Bowties and Business Podcast

Becoming Digital Era Leaders with Charles Araujo

August 13, 2020 Tim Kubiak / Charles Araujo Episode 32
Bowties and Business Podcast
Becoming Digital Era Leaders with Charles Araujo
Chapters
Bowties and Business Podcast
Becoming Digital Era Leaders with Charles Araujo
Aug 13, 2020 Episode 32
Tim Kubiak / Charles Araujo

"Becoming Digital Era Leaders" is today's topic and it's targeted at line of business executives as well as IT professionals involved in Digital Transformation with our Guest Charles Araujo.

To learn more about Digital Transformation and Customer Experience visit https://yourdigitalfuture.net

To work with Charles you can also visit
https://CharlesAraujo.com

For the show notes please visit TimKubiak.com
 

Show Notes Transcript

"Becoming Digital Era Leaders" is today's topic and it's targeted at line of business executives as well as IT professionals involved in Digital Transformation with our Guest Charles Araujo.

To learn more about Digital Transformation and Customer Experience visit https://yourdigitalfuture.net

To work with Charles you can also visit
https://CharlesAraujo.com

For the show notes please visit TimKubiak.com
 

Tim Kubiak :

Hi, thanks for listening to Bowties and Business. I'm your host Tim Kubiak. As always, you can find us on your favorite podcast service Apple Spotify, host of other services as well as special Notes for this episode on timkubiak..com websites. You can find us on our socials at bowties and business on Facebook and Instagram, and bowties and b i z on Twitter and you can find me at Tim Kubiak on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter as well as the website obviously. Today we're going to talk about becoming digital era leaders with Charles urato. Charles is a technology analyst and an internationally recognized authority on the digital enterprise and leadership in the digital era. he advises technology companies and enterprise leaders on how to navigate the transition from the industrial age to the digital era. Having spent a 30 years in the technology industry, he's been searching digital transformation long before became the Uber buzzword of today. And now he's focused on helping digital era leaders prepare themselves and their organizations is the macro trends of the primacy of the customer and the primacy of the algorithm collide, are ushering us into what he calls the new human age. He's a principal analyst with Intel x, founder of the Institute for digital transformation, the author of three books, and most recently, the co founder along with his wife of the maps Institute. Charles is a sought after keynote speaker and has been quoted or published in CIO time, information week, CIO Insight, Network world, computer world, USA Today and Forbes. Charles, welcome to the show.

Charlie :

Thanks for having me. It's such a pleasure.

Tim Kubiak :

Yeah, I appreciate you taking time to be here. So if we can just give people a little more background beyond the intro here. You know, I heard once in an intro that you started in technology with screwdriver and a Commodore 64 you have an impressive background, but was that really your first step into the profession?

Charlie :

It was actually I joke that if I you know, if a 10 year old could have a career, that's where it started, you know, so what it really boiled down to I was a geek, I was a nerd I was whatever, you know, I don't know that one of them is like a cool term now and one of them is not cool, but I can't tell which is which I just use them both. But you know, I that's just sort of who I was. And my dad got me this computer got us I adopted it as mine but it was for the family and I just sort of dove in. I mean, I I used to we played Monopoly, as you would imagine, like lots of kids games, and I actually wrote a piece of software so that we could go cashless for a Monopoly game we recorded all the transactions and some I don't remember what language it was, but on the Commodore and yeah, so that was absolutely where I started all all the way back to the beginning.

Tim Kubiak :

So what was logical progression from there you start as a geek or a nerd I don't know which one's cool either. And you've done a lot of things in your career, how do you go from A to B to C to where you are today?

Charlie :

Well, I'll give you the the slightly longer version, which I almost never do. But I really did. I mean, it's important, I guess, at least it for anyone who's sort of in the technology that I really do kind of have to have the credentials, so to speak, in terms of this is where I came from. I started all the way in high school, I, I wanted a car like at 16. I wanted a car, but I didn't want to flip burgers. And so I did what any self respecting geek would do. And I wrote an order management system in COBOL for local manufacturing firm and that's how I made the money to buy my car. I graduated high school and I actually signed a contract with my high school to rebuild their computer lab. So over that summer between high school and college, I had an entire garage full of, I don't know 100 or 50. I don't remember how many it was computers that I built from scratch. I ordered all the parts I actually hired a small team we assembled all them imaged drives the whole bit back of this is back in the late 80s and You know, so I sort of went down that road. And so I was always into that and, and that sort of one thing led to another and I worked both with like, I guess we'd call them bars now, right. And I ended up finally at the age of 25. After going through a few of these jumpstarts, I ended up working for a health care company. I mean, the end I joined them when they was smaller, through a series of acquisitions by time I left is about a billion dollar healthcare firm. And at the ripe old age of 25, I had a staff of a permanent contractors of about 100 people at a $10 million budget. I look back now I see the pictures of myself and I'm like scratching my head. What were these people thinking? But I ended up I called it my career in a box because over a period of two and a half years, we quintupled our size mostly through acquisition. But what was interesting is from an IT perspective, we didn't acquire anything we had to grow all that organically in healthcare, so we're acquiring hospitals and clinics, but not any other technology and It really served the foundation to this day of everything I do, because I was in this incredible pressure cooker. I just didn't sleep for two and a half years. And so I ended up having become really good at things like crisis management and organizational design and fundamental leadership skills. Because I just, I had to, I mean, I it was that or I died. And so that was really the foundation and then sort of put that on this whole track. And that eventually led to me sort of taking all those skills, I had the ripe old age and now it's like 27, when I got done with this, and I started consulting and leading large scale transformation programs because in effect, that's what I had done over this period of two and a half years. And so that's what sort of put me on a path which eventually led to a book and speaking in this kind of crazy place I ended up

Tim Kubiak :

we talked about in the intro, your digital future dotnet. So, a big part of what you do now is digital transformation. And today, you know, if he can I want to kind of transition to so Have a primer for non technical business people, because I'll talk about it from my experience as a sales leader and running parts of an organization that weren't technical other than maybe a couple of pre sales guys that were always way smarter than me, right? You hear digital transformation, and you think it's Nirvana. Or you should go and hide because it's going to screw up your business. So, first of all, you know, what does that term actually mean? And are there different uses of it?

Charlie :

So short answer, absolutely different uses of it. But the long answer actually need to get finished, sort of, I guess, my background story because it does lead here. So fast forward. Now I'm leading all these transformational programs or all these efforts, and I was sort of like this crazy preacher on the sidewalk as I saw that the world of it was changing and that it leaders are struggling so I'm like, you must transform and and so these executives that I was working with at the time said, okay, we get it into what right why why are we doing this transformation? What does that even mean? And so I ended up going coining the term the quantum age of it. I put these ideas because I realized I didn't, I didn't have a good answer for that. And so I spent some time sort of deconstructing it. And I put these ideas up. And this publisher reaches out to me and says, hey, these are very interesting ideas. Have you ever thought of writing a book? I thought, How hard could that be? Haha. So 18 months later, I had done all this research, interviewed all these executives. And I'd written this book and it was this amazing experience. Somebody asked me, you know, was it worth it? I said, I don't care. Anybody reads it. Just the process of going through this was worth so much to me. But as it would happen, the week it was published, I got my very first call to come speak at an event in Amsterdam. And suddenly before I knew it, I'm literally flying all over the world, talking about the future of it and what it meant to be a leader in that future. I ended up about six years ago on a speaking tour in New Zealand. And it was about four events over 10 days. And one of the events I was speaking with something called a digital disruption conference was hosted by the Auckland University of Technology and the US Embassy in of sort of their answer to TED Talks. And unique for me at the time, it was a non it audience. Right? This was this was small business leaders and academics and CEOs of their biggest companies as sort of the, the business elite of Auckland. And so it caused me to step back and ask how these forces that I've been researching and writing about and talking about as the affected it. And I asked myself, Well, how are they affecting everybody else and everything else. And so that's what led me to focus on what we now call digital transformation. But you absolutely bring up the very real unfortunate point is that it has been a term that has been co opted for marketing purposes. And it now almost can mean next to nothing in terms of as people because I've used it in so many different ways. But at the time, it was just this recognition. It wasn't about technology. I didn't even I mean, I eventually called it digital transformation. But it was really just me realizing that this was a fundamental shift that was happening as we exited the industrial age. And that this was going to be a time in which the fundamental ways that organizations are structured management LED, were in fact, changing that Was underpinned by technology, but that it was about this business transformation that was occurring. So the first part of the definition of what is digital transformation. From my perspective, it's not technology transformation. It's about business transformation. And in fact, it represents a fundamental transformation of business models, operating models, and work and management models. And it's all centered around this fundamental shift that happened about 15 years ago is where it sort of started and that is the shift in power, as I call it from the organization to the customer. And what I mean by that is, in the industrial age, we were making a mass product for a mass market. And so the way you created business value was by optimizing the supply chain or what I call optimizing the core, how the more efficiently you could create your develop, create, produce, distribute and sell and market that product, the more money you make, because all that efficiency dropped to the bottom line. What we saw about 10 or 15 years ago, this rise was it you saw you've heard the term right digital disruption all these companies coming in disrupting these long standing Companies in industries. And what we found is that they did not out optimize their competitors. They transformed the customer experience. They transformed the way they interacted with their customers. And that's what gave them a leg up. It wasn't that they out optimized them. And so this was this fundamental shift. So when I talk about digital transformation, it is fundamentally about this, this shift in power, this focus on the customer experience as the primary driver of business value, and that the necessary transformation of business models, operating models on work models that then have to support this new customer experience. And that's why I started live in New York City because the sirens and that's why I think so many people get this wrong because they think it's all about the technology. And it's not it's about business transformation around this focus on the customer experience. That's my take on it anyway.

Tim Kubiak :

So I'm gonna go off script here, right, so selfishly, I look at this as a guy who has been The sales letter and said, okay, is this really about supply chain? Is it about feedback of information to customers? The consumerization of it? Is it the business driving the it in the application demands? Is it all those things?

Charlie :

It is all of them. That is exactly it. And it's about posturing, which is why. So I wrote an article for CIO, probably a couple of years ago now about an experience I had right before he moved here to New York. In fact, with LA Fitness and I guess their name in the article, so I can name them here. But and what it what I talked about was that they missed the essence of this right so they had a really cool front end in terms of the the website and being able to join up and get a membership. I never had to talk to one of the counselors or whatever they call them because I hated that process. Right. And it was a really good experience until it was time for me to leave. And I and I wasn't leaving because I was unhappy. I was leaving because I was moving across country and there were no gyms here. But they made it so onerous to leave. They made it so painful that not only did I end up believing this positive experience and going completely negative in my own mind, I wrote an article about it, I tell everyone who will ever listen about it. Right? It created this incredibly negative experience. And what they fail to recognize is I'm sure somebody there thought that they went through this massively wonderful digital transformation. But really all they did was a change, they apply technology to the front end of this process. But when we talk about the customer experience, it is transcendent. It goes throughout the entirety of the customer journey through all of these different touch points, including when someone is leaving. And if you want proof of this, go look at any of the digital natives, right any of the Netflix's of the world and just look at how easy they make it to do everything including leave, right? And so that's the essence of this when we talk about Digital Trends, and by the way, the ramifications for that from a sales perspective if you want to look at it are are amazing. They are they're truly And trenched because in order to do that it comes down to execution. So a lot of the things that it has always been about, which is, you know, the this ability to drive optimization, this ability to automate things are still vitally important. They're just vitally important for a different reason. Right? Because my ability to execute is what enables that experience and enables me to create differentiated value if I can't execute, I lose every time. Right? So it's all of those pieces, you have to get all of them to work. But if you don't get the perspective right to start with, then it's it's going to fail because you don't have it anchored into the value you're trying to create.

Tim Kubiak :

Can you transform by business function by department, or does it have to be an all in one,

Charlie :

I do not believe it has to be all in one. It does have to be holistic, at least in so far as understanding the outcome that you seek. But if if you are a departmental leader, And this is your sphere of control. Can you transform? They're absolutely right, is the simplest way is having people starting to ask the question when I'm doing things like applying a new technology or adjusting policies and processes and procedures, asking from the perspective of how is this going to affect a user? How is this connected to a customer consuming the service or a product that we're delivering? How What is my role in that and connecting it to sort of the strategic objectives of the organization Now, you may only be able to transform your piece of it. And that means it's going to limit your ability to have a you know, an outsized impact. So, you know, ultimately, digital transformation in its truest sense has to happen at an organizational level. But as I've often said, there's no such thing as organizational transformation. There's individual transformation multiplied across an organization. And so, in order for that to happen at the smallest team level, we have to be working through this process of transformation.

Tim Kubiak :

So you're hardcore process guy, you understand the technology, you understand the impacts, right? If I'm in a company or listeners in a company and somebody comes and says, oh, we're starting digital transformation, or we're taking a next evolution, what's the best way to have a real conversation with someone like you, who knows it inside and out? And represents and will take your, your fitness club experience and say, Look, I'm in charge of customer complaints, do aways and returns, right? How do I start that conversation on where to where maybe I want to improve where my pain is? Where can the technology help versus it just being an overall change?

Charlie :

Well, I do things. Yeah, I mean, I think part of it is is so when people ask me where to start with all of this. And I think that's kind of where you're going is that I really I tend to drawn to mindset so that what I say people to I tell people all the time, is that you don't really want to start with the technology. Now. I know you're a sales guy and you're selling technology that that's not necessarily a fun thing to hear. And and the good news is that all of this actually in truth happens in parallel, right? Because we still need the technology to function, we still need all of this to work in order to execute. We're not stopping there. This is about transforming a bomber jet into a fighter jet in midair. So it all of this is continuing all at once. That said, the two sort of mindsets that I focus on are the design thinking mindset and the systems thinking mindset. So design thinking is really about putting yourself in the shoes of your customer of the ultimate customer who's delivering the purchase to the organization, which is what them what filters all the way down and focusing everything around. Well, how is this impacting them? How are they experiencing this? But as we were talking about before, when we we the ability to tie execution into this is where those often hit a brick wall is that it's really easy to put a nice, you know, nice high gloss finish on the front end, and then have everything be a disaster on the back end. And that inability to execute is what often stops these efforts from truly being successful. And part of that is the complexity and the highly integrated nature of the systems that support all of these front end processes. And so systems thinking as a way of understanding all that interconnectedness. And so when you put these two together, what you suddenly realize is, this becomes a, a way of seeing the entire organization in its totality. And the good news about this going back to your previous question, is that we can start doing this and isolating this down into small functional teams. So if I've got a specific set of problems, I can apply these two constructs these mental constructs to say, how is this affecting the customer? What is their perspective? At what point are they engaging with us? What are the different touchpoints do customer journey mapping and touchpoint mapping all of those kinds of things and say what are the different systems does that impact them on the back end? And how can I make incremental improvements to those that leads to a positive change in the experiential outcome. And so, excuse me, and so it's really just about the sort of changing mindset. And it doesn't have to be big bang. In fact, it almost never works in a big bang. It's about identifying this repeatedly, continually going through and improving across all of those dimensions. And that's what makes it so hard. And frankly, why people resort to saying, I'll just go by, you know, $2 million for the technology instead and call it digital transformation, because that's a whole lot easier than doing this very, very hard work.

Tim Kubiak :

So you work with two sets of customers, and I don't want to misrepresent it. You you work with line of business, business leaders, and you work with companies that you help them articulate their message, in many cases, technology companies into those business leaders, right. However, Does that give you a perspective that, frankly, a lot of people probably don't have? Because you're on one side of the hour, the other in most cases?

Charlie :

So, you know, what's interesting is having spent the majority of my career on the buy side, right, either running operations directly myself or advising my, you know, clients who really have a sort of the right hand guy executing these transformational programs. I have this very, you know, deep understanding of what happens within the enterprise and why this stuff is so hard and why doing it right is so important. And one of the big kind of aha was, is that as much as I will be the first to say that this is not about the technology, it's about cultural shift and about transformation and business models and operating models. The one thing you realize pretty quickly as you start getting your head around this is that there are massive gaps that have to be closed and can only be closed using technology. Right? The reason we call this digital transformation is is it's not that it's a lie, and it's not About that it's technology first, but that all of this that we're talking about is only enabled by this robust technology that sits underneath the covers, that allows us to do all of these amazing things. And the biggest challenge I think that organizations have is in closing that gap is understanding the business capabilities that they need to create, foster and sustain to create competitive differentiation the market and aligning the technical capabilities that they have to build and predominantly by in the marketplace that enable those business capabilities, right, and actually bringing that frame of reference to how they approach it. So as a result, I do like to work with both sides of this. I want to work with organizations to help them understand the business capabilities. And so the work I do there is really high level advisory. And you know, we're doing a lot of research in this area about uncovering Where are these business capabilities, where they're kind of benchmarks and break points, and where are the gaps with the technology that's available in the marketplace? And how do how are organizations putting this together. So for Enterprise's, I'm working with them to provide advisory around how do you execute these sort of transformational programs? as well as how do you leverage the research we're doing to understand where those gaps are. And for technology companies, they've got sort of the opposite problem in many cases. I mean, I am truly blown away by the technology that is coming out today. And every day, it's getting better and more powerful. And the challenge in most cases is that it is an incredibly, incredibly noisy, crowded space right now, as I describe it, enterprise executives are staring at the tsunami of technology crashing on their shores. And they're trying to pick out the pieces that they can assemble to create competitive advantage. And it you know, in many cases, these technology companies have the technology to help them do that and they can't get the message across. They can't communicate exactly how they provide this distinct value in this context. And so for the technology companies, the work I do is helping them with that messaging, right. What is the go to market strategy, what is the messaging who are the personas in enterprise in particular is you know, all too well, it's suit. It's additionally complicated by the fact that there's a whole bunch of different buying motions. There's a whole bunch of intersecting Confluence points and figuring out who you're addressing, and that the message is not only have to be unique to that buying persona, that buying person, but they also have to coalesce, they all have to come together. I cannot tell you the number of times I sat around the buying table, right, just us, us chickens internally, trying to make a buying decision. And literally the executive executive team was ready. And then the technical came team came in, to sort of make their pitch. And they ended up derailing the thing, because they're talking about a set of messaging that was completely in congruent to what the business messaging had been right so what it really amounted to you had the executive sales team coming in talking about one thing and then you had the Technical Sales Team coming in delivering a different message and the two didn't line up and and what that creates inside the executive suite in the buying decision is uncertainty. And we hate uncertainty. We hate risk. Right. And so you have to have these messages coalesce. And then the last little piece of that, that I think is absolutely critical right now for a tech company, is it you have to be selling a vision. Right? If you if you put yourself in the shoes of the enterprise buyer, and you have this just tsunami of technology, with the one thing you come to terms with pretty quickly is that you're probably going to be wrong, you know, you're trying to sort out the right decisions on which technology to buy is incredibly difficult with as fast as this is moving. And so what do we do? Well, we place bets on people who we believe have a vision that aligns to our vision of where the future is going. Because that's a bet on that idea of that we're in alignment there. Right? It's not about the specific technology. And so something like Salesforce, as an example, is a company that does this masterfully. Right? They craft a vision for the future and invite their customers to join them and they're unabashedly say if you don't believe in this future, if you don't believe in this vision, then we're probably not a good thing. For you, right. And I think organizations that are doing that in crafting this cohesive, cogent, you know, impactful vision of the future and then saying, and this is how the solutions we're doing, that we provide into the market help support that vision. Those are the ones that are winning in the market today. And so but that's hard to do, because you have to get beyond speeds and feeds and get beyond features and benefits and, and be willing to step out and say, Hey, this is where everything is going. And this is how it all fits together, which is what I help with in some parts.

Tim Kubiak :

So a piece of research you Did you have a chart in their states 70% of digital transformation projects fail. What causes that?

Charlie :

Well, a lot of the stuff we've been talking about, I would say first and foremost, people go in and treat it like a project they they think it is so the industrial age is really built around the sort of project mentality. You've probably heard some of the talk around project versus product mentality, right? And so In the industrial age is all about I start in a current state and I, you know, my as is and then I'm going to have a project that ends and I have a future state. Well, that's great in a relatively static world. We live in anything but a static world now. And so what we talk about is transformation as a capability not as a project, it's not something you're going to finish. So my favorite reports are when people go, you know, 37% are done with digital transformation. And I'm like, if you think you're done, then you didn't even start because you missed the point entirely, right? So so I think people that treat it as a project, treat it as a technology effort, where they're gonna go implement some piece of technology, that that is almost always a red flag that you're approaching this incorrectly. I think the other major challenge is that they approach only organizations fail with digital transformation efforts. Because they are only addressing one element of it. They're addressing just the technology or maybe just the just the process, and what they often miss again, because it's the hardest part of this puzzle is the culture. side of this is addressing the people side, how do I change the way I look at it. So if we go all the way back to my fundamental premise that this is about a shift in perspective and a shift in value creation, from optimization to the customer experience. Well, that requires a fundamental change in how we look at everything of how we structure our organization, what our business policies and processes are. And that means that people have to change how they look at it to begin with. And that's where so much of this gets derailed. You get this brand new technology, we use it to do all the same stuff we used to do just a little bit faster, a little bit better. And that's not transformative. So you know, my barometer, if you want to know if you are leading a successful transformational effort, things just start to look wildly different almost unrecognizable within a couple of years, and if they don't, it's probably not an actual transformational effort.

Tim Kubiak :

So along those lines, right, as a business leader, what kind of tangible outcomes should you be able to drive as part of a transformation project?

Charlie :

So, perhaps one of the hardest things around a true, authentic, transformational effort is that we aren't going to measure it in quite the same way. I mean, in the end, you should see increased revenue, increased profit, all that you should start looking, I mean, compare the financial metrics of digital native companies to industrial age stalwarts, and you clearly see the financial performance differences. That's why they're the most highly valued companies in the world, yada, yada, yada. So eventually, that's what you see. But in the meantime, part of the challenge is that the things that you should be measuring are thing if, for instance, well, there's a new metric that's starting to get some traction called return on experience, right? This idea of what we're actually measuring is a transformation is that transformation of the experience how our customers see us and so Qualtrics as an example, which of course, sa p acquired for a bunch of money is now spinning back off into a public company. They're in Tire model is about creating metrics around the customer and employee experience so that you can get quantifiable data. And they are the biggest, but they're by no means the only player in the space that is giving organizations tools to measure quantifiably elements of the experience that are difficult to see strictly in buying patterns. Because a lot of times what will happen is a, we have experienced elements that start far before the purchase that we have to be able to get insight to long before they actually decide or decide not to buy from us. And then depending on the type of product A lot of times that initial spend is just the beginning of this process. And there's all these different touch points in which there's opportunities for additional spend for growing spend. And for things like social sharing where they become your sales agent, so to speak by spreading the word. And so you need ways of measuring all of those different things. To answer your question, what you want to see with successful transformation is really a mix of both of these. You want to see that the tech Technology is improving your executional capability, your efficiency, your optimization, all the things that were sort of the hallmarks of the industrial age, however they are, are improving in the context of how they enable you to better serve your customer. Right? So simply out so call centers, the historical virtual call centers are a classic example. If the only benefit I'm seeing is I have fewer call center agents because I have put this crazy IVR system in front of it, that has that basically makes people give up before they you know, get to anybody, then it may be driving an efficiency gain. I may be realizing money savings, but I'm not doing it in the context of improving the experience. So that is not going to be a good measure. But if you know one of the firm's working with right now, for instance, is company called IP soft and they have a digital agent that is incredibly powerful and has the ability to actually create a positive transformative experience. while improving efficiency and reducing costs, so if you implement that type of technology now, suddenly, yes, I'm getting that efficiency, but the real efficiency gain is being transferred to the customer, the customer is able to solve their problems more efficiently, they're able to get to their answer more expeditiously. I'm creating a better experience. Oh, and by the way, I'm also saving money, right? So in those type of situations, it's a whole different ballgame. And that's what you are looking for. So So the first is that you are looking for execution capability, efficiency and optimization, but in the context of delivering a better experience to your customer. And then the second thing you really should be looking is, and you kind of have to pick your favorite on this, whether that's Net Promoter Score, whether it's using something like Qualtrics, but you're looking for sentiment analysis, that how your customer sees you. Do they believe that you are a brand that they want to interact with that they have faith in? So all the things we've seen with all the civil unrest right now has sort of demonstrated it It used to be that our goal was to sort of stay off the radar, right? We didn't want to have an opinion as an organization, we didn't want to take a stand on anything. Because all they did was alienate some portion of our client base, at least in theory. What we're seeing today is that customers are looking at everything they expect. There. They want organizations that are demonstrating empathy to their belief systems. And so we're making buying decisions. And this goes very much back to this idea of the experiential, experiential nature of value creation, is that they're expecting you to take a stand. And that doesn't mean you have to go and make a stand on these social issues. But what it does mean is that that's what you need to be measuring. You need to understand who your customers are, what is important to them holistically, far beyond what they think about just your product or service. And then connecting into that and that should be your chief measure that you know, you're, you're finding success in your transformational efforts because you're able to improve those metrics of whatever is important to your customer.

Tim Kubiak :

Hopefully that made sense to putting it did it actually brought up another question because so often when I'm working with people, and even things that I'm reading in general talks about how millennials react, and they're certainly very open about the things you just described. They want to know where companies stand socially, they vote with their dollars, etc. But this isn't just a millennial issue, right? It's expanded, basically multi generational.

Charlie :

So you know, it's funny, I absolutely this this very much, and I'm not a big fan of the whole generational thing. I think there are definitely some generalizations we can make about millennials or Gen Z is or you know, any of the categories here, but but I agree, I mean, I think it started with the millennials in terms of sort of opening this door. But that's really just about you know, we're all subject to this. We're used to what we're used to, and, and we have to see something else until we start realizing, hey, that's actually important to me, too. So I don't think this is an age thing. I think Across the board today, we are all starting to look at the world differently and our buying decisions differently. And so I don't think this is an age thing. I think it is more in your face with with the younger generations, they will be more vocal about it. But I think everyone is is starting to make decisions in this way.

Tim Kubiak :

It's funny, I had this conversation my 21 year old last night, right? And she wants me to be vocal and take a stand and I'm like, I'm just not gonna do business with them. It's really simple. And she's like, yeah, so, you know, at the risk of going back, there is a difference in how we do it. Cuz, you know, I'm just like,

Charlie :

I'm just not gonna go there. It's really easy. It's actually a really good point because because it is that very thing, which is why I think a lot of organizations think this is a millennial only thing and and it's almost insidious, because you're older, quote, unquote, buyers not to call you old, but like me, right? Those of us that are not 21

Tim Kubiak :

I'm older. It's okay. I'm good.

Charlie :

We're We're making the decisions in the same way, but we're not vocal about it. And so it's easy for you to take your older customers for granted think that they don't care about these things, and therefore you can stay on the sidelines. And here's the what brought I actually brought this up on our podcast. So the insert, I have a podcast video show with the Institute for digital transformation called digital experience revolution. And we actually covered this topic a few weeks ago, a little bit and I talked about Tim Ferriss, you probably know him. He wrote the four hour workweek, right? He's extremely easy to work with. Yeah, yeah. He has the biggest podcast and in the world. He's got a huge loyal fan base, most of which are not millennials, right. And while all the civil unrest is going on, he posted a very, in my opinion, a very innocuous photo. It was a photo of a bottle of rosae from Provence, an area that I love. And he asked about the label said hey, you French speakers out there, you know, do you know what this means? You know, but even if you don't you know, this is an amazingly delicious bottle of rosae. And he got slammed on social media, because of his like, you know how tone deaf you are, you're not paying attention to all the stuff that's going on with the race, you know, with the civil unrest and all of this stuff. And you know, how could you do? And I'm like, Wow, it was one of those things that brought it home to me that we're seeing this fundamental shift in that, that people were willing to attack someone who they claim that they were huge fans of, because of something completely unrelated in any way. He mean, he wasn't being negative. He wasn't dismissing it. He just, he was talking about a ball of rosae. Right. And I think we're seeing this across the board with brands everywhere is that across the spectrum of age, we are all looking at life more holistically. We are not segregating our decisions. And by the way, I think this applies just as much for making our technology decisions which goes all the way back to my statement about why people are buying enterprise buyers are buying visions, because it is and because because I think the reason these two are connected is That we start caring about what an organization there stands on things like social issues, or what have you, for the same reason that we care about an organization's vision, because it gives us a window into sort of how they see the world and we want to be associating ourselves with people whose vision we share. And so it becomes really closely intertwined. And, and it's a slippery slope, it can it's very difficult to manage all of this, which is why I say we're in this continual state of transformation because expectations and interests and desires are constantly changing, and we have to be continually adapting. So that's where a lot of the industrial age sort of artifices are failing because they're just too rigid for the world we live in today.

Tim Kubiak :

Digital Transformation, customer experience, are they the same thing? Do they intersect? Are there parts that are their own unique animal

Charlie :

So as we talked about, I see them as not the same thing. Exactly, but very interrelated. But do they have some degrees of their own independence? Absolutely. So, so some element for instance of digital transformation, going all the way back, we were talking about executional capability? Well, there are some parts of that, that are infrastructure that are just core, right, the moving on to the cloud as an example, for, you know, core infrastructure type elements, your databases, what have you can, you know, may not directly impact the customer experience, but it is a chief enabler, because it gives you the technical agility that you need to pivot and change direction without, you know, dealing with the the investment bias, right. So, so I think there's there's some dislocation there. And I think likewise, there are certainly elements of the customer experience that have everything to do with if I'm in retail, how my sales agents welcome a new customer into the store or how they deal with it. customer complaint that have nothing to do with technology. That said, I think both of those are sort of outliers. Now, increasingly, the customer experience is, is either digital directly or digitally enabled. And increasingly, every aspect of digital transformation, or almost every aspect of digital transformation is or at least should be more directly connected to the experiential improvements we're trying to make. And so, you know, when I work with, say, hardcore infrastructure type players, I'm still talking them. So you may you may be all about this stuff that you think a customer never sees. But if I can't connect the dots somehow to this agility, or this performance increase, somehow is going to deliver a better experience for the customer, then at some point, anyway, that's going to be a tough sell, because that's what's going to be driving our spending decisions within our paret within enterprises, increasingly and so, yeah, I think they are there is some space around the edges but increasingly, they are joined at the hip.

Tim Kubiak :

So it can't talk these days without talking about pandemic impact. So have you seen a shift in how and where people work? In the long term in terms digital transformation because of people being forced out of offices? I've seen I've seen the metrics are. So Facebook and alphabet and everybody reported last week and the share shifts and the cloud migrations and the open markets and right that the public securities guys that analyze that death, but from a true technology perspective, right, other than selling VPN clients and laptops out the wazoo in the first 60 days, have you seen true shifts and how people are approaching the transformation and impacts of what they have to do because people are working from home I guess, is really the question.

Charlie :

So from a technology perspective, clearly the big winner in this was the cloud those organizations that moved more Directly more concretely into the cloud definitely are winning right now. And for the simple reason that they have greater agility, they have much more flexibility now. I it's also it's been interesting I was on a been on a few calls with some senior it execs and you're sort of seeing there's the cloud. And then there's the cloud, meaning that there are some of these players that ostensibly were in the cloud, and yet, contractually, anyway, I'm not sure about the technology, but at least contractually, they were offering no flexibility. So it was it was you know, sort of like the your mess for less kind of syndrome where, sure they were in the cloud, but they weren't getting the flexibility that we normally associate with this idea to spin up spin down move and they weren't getting it. So I think, you know, it's any buzzword you have the danger of simply going to the cloud doesn't automatically give you this but those organizations that have invested in a architecture that gives them technical flexibility and technical agility are definitely coming out on the winning side. And so that's why you're seeing certainly all the numbers of the major cloud providers, they were certainly a bright spot in in the sector, and even companies like SAP, for instance, had massive growth in their cloud movement and huge fall off in their on prem licensing revenue. Right. And so I think we're going to continue to see that play out over the long haul, though. You know, I think that I think that the all that is, is reinforcing and accelerating a trend around cloud that was already well underway. It's not a fundamental shift, that this is driving and I think for the most part, the rest of it is going to be the same. I think what we're seeing the pandemics is accelerating trends. It's not really creating new ones. You know, people are calling this the greatest work from home experiment the world has ever seen. I am encouraged by the fact that I think it is it is changing the perception of people. So I do think we're going to see a much higher prevalence of work from home continuing well into the future. I do think that's going to drive some fundamental changes in how organizations look Their office space how its utilized. But I don't believe where you know, people are talking about the the commercial office space Apocalypse, I'm not seeing that I think people are gonna see reduction. But there's a lot to be said for camaraderie and you know, the connection that people have and wanting to be out of the house and work in a different vironment. I mean, I've worked from home for 20 years, you couldn't get me into an office to save your life. But for a lot of people, they want to be in that office. And there's a lot of benefits to it. So I think what I think we're going to see going forward is not a return to the way it was. But I also don't think it's going to be everyone's working from home, I think what we're going to see is a much more dynamic and much more hybrid type of approach, where it's more going to be driven by the employee experience what what is good for you, you're in your productivity Cham, is it better for you to be working from home? Does that make you more productive and more happy? Or is it better for you to be in an office and by the way, is it better for you to be an office that we providers would better for you to be in a shared office like a we workspace, where you you have some balance between the two where you're not having to have this big commute. Where I expect is that we're going to see this, this shift now to work towards this more hybrid adaptable kind of work model, which also is going to lie in play into something else I believe in, which is we're going to see the continued rise of self organization and self management type models. So you put all that together. And I would I do think it does have an impact on the technology but for a different reason. Right. So now we now need a technology landscape that is much more flexible in terms of enabling the user experience, the employee experience, allowing them to work whenever however they want. And so from certainly it makes it a security nightmare. But if you're an organization that has basically tried to build moats and walls around your physical premise space, because everyone was in your office, you got some work to do, because that's probably not going to be your future. Transcribed by https://otter.ai