When does tech really get the CEO's attention? Listen as CEOs from Lowe's, Coke, and other companies explain the tech projects that are indispensable to business goals.
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Procter & Gamble CEO Bob McDonald's tech ambition is clear--to digitize the company end to end. We've reported at length about P&G's IT team's efforts to implement that. So to get deeper on this CEO's take on tech, rather than an earnings call, I'd point to McKinsey Quarterly's interview with McDonald. I found it most interesting for the examples of where McDonald wants to push P&G next.
One is in the manufacturing process, where McDonald envisions the most granular of data:
"We're not there yet, but we envision a system where I could literally see, on my laptop, any product at any moment as it goes through the manufacturing line of any one of our plants. And what I'd love to be able to do is see the costs of that product at the same time. It's challenging because accounting systems aren't designed today for operations--they tend to look backward--but we're working on integrating our operational system with the financial system to move in that direction."
The other excerpt is about using mobile technology to reach emerging market. Today, retailers can call up on their phones what P&G calls "performance standards," which are ways to arrange a store that P&G thinks will drive the biggest sales. Said McDonald:
"If you have a store that partners with P&G on this, you can call up the performance standards on your phone, hold it up, look around your store, and compare it with what you see. Eventually, I want to be able to take a picture of the shelf, have it digitally compared, and then automatically send action steps back to the retailer to help rearrange the shelf for maximum consumer sales. That's where we're going. In fact, some applications like these will probably come back to the developed world as improvements because they'll be simpler--there's no question that progress will be accelerated by the leapfrogging of technology. Inevitably, everything's got to be usable on the smallest, cheapest device possible because that's what's going to get the broadest distribution in a developing market."