamental level, for us, is about transforming our manufacturing facilities,” Kettler says. “Anything from fully autonomous manufacturing lines, to movement of components using autonomous vehicles, to the final finished product – even delivery to its final destination – is autonomous.”

Of course, autonomous technology does not necessarily mean intelligent technology – this can be another matter entirely.

INSERT BRAIN HERE “At a low-grade level, you talk about the intelligence that brings you IoT devices, the devices that put compute into everyday living and the connectivity that allows data to be shared in a meaningful way,” says Kettler. “The next level is already underway – putting intelligence into

everything from the coffee machine to the fridge, creating the basic household automation solution.” From these simpler levels evolves the concept of the smart city, where devices move beyond the consumer and into the community, gathering information that can be used to monitor, help or deliver services. Within this resides the industrial level where intelligence is driven by a multitude of IoT devices playing a singular role. “All these devices have some 13

1,000 intelligence, they are all gathering data and producing data, and the amount of data being produced is constantly exceeding what was created in the past,” says Kettler. “It isn’t physically possible for a human being to review this data, and that’s what has created this convergence of machine learning and AI. Machines sit on the back end and manage this tremendous amount of data, taking it to a point where it is meaningful for the end user.” This so-called technical intelligence 14

February 2018


is the goal towards which the industry is moving, especially in automation. Take for example a self-driving car potentially having enough of a “brain” to make life or death decisions. However, a brain requires a nervous system – in other words, connectivity – and until now in technology this has been patchy, unreliable and faintly incoherent. But the arrival of 5G will purportedly put paid to the dribbling connectivity of the past and introduce a whole new world of IoT, intelligence and automation.

D I G I TA L S T R AT E G Y THE 5G KEY “5G is set to be a disruptive technology, bringing tremendously higher bandwidth capability to cellular networks,” says Kettler. “Products will arrive that will have a 1GB per second or 10GB per second capability – already there are trials with speeds of up to 20GB per second. It will also be introducing incredible response times of up to one millisecond. These capabilities are what devices need to take their own capabilities to the next level.” The number of devices that can connect to the 5G network will also increase exponentially. Today, only a few mobile devices can connect to a given tower at a certain point in time, but with 5G thousands can potentially connect simultaneously. When looked at alongside the developments in IoT and intelligence and data, could 5G be the historic moment when evolution takes its next step? “The cloud will grow tremendously because of the volume of data, and alongside this will emerge the notion of edged computing – taking computing from a centralised cloud location and building a small data

centre that will be co-located with a cell tower geographically closer to where the data is being generated,” adds Kettler. “Why? Because you’ve architected with 5G for this low latency interaction and you don’t want to lose the benefits by having to travel to a centralised cloud location.” The overall bandwidth and data volumes that are set to be generated by 5G class devices will rapidly overtake the backhaul, especially if there’s no localised compute. As a result, the cloud will grow considerably just to cope with the needs of society and devices will adapt alongside demand. Reiterating Flex’s philosophy of building “everything for everybody,” Kettler concludes: “It is an exciting time for us to be involved with all these different technologies and see them all come together.” It is a bold world Kettler envisions, full of potential, problems and risks. Flex sits on the front lines of connectivity invention and even innovation as it works with organisations to catch hold of the elusive concepts of IoT and intelligence. 15


The inside track: CRM system trends in 2018 Gigabit asks the experts about how keeping up with the latest CRM software can benefit various industries Writ ten by KIERON BAIN

D I G I TA L D I S R U P T I O N IN THE PAST few years the mantra has been revised. Data is now power. Information guides effective decision making in every area of commercial enterprise. Within the human domain the technology at the forefront of this movement is the CRM system. Workers record every aspect of an interaction, from quantitative facts and figures to the important emotional details essential to soft skills like birthdays, children’s names and sports club affiliations. With the shadow GDPR compliance now looming over UK business, real human contact is likely to undergo something of a renaissance as companies move away from e-contact and digital marketing campaigns. Undoubtedly CRM experts will already be sharpening their systems, ready for business growth across the 12-month period. The holistic horizon Working across several business disciplines engenders a comprehensive view of the industry. CRM consultant Nimisha Brahmbhatt has helped direct the implementation of CRM systems for FTSE 100 clients such as Centrica 18

February 2018

and Accenture as part of an overall customer contact strategy. We asked her to detail the most significant improvements in the industry over the last six to 12-month period: “It’s hard to target what has significantly changed but I would say automation within these systems has excelled in leaps and bounds. Whereas the primary focus in the past has been on communication, now it’s centred on empowering users to take reflexive actions when they interact with the messages from these systems. This has significantly changed the way businesses profile audiences, and with the integration of tools such as social media and analytics, these systems are advancing relationships with the customers, powered by the information that is specifically relevant to them.” What does Brahmbhatt feel are the key implications of these changes? “The largest factor impacting revenues created by CRM systems is the creation of bespoke customer journeys,” she explains. “Constructing the messaging and language to create an experience that is meaningful within the context of the business should be a main

“The largest factor impacting revenues created by CRM systems is the creation of bespoke customer journeys” – Nimisha Brahmbhatt, CRM Consultant

Creating bespoke customer journeys is key to CRM’s revenue generating capability


D I G I TA L D I S T R U P T I O N objective of CRM usage. Business systems that encompass this ethos will rarely see a hit to their revenues. “However, businesses that fail to invest in this practice will struggle, with a loss in revenue resulting from dissatisfied customers. The opportunity however is the conversation that can be initiated with customers once their critical needs have been identified, driving improvement and growth.” Brahmbhatt has high hopes for the industry in the near future. “During the next 12-month period we may see the emergence of customer input into their own meaningful interactions with customers via robotic information gathering applications. Chat bots, live chat facilities with heuristically trained responses and more are set

Social media presents a big oppo

to dominate the industry to ensure that customers are contacted.” Specific trends Looking towards industry specialists, one company that is implementing CRM as a core aspect of its business is Student. com. Attracting over $70mn in investment

800,000 rental opportunities in 400 cities – Student. com’s property footprint


February 2018

ortunity for CRM integration

‘CRM specialists need to learn to optimise and add value to services, translating hard data into softer customer insights to increase conversions’

on the global stage, it has become the largest accommodation marketplace for student housing listing over 800,000 rental opportunities in 400 cities. Sukh Sadhra, the company’s CRM Global Lead, is tasked with optimising the CRM strategy for the business. Highlighting some of the ways this business utilises technology, Sadhra says: “At present, the biggest developments within CRM at are from a customer lifecycle perspective. Our activities are split between welcome campaigns to on-board new customers, re-engaging lost customers, and ad hoc campaigns – which 21


Over 25 years – the amount of time OrderWise has been supplying business management software to clients 22

February 2018

are usually seasonal or around key dates for our business. “As we’re dealing with such a young target audience, social, SMS and email all form part of our regular communications. Last year we had customers from over 130 different countries, and channels can vary across markets. For instance, in China there’s a huge opportunity for CRM activity through WeChat – a multipurpose social app that almost every one of our customers in China use. We need to be present and responsive on this platform if we want to continue to be successful in this region.” As with all digital business, Sadhra has a focus on adapting the strategy to encompass the opportunities presented by emergent technology. “Over the last year or so, a growing number of companies have ramped up their CRM activities to make the most of artificial intelligence (AI) and personalise at a deeper level than ever before. I’ve been most impressed by brands – Adidas is a great example, using automation and AI to optimise funnels as much as possible. Emergent technology allows businesses to become more relevant to their audiences, from

automating email communications and social ads based on customer insights to allowing customers to amend orders through chat bots.” What are the key outcomes defined by the changes in CRM strategy, and is reaping the rewards? “At present, our business objectives for CRM are very much around boosting conversion and driving more of our acquired traffic successfully through the booking journey. Within that, we have by-products such as increasing our volume of repeat customers and referrals. All of this maps further up to a broader objective for the business: bookings via our platform and revenue.” Sadhra acknowledges that businesses like will see their relationships with CRM evolve: “The world of CRM is always changing. I’m confident that there will be a stark contrast between the next five years and the subsequent five. The most important area to look at is people - CRM and marketing specialists. The more businesses invest in automation and AI, the easier it’ll become to scale back on human resources. CRM specialists need to learn to optimise and add 23


“Over the last year or so, a growing number of companies have ramped up their CRM activities to make the most of artificial intelligence (AI) and personalise at a deeper level than ever before” – Sukh Sadhra, CRM Global Lead,

value to services, translating hard data into softer customer insights to increase conversions. “When it comes to, we have a different set of challenges in 2018 and beyond. For us, CRM is crucial to help our main customers through the funnel. Students are a 24

February 2018

complex audience when it comes to media and marketing. When you’re dealing with this many markets, localisation becomes even more important. And it’s not just a case of translating messaging into other languages, but really understanding which channels, content and touch points work best for each market. Automation streamlines our approach, allowing us to truly scale up CRM activities globally.” The impact of new systems OrderWise has been supplying

Improved CRM functionality is leading to improved customer service across many organisations

business management software to UK-based clients for over 25 years. With a focus on creating end to end sales and stock control systems, CRM is a vital aspect of the company’s approach. David Hallam is the Founder and Managing Director of the business. Having recently created a new CRM system for its software, he was keen to share the benefits it has already delivered for customers. “For us and our customers, the integration offered by our new product is the key advantage. Many of our customers had used OrderWise in the past, but had also been using separate third-party CRM systems

to manage customers, creating data transfer challenges, such as time constraints, and inconsistencies within the data. Now, with systems and information in one place, visibility of processes like sales, marketing and lead generation leads to increased management efficiency. “Having the OrderWise CRM in place also means profitability is increased: if customers are paying for multiple systems when they can have it all under one system, it is not cost efficient. A single system is obviously financially advantageous.” Hallam contrasts the new developments to the legacy systems that were previously 25


Effective CRM strategies must be able to respond to rapid technological changes

supporting its customers. “The new CRM we have created is built to work with a simpler, more user-friendly interface. Drag and drop options mean records can be easily moved along to the necessary milestones, with the cards view meaning clear visibility of how orders are progressing. “Another key advantage of the new CRM system is that the OrderWise app mirrors the exact functionality and interface of the desktop system. Those selling in the 26

February 2018

field at face-to-face meetings or at trade shows can track, update and use it in exactly the same way as if they were in the office. With many companies expanding operations and becoming more agile, this is a key feature for a dynamic approach.” What does the future of OrderWise’s CRM strategy look like? “The main challenge with us today, is keeping up with rapidly changing tech trends and the demands of companies placed

on their IT systems. Technology is developing so quickly, simply treading water with the latest innovations is key. We combat this developmental challenge by constantly keeping up a dialogue with customers to remain ahead of the curve. “Remaining reactive to challenges is crucial to any business. If an emerging technology within logistics looks likely to take over, you can be sure that we’re aware of it and are already planning ahead. Sinking

your concentration into one single product can easily see you coming unstuck these days; research and development is therefore one of our priorities, especially when it comes to our CRM system.” As with all current technology trends, it’s clear an adaptive approach underlines product development strategy within CRM. Perhaps one of the most notable changes that is happening on an industry-wide basis is how systems are now leading and dictating the way business communicates. People are now responding more to the needs of the systems as our relationship with technology grows ever more symbiotic, making this a truly exciting time for business and growth 27




What opportunities could deep learning present for business in the coming year? We asked the experts




February 2018

2018 IS SET to be an exciting year for businesses seeking to harness the power of deep learning on their journey towards intelligent enterprise. We have taken a look at some of the challenges to overcome and predictions for its implementation from experts in the field who envision it becoming more practical and useful, automating some jobs and augmenting many others, combining machine learning and big data for fresh actionable insights. A deep learning system is, in short, a multi-layered neural network that learns representations of the world and stores them as a nested hierarchy of concepts many layers deep. For example, when processing thousands of images of human faces, it recognises objects based on a hierarchy of simpler building blocks: straight lines and curved lines at the basic level; then eyes, mouths, and noses; entire faces; and finally, specific facial features. Besides image recognition, deep learning offers the potential to approach complex challenges such as speech comprehension, human-machine conversation, language translation, and vehicle navigation, amongst others. How

can we expect this technology to be implemented in the coming year?

Demystifying Neural Nets “Deep neural networks, which mimic the human brain, have demonstrated their ability to ‘learn’ from image, audio, and text data,” says Anand Rao, Innovation Lead in PwC’s Analytics Group. However, he says that even after deep neural networks have been in use for over a decade, there is still a lot to learn such as how these networks learn and why they perform so well. “That may be changing, thanks to a new theory that applies the principle of an information bottleneck to deep learning,” he says. “In essence, it suggests that after an initial fitting phase, a deep neural network will ‘forget’ and compress noisy data – that is, data sets containing a lot of additional meaningless information – while still preserving information about what the data represents. Understanding precisely how deep learning works enables its greater development and use. For example, it can yield insights into optimal network design and architecture choices, while providing increased 31

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE transparency for safety-critical or regulatory applications.” What, then, can we look out for in 2018? Rao says: “Expect to see more results from the exploration of this theory applied to other types of deep neural networks and deep neural network design.”

Wider application of AI in business Markus Noga, Head of Machine Learning at SAP, is confident that businesses will be able to develop disruptive business models as mature machine learning algorithms develop. He explains: “They will force whole industries to realise that digital transformation is not just trend, but essential to remain competitive. Meanwhile, deep learning is established as the standard machine learning commodity, but will now strive for more efficiency and scalability within the systems”. For this reason, we can expect a lot in the coming year. Noga continues: “We can await further breakthroughs in reinforcement learning and will see academia further adjust to industrial research to ensure their competitiveness.”

AI is going to affect 25% of technology spend going forward

“If 2017 was the year warnings from Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking about the potential evil from AI clashed with predictions from Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates on its potential good, 2018 will be the year when the debate shifts to its practical utility” – Michael Morvan, co-founder


February 2018

and CEO, Cosmo Tech

Neural networks on a smartphone Robinson Piramuthu, Chief Scientist for Computer Vision at eBay, is confident that applications on smartphones will be capable of using AI on a large scale very soon, by running deep neural networks. He adds: “Friendly robots will start to emerge as more affordable and rise as the new platform at home. They will start to bridge vision, language and speech in such a way

that the users will not be conscious about the difference between these communication modalities.�

Adaptation of technology With AI here to stay, must technology adapt or die? Nicola Morini Bianzino, Managing Director of AI and Growth & Strategy Lead of Technology at Accenture, seems to think so. He feels organisations have no choice but to get on board and the only 33



February 2018

question remaining is how to do so. “AI is going to affect 25% of technology spend going forward. The key topic is how organisations and the human workforce will cope with the changes that AI technologies will bring.”

challenges involved, especially from a regulation perspective. “The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) will need to find efficient and streamlined methodologies to vet and approve algorithms that will be used to screen, detect and diagnose disease.”

Artificial intelligence from the lab to the bedside

Smarter personal assistants

In the healthcare industry, AI is set to have a more direct impact on the patient. Safwan Halabi is the Medical Director of Radiology Informatics at Stanford Children’s Health, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. He sees AI developing from the research lab right to the patient’s bedside. Halabi explains: “AI in imaging is reaching the peak of the ‘hype curve,’ and we will begin to see AI-enabled tools translate from the research lab to the radiologist workstation and ultimately the patient bedside. The not so glamorous use cases (for example, workflow tools, quality/safety, patient triage, etc.) for AI evaluation and implementation will start grabbing the attention of developers, insurance companies, healthcare organisations and institutions.” However, Halabi is aware of the

Already we are using personal assistants with some level of artificial intelligence to help us with daily tasks, and Alejandro Troccoli, Senior Research Scientist at NVIDIA feels these tools will only become more prevalent and developed. “Personal assistant AIs will keep getting smarter,” he says. “As our personal assistants learn more about our daily routines, I can imagine the day I need not to worry about preparing dinner. My AI knows what I like, what I have in my pantry, which days of the week I like to cook at home, and makes sure that when I get back from work all my groceries are waiting at my doorstep, ready for me to prepare that delicious meal I had been craving.”

Less reliance on cards Biometrics could also see credit cards 35

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE and driving licenses becoming an archaic method of identification and payment. This is something Georges Nahon, CEO of Orange Silicon Valley and President of global research lab, the Orange Institute, sees as a viable part of our near future. a“Thanks to AI, the face will be the new credit card, the new driver’s licence and the new barcode,” he explains. “Facial recognition is already completely transforming security with biometric capabilities being adopted, and seeing how tech and retail are merging, like Amazon is with Whole Foods, I can see a near future where people will no longer need to stand in line at the store.”

Rise of the chatbots “When it comes to artificial intelligence in 2018, companies will begin to hire individuals who can properly analyse algorithms,” says Timo Eliott, ‘Innovation Evangelist’ at SAP. “We will call these people ‘algorithm whisperers’,” he continues. “Chatbots will be assisting everyone – from being incorporated into mobile phones, to the bricks-and-mortar shopping experience. In the future, all products, services, and business 36

February 2018

processes will be self-improving.”

Cautious steps Despite the hopes harboured for the game-changing potential of deep learning through AI, Michael Morvan, Co-founder and CEO of infrastructure management specialist Cosmo Tech, offers words of warning for 2018: “The AI debate shifts from ‘is it good or evil’ to ‘is it ever going to be good enough’. “If 2017 was the year warnings from Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking about the potential evil from AI clashed with predictions from Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates on its potential good, 2018 will be the year when the debate shifts to its practical utility. Much like other technologies that were lauded for their worldchanging potential and then fizzled as the fog of the hype cleared, early adopters will find themselves disappointed by AI’s obvious limits. The broader public – familiar with Alexa, Siri and Google Home – will be similarly disillusioned as the experts acknowledge that there is only so much AI will be able to do, and for really complex problems, a new paradigm will be needed.”

‘Deep learning offers the potential to approach complex challenges such as speech comprehension, humanmachine conversation, language translation, and vehicle navigation’





Gigabit magazine speaks to Dell EMC’s Server Solutions VP Ravi Pendekanti and AMD’s Enterprise Solutions GM Scott Aylor Writ ten by DAN BRIGHTMORE

CLOUD COMPUTING THE CURRENT COMPUTE location pendulum has been swinging from a centralised to a distributed model, from the cloud to the edge. Navigating this state of flux to deliver trusted and useful data from IoT (Internet of Things) is a challenge all forward thinking businesses must embrace. Dell EMC’s Server Solutions VP Ravi Pendekanti jokes that he’s been “analysing technology advances in the geek world for decades”. It’s this deep, historical insight, going back to the days of the mainframes and all the way up to the latest workloads such as machine learning and deep learning which makes his advice invaluable. Some industry observers suggest the edge will eat the cloud. What does Pendekanti think? “Now this is the beauty of the space we live in. If there is a constant, it’s change. Things keep evolving. The workloads of today change to something dramatically different in the future. If you go back to when the mainframes were the epicentre, you had dumb terminals attached to it and you could talk about it as a centralised environment. Fast forward from there and you have a client server environment, which essentially means 40

February 2018

you have a distributed environment. Fast forward again and you arrive at a cloud world. For me it’s another simple consolidation, and you’re in a centralised environment.” Pendekanti believes IoT is now altering the dynamics of compute location towards the edge and back to a distributed environment. “So, this is how the pendulum swings, driven by the number of devices out there (some analysts estimate north of 50bn).

The beauty of this? Each of those is creating data but research suggests that no more than 2% of the data we collect today is being properly understood and 98% is wasted. When you think of what we want to do as a more connected society, it’s essential we actually pick up that data and start analysing it to ensure we know the interdependencies. This brings us to the edge where IoT is going to go on and provide a whole new

impetus to this thing called cloud.� But there is, of course, the danger of the cloud becoming a fog and that with all the data being compiled and generated there are not efficient enough tools to mine it for actionable insights. Industry observers, and market leaders like Dell, are exploring ways of moving compute and storage closer to where the data is being generated to achieve more useful analysis in real time. To achieve 41



February 2018

‘WHILE THE LIKES OF DELL EMC AND AMD CAN PROVIDE THE BUILDING BLOCKS TOWARDS THE KIND OF TRANSFORMATION THAT CAN REAP THE BENEFITS OF IOT IT ALSO REQUIRES SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS TO BECOME PART OF THE SOLUTION AND ADD THE PHYSICAL IMPLEMENTATION AND CONTROLS REQUIRED’ this the edge is where the cloud will start to move next – closer to the user and producer of data. It’s a path towards a combination where there are distinct algorithms for everything that has to be controlled locally alongside the cloud, where data has to go back and forth. Will the edge just remain a distributed client server environment or will we see peer-to-peer emerge here too? AMD’s Enterprise Solutions GM Scott Aylor works in partnership with Dell EMC and believes it’s not a case of either/or but about harnessing the agility of both approaches. “When you look at some of the things that extending the cloud closer to the edge will bring, the possibilities are endless,” he says. “One of my favourite examples here is the concept of autonomous driving which will need a larger client server relationship to understand traffic patterns, what’s happening globally, where to guide people, rules and

regulations… At the same point in time you will have vehicles that are going to be able to talk to each other. Quite simply, you can’t get up into and out of the cloud fast enough to be able to react to those real-time scenarios. Therefore, I think the future of edge computing will involve elements of both – real-time peer-topeer (for IoT enabled devices) where latency is extremely important. It will also involve taking that trusted and relevant data to the cloud, processing it and then pushing it back to the user such that it can be implemented in a more useful and real way.” Autonomous vehicles will essentially become data centres on wheels so it’s interesting opportunities like these that will change how we think about data centre technologies and prompt companies like Dell and AMD to bring them closer to the user. Aylor agrees the challenge for technology providers is how they deliver the building blocks in a way that meets 43

CLOUD COMPUTING the massive needs of hyper-scale data centres. “We will need to make them safe and secure, providing power consumption to push solutions closer to the edge,” adds Aylor. With new data, hopefully comes new insight. However, in the process businesses leave themselves open with each IoT sensor a potential access point for hackers. How will Dell EMC keep up with the security demands of IoT as the trend ramps? “There are three main tenets we build our servers on,” assures Pendekanti. “One is a scalable business architecture, which ensures we have to scale on any vector. Not just a CPU, we go to scale on memory, on your required drive capacities, on your I/O... Secondly, we use intelligent automations to differentiate between known and unknown elements to allow preemptive preventive action. We still might need manual intervention but, more importantly, we have integrated security built into every server, which directly addresses threats coming in to any organisation, not just external sources, because around 30% of hacks are caused by internal issues.” To combat such threats, Dell EMC 44

February 2018

is offering new integrated security features like server lockdown, which means no-one but the authorised user can make changes to a server’s configuration. “There is an epidemic in the industry today called configuration drifts,” explains Pendekanti. “We have the ability to do server lockdowns within our portfolio, which ensures you’re still able to allow access to a select few who can make those necessary changes. And this is where our partner, in this case AMD, is also working on bringing new technologies integral to security because it cannot be an afterthought and must be taught at the conception phase, all the way to design and implementation.” It’s a belief echoed by Aylor, who sees AMD as a fundamental technology partner to enable innovations like Dell EMC’s PowerEdge products to find a place in the market. “We are building in hardware based security into our products,” he confirms. “We’ve added technologies like Secure Encrypted Virtualisation and Secure Memory Transcription which mean, even if you physically have access to the server itself, we can make the memory in the virtual machines that




February 2018

live in it securely. We focus on that because we want to make security that’s easy to use, as when these processes are cumbersome they inhibit adoption and people simply won’t use them. So, we need to combine the goal of tech that is powerful in its ability to protect and not being an inhibitor to use.” To further meet this goal, AMD is working to ensure these new technologies are set to enhance efforts towards digital transformation by having the ability to be applied to legacy applications that may have been in place for 10-15 years. Both Aylor and Pendekanti believe it’s important for businesses to take a proactive stance. While the likes of Dell EMC and AMD can provide the building blocks towards the kind of transformation that can reap the benefits of IoT, it also requires software developers to become part of the solution and add the physical implementation and controls required. Pendekanti concludes: “We always tell our customers and partners to look at a solution from the perspective of three Ps – product, processes and people. You can have the best product, but if you don’t have the right trained people, it doesn’t help. Likewise, if you have the right people trained and have the right products and you don’t have the right processes you’re prone to fail. So, we focus on the three Ps to ensure we have successful deployment, covering all bases and offering the right price performance and making sure we have the right security built in to help our customers focus on the best performance of their offering.”


TOP 10

TOP 10 CIOs/CTOs Richtopia compiled a list of what it sees as the most influential CTOs and CIOs operating today, based on social media influence and its klout scores, taking into account various metrics from Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, Youtube, LinkedIn and Instagram. We take a close look at the top 10. Written by SAM MUSGUIN-ROWE

TOP 10


A PwC exec, the Belfast born director oversees a whole host of digital transformation programmes from within the UK. A man of extensive experience, McArdle formerly delivered projects to government and private sector firms, as well as those in the tech, media, travel, oil and gas, healthcare and retail sectors. WWW.LINKEDIN.COM/IN/MARKMCARDLE/


A columnist for CIO Online, and recognised among its Top 10 Most Influential CIOs in 2017, Fay spreads his influence across 170 countries and 180 languages, in his global role at ACI Speciality Benefits. With a constant focus on technology, Fay is a vocal advocate of what he calls ‘the Quentin Tarantino method’ – starting each organisational change with the end in mind, with close customer collaboration. TWITTER – @RYANCFAY WWW.LINKEDIN.COM/IN/RYANCFAY/


February 2018

7 OLIVER BUSSMANN With no fewer than eight active job roles, the Swiss supremo has a quarter century’s experience in high tech and financial services, at the likes of UBS, Deutsche Bank, IBM and Allianz. In 2016, Bussmann launched his own company for consultancy, coaching and thought leadership, presumably as there were no remaining conglomerates to work for.



The founder of app security startup Cybric, Kail has a spectacular track record for scalable architectures. With tours of service at Yahoo (as CIO and SVP of Infrastructure) and Netflix (VP of IT Operations) beforehand, his candid industry commentary is lauded on social media, with Kail a regular on Huff Post’s ‘Top 100 Most Social CIOs on Twitter’. TWITTER – @MDKAIL WWW.LINKEDIN.COM/IN/MDKAIL/


TOP 10


Responsible for digital and information system strategy at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Missouri – and numerous organisations as an advisor – unlike most CIOs, David Chou’s work is actually saving lives. A Harvard Business School alumnus, he leads the charge towards the digitisation of healthcare, and believes the system should strive to be more like Amazon. TWITTER – @DCHOU1107 WWW.LINKEDIN.COM/IN/DAVIDCHOUCIO/

5 TIM CRAWFORD The CIO’s CIO, Tim Crawford’s AVOA organisation represents a vast network of Chief Information Officers and executive leaders, with a pledge to segue from traditional to transformative IT. With roles at Konica Minolta, Philips, Stanford University and Knight-Ridder in the rearview, Crawford is a leading authority in all matters relating to cloud computing, data analytics and IoT. TWITTER – @TCRAWFORD


February 2018


Managing Director and Business Development Leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Southwest region, Quindazzi boasts 30 years of industry expertise. With a $900mn business unit under his direct supervision, he consults on all manner of exciting and emerging technologies – from augmented reality, IoT and robotics through to big data, cybersecurity and insurtech. TWITTER – @MIKEQUINDAZZI WWW.LINKEDIN.COM/IN/MIKEQUINDAZZI/

3 MIKE KRIEGER A Brazilian entrepreneur who cofounded Instagram (yet boasts a mere 357,000 followers), Krieger and fellow Stanford grad Kevin Systrom launched the photo-sharing platform in 2010, growing its user base to 30mn prior to Facebook’s famous $1bn buy-out two years later. According to his own LinkedIn profile, Krieger has spent the past few years “scaling the Instagram engineering team into a 50-plus person organisation”. TWITTER – @MIKEYK WWW.LINKEDIN.COM/IN/MIKEKRIEGER/


TOP 10

2 DAVID A. BRAY, PHD An Eisenhower Fellow and Harvard Executive In-Residence, Dr. Bray began working on computer simulations for the US government as a 15-year-old prodigy. Numerous worthy jobs ensued – including at the Department of Defense, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a voluntary deployment to Afghanistan that earned him a NATO Service Medal – before he became the Federal Communications Commission’s CIO in 2013. TWITTER – @CHIEF_VENTURES


February 2018

1 WERNER VOGELS, PHD With the unenviable job description of driving innovation into the planet’s most pioneering company, Amazon’s VP and CTO has a résumé that’s as wide-ranging as his employer. Mandatory service in the Royal Netherlands Army was followed by radiology and computer science studies, before a spate of research roles led him to Amazon in 2004. Vogels is hailed as a key architect of the firm’s revolutionary cloud service. TWITTER - @WERNER WWW.LINKEDIN.COM/IN/WERNERVOGELS/


E V E N T S & A S S O C I AT I O N S

Events The biggest and best events and conferences from around the world‌ Writ te n by A N D R E W WOO DS

E V E N T S & A S S O C I AT I O N S

Mobile World Congress (#MCW18)

Fira de Barcelona, Spain 26 Feb-1 March

The event is billed as the world’s largest mobile world congress with over 100,000 attendees. The MCW also stages the Global Mobile Awards 2018. Speakers will include leading figures from Accenture, BT Group, Deutsche Telecom, Ericsson, IBM, Microsoft and Telefonica. The schedule will cover a diverse program including cyber security, IoT and sustainability. There will be 2,300 exhibitors including VISA, NetNumber, ESET and Parellel Wireless.


February 2018

IOT World, USA

The Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa, USA 7–9 March 500+ senior executives and leading professionals will join in the discussions regarding the 4th Industrial Revolution and how to define the future of the Industrial IoT today. Over 80 international experts will be sharing their expertise on how the industrial IoT is changing every aspect of business as we know it. They will also share experiences, forecast trends in the 4th industrial revolution, present best practices, evaluate best-inclass projects and explain development in recent projects.

EmTech Digital 2018

St Regis Hotel, San Francisco, USA 26-27 March Aimed at senior executives EmTech Digital – organised by MIT Technology – will focus on the dawn of AI and how it impacts every industry. Speakers from IBM, Cambridge University and Google will cover topics including such as: which technologies are making significant progress? How does their commercialisation affect your business? What do you need to know, right now, to stay ahead of the curve?


March 13- 14, 2018 | Berlin

Multiple channels. Multiple customers. One retailer – You.

Our 2018 Speakers Include

Moritz Corbelin

Head of eCommerce Strategy

Martin Wild Chief Digital Officer

Norman Nielsen Head of Content Marketing

Daniel Infanger Vice President International B2C

Rahmyn Kress Chief Digital Officer

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CIO Summit Europe, Europe Paris, France 14-15 March

C-level executives from companies such as PepsiCo, Renault and Barclaycard will be attending CIO Summit Europe, which is a chance for CIOs and IT executives to meet with their technology peers from various industries, including health care, finance, insurance, government, telecom, utilities, education and more. Industry leaders and IT executives from companies such as Philips, UBS, EDF and Shell will be speaking.

CeBIT 2018

Hannover Fairground, Hannover, Germany 11-15 June CeBIT is the largest and most internationally represented computer expo with 100,000-plus attendees and 3,000 exhibitors. CeBIT is a show and a conference programme for professionals that defines the latest trends, presents talks by high-calibre speakers and forwardlooking panel discussions, and showcases product innovations from all over the world. Artificial intelligence (AI) is going to be in the spotlight at CEBIT in June of 2018. “AI is certainly one of the most exciting developments of our times, and one that is on the verge of revolutionizing our personal and professional lives. In fact, AI literally has the potential to change the world – reason enough for it to be featured in a big way at the upcoming CEBIT,” said Oliver Frese, the Deutsche Messe Managing Board member in charge of CEBIT. 61

2nd Annual

6th-7th March 2018, Berlin , Germany

Harnessing the transformative power of IoT for distributed energy resources.

Our 2018 Speakers Include

Rolf Riemenschneider Head of Sector IoT, DG CONNECT, European Commission

Heli Antila CTO, Fortum

Gold Sponsors


Alexandre Torreele Head of Innovation and Strategy, Elia

Christian Buchel Deputy CEO, Enedis

Associate Sponsors

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February 2018

Christian Hahn CEO Hubject GmbH

‘The Webit Festival is the European edition of the Global Webit Series including speakers and representatives from European Commission, WTO and the Global Commission on Internet Governance’ WEBIT Festival Sofia, Bulgaria 26-27 June

The Webit Festival is the European edition of the Global Webit Series including speakers and representatives from European Commission, WTO and the Global Commission on Internet Governance as well as many tech and business leaders. Topics of discussion will include smart cities, cyber security and AI. The winners of the Webit Awards 2018 will also be announced.


NHSBSA Harnessing the power of technology to better patient care Written by Catherine Sturman Produced by Andy Lloyd

Behind the development of new digital tools, the NHSBSA continues to support the healthcare of patients in England and Wales, transforming its services to guarantee the delivery of industry-leading services


stablished in 2006, the National Health Service Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) has centralised a multitude of services under one core umbrella. This includes Citizen Services, (Help with Health Costs and Student Services), Primary Care Services (Prescription Services and Dental Services) and NHS Workforce Services (NHS Pensions and HR Shared Services). The organisation strives to support patients in the daily management of their healthcare needs, embracing new digital tools in order to provide a service that is resilient, seamless and caters for all ages amidst growing consumer demands. “In terms of a transformation, it’s not just around technology. Over the last two years, we recognised that we needed to transform our


February 2018

services to be able to cope with the demand and pressures being placed upon them,” explains NHSBSA’s Chief Digital Officer Darren Curry. “To increase demand for our services and make them more efficient, not just from a cost perspective but through ease of use, access and speed, my role has been to take the organisation on that journey, developing digital services for our users, customers and other NHS organisations.” Seamless services The NHSBSA’s journey has seen its services move towards an increasingly customer-centric model, which has seen it not only transform end to end user experiences, but also the culture of how the organisation views and delivers its services.

Darren Curry Chief Digital Officer

Darren is an experienced transformation leader with 17 years’ experience in the NHS both patient facing and non-patient facing. With a varied breadth of experience and a background including Digital Transformation, Portfolio, Programme and Project Management and Primary Care managing a GP Practice

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NHS BSA RADICALLY TRANSFORMS CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS WITH DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY Digital technologies are changing the way in which clinicians, citizens and patients manage and make use of the UK health system. As a result, this is enabling health enterprises to improve labour productivity, human experiences and allowing clinicians and service workers to broadly apply their knowledge. It is no longer about what technology can do for people but what people can do with technology.

Accenture to bring the full scale of Accenture’s skills and approach. The Digital Factory balances the certainty of a supply of skilled resources, provided in a managed service structure against the need to adapt to changes in demand that come when undertaking ambitious and innovative programmes. Resources and teams are scaled up and down depending on the total number of projects as well as the demands of the project.

The NHS Business Service Authority (NHS BSA) is working closely with Accenture to change the way it interacts with its customers and sharpen its focus on high-quality and high-value interactions across customers and the services it provides. Digitisation is at the core of this ambitious initiative, enabling fundamental changes to how services are currently delivered.

This collaboration is enabling the NHS BSA to continue its digital transformation journey, working alongside Accenture to adapt and scale to meet demand fluctuations over time. Accenture understands the need to evolve with its customers by providing consistent high-quality delivery and harnessing Accenture’s broad range of innovations in supporting its client’s vision. When digital technologies adapt to the people that use it in healthcare—health insurers, providers and consumers—people have the power to define the future of healthcare.

Accenture is currently working with NHS BSA in a flexible model called the Digital Factory. The Digital Factory acts as an entry point into



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‘The Authority will roll out Artificial Intelligence in all of its contact centres to cater to increased patient demand’

“We’ve altered our delivery model to become increasingly agile, where we are looking at our services from a user need perspective and reacting to those changing needs. We have therefore built a strong emphasis upon user research and creative roles in the organisation in order to build services which meet the needs of those users,” Curry says. Adopting a cloud-first hosting model has been instrumental to the growth and improvement of NHSBSA’s services and enabled it to cater towards growing populations and increased demands on its traditional service model. “Our cloud services were developed in partnership with Arcus and Amazon Web Services (AWS),” adds Curry. “This has enabled us to increase flexibility while reducing deployment times so that we’re now deploying multiple releases per month. It’s still less than where we ultimately want to be, but it’s a lot quicker than where we were.” New, digital ways of working have also removed any potential difficulties within traditional, paper led processes and applications, where new digital applications have saved not only time for end users

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and clinicians while driving down costs for the Authority. Additionally, embracing technology has led to an increased public awareness regarding the types of services and support that the Authority can offer. However, testing new services and garnering feedback through consumer engagement has been essential. The implementation of cross-functional teams, where midwives, pharmacists, hospital


February 2018

staff and GP’s have been included in the development of the services provided, has only seen services improve and receive positive feedback across the board. “Developers, project managers, researchers and designers all take these products out and show them to users in real world scenarios in order to improve the access of these services and make them as easy to use as possible,” adds Curry.


When we spoke to users, we were able to redesign certain features, and have seen an increase of approximately 70% in cases where people now complete their journeys online – Darren Curry, Chief Digital Officer

Patient support One such area of extensive positive feedback is how digital tools have raised awareness of the NHSBSA’s Help with Health Costs services. “From user research, we identified a need for users to obtain better visibility of the help with health costs they were entitled to,” notes Curry. “This has traditionally been a paper process, with multiple pages and a lot of understanding needed,

making it quite difficult for some people to access. Through the work that we’re doing, we have made it possible for a user to identify what help with health costs they could get in less than five minutes online. “Some people we spoke with weren’t getting essential treatment because they couldn’t afford it or were not aware that a service existed. We are therefore making our services as accessible as possible,

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in order to make a direct impact.” Working alongside Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) has also seen the NHSBSA develop services which provide analytics to prescribers through its ePACT2 product, a Business Intelligence (BI) tool where data surrounding dispensing trends can help identify emerging trends, but also mitigate particular risks. One area that this has been used is in Polypharmacy, where a patient may be prescribed 10 or more medicines

Some people we spoke with weren’t getting essential treatment because they couldn’t afford it or were not aware that this service existed. We are making our services as accessible as possible – Darren Curry, Chief Digital Officer


at the same time. Indicators can be has been completed, where similar used to identify particular patient technologies seen in Amazon Alexa groups that maybe at more risk and have also been embedded within the enable informed insight to prescribers. Authority’s contact centre operations. “The system allows a CCG to “It’s providing a number of benefits identify trends. It’s predicting these to users. We implemented this in four things and utilising historical data. weeks and went live with an initial You know patients prescribed A and service. However, we also made sure B, but therefore they that patients had the now have an increased opportunity to drop NHSBSA was risk of developing out and speak to an established in X. It has been well operator at any point received,” says Curry. in the process, as we don’t want to force Partner power people to use it,” With growing observes Curry. populations and a “Through this shrinking healthcare budget, patient process, we had a success rate services continue to remain under of over 40% of all customers that strain, leading the healthcare industry called in, where their queries could to continue to look at providing be resolved with the AI which had digital solutions to its customers. been put in place. Whilst users Utilising artificial intelligence (AI), can talk to an operator between the NHSBSA’s contact centre has 7am and 5pm, we’ve got AI on the piloted supporting users in some phone 24 hours, seven days a week. of the most routine questions, This is now set to be rolled out. leading to a drop in wait times and “I’m looking to explore where we an increase in operator availability. can apply that technology further,” Working with Arcus and Amazon, continues Curry. “This will enable our the NHSBSA’s initial proof of concept contact centre operators to speak with


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users who need more support and have complex queries giving people an increased quality of service. “However, whilst we’ve made incremental improvements, it’s difficult to be constantly ahead of new technology and new approaches to delivery, which is one of the key drivers of doing the transformation.” Service improvements Monitoring all user feedback via data analytics, the NHSBSA continues to listen to its customers

in order to develop, enhance and improve its products and services. For example, its prescription prepayment service, where patients with multiple prescriptions are able to obtain a pre-payment service where for a set fee, a patient may get as many prescriptions as they need, which Curry describes as “kind of


2,500 employees


February 2018


a season ticket for prescriptions. “People were originally a bit reticent due to the look and feel of the service and the payment screen associated with it,” observes Curry. “We identified through Google Analytics that people were therefore dropping out at specific points. When we spoke to users, we were able to redesign these features, and have seen an increase of approximately 70% in cases where people now complete their journey online.” Working to build capability Aligned with UK Government ITC strategy to drive innovation and increase efficiencies, NHSBSA is collaborating with established, innovative companies and SME suppliers. Through this, the organisation is increasing selfsufficiency and building capability. One such example is through its partnership with Valtech in the transformation of pension services, supporting the development of the NHSBSA team’s knowledge and skills. Valtech have been supporting NHSBSA since mid-2016, and has

established blended, co-located teams on NHSBSA sites in Fleetwood, Newcastle, and in their own offices in central Manchester. In partnership with Valtech, NHSBSA is delivering a range of new, innovative services within the Digitisation of Pensions, enabling members to manage their pensions more efficiently. From day

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In the future, we’ll get a lot more analytics predicting health issues. People will then address them in advance of them occurring – Darren Curry, Chief Digital Officer

one, a key goal of the engagement has been to establish and grow in-house capability, reducing longterm reliance on suppliers. Working with enablement and delivery experts such as Valtech, NHSBSA is employing the collaborative delivery of business-critical services as a catalyst for digital transformation. “We’re making sure that within these partnerships there is an arrangement to increase knowledge in there,” adds Curry. “It’s as much about leaving a self-sustainable capability and not creating a reliance or dependency as it is about the service. Working with partners such as Valtech on collaborative delivery supports this.” Future improvements With Curry describing the healthcare industry as “a hotbed of innovation,”


February 2018

the emergence of health wearables and products to support patients in the daily management of their healthcare needs will continue to inspire the NHSBSA to develop and deliver exceptional user-focused solutions. “In the future, we’ll get a lot more analytics predicting health issues. People will then address them in advance of them occurring,” concludes Curry. “I think there is a huge opportunity in the joining of social care in the UK. Through the use of technology, we can put the onus of enablement upon the patient or the user to take their health into their own hands. “We are very much on an ongoing road map for all of our services, delivering the transformation and continuing to carry out user research to the benefit of our patients.”


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NFU MUTUAL An IT transformation with the customer at heart Written by Dale Benton Produced by Andy Lloyd


After over a century of market leading, customer focused insurance services, NFU Mutual has embarked on an aggressive reorgnisation of its IT infrastructure

It’s our mutuality which sets us apart,” reads NFU Mutual’s website. “We’re owned and run for you, our 900,000+ members, and we work hard to protect your interests.” NFU Mutual started life in the UK back in 1910 as a means of attracting new union members for the farming community. The farming community is very much the heart of the company, it says as much in its name – the National Farming Union Mutual Society Ltd. Fast forward over a century, and NFU Mutual is a market-leading and award-winning provider of insurance, protection investments and investments not just to the majority of UK farmers, but thousands of other businesses, homeowners and drivers too.

Modernisation Over the course of the company’s


February 2018

long history, it has only been able to achieve its current position through a sustained commitment to its community and its members, but it has been a journey of transformation and modernisation. This is where Tim Mann, CIO at NFU Mutual, comes into play. Recruited in 2010, Mann entered the company to oversee a complete modernisation of NFU Mutual’s IT infrastructure, with the goal to ultimately better serve its customers. It is the company’s belief in the customer, Mann is convinced, that truly separates NFU Mutual from other insurance providers. “The interesting thing about NFU Mutual is it really is a very customercentric business,” says Mann. “I’ve worked in companies previously where they talked about putting customers and shareholders at the top of the list. NFU Mutual really

does do it. We really live it.” This approach to the customer and providing customer service to the highest standard not only drives the business, it is the sole purpose for the modernising of NFU Mutual’s IT infrastructure. When Mann entered the business and was set this transformational task, he carved the entire process into what he describes as three phases.

Phase one: Brilliant Basics For Mann the idea was simple, on the surface at least. “It was a case of getting everything that we already had, our technology and our processes, and making sure it worked and it was reliable,” he says. “And while that does sound simple, it proved to be quite a challenge.” An insurance company lives and dies on its relationship with the

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customer and how it provides an accessible portal or communication between those customers and the company. Brilliant basics was centred on creating a reputation for delivering service. To this end, Mann and his team worked tirelessly to ensure that from top to bottom, the IT function worked exactly as it should. This phase in particular, proved a key turning point in the whole modernisation process. “That’s the heartland of any transformational journey really,” he says. “If you can do that, and prove what you’re doing is successful, then people in any company will start to believe in you and start to trust in technology.” Brilliant Basics may have been the first phase of the process, but Mann is keen to stress that it’s a phase that continues to this day as NFU Mutual still values that promise of service over anything else.

Phase two: Changing the Game The second phase of modernising NFU Mutual’s IT was, once more, focused on what was already in place. Mann set out to use the existing technology to change the way the company does business. “It’s trying to get our systems to do more of the routine work,” he says. “This in turn allows our people to do that very special thing that they are good at, that no one else can do.”


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“I’ve worked in companies previously where they talked about putting customers and shareholders at the top of the list. NFU Mutual really does do it. We really live it” TIM MANN CIO, NFU MUTUAL w w w. g i g a b i t m a g a z i n e . c o m



in technology or large technology Phase three: Changing the Rules projects,” he says. “People found In changing the rules, NFU Mutual is it hard to see where we were going researching, exploring and investing to get returns on our investment. in new ways in which the company “Over the last seven years, people writes insurance through technology. in the business have become But as Mann points out, it’s a more confident, leading to more phase that will take some time. investment in technology and more “We are spending a little programmes and projects. It’s more time getting into really exciting right now.” changing the rules The second key and the insurance challenge for Mann writing process,” and NFU Mutual is he says. “And if partner relationships. I’m honest, this will When Mann first The year that be a continuously joined NFU Mutual, NFU MUTUAL evolving phase as the company had an was founded technology will only outsourcing contract continue to advance.” that was failing to add Naturally, with any true value to the business. transformational process, it’s never This was very much the first action going to be completely plain sailing. that Mann took, exiting that contract To redefine and transform the core safely and working with new partners. components of a business, there are But the challenge lay in finding of course going to be challenges and the right partners, ones that had hurdles that need to be cleared. the capabilities to keep up with For Mann, first and foremost, NFU Mutual’s ambition. In fact, there was a cultural challenge. Mann feels that this is still one of “In the beginning, there wasn’t any the biggest challenges he faces confidence with regards to investing on a daily basis, even now.


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“We like to know what’s important to our partners. We know what’s important to us, and meeting customers’ expectations in their moment of truth is key” TIM MANN CIO, NFU MUTUAL


February 2018

The way that the company handles this challenge is by looking to partner with companies that share the same value and approach to customer service. “I don’t want to use the slightly clichéd phrase of same culture, but we certainly seek partners that share our values,” says Mann. “We like to know what’s important to our partners. We know what’s important to us, and meeting customers’ expectations in their moment of truth is key.” “So, while shared values about customer service and intent are quite important to us, we also ask what their plans are, are they heading in the same direction as us.” It is this approach to customer service and partners that has seen NFU Mutual strike a strong relationship with one of its biggest

partners, Guidewire, to implement one of its biggest technology platforms, ClaimCenter. ClaimCenter is an end-to-end claims management solution that supports all lines of personal and commercial insurance. Through ClaimCenter, NFU Mutual will be able to utilise automated technology to strengthen its focus on customers, increase operational efficiency and reduce loss costs. The solution is currently a work in progress, with NFU Mutual looking to build the software into its IT function in two releases – motor insurance, and then household and commercial. “Release one [motor] is the most straightforward but equally it’s also the biggest volume of claims that we handle,” says Mann. “We will follow that up with household and commercial claims. We won’t be able to tell right away, but we will monitor the data that comes out of that implementation and see just how our customers respond to it.”

Customer focused

NFU’s modernisation has been driven by a customer focus infrastructure has been all about, and Mann is determined that the future of the company will be built on that very customer focused foundation. So, what next for NFU Mutual? After a century of continuously delivering award-winning, unrivalled insurance services, and with an internal IT infrastructure to back it up, where will Mann and the company go next? “The last bit of our modernisation journey will see us look at our back-end systems,” says Mann. “Of course, it all depends on where the business is going, but I can say for certain that as a company, no matter where we go or what we do, we will continue to be there for our members. “That is all that really matters.”

That customer focus is what the modernisation of the company’s IT

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Driving transformation at the DVLA Written by Fran Roberts Produced by Richard Durrant

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is an executive agency, sponsored by the UK’s Department for Transport. Located in Swansea for over 50 years, the agency is now in the middle of an exciting IT transformation programme


ver the years the DVLA has embraced modern technology, moving many of its services online. For example, driving licences can be applied for or details amended online, rather than using a paper form. Such digital transformation continues to this day through the DVLA Strategic Plan 2017 to 2020, which lists both moving to more agile and cloud based services, alongside online processes for notifying a medical condition, in its priorities. “DVLA spends over £300mn a year on goods and services. It spends a lot more on goods and services than it does on staff, which is unusual in the public sector,”


February 2018

advises Andrew Falvey, Commercial Director. “My team manages around 300 contracts – about 250 of which are IT contracts, along with 2,500 data sharing contracts and 250 agreements with other government bodies. The biggest category we have in terms of spend is IT. “We’ve got 15 fully MCIPS qualified staff and another 20 staff being trained to this level at the moment. Overall we have about 68 staff in commercial roles in my Directorate.” MISSION CRITICAL With 45mn driver records stored in its systems, IT is fundamental to the DVLA. “They are mission critical,” Falvey comments. “If our systems


Andrew Falvey Commercial Director

Andrew Falvey joined DVLA in 2010 as Head of Commercial Services, moving to become Assistant Director (Commercial) in 2012. He became Commercial Director in May 2015

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Ricoh partners with the DVLA to deliver digital transformation. The Ricoh Commercial & Industrial Printing Team has been a long term partner of the DVLA Output Services Group. Thirty years ago we were the provider of high-speed mainframe printers, today we are a systems integrator and technology enabler providing workflow solutions that have underpinned and evolved with the DVLA operation for almost 20 years. Ricoh (formerly InfoPrint Solutions) was at the forefront of the drive in the UK to turn the Gartner Automated Document Factory concept into a practical reality. DVLA was among our first customers to embrace both the concept and the Ricoh approach. Our earliest workflow implementation successfully focussed on the secure production of DVLA’s array of paper-based products. The tracking of data, logical pages, physical pages, documents and envelopes all ensured that driving licences and tax discs were accurately delivered to the intended recipient. When the DVLA introduced its new photo card driving licence, a highly competitive tender process showed that it made clear sense to build on the system already in place – evolution, not revolution. The security, reliability and availability of the system was already proven. What needed to be proved next were scalability and flexibility. The system

was extended to provide DVLA with two unique capabilities: a secure stock control system and a new class of output device – a laser engraver. Every UK Driving Licence has a unique identifier built into it during the base card manufacturing process and the enhanced system tracks every card through the manufacturing process: booking cards into and out of a secure vault; matching a driver to a unique card number; engraving data and image onto each card; matching the finished licence with the correct paper carrier prior to enveloping; providing an audit trail for every card for every step of the process and finally feeding other DFT systems with any necessary production data. Having set the benchmark for secure licence production, the Output Solutions Group was confidently able to use the same technology to offer additional services both within the DVLA and externally to other Government departments. Consequent evolutions have seen the introduction of other digital technologies on the same workflow platform. Smart Tachograph cards and Biometric Residency Permits both now emerge from the same production system and both contain a chip for encoded personalised information. Secure card production is now a key offering for DVLA.

In meeting stringent Home Office requirements for tracking and audit for the Biometric Residency Permit, the DVLA production facility has shown itself equipped to meet the demands of even the most exacting customers. The recent migration to Ricoh’s latest generation of workflow software has positioned the DVLA ready for another decade and for the adoption of other new digital technologies. Building on tried and trusted technology, Ricoh Process Director is the result of over 20 years of research and development into workflow and process automation. There is no doubt that other physical products produced by OSG will evolve to include more digital content and Ricoh Process Director will continue to be the core enabler that facilitates the expansion of digital, but in a secure and managed way. Ricoh is delighted that the strong and close partnership with the DVLA is now set to move into a fourth decade. We look forward to continuing to work together to design, develop and deploy solutions that handle the complexities of mission critical communication in a fast changing world. Ricoh and DVLA share a passion for excellence and innovation and that shared passion has been the cornerstone of our partnership and our joint success.

Target provides DVLA award winning Direct Debit solution for vehicle tax payments in just eighteen weeks Target designed and implemented a solution for The DVLA that enables consumers to pay their vehicle tax by Direct Debit. Three years on, the service has been used by more than 17 million drivers to set up 40 million Direct Debit mandates and has collected over £5bn in revenue, including £156m in a single day. Reliable as well as popular, it has been an important element of DVLA’s ongoing “Simpler, Better, Safer” strategy and helped DVLA increase its digital take-up. In 2016, Target secured a new contract to continue to manage the system for a further two years. Simple, quick and efficient: since the DVLA launched its online vehicle tax renewal service in 2006, it has become recognised as an exemplar amongst the public sector web services; and helped position DVLA as pioneers of government digital transformation. 17 million users Just 18 weeks after Target was brought in, the solution went live and was met by huge demand. The reliability of the solution, added to its simplicity from the user perspective, has meant that Direct Debit has become a preferred payment method for over 17 million customers.

The solution A secure online system, interfacing with BACS; and the provision of a contact centre solution serviced by DVLA agents. The results • 17 million customers have paid by Direct Debit • £5bn worth of Direct Debits collected – including £156m on a single day in 2017 • 24x7x365 service availability • High levels of customer satisfaction

Rohan Gye, Vehicles Service Manager, DVLA commented: “From the user perspective, Direct Debit has been a major success for us, we want to make paying vehicle tax as simple and convenient as possible in a way that suits them. With the support of Target we are pleased to offer millions of motorists the choice of paying vehicle tax by Direct Debit in annual, six monthly or monthly instalments”

The DVLA’s collection service is now one of the largest in the country in terms of both the number of customers and the revenue generated. Savings and satisfaction As well as the benefits to customers, the service has also helped the DVLA meet other financial and strategic targets such as increasing digital take-up. Target has continued to work closely with the DVLA to optimise and continuously improve the service. That combination of innovation and service helped the solution win Best Online Payments Solution (Consumer) at the 2016 Payments Awards.

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ABOUT US Target are a leading business services provider in lending, investments and insurance creating value for clients through digital, customer journey, outsourcing and operational transformation. Our aim is to transform the way you service your clients. Target is proudly part of the $4.5bn global organisation Tech Mahindra, a global leader in IT solutions, BPO, business consulting services & digital technologies with operations in over 90 countries and 112,000 employees worldwide.


at DVLA go down then about 4,000 long-term supply contracts with IT people stop work, so availability suppliers. We’ve also got a very big is huge, resilience is massive. cloud transformation programme Supporting that is very important. going on as well,” explains Falvey. The challenge we’ve got is the age of our IT systems, they are dated legacy MAJOR MILESTONES systems. We’re six months into a The move away from big IT contracts transformation programme to move has been a major change for the away from these legacy systems, DVLA in recent years. “One of the and to totally re-engineer major milestones for DVLA and re-architect our has been insourcing our IT IT. Supporting function, which was back DVLA SPENDS that is a massive in 2015. We insourced priority for our IT over 300 people, commercial team.” which followed the As the largest end of a long-standing A YEAR ON GOODS category within the IT contract. That created AND SERVICES commercial directorate, a great deal of work for around 25 employees the commercial team, in are entirely dedicated to IT. The terms of novating and insourcing all DVLA has moved away from big IT the contracts that were part of the contracts. It has some enterprise outsourced contract,” Falvey advises. agreements with companies like IBM “We ran a commercial project and Oracle, but the vast majority for 18 months to do that, and of its IT contracts now are two successfully managed to insource years in length, which is following or novate around 180 contracts. GDS (Government Digital Service) I think the perception was that guidelines. “We’re moving, as when we insourced we’d have much as we can, into open source fewer IT contracts, but of course to get away from being locked into when you insource you’re


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suddenly in charge of all aspects of IT. Therefore, everything – from licences, support and maintenance, hardware, software, resourcing, contracting – comes in-house. So, that’s been a big change for us in the last couple of years.” For this project, the team won the award for the Best Public Procurement Project in 2016 at the CIPS (Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply) Supply Management Awards, and the GO Award for Best Contract Management Initiative in 2015/16. BEST IN CLASS This is not the only area in which the DVLA has won an award recently. The agency won the Skills Award at the 2017 Civil Service Awards for its CLASS programme. “I’m very committed to learning and development, and we’ve been running for the last couple of years a programme for upskilling and developing our staff. We call it CLASS, which is an acronym for ‘commercial leadership and skills support’. The CLASS programme’s


February 2018

been very successful,” states Falvey. “We’ve got staff doing professional exams with CIPS, and we’ve developed our CLASS programme, which aims to complement formal CIPS training and includes practical learning modules and workbased projects. We’ve also got a mentoring programme, which is more informal, and staff take-up of this has been excellent.” As with the IT contracts, CLASS is run entirely in-house by the DVLA. “We have done that all ourselves, that’s why we’re very proud of it, because it was devised, developed and designed by my staff, working with colleagues around DVLA,” Falvey explains. A GROW-YOUR-OWN PHILOSOPHY For people living in southwest Wales, the home of the DVLA, employment opportunities are often challenging to come by. Indeed, according to StatsWales, Swansea has an employment rate of 67.9%, making it within the bottom three areas within Wales. As such, staff tend to


stay with an employer for a number of years, making it even more important that the Agency invests in its employees and encourages continuous training and professional development. “We’ve very much got a grow-your-own philosophy. We do advertise jobs externally and we have brought in some external people but it’s relatively light. The great majority of our people have been developed and trained, and come through the ranks. I think that reflects the employment situation around here. There aren’t a lot of qualified procurement professionals around, and the ones who are, are working for other bodies and not necessarily able or willing to move,” Falvey advises. The DVLA employs over 5,000 people and is one of the largest employers in the region. “I’ve been here the last seven years, and we’ve

Working at the DVLA

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DVLA is based in Swansea, Wales


February 2018


lost very few staff. I think we’ve lost about three, maybe four professional, qualified staff in the last seven years, one of whom has come back to us, which is interesting. We’re adopting very much a grow-your-own, develop our own philosophy,” Falvey adds. Optimising operations A further significant project undertaken by DVLA Commercial has been around category management. “We completed a project over six months, called

Optimise, and that realigned our category management and restructured our teams to make sure that we were geared up to support the business. That’s been quite a big change,” Falvey comments. “We’ve run category management for some time, but this was updating it and refreshing it, and making our resource planning sharper, so that we’re better geared up for the inevitable peaks and troughs that go with the work. We’re

“If our systems at DVLA go down then about 4,000 people stop work, so availability is huge, resilience is massive” – Andrew Falvey, Commercial Director

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also involving senior colleagues more, which is improving internal business relationships.” Optimise, too, was a project where the staff at the DVLA took full control and ran it in-house. “I’m really proud that my staff have managed to do these things with little or no external support. I think that’s part of what makes the improvements even more significant, that we haven’t brought in armies of consultants, or teams of contractors to help us, we’ve done this ourselves,” Falvey says. A SIGNIFICANT INCOME GENERATOR Whilst the registration and licensing of both drivers and vehicles is what the DVLA is best known for, DVLA Commercial is involved in a much wider array of activities. “We undertake selling of our services. DVLA offers services to other parts of government. We produce cards for the Home Office for example. We also produce cards used by the freight industry. We undertake printing for other parts of government – we’re doing printing for GDS Notify, for example,” Falvey observes. “I’ve got a small team that handles where DVLA offers its services across government, or to other public bodies.” Personalised registrations are another area in which DVLA Commercial is involved. “We sell registration marks, which is an unusual activity in government. We’ve got a commercial website and I’ve got a small team that manages that as well, and that brings in about £100mn a year, so


February 2018

Registration and licensing of both drivers and vehicles is what the DVLA is best known for


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Outside DVLA’s main HQ in Swansea


February 2018

it’s a significant income generator,” states Falvey. That money goes to the Treasury, not to the DVLA. “It’s another interesting aspect of commercial activity at DVLA, which is one of the reasons I wanted to join, to be honest, because it’s never less than interesting,” continues Falvey. “When you talk to people, they assume that we’re the driving licence people, and we are, and you get your vehicle log book as people call it, the V5, from us as well. But as you can imagine, behind that there’s a lot of contracting, and a lot of goods and services to be procured.” SOLID DELIVERY Naturally, the ongoing transformation programme will be a key focus for the DVLA over the next few years, and the Agency has a strong sense of direction looking ahead. “It’s going to

take us a couple more years until we get to where we really want to be. But we’ve got a roadmap for where we want to go, and we want to become a multi-channel business, and I think we’re well on the way. I think what DVLA’s done in the last couple of years is start to build a reputation as one of the more solid delivery parts of government,” Falvey concludes.

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Power distribution made simple Written by Laura Mullan Produced by Lewis Vaughan

As a global leader in mission critical power distribution solutions, Universal Electric Corporation has provided energy intensive industries with the most flexible, reliable, and customisable overhead power distribution system on the market – Starline Track Busway


n today’s energy-intensive world, companies rely on power that is on-demand with no downtime. As a global leader in power distribution systems, Universal Electric Corporation (UEC) has made it its mission to make that happen. Over its 85-year history, the Pennsylvania-based company has grown to become a global leader in power distribution equipment thanks to its world-renowned brand of Starline products, including its four main product lines: Track Busway, Plug-in Raceway, Critical Power Monitor (CPM) and DC Solutions. By manufacturing innovative electrical power solutions tailored to the specific needs of its clients, the company has earned a reputation for excellence whilst providing the


February 2018

data centre, retail, healthcare, higher education, and industrial markets with bespoke power solutions. Mathew George, EMEA and SW Asia Sales Director at UEC, believes that it is the brand’s technological ingenuity and customer commitment which differentiates it from its competitors.

Bespoke solutions “The reason why we have grown markedly over the last 30 years is that we offer customisable solutions to every customer through our Starline product line,” he says. “We build everything unique for our customer. In fact, last year alone, we had three thousand SKU numbers of different tap-off configurations. We are one of the only companies in the market who can deliver that level of service


Mathew George

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and that’s what makes us unique.” The Starline brand was first created when the company’s owner Donald Ross Jr. had the idea of creating a smartly-designed, stationary, yet flexible overhead power supply system. This idea soon morphed into Starline Track Busway, one of the industry’s leading overhead electrical power distribution systems.

State-of-the-art design Using a patented u-shaped copper design, the Track Busway system is a simple, versatile, fast, and economical solution for supplying power to electrical loads. Tested to the best short-circuit rating in the market, the busway system distributes electricity with greater ease and flexibility which can be critical for energy-intensive companies. Thanks to its unique u-shaped copper design, there is constant tension that ensures a continuous, reliable connection to power. It also features an open channel system with a continuous access slot. This means that power can be tapped at any location, making it an ideal solution for sites that are looking to expand or have the ability to change layouts.

Maintenance-free “From my perspective, another unique aspect of Starline is that all our joints are bolt-free,” adds George. “This means that the busway is maintenance-free compared with traditional busways, where there are nuts and bolts in every joint. With traditional busway systems you need to do regular maintenance and they will need to shut down power. However, with Starline, it’s a maintenance-free system where you do not need to shut down the power. There’s no downtime and so the equipment really enhances the reliability of the whole power chain.” Sustainability is one of the most pressing issues that is driving today’s data centres towards change and innovation. The Starline product line is meeting this challenge face on by investing heavily in state-of-the-art metering technology, including in-house metering that allows customers to measure their energy at the point of use. That way, customers know how much power they consume, how much they spend, and how they could make potential savings.

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An international brand It is the company’s technological ingenuity and smart design strategy that has helped to propel Starline as an international brand. Over the last eight decades, the company has successfully expanded its international presence and has opened offices, worked with partners, and served customers all across the globe. “Within a year and a half, we have overgrown our existing UK facility and have had to move into a facility which is eight times larger,” notes George, explaining the burgeoning market. “The European market was lagging in its take up of the busway but now it has substantially adopted the Starline product line as the default power distribution equipment. We are quite excited about the opportunities in the region, and that’s why we’re investing in new factories so that we can offer a quicker response time and more local support to our customers. “We are also seeing more and more data centres being built in Asia, Africa and the Middle East and that’s the reason why we’re expanding in this region too,” he adds. “It has been a great opportunity for us because we have noticed this trend a long time ago, and so we invested heavily in listing to local standards in Asia and abroad.”

Quality and safety Driven by a commitment to customer service, quality and safety are two of the key principles that underline

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everyday business at Universal Electric Corporation. As a result, every product is rigorously tested to the best quality and safety standards across the globe. By upholding itself only to the highest of industry standards, UEC has cemented itself as a leading player in the industry with a promising foothold in Europe, Asia, and beyond. “More and more data busways are being installed on a global scale, and our main clients expect the same quality of the product irrespective of which part of the world they go into - that’s something that only Starline offers,” observes George. “We are capable of meeting any global client’s requirements and we have local support in almost every country in the world, that’s what makes us unique.”

Constant, reliable power With over 85 years of industry expertise, Universal Electric Corporation has grown from an American company to a global giant with factories, offices, and customers in every corner of the world. Thanks to its commitment to product quality and customer value, the organisation has


February 2018

guaranteed that businesses will have the critical power they need for dayto-day operations. For energy-intensive markets, where power supplies can make or break the integrity of a brand, it’s a notable promise. “When data centre operators spend millions of pounds investing in their power chain to ensure that they have a reliable energy supply, people often forget that the final distribution portals play a big and important role,” reflects George. “Through our Starline brand, we have designed a product where you could install the plug-in when the product is live, compared with standard industrial busway where the power needs to be shut down to install a tap-off. We ensure that companies have on-demand power with no downtime and that is critical for today’s businesses.”


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Written by Fran Roberts Produced by Denitra Price


Benji Green (Left) and Fred Hayes (Right)

AVAYA IS A RECOGNISED INNOVATOR IN BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS. THE COMPANY ALSO APPLIES INNOVATION TO ITS OWN PROCESSES, INCLUDING AN IMPRESSIVE TRANSFORMATION OF ITS SUPPLY CHAIN OPERATIONS IN RECENT YEARS “Over the time I’ve been here, there’s been a radical transformation in our supply chain across many areas. Today, we are a best in class supply chain on all 11 metrics that we benchmark against externally.” These are the words of Benji Green, Avaya’s Senior Director, Integrated Supply Chain Planning & Operations. “It’s been an amazing transformation,” he continues. “I feel very lucky to have been part of it, but also proud to have had a hand in driving it.” 120

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As a global leader in delivering superior communications experiences, Avaya provides the most complete portfolio of software and services for multi-touch contact centre and unified communications offered on premise, in the cloud, or as a hybrid. Today’s digital world centres on communications enablement, and no other company is better positioned to do this than Avaya. As such, the company needs to constantly transform and improve to maintain its leading position. Avaya’s supply chain transformation to best-in-class has been a global, multi-year strategic initiative based on targeted investments in people, processes and partnerships directed towards a clear vision to be the very best. Fred Hayes, Senior Vice President of Supply Chain, clearly defines its vision to “Exceed employee and customer expectations while fuelling profitable growth.” This vision drives every decision the team makes. IN THE BEGINNING Avaya’s supply chain has not always been industry-leading, far from it. “In the beginning, it was tough,” says Green. “12-hour days, hair

on fire supply constraints, excess inventory, completely manual processes, imbalanced supplier terms and conditions, poor cash to cash. You name it, it was bad. It was hard to imagine becoming best-in-class at the time.” Nine years ago, Avaya’s supply chain was considered one of the biggest obstacles to companywide performance. Hayes recalls: “Just to give you an example, at one point before I had started, the Chief Executive Officer at that time in an all hands meeting apparently made some reference to Avaya having the worst in class supply chain on the planet.” There was a long way to go to reach the best-in-class vision and Fred knew it began with the team. Avaya needed world class talent, with the right attitude, immersed in the right culture to deliver world class results, and this became Fred’s first priority. TALENT AND CULTURE Avaya began by making substantial investments to attract, train, and retain the best and brightest candidates. The talented team at Avaya was built and developed over several years and it w w w. g i g a b i t m a g a z i n e . c o m



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started when Avaya hired Jim Chirico as COO. “He began the process, first hiring Fred Hayes as Head of Supply Chain. We targeted proven talent outside of the telecommunications industry that had the functional expertise and leadership to transform the culture and organisation. I was part of that initial team that was recruited to help lead the transformation,” reflects Green. Over the first year, Fred built an entirely new supply chain leadership team, each hired for specific expertise. “We completely overhauled the team, from logistics and warehousing to order management, to planning, to procurement. Each leadership hire was a critical part of the transformation strategy,” describes Hayes. The new leadership team embraced the vision and the mandate to become best-in-class. In turn, each leader made a commitment to drive cultural transformation for their team across all levels. This has been fundamental to driving the business forward. “It is about having the right attitude, the attitude of empowerment for the employee, the expectation of delivering continuous transformation, delivering on commitments, delivering 124

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results,” notes Green. “That includes leadership that is willing to take risks, that supports and promotes taking risks, is not afraid of making a change to improve the business.” To make sure the right attitude and culture permeates the organisation, Avaya leverages a robust HR talent management program, top to bottom, as well as an employee engagement process. For Avaya, the performance management system is a critical way to create a culture that engages employees and attracts people who will contribute to the team’s success. Avaya sets clear expectations and rewards the high performers. Employee compensation, bonuses and opportunities for promotion are all tied to robust and clearly defined performance metrics. Green summarises: “What that does, by definition, is retain high performers and drives everybody to better and better results. “The flipside of this type of culture is that we also consistently let go of our lowest performers. We give significantly larger bonuses to the highest performing employees, we give no bonuses to low performing employees,


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Avaya Oceana intelligent software tracks and analyses behavior, enhancing the customer experience and the lowest performers typically will be worked out within a year. What that does, by definition, it retains high performers and drives everybody to better and better performance.” Employee engagement is another key to culture development as it’s one of the single best predictors of employee retention and productivity. “We actually use an employee engagement survey, which is a crossindustry survey that measures the employee engagement across four key variables. Our employee engagement has gone up 60% over the last six

years. They are happier because the culture is very clear, the expectations are very well defined,” observes Green. A final piece of the talent puzzle has been Avaya’s university engagement program, created to attract and quickly develop young talent. “We have a strong new graduate program. We bring in fresh talent out of a top university system and put them through a multi-year, multi-position, multi-organisational rotation program,” states Green. “We’re bringing in new talent with academic pedigree. Most of them w w w. g i g a b i t m a g a z i n e . c o m



have come in already Lean Six Sigma trained and certified through a green belt program. We’re immediately throwing them into the rotation program, immediately requiring them to do projects. You start with every new employee driving that culture.” With the right team and culture, Avaya began to transform. “What will happen, in my experience, in that type of culture and that type of environment, is you will naturally build very systemic processes that constantly improve and reinforces the behavior.” MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS Hayes and the new leadership team began to create a robust management system obsessed with achieving best-in-class standards. At the management systems’ core are continuous improvement, metric management, and globalisation. Stemming directly from and reinforcing the supply chain culture, the leadership team developed multiple continuous improvement programs. As an example, Avaya’s supply chain has a formal project management office with Lean Six Sigma black belt certified project managers, prioritising and 128

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driving the biggest and most important opportunities. Frank Carbone, Director of Supply Chain Strategy and business lead for the Project Management Office, says: “This dedicated team of supply chain architects, senior program managers and data management experts have helped deliver the ‘key game changers’ for our supply chain. The team’s focus is to drive positive change every day. Their leadership, expertise, collaboration, passion and drive champion a continuous improvement culture at Avaya.” “Additionally, we have an ongoing Lean Six Sigma training program that is available to any employee who wants to submit their name to it and has a project they can prove has a clear return on investment and is warranted for the company. That’s good for the employee and good for the company,” Green observes. “Continuous improvement is a culture and a process.” Metric management leverages the HR performance management process to ensure every employee’s individual objectives are successfully tied to the organisational, and that company objectives and are clearly

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defined and measurable. It answers two fundamental questions: Are the employees’ objectives meaningful to the organisations’ objective? And, can the company measure the organisational objectives to ensure it delivers best-in-class? “We very clearly define our objectives at the start of every year and we very consistently measure each of those objectives,” Green explains. “I have a customer satisfaction metric for on-time ship. I don’t look at it once a quarter or

once a month – I look at it every single week. Not only what it was last week, but what I think it’s going to be for the next three weeks. It’s a very micro and robust focus on the objective that’s disseminated to all the employees, from the part-time employees all the way up to the CEO. They’re all linked to company objectives,” Green details. The Avaya supply chain measures and reports over 100 metrics, each discretely aligned with four pillars: customer satisfaction, employee


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Avaya Unified Communications seamlessly integrates across multiple devices, on the go or in the office satisfaction, cash to cash and supply chain expense. By rigorously tracking these metrics, Avaya is confident it is on track to realise its vision. Globalisation is a simple idea organise and streamline distributed organisations and processes into easier, centralised, more automated workflows managed by the best talent globally. “The benefits are huge. It reduces headcount. It reduces redundancy. It recognises talent. It drives process efficiency. It takes the best of each sub-process to create 132

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the ‘best’ process applied globally,” states Green. Avaya’s supply chain reorganised into global teams focused on core processes: a global demand and supply planning team, a global logistics team and a global strategic procurement team. “We streamlined and flattened the organisation, reduced headcount, improved accountability, and expanded responsibility for our top talent. Simultaneously we collapsed disparate processes into one best-in-class process.” One notable example is Avaya’s


implementation and expansion of RapidResponse (RR), a Gartnerrecognised magic quadrant tool from Kinaxis for supply chain planning and collaboration. Over a five-year period, Avaya migrated its business processes onto the single platform. It was initially used only for supplier communication, before being expanded to include supply planning, demand planning, inventory planning, inbound and outbound logistics planning, procurement spend analysis, POS analytics and much more. “We do everything from daily supply assurance and revenue risk to strategic product transitions on rapid response,” explains Green. Central to globalisation, RR allowed for extensive automation of non-value added work, standardisation of processes across multiple MRP instances, products portfolios, and regional variations. The tool, properly managed, has globalised Avaya’s planning and operations processes and organisation and helped deliver dramatic improvements and sustainable performance. STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS “I think the third piece of the puzzle

has been our consistent and persistent systemic strategy to really align our strategic supply base,” Green notes. In every area, from procurement to manufacturing, to software and service providers, Avaya has reduced the supply base, leveraging global providers and invested in longer term relationships with industry expertise. Green explains: “We consolidated the manufacturing environment across a couple of really key suppliers – Wistron and Flextronics – for large volume contract manufacturing. We’ve leveraged Avnet’s in-region capabilities with their global reach for our more complicated, higher costs, build-toorder portfolio. We’ve also centralised around some key component suppliers like DSPG for chips and Tianma for LCDs, as examples.” These close relationships allow Avaya to have much better working relationships, including dedicated teams to work with each supplier for day to day operations, accelerating decisions and tighter operational controls. Both improve manufacturing readiness, quality control, allocation and freight decisions, build prioritisation and more. In logistics and warehousing, Avaya w w w. g i g a b i t m a g a z i n e . c o m



has partnered with a few key providers as well, investing IT and resources to enhance and automate processes while reducing costs and consolidating spend. CEVA Logistics and Crane World Wide are contracted global logistics providers with close working relationships. Avaya gets controlled rates and predictable availability while suppliers get consistent, predictable volume and revenue. Choice Logistics has managed the majority of Avaya’s 180 maintenance locations for over 10 years, providing small stocking locations, warehousing, and final

mile delivery. Similarly, Geis has provided provisioning and maintenance warehousing and fulfilment. Avaya has leveraged Geis’ WMS expertise to automate replenishment, order fulfilment, export documentation, and more for all of Avaya’s Europe, Middle East, and Africa operations. Similarly, Avaya has partnered with the best-in-class software and services providers including for CRM, Baxter for maintenance planning, Coupa for spend management, Luxoft and Mera for outsourced engineering and research

Avaya Scopia business conferencing optimizes collaboration and is always on demand


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and development, and Sutherland for low cost, outsourced, but high skilled managed labour. Sutherland has also been a critical software provider, integrating solutions with Avaya’s ERP for the very complicated reverse logistics tracking space. Such relationships are invaluable to Avaya. “We outsource more and more to functional expertise and we’ve consolidated and built strategic relationships with those supply partners. You develop relationships built on trust that maximise results for both parties,”

observes Green. “Suppliers have been happier with us because they also see the value created through strategic long-term partnerships.” DELIVERING SUCCESS “There is an absolute focus on delivering success,” Green continues. “For us, success is best-in-class and we knew that from day one. There is very intense focus on the metrics, understanding what we had to do to our expense structure, to our people structure, to our customer satisfaction metric to make sure we were delivering

“WE’RE ACTUALLY SPENDING A LOT OF OUR TIME DRIVING THE CULTURAL AND OPERATIONAL SUCCESS WE’VE HAD IN SUPPLY CHAIN TO OTHER ORGANISATIONS” – Benji Green, Senior Director, Integrated Supply Chain Planning, Avaya w w w. g i g a b i t m a g a z i n e . c o m




This is Avaya


February 2018

best-in-class to both our customers and our employees and fuelling profitable growth.” Avaya’s supply chain has delivered undeniable results. Recently recognised by Aberdeen, Avaya exceeded industry benchmark best-in-class performance on all 11 metrics it tracks externally. The company has reduced supply chain expense by $125mn per year, equivalent to a 50% reduction, and driving down expense to only 3.8% of revenue versus 4.4%. Similarly, Avaya has reduced its cash tied up in net inventory by 94% to $181mn. That’s resulted in a 224% improvement in inventory turns from 5.8 up to 13.0 turns. Simultaneously, customer satisfaction and on-time shipments are at a record best, with 97% on-time in 2017 compared to 78% in 2010. This has driven optimal revenue recognition, cash to cash cycle, and reduced quarter end and weekly average unshipped hardware revenue by 95% to less than 0.5% of revenue. Avaya’s supply chain transformation is well documented with tremendous results to move from ‘worst-in-class’

to best-in-class. It’s been achieved by a great team immersed in the right culture, delivering continuous process improvements, and leveraging strategic partnerships. Not surprisingly, the Avaya leadership team has more transformation planned for the future. “With a very large data company like ours, global standardisation continues to be an absolute mandate,” Green acknowledges. “We have opportunities to push this efficiency model and partnership model across the rest of the company. We’re actually spending a lot of our time driving the cultural and operational success we’ve had in supply chain to other organisations. That’s a pretty unusual story if you’ve got a supply chain team that’s helping shape the rest of your company in very cool, strategic ways.”

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A STREAMLINED SUPPLY CHAIN With its streamlined, innovative supply chain, ZTE USA is forging a new path in the telecommunications market. By transforming its customer experience, the US subsidiary is turning the mobile industry on its head and ushering in a new decade of innovation Written by Laura Mullan Produced by Denitra Price



nce unknown outside of China, ZTE turned its attention to the USA in 1998, carving out a market share on the continent. Fast-forward two decades, and the mobile behemoth is now a household name, growing to become the fourth-largest smartphone supplier in the US. The success of ZTE USA has been legendary in the telecommunications industry and, thanks to its resourceful supply chain, it seems that the company is set to continue on this upward trajectory. Kevin Finerty, SVP of Supply Chain and Quality at ZTE USA, says that the company’s ethos has been integral to its success. “ZTE positions itself as a telecommunications company that offers premium quality at an affordable price,” notes Finerty. “That’s where we want to make our mark in the US market and that’s where, quite frankly, we have already been making a mark. “We’re one of the top patent holders year-on-year, especially when it comes to Long-Term Evolution (LTE) and 5G technology, and we have


February 2018

a very clear vision of how we fit in the industry ecosystem,” he adds. “But we have bigger aspirations than just succeeding in our niche – we’d like to expand further. We are currently the fourth largest original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in the market and we’re aiming to become the third largest.”


SVP of Supply Chain and Quality at ZTE USA

As the Senior Vice President of Supply Chain and Quality for ZTE USA, Mr. Finerty is responsible for ensuring the supply of quality products to US and Canadian wireless carriers. He and his team manage the dayto-day supply operations as well as coordinate directly with both ZTE and customer teams in China.


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Driving efficiency in its supply chain Renowned for its technological ingenuity, ZTE USA’s strategy of offering innovative, quality products at mid-tier prices has helped the company gain a foothold in the US market. Finerty says that this pioneering mindset has also applied to the subsidiary’s supply chain function where digitization strategies are helping to streamline operations. By implementing a collaborative, planning, forecasting, and replenishment (CPFR) method and using the Oracle-based product

Demantra, the US subsidiary is using data analytics to promote greater integration, visibility, and cooperation between its partner’s supply chains. In doing so, ZTE USA hopes to transform its intricate supply network. “Ultimately, it comes down to communication with the customer and having a weekly discussion about the company’s forecast, replenishment plans, demands, and supply chain system,” notes Finerty. “Getting data about our supply function isn’t as hard as it may seem. Our customers are typically willing to share their data because they

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February 2018


“Data visualization is really helping us to drive efficiencies in our

supply chain” – Kevin Finerty, SVP of Supply Chain and Quality at ZTE USA

want to know what our supply chain looks like,” he adds. “By using our new systems, such as Demantra, we communicate this data back to China which allows ZTE to have clearer communication around what the customers’ demands are now and what they are going to be in the future.” Data and analytics Like many technologically advanced companies, big data is playing a significant role in the way ZTE USA does business. Having this data is

one thing, says Finerty, but taking it to a new level where you can digitize it and visualize it is another crucial part of the company’s transformation. “Data visualization is really helping us to drive efficiencies in our supply chain and we are working closely with companies such as Tableau to achieve that,” says Finerty. “It helps our sales team look at the region, product, market or carrier, and see what’s doing well and where we need to focus our marketing, promotion and supply chain operations. “Our leaders in China are continually spearheading new innovations for the corporation, but if I take a step back from that and see what we can really achieve right now from a supply chain perspective, it’s about having the most

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February 2018



up-to-date information to help us meet our customer’s needs,” he says. “We can see what’s happening in real-time and prepare for changes in the supply chain and that’s very advantageous.” Dual distribution center strategy This strategy is helping to accelerate the company’s growth however, ZTE USA is not only interested in digital transformations, it is also transforming its operations by implementing a dual distribution center strategy in the US. This tactic is helping ZTE USA

quicken its distribution times, reduce costs and deliver more directly to its customers through the ZTE USA’s website or through retailers like Amazon and Newegg. “It’s great for us to be able to ship directly to the consumer,” notes Finerty. “Yet, in other instances, it might make more sense to work with one of our partners to get the best value for the dollar. In this way, the dual distribution center is really helping us to make our operations more cost-effective, depending on the business type.”

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Undoubtedly, ZTE USA has experienced exponential growth. However, despite the pressing challenges of a growing supply chain and brand name, ZTE USA has remarkably achieved this success without extra manpower. “ZTE volumes in the US have grown over 70% in terms of units delivered from 2016 to 2017, but we’ve done it with the same amount of people,” notes Finerty. “If you’re managing your business in the right away and you have the systems in place to do that, you don’t necessarily need more people to ship more pallets. You just need better preparation, better communication and better planning.” Global Footprint The company’s burgeoning size has not only been advantageous for its bottom line, it has also helped ZTE USA develop strategic partnerships thanks to its growing brand. “I think we have great opportunities to leverage just the sheer size of ZTE,” reflects Finerty. “We have a lot of established supply relationships so when we go to the table to meet

with companies - whether it’s somebody stateside or a global brand - that relationship is already established and I’d say that’s really one of the big positives.” Whilst the company’s immense size can be valuable, it also poses its challenges. “We can have some communication challenges, in terms of finding out if there are supply issues,” says Finerty. “For instance, the overall cultural differences between China and the US can also present some complications. It’s really incumbent upon the US team to learn how the Chinese teams operate and how it’s best to communicate with our counterparts in Asia. I think for those of us, like myself, who have been here several years, we’re still learning, but we are progressing well. I think that’s valuable from a talent perspective for ZTE USA.” By utilizing its digital tools and data, ZTE USA has taken an intuitive approach to its supply chain, delivering purchase orders early if possible and supplying surplus stock during promotion periods. “If you’re always presenting how you

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can help, eventually suppliers will figure out that you’re the company that they can rely on when they need help,” Finerty notes.

“We are currently the fourth largest original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in the market and we’re aiming to become the third largest” – Kevin Finerty, SVP of Supply Chain and Quality at ZTE USA 150

February 2018

Upcoming challenges ZTE USA has seen record successes, but Finerty doesn’t underestimate the challenges that lie ahead. His team is exploring how the company can retain consumers and get them to stick with the ZTE brand, and how they can harness the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT). From a supply chain perspective however, perhaps one of the company’s biggest hurdles is keeping up with material supply. When there’s a shortage of a particular chip or LCD component, it can disrupt the supply chain. As a result, Finerty and his team work closely with procurement to keep ahead of any issues and prepare for them. The other biggest challenge facing ZTE USA? Finerty believes it is SKU proliferation. Catering to both major and small mobile carriers in the US, ZTE’s customers often request a unique product. This may seem like an innocuous challenge but it has


a profound effect on under its belt, what Employees at the product line. “Even does the future ZTE USA though the internals might hold for ZTE USA? be 90% identical, everyone “A major part of our threewants a unique SKU,” comments year planning has been focusing Finerty. “Because of SKU proliferation, on that the end-user experience,” we have to prepare and manufacture reflects Finerty. “How can we touch products on different lines and them a little bit more directly? How that’s one of the main challenges can we understand what they’re we are facing at the moment. I feeling about the overall product think perhaps as ZTE grows and experience? It’s going to be a switch shows its value there may be some of our mindset from a carrier-focused opportunity for some standardized company to a more customer-focused products across carriers.” one. It doesn’t mean that we’re going Armed with an efficient supply chain to walk away from being the best and rigorous expansion plan, ZTE provider and supplier we can be for USA has become a well-recognized the carriers - it means we’re going name in the US in the short space of to take it up another level to really 10 years. But with such successes understand that customer mindset.”

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FLOWSERVE 2.0 AND THE JOURNEY TO SUPPLY CHAIN TRANSFORMATION Flowserve provides products and solutions that solve global problems. Now it’s transforming its supply chain capabilities as it sets out the route for Flowserve 2.0 Written by John O’Hanlon Produced by Denitra Price



pace is a premium commodity on a floating production, storage and offloading unit (FPSO). Offshore oil and gas is a key market for Flowserve, which leads the world when it comes to flow control, but outside that industry it’s not always understood what a critical role pumps, valves and actuators play on a production platform, nor the amount of room these take up on an oil rig. “The most expensive real estate in the world is the back of an offshore platform,” says Ronaldo Marques, Vice President – Supply Chain, and he should know, having over a 25-year career led strategic procurement and supply chain for some of the most recognised O&G companies. These include Texaco, Chevron, and most recently Shell, where he was responsible for an annual spend of $9bn. He joined Flowserve in April 2017, attracted by the opportunity to make a real difference in a company that recognised the need to integrate its supply chain operations and bring this vital aspect of the business into the heart of its strategic decision making.


February 2018

Let’s look again at the FPSO example. Pumps and valves are the core of the equipment, but the smart part of the installation is the actuator which controls the flow. More than a million of Flowserve’s Limitorque division actuators have been installed around the world, and some have been in operation for more than 50 years. Their ruggedness and reliability are legendary. Recently a client constructing a new FPSO found there was not enough space on the platform to accommodate the large conventional actuator selected to operate it. The Flowserve design allowed construction of the FPSO to proceed according to the originally planned layouts, with no need for costly and invasive redesign. It also ended up saving around 2,000 kg (4,400 lb) in weight. Usually, production modules on FPSOs are installed in close proximity, explains Marques. “Because FPSOs carry refinery-grade heavy equipment on a marine vessel, managing weight translates directly into savings in capital expenditure. Lowering weight by just one ton (2,200 lb) can result in construction


Ronaldo Marques

Vice President - Supply Chain at Flowserve




WORKING IN TIGHT SPACES The effort to custom design an actuator to work within tight space and weight restrictions demonstrates the capability of Limitorque to respond to critical customer needs, with unique and efficient solutions that combine technical excellence with economic practicality. The customengineered ‘Margherita’ solution revealed itself to be sufficiently innovative for immediate patenting, providing a new turnkey actuator solution where size and weight are critical considerations


February 2018


savings of $30,000 to $50,000.” This result had everything to do with supply chain management, he points out. Not supply chain alone, but in alignment with engineering and suppliers. It’s quoted because it represents clearly the value proposition offered by Flowserve. “Because we work with engineering we save a whole lot on materials,” says Marques. When he joined Flowserve, at the same time as its new CEO and President R Scott Rowe to whom he reports direct, the global organisation was very fragmented. With 17,000 employees at 254 locations in 55 countries, and four major business platforms each under its own President , procurement was being carried out on a local, or at best national basis. There were some very good pockets of excellence but there was clearly a huge opportunity to be seized. He and Rowe were of one mind, that integration across the business could yield huge benefits, and noticeably better outcomes for its customers. Their plan has been to deliver strategic change through

supply chain transformation. Marques’ enthusiasm for this task is boundless. “The important thing is that we are aligning ourselves with the business. As we transform our supply chain and integrate across all platforms and business segments globally, we will simplify processes and save a lot of money. We will eliminate waste from double handling, simplify processes and procedures, standardise, then automate big time. We need to refocus the local and global organisation, work with robust leadership teams, and our human capabilities worldwide.” The job of rationalising the supplier base has already been started over the last 10 months, reducing their number but working with these in a more collaborative way. “Until now we’ve approached our suppliers from the inside-out, so to speak – we tell them what to do, sometimes not in a very collaborative way. We are going to change that to an outside-in, aligning people, processes and technology with our key suppliers to create value in a flexible strategic supply chain. We are going to deploy

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tools and systems to enable the supply chain data and then drive the accuracy and analytics, with a mindset of continuous improvement and the ruthless elimination of manual process.” This is not reinventing the wheel, and he admits that eliminating duplicate activities, identifying and sharing best practices and encouraging the local teams to own these continuous improvements may look simple. But in a complex global organisation it takes time to roll out these ideas. This plan was endorsed by the top leadership team from the get-go, and the roadmap to global supply chain alignment by 2020, the road to Flowserve 2.0, was an early outcome. “The most exciting thing is that nine months down the line we have full endorsement from every leader from corporate HR, IT, finance and so on, and also from the platform presidents of every division. It is no longer a supply chain plan: it is their plan – a Flowserve corporation plan. That is critical.” The value proposition is so powerful, he adds, that it has been bought into by the entire business. “Flowserve 2.0 is the turnaround of Flowserve and my job as part of the leadership is to transform Flowserve’s supply chain so it’s the most admired and competitive in the entire industrial manufacturing industry.” The company already has a powerful suite of tools. The basic supply management system comes from a trusted partner, Zycus, with whom Flowserve has been collaboratively rolling out modules to the


global sites. “We are leveraging that technology, which will give us valuable visibility, data storage, data analytics and the like. We have plenty of data within the company but what is it telling us? We partner with Zycus to drive improvements on top of the data whether elimination, simplification, standardisation, supplier rationalisation or renegotiation.� Flowserve also uses Zycus for contract management. There is


February 2018

nothing simple about writing and executing strong, favorable and risk-minimising legal contracts with suppliers. Many parties need to be involved, and the complexities multiply rapidly when contracting at enterprise levels – across locations, strategic business units (which are often distinct legal entities) and across global regions and sovereign borders. The iContract system smooths out these complexities. Over the last six


“WE ARE NOT DRIVING AN INITIATIVE, WE ARE DRIVING A FULL SERVICE STRATEGY” – Ronaldo Marques, Vice President – Supply Chain, Flowserve


months Marques has visited every one of the company’s manufacturing sites in China, India, Europe and Australia to explain and facilitate the learning needed to get these systems working in an integrated way. Another good example of a vendor that assists integration and the taming of raw data to assist decision making is Mihlfeld & Associates (M&A), which makes sense of the huge bulk of logistics data that’s available. “We have more than a million logistics invoices a year so we work with M&A on technology to audit, analyse and pay these invoices – and we continuously improve on that,” Marques adds. The plan is delivering. Flowserve


2.0 is on its way. 2017 targets were reached with two months to spare. “We are not driving an initiative, we are driving a full service strategy. We are driving cross-platform change in areas like indirect spend and logistics. We listened to the business leaders and the VPs, sales and operations people and the plant managers, and we adapted our plans to drive their plants. What’s not to like? On top of that we layered in the corporate initiatives, the cross platform initiatives and then the roadmap that I presented, together with the whole strategy, to the board. They gave us full and unanimous support.” A major win for strategic sourcing was a drive to rationalise the global payroll. 46 countries were served by 38 different suppliers and internal HR resources, so consolidation was a must. The plan had been to make phased changes, with Europe, the Middle East and Africa sorted out over two years and Latin America following in 2019. “I got the guys together, and said why don’t we do this all at once?” Marques adds. The result was unbelievable, enabling not


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only all the business requirements but also introducing automation, AI and other available technologies using a very disciplined process. Impacting 15,000 employees, HR is now consolidated in one supplier, one system. The implementation is going to be 80% complete in 2018, saving 30% on the projected cost.” He is already working on how to reduce the cost to serve for the other corporate functions by similar margins, with direct impact on the bottom line.

So, Flowserve is well on its way to becoming a data-driven business, a business with growth on its agenda. The supply chain plan will not be different from the corporate plan. At a recent Flowserve ‘summit’ of 100 leaders, the supply chain alignment story was delivered by the President. “We drew up the presentation together,” says Marques. “I don’t need to talk about supply chain because the business is talking about supply chain. This is Nirvana.”

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Shining the light on Abu Dhabi’s tourism industry


D E PA R T M E N T O F C U LT U R E & T O U R I S M – A B U D H A B I

Waleed Saeed Al Saeedi Director of Procurement Department

Following the completion of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi looks to preserve the region’s heritage, while embracing its future



stablished in October 2012, the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) was founded with a core value; to build a tourism industry in the region and to ensure the survival of the emirate’s culture and heritage. It is a core value achieved through the creation of infrastructure across three key sectors: tourism, culture and national library. But for Waleed Saeed Al Saeedi, Procurement Department Director, the true value that the DCT can provide for Abu Dhabi stretches beyond three simple categories. “An organisation adds value in financial, social, reputation and other ways,” says Al Saeedi. “We ensure the survival of the emirate’s heritage through tangible means, such as the preservation of buildings, but also intangible ways such as poetry and even heritage performances.” The DCT operate in accordance to, and fully supports, the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. The vision was designed to guide the Emirate of Abu Dhabi’s growth and development,

enabling the region to become a secure and confident society that aims to develop a competitive, sustainable and globally open economy. The growth of the federation Born in the late 1970s, Al Saeedi has “lived” the modern history of the UAE, he himself being the same age as the federation. Over the course of his career, Al Saeedi has seen first-hand the evolution and growth of Abu Dhabi. Throughout his career, Al Saeed spent time as a civil engineer and contract engineering before moving into senior procurement roles. During his early career, this exposed Al Saeedi to the procurement function, understanding its significance and its impact on financial operations but also the key role it plays ultimately in the success, and failure, of an organisation. Most significantly, during his time at the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) Al Saeedi was presented with a unique opportunity to build a procurement function from the ground up.

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D E PA R T M E N T O F C U LT U R E & T O U R I S M – A B U D H A B I

Horse riding in the Al Ain Oasis


The year that the Department of Culture & Tourism was founded 170

“It is not often that someone has the opportunity to build a department in effect, help build an industry,” he says. “At ENEC there were managers and specialists from all over the world, all committed to the project and all experts. This gave me, and other UAE nationals, exposure to processes, methods, technologies and best practices that would have been difficult to acquire in a more mature, settled industry.” After 18 years working in procurement in the energy sector and achieving FCIPS certification and developing his procurement competency, Al Saeedi was presented with a new opportunity and a new challenge with DCT. “DCT presented an opportunity to be involved in significant government initiatives – for the non-oil, or post-energy economy,” he says. “DCT had just been formed out of the merger of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority and Abu Dhabi Culture and Heritage Department, so there was the challenge of building a new procurement function in what was really a new organisation.” The key role of tourism The tourism industry has been identified as a critical component of this vision and Al Saeedi is all too aware of the key role that DCT will play in developing and enabling this industry. “Tourism impacts the emirate on a visible


Experiencing the ancient history of the Jebel Hafeet Tombs

scale, through attractions such as water parks, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Qasr Al Hosn, the Al Ain Museum and others,” he says. “But it’s not enough to have interesting sites alone. We need ports for cruise ships, roads, hotels, medical services. Building all this creates growth opportunities for local firms, jobs for people and opens the door for international partnerships. As Abu Dhabi grows, so does the nation.” In its ambition to preserve the heritage of Abu Dhabi, Al Saeedi is keen to stress that it is important to

understand that culture is not limited to the past. The Abu Dhabi government places great emphasis on proactive, modern cultural programmes and since its establishment, DCT is leading the development of what Al Saeedi describes as a “different kind of economy”. “It’s one that is knowledge intensive, internationally connected and involved with the rest of the world on a very different platform than say that of the energy sector,” he says. “It will require new skills and resources, but most of all, a new kind of people.”

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D E PA R T M E N T O F C U LT U R E & T O U R I S M – A B U D H A B I

Visiting the site of the Al Jahili Fort



We ensure the survival of the emirate’s heritage through tangible means, such as the preservation of buildings, but also intangible ways such as poetry and even heritage performances

Waleed Al Saeedi, Director of Procurement Department

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The Louvre Abu Dhabi: Procurement prowess In November 2017, on the Saadiyat Island Cultural District in Abu Dhabi, the doors were opened at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a museum that was designed to “house the aesthetic expressions of different civilisation and cultures, from the most ancient to the best in contemporary artworks”. Described as a “gift to the world”, the Louvre Abu Dhabi encapsulates the vision of DCT, a celebration of the old and the new that brings together cultures from all around the world.

The Visitors’ Centre at the site of the Qasr Al Muwaji Fort 176

“It should be seen not as something for Abu Dhabi or the UAE, but something that we have, which we want everyone to come and enjoy, and learn from,” says Al Saeedi. Built as part of a partnership between the Abu Dhabi and French governments, the Louvre represents a first of sorts. France and UAE have a long history of partnerships in the energy, defence and retail sectors, but the Louvre is one of the first, and certainly the largest, in the culture and tourism industry. But it is not merely a tourist


attraction. “Of course, the Louvre, other museums we have worked on as well as other historic sites will provide tourist attractions, they have already and will continue to enable other tangible benefits,” says Al Saeedi. “They will have a profound effect on the local economy and not simply tourist revenue. To a certain extent, they will create a new economy, as an industry or business sector cannot operate without an adequately resourced supply base, including people, facilities and infrastructure.”

Supply chain and a changing nation The Louvre Abu Dhabi represents one of many large-scale projects that the DCT has and will continue to deliver across the region and as Procurement Director, working with international partners, contractors and suppliers, Al Saeedi knows all too well the challenges that come with promise in delivering projects of such magnitude. DCT is also working on two more museums in Abu Dhabi as well as major heritage site restorations and upgrades, such as

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D E PA R T M E N T O F C U LT U R E & T O U R I S M – A B U D H A B I

Louvre Abu Dhabi, on the Saadiyat Island Cultural District in Abu Dhabi



O  f course, the Louvre, other museums we have worked on as well as other historic sites will provide tourist attractions, they have already and will continue to enable other tangible benefits Waleed Al Saeedi Director of Procurement Department

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Qasr Al Hosn and the restoration of historic fonts in Al Ain. For Al Saeedi, the challenge was in the locality. “Abu Dhabi’s supply chain is different from those in many other countries. First, because in some cases, very little of what we need is produced or created here, it has to be imported,” he says. “We are a small country, the local economy cannot always support a full-time population of castle restoration specialists, symphony orchestras or book cataloguers, for example.” As a nation historically of consumers, procurement in Abu Dhabi has often favoured importing materials, expertise and equipment from outside of the country and this is common across not only Abu Dhabi but the wider UAE. But, as Al Saeedi points to, as Abu Dhabi continues to grow economically and a steady demand begins to build, this will change. Working on projects with partners from all around the world does bring with it an inescapable challenge surrounding communication and logistics. DCT’s partner

networks spans Asia, South Africa, Europe and North America and so projects and programmes are dependent on the successful working with these suppliers. “Supply chains are not pipelines such as what are used for oil,” he says. “Materials and goods cannot be pumped smoothly and so each stage needs to be managed.” At the start of any project, the procurement function of DCT approaches the whole process as part of an integrated team to manage the multiple stages and elements of the process. This involves working with those partners and understanding their objectives and, importantly, their capabilities. Critical communication An important aspect for Al Saeedi is to establish and capture milestones and work packages, allowing him and his team to configure the process internally so that DCT has the necessary resources available through to handover. “In a large project, these milestones include the design phase in which

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D E PA R T M E N T O F C U LT U R E & T O U R I S M – A B U D H A B I

there can be many iterations, development and construction, right through to pre-handover, commissioning and delivery,” he says. “What we then do is build lists of requirements and schedules, identify lead times and risk levels and work with the project team to establish the procurement plan.” This is where that communication component is key and DCT has utilised a procurement dashboard for performance planning and tracking, allowing it and end users to see into the cycle status, PO status, spending and supplier Teamwork has been central to recent internal project success at DCT


engagement. This dashboard, allows DCT to access what Al Saeedi calls as the “most used functionality” in a project – status updates. “What we have now is the first stage in eventual automation of procurement and supply management. It will free up our people for more value adding work and a more strategic focus,” he says. “The dashboard is really about information sharing to support executive teamwork and decision making. A great deal of the time and effort in managing procurement and supply for a large project is in working directly with suppliers and

Al Saeedi and a member of the procurement team

end users to achieve understanding and a negotiated win-win outcome. Thus, managing large scale procurements is as much about networking and relationships as it is about transactional tasks.” Achieving procurement value Having a forensic knowledge of the supplier landscape is an essential quality for any procurement leader, with Al Saeedi aware of how a reliable and cost-effective supply chain can make a huge difference to an organisation.

Ultimately, it comes down to covering all bases in order to do the best possible deal for the business - in his case DCT. “One area where all procurement functions can face issues is achieving value for the organisation,” he adds. “Our role is not only to supply, but to do so on the best possible terms. To do this, we have to know our markets and supplier costs, standard payment terms and best practices. “For example, a bidder for restoring old books submits his commercial proposal: it is lower than the four

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W  hat we have now is the first stage in eventual automation of procurement and supply management. It will free up our people for more value-adding work and a more strategic focus Waleed Al Saeedi Director of Procurement Department

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D E PA R T M E N T O F C U LT U R E & T O U R I S M – A B U D H A B I

other bidders, but whether it is best value is another question. “ “We have to know market prices, and we have to have at least a general conception of the bidder’s costs and breakdown, so that we can negotiate from a position of strength and knowledge.” While commercial viability is vital, Al Saeedi believes there are a multitude of considerations to take into account before any final contracts are struck. “The bidder with the lowest price may not be one that the end users prefer, because of some technical aspects of the service that they Al Saeedi midpresentation


are proposing,” he explains. “Our job then is to question, challenge and understand enough of the technical nature of the purchase as well as the commercial terms, raw materials costs and other inputs. “This is not always easy for common items; it requires considerable agility and resourcefulness when it is something new, particularly something that we may only buy once every few years.” Powered by partnerships Supplier relationships are


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essential to DCT. Abu Dhabi depends on global trade networks. DCT’s mission, as Al Saeedi notes, is to bring the world to Abu Dhabi, and to create ways in which Abu Dhabi can engage the rest of the world. “There is a strong focus for us on delivering to global standards, whether they be art, entertainment, the built environment or intangibles such as poetry and heritage performance,” says Al Saeedi. “We are fortunate to have one of the

most varied and interesting supplier communities. Because many of our local vendors have their own overseas suppliers and local subcontractors, the chain has many layers.” The growing importance of the procurement function Over the course of his career, Al Saeedi has seen the growth of the region, the industry and with it the growth of the influence of the procurement function. Al Saeedi believes that now, as

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W  e feel we

must preserve our heritage for future generations by simultaneously embracing those future generations

 Waleed Al Saeedi Director of Procurement Department

the industry becomes more and more mature, transparent and robust, organisations such as DCT need to go beyond technology. A key objective of DCT and the Abu Dhabi Government has been the support and enablement of SMEs in the region. “Technology will enable us to identify, register and include SMEs, something that we cannot do today without enlarging our headcount – it is very hard to do it efficiently,” he


Abu Dhabi’s skyline

says. “Imagine the possibilities if all government entities can cooperate in this initiative; the SME sector will be able to access public procurement and we can build mutually beneficial supply partnerships.” “But possibly the largest influence we can have is in the transparency of public procurement, ethical compliance and sustainability because of the way in which information can be studied, compared and used to drive policy agendas


through the supply chain.” The increasing influence of Abu Dhabi In such a short space of time, the DCT has become an integral part in the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030. As the region continues to grow, Al Saeedi calls back to his earlier point, that culture is not limited to the past. “We are a young country, but in the same breath we are ancient,” he says. “Our history, culture and way

of life are all much older than the federation. As we continue to deliver these projects and grow the region, we are creating opportunities, jobs and international partnerships. “We feel we must preserve our heritage for future generations by simultaneously embracing those future generations.”

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Procurement and digital banking in the UAE Written by Dale Benton Produced by Heykel Ouni

Dr. Arafat El Mourad discusses the changing face of the banking sector in the Middle East and the growing role of procurement


anking is changing. As the world continues to embrace more and more technologies and innovation, this creates an ever growing and ever demanding customer base. With the rise of smart payments, shifting towards a completely digital experience, the financial sector has to change and evolve with this shifting world. For Dr Arafat El Mourad, Author and Acting Head of Procurement and Contracts, Xbank, this evolution should be a process that avoids the somewhat cliché term of “digital


February 2018

transformation” that is bandied around the industry so frequently. “It’s not just technology. You can have the best technology in the world but if you don’t have the right mindset, the right people driving that innovation, it simply will not work,” he says. As per his published book (Innovation in Procurement and its added value to United Arab Emirates Banking Sector, Islamic & Conventional) El Mourad says that in procurement you need the right people and you need communication, transparency, reliability, skilled and competent staff, quality


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innovation and, most importantly from a stakeholder viewpoint, cost optimisation and added value.” Over the course of more than 20 years working in IT and procurement, studying in Zurich and working in the UAE at Xbank, he has seen first-hand how the industry has changed and must continue to change in order to provide the best possible services and solutions for its customers. “Throughout my career I have become much more strategically driven, as opposed to focusing solely on the process,” he says. “I’ve spent the best part of it looking at how technology can be deployed to add value, not only in terms of cost optimisation but also how it we can add value to the customer that does not compromise on quality.” El Mourad is a firm believer that for any push for technology and innovation to be successful, it must be built on three main pillars. People, technology and process. The people element is key to all of this, as without the right people with the right mindsets and possessing

an open mind to embracing technology and striving for innovation then nothing else will work. As El Mourad says himself, people represent the first pillar of change. “You have to be innovative in the way you approach technology and approach process,” he says. “You need those three pillars to make it work and you need to be innovative in the process, and the communication.” Of course, working with people and attempting to change mindsets and approaches to the industry, mindsets that have been built up over years of working in a consistent and reliable way. The financial industry, despite its upswings and downturns over the years, remains a hugely profitable and ultimately successful sector so why try to fix what isn’t broken? “It takes time [for people to get on board with technology transformation]” says El Mourad. “But the key is how you communicate what will happen, the benefits we can reap and translating the added value that it will bring to the organisation.” El Mourad points to a time where he planned to introduce a new technology

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system into Xbank, a process that took three years to fully implement. The first two years of this journey were spent trying to convince people and stakeholders to embrace this change. “It’s all in the language,” he says. “I cannot present this technology to the CEO in the same way that I could present it to my peers on procurement. I have to translate it into a business case.” “I approach the communication in a way that can be understood by every stakeholder because I communicate it in a different way to every stakeholder, or CEO, or CIO. There is no one size fits all to this.” With technology and transformation there is an unavoidable element of risk involved. Risk of failure, risk of losing customers and perhaps most importantly, particularly from an operational standpoint, risk of significant costs associated with that failure. This is a fact of life when it comes to implementing technology and it has developed a mindset that is somewhat consistent across the banking industry the world over and


February 2018

not simply within the UAE. “There is a risk and a concern. I’d argue that risk is actually up there as an important discussion with the working out the added value,” says El Mourad. “The question becomes more about what are we actually doing to measure the risk and most importantly mitigate the risk.” This calls back to El Mourad’s strive for clear and open communication. With regular meetings with top tier management and stakeholders, El Mourad ensures that from top to bottom all levels of the company understand the technology implications but also the risk implications in any new venture. He attributes this to a cost ownership mentality. After all, cost is often king.


An author’s insight Dr Arafat El Mourad has explained in his book on innovation procurement the current situation of the banking sector and its impact on business performance, and that for three decades, many studies related to the practices of procurement and their consequences on the performance of business caught the attention of many researchers. However, very few literature deals are struck which consider the implementations of procurement impacting the performance of business. Thus, the technique that El Mourad opts is to look into the firms’ perception of innovation, which is banks’ performance for the customers as well as the importance of innovation concerning all stakeholders (shareholders, suppliers, internal customer and external customers). The influence of this on business performance is analysed by conducting case studies, surveys and interviews with different stakeholders. w w w. g i g a b i t m a g a z i n e . c o m



“It’s not just technology. You can have the best technology in the world but if you don’t have the right mindset, the right people driving that innovation, it simply will not work” -Dr Arafat El Mourad, Author and Acting Head of Procurement and Contracts, Xbank 198

February 2018


“It’s about cost ownership,” he says. “How much you’re spending on technology? How much on security? It’s important to show that while technology costs, it saves you money – technology is all about reducing those costs and saving money, not incurring more costs.” The banking industry in the UAE is changing at a rapid rate and this is driven by the customer. The banking customer of 2018 wants a digital experience. El Mourad himself points to a conversation he had with board members; upon asking them when was the last time they visited a branch in person over the course

of the last 12 months between a group of six, there was only three visits. This is a perfect encapsulation of where banking stands right now in the USE and Xbank, along with all banks, must continue to innovate to continue to serve this growing demand. This turn towards digital not only affects the bank’s external operations. Over the last few years Xbank has continued to invest more into machine learning, automation and AI wherever possible as it looks to streamline its internal operations to enable its external operations to grow. “I was involved in discussions about how the bank was moving towards digital,” says El Mourad. “They want to become more AI focused. It’s a trend in the UAE. More banks are moving to AI, instead of just automation. This helped me build my case and the added value that procurement can bring on this front.” A key example that El Mourad notes is the implementation of an automated procurement system that will see what he describes as the end of emails. Through this one centralised system, the procurement

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team can access all documentation from approvals to supplier lists at the click of a button. Over time, this function will begin to utilise AI and for El Mourad this is crucial in growing as a business. “This makes it easier to learn,” he says. “AI will help us mitigate risk, learn from where we could potentially improve, and continue to understand the customer requirements and ultimately meet them. Therefore, procurement should transform and shift their focus from internal customers to internal and external customers.” As the banking sector continues to grow, banks and financial organisations must continue to push the innovation boundaries in order to grow with it and ultimately survive. For El Mourad, the key has always been the people. “The banking sector right now is rigid,” he says. “It needs to embrace innovation. People fear change and it needs a leader to inspire.” “For me, it is all about inspiration, not transformation. Through inspiration, we can unlick the innovative mindset that will allow the sector to reach new heights.”


February 2018


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Written by Catherine Sturman Produced by Stuart Shirra

Winning a number of banking awards in 2017, Emirates NBD’s digital service offering stands out in the region



enowned as a leading retail banking franchise in the UAE, Emirates NBD has remained ahead of the curve within the digital banking space. Encompassing over 9,000 employees across the UAE, Egypt, the UK, China, Singapore, India and Indonesia, the business has adapted its traditional brick and mortar stores and increased the number of its ATMs in order to cater to consumer demand, whilst expanding its digital service offering. Awarded ‘Best Private Wealth Bank in the UAE’ at The Asian Banker Private Wealth Awards 2017,

Middle East and Africa and the ‘Outstanding Global Private Bank – Middle East’ award for the third consecutive year at the 2017 Private Banker International (PBI) Global Wealth Awards, Emirates NBD has seen over 90% of all its financial transactions and requests conducted outside of its 221 branches. Developing key, strategic relationships with corporate customers has been key to the bank’s success. Developing digital solutions which its customers demand, the number of customers visiting brick and mortar stores has declined.

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Now, up to a million customers utilise services, traditional brick and Emirates NBD’s digital banking mortar stores have not been left services on a regular basis. untouched. Identifying that a large Such shift in customer demand percentage of its customers are has therefore led Emirates NBD continually on the go, the bank has to transform its IT infrastructure introduced automated banking, in and adopt digital tools such as addition to its teller-less branches. big data and cloud services, and This will therefore allow the bank to strengthen these with worldtap into different regions and areas class security features. which will have previously Popular self-service proved challenging, and mobile banking and will provide the technologies are manpower needed now accessible, to deliver traditional easy to use and commercial hyper-secure. banking services. Number of employees Additionally, the It is clear to see at Emirates NBD bank has moved a that by working with number of its services partners to provide its to another data centre, services to locations out of providing not only contingencies area, Emirates NBD is stepping out and triangulations, but can be rest of its comfort zone, whilst ensuring assured services are able to run it offers the best services without at all times for its customers. dissecting its overall service delivery. Its digital investment also filters Transforming brick and into Emirates NBD’s paperless mortar branches ambitions and the consequent Despite such digital trends, where launch of its first paperless digital Dh500mn has been allocated to branch. Located at the Dubai World transform Emirates NBD’s digital Trade Centre, it will provide 24-7



February 2018


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‘Dh500mn has been allocated to transform Emirates NBD’s digital services’ support and offer a number of online and self-service solutions. Not only will service ambassadors provide customer support at all times, the bank’s artificial intelligence powered humanoid robot, named Pepper, will also distribute information regarding the bank’s personalised services and what offers may benefit customers most. All future ideas and innovations at the bank will be further established

within its Innovation Lab, where future ventures will be addressed.

Business strengths The bank’s extensive growth would not be possible without its commitment to its customers. Pledging to remain transparent across its operations, Emirates NBD plans to build 100 new branches and improve the visibility of its 760

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‘NBD’s paperless digital branch, located at the Dubai World Trade Centre, will provide 24-7 support and offer a number of online and self-service solutions’ THE REGION’S NUMBER ONE PROVIDER OF IT SOLUTIONS







February 2018


ATMs across the UAE. This will enable the bank to cater to both existing and developing markets, such as millennials, who all want digital banking services which are user-friendly and fuss-free. To support its mobile and contactless payment services, Emirates NBD’s partnership with Apple Pay will further support customers. By adding their details from the Emirates NBD mobile banking app, customers will be able to undertake banking transactions on the move, guaranteeing increased flexibility and convenience. Building partnerships has therefore become a strong focus for Emirates NBD, both nationally and internationally. Its recent partnership with the Dubai Electric and Water Authority (DEWA) has also seen the banks’ credit card users gain the ability to pay their bills in installments online or utilise Emirates NBD mobile banking services. Users will not be charged interest on their bills over the 12 months, enabling increased convenience and support within its local communities.

With an increasing budget for its digital services, Emirates NBD will remain committed to developing digital solutions with the customer in mind, whilst driving employee growth and providing essential training opportunities. Adopting a talent management programme, continuous improvement remains a strong driver for the business across its operations. Fully placing the customer at the heart of its services, Emirates NBD’s digital channels have grown in response to essential customer feedback, and will see it continue to remain a leader within the Middle East banking sector. Continually focused on improvement, the future of Emirates NBD depends on its ability to listen to its customers and understand their requirements and needs in order to remain competitive across the Middle East.

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Panda Retail Company Always fresh Written by Nell Walker Produced by Craig Daniels

How Panda Retail remains an industry leader in the Middle East with advanced technology and customer focus


anda Retail has spent the past four decades as a household name in the Middle East. Operating under Savola Retail since 1998, it leads the market across Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAE, ever-evolving as per the trends, technologies, and requirements of the industry. ‘Always Fresh, Always Less’ is the brand’s slogan, and the first half refers not just to the groceries Panda sells, but every element of the business. Constant change is the norm for staff and customers alike, many of whom have watched the company split into two formats: a hypermarket under the name HyperPanda in 2004, and smaller convenience stores – named Pandati – as of 2013. In 2014 the company name was changed from Azizia Panda United to the Panda Retail Company. And another big step in the expansion plan was achieved when Panda opened it hypermarket in Egypt in the year of 2015. These big steps have raised Panda share in the retail sector from 7% to


February 2018


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‘Always Fresh, Always Less’ is the brand’s slogan, and the first half refers not just to the groceries Panda sells, but every element of the business.’

more than 8%. Today Panda is the largest food retailer in the Middle East owns more than 400 branch of panda Super, Panda Hyper and Pandati in Saudi Arabia & Egypt making it the largest retail company that offering its services to more than 400 million visitors annually. There are over 500 stores altogether, and Panda is expanding all the time – 18 new shops were opened in 2016 alone. All of this has been achieved thanks to a combination of innovation, customer focus, and the strong


February 2018

ethics that Savola and Panda are known for. Concentrating on an ERP transformation, a customer loyalty programmed, and the creation of an automatic checkout system, Panda is a business looking to leverage the changing tides of technology. In Europe, the idea of automated check-out systems is a familiar one, but it is far less common in the Middle East. But by following a four-step plan from inception to full-scale development, Panda has implemented a retail innovation for the region. Feedback from


customers has been positive and it seems likely that Panda’s approach will become a blueprint for other major retailers in the Middle East. As with the vast majority of transformational projects, there were challenges involved in simple aspects like barcoding strategy and related processes to ensure that the technology would perform at maximum potential, but the pilot phase followed after several months

of collaborative effort. The concept was brought to life in a store with customer experience and feedback helping to continually improve it. Panda’s other current and upcoming technological offerings include a ‘Surprise and Delight’ loyalty programme. Recently launched, it brings together technology which allows Panda to analyse and understand customer data in order to improve the service further. The company’s app can gather this type of information before the customer is even through the door, enabling it to cater offers and discounts to the person. Even better, customers can use the app in-store – utilising the wireless internet that is being implemented across the business – giving an extra edge to that user experience. Part of Panda’s transformation programme also entails a concerted effort to expand its product portfolio and make significant savings by becoming a leading provider of basic branded goods alongside diversifying its range to include value added goods. Another of the central pillars of its transformation

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initiatives is to clearly differentiate between its hypermarket, supermarket and convenience formats, according to Retail Analysis. In a 2017 report, it said: “Panda has said that its Pandati format is still being evaluated and reconfigured, following the formats launch in 2013. As part of the transformation programme this involves tailoring store’s products to suit their catchment areas. Panda has reported this has created an increase in footfall.” The transformation programme will also see Panda Retail focus on “streamlining”, said Retail Analysis. “Panda has focused on range optimisation and improving its assortment of products. It is then drawing attention to certain food categories by pulling products together and turning them into destinations in stores to generate greater interest,” it detailed. “Panda also aims to shrink its supply chain costs. To do this it has improved operations by ensuring better fleet utilisation and launching new planning initiatives. This has particularly focused on its convenience format, Pandati. Panda has also reduced working capital by reducing its inventory.” The company is looking forward to a prosperous future, appealing to the millions of Saudi nationals through its range of outlets. As it looks forward it finds itself guided by new leadership; in October 2017, the company appointed Mr. Bander Talaat Hamooh as Chief Executive Officer.


February 2018


‘Part of Panda’s transformation programme also entails a concerted effort to expand its product portfolio and make significant savings by becoming a leading provider of basic branded goods’

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Bander is a Saudi national, who has over twenty-five years of vast experience in various leadership positions in Retail, Pharmaceuticals and FMCG. He started his professional career at the Ministry of Health after obtaining his Bachelor Degree in Pharmaceutical Science from King Saud University in 1989. Bander’s most prominent role was his role as a General Supervisor of Public Affairs at the Ministry of Health and the CEO of Al Nahdi Medical Company, where he led the growth and expansion of the business and development of the Company’s strategy in pharmaceutical retail sector. In addition, he has established track records in both public and private sectors, where he accomplished many achievements in retail, commercial management, organisational development, change management, supply chain, marketing and social responsibility. In a statement, the company’s board wished Banda all the success in his new position as the CEO of Panda to support its vision and achieve its objectives and aspirations in the future.

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ACCC Conductors for a low carbon world Written by Laura Mullan Produced by Greg Churchill




lectricity is a necessity in today’s digital age. It helps to connect communities, empower businesses, and encourage innovation in global economies. One component that helps to distribute this resource is overhead power lines and, although they may seem like a simple element, they are a crucial component of the electric power grid. As the need to improve efficiency gains increasing attention, CTC Global has emerged as a major player in the industry by providing cutting-edge Aluminium Conductor Composite Core’s (ACCC) for electricity distribution. “CTC Global was founded with the aim of leveraging aerospace technology to improve the efficiency, capacity, and reliability of the electric power grid,” comments Dave Bryant, Director of Technology at CTC Global. “We are very aware that, without access to affordable, reliable, and


February 2018

A test for cable sag between ACSR (left) and ACCC (right)

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The World’s Most Efficient High-Capacity Low-Sag Conductor Increase Line Capacity l Mitigate Thermal Sag l Reduce Line Losses l

Over 60,000 km at over 550 Projects in 50+ countries CTC Global manufactures the ACCC® core used in the production of ACCC® conductor and also provides ancillary components such as dead-ends and splices, and provides engineering, installation and warranty support for all of its products. ACCC® core is produced, tested and certified at CTC Global and then stranded with trapezoidal shaped aluminum by qualified ACCC® conductor licensees who then ship the finished conductor to customers worldwide. All components produced by CTC and its stranding partners are certified to ISO 9001-2008 Standards.

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“We are very aware that, without access to affordable, reliable, and hopefully clean energy, there is really no country in the world that can successfully develop competitive economies” DAVE BRYANT Director of Technology

hopefully clean energy, there is really no country in the world that can successfully develop a competitive economy. When you have rolling blackouts due to lack of electricity generation, it’s very difficult for businesses to thrive.” Innovative design and aerospace technology From the late 1800s to early 1900s, overhead conductors typically used copper wire as a conductive material. However, in the wake of World War I, copper was reserved for war materials and so aluminium became the material of choice, with steel core wires often added for strength. Most of the grid still uses this dated structure and, due to electric resistance, it often loses a substantial amount of energy as a result of heat loss and thermal expansion. This poses an industry-wide challenge, and it is one that CTC Global has tackled head-on. “With a background in aerospace materials, we looked into replacing the steel core of overhead power lines with a composite core using high strength carbon and glass fibres,” explains Bryant. “This not only offers a very low coefficient of thermal expansion to mitigate thermal sag under heavy electrical voltage conditions, it is also about 70% lighter than steel, which allows ACCC to incorporate about 28% more conductive aluminium without a weight or diameter penalty.” This innovative design not only helps the product

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CTC Global helps commuinities access reliable energy supplies

carry higher levels of current, it also reduces electrical resistance and line losses by 25% to 40% or more. Improving access to reliable, cost-effective energy “Our primary goal is to help more people get access to higher quality, more reliable, and less expensive electricity,” Bryant says. “There are still tens of millions of people that don’t have access to electricity at


February 2018

all and so enhancing the capacity of the grid is really about reducing congestion costs and offering reliable, cleaner electricity at a lower cost to customers. “In the United States, line losses are generally considered to be between 3% and 5% on a typical transmission line whereas, in countries like India, the technical or system losses are as high as 22% or 23%,” adds Bryant. “Therefore, enhancing the

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“Our primary goal is to help more people get access to higher quality, more reliable, and less expensive electricity” DAVE BRYANT Director of Technology

capability of the line is crucial.” Reducing line losses also frees up generation capacity that is otherwise wasted supporting line losses. Making an environmental difference By reducing line losses, CTC Global’s ACCC conductor not only improves the capacity of the power line, it also provides a cost-effective way to reduce fuel consumption and associated CO2 emissions. As the very first electric conductor to earn an SCS Global certification, the CO2 emission reductions offered by CTC Global can be evaluated and quantified, allowing corporate and government entities the opportunity to monetise their emission reductions and meet regulatory standards. “We’re very proud of the CO2 emission reductions we can make, so, for instance, at a recent project for American Electric Power in Texas, the company replaced 240 circuit miles of their 440,000-global transmission line with our composite core ACCC conductor. At a very low mean load factor of 34%, they are able to save 300,000 MWh of electricity every year. In the case of Texas, where you’ve got a number of different resources for energy generation, they were able to reduce the CO2 emissions by 200,000 metric tonnes per year, which is the same as taking 34,000 cars off the road.” CTC Global not only helps reduce operation costs for natural gas, oil and coal-fired generation units,

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CTC Global engineers working with an ACCC cable

S TAT I S T I C S •Installed ACCC conductors are saving up to 400 Metric tons of CO2 per kilometer per year •Over 50,000km of ACCC conductors have been deployed at over 500 sites in 48 countries

Close-up of an ACCC cable’s core structure 236

February 2018

•The ACCC conductor was developed to increase capacity and carry twice the current of conventional all-aluminum and steel reinforced conductors. •The ACCC conductor uses a carbon fiber core that is 25% stronger and 70% lighter than a traditional steel core.


it is also beneficial for the use of heavy toll on power grids but the renewable energy resources. This can company’s conductor has a proven be seen in countries such as Chile track record of not only resisting in South America, which rely heavily damage from severe weather on hydropower. “During drought conditions but also surviving when season, when there’s less water, wood and metal structures were less power becomes available,” burned down or knocked over. With explains Bryant. “So, by using our a composite core twice as strong conductor, even though they’re not as steel, the conductor repeatedly necessarily reducing demonstrates its ability emissions directly, they to resist damage and are able to get more out improve grid resiliency. of the generation and “Because the carbon that means that they fibre is twice as strong can conserve their water as steel, we’re seeing Number of resources.” Because most a lot less damage and staff at CTC improved survivability from fossil fired generation Global also converts heat to major events,” comments steam to spin turbines, additional Bryant. “About five years ago, a clean water is also saved, worldwide. record EF-5 tornado - the strongest tornado that can happen - struck Robust and resilient a town by the name of Moore, As climate change continues to Oklahoma, and the tornado crossed increase the frequency and severity directly over one of our lines. of extreme weather conditions, the “Although the shockwave snapped resilience that the ACCC conductor the ACCC conductor’s aluminium provides is more important than ever. strands, the composite core was Hurricanes, super storms, and other not damaged at all. Because of severe weather events can have a this, lineman in two bucket trucks


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“Tens of millions of people that don’t have access to electricity at all and so enhancing the capacity of the grid is really about reducing congestion costs and offering reliable, cleaner electricity at a lower cost to customers” DAVE BRYANT Director of Technology


February 2018


were able to re-energise that section of the line within just a few hours. If the line snapped completely and fell to the ground, it would have taken a couple of days. Our conductor made it easier to put the line back in service and that’s what resiliency is all about.” Helping societies stay connected Efficiency, capacity, reliability, and resilience are core values at CTC Global and it is these that give the company a competitive edge in the industry. CTC Global’s ACCC conductor is a small component of the electric grid, but with cutting-edge design and aerospace technology, it is giving people greater access to reliable, affordable energy, its reducing carbon emissions, and it’s helping communities stay connected. “We don’t typically think about electricity in our day-to-day lives; it’s not something we talk about around the dinner table at night,” notes Bryant. “But in society, there is a growing awareness that people need access to affordable, reliable energy. There’s also still millions of people who don’t have access to electricity so there’s still a lot of work still to be done.”

ACCC power plant upgrade

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Heritage Bank is Australia’s largest mutual bank. Wedded to ethical practices often thought of as highly traditional, it is looking to maintain its values as it embraces the newest technologies

Written by John O’Hanlon Produced by Glen White



anking has not had a good press since the global financial crisis kicked in around 2008. Australia may have weathered the storm better than Europe and the USA, but it has faced similar issues. In some ways this has been of advantage to the largest customer-owned bank and one of the longest-running financial institutions in the country. Founded in 1874 as the Toowoomba Permanent Building Society, the organisation has evolved through Heritage Building Society (1981) until it became Heritage Bank in 2011. At every step it retained its customer-owned structure. Today it has assets in excess of $8bn, and remains headquartered at Toowoomba, Queensland. The evolution described above was predominantly structural. Technology, even in the last decade, took a back seat to tradition. However, in 2016 the bank developed a strategic plan to transform the organisation, making it more member centric and providing a solid growth path forward. A key requirement to improving member services was a material improvement in the ICT function, and


February 2018

agreement to a technology roadmap. It engaged Queensland-based partner 451 Consulting to undertake an ICT review and to develop a roadmap for the IT department going forward. At the same time, it gained the services of a key member



CIO, Heritage Bank

Wayne Marchant was appointed Chief Information Officer of Heritage Bank in December 2016 after initially joining the Bank as Interim CIO, consulting to Heritage through 451 Consulting. Marchant has more than 26 years in IT management across large and medium businesses in a diverse range of industry sectors. Before joining Heritage, Marchant was responsible for leading significant transformational change as the Regional CIO for Billabong and at Department of Main Roads through 451 Consulting. He has also held Senior IT roles at Flight Centre and Woolworths

of the 451 team, Wayne Marchant, who moved to Heritage as CIO. Marchant, though no banker, has vast experience in retail. Bringing him in to transform Heritage from a physical bank with a digital presence to a digital bank with

a physical presence made a lot of sense. “Banking today has everything to do with retail,” he says. “It is all about customer service – I believe I am able to be more radical than someone from the banking industry would have been.”

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The organisation he found in 2016 was inward looking and innovationaverse following a decade of head-in-the-sand stagnation. The IT team that he had to shape to deliver a transformation was operating in a bubble, not bringing in outside vendors, and reluctant to invest in new technology. There was actually some advantage in this, though. In the 10 years of slow progress at Heritage, though much progress had been made in banking, many people


February 2018

invested in expensive technologies that have been superseded. He’s glad, in a way, that Heritage didn’t do that because it leaves the way clear for him to turn the bank on its head in such a manner that would never have happened under the old order. The direction Marchant has chosen is not to splash out on big box systems that would lock the bank in for decades. He wants to be able to embrace future innovations rapidly, so has chosen to base his IT on



microservices stored in containers and linked by open banking APIs (application programming interfaces). “I am setting the bank up to be flexible and agile, and if something new comes along we can change direction in any part of our architecture very quickly.” For the time being the core banking system, which manages all customer and inter-bank transactions, will be stripped down, removing functions that have accrued to it over the 32 years it has been operating. “It

was utilised for every purpose right down to the car booking system for our pool cars,” Marchant explains. “It does not make sense to use the core banking system for that so we are slowly getting it back to its core purpose of running the branch network and customer transactions. The old system works well enough for now, he adds, but it is difficult to integrate with new software and hardware upgrades. It will have to be replaced once it has been

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trimmed back to its core purpose. “We think that will happen in five years’ time and it will be the last thing we do,” Marchant adds. “Creating open banking APIs to replace a cumbersome core banking system will not be easy, but the members should be unaware of anything other than the improvements they will start to see in their interactions with the bank. The last year has been taken up with preparing the foundations for a digital transformation. 2018 will see the development of core applications, customer applications and loan origination applications, which account for 80% of the bank’s activities. “It’s tricky, because when it comes to putting development into containers and using a microservices


February 2018

architecture, there aren’t really any core banking vendors developing in this way yet,” Marchant says. “Our preference would be to have a new, digitally designed core banking system. The way we develop these days is in small packages. For a specific task I might get the team to develop three different pieces of code, or microservices, which are stored in containers and very easy to access. The code is reusable: the smaller the chunks of code the more times you can reuse it in other applications. This approach makes our lives easier because it is easier to update – and it improves the speed with which we can deliver services to the members.” This flexible approach will simplify one of the bank’s main goals for


2018 – the development of a new integrated banking system to replace the separate mobile and internet systems currently used. A vendor will be selected in the coming months to deliver this change together with branch systems, integrated with the core system using APIs. Heritage Bank does not try to outstrip the big four incumbent banks

in Australia, but it does aim to be a ‘fast follower’. To do that effectively it needs to be able to adapt quickly. For example, Australian financial institutions are in the throes of changing over to the New Payments Platform (NPP), which allows money transfers to be made instantly rather than delayed or batched payments as previously. “We are about to complete


Number of Employees at Heritage Bank Ltd

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the change to NPP, which we are programming with open banking APIs that we would attach to our new mobile and internet banking system when it goes live later this year,” says Marchant. “At present if someone


February 2018

makes a transfer on Saturday it doesn’t go through till Monday. With the new system the recipient account will be credited within 15 seconds.” Part of Marchant’s strategy has been to retrain sections of his team


in ‘devops’, an amalgam of software development and operations, and move them out into the different business units within the bank. To facilitate training he formed a partnership with the American open-source software company Red Hat. “I am looking at the IT operating model and adjusting it to a bimodal model where the support teams are operating one way and everyone else will be devops. We are currently re-engineering IT to work in a very different way. It is as much about the productivity of the IT department as about working with vendors. We have rolled out Cobit 5 processes to make sure that the right IT governance and IT assurance processes are being applied.” It’s becoming axiomatic that no business can realise its full potential until it has taken a grasp on the data it holds. Heritage now has a business information (BI) system managed by the analytics company SAS, enhanced by software from the customer experience management specialist Sitecore. Because of the under-resourced and highly


Year founded

manual systems the bank had for communicating with its members, it was losing many opportunities to keep in touch. The bank can now run a large number of highly targeted customer campaigns a week, rather than just several mass mailouts a year says Wayne Marchant: it’s a really good system. We need to do more with the analytics data that we have so we are enhancing our reporting this year through changing the BI team and adding more resources.” Marchant is always on the lookout for technology solutions that enhance customers’ financial wellbeing, the underlying principle at Heritage. Not many banks would even consider closing down a customer’s loan even in the event of hardship through force majeure, but

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if their financial wellbeing is at stake Heritage would even do that. “For us, being customer owned is not about sales but about delivering the best possible result for the customer,” says Marchant. “We are always looking into ways to improve their experience.” He has a keen interest in innovative technology being developed by ‘fintechs’, innovative startups in the sector among whom he likes to network at conferences and the meetups organised by the incubator hub Stone & Chalk. Heritage is in a good position to leverage its customer-owned status. Public disquiet over large salaries and bonuses at the large banks could

move customers in the direction of the mutuals. “It is our customers’ money. I have to justify to them why I spend every dollar,” says Marchant, or as CEO Peter Lock puts it: “We recognise that not everything has to be digital and we have many customers who choose us because of our more traditional approach … we’re not a Bank that’s fascinated by shiny new things at the expense of our existing clients.” That said, they both agree that without its digital transformation the bank will not reach its ‘Destination Best Bank’.

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TECHNOLOGY Written by Nell Walker Produced by Glen White




igitalisation is inevitable. IT is improving all the time across all industries, and while some are trapped in legacy systems and old-fashioned ways of thinking, no sector is exempt from the march of progress. Construction can often be one such sector where digitalisation is a little slower or more limited, but Aecon is aiming to buck the trend by making its business more high-tech and user-friendly. The success Aecon enjoys in this area is partly due to the way it treats customers, employees, and the inclusion of forward thinking, talented staff, such as its Director of IT Adam Templeton. Templeton joined Aecon straight out of higher education seven years ago, beginning in Client Services and working his way up to his leadership role – a chance afforded to him by virtue of Aecon’s dedication to staff enrichment. “Aecon has programs in place to retain talent,” he explains – the business has an integrated development program under the banner Aecon University. “It allows employees to decide what type of development and growth opportunities they’d like to achieve, and the company will work with you to get there. I was part of a new Aecon-tailored leadership cohort entitled the Future Leaders Program.” Templeton says this educational experience enables employees to develop a better understanding of the business, the sector, and the particular subject on which they wish to focus.


February 2018


“We’ve looked at driving business value internally; how do we improve the way we work? How do we improve the way we are seen externally to our business clients? How can we provide value to them using technology?” – Adam Templeton, Director of IT

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“At the time it was invaluable. Gaining experience from different business units allowed me to understand what their challenges and pain points were. I was then able to bring that knowledge back to the technology group and drive real change in IT, providing tremendous value to the business.” As a result of Aecon’s investment into the care of its employees, it enjoys a very low turnover of staff, and regularly analyses skills gaps to work out what the business needs more of. One requirement that never changes is Aecon’s focus on safety. Everything Aecon does – with regard to IT or otherwise – concentrates on the safety and security of its employees as a core value. “Our people and getting them home safely to their families is our number one priority. From a business perspective, we don’t win business if we have a poor safety record,” says Templeton. As a result, Aecon has implemented technology to support this value. “Generally, in the construction industry, it can be difficult to track safety certifications or competencies,”

Templeton explains. “Rather than asking employees to recomplete certifications as they move to different roles or employers, we use a tool called Success Factors that tracks the safety records of all employees, ensuring managers do not need to put certain employees through the safety regiment all over again.” This ensures workers do not waste time unnecessary doubling up on training, instead earning their certification in a timely manner so foremen can be assured of an employee’s suitability. For Templeton, technology at Aecon is all about making construction environments a better, safer, and more efficient place to be. “It’s exciting to me, especially from a technology point of view. We’ve looked at driving business value internally. How do we improve the way we work? How do we improve the way we are seen externally to our business clients? How can we provide value to them using technology? “There are areas in which we can track underground fibre using augmented reality, or use 360-degree

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February 2018

cameras in our utility vehicles to start tracking the degradation of utility poles on the side of the road without the actual employee having to analyse it. There are tracking and inspection within the utility tools and software that we’re looking at, and that drives straight down to the bottom line – not just to Aecon, but to our customer.” This level of digitalisation is just one example of Aecon pushing value beyond its own business units and caring for workers. On-site, staff enjoy all the advantages of IT, connecting them to equipment and vehicles for a firmer grasp of hazard control, with operations being managed from within a cockpit in Fort McMurray. Part of Aecon’s successful embracing of technological advancements is the partnerships it has made with the experts. The business is using SAP Fiori in-house, with third party expertise from RTS and Sodales, and iOS is being used to keep workers connected. Ultimately, Templeton thanks those on-site for guiding these IT choices. “We also partner within the business units, because we’re not


“We also partner within the business units, because we’re not the experts. The employees in the field are those experts and they will identify a challenge” – Adam Templeton, Director of IT

always the experts. The employees in the field are much more hands on and sometimes in a better position to identify a challenge. Sometimes they will go the extra mile and say, ‘Hey Adam, we found this new tool – can we do a pilot of it?’ “The team will then work directly with that business unit to do a dry run. Another challenge within our industry is that each business unit can be unique, so it can be difficult to standardise the entirety of our process across one platform.”

To overcome this issue, Aecon works to create a bespoke service which suits the task at hand, driving better communication companywide and always referring back to the core values. While Aecon may not be embarking on an allencompassing transformation, it is always working on the improvement of ever-evolving issues. “I wouldn’t say we’ve completed a full digital transformation,” says Templeton. “We have functional and technical developers in-house, and

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“We are trying to move fast. We are trying to be closer to that leading edge” – Adam Templeton, Director of IT

we have business process leaders within each business unit. Whereas in the past, we were relying solely on a third party to provide that level of support and development for us.” Aecon continues to steadily improve its operations, always making enhancements using the Aecon Centre of Excellence – or ACE Group – to blaze a trail. With partners and third-party contributors, the business treats its relationships as a hybrid way of working, because “it’s important that from a business perspective, clients are still seeing Aecon,” says Templeton. In the future, Aecon will continue to take ownership of its technological operations whilst being bolstered by carefully-chosen vendors, ensuring that safety remains a priority. This extends to cyber security, something that will become ever more important as technology

advances; Templeton is determined that Aecon does not go the way of many companies currently suffering the effects of security breaches. “Cyber security is something that has been a main area of focus for Aecon. We’ve introduced a security team to work with our internal and external partners to ensure it remains a priority,” he says. Breaking away from legacy systems that can often slow down the industry will also remain a passion for Templeton and his team: “We are trying to move fast. We are trying to be closer to that leading edge,” he concludes. “The next step is taking the leap into focusing on business outcomes and business value as part of the technology strategy. As opposed to saying ‘How does technology drive that outcome?’, we’re now saying, ‘what is the challenge? How do we fix that?’”

Quebec and Ontario’s


Written by Fran Roberts Produced by Glen White

With more than 105 locations, Dicom Transportation Group has the largest and fastest private shipping network in Quebec and Ontario. Currently celebrating its golden anniversary, the company is turning to technology to boost efficiency and drive productivity


ounded in 1968 after Canada Post went on strike, Dicom took advantage of this situation to establish itself as a leading player in the parcel delivery sector. The business then expanded into less than truckload (LTL) services, but what has been key to the company’s ongoing success and longevity? “We have a great group of people working at Dicom. I think the other big thing is our customised solutions,” observes Kirk Serjeantson, CIO. “We really go out of our way to give the customer something different than what the bigger organisations or some of our competitors would give, just because they’re not as flexible in how they approach business. The other is the proud Canadian reputation that we’ve built over the last 50 years.” Exponential expansion One of the majors that has contributed to Dicom’s success is the combination of services that the company offers to its clients. “Typically, what other companies do is they have a strong parcel background like we did, and then they go to less than truckload, they open up separate facilities with


February 2018

separate technology,” Serjeantson states. “They almost create a separate company. Instead, what we did was we made sure that our technology and our real estate were all one, so that all the parcel and LTL product is in the same building, managed by the same team, and then it’s managed by the same technology as well.” From there, Dicom expanded into


logistics, servicing large international companies to help deliver their freight across Canada. “That grew fairly exponentially, just on the quality of service and the innovation we were providing. Then we got into truckload, and ultimately in 2014 we were purchased by Wind Point Partners, where we expanded into the US to take that model that was successful

in Canada. Our service expanded more doing final mile deliveries as well as other logistical and truckload services,” explains Serjeantson. A smart platform With a combined area of nearly 20mn sq km, Canada and the US is a formidable service area for any business. “Technology plays a big role,

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Kirk Serjeantson CIO

Kirk Serjeantson joined Dicom as Chief Information Officer in September 2014 after spending the majority of his career in the transportation IT field. Prior to Dicom, he held several CIO and IT leadership positions including Director of Technology Development at Purolator. Prior to Purolator, Serjeantson was the National Operations Systems Manager at Loomis Courier Service. as visibility on parcels and making sure we know where everything is at the right time is crucial. Partner integration is also big, because obviously you can’t cover every point in Canada all the time, or the US, so we make sure that if we partner with someone, our systems are communicating with each other very succinctly and


February 2018

effectively,” advises Serjeantson. “We have what we call our smart4 platform. That has been the focus of our technology for the last couple of years. It’s broken into four things – a new shipping system, which is smart4 shipping, a new tracking system, which is smart4 tracking, smart4 mobility, which is



a new mobile program, and smart4 integration, which is our integration platform that connects everything together, including our customers.” Operating efficiently Technology is revolutionising industries across the globe and transportation is no different. “The quote that I tell everyone is that the battle for transportation would be lost and won on the field of technology. I just think it’s going to be, it doesn’t matter how cheap you are. People are going to want a certain level of service, and technology might drive some cost savings that can be

passed back to the customer. I think it’ll be that sort of loop of ‘here’s the value I’m giving you, oh, and I can work on my cost better because I’m more efficient’,” Serjeantson states. “We’re using internet of things and gamification which are working together. We’ve got telematics in our trucks, which connect into our backend. We’ve got information from our backend connecting to that, and we’ve got driver inputs coming from mobile devices. All this is working together to make our operations more efficient, as well as to inspire the drivers to work a little harder through incentive programmes.”

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Higher productivity doing,” comments Serjeantson. As a holder of four patents, technology “If you sign an account with a and innovation are clearly company, and it is three floors at the core of Dicom’s up and you’ve got to wait operations. “We’re for an elevator, why getting into wearables should that costing now, and we model be the same released our first as someone where was founded in smartwatch for you go and drop a both the driver and package off on the for our customers first floor very quickly? this year, as well as It helps us gauge the some pretty innovative drivers, and it helps the customer apps to help them drivers, too. They know how manage their data a bit better. The quickly they’re moving. They’re ownerwearable tech is one of our patents. operators, so they want to get in and Giving the driver a watch, we can get out. Now we can track better how cover the steps, we can understand they are facilitating their deliveries what type of deliveries they are so that it’s profitable for them.”


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February 2018


Watch utilisation also makes the operation more efficient for clients. “They can store their signature on that watch so when the driver comes in, it connects to the driver’s phone, it says the driver’s here, he’s got five packages. Instead of walking across the room, I can look over to the driver that I’ve been working with for years and go, ‘yep, there’s five packages.’”

Serjeantson explains. “They can just tap their watch, it’ll send their signature to the driver and the driver can leave. Both the customer and driver’s productivity are much higher.” Later this year, Dicom will also release a smartphone app where clients can store a signature and tap to send to the driver when their delivery arrives.

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Driving excitement Having been in business for half a century, Dicom certainly shows no signs of slowing down. “We’re going to expand our footprint in the US and Canada – keep growing and taking those services and putting them in more places,” Serjeantson states. “I think also tighter integration with some of our partners to ensure that even if we don’t have a Dicom truck, per se, in

an area, we’re partnered with someone who can get that freight there with the same level of quality that we do. “We’re going to continue to innovate. We’re not so big that it’s hard to turn the ship, but we’re not so small that we can’t invest in cool technology. We’re in that sweet spot. We’re going to continue to create new and exciting solutions with the hope that we can drive excitement in the industry.”

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When intelligent infrastructures don’t just react but anticipate, that’s ingenuity for life. With a growing need for mobility, advanced software solutions help to meet the demand for increased availability, optimized throughput and enhanced passenger experience. With over 160 years of experience in passenger and freight transportation and our IT know-how, we are constantly developing new and intelligent mobility solutions to provide greater efficiency and safety. These include prescriptive monitoring systems, dynamic control systems, and electronic information and payment systems. With innovative solutions driving us into the future, urban living becomes modern living.

Gigabit Magazine - Feb 2018  
Gigabit Magazine - Feb 2018