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Unilever CIO: Digital Literacy is the Most Important New Feature to Develop

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Unilever North America CIO and VP Analytics and Business Services Alessandro Ventura recognizes the difference between digital transformation and digitization. After digital transformation, your business is different than it used to be, he says. Digitization, on the other hand, automates the process but does not change the essence of the business.

For Ventura, digital transformation begins with introspection and big questions. What should our business be in the future? How do you respond to changes in competition and consumer behavior? How are you changing your customer experience?

Digital transformation and digitization

Previously, Unilever’s customer business manager manually entered baselines and promotional plans to reflect company forecasts and related events that could impact sales and new store openings in product promotional planning tools. Was there. Ventura and his team recently replaced that legacy tool with a machine learning engine that calculates baselines for all SKUs and all retail customers and tells managers which promotional activities are the most productive. This tool reviews promotional events and recommends changes. It also includes external factors such as imminent storms affecting consumer demand, allowing managers to more accurately plan scenarios for their customers.

Promotional planning tools are an example of digital transformation. By improving forecasts and proposing a variety of more effective promotional plans, the tool will improve product delivery and ultimately improve Unilever’s retail customer inventory. With better predictions, we provide our customers with an experience that is not only more efficient, but also more efficient. In fact, it helps improve product availability. This is a very important source of value for our customers.

An example of digitization is Unilever’s Una Digital Assistant. It integrates with Microsoft Teams to answer employee questions. Yesterday I had to find my employee ID number, says Ventura. Previously, you had to log in to the payroll system to find your pay slip. Instead, I went to Teams, asked Una for an employee ID, and got it right away. I received the same information as before, but now it’s faster.

Fostering digital literacy

In driving both digital transformation and digitalization, Ventura and his team need to ensure that all of the 38,000 employees of Unilever’s business in North America are prepared for major changes.

Digital features don’t create value on their own, says Ventura. People need to understand and accept the fact that their way of working is changing rapidly. For example, with a machine learning planning tool, a customer’s business manager may want to reject a machine proposal for promotional planning. When the machine tells the manager not to invest in a promotion initiative that has been running for the last 20 years, the manager may say, “Who can you tell me?” You are a machine I’m familiar with it, so I’ll stick to what I’ve always done. This means that the most important new feature we can develop for our business is digital literacy, says Ventura.

As Ventura defines, digital literacy is the ability of an employee or entire culture to embrace technology-driven innovation and change the way they work. To develop this feature, Ventura and his team created a digital literacy curriculum. This curriculum is being promoted at the top of the organization with CEO Fabian Garcia, and will then be expanded to include sales and marketing leaders.

The curriculum includes Ventura, a key member of his IT leadership team, and selected business partners who hold a total of 14 sessions in 45 minutes, three times a month. These sessions focus on the cloud, platforms, data, and products, organized by customer, consumer, and employee experience. We’ve always talked about applications and systems, but today we’re using so many new terms that we’d like to explain them based on experience that’s important to the CEO. Fabian does not want to know the technical details of the feature, so it includes business partners. He wants to know how practitioners turn insights into actions.

In a digital literacy session focused on marketing data and analytics, Ventura, along with responsible for data and analytics, will discuss consumer data and performance tracking for digital initiatives, including the digital brand manager for high-performance ice cream brand Klondike. talked. .. They started with a 10-minute introduction to define terms that include first-party, second-party, and third-party data, and how to use each for business impact. We also demonstrated new tools (websites, Instagram, and other social media) built to track the performance of digital assets and media investments by brand, Ventura said. Our Klondike brand manager has shown what kind of information she is looking for, what kind of decisions she makes from that information, and what the stumbling block is. The session was astounding.

In a session on artificial intelligence (AI), Ventura invited both Unilever Careline and AI Technology directors to demonstrate new AI tools built to improve customer care. Previously, when a consumer emailed a question about ordering information, a customer care representative had to log in to the system, look for the ordering information, and then respond. The new tool searches for customer contact information. Customer representatives can send responses much faster, reducing response time by 90%. It was great to have a careline manager in the presentation to share how to use this tool with Fabian, says Ventura. He was surprised.

3 tips to get you started

Ventura offers this advice for launching a digital literacy program.

Consistency is key. He says he needs consistency and strength. The CEO handles so many things in a day that the curriculum needs to be in front. If you miss a session, you will need to reboot. Ventura notes the undercooking of the program. If you say that the entire program will have 14 sessions, do not stop after 10 sessions. If you skip lesson 4, you will not be able to proceed to lesson 5. The calendar can be cluttered because there are so many people involved in conducting a session, but the curriculum should be prioritized and committed. Don’t stop at the top. Digital literacy can’t stay in senior management, he says. Make sure your training includes a process that triggers a bottom-up process to educate all teams. It transforms inside out. Ventura says there are many technologies on the market that promise digital transformation. You will receive about 15 emails a day. Accelerate digital transformation. But the consultants and tools on the market cannot accelerate our digital transformation. We must drive that change ourselves.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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