BTOES Insights Official
October 20, 2020

IT Infrastructure & Cloud Strategies - SPEAKER SPOTLIGHT : The view from the C-Suite / Key success factors for effective digital transformation

Courtesy of Caesars Entertainment's Rias Attar, below is a transcript of his speaking session on 'The view from the C-Suite / Key success factors for effective digital transformation' to Build a Thriving Enterprise that took place at BTOES IT Infrastructure & Cloud Strategies Virtual Conference.


Session Information:

The view from the C-Suite / Key success factors for effective digital transformation

Information technology innovation creates new opportunities every day to make more money, be more efficient, find new markets, and change existing operations dynamics. Technology advancement is happening so fast that companies are finding it hard to catch up and adapt to the latest and greatest capabilities.

Companies are currently trying to embrace digital transformation and move to the cloud; however, that journey takes years, and it is full of challenges and issues, mainly due to data integration and system compatibility. This keynote will address key elements to successfully leverage digital transformation and capture values while aligning with the overall business strategies. It will also highlights the importance of the delivery mechanism and change management to enable the digital transformation journey.

  • Improve and transform your organizations by addressing all the following factors: People, Process, Technology, Data
  • Find the right balance between strategies, delivery mechanism, and culture.
  • Embrace change but changing for the sake of change is meaningless without a defined brighter digital future that aligns with the business strategy (Set up a good strategy)
  • Develop an action-oriented mindset and adopt a customer-centric approach while leveraging proven technology (Set up a solid delivery mechanism)
  • Invest in people and utilize change management (Enable a healthy Culture)
  • Always start with Safer, then better, faster, and cheaper (maybe)

Session Transcript:

Join us, rears is the vice-president of Transformation Integration Project Management and Continuous Improvement as Caesar's Entertainment.

He is an accomplished strategist, business and digital transformation expert, operational excellence leader and program and change management leader.

He has a book author and an industry award winner, with a track record in increasing profits in delivering strategic initiatives.

He's recognized for his ability to help strategized Business Architecture, identify areas of to improve processes and operational outcomes turnaround, champion, continuous improvement efforts, deliver challenging cross functional programs, lead and coach winning teams and ultimately, inspire staff to welcome change and deliver ambitious results rears. My friend, and it's a privilege to welcome to the conference, and we're very much looking forward to your insights and presentation.

Yeah, thank you for having me.

I guess, I want to take you back at 30,000 feet level to the know, how, how, how we can position your IT infrastructure and cloud strategies for success is probably less on the technical side, but more on the, on the how, and what. So, so, I want to kind of ask first, like, why would I do all of this, Why we're changing the IT infrastructure, why we're investing in cloud strategies?

I guess, many of us would like to change, we want to change, things for the better, we want to change to win, and this is the title of my book, Changed the Way in which is now on presale on Amazon and many other book selling platforms.

It's about change to when you want to change, to improve. We wanna change to add value to our companies. And, again, like, this is what I talk about in my book. I encourage you to check it out. You can go to ... dot com, or Amazon Kindle, but, again, like, why, why do we need to change in the first place?

I guess I want to go back to Darwin.

Right, So Darwin once said, it's, it's not the most intellectual, nor the strongest of the species survive, but the most adaptable to change.

Screenshot 7Think about it, Think about how, you know, the dinosaurs were like, big and strong, but they were, among the first to disappear, when the environment changed, because they could not at that path.

So, so same thing here.

You know, the big companies, they think that there's, There's nothing Any more coal, too big to fall.

Because no matter how big you are, the environments are changing fast. So, we need to adapt and move quickly.

So, so, the thing is change is not easy, change is difficult.

And if you think about where we are now, I think most of the Fortune 500 companies no longer exists from from the date they were established, or the ranking has established with 955. But again, like those are the big companies, so what about like the smaller companies or or or or mid-cap companies, I mean, they're probably shedding a similar fate. So, And the reason why they couldn't do it, because they were resisting to change, or they could not change fast enough. We phase change every day.

We are part of constant change, so as, you know, Market Conditions, Customer demands Technologies, which we'll talk about today, competitive pressure, Input costs, mergers and acquisitions, creating those big, big companies that overshadow everybody else and of course crisis and Catastrophic events like Covert 19.

So we face changes every day. But what do we do? A lot of is this we need to embrace change and we need to get out of That comfort zone that we live and Usually the comfort zone is is It's where do you feel happy and safe and familiar With With the, with the processes and Technologies. And I stress on technologies. Because, again, like, you cannot do Improve your technology is an IT Infrastructure or move to cloud without the adoption? of your, of your executive, a season of your Senior executives. And This is that usually they're happy. And they're like, OK, It's working.

Why do we need to change it?

And this is kind of where you have to, kind of, OK, give them the, the future, states, which is like the growth, but between the comfort and the growth, there's this danger zone, that's like, oh, wait a second. If you have to change this, we're going to be unfamiliar, unfamiliar with this process.

Or it is going to create a, kind of, a fearful status or stressful status. where were those executives, and even people in the organization, would say, No.

Btog CTAI want to go back to the previous technologies, and it's very, very easy for, for, for people to switch back.

So we have to kind of keep pushing forward to go to the learning zone, which then, you know, those executives and people start to realize the opportunity and then to the growth zones. And this is kind of where the cloud IT infrastructure plays a difference because you're setting up the process and the foundation for future generations and future years, not about what's today's for about us for future.

So, this is what we did a few years ago.

At Caesars, we looked at our IT infrastructure and looked at what we just found. It. that's either way that you can see on the screen, And we have like, multiple front of the back of the house.

And, and, and, like, all the other systems, connecting to each others. In a very complicated way.

And just imagine the, The efforts, the cost, the, the number of hours needed to do, to just maintain and make sure that everything works.

And despite it, so, what did we do? We moved to Cloud.

Most of the, most of the process that we have, and some of the functions, were, were not ready for cloud.

So it's not always easy, and I'll talk about about this in a bit, but some of some of the functions, or departments, or tools, or systems.

It was no brainer to just move to Cloud, but some of them were not ready.

So we created an enterprise service bus where a kind of connect, sometimes you know, those, those, those systems together and we put the RP is in place and APIs to connect those different systems. It was not always an easy integration between those cloud systems. Sometimes it is, 1 to 1 is easy, But most of the time, it was not that easy.

So, this is kind of just just a high level of what we have done in the past at the company.

The key important topic here is just to always focus on skill level, just scalable platform. Not just, you know, something that would work today, just something that can be replicated, it can be it, can it, can, it, has capacity to grow as well and the company and to adapt to the marketplace environments.

So, OK, so now we put the strategy together, we put the structure together, we want, we want to do it, and then we start to put those efforts, and, guess what, 70% of all those efforts, bayle, it's a statistics, it's not me saying this is statistics, 70% of all initiatives and projects, and objectives fail.

And why?

Because, there, there are always something missing about either the delivery mechanism, the strategy itself, or the culture in order for you guys to deliver your ambitious results.

You have to have some sort of equilibrium, or maybe a balance between those three legged stool. See how those legged stool is on my screen Now. What do you see? Like most of the leaders in the company is focused on the strategy, OK, Well, this is what we're gonna do. This is a beautiful strategy, but then, their delivery mechanism is sub optimal.

They don't have a project management mechanism that is strong enough. They probably do not have, maybe, angel or a mix of Asia and waterfall in place for different projects, and it may not be solid, solid practice.

Or maybe they have the delivery mechanism, the strategy. But they're missing the culture piece, which is extremely important. Having people to adopt and accept the change, and practice, change management, and improve the culture, and invest into people's capabilities for your IT infrastructure, and your, your migration to Cloud, is as important as a strategy itself. So having those like three legacy tools in a complete harmony with what position you for success. And this is what I would like to see a three legged stool, honestly, which I think most of you.

So, so, OK, so, so, how do we realize the positive results?

That we want to see, Including the successful IT transformation strategy, going back to the basics, you know, people, process, technology, and data, so I'm gonna talk about those in the next few slides, but I want to start with data. So, everything starts with data.

Then meanwhile instead, without data, you're just another person, with an opinion.

I can't agree more with, with Deming, and now data is everywhere, actually we have way too much data, so when we look at data data, it's really power.

Data start with just facts, and numbers, and characters that are just a basic form of data.

Then we move. And they will transfer that data to information, so we aggregate the data we put together, and then we process it.

And that's kind of create some sort of new shape of the data that provide us information, which we transform to knowledge.

So once we transform to knowledge, we start to understand what the data is all about and then we create a decision which is the wisdom and that wisdom is based on this, this aggregated experiences and knowledges. So, why I'm saying this, because usually, you know, we've got stuck.

And the analysis and the information, but we don't really put enough efforts on making that decision, and moving that knowledge phase.

Now, in recent years, as I mentioned, I mean, there has been an explosion of data, or an expansion of data I mean faster than ever before, So Hooper!

Taiwan said, once it's out, the data can clear distraction.

Because the wealth of information, if you have way too much information, it creates poverty of attention. So your focus may not be really ideal. So this is why you need to make sure that when you're working with data, you're not just scattered. You need to be focused 100% on always focused on the target. And this is what AI AI is doing now.

14I mean, until recently, wisdom, as I mentioned, a couple of slides before, was actually uniquely attached to humans.

But now, it is, it is machine learning, and artificial intelligence are able to kind of replicate to a decent, decent level, the what humans have been doing for tens of thousands of years, right?

So, so, so, machine learning and artificial intelligence, you may want to invest in that, and your IT infrastructure, and utilize cloud, because this is kind of what cloud is wrong. I mean, those cloud technologies, these days, are able to, to utilize artificial intelligence. Most of the cloud providers now have AI embedded in them.

And this is kind of where it, AI would save you money. It would save your time with, with, with, again, replicate.

Many tasks that humans have been doing for many years and potentially, save you, save labor and maybe potentially have those, they were focused on something different, something more meaningful. So, when I talk about a AI, again, I mean, it's just very basic. When you talk about AI starts with what algorithm, which is the basic what F, then, you know, the next level is the business intelligence.

Where, you know, the there is, it's some sort of, again, aggregation of, of, of, of information that is put in graphs and summaries and dashboards, and projections and so on, so forth.

And then the next level would be, machine learning with a machine can actually work on the data without interference from humans.

And then the cognitive automation, which is the highest level of artificial intelligence, and this is where, we're, you know, the machine would utilize and LP and data mining. And then, you know, you have something, like, for example, RPA, that, that can be utilized. Again, to help you with your IT infrastructure. So if you're faced with difficulties trying to connect different cloud solutions, or cloud and legacy systems, you may want to utilize some of those AI technologies. And I'll talk about this in a bit later. So here we go. So, you know, with RPA, for example, you know, I'm just going to give you one example, which is RPA here.

We used it to connect different technology, is that we're not able that we were not able to link together whether the cloud and legacy, or to cloud or to legacy. We were able to utilize RPA is to connect these systems together, where we could not do it in the past. Or we couldn't do it with APIs. So this is kinda have been proven very successful, I encourage you to try it, because this is kind of where I think you can, you can utilize this tool to enable you to deliver your cloud optimization.

Again, RPA is very, very important and helpful when the processes manual is rule based repetitive so you'll be able to run in the background without any interference.

OK, so let's talk about technology.

So, so, when, I think what we always see from technologies to create more value with less efforts, right, this is what kind of technologies help us to do. So you're not trying to innovate and thick, educated risk. So we want to try to avoid sub optimal digital solution.

And when I create some, some sort of like a scalable solution, that would help the customers, and at the same time, get their input.

Get the customer's inputs, you know, The voice of the customer, we call it, you know, we wanna see, Want to understand what they want, and then we create that, as I mentioned before, the scalable solution, the scalable, digital solution, that would actually be, be applicable to whatever we're doing.

And sometimes, when we say applicable, sometimes moving to cloud, on everything you have may not be feasible. Maybe it's very expensive.

Maybe that technology is not thready, So I would encourage you to move 2, two, and two cloud, and it plays legacy systems when feasible.

When I say, go unfeasible, sometimes we're just throwing up way too much.

Money on something that may not be ready, or it may be super expensive, and it may not be feasible for 4, 4, 4, to do that.

So, so think about what exactly you want to do, and how scalable that is in order to, again, as I mentioned, is please the customers, get that voice of the customers, try to meet their expectations.

Try to be more efficient, and, And, and, and, and, and not only for your current customers, but for future more savvy customers who are expecting more and expecting and have high expectations. They're very tech savvy and they want something quickly, and they want deliberately quickly And they want to return to quickly, and then they want everything quickly.

So, so be ready for that for that future state in order to increase the value again with less efforts. This is what I mentioned earlier.

We're gonna boost productivity and and increase efficiency and and and then have a faster, again, I'll talk about data.

Faster data collection, processing retrieval and and and and now that says right.

So again utilize automation and artificial intelligence if you can um, I cannot stress enough about this next one, which is increasing avoid increasing technical debt.

Again, we try to push everything on the shelf, and we say, You know what, We'll do this later, we'll do this later, or we'll do it, but we'll do it quickly, and we put like band-aids on, and that creates technical debt when we kind of know, we, we make bad shortcuts just to make it work.

And, sometimes, actually, that works for short-term, but you may want to, two, try to avoid unnecessary complexity that would add, and, and, and errors, that, would add technical debt for the future.

So, so, again, think about that technical debt.

Try to avoid that technical debt when you're configuring your IT infrastructure and cloud strategy, and your future technological structure.

Focus on what really matters choose wisely.

Not not just overcrowding your your efforts with with this, with many solutions that may be conflict will present conflict if I have to say.

And one more thing, which is also extremely important, I believe, sometimes we, we just do so much.

We, we overload the company, and the IT department, and many other departments, with the way, so many initiatives that we are kind of biting more, that we can chew.

And, that kind of create a distraction of effort, and, and, and, and anxiety, and stress, and eventually may naturally help us, to achieve our, our goals.

So, when we say achieving goals, it should also be be all focused on a harmonized digital roadmap.

You know, you're I think you may want to start with a harmonized roadmap where those technical solutions all linked together and work together.

Screenshot (4)And, again, sometimes you may not have those ready today. Maybe you start with the incremental efforts.

That will just put all those technologies together and maybe link them with maybe with, again, like RPA or API or whatever, but then eventually your future states with which would be like, OK, those cloud solutions with wood with interface directly without a middleman. So, think about that. Future harmonized digital work work roadmap.

And I think the last one I want to talk about the technologies is that try to, yes, leverage consultants and, and, and, and, and, because they have the knowledge, but build your internal talent.

It is, it is critical to have people in your organization that understand the technologies, under standards we're trying to do. And, then be there with you when you're evolving and build that internal capabilities.

I found that to be very hard these days.

I mean, most of those smart that the IT people would usually like to go and work with, like, Google, and Amazon, and Facebook, the, you know, these big, great company, they attract the best talent to It's also very hard to, to build the talent and retain the talent. So, you may want to always have this, this treasure chest of talent in your organization that is capable of going and helping your technical Infrastructure for future OK. Let's talk about, about process. So, so, OK, we figured out the data, we figured out the technology and how it now is, it's about the process.

So, as Jordan once said, you can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is is very good at shooting the wrong way.

So, what I mean is sometimes we, we, our efforts, are not, are not designed well.

We don't have, we have a sub optimal project management office, or we sub, we have sub optimal delivery mechanism.

Program management, krum, whatever the technology, whatever, the efforts that we have.

And sometimes, we just create too much complexity, and introduce bureaucracy without knowing.

And sometimes, that makes it even more complicated and, and would result a lot of resistance from your customers. The customers are not your only external customers, but your internal customers, you're There are other departments, or other leaders. So, try to enforce governance. But try to reduce bureaucracy. I think that would be my my app.

My advice, always seek safer, 51 sift Safer, better, faster, and then, maybe cheaper. So safety comes first because if we are introducing a new cloud strategy and new IT tool, but it's not safe for, for, for the, for the company. It has loopholes. It may create backdoors for hackers.

It's not good because you create more problems than than, then benefits. So, safety is always first focus on safety and data security, and so on, so forth. OK, so the one, the other thing that I want to talk about when it talks about processes, resource and time are so precious.

So don't waste and just put them to work on the right thing.

Avoid, again, overloading your customers with too many initiatives.

I'm just talking about those from, like, lessons learned that we have seen that had, you know, kind of slowed us down or or had created some optimal results. So maybe we can in the future realize and understand from post-mortems. And again, I'm just sharing with you some of those items.

Sometimes we may want to, to draw, to try, to deliver incremental results and values versus waiting for perfection.

I think this is what Agile and Scrum is all about.

But, again, I think, I think this is important, because we usually, you just want to do it always perfectly, which is good.

We don't want to upset the customers, but also sometimes important tool, to give iterative improvement to whatever you're doing. So don't be afraid of going in and improve. Iteratively, avoid good, gold plating. So don't try to make everything shiny and gold and with unnecessary. You just wanna kinda just deliver the value and do it. So so don't try to pass the hot potato.

Just, you know, it's not My problem is this problems, not their problems to other people's problems.

Just own it, and do it.

Avoid try to avoid the band aids when possible, as I mentioned before, and listen to your customers. Don't don't think that you know your customers.

I'll continue listening to them, they, they, sometimes they change priorities quickly, and again. Your customers are not only your end users or consumers, but, but also your internal Organization, customers like your, your peers, the people who use assistance, and so on and so forth. OK, and again, one more thing, which is about a void superficial improvement, which is sometimes we feel we think that we improve, but we actually tried To make sure that we avoid those shiny objects that can distract us from the goal.

We focus on the goal we do the improvement and then we kind of incrementally deliver as as as much as possible. OK, I think there are a couple of more more elements here such as if you feel that there is a project or an initiative that?



There's a new technology coming and you already invested a lot, For example, you may, you may want to kind of evaluate, that's the feasibility.

And maybe you just put sunset sunset criteria for some initiative are some initiatives that may not be relevant anymore. So don't be afraid to stop initiatives that no longer fit the overall objectives, even if your mid mid mid course. now I'm not saying you should It depends on the circumstances.

It could be the case, there, were those initiatives or those systems or those solutions may evolve, the supplier may evolve, but sometimes, a whole new technology comes in place and they wait a second, I mean, now, the whole future looks different, So, you may want to adapt. You may want to put a sunset criteria. And then you may want to, to, to change your perspective mid-course, OK, Alright. So, I want to talk about people next, which is I think, very important and almost always missed.

Because, we focus too much on the strategy. We focus on the technologies, we focus on the delivery mechanism. But we forget the people.

And, those are the most important stakeholders you have, you know, the people who uses the technology, the people who helped you build the technology. The people who review the technology. The people who maintain that technology. All of those are people.

So, you need people, and you need to make sure that the people are in, you address the people aspect. So, what does culture, and when you transform your IT, you have also to transform the culture. So, what does that look like, Honestly, that the strategy is as good as?

As good as the people who implement that strategy.

And that people are only as good as culture that allows them to be.

And the culture is only as good as the leaders who form that culture. So it goes in that in that sequence.

The good leaders, We'll put it started at the top.

Screenshot 7So the good leaders with make this culture of fear, and hate, and ..., and passion, and future looking.

And, and, and build that culture foundation, Which has like diversity, and welcoming, and inspiring, and so on, and so forth. So that culture then inspires the people who will then give it to 110% and able to collaborate with each other to successfully to diverse strategies and profitability. So again, it starts at the top.

And, and one more thing, I think we all miss almost always miss on change management and change management, is a whole other practice That, again, many companies fail to realize its importance. Because usually, we focus on the delivery on the project management, and, OK, here's what we're gonna do, and here's what we're gonna do it, and here's how much it's gonna cost us. And here's the end state.

But, we forgot the change management, and then we realized we need to change, but at the 11th hour.

So, this is kind of, you know, typically on the screen, how it typically shows, and happens, and the markets where.

Different companies where change management is happening.

Like during or the end of execution of the project.

Where actually, it should be like this, Change management and project management go in and in tandem and they're very, they're, they're aligned one step at a time because what we want to seek is always this awareness and desire and knowledge and then ability and reinforcement.

When I look, when I look at ability, I think this is the most important element and change management, so think about you, you. You will measure, people aware, you inspire that desire, you give them the knowledge, but they cannot do it. They have the knowledge, but they cannot do it. Think about, if you give that example, in that in a previous a previous presentation.

If you are, if you want to be, if you want to open a fjord to operate an opera, an open heart surgery, I can give you 17 books, 117 books, on how to do it perfectly. And, you will acquire the knowledge, and you have the desire, and you're aware that, you need to do it.

But, the ability to do it is so different from the knowledge. So, you have to have, you have to practice again, and again, you may need to have a mentor for many years, Again, in this example, to do it, to have an open heart surgery or to perform an open heart surgery.

But just to acquire the knowledge is not enough, so I'm just giving you that example quickly. OK, I also want to highlight the importance of diversity.

Diversity is extremely important as almost always missed as well.

We should have that as part of all corporate visions because it actually increase the the the the horizon, it broadens the horizon.

It increased the vision and improves the capability of any company because it creates businesses that better suits different different stakeholders and ends represent the whole world around us and it has proven to increase bottom line, so.

And so, again, diversity is very important. Please pay attention to diversity and your culture.

And, and, and, and, and that's as part of your IT infrastructure and IT efforts, whether I honestly, whether it's IT or business, it doesn't matter.

People is almost always the most important element in any strategy. So focused on that. Now, when we work with people, sometimes we face resistance.

And with the resistance, it actually looks like this, about 25%, 10 to 25% of the people who are almost always with you. No matter what you do, They will clap. And they will tell you go over with you.

About 10 to 15 to 25% of the people are almost always against you. They don't want to change the hate change. They're happy why they are. They want to live their life doing just exactly what they're doing.

And then the majority of the people are somewhere in between.

They're not sure they should be no support or against, So what you should do is really focus on that middle section.

Then not sure why, Don't waste your time, That has all of your time on support, or the people who support you, and don't with all most of your talented people who are against you, try to focus your time on the people who are not sure. Because the people who are with you, they're always going to be with you. And the people who are against you, they're always going to be against you.

Well, the people who are unsure just try to move them to, to become, to help you and to become supportive.

And, again, that's kind of what I talk about in my book change, to when. Please check it out on, on ... dot com. I mention almost all those contents in the book about in greater details.

So, I hope that you get inspired about, about IT transformation and kind of see it from a 30,000 feet level, and apply those people, process technology, and data element, to your, to your future IT efforts.

Outstanding. As usual, rio's, thank you very much, such a comprehensive view of what it takes to do great implementations of IT strategies and cloud. So, we have several questions that have come up here. I'll just speak a few of them. So, the first one is from Jonathan Glenny, and Jonathan talks about, and it's more of a statement. He says, digital strategy is very important, and needs to be tied back to the organizational strategy and support according to re-assess. That's just a statement. In his question, is a follow up to them.

14And he asks, Can you address the technical debt involved with legacy systems and their migration to the cloud?

So, yeah, let's talk a little bit about the technical debt related to technical legacy systems and migrations to the Cloud.


So, so, technical debt is is usually when we when we try to put when we try to fix the problem with band-aids, we try to to have like shortcuts.

And and and put like codes to make it work.

But usually it may not always be the the best optimal solution. So when we're when we're faced with legacy systems and we have legacy systems, legacy systems are very expensive. They've been there for tens of years. Maybe It depends, Depends on your company.

But what we, usually, what usually happens is that every year there is a request from the users to do something, and we try to patch it, OK? We'll do this, and we will do this. And we do this, and we do it quickly. Because if we don't do it quickly, we would lose customers, we would lose. Sale, will route, would lose production, it would lose whatever we have.

So we try to make it quickly, and then, and that technical debt is accumulating because what we're doing is We are market, making it too complicated, and we're creating codes that are sub optimal. That may not really be the proper solutions. So, what happens is, then, now your legacy system is even worse than before.

and then when you tried to bring another cloud solution, it was like, OK, well, in this class solution, I think this is the most, the most difficult pieces, we always think about.

We want to replicate in the new cloud solution, what we have done and the legacy system, and what we have fixed for many, many years, and it's almost always impossible.

So sometimes you have, in your new class solution, you may want to say, In the past, You have been trying to do this and this and this, and this, and this new environment, there are a few of those that you may not be able to do.

And here's the how you can do them differently. So, I'm not saying you should do that all the time, but sometimes you may want or you may have to do.

You may have to say, no.

We did like custom tailor everything for you guys over the past few years, but now this cloud is more like, we want to kind of have a out of the box solution that kind of works good, because in the future, every enhancement or update, it creates a lot of difficulties because you have most of those would not really apply to your customization.

It's not configuration as customization when you do customization to your systems. You are changing the code. You're changing the The infrastructure configuration is you're using the same solution, but you are just configuring your solution versus customization, so you want to try to avoid customization as much as possible.

And, and, and that's kind of where I'm saying, I've tried to avoid your technical debt, so you're able to to move to cloud without customization.

Very good, very good reyes areas. There are a number of comments here and questions related to that zeal from the executive floor. And so a lot of people, including a lot of people who are in this organization. They are not at the C level. They are operating, you know, with strategies and tactics there are very operational that, that, that, that.

That people who are around those strategies and tactics, They understand what needs to be done.

But, often, they say, there's a disconnect with what senior leaders understand and what they perceive.

And so, because of your experience, and you have had the privilege to work with senior leaders in the multiple organizations, the question is, what is the best way of connecting with senior leadership, between the vision that they have, of how things work, and actually how things work? And because there's so many competing priorities, there is so much politics going on in the organization.

What would be some good suggestions for people to be able to influence senior leaders in a more effective way?

Yeah, that's kind of the, it's the science and art kind of answer to this question. It's the, the, the, the science is is that business leaders, at the end of the day, they look at Ottawa, right? You know, they look at, OK, well, tell me how much this kinda generate?

And most of the time your your technical solutions are not the ones that generates Ottawa immediately.

In the matter of fact, they may actually be more expensive.

So, I mean, when you are, if you are in the marketing department, you may say, OK, I have this whole, beautiful campaign, will spend a million dollar in this campaign, and it will generate $3 million in sales. Or whatever.

30% of return on investment in one year, and then 40% another year, and 50% another, whatever.

If you're in production, same thing, you would say, OK, I'm going to add a new production line, and that will add new new products.

But, and the IT infrastructure and IT work, most of the time, unless you can prove it with efficiency, it's like, OK, we can eliminate the whole department by creating this, or adding this software, or we can reduce the number of people by adding, you know, this automated, automated system.

Unless you do that, usually, that, you will not making money.

Now, what you need to focus on is on the future.

Because what you can tell them is, like, OK, today, this system, whatever we're doing, may not really generate a lot of money.

But in a few years, your capabilities will be, will be incrementally enhanced.

You won't be able to do this, and this, and this, and this, and that. And you will be ahead of your competition. You will be able, make our customers would be happier. It is more of an indirect. Most of the times and the right, not always. But sometimes, it's more about push and pull.

As you're pushing the new technology and waiting for the customers, and end users, to pull that, and use it properly. So, again, I guess the, the, This is kind of, the science, The arts is how? So, how do you, how do you, how do you convince your business leaders?

I think, I think your business leaders that they have a long, the term vested interest in the company.

They would definitely be with you, and, and you're in your roadmap, but you have to have a good, harmonized and scalable roadmap.

If you are, if you are going there to the, to the C suite and your little bit hesitant, or you don't know what you're talking about or your, your, your, whatever you're presenting, it has not been presented very well, you lose them. And it's a matter of seconds, you take them or you earn your trust already. Do not, unless you lose the trust that says you cannot do it anymore. It's binary.

Trust is either 0 or 1, so either trust somebody or you do not trust somebody, I'd say, I trust it 95% of the time.

So, So, this is where, I think it's important for, for us, in, in, in, in, in all management levels, or to go within an open mind and show the future the, kind of, the roadmap of capabilities. What's what this technology is going to help today, after two years, after five years? And how it, and how it interacts with, and merge with other business functions, and make sure you hold hands with other business functions?

I think there's almost always missed, as well, IT leaders sometimes think that they should all the strategy, and they should drive the strategy, and they forget, that, you know, that people actually they need, or the Business Alliance.

So, if you go to the C suite alone, you may not really have the support, But if you have the marketing leader, the business leader, the HR leader, whoever leaders you're working with, holding head then going together, it's like, we need the solution.

And this is how it's gonna look like, and this is when is going to happen, I think this will help with adoption.

I love that answer. That's a very practical answer, a very good. If you, if you allow me, I would also suggest, and then tell me to think that makes sense for not, that, ultimately, you want to reverse engineer who that leader either is. Meaning, that you need to understand that leaders values, you need to understand his or her priorities, You need to understand his or her time horizon, As you said.

Because the behavior of a leader, who's thinking long term for the, for the content in the next 10 years, versus one. Who is thinking about how am I going to cash out in the next couple of years, is very different.

Screenshot (4)So, and those pieces of information are not easy to get right. The leaders will not tell you those things open.

So, you need to, you need to gather that intelligence. So, reverse engineering the leaders is hard, but it's ultimately a good way of getting there to understand what their priorities are.

And the other end, what you just mention is that is a very good way of get closing that gap, which is, make alliances with other, less senior leaders who have contact points with those senior leaders, and understand through them, know, what's important to those leaders, and then make a coalition with those lower level leaders in approaching the top level leaders.

Do you agree conceptually that reverse engineering, those leaders is important?

Absolutely, pop on, just a spot on.

If a leader is there for two years, do, just to turn over the, or turn around the business and go and get the bonus and and retire on Island.

Good luck with having a 15 year technical, you know, infrastructure roadmap for them, right? They will tell you, really want to preserve the cash, and they want to do it if you want to do something more important.

Just to boost the bottom line, and they don't want to touch the technology aspect.

But if you have a leader who has a vested interest in the future of the company, and, therefore, the long run, then, yes, you think about all those, you know, companies who are either owned or have a lot of no ownership, and their businesses see their, their advanced.

And I'd like, you know, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, know, you know, all those, all those companies, like Tesla. I mean, whether we like those leaders or not, but they have a vested interest. And they usually invest in the future.

Because they really want a legacy. They want the company to grow And, and, and, and I'm sure there are many, many CEOs that they just look long-term, they look, they want to, they want to benefit the company for a long term. But again, you're spot on there. Thank you.

While you just added, there is terrific, and this is so important because the context of this presentation is not only technology, but the connection from the sea level. So, I want to spend a little more time on that. And what you just said is So critical.

Every one of those leaders and organizations that you talk about, they have a long term horizon, and, and then, Unfortunately, that is not the most common horizon that we have. An organization's. The average CEO in North America stays on the role about three years, right?

So, so they're not talking about the purpose of transforming the world and the next decade, they are thinking, they're either going to cash out or get fired within three years. So, you have to be, and those are the realities of organizations that we need to understand. And I think that the comment you made is so important about about the time horizon and the purpose driven person or not, You know, there is someone I work with who says that if you're, if you're in this if the business about sausage making, you need to understand.

From the CEO perspective, what's important about sausage making? And the and the different CEOs who have very different perspectives on sausage making and what matters, and we need to reverse engineer them. So, Rios, I can talk to you about this for the whole day. But, unfortunately, we're out of time now. I'm really looking forward to your book. When is it coming out?

Remind me again, November 10th, it will be. It will be produced November 10th, but now it's on Pre Order.

So if you go through the Amazon, or Google, or e-bay, or Barnes and Noble, whatever the platform that you prefer, you can actually order it now and it will deliver November 10th, Change it to End from arrears atar. The pleasure to have you with us, RIAs. Thank you very much for taking the time. Thank you for sharing your insights. Thank you, Jodi.

Ladies and gentlemen, that's someone who does it.

That's, that's a leader who, Who has seen, Nobody has seen it all, but he has seen a lot, and, and a lot of that Knowledge expect on the his book that's coming up, but it's not about promoting, his book is about promoting, because you haven't had a preview right here. This presentation. It's about promoting the work of those, those who write about subjects. That they actually have worked on, versus interview other people about, and leaders, he raises is a true hands-on, executive leader of change and innovation. So, what a pleasure to have here with us. So, this concludes this segment. At the top of the hour, we'll have the segment coming directly from India ..., who is the leader for SCP. Artificial Intelligence is going to be talking to us about the role of artificial intelligence in Enterprise.

Infrastructure and cloud strategies, as well. So, again, keep on the conversational LinkedIn, you can look up my name and look under LinkedIn, instead, the post, though I have on this conference, make questions their commentary, if it's useful to you, and we'll follow up on those, as well. I'm going to be handing over the reins of the conference for the next couple of of presenters to the capable hands of Brian a raffle. Our conference leader, and he is going to be facilitating that directly from the UK. And it's been a pleasure being with you. I look forward to our next events together. And don't forget about beetles from home.

The largest business transformation and operational excellence summit in the world for many years already, is going to take place in November And the We will bring the best of the best now, with dozens and dozens of the top speakers and companies in the world, getting together for one major event in November. So, look that up, B T O E S dot. Com. The agenda is already up, and it's very exciting to be, It should be part of that, and I'm very honored to announce that. I will be the chairman and host for beat those from home, so thank you, for, now, I'll connect with you all later, and we'll restart the session at the top of the hour.


About the Author

more (1)-Oct-19-2020-02-10-41-31-PMRias Attar,
Vice President – VP, Transformation, Integration, Project Management, Continuous Improvement,
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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