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March 2018





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 IT’S A BUMPER edition of Gigabit this month, packed to bursting with exclusive insight from some of the world’s most successful technology leaders. Bouke Hoving is CIO of the Year, deservedly. In overseeing digital transformation at Dutch telecoms giant KPN he has set standards to which many will aspire. We travelled to Amsterdam for this month’s cover feature, where we dug in on the methodologies and strategies powering Bouke and his team to success. Meanwhile in Toronto, we ascended to the top floor of Great-West Lifeco’s historic Canada Life building – an iconic landmark whose venerable exterior belies the buzz of technological change within. Philip Armstrong, an expat Brit, is Global CIO and he is leading a technology-driven revolution at Canada’s preeminent financial services giant. And in Singapore we meet two of the people busily redefining manufacturing and supply chains with the creation of the Conscious Factory. They are leading the digital transformation of Nokia’s manufacturing processes globally, and the scale of their rapidly realising vision could change the way we think about production for good. Read (and watch) all that plus much, much more in the pages that follow, and be sure to join the conversation in Gigabit’s Linkedin group, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Enjoy the issue!



Transforming business

EUROPE KPN Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company

in the cloud



JTI (Japan Tobacco International) HENSOLDT

CANADA Great-West Lifeco Inc

Events P64

Fanshawe College

ASIA AXA Hong Kong Nokia



USA Jetro Restaurant Depot T5 Data Centers Facilities Management BD

MIDDLE EAST American University of Beirut BT Al-Saudia Cerner University of Bahrain Gulf Bridge International



Crown Resorts Limited


P20 Making progress against the tide of big data

> Energy Smart | Stockholm March 13 2018 // The Brewery Conference Center

Focus on sustainable data center energy consumption including the reuse of heat is vital not only for the environment, but also for businesses to realise opportunities unlocked by the digital economy. Stockholm is the perfect location to host a debate on the increasing role the data center will have in future energy networks. Erik Rylander // Head of Stockholm Data Parks, Stockholm Exergi

RESPONDING TO THE DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE ENERGY CHALLENGE The Energy Smart Summit is part of a global series which brings together leaders from the world of energy networks and from the digital infrastructure ecosystem in one of the world’s most energy aware cities for a very big discussion on the future. Lead sponsor:

For more information visit @DCDConverged #DCDEnergySmart

Datacenter Dynamics

DCD Global Discussions

Event Co-Host

Global Content Partner


qua end-u lified ser p availa asses ble

Key topics including: > Using data center heat recycling to reduce energy cost and CO2 emissions > How can data centers plan for a renewable dominated future? > The role of the data center in the future of power supply > Hyperscalers and their energy strategy for the Nordic market > The latest developments and innovations in energy storage solutions > Software Defined Power: The promise, the reality

Speakers at DCD>Energy Smart include:

Adam Tamburini e-shelter

Alberto Ravagni SOLIDpower

Alfonso Aranda Arias IBM

Ali Heydari Baidu

For more information about DCD>Energy Smart please follow this link:

Transforming business in the cloud

We spoke with Bill Berutti, President of Cloud & Enterprise Solutions at BMC Software, about how businesses can leverage BMC’s tech for a hybrid multi-cloud reality delivering efficient performance, security and compliance outcomes at the right cost Written by DAN BRIGHTMORE


We spoke with Bill Berutti, President of Cloud & Enterprise Solutions at BMC Software, about how businesses can leverage BMC’s tech for a hybrid multi-cloud reality delivering efficient performance, security and compliance outcomes at the right cost “ULTIMATELY, YOU WANT your mobile applications to have a response time of two seconds or you get bored,” says Bill Berutti, President of Cloud & Enterprise Solutions at BMC. “We perfected how you manage all of that cost, performance, security and service desk management in an on-prem reality and in a private cloud reality.” BMC has been a leading provider of technology services for the past three decades, taking part in every major renewal of connected technology going back to the mainframe days. When the first wave of enterprise solutions exploded, one of the biggest challenges customers faced was 10

March 2018

“We’re big enough to have a large global presence with customers across the planet but we’re small enough to be nimble and move fast. That’s what gives us a unique position in the marketplace” –Bill Berutti, President of Cloud & Enterprise Solutions, BMC Software


BMC Software Corporate Video cost. BMC was created as a better management platform for ensuring the most efficient use of that unruly beast. The next generational wave of technological change delivered distributed, server-based computing, positioning BMC to reinvent itself and become a leader in data centre management, servers and networks. Delivering the modern helpdesk, automating workloads in a distributed environment and ultimately

managing performance outcomes across mainframe and distributed applications has been a mainstay for the Texas-based company. In recent years, the next big opportunity for BMC has been revealed: the chance to become the enabler for customers moving to a hybrid multi-cloud reality with a DevOps process behind the scenes. “That new level of velocity, with new waves of infrastructure that need to 11

D I G I TA L S T R AT E G Y be managed, creates opportunities and risks for our customers, so we’re taking all of our innovation forward to manage security, automation, compliance and performance in that multi-cloud world, so it’s easy for them to get digital faster.” Having been named by Gartner in 2017 as a leader in the Magic Quadrant for IT Service Management Tools for the fourth year in a row, BMC offers solutions customers can trust to achieve that goal. To get there, challenges must be overcome, according to Berutti, who last year unveiled BMC’s survey of more than 1,000 IT decision-makers across 11 countries highlighting the scope of the task businesses face. For example, the survey found an alarming 40% of respondents ‘haven’t a clue’ how much they are spending on cloud services. So what advice would Berutti have for companies who might include themselves in that bracket? “First, you have to ask why that has happened… The number two reason given by companies for moving to the cloud is that they hoped for cost improvements and efficiencies. Many of them don’t even know what their cost is, much less whether or not it’s cheaper.” 12

March 2018

Berutti explains there are two unplanned ways businesses end up using the public cloud which lead to spiralling cost. He identifies a trend towards letting developers build new applications leveraging the public cloud without as much ‘planfulness’ and control as there used to be in traditional IT. Applications are written in Amazon Web Services (AWS) from the developer’s mindset delivering great tools but with no handle on cost. Berutti argues businesses are not considering the potential of better alternatives and just aiming to run before they can walk. “Certain applications will be more cost effective or the same in a public cloud environment as is or with minor changes. Others are going to cost more because they will not be able to leverage the public cloud in an efficient manner without being completely re-written. We want to be able to help our customers have as much flexibility as possible, but to know what the financial implications will be.” Looking ahead, Berutti sees a new trend emerging: “Now we’re seeing a reconvergence of the business in IT, because IT realises it needs to employ new tools and processes to provision

40% of IT decision makers ‘haven’t a clue’ how much they are spending on cloud services

environments in AWS or the private cloud in minutes rather than weeks, going into production the day after the business is ready, not six months later. IT, with the help of companies like BMC, can feel more frictionless like the public cloud providers, but with the cost advantage and security and compliance necessary to protect the corporation.” BMC’s survey found that 80% of respondents acknowledge multicloud requires new approaches for effective management. How

can BMC help them achieve this? “Managing a data centre or private cloud, we put in place all the tools necessary to manage and predict cost, deliver security and compliance profiles and to mitigate risk in these areas combined with the end users’ need for responsive performance. With Digital Business Automation we make all the different elements of applications, infrastructure and data work together to create the outcomes officially. We’ve done all that, but now we move to a reality where some things are sitting in AWS, others in Capgemini and some in the data centre but they all need to work together and that’s when tools and processes break down. So we’ve innovated in all those areas.” Berutti recommends that companies looking to ensure security and compliance with assets, data and applications flung across private and public environments will need to upgrade their infrastructure. With important requirements like GDPR due to come online the old tools won’t work, but BMC has the answer. “Our SecOps policy service allows the customer to see compliance across private or public clouds and data 13

“We’re taking all of our innovation forward to manage security, automation, compliance and performance in that multi-cloud world, so it’s easy for them to get digital faster” –Bill Berutti, President of Cloud & Enterprise

centres, while remediating the policy to change the environment to be compliant. For instance, you could have a financial regulatory process that requires authorisation and access rights to any environment that has customer data which meets a certain set of criteria. In real time, we can check whether you’re compliant with those policies across all different public and private environments. That capability is impossible with the same tools you use on premise.” It’s an approach which leaves BMC on track to deliver against Gartner’s prediction that by 2020, 90% of organisations will adopt hybrid infrastructure management capabilities. Adopting the right tools is key. Gartner identifies the rise in AIOps platforms: software systems 14

March 2018

combining big data and AI or machine learning functionality to enhance and partially replace a broad range of IT operations processes and tasks, including availability and performance monitoring, event correlation and analysis, IT service management, and automation. With multi-cloud environments handling a deluge of big data, what does Berutti feel the current state of play is for applying AIOps to manage them? “We throw around cool buzzwords in the industry – AI, cognitive, machine learning, natural language processing – but what’s a practical outcome? What benefit can you get and how do you apply it? The move towards everything being automated sounds good, one day… but there’s still a debate raging between the likes of Elon Musk and

D I G I TA L S T R AT E G Y Mark Zuckerberg over whether AI is a good thing or putting us all in jeopardy of living by the will of machines.” BMC thinks differently in order to apply machine learning to solve a real problem. “Here’s an example,” offers Berutti. “People don’t want to call a helpdesk if they don’t need to. You want an automated repair, so we’re using machine learning and analytics to take the things humans shouldn’t have to bother with and allow machines to take advantage of them. You might have tens of thousands of IT tickets or problems registered in your system, but you can’t read them all. We’re applying machine learning to read hundreds of thousands of tickets in minutes for the identification of repetitive problems that could be automated and never have to have a human get involved at all, such as password resets or phone updates, so we can elevate the work of human beings towards things that are more sophisticated and important – that’s how we leverage AI.” Globally, traction for the public cloud began in the US where the major providers are based. Now with the increasing velocity of adoption of new tech and DevOps, Berutti

recognises an opportunity for the UK and Europe to work smarter and embrace the public hybrid cloud. Whereas a lot of US companies “ran headfirst into a multi-cloud DevOps private reality”, latecomers can learn from their mistakes and, with BMC’s help, avoid negative outcomes such as performance degradation. Berutti’s advice is simple: “Start with a baseline. Ask: where are my assets? We need to learn what assets make sense to move to the public cloud, or migrate to a multi-cloud reality, from an efficiency perspective (cost or speed) and, when they are moved there, how we make sure we get the best performance versus cost and security outcome.” Berutti believes it’s thanks to its key partnerships that BMC has evolved to a point where its offering is unique in the market. “AWS has elevated us (along with the likes of other public cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure) to a strategic partner around multi-cloud management.” The reason BMC is important to them is because it has customers who are worried about securely moving to a public cloud environment with the desired outcome. “AWS is taking our tech to its customers so 15

D I G I TA L S T R AT E G Y we can help them understand the assets that should and shouldn’t move to the AWS environment in the most secure way, while delivering the desired performance and automation outcomes. We’re an accelerant towards that goal.” A long time independent provider in the market, Berutti hails BMC’s heterogeneous approach. “We don’t have a platform like IBM. We don’t care about the platform you’re utilising. We want to help your business live in a diverse world where you have a data centre, a private cloud, a third party and multiple public cloud providers. Our real advantage is that we’re able give our customers the most flexibility possible to get the most efficient outcome, regardless of which environment they want to use to leverage their digital business transformation.” BMC has already delivered this kind of transformation for Amadeus, the largest provider of transactions for travel in the world. “If you board a plane anywhere in the world there’s a 90% chance they are in the back end of processing your booking to get you on that aircraft,” says Berutti. “Every ticket and security clearance 16

March 2018

“AWS is taking our tech to its customers so we can help them understand the assets that should and shouldn’t move to the AWS environment in the most secure way, while delivering the desired performance and automation outcomes. We’re an accelerant towards that goal” –Bill Berutti, President of Cloud & Enterprise Solutions, BMC Software

has to go through their system... They are a classic example of one of our customers managing gigantic volumes of information while trying to determine the best outcome for how to manage their infrastructure. Should they have everything in their own private cloud environment? That’s the way it was for a long time, but we’re talking massive amounts of compute power. Now they are on the journey towards leveraging the public cloud and ending up in this hybrid

multi-cloud reality where they can get the best cost and efficiency outcomes with a mix of public and private cloud locations for their data. We work with them to determine what should live where while remaining secure.” BMC boasts revenue of $2bn, and with over 6,000 employees it’s primed to deliver winning solutions. “It’s a great position to be in. We’re big enough to have a large global presence with customers across the planet but we’re small enough to be nimble

and move fast. That’s what gives us a unique position in the marketplace. “We’re a private company so we’re able to invest in technology in ways that no one else can, at levels no one else can. The outcome we’re striving for is one where as our customers transform their businesses to become more digital we are a in a unique position to be the enabler. We’re already growing but our customers’ success on their journey will be our success too.” 17






Making Progress

against the tide of

Progress Software is delivering enterprise solutions across industry sectors via a global army of developer partnerships. Gigabit speaks with Mark Armstrong, VP & MD EMEA, about how the market leader is utilising acquisitions and in-house innovations to harness digital disruption while extracting value from the rising tide of data


BigD a ta Writ ten by DAN BRIGHTMORE

D I G I TA L D I S R U P T I O N PROGRESS SOFTWARE BOASTS more than 35 years in business, driven by a simple mission: to provide the best platform and tools for building and deploying mission critical business applications. With a focus on B2B and B2C, its mission hasn’t changed, but Progress retains the agility of a startup combined with the foresight of a global leader to react to the shifting sands of the business world across industry sectors. “We have more than 1,700 partners who build applications or solutions using our technology,” reveals Mark Armstrong, VP & MD EMEA. “The key thing is we don’t build applications or take them to market. We’re probably the largest software company that provides software to software companies. There are over 100,000 enterprises that use mission critical business systems built on our tech. We’ve got in the region of 2mn-plus developers (and that doesn’t include those using its open source tech for building mobile apps in a native environment), with over 6mn users logging on and over 100mn consumers who are utilising different software applications, built by vendors, using our tech. And that’s 22

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growing rapidly. People don’t build monolithic applications anymore. We’re seeing applications built with multiple languages and platforms to deliver flexibility to deploy on premise, in the cloud or mobile with a range of different interfaces, so we need to provide the tools to enable them.” Progress can facilitate enterprise integration, data interoperability and application development, including Software as a Service (SaaS) enablement and delivery across cloud, predictive maintenance and mobility solutions. Armstrong says the Progress product roadmap has been influenced in recent years by the changing definition of mission critical. “We’ve seen a switch from ‘scalable and available’ – going back to the nineties and noughties it was all about ensuring these business applications could run on any piece of hardware or operating system. Today it’s about being able to run on any cloud vendor’s infrastructure so compatibility is key. We’re finding that people need applications that work at scale – today they might have 1,000 users, tomorrow it could be 100,000.” Progress works with customers like Farmers Insurance (with a reported

“The market dynamics are exciting today so people need to think differently about how they build business apps to embrace the future and truly deliver value from big data” –Mark Armstrong, VP & MD EMEA, Progress Software

$12.5bn revenue) in North America, a company which has built a mobile application so it can offer services direct to millions of consumers. Farmers needs to know it will scale and it’s always on. “They are an example of a business that has back office systems that have moved into the cloud using mobility and have the need to build truly robust internet scale applications,” explains Armstrong. “Another trend we’re seeing is the need for an immersive user interface,” he reveals. “We talk a lot about adaptive applications. Gone are the days where users have to adapt to the application. Applications


March 2018

today have to adapt to the way users want to consume them. We need to provide tools which allow people to build responsive mobile applications – whether they be native or hybrid – with voice integration or augmented and virtual reality interfaces and the ability to become truly immersive.” Armstrong lauds Progress’ ability to solve a multitude of problems and believes it’s one of the prime reasons why businesses worldwide trust applications delivered on its platform. “A lot of people build hybrid mobile apps allowing access to GPS or the camera,” he explains, giving an example of how Progress delivers


“The data science area is growing rapidly, but there aren’t enough scientists to manage the data we’ve got. It’s way beyond human comprehension…” –Mark Armstrong, VP & MD EMEA, Progress Software innovation. “But if you want to build a true user experience and allow access to all the functions of a mobile device, you need to build native. The problem is that you have iOS, Android, Windows and a plethora of different versions of iOS and a multitude of devices you can run Android on – people can’t afford to do this. We have a product called Native Script, a differentiating technology, which allows you to write once using a familiar process to users of Java Script. It will deploy natively to Android or iOS giving you all the benefits of native. It’s the only tech of its kind in the business marketplace which is why we’ve had over a million downloads and trials with developers using the tech. It’s open source and then we supplement that by providing world class tools and utilities to enable it to create graphics etc.” Progress is now one of the leading

providers of developer tools in the market through its acquisition of Telerik, and it also recently acquired Kinvey, highlighted by Gartner and Forester as one of the leading mobile application development platforms for back-end services in the market. “If you want to build in a service environment and deploy on any platform in the world in a robust and compliant way, Kinvey is a great choice. You can run all three (Native Script, Telerik and Kinvey) seamlessly in the same environment and then you have a differentiated platform. Collectively there’s nothing better on the market,” asserts Armstrong proudly. Progress can call on a wideranging ecosystem of partners including software vendors who use its web management tools to build solutions for companies like 25

D I G I TA L D I S R U P T I O N Nestlé, and Pepsi brands such as Tropicana and Gatorade who use tech provisioned by its service provider partners. Armstrong highlights QAD, an ERP vendor which uses Progress solutions at 6,100 manufacturing sites in more than 90 countries, with a strong presence in the automotive industry. “Even in this space there is huge change in the way business applications are being developed, with more focus on cognitive business applications for growing markets like predictive maintenance,” reveals Armstrong. “With 47% of our own revenue coming from manufacturing, it’s really important to us to react to its needs. Elsewhere, three of the five largest legal providers in the UK market are using Progress technology. That’s a dominant position also apparent in the Housing Association market where we work with industry leaders like Orchard Housing and Capita Housing to support their solutions.” Recognised as a leader by Gartner and Forester for Mobile Application Development Platforms, Progress has seen a share price rise of $50, which Armstrong believes shows the vision and strategy implemented by its leadership team has been 26

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supported by an eager customer base and both shareholders and stakeholders. To maintain its position in a competitive market, Armstrong identifies the challenge of providing solutions for those companies needing help with extracting value from the ever-growing data lakes. “The data science area is growing rapidly, but there aren’t enough scientists to manage the data we’ve got. It’s way beyond human comprehension… That’s why we’re aiming to provide the tools and technologies that negate the need for data scientists. There won’t be enough of them available so we need to automate.” To achieve this goal, Progress acquired Machine Learning & AI innovator Data RPM. “We’re focusing that around predictive maintenance with a meta-learning approach,” says Armstrong. “Land Rover Jaguar are one of our customers who use this in the manufacturing process because every car that comes off the production line is effectively unique. We’re ensuring, from a predictive maintenance point of view, its plants are kept up with improvements in efficiency to deliver a reduction in overall costs. Land Rover Jaguar’s

$22,000 – predicted cost of a minute’s downtime at Jaguar Land Rover research revealed that just one minute of plant downtime costs in the region of $22,000 and typically they are dealing with 800 hours of downtime a year, so our goal is to minimise that. If we can detect through a multitude of IoT sensors on every machine in that plant how a specific car was produced on a particular day, we can start to conceptually produce things like the digital twin of a car to aid the manufacturing process. That’s a visionary statement of what we’re working towards and how we hope to add value in new ways for our customers.”

Looking ahead, what are Armstrong’s predictions for the emerging needs of business in this area? “In 2018, industry will utilise tech to take advantage of existing data lakes and its real-time feed to achieve value with Industry 4.0. We have customers who are actively talking to us about how they can take Data RPM on board with their mission critical applications to enhance and improve their manufacturing process or do predictive maintenance on the high value items they produce, whether that’s large compressors, vehicles or large refrigeration units. 27

“In 2018, industry will utilise tech to take advantage of existing data lakes and its realtime feed to achieve value with Industry 4.0” –Mark Armstrong, VP & MD EMEA, Progress Software


March 2018

D I G I TA L D I S R U P T I O N We’re going to see IoT add real value this year.” Armstrong sees immediate challenges for all industry sectors, positioning Progress to further enhance its reputation as a go-to for problem solving. “Our customers in the EU have to face up to GDPR compliance by 25 May. We’ve been preparing for this for two years and are still engaging on this with education and technology to enable them to put in place a compliant strategy, whether that be areas like encrypting data or providing a more secure log in experience for users. By definition, being an indirect company, our customer’s challenges are challenges for us.” Progress aims to broaden its offering of next generation business apps through more acquisitions. “These will complement our vision so we want to further take advantage of new tech and make it available in a frictionless way to our customers.” The Progress veteran has been in the software industry since 1988, always in the arena of business applications, either working for software vendors that build them or over the past nine years working for Progress to provide technology for those vendors. He’s experienced a multitude of paradigm shifts in the industry, and concludes: “In the past it was about integration between apps, but today it’s about building micros services that can work with each other seamlessly via service environments that can be employed anywhere. The market dynamics are exciting today so people need to think differently about how they build business apps to embrace the future and truly deliver value from big data.” 29




not are ^ going to take our jobs. AI and machine learning are no longer the stuff of science fiction. Gigabit speaks with David Remaud, CMO of tech startup Dhatim, regarding the potential for automation to free workforces from tedious tasks across the industries to deliver tangible benefits in procurement, finance and HR‌

Writ ten by D A N B R I G H T M O R E

ART IFI C I A L I N TEL L IGEN CE MUCH HAS BEEN made recently of the potential impact of robotics and automation on the human workforce. Many of the large global accounting houses have published studies citing significant shifts in the makeup of organisations in the coming decade, but while the headlines may focus on job displacement, less attention is paid to the new opportunities the likes of AI creates. Dhatim is an innovative startup dedicated to optimising the costs of companies through the implementation of artificial intelligence and machine learning. The Gallic pioneers focus on the two largest company spends – procurement and HR – to deliver financial administration tools focused on efficacy and efficiency across all sectors. Dhatim’s worldwide presence has roots in services provided to the telecoms industry, leading to benchmarking by the likes of Gartners for its unique solution on invoice management. “We’ve received global awards so we know that business leaders understand the positive disruption of what we do,” explains Dhatim CMO David Remaud. “Our customers like Vodafone, SNCF and HSBC tell us this.” Dhatim’s journey towards pre-eminence in the continually evolving arena of AI has seen a company headquartered in Paris branch out with new offices in South America and Asia. “In the past five years AI has become very efficient in several areas,” notes Remaud. “For instance, taking raw data from an enterprise and sorting and classifying it to find the value. Google has shown AI can recognise a cat from an image and now AI can recognise targeted data on a PDF 34

March 2018

“Many companies “Many companies have problems with have problems with the quality of their the quality of their historical and current historical and current data because it has been data because it has been manually entered” manually entered” - David Remaud CMO, Dhatim


ART IFI C I A L I N TEL L IGEN CE invoice after being developed to significantly automate basic tasks. For example, with accounting, once the data has been extracted you have to locate each side of the invoice to the right account. This was done manually, but AI is now skilled enough to automate that task.” Dhatim’s product Conciliator is the leading digital assistant for cost optimisation based on AI, and has proven capable of making savings up to 25% in all spend categories through deep analysis of invoices, reconciled with real usage and best practices via its ecosystem of digitised expertise. It’s a timely solution as Remaud warns that back offices and finance departments, regardless of industry sector, are going to be massively impacted by AI due to the sheer volume of manual work involved. Everything related to indirect procurement will become automated. “As part of a company’s digital transformation, Dhatim Conciliator drastically changes the operational model, enabling endto-end integration of AI, data science, machine learning and deep learning in a seamless workflow,” he asserts. But how would Remaud address the 36

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fears of those workers who feel their jobs are under threat from the further development of AI? “We have this idea from science fiction, but robots are not going to take our jobs and kill us all,” he laughs. “Education is key to explain what any new tech like AI does. The market has a duty to do this. Now we are seeing a true impact in certain areas of work. Today, we at Dhatim believe AI is enhancing the role of workers by taking away the repetitive

tasks and leaving more time to work in ways that add value to a business. For example, in procurement, instead of labouring manually to extract data via complex tools, that classification task is completed, leaving you free to make the important analogies and decisions on top of the data. It’s a question of training the staff in how to use the tools AI can offer in order to enhance their job. It may be that with further automation some roles in accounting

become more customer service focused to better improve a business.” Countries at the heart of the outsourcing movement, like India and Madagascar, could be severely impacted because of their exposure to manual work. Meanwhile, Remaud believes countries in Europe can benefit from AI’s ability to deliver more time to not only create value, but make work both easier and happier. While the workers are whistling, how will AI bring about a step change in efficacy and efficiency for companies that embrace it properly? “This is massive,” says Remaud. “If you’re talking pure efficiency, with Conciliator we have up to a 50% increase in productivity. For example, we are working for a chartered accountancy firm with 900 accounts on its books. So, either the manager decides to fire 50% of its staff or embrace AI to manage twice the number of files than they used to. With regards to efficacy, we rate that in terms of enhanced compliance and the quality of data - robots are much better than humans when it comes to ensuring that analysis of detail. So, we see a 100% increase in quality.” The improved efficiency is a proven development that Dhatim’s 37


“We still have a “We still have a journey to take take injourney trainingtoour in trainingto our machines machines to understand the understand supplier’s the because supplier’s stack, AIstack, is not because about AI is coding” not about coding” - David Remaud CMO, Dhatim 38

March 2018

r o d


CEO Thomas Bourgeois calls “a real revolution”, and one that is already live. “There are billions of invoices the world over and amazingly most are still on paper,” says Bourgeois. “Even the digital PDFs still require a lot of work to be managed. They must be read, controlled and inputted in the correct system for payment. Ten minutes’ work equates to $12 per invoice. Our robot Conciliator totally automates this workflow. It can read any PDF and verify each line so it’s ready to be put into the accounting system and paid. This process can add value to any business in any industry.” But how do we begin to make sense of the incoming tsunami of big data? Reflecting on that next step, Remaud believes the challenge for businesses will be to harness AI to tap into underutilised data to provide actionable insights. “We are not yet there,” he concedes, “as many companies have problems with the quality of their historical and current data because it has been manually entered. AI can ingest, classify and automate the process, so you have an ERP with clean data. The next step can then provide real insights where we can start to develop predictive analytics.

However, our customers still have a path to travel. The market has work to do to provide clean data to deliver the next stage of progress in the fields of procurement, finance and HR.” Dhatim cites its partnership with Allianz as crucial to bringing solutions like Conciliator to market. “We also work with independent financial vendors like SAP, and P2P procurement software vendors are really good partners for us because they take our product on board as a module to automate the classification of invoices for their customers,” reveals Remaud. “And we work with the likes of Capgemini and Deloitte to help re-shape the future of the procurement process.” Customer-wise, Remaus rates Dahtim’s continuing relationship with Vodafone as one of its greatest achievements to date. Dhatim provides savings by automating tasks and checking Vodafone’s lead lines across hundreds of millions of connections each year through the implementation of Conciliator. Vodafone’s Procurement Manager Roger Dashwood has been impressed by its capability to deliver strong analytics. “There are lots of revenue 39

ART IFI C I A L I N TEL L IGEN CE assurance systems out there that check suppliers,” he notes. “But, in terms of margin improvement based on automated cross checking and validation of invoices, Conciliator fits what’s needed. It has the people with the skillsets to help you manage and maximise big data analysis. Agile procurement is a pillar of our business and Conciliator contributes to this goal.” Global energy group ENGIE also uses Dhatim’s Conciliator as the basis for a brand-new software as a service (SaaS) solution on Vertuoz. “We’ve made Conciliator part of the Vertuoz platform,” reveals its Director General Olivier Gresle. “It enables our customers to analyse huge volumes of invoices against an automated rules engine to verify whether the calculation rules have been correctly applied. Energy bills can now be verified automatically, and in volume, significantly saving the time it takes to identify and secure savings in order to certify the validity of the amount billed.” Looking to build on these successes, Remaud is keen for Dhatim to grow its geographical footprint, but is mindful of expecting too much too soon from AI, which he feels has reached a plateau. Analysts believe it will take another three years to reach the next significant stage of development. Remaud concurs. “We still have a journey to take in training our machines to understand the supplier’s stack, because AI is not about coding. We are aiming to deliver these solutions in many languages so that’s our future focus; targeting analytics and the way we interact with machines which requires natural language processing.” 40

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We deliver you the stories that matter… Click to read


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

– Murat Ungun, Senior VP Supply Chain Kudu Corp



Data Anal AND THE FUTURE O Written by S t u a r t H o d g e

lytics OF AI

CLOUD COMPUTING Data analytics is big business. Recent analysis by Market Research Future has estimated that the data analytics market is currently flourishing with a compound annual growth rate of 31%, mainly due to the high adoption rate of technology and a growing competitiveness in the market when it comes to gaining insights. Ciaran Dynes is software integration company Talend’s SVP of Product, leading global product management, managing products from cradle to maturity, justifying and negotiating new product development investments as well as company acquisitions. Dynes was heavily involved in the company’s recent acquisition of Restlet, specialists in cloud-based API design and testing. As a result of his work, Dynes has been involved with integration software for many years. He says: “Data has found integration to be the thing that makes it useful, so I have been fortunate to start my career in integration software, which has led me to a career in data.” With that in mind, we asked Dynes for his insight on various aspects of data analytics…


March 2018

How important a role does data analytics play for companies, especially tech companies, in this day and age? Data analytics is so important for modern organisations. You need only look at data-driven tech giants such as Facebook, Google and Uber, with their exponential growth and market dominance, to see the opportunity that effectively collecting, harnessing and analysing data offers. If companies do not fully tap into the potential of the data they hold, they will find themselves missing out on valuable competitive insights that help them gain more market share or increase profits and productivity.


If you were to pick out a few key trends or developments you expect to see in the data analytics and cloud space over the next year or so, what would they be? One area I think that we will see move away from the chatter and hype towards real, viable, profit-making deployments is AI. A recent Forrester research report predicted that enterprises this year will finally start to tap into the real value of AI as they understand the complexity of the planning, deployment and management of the technology. This is starting to happen because the key tenets of enabling AI and real-time analytics – giving employees the ability to access data whenever and wherever they need it – is now a reality. With more data in the cloud than ever before, the adoption of cloud-based data management has led to an increase in the deployment of selfservice, cloud-based data access, data preparation and data integration in an environment that enables businesses to unlock the power of the data. As AI matures further, we will see it being used to unleash the value of unstructured, text-based data – a format that has challenged data analysts and businesses over the years. Considering the huge amount of unstructured data out there, the doors that AI-based analytics open could make 2018 a really exciting year in this space.


March 2018

How important is it to strategise properly when it comes to data and cloud analytics? Results are everything these days, so pick something and drive to that result. Your strategy has to be about ruthlessly getting to a result. How you get there should accept that you will need to change your infrastructure as new projects arise. When integrating any type of data analytics programme, be it in the cloud or otherwise, it is imperative that a plan and strategy is laid out. Preparation is key to a good data analytics programme. According to research firm Gartner, analytics users spend the majority of their time either preparing data or waiting for it to be prepared. This demonstrates a crucial element of the data processing function – data quality. The insights gleaned from an analytics task are only as good as the data that goes into it. Therefore, a data analytics strategy must define the objective of the analytics programme and identify the data to be used. This includes assessing its quality and how this can be improved, integrating that data if it is being gathered from a variety of sources, and then feeding into the analytics function. Without an effective strategy, the insights could be misleading and of limited value to the wider business.



Could the current trends lead to the space having more and more third-party insight providers? As the need to harness data and the ability to manage and analyse complex data sources in the cloud grow, we will see an increase in thirdparty insight providers that are specialists in analysis of datasets.


March 2018

What movements do you expect to see in the machine learning and AI space, and how will this affect data and cloud analytics? 2018 is the year when AI graduates from the hype and starts to find its feet in real deployments. The impact that this will have on data and cloud analytics is that we will see more unstructured data sources become viable to data scientists in conducting data analysis. In turn, this will create growth in the cloud-based analytics market as businesses look to the cloud for cost-effective ways of tapping into these new technologies and analytics capabilities.



Do you expect to see the emergence, somewhat, of endto-end cloud analytics? As more and more businesses are looking to the cloud for a whole range of IT and data needs, it would not surprise me to see growth in the end-to-end cloud-based analytics market this year. Ultimately, we need to remove as much friction in how users can combine existing and new datasets together. An end-to-end cloud-based analytics solution is perfect for those organisations needing to integrate disparate data in different formats that have differing storage and processing requirements. As the Internet of Things becomes more ubiquitous and data creation and collection grows, data analysis in the cloud will be the only way that businesses will be able to keep up with the exponential growth of their data.


March 2018

Trends to expect in 2018…

Dan Sommer, Senior Director, Market Intelligence Lead at data analytics leader Qlik, outlines the trends he expects to see in the year ahead…. Data literacy will gain company-wide, and societal, priority. “Data literacy, known as the ability to read, work with, analyse, and argue with data, is becoming more important in today’s analytics economy. In fact, Gartner predicts 80% of organisations will work to increase data literacy across their workforces by 2020. To begin making this change, leading software companies will begin offering these types of programs in 2018, and good user organisations will take a structured approach to increasing data literacy.”

Analytics will become conversational. “The consumption and interaction of analytics have been focused on drag-and-drop style dashboard list boxes and/or visualisation for a long time. While there continues to be value in that, increasingly there are approaches available for what can be categorised as “conversational analytics”, simplifying the analysis, findings, and storytelling, so that users more easily get to that one data point they are after. This includes techniques such as natural language query, processing, and generation, augmented by search and voice. This technology, helped by virtual assistants and chatbots through API integration, provide a new means of interaction. But it's not a one-size fits all. While out-of-the-box functionality may seem novel, the real value is in contextualising it for a particular use case and business process.”

Reporting redefined. This time, highly contextualised. “We realise that not everyone will want to, or have the time to, go in and explore their data in detail every time. Instead, we will see different users with varying levels of skillsets. This means that in 2018, reporting will start to become redefined through providing not just analysts, but also participants, with highly contextualised information — inverting analytics as we know it today. Rather than having to go to a destination to perform an analysis, it will come to users, embedded into the work space where people are. This means getting the right information to the right people, at the right time, in the right place, and in the right context. And in that process, many more people will be empowered with data and analytics than ever before.”

Analytics will become immersive. “Given that the price of virtual reality devices remains a bit too steep for mainstream adoption, we are still several years away from augmented reality. The breakthroughs likely will happen in enterprise use cases, with analytics playing a role. But immersive experiences can also take on other formats where users become engaged from a sensorial and social standpoint. Through better user interfaces, large-scale displays in digital situation rooms, better storytelling with data, and collaborative features, more people will be drawn to using analytics.”









Business process outsourcing and the digital revolution




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TOP 10


Forbes recently released its Cloud 100, detailing a comprehensive list of the 100 cloud computing businesses. Here’s our rundown of the top 10 big analytics providers on the list Written by MARK SPENCE

TOP 10


10 SNOWFLAKE COMPUTING Based in San Mateo, California, Snowflake is the only data warehouse built for the cloud. The company was founded in 2012 by three data warehousing experts – Benoit Dageville, Thierry Cruanes and Marcin Zukowski – and appointed former Microsoft executive Bob Muglia as CEO in June 2014. Snowflake’s technology combines the power of data warehousing, the flexibility of big data platforms and the elasticity of the cloud. Snowflake currently employs 224 staff and has funding in the region of $205mn.


March 2018

Sumo Logic acts as a cloud log management and metrics monitoring solution deployed by IT, security and development teams. The company’s cloud-based service provides customers with real-time interactive analytics at unprecedented scale – more than 100 petabytes of data on a daily basis. According to Forbes, its current funding figure stands at $235mn.



With more than more than 500 customers in 50 countries, including Netflix, eBay and Adobe, Datastax is a data management software vendor based in Santa Clara, California, offering data management software. The company’s two founders, Jonathan Ellis and Matt Pfeil, left Rackspace and launched Datastax in 2010. They currently lead 450 employees, with $190mn backing. Investors include Comcast Ventures and Crosslink Capital.

Launched in 2013, Databricks is a company founded by the creators of Apache Spark that aims to help clients with cloud-based big data processing. Databricks provides a Unified Analytics Platform for data science teams to collaborate with data engineering and lines of business to build data products. Databricks’ mission is to accelerate innovation for its customers by unifying data science, engineering and business. It has 200 employees and its funding sits at $108mn.


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5 MAPR TECHNOLOGIES This Silicon Valley software enterprise can lay claim to being the company that pioneered one platform for all data across every cloud. MapR’s technology offers analytics that help companies make business decisions and has partnership agreements with the likes of Amazon, Cisco, Google, Microsoft and SAP. At present MapR has 500 staff and $500mn in funding.


Elastic builds software that enables real-time data usage. Launched in 2012, the company’s portfolio includes Elastic Stack (Elasticsearch, Kibana, Beats, and Logstash), X-Pack and Elastic Cloud. In its own words, the company reliably and securely takes data from any source, in any format, in order to search, analyse and visualise it in real time. Based in Amsterdam, Elastic currently employs 550 staff and has around $104mn in funding.


March 2018



Sisense business analytics software covers the full scope of data analysis, from data preparation to visualisation. The Wall Street Journal has said “Sisense is taking big data analytics by storm”, and indeed, Sisense has customers in around 49 countries, including global brands like Target, Merck, Wix and Samsung. The company was founded in 2004 in Tel Aviv by Elad Israeli, Eldad Farkash, Aviad Harell, Guy Boyangu and Adi Azaria. Sisense has won a number of awards, including the Word Technology Award in 2013, and NYC’s Taking the HELM award.

Established in 2011, Looker is a software company focusing on the intersection of economics and engineering, helping its customers use data to achieve success. Looker is driven by the idea that businesses function better when data is easily accessible and consistently defined. Operating out of Santa Cruz, California, Looker secured $81.5mn in funding led by Google parent Alphabet’s growth equity fund, CapitalG, back in 2017. Currently, the business employs 325 people and is backed by a total of $178mn in funding.


TOP 10


Datadog is a monitoring service for cloud-scale applications that brings together data from servers, databases, tools and services. These capabilities, which are all provided on an SaaS-based data analytics platform, encourage collaboration and help ensure development and deployment cycles finish on time. Situated in New York, the company has 400 employees, $148mn in funding and is fronted by CEO Olivier Pomel.


March 2018


This Utah-based business analytics company’s central mission is to make data more accessible to business leaders. CEO Josh James also co-founded web analytics software company Omniture before selling it to Adobe Systems Inc. for around $1.8bn in 2009. Domo boasts a workforce of around 824 employees and has funding to the tune of $690mn. Investors include Black Rock, Fidelity and Salesforce. 63

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

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.


March 2018

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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?


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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.


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

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. 72

March 2018

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‘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.



Written by Catherine Sturman Produced by Kiron Chavda


PN STANDS FOR connection. Its desire to connect its customers, engage stakeholders, and deliver a complete, omnichannel experience has seen it earn the title of the largest telecoms and IT service provider in the Netherlands. The first telco to install 4G across the country, KPN seeks to deliver integrated, user-friendly products and services; from wireless telephony, internet, tv, mobile and fixed line, to end-to-end telecom and IT services. However, its vision to not only overhaul, but enhance the customer experience has led it to reinvent its entire business model towards the customer journey. Moving its consumer division from The Hague to Amsterdam has better placed the business for future growth. Housing both its commercial and its technology operations under one roof, KPN will increasingly attract talent from the competitive Dutch IT technology market, in addition to driving further international recruitment.

ADAPTABILITY Spanning up to five floors, it is clear to see that KPN continually looks to encourage innovation and creativity at every level, with ambitions to remain an essential leader within the telecommunications market. Upon arrival, we are informed that it is undertaking its initiative, ‘Future Fit Friday’. With a keen awareness that technology will continue to be a key differentiator within its commercial propositions, every employee is asked to look at how they can keep up with new 78

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KPN was the first telecoms provider to install 4G across the Netherlands Partnering with Huwei and Cognizant has seen KPN become a major player in the telco sector

“Whilst the lifetime of technology continues to shrink, the use of new digital tools, particularly within telecoms is becoming increasingly vital” – Bouke Hoving, Executive Vice President for Networks and IT, KPN

KPN has seen a steep increase in customer satisfaction, with 4.5 stars on Apple iOS

KPN has also partnered with Netflix to help jointly improve the customer experience

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Bouke Hoving (EVP Network & IT of KPN) & Steven Cai (CEO of Huawei Netherlands)

UNLOCKING DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION The world as we know it has been transformed by cycles of technological innovation. In the 1950s, Schumpeter discussed creative destruction, where each revolutionary cycle destroys old structures from within in the process of creating those new models. Progress does not wait for anyone or anything. Within the last decade, innovations such as mobile Internet, cloud computing, big data analytics have formed a new round of technological revolution. Today, we are truly in the age of Industry 4.0. Networks and AI technologies are reshaping our world – with the ability to simplify and enhance industry. If we unleash the potential of the technology at our fingertips, we can enter a world where computers and humans can cooperate with each other in real-time. Digital transformation is a challenge and problem for every enterprise in the world. Take elevators as an example – in the past, there were only 12 sensors in one elevator. Now there can be more than 700 sensors in just one elevator. This finetuned technology has opened up a new world of remote diagnostics, usage understanding and minimal service disruption. Another example is the manufacturing industry, where technology has unlocked new levels of customer service, the individual needs of customers can be more easily understood which enables manufacturers to provide a quick response to customer enquiries. Many companies are at the starting point for digital transformation, carefully considering their options to use digital features to develop new business models and create a road map for the future. Huawei positioning in the digital process: enablers – “the Platform of Platforms, Foundation of Eco-system” Huawei aims to create an open, resilient, secure and reliable platform for ICT infrastructure. This will involve a cloud-based, managed and endto-end, all-stack ICT platform that provides onestop ICT services to customers and partners. Together with its partners, Huawei will construct a multi-party synergistic digital transformation community for joint innovation and big ecology. Key components of this include

industry and business alliances, developer platforms and an open source community. It is Huawei’s honor to participate in this huge transformation and work with leading companies to explore and launch joint innovation. Huawei is known for collaboration and tailored solutions, which is why 197 of the Fortune 500 companies have chosen Huawei as their transformation partner. Of those 197 companies, 45 are among the top 100. In 2014, Huawei and KPN partnered to begin revamping KPN’s IT architecture to better support the company’s long-term business vision. Huawei's innovative all-flash solution has helped the cloudification of KPN’s storage platform and provides enterprise customers with a highperformance and reliable customer experience. Together with KPN, Huawei will build a highly stable, high-performance and highly scalable network architecture that can help to improve teaching quality and provide efficient, flexible and safe solutions for the education industry. In the digital city area, Huawei will build an open platform based on open source architecture, creates a new ecosystem of smart cities and jointly promote smart city construction. In addition, a series of in-depth co-operations have also taken place in digital healthcare. Huawei will work actively to embrace digital transformation in vertical industries such as education and government. Through the respective core technologies such as 5G, IoT and big data, Huawei has highlighted the advantages of both in the "Connect + Cloud Platform" and formed Cloud, Pipe, Device of the full-stack collaborative ICT platform and services. Meanwhile, Huawei will build a smart eco-system with local integrators, application developers, and many other partners. This eco-system will provide customers with a digital solution that is agile, reliable, secure, credible and sustainable. Huawei will continue to help customers to build new business models and enhance competitiveness to meet the rapidly changing digital transformation needs, ultimately enabling customers to achieve business success.

technologies which will take KPN to the next level of connectivity. “Whilst the lifetime of technology continues to shrink, the use of new digital tools, particularly within telecoms, is becoming increasingly vital,” explains KPN’s Executive Vice President for Networks and IT, Bouke Hoving. “With Future Fit Friday, each and every one of us are now asking ourselves the question – what do we need to develop, what we need to learn and what we need to train in to keep fit for the future.” The winner of last year’s CIO of the Year Award, Hoving’s leadership and drive to simplify KPN’s services has been essential to maintaining its strong position in the market. His expertise and passion to deliver connected services, specifically tailored towards KPN’s customer base, is not only palpable, but considerably engaging. He explains that in order to remain adaptable in such a competitive market, KPN will seek to infuse a number of startup culture elements within its corporate culture to drive future innovation, develop new talent 82

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and deliver exceptional services to its customers. “The pace of technological development is unprecedented, and therefore all our staff need to pay more attention to it,” he says. “The fact that we operate in such a competitive market with, for example, four mobile operators, makes for a nice combination of fun, great technology and very fast developments. This combination makes KPN a very attractive and a fun place to work. “We’re hiring more staff and retraining existing staff to really instil more of an engineering culture. Engineering is becoming a more crucial part of our skills and over the last three years, we have hired 150 developers who have contributed to our whole transformation.”

CUSTOMER FOCUS Improving the customer experience whilst simultaneously reducing ongoing costs is an impressive feat for any business, and one in which Hoving expresses genuine pride. Declining market shares, poor customer engagement, fragmented w w w. g i g a b i t m a g a z i n e . c o m



March 2018

• Bouke Hoving won CIODAY CIO of the Year Award 2017 • K PN’s ‘Future Fit Friday’ explores how employees can keep up with the latest technological developments • Partnering with Huawei, Cognizant and Salesforce has enabled KPN to rebuild its IT infrastructure • Delivered over €500mn in savings through its simplification programme • K PN’s net promoter score has risen by 20 points in three years. • Costs have come down across the board by €570mn • K PN has worked to decommission up to 25% of its IT services

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ways of working and a low financial performance set KPN on its remarkable simplification journey back in 2013, but this has not been without its challenges. Utilising The Business Process Framework (eTOM) and partnering with telecommunications giant Cognizant, KPN strenuously worked to rebuild its entire IT infrastructure to move from its product-led operations to one which is increasingly consumer led. “Cognizant has been instrumental

in modernising our back-end systems. Firstly, by supporting the digital transformation of B2B, as well as in B2C, driving down costs. Secondly, the way they have made us increasingly agile has been essential in improving our time to market,” explains Hoving. “By decoupling our front-end systems from the back-end systems, one team could focus purely on optimising the customer experience and rebuild it from scratch, whilst the other could

“With product simplification, we’ve taken 80% of the products out, harmonising all our processes across products” – Bouke Hoving, Executive Vice President for Networks and IT, KPN


March 2018

focus on the modernisation and consolidation of the back-end,” he adds. KPN’s partnership with Salesforce has further complemented the company’s aim to redesign the customer experience, where its technologies will support KPN’s SME customers, enabling future scalability for those who utilise its services. “Salesforce has provided strong, standardised capabilities in delivering

a seamless customer experience across our different channels and products, bringing telecommunications and IT products together into a seamless customer experience,” reflects Hoving. “What we did with home developers in the consumer market, we did on our satellite package with Salesforce in the B2B market. We have also benefited

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T HE WO R L D ’S N Nºº 1 C R M

Find out more at

KPN CHOOSES ONE TECHNOLOGY FOR ALL CUSTOMER INTERACTIONS This is the Industrial Revolution 4.0 where technologies like AI, social and mobile put customers in the driver's seat. Used to apps that personalise and simplify every interaction, customers expect more in their private lives and in business. KPN acknowledges that the key to winning the loyalty of its business customers and differentiating itself is exceeding these expectations by transforming customer experience. KPN chose to partner with Salesforce for such a transformation. One system of engagement Over years, KPN's legacy technologies had slowed it ability to innovate and transform fast enough to keep up with changing customer demands. Also, a matrix of technologies created silos which prevented its employees from having a single view of the customer, necessary for knowing customers better and personalizing every interaction. KPN chose Salesforce because of its position as the #1 cloud Customer Relationship Management platform that would provide every employee with a complete view of the customer and innovate quickly around the customer experience. That both KPN and Salesforce have a common vision that puts the customer at the center of everything they do was an equally important factor. KPN started using Salesforce to transform interaction with business customers of the newly launched KPN ÉÉN service package. With one system of engagement for key business processes

like Order Capturing, Opportunity Management and Case Management, every KPN sales and service employee has a real-time and complete view of every customer. This empowers them to know customers better than ever, personalise every customer interaction and deliver lightingfast service. KPN will extend the success of transforming the KPN ÉÉN service package experience all new and legacy products, phasing out the supporting technologies too. Human factor Deploying the right technology is only one aspect of KPN's journey in transforming the customer experience. KPN understands that its people must fully embrace these technologies to maximise results as well as job satisfaction. Salesforce partners with KPN to guide employees through technological and business aspects, and facilitate knowledge sharing among employees. And with artificial intelligence (AI) integrated into the Salesforce platform, KPN employees have access to intelligence that will arm them with all the insight they need to understand and solve customer problems proactively and be more productive than ever. Ultimately, it is the human factor that will help KPN respond even faster to changes in the market. After all, technology serves people, not the other way around. With Salesforce's focus on technology as well as empowering people, it is a win-win for KPN.

“If we had to combine two product types, where one had a generous bundle and one a tighter bundle, we’ve always given the more generous bundle” – Bouke Hoving, Executive Vice President for Networks and IT, KPN

from Salesforce’s high level of standardisation and expertise across many industries.” Delivering over more than €500mn in savings through its simplification programme, KPN’s net promoter score has also risen significantly by 20 points in three years. It has also witnessed the stabilisation and growth of its market shares. “Costs have come down across the board by €570mn,” notes Hoving. “We have also worked to decommission 92

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up to 25% of our IT services since the start of the programme.”

MOBILE GROWTH With such increased demand for connectivity, mobile data was always going to be a significant area of focus for KPN. “In Western Europe, the markets are under pressure because of Over The Top substitution and commoditisation. We still see a massive growth of mobile data traffic; also, the

demand for cloud services is growing, but the question is how to capture that growth,” says Hoving. “The growth of demand for converged quadplay has enabled us to serve the market significantly better from a competitive perspective.” However, four different mobile MyKPN selfcare applications for KPN’s individual quadplay products with separate IT infrastructures not only created a number of silos within its operations, but also greatly

affected customers. “Customers had difficulties logging in and were mixing up their fixed username with their mobile password or vice versa,” Hoving explains. “We completely redesigned these products from a customer perspective. All our customers were automatically calling our call centres as the apps were previously not user-friendly.” By consolidating its services and rebuilding its IT infrastructure, KPN has integrated its services and enhanced its core selfcare application, MyKPN, to house all essential digital services. From managing subscriptions to its invoicing capabilities, the application can be accessed through a number of solutions, from face ID and touch ID to the use of traditional lock systems. Simplifying and enhancing its mobile services has also provided customers with the ability to share part of their mobile bundle with family members, therefore attracting an increasingly important market. “Since we’ve built it around the customer and the family, we’ve seen an explosion of usage, where it has gone up by a factor of eight. Calls to our call w w w. g i g a b i t m a g a z i n e . c o m


“We have deployed a complete state-of-the-art BSS suite with Huawei, where we have modernised our product catalogue and order capturing capabilities” – Bouke Hoving, Executive Vice President for Networks and IT, KPN

centres have also dropped by a factor of two,” says Hoving. “Joint assignments with commercial colleagues in the organisation is therefore a big part of our success. With product simplification, we’ve taken 80% of the products out, harmonising all our processes across products. “We’ve done this together with our commercial colleagues and this would not have been possible without their support. And on the external side, 94

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we’ve always taken the principal that any simplification should be beneficial for customers. “If we had to combine two product types, where one had a generous bundle and one a tighter bundle, we’ve always given the more generous bundle. “We’ve seen a steep increase in customer satisfaction. We are now ranked 4.5 stars on Apple iOS, whereas it used to be almost two stars less two years ago,” he continues.

“There has been tremendous change within all our IT processes, where we have designed the customer journey from a digital perspective. We are leading the way in how we set up the customer experience. Whereas we used to build our IT around individual products, we now build it around the customer experience.”

INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE Simplifying and integrating its products

has further enabled KPN to reduce its time to market from months to weeks, or from weeks to days. Nonetheless, throughout its transformation, the business has sought to drive long-term growth by building strong relationships both with its partners and stakeholders. Partnering with Huawei has been not only instrumental to the development of KPN’s IT capabilities, particularly within its mobile solutions, but its international presence w w w. g i g a b i t m a g a z i n e . c o m


in both the B2B and B2C market, Hoving states. “We have deployed a complete state-of-the-art BSS suite with Huawei, where we have worked to modernise our product catalogue, billing and order capturing capabilities. On that basis, we can now provide a much better customer experience and get


March 2018

products quickly into the market. “This has been a very important cornerstone of the whole transformation. Starting with the consumer, but ultimately taking all of our B2B customers onto that new IT suite.� The collaboration has also led KPN to expand its footprint and partner with international companies, such as

Chinese conglomerate Tencent. Since last year, the company has offered essential WeChat branded SIM cards to Chinese tourists travelling across the EU and Australia. It has also offered its 4G services to users who wish to maintain access to Tencent’s WeChat Go service throughout their travels. “We were competing against big

European telcos which could offer further network capabilities,” comments Hoving. “However, we had superior digital and IT capabilities, with a reduced time to market. We were the only provider who could meet the challenging requirements of Tencent. Modern IT has not only helped us create a better

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customer experience, but also helped us improve our time to market.”

INFLUENTIAL TECHNOLOGIES Whilst Hoving is most proud of KPN’s breakthrough in transforming the customer experience, he stresses that this has been a company wide effort, both within its B2B and B2C operations. It’s aim to launch an API Store will further enable the business to partner with Dutch B2B customers and develop relative applications on the basis of connectivity, whilst remaining aware of how new technologies will reshape the telecommunications industry. “The next phase is about transforming the network,” adds Hoving. “I think it’s a very important part of the future operating model of telcos, where we have unique assets in the edge of our network. We believe there to be huge potential in edge computing, particularly for our B2B customers. We believe there’s unique value to be captured in the tech industry with mobile edge and also fixed edge. 98

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“We are currently deploying a completely virtualised content delivery network, and it has already been decentralised. We have a lot of caches which we have decentralised to our main locations at the edge, but still in the core of our network. This really helps with enhancing the customer experience of our television product. “We’re also partnering with companies such as Netflix to help jointly improve the customer experience. Customer demand is increasingly becoming more converged. We now also see demand for a combination of telco and ICT propositions in B2B. “In the future, we’ll see an increased demand for converged customer demands, packaging telco with IT. This will make the industry even more attractive. “There are tremendous cross company opportunities to be captured, which will enable us to take the customer experience to the next phase,” Hoving concludes.

Bouke Hoving is the Executive Vice President Networks & IT at KPN, the leading telecommunications and ICT service provider in the Netherlands. He is responsible for delivering and operating KPN’s networks, platforms and IT systems. Prior to his current position he was KPN’s Chief Information Officer and responsible for KPN’s business transformation program called Simplification – aimed at a radical simplification of products, processes, IT and way of working. Under his leadership the program was of instrumental contribution to the step change in customer satisfaction and digital customer interaction and delivered more than euro 500mn savings since start early 2014. Previously, Hoving undertook a number of national and international product management, business development and procurement functions with KPN and KPNQwest. He holds a Double Honours degree in Applied Physics and Business Economics from the University of Groningen. Born in 1975 in the Netherlands, Hoving is married with two children. He enjoys travelling, reading and skiing. w w w. g i g a b i t m a g a z i n e . c o m


Digitising Europe’s drinks industry Written by Fran Roberts Produced by Andy Lloyd


Selling more than 2bn unit cases every year – that’s 50bn servings – Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company is one of the world’s largest bottlers of The Coca-Cola Company’s brands. Alain Brouhard, Executive Committee Member & Group Chief Information Officer, explains how the business is embracing technology to drive further growth

It started in Nigeria. Then, it continued through Ireland. Then, because the family was of Greek origin, it went back to Greece where we created the bottling operation. We were soon able then to go much broader and to take over Central and Eastern Europe, all the way to Russia and the Baltics.” This is a potted 50-year history of CocaCola Hellenic Bottling Company (Coca-Cola HBC) as described by Alain Brouhard, Group CIO. Coca-Cola HBC is a bottling partner of The CocaCola Company. This means that The Coca-Cola Company manufactures and sells concentrates, bases and syrups to its bottling partners, owns the brands and is responsible for consumer brand marketing initiatives. Coca-Cola HBC uses the concentrates and syrups to manufacture, package,


March 2018

“We are one of the top three bottlers of Coca-Cola in the world, covering 28 countries” ALAIN BROUHARD, GROUP CIO

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ABOUT OTE OTE Group is the largest telecommunications provider in the Greek market, and, together with its subsidiaries, forms one of the leading telecom groups in South-eastern Europe. Offering a full range of telecommunications services - from fixed and mobile telephony, broadband services and pay TV, to highspeed data communications and ICT services - OTE Group is the largest investor in new technologies and infrastructure in Greece. With investments over â‚Ź2.4bn over the past six years OTE Group is will implement further investment for the period 2016-2019 in the range of â‚Ź1,3bn, primarily targeted at new generation networks. In the field of System Integration, OTE Group has developed diverse capabilities and constitutes a leading partner of choice for businesses seeking innovative solutions in the fields of Data Centers, Cloud, Information Security, Networking, Big Data and Internet of Things technologies. Leveraging strategic partnerships with IT Market Leaders and due to its large IT & Network workforce, OTE Group has delivered large scale and complex ICT projects offering managed services to customers in Europe.

WE EMPOWER. YOU LEAD Focusing on continuously developing innovative solutions and building strategic partnerships with global IT leaders, OTE Group stands out to be a trusted technology partner for large business customers. By modernizing its IT infrastructure, as well as maintaining operational and people excellence, OTE Group delivers and supports sophisticated tailor-made projects. The state-of-the-art services and solutions offered by OTE Group enable businesses dynamically to the new digital era and ensure their business continuity. The strategic partnership with Coca-Cola HBC acts as an accelerator of the company’s digital transformation journey through a robust technology strategy. Coca-Cola HBC’s roadmap to the digital edge started with the implementation of a new Data Center, one of the 3 largest Data Centers in the EMEA region. • Operational applications, such as ERP and CRM, and Databases were migrated within the set timeframes, with zero disruption to operations. • The highly specialized personnel of OTE Group has been assigned to manage, operate and support data center facilities, systems and data network infrastructure on a 24 x 7 x 365 basis in 13 different time zones. • The Tier 3 certified Data Center and its Disaster Recovery support the operation of 36,000 employees in 28 countries across the EMEA region.

The close collaboration between the two Groups and the disruptive approach has led to the realization of one of the largest SAP HANA installations in Europe. • The Data Center infrastructure has been upgraded to accommodate the installation and operation of the SAP HANA environment. • Being a pioneer in infrastructure and managed IT services, OTE Group undertook the operation, management as well as technical support of the SAP HANA environment. • Adopting the latest technologies, Coca-Cola HBC has significantly optimized internal processes as well as ensured a faster and more flexible reporting model. Expanding the partnership and its capabilities, OTE Group undertook and is implementing the IT Help Desk.

Looking at Coca-Cola HBC operations in a holistic manner, the purpose of OTE Group is to empower our customer’s vision to be the undisputed leading beverage company in every country where they do business.


merchandise and distribute the final branded products to its trade partners and consumers. “We are one of the top three bottlers of Coca-Cola in the world, covering 28 countries,” Brouhard explains. Coca-Cola HBC is now headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, and has a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange and a secondary listing on the Athens Exchange.


While the name Coca-Cola is synonymous with red packaging and a caffeinated fizzy drink, the company produces much more than this. “I believe one of the key characteristics of the business over the many years,

that’s specifically accelerating now, is becoming a total beverage company,” observes Brouhard, “meaning not only the Coca-Cola product, but expanding on the portfolio of what we call soft drinks, going much more into a broad portfolio, which includes products like water, juice, ready-todrink tea and energy drinks – all the way to premium spirits and coffee.” Still drinks – water, juices and readyto-drink tea – make up to 31% of Coca-Cola HBC’s volume. This diverse portfolio means that the company is a strong partner for its customers and provides great choice for consumers. In order to better serve its customers, Coca-Cola HBC has invested significantly in technology. “We are deploying now an SAP

“I believe one of the business’s key characteristics over the many years - that’s specifically accelerating now is becoming a total beverage company” ALAIN BROUHARD, GROUP CIO


March 2018

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Atos is a strategic partner for Coca-Cola HBC’s digital transformation, one of the world’s largest bottlers for The Coca-Cola System. The joint CCHBC & Atos achievement is a fantastic showcase of our digital journey. From our Global Food & Beverage Delivery Center we are • gaining valuable consumer insights from connected coolers and other assets • accelerating time-to-market through a modern and fully managed SAP landscape • driving automation and efficiency on the shop floor

Stay cool and connec with Atos Atos is a global leader in digital transformation with approximately 100,000 employees in 72 countries and annual revenue of around € 12 billion.



solution called SAP Hybris,” Brouhard advises. “Hybris is the B2B platform we are using to connect with our customers, to be connected 24/7 not with the consumer, but with the customer. A web customer portal, that’s what it is.”


Of course, the end consumer has not been forgotten, and Coca-Cola HBC has also invested in technology to help it target this audience. “We have a suite of digital solutions that are

creating a connected commerce environment,” Brouhard comments. “Most importantly, we are launching now across Hellenic an app aimed at teenagers. It is designed for us to be able to directly connect with the teenagers by having an app which is on their mobile phone – an app which is available on the App Store or the Google Store.” The app, known as WOAH – Where Only Awesome Happens – is comprised of two key elements that help Coca-Cola HBC to connect with


its target audience. “It has an entertainment element, so a lot of content coming about the brand, concerts, new product launches and, as Coca-Cola is a sponsor of FIFA, anything that has to do with football,” Brouhard advises. “All the things are content-driven, including sharing options.” Running in parallel to the entertainment element is the activation element. “It’s basically our part to digitise promo activities. For example, e-coupons, push notifications,” Brouhard observes. “Using the app to connect us with the consumer enables us to find new ways of selling Coke and the rest of the portfolio.”


Coca-Cola HBC partners with several initiatives

The iconic red Coca-Cola coolers, found in stores worldwide, are also becoming part of the connected commerce environment. “Those Coca-Cola coolers are becoming smart. We are putting devices into the cooler, and the cooler is becoming active – active in a sense that we can measure performance of the cooler, door opening, temperature and energy consumption,” explains Brouhard. “More importantly, the beacons sell to a consumer who has WOAH. If you are a teenager, you have downloaded WOAH, you pass by a store and you’re close to a cooler that is connected, the cooler sends a push notification saying, ‘Come here. If you buy one Coke, if you scan it, the second

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“We do have a large volume of valuable data coming from our big footprint, both our customers and consumers on a day-to-day basis, across the 28 countries where we operate” ALAIN BROUHARD, GROUP CIO 112

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Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company

Selling more than 2bn unit cases every year – that’s 50bn servings – Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (Coca-Cola HBC) is one of the world’s largest bottlers of The Coca-Cola Company’s brands Still drinks – water, juices, ready-todrink tea – make up to 31% of Coca-Cola HBC’s volume.

The Coca-Cola Company is the world’s largest beverage company and operates in more than 200 countries.

According to Statista, the soft drinks market in Europe is expected to grow annually by 1.6 % (CAGR 2018-2021).

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Coke is half-price.’ That’s the kind of activation that we have between the cooler and the WOAH app.” The diverse portfolio offered by Coca-Cola HBC, and its work to become a total beverage company, further allows it to connect with consumers. “We are connecting with the consumer 24/7, from morning to night, including during the day with full hydration with water, with soft drinks with meals and so on – from morning with juice and coffee all the way to the night with premium spirits. Jack Daniels and Coke is a good example, as we are the distributor in some countries for Jack Daniels,” Brouhard enthuses.


The Coca-Cola Company is the world’s largest beverage company and operates in more than 200 countries. Its brands include four of the world’s top five non-alcoholic sparkling drinks: Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Light (Diet Coke), Sprite and Fanta. As such, Coca-Cola HBC utilises numerous sales channels, including e-commerce. “We don’t do that


March 2018

ourselves. We do that with e-retailers, who already have websites, like Amazon, or the websites of brickand-mortar retailers, for example, Tesco Online,” Brouhard explains. Coca-Cola’s embracing of technology and all things digital is not solely confined to commerce. Operations at the company have also been enhanced. “We are creating a digital platform for endto-end integrated business planning. Then there is smart manufacturing, which has to do mainly with RPA, robotic process automation, online sensors and automated production,” reveals Brouhard. “Third is connected logistics. Most of the time we outsource our logistics through 3PL partners, but we are connecting with them through digital platforms to know exactly where the product is. This is currently not live yet. Last, we have a shared service organisation, which is located in Sofia, servicing all the 28 countries for all the financial and HR transactional work. We are also working on exploring chatbot solutions for our shared services.”


Connected Coolers Pilot

29,494 The number of Coca-Cola HBC staff

Coca-Cola HBC opens its doors to visiting parties



In order to embrace digital so fully, Coca-Cola HBC has worked with a number of strategic partners. “All our backend is on SAP, with one integrated infrastructure and one single integrated application. All our ERP and CRM systems are on SAP across the 28 countries in an absolutely consistent way, all backed up by one single data centre, based in Athens, under the management of a company called OTE Group, which is a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom,” Brouhard advises. “That’s the very highlevel infrastructure. It’s not a cloud solution, it’s our own data centre, but managed by OTE Group.” Naturally, with such a vast amount of data being managed within its systems, cybersecurity and data analytics are of critical importance to Coca-Cola


March 2018

1969 The year that Coca-Cola HBC was founded


HBC. “We are sitting on trillions of pieces of data because of our base in terms of number of consumers and number of customers, which is very big,” Brouhard explains. “We are the largest customer of SAP, in terms of the number of transaction endpoints, so you can imagine the size of our data centre. We are working hard to move from data to insights and we are developing commercial and supply chain use cases to transfer or translate that data into insights, which will drive the business faster and in a more efficient way.”


On top of that, Coca-Cola HBC increasingly investing in and using cloud solutions, which are connected to the backend. “That’s the case for field sales automation, for HR management, and also for some solutions related to supply chain. We are creating strategic partnerships with big vendors, such as SAP, Microsoft, and OTE Group, member of Deutsche Telekom” states Brouhard. “We are strategically working with Google and Atos, the

French company, who is our exclusive outsourced IT Service company.” Coca-Cola HBC has also formed a strategic partnership to create a people platform called Helo. “It is a solution that we have co-created with an external company called Cornerstone, which is a digital platform for learning, talent, and performance management,” Brouhard advises. This is part of the company’s aim of being an empowered workplace. “We have a second key element in that empowered workplace – smart working,” Brouhard adds. “Smart working is how technology can make the lives of our 29,494 employees easier, faster and more effective. That’s smart working.”


It is not just Coca-Cola HBC’s employees who benefit from digital learning platforms – the company also gives back to society, helping to enrich the local community. “We have a corporate community initiative, which we call Youth Empowered. Youth Empowered is our

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“We have huge growth potential, specifically in the developing and emerging markets, where beverage consumption per capita is relatively low” ALAIN BROUHARD, GROUP CIO

Coca-Cola HBC is a partner in the ‘Youth Empowered’

new centrally led, strategic initiative to help support 18-to-30-year-olds achieve their career ambitions and live a fuller life,” Brouhard advises. “The programme targets those who are not in education, employment or training and seeks to address persistent underemployment issues in some of our markets. We aim to support young people’s needs in their transition from school to meaningful employment by helping them build fundamental life and


March 2018

business skills and long-lasting professional and peer networks.”


According to Statista, the soft drinks market in Europe is expected to grow annually by 1.6 % (CAGR 20182021). With this in mind, what plans does Coca-Cola HBC have for the future? “It’s all about growth. The growth has two aspects. One is the portfolio and the second one has to do with the level of consumption.

We are quite fortunate to have a very balanced portfolio of countries and brands,” Brouhard acknowledges. The 28 countries in which CocaCola HBC operates are split into three categories – established, developing and emerging. “For example, we have Italy, but we also have Poland and Nigeria. You understand immediately the differences between an established market like Italy, a developing market like Poland, and a really emerging market like Nigeria. What we know is

that we have huge growth potential, specifically in the developing and emerging markets, where beverage consumption per capita is relatively low,” Brouhard explains. “Even with the same country portfolio that we have today, which is pretty big at 28 countries, we will be able to grow through the product portfolio expansion and new products, but also by increasing the consumption per capita.”

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TalkTalk’s digital transformation with Tech Mahindra TalkTalk called upon Tech Mahindra to navigate a major technology overhaul, and has made profound progress to date Written by DALE BENTON Produced by KIRON CHAVDA


N OCTOBER 2015, TalkTalk, telecoms provider to more than 4mn customers across the UK, was the victim of a cyberattack. As a company that prides itself on its customer relationships in order to provide the best service possible, it took the decision to completely reassess its technology operations and undergo a major transformation. Overseeing this transformation is Technology Director Philip Clayson, who was given a very clear message. “I was told one thing – find out what happened and fix it,” says Clayson. “As we unpicked what had happened, a task that took us many months and included some of the brightest people,


March 2018

both internally and from our supplier teams, we soon discovered that there was a combination of things we needed to fix.” Operating for more than 15 years, TalkTalk has grown via acquisition, and is an aggregation or a portfolio of a number of companies that have come before it. This, Clayson says has created significant “tech debt” and that was part of the challenge TalkTalk faced. “The technology we used was siloed, fairly segmented and not well integrated,” he says. There were multiple generations of technology that we had acquired in our 15 years of operating.” Tasked with finding out how the cyberattack happened, why it happened and more importantly, how not to let it happen again, Clayson embarked on a significant journey of understanding. “We were trying to address 15 years of our history, remove our legacy and write the next chapter in a matter of months – a monumental task,” says Clayson. The first step that TalkTalk took was to enlist the help of key partners, including Tech Mahindra, a company

After a cyberattack in 2015, TalkTalk took the decision to completely reassess its technology operations and undergo a major transformation

with which it already had a longstanding relationship. Tech Mahindra was a key part of TalkTalk’s OSS code development team and the longevity of the relationship and the tacit knowledge helped the company to address the necessary re-platforming and replacement of old technology. “Tech Mahindra has had a long standing strategic relationship with TalkTalk for almost a decade. We have been a value service provider to them which is aligned with their own motto of being an affordable and reliable

supplier to their customers,” says Ashish Pandey, VP & Client Executive, Tech Mahindra. “Tech debt is one such important and high impact area where we have worked with TalkTalk, from the initial inception of the idea to model how can we help them rationalise and optimise their legacy estate so they could move towards more recent technology approaches.” With this tech debt problem, as with most transformations of the size and the scope in which TalkTalk is undergoing, w w w. g i g a b i t m a g a z i n e . c o m


“Tech Mahindra has been in the trenches with us for the last two years. They would question us to look at what we do, how we do it, and most importantly why we do it. They unlocked new ways of thinking” – Philip Clayson, Technology Director, TalkTalk

comes a challenge that does not centre around technology alone. This is also a challenge of people and process. As an organisation, one that has been operating for more than 15 years, TalkTalk’s fast-paced culture has delivered continued success through specific technology processes. “My team are all highly capable committed engineers, but at the start it proved to be difficult to change the catalyst to enable them to break free from the historic culture that the business had built around them,” says Clayson. Clayson points to the integral role 124

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that Tech Mahindra played in enabling more transformation, by bringing in fresh thinking. Tech Mahindra did what Clayson believes is crucial to any multiparty collaborative transformation. “Tech Mahindra has been in the trenches with us for the last two years,” he says. “They would question what we do, how we do it, and most importantly why we do it. They unlocked new ways of thinking, and provided us with valuable access to their other clients across Europe, and in so doing helped us learn from others.” “In one specific example of our partnership, Tech Mahindra introduced us to a European Telco operator, where we two days of solid meetings, the result of which was we changed our strategy, shortened our transformation programme by at least one year and made financial savings. That is true partnership behaviour,” Clayson adds. It’s an approach that has continued to prove instrumental. This is part of Tech Mahindra’s approach to its relationship with TalkTalk, to not only support and guide the company through a challenging period and transformation,

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ÂŁ1.5bn Approximate revenue


Year founded


Approximate number of employees

Philip Clayson, Technology Director, TalkTalk 126

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“M y wish and my expectation is that Tech Mahindra will help us unlock benefits far quicker than we could do on our own. They know how we work culturally and operationally, and as a result, it’s much more fluid.”

but to work collaboratively and unlock future potential. “Tech Mahindra has a policy to source and select the best enterprise leads to support its clients, and uses this skill and expertise to listen, shape, engage, challenge and question work and how best to address the stated business goals,” says Pandey. “Whether it’s bringing the expertise from the industry’s best or showcasing – Philip Clayson, Technology Director, TalkTalk thought leadership by conducting analyst sessions with TalkTalk leadership, TechM has always took a consulting led collaborative approach out already, a huge achievement, whilst supporting opportunities for new especially as it is so soon after we business and growth of the account started this programme,” says Clayson. overall for delivery and fulfilment of “The target that I set across the entire agreed project work.” project was to reduce those 600 Through the last 18 months, Clayson applications by half by March 2018. was able to identify and set himself a And I can proudly say we are in the target of removing that tech debt. This final throws of achieving that.” involved in excess of 600 pieces of This of course was not without software, which Clayson has already challenge. Clayson points to the been able to significantly reduce to “tangled complexity” of technology 400 pieces in just the first 18 months that the company has amassed over of the programme. 15 years of operation and the difficulty This is no small feat to accomplish in trying to “fix” it without causing in such a short space of time. downtime to services. “We’ve taken 200 software stacks To this end, TalkTalk works with Tech w w w. g i g a b i t m a g a z i n e . c o m



FUTURISE WITH TECH MAHINDRA Tech Mahindra represents the connected world, offering innovative and customer-centric information technology experiences, enabling Enterprises, Associates and the Society to Rise™. We are a USD 4.7 billion company with 115,200+ professionals across 90 countries, helping over 903 global customers including Fortune 500 companies. Our convergent, digital, design experiences, innovation platforms and reusable assets connect across a number of technologies to deliver tangible business value and experiences to our stakeholders. Tech Mahindra is amongst the Fab 50 companies in Asia.


By combining the expertise of Digital Change Agents – The BIO Agency and Legendary Design Firm – Pininfarina, we are transforming customer journeys across the digital, physical and convergent worlds.

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Mahindra both locally in the UK and internationally in order to work through this technology and, ultimately, replace or switch off technology. Clayson admits that in a transformation, there is a desire to move as quickly as possible, but that comes at the expense of effectiveness. “You can’t just go in and switch off or remove technology in any order or as you like,” he says. “You have to have a proper migration plan in place and Tech Mahindra really

assisted us on this and really helped us get to where we are.” “The next 12 months will be a more of the same, but it’s going to be much harder,” he says. “It will be more difficult to unpick the tech debt and to upgrade. The easy part of the work is done. “To get to where we are, a 50% reduction in tech debt in 18 months, has made a massive difference. But to continue at that pace will be harder in the year ahead.” For Tech Mahindra, the relationship

“We have been a value service provider to TalkTalk aligned with TalkTalk’s motto of being an affordable and reliable supplier to their customers” – Ashish Pandey, VP & Client Executive, Tech Mahindra


March 2018

with TalkTalk exceeds the simple concept of a partnership, as the company values the work it has done in order to enable TalkTalk to become a more effective and efficient organisation. “By helping TalkTalk throughout this digital transformation journey we continue to look to help it assess and consider its internal business practices and operating models,” says Panday. “We look to help the company achieve lasting improvement for all its diverse customer types, to effect significant

improvements in security, reliability and customer service experience.” As the company continues along this journey, Clayson hopes that Tech Mahindra will continue to support it every step of the way. “My wish and my expectation is that Tech Mahindra will help us unlock benefits far quicker than we could do on our own,” he says. “They know how we work culturally and operationally, and as a result, it’s much more fluid.”

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JTI: Investing in people, investing in technology Japan Tobacco International looks to expand into the Middle East and Africa region, successfully bringing its global best practices and service offering through an investment in people Written by Dale Benton Produced by Andy Lloyd



(JAPAN TOBACCO INTERNATIONAL) is a member of the Japan Tobacco Group of Companies, and a leading multi-national tobacco company with a foothold in more than 120 countries, spreading across 399 offices, 25 factories and five tobacco-processing facilities. JTI continues to grow and to capture the global market to this day. Since its formation back in 1999, following the acquisition of the US operations of R.J Reynolds, the company has continued to grow and “nurture” its internationally recognised brand roster, while being a major player in next generation products and new ways of doing business. As the company continues this growth, it does so in part through strategic acquisitions of local companies within emerging markets. This is where Ozkan Donmez, Regional IT Director for Middle East, Near East, Africa and Turkey (MENEAT) and WorldWide Duty Operations, comes into play. For Donmez, there is a crucial element of this growth journey that he is keen to focus on, the people. “As of today, the region owns around 3.000 HP computers, more than 100 HP servers hosted on our data centers (as many on cloud, as well), running key business solutions supporting our business growth. But, though my role is delivering technology for the business, I always consider people as the most crucial component, arguably as crucial as technology in general,” he says. JTI has a strong presence in the MENEAT region 134

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Izmir Torbali Factory, Turkey

Tobacco production, Malawi

398.5 billion

JTI cigarettes sold globally in 2017 Cigarette production

120+ 40,000

Number of countries where JTI products are distributed

Approximate number of employees worldwide

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primarily in countries such as Turkey, Iran, Jordan, Tanzania and South Africa. This is further evident following acquisitions in Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia, and the establishment of “Leaf” subsidiaries, including Malawi Leaf, Zambia Leaf and Tanzania Leaf. Through these initiatives, Donmez has recognised the importance of establishing a talented IT team in order to deploy JTI global technologies and processes. “We have to start with the change of mind-set as well as understand the core technology and capabilities in the local company,” he says. “As we acquire these companies and establish our foothold, JTI works with the people on the ground to develop their capabilities and bring them to the required level to deliver to JTI’s global standards.” When JTI acquires a new company, it brings with it high level team leaders, operational leaders and international employees that have worked with the company globally to “spread the JTI culture”. From an IT perspective, this brings with it its own unique challenges.

“Though my role is delivering technology for the business, I always consider people as the most crucial component, arguably as crucial as technology in general” – Ozkan Donmez, Regional IT Director

“IT in most local companies is often an afterthought, where there is no real one or two people responsible for the IT function,” says Donmez. “What we do is we set up an IT technical project team in the first instance and running parallel alongside that is our HR team, where we work around the clock to find the best talent from the region.” In this regard, the competency is one part, but for Donmez it’s of equal importance that the people JTI recruits and brings into the company have the right attitude – an attitude that is shared across JTI’s entire global footprint. This is where Donmez is hugely confident on JTI’s synergy, communication, sharing successes w w w. g i g a b i t m a g a z i n e . c o m



and, more importantly, failures, in order to improve. When building, growing and cementing any IT function, it is important to hit the ground running as fast as possible and this is something that Donmez actually considers a key success for JTI – its approach to finding the right people, with the right attitude and developing their capabilities. “As long as the team is good enough in its attitude and it is open to learning and to communicating and working together as one, we feel comfortable 138

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enough. Then it’s a matter of time to induct the JTI IT mind-set, our process and our way of working and then how to apply that to the projects we are working on,” he says. Once the people component is under control, Donmez is more confident on delivering global and standard technologies, for which he adheres to global pillars that JTI lives and breathes by. “JTI’s ‘in-source knowledge’ approach is immeasurable comfort for me such that our global IT Business Technology


Services pillars – having deep business knowhow in all functional areas – and our global technical guru pillars in the IT kitchen, with all kinds of technology knowledge, are always providing endless support to modernise our operations in these new vicinities,” he says. “So, to that end, the communication, the integration, the leadership and the project management is so important.” But of course, as the company enters new markets, new geographies which bring with them new and perhaps

limited capabilities from a technology standpoint, it tailors its approach to fit. “Working over the years across so many geographies and locations, we have been able to stage our approach to different countries,” says Donmez. “We have interim solutions and can offer different models to approach the different markets. Through these different solutions/models, we are still able to instrument global processes and support the business growth, ultimately reaching to JTI global technology standards for those JTI IT w w w. g i g a b i t m a g a z i n e . c o m



works with key partners worldwide.” At JTI, one integrated global network, managed by two international partners – Orange Business Services (OBS) and British Telecom (BT) – guarantees seamless connectivity for all users. HP is a key partner providing client and backend data centre hardware systems across all corners of the globe. This ensures to streamline JTI’s technical operations (with fixed pricing, standard delivery/service conditions and JTI marked pre-images) and reduce total cost of ownership of IT operations. “This global standard and integrated approach ensures significant workplace effectiveness in that, any JTI user can connect and work from anywhere in the world,” he says. “They can also access JTI’s core business systems, like ERP – SAP technology, CRM applications and our Oracle based sales and analytics systems.” In the world of technology and innovation, where technology is evolving faster and faster, it is important to stay on top of trends and keep up with this pace of change. This unified 140

March 2018

“This strategy actually warrants us to follow and deploy the latest trends and enables us to do this far easier than if we acted alone” – Ozkan Donmez, Regional IT Director


Hung for several weeks in well ventilated barns, air-cured tobacco is low in sugar with a generally light and sweet flavour

Kaoma offices reforestation, Zambia

approach not only enables this, but encourages it also. “In the end, JTI’s business model is simple all over the world – produce high quality products in a cost-effective way and sell. This strategy actually warrants us to follow and deploy the latest trends like movement to the cloud (MS Azure), mobility solutions, big data and analytics, use of Internet of Things (IoT) on production machines and new e-commerce channels,” says Donmez. At this point, CIO of JT International, Diego De Coen, complements Donmez and shares his view about JTI’s technology strategy and people. “One of the basics of my IT strategy is to insource knowledge and outsource commodity,” he says. “Over the years, we have really focused on that. “When you enter a new market, it is only investment, there is no return – you do not make money on day one. But thanks to our CRM and ERP solutions, which we’ve created lighter versions of, we have a toolset that we can use immediately in new markets and start doing business at a very low cost. “Then, we bring in our partners. w w w. g i g a b i t m a g a z i n e . c o m



“With our speed, with our readiness, with our standard solutions for different areas, we are able to start operations as quickly as possible, and that is everything for JTI” – Ozkan Donmez, Regional IT Director

JTI headquarters, Geneva Weybridge UK office


March 2018


JTI’s insistence on the best adoption of technology and its passion for people has cemented its relevance within a traditional industry, and will enable its already significant footprint to grow and grow.” As JTI continues to grow, Donmez believes that growth is not simply increasing market share. “The word growth has many different meanings to our business. Of course, we want to grow our sales volumes and market share,” he says. “Nevertheless, there is also underlying growth that supports this – investment in technology and expanding our team through recruitment and retention.” For the future, JTI maintains its objective of expanding its geographic footprint, notably in emerging markets. Donmez will continue to support this growth and work with JTI to be able to deliver a flexible, efficient IT function that will enable it to deliver its global service offering into these new regions. But underlying this expansion is the investment in technology and more importantly, the people. “Whenever we are in a new geography, the work we are doing, the people

space and the technology space is crucial,” says Donmez. “With our speed, with our readiness, with our standard solutions for different areas, we are able to start operations as quickly as possible, and that is everything for JTI.”

Ozkan Donmez, Regional IT Director – MENEAT & WWDF

Having accomplished several key IT assignments at JTI Turkey, Ozkan Donmez has for the past nine years been responsible for the IT operations of the MENEAT region and Worldwide Duty Free – totaling over 15 years at JTI. Previously, he worked in mining, textile, and the telecommunication sectors – accumulating over 23 years of IT experience along the way.

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Written by DALE BENTON | Produced by ANDY LLOYD



N THIS MODE RN era of digitisation, carving out and establishing a provider of sensors and integrated solutions for the European security and defence market requires strategic leadership and an in depth understanding of IT, technology and this changing technological landscape. Thankfully, for HENSOLDT, that leader comes in the form of Steffen Schreck as CIO. Following a long career in IT, one that has seen him work in all roles within the IT function, Schreck has overseen significant transformations and mergers and acquisitions. It is this experience, he feels, that makes him the right man to help shape HENSOLDT carve out from Airbus 146

March 2018


and build a future IT infrastructure. “My first task was and remains the execution of the carve out and the ramping up of the IT department entirely to the creation of an independent company altogether in HENSOLDT”, he says. “This means building up all the business functions and all the other support processes such as IT. The challenge here, was that this was happening all at once and not as part of a long-term strategy, or from a

baseline because everything was and is being created from scratch.” HENSOLDT was formed from Airbus, specifically the company’s defence electronics activities. In 2017, under the name HENSOLDT, which comes from the German pioneer of optics and precision mechanics Moritz Carl Hensoldt, the company embarked on an ambitious carve out journey. As CIO, Schreck is tasked with creating not only an IT infrastructure for an entire company, but one that will w w w. g i g a b i t m a g a z i n e . c o m



be capable in supporting the delivery of market leading, innovative data and sensor solutions. “Building up and developing IT, which is often a support function in that situation, is a challenge in itself,” he says. “But in a situation like this it’s even more so. You’re working on a lot of assumptions and you can’t look to another business support function and ask for help, because they are in the same situation. “This, in effect, creates a level of instability.” No transformation of IT infrastructure is without it’s challenges and as Schreck points to, building that alongside the formation of the company itself only amplifies that challenge. The key challenge in this regard becomes one of prioritisation, or lack thereof in this case. “Everything is operating parallel to one another and you simply cannot say that you’ll do it sequentially and start with this and prioritise that,” he says. “Of course, this applies to the business departments too, so you have the challenge of working with an entirely new approach model right from capturing requirements 148

March 2018



to project execution.” As with the forming of any company, this is a continuous process. When the decision was made to separate and carve out into a new independent organisation, the company set itself a timeframe of sixteen months. Sixteen months to separate, build and set out into the market is no small feat, but HENSOLDT enters 2018 as a fully-fledged organisation with more than 4,300 employees worldwide, 1,000 patents and a turnover of more than €1bn ($1.24bn USD). But despite this success, Schreck concedes that the journey took some time to get going in the first instance and this was a product of having to work with and ultimately convince various different stakeholders. “Separation takes time,” he says. “This meant we had to convince lawyers, convince the business managers and the shareholders that there is a clear business case here and one that will result in great success moving forward.” The way in which Schreck overcame this and was effectively given the greenlight was simple – communication. But as a technologist, someone who w w w. g i g a b i t m a g a z i n e . c o m


The Cloud Platform for Business Spend Management





has lived and breathed IT and technology throughout his entire life, he had to adapt. Luckily in the beginning, Schreck was backed significantly by the board, but as he embarked on this new company, he had to make a decision as to what data and what property he would take with him to HENSOLDT. This is where the establishment of a solid base of communication proved key. “It was very helpful to create a common understanding. Handling data and solutions like this, and of this scope, I needed to convince business

leaders to buy into what we were doing,” he says. “It also proved very helpful in establishing a multi-functional team that would work with me on this. After all, as we were starting from scratch we only had a very weak definition of what the separation would be, and I alone could not define what was the intellectual data of Airbus and what was the intellectual property of the carve out. This was something that had to be clarified from the beginning.” As the journey gathered steam, Schreck and his team had to migrate w w w. g i g a b i t m a g a z i n e . c o m




close to 4,000 workplaces across three main sites in German, with a large number of smaller size and remote sites all over the world. When Schreck begun to dig deeper, that migration included more than 600 applications. But the challenge before Schreck here was not a typical one, in fact the technical separation and installation was comparatively straightforward. For Schreck, the challenge was one of licencing. “We found out pretty quickly that the major problem is the licencing. Vendors are quick to sell you a new 152

March 2018

licence, but when you’re dealing with a transformation of this size those licence models are in no way ready to accommodate that,” he says. This required substantial negotiation and overall effort from a multifunctional team of procurement and licence experts, which again was difficult due to the creative journey which saw the IT users defining which applications were needed and to what scope. “It was very difficult as we work with a large number of vendors, but in the end, it was solved effectively,” Schreck says.


HENSOLDT, through its very nature like Airbus before it, captures, processes and analyses data. As part of its market offering it offers sensor and data solutions and in doing so the company must ensure it has the capacity and the capabilities in place to do so. This is where the company adopted a “cloud-first” strategy, which was born out of the concept of not wanting to migrate or merge “too much” from Airbus. “We wanted to be quick in forming HENSOLDT, and so we realised that we could easily integrate too much from Airbus which would be both costly, and

time consuming,” says Schreck. “And we looked at the handling of data, which is extremely confidential given our market, and we realised that we could utilise cloud software to store that data. “It actually helps us further in the sense that we can push the separation and implement new solutions much quicker and more effectively.” As HENSOLDT moves towards becoming a global blue chip brand, coming off the back of a transformational journey, Schreck feels that it is not only the company that has had to evolve and transform, but that the industry and the role of the CIO has changed alongside it. “It’s no longer just business IT or being seen as just a support function,” says Schreck. “You have a much bigger influence on the organisation and with that, the CIO has to be an integrator. It’s not just about creating platforms and solutions, it’s much more. Ultimately, it’s about supporting the business in a global process model, and that’s what we’ve achieved here with Hensoldt and will continue to do as we embrace the future.” w w w. g i g a b i t m a g a z i n e . c o m


Click to watch an introduction to Great-West Lifeco



Great-West Lifeco’s digital transformation

Great-West Lifeco’s Canadian companies are undergoing one of the most significant transformations in their 100-plus year history. As it looks to the future, the company aims to keep one element securely in the centre of it all – the customer Written by Dale Benton | Produced by Glen White



or any organisation, of any size, undergoing an extensive digital transformation is no small feat. For Great-West Lifeco Inc. (Lifeco) and its Canadian-based companies, which have been providing insurance, benefit and financial solutions to Canadians for more than a century, the challenge centres upon maintaining a promise the company has made since it was founded. “As a company, we’ve long offered a promise to our customers – to improve their well-being, to keep their personal information safe, and to be there when they need us most,” says Philip Armstrong, Executive Vice-President and Global Chief Information Officer (CIO). “Our digital transformation is all about building upon this promise. We’re strengthening how we protect customer data and investing in new digital solutions that will provide convenient service for our customers anytime, anywhere.” As Global CIO, Armstrong’s role is crucial in the delivery of this transformation. Lifeco has carefully selected technology partners


March 2018

like Cisco, SAP, IBM, Microsoft, FireEye, Zscaler and IPSoft to completely transform its entire technology ecosystem. Armstrong feels strongly that the role of the Global CIO has also significantly evolved alongside this journey. “Traditionally, I think that companies first created a business strategy and then looked at how technology could underpin and support that strategy,” he says. “Today, with technology moving so fast, technology is a key driver in determining business strategy. The CIO is now expected to actively partner in the business transformation process, from design to execution.” Lifeco is a global provider of financial services, comprised of a number of companies that operate predominantly in Canada, Europe, and the US. Armstrong is tasked with overseeing a number of regional CIOs together with motivated technologists located around the globe. “We have approximately 3,400 technologists within our core technology teams,” he says, “and


Philip Armstrong Executive Vice-President and Global Chief Information Officer Philip joined Great-West Lifeco in January of 2016 and is currently responsible for all technology strategy, delivery, infrastructure, procurement and operations, with a focus on technology architecture, cyber security, digital transformation, hybrid-cloud enablement, employee productivity, big data analytics, A.I. and robotic process automation. Reporting to the CEO, Philip is a member of the Lifeco Executive Management Committee. Philip has 38 years of progressive global technology experience, as a CIO, senior technology executive, and technology consulting strategist. Prior to joining GreatWest Lifeco, Philip held global roles as the Chief Digital Technology Officer for Sun Life Financial and the Chief Technology Officer for Manulife Financial/John Hancock. Philip holds a Bachelor of Administrative Studies (BAS) from York University and a B/TEC from Leeds University (Keighley college). Philip serves as a Board Member for the TBM Council, and an advisor on the Trusted Advisory Board (TAB)

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March 2018


we’ve recently aligned them closely with our different business groups; this blurs the lines between what would traditionally be a technical or a business role. This alignment helps us be more agile and outcome based. It allows our business to better leverage technology to meet the future needs of our customers.” The changing face of technology Technology has always been Armstrong’s first passion. He began his career working on the frontlines of technology in England in 1979, before the personal computer arrived on people’s desks. He quickly rose through the ranks, becoming the CIO of a leading Toronto based financial services company at the age of 29. Since then, his technology career has provided him opportunities to visit and work in 48 different countries. Armstrong has seen first-hand how technology has evolved over several decades and how each new wave of advancement has influenced business models. He

argues that one of the most significant changes has been how we now perceive technology’s potential. “In the early days, I watched as technical solutions were positioned with rampant overselling, which led to unrealistically high expectations and the inevitable disappointment of broken promises,” he says. “Today’s technology platforms are so powerful that their potential is often ahead of what most companies need. There’s never been a more exciting time to work in the technology field and turn that potential into a reality.” Armstrong joined Lifeco as Global CIO in 2016 to advance the company in how they could leverage technology across their group of companies. “It’s about changing how we apply technology to provide modern timely services for our customers,” he says. “We believe strongly in putting the customer at the centre of what we do, and that translates into the decisions that we make around what technologies and services we intend to roll out.” Lifeco’s Canadian companies

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March 2018


have served Canadians for more than a century, and Armstrong says their transformation is really about positioning them for the future. “We’re embracing the future, while respecting our past. We have a proud heritage of helping Canadians with services and expert financial advice. We’re looking to use the power of technology to find new ways to improve the financial, physical and mental well-being of our customers.”

24,300 Number of Employees at Great-West Lifeco worldwide

Evolving customer needs Armstrong believes that while customer expectations of technology have risen, many aspects of the financial services industry have been slow to respond. “The modern customer wants immediate access to their financial information augmented with timely advice that empowers them to make better decisions,” says Armstrong. “Advice-based insurance and wealth management business models within Canada have approached technology cautiously, fearing it would provide an unnecessary barrier that gets in the way of what is a very personal relationship between financial planners, advisors and the customer.” But according to Armstrong, Lifeco isn’t shying away from this challenge, and instead, views it as a strategic opportunity. “We’re listening very closely to both our customers and financial advisors. We see emerging technology as an opportunity to significantly enhance these personal relationships that are so important to our overall success.”

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What’s the difference between intelligence and knowledge? It’s about enabling you to use information, not just have it.

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We’re in the business of keeping promises, where we put the customer at the center of everything we do. Unfortunately today, you can’t do that without sophisticated protection and intelligence.

FireEye gives us a distinctive competitive edge where we can feel confident about delivering on our promises. —PHILIP ARMSTRONG EVP & Global CIO Great-West Lifeco

© 2018 FireEye, Inc. All rights reserved.


The company is listening intently to its customers, identifying their pain points and building a technology ecosystem that can rapidly respond and adapt to the customers’ wants and needs. “It’s a modernisation process that starts from front to back,” says Armstrong. “You have to examine how your customers are interacting with you, and many of ours do so through intermediaries. We have


March 2018

to equip financial advisors and our distributors with digital solutions that enable them to be more productive, more informed, and more connected, so they can provide exceptional service to their customers.” “Where it makes sense, we’re helping advisors and clients by providing customers with new digital self-service capabilities. Within our own business operations, process automation, machine learning,




data analytics and AI technologies are helping to streamline and reduce business processing costs, enhance responsiveness, and increase employee productivity.” Rising customer expectations and the industry’s competitive landscape are also reshaping the way Lifeco approaches systems and solutions delivery. “Our technology development process was much more inward looking, today it’s a more organic process that has to be closely aligned with what customers want, need and expect. ”

Armstrong points to how Agile development methodologies and ways of working are becoming the preferred way at Lifeco, bringing together crossfunctional, full-stack teams that are able to deliver quickly. To him, this is often the biggest cultural change. “It’s no longer good enough to work on requirements, develop code, wait six months, and then present the result – the traditional waterfall approach. There needs to be shorter, sharper sprints, allowing us to reduce execution risk and respond to opportunities in the marketplace as they happen.”

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Artificial Intelligence: Re-inventing the Customer Experience

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is creating new paths to provide a better customer experience across industries. Many Canadian businesses, organizations and researchers are piloting AI technologies – fo for everything from interactive insurance claims processing, to advanced medical diagnostics, to personalized service. AI in customer experience in particular is generating a high degree of enthusiasm as companies consider how this technology can be used to assist and augment their overburdened human workforces.

Amelia is the only AI ready to transform entire processes at scale, from intelligent front office conversations to smart back office execution ex

Delivering this kind of elevated human-like digital experience is imperative because customers are demanding it. Research from Accenture -- noting that 52% of consumers said they have switched providers due to poor cu customer service -- found that human interaction is a critical component for customer satisfaction, and recommends providing “human elements” across digital channels.

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Companies must be diligent in selecting the AI tech that will deliver those elements and the best experience for their various audiences and communities. An effective AI solution needs to be scalable to handle high inquiry and transaction volumes, self-learning so it can improve services it delivers over time, conversationally interactive so it can connect with end-users, collaborative to work with human agents and employees, and intelligent to detect users’ sentiments and emotions and provide support in an empathetic way. Amelia can communicate with customers 24/7 in the proper context and through multiple channels like laptops, mobile phones and even virtual home assistants (like Alexa or Google Home). Recognizing these trends, Great-West Life Insurance Company is looking to leverage IPsoft’s Amelia to enhance its customer-facing platforms with cognitive AI technology.

“We recognize the great potential that AI technology like Amelia can deliver to our customers,” said Philip Armstrong, Executive Vice-President and Global Chief Information Officer at Great-West Lifeco. “Customer satisfaction is our highest priority, and Amelia will provide enhanced levels of accuracy and efficiency for our customers.” Amelia is more advanced than chatbots, which provide only static pre-programmed responses to customer queries that often do little to enhance overall customer satisfaction. Amelia elevates customer interactions to the cu point where users feel as if they’re talking to a human that cares about their needs. She provides human-like intimacy and interaction at scale that helps companies build long-term customer bu relationships, while at the same time keeping costs in check. Great-West LifeCo will be able to take advantage of best practices from other IPsoft clients, even those outside its industry. For example, SEB, the leading Nordic corporate bank, is utilizing Amelia for account password resets, pa

step-by-step assistance with credit and debit cards, and banking location services with its customers. Amelia has reached a 90% accuracy rate in understanding and completing tasks, and co correctly hands-off queries to her human co-workers when necessary. At IPsoft, we believe in AI’s ability to transform business and transform our lives. Our customers are achieving real-life business benefits from their Amelia investments while delivering an exceptional customer experience. Companies like Great-West Lifeco are pioneering the use of cognitive AI in customer service and driving the industry toward a new digital future.

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The art of the possible Armstrong emphasized the importance of aligning Lifeco’s strategic business plan and technology vision. “I consider myself to be living in the future, my job is to envision what could be and then partner with my business colleagues to define the art of the possible,” he says. “We have a clear business vision, but marrying that vision with emerging technologies often drives new possibilities that weren’t previously considered.” “Working this way requires a major cultural change, operating model re-alignments and a more flexible organisation structure. This has been a major part of our transformation journey. It’s vitally important to know where you’re going and having everyone aligned towards that goal. That congruence of vision, action and technology is how you start to move from where you are today, to your destination in the future.” A transformational journey For Lifeco’s Canadian companies

this latest transformation represents one of the biggest turning points in their illustrious history. They’re working to reinvent the organization’s core technologies and business processes, many of which have been successfully operated for decades. With every major component of technology now in a state of flux, being replaced, modernized, moved to the cloud, or retired; surely this creates a higher level of operational risk? “I think it’s far riskier not to change,” says Armstrong. “Indeed, we are acutely aware of how well these transformation activities and risks need to be managed, but we’re also aware of our industry’s future direction. We know its advancement will be largely fuelled by technology innovation. We’re not going to wait for the industry to change, we want to be proactive and drive this change.” “I don’t know of a larger technologybased transformation happening within financial services across Canada right now. Our digital and business transformation will differentiate our company

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“Early in our planning, we realised that if we are going to transform our digital capabilities we would need a strong technology foundation. So the first thing we needed to address was our core Canadian network, and to do this we developed a strong partnership with Cisco.” “Cisco designed and built an intelligent state-of-the-art, leaf-andspine, software-defined network that provides us with secure access, increased responsiveness, robust stability and scalability. This now provides us with a clear competitive edge to support all of our digital aspirations.”


March 2018

“Partnering with Microsoft has provided our employees with the latest in office productivity and collaboration tools, such as Office 365 and the Azure cloud. We’re transforming our campuses through wireless access, enabling desktopto-desktop communication tools through Skype, and activating digital collaboration spaces equipped with Microsoft Surface Hubs.” “Supporting employee mobility and enhanced connectivity gives us the freedom to work where, when and how we want, increasing productivity and collaboration.”


“We’ve been working closely with IBM to completely modernize our data centre and to support a hybrid-cloud environment. We’ve rethought how we store information, how we retrieve information, how we configure our servers, to ensure our infrastructure is secure, fast and efficient. We’re also modernizing our mainframes, allowing for rapid data access. IBM is providing and partnering with us on our data intelligence technology stack, another fast moving area within our company.”

“We have a very close relationship with SAP, which provide us with a variety of quality platforms and services. SAP platforms power our corporate financial systems, augmented with products such as Insurance Analyzer, HR solutions, and in-memory computing capabilities like HANA. Our cloud-based development stack also includes tools like Hybris. With changing regulations such as GDPR and IFRS, having a large global partner like SAP has proven to be invaluable.”

Click to hear about Great-West Lifeco’s partners of choice

INTUITIVE. INTUITIVE. Digital transformation is creating new customer experiences, transforming business

Digital transformation is creating new customer experiences, transforming business models, and empowering workforce innovation. Infrastructures of yesterday struggle to models, and empowering workforce innovation. Infrastructures of yesterday struggle to support the needs of today’s innovative businesses. support the needs of today’s innovative businesses.

Cisco is proud to have partnered with Great-West Life to deliver a software-defined foundation powering transformation and ensuring theofsuccess of their nextfoundation powering theirtheir transformation and ensuring the success their nextgeneration endeavours. generation endeavours.

Great-West Life benefits from a highly secure, flexible, data-driven infrastructure and th clients and policyholders benefit from entirely new technology-enabled user experience delivered anywhere and at anyat time. delivered anywhere and any time.

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areare delivered in Canada. delivered in Canada.

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Consolidated assets under administration

heir es


and position us to remain competitive going forward.” A vital part of Lifeco’s strategy has been to establish strong partnerships with leading global technology providers including Cisco, Microsoft, IBM and SAP. Through these strategic partnerships, Lifeco has been able to leverage their partners’ R&D capacity and gain access to some of technology’s biggest and brightest talent pools. “We work closely with our large

technology partners, spending time to understand their solutions and roadmaps, and then applying suites of integrated technology to business challenges and opportunities. This avoids spending most of our time trying to integrate disparate technology solutions, forcing them to work together.” “For us, this is an efficient model where we leverage the expertise offered by these large technology partners, and they’ve been fantastic to work with.”

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Great-West Lifeco and the importance of cyber security

“We take cyber security very seriously. I’m a great believer in a defence and depth strategy, where you have multiple layers of protection technology that overlap. Cyber criminals are getting more sophisticated, and you have to respond with more sophisticated defences.” “Our primary partner in cyber security is FireEye, we’re currently using their endpoint detection and remediation technologies. We’re also a valued subscriber of their threat intelligence feeds, iSight services, and we use their consulting organization, Mandiant, quite extensively. FireEye is passionate about cyber protection, and we’ve been delighted with the strength of our partnership and

SECURED DATA the results we’ve seen so far.” “But it’s not good enough just to dig a moat around your data centre and protect your employees’ devices anymore. You have to extend your cyber security fabric and protection out to the intelligent edge of your network, out to the cloud and the internet. We’re using cloud-enabled cyber protection companies, like Zscaler and their sophisticated sandboxing technology, to extend our defences well outside the data centre to the intelligent edge. Zscaler was the first to move into this space in a big way, and we have a strong relationship with this talented team. Cyber is such a complicated, fast moving space that you have to choose your partners carefully - and we have.”


The buzz of technological change Armstrong acknowledges that this year, the financial services technology industry will be awash with technology buzzwords and jargon, coupled with an unprecedented amount of disruption and transformation. Artificial intelligence, conversational AI, machine learning, cloud, bots, blockchain, and big data analytics, are all major trends across the industry. What is Lifeco doing with these technologies to ensure that they are truly advancing their business priorities, and not falling for the marketing hype? “A large part of my job is to position cloud, artificial intelligence, conversational AI, machine learning and process automation technologies within our organization in a practical way that delivers real value,” says Armstrong. “We have lofty ambitions and strive to leverage these technologies to serve more customers, across the channel of their choice, using any device, at any time, and in the language of their choice.”

Armstrong says that the only way to incrementally deliver towards this goal is to invest in process automation, digital technologies and artificial intelligence. Lifeco has already started to integrate robotic process automation into its operational work environment. Another important strategy is the introduction and integration of IPSoft’s conversational AI platform, which Lifeco is piloting. IPSoft offers one of the most comprehensive conversational AI platforms on the market today with the ability to communicate with customers in multiple languages, across multiple

30+ Million customer relationships

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channels, while evolving and adapting Armstrong. “We’re working to create from each customer interaction. a truly digital workplace that supports Armstrong also believes that AI enhanced mobility, connectivity, will be critical in helping financial productivity and collaboration services companies, like Lifeco, across the company. We’re looking extract value from large datasets. to empower our employees with “I think you’ll start to see artificial simple yet powerful tools, so they can intelligence being applied in situations focus on our customers and provide where the quantity of the excellent service data is so vast that that sets us apart.” it overwhelms the Armstrong concedes human capabilities that simply deploying of our analysts,” he technology for employees says. “In these cases, isn’t always enough, Year founded AI will empower often, this is when the our employees to real work begins. spot trends, solve “We structure problems, and make agreements with our decisions faster.” strategic partners where they directly assist with the Empowering Employees implementation of the technologies Lifeco prides itself on placing the they provide. They help to educate customer at the centre of their strategic our employees, facilitate training decisions, but Armstrong is quick to and co-own our adoption goals. The call out that it is employees who bring productivity gains we’re seeking will this promise to life each and every day. only come from intelligent usage “Customers are at the centre of and full adoption of the new tools.” what we do, but our employees are Modernizing the employee the foundation of our success,” says experience extends further as



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“WE CAN’T WAIT TO START SHARING THE FRUITS OF OUR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION WITH CANADIANS” – Philip Armstrong, Executive Vice-President and Global Chief Information Officer


March 2018


evidenced by Lifeco’s new physical office designs. Some of Lifeco’s iconic buildings have stood for nearly a century and are a testament to the company’s heritage. In what Armstrong described as a metaphor for Lifeco’s transformation, these buildings are also undergoing a significant transformation. Inside you see fresh, modern office interiors that offer flexible, open and collaborative work environments. Armstrong points to improved collaboration and team responsiveness as a direct result of the new environments and wireless enabled workspaces. “Enhancing both our physical and digital work environments brings our global workforce together, allowing us to collaborate more effectively and deliver faster,” he says. “New cloud-based collaboration tools and digitally-enabled meeting rooms connect people from different

offices and across the globe, as if they’re working side-by-side.” Respecting the past, embracing the future Technological transformation will never truly end; it will remain a continuously evolving journey. Armstrong believes that for Lifeco, 2017 was a foundational year, and 2018 will yield more visible results. “In 2017, we brought in what I’d like to describe as core technology building blocks,” he says. “Now that we have those in place, we can start arranging and connecting them in new and exciting ways that have never been done before. That’s when our customers and employees will start to see a bit of a quantum leap. We can’t wait to start sharing the fruits of our digital transformation efforts with Canadians.”

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A 1967 Ford Falcon Rebuilt for Fanshawe’s 50th Anniversary

ENGAGING A COMMUNITY THROUGH EDUCATION The college of the future needs to be run as much on vision as fixed processes. Innovation through IT is helping to shape this future at Fanshawe College, explains its strategically-minded CIO Written by John O’Hanlon Produced by Glen White



anshawe College, or to give it its full title, Fanshawe College of Applied Arts and Technology, has just celebrated its 50th anniversary. Established at London, Ontario in 1967 as the successor to the Ontario Vocational Centre, it has since grown to become one of Canada’s largest further education institutions, with additional campuses at Simcoe, St. Thomas and Woodstock. It enrols close to 45,000 full-time, part-time and online students each year, not only from Canada and south-western Ontario, but from some 80 other countries around the world, and offers more than 200 degree, diploma, certificate, graduate certificate and apprenticeship programmes. Subjects available include applied arts, business, healthcare, human services, hospitality and technology, and Fanshawe also provides re-skilling and skill upgrading opportunities for mature learners sponsored by business and industry or by government. Since 2013, Peter Gilbert been Chief Information Officer (CIO) of this hugely important regional college,


March 2018

adding a second key role to his portfolio in February 2017 – that of Chief Infrastructure Officer. So, he’s a double CIO: “Over the last couple of years the opportunity arose to expand the purely IT work more into the actual running and building of our facilities, and it became clear that many of the challenges facing an IT department are shared by a facilities department.” Smart facilities, he explains, depend so heavily on IT these days that the old demarcations are disappearing. As an example, he cites parking. Anyone visiting a large campus anywhere in the world will know what a pain it is to drive around looking for a space – and the cost in wasted time and missed appointments can be significant. Fanshawe has more than 3,000 parking spaces for students and staff, all on the flat, and of course there are never enough of them at peak times. “We’re now starting to look at smart parking solutions that would direct people to available parking, rather than having to drive round and round,” says Gilbert. Part of the solution would be for many more people to use public transport, but


Peter Gilbert CIO

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“We’re taking the best project management practice from both facilities and IT” – Peter Gilbert, CIO

for those who need to use a car, not having to use up time and fuel looking for a parking place would help achieve the college’s carbon reduction goals. Gilbert is considering introducing a card-based entry system, which would also facilitate payment. Another example is that of physical security. Issuing and tracking keys is a poor way to ensure that buildings are secured: a centrally controlled smart card system is much more robust, and would allow the campus or a section of it to be locked down fast in an emergency. “We’re taking the best project management practice from both facilities and IT. Project management was born in the construction industry, and they’re very good at it, but over the years

IT has adapted that and become good at that as well. But construction projects often end when a building is handed over whereas IT extends right into operation and maintenance.” Tracking and reporting on its physical assets while at the same time being able to respond in a timely manner to service requests from facilities managers in all parts of the campus has been made a lot easier by IT initiatives at Fanshawe. In particular, partnering with real estate services provider JLL Technology Solutions, it implemented ARCHIBUS facilities management software to support all its facilities operations. The software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution was deployed within the JLL Cloud environment within just three months.

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Gilbert is enthusiastic about the opportunities for IT and innovation to make a difference to the student experience too. With an increasing number of students on campus, it’s important to automate as many of the paper-based enrolment processes as possible, he says. And once the students are admitted, they quickly learn that Fanshawe will help unlock their potential in ways they had not expected. “Innovation is at our core, and we’re always looking for ways to


March 2018

push the envelope. We introduced iPads into learning several years ago, which really unlocked the potential of students that come to us with fewer academic qualifications, or who had additional challenges such as autism.” iPads have been around a while now, but young people are increasingly buying drones, which are readily available. In anticipation of new laws surrounding usage, Fanshawe introduced a drone course and encouraged students to


Fanshawe at the 2018 Food and Wine Show

become certified operators. It was a far-sighted decision: “We’re seeing regulation coming in, and I think we’re well positioned to help train people in the proper use of that technology.” Drones are an engaging, and far from being just fun technology. Gilbert believes one of the benefits of the college system lies in its use of employer groups to help advise curriculum development. “Technology is creeping into every aspect of the world, and getting employers to help

us design the next generation of courses leads to a two-way learning process. Sometimes our students will enlighten the employer, other times the employer will enlighten the student that they employ. I think a lot of our future innovation will come from the innovation that’s happening in the many businesses we serve with our graduates.” This virtuous circle is epitomised in the close relationship Fanshawe has with the construction industry. The

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Students and staff taking part in a United Way fundraising event featuring remote controlled cars

London Home Builders’ Association (LHBA) is a case in point, providing a lot of feedback to college building programs. “They also create research opportunities for our students as well,” he adds. “One of our goals is that every student who goes through Fanshawe should have at least one applied research experience as part of their time here. Construction firms always have projects under development that need tweaking before they become the new mainstream product, and our students are more than happy to assist in

some of that applied research.” The Centre for Research and Innovation (CRI) is Fanshawe College’s Research Office and Industry Innovation Centre (IIC). CRI links industry, business and community partners with Fanshawe student and faculty researchers to develop research and innovation projects and programmes, and serves as the College’s liaison to external funders. Gilbert is excited about the concept of an ‘Innovation Village’ that would be much more than a fancy name for a community hub. “It’s built on the

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“One of our goals is that every student who goes through Fanshawe should have at least one applied research experience as part of their time here” – Peter Gilbert, CIO


March 2018


View of Fanshawe new downtown building

African proverb that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. It’s the antithesis of the old teaching model where a student comes in, takes a course and leaves. What we’re trying to work towards is a ‘village’, part physical and part virtual, where the student can encounter professors and also people from different professions, some of them retired perhaps, who want to mentor and indeed learn from new students.” He sketches a campfire scene round which young people learn from the people who have done the job or lived the experience in the

past; sharing experiences, but also reaching out to others from different disciplines. “You might introduce somebody into the village that has financial background to a group that’s talking about architecture questions or a marketing person to come in and help take ideas out into the community, or socialise them. It takes more than just a few professors to make a difference for a person. It’s the whole experience, involving a variety of people and materials that they could experiment with,” says Gilbert.

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Andrea Wong, Chief Marketing & Customer Officer, AXA Hong Kong

Leading innovation in Hong Kongâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s insurance market Written by Catherine Sturman Produced by James Pepper


Since its establishment in Hong Kong, AXA has built up long-term trust with customers and been named the number one insurance brand worldwide for the ninth consecutive year *


he world’s economy has witnessed exponential growth over the last decade. Population growth, longer lifespans, rising healthcare costs and increasingly digital lifestyles are all leading to the disruption of not only the protection available for consumers, but also how insurers will continue to play a key role in this evolving industry. Insurers have therefore looked to overhaul the traditional ways of working in a bid to remain ahead of the curve and better serve their customers. Witnessing how the surge of new players continues to drive the launch of personalised solutions across Asia, AXA has also seen a number of non-insurance companies, such as

Tencent and Alibaba, look at entering this competitive space, demonstrating their potential for future growth. “New digital entrants are starting to disrupt the insurance business with a relentless quest for simplicity and a focus on what truly matters to the customers. Traditionally, insurance has not led in the digital space but it is catching up quickly with other industries. At AXA, we are investing heavily in infrastructure, people and tools to transform the customer experience and modernise insurance on all fronts,” says AXA Hong Kong Chief Marketing & Customer Officer, Andrea Wong. “In Asia, customers are really embracing a digital lifestyle, probably

*Source: Interbrand Best Global Brand 2017 (By Brand Value)


March 2018


Darrell Ryman, Chief Technology Officer, AXA Hong Kong

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more so than you would see in the rest of the world,” observes AXA Hong Kong’s Chief Technology Officer Darrell Ryman. “Having spent 10 years in Mainland China, I witnessed how the country skipped the PC and went straight to mobile. We are committed to digitalising business deployment through technology and making insurance readily available across devices, anytime, anywhere.” Making insurance simple and personal The advent of the digital age has changed the way people communicate

and consume. Customers are now well connected online and demand speedy and round-theclock services, making it extremely important for insurers to provide a much simpler and more personalised experience to their customers. “Customer-first is our core value. We consider the way our customers live today and tomorrow so that our products and services continue to be relevant and meaningful to them. Moving from a product-led company to one which is more customercentric, we have significantly transformed to make connections

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“In Asia, customers are really embracing a digital lifestyle, probably more so than you would see in the rest of the world” AXA Hong Kong’s Chief Technology Officer, Darrell Ryman

with customers simpler, easier and quicker. MyAXA is a modern online experience we specially designed for simplifying our interaction with customers,” explains Wong. MyAXA is a 24/7 web and mobile app based digital service for AXA customers. Customers can view their Life and Employee Benefits (EB) policies with AXA Hong Kong on MyAXA, and are able to perform key online transactions such as SmartClaims (with just a simple photo snap), fund switching and searching for doctors using geo-locations. In addition, a first-in-market service was launched in October 2017, called ‘e-Prescription’. MyAXA users can order prescribed medicine with just a photo of the prescription, then pay and pick up the medicine from a designated pharmacy, creating added convenience. “In just 12 months, MyAXA had over 80,000 downloads, and since it was launched to our EB policyholders the number of active users is increasing at a promising rate with more downloads day after day,” Wong says.

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“New digital entrants are starting to disrupt the insurance business with a relentless quest for simplicity and a focus on what truly matters to the customers” AXA Hong Kong’s Chief Marketing & Customer Officer, Andrea Wong

To offer a more personalised service, AXA also piloted brand new concepts in promoting personal wellness. “We introduced Xtra by AXA, which is a unique personal coaching mobile app that rewards users for living a healthy lifestyle. We are the first in the market to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into an interactive digital chatbot named Alex, to provide tips on health and wellbeing for customers who are health-conscious,” adds Wong. AXA has put in place a robust system to capture customer insights


March 2018

at different service touch points, such as when making a claim, calling hotlines, or buying a new product, as an ongoing effort to excel in customer service. The feedback collected has enabled the company to identify specific areas to improve and offer more personalised services to address customer needs. Offering best-fit propositions for customers through big data AXA’s new direction is to become a partner to its customers, not simply paying them. “By looking at our services from a customer perspective,


it’s not about product, it’s about the experience we offer our customers,” says Ryman. “It’s not just about them buying a policy and us paying them for a claim, but about becoming more of a partner for them.” AXA has a pool of data scientists and has already deployed big data technology to optimally match the right financial consultants to customers based on their profiles, deliver personalised offers and identify next most relevant products or services for its customers. “Thanks to big data that enables automatic risk underwriting, we are introducing guaranteed offers for


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online health insurance purchase. Big data and analytics also help us to best-fit customers and propositions, including automating the provision of the next best protection and health offer for customers, and matching customers with the best financial consultants based on their profiles.” “With data and analytics, we provide the answer before the question is even asked, freeing our customer’s minds from worry so that they can focus on what’s

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important to them,” adds Wong. AXA Hong Kong received the ‘Big Data and Analytics’ award at the Asia Insurance Technology Awards 2017 for the second year in a row, the bronze award for ‘Best Use of Mobile’ at the Customer Experience Asia Excellence Awards, and Celent’s Model Insurer Asia Awards 2017 in the ‘Data & Analytics’ category – all testament to its success in enhancing the customer experience through strong investment in data and digital innovations.



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“AXAiPro provides the financial consultants with timely data for a meaningful conversation and an instant underwriting result for the customer to buy on spot and obtain instant coverage” AXA Hong Kong’s Chief Technology Officer, Darrell Ryman


March 2018

Empowering distributors with digital “Technology helps us modernise our sales practices. We developed AXAiPro which benefits both our financial consultants and customers through the customer-centric buying experience leveraging on digital technology,” says Ryman. AXAiPro is a powerful and fully integrated digital platform that empowers our financial consultants through increased mobility and improved productivity. The technology facilitates a paperless application, where only an iPad is used during the sales process. AXAiPro provides the financial consultants with timely data for a meaningful conversation and an instant underwriting result for the customer to buy on spot and obtain instant coverage. It also works to perform essential verification requirements for Mainland Chinese customers via mobile devices connecting to the internet by leveraging on GPS technology. It brings great convenience to these customers so that they need not

complete the necessary procedures at a service centre in person. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We continue to evolve AXAiPro with innovative functions that improve the customer experience, such as online instant payment. It makes planning and dealing with AXA easier for both our financial consultants and our customers,â&#x20AC;? says Ryman. AXAiPro platform also provides an interface where consultants can get the most relevant leads at

their fingertips after aggregating and analysing different big data sources including advertising, social media and websites. Strengthening the infrastructure To cope with growth momentum, AXA has made significant investment in its digital capabilities, which includes the expansion of its Hong Kong IT team with an additional 50 specialists. Supported by a single CRM

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March 2018

system and an onshore customer contact centre, this IT and digital investment will enable the business to be more agile and responsive to customer needs and further drive modernising insurance. AXA is continuing to strengthen its technology backbone with a new architecture hosting a lake of applications to enable an integrated customer journey.


Safeguarding customer data Housing such vast volumes of customer data, AXA seeks to uphold its consistent, companywide data privacy policy, with the aim of obtaining international accreditation in the future. “We are running an initiative called Quartile One, which is a security initiative based on the ISO 27001, 27002 and 27005 standards, with an aspiration to be in the top 25% of all companies globally in terms of security standards and practices,” notes Ryman. “A Data Privacy Officer has also

been appointed to oversee the implementation of our data privacy policy with regular training for all employees handling customer data,” says Ryman. “In addition, we have put in place strong controls across all our IT systems that are in line with international best practice and standards, to secure our customer data. “Cyber risk is firmly at the top of the international agenda as highprofile breaches raise fears that hack attacks and other security failures could endanger not only personal privacy but also the global economy.

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“At AXA, we implement strict validation processes on all websites. All of them are required to obtain digital permits.” Reinforcing its leadership position Digital transformation is in itself a moving target as technologies and customer expectations are changing rapidly. Continuously adapting and responding to these changes is a challenge. “We address the challenge by focusing on an ‘agile’ approach to transformation and continuously investing in IT capabilities and innovative technology in order to sustain our leadership position in a competitive market,” says Ryman. “We are striving to transform the customer experience, making insurance simpler, more relevant and more personal for all our customers. Leveraging on new technology, we can better anticipate customers’ future needs so to provide the next best offerings,” says Wong. Catering to the evolving needs of


March 2018


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its customers, AXA continues to innovate and expand the product range across Life and Savings, Property and Casualty as well as Health and Protection so as to deliver the best products to satisfy each customerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s unique requirements. Internally, AXA is promoting a fresh entrepreneurial culture among its employees. The new spirit motivates all employees to â&#x20AC;&#x153;run the company like your ownâ&#x20AC;?. Mindset change is a key success factor behind the transformation of insurance and the customer experience, and every employee must play a part. With a long-term purpose of empowering its customers to live a better life, whilst remaining the modern insurance company of choice, both Ryman and Wong are vigilant and aware of the need to remain competitive and keep abreast of all developments within the insurance industry.


March 2018


“Customer-first is our core value. We consider the way our customers live today and tomorrow so that our products and services continue to be relevant and meaningful to them” AXA Hong Kong’s Chief Marketing & Customer Officer, Andrea Wong

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Nokia’s ‘conscious’ factory of the futur

Written by Laura Mullan Produced by Charlotte Clarke




Unveiling its groundbreaking ‘conscious factory,’ telecoms giant Nokia is truly ready for the fast-changing manufacturing needs of the future


everal years ago, Nokia set itself an ambitious objective: to envision and create the ‘factory of the future’. Fastforward to today and the telecoms giant has made this distant future a reality with its state-of-the-art concept – ‘the conscious factory’. With every industrial revolution, factories have evolved to create something unlike anything that has come before. Now, in the midst of Industry 4.0, analytics, robotics, and 3D printing are just some of the emerging trends that are redefining the manufacturing space at large. By harnessing the potential of these technological trends, Nokia’s


March 2018


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“It’s a complete game changer” Johannes Giloth (left), Senior Vice President of Global Operations and Chief Procurement Officer at Nokia


March 2018


Conscious Supply Network is ushering in a new era of supply chain transformation and battening down the hatches for Supply Chain 4.0. Nokia’s vision was a simple one: to transform its factories into ‘the conscious factory’ – an agile and intelligent manufacturing service that is fully-automated, green, self-learning, and able to predict and prevent supply flexibly. To make this hi-tech network a reality, the Finnish giant zeroed in on four crucial areas: digitisation, analytics, robotics and transparency. It leveraged tools such as cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), analytics, machine learning, robotic process automation (RPA) as well as augmented and virtual reality. In doing so it has created an endto-end supply chain solution that is more visible, adaptable, and smarter than anything before. A conscious supply network It has been a mammoth task for Nokia, but it is one which the team believes will revolutionise manufacturing forever. “In former times, if you outsourced a factory it was like a black box,” explains Johannes Giloth, Senior Vice President of Global Operations and Chief Procurement Officer at Nokia. “You placed an order there and waited until the delivery arrived but, in between, you couldn’t see anything. With our conscious factory, I can see in real-time

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EMPOWERING NEXT GENERATION MOBILE COMMUNICATION Created in 2015, Ampleon is shaped by 50 years of RF power leadership and is set to exploit the full potential of data and energy transfer in RF. Ampleon has more than 1,350 employees worldwide, dedicated to creating optimal value for customers. Its innovative, yet consistent portfolio offers products and solutions for a wide range of applications, such as mobile broadband infrastructure, radio & TV broadcasting, CO2 lasers & plasma, MRI, particle accelerators, radar & air-traffic control, non-cellular communications, RF cooking & defrosting, RF heating and plasma lighting. Amplify the future |

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market requirements and to speed up new technology developments.” Nokia is a leading customer in the Mobile Broadband business, purchasing high volumes of Ampleon’s Radio Frequency Power Amplifiers (RFPA) for 4G and 4.5G base stations. Examples for 4G RFPA high volume parts:

Ampleon, being a young company with a long history in RF Power, has had the ideal opportunity to transform its supply base and supply chain operations. Following the carve-out from a large company, the establishment of an independent company created many challenges, but also many



opportunities which allowed us to improve the support for our customer base.

As Nokia’s business is moving towards 5G, many business opportunities are linked to the multitude of new 5G

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planning and supply tooling will enable Ampleon to become even more flexible with the aim to further grow our business with our key customers. Ampleon has embraced “Partnering for Success” as one of the key business drivers towards future growth. Together with our customers, suppliers and R&D partners, and with a next step in supply chain excellence and system support, we are well on our way.

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what happens in each factory and I can optimise the process. “It’s a complete game changer.” With over 30 factories worldwide, Nokia’s supply chain is a far-reaching one spanning several continents. However, the Finnish company only owns three of these factories with the rest being outsourced. Instead of focusing on owning bricks-andmortar, Nokia is concentrating on owning the information, the data, and knowledge behind it. By understanding how the industry is connected together, the


March 2018

organisation is creating a conscious supply network, an end-to-end ecosystem built on end-to-end understanding and knowledge. “Only three of our factories are owned by Nokia because we have not been focusing on manufacturing, we have been focusing on managing a manufacturing network,” observes Giloth. “I only can manage this network if I have data. I don’t care about owning the equipment, but I care about owning the data. “We are putting thousands of sensors in our factories and


Nokia has more than 30 factories around the world

connecting all our manufacturing and logistics assets together so that they can talk to each other,” he continues. “With that, we are creating what we call a ‘conscious factory’, where all transactions are visible in real-time in a controlled centre. With that, you can optimise throughput, inventories, quality, and you can apply machine learning to it. It helps you automate the entire process, it helps you ensure quality, it helps you to reduce cost in inventories, and it helps you be more flexible in adapting your supply chain. But having one conscious


Year founded

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factory is just the start of it. We want to create an entire network.” Presenting the ‘factory in a box’ This is just the beginning of Nokia’s vision for the future; it is also resigning the idea of large manufacturing locations to the past. Unveiling its ‘factory in a box’, Nokia is anticipating the fastchanging manufacturing needs of the future, by creating a conscious ‘Lego’ building block factory. Offering unparalleled flexibility and agility, this factory in a box aims to revolutionise today’s factory floor. It can be transported to the location, build the necessary volume for ‘country of origin’ requirements and can be moved again as needed. Agility is a factor which can make or break a company, especially in the telecoms industry, and so the factory in a box could be instrumental as it allows product prototypes to be quickly created, tested and fixed if necessary. What’s more, if a site is hit by a natural disaster, critical customer orders can still be achieved


March 2018

“Having one conscious factory is just the start of it. We want to create an entire network” Johannes Giloth, Senior Vice President of Global Operations and Chief Procurement Officer at Nokia

quickly with a portable factory. “It is a step towards a modular supply chain factory,” says Giloth. “A big problem in the manufacturing space is that R&D and manufacturing should be close together because then you have an immediate feedback loop. “Every time I have a factory request, whether it’s in Nigeria or elsewhere, I cannot create a factory there and demolish it after a year. With the factory in a box, you can ship that modular container there, produce


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Number of employees at Nokia the product and when it’s ready for mass production, you go elsewhere.” A global company with a local focus “This will not only transform the supply chain landscape at large, it will also create opportunities for unique regional players,” explains Bo Jensen, Head of Delivery Operations Asia Pacific & Japan at Nokia. “If we look at it from a local perspective, it also allows us to adapt to local requirements, so this would be advantageous for regions such as Indonesia, for instance, where there’s a lot of discussion about local content and requirements. It creates a lot of flexibility and it also provokes our customers to take a bigger step,” he comments. Sitting in Nokia’s gleaming regional office in Singapore, Giloth and Jensen passionately bounce back-and-forth as they talk about the latest exhibitions where they will showcase this ground-breaking concept. Sitting in the epicentre of the bustling business district, Nokia

has firmly cemented itself as a major player in the manufacturing space. The ‘conscious’ factory may have seemed futuristic but it is possible - and Nokia made it happen. However, this state-of-the-art concept didn’t come about in an instant. It is the result of over a decade’s work, and it is just one step in what has been a complete rootand-branch transformation of Nokia. A high-level supply chain transformation On this journey, the organisation faced three successive challenges that created what Giloth called an ‘existential moment’ for Nokia – one which would bring about one of the biggest supply chain transformations in the industry. In the past two years, Nokia jumped from 101st to 15th in Gartner’s Top 25 Supply Chain ranking, an extraordinary turnaround that the research firm hailed as ‘triumphant.’ It has been a lengthy process for both the company and its people but Nokia is keen to keep up this momentum.

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“This supply chain transformation has been a journey of around eight years,” Giloth says. “We were undergoing external shocks to a certain extent. The first challenge was the battle of profitability that was driven by major Chinese competitors, and because of this we needed to cut costs and drive efficiency in the supply chain, and therefore one of the solutions was to create an integrated supply chain. “We applied a lot of lean, Six Sigma, Kaizen continuous improvement efforts – the bread and butter of a good supply chain,” he adds. “We renovated our organisational setup. We introduced KPIs and that was just the first step.” The next challenge confronting Nokia was the pressure to be agile and responsive in a volatile market. “The need for an agile supply chain became more and more paramount,” Giloth reflects. “We invested a lot of time and also money in making our supply chain and demand planning, reacting faster to the market changes while not compromising on the lean setup. Then that created an integrated and demand-driven supply network.” Customer-focused The third and perhaps most pressing priority? Customer centricity. In many organisations, supply chains are seen


March 2018

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“We used to be in the trenches of the back office but now we’re more involved from the beginning of the opportunity in order to create the best possible customer experience” Johannes Giloth, Senior Vice President of Global Operations and Chief Procurement Officer at Nokia

as a back-end function, but at Nokia, that notion is being flipped on its head. Giloth and Jensen believe that ‘creating the technology to connect the world’ is more than just a tagline that people associate with the telecoms company – it is a core value that should be interwoven through all aspects of Nokia, including its supply chain. “Our market is diversifying hugely,” observes Jensen. “We have new customers, new segments, and therefore it’s critical that we are more customer-specific and more consumer-driven. In all aspects, user experience is really influencing our behaviour. “Interestingly, we’re also seeing that by making our supply chain more customer-centric, we can grow our top line,” he continues. “We are having more strategic engagement with our customers and more what we call ‘stickiness’. This is significant because the more we are in, the more we can help them, and the more likely it is that we can build on this. “It’s also about building a company

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mentality in the organisation that shows we are an important part of what the customer is seeing in their daily life. We used to be in the trenches of the back office but now we’re more involved from the beginning of the opportunity in order to create the best possible customer experience.” From top to bottom, customer needs are driving decisions at Nokia. But as each customer has their own unique demands, Giloth describes how the Finnish company has worked to understand and cluster its customers into segments so that it can deliver the things that really matter to them. “Some customers want to have fast delivery, but they are not really price-sensitive,” Giloth says. “Others are looking at the price only, but the supply chain related KPIs are not that important. You need to really understand the different KPIs and what your customers want. Our customers have completely different requirements in terms of throughput, reactiveness and on-time


March 2018

delivery so we need to understand the requests of the customer and segment our supply chain towards it.” However, a customer segmented supply chain is just the start, Giloth says. “You also have to create customer intimacy, to really talk with your customers, and be exposed to the customers. “Therefore, we have people like Bo in the regions being more and more connected with Nokia customers, rather than it being a very back-ended function. On top of that, you need to design your processes and your tools to make it easy for customers to use. Your product configuration can be cumbersome, or it can be Amazon-like. If the customer has a good feel of that user interface, that’s added value in itself.” True digital transformation Often, ‘digitisation’ can seem like just another buzzword; a few syllables that have saturated business press releases worldwide. However, Nokia has proven it can be more than just on-trend lingo. Over the

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March 2018


past several years, it has worked diligently to revamp its digital space but it doesn’t underestimate the challenges that lie ahead. “Digitisation has become a buzzword because many global supply chains are far away from being truly digitalised,” says Giloth candidly. “The benefits and the potential have not been fully uncovered. At Nokia, we think that the next S-curve in achieving supply chain maturity is digitalisation. “Nokia is a company of different legacies,” he continues. “It’s a combination of Nokia, Siemens, Alcatel-Lucent, Nortel, Motorola and Panasonic. All those companies we have merged with over the last few years have brought legacy systems and IT systems with it. It is unrealistic to have a monolithic IT system in a dynamic company like Nokia and so we are trying to bridge that by using technology like RPA and artificial intelligence, for example.”

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Sustaining supplier relationships Nokia is taking radical steps to accelerate its digital maturity and influence the shape of things to come, but it isn’t doing it alone. Sustaining strong supplier relations has been key to unlocking Nokia’s supply chain transformation. “We are working closely with companies to help us automate our processes on a daily basis,” Giloth says. “When it comes to that conscious factory environment, we have been working closely with a lot of sensor companies, small IoT startups, and cloud companies to

really get a deeper understanding. When it comes to digitalising entire process chains, we have a lot of internal projects, but these are also supported by specialised consultants in those areas. “As well as this, we have just consolidated our business process outsourcing and that strong focus has really helped us transform our auto management process,” adds Jensen. “We’re also using everyday tools like Office 365 and SharePoint Online to digitise the everyday life of the employee as much as possible. We want to change the mindsets

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of our people and encourage them to utilise the opportunities that are at our fingertips every day.” Open collaboration ‘No man is an island’, and the same can often be said about business. In this ever-evolving industry, the right collaboration could set you miles ahead of a competitor and perhaps no one understands this better than Nokia. As a result, the Finnish company has turned to the Open Ecosystem Network. Built on the principle of data democracy,


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this innovative platform has shaken up traditional business models and proposed a new way of working with different ecosystems and industries. By connecting developers, startups, business incubators, universities, subject experts and entrepreneurs, the platform allows groups to share ideas and find the right people to develop them. “It revolves around co-ideation and co-creation with our suppliers, but also collaboration within the company,” Giloth explains. “It’s a digital platform where you can post

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;Getting that outsidein perspective was one of the key levers that helped us reach the next levelâ&#x20AC;? Bo Jensen, Head of Delivery Operations Asia Pacific & Japan at Nokia.


your ideas, where you can have private rooms and where you can also have protected information in there, in case of sensitive intellectual property rights (IPR) discussions, for example. In this way, you can just accelerate the way you are dealing with your suppliers and prepare for the future. In the creation environment, it’s all about speed.” An outside-in approach This sense of open collaboration is largely a result of what Jensen describes as an “outside-in”

approach. “Getting that outside-in perspective was one of the key levers that helped us reach the next level rather than being satisfied with what we’ve always been doing,” he says. “After a very long time of trying to optimise looking at ourselves, we managed to turn it around. We are working with a lot of exciting external companies in order to get a perspective on what others are doing. “Instead of just looking at ourselves and polishing the chrome it’s about really asking ‘okay, what

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;Customer segmentation is going to become more important with 5G, because today our major customers are the major telecoms operators of the world, the big internet players. In the future, it could be someone like BMW or Tencent. It could be a bank or a hospitalâ&#x20AC;? Johannes Giloth, Senior Vice President of Global Operations and Chief Procurement Officer at Nokia


March 2018


can we do substantially different? How can we disrupt the sector?” 5G ready With the looming roll-out of 5G on the horizon, the telecoms industry is a thrilling yet unpredictable one to be in. Nokia has consistently been readying itself for 5G, chipping away at any obstacles in its path. Whilst Giloth and Jensen recognise the challenges it still poses, they feel that conscious supply network will propel the firm to new heights. “The first generations of mobile phone technologies were incremental to each other, but 5G is changing everything,” notes Giloth. “It will open the communications sector to hundreds of other industries because it is vital for uses like autonomous driving and robotics. “It’s a huge technology shift. We have invested heavily in R&D which has helped to set us apart, but you cannot do this just alone, you need to have partners. We have strategic partnerships that are helping us develop the necessary chips

and technologies. Without those industry ties it’s difficult, and so it takes a much more collaborative approach in many areas. You need to have long-lasting partnerships. “The market is changing and our customers are changing, and so our supply chain needs to be changing too,” he continues. “Customer segmentation is going to become more important with 5G because today our major customers are the major telecoms operators of the world, the big internet players. In the future, it could be someone like BMW or Tencent. It could be a bank or a hospital. With that, you need to completely rethink your value chains.” A true telecoms behemoth, Nokia has always left a lasting mark on the sector. The Finnish giant has come a long way since the humble, hardwearing phones it became infamous for and now, as Giloth and Jensen take the ‘conscious factory’ to the global stage, it seems that Nokia’s historic legacy is beginning a new chapter.

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TRANSFORMING REINSURANCE THROUGH D I G I TA L H E A LT H PA R T N ER S H I P S Written by Catherine Sturman Produced by James Pepper


Chief Executive Officer Craig Ford discusses how SCOR Global Life is working to transform its reinsurance by merging and investing in new solutions in Asia Pacific


eaching €14.8bn of gross written premium in 2017, SCOR is a global tier 1 reinsurer, offering life reinsurance, property and casualty reinsurance, with an exceptional asset management business. SCOR Global Life covers life biometric risks such as mortality, longevity and morbidity, both long and short-term. Having joined SCOR Global Life in Asia Pacific in 2010, Chief Executive Officer Craig Ford has been behind the company’s growing innovative solutions, where the business remains committed to providing transformative ideas, insights and knowledge in order to further support and propel its insurance clients’ businesses forward. Noting that consumers are


March 2018

no longer content with standard insurance products, services and procedures, SCOR continues to innovate its proposition (including products, underwriting, claims, risk and distribution solutions) in order to support its clients in giving its consumers increased ease of access, execution, visibility and control, through the adoption of sophisticated engagement processes, from start to finish. “Customers want more than simply pay and be financially compensated when issues strike. We want to enable our clients to provide consumer wellness and health support, along with engagement throughout the process. We want to help our clients access more


Craig Ford Chief Executive Officer Asia Pacific, SCOR Global Life Craig Ford, a dual UK and Australian citizen, holds a Bachelorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree in Accounting and Finance from the University of Bristol in the UK. He is a qualified member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales Prior to working at SCOR Global Life, Craig spent 14 years in various roles (Strategy, Finance & Planning, Distribution, Risk and Governance) within the Zurich Group. Around 10 years ago he relocated to Australia where he joined one of the major insurers in Strategy, IT & Wealth Management roles before joining RGA as Head of Business Development & Technical Pricing prior to joining SCOR. Craig joined SCOR Global Life as the Australia Chief Executive Officer in 2010 and held the position of Deputy CEO Asia-Pacific from 2013 until his promotion to CEO in Asia Pacific in December 2016 w w w. g i g a b i t m a g a z i n e . c o m


WELLNESS PROGRAMS DECREASE EMPLOYEE STRESS Wellness programs are now a quantifiable business tool as well as an employee benefit

WEARABLES CHANGE THE INSURANCE AND CORPORATE WELLNESS BUSINESS Employers across APAC and EMEA are receiving data-demonstrated risk reduction and cost

information like movement, activity, sleep, stress, heartrate and heartrate variability which

savings from their wellness program, reinforcing with hard data, the decade long assumptions that

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wellness provides a business ROI. We can now prove it.

the risk becomes costly. Self-reported data has historically been a mainstay of designing and

Achieving these results is simple, employees receive a free or subsidized Garmin wearable and

measuring the impact of wellness programs, now it merely supports real world behavioral data provided by wearables

are coached through a personalized wellness journey via WellteQâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s smartphone app. The results are available on demand for clients on a real-time dashboard, showcasing risk and cost hotspots. The chart below demonstrates how participating users rated their stress before and after the WellteQ program. There is a clear meaningful reduction in perceived stress at work (43% reduction), and at home (41% reduction) demonstrated by heart rate variability data and self-reported situational data leading to improved perceptions of energy, wellness and ultimately productivity. Garmin wearables provide incredibly detailed

More importantly, user anonymity remains at the core of this experience, at all times the user remains anonymous removing complication from employers and anxiety from employees. Forward thinking Insurance companies are now taking the lead from enterprise wellness by incorporating digital wellness data for smarter risk mitigation, product distribution and customer retention. Findings are demonstrating a higher ROI than from traditional methods. The underwriting process becomes easier and faster and much more precise. Early disease risk detection activates earlier prevention which saves time, money and heartache for everyone.




consumers and help them to lead longer and healthier lives,” Ford says. This shift in demand has led the business to create new distribution solutions, service and product propositions to extend the clients’ reach through the implementation of digital tools across Asia Pacific, particularly in China. “In markets such as China, the new generation of consumers have leapfrogged the use of email and conducts their communication and transactions through interactive channels such as WeChat. They therefore want the ability to receive offers and execute transactions through mobile devices and similar platforms,” he says. “It required us to provide slicker propositions and engagement tools that consumers can understand and respond to readily.” Consumers’ demand to receive continual, real-time information and advice about their policies and health links with Ford’s belief that ‘health is the new wealth’ within the insurance business, which is integral to SCOR Global Life’s solutions. Growth of health and wellness


Number of employees at SCOR

Drawing from an ecosystem of expertise, a number of partnerships have helped drive SCOR Global Life’s solution development and ambition to help anticipate customer issues, even before they arise. Its decision to become the sole global distributor of French wellness company Umanlife’s health platform has seen its clients gain the ability to access personalised lifestyle information about their own health and wellness, and follow bespoke programmes designed for their specific circumstances. Merging external expertise with SCOR Global Life’s in-house

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FACT SCOR Global Life is the sole global distributor of French wellness company Umanlife’s health platform experiences and capabilities, the company has completely overhauled its traditional focus within insurance, where it now encompasses a complete personalised, userfocused, digital interactive platform which gives the user greater control over the management of their own health and wellbeing. “These partners help us provide information that supports this ongoing dialogue between our clients and their end customers,” notes Ford. “We help our clients give their customers what they want and help anticipate and address their future demands. “An example that demonstrates our focus is our development of a Biological Age Model (BAM), which is

combined with a wellness platform. We have three partners - Garmin, Vivametrica, and WellteQ - and we provide health evaluation data, the use of wearables, and bespoke wellness programmes for individual customers. This is personalised biological age pricing with continuous positive engagement between the insurers and their customers. The objective is to motivate consumers through customised, individual information to live a healthier lifestyle based on the data they provide. “It’s a great combination of the use of wearables to generate data to combine with other insights to provide individually customised and updated wellness programmes help change and add value to people’s lives.” Technological disruption With the need to create a superior customer experience, SCOR Global Life has also helped the insurance industry overhaul its traditional underwriting services. Historically this has been a timeconsuming, invasive process,

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involving questionnaires and blood/ fluid samples. SCOR has therefore listened to the feedback received from its clients to make the process increasingly resilient and seamless. Utilising publicly available information, such as records of pharmaceutical usage, driving records, criminal records and basic demographic information, SCOR’s underwriting platform, named Velogica, has now gained the ability to automate underwriting and risk assessment in up to 85% of policy applications. “Where we get a match, we can typically form a risk assessment in

about 90 seconds, removing the needs for customers to go through this historic, cumbersome process. In fact, the risk assessment using our underwriting algorithm is more accurate in many cases than through traditional methods,” notes Ford. “It was designed and built to satisfy the requirements of today’s users – be they consumer, adviser or underwriter, and is a much more effective way of profiling customers for our clients. It provides a much better customer experience through all of the pathways to purchase.” However, differences between the US and other markets mean

FACT SCOR Global Life’s subsidiary ReMark has established Digital Marketing Lab, ezTakaful in Malaysia, which looks at areas such as accelerated underwriting and alternative distribution models


March 2018


VIDEO: An introduction to SCOR

appropriate adaptation is required. “At the moment we use a simple rule set, where we ask reflective questions through an e-underwriting system, which asks clients minimum questions and only goes into more detail where further information is needed,” says Ford. “Having built the algorithms, we now have the capability to better profile the end customers limited only by an individual’s countries’

governance around what data can and cannot be used. We are mindful of the data requirements prevalent in each country. There are complex rules about what information can be accessed and used, which is why we are customising the use of our algorithms to reflect each market’s requirements.” Additionally, SCOR Global Life encrypts all client data, adhering to the highest levels of data protection.

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Forward thinking

Agility for success

Collaborative partnership


Text mining of claim processes is predominantly those which remain another area where SCOR Global unencumbered by legacy systems Life is partnering with clients to bring and short-term shareholder demands. solutions to meet the demands of Additionally, the company also today’s consumer. “For the end partners with other ambitious life customers, claiming can be perceived insurance companies, as well as long drawn-out process with InsurTech entrepreneurs who can uncertain outcomes. For bring a different perspective. insurers, the process can “We are partnering with be cumbersome and US-based Plug and resource intensive. Play Tech Centre, a By leveraging global technology machine accelerator learning and for startups BILLION Gross Written text mining and investors, Premiums (2017) techniques, SCOR which has given us Global Life is able to access to a number provide solutions that of potential start-ups and not only better serve end other operations,” observes customers, but also support Ford. “The partnership will enable insurers in delivering greater SCOR Global Life and our subsidiary efficiency and insights into their ReMark to look at the long-term claims experience which in turn drives potential of health-tech startups. better propositions,” explains Ford. “Through a review process, we look at whether there is likely Strength in numbers to be alignment of philosophy To further its health and wellness and mutual benefits and a clear focus, SCOR Global Life engaged focus on helping our clients better with startups at an early stage, serve their customers, in terms of


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fulfilling their health and wellness aspirations,” adds Ford. Partnering with SMEs, health and wellness companies and startups has seen ReMark establish Digital Marketing Lab, ezTakaful in Malaysia, which looks at areas such as accelerated underwriting and alternative distribution models. “ReMark is an expert business in digital distribution that has a global presence. It conducts global customer surveys and uses feedback from these surveys to adapt various distribution methods and create omnichannel solutions. It is also used to export and import ideas to other markets where they’re present,” says Ford. “They’ve successfully trialled and launched a number of things, such as taking the experience in more traditional media like TV shopping channel and condensed it into a digital format of 20-second advertisements over social media. These have been much more effective at capturing people’s attention in a ‘Digital First’ era.”


March 2018


Product development SCOR Global Life’s focus on the development of bespoke products has also seen the company partner with a number of technology providers to deliver exceptional solutions to its clients, in line with the preventive healthcare trends. “We have partnered with an artificial intelligence business and a hospital in Asia to take the hospital’s data and build a new database which will


improve the development of products and services for the management of back and spine issues,” explains Ford. “This database will greatly help the hospital in the treatment of patients. We can use this to work with insurers to provide product and service to their customers. The development of such a database and the ability to create products therefore becomes beneficial to the hospital patients and consumers.

“Another good example is in the preventive care area. We’re in active partnership with an advanced medical testing company to our clients with a specific test for pregnant women that is triggered first by an abnormal result,” adds Ford. “It’s a non-invasive way to look at the health of the baby, in a way that replaces some of the older techniques which were not as accurate, and carried increased risk to both the foetus and to the mother.

VIDEO: Reinsurance is a Knowledge Industry

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;We see this as a hugely beneficial proposition for pregnant mothers, and for the advanced medical testing company it also gives them continued access to data to continuously improve and refine their testing. We also use advanced medical testing to more accurately focus treatment when illness strikes as well as helping identify those with


March 2018

pre-disposition to disorders to make lifestyle changes and to minimise the likelihood of occurrence.â&#x20AC;? Emerging trends When asked about the trends to look out in the sector, Ford concludes: â&#x20AC;&#x153;The merger of healthcare and insurance is a trend which will continually develop and grow across


the health and wellness sector. The alignment between insurance companies and wellness and health promotion companies will continue. “Our aim is to promote health and wellbeing. Life is precious, so if we can make protection and peace of mind available and affordable to new and existing customers, we can promote health and wellbeing so that

people can ultimately enjoy longer and happier lives – that’s our purpose and something around which we, as a life reinsurer, are both aligned and committed to achieving.”

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re Resta

s Shop ant ur




B REAKING THE MOLD OF IT Jetro Restaurant Depot has undergone one of the biggest technology overhauls in the company’s 28-year history, but one thing has remained the same – its commitment to the customer experience

Written by Laura Mullan Produced by Andy Turner



our years ago, the role of Chief Information Officer didn’t exist at Jetro Restaurant Depot. Since then, the wholesale food service provider has seen a complete root-and-branch transformation of its digital space. It has been a revamp that is helping the US-based company deliver what matters most to its customers – offering high-quality, fresh foods at a good price. In doing so, the company strives to provide extraordinary service to independent foodservice operators throughout the US. Driven by an inherent passion for programming and all things technical, this job is in the capable hands of Andres Cubero, the company’s firstever CIO. Recognizing the importance of digitization, Jetro Restaurant Depot has made significant strides in its technology department and it is these steps which have helped the company distinguish itself from its competitors. “We have made substantial investments in our technologies over the past several years and that has really given us a competitive edge,”


March 2018

observes Cubero. “It has allowed us to provide products to our stores in a timely manner, and keep our costs down. That’s been a great operating model for us – putting the right data in the hands of our buyers and our personnel to keep the inventory fresh and in-stock.” Technological overhaul Focusing on the company’s infrastructure and bandwidth, Cubero and his team have worked diligently to prepare Jetro Restaurant Depot for the digital age. One such initiative that Cubero is passionate about is the company’s plans to implement wi-fi in its warehouses. Over the next 18 months, Jetro Restaurant Depot is set to launch a series of web initiatives. These include a refresh of the company’s, website with the potential of providing delivery services in some of its regions, and a pilot concept of in-store pick-up services. “It’s a big initiative for the team,” says Cubero. “By the end of this year, we should be in more than 130 locations, and each one of our warehouses is on average, about


Andres Cubero Chief Information Officer

Cubero joined Jetro in 1994 as a POS application developer. Over his tenure with the company, he played a major role within the IT department. His major accomplishments include designing and implementing the custom store system solutions that runs the store operations for Jetro and Restaurant Depot. He also designed and implemented the foundation of what would become the data warehousing environment for Jetro/Restaurant Depot.



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60,000 sq ft. It’s a lot of square footage and there’s a lot of equipment that we’d be looking at deploying for a wi-fi installation. It’s a huge initiative for us to cost justify. The challenge for my department is to create return on investment to justify the investment.” However, this is not just a shortterm vision for the company. In the future, Jetro Restaurant group is hoping to implement a series of omnichannel initiatives to help provide its customers with a seamless and integrated shopping experience. Transforming the customer experience One initiative that Jetro Restaurant Depot is exploring is the concept of self-checkout. By using scanner devices, customers could scan and

collect their products and then present the data to the sales team. Through this program, the food wholesaler hopes to quicken shopping times, improve efficiency and overall, enhance the end-user experience. “These new technologies aim to transform the customer experience,” Cubero says. “We’re unique in this space because we are a true brick-and-mortar, cash and carry wholesaler. This allows us to provide good quality products, at better prices, and at lower costs. “However, the nature of our shopping experience is much different than a traditional grocery store environment: our customers are pushing very large wagons with cases and cases of product,” he continues. “It’s a very heavy load

“I will say that the biggest challenge that I’ve had in this role has been sort of breaking the mold of IT” – Andres Cubero, Chief Information Officer

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that’s going through the front-end and really kind of a challenge for the cashiers to scan. Our goal is to really enhance that customer experience.” Data analytics The US company is implementing a series of data warehousing and store system solutions and, like many companies, Jetro Restaurant Depot is tapping into the power of data analytics to streamline its operations and bring its technologies to the next level. However, in an ever-evolving industry, Cubero and his team don’t underestimate the challenges that lie ahead. “We have a rich amount of data that we’re collecting right now, and so the challenge is being able to provide the data in an easily consumable way to the people who need to make those decisions, who need to look at the data,” says Cubero. “Having the right kind of presentation tools or the right database environment to allow our decision makers to use the data in an ad hoc fashion is really a challenge


Number of Employees at Jetro Restaurant Depot;


Employees in IT team that a lot of businesses face, and we’re not alone there. However, thanks to our latest digitization strategies we have a high degree of comfort about tackling these challenges.” Dealing with technical debt As technology continuously reinvents itself, legacy systems can build up quickly. When Cubero joined the team as CIO, the company had a technology footprint that was

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Training Meeting

over seven or eight years old. As a result, tackling the company’s technical debt was perhaps one of the most challenging hurdles Jetro Restaurant Depot has faced. “Like a lot of retailers, we had fallen into the trap of putting together a technical blueprint for our stores, but then didn’t revise it and change it,” explains Cubero. “When I became CIO and saw what we had been doing, I realized we really needed a revamp. “It’s been a challenge sometimes because of the cost involved, but we’ve seen a significant transformation. One of the very

first things I did was implement a hard refresh policy, where any equipment that’s five years or older in our warehouses goes through a hardware refresh - that includes servers, point-of-sale terminals, printers, the whole kit.” As well as this, the company did a point-of-sale refresh where it upgraded its point-of-sale equipment and introduced new scanners that reduce waiting times. On top of that, Jetro Restaurant Depot has been working closely with partners such as Modern Systems to transform its ERP system. “That’s a major project for us

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“These new technologies aim to really transform the customer experience” – Andres Cubero, Chief Information Officer

because it’s been a bottleneck on the technology for the last several years,” comments Cubero. “Through this partnership, we should be able to get off that framework and take our systems to the next level.” Strong industry ties The team at Jetro Restaurant Depot has played no small part in this impressive transformation. With a small IT team of 20, split evenly between field support and developers, the company has firmly cemented itself as a key player in the food wholesale space. Collaboration has been a key part of Jetro Restaurant Depot’s success and Cubero believes that this philosophy should also extend to the firm’s strong supplier relationships. “For us, it’s a team effort with our partners,” observes Cubero. “On the infrastructure side of our transformation, Dell has been a big partner of ours and from a consulting and data center perspective, Marcum Technologies has been really key. Illinois Wholesale has also been a really key player for our point-of-sale initiatives, and looking

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at mobile devices and handheld units for some of our initiatives. “I think it’s very important for CIOs to look at the landscape of vendors out there and really explore their options. It’s worth the extra research time to pit the vendors against each other, look at what their offerings are, and make the best decisions for the company from both a technology and cost point of view. That’s been my tactic. It has exposed me to a lot of different vendors and different solutions, and I find that effort has given me the chance to learn more about the latest technologies and trends.”


re Resta

s Shop ant ur


On track for growth Jetro Restaurant Depot has made a strong name for itself in the wholesale food market, offering high-quality yet cost-conscious products for independent restaurants, caterers and non-profits alike. “Looking forward, I predict we will see substantial changes internally,” he says. “We’re going to be revamping

our business practices by adopting agile project management concepts because it’s vital that we make that transition forward to kind of change and respond to market needs quicker. With our upcoming initiatives, I see our customer experience getting even better. For us, it’s about maturing our practices overall, whether it’s in the cybersecurity space, or the project management space, or the software development practices as a whole. Over the past several years, Jetro Restaurant Depot has completely renovated its technology platform and elevated the firm to new heights. The company’s entire IT infrastructure and legacy systems have been overhauled, but perhaps its greatest achievement was its mammoth culture change. “I will say that the biggest challenge that I’ve had in this role has been sort of breaking the mold of IT,” reflects Cubero. “It’s important to bridge the of gap and see IT not as a serviceonly function of the business, but as a key decision-making partner.”



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Mission critical Data centers you can count on Achieving an array of awards from the Uptime Institute, T5 Facilities Management has proven itself time and time again to be the top critical facility management company for data center owners who demand 100% uptime Written by Laura Mullan Produced by Tom Venturo



s a population, our consumption of data shows no signs of slowing down. Over the next decade, as the Internet of Things expands ever further and connected devices and data become as important as electricity, data center uptime is set to become a top priority across the globe. In fact, even today, ensuring the uptime of mission-critical operations is more important than ever with data center downtime costing around $8,000 per minute, according to an in-depth study by the Emerson Network Power and the Ponemon Institute. Recognising this, T5 Data Centers has distinguished itself from its competitors and made a name for itself for being ‘forever on’, as its slogan promises. With a record of 100% uptime, the data center company’s impressive standing can be traced back to the company’s Facilities Management and Operations division, T5 Facilities Management (T5FM), which offers on-site data center facilities management,


March 2018


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MIKE CASEY President As President of T5FM, Mike is responsible for Facilities Management and Operations for T5 Data Center’s colocation facilities. Mike creates, communicates, and implements T5FM’s vision, mission, and product. Mike is also responsible for the growth of T5FM’s third-party Facilities Management and Operations business. Mike establishes T5FM’s goals and provides the leadership and motivation to achieve these goals. Mike has over 20 years of experience in project management, development, operations, sales, and leasing of data center real estate, representing both wholesale data center providers and corporate end users. Mike was a member of The Staubach Company’s National Contact and Data Center Practice and later a leader in Jones Lang LaSalle’s Project and Development Services group.


March 2018


remote and smart hands, and staff augmentation services to data center owners across North America. T5FM not only operates T5 Data Center’s state-of-the-art portfolio of wholesale and colocation data centers, it also operates data centers for a spectrum of Fortune 500 companies in sectors spanning from finance and technology to aerospace and energy. Four pillars of success “In the data center space, having no outages is key and uptime and safety are paramount,” says Mike Casey, President at T5FM. “I think our four core values are just one element that distinguishes us from our competitors as a successful data center facility management company.” Built on the so-called ‘Four Pillars of T5FM,’ the company’s unique operating methodology has been one of the key accelerators of T5FM’s success. These core values - safety,

training, process and procedure, and customer communication offer an operational foundation that mitigates risk, maximizes uptime and meets financial targets. It is also an ethos which Casey has strived to uphold throughout his leadership. Ensuring the safety of the personnel, facilities, and equipment is perhaps one of the biggest hurdles facing data center operators today. Therefore, T5FM has strived to create a proprietary electrical safety program and policy which is based on NFPA 70E guidelines. “Safety is, of course, one of the most important values at the company and it really starts with making it a part of the culture,” Casey explains. “Whether we have a board meeting or an onsite customer meeting, the first item on the agenda is always safety. We’ve created a culture that empowers all the team members to identify any safety risks and influence or change our safety policy across the portfolio.” Casey and his team also provide a customized, site-specific training program that includes portfolio

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“In the data center space, having no outages is key” – Mike Casey, President at T5FM

training classes and ongoing online testing. The program also includes a deep and comprehensive study of mechanical, electrical and fire protection systems. This in-depth and rigorous training ensures that T5FM uphold only the best operational practices in the data center space. “There’s a sense of pride and a sense of ownership for those who complete the training program,” says Casey. “However, it doesn’t stop there. The company also has a continuous improvement training program which causes the team to continually learn about new pieces of equipment or new issues and agendas.” The US-based company also strives to drive efficiencies across its far-reaching processes and procedures. To this end, Casey and his team uphold consistent, robust and vetted portfolio policies which set the baseline for developing site-specific procedures and documentation. This strategy begins with the company’s meticulous, in-depth playbook that collates years of experience and hands-on data center practices for the company’s employees.

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“Safety is, of course, one of the most important values at the company” – Mike Casey, President at T5FM White glove approach to customer service The company’s final operational pillar highlights T5FM’s commitment to customer service. This is an integral element of day-to-day operations which has helped the company cut through the noise to


March 2018

become a leading provider of data center facility management. “I think some of the things that really separate us from our competition is our approach to customer service,” observes Casey. “We have a white glove approach to customer service. That means there’s a higher level of


communication and more customized reporting. It also means that the people we hire, our onsite team, are not only technically proficient, but they have the necessary communication skills to connect with our customers.” Mission critical focus T5FM has, by all accounts, forged a unique position in the data center landscape. As one of the few remaining companies specializing in mission critical, T5FM prides itself on being 100% data center focused. It doesn’t operate non-mission critical facilities and in doing so, it has allowed the company to hire people who have a mission critical mindset and who are passionate and driven about the data center landscape. Furthermore, thanks to its real-world experience operating T5 Data Centers’ national data center portfolio, Casey and his team also champion a unique owner perspective which allows the company to truly understand the needs and wants of its clients. It is because of this highlyfocused and concerted approach that T5FM has been able to grow

retain a talented workforce with a broad range of expertise. “Over 86% of our site leads have been promotions from within,” notes Casey. “This is because our team members have a mission critical mindset and are passionate about the data center space. They see a growing company. They see room for career advancement and are encouraged by our entrepreneurial culture, a culture where anybody at any level within the organization can make an impact on the overall portfolio. We are the employer of choice in the data center space and this means means have very high retention rates, a highly motivated workforce, and the best team in the industry. At the end of the day, it’s our customers who benefit from of this.” Uptime Institute award winner Championing a positive work culture is an admirable feat, but T5FM has also provided the results to back it up. By receiving countless awards from the prestigious Uptime Institute, T5FM has consistently proven its position as a market leader.

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Mike Casey, President of T5FM, Receives Operations Pacesetter Leadership Award

“Given our proven success I think the sky is the limit” – Mike Casey, President at T5FM


March 2018

Over the past several years, T5FM has consistently achieved the Continuous Availability Award from the Uptime Institute and, in December 2017, Casey also received the Operations Pacesetter Leadership award for his team’s work in the data center space. “Although it’s an individual award, in reality it’s a testament to the entire team,” says Casey. “The main reason that we received this award is because we achieved Management and Operations (M&O) stamp of approval from the Uptime Institute across the T5 portfolio last year. We were able to achieve this in a compressed three-month timeframe. We passed with some of the highest scores that Uptime has ever issued. This is a big differentiator for us. It shows our customers and our prospects our commitment to operational excellence that has been validated by a third-party expert.” Expansion With an array of accolades under its belt and a reputation for operational excellence, T5FM has made a name


Mike Casey, President of T5FM, Operations Pacesetter

for itself in the data center space and the road ahead continues to look bright. The company aims to grow where it already has a strong market presence, in regions such as Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Portland, LA and Charlotte, and it is also looking further afield for international opportunities, recently announcing a new campus in Ireland. As consumption of data gathers momentum, data center facility management is set to grow on an

exponential scale and it seems that, thanks to its proven model for success, T5FM is well prepared to tap into this growing demand. “Overall, I think we have great brand recognition and we have a great reputation in the market,” Casey says. “We’ve got an amazing team behind us and fantastic, loyal customers who have experienced first-hand, the T5 difference. Given our proven success I think the sky is the limit for T5 in the years to come.”

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BECTON DICKINSON â&#x20AC;&#x201C; A procurement transformation

BDâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s procurement operations have been completely revolutionised in recent years, as the company has embraced transformative technology Written by James Henderson Produced by Glen White



oday, the procurement operations at Becton Dickinson (BD) – the global medical technology company – are admired and respected across the industry spectrum, with collaboration and joined-up thinking from the company’s procurement teams driving forward the medical equipment giant which turned over more than $12bn in 2016. But what you see today is the result of a near two-decade effort to make BD’s procurement functions best-in-class. The transformation began in 1999, a time when the company’s procurement was decentralised, fragmented and not perceived to be especially important in the grand scheme of all things BD. In total, BD’s core procurement team numbered four. One of the first ambitions for the procurement function was developing effective category management and sourcing, as well as delivering demonstrable value to the business as a whole. That gave BD a base from which to build into what is now a truly global end-to-end procurement operation, with various skilled and


March 2018

knowledgeable teams – including source-to-pay, indirect, risk and supplier management to name a few – working together for the benefit of the wider company. From a team of just four less than 20 years ago, BD’s present-day procurement function is home to more than 180 employees and growing, who work towards carefully planned three and five-year roadmaps.


BD Global Procurement strives to continuously deliver the highest sustained value for the company by leveraging its full competitive supply base using highly effective and efficient systems and processes. Source-To-Pay Critical to the success of BD’s overall procurement function is sourceto-pay. Roger Ambrose is BD’s Senior

Director for Global Source-to-Pay, and has been with the organisation since 1994, when he joined as its European Internal Audit Manager, before taking on responsibility for implementing SAP across the business. Since 2002, Ambrose took responsibility for global processing in Europe, before taking on his current role. Originally a Chartered Accountant, Ambrose says: “As you move into

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“The challenge right now is there is so much information out there – how do you bring it all together in a way that is meaningful and easy to use, so that our expensive sourcing managers can spend their time using the data instead of collecting it?” – Roger Ambrose, Senior Director, Global Source-to-Pay

the procurement space, you realise that actually paying the invoice is the least thing that you’re really worried about from a procurement point of view. You want to be using the right suppliers, have the right supply base, get the right pricing, and have access to accurate analytics.” Ambrose says that the changes made since 2002 are marked, with BD utilising technology to drive its supply chain transformation. “If I think back to what I was doing in 2002, it’s vastly different to what we’re trying to do today because of technology, but also because of our maturity as a company. That maturity also shows itself up on what we’re doing on the category side.

“I would say that is true particularly with indirect, but probably across the entire spectrum; our sourcing managers are much more knowledgeable about what goes on in their market sectors. Their job is to understand their category, and not just what BD wants out of it, but what we can then offer to our users and stakeholders, so that they can really leverage that and make more use of it. “The challenge right now is there is so much information out there – how do you bring it all together in a way that is meaningful and easy to use, so that our expensive sourcing managers can spend their time using the data instead of collecting it? I think that’s

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the journey that we’re on. I think back to those early days, what we used to collect information from, all of our different systems and spreadsheets. “It was very heavy workload just to put it all together in sensible categories, even assuming the data was correct. Then, we went over to the category managers who would look in their categories, and their job really was to manually cleanse the


March 2018

data and make judgements about supplier categories or look the reasons for increased spending. “Over the last few years, what we have done is automate a lot of that work, and freed up our teams to use their time more effectively. We’ve eliminated a lot of the administration that’s needed just to bring them together, and we have been pretty successful in building business rules


that reflect the cleansing that the category managers did last time, and so they don’t have to do it again. You can see there’s a shift there from the cleansing, even the analytical work, to leveraging it and using it.” Ambrose believes that there is now an opportunity to begin to build in technology – and automation in particular – when designing new procurement tools and systems.

Giving the example of building a new vendor into master vendor list, he says: “We currently have a workflow process that goes through various approvals, and we have to collect a significant amount of data for that vendor for legal and regulatory purposes as well as a sourcing and category strategy purposes. A lot of this information is public and we have the opportunity to use AI to collect it for us. “We can collect that information in, which not only speeds the transaction, but also probably provides more data than we could get on that supplier, that we can feedback into spend analytics and help our sourcing managers do their jobs. “We have the opportunity to be really creative about thinking how we use suppliers in our environment, either to ease the transactions or provide information or identify a risk, or be proactive, such as recognising when a supplier is struggling and how can we help, or being able to identify whether one of our competitors has just signed a deal with them. It’s a really exciting time.”

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Indirect Procurement Williams and the Indirect Procurement Since being appointed as VP team have been able to build and Procurement – Global Indirect in April implement five-year strategies across 2014, Patrick Williams is credited with multiple channels, saving hundreds of leading a large-scale transformation millions of dollars for the organisation across the full breadth of the Indirect in the process. Such has been the categories to utilise cross functional success, the ‘ReCapture’ name has teams to develop category strategies fallen by the wayside – “it’s just the that drive competitive advantage. way we work now, indirect is very The program was known internally as much on the company’s radar now,” ‘ReCapture’, and is says Williams. fully endorsed by “When I first joined BD’s management BD, our ‘spend committee. under source plan’, Williams says which is when you the buying and develop a strategy, engagement from actually write what Number of senior management we call a ‘source Employees at BD has been integral to plan’, which is the the success of the official document initiative, describing that completely it as “critical”. “The management outlines the strategy I think was in the committee is not something we had 20% range. We are now at 59% and before,” he says. “The program is climbing, so we are making excellent not just sponsored, but governed progress when it comes to developing and controlled by those at the very strategies and implementing them.” highest level of the company. Teams In the company’s journey to supply also do not get to opt-out, so the chain transformation, Williams says scope of it stays consistent.” it has benefitted from taking a wide Off the back of the program, view of what strategies are working


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“As an R&D team, we have to push the status quo when it comes to technology and how it can help the business” – Noelle Lee, Senior Director R&D Procurement


within the market sector, an approach which has led to the company exploring other business avenues. “Essentially, we have the advantage of many companies have actually done some really great things that we can leverage. We can follow it, so it gives us that late-mover advantage of saying, ‘There is a model, somebody cut their teeth on it a little bit, and we can actually apply it and gain lots of advantage.’ A good example would be outsourcing, which BD has started to do more. “There used be zero appetite for it; the philosophy was that our business extended to the fence at the end of our offices – the attitude is that we could do things better than anyone – which is obviously now not smart. So, this idea of outsourcing is an example where we’re smartly doing certain things. We recently outsourced some IT and it drove tremendous value.” On leveraging new technology – AI, machine learning, automation, et al – to drive BD’s procurement journey and transformation, Williams is unequivocal. “I am convinced that is the wave of our future across all

of our categories, not just indirect – our focus on digital is laser. “I’ve assigned members of our IT procurement team to develop strategies for their peers in departments such as IT, finance, legal, sales and marketing, plant indirect, etc. What we’re asking them to do is pair up and look at digital opportunities where there’s machinery involved and you can use technology to be smarter. “We think on a long-term basis, we could drive hundreds of millions of dollars in the categories themselves by leveraging technology. We are looking at what we can get working on today, and what is perhaps in more of a concept stage that we need to develop to eventually make it usable.” Global R&D Procurement Less than 12 months old, BD’s Global R&D Procurement division is headed up by Noelle Lee. She leads a global team of associates and that help drive sourcing strategies that supports BD’s innovation pipeline, enabling top-line growth and accelerated time to market. She says the division was

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created due to a recognition that as the importance of innovation grows, more dedicated R&D procurement will be needed to manage the rising spend. Elaborating on the division’s remit, Lee comments: “It’s about getting as much value out of every dollar that we spend. The industry is going through a lot of change and innovation is being driven forward, so it’s really important for us to have

established this R&D team. We want to become a really trusted partner of the business, and push real top line growth for the company. “As an R&D team, we have to push the status quo when it comes to technology and how it can help the business. For example, there are now companies that can automate a function such as labelling, which in the past has been typically a manual

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Better together: BD and Bard

job. So we are able to take that to the business with the argument that it will drive efficiency and take over from a function that was previously very labour intensive. This R&D team is taking these ideas and implementing them, which is very positive for BD.” The expectation for the division is such that members of the team are required to have a broad breadth of experience across the procurement


March 2018

spectrum, so they speak the language of all stakeholders – liaising with IT in one instance, and then marketing the next, for example. “It is essential that we are able to fully understand the challenges and targets of all of our stakeholders,” Lee comments. “We are being asked to connect the dots and drive change; we need to act as a change agent and to do that we have to be able to speak the


“I want BD to become bestin-class compared to our peers, the best-of-the-best” – Patrick Williams, VP Procurement – Global Inderect

language and get everybody on board with our ideas. BD has been very consistent in driving change, whether that’s across the entire organisation or in single functions, and we have to be an important part of that.” In the months since it has been established, the R&D Procurement division has already introduced insight and perspective to the overall global procurement operation, and Lee says there are many more areas where it can push improvements and growth. “We need to collaborate more with our preferred suppliers to really challenge them and drive innovation. We know what the business needs

now and will need in the future and we need to challenge the supplier base to drive that and innovate with us. There is a lot more we can harness from our suppliers and that’s something we will look to do over the next three to five years. “It’s also important that when we’re working in a global role, we understand how different approaches work for different territories, negotiating with suppliers is very different depending on where you are. A Japanese supplier is going to be very different from an American supplier, for example.” Lee believes that the transformation

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Founded in

1987 312

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being pursued by BD and the R&D procurement team will be vital in the overall effort to secure and develop the best new talent to the organisation. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is an opportunity for us to


understand procurement so we have to engage with them, communicate what procurement really is and the opportunities within the industry.”

establish procurement as a hugely important driver for change in the business and that is only going to help attract and retain the best talent. I think many graduates don’t really

Driving ahead BD has come a long way since the turn of the millennium. Where there was previously just a handful of procurement staff, there is now a highly competent and knowledgeable division comprising almost 200 professionals. Once perhaps considered a cautious, BD’s global procurement teams have fully embraced technology to drive both the procurement function and the wider company’s top-line performance. The company is now thinking about how it can utilise AI and machine learning, automation and further bleeding-edge technology to improve yet further. Describing his goals for the future, Patrick Williams says: “I want BD to become best-in-class compared to our peers, the bestof-the-best.”. If BD continues its current trajectory, it would take a brave person to bet against the organisation achieving exactly that.

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AUBâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s digital transformation with the student at heart Written by Dale Benton Produced by Craig Daniels

Through a five-year digital transformation plan, the American University of Beirut is redefining its entire IT infrastructure with the ultimate goal of enriching the lives of its students


he role of the CIO is evolving. IT has traditionally been viewed as operating almost as a separate entity when placed within the wider context of a business strategy. But over the course of the last decade, the lines between the two functions have begun to blur more and more, to the point in which it could be argued that IT is actually informing the business strategy entirely. This is most certainly the case for the American University of Beirut (AUB). Currently undergoing a five-year digital transformation, one that will significantly improve the IT functionality of the institution, AUB can call upon the leadership and guidance of Dr Yousif Asfour as CIO. Over the course of an extensive career, Asfourâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s professional life has taken him from electrical engineering and developing hardware and software for large scale technology companies, right through to the role of CTO and CIO. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fair to say that Asfour has lived and breathed technology and this has provided him with a key understanding of how technology can support and drive wider strategic thinking.


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“In many ways, I grew into IT from the bottom. In moving from hardware design to software development to business consulting, I think it gave me two things,” he says. “First, a deep appreciation for how technology is designed and built. It also helped me understand how technology can be used to improve business. So, one of my strengths, I feel, is being able to translate between the two worlds of technology and business.” AUB was founded with a clear mission, to provide excellence in education, to participate the advancement of knowledge through research, and to serve the people

of the Middle East and beyond. In order for the university to achieve this and to deliver on that vision, Asfour believes that technology will play a crucial role. “Our mission in IT is to partner directly with the academic and administrative units within AUB to help transform teaching, research, student life and patient care,” he says. “The way we do that is by creating a flexible ecosystem, by partnering with the faculty and the students and the administrators. IT has to be a leader and a service broker and a partner with all the stakeholders within AUB.” As a technologist, Asfour

“Our mission in IT is to partner directly with the academic and administrative units within AUB to help transform teaching, research, student life and patient care” Dr Yousif Asfour– CIO


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understands technology as well as anyone else in the institution, but in order to successfully integrate, develop and implement an IT and technologically led transformation, he concedes that there is huge significance in the early stages on communication. “Communication, and helping those who aren’t as technology minded as yourself, is critical,” he says. “I tell my staff on a daily basis that IT is not about technology, it’s actually about understanding what the faculty do, what the students need and then finding the solutions for them using technology.” Asfour describes the current transformation as a shift in conversation. Whereas at the moment, the conversation centres around what people need and how technology can support that need, Asfour wants it to be much more service user defined. “Tell me about the research you do and tell me how you run your lab,” he says. “Then the conversations become much more beneficial for

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both parties. We can understand to understand not how they can what the researchers are doing use technology in different ways, and then propose to them a way but how technology can be used that they could do it better, more to change the way they do things. effectively, through technology.” And that’s a large part of what With a transformation of the size we’ve been doing at AUB.” and scope that AUB is undertaking, AUB is currently in year three of its challenge is inescapable. One of the five-year transformational journey, most significant challenges that so to have come this far is a proof any digital transformation point that there has already must overcome is a been some considerable cultural one. After all, success along the way. AUB was founded Asfour actually believes The year that AUB in 1866 and over the this year, year three, was founded years, employees is one of the toughest past and present years as he feels that have developed a the first phase was spent particular culture and way “getting the wheels on the of working. To transform that, track”, and now is the time particularly with technological to really begin implementing. advancement, is no small feat. However, he can point to what he “There are challenges everywhere, believes is a sure sign of success. but the biggest challenge is the mind. “Only recently, I was at a strategic The technology is easy, says Asfour. retreat with the senior staff at AUB, “It starts with stakeholders. With and I got stopped probably four technology comes risk and a belief or five times by senior members as to why should you change a way of the organisation,” he says. of working that works and is proven. “They complimented me about “It’s about making people begin the team that we have, about how



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responsive they are, about how they understand their business, and how valuable they’ve been. “To me, that’s a huge success. That doesn’t happen typically in IT organisations, and given the history of what we went through here, that’s a nice bonus.” One other, more tangible, data-driven achievement has been the growth of the network bandwidth at AUB. Asfour has overseen an expansion that has more than tripled this connectivity,

providing students with some of the best networks in Lebanon. All of this was achieved against a rather challenging backdrop. “Normally, a university would upgrade its network, its systems and its infrastructure. All of this would happen one step at a time with considerable amounts of money behind it,” he says. “For us, we did all of that with limited budgets and within three years. That is a huge success.” To wind the clocks back to the



March 2018


“It’s about making people begin to understand not how they can use technology in different ways, but how technology can be used to change the way they do things. And that’s a large part of what we’ve been doing at AUB” Dr Yousif Asfour – CIO

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FACTS AUB has around 800 instructional faculty and a student body of around 8,000 students. The University, which was granted institutional accreditation in June 2004 by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools in the United States and reaffirmed in 2016. It has a 350-bed capacity medical center which holds Joint Commission International accreditation. Includes six faculties: Agricultural and Food Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Health Sciences, the Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Medicine (which includes the Rafic Hariri School of Nursing), and the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business. Offers more than 130 programs leading to the bachelor’s, master’s, MD, and PhD degrees.

very start of this journey, Asfour and AUB recognised it needed to reorganise the university’s IT team to make it more aligned with the digitisation strategy. This saw a new IT function develop, one made up of multiple sub teams. There is the service delivery team, the “face to face” operation that meets with the faculty, students and administrators. Asfour describes its main role as the “field support”, what people would typically think when it comes to IT. Then there is the IT management group, or the “mini CIOs”. This level sits with the different faculties and departments and communicates with the dean and with directors to understand their IT strategies and business strategies in order to define their technology alignment, and ensure it aligns with AUB’s wider global strategy. In the beginning, Asfour was heavily involved with the running of these teams and this new IT function, something he feels was crucial in developing trust.

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A Complete IT Solution for Any Business


“I’d be in there playing a lot with the weeds, going up and down from the bottom level right up to the boardroom,” he says. “After a couple of years, we gained the trust of the organisation and now I can spend more time working on the leadership teams, focusing on strategic directions and building relationships with our deans, our executives, our board and our vendors.” When discussing technology, IT and digital transformation, it’s easy to forget that underneath all of this process and all of the

strategic realignment is one core driving force. The student. “The way I think about this and looking to utilise and implement technology is quite simple,” says Asfour. “We need to look at how we can directly impact not only the life, but the success of our students and how the faculties can use the technology in order to do this better and more effectively.” While this transformation has a set deadline, technology will continue to evolve. Innovation will continue to change the

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“We can understand what the researchers are doing and then propose to them a way that they could do it better, more effectively, through technology” Dr Yousif Asfour – CIO technology of today and of tomorrow and so in reality, it will be a journey that will only continue to define AUB far beyond that five-year plan. Asfour acknowledges this, with technology advancing further and further, so too does the student. “I think technology has become integrated into our fabric. It used to be that technology was an enabler. I think now technology is a bare necessity in order to survive,” he says. “The key, though, is not in the technology, but rather in how you use it. Our students now sleep and wake up with their phone in their hand. They’re connected 24/7. “I’m somewhat biased as a technologist, but I firmly believe that technology, if used right, is going to force us to change not just what we teach, but how exactly we teach it.”

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DRIVING DIGITAL TRANSFORMATIONS IN THE KINGDOM Written by James Henderson Produced by Stuart Shirra

Al Saudia



imes are changing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. After years of relying on hydrocarbon revenues, the country’s leadership has stated its intention to diversify its economy as part of its wider ‘2030 Vision’. Key to that transformation is establishing the country as the region’s leading digital power, with businesses in both the public and private sectors benefitting from huge leaps forward in technology. In January, it was revealed that the country is investing tens of billions of dollars to connect business, schools, and hospitals with super-fast 5G, which in turn will power a rapid uptake of technologies such as AI, IoT and automation. BT Al Saudia, a leading services provider and system integrator in Saudi Arabia, is adapting to this transformation enabling local businesses to embrace the next generation disruptive technologies. As a reliable and robust IT partner, BT Al Saudia provides professional and managed services to organisations of all sizes, in all industries, helping them focus on their core business and to be more productive, efficient and innovative. “Thanks to our partnership with BT, we combine their global strength and our reach with local knowhow and operations to help customers thrive


March 2018

Mazen Tfaili Head of Products and Alliances, BT Al-Saudia


Technology Showcase Room

in this changing era of digitisation and contribute to the realisation of the country’s 2030 Vision and NTP,” says Mazen Tfaili, Head of Products and Alliances at BT Al-Saudia, which services a sizeable portfolio of private and public clients. “BT is one of the largest technology investors in R&D with global development centres around the world. This sets us apart from other ICT players in the Saudi market as we bring this global knowledge with our long-standing local experience to implement and support services across leading edge technology that perfectly meets our clients’ needs.


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BT Al Saudia has around 200 staff in the Kingdom, which complement its substantial vendor network and alliances. Tfaili says that our knowledge base and team of talented engineers spread across three regional offices are able to help businesses improve their digital standards in line with the leadership’s 2030 Vision. “We’ve studied the local market and perceived challenges in cloud adoption. Customers are concerned about vendors’ business capabilities, losing control of their data, cost and complexity of migration and privacy issues. We made sure that we tackle all of these complications when launching


“Thanks to our partnership with BT, we combine their global strength and our reach with local knowhow and operations to help customers”

our cloud services in Saudi Arabia. We have invested to build our cloud node in a Tier-4 data centre in the Kingdom to comply with local laws and legislations providing a more secure and efficient offering to customers. We are continually investing to be the cloud services integrator of choice for organisations who want to make the most of the cloud to be successful, fast, agile and secure. BT’s ‘Cloud of Clouds’ portfolio strategy is a new generation of cloud services that allow organisations with diversified IT environments to connect easily and securely to applications and data, independently of where they are hosted,” he comments.

MAZEN TFAILI Head of Products and Alliances, BT Al-Saudia

In addition to cloud, new disruptive technologies like IoT, blockchain, AI etc. are changing the way people are interacting with businesses. The real value comes from using technology to empower organisations to be resourceful and competitive. “Our channel partner BT invests heavily in innovation to make these technological advancements possible. BT recently issued a patent to prevent malicious attacks on block chains, and partnered with the leading vendors to develop industrial and enterprise IoT

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March 2018

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Mazen Tfaili

Head of Products and Alliances at BT Al-Saudia

Mazen Tfaili joined BT Al Saudia in 2012. Based in Riyadh, Mazen heads Marketing, Products and Alliances across the Kingdom and is part of the management team responsible for driving the transformation strategy of the company. Tfaili leads the marketing direction and product strategy for BT Al Saudia’s portfolio and services offering. He manages partner relationships and alliances ecosystem supporting services and initiatives launched in the Saudi market. He has been involved in a number of new local product development efforts and has been closely aligned with customer needs and requirements.

Prior to this role, Tfaili was based in Iraq and West Africa working in the Telco and ICT domain. Coming with an experience of more than 13 years in the IT industry, he moved from a country to another establishing needed entities and agreements to promote and sell services in the MEA region. Tfaili holds a degree in Computer and Communication Engineering from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. Tfaili is married with one kid. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, doing sports and reading.

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have invested to build our cloud node in a Tier4 data centre in the Kingdom to comply with local laws and legislations providing a more secure and efficient offering to customersâ&#x20AC;? MAZEN TFAILI Head of Products and Alliances, BT Al-Saudia

BT Al Saudia Data centre


March 2018


solutions. In the Saudi market, customers are getting acquainted to these concepts but are hesitant to adopt due to inexperienced local ICT players. BT Al Saudia provides reassurance with our proficiency, helping customers understand, utilise and benefit from the inevitable IT evolution guiding them through this journey to achieve business goals,” says Tfaili. A large part of that effort is part of the country’s wider battle against cyber-crime; Saudi Arabia has found itself in the unenviable position of being a prime target for hackers and cybercriminals, with around 50mn attacks in the past year alone and this is increasing significantly each year. “We are working hand in hand with both private businesses and the government to help them secure their data and networks,” says Tfaili. “BT is a global leader and trusted brand in security and we understand the customer challenges and pain-points. BT Al Saudia introduced local 24x7 managed security portfolio to the Saudi market, and it has been effective in allowing customers to proactively detect, respond and mitigate imminent attacks. It’s very important the customer moves from the passive state to a proactive mode. We have tailored the solutions to match our customers’ needs providing them on-premise and as well as managed security services and were the first to do so in the Kingdom, which makes us a leader in the field.” The effort is integral to the country’s goal of

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establishing truly ‘smart cities’, which forms a substantial part of the effort the leadership believes will further to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence drive innovation and investment in on oil, diversify its economy, and the Kingdom. To that end, Saudi develop public service sectors. Arabia has also announced a “The smart cities initiatives coming smart megacity called “NEOM”, from the government, including which aims to become a hub for NEOM, will attract new technologies innovation and technology transfer. and experts, enable connectivity and The $500bn project will operate innovation, magnetise new investments independently from the and capitals and thus existing governmental lead to the evolution of the framework with its own economy and country. tax and labour laws That is all in line with and an autonomous Number of staff the vision to move away judicial system, and at BT Al-Saudia from oil being the main


BT Al Saudia SOC


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BT Al Saudia in-line with Saudi Vision 2030

income for the Kingdom,” says Tfaili. “Looking ahead, the largest budgets are being assigned by the government in the security and defence, education and health sectors. We have been serving these industries for the past decades through our strategic alliances to leverage new trends in technology to better serve the end customer with a real desire to make them ‘smarter’, a transition in which BT Al-Saudia is well positioned to be a hugely important part,” Tfaili says. BT Al Saudia aims to be the trusted services provider exploiting BT’s vast network and services

platforms fitting the customers’ requirements seamlessly with sustainable growth and positive contribution to the community. “We’re positioning ourselves as the main integrator and platform hub to connect the different entities within the Kingdom. Our goal is to be the trusted service provider for these new solutions for the public and private sector and to be a key player in contributing to the country’s national transformation programme. That’s our main focus for the coming years,” Tfaili concludes.

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Clients presenting at the 2017 Cerner Middle East Collaboration Forum

THE HEALTHCARE VISIONARIES Cerner, technology and the road to connected, personalised care Written by Tom Wadlow Produced by Stuart Shirra


The Middle East, in particular the UAE, is uniquely positioned to deliver a smart population health management system, with Cerner set to play a key role in linking up institutions and their pools of data


ome 30bn devices will be connected via the Internet of Things by 2020. In the space of five years, the world will have doubled its connectivity capacity in this regard. Come 2024, this will have doubled once more. The world is more connected than ever, and companies in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region are beginning to take advantage. According to SAP, MEA firms spent


March 2018

$8bn on IoT in 2017. Services, from retail and transport to utilities and finance, are becoming more connected and personalised in smart city initiatives such as that being rolled out at breakneck speed in Dubai. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Healthcare has to become personalised too,â&#x20AC;? comments Michael Schelper, general manager for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait for Cerner Middle East & Africa. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are used to personalised

Client winners and finalists of the 2017 Cerner Middle East Achievement & Innovation Award

services in almost every aspect of life. You can hail an Uber instantly at the touch of a button, so why should it be different with healthcare? If I want a consultation now, then I should be able to get that service on demand, and not have to wait until tomorrow or next week. â&#x20AC;&#x153;However, the question is how new technology can make this happen â&#x20AC;&#x201C; does the consultant have to necessarily be a human being?

New technology is completely revolutionising healthcare and healthcare management.â&#x20AC;? Schelper has been part of this journey with Cerner since 2009, moving from consulting roles in Germany, Austria and Switzerland to a leadership position in the Middle East four years later. His role is to ensure that public and private sector clients hit their targets while collectively developing the

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LOSE THE INTERFACE, COMPLETE THE CYCLE HEIâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s solutions are fully integrated with the Cerner Millennium platform which reduces the need for any other third party Revenue Cycle systems. A unique approach that reduces errors, streamlines workflows and increases patient satisfaction.

HEI Global Health is a strategically aligned team of healthcare information technology professionals offering a robust suite of software solutions and services regardless of geographical region or clinical venue while helping our clients meet rigid government and regulatory requirements.

COMPLEMENTING CERNER THROUGHOUT THE PATIENT JOURNEY HEI Global Health is a healthcare IT software and consulting firm that specialises in Revenue Cycle, access management and clinical implementations, customisations, data flow processes and best practices. HEI Global Health has been directly involved in these areas globally for the past 12 years. The majority of the associates in our company are former Cerner Associates (engineers, consultants, and managers) in the Revenue Cycle (Patient Accounting & Charge Services) and Access Management (Registration, Scheduling, Eligibility, EMPI, Medical Records (HIM), & Benefit Management) solution areas and have an average of 15-plus years’ experience in the healthcare industry. Our associates have directly contributed to Cerner Millennium® implementations and innovations in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. HEI can additionally provide a uniquely global perspective to any project, regardless of geographical region or clinical venue. HEI Global Health’s expertise with Cerner Millennium® and its associated software solutions and architecture is unparalleled in the consulting industry. Armed with the depth of knowledge that can only be accumulated through years of experience, HEI can prepare an organisation to thrive in today’s health care information technology environment. JACY CONLEY, PRESIDENT, said: “In today’s ever changing healthcare environment the need to stay ahead of the curve is quintessential to the success of HEI and our partners. HEI utilises our industry knowledge, global experiences and our best in class solution architecture to ensure our clients have the appropriate tools to manage their organisations financial obligations successfully.” HEI and Cerner have worked very closely throughout the years to ensure their combined knowledge and solution offerings exceed the needs of their clients.

HEI was able to successfully implement Cerner’s largest patient accounting client (SEHA – Abu Dhabi Health Services) in the world that produces on average over 30,000 claims a day. HEI’s functionality allows Cerner’s patient accounting solution to work globally and provides the flexibility to adhere to any regional insurance and government regulations. HEI’s offerings within the Revenue Cycle workflow, complements Cerner throughout the entire patient journey by utilising integrated applications and components that provide enhanced functionality within the patient accounting and patient access solutions. HEI’s Revenue Cycle solutions are fully integrated with Cerner Millennium’s architecture which removes the need for any separate thirdparty applications and additional interfaces. MICHAEL POMERANCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF CERNER MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA, said: “HEI is and has been part of Cerner’s core strategy to bring state of the art Revenue Cycle solutions to the marketplace. Over the years working with them, they have brought Revenue Cycle expertise and seamless solutions which complement the existing Millennium framework giving end users the ability to work from a single user interface versus having to jump between applications.” Over the next few months, HEI and Cerner will be working diligently to ensure their two software platforms are able to communicate more seamlessly by utilising new services to increase their capabilities and offerings. With this innovative approach they will also be able to work with other disparate systems to communicate, exchange and utilise vital clinical and financial information. Moving toward the future, HEI will be expanding their capabilities of their software platforms by utilising artificial intelligence as well as data from Cerner’s population health platform to actively predict patient financial outcomes. |

healthcare systems of the future. “Healthcare is being disrupted, and we have to ensure we are the disruptors and not the disrupted,” he adds. “We have extremely visionary leaders among our clients and I am honoured to work with them and make that a reality.” A landmark year Cerner is a vital conduit in the journey towards smarter, consumer-led

“Consumer centricity will be an inevitable focus for healthcare. We need to make sure that the right information is available at any point in time to provide the best care” MICHAEL SCHELPER General Manager for UAE and Kuwait, Cerner Middle East and Africa 354

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healthcare provision in the Middle East. For more than 25 years it has connected people and systems at organisations of all sizes, supporting key clinical, financial and operational needs. The Cerner Millennium® electronic health record (EHR) stores data for tens of millions of people across the region, provisioning a single patient database that can be accessed instantly by participating healthcare providers.

“We live and work in the countries we serve, so we are all the more determined to transform healthcare for the better” ALAA ADEL General Manager for Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Cerner Middle East and Africa

Last year, the Kansas City, USAheadquartered firm continued to grow its MEA footprint. “We’ve had a busy 2017 with our clients and our client list keeps growing, both on the public and private sector side,” explains Alaa Adel, general manager for Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Cerner Middle East and Africa. “For example, we added Kings College London UAE and also had a huge engagement with the Ministry of Defence in Saudi Arabia. We are very

proud of what we have helped these and other clients achieve over the past year, and look forward to hitting objectives for this coming year too.” Like Schelper, Adel is also a company veteran who joined in 2009 and is bringing valuable experience from Cerner operations in other parts of the world, notably the “mothership” in Kansas City, where he spent five years. Adel believes that private enterprise will, ultimately, lead the

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way in terms of MEA’s healthcare innovation and help governments realise this segment of their various visions for the future, whether it be UAE Vision 2021, Saudi Arabia vision 2030 or Egypt Vision 2030. “It is crucial that private companies and governments work together in making this happen,” he says. “I think that private sector innovation will be absolutely key in helping governments to get the best value from their healthcare expenditure. Public Private Partnerships are already proving to be a model of success in the countries we are working in.” From volume to value Another observation Schelper makes is that, generally, the regional healthcare space is moving from a volume to value-focused proposition. Sound financials, value delivery and patient outcomes now interoperate – this is no better demonstrated than by the widely-accepted view that clinicians need to spend their time on delivering best-in-class care and not be burdened with administrative tasks.

“In this respect, technology is absolutely the foundational, transformative vehicle,” Schelper states. “The UAE is in a unique position because its IT infrastructure is already very far advanced, and the mindset is there to take it a level higher. It is this foundation which will allow information to flow freely – we have the public sector on board and medical organisations are putting credible systems in place.” Indeed, the UAE is currently implementing a National Unified Medical Record, a central database that will allow institutions across the country to share medical data. “Consumer centricity will be an inevitable focus for healthcare,” Schelper adds. “We need to make sure that the right information is available at any point in time to provide the best care.” Trust in technology The requisite technology to deliver the likes of UAE Vision 2021 and Saudi Arabia Vision 2030 already exists. The largest obstacle to overcome,

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PROJECT SPOTLIGHT UAE MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND PREVENTION A major conundrum facing medical institutions around the world is the rise of antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) bacteria. Helping to combat this threat in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO) is the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP), which needed to increase the quality and quantity of its antibiotic testing. Enter Cerner’s ITWorks team. By adding new interfaces to its already-installed PathNet system at MOHAP’s Al Qassimi Hospital, clinical processes used to test antibiotics are now automated, saving the need to manually input data. Now, according to Cerner estimates, it takes just three to four minutes to run an AMR test. This has more than doubled Al Qassimi’s AMR testing capacity. Before the new interfaces the hospital tested on average just over 2,000 results a month. After implementation, that number jumped to a monthly average of more than 4,700 results. Such increases in testing capacity will allow MOHAP and its institutions to share vital information on AMRs, which could prove pivotal in achieving the WHO’s goals.

according to Schelper, is trust. “Trust is a hugely important word,” he says. “There is currently a sense of paranoia that we need to overcome about health data if we are to achieve this vision of a totally personalised, joined-up healthcare system. We cannot lock data away in a vault that nobody has access to.” The next step is for governments and health institutions to make the case for data sharing and convince consumers that their data will not only be safe, but could be the difference between life and death in an emergency. Schelper and Adel refer to how the likes of Apple have integrated biometric security layers into its products, like facial recognition and fingerprint scanners. This is highly sensitive data that consumers trust smartphone companies to manage – now is the time for that trust to be carried over to healthcare. “Without that, we cannot move forward,” Schelper insists. “We want world class healthcare, but what does it take to build up credibility? For me, it is transparency. At the moment

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“We have to overcome the paranoia that surrounds data governance and establish that trust in order to make this a reality. This will allow us to connect technologies and bring healthcare management to the next level” MICHAEL SCHELPER General Manager for UAE and Kuwait, Cerner Middle East and Africa

THE FORWARD LOOKING PEOPLE Emerging Technologies is a leading pioneer and a solution partner of Nuance Healthcare in MENA for more than 15 years. We offer state-of-the-art multi-accent, multi-dialect clinical speech recognition solutions for healthcare providers.

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March 2018

there are discussions about who should own this data. It should be you. New technology such as blockchain will play a key role in ensuring that human beings own their own data and know where it is being shared.” Unrivalled expertise Cerner looks set to play a pivotal role in establishing the level of trust required to fully realise the benefits of new data sharing health systems across the region. Central to this, and what Adel calls the cornerstone of the business, is a pool of medical expertise both in-house and in partnership with clients. “Cerner has been around for nearly four decades,” he says. “We are leveraging all of the experience we have across the company to ensure our clients, both public and private, hit their objectives. We have a large number of clients that we are proud to call partners, and that network is helping to transform healthcare in the region. Cerner wants to make these government visions a reality.” Not only does Cerner provision

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PROJECT SPOTLIGHT KING FAISAL SPECIALIST HOSPITAL & RESEARCH CENTRE (KFSH&RC) Cerner’s association with KFSH&RC dates back as far as the late 1990s, when the Riyadh-based centre was investigating the need for a new Hospital Information System. Since then, the two parties have continued to pioneer in the space of healthcare technology. Indeed, KFSH&RC was the first client to implement Cerner Millennium® in 2000, and has since worked with the firm on several more phases, impacting areas including nursing and physical documentation, surgical departments, ICUs, radiology and a 300room upgrade called the Smart Room project. The Smart Room programme represents a continuation of 20-plus years of work. Designed to make hospital rooms serve as an extension of patients’ homes, the project involves granting access to care, information, entertainment and healthcare services at the touch of a button. The partnership has yielded significant benefits to date. Cerner Millennium® has helped to make diagnosis documentation more efficient – for instance, the number of positive Fecal Occult Blood results increased by 300% in three years, leading to lifesaving implementation of preventative cancer care.


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its own EHR, its consultants’ analytical prowess also supports clients to make the most of the data contained within both its own and other providers’ systems. Among its 24,000-plus personnel are doctors, nurses, engineers, pharmacists, technicians and more, with over 300 expert associates stationed in the Middle East. But how is such an extensive network maintained? “This is best demonstrated by the fact that our attrition rate is under 3%,” Adel remarks. “We have offices around the world, and if someone has been at the company for 18 months they are given the right move all over our offices, whether it be the Middle East, UK, USA, Germany or Australia, to name a few. This is a big commitment and investment from Cerner, and a big incentive for employees to stay with us. We live and work in the countries we serve, so we are all the more determined to transform healthcare for the better.” Schelper agrees that local presence is what sets Cerner apart

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from other providers, facilitated by a recruitment policy that, over the past five to seven years, has strongly favoured locals over expats. The future of healthcare Asked what the coming years have in store, Schelper is adamant that the future of healthcare in MEA is extremely bright, not only for the citizens that benefit but also medical tourists, who will continue to provide important revenue streams for various countries. The vital next step is to apply intelligence to the mountains of data being gathered by EHRs and other systems. For the UAE, already an artificial intelligence pioneer and front-runner with IBM Watson, technologies like blockchain can provide the answer, and Schelper believes this will be in play by 2020. “At the moment we have a lot of health entities that contain data, and over time we need to connect those and bring them to the next level to inject intelligence into that


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data collective,” he explains. “However, in order to reach the consumer we need a platform on top of the platform, what we call the Internet of Health and Life. This will provide the personalised experience that is so important. I want to be notified when my next vaccinations are due; that information should be integrated into my calendar. Further still, I want a drone to come to my office and drop off anything I need at a time that works for me. This may sound extremely futuristic and a bit like science fiction, but the technology to make this happen is there today.” Cerner has a unique opportunity in the MEA region, and Schelper and Adel’s next task is to help knock down the trust barrier that could stand in way. “We have to overcome the paranoia that surrounds data governance and establish that trust in order to make this a reality. This will allow us to connect technologies and bring healthcare management to the next level,” Schelper concludes.

A special event, in 2017, for associates celebrating 10 years of service with Cerner Middle East

Cerner Middle East raises 20,000 AED to provide Iftar dinner for 2,000 labourers in Ramadan 2017

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How the University of Bahrain is technologically tailoring its campus Written by Sophie Chapman Produced by Craig Daniels

Cameron Mirza from the President’s Office at the University of Bahrain reveals how the campus is going digital


he University of Bahrain is injecting technology into its campus, not only to keep up but to lead the way. A regional pioneer on the tech front, the campus focusses on tailoring itself to students’ lifestyles and keeping its position as one of the greenest campuses in the world. The ultimate outcome is effective efficiency and skills development, both for students, academics, and partners. The university’s mission is “to contribute directly to the economic growth and development of Bahrain supported by leading edge teaching, technology and research. Our values are to be innovative, student-centred, technology-driven, proactive, and transparent.” With technology at the university’s core, the establishment is focusing its efforts into promoting innovation, teaching advancement, and increasing capacity to enable a digital


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transformation into a smart campus. As the University of Bahrain’s Head of Transformation, Cameron Mirza is charged with making this happen. “The smart campus is about being efficient, it’s about being effective, it’s about giving students an experience which is not only defined by what they learned in the classroom,” he says. “It’s about being predictive and understanding how the campus can be better managed in terms of population, classroom management, and data usage. For example, to give students a more personalised experience by understanding their strengths and weaknesses, we can predictively personalise both learning and the campus environment.” The university is utilising data from technologies like smart gates and e-portfolios for early interventions. By tracking the students’ presence on its grounds through smart gates


“Our values are to be innovative, studentcentred, technologydriven, proactive, and transparent” – Cameron Mirza, Head of Transformation, University of Bahrain

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26,000 students

attend the University of Bahrain and detecting and collecting the data through motion sensors and IoT, the university can monitor activity and predictively customise its campus for optimum productivity levels. “With data from 26,000 students we have volume, variety and velocity – we’re creating real value from our findings, allowing us to enhance the student experience far more than we have ever been able to,” Mirza adds. The university stores huge quantities of data in the cloud, which has the benefits of being cost-effective – as the establishment pays for what it uses – and spatially efficient due to the lack of servers. Students are also benefitting from the insertion of technology directly into their academia, with software such as One Note, Office 365, and Google Docs.

The digital implementation is allowing for easier access to learning, and is creating a “collaborative culture” between students and teachers. “What we’ve focused on is developing capacity around technology, for both students and faculty,” Mirza adds. “So, I think one of the failings of technology education in the region is the lack of focus on building teaching capacity to understand and better deploy technology. We are focusing on skills development with our faculty. To do so, we have initially responded by having a deeper relationship with employers. We need to understand their problems and required skills in order to co-create.” The university has stressed the importance of not only utilising

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online software, but teaching it. For the University of Bahrain, the advancement of technology is about making the lives of those using it easier. Academics are soon to benefit from the integration of artificial intelligence into education, Mirza states. “The future is going to be heavily influenced by artificial intelligence. AI will be developed enough to understand student information and test them. I think the biggest impact AI will have on our campus will be helping students through peer to peer review,


March 2018

collaborative learning and also in terms of assessment. Teachers will be freed of basic tasks, such as marking work. Through AI we’re able to understand the student’s behavioural patterns, and with this knowledge, we can tailor their curricular design to their interests. Machine learning is geared around giving a potentially deeper, immersive and personalised experience to students.” The implementation of AI on the University of Bahrain’s campus can catalyse additional technologies like blockchain, which has the


“The smart campus is about being efficient, it’s about being effective, it’s about giving students an experience which is not only defined by what they learned in the classroom” – Cameron Mirza, Head of Transformation, University of Bahrain

potential to connect students and teachers directly. AI-driven analytics could be introduced to the establishment to produce feedback to students in real time. The university has noticed a significant impact through the technology already in use on the campus, which will only accelerate with additional technological advances. The campus has contributed significantly less to environmental damage through the installation of solar panels, and the reduction of paper usage

through e-systems. The online nature of the campus has also led to efficiency in terms of workflow and simple tasks. Students are experiencing better allocation of schedules and accessibility to resources. For academics, marking has become more accurate as plagiarism is easier to detect. “For both students and teachers, their experience is probably deeper than it’s ever been. The university has extended their contact opportunities. There’s the classroom experience, there’s the online experience, there’s

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the ability to personalise the education for young people, and there’s the ability to communicate, even using social and digital media. The university experience has been revolutionised from the origins of just turning up to a lecture – the future of learning is definitely omnichannel and lifelong.” The President of the University, Professor Riyad Hamzah, confirms the ambitious but functioning scheme on a wider scale, addressing the university’s goals to impact its region. “Over the past two years we have been working on a transformational plan to modify the university into a world class and leading establishment, not only in regards to teaching but in research and innovation. We want our university to have an impact on the economy in Bahrain and the region. The transformational plan highly depends on using technology in our operations and in our teaching – in both classrooms and curriculum,” Professor Hamzah notes. Ultimately, the campus is technologically leading the way and advancing for multiple reasons. From green benefits to personally educating those yet to fully adopt the latest innovation, the establishment understands where it is heading: “The future is about looking online. It’s about efficiency, effectiveness, and energy,” Mirza concludes.


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The university features in the top 400 universities in the world for green metrics

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Breaking down barriers with global connectivity Written by Catherine Sturman Produced by Craig Daniels


Ranked among the top five IP providers in the Gulf, GBI’s CEO Amr Eid discusses how its smart network is a benchmark for the future of connectivity


stablished as the carrier of choice for telecoms operators, internet service providers (ISPs) and governments throughout the Middle East, Europe and Asia, Gulf Bridge International (GBI) is responsible for the development of a connectivity network like no other. The first subsea cable to offer 100G, the company provides a system capacity of up to 10 terabits per second in some areas of its network to support SMEs and enterprises on a global scale. Remaining one of the most technologically advanced networks in the world, GBI continually looks to develop its services and cater towards this increasing demand for connectivity. Developed with financial support from several multiple shareholders, the cable network spans almost 42,000km, crossing 26 countries. The extensive loop system connects all the countries


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in the Gulf, then spans eastward towards Singapore, and westward towards Europe. However, GBI’s ability to remain agile throughout its exponential growth has been key to its continuing success. “We realise that we’re not an incumbent operator but the market has changed. We have always believed that agility is one of the most important factors in the telecommunication industry,” explains Chief Executive Officer Amr Eid. Strenuously working to connect enterprises both inside and outside of the Gulf, almost 25% of the internet in the region is now routed through GBI either directly or indirectly. Its submarine and terrestrial network houses a complete range of International Private Leased Circuit capabilities (IPLC), which connects businesses securely, transmitting data through the use of fibre optics.


Whether people like it or accept it, we have influenced the way that telecommunication services are being exchanged in our part of the world AMR EID CEO of GBI

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GBI North Route GBI European Network

Multi-Services POP PoP Inter Connect point CLS AS 200612 380

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Additionally, it houses ethernet over SDH competencies (EoSDH), allowing traffic to travel over SDH networks. This is supported by the use of Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) technology, where strands of fibre are able to carry a number of optical signals. This has enabled data to travel in many different directions within the network. Such technologies have therefore enabled GBI to increase its capacity and flexibility. Its commitment to its customers and subsequent technological investment has led GBI to become the sole neutral carrier in the Gulf, and the sole provider of a direct network when connecting users all the way from Europe to Singapore, at a bandwidth and capacity fit for customer needs. Sustaining values “Whether people like it or accept it, we have influenced the way that telecommunication services are being exchanged in our part of the world,” Eid expresses confidently. From its IP services, managed hosting services and extensive capacity services, GBI has worked

to fully disrupt the Middle East telecommunications industry, placing it ahead of the competition. Developing strong links with stakeholders, customers, suppliers and its partners has seen the business develop solutions which will bring longterm value both to the Gulf region and its global customer base. “We believe that most of the innovations and advancements in technology happen because of people who are driven, people who are willing to challenge their own talents and own taboos,” Eid says. “I think in light of the roadster Tesla car revolving around the earth, that same person worked on PayPal years ago. Everybody thought he was crazy, but it ended up with a Tesla revolving around earth, didn’t it? So, we are driven.” Increased flexibility Catering to both enterprises and leisure users, GBI’s Internet Protocol (IP) services encompass a premium broadband solution, sold specifically to enterprises to ensure minimal service disruption, in addition to high download and upload speeds through

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a low average hop count. This has consequently given GBI an edge over other Tier 1 providers in the Gulf region. Its managed services further provide a comprehensive solution by enabling businesses to fully connect on a global scale at reduced costs, with connections to the largest IP exchanges within Europe, alongside regional internet exchanges in the GCC. By introducing what GBI has coined ‘liquid connectivity,’ Eid explains that this is a new concept which has been offered to both customers and government users to support its competitive pricing strategy. “You can buy capacity on the network, and users can transfer this from one point to the other based on their needs,” he says. “Our software-defined services and

micro-verse services across the network are now being used by enterprises. With a click of a mouse, users are now able to actually change the direction of the traffic, ultimately providing flexibility.” Furthermore, its Connect ME solution supports SMEs, governments and various corporations by providing hybrid or cloud connectivity between overseas offices. Merging GBI’s international Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) network (wholly owned submarine and terrestrial assets) with an affordable and secure local IP access link, GBI provides 24/7 support, including the management of the local Customer Premise Equipment (CPE), which is backed by stringent availability and latency Service Level Agreements

We believe that most of the innovations and advancements in technology happen because of people who are driven, people who are willing to challenge their own talents and own taboos AMR EID CEO of GBI


March 2018


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(SLAs) across its operations. Security and control However, acknowledging that crossing a large number of countries can present a number of regulatory challenges, GBIâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cloud optimisation has allowed the business to enhance its connectivity capabilities within its end-to-end service operations. It has also led the company to further explore ways to enhance the Multiplexed Transport Layer Security (MTLS), covering security, confidentiality of data, alongside data distribution, and various other complex security barriers within its network. GBI is in the process of developing products to support the SDN platform, enabling it to become an IP provider of choice, which has ramped up its security and control, particularly surrounding the upstream connectivity requirements across each specific region. This is further supported by GBIâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Optical Transport Carrier solution, which houses several layers built to serve the needs of its customers. However, with an aim to ensure its cables and latency usage remain utilised at 100%, the company has faced a number of challenges, as a number of countries house low-latency routes, such as Iraq. To counteract this, the company has worked to eliminate the latency within these specific lines, which in turn has strengthened its relationships with cloud providers, where enterprise users can now migrate to the cloud.


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GBI STATISTICS • The first subsea cable to offer 100G, GBI provides a system capacity of up to 10 terabits per second in some areas of its network • GBI houses one of the most technologically advanced networks in the world • Almost 25% of the internet in the Gulf is now routed through GBI, whether directly or indirectly. • GBI is the only neutral carrier in the Gulf, and the sole provider of a direct network when connecting users all the way from Europe to Singapore • At the end of 2018, GBI will look at M&A activity to grow the business.

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Distributing connectivity By strengthening its security backbone, GBI’s T3 certified data centre hosting within its Gulf hub has seen it provide managed hosting and premium IP transit services. Eid compares GBI’s services to that of the shipping industry, where it is distributing connectivity and enabling future scalability: “I view what we’re doing as a shipping business. The only difference between us and Maersk, or any of the other shipping container freighters, is that they ship your belongings in metal containers. We ship it in digital packets,” he notes. “That’s the only difference. You look for speed, the protection and privacy of your contents, and you look for accurate delivery of the product without any loss. We have the same thing.” GBI can also offer mass scale. “We are now able to implement the software-defined boxes at the customer site, which enables the customer to always have unlimited connectivity. This is also why we’ve been chosen by cloud providers to become their direct connect partner,” Eid adds.


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The rise of streaming services has also sought to influence GBI’s service offering. For example, its cloud capabilities have seen it deliver exceptional gaming services by placing a specific layer within its network for this target audience. The use of weekly, in-depth analytics will further enable GBI to increase the value of its services, as well as gain greater awareness of the trends within its connectivity usage. Whilst one day it could be Netflix, the next day it could be Instagram – all its findings will allow the company to look at new ways to support and drive customer demand. Additionally, with a long-term aim to further grow its social network visibility, the use of analytics will also allow GBI to capture the pulse of the market and assess its market share, something it has never looked at in previous years. Increasing value The emergence of a global sharing economy will continue to further impact GBI’s operations, where its customers want value for money but at lowered costs. This, of course, has not only ramped up competition, but has also


Amr Eid, CEO of GBI, right and Onno Bos, Sales Director, AmsIX (image showing one of many GBI’s partnerships)

2016 The year that GBI joined the Amsterdam Internet Exchange

led to a shift in consumer consumption and the use of technology within the telecommunications industry. “Today, nobody buys their own server, they are now rented. If consumers aren’t using it, they can put it back to the cloud or bring it back. Customers are moving away from private lines, towards Network Trust Link Services (NTLS) and the public internet,” observes Eid. “However, the issue with the public internet is the mixed issue between privacy and local regulations. The government operators will provide you with the internet with a contention meter. It’s a non-committal internet.”

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Being supported by our shareholders, restructuring our debt will also allow us to go even further to increase future capital in GBI and develop future services AMR EID CEO of GBI 388

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Long-term goals Although GBI houses social network caching and technological advances within its internet systems, it might face a number of uphill battles with competitors. “We are David in a Goliath industry. I’m sure all of us know the challenges that David faced,” he adds wistfully. “I always ask the question, ‘in our world today, what’s a license? What’s a border?’ We all have cloud services; most of us don’t actually know where the physical photos of our families are located. So, part of the challenge we face is change. How can we convince incumbents to change or to adapt to new services?” Despite this, GBI continues to see exponential growth of up to 50% per year, operating in an industry which is growing at up to 10%, reflects Eid. With increased pressures and demands for its services, the company will continue to remain humble, smart, trustworthy, and guarantee increasing value of its services, keeping in mind that the region could need a similar cable in future if the demand for connectivity continues to grow.

With a long-term goal to earn the title of best network, as well as the best submarine network in the region, GBI will also continue to develop its cloud services, in order to support small contract-based applications and cloud-based applications. “You will hear very soon that we are merging with more data centres worldwide in order to provide true software-defined networking. We hope that we are going to win prizes as a software design network provider or as a cloud enabler very soon,” concludes Eid. “At the end of 2018, we’re looking at merger and acquisition activity to grow our business. We are touching the quarter of billiondollar mark. Being supported by our shareholders, restructuring our debt will also allow us to go even further to increase future capital in GBI and develop future services.”

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Crown Resorts is known for its first-class casino, hotel and entertainment facilities in Melbourne and Perth. But how is procurement for such a complex enterprise handled? Written by John Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Hanlon Produced by Jeff Debicki



rown Resorts is a much larger business than it first appears. Crown Melbourne, a feature of the city since its opening in 1997, is a massive gaming and entertainment complex boasting more than 45 bars and restaurant spreading across multiple city blocks. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s become a major destination for Victoria and a magnet for tourists from around the world. Far from being just the best and largest place for gambling in the entire Southern Hemisphere, it offers its visitors cinemas, retail complexes, luxury accommodation and global food experiences from outlets such as Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, which can be found at Crown Towers, one of three hotels on the site. Though city-based, Crown Melbourne is aptly called a resort since it delivers everything a visitor could need, all on one site. Whilst the Melbourne property is more of an urban resort, Crown Perth has a traditional resort feel. Though it first opened in 1985, it has been renewed and hugely expanded since Crown acquired it in 2007. Situated a little further out, it is a major


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destination for the fast expanding city of Perth and is now the largest single-site private sector employer in Western Australia with approximately 5,800 people on its books. It too has a Crown Towers hotel, which opened in December 2016 and features 500 luxury hotel rooms and suites, villas, private gaming salons, restaurants, bars, a grand ballroom, convention centre, luxury retail outlets, resort pool and spa facilities. The success of the business over the last couple of decades is going to be replicated in years to come, and Crownâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s energetic chairman James Packer has announced his determination that Crown Sydney, to be built on the waterfront at Barangaroo, will be the best hotel in the world. Food and beverage requirements for a business of this size form a major part of the supply chain across a very diverse range of categories. Making sense of the complexity of this procurement challenge is the job of Procurement Systems and Compliance Manager Justin Purss, who reports to Ben Briggs, the Group General Manager of Procurement


“THAT NIMBLE INSIGHT WE GET VIA ZYCUS IS A GAME CHANGER FOR THE COMPANY” – Justin Purss, Procurement Systems and Compliance Manager

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Preferred Partner of Crown Resorts


National Warehousing Coverage

HACCP Certified Warehouses All Products Manufactured To Strict Specifications & QC Testing Reliable And Sustainable Procurement To Support Your Business A Signatory To The Australian Packaging Covenant


“WE TAKE EVERY and Supply. Purss has more than two decades of experience in the gaming and hospitality sector and has managed analytics and reporting, ERP and procurement data management, cost control and inventory management teams across Crown’s Australian resorts since 2014. At that time, he says, the available data was held in a disparate manner – each site was responsible for its own information and with very little crossfertilisation within the business. “There was really no consistent reporting ability on our expenditure. Getting the information out of the ERP system was difficult unless you had knowledge in that area, and when management called for an overview there was a lot of telephoning.” He recalls that there was just one individual within the group who knew how to access it all – the spend data was reconciled annually, and preparing that report took up to four months. Enter smart procurement What was needed was a smart procurement management system (PMS) that would permit the team


to standardise sourcing processes, give clear visibility into the different categories of spending, and streamline the time-consuming manual processes that were being used. The major benefit from this would be that it would enable analytics to be applied through artificial intelligence and introduce a UNSPSC (United Nations Standard Products and Services Code) taxonomy of

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products and services, carry out meaningful supplier performance evaluations across the board, and streamline business processes. The system chosen to manage all of Crown Resorts’ upstream procurement activity was Zycus. It was selected for its sophisticated functionality, ease of use, interoperability, scalability, and had a local, Australian presence who understood Crown’s challenges and needs. As a result, says Purss, his team can now make sense of category data across all sites. “They have visibility into supply rationalisation


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opportunities, for example, to try to streamline some of our business processes and create efficiencies and savings by leveraging that information.” It means better visibility within the company too, he


explains. “We have the spend data extracted from our ERP system sent through to a spend analytics module within the PMS, and that runs through a classification AI computer learning platform that understands the data.” Many of different items are purchased every

day. Some are commodity items from a large, contracted supplier, while others are one-off purchases from a small local vendor. The tool understands each of those purchases and categorises them, giving total and immediate visibility. Now, thanks to the spend analytics tool, the data that could only be assembled periodically can be assembled in minutes rather than months, and the same insight gained into the 90% of the vendor base that accounts for just 10% of the spend. “That nimble insight we get via Zycus is a game changer for the company,” Purss adds. “We can


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react very quickly. For example, if in a meeting someone needs to know the details of a particular vendor we can check that on the spot instead of having to ask for a week to get the data together.” It has also enabled the procurement team to set up dashboards for each of the category streams so purchasing staff have visibility into the category for which they are responsible. There’s a wider spend dashboard that gives them the ability to look at specific metrics by setting their own filters. “Because we have the ability to look into opportunities, we can jump on them quickly,” says Purss. “We have saved the company tens of millions over the last couple of years by just having better insight and being able to identify opportunities that we might previously have missed.” In addition to Analytics, Crown’s PMS also includes Supplier Information Management (SIM), Supplier Performance & Relationship Management, Contract Management, Project Management and Sourcing. “We have thought about the long term here. For example, in

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our vendor profiles for the SIM module, we have created a place where we can truly understand our vendors. This has been a big change for Crown and will create efficiencies by allowing a centralised location where all of their company related information and documentation can be maintained,” Purss explains. This has been a major push by Crown to not only ensure compliance but to give their suppliers a sense of inclusiveness and support. Checking them inward and onward All of this is about business process improvement. It is vital to the health of any modern company: it involves a lot of change management and training and enables employees to be more

productive and happier in their work. But what about the concrete nature of goods received? Crown Melbourne in particular is located at the centre of a busy and congested city, and getting supplies in when they are needed without trucks backing up at the loading bay is a challenge, especially if for each item paper delivery notes have to be checked against orders and invoices. Replacing that system with a modern warehouse management system (WMS) became imperative, so the company is currently implementing Peacocks WMS, a highly configurable system that will significantly increase efficiency in delivery receipting and dispatch to the right end-user. It’s a big change for the vendors,



Crown Melbourne – Welcome to a World of Entertainment

so they were called in to a forum in November 2017 to take them through the innovation and explain the new partnership opportunity it gives both sides. “It creates a lot of efficiencies for them too,” states Purss. “There’s a new labelling system with 3D barcodes on all items, automatically scanned in on arrival, speeding up that process and immediately pushing that information into our ERP to go on to the payment system. “We need to be very flexible and

have a WMS that will fit every supplier from a multinational to a little local business. We needed to spend time to think through the problem of how to deliver a programme they can all use. But the system is scaleable. Our larger international suppliers can print their own labels in a way we can accept at the loading dock, while for smaller suppliers we provide a portal they can log into and find all the purchase order information and print labels locally from that order, at no cost to them.”

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Peacocks WMS will be trialled from the end of March 2018 and will be fully implemented by the new financial year in July. This is a tight schedule that has called for close coordination between the Group Warehouse and Distribution Manager and the IT ERP team, which had to ensure smooth connection between the new systems via an API (application programming interface) and the PeopleSoft ERP system. Purss takes his hat off to vendors large and small who have put effort into understanding the system and pretesting the end to end process. As the new PMS beds in, the benefits of Crown’s existing inventory management system will come to the fore. Stocktaking will always have to have an element of manual input into checking the number of

bottles of gin at a bar, for example, but it no longer involves closing down for the day as staff members tick off items on a paper record. Each month a stocktaking pack including a handheld PDA (personal digital assistant) is sent out to the sites and the inventory recorded in an hour, with the information sent to the ERP system. Managers have instant access to the stock at their site, and the procurement team always have the company wide figures available – just one member of Purss’ team is able to coordinate the stocktake process at 50 different business units in Melbourne. There’s better information, less room for error, and any anomalies are quickly seen, he says. “It is all tied into our POS system which depletes the inventory daily.”

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Responsible procurement for an effective supply chain Readers who saw the Business Chief report on Crown Resorts’ environmental and sustainability performance will not need reminding about the company’s record on CSR and green issues. However, it is worth noting the contributions of supply chain management. Some are simple, like the substitution of returnable and reusable crates for

fruit and vegetable supplies. “We take every opportunity we can to improve our footprint and our relationship with suppliers, reducing costs on both sides while being more environmentally friendly.” Purss also draws attention to Crown’s Reconciliation Action Plan, which monitors its involvement with indigenous Australian businesses and encourages supplier partnerships with them. “We seek them out, and help

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Reach us at: p:

1300 262 635 e: or visit:


them with a development plan,” Purss adds. “Many are small scale, niche businesses supplying seafood, herbs or fruit for example, but they are just as important as the multinationals we deal with. We help them to partner with a large concern like us and compete with bigger companies.” When dealing with larger concerns a full supplier profile is drawn up that covers compliance, energy use, emissions, waste policy and human rights among other things, and of course indigenous engagement. Despite the huge purchasing clout of a company with a multiple billion-dollar market capitalisation, it is a matter of pride for Crown that 90% of its spend is within the state in which each site is located. Crown Resorts is a reliable company to do business with, Purss

emphasises. 80% of transactions at Melbourne, and 70% at Perth where the system was introduced more recently, are completed through evaluated receipt settlement (ERS) matching. This is a paperless solution that automatically transmits a recipient-created tax invoice upon receipt of goods, and schedules payment. “Those vendors with an ERS agreement don’t need to invoice us. A delivery automatically generates an invoice so we will provide an electronic invoice to the vendor. Once they receive their payment they will get a remittance advice.” This is just another example of an innovative, end-to-end business process that cuts out paperwork, making the transaction easier and more transparent for both parties.

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DISRUPTING THE AVIATION INDUSTRY: INSIDE AVIANCA’S DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION Avianca enhances its importance atop of an elite of Latin American airlines by engaging into a complete digital transformation centered on the user’s experience

Written by Mateo Rafael Tablado Produced by Lucy Verde Interviewee Santiago Aldana Sanín, Senior VP, CDO and CTO at Avianca Holdings



nly one other airline has operated for longer than Avianca, Colombia’s flagship and Latin America’s second largest airline operation, currently a year away from its centennial. Its 172 aircrafts fill a 6,000 flights-a-week schedule, covering 106 destinations located in 26 countries between the Americas and Europe. It takes more than history to accomplish and sustain this level of operation. Relying on a prepared, skilled staff in every task to complete successful commercial flights and related services (cargo and other shipments, delivery for select online purchases, among others) is a very important part of the equation. But a few years ago, Avianca deemed necessary to undergo a transformation process enabling the airline to increase its talented staff’s productivity and, most importantly, to enrich and optimise their travellers’ user experience. The set goal was to become a digital business able to manage aircrafts. Changes were to take place from top to bottom, as the first step toward


March 2018

Hernán Rincón CEO

achieving this goal was hiring Hernán Rincón as the company’s CEO in mid2016, after his successful tenure as CEO for Microsoft Latin America. “Hernán came in to discover legacy systems that couldn’t be possibly considered ‘avant-garde’ either within the company or our business sector. We were far behind. Our best solution was to begin a catch up process and, simultaneously, boost every operational and managerial procedure,” explains Santiago


Aldana Sanín, Senior VP, CDO and CTO at Avianca Holdings. Santiago Aldana Sanín graduated in Industrial Engineering from Universidad de los Andes (Colombia); he then earned a Master’s in Economy from the University of Illinois (USA), and an MBA from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA). Transformation has become a constant throughout Aldana’s career, either working for companies such as Telefónica and Citibank,

or as a digital services supplier on companies created on his own. Restructuring and two-gear digital transformation Once Avianca’s transformation journey began by changing its top executive, the next step involved redefining command structures, which may have not been rigid, but nevertheless resulted in slower processes. This meant cutting in half the 24 VP positions and the eight hierarchy levels

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below the company’s CEO, which has resulted in empowerment of decisionmakers and a clear, horizontal vision of the company’s structure. Afterwards, steps to be taken into updating the airline’s procedures and those that would become standards for regular operation were defined and segmented, creating new structures, new processes and taking advantage of strategic partnerships and the benefits these provided, opting primarily for digital processes that positioned travellers at the centre, as well as those able to increase productivity of the human team. “The digital transformation subject is not relevant for being digital, but rather for the transformation it brings. The digital aspect is the most efficient way in our times. We see ourselves as a digital company transforming our clients’ experience. We cannot do this just by ourselves; we go hand in hand with our strategic partners, optimising our whole environment and deploying solutions able to improve user’s experience,” Aldana adds.


March 2018

Santiago Aldana Sanín Senior VP, CDO and CTO at Avianca Holdings

Traveler-centered company To focus efforts into improving the traveler’s experience, a new cutting-edge CRM is being deployed with Microsoft’s help, integrating big data, analytics and predictive modelling, evolving into a consistent, fast, flexible and more customised user experience. These traits are also the focus of the company’s new approach toward digital and web marketing, achieved through its partnership with Accenture and Adobe, crucial in creating a



fully-responsive website, able to offer the same agility with any device. All these recent developments consider that traveller’s experience may differ between age groups. Millennial travellers, for example, are aided by Carla, the company’s chatbot -created along with Accenture - ready to help with inquiries on Facebook Messenger. Besides these e-commerce structures, design thinking resources are already understanding and

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comparing results, learning which interfaces are best in allowing travellers to engage with what the airline has to offer. Award-winning app Avianca’s mobile app - also developed in partnership with Accenture - was launched in August 2017. This app simplifies regular procedures such as reservations, browsing flight options, ticket purchasing, checking in, among others. Between its release and December 2017, the app was


March 2018

updated three times. Undoubtedly the app’s most outstanding feat was earning the ‘Best Mobile Application’ award last November during the Digital Smarties ceremony, in recognition to the best in global marketing. The accolade is a worthy recognition for Avianca’s journey into digital transformation. The company’s purpose is to keep adding functionality to the app increasing the frequency of each new update. “By no means can we consider this a finished product, the app will keep

Avianca | A321 Neo

evolving by adding new functions. Upcoming updates will be a result of our users’ requests,” the CTO explains. Doors wide open to improvement As Aldana notes, Avianca’s perception of any user’s total experience goes well beyond routine procedures such as planning a trip, reservations, ticket purchasing and check-in. It also relates to other subjects within the travel and leisure industry: hotel links and reviews, car rental

companies, restaurants and other activities that are part of a trip. “This will be accomplished through our API, in which our allies, users and the entire environment we’re part of will be able to contribute in improving our clients’ experience, since they are the ones telling us what to improve,” Aldana says. Increased productivity and operations New, faster, easier ways to engage with travellers is not the only area in

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which Avianca has already improved. Employee productivity is also a focus. Avianca’s aircraft fleet is moving with the speed today’s world requires, the ships’ engines are powered by GE Aviation, another partnership that has proven to be crucial. Microsoft also provides outstanding tools which have proven its worth in facing eventualities and developing continuity for business plans, rising to the occasion during the difficult times of Colombia’s pilot strike in September 2017. Other resources such as Office 365 have also been a key factor in increasing the company’s productivity. Besides the user-related efforts and looking inwards, the goal of Avianca’s transformation is also empowering more than 22,000 employees into becoming change agents, being able to improve every single process they perform with the support, know-how and resources Avianca and the company’s strategic partners put in their hands. “2018 is focused on our users and into our digital channels’ evolution as the platform for a new, consistent, fast and customised experience,” Aldana concludes.


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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

Gold Sponsors

Heli Antila CTO, Fortum

Alexandre Torreele Head of Innovation and Strategy, Elia

Christian Buchel Deputy CEO, Enedis

Christian Hahn CEO Hubject GmbH

Associate Sponsors To register: call us on +44 203 8418342, email:, or register online at:

Gigabit Magazine - March 2018  
Gigabit Magazine - March 2018