By Marc Hamer, CIO & CDO, Sealed Air [NYSE:SEE]
At Sealed Air, part of our strategy in the IT and Digital organization is to move from being an industrial company to being better known as a knowledge-based, technology company.
This mindset is the key and will be a game-changer in terms of the industries we serve. That means bringing solutions to our customers and allowing them to view us as an extension of their own business. The goal is to be a true business partner in every sense of the word, offering solutions to our customers that help drive their businesses forward.
My job is to take advantage of digital technology to run the functions and divisions at Sealed Air more efficiently and, in some cases, that leads to enhancing existing products and services and creating new solutions. Often times, this means opening up whole new markets for Sealed Air.
Technology and Digital Innovation is the only function that extends horizontally across all of the vertical P&Ls no matter what company you are talking about and this factor has the opportunity to truly transform an organization. Information Technology has the potential to impact the top line through growth and the bottom line through efficiencies and that proves to be a unique and powerful combination if utilized correctly.
Transformation occurs when IT is operating hand-in-hand with sales and manufacturing
When my digital teams and I walk into a food manufacturing plant, we see a range of opportunities for products, processes or services that can enable our strategy. For example, by putting sensors in our packaging, we can generate accurate information on food spoilage. We sell a lot of our equipment, and we’d like the equipment to tell us when it needs servicing; we’d also like to be able to provide that service remotely.
Also, think about all of the packages that are shipped globally every day. If we can build technology that makes packages lighter, our customers will save money on each shipment and their consumers will spend less. Customers will also require fewer truckloads to ship the same products, saving fuel. The possibilities are endless.
In order to drive the digital agenda, you have to know your business’ strategy and anticipate their needs. The IT organization needs to act as a strategic partner to realize new digital initiatives. When you’re building capabilities that are going to drive the company, your business leaders can’t get there without a solid IT and Digital organization. The organization overall has to establish a partnership with IT as the driver. No matter if they’re in infrastructure, security or any other IT function, everyone must have what I call a hunter mentality, not the farmer mentality. You need to bring opportunities to your business stakeholders. If you do this, no longer will IT be viewed as a cost center for the company, but instead, will be revered as a revenue generator. If you are going to move the needle on your company’s offerings you need to understand the business and the way to run it.
Transformation occurs when IT is operating hand-in-hand with sales and manufacturing. Uniting all departments is truly essential.
With a hunter mentality and a more proactive approach, IT and Digital can bring transformative technologies and unique insights to the table that will help achieve corporate goals and drive business enablement. This is how competitive IT and Digital teams will operate if they want to experience true success and be thought of as a leader in their organization. It’s all about anticipating what your customer needs before they need it and putting the right teams in place to deliver new technologies and innovations. Technology can revolutionize your business and the businesses you serve, but it may require a mind-shift for some and the will to get everyone rowing in the same direction.