The changing digital environment has an impact on virtually all industries. For large-scale outsourcing and global services, this impact is driving changes to business model and relationships with customers.

Matt Preschern is Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of HCL Technologies, a US$5.4 billion global information technology services company. Listen to discuss digital marketing and transformation in one of the largest professional services organizations in the world.

Transcript

Michael:

(00:03) If you’re a multibillion-dollar services company, and you’re responsible for marketing in a world that is undergoing digital transformation, and in which marketing is changing one whole lot, what do you do?

(00:23) Today on episode number 128 of CXOTalk, we will answer that question. I am Michael Krigsman and as always my co-host is Vala Afshar. Hey Vala how are you?

Vala:

(00:37) Michael I’m doing great and I’m loving the opportunity to learn from an incredible Chief Marketing Officer, who’s responsible for marketing a $6 billion company with over 100,000 employees, pretty awesome.

Michael:

(00:55) Yes, and before we introduce Matt Preschern, who is the CMO of HCL Technologies, I want to say congratulations to you. You have a new job at Salesforce.com

Vala:

(01:08) Thank you Michael it’s a privilege to join Salesforce, thank you.

Michael:

(01:13) And for everybody watching you know, everything on CXOTalk remains the same. I’m not part of Salesforce and neither is CXOTalk, and when Vala’s here, he’s doing the CXOTalk thing, so we are happily and ever after independent in every way. And with that, Matt Preschern, Chief Marketing Officer of HCL Technologies, one of the largest consulting companies, outsourcing companies on the face of the planet, Matt how are you?

Matt:  

(01:45) Hi Michael and Vala thank you very much first for the nice words and introduction for including me in this episode, and you know the first thing that struck me is I always get into numbers, and I love the fact of the 128, right. You go from double to quadruple and hopefully you know, 1 to 2, 2 to 8 and you know there’s already a level of symmetry in it that’s pretty interesting. And then one more thing before we get into anything else here to loosen it up, I don’t know how many of you know this but yesterday, August 13 is the official day for all lefties in this world. And as I am a lefty, one of 30 million in the United States, my special greetings to all of you out there who also happened to be in this world where something sometimes are a little bit more complicated it seems.

Michael:

(02:41) So to all the lefties out their congratulations. Yesterday was your day.

Vala:

That’s awesome, Michael is ambidextrous, so this is very good news for him.

Michael:

(02:53) Well Matt, tell us about, let’s start with your professional background. Very briefly describe your background for us.

Matt:  

(03:00) Yeah, absolutely. I have been in marketing, I’m a career marketeer and at some point was a management consultant. I started my career in Atlanta Georgia and I worked for United Parcel Services for five years in the early 90s, when UPS was expanding rapidly internationally.

(03:21) I then moved to the New York area where I still live today and worked for IBM for 15 years from 1998 until 2013, so tremendous growth of a great brand. Then had a chance to be the CMO of Windstream. Stayed in New York but commuted to Little Rock Arkansas, and since last year in September I had the honour and pleasure to join HCL. I still live in New York, I’m the global CMO and you know I have global responsibilities and work for this great fast-moving and fast-growing company.

Vala:

(03:58) Matt, tell us about HCL Technologies, a global 2000 company. As I mentioned earlier, over 6 billion in annual revenue, 106,000 employees, tell us about being a CMO of a giant company that’s actually growing really fast.

Matt:  

(04:17) Yeah, thank you Vala, so HCL again I’ve been here just about a year. We are today a $6 billion company that’s growing and we’ve just had our annual earnings call. We had a year over year growth of about 15% at constant currency. 50% of our revenue comes from North America, and another 30+% from Europe. And for those of you who are in technology, we kind of have a full end to end service provider.

(04:49)So we have traditional infrastructure

Michael:

(00:03) If you’re a multibillion-dollar services company, and you’re responsible for marketing in a world that is undergoing digital transformation, and in which marketing is changing one whole lot, what do you do?

(00:23) Today on episode number 128 of CXOTalk, we will answer that question. I am Michael Krigsman and as always my co-host is Vala Afshar. Hey Vala how are you?

Vala:

(00:37) Michael I’m doing great and I’m loving the opportunity to learn from an incredible Chief Marketing Officer, who’s responsible for marketing a $6 billion company with over 100,000 employees, pretty awesome.

Michael:

(00:55) Yes, and before we introduce Matt Preschern, who is the CMO of HCL Technologies, I want to say congratulations to you. You have a new job at Salesforce.com

Vala:

(01:08) Thank you Michael it’s a privilege to join Salesforce, thank you.

Michael:

(01:13) And for everybody watching you know, everything on CXOTalk remains the same. I’m not part of Salesforce and neither is CXOTalk, and when Vala’s here, he’s doing the CXOTalk thing, so we are happily and ever after independent in every way. And with that, Matt Preschern, Chief Marketing Officer of HCL Technologies, one of the largest consulting companies, outsourcing companies on the face of the planet, Matt how are you?

Matt:  

(01:45) Hi Michael and Vala thank you very much first for the nice words and introduction for including me in this episode, and you know the first thing that struck me is I always get into numbers, and I love the fact of the 128, right. You go from double to quadruple and hopefully you know, 1 to 2, 2 to 8 and you know there’s already a level of symmetry in it that’s pretty interesting. And then one more thing before we get into anything else here to loosen it up, I don’t know how many of you know this but yesterday, August 13 is the official day for all lefties in this world. And as I am a lefty, one of 30 million in the United States, my special greetings to all of you out there who also happened to be in this world where something sometimes are a little bit more complicated it seems.

Michael:

(02:41) So to all the lefties out their congratulations. Yesterday was your day.

Vala:

That’s awesome, Michael is ambidextrous, so this is very good news for him.

Michael:

(02:53) Well Matt, tell us about, let’s start with your professional background. Very briefly describe your background for us.

Matt:  

(03:00) Yeah, absolutely. I have been in marketing, I’m a career marketeer and at some point was a management consultant. I started my career in Atlanta Georgia and I worked for United Parcel Services for five years in the early 90s, when UPS was expanding rapidly internationally.

(03:21) I then moved to the New York area where I still live today and worked for IBM for 15 years from 1998 until 2013, so tremendous growth of a great brand. Then had a chance to be the CMO of Windstream. Stayed in New York but commuted to Little Rock Arkansas, and since last year in September I had the honour and pleasure to join HCL. I still live in New York, I’m the global CMO and you know I have global responsibilities and work for this great fast-moving and fast-growing company.

Vala:

(03:58) Matt, tell us about HCL Technologies, a global 2000 company. As I mentioned earlier, over 6 billion in annual revenue, 106,000 employees, tell us about being a CMO of a giant company that’s actually growing really fast.

Matt:  

(04:17) Yeah, thank you Vala, so HCL again I’ve been here just about a year. We are today a $6 billion company that’s growing and we’ve just had our annual earnings call. We had a year over year growth of about 15% at constant currency. 50% of our revenue comes from North America, and another 30+% from Europe. And for those of you who are in technology, we kind of have a full end to end service provider.

(04:49)So we have traditional infrastructure services. We also provide a lot of application and software services. We have a fast-growing and rather unique engineering services business, which is kind of not well known to others. And then we have a business process outsourcing business.

(05:09) We are very proud to have about 106,000 employees now globally, who compete in 31 countries and I can honestly tell you, I’m leaving on Sunday for my monthly trip to India. It is a fascinating, fast-moving, but also a place where we challenge ourselves quite strongly to continue to stay ahead of the curve. So I have thoroughly enjoyed my first year and it’s obviously many little challenges that we’ll get into.

Michael:

(05:41) Okay, so HCL is this very large global company. Let’s begin by, would you share with us your marketing goals for HCL? How do you visualize and how do you think about strategy and what are those goals?

Matt:  

(05:59) Sure, I think you know as most things in life they come in like three and fours, and so a couple of the things I think are fascinating, right. I don’t know how many of the audience here in the US had a chance either to travel to India or see HCL in India. It is what I consider; in fact it is the ninth most respected company in India. This year we’ve just hit the fortune 500 for the first time, we’re 97.It’s a household brand in India, and I would suggest probably one of the most respectedand  you know companies in the technology sector.

(06:43)When you come to the US or did you come to other parts of the world and we are a global company with 31 countries that we compete in. I think we have an opportunity to continue to build out the brand. And we have you know, it’s not maybe a new challenge, but you know HCL as someone said is one of these you know largest fast-growing companies that some people have not heard. And again, that doesn’t necessarily imply that we have to do mass marketing, but I do think that there is a lot of great things in the HCL brand that we can further build out.

(07:18)The second one and this keeps me as Chief Marketing Officer up at night constantly is you know, if we want to grow double digits where that’s 15% or more, how do we continuously ensure that marketing and sales in fact are literally tied at the hip. How do we ensure that our marketing efforts are on the one hand creating the umbrella position for our sales leaders?

(07:41) But then maybe more importantly, how do we very specifically account and by account truly drive marketing efforts that are of value, and help us achieve our overarching business goals.

(07:55) And then you know, those are two but then maybe in addition to the what, let’s also make one is to comment about the how. The thing that I believe that marketeers - and we’ll talk about digital in a little bit as well is that there is a lot to be said how fast we move. So you know in a market that’s growing two, three, and in some instances may be 4%, you can’t grow double digits unless you move faster and with a lot more focus than others, and I can assure you it’s one of the core principles that we operate on.

(08:29) And then lastly, we have a very strong belief at HCL, that our employees who we call our idea-prenuers, are core to the value system of our company and they are in fact the ones who differentiate ourselves.

(08:46) And as we continue to grow we need to make sure that the authenticity of our brand is reflected through our employees, and that we bring that you know into the market as we go after new growth plays whether it’s digitalization or the Internet of Things or other growth plays. So in a nutshell those are some of the areas that we are focusing on.

Vala:

(09:06) Matt that’s great, so refreshing to hear you and the company talk about being employee centric. Obviously, many companies talk about customer centricity, but frankly you can’t build a great company without great people and so it’s refreshing to hear you say that. You talked about brand awareness, you talked about demand generation, and you talked about sales and marketing alignment but I suspect that there are differences in terms for example how you go to market in India versus US and the other 29 countries that you participate in. Can you talk to us a little bit about challenges of meeting those three objectives, but doing that across varying highly diverse marketplaces?

Matt:  

(09:52)Absolutely, and I think it’s a great point and you know let me kind of address this may be in a number of dimensions, right. So the first one is and they are in no particular order, right. But one of the first things that struck me when I joined HCL is and you know I happened to report to our CEO Anant Gupta, HCL has a work structure which is probably different from many more traditional you know Western companies in the following manner.

(10:27)We basically have various key functional leaders and business leaders who reside in various parts of the geography. So I happened to be the CMO, but my work location is the US. I work out of New York.

(10:43)We have for example our President of the infrastructure division, he works and lives out of Cary. Our head of financial services, which is a huge business unit for us lives and works in London, and the list goes on. We have some key functional leaders in India as well.

(11:02) But one of the very first things in that context, and I don’t want to minimizethat  is that we all have global responsibilities, right. So the first thing that I would notice is, we have moved some of our leadership talent into the markets as opposed to having them all within the exact same place in a headquarters region. And again, we all travel extensively that’s part of the job but that will be one aspect.

(11:27)The second one is we as a company, we have 106,000 employees, but we also recognise that the real strategic imperative, and this is driven by our customers is what we call the balance of onshore and offshore, and what does that mean?

(11:45) You know, our target customers, the top Fortune 2000 customers, many of the large brand names and what it requires is a balance of tremendous technical talent, tremendous skill sets in our home base which is in India. But we also have you know a good number of delivery centers across the globe. Here in the US for example, one of our biggest delivery centers is in Cary, North Carolina. We also earlier this year opened a location in Frisco, we’re also in Redmond on the West Coast and we are in Rochester on the East Coast.

(12:22) In Europe for example last year we opened a major delivery centre in Poland, we also you know very well represented in Oslo and other parts of the Nordics and notwithstanding our presence in the UK. So again, when you think about balance of skills right, we have very much ensured that customer centricity, to our customers are given in geo, while we also take advantage of the tremendous skills that we have.

(12:50)And then thirdly what I would say and this is probably I don’t know how you grow at the rate and pace that we do. I have a tremendous respect for a very strong sales culture that is maniacally focused on delivering the promise to our customers. In fact, our brand promises what we call relationship beyond the contract.

(13:15) And what that means in you know very simple terms is – by the way when people always ask me I said you know, what this means basically for us, the relationship with our customers truly begins when we signed the contract. It doesn’t end there. And I would suggest that that is one of the key differentiator and something that you know we do. And yes, with all of those things we are able to on the one hand I think have a level of uniformity across the geographies. But also maybe most importantly are able to very specifically target geographic and business specific needs in where it matters most, in fact where our customers were, right.

Michael:

(13:58) So you report directly to the CEO, what does the CEO of HCL expect from marketing, and maybe comment on the relationship, the expectations in general that you see them under as your large customers of what the CEO again, expect from marketing.

Matt:  

(14:25) Yes, that’s a great question and Michael, thanks for asking this, and if they happen to be various HCL’ers who listen to this and who happen to know Anant, I hope I’m able to represent him here appropriately as well.

(14:42)So, first of all I would describe our CEO is a very focused and maniacally focused leader that is first and foremost driven by growth. And what Anant I think instils in all of us who report to him is growth is not a given, and there has to be a certain level of introspective evaluation, whether or not we are doing the right things, and then maybe most importantly whether or not we’re doing it fast enough.

(15:17) So in my career I’ve had the opportunity to work for many great leaders but there is a couple of things, it’s again this healthy skepticism whether or not the status quo is really the status quo, and number two, are we in fact moving fast enough. And I personally believe those things perpetuate throughout the organization.

(15:38)The other part that I would mention is that Anant in my view is a true believer in the value of the HCL culture and as such the extension into the brand. And so what does this mean and why do I start there, what does this mean as a marketeer, why do I kind of go into length to describe my perception of my direct boss. I actually think it’s pretty easy as a marketeer to follow that. Be creative, challenge the status quo, move fast, be custodian of the brand, and whatever you do think about the culture and help this company grow and achieve its targets.

(16:23) And frankly speaking, just about everything that we do in marketing is aligned to those elements, and again it may manifest itself in different programs and executions across the globe. But that’s probably how I would describe the expectations, and I can honestly tell you it’s been a fascinating year, and obviously quite challenging at times but also very rewarding.

Vala:

(16:48) Matt, that’s great. Those are great tenants and strong pillars and guiding principles, certainly it’s no surprise that the company is growing double digit numbers with such large employee base across the globe we you have those great you know great North Star that guides your day-to-day work. But, we’re speaking to a super innovating CMO, someone who has been in marketing for a number of years. Can you talk about innovation and technology and platforms, and essentially the toolset that’s available today and how that is perhaps change the role of the CMO today versus five or 10 years ago.

Matt:  

(17:28) Sure, and it’s interesting because I’ve been doing this for a little while, and what I would suggest it’s probably a number of things that I would highlight in that respect that is changing the role of the CMO that you need to keep in mind.

(17:47) So one of them is and I’m sure that many of your listeners have heard this before, I have never been in a marketing role where I feel that our customers are more empowered and more knowledgeable than they are of today. And what that means is as such any time we interact with them, especially when our sellers interact with them our customers are probably as informed or know more about us than maybe we give them credit for.

(18:18)The second one is I believe that technology is the great equalizer. We live in an age today where it’s almost like the consumerisation of technology, particularly in the B2B or B2C , I happen to actually think it’s much more about I2I than this is more the traditional definition, so the individual to the individual. And what that means is I think we have to be careful is that we don’t view technology as the end to it all, but it’s just a fact of life that everybody uses. Whether it’s your handheld device, and if you ever have a chance you should come to some of our meetings where all the various leaders show up, because of those of you who have travelled extensively there are still various different standards across the world. So the same – you can’t have global enabled tomes, but you are probably going to need to or three devices were you know you travel to two or three countries across the globe.

(19:18)And then you know alsowe eat our own cooking. I mean I can tell you from a marketing perspective we use you know, actually from a very good CRM system to where we are deploying and automation platform. We are using various analytics tools across all the key vendors that you know. But I think as a marketeer, and I mentioned this earlier, and we can talk probably more about the culture and it links to digital as well. I think the rate and pace combined with how empowered your customers are lends itself to a very different culture of how we need to market and interact.

(19:57) And what I would suggest is, you know unless we really embrace a culture of experimentation, or a culture that says you know, I’m not sure particularly like the words, but the concept of failing fast, which means you have to experiment and if it works you scale it, and if it doesn’t work you move away and you do it better again, right.

(20:22)And then very importantly, I also think in this world it is much more about co- innovation and collaboration than it’s ever been before. So yes, there’s technology, but on a global scale these are some of my thoughts with respect to how you know marketing is evolving and kind of the attributes one needs to have.

Michael:

(20:43) Matt, next week, there’s a conference in New York called CRM Revolution, and I’m giving a talk on customer engagement and the role of digital, and you mentioned – I don’t think use the term the empowered consumer, but you spoke about it. And so how does this notion of the empowered consumer affect an organisation as large as HCL? How do you defuse through HCL this notion, and what are the practical implications?

Matt:  

(21:21) Great great question, and Michael my first response thank you and my first response would be and I do believe in the empowered consumer or customer, but I believe that it affects a company of any size, whether it’s HCL at $6 billion, whether you are an upstart and so forth. It’s something one needs to recognise and I think consistently aware, and here’s why I think this is so important if not critical.

(21:54)The empowered customer today is expecting a digital experience across your entire different touch points that’s far to none. And I think as we start to talk about digital, and we start to talk about the difference between digital marketing, or how do you digitize your organization, always keep in mind you know your customers are interacting with your company and the chances are they going to interact with your webpage. They’re going to interact maybe with your call center. They’re going to receive a bill from you. They’re going to do a search on Google or you know any other place, and when they do so they going to have hopefully a consistent experience that is authentic with the brand promise that you want to bring forward.

(22:45) And given that everybody has access to technology and has such access to your company, the powered paradigms has literally shifted from you as an employer who is either in the past if you were in marketing you could put something out on the newswire, and the news would go where you wanted it to. Today, we all know what’s happened to news cycles, right.

(23:08)If you have a product that you know is selling great, but your customer support and call center is not working when you have an issue, and you know that customer experience will actually land itself to some level of reaction.

(23:26) If your social media is basically, and I can guarantee you that just about any company in the world, depending if you get larger it’s even more so there is probably some talk about your customer. And as a marketeer you can absolutely do nothing about it, other than continuously improving your customer experience. So to me I would say, and I wish I could be at your talk, I recently was in Chicago and was asked to speak on the notion – not just of customer experience, but I always link customer experience ultimately to customer loyalty and ultimately even one step further where a customer is actually recommending you. And I would always suggest that an experience without loyalty and loyalty without some level of monetization is something that is probably you know an interesting topic, but we need to even take it a step further.

Michael:

(24:28) Hey, you just gave away the punch line of my talk!

Vala:

(24:36) It’s going to hit the newswire right now across the world.

Matt:  

(24:40) There you go, sorry about that.

Vala:

(24:44) So Matt, clearly the impact of digitization and the empowered customer clearly goes way beyond just a marketing and sales department. You mentioned customer support, we’ve heard terms like customer engagement management, and customer relationship management. All of this appears to be foundational to digital interaction and digital transformation. So how do we, marketeers help empower employees on the frontline, so not only that they represent you know the HCL brand to their best ability, but they also help as you said take the customer along the journey so ultimately they become advocates of HCL.

Matt:  

(25:25) Yeah, I mean you know again I think there’s a couple of things on this and it’s a great question. I’ll probably again, I’ll try to address it through two or three different angles. I think the first one is, and I’m actually happy how you worded the question. Because I think the one big difference between digitization is, and this is our point of view is that digitalization is something that has to start with a business proposition with a thought about where you want to take your business, and then you can really think about your entire ecosystem of connections, the entire ecosystem of partners that need to be digitally enabled end to end.

(26:19)And my personal view is that in the past we’ve probably spoken a little bit too much about you know the front end of the process and that very often overlooked the notion of true digital enterprises are connected to front end and the back, they have platforms in place that allow us to do that. So why do I start there, because when it comes to your employees, there’s a couple of things.

(26:49) First I would go back to what I said earlier and we and HCL take this very seriously. We truly believe that our employees are the engine. They’re the idea-prenuers. They’re the ones who are being encouraged to actually engage with our customers. You know, we’ve various programs in place where we ask them to play a very proactive role, and I would suggest that if you want to deliver an experience, your employees need to feel like they own it. And I know that sounds may be a little bit hollow and other companies claim that as well. But I can assure you, we take this to different levels here at HCL and I would be happy to go into some of the details.

(27:38) The other part of it I would also suggest and this is where I think maybe the rubber meets the road is you can’t deliver a consistent experience across the various touch points if you’re not also from either a process or technology perspective enable your colleagues and your employees to do so.

(27:50) So and this is where I think sometimes in the past you know, this notion that my customers need a mobile, my customers want to interact with me better and we are just going to put a mobile app out there, and that’s going to change the customer experience. Yes, but that’s not really a full point solution that you deploy, and I think you have to think broader than that.

(28:22)Are you giving your employees access to the right systems? Areyou training then the right way?Are you giving them the leeway to interact in the proper way? And those are I think all elements that need to come together, and I think pretty transparent here. To me, this is an ongoing journey and I would not suggest that this is something you do once and then you know you deploy a CRM systemor you link that up and you know change your web experience. I think as soon as you have deployed certain vehicles, you have to kind of continue to improve upon.

Michael:

(20:56) Okay now you just made a very important distinction between digital transformation and CERN by implication marketing. And I think you know in the past people tended to equate digital transformation. Okay, we’re going to put our store online, so give us that broader sense of what digital transformation actually is.

Matt:  

(29:21) Perfect, Michael thank you for that question and before I answer it, let me just give you my hypothesis as to why you know digital was more linked to marketing. I personally believe that that comes out if you think back a few years, that a lot of the digital projects kind of came out of what we called interactive. And a lot of the interactive came out of an agency world that was usually hired to be part of you know your extended ecosystem or skills.

(29:53) And frankly speaking to all of you who are still working in an interactive or who are still working in that, that is a super important part of marketing, right. I am not suggesting that that piece is either going away or is not something that we need to consider. But a digital enterprise is more than that. It’s more than deploying again as I said earlier you know a point solution. It’s more than a mobile app or maybe a web portal that you put up, or maybe a social media solution which basically helps you with your interaction.

(30:31) And maybe you know the best way to describe this and I know I’m probably using the same examples that others are using, but you know think about Uber, or think about Airbnb, and it’s pretty significant what those companies have done. So at the end of the day and for those of you I happen to live in New York, right. For those of you have tried to get a cab in New York at a certain time, and when the fourth cab has passed you and has basically told you, I’m sorry I am not going to that part of the city right now, because there is too much traffic. You know that there was a latent market need for somebody to deliver or provide a better service.

(31:14) But just as a reminder right, so what Uber did is they basically without any assets, they looked at the digital experience and then they looked across the entire value change chain or ecosystem. They basically said, there’s drivers, there’s cars, there’s pricing. There is a different model of how I do customer support, and when I create a digital end to end system across that entire value chain or ecosystem, then that becomes a digital enterprise. And by the way, if you expand that for example into Airbnb, not that different, it’s probably one of the largest you know companies in the world that again doesn’t have any assets.

(31:58) So to answer your question and I believe very strongly in this, I think we have more out of historical reasons defined digital more as interactive in the past front end customer centric. But if you don’t connect those pieces by the way with your backend systems, and if you also don’t train your employees to work in a different way and you don’t necessarily think through the business model implications, I don’t think you will end up with a digital enterprise. The reason why I believe lots of companies need help in that area is because what I just described is obviously not easy to do.

(32:40) Right, if it was that easy then you know, probably everybody would have done that already and I think you know this is going to be a transformation journey, but I would strongly suggest more than just your front-end or CRM, or web application you know as defined.

Vala:

(32:50) It’s amazing Matt as you talk about companies like Uber, you’re looking at a six-year-old company valued at 51 billion. You know, GM market capital is 50 billion, so some people call it shared economy, gig economy, on demand economy. But bottom line, whether it’s Airbnb or Uber or Facebook or YouTube, these folks don’t own any assets and they are essentially reinvention of the processes, not just throwing in an app or a smart phone or a cloud app, it’s really reinventing how you deliver service and leveraging technology. But my question to you is, how do you define success in terms of your digital transformation journey, with such a large well-established organisation like HCL? What are the mile markers along the way where you can feel good talking to the board or the CEO, or more importantly your customers in terms of your successful digital transformation journey?

Matt:  

(33:58)And I think there’s a couple of things. There’s one, I mean the digital transformation how we as HCL become more digital, but then you know and this is one of our key efforts actually acoss our fiscal year is different, but in 2015 and beyond we actually have started and have worked almost like if you can imagine and I am slightly overstating this, we’ve actually for the last six months had a task force, a very focused team that was created and is now going to be probably formalized to look at digital almost like a startup within HCL.

(34:46) And the primary focus was, and we didn’t start – we are doing two things, we are looking internally on a whole range of things, but we also started to look at all of our customers and what are thier specific requirements. And what we started to find it’s pretty much what I shared with you earlier. I think there’s a lot of customers who are basically saying, look I appreciate all the work on the front end and we all understand that customer journey mapping is important, and we do understand that we need to be pointed at new technologies, but how do we truly become a digital enterprise.

(35:28)And what you will see from HCL as we move forward, you will see various specific efforts, both from our capability perspective, also how we partner to help customers on their digitalization journey.

(35:42)We also have a strong belief that design thinking is very important, and design thinking in two aspects. One, with respect to the business model design, but the other one also in respect to technology, right. So you know just industry level capabilities is one thing, but if you create certain levels of customer experience and interaction, there also has to be a level of ease of use. And you know, for all of you who areeither listening, I happen to have a 16-year-old and a 14-year-old, two guys at home, and if you want to have any idea of what their expectation of customer experience is, but also there are expectations is going to be when they eventuallyeither go to school or join the workforce, their expectation of, again this digital experience is going to go through the roof.

(36:32) So, you will see us is very focused in this digital space as well as, you know there’s a lot of talk about the Internet of Things, and we in HCL have a very strong engineering business and we feel that you know we have very strong capabilities that we will bring to the market to help customers not only, you know embed intelligence into the device, but also to connect them within either their respective ecosystems etc. so, a lot more to come along the lines that I’ve mentioned here.

Michael:

(37:09) Now Matt, we have a little less than 10 minutes and we have a lot left that we would like to talk on and we could go on for hours, but we literally have 10 minutes. So now, we’ll ask you fairly quick questions – no, let me rephrase, we’re going to ask you fairly hard questions and hopefully you can answer them fairly quickly.

Matt:  

(37:32) I will try – I will do my best okay.

Michael:

(37:38) I know, we’re going to ask long philosophical questions that fill up all of this time – anyway no. So from what you were just describing in effect, and correct me if I’m wrong, you’re running at least two different business models inside HCL. One is the new digitization business model with your customers and then your historical business. So how do you manage that very difficult task?

Matt:  

(38:09) Great question and it reminds me if we go back a few years back there was a book written by one of the major consultancies about the Horizons, and I think what we recognise is Horizon one, two, three and this is a perfect example right. We have very established businesses, infrastructure business and others, application business and we know that these are you know they ‘e profitable, they’re still growing and we need to basically run them and evolve them. Then we are maniacally focused on these new ones that we run them literally like startups.

(38:44)And again, I give a lot of credit to both our CEO but also to our board who’s encouraging us to do so. And as such the metrics are different, right. If you run an established business, measure growth but you are very much alsofocused on profit margins and margins overall. If you manage a growth business, it’s more about early customer examples and you actually you know develop new solutions, and then can develop in certain business areas may be a beachhead customer so to speak and that’s how we are going to manage it.

Michael:

(39:18) Incidentally one of our former guests Steve Blank, has written a lot about what he calls lean corporate innovation management, where he takes this concept of and applies it to corporate innovation, and we’ve done a bunch of videos about that, so those will be coming out on CXOTalk very soon, but Vala you should take the next question.

Vala:

(39:45) Matt I’m wondering are you starting to work more with Chief Digital Officers, I know in LinkedIn 2012, there was about 75 of them and it was projected that by the end of this year there will be over 2000. And the second part of my question is, if you are working more with CDOs, how do their mission objectives, job descriptions vary from your let’s say traditional more established Chief Information Officer role?

Matt:  

(40:10) Right, again, so the first answer to this and I’m trying to be much briefer…

Vala:

(40:18) No your answers are great, your answers are great.

Michael:

(40:21) Your answers are perfect, please go ahead.

Matt:  

(40:28)So I think the answer is a strong yes, you can clearly see more Chief Digital Officers, but here’s I think maybe the nuance that I see. I don’t necessarily see those Chief Digital Officers all coming from the CIO side, right.

(40:49)So to me what I see is in some instances they come from the marketing side, if a marketeer tends to be very tech savvy. In some instances they may have been actually a leader either in consultancy or in agency, right. And in some instances they’re very forward-looking CIOs.

(41:09) But what I think is also interesting is the reporting structures, right. So in various companies what I’ve seen in some instances, the CDO reports actually to the CMO. In some instances the CDO report directly to the CEO you know for various reasons. My personal take, I think that’s a reflection either on how a company has evolved, but it’s probably also a reflection of the specific skill set. If you have a highly you know very forward looking transformational CIO, who also looks at the business impact of initiatives, then becoming the CDO/CIO, can be very interesting.

(41:50)The only title I forgot in some instances I also see the CTO, the Chief Technology Officer plays a bigger role. But the net of it is that I think we’re going to see more, and the only question I have is I think as we see more, within 2 to 3 years I think we are going to see that it’s been actually reverse itself over time as companies become more digitally savvy.

Michael:

(42:17) Okay, so we’ve got just a couple of minutes left. Matt please share with us your advice, use it in a very interesting sport for a CMO, your global company a very large company. You see a very wide expanse of customers and customer type. Given that, what advice do you have to Chief Marketing Officers who are trying to innovate and do the best thing for their company today?

Matt:  

(42:44) Great, a couple of things and I think some of them I may have briefly mentioned earlier. First and foremost I would suggest that if we as marketeers want to be successful, we have to embrace this what I call the culture of experimentation and constantly challenging the status quo. So the notion of that you have time and time is on your side I think is a fallacy.

(43:15)So, unless we can move fast and faster than we have in the past, it also needs to become part of your DNA. And with that by the way comes also the acceptance that not everything that we are going to do is going to be 100% right.

(43:32) And as leaders we have to create a culture and an environment where we allow those who work for and with us to make mistakes, and then embrace that as something that we need to get better.

(43:46)The second one I would say is, it is absolutely essential if you want to succeed in marketing today that you have to have a base knowledge of technology insights. You will not succeed in today’s world unless you eitherreinvent yourself, continue to learn, but you also need to understand the basic tenants of technology.

(44:10)And then third one and maybe I should have started with that, and this is a whole other discussion topic. I think marketing for marketing sake in its own right is not going to work. You have to ensure that your marketing priorities are 100% aligned with the business, and maybe that seems you know tremendously trivial and intuitive. But I would suggest too many out there unless that is in fact the case, the chances are your value contribution is not going to be used to the extent that you like. So those are three kind of summary points, but also just move fast. Fast, fast, and fast again.

Vala:

(44:52) Matt, my final question is can you share some advice to CIOs, folks that clearly depend on today to integrate on all of this great innovation and technology to improve efficiency and effectiveness of marketing.

Matt:  

(45:09) Yeah, my single piece of advice would be this world that we’re in or approaching around digital and digitalization, it’s a team sport. And as a team sport you have to work across silos, and I think both for the CMO’s and for the CIOs is you know, at the end of the day your customer really couldn’t care less where there is a technology function or a marketing function, or a customer experience function. They’re looking for the experience that is hopefully seamless and it gives them exactly what they’re looking for. And as such, this notion of working together really closely, as a team is probably more important and more prevalent than ever before.

Michael:

(45:57) Wow, boy we could continue this for a long time. It was a very interesting discussion

Matt:  

(46:03) Yeah, thank you guys this was great. I really appreciate you having me.

Michael:

(46:08) Well Vala we’ve learned a lot today.

Vala:

(46:11) Matt dropped a lot of science on us and it’s going to be a pretty lengthy blog summary for you and I Michael.

Michael:

(46:19) You bet. So we have been talking today with Matt Preschen, who is the Chief Marketing Officer for HCL Technologies which is one of the largest global outsourcing consulting companies in the world. Matt thank you so much for taking the time.

Matt:

(46:37)My pleasure thank you.

Michael:

(46:39) And next week on CXOTalk at this same time we are speaking with Joe Cowen, who is the CEO of Epicor Software. Everybody please sign up for the mailing list. Thanks again to Matt Preschen from HCL and Vala, I hope you have a wonderful week.

Vala:   

(46:59) You as well Michael, thank you, thanks Matt.

Matt:  

Thank you.

Michael:

(47:01) Thanks everybody, bye bye.

 

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