Technology Transformation and The Strategic C-Suite | November 2

Technology Transformation & The Strategic C-Suite
November 2, 2023 | New York

C-suite executives need to evolve if they want to excel in a business environment increasingly marked by market disruption, geopolitical uncertainty and faster technological advances. We brought together industry leaders to discuss strategies for a transformational mindset and the tools needed to create robust, efficient and effective outcomes throughout an organization.

Speakers included:

Mathias Carlbaum, President & CEO, Navistar
Jay DePaul, Chief Cybersecurity & Technology Risk Officer, Dun & Bradstreet
Rafi Ezry, Managing Partner, US Industrial Market, IBM Consulting
Iwao Fusillo, Global Head of Data & Analytics, eCommerce, PepsiCo
Karen Hanlon, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Highmark Health
Gal Krubiner, Co-Founder & CEO, Pagaya
Satyan Parameswaran, President, Information Technology, UPS
Monica Proothi, Partner, Global Finance Transformation, IBM Consulting
Scott Roe, Chief Financial Officer & Chief Operating Officer, Tapestry

Bloomberg participants:

  • Lynn Doan, Managing Editor, Europe & US East Technology & Global Cybersecurity, Bloomberg
  • Lisa Mateo, Business Correspondent, Bloomberg
  • Mark Miller, Global Editor, Bloomberg Live Experiences

Event Highlights:

Panel Discussion: Harnessing a Data Explosion

‘Data for good,’ is the mantra of Gal Krubiner, Co-Founder & CEO, Pagaya. “If I had to put it into one sentence, we believe the purpose of data is to help the poor consumers who would have otherwise been denied credit.” In the U.S, even with its complex and modern system, 42% of Americans are still denied; a really big issue, he said. Pagaya’s efforts result in more than half of personal loans going to various minority applicants, bringing those consumers into the mainstream economy, “simply by putting data into play.” On ChatGPT, he said it sparked the biggest marketing effort of AI, and “made it tangible, and helped us explain and explore what the power of AI really is.”

 Iwao Fusillo, Global Head of Data & Analytics, eCommerce, PepsiCo, offered up real world anecdotes about the different ways they use data; natural language processing, giving computers the ability to read human text, and image processing, using the data around it to optimize products descriptions for a better customer experience. ”It goes back to the predictive and prescriptive analytics around demand forecasting. A little known stat in the Consumer Packaged Goods industry is, whether you’re online or in store, as much as 25% of the time, the consumer does not see availability of the product they want.” He compared it to dial-up Internet, when it could take minutes, or even hours, for a page to load. “That’s how business intelligence can be, for a supply chain executive, a marketing professional, a salesperson. They need to have the answer in the moment in time that they’re asking the question.”

Fusillo was prompted to talk a little about his time with the NFL, where he helped innovate clean rooms

 Case Study: How Navistar is innovating for the future

International Harvester began manufacturing farm equipment in 1831. Today, it’s building trucks and school buses, and electric vehicles, on a journey that includes a long-term collaboration with IBM. Mathias Carlbaum, President & CEO, Navistar and Rafi Ezry, Managing Partner, US Industrial Market, IBM Consulting, talked about the challenges in the industrial sector and the transition struggle for legacy companies.

 Ezry said the three most common transformational components are technology that not only enhances but de-risks the transition, a clearly defined purpose and vision, and an efficient allocation of resources. “In order to do that, you cannot start from scratch. You have to locate the trusted technology partner or partners that can bring the foundational components of both the technology side and the expertise side. There is no other way for companies with long legacies to actually catch up and try to do everything on their own.”

 On moving into a more sustainable production model and data’s role, Carlbaum noted road transport accounts for 7% of global emissions, requiring the industry to drive the solutions.  “We have just developed our last combustion engine. Our R&D efforts into future battery technology and all that is way beyond 50% of our entire budget of about €20 billion.” He reflected about coming to the U.S. two years ago and predicting how fast the EV transition here was going to come. But he sees societal differences; that the transition is a much bigger part of societal behavior in Europe.

 Embracing Enterprise-Wide Artificial Intelligence

Karen Hanlon, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Highmark Health said data loss is a major risk, especially in healthcare. “We take that very seriously, so we’ve put a lot of time into thinking about how we’re treating the data, what data we’re using and where we’re taking proper precautions, moving very intently.” She advised being mindful of pace and priorities. “In many industries, there are so many potential use cases that I think what you choose to work on first, how you sequence things, and the amount of work that you decide to undertake at any given point in time can be a risk if you’re not very thoughtful about it.” It all needs to match up with internal talent, but most importantly, “it’s the data.” 

At UPS, Satyan Parameswaran, President, Information Technology, has learned that the most important aspect of their challenges is to not undermine the humans. “We do not compare AI to the intelligence of humans. You just want to make sure it’s a companion, it’s the glue, it’s the knowledgeable friend that’s going to help us to do better.” They are very mindful of what it can actually do, and if it is going to do the right thing, consistently. “Our challenge is to do the right thing by the customers and employees, and play by the rules.” 

Jay DePaul, Chief Cybersecurity & Technology Risk Officer, Dun & Bradstreet takes the stance that security doesn’t need to be reinvented. New technology causes people to think they need to revolutionize things. “While this does revolutionize what we all do, foundational elements of security and crime scene should already be in place to help you defend in a strong manner. You don’t need to start from scratch. You just need to be able to adapt to be able to defend.” He added that lifecycle development needs to include new risks from LMs and generative AI. His advice is to remember that the data going into models is just as important, if not more so, than the data coming out, because, at the end of the day, cloud, data centers and people’s devices means there is no boundary anymore.

 Case Study: The New Chief Financial Officer

Looking back over 30 years of experience, and the resulting need for personal and organizational reinvention, Scott Roe, Chief Financial Officer & Chief Operating Officer, Tapestry, said the foundational principles don’t really change. It’s always been important to understand the outcome you’re trying to achieve – “We can be a hammer looking for a nail” – and to be able to explain it in simple terms. ”If you get into it and it’s too complex, well maybe you need to take another look at it. When somebody says I’ve got this great new technology, I want to ask, ‘How does that help the consumer?,’ ‘How does that drive your business and how are we going to know what success looks like?’”

When it comes to ingraining that into corporate culture, it’s tricky. “We’re talking about technology today, but it’s really people, process and technology.” It’s key to have the right sponsors in place and the right skills, to understand the market model, and then think about the technology.

As for what is top of mind, Roe said, “We’re in a cool industry, the fashion business, and it’s moving really, really quickly.” Their luxury brand online business has tripled in the last three years, which is a transformation in itself. Add to that a new deal to acquire Capri Holdings, the parent company of Versace, Jimmy Choo and Michael Kors. “How we take some of these learnings and apply them to greater scale, that’s what gets me excited.”

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