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November 26, 2020

BTOES From Home - SPEAKER SPOTLIGHT : The Secrets to Large-Scale Business Transformation Success

Courtesy of Excellence & Innovation's Jose Pires, Morningstar INC's Anu George, Caesars Entertainment's Rias Attar and Mastercard's Kelli Pierce below is a transcript of his speaking session on 'The Secrets to Large-Scale Business Transformation Success' to Build a Thriving Enterprise that took place at BTOES From Home.

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Session Information:

The Secrets to Large-Scale Business Transformation Success

“Fewer than one third of organizational transformations succeed at improving a company’s performance and sustaining those gains” and “the success rate of digital transformations is even lower.” (McKinsey)

Three top leaders of high performing large-scale transformation projects will deliver a five minute presentation to give you insights into best practices followed by a Q & A discussion session

  • What were the key drivers for transformation?
  • What are the strategic goals of your organisation’s transformation initiatives?
  • What do you consider to be the biggest enablers of our successes?
  • What elements of our transformation processes could be improved?
  • What makes sustainable change possible? 

Session Transcript:

Hello everyone and welcome back to the main stage of the business transformation operational excellence world summit where we accelerate culture business and digital transformations and we create environments where great people and great ideas can connect and our next session is all about that great people and great ideas connecting for successful large-scale business transformations and I'm very excited to welcome Rias Attar and Kelly Pierce to the stage and to have a discussion an open discussion about the secrets of large-scale business transformation success but also I'm sure there will be some lessons learned along the way that that will be shared here.

So let me first start by doing a brief introduction on Rias and Kelly is an accomplished strategist business and digital transformation expert operational excellence leader and project and change management professional. He's a book author and an industry award winner with a track record in increasing profits and delivering strategic initiatives, he's recognized for his ability to help strategize business architecture identify areas to improve operational outcomes champion continues improvement and innovation efforts deliver challenging cross-functional programs lead and coach winning teams and inspire staff to welcome change and deliver ambitious results Rias welcome great to have you here with us.

We have Kelly pierce who is the senior vice president of operational excellence and Mastercard her organization is responsible for driving the transformation of Mastercard services through innovative technology streamlined processes seamless support and outstanding customer service prior to joining Mastercard. Kelly spent nine years in operations and technology and Nielsen where she focused on strategic planning process re-engineering technology-enabled cost reduction quality improvement and program management. Kelly wonderful to have you here.

Screenshot (37)-1Now look at the surprise guest appearance we have here Anu George is back with us a new thank you for making the time I know you're in a board meeting and you're coming out of that to be here with us really awesome you have just enriched us. So let me do it for our audience a short introduction on Anu she has a long list of accomplishments very glad to have to have you with us here and talk about large-scale transformation anew Anu is the CEO for technology and transformation for Morningstar the leading independent investment research firm prior to Morningstar, Anu has worked at unilever and general electric. she works at the intersection of emerging technologies strategy leadership and operational excellence. She is most energized when she's helping leaders discern the trends of the future and help them successfully embrace that future, she's a frequent speaker on topics such as the future of work driving transformation diversity and inclusion business excellence and leadership a new privilege to have you with us.

I would like to start with this amazing panel by just giving the audience a little bit of context on on your own I could uh oh i went away for a minute there if i could for just a brief moment have you just give the audience a little bit of context about your your journey on large scale transformations that will be terrific let me start with kelly on that please sure so um thank you very much for hosting us Jose, it's been a it's been a pleasure to join everyone um very quickly Mastercard has gone through as many of you might be aware a tremendous amount of growth over the past 10 to 15 years and in particular the the part of the business that I support has been one of the major drivers of growth but it's been something that's been largely driven by a huge influx of personnel and we're looking to productize our business leverage technology to enable scale because we've seen uh in our division um 10 to 20 times growth over the past three to five years and we're expecting to continue that so without radically transforming the way that we operate we're not going to be able to achieve that vision so it's been a wild ride and we look forward to a lot more excitement in the years ahead.

That's terrific Rias tell us a little bit about your background the transformations that you have been involved with please absolutely Jose, thank you again for having me so so as some of you may know I uh I used to work for Caesar's entertainment for uh i led the transformation operational excellence and project management and there we for about five to six years we had to transform technology culture processes data um the the business uh or the industry at that time was not growing and we were asked to to meet expectations of the market which is about seven percent growth and but the the um annually and the uh the industry growth was two percent so we had to come up with revenue increase ideas with cost cutting ideas with improvement ideas and technologies and processes and and and people to uh to you know in order to meet those objectives and we successfully deliver that that that is fantastic uh thank you.

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Anu tell us a little bit about the journey of Morningstar you have been on this journey for some years several years now and the transformation continues um tell us a little bit tell us the audience a little bit more uh what that has looked like sure and you know actually I was just looking at my designation which is incorrectly shown here but it's CEO for technology and transformation and it reflects my journey actually. I've done you know I've been at mornings for about a decade now and done several transformations one is the whole lean transformation where we brought in lean way of working and continuous improvement and operational excellence then I moved into software development we brought in the agile way of working and made the organization rather jailed we develop our products very differently than we did about a decade ago and off late I've been in the technology organization and last couple of years working with the team in Morningstar trying to bring in RPA, AI and machine learning especially in our data collections world. so been to a range of different transformations as the technologies around us progress and as the organization progresses and grows that's terrific you know so so many different hats and it speaks to the to the evolution of transformations as well the different stages.

There you're on uh so so let me start with that where where are um where are these transformations today and this one is is really for Kelly and annual here on where are at what stage you are on your transformation um sure I'm happy to to start us off um and I we have a lot of similarities to what it sounds like Anu has been experiencing at Morningstar as well um that we're rapidly embracing more and more technology to help enable this so i mentioned this briefly in our introduction um we must leverage platforms we must leverage AI because the the more that we continue to rely on um on our personnel to exclusively be the drivers of growth it's just not a scalable solution and frankly the digital landscape is changing so rapidly you have to be able to embrace these technologies in order to stay fresh and stay relevant and our clients are going through the same kind of digital transformation on their side to so to whatever extent Mastercard can power and enable it will help um in terms of where we are in that journey.

I would say that um we're we're certainly not experienced but we're not inexperienced either we have um some really great uh sort of legacy platforms that are helping get us a really great start but embracing those new technologies is really going to be what propels us so we have a tremendous roadway ahead of us of um of change that we anticipate which is why having a really strong foundation and clear vision of what you want for your transformation to enable and how your organization can rally around that idea to support it is going to be critically important for future success. I think my answer would mirror somewhat what Kelly said.

You know if I was to say we are I won't say we are very advanced but we are somewhere between early to mid point of our transformation when it comes to adopting emerging technologies we have a chief data officer who's really doing some wonderful work in driving our data analytics platform and our data lake basically you know ensuring that our data is freely available in all our products for different people to use it for different purposes uh we are definitely in you know adopting rpa in a very big way uh when it comes to AI & machine learning, I can see slowly you know small experiments uh springing up across different parts of the organization.

Which is what you want you want a very organic adoption of this not like a top-down adoption so we are beginning to see that mushroom across the organization and I just came off another call and we were talking of you know bringing in speakers to talk about innovation and i could see the the hunger and openness among the leaders to do more of that so I would I would kind of say uh not fully advanced but definitely not at the beginning either with you know kind of making good progress very good i want to talk about that evolution of transformation I'm going to start with you realize on this but before i ask the question I want to remind the audience that I monitor your questions in real time.

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You can upvote each other's questions so load your questions up okay and I'm going to shift to your questions very quickly here as I see them come up and uh this is not a scripted rehearse thing that we want to do by any means so we want to know your questions in your context what matters to you most now Rias I'm going to start with you on this one you have seen the good the bad and the ugly of transformations and uh and and some transformations they are design others they evolve uh and uh let's talk a little bit about governance. uh on uh what type of governance or lack of governance have you seen on transformations that you have been involved with and what is the impact of a governance model for the transformation itself yes absolutely thanks Jose.

Today I mean so so look specifically with big organizations uh again we have to be nimble we have to we have to adapt to the changes in the environment you know the customers are asking for better faster cheaper the competition is you know they're they're attacking us from different angles so so we have to be nimble and we have to deliver on technology and and and and uh and operational excellence the thing with big organizations um is that you can easily get distracted it's there are many people many departments many priorities each one of them believe that they are the most important and so they they usually like to go and do their own thing specifically if you have multiple branches or multi multiple divisions so when you start to do this you put your company at risk and you lose economies of scale and and we see that all the time.

I probably managed to save hundreds of millions of dollars by centralization and and share services uh now when we introduce this we somehow introduce bureaucracy so we have it's a fine line between governance and bureaucracy bureaucracy is evil governance is needed so if if i have to say it differently and again I would love there's so many things.

I want to talk today uh about today I mean Kelly and Anu just mentioned a few things about Rias and so on and so forth but going back to your note about about uh governance let's say for example RPA you start one pilot it we did it we saved about like 20 million dollars a year doing Rias uh and then everybody else wants RPA.

So they started doing their own thing it's like wait a second we have a platform we have you know we need to have some sort of governance and so on and so forth and the same thing applies to purchases the same as the same thing applies to project intake initiatives because if we get like distracted about all those efforts and because everybody wants to do something and we have limited capacity limited budget limited resources.

We want to make sure as a corporate that we steal the the ship in the right direction and make sure that you know the people are utilizing the the the assets that we have and the capabilities to the that aligns with the strategy of the company because sometimes they may do something that may not align with the company's strategies as well I guess again like I touched upon a few a few topics here but uh that would be my short answer yeah i like i like some of the perspectives you have brought up there so uh and for Kelly or i knew here what what have you found to be maybe a I don't know.

If there's a best but maybe a better governance model that that has helped you uh with this with mastering these contradictions and complexities that that rias talked about between you know good governance and overly bureaucratic systems um what has you what have you found to be the sweet spot for them I think when you talk of governance there are first of all the first thing is what are the metrics you're looking at and one of the things we realize is you don't just look at the outcome metrics but I call it like the behavioral metrics and what i mean by that is it's not whether you achieved your goal did you get this innovation done happen or not that's your outcome metrics but behavioral metrics could be and i use the word behavioral very broadly to be honest but it's things like do you have the right amount of resources so are you creating the atmosphere to help those teams.

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Who are innovating to innovate properly are you ensuring that you have the right mix of people in you know we created cross-functional squads to drive the innovation are you ensuring that you have the right mix of people and what i mean by right mix of people is your if you really want to drive innovation the the profile of the people in these squads cannot just be a microcosm of your current organization because then you're just going to get the same outcomes as the current organizations getting so you probably want to get people who are more you know broad-minded people who are more open-minded people who are more uh experimentalize in nature more innovative etc.

You know bold so you know those kind of metrics then we put in metrics like okay we've created these squads but are they really diverting their time so you could create the squads on paper but they're still pulled in 15 directions so are you making sure so you know we created a whole lot of behavioral metrics to make sure that we are creating that environment and the foundation for good innovation work to happen.

So that's number one I would say on governance so your way you think of governance should be very different than you would normally think when you're driving innovation. It's a little different the second thing i would say is you know if you think of a speed car you know you see they are always very low to the ground and they grip the road and that's why they can pivot and turn very quickly and the same thing happens with governance models for innovation you have to be low to ground.

You have to be very frequent touch points because you'll find as you're going down a path like this part that we adopted is not working and we need to pivot we need to actually kill this effort which we thought we were so uh you know so optimistic about but it's not working out anymore so have very frequent touch points but i would say not very heavy touch points you don't want big power points and all that but frequently low fidelity touch points so that we can quickly figure out okay.

What needs to be done and let's pivot or let's add something more what we need to do so those are two big uh best practices i would share when it comes to governance models very good would you like to add yeah just just uh one or two quick things um i 100 agree with everything that's been said and i just to add i also think it's really important that we celebrate the wins i think that if we like where governance risks becoming bureaucratic is when you have hierarchical decision-making and and you start to lose sight of the accomplishments that teams have made and when we think about transformational success at the core of it is really are you changing the culture and we all know that changing the culture is the hardest part of transformation but if you start to stifle the winds then you're very going to quickly kill all of the excitement that you were getting so to to ensure that you don't risk that governance becoming bureaucratic.

I think what Anu was saying about um staying close to the ground and ensuring that you can provide guard rails where necessary so that folks don't go rogue and and start to go off in other directions as Rias was mentioning but you also celebrate those wins and you highlight the metrics if that's how you're measuring success or any other wins that the teams are creating i think it can really keep that that spirit and excitement going even while you're maintaining control and oversight of of the overall transformational initiative that's an excellent point.

I'm skinny and as you're speaking there's some questions coming up here and I asked the audience to upvote because there's so many questions now it's hard to see all of them upvote the ones that you want me to prioritize but one of one of the questions that has come up that I thought that that i was able to um connect with this topic is, I think it's an interesting one curious about your perspective on this um um there are a lot of organizations today for obvious reasons.

We have exponential technologies we have have a pandemic that has accelerated digitization across organizations and the implementation of these explanation technologies but uh someone has pointed out that that a lot the vast majority of digital transformations fail uh and they fail not because of technology they fail because of other aspects of the transformation and there is a tendency for us to start thinking about business transformation today and people equate that to technology but there is much more to business transformation.

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Than just a technological component um what are your perspectives on that how how did you decide what you want to transform into and beyond just technology what aspects of the culture need to shift to support the implementation of these new technologies so curious about what your experiences have been like on shifting your culture as you digitize a lot of your businesses I think um so another example of like we all talk about technology because it's the most tangible but one of the other challenges that we're going through um is ensuring that we're adopting process as well and when I say process I think I get like a visceral reaction from a lot of my stakeholders because we come from such an innovative culture a lot of the work that we've done historically has been hey there's a client with a very specific need and a use case that we need to solve for and we create a custom solution.

That's really really successful and so we want to scale that across multiple clients multiple geographies but the problem is that initial use case was never built for scale and so i joke with a lot of my peers and i say you guys are the dreamers and I appreciate that I'm not going to dream up the next great latent demand to solve a client need and develop a new product around that but let's take your your dream and I'll help you turn it into reality we'll figure out what the processes need to be so that we can ensure success and so a big part of the the transformation that we're trying to drive is introducing process thinking as a part of our DNA and trying to change that visceral reaction into a positive one and having people embrace that processes into bad word but it's one that a phrase i use often is five minutes of hard work up front will save you five hours of heartache in the long run um and that's I think that's critical as well.

I look at you know any transformation whether it's digital or not I think there are some common requirements of flavors to make it happen number one is you got to have a clear vision of what we want you're what you want to achieve and be very open to the fact that the road map to that will not be a straight line and i think what happens is when it's not a straight line people think it's a failure and that's not right i mean you will have pivots and you will have turns and you may have to change your directions a little bit I think the second big important factor for success is also to make sure that you have the right resources.

So I have seen people who have these massive visions but they just are not able to give the focus and I think Rias talked about it earlier where you start something and then you get quickly defocus and go for the next big thing uh I think the third one is you know the whole concept of transdisciplinary thinking so you want to you can't innovate. If you're thinking the same way you have to have you can't innovate if you're still thinking in your silos and just coming together for some cross-functional meetings and then you go back your merry way. You if you look at all innovations.

I mean if you look at the journey of amazon it all started with someone saying let's have a bookstore it worked then they said oh why not we have um you know a multiple product store so now they're the biggest online retailer then we they said oh we need all this technology and server space to support our store why not we actually give it a software as a service so if you see there was always a transdisciplinary thinking where they kept expanding their thought and that happened because a group of people probably came together to think more broadly so one of our experiences having these cross-function squads really help so they think as one team towards the vision rather than engineering and business etc differently and i think the last point that I made earlier also is you want to make sure that people in the team are not just a microcosm of your larger organization you're injecting it with you know bold thinkers people are unafraid to question the status quo but that's how you drive innovation so some of us these are some things which are found really helpful in driving a transformation.

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I think it's really magic you and Kelly have talked about this these two forces that point different directions the the process excellent side that's pulling in one direction the discipline approach and then you have the innovation which requires a different perspective and the problem fundamentally to shift it you know to quote a great designer friend of mine you can't design cars by squeezing efficiencies out of horses so you need you need to take a different perspective and a transportation uh opportunity so I rise you wanted to add to that so I'm gonna I'm gonna let you carry on go ahead I'm gonna make it short i you know I would just want to add to Kelly and anyway.

I think that they spot on we speak the same language here I think a couple of more things I think many times transformation fails because a we don't manage expectations well most of the time the board the the stakeholders they think that the the benefits are are straight line while usually it's exponential it starts with like no benefits very very little and then maybe year ten or five whatever the the the journey is you see like the exponential look at tesla right you know they invested so so much so so manage expectations uh is one thing not only expectations for the for your uh your sponsors but also your customers and your people so going back to Kelly and about change management.

We talked about and probably this is almost always missed we don't celebrate success we don't talk about people we set a strategy we give the tools to the employees and we said okay go and do it but what about change what about change adoption how how fast can we get to that that is change adoption and sometimes sometimes we throw so much at them there's so many so many efforts so many initiatives that somehow derail the efforts as well i mean i just wanted to add those couple of to a couple of elements because I've seen it where i mean that the whole transformation failed because whether the the board does not does not believe in it anymore because they don't see the value well wait a second we have to wait it's like a it's a longer it's a longer investment or the people do not adopt or the process is not correct.

So we're building technology based on on a broken process or the technology is not scalable it's it's not for the future it's for today well we need to invest in futures technology not today's technology and then you have all this heritage of of of technical debt that is like handcuffing you so how you can bridge all of those to to deliver those uh those transformational uh efforts this this is a great point and segue to a question that i'm gonna pick up from the audience here that Anthony Newman has posed and what Anthony talks about is the fact that the practitioners who are in the in the bowels of the organization you know implementing improvements and innovations um they realize that having a disciplined framework for doing that is very important and uh it helps them actually scale their ability to ineffectiveness to implement improvements and innovations however a lot of them are getting bombarded by oh we need to digitize and we need to do best and we need to move really fast on this and technology is a great thing but also technology can make stupid happen at the speed of light.

So you have to be careful about the technology you choose question is from a practitioner's perspective who is implementing improvements and innovations uh they believe that foundational methodologists like lean like six sigma like operational excellence are critically important to an enablers for uh for this digital journey but often the digital journey kind of like trumps that what is your thought about discipline approaches to implementation of improvements and innovation and this and this and this there is a bit of a battle with digitize as fast as possible um how are you handling that that that pressure and then the second part of that question is that how do you communicate to senior leaders that it's not just about new tech adopting new technologies that we need to have some level of structured discipline approach to effectively and efficiently uh leverage those technologies.

So how's this communication happen on your organizations we're actually experiencing that exact challenge right now um so we have I mentioned some of our legacy is a bit of a bad word on negative connotation but there there's some of our older platforms and we're completely re-platforming the modular design um configurable the client needs all of the great stuff that new technology can enable that we didn't tap into holistically 20 years ago but the problem is we've we've jumped straight into developing the new code and we've said well we know what we want the new platform to do we want to go and write the new platform and get it out there as quickly as possible it's going to deliver infrastructure savings.

It's going to make it faster to market for for client launches the problem is if we if we don't pause and take a moment to the point of leveraging things like lean and six sigma to design our processes from day one all we're doing is rebuilding a broken system onto a new system and it's a complete waste of investment dollars and so you're right it does take um a little bit of stakeholder communication particularly executive stakeholder communication to help them understand like no it's in our best interest to spend an extra four six 12 weeks on designing the future state process so that we can be sure that we're building the underlying system architecture to support it well otherwise you're going to end up they always call it day two on day two we're going to develop your operational improvements right now we just want to get the technology out the door problem is day two rarely comes the next thing you know you're looking at another re-platforming effort and another one and another one um to my earlier point of five minutes of hard work.

They gave you five hours of heartache in the long run this is a perfect example of if you can think about um from a practitioner's perspective if you can think about how you want to design what you want the technology to do for you first you'll get the technology right the first time as opposed to redoing it over and over and over again i think if I was to add that sorry go ahead no i was just acknowledging that I'm appreciating Kelly's uh uh openness about that because sometimes people look from outside and think that although Mastercard you know has it all figured out right it's it's this lean mean machine and the business transformation so successful but you're really talking about the challenges that you have from we think very openly and we appreciate that Anu please go ahead.

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I think I would look at it in a couple of ways one is if I look at the discipline of lean or six sigma even agile it's all three of them extremely customer focused and you cannot drive any transformation unless you're very customer focused so I think having that discipline really helps the organization be thinking about the value to the customer and designing the future aligned to that value to the customer the second part which I see I look at things you know disciplines like lean or agile are basically i call it foundational so think about if you want to go fast on a road if the road is well taught you can go really fast on that road so if you look at organizations that are successful a lot of them a lot of them have this underlying discipline that helps teams work together they have a common language on how to drive things they have some good principles and methods of driving change and change management so i see those as foundational to help drive a successful transformation and then coming to the adoption of technologies one of the things we look at in Morningstar is as long as we are able to add value to the customer as long as.

We're able to live up to our mission of empowering investors we don't we are kind of agnostic to the technology we don't really want to go for the brightest shiniest technology and the newest technology as much as we want to go to the technology that works and I remember about 10 years ago I had gone to a Toyota you know factory and I remember talking Toyota's really good at modernizing the factories but at the same time very lean factories and one of the things they said is we go for technology that is going to help us we don't really care whether.

It's traditional technology emerging technologies are the latest and the brightest technologies so i think that's something we have you know organizations need to remember that they do not need to become slaves to the technology but the technology is a slave to their vision and value to the customer tremendous perspective yeah I'd like to second the thought of Anu and Kelly, I mean so so a couple of things just to to put the icing on the cake uh I think it was the the one thing that is very critical is that many people they just see those shiny objects they hear about a certain technology a certain practice and they go and jump and it's like this is what we want to do it may not really fit the company or the organization or or the culture or whatever the the technical uh infrastructure.

That they have at the right moment so so again going back to the so what really works what really is is is good for the company for now and for the future and to have that customer-centric uh mindset that at the end of the day we're gonna we're here to serve the customers and the customers are the one who who are acquiring our our products and services so among all of this becomes you know the the which is the strategy right so this is like the strategy that you want to have and then there's the the the the practice or the delivery mechanism.

So Kelly mentioned about the uh the the process the pre-processing or process improvement or or process mapping before implementing technology is very important because again like we we put technology in place and sometimes we over promise and under deliver a because maybe the the technology provider over promised us or maybe we we over promised the senior leaders thinking that this technology is uh is is a silver bullet that will solve all wars hunger but again managed expectation becomes a third element which is the the the people aspect and and and making sure that we we address the communication element how we communicate be truthful to what exactly we are working on what.

The future state looked like what's the interim state is and how that looked like and how would the benefits and roi would start to flow and when so all of this is very important i guess like com putting all this together I think to answer the the uh the the the question that you just asked uh you asked how to communicate and how to to to you know from a practitioner perspective deliver those outcomes just just a couple of thoughts from my own that's excellent Rias thank you thank you for that um one and I asked you I asked the audience to continue to ask the questions and rank the questions.

I'm scanning them as as the speakers are providing their insights and one of the themes that has emerged as well has to do with uh uh with the the real success factors so let's step back a little bit for a moment here look at the transformations and first of all I'm gonna let you define success in your own terms okay that means different things for different organizations uh on the successful large-scale transformation that you're going through you're here because you have been part of those now we know that there are so many challenges even on successful ones for sure but if you back up and you look at the most important factors.

That you think that created a success that made the transformation successful um what would be you know maybe the top factors one two doesn't matter how many but just the critical feel that success factors that you have found in hindsight look back into at the transformation and and uh because people are looking for maybe the the signposts that they should be paying attention to in their own transformation um so what would be some of those critical success factors looking back at your successful transformation i wanna maybe start with giving a hint here so i i think everything starts with data uh so without data we are just people with opinion so whatever you know whether it's uh it's a it's a technology we want to we want to change which technology which aspect which process uh which segment which product which country all of this based on data that tells us where we should focus and then what we should start so it's really a people process technology data but i would like to use data as they like at the you ask what we should probably start and i think we should always start with data to tell us.

What we should start with and and where and when and then kind of form and that is let me rephrase that not necessarily what we start with I'm interested on what are the success the main success factors and data could be it but what are the main success factors for that successful transformation um so is there something else other than data that you as you i think that data is one of them you start with probably very important but uh is there another success factor as you look back yeah again i think it's it's it's a it's a people process technology data element so it is it's the four of those and then on top of this again you have to make sure that your your your solution is scalable and then for the future it's not for today.

It's working and it's we have to be nimble and making sure it's specifically in this specific area also at the time that we are at like the pandemic we have to be nimble we are probably doing things that we were doing in five years in three months now because you know we have to change quickly and put like systems quickly uh in place or change people quickly or or change processes quickly because everything is changing quickly.

So I think it's the the strategy itself the delivery mechanism which is again the lean and project management and change management in agile and then of course the the culture the culture is is amazing we have to we cannot do it ourselves you know the the three of us as leaders we need the whole crew we need the whole people so we need to hold their hands and and and and and move forward in that transformation journey so i think it's all these three legged stools this is probably um yeah I think so this is probably to state the obvious a little bit but I would be remiss if i didn't say it out loud um is you need to have support and buy-in and I use both of those words because you need the top-down support and you need the bottoms-up buy-in because if you don't have your your executive leadership team bought into the vision or championing the vision and encouraging the vision or even directly instituting as a part of goals and objectives etc.

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Then it's going to get lost in the shuffle but similarly if it's just being pushed down from the top and the folks who are on the ground needing to execute the change needing to be bought into the change are not bought in um then you're not going to be successful either so when i think about when when your your final milestones are some of the kpis that anu was mentioning earlier or some of the financial expectations associated with it whether it be top line growth or bottom line savings none of that will be achieved if you don't have everyone involved from the from the top of the organization all the way through through your your front line team bought into the change you're not going to be successful very good i know your audio right now is off just do a little tap on the mic to make sure that you can come sorry so i think i would add a couple of things number one you want to make sure that every transformation starts with the customer.

I think the understanding the value of the customer is most important because if you have not understood that well you will go down a path which is not eventually going to add value and hence will not be successful so starts with that i think a couple of other things constancy of purpose transformations take time if you get distracted or if you start pulling back because you haven't got immediate instant karma it's not going to work so the constancy of purpose is extremely important and i think the last one is is energizing the teams and being true to the transformation mission or the vision so what i mean by that is keep energizing the teams but you are going to come across failures on the way be ready to pivot be true to your vision do not be afraid to say well this path didn't work because like i said earlier transformations are not a straight line they are quite a long-winded path sometimes and be ready to take that long-winded path but at the same time energizing your teams every step of the way.

That that's that's well captured by all of you uh again someone that i respect and did a lot of research in this area about mediocrity is not an unwillingness to change the signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistencies inconsistency with purpose with the with the purpose that you have that's actually the definition of ultimate discipline but so um on this topic akil motowala has asked a question that i think and we already talked a little bit about he asks um so we're going to be doing this transformation organization what is your recommendation one fell swoop or more of an iterative approach to it.

I think you answered today what you all think about that i think it's an iterative approach i mean you always want to keep experimenting because there's a lot of serendipity in transformation you will go down the path and you'll find discover new and better ways of doing things actually and if you just have a straight shot approach you just don't allow that serendipity and you must allow the serendipity because you'll be amazed at how many new technologies are coming new ways are coming up you should be networking with external organizations like universities uh you know and other organizations who are doing like-minded work and you will suddenly come across different ways of doing things.

So you really want to do a very iterative approach and constant learning is so critical constant learning yeah and while um while your ultimate vision may not change i mean that's sort of the purpose of a vision and a strategy is that it should remain constant the way that you get there likely will because there will be new factors that are introduced not only will you have learnings along the way and you'll become smarter about how you want to approach solving the problem and therefore you might even um expand upon that vision um but also we don't know what we don't know right like we none of us knew about covid nineteen months ago.

When we started along our journey it was pre-integration of a handful of acquisitions that have added a number of different flavors of complexity and benefit that we hadn't included in our original plans and so I think if you're able to remain iterative it gives you enough flexibility to incorporate the things you didn't know when you first defined your ultimate vision yeah i can't agree more with the with both Kelly and I know I can give you many examples.

Where sometimes we have to make difficult decisions you know after spending a few millions a few millions of dollars on on a solution and then boom somebody you know come up with a a a wonderful kind of other solution that we have to go back to the board and convince them that we have to write off like a 10 million dollar to adopt a new technology that actually is much better but was not existent like two years ago but now it exists. There's no point to to reinvest in in whatever we are working on again like there's sometimes sometimes, we have to make those hard decisions and and that's kind of where um the you know shifting the mindset and shifting and pivoting quickly sometimes makes perfect sense and and almost all the time works to adhere to the customers expectations because again things are changing uh every day now and and and with the changes of environment and technologies.

So things are the the customers are behaving differently the the market is changing every day and then of course the technology as i mentioned is changing and sometimes you you may have to take like that hard decision or make that a hard decision to to say okay you know what we we have done this but it may have not worked very well worked but now we have another solution that works very very very uh well or better and much scalable so just another another another uh addition there thank you very much well listen our time is up we could certainly talk about this for hours and so grateful Kelly, Rias & Anu for sharing incredible expertise and insights with our global audience of business transformation operational excellence leaders.

We really appreciate the gift of your time and expertise thank you for having us thank you ladies and gentlemen that's the some of the best in the world when it comes to successful business cultural business and digital transformations and uh so wonderful to learn directly from them some of your questions that we see there uh in the chat we relate them and we look forward to further questions in the in the next few sessions.

Thank you.

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About the Author

more (30)-1Jose Pires,
Founder & CEO,
Excellence & Innovation.

José Pires serves as the Global Excellence & Innovation (E&I) Leader for Andeavor Corporation, where he oversees the global identification, prioritization and execution of mission critical business improvements and innovations that add value to the company, business partners and external clients in multiple markets.

Prior to his current role, Pires held Excellence and Innovation leadership positions in large, global companies in the electronics (Sony), semiconductor (Cymer-ASML), food (Nestlé) and infrastructure (Black & Veatch) industries. Throughout his career, Pires developed and refined E&I as an award winning program for innovation, leadership development, strategy execution and value creation globally.

Pires is an advisory board leader and keynote speaker for several global conferences on innovation, operational excellence, leadership development, strategy execution, business transformation, customer engagement and growth acceleration.

He holds a Bachelor in Engineering Physics from the University of Kansas and a Master in Business Administration focused in Investment Banking and Entrepreneurship from the University of San Diego.

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About the Author

5427Anu George,
Chief Quality and Transformation Officer,
Morningstar, Inc.

Anu George is Chief Quality and Transformation Officer for Morningstar. She is responsible for providing strategic direction to Morningstar’s operational excellence & continuous improvement initiatives. She works at the intersection of operational excellence, human behavior & technology. Anu is an avid reader, and has an eclectic choice of the books she reads. She enjoys learning and experimenting with new thoughts in the world of change management, organizational behavior, operational excellence, LEAN & Agile.

Anu has more than 20 years of experience in operations management and Lean Six Sigma. Before joining Morningstar in 2010, she had worked for Unilever and GE. She is a frequent speaker on topics including business process excellence and leadership.

Anu holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and accounting and a master’s degree in business administration, with a specialization in marketing, from the University of Mumbai. 

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About the Author

download (99)Rias Attar,
VP - EPMO and Strategic Initiatives,
Caesars Entertainment.

Rias Attar is an accomplished operational excellence and project management professional. He is recognized for his ability to help strategize business architecture, identify areas to improve processes and outcomes, turn around businesses from deficient to profitability, champion continuous improvement efforts, deliver challenging cross-functional programs while working collaboratively with diverse types of stakeholders, lead and coach winning teams, and inspire staff to deliver ambitious results. Mr. Attar has planned and executed transformational projects (Business and Technology) that contributed over $500M of combined EBITDA impact and is managing a portfolio of initiatives that adds between $200 and $300M of EBITDA annually. He established PMOs, led Lean and Six Sigma efforts, championed Change Management, ensured proper Governance while reducing Bureaucracy, and has set proper business directions while staying focused on motivating staff, inspiring trust and confidence, developing people’s skills, and generating enthusiasm. Mr. Attar worked for different companies at a variety of industries such as: Michelin (Tires), Friede Goldman Halter (Oil & Gas) , DHL Express (Courier), and General Electric/Genworth (Mortgage Insurance), and Maple Leaf Foods (Food Processing and Supply Chain). Prior to working at Caesars (Entertainment/Hospitality), he spent a few years in the consulting business working with companies such as Danone Dairy (Food Processing), Steel Tech (Steel Manufacturing/Rolling Mill), Sport Master (Clothing/Retail), and dipndip (Chocolate F&B). Mr. Attar started his professional career in Finance as an FP&A analyst then moved to project management and operational excellence about 18 years ago. During that time, he worked/lived in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, The Middle East, Toronto-Canada, and now in Las Vegas. Mr. Attar has a bachelor degree in Finance, got his MBA from University of Texas, and have a few certifications in project management such as (PMP) Project Management Professional, (ACP) Agile Certified Practitioner, and (CSM) Certified Scrum Master. He is also a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt (LSSBB). Outside of work, Rias is a devoted family man with a wife and 3 kids. His best time is when he spends it with his kids playing board games, riding bikes, swimming, or just watching movies. Rias loves sport, tries to work out often, practiced Jiu Jitsu and Kick Boxing for years, and enjoys lap swimming every once and a while. He also loves music and plays the classical guitar.

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About the Author

download (100)Kelli Pierce,
SVP, Operational Excellence,
Mastercard.

Kelli Pierce is Senior Vice President of Data and Services Operational Excellence at Mastercard. Her organization is responsible for driving the transformation of Mastercard’s services through innovative technology, streamlined processes, seamless support, and outstanding customer service. Prior to joining Mastercard, Ms. Pierce spent 9 years at Nielsen, most recently as Senior Vice President of U.S. Media Operations, where she led the operational teams responsible for delivering ratings and insights to Nielsen’s U.S. media clients. Her career at Nielsen spanned multiple operations and technology roles with accountabilities centered on strategic planning, process reengineering, cost reduction, quality improvement, and program management. Ms. Pierce earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina, a Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Florida, and a Professional Certificate in Financial Leadership from Cornell University.

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