It's no secret that technological advances will continue to improve consumers' experiences. While chief information officers (CIOs) will always be responsible for keeping their organizations safe, secure, and sustained, successful businesses must harness the power of new digital solutions to drive better business decisions and outcomes and ultimately grow the business.
Depending on who you ask, doing business in a digital world can mean different things. To some, it means adopting consumer-facing digital offerings like e-commerce, mobile apps, and digital marketing; to others, it means digitizing operations and processes internally.
Kellogg Company SVP, Global Chief Information Officer Lesley Salmon recently shared tips on doing business in a digital world. To continuously evolve and adapt to forever-changing consumer expectations, Salmon says CIOs must take an end-to-end approach to digital – focusing on four areas: People, Process, Technology, and Data and Analytics. If you do this, you will realize the value it can add to your organization.
For Salmon, it's all about people – having the right people delivering through great partnerships with the key stakeholders across the business, understanding their needs, pre-empting, and then responding to them. A recent Gartner poll stated that talent is a top challenge for CIOs in 2022. To attract and retain the right people, we need to satisfy their hunger to experiment, fail fast, and learn.
When the Kellogg IT team said they did not see enough growth opportunities, Salmon knew they needed to take a new approach to learning and development. They built the Year of Development Always (YODA) initiative with a vision to cultivate childhood curiosity and an eagerness to learn. They created several tracks in the program for technical training, career strategies, and shadow programs to help colleagues learn and explore new facets of the overall IT function. The program has seen great results with team engagement is at an all-time high.
When thinking of 'process,' many people immediately imagine a rigid and inflexible approach. Salmon challenge this perspective – we sometimes have to slow down, to speed up. Processes can be flexible while still providing structure for business growth - they are what drive progress every day.
Part of doing this is closely linked with People because Process can be about engaging business colleagues at the right time with the right solutions. Being a trusted partner means bringing the company along the digital journey with us, which is essential for our future success.
We know that building scale and leveraging our platforms will deliver value for the business, but what about delighting our consumers?
In 2020 one of Salmon's team members attended an event and learned that more than two million people in the UK live with sight loss and cannot simply read the information on packaging. It sparked an idea to add NaviLens technology to the packaging, allowing visually impaired people to access all of the information on Kellogg's packaging via their smartphones – either by having it played aloud or by using accessibility tools.
IT partnered with the Packaging and Design team and launched a successful pilot making Kellogg the first 'food' company in the world to include NaviLens technology on its packaging.
The company's purpose is for everyone to have a place at the table, wanting all consumers to be able to access important information about the foods Kellogg sells.
Data has always been available but never in the abundance that it is today. While CIOs may not manage every corporate data program, the IT function is critical in ensuring commercial and functional teams understand what data is available and use it to fuel insight-driven actions.
Salmon says Kellogg has re-imagined its data & analytics approach and focus on data ownership, quality, ethics, and governance. This is the recipe for making better business decisions.
The real magic happens when joining forces with other business areas, like Marketing, to combine insights and analytics capabilities with innovation, e-commerce, and more. This has allowed Kellogg to create a rich omnichannel experience that ensures it has the right foods, attractive pricing, and tailoring the right message to its diverse consumers.
Freeing data from silos is critical to meet consumer needs and preparing for the future consumer experience. Kellogg recently commissioned research that looks at what consumer shopping trends it can anticipate by 2035; it is making investments to prepare for those consumer expectations.
For example, in 2035 and beyond, the retail environment will fit the needs of each shopper. Shoppers will see the personalization of products and shopper journeys as a baseline expectation to fit their unique attitudes and needs. Traditional online and offline environments will become increasingly integrated, supplemented with AI and innovative technologies to offer data-driven capabilities.
Digital is the driving force behind any business, and IT is in the driver's seat. Commercial business leaders can and should partner with their IT teams to help prepare for digital shifts to create more personalized experiences that create brand affinity.