The best way to define “digital transformation” is to look at its component parts. The digital aspect refers to the new technologies a company adopts to improve its processes — to do more with data and better serve customers. Recently, the focus on the technology front has been artificial intelligence, specifically generative AI. 

That said, a company can adopt and implement the latest AI technology without having undergone a true digital transformation. That’s because “transformation” speaks less to technology and more to people, as Jarrod Carpenter, director of business transformation at consulting firm Slalom, explained.

“Digital transformation often manifests as the pursuit of the newest, shiniest tools to do the same things in the same ways,” Carpenter said. “However, true digital transformation prioritizes a change in culture and collaboration, with technology playing a facilitating role.”

As Carpenter notes, the human element is essential to a company’s successful digital transformation. He’s not alone in his opinion. Built In spoke to more than 20 senior digital leaders, all of which agreed that digital transformation is as much about incorporating the latest tech as it is a cultural shift that entails embracing new ways of working and collaborating. 

Continue reading to learn more about the digital transformations taking place at Slalom, Hershey, Nissan, Sephora and more, including the technologies these companies are adopting and the hurdles — both technical and cultural — they’ve had to overcome in the process.

 

Sneha Narahalli
VP, Product Management • Sephora

Sephora is a global beauty company offering a wide variety of products, including makeup, skincare and fragrances.

 

What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean to you?

Digital transformation is a journey, not a destination. It’s the process of adopting and integrating digital technologies and strategies throughout the entire organization to enhance business operations, improve the customer experience and stay competitive in the digital age. Digital transformation is an integral part of Sephora’s foundation and plays a big role in how the business operates, engages with customers and makes strategic decisions.

 

Digital transformation is a journey, not a destination.

 

Some key aspects and benefits of digital transformation include the following: an enhanced and consistent customer experience that helps achieve a customer’s goal, not just a singular transaction; the ability to provide omnichannel retailing that meets the customer where they are and agile decision-making that is dynamically able to incorporate real-time inputs. 

Enhanced marketing and customer engagement in a meaningful customer journey. 

Overall, digital transformation empowers Sephora to become more customer-centric and agile. It helps to deliver a seamless shopping experience, optimize business processes and to stay competitive in the evolving retail landscape. 

 

What is a recent key technological investment Sephora has made recently?

We consistently aim to disrupt our space by using technology. Two of our biggest recent technological investments have focused on our omnichannel operations and in delivering personalized shopping experiences. 

We aim to provide a seamless shopping journey that meets customers where they are, no matter how they shop with us. We have been constantly enhancing our delivery options and also offer direct browsing and purchasing through social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube. These omnichannel initiatives accelerated during the pandemic and are only continuing to evolve. 

Additionally, Sephora continues to create a personalized shopping experience for customers through Sephora.com, our stores and the Sephora app. By analyzing the customer’s actions, trends in the market as well as truly understanding their needs, we can suggest relevant information to customers, making the shopping experience more convenient and tailored to their preferences. 
 

What were the challenges of making that investment? Why will it be worth it in the long run? 

First, the customer experience. While technology can enhance the customer experience, it can also create friction if not implemented thoughtfully. We carefully select and deploy technologies that align with customer preferences and expectations. User experience design, usability testing and continuous improvement efforts are crucial to ensuring technology investments positively impact the overall customer experience. 

Second, integration. Integrating an external solution to our point-of-sale system, inventory management, e-commerce and customer systems can be complex and time-consuming. However, ensuring a seamless data flow and compatibility between different systems is crucial to the success of technology investments and has been a key pillar for Sephora through our various tech investments. 

Finally, there’s training and adoption. Introducing new technology often requires training employees to use new systems effectively and also to embrace them. Overcoming these challenges requires careful planning, thorough analysis and a strategic approach to technology investments. Conducting a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis, seeking expert advice and piloting new technologies before their full-scale implementation mitigates risks and ensures successful outcomes.

 

 

Uta Knablein
Chief Product Officer • iHeartMedia

iHeartMedia is an audio company that operates more than 800 radio stations in the United States and offers streaming music and podcasts.

 

What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean to you?

Digital Transformation is the process by which an organization evolves its way of doing business to take advantage of advances in technology. It has become one of the most important topics of the century: A Google search produces over 300,000,000 hits compared to just 172,000,000 for Lionel Messi. However, at this point, most companies should have transitioned from the transformation stage to the ongoing evolution phase, and those that haven’t are probably struggling to thrive in today’s digital world. 

The age-old business imperative of constantly striving to provide an amazing customer experience in a more efficient manner has not changed, but the digital tools available to influence those goals are continually evolving and improving. The challenge is to identify and prioritize where resources should be allocated to maximize results.  

 

The age-old business imperative of providing an amazing customer experience has not changed, but the digital tools available to influence those goals are continually evolving.

 

Search is a prime example of a breakthrough technology that has made amazing advances in recent years thanks to AI. Our research and listening to user-feedback-identified dissatisfaction with our existing solution, so we made upgrading our search capabilities a top priority.

 

What is a recent key technological investment iHeartMedia has made recently?

As a business, we have to balance building, integrating and maintaining the technology that powers our products across many platforms. A key technology investment that we recently made is a back-end search framework that uses artificial intelligence to improve search accuracy and experience across all platforms. This helped us upgrade our homegrown search solution with minimal engineering time and resources. By creating a testing strategy that compares our legacy search system with the new framework, and carefully monitoring results, our team successfully rolled out the new framework with a significant improvement in accuracy and a reduction in the time it takes users to find a listening experience they love.

 

What were the challenges of making that investment? Why will it be worth it in the long run?

The integration of the new search product was complicated and time-consuming as it had to be implemented on over 250 platforms in multiple geographic locations and languages. It involved collaboration from virtually all teams within the iHeart organization, but, given the complexity, the process was remarkably smooth.

The primary challenges of making this investment included: migrating our data to the new framework, a complex process that required careful planning and execution; training our teams to ensure they were able to use it effectively and monitoring the performance to ensure the new framework was meeting our expectations.

Our investment has allowed us to satisfy 13 million search requests daily from 175 million audio options at blazingly fast speeds that average 49 milliseconds. The new algorithm has generated double-digit increases in conversion from search to listening and the vast majority of iHeart searchers now find their desired audio content in the first result. 

iHeart transformed its business model to incorporate digital product offerings well over a decade ago. Today the challenge, and opportunity, is to continue to incorporate next-generation technologies as they emerge that will enable us to leverage our unique market position in the radio and podcast space, all while providing a great listening experience.

 

 

Jarrod Carpenter
Director of Business Transformation • Slalom

Slalom is a digital and business consultancy that specializes in data and artificial intelligence, change management, futurism and innovation.

 

What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean to you? 

True digital transformation prioritizes a change in culture and collaboration, with technology playing a facilitating role. It requires a holistic examination of an organization to identify the most valuable mission-critical opportunities and work backward to understand how emerging technology can unlock that potential. To transform meaningfully, every facet of the organization must be on the table with regard to its products and services — how they’re conceived, developed, delivered, managed, measured, and most critically, the ways people work together to delight customers through it all. 

 

True digital transformation prioritizes a change in culture and collaboration, with technology playing a facilitating role.

 

What is a recent key technological investment Slalom has made recently? 

Slalom is investing heavily in generative AI. We recognize the generational transformation opportunity this technology can bring about and have a responsibility to our clients and consultants to lead that charge. To that end, we’ve created a global generative AI center of excellence, a team of more than 20 people with the mission of spearheading cutting-edge thought leadership, responsible implementation guardrails and toolkits for solutions and delivery.

In addition, our team is conducting extensive, inwardly-focused experimentation to uncover how we can best use generative AI to turbocharge our people and processes while keeping up with the technology’s light-speed advancement. Thus far it’s been widely successful, going from zero to a robust catalog of thought leadership and enablement tools that our more than 12,000 global team members can use to help fast-track our clients’ transformations. 
 

What were the challenges of making that investment? Why will it be worth it in the long run?

Generative AI undoubtedly has massive potential, and remaining competitive means giving it proper focus. However, our clients’ pre-existing challenges haven’t disappeared overnight. We must maintain a balance between being at the vanguard of this new space and continuing to deliver outstanding outcomes for our customers in more traditional domains. Additionally, this new generation of generative AI technology is evolving at a speed we’ve rarely seen. Keeping ahead of it requires our team to stay laser-focused on the new developments that arrive almost daily. 

But, as quickly as we ingest each new horizon in generative AI, we must create new and novel perspectives and tools to enable our teams and ensure our clients’ success. It’s a continual juggling act. Why will it be worth it in the long run? Long after the hype has calmed, generative AI will remain a genuinely transformative capability. How business is conducted, customers are serviced and products are delivered will all undergo an evolutionary change at an unprecedented pace. Slalom has laid a rock-solid foundation to remain ready and able to help our clients responsibly take that evolutionary leap at speed and scale.

 

 

Ethan Schroeder
Director, Software Engineering • Bullhorn

Staffing and recruitment firms use Bullhorn’s cloud-based software to automate repetitive tasks, manage applicant tracking and onboarding, gain insights from their data and more.

 

What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean to you?

Digital transformation means using technology to enable software engineers to focus on what’s important to their task at hand and reduce the cognitive load needed to write enterprise-level software. Automating mundane engineering tasks, generating boilerplate code and abstracting low-level code into reusable libraries are all things that can be done to reduce the knowledge a single engineer needs to be effective at their job. Empowering engineers to get more done with less mental fatigue has a lot of tangible business benefits, but it also makes the job more enjoyable, and few things have the potential to be as transformative to a software organization as a group of engineers having fun.

 

Few things have the potential to be as transformative to a software organization as a group of engineers having fun.

 

What is a recent key technological investment Bullhorn has made recently?

We invested in growing our platform engineering group, increasing our ability to leverage technology to ensure the long-term stability of our software, improve the engineer experience, minimize errors during development and enable engineers to efficiently deliver high-quality products. We built a service framework and code generation tools that allow teams to generate production-ready services and code within seconds, giving them more time to focus on enhancing existing functionality and building new features. 

We are implementing a knowledge-sharing platform to surface important information about our code and services in a single place, allowing engineers to quickly find the knowledge they need to keep moving forward and minimizing distractions for subject matter experts. We put software in place that scans code changes and flags common issues automatically, reducing the burden on code reviewers and improving the speed with which we can merge changes and ship business-critical features.
 

What were the challenges of making that investment? Why will it be worth it in the long run?

There are always going to be challenges with making this kind of investment as calculating the ROI requires assessing multiple tangible and intangible benefits and tying them back to the investment. Trying to quantify the full monetary return of an intangible idea like reducing cognitive load may be almost impossible, but if you focus on the tangible benefits, you can often show a large enough return to justify an initial investment and take the first step. The increased ability to ship high-quality software in less time allows you to stay agile and adapt quickly at the pace needed to stay relevant and provide customers with the functionality they want and need. The multiple intangible benefits help to foster an environment of creativity and innovation, making it easier to attract and retain highly skilled engineers.

 

 

Chris Patalano
CTO • Realtor.com

Realtor.com provides a single place for people to buy and sell homes and to connect with local realtors.

 

What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean to you?

Digital transformation is essential for Realtor.com and the real estate industry as it describes how we use technology to improve operations, enhance experiences and drive innovation. We integrate technologies like data analytics, AI, machine learning and automation to gain insights into our customers and consumers and to deliver personalized experiences. We create robust online marketplaces and empower users with comprehensive listings and advanced features.

A continued focus on our digital transformation allows us to maximize processes, adopt agile methodologies and leverage data analytics for informed decision-making and growth. Digital transformation is a key part of our strategy to leverage technology, enhance experiences and create a competitive advantage in real estate

 

What is a recent key technological investment Realtor.com has made recently?

Launching a consolidated strategy for how we build in the form of declaring our paved path. The goal of our paved path work is to unify teams and how they work with what we call “aligned autonomy.” The idea is to provide context, not controls, in order to create leverage, drive high-quality products, enable innovation and scale to be able to go after any business opportunity with speed and confidence. We ensure this by aligning on what tools, processes and standards to use across our tech org, which includes a shared definition of done that keeps a really high bar on quality. 

Some key components of our paved path include utilizing Apollo GraphQL and a single API gateway, our data platform and AI personalization platform. As a company that has grown inorganically through acquisitions, this is exciting because it focuses our efforts toward a true north for how we build while also increasing transparency across teams and leveraging learnings from all areas of tech to scale.
 

What were the challenges of making that investment? Why will it be worth it in the long run?

Some of the initial challenges were around making a case for the paved path. In a world where velocity matters, the idea that we might need to slow down to learn and use the paved path rather than the current process was met at first with some questions, not only from engineers but also from leaders. We quickly aligned across the company and up through our executive leadership team on the need to do things the right way, which meant taking the time to implement, teach, learn and use the paved path, knowing that in the long run, this will accelerate outcomes.

 

In a world where velocity matters, the idea of slowing down is met with questions, but, ultimately, we know it will accelerate outcomes. 

 

We believe that an ongoing investment in our paved path will be worth it as in today’s dynamic environment, it is critical to be able to scale in all areas of building. Without an agreed-upon set of tools and processes to work from, and without that single and aligned paved path, we are limited in the collective progress we can make. Our efforts toward a true north by way of our paved path increase transparency across teams, foster additional communication and leverage learnings from all areas of tech.

 

 

Swati Raju
Head of Engineering for Confluence • Atlassian

Atlassian is a software company specializing in increasing collaboration within and between teams. Its products include Jira, Confluence and Trello.

 

What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean to you?

Digital transformation is the adoption of new ways of working, which can range from embracing new tools — such as introducing a knowledge management application like Confluence in your company — to introducing bleeding-edge technologies like generative AI. However that takes shape, the goal is to truly bring about improved efficiencies for businesses and their customers. 

 

Digital transformation is the adoption of new ways of working.

 

Such a transformation often means new ways of working and a cultural shift. Given the effort to adopt the change, you want to make sure the transformation is truly meaningful. Ideally, there is an ongoing culture of continuous improvement, which requires a data-driven approach so that teams can measure, learn and improve these new transformations over time.
 

What is a recent key technological investment Atlassian has made recently?

Like all companies, we’re really excited about the possibilities of generative AI. Our mission at Atlassian is to unleash the potential of every team, and we see generative AI playing a big role in improving collaboration and teamwork. Earlier this year, we launched Atlassian Intelligence across our cloud products, providing teams with a new virtual teammate. Atlassian Intelligence was built on large language models developed internally and from OpenAI, as well as our Teamwork graph, which is unique to a customer’s project or service work. 

As an example, this technology unlocked for Confluence a range of use cases, like summarizing meeting minutes with next steps and action items and the ability to quickly answer questions or explain a company’s institutional knowledge, aka the things you would ask a coworker, “WTF does that mean?” We are rolling out our early access program to thousands of customers on our waitlist and we can’t wait to show them what else we have in store.

 

What were the challenges of making that investment? Why will it be worth it in the long run?

The rate of change happening in the AI space is dizzying, but one thing we’re laser-focused on is making sure we are developing AI responsibly and in line with our company values. In partnership with our ethics and policy team, we also make sure that every AI development is in alignment with our responsible technology principles, which focus on transparency, trust, accountability, human-centricity and teamwork. Additionally, it was important for us to embrace our privacy-by-design approach in these new features by creating meaningful data controls as we adopted this new technology into our tools.

Since Atlassian AI will be available for several Atlassian tools, making sure we have a consistent approach that is platform-led is important. Internally, we have a central AI team where product and engineering teams work closely together to standardize our approach, which includes providing cohesive AI experiences and solidifying our Atlassian AI infrastructure for the future. There’s a lot of product innovation happening at the moment, and in the six years that I’ve been here, there’s truly never been a more exciting time to be an engineer at Atlassian.

 

 

Ashish Thakkar
CTO, Two Sigma Securities • Two Sigma

Two Sigma is a financial sciences company that applies advanced technology, data science and human inquiry to finance, including trading, asset management and private markets investing.
 

What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean to you?

In my view, digital transformation is the use of computers to do tasks that humans would have otherwise had to do, which frees up time to focus on higher-level constructs. For most trading activities, we have seen a major transformation from trading manually on the floor of a stock exchange to creating electronic trading strategies that execute trades at high speeds and generally with far higher accuracy and scale than ever before.

 

Digital transformation is the use of computers to do tasks that humans would have otherwise had to do.

 

What is a recent key technological investment Two Sigma has made recently?

We recently invested in our ability to run a nearly complete execution system on a single integrated circuit, a field-programmable gate array. We separated our more complex and time-consuming investment logic behind investment decision-making from the execution logic that needs to run at very low latency. The investment logic processes hundreds of petabytes of historic data using thousands of computing engines every day. During the trading day, the execution system on the FPGA allows us to respond to new intraday data in less than a microsecond. A part of this change involved scaling up our more complex investment logic independently from our execution logic. 

We designed our system to use different data analysis techniques on relatively large datasets and to run simulations that helped us assess the predictive power of the asset forecasts that the analyses produced. We leveraged both our internal infrastructure and the public cloud to run a large set of computations in parallel and consequently increased the rate at which we iterated through new investment ideas. When implementing the execution logic, we leveraged custom hardware in the form of FPGAs as these provided us with much lower latency than regular software running on CPUs had, especially during times of high data bursts. 

We invested in creating rigorous tests to ensure accuracy of the functionality on the FPGAs. Over time, we have increased the sophistication of the logic on the FPGAs, and if we choose we can now connect our FPGA directly to an exchange to receive exchange data and to send the exchange our order instructions.

 

What were the challenges of making that investment? Why will it be worth it in the long run?

Relative to a past scenario where a manual trader would respond in a second, the new setup represents a speed increase of over 1,000,000 times. These speeds allow the marketplace to operate more efficiently than before, and it allows our business to more effectively build up and trade out of positions based on our forecasts and risk appetite. The change required significant investment across multiple engineering and modeling teams. There were risks that using FPGAs would affect agility and that there would be higher operational risk when using FPGAs. Creating foundational FPGA building blocks and investing in automated testing helped us mitigate these risks. 

The innovation in the design and the transformation in trading also allows us to build ever more sophisticated predictive models and use their output during execution without slowing down the execution path. We expect this to play a critical role in helping us launch new trading strategies and further scaling our business.

 

 

Jason Bressler
EVP, Chief Technology Officer • United Wholesale Mortgage

United Wholesale Mortgage, or UWM, is a mortgage lender that works with brokers to help home buyers secure loans.


What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean to you?

Digital transformation is essentially the act of constantly modernizing infrastructure and
products, bringing them to the forefront of what’s possible. However, it’s just a buzzword
with little meaning unless this thinking is built into the culture of your organization. I’m a
huge proponent of the build versus buy mentality. We have 1,300 IT team members who
come into the office every day and live digital transformation. We are always enhancing
the tools and systems we’ve created for our clients to help them stay at the forefront of
our industry along with their borrowers and real estate partners. 

 

Transformation is just a buzzword unless this thinking is built into the culture of your organization.

 

We also solicit a lot of feedback from team members and clients who are in the weeds of the business using the technology we’ve built. Identifying what we’ve done well and where our opportunities to get better lie is a fundamental aspect of our success. We’re always improving, aiming to maximize efficiencies and evolving the tools we create to stay on the cutting edge.
 

What is a recent key technological investment UWM has made recently?

One of the most important technological investments we’ve made recently was to take a deep dive into AI. Artificial Intelligence is going to be a game changer for us and for our clients — and we’re already applying it to positively impact our clients and borrowers. For example, employing AI into UWM’s underwriting product, BOLT, enabled our team to underwrite a loan in just 15 minutes, and that speed is one of the top reasons brokers choose to partner with UWM. 

Looking to the future, we view AI as another tool to help team members make decisions faster and more accurately, rather than replace them. AI is also a valuable asset in terms of data. Having extremely reliable data can help us predict the behaviors of our clients and borrowers and, in turn, better fulfill their needs.
 

What were the challenges of making that investment? Why will it be worth it in the long run?

Obviously, the biggest challenge with AI is how new the technology is. AI has been around for decades, but with the onset of software applications like ChatGPT, everyone is now jumping into generative AI. The earlier you start to learn about any new technology, the earlier you can start to adopt it, and that’s a big challenge we’re eager to take on. UWM is the number one lender in America and has been the number one wholesale lender for the past eight years, so we set the pace for how quickly these tools can be adopted. We’re excited to be the trailblazers for how AI can be utilized in the mortgage industry and to see what new challenges we’re able to overcome.

 

 

 

Andrew Collyer
CIO • Fitch Group

Fitch Group provides credit ratings to American companies as well as credit research, insights and analytics services to clients across the globe.

 

What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean to you? 

To me, digital transformation signifies nearly unlimited potential. At its core, transformation is about change and growth. It’s about tools, technology and capabilities, but also mindset. One of my favorite quotes is, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” We know the digital landscape is rapidly changing and evolving — for example, in the world of artificial intelligence and generative AI. This creates immense amounts of opportunity for organizations, especially in how they leverage technology and data. At Fitch Group, this means transforming how we use these tools to deliver better services and make our infrastructure more efficient. 


What is a recent key technological investment Fitch Group has made recently?

Data and information are paramount to our business. Fitch Group, made up of Fitch Ratings, a credit rating business, and Fitch Solutions, a credit insights and analytics business, has made a dedicated investment in technology and data over the years, most recently elevating innovation in this space to be a core pillar of our group-wide strategy. Fitch Group’s strategic goal, innovate for growth, is all about modernizing our systems, tools and capabilities to unlock the value in our data, thereby allowing Fitch Solutions to deliver better products to customers. 

This investment was kickstarted with our Agile transformation, focusing on IT customer-centric development. We’ve also made strides in our efforts to grow our internal technology and data capabilities, particularly when it comes to our people. Having access to the latest technologies and learning and development offerings, as well as investing in IT talent, are critical for our ability to create meaningful career opportunities and maintain a competitive advantage in the market.

 

What were the challenges of making that investment? Why will it be worth it in the long run? 

To keep pace with changes in the market and remain competitive, innovation is key. Our top priority is building an organizational culture of innovation focused on the needs of issuers and other financial market participants while growing revenue. Fitch Ratings operates in a highly regulated space, and we are mindful of that in our software and application development. We apply the same level of care in our use of data throughout Fitch Group to maintain the quality of our code and our Fitch Solutions products. 

These challenges make what we are doing even more exciting. At Fitch Group, we have a highly collaborative culture, and our technologists are working together to troubleshoot problems and create new solutions. Every technologist wants to create something that is great to use, grows the business and solves problems for end users. Making a difference is truly the ultimate reward.

 

Making a difference is the ultimate reward of digital transformation.

 

 

Sandeep Davé
Chief Digital and Technology Officer • CBRE

CBRE provides commercial services and research and insight, including market reports and data tools, investment advice and portfolio management solutions.

 

What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean to you? 

Digital transformation starts with digitally enabling your core business operations at scale and focusing precious technology resources on your clients’ most pressing problems. Across almost every industry today, sustainability and return to work are consistently at the top of the list. The global workforce’s ever-changing needs require transformational technology that adapts to how people and spaces connect. 

 

The global workforce’s ever-changing needs require transformational technology that adapts to how people and spaces connect. 

 

With the built environment accounting for almost 40 percent of carbon emissions globally, CBRE utilizes the power of data and technology to accelerate sustainability. Whether building predictive analytics and data models, developing game-changing mobile applications or the technology that powers tomorrow’s smart buildings, CBRE is transforming the way the industry connects people with the spaces of tomorrow. 


What is a recent key technological investment CBRE has made recently?

The foundation of CBRE’s data capabilities lies within our enterprise data platform, which empowers our analysts to securely transform data at scale into intelligent insights. As the largest commercial real estate services and investment firm, we possess vast quantities of proprietary data, which we augment with market and third-party data to realize trusted insight. 

EDP is a first-of-its-kind data platform that transforms 39 billion data points from more than 300 global sources of information to provide insights for more than 150 clients. Leveraging these foundational capabilities, we apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to help clients unlock efficiencies and make data-driven operational decisions across the real estate lifecycle, such as forecasting real estate trends. 

 

What were the challenges of making that investment? Why will it be worth it in the long run? 

Data is often referred to as the new oil, but we say data is the new “crude oil.” Within most organizations, data is prolific. But raw, siloed data does little to enable insight-based decision-making and augmented intelligence. Worse yet, inaccurate or misleading data and insight can result in erroneous decision-making, which can impede progress toward achieving business goals and objectives. 

Getting to this point in our data journey required change management to help employees better understand the value of data while also improving our business processes and data governance practices — no small feat for a 116-year-old company with more than 115,000 employees. It’s also essential to be clear about the expected outcomes, linking data investments back to the business strategy. Do not pursue data for the sake of data. Without clarity on the problem you are trying to solve in the business, a data initiative will likely fail, a lesson we learned along the way.

 

 

Alfons Staerk
Global Recruiting Senior Director, Technology and Experience • Boston Consulting Group

Boston Consulting Group is a management consulting firm with more than 30,000 employees working in more than 50 countries around the world.

 

What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean to you?

Digital transformation can revitalize and revolutionize businesses. It’s about embracing the digital realm to rethink operations, boost efficiency and deliver exceptional customer experiences. With powerful technologies like AI, cloud computing and IoT, organizations can unlock value and impact that gives them an edge. Innovation is always the starting point. However, data drives informed decision making. Digital transformation means saying goodbye to old ways and hello to a digital-first mindset that presents endless possibilities.

 

Innovation is always the starting point.

 

What is a recent key technological investment BCG has made recently?

When implemented the right way, AI can be a game changer and create a significant competitive advantage. This is especially important when attracting, assessing and recruiting top talent in today’s climate. BCG takes a high-tech high-touch approach that combines innovative AI with the human touch to create a more streamlined, personalized and relevant experience that keeps candidates engaged from application to interview and through to offer. 

We also leverage AI as a tool to automate repetitive processes, such as resume screening, and to provide recruiters with a comprehensive overview of a candidate’s strengths and skills. This allows more time for the human element of candidate identification, such as fostering personal connections, building relationships and gaining insights into crucial questions that lead to better discovery for both employers and candidates.

Similarly, AI works for candidates, too. By understanding a candidate’s interests and goals, AI can suggest career opportunities, adjacent roles or interesting content and events. It can even boost a candidate’s profile by highlighting typical skills that those in their role or company likely have, even if they were not listed on their resume. With that, AI can aid a candidate in landing the perfect next opportunity.

 

What were the challenges of making that investment? Why will it be worth it in the long run?

Transforming a global recruitment process that is “always on” is a challenge but the benefits for BCG, our recruiting teams and candidates far outweigh any short-term difficulties. AI technology brings many possibilities, but if we are not careful it can pick up some peculiar human biases along the way. To eliminate this risk, it must be developed with proper due diligence and ethical AI frameworks. Embracing a high-tech, high-touch approach presents us with a unique opportunity to attract top talent, foster a diverse candidate pool and shape an exceptional candidate experience.

Another important thing to note is that rolling out a new tool is the easy part. Revisiting, harmonizing and streamlining existing and historically grown processes takes time and commitment. However, without also updating processes, any technology investment will fall short of delivering its promised value. In our big transformation projects, we put a lot of time and emphasis into getting processes and change management right. Once those are in place, technology becomes a simple but potent enabler.

 

 

Erin Goheen
Vice President of Technology • XPO

 XPO is a freight logistics company whose tech — all of which is built in-house — is designed to bring increased visibility, speed and efficiency to shipping.

 

What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean to you?

I see digital transformation as both a mindset and culture shift: It’s a commitment to driving better business outcomes through technology. Undertaking a digital transformation means taking a big step back from how things have always been done and discovering how they could be optimized in the digital age.

 

Uundertaking a digital transformation means taking a big step back from how things have always been done and discovering how they could be optimized in the digital age.

 

At XPO, our ability to win market share and grow as a leading freight transportation business is powered by our success in providing exceptional customer service and operational excellence. Early in the game, we recognized that technology would be key to realizing our goals, and we’ve taken significant steps to build our company into the tech leader it is today. 

We’ve been investing for many years in proprietary technology that’s deployed across operations to increase efficiency, keep our employees safe and better serve customers. This includes reviewing all aspects of the business — from operations to sales and customer service — to ensure we’re harnessing technology to continuously improve.

 

What is a recent key technological investment XPO has made recently?

Freight transportation is a network-based business with billions of data points at play. Being able to efficiently analyze the vast quantities of data that we generate every day greatly improves our ability to move quickly as well as advance digital transformation in the freight transportation industry overall.

Since day one, we’ve been leveraging AI to optimize all parts of the shipment lifecycle, including pricing, linehaul, pickup and delivery and dock operations. This has set the foundation for our expansion of AI in the network, most recently with our digital twin, allowing us to evaluate the health of the network in real time and identify operational bottlenecks down to the minute. 

This model gives us valuable insights into our operations through a time series of data spanning different shifts and locations, which can simulate various scenarios by altering constraints. This enables us to predict outcomes and swiftly make informed decisions on where to allocate equipment, seek additional shipment volume and invest in long-term real estate.
 

What were the challenges of making that investment? Why will it be worth it in the long run?

Whenever you’re working with AI models, your biggest challenge is to ensure data quality. When you put garbage in you get garbage out, which makes the quality of data you’re inputting very important in achieving accurate outcomes. This means you have to be extremely patient and take the time to build quality data pipelines and tune models. 

We have no doubt that our investment in the AI model will generate significant benefits. Having a digital twin of a network operation as large as ours will improve operational efficiencies at lower costs, enhance productivity on the dock, ensure right-sized staffing levels and ultimately enable us to provide even better service to our customers.

 

 

Millie Cowoski
Sr Manager Digital Commerce & Experience Solutions • The Hershey Company

Hershey is a global candy and snack company whose brands include Reese’s, Skinny Pop and Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels.

 

What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean to you? 

Digital Transformation is about the ability to adapt in rapidly changing environments, effective collaboration and embracing change. It goes beyond technology implementation and involves a significant emphasis on both process and people. While enabling technology is often the straightforward part, simplifying and reducing complexities are essential for long-standing organizations like Hershey. Successful digital transformation demands discipline, a focus on value-driving areas and openness to new opportunities. 

 

Transformation goes beyond technology implementation and involves a significant emphasis on both process and people.

 

What is a recent key technological investment Hershey has made recently? 

At the enterprise level, investing in our SAP backbone is crucial. The ongoing migration to SAP S4/HANA’s enterprise resource planning software is not only about changing the technology landscape; it is significantly impacting how we work. Strong support from leadership and robust change management strategies ensures successful implementations and, more importantly, user adoption. In the commercial organization, we are currently investing more in SAP to improve our e-commerce and content syndication pipelines. Identifying new opportunities for our business through insights related to preferences, behaviors and market trends is vital to growth. This is particularly relevant as we integrate new brands into our landscape. 


What were the challenges of making that investment? Why will it be worth it in the long run? 

One of the major hurdles we face is resistance to change, which can lead to feelings of discomfort no matter how big or small the change may be. I strongly believe that the advantages that come with change outweigh the challenges. In an ever-changing and fiercely competitive market, Hershey cannot afford to stay stagnant. We must be willing to break through the boundaries of what a company that has been running for more than a century is deemed capable of achieving.

 

 

Pierre Habis
Chief Consumer & Digital Transformation Officer, Santander Bank • Santander US

 Santander US is the American arm of the Spanish multinational bank, Santander. The bank offers consumer, small business and commercial banking services.

 

What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean to you? 

The world is changing rapidly. Consumers have been adopting digital technologies for years, and the pandemic accelerated that shift. Businesses like Uber, Zoom and DoorDash were created with this reality. Banks are experiencing a similar evolution, and that presents us with a tremendous opportunity. To me, digital transformation means finding ways to simplify processes, reevaluate our services and become a more efficient organization, resulting in improved experiences for both Santander customers and employees. 

 

What is a recent key technological investment Santander has made recently?

Recently, Santander Bank embarked on a journey to digitize millions of paper records across its retail branch network with an aim to improve customer service, streamline processes and reduce waste — all while safeguarding customer data. Not only will this enhance branch operations by enabling access to digital records from a new, secure repository, but it will also further the bank’s environmental, social and governance goals. Operating in a paperless way is now a guiding principle for us along our digital transformation, and we’re exploring ways to create and retain paperless records moving forward. 

 

What were the challenges of making that investment? Why will it be worth it in the long run? 

Transformation cannot take place all at once. There is a lot to do as we reimagine our work and the way we serve our customers. The journey will not always be easy, but it will be worth it. Customers will have a best-in-class user experience, a simpler product set and an exceptional service experience from our front-line employees. The products we build will support customers on their financial journey with us and help them prosper.

 

The transformation journey will not always be easy, but it will be worth it.

 

 

Javier Polit
Chief Information & Digital Officer • Mondelēz International

Mondelēz International is a global food company with more than 90,000 employees whose brands include Chips Ahoy!, Oreo and Ritz.

 

What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean to you? 

At Mondelēz International, our more than 90,000 global colleagues have embarked upon — and embraced — our digital transformation journey. Together, we are creating a dynamic, digitally curious learning organization. We have established platforms for digital training, are requiring certain certifications and have established an executive digital reverse mentoring program. Our digital services and shared services teams are also focused on becoming stronger technologists as we partner closely with the business in every market to implement the strategies that will help us achieve our vision for 2030. 

 

Together, we are creating a dynamic, digitally curious organization.

 

At Mondelēz, our digital teams are committed to building our digital fluency as we empower the edges of the business to become increasingly digitally literate. Through this shared digital learning culture, we are promoting greater consumer centricity, more powerful customer interactions and flawless end-to-end execution. Our goal is to consistently apply the right digital tools, data analytics and automation to activate our strategies. This allows us to enhance our business models, create more meaningful consumer experiences and unlock new growth opportunities. 

 

What is a recent key technological investment Mondelēz International has made?

Over the past year, Mondelēz International has made material strategic investments to the tune of millions of dollars to further advance our narrow AI, generative AI, cloud and other digital capabilities. We are using these investments to enhance maturity models, create new ways of working and to foster increased business ownership of AI and digital activities, and we are leveraging the early transformational promises generative AI offers. It is a promising space, and with strong collaboration with the business, we see many applications across many dimensions for our global enterprise. 

 

What were the challenges of making that investment? Why will it be worth it in the long run? 

As we started investing in narrow and generative AI, and in many other digital capabilities, we learned we needed to create greater awareness in the business of the importance of data and having a holistic enterprise data strategy. We committed to educating our global team and have blueprinted our data to create an enterprise-wide first, second and third-party data strategy. We have also realigned our strategic data repositories. 

The work Mondelēz International is doing around AI is powered by sound data and data attributes that drive several business levers, such as consumer centricity, customer partnerships and top and bottom-line growth. The results have proven to be rewarding and have created win-win scenarios as we continue to elevate our capability maturity model and enable AI strategies that are truly owned by the business.

 

 

Anupam Gupta
Chief Product Officer • Applied Systems

Applied Systems builds cloud-based automation and broker management software for insurance companies, including AAA, Cadence and PayneWest.

 

What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean to you?

The proliferation of data and technology in the day-to-day lives of consumers has heightened expectations for connected experiences. These expectations transfer to technology providers in industries like insurance, which existed before this tech and data explosion and are now held to similar standards as a result. Digital transformation is core to our product strategy as we look to connect what we refer to as the “digital roundtrip of insurance,” integrating systems, workflows and data across the full lifecycle of an insurance policy. 

Data proves that becoming a leading digital insurance agency — one that adopts and uses technology in smart ways across all roles and in interactions with clients and carrier partners — is a critical component of achieving not just more revenue growth but more profitable revenue growth. Through solutions that digitize critical and high-volume work like renewals and remarketing, agents can maximize revenue and mitigate risk across their book of business.

 

What is a recent key technological investment Applied Systems has made recently?

Enabling this roundtrip experience includes expanding our core product to be open and act as a platform technology, moving it to a modern, browser-based experience, leveraging API connectivity to better connect it to third parties and investing in data lake technology to better centralize, access and create business layers to more easily query data for actionable business insights. For example, we are revolutionizing the way we handle reporting, which requires changes to how we capture data across our portfolio, architect back-end databases and enable our various interfaces to access data.

Using Google’s Looker Studio technology, we can then convert that data into visual dashboards that help answer the most common business questions for key organizational personas. In addition, we’re also leveraging Google Apigee API technology to develop and manage a suite of APIs that open up our ecosystem for customers and partners to integrate with or build functionality on top of.

 

What were the challenges of making that investment? Why will it be worth it in the long run?

As we drive this transformation, we believe the benefits of scale and harnessing the millions of dollars of investment in R&D that organizations like Google can make beyond the applied digital skills program allow us to bring innovative solutions to our customers that leverage best-in-class technology to solve the problems faced by our specific segment of the market. 

The challenge with this approach is ramping up the internal capabilities and talent who have experience with these technologies while balancing the domain knowledge needed to apply the tech to the unique needs of the insurance industry. We are constantly evaluating our growth and hiring strategies to attract a mix of talent that helps us fulfill needs on both fronts, which we also believe ultimately strengthens the overall diversity and culture of our organization.

 

We are constantly evaluating our growth and hiring strategies to attract a mix of talent that helps us fulfill needs.

 

 

Luke Blaszczynski
Director, Infotainment & Connected Engineering • Nissan Motor Corporation

Nissan is a global automaker that sells cars, trucks and SUVs under its own brand. Nissan also sells luxury cars and SUVs under the Infiniti moniker.

 

What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean to you? 

First and foremost, digital transformation is the revolution of a mindset that governed the automotive industry for over 100 years. It’s a mindset that shifts the vehicle from a mode of transportation to an extension of how we interact with the world while commuting. It’s achieved through technical enablement, developmental agility and interaction with our customers beyond the point of sale.

 

Transformation is a mindset that shifts the vehicle from a mode of transportation to an extension of how we interact with the world.

 

What is a recent key technological investment Nissan has made recently?

Globally, digital transformation focuses on regaining and accelerating capabilities, capacities, internal project development and ramping up agile digital skills. Regionally, digital transportation efforts have doubled our Nissan Technical Center North America organizational capability to develop connected solutions, shifted component development to the region and provided the skills that allow us to develop in-house, regional content.

 

What were the challenges of making that investment? Why will it be worth it in the long run? 

The key challenge is to keep up with the rapidly evolving digital market while delivering value to the company and the customer. The industry looks to achieve quality, cost and timing. An old saying states that to deliver a product you must pick any two, but digital transformation has an opportunity to deliver all three. That’s why digital transformation is so revolutionary in the long run.    

 

 

Kristin Russell
President Global Enterprise Computing Solutions • Arrow Electronics, Inc.

Arrow is a technology company that supplies electronic components and enterprise computing solutions. 


What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean to you?

Digital transformation means leveraging technology to drive business outcomes. Those business outcomes must come in the form of revenue growth, improved customer experience and lowering the cost to serve.


What is a recent key technological investment Arrow has made recently?

We are making investments in our digital distribution platforms that are focused on helping our customers find, buy and manage all of their technology needs. Through these efforts, we’re paying special attention to the digital breadcrumbs that our customers leave behind in order for us to continue to enhance and improve their experience and digital journey with Arrow.

 

What were the challenges of making that investment? Why will it be worth it in the long run?

The challenge that I think all companies encounter in taking on digital transformation efforts is not necessarily in the investment or the technology itself but rather the human and change management elements that come along with making the technology investment successful. I have frequently said that “technology is easy, people are hard,” and this is so true in nearly all digital transformation efforts.

 

Technology is easy, people are hard — this is so true in nearly all digital transformation efforts.

 

 

Sid Dixit
VP of Engineering and Product • Maxar Technologies

Maxar is a space technology company whose products include satellites, robotics and geospatial data.

 

What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean to you? 

Digital transformation is a mindset. When adopted correctly, it is not something that exists for a finite amount of time. Rather, it is an ongoing initiative to modernize how you conduct business and meet the needs of your customer. Digital transformation requires creativity — and sometimes a little risk. But that is how you set yourself apart from the competition. You think about your business and customer problems differently than your competitors and use technology in part or in whole to develop a faster, better solution. 

 

Digital transformation requires creativity — and sometimes a little risk.

 

At Maxar, we focus digital transformation on the customer experience. This means thinking about how they use Maxar products, how those applications could improve to meet a diverse set of needs and what technologies need to be developed to realize those gains. 

 

What is a recent key technological investment Maxar has made recently?

We recently announced the launch of Maxar’s Vivid Standard imagery basemap, the geospatial industry’s first global satellite imagery basemap at 30-centimeter high-definition resolution. A globally consistent, high-resolution imagery basemap is a critical component for most mapping methodologies, feature extraction techniques and virtual simulations. It’s also used as the satellite layer in many mobile mapping applications. Vivid Standard represents a major step forward in providing users with access to high-resolution imagery.

Maxar has been providing 30-centimeter resolution imagery since 2014, but a lot of work is required to turn those imagery strips into a complete global basemap. In fact, the Vivid Standard basemap includes about 400,000 individual image strips, representing a major feat of engineering. 

To help ensure the high quality of this imagery, we use a proprietary HD technology that intelligently increases the number of pixels and enhances visual clarity, enabling us to increase the number of images available in our image library for building the 30-centimeter HD imagery basemap. By combining our proprietary HD technology with innovative collection planning, Maxar has been able to deliver a product that sets a new benchmark for our industry, but our work continues. We are regularly updating this basemap to ensure it is current while also consistently innovating new enhancements to meet evolving customer needs.

 

What were the challenges of making that investment? Why will it be worth it in the long run? 

One of the biggest challenges is ensuring you have the right skill sets and processes to enable change. It requires a cultural shift, moving from thinking about siloed solutions to a bigger, integrated solution. We’ve invested in our workforce, hiring people with new skill sets while also empowering team members to build up their skills to align with business needs. We are evolving the way we deliver software, adopting a nimbler approach focused on smaller iterations of the final design that can be tested and optimized faster. For initiatives like our 30-centimeter HD satellite imagery basemap, we’re prioritizing customer insights throughout the development process. 

One of the best parts of this journey was watching my team shed their old way of doing things and tackle the challenge of transforming how we work. What the team delivered has created so much excitement, and team members are able to feel ownership of those accomplishments. Through this initiative, the creativity and ingenuity of Maxar’s engineers was highlighted, as well as the recognition of their importance to the company’s future success. It’s an exciting time to be at Maxar. We continue to invest in our digital transformation journey, and we’re always on the hunt for doers and thinkers who are passionate about the intersection of data science, new technology and the space industry.

 

 

Christina Costello
Director, Strategic Planning, STAR • The Kraft Heinz Company

Kraft Heinz is a global food company whose brands include Lunchables, Capri-Sun and Oscar Mayer.

 

What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean to you?

In my eyes, digital transformation means utilizing the products, building the capabilities and partnering with digital innovators to reimagine our portfolio at Kraft Heinz. Effective transformation takes time, and while digital innovations emerge daily, it is important to be discerning as to what we choose to transform. Transformation must be purposeful and create long-term value for people because that is who we exist to serve. 

Transformation must be purposeful and create long-term value.


What is a recent key technological investment Kraft Heinz has made recently? 

The Kraft Heinz strategy and digital team has invested in building over 15 agile pods to focus on running and transforming the business. In 2022, Kraft Heinz launched Insights2Action, an internal digital product to improve our speed and capability in gathering unique data and identifying insights to benefit our commercial performance at retail. Insights2Action has directly improved our relationships with key customers as we are empowered by data to move toward solutions more effectively. 

 

What were the challenges of making that investment? Why will it be worth it in the long run? 

The challenge is ensuring we are purposeful with our transformation and that we are investing for long-term, positive return. Our executive team is routinely evaluating the performance of our digital innovations, and the goal is to learn, become more agile and improve the experience of our customers that partner with us. Transformation is about meeting the growing and changing needs of people. At the end of the day, transforming the way we work and the products we create will always be worth it because people’s experiences matter.

 

 

Dan Stusynski
VP Software Engineering, Dental • Patterson Companies

Patterson Companies is a distributor of software, products and equipment, and technology and services to the dental and veterinary industries in North America and the United Kingdom.

 

What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean to you?

Digital transformation is about your business’s relevance today and tomorrow. Digital transformation shifts every aspect of your business — culture, people, processes and workflows, internal and external customer experiences, and strategy — to have technology at the core. Specifically, your digital capabilities must enable nimbleness by leveraging cloud, connected devices, systems interoperability and machine learning through people to capture opportunities quickly, improve operational excellence and have engaged talent.

 

What is a recent key technological investment Patterson Companies has made recently?

There are many examples: from enterprise resource planning systems and customer relationship management software to security tooling and pipeline automation. Recently, Patterson technology professionals came together for our week-long TechDays event where we invest in ourselves to inspire, learn and create. 

This event includes renowned opening and closing keynote speakers on innovation and emerging technologies, a day-long technology conference with three talk tracks across technologies, customer-centricity and collaboration with internal and external experts; a companywide hackathon, panel discussions with our business leaders on market dynamics, social gatherings and more, all done in a remote-first environment. We believe investing in ourselves to inspire, learn and create fosters sparks of ingenuity that push our transformation forward.

 

What were the challenges of making that investment? Why will it be worth it in the long run?

Like any investment, there is a risk of failure to achieve impact. The first challenge is gaining alignment and commitment to the vision of your business future and why this investment matters. You’re investing to drive change and shift from what you have today. Then you run into the challenge of building organizational momentum toward that future. 

 

Like any investment, there is a risk of failure to achieve impact.

 

In our case, we’re driving technology evolution within our culture to where our technology teams are leading the digital transformation of every aspect of Patterson as thought leaders. Investing in events like ours can transform culture, people and operations. It creates energy and passion as well as focus and alignment. Beyond that, an organization that invests in its people to inspire, learn and build is a winning company.

 

 

Dan Phillips
Executive Vice President & Chief Technology Officer • Chamberlain Group

Chamberlain Group makes access simple. Millions of people depend on their products every day to seamlessly and securely access their homes, businesses and communities.

 

What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean to you?

To me it means a major shift in many different aspects — it’s not just one thing. From a product and technology perspective, it’s an expansion from a physical, mechanical world to an interactive, thinking world. It means that our products are always connected to the rest of the world and that our customers expect new features that enhance their lives on a regular basis. It’s a transformation from functionality-focused products to experience-focused products.

 

We're in a transformation from functionality-focused products to experience-focused products.

 

From a people, process and business perspective, it means we’re transforming the way we think about every aspect of our business, including subscription services. In turn, we need to move at the speed of the internet to serve our customers and to think differently about the way we build, support, market and sell our products. It also means a dramatic shift in our product development lifecycle.

 

What is a recent key technological investment Chamberlain has made recently?

In the connected home landscape, Chamberlain Group is rapidly moving from opening your garage or gate to managing access reliably, securely and conveniently. Our recent product release with the myQ Smart Garage Video Keypad was a major step in our evolution of bringing video and access together as we build out a connected access ecosystem in the home. People detection, facial recognition and temporary access credentials are just a few of the technologies and capabilities that can now become part of home access. 

 

What were the challenges of making that investment? Why will it be worth it in the long run?

Shifting from a traditional manufacturing investment to a software-centric investment was a major shift for Chamberlain Group and required new skills and resources, along with developing a new mindset across the company. We needed to invest in new people, technologies and processes to develop the product, as well as new ways to market and sell the product.

While all new innovations can be challenging, we were first to market with bringing robust video technology and home access together into one integrated product. It’s a strategic part of a broader access ecosystem that fits nicely into home IoT.

 

 

Sreelatha Surendranathan
Chief Digital Officer • UL Solutions

UL Solutions is an applied safety science company that offers testing, inspection, certification services and software solutions to manufacturers across the globe.

 

What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean to you? 

Digital transformation is about new ways of delivering value to our customers and the marketplace by leveraging technology. This includes digitizing data to help unearth new insights, like recurrence of failure and root cause analysis. It is the digitization of processes so that rote and routine workflows can be automated using artificial intelligence, computer vision and robotics to increase efficiency, productivity and lower the margin of error. It is about upskilling the current workforce for higher-order tasks.

 

Transformation is about new ways of delivering value to our customers and the marketplace by leveraging technology.

 

At UL Solutions, we focus on a science-based approach to helping our customers address the functional safety, security and sustainability of their products. We combine testing, inspection and certification services with software that provides comprehensive solutions to the manufacturing ecosystem. The key digital drivers in are the customers’ global market access needs and the advanced levels of innovation in the manufacturing and retailer space. 

In digitized manufacturing, conformity and compliance must be established before the product moves into the assembly line. Our customers want us to evaluate digital twins of the physical product, plant or process. This calls for simulation technology and other digitized TIC solutions. Our digital transformation is moving our testing and ongoing follow-up services into solutions that enable the automation of instrumentation data collection, digitized test requests and test results. 

This automation reduces reliance on manual intervention to chain tests, gather results or handle exceptions and alerting. Finally, digitization and automation transform an industry that is document-centric to digitized data sheets and test reports that are automatically generated.  


What is a recent key technological investment UL Solutions has made recently?

We have made a key digital investment in creating a regulatory intelligence platform that supports global market access to address the intersection between the product and the governing regulatory constructs and alerting functions that follow and sense a regulation change.  
 

What were the challenges of making that investment? Why will it be worth it in the long run? 

With the world becoming more complex, interconnected and demanding, our customers must address constantly changing global and local regulatory requirements while meeting market demands for faster innovation and increased safety, security and sustainability.​ Leveraging our 129 years of science-based expertise to expand our focus into digital and knowledge-based technologies, our intent with this investment is to help them make better, data-driven decisions, boost their productivity and achieve compliance in a demanding regulatory environment.

 

Ken Bolick
VP of Product & UX Design • Retail Business Services

Retail Business Services is the services arm of Ahold Delhaize USA, or ADUSA, and provides technical support and solutions to the company’s five different grocery brands.

 

What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean to you?

Ken Bolick, VP of Product & UX Design: “At Retail Business Services, we are pursuing what we call the connected customer strategy. We believe this approach will enable each of the brands we support to thrive in an omnichannel world by meeting customer needs whenever, wherever and however they shop.”

Tom Blackburn, VP of Solutions Development: “Technological advancements and digital transformations are essential to delivering this strategy successfully. Digital enhancements not only drive a positive experience for customers but for associates too, and our people are at the center of delivering for customers.”


What is a key technological investment Retail Business Services has made recently?

Blackburn: “The solutions development team partnered with HR to implement a common platform to expand our ability to interact with our associates. Our prior tool could only be accessed on a user’s personal computer, and the experience was not as seamless as it could be. In 2018, we began a digital transformation to make this better for our associates.

“The implementation of this modernized HR solution allows associates and the local brands of ADUSA to perform activities such as viewing their pay stubs or make use of many self-service requests. Managers and human resource business partners can also use the mobile application to view their organizations and initiate transactions, such as status changes or hiring.”

 

What were the challenges of making that investment? Why will it be worth it in the long run?

Blackburn: “The transformation took five years from start to finish as all local brands of ADUSA needed to complete the migration. Unwinding the complexity of some of our legacy HR applications was also challenging. That said, investing in our people is always worthwhile, both in the short-term and long-term. We’re now able to meet our associates where they are, allowing them to access what they need when they need it as well as creating a more seamless experience."

 

 


 

Great Companies Need Great People. That's Where We Come In.

Recruit With Us