The Record Issue 10: Autumn 2018

24 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om I NT E R V I EW At Future Decoded late last year, you told businesses that they ‘need to disrupt before they are disrupted’. How is Microsoft helping organisations to do this? Disruption is real. Currently, 93% of executives believe their industry will be disrupted at some point in the next five years, but only 20% feel they’re prepared to address it. As digitalisation takes over the world, every organisation and industry must evolve their business and tech- nology landscape to address new competitive forces. At Microsoft, we are uniquely positioned to help our customers imagine new possibilities, so they can stay ahead of the curve. From our agile platforms and solutions to our breadth of technologies that prioritise flexibility, integration and trust. But digital transformation is not simply about technology – it requires business leaders to re-envision their business models and embrace a different way of bringing people, data and pro- cesses together to create new value for customers. Digital transformation is now front of mind for businesses the world over. What are the most impressive examples of digital transformation that you have recently witnessed? It’s truly incredible to see how companies of all sizes are transforming, but for me, the retail industry is one of the bravest and most inno- vative. Faced with long term challenges from dwindling sales in store, retailers are embracing new technologies at breakneck speed, in a bid to reimagine the customer experience, drive sales and boost growth. H&M, the second-largest clothing retailer in the world, is one example. We worked with H&M to create an interactive, in-store mirror that leverages the high footfall of its Times Square retail store to drive higher engagement and sales. The mirror is powered by Microsoft Azure and its various cognitive solutions tools, including face and speech rec- ognition, which kick into gear when a customer walks up to the mirror. The mirror can then interact with customers, helping take pictures of their new outfits and offering fashion advice. In addition to providing customers with a fun, novel experience, H&M has also benefitted with 86% of visitors interacting with QR codes and sharing their discounts, in addition to gaining subscribers to its newsletter. Another great example is US supermarket giant Kroger, which is transforming in-store displays with IoT technology. We helped create Kroger EDGE, a new Azure-powered signage solution that replaces cardboard labels with a digital alternative. The solution not only saves precious human resources by eliminating the need to update displays manually, but also allows Kroger to reduce its carbon footprint, by using low-powered labels with no physical waste. What advice would you give to those organisations looking to begin their digital transformation journey? Whenever I meet with customers I tell them that successful digital transformation starts with a culture transformation that engages the hearts and minds of their employees. Organisations need to be incredibly clear about their pur- pose, investing energy at every level. It’s going beyond the brain, to the heart, to the soul. Using Microsoft as an example, our culture is focused on a growth mindset, a deep appetite for con- tinual learning and a culture of experimenta- tion and risk taking – trying and learning fast. Transformation isn’t easy, it’s a long-term jour- ney and ultimately it will be the people in your organisation that drive your success. As executive vice president and president for Global Sales, Marketing and Operations, Jean-Philippe Courtois leads Microsoft’s commercial business across 124 subsidiaries worldwide. Here he outlines how, hand-in-hand with partners, Microsoft is enabling technological success across the globe Building success BY ANDY C L AY TON - SM I TH