Sanjib Sahoo, Executive Vice President, and Chief Digital Officer, Ingram Micro, talks about the changes that have taken place in the post-pandemic era, the concept of the Chief Value Officer, the importance of data, and the changing expectations of the customer. Edited excerpts from the video interview
Top trends that have emerged after the pandemic…
During this period, we saw companies doing 10 years of transformation and digitization in 2 years. We were forced to do that. But if I isolate this into a few trends which are important, one is to focus on the experience. Every organization is trying to become an experience-driven organization right now, starting with employee experience, customer experience, and partner experience. Experience is driving things more and automation is following.
The second is to focus on data. Before the pandemic, we knew there was the importance of data. But to get to that experience and automation, there has been a huge surge of focus on data. Data is not in the sense of having data, but data as a product, data as intelligence as metric-driven and decision-making. Every organization is trying to utilize and optimize their business, and figure out their opportunity and performance gaps using data insights, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, etc.
The third is security. Today you see a surge in cybersecurity. Everybody is accessing applications from everywhere. Gone are the days when you are only accessing applications from the workplace. Now with an expanded workforce, focusing on security is very important.
Then employees, customers, and everybody is collaborating on both hybrid and non-hybrid. Collaboration is happening between technology and business between various locations and that is creating a talent cloud.
On posts like that of Chief Digital Officers and CXOs…
I call it the Chief Value Officer. We should focus on real value. Most of these digital programs or technology transformations do not realize the value that they promised. More than 70% of these digital transformations fail. I strongly believe that shiny technology without the business value is pointless.
We really must start with figuring out the business problem and how to address that problem and then fit technology in between. My role as the Chief Digital Officer of Ingram Micro is not just only technology. I do have a Digitech group that is data, programming, product engineering… treating the technology. But digital transformation never ends. You are always transforming as technology is changing.
The other part of the group that I have is primarily digiops where we have operational leaders who are creating value out of those digital technologies, expanding PnL, EBIDTA, driving organic revenue growth, and digital marketing. My role is to create the digital twin of Ingram Micro and to take technology and use it to differentiate and create true value and create a new operating model in the industry.
No digital journey without data
Data is one of the most essential elements of a digital transformation. We cannot go from a traditional organization to a platform organization without data. But data just by itself is not good enough. How do you aggregate data from legacy? How do you create that data mesh? How do you use 40 years of data to personalize the customer experience? That’s a big component of it. There can be no digital journey without data.
Of B2C and B2B customer experiences
The expectations of the customer have changed a lot. Today you can track a pizza in real-time and order your groceries with the click of a button. That B2C experience has created enormous pressure on B2-B industries to create similar customer experiences. The customer today expects ease of use and a personalized experience, like a Netflix model.
Today if a customer “a” is joining and a customer “b” is joining, we need to create that personalized experience for “a versus b”. Otherwise, they will lose interest because there is so much noise out there. How can we use automation in the backend to create that experience for our customers?
The second is that the experience needs to be anywhere at any time. It can be a web platform. It can be accessed through a micro frontend. It can be accessed through Alexa. There are different access points to get the same information. You need to be omnipresent.
Lastly, there needs to be a correlation and syncing of your partner, employee, and customer experiences. Today employee experience creates the customer experience. At Ingram Micro, we focus a lot on creating customer experience by design thinking. We bring together people from different groups, try to solve problems and create that experience and then design that experience so that our customers like it.
Ingram Micros and tech brands
We have been the brand behind technology brands and the business behind the business. Even with cloud enablement, we launched our Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace more than 10 years ago. We have spent about $600 million on the foundation of cloud technologies to enable cloud success for different companies. Digital transformation is an ongoing process, it never ends. We build advanced solutions and different technologies. We customize them for our customers.
We are also embarking on our own digital journey. We announced our new platform Xvantage. We are launching this summer in the US and Germany. It creates a completely new experience for our customers, our partners, and even our employees. It uses the data that we had for 40+ years and creates a completely new experience.
Sanjib Sahoo is Executive Vice President and Chief Digital Officer, Ingram Micro
(Catch the complete video interview on the Dataquest YouTube channel)
By Sunil Rajguru