When it will come to IT strategy, Kimberly-Clark World wide CIO Manoj Kumbhat helps make a person matter really apparent: This multinational requires a business-very first strategy to digital transformation.
The B2C and B2B retailer of manufacturer-name personal treatment and skilled health care merchandise, these types of as Kleenex tissues, Scott paper towels, and Huggies diapers, has produced a huge hybrid-cloud press of late, entire with a Snowflake data lake, a “consumer 360” system, and a series of cloud-native and SaaS applications geared to enhance income from purchaser channels and giant retail consumers alike.
But for Kumbhat, it is the small business that drives the IT agenda, not the other way all-around.
“We’re cloud sensible, not cloud initially,” he suggests. “We essentially guide with business transformation — and then we did a cloud migration as a part of that.”
It may perhaps seem a subtle difference, but as Kumbhat stresses, offering electronic capabilities these types of as earnings development administration and what he calls “consumer-encouraged innovation” to fuel company transformation makes all the difference.
“So quite a few companies began out with a cloud transformation and then selectively they drove business transformation. With that method, IT is driving the transform and then everyone else will have to follow and it may possibly not be the vital priority for the company,” claims Kumbhat, who has held the international CIO publish at Kimberly-Clark for pretty much 4 a long time and was 1 of 4 finalists for the MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award this 12 months.
As an alternative of leaping to the cloud to drive enterprise transformation, Kumbhat and his staff “truly appeared at the price situation for it and designed confident that we’re not including a substantial cost by transferring to cloud. We are staying sensible about it,” he states of the company’s cloud strategy, which is centered in element about its direct-to-customer organization.
“We built what we connect with business transformation that experienced anything to do with the front finish of our enterprise, which touches the client and the customer,” Kumbhat claims. “We entirely remodeled our front-stop capabilities to travel leading-line advancement.”
Kimberly-Clark’s other main consumer section, B2B2C mass retail partners, together with Wal-Mart and Goal, is the other aim of its business transformation.
Leveraging AWS and Azure, Kimberly-Clark was in a position to refine retail income expansion management and improve pricing promotions with companions to optimize prime-line growth, he suggests.
“We use a mix of technologies to establish what you can assume of traditionally as ‘consumer 360,’” says Kumbhat, referring to a income and aid tactic that aggregates knowledge from across the enterprise to deliver a one, extensive see of the purchaser.
The blueprint for enterprise transformation
Kimberly-Clark started its transformation journey in 2017 with a major restructuring that provided layoffs and a migration to top robotic system automation (RPA) platforms. Kimberly-Cark’s go to RPA was extremely complete, claims Kumbhat, including that automating supply chain and finance functions led to a personal savings of hundreds of millions of bucks.
For example, as a main maker, Kimberly-Clark at times gets fraudulent statements from distributors that were often compensated thanks to the deficiency of resources to detect mistakes and automate choice-earning. RPA has preset this, Kumbhat claims.
“Through the restructuring of the course of action and placing it on RPA, we really minimized the outflow again to our distributors and enhanced the managing of bogus claims, mainly because we utilised to receive a large amount of these,” he notes.
But RPA resources and rules-primarily based automation can only get you so considerably, Kumbhat suggests. At some position, “you have to implement AI and device understanding so that you more improve the accuracy of the processing,” he says, introducing that Kimberly-Clark is presently enterprise this effort as part of an clever automation drive.
Crucial to the company’s small business transformation have been a number of enterprise-extensive IT initiatives aimed at setting up a knowledge-pushed and related source chain and a “digital main transformation,” on prime of the company’s deployment of RPA, AI, and hybrid cloud systems, he says.
The corporation is consolidating five distinct ERP deals throughout its 5 small business models into a new single SAP ERP implementation on Azure, Kumbhat claims, and is beefing up its data analytics capabilities to develop a bigger level of shopper and purchaser intimacy, however a client facts system (CDP) that provides insights into consumers’ investing designs.
“Data is at the coronary heart of every thing we do,” Kumbhat says. “We have also pushed some substantial gains because of to system mining applications.”
Kimberly-Clark is also “getting rid of” antiquated provide chain and other business approach platforms employed internally in favor of best-of-breed cloud-indigenous SaaS solutions for procurement, analytics, and transportation administration, for example.
Continue to, no transformation — small business or normally — can succeed with out profitable over the men and women involved, specially workers and individuals, Kumbhat notes.
The world-wide CIO, whose IT price range is roughly $450 million, has the support of the company’s C-suite and has worked with his IT section, which consists of 1,200 entire-time employees and much more than 3,000 contractors, to undertake the platforms portfolio and develop 14 “digital enablers,” which include cloud, user experience, agility, staff expertise, AI/ML, DevOps platforms, and APIs.
All this points to a critical remit for Kumbhat: overseeing alter management to make sure all staff members are in tune with the company’s transformation mission.
“Every side of our organization is transforming so it’s critical not to overlook the benefit creation factor. My emphasis is to make absolutely sure that we do not forget the folks factor of the alter and that the group is ready for modify administration,” the world wide CIO says. “We want to make positive the sequencing and prioritization is appropriate because we could have all these electronic capabilities and we want it to land in a way which is helpful for the small business — not disrupting the targets of the business.”
And these objectives heart about maximizing intimacy with every single Kimberly-Clark client section, from buyers at home to managers at Wal-Mart. Technology is merely the usually means to the conclude, Kumbhat says.
“It’s the disruptive digital which is really almost nothing extra than building the a person-to-one romance with the buyer via personalized written content,” he states.