Tag Archives: transformation

Digital transformation projects are an opportunity for healthcare CIOs

IT departments are central to digital transformation projects in healthcare. But for those projects to be successful, healthcare CIOs will need to ensure they’re ticking off the basic IT checklist while pushing their departments into new territory.

John Kravitz, CIO at Geisinger Health System in Danville, Penn., said digital transformation, or the use of digital technology to change how healthcare operates and delivers care, requires healthcare CIOs to think outside the box and consider new, digital ways to make IT and the overall health system operate more efficiently.

“Looking at transformation and how we’re about to approach that in IT, it’s extremely important that we take off the blinders and we look at things in a different way,” Kravitz said.

Before pursuing a digital transformation project, healthcare CIOs should start with the fundamentals such as making sure the healthcare organization has a solid IT infrastructure in place, according to Kravitz. At the 2019 CHIME Fall CIO Forum, Kravitz and Judy Kirby, CEO of executive search firm Kirby Partners in Heathrow, Fla., talked about why that strong IT foundation is so important and how healthcare CIOs can successfully lead digital transformation projects.

Building a strong foundation

Today’s healthcare CIOs are expected to be experts on emerging technology, yet they’re also tasked with IT basics like keeping the lights on.

Kirby Partners CEO Judy KirbyJudy Kirby

“Organizations are saying, ‘We’ve got to be digital; we’ve got to be transformational,'” Kirby said. “Yet they’re really confused on what that means and how to get there.”

For healthcare CIOs to lead digital transformation projects, Kirby said it’s necessary to get four things right first:

  1. Focus on the fundamentals

To get started, Kirby said it’s vital healthcare CIOs take stock of how the IT infrastructure is performing. Having an IT system that functions “exceptionally” can provide a strong foundation for digital transformation projects, she said.

“If you don’t have the IT train on the track, you can’t transform,” Kirby said. “So, you’ve got to do that first, you’ve got to do it well, you’ve got to do it exceptionally.”

She recommended CIOs use key performance indicators to set expectations for IT employees and to provide transparent metrics on what they need to deliver on, she said.

  1. Build up health IT leaders

Building a successful IT team means identifying weak links and finding ways to make the entire team stronger, Kirby said. Healthcare CIOs will need strong leaders to be digital transformation ambassadors, and their success will hinge on relationships within the healthcare organization. CIOs can lead by example to demonstrate how to build those relationships and provide good service, she said.

Kirby gave the example of a successful CIO who “insists on rounding,” or going out into the healthcare organization to assess employee needs and to foster relationships between IT and the clinical staff.

“When he sends his CTO out there to round, they don’t go by themselves,” she said “They go with one of their technicians who has a cartful of goodies — monitors, cables — so that when [they encounter] an issue, they try to fix it right there.”

  1. Keep the IT team engaged

Healthcare CIOs should engage their teams not just by setting expectations but by helping them meet realistic goals and celebrating the victories along the way. Celebrating success can go a long way in keeping the team engaged, she said.

“Don’t just make it when something large is going on, celebrate a lot,” Kirby said. “It keeps them happy, it keeps them successful, it keeps them wanting to do better and wanting to do more. I know you’re busy, but take the time.”

For Kirby, engagement also means taking the time to help the IT team grow and develop, she said.

  1. Communicate

Lastly, healthcare CIOs need to communicate frequently, in detail and in a way that is easy to understand, Kirby said.

“If there’s one thing we hear when we’re out there doing site visits, it’s, ‘We want a great communicator,'” Kirby said.

Leading digital transformation

Geisinger’s Kravitz comes at digital transformation from firsthand experience.

Looking at transformation and how we’re about to approach that in IT, it’s extremely important that we take off the blinders and we look at things in a different way.
John KravitzCIO, Geisinger Health System

While Kirby talked about the importance of building a strong foundation to support digital transformation projects, Kravitz spoke about how healthcare CIOs can then drive that transformation within their healthcare organizations.

He said successful digital transformation projects need executive leadership support. CIOs charged with leading the effort not just across IT but across the whole organization should make sure the IT and executive leadership teams are in sync on goals. Doing so presents a vision to employees and sets clear priorities.

Geisinger Health System CIO John KravitzJohn Kravitz

Kravitz said a good place to start is to identify three to five processes critical to the organization and then find ways to change and enhance those processes through digitization, such as making it easier for low-acuity patients in emergency rooms to receive care via telemedicine visits instead of waiting hours for an in-person visit.

“Look at those types of things where you make it a lot simpler, a lot cleaner,” Kravitz said. “Look at all the opportunities within your health system for faster service.”

Digital transformation isn’t just a top-down project, according to Kravitz. He said healthcare CIOs need to also start at the bottom by establishing performance targets for employees. Here, it’s important to assess and measure productivity, set clear goals and benchmark those goals, Kravitz said.

Kravitz said healthcare CIOs should also help to create a governance committee of executive and IT leaders from across the organization. The committee is charged with keeping the healthcare organization on the same page during the digital transformation effort. It is also responsible for establishing a communication program that provides regular progress updates and includes meetings for the project. Finally, it should work to develop what Kravitz called a “digital narrative” that will be used to explain the project and get buy-in from employees.

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SAP partner program strives for long-term relationship with customers

The SAP partner program has undergone a transformation that the company believes makes it more relevant for today’s business and technology environment.

Partners have played a significant role in building the SAP ecosystem by reselling SAP products, providing strategic consulting, system design, application integration and other services. In the on-premises world, partners’ main focus was on selling and implementing SAP systems. However, as SAP’s product portfolio has broadened and the cloud has become critical to SAP’s future, the role of the SAP partner program is shifting away from sales to “customer success.”

SAP still wants its partners to sell SAP products, but in the cloud-centric world, it is pushing them to also build successful applications for customers and to continue that relationship long after an implementation. The new partner model is needed to drive the intelligent enterprise, which SAP defines as an organization that uses next-generation technology to transform processes and business models.

In this Q&A, Karl Fahrbach, SAP chief partner officer, discusses the recent changes in the SAP partner program and its priorities going forward. In March, SAP’s board of directors appointed Fahrbach as SAP’s first chief partner officer, a role designed to formalize SAP’s intentions to be a partner-focused company.

Why has the SAP partner program changed its focus from sales and implementation to ‘customer success?’

Karl Fahrbach: The main model for the partners was implementation, but things have changed a lot in the past 10 years at SAP. We have acquired many companies and have a different vision. We don’t just have one ERP product, we now have the intelligent enterprise with ERP at the core, and we have line-of-business solutions that we run on top of the SAP Cloud Platform.

Karl FahrbachKarl Fahrbach

All of this means that the opportunities for partners have changed. A study we did with IDC said the partner economy will double in the next five years from $100 billion to $200 billion because SAP offers a much bigger portfolio now … but we questioned if our partner program was ready to support that growth and change. So we have created a new, next generation partnering initiative that focuses on making sure that our partners have better access to innovation, a better experience and better economics to be profitable in this new reality.

What does the next generation partner initiative do differently than previous initiatives?

Fahrbach: We still have the PartnerEdge program, where we put the partners in boxes — SIs [systems integrators], VARs [value-added resellers], ISVs [independent software vendors] or startups. But in this new next generation evolution, we’re moving away from putting partners in boxes and looking more at the value that the partner adds to the customer. The new initiative looks at the customer lifecycle and the value that the partner adds in each of those steps. Before, we looked at partners from a sales cycle perspective, which helped us to sell and helped us implement what we sold, but then it stopped. Now in the cloud, the most relevant [key performance indicator] that we have is looking at customer success. 

Will the next generation partner initiative help smaller partners that are often the leaders in innovation?

Fahrbach: If you look at yesterday’s program, the best partner was the one that sold the most. Now we want to look not only at the quantity of the business, but the quality. One big change in the new partner program is that it will benefit the smaller firms. If you have a small boutique partner that does a fantastic job helping customers with fast adoption of SAP products, we want to reward it accordingly, even if it’s not selling the products. In the past, this partner was maybe not as relevant for us because it wasn’t selling, but now we’re looking at different metrics.

How are you tracking these new metrics?

Fahrbach: We’ve changed the way that we get feedback from partners, and we’ve also established a partner advisory council, with everyone from the big SIs to small boutique partners. We’re working on ways to provide a better partner experience and better access to innovation technologies.

Why did the SAP board create the role of chief partner officer, which is fairly unique in the software industry?

Fahrbach: The board considered the partner business as something that was going to be the innovation driver for SAP. If you look at SAP in the last 10 years, we have developed many innovative products. But when you look at the speed of innovation, we need to do something different to keep up with this pace without adding more developers. So we decided the key driver for innovation will be to work with partners. The board realized this and decided that we need to double down on the partner focus in the ecosystem. So they created the role of chief partner officer. It sends a very strong message to the market that we are a partner-led company, and we want the partners to be successful.

Will this new partner model continue given the changes in the SAP board and executive leadership this year?

Fahrbach: Yes, this will continue and the board is committed to the partner business. Both of the co-CEOs, Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein, really care about the partner business and want to make sure that the partners contribute even more to the SAP business. Adaire Fox-Martin [head of SAP global customer operations], who I report to on the board, runs the partner business and the customer business, and she really cares as well about the partner business. Even though there have been changes, we see more commitment in the board for the partner business. It’s good to change the mindset and that’s something that needs to happen as well in SAP. Ten years ago we were direct, and would leverage the partners to implement systems or serve markets that were new for us or we couldn’t really touch, like the SME segment. Now the partner business is where the partner will be always involved in creating value for the customer. That’s the mindset that we’re trying to shift to.

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BizDevOps, DevOps feedback loops guide IT transformation

For many IT shops, BizDevOps and DevOps feedback loops are the final stage of the digital transformation process, but one enterprise found them a useful place to start.

When American Fidelity Assurance Company, an insurance company in Oklahoma City that specializes in employee benefits, began its transition to DevOps in 2015, it rolled out continuous integration (CI) and deployment tools for application development, which is a customary starting point. At the same time, the company deployed Dynatrace monitoring tools to give developers fast feedback on the causes of software defects in production.

Dynatrace competes with other DevOps monitoring vendors such as New Relic and Cisco AppDynamics, which began with a focus on application performance monitoring, and have all added AI-driven automation and infrastructure monitoring features in recent years. Dynatrace was spun out of Compuware in 2014, while its main competitors were founded in 2008.

When American Fidelity first engaged with Dynatrace, its focus was on monitoring how customers interacted with digital products, or digital experience management, based on its 2015 acquisition of Keynote. Most DevOps monitoring tools now offer customer experience management features, but at the time, that was a Dynatrace specialty, and it helped American Fidelity compose its initial to-do list for application development.

This focus on DevOps feedback loops to guide developer workflows is something IT pros typically do much later in the DevOps transformation process, analysts say. 

“Monitoring is often an afterthought,” said Nancy Gohring, analyst at 451 Research. “People adopt new cloud technologies, then DevOps, but monitoring hasn’t been baked in, and they haven’t been prescriptive about how to approach it — and then they start running into problems.”

American Fidelity’s experience has been the opposite. While it deploys applications through a CI/CD pipeline, its IT infrastructure is still mostly on-premises VMware virtual machines, though a move to public cloud is underway. Rather than focus on cloud-native infrastructure automation, the company focused first on continuously improving the applications it delivers on the infrastructure it already had.

People often don’t realize that Dynatrace provides the ability to prioritize the areas of your applications that are most used for improvement. You can tell how many times something is called and how often it is called, and what will give you the most bang for your buck.
Gary CarrCloud infrastructure architect, American Fidelity

Even without highly complex microservices architectures, that infrastructure was becoming more complicated than IT staff could manage through manual intervention as the company deployed new network security devices and adopted microsegmentation.

“Developers did not have enough visibility to see all the connections between systems,” said Gary Carr, cloud infrastructure architect at American Fidelity. “They spent a lot of time troubleshooting the log files, exception messages, and even more time trying to reproduce issues in our development environments.”

Dynatrace sped up troubleshooting, but also helped the company prioritize which defects to fix first.

“People often don’t realize that Dynatrace provides the ability to prioritize the areas of your applications that are most used for improvement,” Carr said. “You can tell how many times something is called and how often it is called, and what will give you the most bang for your buck.”

BizDevOps feedback guides product roadmaps, software backlog

Developers and IT operations pros at American Fidelity gained visibility into applications deployed with DevOps feedback loops, but the company also gave application managers and marketing personnel access to Dynatrace dashboards, which help them make decisions on what to develop next. This practice, known as BizDevOps, is the ultimate goal for many companies that undergo digital transformation, but most enterprises still fall short of realizing that ideal.

Marketers at American Fidelity, however, already use Dynatrace dashboards and user experience monitoring tools to look at customers’ browser requirements, where website traffic is coming from, site response times and which products are used most. Dynatrace also analyzes those metrics to generate an overall customer experience rating that business managers use to determine what’s most in need of improvement.

In the meantime, American Fidelity’s DevOps teams rolled out advances in Dynatrace’s products as they emerged since 2015, such as the DAVIS data analytics system. DAVIS narrows down the root cause of IT incidents and generates ServiceNow support tickets for IT incident response. Dynatrace can also automate the response to incidents without human intervention, including rolling back problematic application deployments, but American Fidelity hasn’t yet used those features.

“While improving automation could possibly help us, there are times when the change that it’s going to make is not enough to take focus off our main projects,” Carr said. “Our goal is always to focus on our customers to make sure we can provide things like the fastest efficient claim process, the best enrollment system.”

Public cloud, containers and other advanced IT automation is on the to-do list for the company, as is exploring AIOps automation. In the meantime, Carr said he’d like to see Dynatrace offer the same kinds of troubleshooting and feedback for application security that it does for application performance.

“With Dynatrace, you’re already in the middle of transactions, you’re involved in the networking, you are involved in the data sources, and all the services,” Carr said. “It would be nice if Dynatrace actually had some implementation of security … in that same view.”

A Dynatrace spokesperson said the vendor is open to customer feedback on its roadmap, but that security is not a focus currently.

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Azure publishes guidance for secure cloud adoption by governments

Governments around the world are in the process of a digital transformation, actively investigating solutions and selecting architectures that will help them transition many of their workloads to the cloud. There are many drivers behind the digital transformation, including the need to engage citizens, empower employees, transform government services, and optimize government operations. Governments across the world are also looking to improve their cybersecurity posture to secure their assets and counter the evolving threat landscape.

To help governments worldwide get answers to common cloud security related questions, Microsoft published a white paper, titled Azure for Secure Worldwide Public Sector Cloud Adoption. This paper addresses common security and isolation concerns pertinent to worldwide public sector customers. It also explores technologies available in Azure to help safeguard unclassified, confidential, and sensitive workloads in the public multi-tenant cloud in combination with Azure Stack and Azure Data Box Edge deployed on-premises and at the edge for fully disconnected scenarios involving highly sensitive data. The paper addresses common customer concerns, including:

  • Data residency and data sovereignty
  • Government access to customer data, including CLOUD Act related questions
  • Data encryption, including customer control of encryption keys
  • Access to customer data by Microsoft personnel
  • Threat detection and prevention
  • Private and hybrid cloud options
  • Cloud compliance and certifications
  • Conceptual architecture for classified workloads

Azure can be used by governments worldwide to meet rigorous data protection requirements.

For governments and the public sector industry worldwide, Microsoft provides Azure – a public multi-tenant cloud services platform that government agencies can use to deploy a variety of solutions. A multi-tenant cloud platform implies that multiple customer applications and data are stored on the same physical hardware. Azure uses logical isolation to segregate each customer’s applications and data from those of others. This approach provides the scale and economic benefits of multi-tenant cloud services while rigorously helping prevent customers from accessing one another’s data or applications.

A hyperscale public cloud provides resiliency in times of natural disaster or other disturbances. The cloud provides capacity for failover redundancy and empowers sovereign nations with flexibility regarding global resiliency planning. A hyperscale public cloud also offers a feature-rich environment incorporating the latest cloud innovations such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT) services, intelligent edge, and more. This rich feature set helps government customers increase efficiency and unlock insights into their operations and performance.

Using Azure’s public cloud capabilities, customers benefit from rapid feature growth, resiliency, and the cost-effective operation of the hyperscale cloud while still obtaining the levels of isolation, security, and confidence required to handle workloads across a broad spectrum of data classifications, including unclassified and classified data. Leveraging Azure isolation technologies, as well as intelligent edge capabilities (such as Azure Stack and Azure Data Box Edge), customers can process confidential and sensitive data in secure isolated infrastructure within Azure’s multi-tenant regions or highly sensitive data at the edge under the customer’s full operational control.

To get answers to common cloud security related questions, government customers worldwide should review Azure for Secure Worldwide Public Sector Cloud Adoption. To learn more about how Microsoft helps customers meet their own compliance obligations across regulated industries and markets worldwide, review “Microsoft Azure compliance offerings.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Microsoft Office 365 now available from new South Africa cloud datacenters

As Microsoft strives to support the digital transformation of organizations and enterprises around the world, we continue to drive innovation and expand into new geographies to empower more customers with Office 365, the world’s leading cloud-based productivity solution, with more than 180 million commercial monthly active users. Today, we’re taking another step in our ongoing investment to help enable digital transformation and societal impact across Africa with the general availability of Office 365 services from our new cloud datacenters in South Africa.

Office 365, delivered from local datacenters in South Africa, helps our customers enable the modern workplace and empower their employees with real-time collaboration and cloud-powered intelligence while maintaining security, compliance, and in-country customer data residency. The addition of South Africa as a new geography for Office 365 increases the options for secure, cloud productivity services combined with customer data residency in 16 geographies across the globe along with three additional geographies also announced.

In-country data residency for core customer data helps Office 365 customers meet regulatory requirements, which is particularly important and relevant in industries such as healthcare, financial services, and government—where organizations need to keep specific data in-country to comply with local requirements. Customer data residency provides additional assurances regarding data privacy and reliability for organizations and enterprises. Core customer data is stored only in their datacenter geography (Geo)—in this case, the cloud datacenters within South Africa.

Customers like Altron and the Gauteng Provincial Government have used Office 365 to transform their workplaces. This latest development will enable them—and other organizations and enterprises adopting Office 365—to ramp up their digital transformation journey.

“Altron is committed to improving our infrastructure and embracing a strategy to become a cloud-first company to better serve our customers and empower our employees through modern collaboration. We’ve noticed a tangible difference since making the move to Office 365.”
—Debra Marais, Lead, IT Shared Services at Altron

“Office 365 is driving our modernization journey of Government ICT infrastructure and services by allowing us to develop pioneering solutions at manageable costs and create overall improvements in operations management, all while improving transparency and accountability.”
—David Kramer, Deputy Director General, ICT at Gauteng Provincial Government

Microsoft recently became the first global provider to deliver cloud services from the African continent with the opening of our new cloud datacenter regions. Office 365 joins Azure to expand the intelligent cloud service available from Africa. Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, the next generation of intelligent business applications, are anticipated to be available in the fourth quarter of 2019.

By delivering the comprehensive Microsoft cloud—which includes Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365—from datacenters in a given geography, we offer scalable, available, and resilient cloud services to companies and organizations while meeting customer data residency, security, and compliance needs. We have deep expertise in protecting data and empowering customers around the globe to meet extensive security and privacy requirements, including offering the broadest set of compliance certifications and attestations in the industry.

The new cloud regions in South Africa are connected to Microsoft’s other regions via our global network, one of the largest and most innovative on the planet—spanning more than 100,000 miles (161,000 kilometers) of terrestrial fiber and subsea cable systems to deliver services to customers. Microsoft is bringing the global cloud closer to home for African organizations and citizens through our trans-Arabian paths between India and Europe, as well as our trans-Atlantic systems, including Marea, the highest capacity cable to ever cross the Atlantic.

We’re committed to accelerating digital transformation across the continent through numerous initiatives and also recently announced Microsoft’s first Africa Development Centre (ADC), with two initial sites in Nairobi, Kenya and Lagos, Nigeria. The ADC will serve as a premier center of engineering for Microsoft, where world-class African talent can create solutions for local and global impact. With our new cloud datacenter regions, the ADC, and programs like 4Afrika, we believe Africa is poised to develop locally and scale for global impact better than ever before.

Learn more about Office 365 and Microsoft in the Middle East and Africa.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Microsoft and ServiceNow announce strategic partnership – Stories

Together the two companies will accelerate digital transformation for enterprise and government customers
ServiceNow moves workloads to Microsoft Azure for highly regulated industries

Redmond, Wash., and Santa Clara, Calif. — July 9, 2019 — Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) and ServiceNow (NYSE: NOW) today announced a broader strategic partnership intended to significantly enhance the integration and optimization of the companies’ products, platform and cloud capabilities. Through this expanded partnership, the companies will enable enterprise customers in certain highly regulated industries, as well as government customers, to accelerate their digital transformation and drive new levels of insights and innovation. And, for the first time, ServiceNow will house its full SaaS experience on Azure in addition to its own private cloud. The expanded partnership will elevate ServiceNow to one of Microsoft’s strategic partners in its Global ISV Strategic Alliance Portfolio.

“There is an enormous opportunity for customers — including in the public sector — to apply the power of the cloud to become more efficient and responsive,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “Our partnership combines ServiceNow’s expertise in digital workflows with Azure, our trusted cloud, so that customers can accelerate their digital transformation, while meeting their security and compliance needs.”

“Expanding our strategic global relationship with Microsoft enables ServiceNow to more fully leverage and integrate our platform and products with Microsoft’s leading enterprise technology and capabilities,” said John Donahoe, president and CEO of ServiceNow. “Together, ServiceNow and Microsoft will help our enterprise and government customers accelerate their digital transformation, creating great experiences and unlocking productivity.”

The expanded agreement builds on a partnership announced last fall by Microsoft and ServiceNow. As leading enterprise technology platforms, Microsoft and ServiceNow make it easier for customers to integrate and optimize across the two companies’ products and platforms. By collaborating on next-generation experiences, Microsoft and ServiceNow will leverage technology to bring further cognitive services and intelligence to products across the Now Platform® with Microsoft 365 and Azure.

ServiceNow Selects Microsoft Azure for Certain Highly Regulated Industries
ServiceNow will use Azure Cloud as part of its preferred cloud platform for certain highly regulated industries, benefiting from Microsoft’s deep expertise in data protection, security, and privacy, including the most comprehensive set of compliance offerings of any cloud service provider. ServiceNow will first be available through Azure Regions in Australia and Azure Government in the United States, followed by additional markets in the future.

With ServiceNow available through Azure Government, U.S. government agencies will be able to leverage the compliance coverage across regulatory standards available through Azure. Microsoft is committed to supporting the full spectrum of government data to help agencies quickly and easily achieve their necessary requirements. Azure Government was built specifically to address the capabilities, performance and compliance needs of U.S. government customers and their partners. Azure Government enables innovation with deeply integrated cloud services, data and advanced analytics, and an open application platform that provides the building blocks to rapidly develop, deploy and manage intelligent solutions.

The U.S. federal government continues to look to ServiceNow as a strategic partner as it modernizes its IT infrastructure and accelerates its use of modern technology to digitally transform how it operates.

Microsoft Selects ServiceNow to Digitize Its Workflows
As part of a separate transaction, Microsoft will implement ServiceNow’s IT & Employee Experience workflow products across its own business to improve operations, enhance employee experiences, and deliver stronger business outcomes. With ServiceNow, Microsoft will bring even more digital workflows into its organization, so employees can spend less time on manual tasks.

About Microsoft
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

About ServiceNow
ServiceNow (NYSE: NOW) is making the world of work, work better for people. Our cloud‑based platform and solutions deliver digital workflows that create great experiences and unlock productivity for employees and the enterprise. For more information, visit: www.servicenow.com.

© 2019 ServiceNow, Inc. All rights reserved. ServiceNow, the ServiceNow logo, Now, Now Platform, and other ServiceNow marks are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of ServiceNow, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. Other company names, product names, and logos may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.

Use of ForwardLooking Statements
This release contains “forward‑looking statements” regarding our future plans and performance. Forward‑looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties and are based on potentially inaccurate assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expected or implied by the forward‑looking statements. If any such risks or uncertainties materialize or if any of the assumptions prove incorrect, our results could differ materially from the results expressed or implied by the forward‑looking statements we make.

Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those in any forward‑looking statements include: (i) our ability to integrate our products with Azure in a manner that satisfies customers and potential customers in regulated markets and (ii) changes in the regulatory landscape in the United States and internationally with respect to data data residency, data sovereignty, data localization or other regulations relevant to enterprises operating in highly regulated industries around the world.

We undertake no obligation, and do not intend, to update these forward‑looking statements.

For more information, press only:

Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications for Microsoft, (425) 638-7777, [email protected]

Kari Ramirez, ServiceNow, (408) 607-1315, [email protected]

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Airtel CIO targets cutting-edge tech

A major part of every digital transformation is exploring how cutting-edge tech can facilitate the journey. Some companies, like Indian telecom giant Bharti Airtel Ltd., are more capable than others of experimenting with new technologies, affording them a wealth of opportunities for innovation.

In this video from the recent MIT Sloan CIO Symposium, Harmeen Mehta, global CIO and head of digital at Airtel, discusses some of the cutting-edge tech she’s employing at her company — everything from advanced mapping techniques and network digitization to voice computing technology and AI-driven customer offerings.

Editor’s note: This transcript has been edited for clarity and length.

What kind of cutting-edge tech are you using to speed up your company’s digital transformation process?

Harmeen Mehta: Lots of pieces. I think one of the biggest challenges that we have is mapping the intricacies and the inner lanes in India and doing far more than what even Google does. For Google, the streets are of prime importance [when it comes to mapping]. For us, the address of every single house and whether it’s a high-rise building or it’s a flat is very important as we bring different services into these homes. So, we’ve been working on finding very innovative ways to take Google’s [mapping] as a base and make it better for us to be able to map India to that level of accuracy of addresses, houses and floor plans.

Another problem that I can think of where a lot of cutting-edge tech is being used is in creating a very customized contextual experience for the consumer so that every consumer has a unique experience on any of our digital properties. The kind of offers that the company brings to them are really tailored and suited to them rather than it being a general, mass offering. There’s a lot of machine learning and artificial intelligence that’s going into that.

Another one is we’re digitizing a large part of our network. In fact, we’re collaborating with SK Telecom, who we think is one of the most innovative telcos out there, in order to do that. We’re using, again, a lot of machine learning and artificial intelligence there as well, as we bring about an entire digitization of our network and are able to optimize the networks and our investments much better.

Then, of course, I’m loving the new stream that we are creating, which is all around exploring voice as a technology. The voice assistants are getting more intelligent. It gives us a very unique opportunity to actually reach out and bring the digital transformation to a lot of Indians who aren’t as literate — to those whom the reading and the writing part doesn’t come to them as naturally as speaking does. It’s opening up a whole lot of new doors and we’re really finding that a very interesting space to work in and we’re exploring a lot in that arena at the moment.

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CIO or chief digital officer role? Why not both?

What is the CIO role in digital transformation? For Gail Evans, who, until June 20, was the global CIO at consulting firm Mercer, the role was two-pronged: optimize the consulting firm’s core legacy systems and lead digital transformation efforts. In this video appearance at the 2018 MIT Sloan CIO Symposium in May, it’s clear Evans wouldn’t have had it any other way. Earlier this month, however, the firm saw otherwise, promoting her to the global chief digital officer role.

While she had not yet assumed the chief digital officer role when this video was recorded, Mercer sounded very much like the firm’s digital leader: Here, she talks about building the “Mercer OS,” a new agile operating system where business people are brought in as product managers, working side by side with technologists to deliver results at digital speed. She also stressed that when pursuing a new digital frontier, organizations must find ways to bring the core IT team along for the journey.

Editor’s note: This transcript was edited for clarity and length.

Were you hired at Mercer to lead the digital transformation effort?

Gail Evans: Well, I was brought in as a CIO and then my CEO double-hatted me, and so I am now leading both. I am also optimizing the core. You can imagine over the years, we have many applications, but they are still very valuable. And so, we are thinking about what is digital-ready for our core, what does that mean and how do we go after the most important applications? We’re landing in API management and really trying to figure out how do we connect value differently for our clients, because our clients are customers. At the end of the day, those are the people we need to ensure are getting value, a better experience, a better partnership to go on this [digital transformation] journey because they are going on the journey as well, and who better to take them on it than Mercer?

So, you are CIO and also taking on the chief digital officer role. Is there a clear delineation of duties between the two jobs?

Evans: I think it’s a blurred line. Sometimes, when it comes to transforming a technology, it’s a little blurred. But when you have the additional responsibility for revenue, for digital native businesses, that’s where the separation occurs, right? And so we’re looking at opportunities to figure out how we make that happen, because that puts me at a different place. Managing a P&L (profit and loss) or digital revenue business, digital native business is quite a bit different than a technology transformation.

But bringing them together, I think, in the beginning was the right move for the colleagues, because the colleagues see a journey that’s not separated.

At first you have to build, like the Mercer OS, you have to build a capability that is Agile, that is continuous delivery that now you move from, ‘Hey, I’ll deliver that for you in a year,’ to you can do it in six months. We have a few very large programs that we’ve transformed in that way, where the business becomes product managers and product owners and a scrum team and combine. All of that is very new. It is that operating model that we are replicating across the enterprise.

How do you replicate that new operating model across the enterprise?

Evans: Once you roll out a technology… — a new set of technologies and a new skill — everyone wants to be a part of it. But if you leave the core team behind, you create a separation. So, what they were challenged with is finding ways to apply Agile to their domain. You need to find a way to apply it. Hey, instead of writing a library, write a service and put that service on an API gateway and [embrace] reusability so the entire enterprise can take advantage of it. Everyone gets an opportunity to contribute. And that worked.

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How to muster the troops

A digital transformation journey, make no mistake, is no walk in the park. It involves major course corrections to technology, to business processes, to how people do their jobs and how they think about their roles. So, how does a company make something so radical as digital transformation part of its DNA?

Gail Evans, who was promoted in June from global CIO at Mercer to the consulting firm’s global chief digital officer, believes an important first step is getting people to see what’s in it for them, “because once you see the value, you’re all in.”

In this video recorded in May at the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium, then-CIO Evans provided some insight into how she musters the troops at Mercer, explaining that a digital transformation journey is, by nature, long and iterative, requiring people to see value all along the way.

Editor’s note: The following was edited for clarity and brevity.

What can companies do to get started on a digital transformation journey?

Gail Evans: Actually, I think there are a couple of things. I think digital transformation, at its core, is the people. At the very core of any transformation, it is about how do you inspire a team to align to this new era — this new era of different tools, different technologies that can be applied in many different, creative ways to create new business models or to drive efficiencies in your organization.

So, I think the leaders in the enterprise are ones who understand the dynamics of taking your core and moving it up the food chain. Where does it start? I think it starts with creating a beachhead, creating a platform of digital, and then allowing that to grow and swell with training and opportunities, webinars, blogs so that it becomes a part of a company’s DNA. Because I believe digital isn’t a thing — it’s a new way of doing things to create value through the application of technology and data.

Which departments at Mercer are in the vanguard of digital transformation? Who are laggards?

Evans: One would argue that marketing is already digital, right? I mean, they are already using digital technologies to drive personalized experiences on the web and have been doing that for many years. I would say that it starts in, probably, technology. Technology will embrace it, and also it needs to be infused into the business leaders.

I think the laggards are typically … I guess I wouldn’t necessarily call them ‘laggards.’ I think I would refer to them as not yet seeing the value of digital, because once you see the value, you’re all in.

Pockets of resistance

[Digital transformation is] humans plus technology and new business models. That is what digital transformation is all about and it’s fun!
Gail Evansglobal chief digital officer, Mercer

Evans: There are teams or pockets of folks who have done things the same way for a long time and there is a resistance there. It’s kind of the, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ Those are pockets, but you’d find those pockets in every transformation, whether it’s digital or [moving into the] information age, whatever — you’ll find pockets of people who are not ready to go.

And so, I think there are pockets of people in our core legacy who are holding onto their technology of choice and may not have up-skilled themselves, so they are holding on and they are resisting.

And then there are business folks who have been used to one-to-one relationships and built their whole career — a very successful career — with those one-to-one relationships. And now digital is coming from a different place where some of what you might have thought was your IP in value is now in algorithms. What will you do differently and how do you manage those dynamics differently?

I think there’s education [that needs to happen] because I think it’s humans plus technology, it’s not just technology; it’s humans plus technology and new business models. That is what digital transformation is all about and it’s fun! It is a new way to just have fun. It will be something else two, three, five years from now.

Speaking to ‘hearts and minds’

What strategies do you have for getting people to sign on for that ‘fun’ digital transformation journey?

Evans: At Mercer, what I’ve done was, first, you have to create, I think, a very strong digital strategy that is not just textbook strategy, but one that speaks to the hearts and minds from the executive team down to the person who’s coding, that they can relate to and become a part of it. Many people believe, ‘What’s in it for me? Yeah, I get that technology stuff, but what is it in for me?’ [Showing that] then what is in it for the business and bringing that strategy together and having proof points along the way [is important].

It’s not a big bang approach; it’s really very agile and iterative. And so, as you iterate and show value, people will become more open to change. And as you train them, so build a strategy and inspire your team, inspire your executive leadership team because that’s where all the money is. You need the money, so they need to believe in the digital transformation [journey] and the revenue aspect and the stakeholder value that it would bring.

Basically, create a strong vision that applies to the team, create a strategy that is based on efficiencies and revenue and also create what many call a bimodal [IT approach] because you need to continue to drive the core legacy systems and optimize. They’re still the bread and butter of the company. So, you have to find a strategy that allows both to grow.

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Enterprise digital strategy: Design use cases that create business value

Digital transformation has become a top business priority, with many companies across industries focused on transforming their systems, business models and customer engagement to ensure e-business processes create value for the organization.

This makes carving out an effective enterprise digital strategy paramount to success. But, too often, organizations focus on the technological aspects of the transformation and ignore the business side of the equation, according to speakers at the recent LiveWorx 2018 conference in Boston. When building an enterprise digital strategy, organizations should start by looking at the fundamental business problems its leaders want to solve, and then move on to exploring how they can use technology to solve them, according to LiveWorx speaker Sarah Peach, senior director of business development at Samsung Electronics.

If they start with experimenting with the capabilities of a technology, they might end up with something that works, but is of no value to their business, Peach explained during her session, titled “The Next Frontier for Digital Businesses.

“Starting with the business problem — which then dictates the application and the technologies that you want to use to support that — is the approach that successful companies are taking,” she said.

Co-panelist Anand Krishnan said an enterprise digital strategy should be bucketed into three broad areas — products, platforms and partnerships — to help develop comprehensive use cases that benefit customers.

“Everyone is looking at digital touchpoints, but [should] set the focus on the journey itself, which is very important,” said Krishnan, vice president of big data and AI at Harman Connected Services. 

An enterprise digital strategy has to also meet the needs of the organization’s overall business strategy, said Jeffrey Miller, vice president of customer success and advisory services at PTC, based in Needham, Mass.

“You cannot produce a digital strategy without understanding your business strategy,” Miller said during his session, titled “Digital Transformation: Creating a Pragmatic Vision and Strategy.”

In order to move their digital transformation program forward, organizations should couple business strategy with its goals for innovation and its digital strategy, then design use cases that create value for the business, he said.

The evolving enterprise digital strategy in an IoT era

You cannot produce a digital strategy without understanding your business strategy.
Jeffrey Millervice president of customer success and advisory services at PTC

As companies deal with increasing numbers of connected systems, products and people, their enterprise digital strategy should address how to bring these areas together to meet one of two primary business objectives, said Ranjeet Khanna, a co-panelist of Peach and Krishnan.

“Either create efficiencies for the use cases that they are dealing with, or create a new revenue opportunity,” said Khanna, director of product management for IoT, public key infrastructure and embedded security solutions at Entrust Datacard, based in Shakopee, Minn.

Designing connected products is not just about incorporating mechanical and physical design anymore; manufacturers have to now worry about software design, Peach said. The manufacturing industry has, therefore, witnessed a rapid evolution in their digital strategy in the last couple of years, she added.

According to a recent Capgemini study, manufacturers estimate 47% of all their products will be smart and connected by 2020.

“If you are an OEM, you are now expected to produce a smart, connected product, and all of your digital systems have to change to support that,” Peach said.

The data generated from connected products throughout their lifecycle is another big change that manufacturers deal with today, she said.

“Your digital strategy has to start at the design side and follow all the way through to the end of life of your product,” she said.