Managing digital disruption and transformation


Financier Worldwide Magazine

March 2018 Issue

Digital disruption is affecting all organisations, impacting not only how businesses use technology, but also how they drive innovation, organisational change and new cultural behaviours. One result of this seismic shift is the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, and all the business implications this entails. How organisations go about managing these transformational opportunities and challenges is redefining corporate strategy.

FW: Could you provide an overview of the broad impact that digital disruption is having on businesses? Is it reshaping the way companies enter new markets, transform existing business products and introduce novel delivery models, for example?

Sherry: The industrial internet is expected to drive a $220bn market by 2020. The question for industrial companies is: how can we get some of that value? So digital transformation is impacting all businesses, across all their operations. It is changing not only how businesses use technology, but also how they drive innovation, organisational change and new cultural behaviours. If we look at it more widely, digital transformation impacts productivity by enabling organisations to improve efficiency. When it comes to large organisations, even 1 percent of productivity gains can impact a company’s bottom line by millions. For instance, in the commercial aviation industry alone, a 1 percent saving in global aviation fuel usage could yield savings of about £23bn over 15 years.

Kimner: Throughout history, innovation and evolution have often led to disruption of one form or another. That was true during the industrial revolution, as advances in manufacturing fundamentally changed how firms operated and the pace at which production increased, and it is true today as digitalisation weaves itself into the fabric of our global economy and personal daily lives. In short, the digital revolution touches nearly every aspect of what we do and how we do it – from monitoring our health through wristbands that track heart rates and sleep patterns, to communication, through electronic media, to consumer interaction, such as online banking and online stores with same-day delivery. Organisations must incorporate forms of electronic business into their strategies to remain viable and competitive, especially as new entrants and early adopters in the digital world dislocate traditional firms, including their value chains and their business methods.

Trull: I typically think of digital disruption on three levels. One is related to the digitisation of internal work or operational processes designed to increase levels of productivity, interaction, work effectiveness and engagement. Businesses around the globe are digitising internal workflows and manual, time-intensive processes. They are using analytics and machine learning to derive greater intelligence from vast stores of siloed data. This intelligence and automation can result in significant gains in employee effectiveness and can drive down the cost of manual processes. The second level of digital disruption is around how the customer experience can improve with technology. Some areas in this category include digital marketing, improved customer service and better customer experiences. The third level of digital transformation is focused on the creation of new products, markets and business models based on technological innovations.

Fellahi: The term digital disruption is often used as shorthand for a certain type of innovation that usually pits emerging companies against established giants. However, the current disruption macro-narrative understates how some established firms are successfully reinventing themselves. It is a myth that start-ups have a monopoly on innovation or the ability to disrupt. The key now is for companies to understand how to fight complacency, experiment productively and learn quickly.

Samani: The impact of digital disruption really cannot be overstated. It is completely reshaping the way all companies operate, from massively streamlining overarching business processes to everyday processes, such as instant messenger tools and cloud storage. I honestly do not think that I could have predicted the absolute wealth of change and opportunity that we are now seeing on a daily basis. We are now at the point where a six year old can run a YouTube channel and earn millions each year. This is having a revolutionary impact on the way companies are looking to make money.

The best way to become more agile and innovative is to deeply understand the needs of customers. This ethos should span from product development and marketing to human resources.
— Khalid Fellahi

FW: Could you point to any high-profile examples of digital transformation trends across the globe? In which industries and sectors is it particularly prevalent?

Kimner: There are emerging and prevalent trends today, such as the adoption of social media for news and other forms of communication, which have not only profoundly changed our behaviour, but have changed the overall global dialogue. Social media has given a voice to many who otherwise would rarely have the opportunity to reach wide audiences. This can be both positive and negative, as filters are removed and it becomes more difficult to know what is fact and what is fiction. Digital advertising is also going through a revolution and is fundamentally changing the landscape for what constitutes a viable business model. For example, advertisers today pay millions of dollars related to YouTube videos and other content channels. Healthcare is also seeing a revolution in applying artificial intelligence to diagnose health issues. Nearly every industry is likely to be impacted, including the insurance, banking, transportation, manufacturing and health sectors, among others. New digital technologies shape how products are designed, how consumer feedback is collected and evaluated, how payments and funds are transferred, and how and where people travel.

Trull: Although e-commerce has been around for a while, I think the idea is being used in new and novel approaches. For example, one of the reasons I hate to shop for groceries is the amount of time it takes me to checkout. In the next several months, my local grocery store will begin piloting a programme where shoppers can use their smart phones to scan and purchase items as they shop. Another notable example is the Dubai government’s programme to leverage blockchain in order to become paperless by 2020. The most impactful digital transformation projects will be in the industries and sectors that either have customer experiences that are inconvenient or slow, or those in which automation will begin to undercut traditional business models. We would expect to see significant digital transformation projects in the manufacturing, automotive and banking and insurance sectors, with similar initiatives in national and state governments.

Fellahi: It is safe to say that by now every industry has embraced the digital transformation imperative. A study from Capgemini and Altimeter Group showed the impact of what they called “digital Darwinism” – 52 percent of the Fortune 500 have been merged, acquired or gone bankrupt since 2000. Many large corporations have opened innovation centres in Silicon Valley or in other locations. It is a sign that every company is essentially becoming a technology company. As a matter of fact, nations are also entering the competition to attract technology-centric businesses.

Samani: Every single industry is feeling the effects of digital transformation. While there are the obvious examples, such as Netflix, Amazon and Spotify, that are changing the way we live our lives, the reality is that all companies now operate on a digital level. The oil industry’s adoption of the ‘digital oilfield’ has already massively reduced operational costs and increased output, proving how vital technology is becoming to almost every process that underpins businesses today.

Sherry: Overall, the consumer market has been quicker to adopt digital transformation, which has resulted in rapid innovation across many industries, some of which have been fully disrupted by emerging players that have championed digital innovation. Apple and Uber are some of the main models for digital innovation in the consumer market. These digital disruptors created broad ecosystems of technology platforms and partnerships that foster collaboration. The faster these ecosystems grew, the more value they created for their members, the developers and end users. We are seeing great traction in the energy sector right now; power generation, oil & gas and electricity transmission are all strong. But really this is happening everywhere, from healthcare to aviation, and into the manufacturing sector. This ecosystem approach is currently being adopted by many industrial organisations. Just like consumer digital innovators spearheaded their successful business transformation by forming strategic partnerships with key industry players, heavy industries need to consider building their own digital industrial ecosystems to be able to make the most of this opportunity.

FW: In your opinion, what are the biggest opportunities and challenges that digital transformation presents?

Trull: The biggest opportunities, from a business perspective, will be related to entering markets that have traditionally been avoided due to low margins, increasing speed to market through automation and gaining better insights into customers and their needs.

Fellahi: In the financial services space, it is interesting to consider how much has changed and how much has not yet. According to RBC Capital Markets, 10 years ago, 85 percent of the world’s payments were cash and cheque. Today, 83 percent of the world’s payments are still cash and cheque. So, despite all the technology, digital payments have only captured an additional 2 percent in a decade. The conventional wisdom is that technology was disrupting financial services, but increasingly, innovation is coming from interesting partnerships and integrations.

Sherry: By connecting their assets and combining domain expertise with artificial intelligence, industrial companies can achieve a range of outcomes that will help them to gain a competitive edge, whether that is by boosting their productivity, adapting to new market conditions, for example where thermal power generators can adapt to the increase in renewable energy, or innovate entirely new business models, for example, manufacturers can better implement servitisation strategies. But to be able to make the most of this opportunity, industrial companies need to tackle a number of challenges, such as technology fragmentation in the industry and the lack of agility that it brings. Another key issue is that digital transformation requires a significant cultural shift and many industrial companies are not prepared to reorganise structurally and culturally quickly enough to be able to take advantage of the great opportunities the industrial internet offers.

Samani: Digital transformation demands courage, and remarkable vision. I have heard senior executives talk about keeping things the same, and yet each of us can cite companies no longer in business that were market leaders only a few years ago. Some of the biggest brands today are less than 10 years old, and there is now a huge opportunity for organisations with the bravery and insight to tap into emerging trends to revolutionise their sector, changing the way we as a society operate on a daily basis, including how we order food and taxis, and consume media.

Kimner: The opportunities are only limited by how quickly companies can adapt and determine how to capture and exploit information and technology. For example, organisations are employing the use of real-time telemetric data to monitor a variety of events and behaviours, from manufacturing processes and system performance, to driving habits. Digital transformations are occurring in nearly every industry as organisations are figuring out ways to use sensors to collect and analyse information, leverage geospatial and other location information, and develop additional channels to connect and communicate with businesses and consumers alike. While these opportunities are numerous, they also bring risks and challenges.

The opportunities are only limited by how quickly companies can adapt and determine how to capture and exploit information and technology.
— Thomas Kimner

FW: What are some of the practical strategies that companies can deploy to help manage the impact of digital disruption and the transformation this necessitates across their operations?

Fellahi: The best way to become more agile and innovative is to deeply understand the needs of customers. This ethos should span from product development and marketing to human resources. During the hiring process, companies should screen specifically for leaders who demonstrate heart and empathy for what the company’s customers need and want. Companies should also look to codify and evangelise internally how the company is going to do things differently, in addition to being deliberate about what they are going to do differently. Finally, companies should embrace agility as a means of accelerating decision making and a way of getting products to market more quickly.

Samani: Companies need to realise that digital transformation is much less about the technology itself, but about the practical strategies that underpin its deployment. Managing a transformation process is reliant on having everyone in the company on board, and businesses therefore need to ensure they have an extremely effective communications system in place, making the benefits to each member of staff clear in order to drive employee motivation and ensure that improvement and innovation remain key priorities for all.

Kimner: One of the most practical strategies is simply being self-aware. Firms need to persistently look at the digital landscape to understand how it is changing and evaluate potential impacts. This may sound obvious, but many companies do not consistently incorporate the type of external or forward-looking analysis required to fully understand the impacts or opportunities in the digital economy. There are numerous information sources, including consulting companies, technology journals, analyst papers, tradeshows and conferences, and even news outlets that can help shed light on the evolving digital landscape. Sometimes, the challenge is to know how to filter out the signal from the noise in the chatter and determine what is science and what is science fiction.

Sherry: To manage the impact of digital disruption, businesses need to start from the top and ensure that their culture and organisational structures are aligned to the technological shift that digital transformation brings. This means transforming business culture at the same pace as driving technology change. To achieve this, businesses need to have a clear understanding of where their strengths and vulnerabilities lie and where they want to be in a few years’ time. This will help ensure their digital transformation strategy encompasses all aspects of their business and is tailored to the needs of the organisation. The next step is to build partnerships and adopt technology solutions which will help them drive efficiency, productivity and business agility.

Trull: Focus is critical to digital transformation projects. Chief information officers (CIOs) need to relentlessly prioritise key projects and work with other executives to clearly communicate their vision and get others to buy into it. It is equally important to move quickly once the vision and digital strategies have been established. CIOs should ensure that they can achieve quick and meaningful wins to support investment from leadership. Early wins should be focused on customer-facing innovation. Infrastructure improvements are typically required as part of a digital transformation initiative, but these projects should occur simultaneously to the customer or employee facing improvements. Finally, digital transformation projects that are leveraging emerging technologies must build the technologies into a cohesive platform.

FW: How important is it for the upper echelons of an organisation, such as the C-suite, to truly embrace, drive and oversee digital transformation?

Kimner: It is incredibly important for executive management to lead the discussion and embrace strategies around digital transformation. This is particularly true for organisations that do not have a deep understanding or competency in the technology sector. Not only do they need to continually survey the external landscape for opportunities around innovative technologies, but executive management must remain diligent in spotting how competitors and others are using technologies that could render their products or processes obsolete.

Sherry: Involvement of the C-suite is vital, because not only does it open up broader understandings of the company’s business needs and possibilities, it also helps drive growth and business profitability across all operations. Without the full support of the C-suite, digital transformation would not be successful as it requires a significant organisational and cultural shift which should be driven from the top.

Trull: Digital transformation is business transformation and must be driven by business leaders. Rarely will a digital transformation initiative succeed without a C-level sponsor. So, C-suite support and sponsorship is one of, if not the principal factor, for undertaking a significant digital transformation initiative.

Samani: While digital transformation is certainly a process that is reliant on the whole organisation, it is the C-suite that makes the decision to kick-start the process, and as such it is essential that those at the C-suite level have the motivation and courage to drive the best results for their company. Further to this, in order to make any digital transformation process successful, the upper echelons of an organisation must ensure that they keep on top of all the recent industry trends as an absolute priority. Without this it will be incredibly hard to make any digital transformation project successful.

Fellahi: While direct executive involvement is critical, it is not the only factor. It is important that companies ensure employees know that good ideas come from everywhere – not just the top down.

Digital transformation is business transformation and must be driven by business leaders. Rarely will a digital transformation initiative succeed without a C-level sponsor.
— Jonathan C. Trull

FW: What challenges typically arise when companies are rolling out a programme of digital transformation and organisational change? In your experience, how should they go about mitigating these challenges?

Sherry: Some of the key challenges to digital transformation are closely related to upgrading old legacy systems and centralising multiple sources of data across operational silos, which is particularly complex across large industrial organisations. Another issue is that a lot of established industrial organisations tend to have a more traditional business culture compared to most enterprises, which makes it more difficult to shift perceptions. However, once the basics are put in place and an agile platform for industrial app development has been adopted across the business, industrial organisations can see dramatic improvements very quickly. Companies need to start fast, think big and scale.

Trull: One of the biggest challenges is organisational resistance to change. This really cannot be underestimated. Well-established businesses have longstanding, entrenched processes and business models that have been built and supported by career employees. Disrupting those processes or business models can result in significant resistance from employees and line managers. To overcome this challenge, it is important to have C-level sponsorship and good project management. Communication is essential, especially related to the ‘why’ behind the transformation initiative. It is also important to quickly identify the employees who are going to be the biggest supporters of the initiative and work with them to amplify the benefits from the project.

Kimner: Often the biggest hurdle to rolling out any type of transformational programme, including adopting technology as part of a digital makeover, is overcoming inertia. Firms often become entrenched in how they do things. This organisational or structural rigidity spans everything from policies and processes to reporting lines, authority and decision making. Often, individuals within an organisation feel threatened when a transformation programme is undertaken. Sometimes this will manifest itself in counterproductive activities, a lack of support for progress or even sabotage of a programme. To mitigate any potentially negative behaviour, it is important for executive management to be unified in their support for and communication of the programme and the need to change.

FW: In your experience, how much of a shift in organisational culture does a digital transformation process generally require? To what extent does the success of the process depend on managing cultural issues?

Samani: If a company already has a clear organisational structure in place, managing a digital transformation project is much easier. In order to make the project successful, senior leadership must have the means to communicate a vision to employees, making the benefits of the project clear to all. Employee buy-in and contribution across all levels is absolutely vital to the success of a project, and underpinning this is communication.

Trull: Culture is a key component of the digital transformation process and must be managed to achieve success. Some organisations consider knowledge as power and use it for divisional budget jockeying and other power plays. As such, information is not openly shared. As you can imagine, new productivity technology alone will not solve the issues these companies are trying to address.

Kimner: The impact of a transformation on culture really depends on the scope and scale of the programme. For example, a company that is adopting robotics in a manufacturing process will need to manage the cultural aspects of this transformation differently from a retailer who decides to move from a ‘brick-and-mortar’ presence to one that is exclusively online. However, while the nature and extent of changes are determined by the programme, all transformations generally impact culture in some way. And, cultural changes necessitate that executive leadership, management and supporting functions are all aligned on the changes and anticipate where cultural shifts may cause pushback or conflict.

Fellahi: Fostering a culture that embraces change is a huge success factor. It comes down to tolerance for risk and willingness to debate. Change is hard and sometimes corporate ‘antibodies’ develop – well-meaning factions that resist change or rely too heavily on the way things have always been done. They need to be heard, too. To mobilise and inspire people, it is vital to help individuals and teams understand what their role is in the transformation – so that they are driving it, rather than it merely happening to them.

Sherry: Digital transformation requires a significant cultural shift and many industrial companies are not prepared to reorganise quickly enough, both structurally and culturally, to be able to take advantage of the opportunities the industrial internet offers. IT security, for example, is bigger than just a technology issue. It is also about culture, people and behaviour. For example, a lot of machine equipment can be accessed by USB stick, opening up the potential for a virus to bypass a company’s firewall completely. So all companies need strong internal processes, supported by strong IT functions, that can help to protect the company’s data. The same applies to many other areas of digital transformation. In most cases, technology change on its own is insufficient to bring a long-term change to the business unless it is accompanied by a shift in organisational culture.

If a company already has a clear organisational structure in place, managing a digital transformation project is much easier.
— Raj Samani

FW: In extreme cases, where digital disruption profoundly changes established work practices, how can companies prepare themselves to identify such a shift and quickly adapt to the new playing field?

Kimner: When profound changes are expected as part of a transformational project, it can be beneficial for management to spend time in advance identifying potential issues and developing strategies to resolve them. This is preferable to reactively working through issues as they occur. Mitigation plans not only demonstrate that management has thought through the potential issues, but they can help identify issues early in their development. Another helpful management tool for large transformations is to clearly lay out the vision of the desired end state and share this with everyone in the organisation. Clearly articulating where the organisation is heading, how it will get there, and the importance of everyone’s role in the success of the desired goals, is critical to achieving success.

Sherry: Many companies, when beginning their digital transformation journeys, looked at what the most disruptive Silicon Valley companies have done and have created process frameworks that encourage innovation and change. These frameworks allow organisations to build teams around problems quickly, at low cost. This allows parties to invest and scale very rapidly. Traditional hierarchies simply do not let you move that fast.

Fellahi: The process of adapting to change comes back to culture and the structured, deliberate processes companies put in place to define how work gets done and align everyone on the priorities. A sense of urgency is healthy, but it is also important to communicate the strategy and vision so that everyone has a stake in the outcome. The key is that the sense of urgency comes before the extreme moment. Companies should disrupt themselves before others do.

Trull: Businesses need to ensure that they have a unit or role focused on the identification and evaluation of emerging technologies and digital innovation. It is often very difficult for a single person or unit to focus on both the day-to-day operational demands of running IT and discovering the digital innovations that could significantly disrupt their business. Research has also shown that, historically, much of the truly disruptive innovation has come from start-ups and niche players focused on entering markets that well-established businesses have avoided due to low margins. As such, businesses should monitor the use of emerging technologies by start-ups and consider investing in such companies. In the interim, businesses need to evaluate their traditional infrastructure and the capabilities of their IT teams to ensure that both are capable of quickly adapting to opportunities presented by technological innovations.

FW: In the Information Age, where data is often critical to business success, what role should the chief information officer (CIO) play in the digital transformation process?

Sherry: CIOs are increasingly looking to reinvent IT from being reactive to business needs to proactively creating solutions that drive better outcomes for the business. This means transforming the role of the IT function from being back office administrators to integrated team leaders. As technology is increasingly seen as a business enabler and key driver for transformations, the CIO’s role is becoming increasingly important within organisations. Today, CIOs are becoming key decision makers in the boardroom and they have a say on business initiatives that stretch well beyond technology, ranging from HR and organisational management through to product innovation and business culture. To be successful, CIOs need to partner with their chief operating officers (COOs) to be able to bring in an industrial company’s inherent domain expertise. Digital transformation is first and foremost about outcomes, and so CIOs need to be able to help COOs engage with the massive opportunities that digitalisation offers.

Fellahi: CIO and chief technology officer (CTO) leadership are essential, both from a practical standpoint – for example, what should the technology infrastructure be to support a full-scale transformation? – and from a strategic perspective. It is not just about automating and ‘digitising’ existing operations or product offerings, however. It is about re-conceiving the way the company works and thinks at virtually every level. Moreover, we live in a time where technology is evolving extremely quickly and opportunities and threats need to be anticipated.

Samani: The role of the CIO will become less about the actual delivery of a certain project or technology, but rather to nurture innovation. Recent Gartner research found that 95 percent of CIOs expect their roles to significantly change as a result of digital transformation and it is likely that their role will become much more focused on employee development going forward, driving and rewarding creativity within teams and across the business as a whole.

Trull: The CIO is key to leading a business or organisation through the digital transformation process. The role of the CIO is to ensure that the organisation’s technology investments are focused on those activities that drive the most value. As such, the CIO needs to help focus the IT organisation and their efforts on completing those digital transformation projects that have been approved by business leadership. The CIO is also the key technology leader and must provide guidance and make recommendations to the other C-level executives on the specific digital projects that should be prioritised over others and validate and overcome any technological deficiencies that are preventing transformation.

Kimner: The CIO role has changed over the last few years as the information age has evolved. Today, the role is sometimes divided into a chief data officer, a chief technology officer, a CIO or data security officer and even a chief cyber security officer. All of these roles are a testament to the importance of information technology and its presence and relevance in nearly all organisations. Data collection and analysis is fundamental to the survival and growth of most organisations. Technology is making data collection and storage easier and less expensive, and organisations’ ability to analyse and mine this data is rapidly becoming commoditised. Additionally, the need to protect this information, and the value derived from it, is more imperative than ever.

Digital transformation is first and foremost about outcomes, and so CIOs need to be able to help COOs engage with the massive opportunities that digitalisation offers.
— Deborah Sherry

FW: In what ways are organisations taking advantage of new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT)? To what extent does the IoT disrupt established relationships between businesses and customers?

Fellahi: We are in an era where people expect their fridge or car to do a lot more, and these digital experiences influence customer expectations. Increasingly, companies are exploring IoT applications, such as voice activation, and are testing and evaluating technologies to understand whether there is critical mass to justify going to market.

Samani: The IoT has been a massive driver of change in recent years; devices such as Alexa and Google Assistant have brought the store front into the home, giving customers and businesses a much closer relationship than ever before. Businesses now have access to a huge amount of customer data and they need to treat this incredibly sensitively, not only in the ways they use it but they must also ensure this data is kept secure as an absolute priority. This level of trust is changing the existing relationship we have with businesses; trust is now the cornerstone and businesses need to ensure they maintain this as much as possible.

Trull: The IoT is a fitting example of an innovative technology that is having profound impacts on business operations. For example, a German co-cop dairy farm has implemented IoT technology to better manage and monitor its herd and operations. Dairy farming has been done the same way for decades, until recently. Now, farm managers can leverage sensors and the data collected to accomplish more in less time.

Kimner: Many firms are only in the early phases of evaluating how to leverage the IoT for commercial or other purposes. In the consumer space, devices that link household appliances, heating or cooling, security and other basic functions, are areas of early exploration. Initial adoption has been focused on enhanced connectivity and linkage between devices to share information or perform simple tasks, such as ordering goods and services. Direct ordering of staple goods, for example, can change traditional shopping patterns. Early adopters are also seeing some level of added convenience in being able to control various household systems and monitor their homes while they are away.

Sherry: The IoT has had a significant impact on consumer businesses, creating opportunities for product innovation in a number of areas including wearables, smart home and fitness devices, smart metering and many others. However, the industrial internet has the potential to bring greater disruption than the consumer IoT by driving productivity and efficiency across industrial organisations. Conservative estimates suggest the industrial internet market is about £173bn globally, compared to the consumer internet, which is about £131bn. The industrial internet is already disrupting heavy industries and changing the way industrial organisations operate, driving a lot of innovations. These innovations promise to bring greater speed and efficiency to industries as diverse as aviation, utilities, rail, power generation, oil & gas development, healthcare delivery and manufacturing. It holds the promise of stronger economic growth, better and more jobs and rising living standards. This is going to transform not only the way these industries operate but also their relationship with the customers.

FW: What are your predictions for digital disruption in the months and years to come? Are we only beginning to see the kind of evolution – or even revolution – that technology is capable of bringing to the way business is done?

Samani: We are definitely seeing the beginnings of a digital disruption revolution. Processes that were new a few years ago have already evolved into something completely different. This is something that will only accelerate over the coming years and I cannot wait to see what is next.

Trull: We will see significant digital disruption over the next three to five years. Although new technology is often over-hyped in terms of its potential impact, I believe the commercial use of artificial intelligence and robotics, 3D printing and blockchain technologies will result in new business models and improvements to the way consumers shop, buy and transact business.

Kimner: We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg at this point. In addition to the progress being made in the digital realms of manufacturing, communication, healthcare and e-commerce, among others, we are witnessing the evolution of technology in areas like transportation, with driverless cars and trucks, for example. Advances in technology are rapidly unlocking possibilities and opportunities that were just science fiction only a few years ago. The digital revolution will likely permeate virtually every aspect of our economy, as well as our personal lives.

Sherry: The industrial internet will continue to be a key trend affecting organisations and we will see the wider adoption of AI and automation across the industrial space. As organisations become more data-driven, there will be a shift toward developing more agile products and driving faster innovation through cross-industry collaboration.

Fellahi: Companies should explore many different avenues as part of their ongoing digital transformation and business strategy. Trends such as artificial intelligence, digital identity, bots and blockchain, must be explored. It takes work not to have any blind spots.


Deborah Sherry is the senior vice president and chief commercial officer of GE Digital in Europe. Her mission is to deliver the next industrial revolution. Her division delivers edge to cloud-based solutions that connect industry, transforming industrial companies into digital industrial leaders by turning data to intelligence that drives step-change improvements in productivity. She can be contacted by email:

Raj Samani is chief scientist and fellow for cyber security firm McAfee. He has assisted multiple law enforcement agencies in cyber crime cases, and is a special adviser to the European Cybercrime Centre in The Hague. Mr Samani has been recognised for his contribution to the computer security industry through numerous awards, including the Infosecurity Europe Hall of Fame, Peter Szor Award and Intel Achievement Award, among others.

Jonathan C. Trull leads Microsoft’s team of worldwide chief security advisers in providing thought leadership, strategic direction on the development of Microsoft security products and services, and deep customer and partner engagement around the globe. Mr Trull joined Microsoft in 2016 as an experienced information security executive bringing more than 15 years of public and private sector experience. He can be contacted on +1 (720) 528 1838 or by email:

Thomas Kimner leads the risk marketing and operations area within the risk research and quantitative solutions division at SAS. He is currently responsible for executing the overall marketing plan for risk management solutions and products, as well as coordinating risk priorities on a global basis. In addition, Mr Kimner has responsibility for leading the division’s sales enablement, marketing and operations functions, including customer messaging, budgeting, financial analysis and programme management activities. He can be contacted on +1 (240) 618 1017 or by email:

Khalid Fellahi is the senior vice president and general manager of Western Union Digital Ventures at Western Union Company. He is primarily responsible for ensuring the continued growth and expansion of Western Union in the digital space across the Americas and European Union. He can be contacted on +1 (415) 796 8636 or by email:

© Financier Worldwide



Deborah Sherry

GE Digital Europe


Raj Samani



Jonathan C. Trull



Thomas Kimner



Khalid Fellahi

Western Union Digital

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