CIO Leadership Live with Sanjay Shringarpure, CIO, E.& J. Gallo Winery | Ep 8


hi good afternoon and welcome to CIO
leadership live I’m Mary Fran Johnson executive director of CIO programs here
at IDG and I have the great privilege today to be interviewing Sanjay ringa
poor who is the CIO of earnest and Giulio Gallo winery Sanjay is an
executive with a broad IT experience in industries ranging from consumer product
goods in the wine industry to insurance high-tech manufacturing professional
services and software consulting he joined Gallo winery in 2014 and was
promoted to CIO the following year gallo as many of our viewers probably know is
one of the world’s largest family-owned wine makers it got its start in 1933 in
Modesto with the famous brothers Ernest and Giulio today Gallo owns fifteen
wineries and 16,000 acres of California vineyards and is the leading US exporter
of California wines with more than 90 brands under its name as CIO Sanjay
leads a 300 plus person global information services team and is
responsible for all the elements of enterprise IT delivery and support
around the world before his current role Sanjay held IT leadership positions at
voya financial and ING Bank welcome it’s great to have you here today thank you
my pleasure yes and as I should also tell our
audience as we are going through our Q&A here you are most welcome to join in
we’re watching the Twitter feed at CIO online and if you would like to send in
a question for Sanjay will get alerted to it on this end so I’ve got a few
questions for you I have to start out telling you that I love that ernest
hemingway quote that wine is the most civilized thing in the world so let me
start with a very civilized 50,000 foot question for you about how IT is
actually changing the wine industry for consumers for growers for distributors
for producers like gallo what kind of changes is technology bringing about
well you know when I think of technology in the wine and
three I think of it from two perspectives one is the making of wine
and growing of the grapes you’re seeing a significant amount of IOT sensor
technology as well as analytics being used in that space so it’s really
changing how we think about growing grapes how we apply irrigation practices
how we apply geospatial imaging to help gain insights on the growing side on the
making you’ve got more modern mes is that the
brilliant factories the managing of flow from traditionally doing a large-scale
wine production for one brand to maybe doing you know 20 smaller brands yes
volume perspective but still achieving the same economies of scale that you
were when you were doing the one you know 20 million case Branden one go so
that that’s where technology is being applied and on the sales side with our
distributors and our sales partners but we’re applying is more of a prescriptive
model through analytics on where the consumer needs to be activated how do we
sell to them how do we get our wine on the Shelf how do we get our wine in the
consumers lexicon so that when they’re doing their purchases either through the
store online or directly from the retailer they’re buying Gallow product
or at least they have the opportunity to buy Galla product so that’s where all
the technology is kind of being impacted well and I think it’s probably a
no-brainer to see how that’s working on the consumer side and even the
distributor side but I don’t think a lot of us realize how much data collection
is going on on the agriculture side yes I mean to be honest with you that was
one of the things that I had a very big epiphany when I when I joined gallo we
initially came in from the financial side you’re used to tons of data yeah
but I didn’t realize that the scale of data that we’re talking about the
pervasiveness of sensors IOT in the fields and and the AG side it’s amazing
yeah and using that data complexity and that that vastness
the data to generate insights is a big challenge because sometimes you’ve got
information overload and how do you yeah how do you segment it how do you analyze
it how do you stratify it in such a way that you can actually generate that one
insight that will help you either save money or predict market conditions okay
well how far along is when you think about industries and the pace at which
they digitize you think of finance and insurance having been at this for a long
time we see a lot of it happening in much more rapid timeframes in healthcare
these days but in the wine industry overall is it is it well along the path
to digital transformation or is is Gallow kind of leading the way as the
biggest one well it’s interesting right so as a
whole I think we’re we’re doing okay we’re proceeding along the that path
pretty rapidly but the way I approached that question
of what are we leading the pack or are we behind I’ve not really framed that
way in my mind I’m looking at it more from a individualized perspective of
business capabilities that we’re chasing so if I’m chasing an analytics
capability in the AG space I think we’re doing very well we might be leading the
pack we might not I am not so sure but we’re meeting our business needs and in
fact we’re ahead of our business partners in many ways in that space in
helping them come up with what are the new business models what are the
platforms that we need to be chasing in certain other areas like you know AI in
in supply chain or blockchain those areas I’ve specifically taken the
approach for Gallo as such to be fast followers let that technology mature let
men technology evolve and then where it will rapidly implement it when the
business case and the business needs arise then we can truly incorporate in
terms of growing the top-line or improving our bottom-line perspective
now on the sales and distributor side I think in many ways we are leading the
pack I think we are very data rich we’re driving a technological foundation for
of sales call it the future which is rare right and our ability to have that
insight because of the ecosystem of data that we gather from our distributors
from our suppliers I mean our distributors and retailers helps us gain
insights on upward market opportunities that we can then serve up to our sales
force mm-hmm well I remember being surprised and impressed a few years ago
learning about the way Gallo was using drones in the vineyards to gather all
kinds of information from the crops and this was a few years before you really
heard about anybody you know delivering packages with it or checking out
disaster sites for insurance companies you know that has been to be honest with
you my friend the biggest kind of area that we’ve noticed IOT being applied in
a mass way it’s the AG space it’s such a fertile space drones is one thing but
then there’s a new Internet of Things and we think of factory floors you don’t
think of the floor of a valley that’s right a lot of sensors for irrigation
controls sensors for measuring plant health you know all of these kinds of
things imaging sensors automated tractors all these things automated
picking all of these things are being researched today while most of these are
probably not ready for production right away they will be yeah pretty quickly
and and the amount of investment not just that Gallo’s doing but also other
companies are doing is pretty substantial when you start looking at
the competitive landscape there’s a lot of companies chasing technology
innovation in the AG space whether it’s automated tractors or automated these
stammers or you know picking machines all all different types of stuff from a
robotics perspective there but also applying sensor technology to to chase
the Holy Grail as they say right so can we improve quality can we measure the
health of one vine yeah through sensor now let’s you know that
sounds like very science fiction well it’s like the dream of mass
customization the idea that you can drill down to a tiny view on just one
thing right out of all that data but at the same time you know that’s the that’s
where we aspire to be but that’s not where the technology is currently but
it’s a good goal for us to kind of when we’re looking at technology in the AG
space and how do we help drive the overall efficiencies mm-hmm in growing
grapes that that would be where I think IOT is making a big impact okay
excellent well and um we mentioned already that
you joined Gallo from the financial industry and four years ago now and I
just recently heard you tell the story of what you did for your first 90 days
on the job you told that story so it was interesting right
when I joined gallo I I needed to learn the business and and and the CIO at the
time had had put together a onboarding plan that for the first 90 days was all
about meeting and greeting a lot of folks within the company all the way
from the VP to actual individual contributor contributors across all
functions and spending a day in a life with many of them all the way from when
the grapes get picked to merchandising at a retailer to seeing how our
warehouses run this how our put-away happens what our marketing department
does what our creative department does you know looking at all of those pieces
and what that did for me was it allowed me to quickly absorb the business
without an agenda of applying technology to fix it right it was just about
learning you weren’t going out there with the problem list that you knew I T
needed to solve exactly I went in with a perspective of I’m a blank slate I just
need to learn how this ecosystem that is Gallo of multiple entities with the
winery at its center functions mm-hmm and then me being a technologists and a
CI CIO automatically you start seeing where you
could apply technology where you could make small improvement
that could potentially drive significant benefits for the business and what this
did also for me was put me in in a sense from the beginning of not being IT but
being the business Yeah right looking at it as I’m steering the business yeah it
isn’t about I need to go to the business and talk to them hey what are your
requirements what are the capabilities you should be chasing that’s that’s
old-school right what we could do there is my interactions and then changing the
department’s interactions to more of a hey have you thought about this I’m
seeing this in your day in a life how do we make that better and then I’m seeing
maybe a I come up or blockchain come up or machine learning Club come up and
then instead of talking about how we need to apply machine learning mm-hmm
talk about the business outcome that we want to achieve in that day in a life
and then machine learning is an automatic tool yeah here’s how we enable
that exactly yep well and that strikes me I’ve heard over the years there’s
been so much conversation about IT people learning to speak in the language
of the business and all that and and I think for a long time people might have
thought that that just meant knowing a few things about spreadsheets and
financial terms but it’s very different it’s really about understanding what the
business is trying to accomplish and then slotting technology into the right
places to do that absolutely absolutely that that’s exactly how I look at IT at
gallo our our job is in many ways to help Shepherd the company through a vast
lis undulating changing environment of technological innovation that is driving
everything yeah so we need to help our business navigate it incorporate it but
also challenge them on disruptive technologies that could change our
business model we need to now start thinking from an IT perspective as not a
CIO but as the entrepreneur who owns the
business yes and have a clarity of vision of how these things could
potentially disrupt your overall technology and your business model give
me an example of some way that you’ve accomplished that something that you
kind of have added that to your to your toolbox of something you were able to
bring to gallo so when we’re looking at some of this right it’s take a look at
what we did with the mobile scheduling application for example yes it’s been
it’s been where we were able to help our grower reps you know schedule harvest
pickups and harvesting of fields and this is an iPad it’s an iPad enable
completely mobile first application right what is that is is this
revolutionary in some ways no but it feels revolutionary because it took some
something that used to take many many hours to do is that time has now been
shrunk it’s mobile mobile enabled it’s your and you can do it anywhere you’ve
applied a technology to basically take a painful process in a day in a life and
made it easy or easier it’s never going to be painless but it’s easier as we go
down this path that is an application of technology at a what I call a Dana life
improvement level another way of thinking is well how do we want to apply
technology to be prescriptive that’s more revolutionary from a sales
perspective right we’re gathering all this data let’s say in a five mile
radius I have all the stores that gallo product is being sold to because I
they’re sending me their depletions data okay and I get point of sales data from
Nielsen or some of the other areas for these retailers how do I then
incorporate all these various nuggets of information into finding out hey should
we be selling in one of our brands into this particular store because to other
restaurants open next to it and they’re been they’ve been already selling our
brand kind of insight in a contextual in a contextual way that and and not just
generating that in creating a platform that makes that
insight prescriptive to a salesperson with financial incentives driven within
that platform for that salesperson to go execute that yeah piece so it’s thinking
about that from a complete holistic lifecycle no sales call it the future
that is also how we’re looking but if you noticed I didn’t talk about
technology at all no and I was thinking that that also wasn’t something that you
just created using technology people for the input so how did talk about how you
put that together that sounds like an that sounds like an agile project with
business people involved yes so it’s not so I don’t want to take credit for
putting it all together right I’m part of a team we built a culture where IT
partners with our business but partners is a it’s not strong enough it’s more
we’re integrated even though I t’s a centralized function and sales might be
a centralized function or creative might be a centralized function or winemaking
might be a centralized function but we’ve created such a partnership through
the cadence of interaction that we’ve established whether it be through my
staff meetings or through their staff meetings and making sure that those
calendars and that cadence is synced together hmm
it creates a logical way of not having to wait on each other for requirements
or money or resources we start on day one talking about what is your roadmap
what is the capabilities what are the technologies then we evolve that
discussion down to the next level which is okay what does this lead to in terms
of projects that we want to go chase okay how many of these projects require
what what does the team look like for these projects and we’re not talking IT
team or business team we’re just saying a total team to achieve a certain
business outcome okay then from there we go into okay now where does this team
and this project that we’ve talked about for your area align with all the other
business projects that we’re talking about all the other capabilities where
does it fall in the prioritization list and this isn’t done in isolation between
in one person it’s done as a community together so when I draw the line on a
budget and say or a capacity problem and say look I’ve got only this much
capacity and only this much work I don’t abdicate my leadership by saying
you decide what my priority is right I decide it with them together in an
incomplete partnership with the pros and cons I like that I love that phrase
cadence of interaction it actually it also sounds a lot to me like a very kind
of boots on the ground form of governments it is okay it is it’s so
this is an interesting thought from my perspective what what is the role of the
CIO right is it to be the visionary actual question I know we talk about
that a lot at our events yeah what I find a lot of times forget about that
you need to have a strategic vision you need to have the clarity of vision you
need to build good teams all of that’s there that’s all that’s leadership
though for everybody it doesn’t really matter for the CIO or not where I’m
looking at and the way I look at it is we need to empower our most junior folks
to live the day in a life of their customer base and and not treat them as
customers but as partners that we’re helping make their lives better one way
or the other that’s it the most tactical level so I’ve tried to instill in inside
of my department a perspective of even the most junior person if you can take
some time from a training perspective or something along those lines
go work directly with the business spend a day with them yeah whether it’s
merchandising in the field or whether it’s fall shadowing a winemaker while
they go through their steps or whether it’s in in the warehouse or whether it’s
in a in the operation centers just see what they do and what I’ve noticed is
just by doing that ideas come up and ideas come up that are not just
evolutionary but can be revolutionary yes in nature Yeah right
so somebody always asked me Sanji do you
come up with all the ideas as your leadership come up with all the vision
and the ideas to be honest with you the most successful model that I think works
is these ideas bubble up from everywhere and you don’t you have to create a
funnel for these ideas to come up to you and then you could harness them into
some sort of a roadmap and a cadence mechanism then takes these ideas and
puts them into an execution path that is timely for the business right because
companies uh most companies are famous for you know coming up with lots of
ideas that essentially die on the vine if you’ll excuse me stealing the the
idea of the AG angle here in it it also what you’re talking about – sounds less
like a reimagining of just the CIO role but more of a reimagining of the entire
IT department role and just the the mindset shift that that requires it it
is don’t get me wrong you’re always going to need certain people who are
database experts certain people who are integration experts certain people but
as a whole it’s not all pushing buttons technology is complicated yes but it’s
also it’s not all about coding it’s not all about database efficiencies it’s not
all about your network efficiency well it’s not about anything happening in a
vacuum exactly yeah and it has to be thought together as I’m trying to
achieve a business outcome I want to influence a business model I want to
take that entrepreneurial mindset and maybe not a hundred percent of the time
but 20 percent of the time I want everybody on my team to start thinking
that way as though they own not just the department but all technology within the
Gallo ecosystem and how can they make it better
this is aspirational obviously yeah not everyone’s gonna do that now everyone’s
gonna be able to do that but if you start talking about it more if you can
get 20 30 percent of your population to start doing that now you don’t really
have to worry about innovation and being innovative and
the partition you you and you eventually you changed the culture in the way of
thinking in the organization and that never happens with a memo and a couple
of town hall meetings I mean that’s the same kind of that’s the the
repetitiveness of the communication of that has to keep happening and happening
over time well when you look back on your four years so far since 2014 what
stands out in your mind as some of your kind of and you and your team the
signature accomplishments during that time well I would say you know first
that evolution that cultural evolution from order-taker looking for
requirements to being more of a true partner with the business and now
working with the CFO the CEO the CEO the LT all of these folks in what we call
our executive leadership team looking at IT as potentially being a transformative
force within the Gallo ecosystem of companies right that in itself is a huge
change right mm-hmm that’s one the other part is that’s the strategic and brand
level yeah but that how do you achieve that right
one is execution and continuous delivery I say this to my team all the time I
said don’t focus on the home run focus on the single and the double and mm-hmm
hit that single and double every day oh that’s it doesn’t really matter at the
end of the year you look up and you’ll have put up a massive score right out
there and then let me worry about the home run right I will I will push our
leadership team will push the home run projects don’t worry about those can you
focus on hitting the singles and the doubles on a daily basis so when we look
at the numbers of projects that we’ve done and that’s this is not it’s not a
you can’t look at this number in isolation obviously because there’s
bigger project smaller but but it’s a good trending kind of a perspective we
used to do about a hundred projects a year now we do between 200 to 300 a year
and it’s not as though the size of our team has tripled and
sighs right right right we’ve grown but not to that extent maybe 20% max yeah
that’s sort of that’s an efficiency of operations kind of measure it’s my
efficiency of operations and it’s an efficiency of execution it’s also in
this process applying we put in what I call plan deliver run same thing as in
the industry here flatten build run write model from an org perspective as
well as creating focus areas what we found was that drove a significant
amount of these efficiencies because it created focus for people to keep the
lights on and kept focused for people to deliver quicker on the larger
initiatives or the smaller lean six initiatives that they were driving or
other initiatives they were driving and they were the the same people who were
doing those were not being pulled into doing day-to-day run activities and day
to day run activities these folks were able to now drive not just the cost
point down but create automation that eliminated the root cause of the problem
no the approach I took with all of this is more of a PNG approach I would say
I’m not looking for radical improvements overnight they may happen they may not
it’s more about building the culture and making sure you’re improving by 1% 2%
every month yeah and within 18 months we saw massive improvements a big big jump
well how did you reorganize or what new roles did you add I mean when you think
of your IT department four years ago and then today is the structure different or
there tell us a little bit about how you have it set so when we think about IT at
gallo you know we used to have simple operations and applications right so
we’ve now gone away from two verticals to more of a business aligned vertical
with shared services being consumed by those business verticals that we have
their IT business verticals you know in that the role of the BRM the business
relationship managers what was implemented
that was the big change and having one centralized leader who is responsible
for all things supply chain and operations one centralized leader who’s
responsible for all things finance wrote to choke philosophy yeah that helps and
then creating a team of business managers under them which are
responsible not for going to the business and saying what do you want to
do but creating a road map saying this is where we see that the technological
landscape evolving this is the capabilities we think we should be
chasing now what is your roadmap for this so it’s a challenge with a option
of well if you don’t have a roadmap we can use this as the foundation or it’s
how do we get on the same page exactly and that helps drive that right
so the BRM role was one the other piece was the run function you know initially
having people if you look at our department we were running at one point
I think almost 70/30 or 80/20 where was 70 or 80% of the department was focused
on run activities yeah today I would say we’re probably 50/50 and that’s a pretty
big shift right that 30% that’s now going into project work where it wasn’t
that’s a huge change my goal would this continuous improvement that we’re kind
of driving is to get to a 70/30 the other way where only 30 percent of the
department is running to keep the lights on and 70 percent is adding value that
would be a big shift because when you look at any company you know even the
ones that work at it for a decade it’s hard to shift that by more than five
percent so we’re close we’ve done it 20-25 percent me depends on how you
measure it I would say it’s enough of a move where I’m seeing the benefit and
I’m seeing it with hard data of increased projects increased throughput
and the customer pool yeah okay instead of new customer demand you know
traditionally we have to demand to be at the table now we’re being pulled
to the table yes so now we’ve got to take that customer pull and make it into
even more strategic transformational discussions and that’s where we’re kind
of headed but to keep it achieving that to your earlier point I have to keep
figuring out a way to get from 50/50 to maybe thirty seventy right and that’s an
evolution mm-hmm part of it is you can apply technology you’ve got automation
scripts you’ve got workflow scripts you’ve got all these things you know AI
machine learning all this I’m just simplifying that into automation but all
of that’s there and you can apply that but how do you apply that any consistent
way across the enterprise not in a isolated pocket of excellence right
that’s where that’s that’s one of the challenges that I’m seeing well I think
when I’m you know years from now and I’m talking with CEOs like yourself about
looking back on some of the biggest changes I have a very strong feeling
that the automation aspects are going to end up being much bigger than anyone
thought in just in terms of how much the mind shift can take place on the IT side
let’s talk I want to talk about talent because I know that talent is a very
pressing when I asked you what your big challenges were one of your top
challenges was talent and how difficult it is sourcing global talent and I guess
then my first thought is you’re a california-based winery why is global
talent something you you think about and why is that a concern why I think I like
to think about us competing on the world stage we sell on the world stage I’d
like talent to be mm-hmm I would like to attract talent from all
over the world yeah oh that’s right so those 90 brands are so right outside the
in I think honestly there might be 90 active or I think the last count I saw
and we’d I don’t keep count of all this but I think it’s not almost up 240 now
number of brands that we have it’s it’s an ever-evolving number of a Primus have
you tried every one of them attempted not succeed because I was gonna
volunteer it’s tough yeah right it’s time but when we start looking at at
that talents so important one it’s our
location destro Callister California which is right next to the Bay Area so
we’ve got a this shining star that’s attracting all IT talent all the time
we’re in the neighborhood yeah yeah but we’re not in the myths and like the
parents you’re out in the suburbs that’s right that’s one the other part of it is
also it’s not location as much as agriculture is it sexy does does someone
wake up one day and say look I want to go become a winemaker and I want to sell
one and a work from want to work for a company that doesn’t want to move to the
farm you know what I mean it’s one of those things and then how do you change
and expose folks to all the amazing technological things that we’re doing so
that we can attract a global talent mm-hmm and then we can keep them there
so so the approach we’ve taken is we’re doing a significant amount of
internships we’re going further deep into recruitment you know taking the
college football recruitment analogy right we’re looking already into the
freshman sophomore junior year not the senior year
mm-hmm and trying to get interns come through trying to create this pool and
groundswell of folks who are coming through not just from local universities
but nationally mm-hmm and see if we can get cast a wider net but the realities
of talent is still a problem I mean finding data scientists very difficult
finding cybersecurity professionals very difficult and being able to afford them
at the price points that you can use same cuz you’re because of where you are
you’re competing with the tech industry exactly is notoriously high-paying
exactly and how do you how do you manage that right so the way we we’re trying to
do it is one give them get them early train them up and provide a career path
also there’s a lot of attractive things about Gallo mm-hmm it’s a family-owned
company we’re not running into the wall street’s you know cycle we’re also
in it for the very long-term their strategic investments their strategic
thinking there’s long term perspectives that we were applying across the board
and and you have a long track record of success exactly I mean right after the
Great Depression is when the brothers got it going right and it’s a it’s one
of those special places I mean I’ll be honest with you a it’s one of those
special companies where you end up and you go how did I end up here
you know because when you were at ING Bank you didn’t think that would be your
next move I know from financial services yeah although I did not think that was
though you didn’t want to go to the farm either you know it’s an attractive
romanticized version of it right in your mind of what a winery looks like and
what it functions like but to be honest with you it’s been everything I could
imagine and for younger folks I would say take a chance because fundamentally
especially Millennials what you think the amount of technology is and it will
be is in the AG space or in a winery you’d be blown away by all of the
digital aspects that actually exist yeah well it could I would think be from an
innovation standpoint very eye-opening for someone and do is it fair to assume
that millennial talent coming in rise up more quickly or have a broader range of
responsibilities because that’s one of the I mean I’m a parent of two
Millennials and and I think your your kids are a little too young to be
Millennials yeah but they’re whatever the next generation is going to be but I
you know they certainly have a lot of interest in playing a significant role
you know they want they want the career path they want that laid out for them I
mean all this is quite understandable so the approach I take with that as one
you’ll get all the exposure you want to me to the leadership you’ll be put on
projects that are some of them are cutting edge mm-hmm an advancement yes
but not I have not focused on titles we’re not gonna make you a VP next year
and there’s two ways to skin that cat right it’s it’s one is be genuine about
the exported experience and the experience you’re
gaining or I stratified this with 27 layers between me and the individual
contributor and promote them every 12 months to keep them happy yeah there’s a
happy medium of somewhere in that right and we’re still trying to figure out
what that is but what I’ve noticed with millenials at least the ones that work
for us so long as the work is diverse and they feel like they’re making an
impact yes to the ecosystem that is gallo
people are very very happy yeah that’s well it’s a powerful inducement right
and we’re you’re feeling appreciated yes the one area where I think at times is a
struggle for IT in general is that clarity of vision right being a private
company Gallo has long-term strategies long-term roadmaps that are not
quarter-to-quarter there isn’t a radical shift that happens
every two minutes where one day you’re focusing on cost-cutting next day
everyone’s asking you about innovation third day I’ll go back to cost-cutting
yeah yeah oh wait why are the quarterly focus of a publicly held fortune 500
company very different which also allows for a little more risk-taking yeah
allows for a little more innovation allows for a little more long-term
planning and why is that important in technology it’s crucial to be able to
have sustained a culture that takes a while to build it isn’t something that
you do by hiring four people and say go innovate in this room right well and you
had mentioned when we talked early about how important it is to to build out a
culture of idea generation and I like that you don’t just you don’t just throw
the word innovation around all loosey-goosey I mean when you say
innovation you usually have something very specific it’s tied to but that idea
of idea generation is it’s it’s it’s very appealing in that it it seems like
the way that you get more conversation going between all the various parties
involved I there’s a UCLA professor that I admire
greatly and who said years ago said that creativity comes from conversation and
that’s to me that’s very close to the idea it’s like it’s did we see that
happen at our conferences people just you know sitting in a table talking
about a mute a problem they’re both trying to solve and the different ways
they’re coming out it and just that’s what what I think is so important about
having diversity in the IT workforce you want people from different age levels
and backgrounds and even educational levels because of that unexpected idea
what I’ve found also is there how do you create a team how do you create an in
list engaged team how do you how do you how do you break that wall between MIT
and your business and yeah the process whether it’s agile or waterfall or
whatever it all is tends to be either art
artifact driven or some sort of cadence driven process right jobs more cadence
waterfalls more artifact driven but when you start looking at it if you distill
that down how do you really create a unified shared vision mm-hmm for
innovation or shared ideas it’s through a shared experience set right so if I go
out and pick grapes with someone or I go help him make wine that shared
experience gives us a common language a common connection at a much more human
level than just hey go give me your requirements and I’m gonna go code
something and Oh what do you mean this isn’t right right well that’s more like
setting silos next to each other and calling them a team and you know I often
wonder if you can really create a team or what you really create is the
environment where the team can happen so what would the approach I like to take
is create more shared experiences mm-hmm which is with a performant yeah but with
a purpose uh-huh right not just shared experience
let’s go to dinner yeah you can do a little bit of that but that’s not
everybody’s done the pizza right and then it becomes like this forced it’s
more create that shared experience through you know sports analogies right
you put a goal out there you put these mm-hmm
to spare it people together and say go chase that goal and then give them the
rewards for chasing that that’s motivation and they’ll drive to it and
that’s what we’re kind of striving towards from an IT perspective yeah
but it’s not easy it’s not easy well it’s it well because it’s basically
about people and relationships it’s time-consuming in fact yeah I was
surprised when you told me about you devote a couple of hours a month to not
your directory than their directs but more mid-level managers you are
specifically mentoring more deeply in the organization is that something that
you’ve done before in your career or is that new to gallo well it’s new to gallo
and it’s something I you know every job every company is different yeah right so
if I had a clarity of vision me getting up on a board in front or power pointing
people to death or continually just talking about it mm-hmm is me informing
not having a genuine moment of interaction throughout my department
yeah so this way when I meet with the intern who started for Ana gets an hour
of my time and it’s not 2:00 to 3:00 I think it’s closer to 8:00 to 10:00 a
month is where I was thinking the two to three is per person oh yes with a couple
yeah I do it with about four to five people roughly but considering how busy
you okay but you kind of have to UM if you want true understanding of your
vision not just the talking points a true understanding of where you want to
take the department you’ve got to let a person who would not usually have that
ability in a big public forum access to or the access to to come challenge you
on it or ask you questions and then my job in that two to three hour
interaction I’ll be honest with you tends to be just be listen and ask
questions this is why or help them understand what I was
thinking when I said I want to do plan build run yeah or what I’m thinking when
I say you know create a moment of genuine interaction with your business
partner go live their day in a life what does that mean there because that when
someone says go live your day in a life that’s great coming from the CIL
wonderful I’ve got 47 tasks to do what is my CIO know what when do I have time
yeah mm-hmm right and so my conversation okay let’s look
at those 47 tasks can we optimize some of them can some of them are they real
tasks or they busy work mm-hmm so it’s it’s it’s that level of granular
discussion that you can interesting do and you can influence because these
people then potentially go talk to other folks and they can influence but this is
more of the long-term that I’m doing yeah training working helping connect
mm-hmm at all levels within the IT department because that way I know that
my vision is truly being explained and it’s not yet interpreted well and it’s
sinking into the organization in ways that it becomes just part of it becomes
part of that new habit formation you know the shifting the mind shift
sort of thing and it does not really matter my friend I I’m not expecting it
to be a hundred percent understood and a hundred percent accepted yeah it’s just
increasing the percentage of acceptance acceptance and understanding right now
we mentioned a few times you’ve talked at mentioned the IOT and but in our
recent event in Atlanta you told a great story on stage and it was about one of
the downsides of digital transformation and it had to do with drip irrigation
using IOT sensors across 10 acres no so we were you know using sensors to manage
irrigation and we didn’t realize that you know these sensors rodents can eat
the wires and and the wires turned out to be tasty yes I guess the drive tree
inside just you know there’s also of theories there and I’m gonna go with
the the sci-fi one that they create a electrical charge that a feel that
attracts them but I don’t know if that’s true all I know is that we had a lot
more sensors and a lot more sensors we’re eating so okay so they were tasty
for some reason yes what we’re getting at is this is the reality of applying
technology in in the real world world you know this is an extreme case of it
but there’s other aspects to when we start looking at in in a manufacturing
environment we’ve got a glass plant you know applying technology there there’s
it’s high you know it’s very hot yes how do we have sensors how do we make sure
the robots automation work there yeah that’s also some of these things that we
have to consider right it all looks great on a piece of paper when you’re
designing it in the in the cool comfort of an architecture well there’s a great
deal of science actual real science involved in agriculture yes which of
course when financial services and software building you don’t have to you
don’t to concern yourself as much with that those factors probably don’t come
in you’d mentioned a few times when I’ve heard you frame conversations around
your five pillars when we were talking about the digital ecosystem and I
wondered you just briefly described them and talk about how you’re investing in
them so one of them you already mentioned the sales call the future is
one of the pillars absolutely so it doesn’t come necessarily from the
digital ecosystem this started as an idea when I was looking at the Gallo
enterprise and logically is the digital ecosystem with the enterprises the
ecosystem for all intents and purposes but and how do we digitize it but when I
look at the Gallo ecosystem we had a lot of individual applications owned by
individual app owners mm-hmm and we could continue to support that
but I wanted to change the conversation into more holistic platform discussions
right so invest in the sales platform the glower platform the marketing
platform the manufacturing platform or the automation platforms okay so
how do I change that conversation and how did that how did I do that without
using the word digital ever alright yep so the idea was I would have five
pillars that we’d be investing in and they’re all business delivery business
delivery pillars have high two business verticals right or horizontals depends
on how you’re organized so you’ve got sales call the future grow or call it
the future for the AG side of the business
mmm-hmm marketing in the digital age for marketing obviously manufacturing in the
digital age for both supply chain and operations and automation of
white-collar that’s kind of a all encompassing future of work kind of
category yeah because there is a lot that these is said today about robotics
and automation and you know we don’t need four click drivers or we don’t need
self-driving self-driving yeah I don’t know I mean yeah look I don’t think
that’s real and I don’t think it’s gonna happen I think it’s gonna happen quickly
yeah but I do think all focus tends to be on automation of blue collar I think
the bigger opportunity is automation on the white collar work there’s a
tremendous about amount of analytics that gets done a tremendous amount of
report generation that gets done a tremendous amount of you know monitoring
of systems that gets done mm-hmm isn’t some of it already being done some of it
but there’s not as much of a focus on it as much as I I have not seen that
tremendous focus by allowing this fifth pillar to be existing in in my strategy
for Digital Ecosystem evolution it creates a focus so that the lens of the
road mapping that we talked about the interaction Cadence’s that we talked
about yeah how does automation of white collar work it’s it’s at the forefront
of every discussion interesting and that way you change it now that’s not just
we’re not suggesting tomorrow everything gets automated I’m
just suggesting that something that was value-added 20 years ago has become
wrote today how do you take that road and eliminate it from a human needing to
do it right yeah and then allow that human to go so much of that has been
happening in data center technologies where you just don’t need the people
doing it anymore it comes down to literally the one button pushing
happening and some of this kind of leads me into asking you about innovation I
know one of the things that I thought was amusing when you were talking at our
Atlanta event and you basically said you know we got to stop talking about
innovating everywhere and start talking about business outcomes and that it
sounds like that’s something of a mantra of yours at Gallo that’s how you engage
with the other business executives you don’t do a lot of you don’t throw the I
word around a lot no I don’t and there’s a reason for it right when we look at
innovation for example right III break innovation into two types there’s
innovation through perspiration which is the evolutionary innovation that we talk
about right now is Martin slow and steady and slow and steady improvements
of existing and then there’s a flash of genius yeah I’m not a genius and I’ve
not had any flashes of genius any time so I would rather leave that up to
somebody else come up with a flash of genius and I’ll follow quickly behind or
create a culture where a flash of genius may occur right but everything that my
departments focusing on is on evolutionary yeah innovation that’s
something we can achieve and something we can control and you can measure it
and you can measure success the other part of this is but we have to tie that
back to something mm-hmm that your enterprise exists on right
fundamentally any enterprise it’s not gallo needs to sell more stuff and make
it more cheaply right at its essence if you distill everything down unless
there’s a it’s a NGO of some sort and there’s some so
aspects that they’re trying to that might be the third pillar I don’t know
yeah but most public companies no private companies they want to sell more
of whatever product they’re making and make that product more efficiently
mm-hmm all right if you distill that down so if you
dilute use those two as the business outcomes then there’s tertiary business
outcomes all related to that how do you take tie all technological innovation or
technological projects or technological thought roadmapping to that fundamental
outcome and start thinking that way then your investments become straightforward
right then your prioritization becomes straightforward then your discussion
around what is important versus what is necessary yeah becomes easier there’s
not it’s not emotional it’s not political it’s not you’re not and you’re
not spending a lot of time creating an atmosphere of genius combust ability you
know where that flash is going to happen right and that oh that person’s special
because he came up with all the ideas well or this is the innovation team and
they get the really nice room with the great views you know exactly I mean
because everybody’s should be innovating the other department everybody it’s all
about raising the water table so then everything is along with it well but
then again there’s been a lot written about the kind of innovation that’s
going on a gala like the communities that you created the grower portals and
and I mean maybe these are just obvious innovations but to your growers there’s
something yeah you know yeah that’s innovative to them this is where it is
right when you’re on a journey of evolutionary innovation mm-hmm if you’re
on the journey you don’t realize the tenth innovation that you’ve put out
there if you come in from the outside and look at that tenth one you go wow
that’s revolutionary yeah or if someone dropped in who knew you five years ago
and then they come in nowadays like wow this is so different place is loaded
with innovation right but but at the same time we don’t go and chase the
homerun like I said right yeah it’s yes slow steady and then it feeds itself
didn’t the mobile scheduling app didn’t that seemed pretty innovative out in the
field to your growers it did for the girl reps it was but we chased it for
two years yeah right it wasn’t overnight that this was successful
no flash of genius and suddenly it was there yeah it wasn’t some guy in a
basement who came up with it coated it overnight and here you go yeah it was
more of that mm-hmm it was the 99% perspiration leading you to the
innovation fair enough the other part of it is I would love to
have a flash of genius that we’ve got done in a week yeah but I’ve noticed
that that’s a little mythology well that’s like assuming that you can come
up with a simple answer to a complex problem because they’re usually wrong
yeah those things yeah and it’s okay I mean the other part
of it is what you know innovation the reason I don’t like to use that word too
much is I I want to focus on how technology can change the fundamental
core of your business model right that’s a different approach to and that’s and
you have to at the same time be changing the culture exactly yeah because
everybody everybody’s got to be on board for that and and yeah if you don’t do I
mean if you look at what’s happened in the last 20 years
Amazon’s the ubers the aramean bees the Zappos you name it right yeah good
apples from a cultural perspective Amazon from the e-commerce burger from
what it did to the taxi industry all of these are out there a disruption is just
a natural fact mm-hmm so hi but if you notice every disruption right now is
happening because of technology recently at least it feels that way
very digitally based as relies on social media and the public Internet yep mm-hmm
but you go back 30 years 40 years it was other things that were driving
innovation right yeah it was more education based it was more more people
got educated the women came into the workforce the university there’s some
all different types of impetuses for innovation we just happened to be in a
in a time where technology is taking the forefront of it all right and so it’s a
good time to be a CIO it’s a good time to CIO and it’s a good time to be in
technology the other thing also is if you want a seat at the table with the
boards or with your executive leadership team you have to talk in terms of
business model you have to talk in terms of transforming the company you can and
deliver on those through the tools that you have me being a CIO me being a
technologist my tools are technology yeah so that’s how I talk that language
and that’s how I try to add value to the company well and I maintain for a long
time that it is a unique value that CIOs can bring to the c-suite to that
discussion is you know essentially it’s that solution that nobody knew they
always wanted you know you come in and you say well here’s actually a way to do
this 20% cheaper using this technology that they didn’t necessarily know about
because it’s not in their field of vision I think the the CIOs and IT
executives in general their field of vision is you know there’s so many
things it’s not a static environment out there there’s so many things changing
how do you keep up with the things you know well you’re close enough to Silicon
Valley do you do like tours a couple times a year through the VC shops I mean
how do I not but stuff this is gonna sound funny I kind of do but I kind of
don’t it’s very difficult inherently am I on top of all the digital innovation
that is happening out there absolutely not well and that’s not what I asked you
in fine but how do I keep in touch with what is happening in the change one is
reading mm-hm I read a lot a lot I saw life as a
lifelong editor I’m very happy to hear that it’s just constantly for right
whether it whether it be mm-hmm you know periodicals or articles
or analysts research all of it yeah the other part is yes I do
create a network that I rely upon VCS whether it be VC’s other CIOs other
technologists that you know we communicate back on hey have you seen
this this is kind of cool what’s going on yeah but then the third part is I’m
not trying to keep up with the Joneses on technology I’m only trying to keep up
with the Joneses on technology if it can change the business model of my company
okay that’s I’m also not chasing the most shiny new object out there yeah and
when you refer to changing the business model of the company what are you
thinking about exactly because I mean you you make wine and you sell wine so
that’s cut when you strip it all down that’s the business model how could that
substantively change so you make one you sell wine but
how you sell one is different Oh cross States across geographies
across international geographies and where and how where how the other part
is we are an ecosystem company that has potential for a lot of things we’re
vertically integrated from the sand mine to the district some of the distributors
that sell the wine mm-hmm right to the retailer why not leverage data analytics
to create social experiences through that process to help sell wine this is a
different business model this is not the traditional make wine sell wine in a
three-tier system fair enough yeah create more experiences
does that mean we’ve become the Disneyland of wine I don’t know what I
probably far fetched from that but yeah you get what I’m getting at it’s that
change right the other aspect is the consumer behavior is changing mm-hmm
right online purchasing is going up direct consumers going up click and
Collect is going up delivery from drizzly and ubereats and
all of that yes increases yeah how do we change our
business model to facilitate that we are a player in all
of it okay all right that’s the fundamental and and when I say change
your business model does it mean we need to focus on efficiencies in the
manufacturing more right do I need to increase top-line by having more digital
campaigns digital presence activation do I need to focus on manufacturing in the
digital age more than I am today so when I look at those five platforms I’ve also
had been able to talk to our business and say look I am NOT scaled to invest
in all five at any given time I can do one maybe two true yeah you can’t have
five top priorities is devided yeah who decide sales call it the future is the
thing we’re gonna chase then I can do one more
is that grower call of the future is that marketing in the digital age that
manufacturing or is that automation pick one of them what they’re all important
yeah it allows for to your earlier question how do I change yeah the
business mindset in the interaction it’s through that by creating that unified
vision but giving them options and then you’re giving people lots to talk about
and creativity comes from conversation right so it sounds like a pretty good
strategy well it seems to be working so far Yesi well alright well and I’m just
very sorry that we weren’t doing this conversation with a nice glass of of one
of your 90 wines in our hands I feel like I overlooked something really
important here thank you very much for joining us here today Sanjay and I will
if you are joining us online and you’ve missed any parts of this fabulous
conversation with sanjay Schwing report of Gallo winery you can find it tomorrow
you’ll see this on cio.com and we also post an audio podcast of this interview
on iTunes Google Play and SoundCloud and next week we have another episode of CIO
leadership live coming up my guest will be it will be talking about drinking
coffee instead of wine I will have Jack Clair
the CIO and the chief strategy officer of Dunkin Brands joining me next
Thursday May 10th at 2:00 p.m. Eastern so thanks very much for joining us today
and we hope to see you back here soon

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