B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro
B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro

Episode · 1 week ago

A Chat with Sanjib Sahoo, Ingram Micro’s new Chief Digital Officer


With years of experience building platforms and leading digital transformation efforts, Sanjib Sahoo certainly brings a lot to his new role as the Chief Digital Officer at Ingram Micro

Shelby Skrhak has a wide-ranging conversation with him about: 

- Performing while you transform

- The difference between digital transformation and digital operations

- Why mindset and employee motivation are important for transformation

- How Ingram Micro takes customer/partner/employee experience to the next level

- Tips for adopting a DigiOps mindset 

To join the discussion, follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSol #B2BTechTalk 

Listen to this episode and more like it by subscribing to B2B Tech Talk on Spotify , Apple Podcasts , or Stitcher . Or, tune in on our website .

You are listening to bb tech talk with Ingram Micro, the place to learn about new technology and technological advances before they become mainstream. Welcome to a special global addition where we hear from our worldwide partners and experts in Ingram micro for their insight into where technology is and where it's heading. Let's get into it. Welcome to be tob tech talk with Ingram micro. I'm your host, shall be scure Hawk, and today I'm joined by San Jeeves on. You, Executive Vice President and chief digital officer of Ingram Micro. He spearheading a gmcros digital transformation efforts and he is well known in the space for digital transformation and building platforms. Were certainly excited to have him here. Sanjee, welcome. Thank you so much. Excited to be here today. Excellent. Well, first off, before we kind of get started on some of the the topics were talking about today, I'd love just to hear a little bit about your background. You know, how did you find your way to Ingram micro? Absolutely, and I think Ingram micro is a company that I knew when I was growing up in India and known for the technology distribution, but I did not hear or no really much about it or know about it before I joiningram micro. So when I was actually exploding opportunities, you know, what, you know, was very interesting to me was the real opportunity that Ingram micro has and the business that Ingram micro does, with the span of the business in so many countries in the globe. And I research that, you know, almost eighty percent of the human population is touch pingram micro. That fascinated me. So I really figured out that this is something that a really good company, great culture. You know, the scope of digital transformation is really meaningful and impactful. So I felt that, you know, this is will be a really right fit for me and as looking forward, and I was always looking to not only technology have I've led technology for a long part of my life, you know, but always focused on creating business value, and this role that I have is a mixture of both in a really leading the digital operations, the business side of things, you know, deliverting value as well as spiriting the techno architecture. So I felt it was a right, you know, perfect combination for me. Definitely. Well, you know, you have been in this space a while and so definitely considered a thought leader and and along those lines. I wanted to quote you back to you saying that digitization is about sequencing change to show value and correctly, without pausing or even disrupting your current business. So which share with our audience kind of your philosophy about what it takes to perform while transforming and why that is so important to do kind of both at the same time, not to lose that momentum. Sure, I think perform while you transform is a very important concept...

...that we need to understand. There is no safe innovation or transformation. We all need to take some risk and there is a varying degree of risk and reward. So when you are looking for doing a transformation or digital technology will keep on changing. You cannot keep up with technology. So if you keep on running behind shining technology, then you will fail because you need a business strategy. At the same time, you cannot disrupt the business so much that you lose focus on how you're performing. For example, companies have generally two kinds of gaps they need to address. One a performance gap, which is easier to fix because you're not performing well, the numbers are not great, but the other difficult to fix is the opportunity gap, where you need to figure out how the market is changing, stay ahead of the curve and be prepared for disruption or transformation in the market. What is very important to how to balance these two. You have to really focus on transforming, focusing on customer experience, bringing new technology new experience to the market so that you can actually impact. Second is you need to also make sure that your current business operates and not too much disruption. So, instead of taking drastic steps, if you can figure out this whole agile way of small increments and really figure out how those increments add value step by step, it's very important in the right way to do that. Keep in mind that innovation can be incremental. Apple didn't innovate the phone, all they did was make a better phone. So every day, if we can actually think about doing our product services, how is server customers better, then we will move an inch towards transforming or company. The Best Transformations are the transformations which are not talked about as transformation. The best transformations were every single day you focus on you operate with a digital mindset, you operate with customer in mind and you operate with the spirit that you constantly improve your technology landscape to give you in finite scale and opportunities. That's why I call it perform while you transform is so important. Yeah, well, I think you've said something important. They're talking about innovation, that that happens incrementally, the change that you read about. You know this, this about face, this, you know big, large transition that you'll see, that you read about. That's not the kind that the you necessarily want. You want to be able to continuously improve every day and and I think when companies are hearing that and they have a nebulous topic like digital transformation in front of them, they might think that's a little bit too, too abstract, putting it into incremental pieces, that that makes law of sense. Absolutely. It's also about connecting the dot so you can on really think digital as only technology. It's technology, operations and employees. And how do you...

...constantly create value together? So and that value creation doesn't work that you innovate first and then adopt second. By the time you do that, time passes by. Things Change, markets change. So you need to do it together and bring the people in the operations that really know the industry, the market, the customers. As you are developing the product or you're focusing on something new, and that's what makes you no more sense today. Yeah, so, so we've heard a lot about digital transformation. It's become a lot bit of a buzz word, but your focus and advocacy has been on digital operations. So can you tell us what's the difference between the two? The term digital transformation is not new. Twenty years ago, when even fact that we talked about ai today, right, Ai was there even twenty thirty years ago without calling it AI. I remember when we, I talked about this, when we first had floppy. You were excited. Wow, we have a floppy, right. Then can CDs? Then today we don't talk about is. So Technology and innovation keeps changing all the time. We will never stop transforming. Today we have some form of technology. Two years from now there will be new technology coming in the market. Every single day there is new and new technology coming up. That is not transformation because you'll always be transforming with the giving your customers the art of possibilities and better experience with what technology you have. So the term transformation means there's an end date. Companies never have an end date when you are actually operating. You know today it's not that we already changed everything and and had a transformation ended. What is more important is how do we create and continuous digital operating model as our digital assets are maturing, let's say it's a platform or data or cloud or architecture. As we are maturing our platforms, we have a way to continuously take that, operate it and create two true business value in the business. So it's not just about more of a PR about okay, we have a shiny technology or an APP or a platform. It is actually meanstream business. So what I feel is that digital transformation is more cliche. What is more important is dig ops in technology. We talked about Davo set of spinoffs, but nobody has talks about how do you operate this digital assets to really create value, because the connection is missing most of the Times where you're building something cool or fancy technology, but how is it actually taken into market and again used every day, not in a silo but in your organization to build it, use it and actually changing our model. That's what I call a digops. So what my thought process is we need to focus on DG OPS, operating with a digital mindset at every single day and that is the missing link. Why...

...you can stop most of the digital transformations being a failure. That's interesting and this idea about having this mindset, having the right mindset. When we look at an organization, they're trying to modernize your organization. They're trying to improve the experience for everyone, for the customers. So why is mindset and employee motivation so important to successfully accomplish these things? I think today our employee experience drives our customer experience. If our employees are not happy and we cannot create tools and systems that give a better experience, we cannot really change our customer experience. So we really have to start with design, thinking customer journey and problem solving approach, how we can bring different groups together with one common goal and break the silos and talk about how do we solve this problem, how do we take these solutions to market? How do we actually serve our customers better? How do we make our associates life every single day, the tools that they use, the platforms that they use, better? And what it creates is more of a momentum, a mindshift, change that you're focused on the goals, focused on bringing something together, not like siloed by the groups. This creates approach which is I call it evangelizing, which is very important in a digital journey where you have to evangelize the art of possible and not the art of impossible. So when evangelize art of possible, you break down barriers, you glue people together under common umbrella of Customer Journey and problem solving. An organization, everybody reports to the organization and the goal and everybody has one common purpose, problem solving. So we start with the hy so everybody is rallied under the Y why we're doing this. Then we focus on the how and the what in an end with the wow. How can we actually end with the wow of the customer experience? This journey creates a spirit, a mindset at DNA that you're not really changing the way they work, but you're improving the way they work. Is a message about help us, help you. The last thing I'll also tell is communication plays a very important part in this. One of my favorite things I tell my teams communicate with compassion, but execute with passion. We have to communicate with compassion and sometimes it's hard, you know, because we are passionate people. We do that, but if we can put ourselves in different groups shoes and get their perspectives, our customers perspectives or partners perspectives, our own employees perspectives. Then we will be empathetic, and empathy goes a long way in creating this experience and changing mindset, because you can say we're going to automate this entire thing or build...

...platforms and change everything. Organ say hey, how can we build this together and rally them together to have one common path and goal, and that's what I call communicate with compassion. So communication is a long way to build the spirit and mindset in a digital journey and a for the organization. When a kind of repeat the quote that you said about evangelizing the art of possible, not evangelizing the art of impossible, I think that's a great point and something that can motivate listeners and when they're thinking about even how they communicate, how they they share this mindset and this idea of help us, help you. Definitely the you want to take care of the people that take care of your customers. I think that's that's an interesting topic and something that on explore a little bit with when we talk about Ingram micro and how how they're taking the experience of its customers, it's partners and its customers to the next level. Like what what does Ingram micro do differently and do better than other similar companies in terms of these interactions and the way that it handles the experience? I think what we are moving towards is an experience driven organization. So we are focusing on improving and, you know, building platforms that customer experience. That deals with employee experience as well as our vendor and partner experience, and what we are leveraging is that data. We have forty three years of data and leveraging data and machine learning and AI, we are trying to really create a very differential experience for our customers, bringing them solutions at, you know, a single platform, giving them a single pane of glass over view of everything that they do with engram micro, you know, really taking the complexity out of the business. You know, we are a business behind all the brands, and what we're doing right now is really taking that to the next level to be more customer centric organization, understand the person of the customer, their journeys and really customized that solutions to their needs, you know, and creating moving from a transaction based system to more ecosystem interaction based system. That's all. We are changing now the experience, and we are on this journey now that you know that we are working on now. We launched our first engine last November called the flexible subscription engine. That will help us to move working towards anything as a service, you know, and technology model, but we're also building a lot of these engines as well as working on the experience platforms, you know. That will help us get there and really create a truly differentiating customer experience, you know, in this industry. So, looking to clouds summit twenty two that recently took place in Miami, can you talk a little bit about that event, what your message was and, I guess, what some of the insights were that that you walked away with? I think some of the message is was I talked about, obviously, the DG OPS...

...and how to make digital transformation work. One of the things I said was that to be an indispensable partner now, we should really see the world through the chief value officer, I call it. Forget CEO, CDO, CIOC to anycx. So we got to focus on value, we got to focus on how digital technology operations, everything is actually coming together and generating value. So that is very important for us as we go through this digital journey. We talked about data being the fundamental backbone, you know, for any digital journey, because data helps you make decisions, data drives know the experience. Data can help you create, you know, more scale and you know use machine learning, you know, Ai, to really create a customized experience. So we talked about that and also we announced, you know, that we are actually launching in this summer our new expantage platform now, which is a new platform for our customers and associates and you know, we actually give a no initial preview of the platform in the cloud. Summit tells just a little about what they experence platform does. The xpantage platform is a completely new platform, ecosystem, you know, where all the partners can see the opportunity and potential for the business. So basically they can learn, partner, build, manage and buy. Basically it's a platform that helps you move from transaction to interaction. Is it's a very rich a experience in leverages a data and then using all that it actually customizes the experience. So we have dvantage for customers advantage for you know, our partners, you know employees, and this is fooled by all our data. You know that we have collected in the back end and the business logical. That is were extremely, you know, excited about it. This is an AI powered and a self learning ecosystem platform. You know that we are launching. Also, going back to the topic that you you spoke about, how to make digital transformation, digital opps work successful. Be You be something that really puts the value, the puts the focus on value. So what advice or experience which you want to share with other leaders who are looking to modernize their their organizations but have found maybe the wrong mindset? Maybe you change for the sake of change, whatever those, those roadblocks are, what advice do you have for them and how to adopt this dig ops mindset? I think first of all, I call it like they have to focus on an inside out view and outside in view. The inside out means the leader themselves has to have a combination of business acumen as well as technology, a human you cannot be one or the other, because today the lines are getting blurred and you have to be more of a blended technologist, know, blended leader, where you need to know enough business and also...

...enough technology and bring it together. You also, it's very important you know, do that. You need to have curiosity about our customers, curiosity about numbers, curiosity how your revenue is growing, curiosity about you know, where the opportunities are strategy wise. Then only you can figure out how digital you can actually solve those problems. So that starts with leaders themselves. It can be, you know, driven through knowledge in education or reading stuff or being involved other things. I would say is also, I'm a great believer in lead through your years more than your mouth. Huh. So leading and means listening to your employees, listening to your customers, listen to operations. You learn a lot more than reading books. So I personally learn a lot, you know, listening and looking at how things are happening in the company. That's a huge source of knowledge that no books can give you. So that is the inside out of you that the leaders can actually prepare themselves to, you know, drive digital journeys. In order to do that and also figure out that, you have to know the art of story telling, because you need passion, you need excitement, you need to actually stand tall and tell this story. You know and so that people can believe you, because you know to make it successful. Where I'm going is the outside in view, there are four pieces very important, you know. Number one is thus treating the spirit. Now, creating the spirit needs evangelizing, it needs storytelling, it needs to be focused on the art of possible, where as a leader you have to stand tall and convince everybody that this is something good, this is doable, and if people believe in you, that they will believe in the journey. And a passion helps a long way in having people believe in you. So this whole evangelizing and creating the spirit is the first thing that is very, very important. The second is planning. You cannot have a nebulous plan about doing something or many things. You have to really figure out bringing operations, business, customer service technology all together, figure out what is the actual plan, what is your vision? A Vision binds people. If you flicker in your vision, the people lose interest. You have to rally the organization under a vision and plan meticulously for it and really focus on relentless execution, because while the spirit creates excitement, execution creates credibility. So that credibility and excitement combined together creates belief and continuous continues the journey. Otherwise it will not work. So once you plan, third is really figuring out how you architect your solutions today, with cloud wo micro services, data machine learning, if in finite computing capabilities, of infinite storage, so being able to leverage technology, modernize your infrastructure and footprint in a way that you can move fast, because time to market is of essence. You cannot have an innovative idea for eighteen months. The market is change very fast. You go to...

...be able to agile and release functionalities in a week, two weeks or even days, but without the architecture modernization it's not possible. So you really need to modernize your technology or engineering, your develops, your product development, creating a product culture. That's very important. As a third thing, you really need to focus on that. The four thing is governance. You are doing projects, initiatives rolling out, but if you do not have a measure of what is working versus what is not working, there's always temptation to do many things, but you have to be disciplined to figure out what are the biggest levers that are moving the middle what is moving our revenue margin, you know, you know, Ebitaur, operating income, and really double down on those, you know, areas. Data plays a huge role in measuring that. So all the things actually help you to get successful. So if you focus on spirit, plan, architecture and governance from outside in view coming in, that will help the leaders a lot that you navigate through this journey. So that will be my advice, you know, to the leaders coming into this space. I'm curious of those four items. What do you think the challenge is for most leaders? Like where, where do you think they falter? Is Is it being able to have the spirit in in this art of storytelling, because that's not for everybody, or is it, you know, putting down the plans and getting out of amplugratity it for plants. So, like, what do you think the short conning is for a lot of leaders? So there's a lot of leaders who can actually be good storytellers and can tell top a lot of leaders who are just quite executors and can execute. There are fewer leaders who can actually, you know, execute what they promised. There are even fewer leaders who can actually execute, you know, to the fullest extent, what they actually said. But there are few few leaders who can actually you know, and I'm not saying I'm an exception, I have thousand things to learn and improve every single day. But what I see is that you need to have the range about being visionary, storytelling, you know, and evangelizing, as well as getting in the details and execution and delivering. So that range is very important. What I feel is that the leader sometimes fail in being able to rally everybody together, build the relationships, you know, and understand the business and connect with that as well as next meeting, come and look at a technology at a detai level figure about, hey, how can we actually improve this? So that range is very important today because, keep in mind the biggest disconnect why digital fail is a disconnect between operations and technology and making sure they both hand in time o work in tandem, and that is where I see the failures happen. That is where I see the rare in a few leaders who are trying to do that, and there are many, you know, who can do that. I think if you can take this seriously and work on the range, I think you will...

...see much more success coming out of this. Excellent well, a lot of great insight there. Thank you so much, Sam Jeed, for enjoying us. Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure, and thank you listeners for tuning in the subscribing to be to be tech talk with Inger Micro. If you like this Qu episode or have a question, please join the discussion on twitter with the Hashtag be tob tech talk. Until next time, I'm shall be scarehawk. You've been listening to bedb tech talk with Ingram micro, special global addition. To not miss an episode of our show, subscribe today to Beb Tech Talk on your favorite podcast platform and if you're listening in Apple Pid gasts. It would help us a lot if you left a quick rating of the show. Just tap the number of stars you think the show deserves.

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