Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Elisha Herrmann, Digital Innovation Strategist
How could you describe your career path in few words?
I’ve never heard any kid that states “ I want to in supply chain, global trade or emerging tech digital transformation.” In one word, my career has been non-linear, yet each experience has added to my overall narrative and expertise. I don’t yet know the final product, as I still have much to learn, I do know that I have learned what it takes to solve problems through various stakeholder lenses and provide solution roadmaps incorporating people, process, technology and data while providing the risks, ROI and investment for each step along the way. I treat each problem as though I am a shareholder, a CxO, an end users, a go to market specialist and a CFO. I could not do that without the experience that I have had. My first role was an SAP analyst in product supply through which I learned the power of process, automation and data. Consulting taught me how to run a business from team utilization impact on budget, profit of a product bill of material created for sale, the sales cycle, delivery burn rate and project/product/portfolio management. Transformation Vice President showcased my ability to understand change management and upskill and entire organization. In house roles provided prospective in creating innovation centers and the matrixed environments for modernization. Altogether, I understand the power of technology advances and trust the good it can do personally and professionally.
What are the highlights of the key digital innovation trends for 2022? Can you give us some major examples?
Digital Innovation and Transformation budgets were not cut during 2022 even as a recession loomed and inflation took hold. The overall trend from 2020 changed the focus of IT from backend to front in center to keep the company competitive. As such innovation investments remain high:
Technologies: Technologies were focused in Cybersecurity, Data, AI, Computing (cloud/quantum) and Robotics. 2022 has an explosion in a few sectors that disrupted the paths of investment and consumer demand.
Industries: 2022 saw continued velocity in EdTech, HealthTech, Gaming and SupplyChainTech to place momentum in the innovation journey. As larger companies took inventory and prepared roadmaps, these sectors were prioritized as the time to value as well as risk profile for not modernizing (Southwest didn’t take the hint).
Buzzwords/Trends: Sustainability, Democratization, Web3, Customer Experience, FinTech, Digital Twin, Resiliency.
Overall corporations were working on their path to digital transformation and the investments needed to reach future state. People are also centered around the organizational change with new CxO titles (CDO, CSCO, C Inno O), a plan to upskill the current labor force (such as replace former roles with analysts as opposed to function) and to retain it’s talent.
Based on your experiences, what are the impactful trends in digital innovation that are becoming more important in the context of 2023?
The clear frontrunner for 2023 trend is large language modeling and it appears to be a two-fold race, one in feasibility and the other in market share. The technology itself can serve many use cases; however, at large the use cases put in to practice are just scratching the surface. It appears that this will be a focus on how to best leverage the technology at an effective run rate for ROI. Data: Democratization, driven decisions, big, customer platform, unstructured, security, analytics… The list goes on and on. Data will be the center of investment and transformation. Data has been around in excel sheets, on manufacturing shop floors or in a 3rd party subscription (weather) for years and it is now coming front and center to drive business growth, future ways of working and our every day experience. Technology advances in AI/ML, computing power, digital workers, cloud workloads and data integrity allow companies to harness it’s power to make, track and train decisions. Lastly, the tools that enable resiliency, agility and collaboration will remain high on the investment priority list as companies look at modernizing business strategy at the same time as modernizing and innovating.
In your opinion, how can they create high value for organizations?
Change the business model. I often say that every company is a tech company. The amount of tech in your car is likely worth more than the rest of the parts, as an example. Technology opens new business models and opportunities. (collaboration, suppliers, cx)
Change Employee experience – digital democratization is a trend I cannot love more. Novartis has been successful at democratizing their digital transformation. Employees and functions are empowered to create their own data for decision making as well as innovate the business. The ability to utilize technology can be a key differentiator for hiring and retention as well as overall satisfaction.
Profit increase and reduction- technology is allowing companies to interact with data, infrastructure, development and keep the lights on IT with a new lense as “As A Service” models are available, lowcode/nocode options and composable enterprise allow the company to reassess budget allocation and rid themselves of technical debt.
Brand and Responsibility- Sustainability and Social Responsibility are key initiatives. Technologies, such as blockchain, allow for decarbonization tracking, responsible supplier initiatives and track n trace food sourcing. Corporations can leverage technology to fulfill and report on their corporate responsibilities as well as share their social responsibility plan increasing brand awareness and loyalty.
Competitive Advantage – Spending is set to continue by 5.5% despite tech layoffs and will require a base foundation to remain competitive.