The WorldCity CEO Club convened to share where its companies are on the spectrum of going digital. The round table was split almost 50-50 when asked if they felt their companies were ahead or behind the curve in the digital age.
The discussion sparked insights on best practices and current examples of how companies are moving forward in the digital space.
The CEO Club was led this session by International Data Corporation’s Group Vice President for Latin America Ricardo Villate, who said the digital space is still growing by about four percent per year in Latin America despite a less than ideal economic climate.
These four questions sparked the most talk:
“What kind of examples do you have of extraction from this data?”
– William Custodio, Latin America Region International Vice President, Whirlpool Corporation
Members of the CEO Club cited various examples:
- A waste management company in Mexico created an IoT (Internet of Things) system. It used to send employees to check up on facilities one-by-one. Not anymore. – Juan Pablo Jimenez, Vice President for Latin America & Caribbean, Citrix Systems
- GE in Latin America gathering data from sensors that feed into its big data platform, which GE then sells back to companies that sell or use their machines. – Ricardo Villate
- A company that sells pipes in Argentina is now installing sensors in those pipes, gathering data from whatever flows through the pipes. Like GE, it can use the data to sell services to customers. – Ricardo Villate
Current digital opportunities are “more with back office stuff, like the automation of accounting and finance processes…How does that fit into the experiences you’ve seen?”
– Jim Giustini, Regional Director of Information Management, RGP
Decision-making is becoming automated (cognitive computing). There is a connection from the machine to a cloud data platform. The machine uses the constant influx of new data from that platform to become smarter.
Villate noted it’s important to view these advancements by what it does to improve the business, not necessarily what the technology itself does. Implementing new technology without a clear use/need does not add value.
“What are the employment ramifications of robotics?”
– Ken Roberts, President, WorldCity
The talent gap is growing – a supply of workers that currently do not meet the demand in needed digital areas. Companies in Latin America will be missing 450,000 employees by 2020 for roles that require digital skills.
According to the Florida Chamber of Commerce last year, 30-50 percent of jobs in Florida will be disrupted or replaced by some form of artificial intelligence, said Tom Shea, CEO for Florida and the Caribbean at Right Management. “Obviously, people will be hired to make that happen,” said Shea, “but if you don’t have the skill set, that’s a big challenge.”
“What are the (digital) skills you need now?”
– Mary Young, Director of the Ziff Career Center at University of Miami School of Business Administration
- Change management: establishing a structure to manage change to speak the language of digital.
- Collaboration: Villate cited an example of product designers working together via a cloud platform in manufacturing.
- Agile innovation: the ability to speed up integration of innovations. C.H. Robinson Worldwide can launch updates as quickly as every two weeks but also manage annual product launches, said the company’s General Manager Jim Mancini. Others utilize a quarterly innovation and integration cycle, said Tiffany and Co. Vice President for Latin America Paula Larroque, as opposed to systems of annual integration that are less malleable.
Only 15 percent of CEOs in Latin America believe they are “transformers” in going digital. The rest feel they are “explorers”. How quickly they can migrate to the 15 percent may dictate if their company is set up to increase revenues from the monetization of digital.
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