Driving Marketing Effectiveness through Collaborative Technologies
1. How has your IT operating model changed during the last five years in the Marketing industry?
The IT operating model relative to the marketing industry has become much more of a peer-to-peer partnership for us at Jabil. In fact, today, our IT group is becoming much more consultative than ever before. For example, they have mapped out an entire Marketing Technology Ecosystem for us; have pro-actively looked for gaps in technology and processes by understanding us and “living amongst us”, and are actively pursuing those gaps with solutions for us. Never once have I said, “Can you help me with xyz?”- it’s always been a push versus a pull. This alignment and push versus pull comes from the fact that they perfectly understand our business strategy and likewise my marketing strategy to support the business goals. Once they believe they have found an opportunity to do one of the following things based on my key priorities: 1) improve the customer experience, 2) improve business performance or 3) help us create entirely new business models or value propositions, they bring the opportunity forward. A perfect example of this is our need to dive much more deeply into our customers’ sentiments in order to deliver stronger and more differentiated value propositions.
I believe connectivity to the internet opens up an immense amount of opportunity. However, this connectivity must be secure
It was serendipitous, actually, they came to me with a solution as I was starting to contemplate the notion with my marketing team. And they came at me with a solution based on IBM’s Watson technology without me even asking. And frankly who has the time to evaluate technologies? My job is to help our company elevate our conversations with customers, change the perception of Jabil in the market from contract manufacturer to design, manufacturing & supply chain solutions partner and generate demand for our services (in a nutshell). Evaluating technology just doesn’t figure into my day.
2. What do you think are the biggest obstacles that technologists face in working in a more agile and outcomes based model?
I believe obstacles that technologists use to face in working in more agile environments are being removed every day. For example, lengthy processes for developing and testing new applications took weeks, if not months. Today, cloud-based technologies give us the ability to quickly create DevOps environments (without the need to procure infrastructure, which needed 9 or 10 approvals) and software, test things, and get rolling. The Cloud is a godsend and we cut down time to value significantly by utilizing it. The old “IT is slow” notion is quickly dissipating and we couldn’t be happier from a marketing perspective. The other thing that makes things quicker is the collaboration that we as leaders are encouraging. Collaboration and bringing IT in on activities early, versus as an afterthought, is exactly how we accelerate our initiatives. For example, IT is present at every Marketing staff call that I host. We host a specific IT – Marketing Initiatives call once a quarter as well. IT, Marketing, HR, Engineering and other corporate functions all report to our COO and we meet at least once a quarter to discuss strategic initiatives.
Moving from traditional Marketing to a service offering model requires a major mindset shift in Marketing. How did you make that happen?
I’ve always believed that Marketing should be a “profit center” and-because we are in the services business-in terms of helping support customers’ product innovation activities, Marketing is a natural service offering that fits in with the entire “Idea to Commercialization” set of offerings we deliver as a corporation. It is especially easy when you hire entrepreneurial people that also look for ways to deliver accretive value to shareholders. So net/ net, it’s about the business model and demand from customers, as well as the type of people you hire.
3. Even though you do not measure your team on project deadlines, fast delivery must still be important to you. How are you delivering faster?
I actually do measure people in my organization on timeliness. But we also leverage technology to help us accelerate our activities and turn on a dime when the business needs us to. For example, we recently implemented Adobe Enterprise Edition to help us digitize our entire set of content. This solution coupled with Salesforce.com gives us the ability to deliver content to any customer-facing channel, at any time, in a customized, yet consistent way. For example, if a Healthcare Customer visits our Blue Sky Innovation Center in San Jose, content and actions are triggered to ensure that the customer has a wildly successful engagement with us. For instance, all people that need to be notified of the visit are notified. Presentation content that needs to be delivered is pulled up from one central place, and in accordance with the customer’s industry (Healthcare in this example)-our kiosks automatically switch to Healthcare type content. As a result, our Wall of Touch automatically displays the right type of content. An email is sent to the customer ahead of the visit, inviting them to download our Blue Sky app, and they are presented with the custom content. So the entire visit is customized/personalized based on who is visiting Blue Sky and all is completely in sync with the messages we are conveying on our website or anywhere else in the world. This is what gives us speed, the ability to reuse digitized content and execute campaigns, on the go.
4. What set of skills do you think is required for the technology leaders to be successful in the new Marketing landscape?
1) They need to understand the business at a high level and have a great degree of business acumen. 2) They need to listen, and 3) they absolutely need to collaborate and be able to empathize with the business leaders. All of these would be on my top 3 list of attributes for a good technologist to possess.
5. Which growing or future technology innovation are you personally excited about?
I love them all. I believe connectivity to the internet opens up an immense amount of opportunity. However this connectivity must be secure. It allows us to collect data from any device anywhere, at any time, and leverage that data for two really important things: 1) decision support (Is this the right product or service, in the right place at the right time?), and 2) it allows us to create new and accretive business models. So any technology that plays a role in the “connected ecosystem”, like sensor technology, high speed networks, cybersecurity tools, cloud technologies, analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning, all take us from a passive state of “watching things happen” to a pro-active state to “making things happen.”- And this is what ultimately takes customer/patient/ citizen experiences to the next level. At the end of the day, it’s all about the user experience, in terms of getting repeat business and moreover loyalty.