A weekly podcast with the latest e-commerce news and events. Episode 143 is an interview from eTail West with Senior Director, Head of Digital Transformation Acceleration Organization at Dell Technologies, Sarika Puri.
Sarika Puri is a Senior Director and Head of Digital Transformation Acceleration Organization at Dell Technologies.
In this interview, we cover Sarika’s background and discuss Dell Technologies journey to digital transformation.
Don’t forget to like our facebook page, and if you enjoyed this episode please write us a review on itunes.
Episode 143 of the Jason & Scot show was recorded on Tuesday, August 7th from the eTail East tradeshow in Boston.
Join your hosts Jason “Retailgeek” Goldberg, SVP Commerce & Content at SapientRazorfish, and Scot Wingo, Founder and Executive Chairman of Channel Advisor as they discuss the latest news and trends in the world of e-commerce and digital shopper marketing.
[0:25] Welcome to the Jason and Scot show. This episode is being recorded live from the detail east show in sunny boston on tuesday, august seventh.
I’m your host, jason retail, g, goldberg, and unfortunately, Scot had a personal conflict this week.
S o he’s not able to make it, which means the listeners are getting twice as much jason for half the usual price.
Ah, the great news is, we have a terrific guest for you on this episode.
We have sorry ca hurry who’s, the senior director and head of digital transformation acceleration at a little company you may have heard of in austin, texas Dell computers,
and i probably already blew it. Have a nice erica it’s, not Dell computers anymore.
[1:08] Well, it’s still technologies were not very, very big. It’s, it’s, delhi emcee.
But it’ll all the seven strategically businesses aligned and of your big companies.
[1:15] Hey, exactly. I’m trapped in this like old time warp from, like the nineteen, ninety five version of Dell it’s, it’s, it’s. A little bit sad.
[1:22] Okay, yeah.
[1:24] But before we get into that, one of the things we always like to do on this show is getting to know our guests a little bit and get a feel for how they came into their roles. So could you tell us a little bit about yourbackground and how you ended up a Dell?
[1:36] Yes, absolutely. So i started my career a Dell thirteen years ago, working on the Dell dot com commerce team.
As a programmer, i have been a programmer for many years and love building platforms.
Last year, i had the scenic opportunity to go lead the digital transformation off a future commerce platform.
And that is how i came about to this roll. And, you know, it’s, been it’s.
Been an exciting journey, being a Dell technologies overall, you know, i was surrounded by really smart people, good, great developers and and had a and that really sparked my interest in the commerce world.
And on guys. Consider this like a very glamorous world where you have access to, like all the technology choices that she could make to go drive that outstanding customer experience.
[2:22] I totally agree, it’s. Odd, because in my personal life, i find very few people that think my world is glamorous. So i’m i’m glad that we are of a like mind on dh were cruelly correct.
And as we’re sort of alluding to before, like, you know, folks probably think of Dell as, ah, primarily a computer manufacture.
But as you alluded to earlier today, it’s ah, huge portfolio of prada, b to c b to b products and services.
And so i assumed that part of the scope of that platform is toe. Think about all the different use cases for for all of that.
[3:01] Absolutely, absolutely so what’s happened is when i was in wild, you know, buildings have been here thirteen years have been through several transformations,
and this this transformation is really about we’re on being on this mission to go deliver a global cloud based omni channel,
commerce platform that enables our customers to buy a needle technology product line from anything and from anywhere,
and also established agreed fantastic work culture for our employees,
and that’s the mission because we are dealing with traditional platforms, which are, you know, siloed across the different ecosystems,
were dealing with lengthy leases and inefficient it processes were also dealing with disconnected experiences across Dell dot com, premier amc and the other strategically line businesses,
our customers are no longer looking for a specific server or a storage option or a specific computer.
They’re looking for solutions. They’re looking to transform their digital future, and they’re looking for entering solutions, and we’re building this global common platform,
that can deliver that into an experience or customers have needs, and they’re looking for art comes, they contrive the entire experience for them.
[4:12] Very cool. And i’m curious. Weed. In my my day job, my practice, we talk a lot about selling and implementing platforms on behalf of clients and there’s.
Always this sort of build versus by conversation, was that even in the dialogue, Dell, was it a no brainer that you guys were that your next generation platform was going to have to be built? Or like?
[4:34] Great question i think we go it’s it’s like a ping pong game right you go through barrier versus pie you make some by decisions and you realize oh my god not so good,
and then you end up going down the path to go build your platform and then you you realize oh it’s not you know why am i building a platform if there is something that’s already out there that can do the same thing,
and how can i innovate faster rather than going to have i have to go having to go bear the same functionality that could be just procured from the outside i think the key it’s not really build verses by i think it’s not the ideathat that really matters,
it’s the execution off that idea sometimes we just don’t have the patients to see it through,
you know sometimes by a product and will realize oh it’s not it’s too expensive or it’s not something that we really want to go down this path there’s too much custom work that has to be done what was promised is notdelivered,
and then you go down this path to go bury something and guess what when you’re trying to build something there’s just not off like for like functionality that has to be built,
and and you realise why why why is this so slow like i would like to innovate faster so it’s really how you execute and i think the speed in how you deliver your software changes to production is the key.
And that is why i keep bringing up it’s, not the idea. That’s, so much that’s. Bad that’s. The execution of that idea. That’s, that’s, so critical to success.
[5:49] That makes perfect sense. The only bummer, though, is that execution is like messi and boring, and it requires all kinds of hard work.
It’s way more fun to just talk about the shopping and, like, oh, my god, should we go builds by some shiny bobble from one of these friends. They’ll take us to a nice dinner, or should we hire a big team and develop ourown stuff?
[5:59] Yeah, yep.
[6:04] Dell wait we’re changing that so we’re changing i mean i think i and i said this before it’s not just about you know delivering another platform,
it’s about creating this fantastic work culture for employees so it becomes fun building a platform,
and we’re using you know what some people may might know about this is pivotal labs methodology and technology that really drives employees experience so we’re so centered around the customer,
will be bitter things that there are customers care about you’re no longer building things that are customers no longer care about,
we’re constantly validating it rating we’re talking to the customers the entire team is talking to the customer it’s not,
that you’re not operating a traditional waterfall software life cycle where you have a team in the business that comes up with an idea and you have a team of product managers that figure out how to write rightrequirements,
and then you have another team of architects that who figure out all right how do you architect this entire solution and they handed over to a team of developers which,
could take months to go deliver something to into ah sit environment and then it might take you know, another few weeks to get it tested now all disconnected themes and it can get very, very boring and very frustrating,
what we’ve done is we’ve infused those dysfunctions do not go away we have infuse those functions within a within a very small product ing.
We’re moving away from project. He esteems into more small product.
Hastings and and the steam is responsible for design.
[7:29] Develop and delivering changes to production and how to support those changes back in production is really changing that entire operating cycle, so we’re going to actually be on this path to make it a fun exercise.So it’s not going to be boring.
[7:41] Nice. I think that is critical because, you know, we talk a lot about it is ten percent, the tool in ninety percent,
the people and on dso like putting those people in a position tau be successful and add the most value seems seems critical.
I don’t wantto spend too much time, but just to get like, so transformation implies a current state to a future state.
So so the state you’re moving away from, i’m guessing you had a number of platforms that came in through your various acquisitions in your legacy businesses.
And is it fair to say you mentioned that the aspirational state is a cloud based solution?
Is it fair that you may have had some class stuff before, but i’m guessing the bulk of your stuff was sort of on graham type solutions.
Yet so making the big migration to the cloud on then the other buzz word that i usually hear in that sentence that you did not say so i’m just curious if you were trying to keep it simple for my my ah non engineering brainmicro services are you?
[8:41] Oh, absolutely. I think that and this is where, you know we’ve been on this transformation journey for a long time.
And what’s different about this transformation is, i think we took a big leap a few years ago where we were trying to deliver more seamless, online offline experiences.
And we went down this path to create heavy, service oriented architecture and and and that led to big, monolithic services that did too many things across too many different personas.
And it became very hard for us to deploy incremental changes to production at a faster rate.
So we are on this path to decompose those big, monolithic services,
into more micro services, again establishing more autonomy with these small product teams that owned these micro services so they can they can really leverage the speed in which they can deliver these changes intoproduction.
So absolutely, i think that’s, a very that’s that’s, a very critical architectural component on how we go, you know, drive speed to mark.
[9:38] Nice. And when you talk about those small, autonomous teams, i always hate toe draw analogies to the evil book reseller in seattle. But, like they famously coined this to pizza team term.
And it sounds like philosophically that’s, a little bit. What you’re what you’re thinking.
[9:56] Yes, so what? Me, when i say high autonomy, i mean, you need tired on me across thes product teams, but you also need high alignment,
to ensure there are all working too well towards one singular purpose to deliver that one single customer outcome and on dh.
These are very small product teams. We don’t call them project teams anymore and the three essential rules within the steam one is the product designer product managers, and then you have product developers who arepart of the steam,
and they will work together, and they were like i said, they’re sitting very closely with the customer. The business is part of the steam.
We’re no longer working on requirements to in in silos were very closely working with the customers,
validating every feature that goes out live to ensure that it’s creating the out things that we want to go see from a business standpoint and continuously trading on that product.
So these are, like very small teams, six product developers, designer and a product manager on the same team. Dell.
[10:50] Nice on dh, if you can say, are are you guys envisioning? This is something that would run on aa Dell hosted cloud. Are you guys thinking about leveraging the public cloud?
[11:01] Well, i think this is our i mean, look, i mean, Dell technologies is, ah, is a unique family of businesses that that provides all the essential infrastructure to help companies for their do digital future.
And we really have access to all this infrastructure in house.
So this is our story around. How can we deliver a modern, global cloud based commerce platform to sell Dell technologies on their technologies? So that’s, that’s, a that’s, a key part of our success.
So we’ll be looking at leveraging our in house, we, um, where e m c, cloud based solutions transforming our data center so they can act in a more optimized cloud environment.
And we’re using our own technology and methodology to go drive our own transformation.
[11:49] Very cool on. I do want to dive into the transformation aspect a little bit more.
But before we d’oh a sort of when, when you think of platforms for Dell, like one of the unique experiences that you would certainly think about is when you are selling that,
uh, made to order configured to order stuff, which i feel like a lot of your catalog, has heavy customization components.
You rely heavily on, ah, a configuration or experience on i’m i’m curious, was, is that something that you also felt like you had to develop yourself? Were you able the leverage to my p from the open market for that? Or?
[12:25] Well, i mean, if you focused on so we have, we have our own in house customer experience that enables the configuration of both from a front and a back and perspective again.
It’s, it’s, very it’s. You know, we were dealing with again a monolithic application where your front and is likely coupled with your back, indeed a structures.
And with Dell a dmc the when the murder happened, we no longer can support those applications that just support one kind of product.
So there is there’s, a huge effort going on around abstracting a product structures.
So regardless of what your product line is being able to go, go abstract, these global common services that support the configuration experience and can support configuration across any product line.
And i think it’s been hard for us to go find something that can do that in the marketplace outside.
So it’s really about establishing those services that can be abstracted away from these masters so we can support that frictionless and seamless configure experience.
And we can play around and experiment different configuration experiences against closely working with our customers and understanding what what?
What leads to higher revenue? What leads to higher conversion rates?
So that just gives us more flexibility with our own solutions as we develop them in house.
[13:41] Sure, and it does feel like in the evolution of configuration.
Ear’s in the old days, like the goal, was really just, ah, reduce friction and enable the complete complement of configurations and follow the business, like just the basic block. And tackling was hard.
It seems like today, in addition, getting on that block and tackling, which is still hard,
there’s a lot of art to so which configuration do i present to each potential shopper by default on what’s, the highest profit configuration, what’s, most successful for that client and to your point, like,
the answer, isn’t the same for everyone. So how do i split?
Test that and and all those sorts of things.
[14:22] Absolutely, i mean you’re dealing with simple configuration, others that do not have too many validation that needs to happen.
The customer just needs a few options and few choices, and they can place an order in the cards so it’s really about providing that seamless experience and focusing on each persona at a time,
you cannot bear something that applies to all personas and understanding what your persona eyes.
I mean, for example, we’re also dealing with customers, for example, if they’re looking to install her dupe a solution and they’re looking for what are my small, medium high options,
and their customers were looking to install splunk in their in their environments, and they’re looking for small, medium high options and that involve our products across the entire product portfolio.
It’s no longer just legacy Dell legacy and see product product,
it’s it’s the combination of products across the entire portfolios it’s, it’s really, really depends on the persona that you’re trying to serve,
again working, you know, becoming this customer centric organization, customer centric team and working backwards into utilizing all these capabilities to deliver the right experience for the right persona.
[15:23] Yeah, you know, it’s fascinating, a fun antidote from the last couple weeks for my life moves of my client’s look a lot like you.
You guys would be a sort of a typical client for us.
But, you know, who’s getting disrupted a lot at the moment are like food and restaurants. And so i have, ah, fast casual client, and they’re our cages and quick question.
Should we be trying tto add cheese to the sandwiches, or should we be trying to sell fries with the sandwiches like what’s? A better question for the server to ask.
And you know, at first you’re like that’s really interesting, and then you start thinking about it, and it it is the same configuration conundrum. And of course, the answer is exactly what you describe.
We should get to know all of our dining guests and, you know, for some guests were smarter to offer add ons and for other guests were smarter to offer side dishes. So we got to give the servers tools.
Teo, help identify those opportunities on.
[16:19] And that’s, right? I mean, and then also, you know, we’re going to stop just going to stop guessing, you know, anymore.
We are going to focus on using customer data and what drives that, you know, selection,
and then use that to it, potentially also pre compute these configurations, so we don’t have to every single time validate, make sure every single option works with that configuration,
and s o, you doing a lot of intelligence around, you know, what’s, one of the most bought, what are the most purchased items?
And and having to go reconfigure them over and over again by our customers may not be a great idea. So how can you go pre compute them?
So it becomes, like, a very fast and a seamless experience where they can just check out with that configuration. So, yes, yeah.
[17:01] Now, there’s. Ah, funny old, quote that that i adore.
If we’re making this decision based on data, show me the data. If we’re going with opinions, let’s, use mine.
[17:05] We’re making this decision based on data. Show me the data if we’re,
that’s that’s, right? That’s? Absolutely right.
[17:14] S so you’re at detail today. You were on a panel this morning talking about the transfer business transformation and the transformation aspect of this project. So i want to jump into that.
I have to be honest, like, intuitively, i think of Dell is, is, you know, arguably one of the very first, digitally native companies.
And so, you know, part of me goes like most of these are analog companies that air transforming as a result of digital, somewhat surprising that Dell needs to transform.
[17:48] Well absolutely i mean we have to transform and look i mean we have established some key metrics that we want to go achieve and without going digital we won’t be able to go achieve those those those numbers imean for example, we want to get to five nines off availability,
which is like less than six minutes of downtime every year we want to get to one point five paige second speed response times globally,
and historically we’re focused on that number in the u s due to the limitations we’ve had in acts in accessing the cloud infrastructure solutions,
and we want to get to seventy five percent and above sea sat the customer satisfaction score, which is really a way for us to measure if the customers of the customer was satisfied you know, going through an onlineexperience,
and also the employees that promote a score we’re not where we need to be from an employee you know, engagement standpoint,
and and i think they’re making great progress we’ve seen some really good numbers in the last year,
and those those those numbers are like super critical for us so until we go achieve those numbers were not going to stop transforming and it’s a journey it’s not like a destination i mean you keep transforming,
it still takes us you know, i remember you know him and i used to say this that you know, men even somebody in the business has an idea and the in the morning.
If you’re not able to publish our deliver that idea into production that afternoon, then you need to transform. Yeah, uh.
[19:09] I love the idea that it’s, it’s, ah journey and it’s it’s, probably a perpetual journey.
There’s. This terrifying survey i saw this year that sort of broke my heart for a star goes out on the survey. Like twenty thousand ceos on, they said, like, where are you in your digital transformation?
Twenty one percent of the ceos said they were done.
[19:31] Dell yes, man, on the bad investor, but i’m shorting all those nuts and, you know, i think you’re done and it’s and it’s very dangerous, because every person you talk to, they have a different definition of digitaltransformation.
[19:33] And i’m like, man on the bad investor. But i’m shorting all those stocks because if you think you’re done.
[19:46] And if the thing think they’re done that’s very dangerous for their business.
So, i mean, every everyone in the company, they have to realize that, you know, the future is upon us. The customer buying behaviors and buying patterns are changing.
We cannot just continue to, you know, re architect are solutions every single time. There’s a new touch point in the market.
How do they establish the right architecture? Er, with the right process is in place so we can deliver things into production faster so we can deliver those outcomes for our customers. And so that every single time there’s anew touch point in the market. We’re not re architect ing the whole solution.
[20:21] Absolutely. So i’m in a company your size.
One of the things i find to be the hardest is all of those legacy systems were chosen by individual stakeholders, likely based on a on a set of narrow requirements that they had for their business.
So, gmc, pick some stuff. That was right for amc and the Dell bea to see guys pick some stuff for the computers.
That was right for them on dh. Now you’re trying to build this global platform, and, like usually the first problem is,
stakeholder alignment, like how, like, how do i get all of those dispirit stakeholders to trust that what i’m going to build,
like honors and prioritizes?
The the capabilities that they need is that?
[21:08] Yes well i’ll tell you like i think i’ve been very fortunate to be part of their technologies and i think one of the best things that’s come together is,
it’s it’s the alignment from a leadership team it’s the alignment across the entire executive teams on what’s important,
this is not lead from the bottom of this transformation that’s really lead from the top it’s a it’s a mandate across the entire company to go transform and and go through this transformation,
and we go look at pros and cons we look at data were very objective about what makes sense what does not make sense across the ecosystem we’re going to pick the good pieces in the ecosystem not everything is bad,
and then we’re going to augment it with new innovation and new capabilities so so that’s that’s really the approach that we’re taking it’s not you versus me or it’s not i think we have,
past that i think Dell any m c has has not come together as an organization were not part of the same digital organization,
and we’re all making the same decision we all are operating as if you’re one single organization with one singular purpose so those silos do not exist anymore you’ve taken those silos you know we’ve toned down thosesilos.
Those barriers won’t exist for us anymore.
You’re past that nice, uh and the way you got past that it sounds like a part of that wass, uh executive yes, yes, absolutely.
[22:18] Nice on dso. The way you got past that. It sounds like part of that was executive buy in and, like, so did that started. The c suite is that way.
[22:29] I mean, you start when i said you have it has to be it has to be at the top you much these teams because you cannot expect the silo teams to make the decisions that are good for each other, right?
I mean, you have to really bring these teams together so really aligning all the leaders,
to understand that we have one global set of common commerce capabilities let’s go bring those teams together, let’s, let’s, let’s pull them accountable so they can deliver on the new use cases that we want to go deliver,so it has to be much too at the top.
So the top leaders came, came together and they re aligned on what the new york times outcomes were that we have to go established in the company, and that really helps trickle down the right message in theorganization and then and then you’re,
teams, they work really well together, you know, again, i think collab if you’re still working in silos and sister working in these, you know, traditional set up of the organization and that collaboration and cooperationbecomes very, very messy, it can be very exhausting,
and, you know, sometimes people lose patients and they leave,
because they just can’t get anything done because they don’t agree with each other, they don’t align with each other.
[23:34] So it sounds like, get get that alignment from that top. Get those dedicated teams.
Identify some measurable success criteria. Then, did you guys do some, like, ah, global requirements gathering, like, how did you guys tackle the sort of requirements? Gathering in scope generation?
[23:55] That’s a great question so i think what we did was when we started down this digital transformation that way said it’s important that we go stand up,
stand up an agnostic organization that’s not tied to a particular business and that’s the organization that i’m part off we said we’re going to start up in organization we know these changes need to happen.
[24:14] So we decided to go you know identify resource is across the multiple different teams and we brought them together,
and it’s part of each team again regardless of the reporting structures regardless of who they work for and we brought them together as part of one common theme,
and and and the way we decided we’re going to go deliver on those new capabilities and established the new platform wass he let’s understand the missing pieces in the existing platform today instead ofthe taking like forlike and,
you know because they’re supporting our existing businesses were running the business we’re keeping the lights on and we’re generating the revenue from a current ecosystem from the current ecosystem we do not wantto disturb that,
we want to make sure there is constant focused on ensuring that we deliver value to our customers through that platform at the same time they’re called missing pieces called missing capabilities so let’s start there,
rather than doing like for like let’s focus on things that we cannot do on the existing platform today and then privatize and sequence your platform work so we can deliver on those incremental business outcomes.
It’s not going to be let’s. Go in a silo, build another platform, and then we’ll show value. In three years.
This was going to be what the missing capabilities let’s, understand what those are.
Start burning global common services so that it can easily be extended to not just support amc product lines, but then also support the american. Also start supporting, selling, marital another in other use cases.
[25:38] Ah, one of the things i’m always interested in. So usually like despite the fact that it’s ah ah, multi business unit, multi discipline,
project, like, usually there’s, a owner that comes from a orientation, right?
And so, you know, even though you’re thinking about all the different business unit users, it’s not uncommon, that, like the the platform transformation, is ah, lead or engineering led.
And so then the pitfall you run into there is, you know, how does that team get good at understanding marketing outcomes and supply chain outcomes and all those those various stakeholders like where they like, did youreach out to those stakeholders?
Air? How did you sort of integrate them into the process?
[26:22] So what we do is we start s o b become a put,
the work that needs to be done and why and how we’re going to show incremental progress, and then you and what we’ve done is we’ve engaged the stakeholders on a monthly basis,
hey, look at the progress we’re making on the platform change on how we do things and it’s really about its ensuring that you have your stakeholder alignment, where their teams become part off the balance team.
So we have these small product teams where we’re not just going to he tell us what the requirements are, let us go build it instead.
It’s come sit with us as part of the team, so we’re we’re really creating a very seamless, you know, interface between business and i we’re not so different teams anymore.
We’re part of the same team, you’re driving the same outcome, so those resources are actually part of the same team so that’s that that is what pervert labs methodology advocates where you conclude your business andyour end users, they’re part of your team, they’re constantly privatizing the backlog.
You’re not working on something that’s misaligned against the business and that’s how you saw that.
[27:19] Got you on dh for listeners that aren’t super from later with the pivotal labs methodology, why generically, you hear a lot of sort of traditional waterfall approach, and on, you know, buzzword now is more agile.
Approach like is a is pistola.
Does pivotal abs have a point of view on that spectrum, or is it? Is that more stakeholder approach, or what’s? The.
[27:42] Pivotal labs is is really, really the methodology on how you, how you make folks within the team work together, and how they work with their business partners and how they walk with their end users.
It’s really, the methodology, your this, the steam. Like i said, the three key critical rules designer product manager and developers on the team,
they work together and understanding the customer requirement that developers on the team, the duke bad programming, they used test driven programing practices to develop software.
So they think this first before they write any good, and that ensures that you know, there’s there’s, good quality in the system and it’s, really the methodology and then also pivotal,
pivotal also comes with a new great technology, which is their platform is a service but little cloud foundry that lets these product teams deliver software changes to production in a very cloud agnostic fashion.
So regardless of what your cloud environment is, it could be a public cloud hybrid cloud.
You may decide to change which your cloud, but if you use platform is a service which is pivotal flowered foundry, you can deploy these applications agnostic off any cloud environment and ensure that there’s an, youknow, continuous delivery in driving the outcomes.
[28:53] Yeah. It’s, really both a methodology and a tool set. Yeah.
[28:55] Dell methodology and, technically, yes.
[28:57] Ah, so how far into, like, when would you say you started this transformation, transformation? How far into it are you?
[28:58] So far.
[29:04] So i way started this transformation a year ago.
And i’ve been in this Job for the last 12 months.
It’s, it’s, it’s been almost a year. Okay? And so years seems like enough time.
[29:15] Okay, and so year seems like enough timeto, really getsem learnings, like, have you identified what, what? Some of the big pitfalls khun b for this type of project, or like what?
You know, what are the top reasons this project of this scope, my fail.
[29:27] The top reasons.
Well, the top reasons the project might fail is people related.
I mean it’s not technology, it’s, not process. And let me tell you, technology alone cannot transform your organization.
All the three essential pieces these people process and technology must be effectively aligned.
You cannot, you know, take a new technology by a new technology and have people working in the same non age. I’ll methods using the old processes and you expect outcomes.
You also cannot have people working in an angel environment on then expand, have and not have them make the right technology choices or not have access to the technology choices,
that can also really, you know not you cannot drive transformation.
So all the three essential pieces must come together and there needs to be effective alignment across the three central pieces and the top two reasons why a transformation can feel his people related, which is lack offalignment across the leadership team,
and lack of skills needed to execute on that transformation.
And without having the right people with the right skill sets and a shared vision to execute on that transformation, any attempt to due process and technology will fail. It will not work.
[30:42] Which is a big bummer right here. Ah, and at Dell, did you guys primarily assigned dedicated resource is to this project. So you took people.
I’m assuming these were often existing Dell employees. And so you took them off of their previous assignments and made them full time members of this team. Or do they have sort of a hybrid role?
[31:02] So yes so what we did was b we be identified some existing resource is within the organization.
[31:11] That were truly passionate about building future state commerce services because we don’t want folks in the organization to feel like they’re not part of the future state because everyone is part of the future state.
[31:21] And s o way identified resource is across the entire organization,
and we’ve also hired fresh talent coming in from the organization i mean to be frank everyone has blinders on including myself and b we have lot of limitations approach has lot of limitations based on our past experiencebased on,
what we’ve done so far we know this is never going to work we have tried this in the past it never works,
and in that kind of baggage we all come back very heavy baggage so bringing this fresh outside talent and really brings that fresh perspective,
and and and things that you may not even know what to ask you know those those folks can really help you drive that transformation so really creating that you know that the nice much team with good from fresh outsidethinkers,
merging them with the existing resources in the organization and should always be hiring for skill sets that are missing in your organization because the skill sets that are needed,
to transform the future commerce is different i mean they’re different skill sets you need folks to understand how to continuously integrate deploy and deliver changes to production.
What does that high velocity environment looks like?
And you also need, you know, folks to understand how to build cloud native applications, and that’s and that’s, a different skill set all together.
So it’s, really about, you know, hire ingles. Resource is from the outside. Merging them with the existing resource is so weakened, ramp and scale, the talent within the organization.
[32:41] Very cool. And so it sounds like you bring outside people in both from a resource standpoint, that you need more resources from, ah, perspective, sandpoint, that they maybe don’t have some of the legacy biases.
And from a skills gap standpoint, did you also do any ups killing of the legacy employees that got assigned to this? Like, did you guys have to do more of like the cloud based methodologies and pivotal training? Andalthough.
[33:08] Oh, absolutely, absolutely constantly training, we’re constantly, you know, putting folks through, you know, new skill sets that we want them to go acquire.
We actually have the spirit labs transformation program within within Dell and what that means is that we be repair our existing developers with the pivotal developers and the pair program, and they’re bearing togetheras a team,
and also the product managers there, pairing with apparently trained product managers.
And the designers are also pairing with another designer, the constantly bearing and and there in a twelve week program where they get officially certified that they cannot think, you know, very customers that can bethey think they should be thinking about the customer.
They can’t be making decisions that are very business outcome based, their validating, their assumptions there validating their problem statements and their solutions constantly with the customers.
So so they’re really working together, so absolutely, like, you know, upscaling that talent is to put them through. What we’ve done is put them through private labs program.
[34:07] Okay? And and a curiosity. This seems like a self defeating attitude. But i sometimes have clients that are like when they talk about getting people on these exciting projects, where they get to work with moremodern approaches and technologies.
Ah, admittedly, one of the risk is that employee is more valuable to other employees.
And you guys are in austin, where there’s a bunch of tech start ups all the time and all this sort of things. Like, was there a fear about retention? And if you had any retention issues or what’s, the attitude? A Dell.
[34:38] Well, the attitude actually it’s, it’s, it’s gotten a lot better.
I mean, i don’t have talked about the employee that promoter school earlier and that’s the question that you ask your employees every year,
how likely are you to recommend Dell and and we see that school going up, we see less and less,
you know, folks leaving the organization because they like the new culture they liked any operating model you may think that Dell technologies is a really big unit in a big company, but we’re really a small startup.
Then the commerce teams of a very small start up, so they’re highly energized the highly autonomous in their decision making. They don’t have to go through the same same processes t get yu know their decisions made,and like i said, it’s really lead from the top.
I mean, our our executive teams are constantly asking us what help do you need?
How can help you go move faster, who’s, your barrier what whatever obstacles, and that really helps move the transformation along for sure.
[35:29] Nice for sure. Let’s, change pages for a second and talk about the outcomes for a minute.
You mentioned up front some of the metrics that you used well, and i’m sure there’s a ton of metrics was there in your mind.
[35:34] You mentioned a front. Some of the metric. Well, i’m sure there’s. A ton of metrics was there in your mind, was there, like.
[35:41] Was there, like a high, high level k p i or where they’re like specific, measurable outcomes that came from the sea. Sweet that you think about for this project.
[35:44] Like specific, measurable outcomes that.
[35:51] Yes, absolutely so one was, you know, if you want to deliver future state, but we also want to, in your deliver incremental customer outcomes and how we measure those customer outcomes.
I talked about c set, which was the customer satisfaction score. We monitor that very closely.
We also monitor our page response times globally.
You know, we want to go achieve those page response times, and also we measure stability.
You know, what are your stability? How many incidents are you causing in production?
Are you able? Are you building applications that are more resilient on more fault tolerant?
So those are, like the key metrics, availability, metric, see, sat page, response times and employing that promoter school. Other four key metrics that we’ve aligned our organization on.
[36:35] Nice and addict. Riaz ity how deep do you go into something like, ah, page response time, like one of the things i find, like so okay, so people weren’t paying attention to page speed, and then they got taught thatthat’s important.
[36:38] Go into something my.
[36:49] And so now, everyone nose, nose, superficially, had to talk about paige speed.
[36:50] One yes knows.
[36:54] But as soon as you start scratching under the covers like, oh, how do you measure? And are you using? Synthetic browsers are real users, and our you know you.
[36:55] The cover’s, like, oh, how do you measure? And are you using? Synthetic browsers are really users and our, you know.
[37:03] You pretty quickly find that, like the whole world is saying like that, they’re targeting some number, but they have. Absolutely. They’re not measuring that number in the same way.
[37:04] Quickly find that like the whole world is saying like that they’re targeting some number but they have absolutely,
they’re not measuring that number in the same way yes yes so what we measure yes and they’ve gone through that evolution ourselves right we think we thought we were measuring,
paid speed but we were not measuring page speed because your browsers are different and you know do geographically you know you have customers that are you know located where they’re trying to browse anexperience that’s hosted with in austin,
and since it’s really critical so what we did was we actually went through this transformation were not measuring time to interact which is your t t i,
and we look at that metric because that really gives you true sense off i was in this country and i was using this browser and what was a page response time,
and it’s that that data is so important to us and we have technology clea transformed and identifying the right technology solutions that will give us that information,
on dh that information like i said it’s so important because i could be sitting in austin and looking at Dell dot com and these experiences and be like they’re just fine on what the customers are complaining about.
[38:05] Yeah, the home page, george. Just fine.
[38:05] Yeah but when you look at the data and your ability to go measure and aggregate all this data and have visibility to all this data and those those numbers can be very astonishing.
And you need that customer data. You need the data to be able to go mate, great product decisions. All right, so.
[38:21] Yeah, no, for sure, and one of the things i always, uh, i’m crying. But i’m chuckling at the same time.
So, you know, someone’s thinking about new plant form, and they’re, you know, they’re getting the sales pitch from the platform, people on the right and let me show you all the cool features like this is the super powerfulpromotion engine, and this is the personalization engine.
And these are, you know, and all these desirable things that the that the enterprise wants.
And so they buy this plant form on dh. Then the performance team comes in after they bought the platform, and the performance experts from the same company that made the platform are like, yeah, so step one. Wehave to turn off all those features.
[39:00] You’re right, you’re absolutely right, and i think it’s really important for us to understand what the outcomes are and walk backwards, and what happens is you.
If you start with black form first technology first that’s not going to work, you have to start with the customer outcomes, and this is why i think they have gone through this huge transformation.
We’ve not become very customer centric organization. We understand the customer outcomes, sometimes it’s page speech, sometimes it’s a great experience.
Sometimes i just need access to these features and functions let’s, not guess let’s, ask our customers and continue to trade on that, you know, and and i like to say the successful digital experiences they always areachieved through it, oration,
using destined, learn approaches and and, however, like it’s, impossible to go, use that approach if your development processes that way too slow, sure on dh so that speed of development.
[39:51] Um, and and so that speed of development seems critical. You mentioned in the very beginning that, like, hey of a business user, as a requirement in the morning.
[39:55] In the very beginning.
[39:59] And we can’t deliver by the afternoon. We haven’t finished our transformation yet. Is that one of the the metrics that you use is like time to release, sir.
[40:00] Liver by the afternoon is that one of the,
the metrics that uses like time to release absolutely it’s very critical i think it’s not just about the water it’s aboutthe how,
and we’re not and we’re not saying tow our business stakeholders are we’re not done with transformation yet you have to go build this platform that’s not what’s happening,
you know way have identified some critical experiences that we want to go fix for example i think the focused on our such experience as a starting point,
we looked at the such experience and said all right we not only want to make sure that we have the right search platform we also want to make sure that when a business person in the business team has an idea and wouldlike to go change something,
and i need that change made in the afternoon so what we have seen everything some fantastic results you know, just accomplishing that where we are now able to deploy our changes multiple times a day to production,
through a highly automated ccd pipeline that requires no manual intervention everything is automated,
and we’re able to deliver changes to production in less than eighteen minutes and that is transformation now we can change the platform we can ring new features and functions we may not have the right experience thaton that day,
that’s fine and we’ll go it rate like i said the digital experience is successful original, you know, properties they trade their rate of success so.
[41:23] And that’s, just so critical.
How is so important, their speed? Two deliveries so important, if you don’t like something, no problem.
And we want to get to a point where we’re always experimenting.
And these experiments are so less expensive that that we can, that we can achieve great success, right? And we don’t have to every single time, re factor your entire platform.
Let’s, go ask for another, you know, a couple of million dollars to go trance, you know, to go deliver any feature or function.
[41:52] Yeah, it’s, it’s. Fascinating. How, as the,
the platform evolves, it actually changes how business users think right in that if,
everyone has to fight for these precious resource is and there’s some, you know, horribly slow release cycle, then you’ve got every stakeholder making a big bet and, like and, frankly, a nun ce abs dance hated back, right,like, just i need this on the road map.
It’s time. I know i’m not going to get it for nine months, but this is the thing i most want.
No idea whether that thing is going to add value or not, right.
[42:24] That’s, right. And the yes, exactly. And the key to success is include those business partners as part of your team, and then have the speed to go deliver changes to market, and then they’re less anxious. The less didnot panic anymore, exactly, and what they.
[42:36] Exactly, and what they what you start seeing is as they get used to this much faster pace of it oration.
Instead of saying, hey, it’s, the one big bet. Wait nine months, it’s!
Hey, let’s, test and learn let’s, try something, let’s, think about more iterated of approaches on, and so i do.
I do. You know, i believe that there is this enterprise wide mind shift. You see as you start, ah, unveil more, more nimble processes and platforms in the organization.
[43:04] Yes, yes, exactly, s o year in like, are there?
[43:06] Um, eso year in like, are there some public success stories that you talk about, like, are there any particular elements of the customer experience that have gone live and that have benefited?
[43:17] Yes i just talked about the such experience that we were able to go put life and again we’re again making very data driven decisions where we’re focused on the customer outcomes were looking at revenue per visitwe’re looking at were doing,
a b test to ensure that the newest such experiences indeed better than the old such experience and and using those were driven decisions to go you know incrementally launch more new features new functions,
and i think the biggest success that we’ve had is just the ability to go launch to production faster.
[43:50] The ability to go automate the entire continuous integration and delivery pipeline so we can launch these changes that required no manual intervention that has been another big success now once you have thatpipeline,
now you can go build new services new you know new and add new features to these services,
i think that has been critical really really critical to our success in the last year a few months and we’ve also established you know, great progress across different fbi’s,
and and and and the kind of collaboration that we have achieved been working with our business stakeholders,
and and really transforming thes thes development teams or product teams into operating in the new culture they’re more happier way capture their testimonials you know every once in a while,
and that that that is also a huge success that’s really changing the foundation fixing the problem at the root and not really focusing on these shiny bells and whistles, but but focusing these problems at the root.
And you’re seeing some tremendous, you know, progress on that. Very cool.
[44:50] There you go. Although is a consultant, i’d really like the shiny bells and whistles. It feels like how i make a living, but yeah, but i forgive you for focusing on fundamentals that actually had business value instead.
[44:55] You get it.
[45:01] And so, speaking of time, that’s going to be a perfect place for us to wrap up, because we’ve used up our allotted time.
But i certainly want to remind listeners that if they have further questions, i want to continue the dialogue taken.
Jump on our facebook page will continue to interact, sirica that there is a place on the internet where listeners can contact you. Are you on linked in or twitter?
[45:25] Yes, absolutely. So i’m on linkedin, and actually i was just talking to my sister just before the Scot and she goes, why are you not on twitter yet?
And i’m like, i don’t know, why am i not on twitter yet, but i’ll try to get to twitter, but i’m definitely yes, yes, yes, and i’m on linkedin.
[45:35] They need the users. They desperately need the user growth, so help him out.
[45:41] I’m on facebook and you know they can always contact me. My first name underscore last name, last name, a Dell dot com said me questions.
You know, i’d be more than happy and eager to help us answer any questions.
[45:55] Oh, that’s, terrific, and i will put those links in the show. Notes.
A cz always of the listeners enjoyed today’s show. We sure would appreciate it if you jump on the itunes and give us that. Five star review sirica, thank you very much for your time until next time. Happy commercing.
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