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From pop up stores to smart chillers: How Frucor builds an innovation pipeline

Divina Paredes | June 30, 2016
Object lessons from Frucor on engaging the whole enterprise in the shift to become a digital business.

One manager recently told him, "'Look, I am doing this promotion, would it be good to create something more digital?' This is when he knew that the process is starting to come full circle and create the engagement benefits."

Raj now regularly assigns his team members to work with their internal customers and to throw in two or three ideas for the customer to consider for promotions or for internal use.

"It is a win-win for us and it builds the credibility of IT beyond the showcase, in a really solid way.

"We have shown that we understand the new technology and can advocate for them for big projects.''

He says working on the organisation's digital strategy is a step change for the team.

"There is a lot of small changes IT supports, but it has hardly ever been given the chance to participate in leading in this way. A lot of companies still see IT as a support department," he says.

Inasmuch as technology is disrupting business models, it is disrupting IT itself.

"If we (IT) don't aggressively change, inevitably I don't think we will be ready for that new job of leading digitalisation.

''If we will be using service providers,'' he says, referring to the rise in cloud based technologies, "we should at least be brokering it.

"We know whether the service is good or not, or is it secure, how will it integrate, and where the data will go. The least we can do in the digital space is to be the master in brokering those services and be very very good at negotiating the best deals"

Data management is a critical component of an organisation's arsenal, as it moves to digitalisation, he says.

"You can do things in little websites and be digitised, but when we are talking about proper digitalisation you have to have big transactional data engines," he states.

While this applies less to small startups, it does to a company like Frucor. He says compared to five years ago, these transactional engines are more affordable and organisations need to start collecting the data for them now.

"Even if you don't exactly know what you are going to do with it, this information is gold. You should start storing it for the time you will need to mine it for consumer insight," he states.

In the big data world there is much unstructured data as there are structured data. Once again, he says, "it is important to immerse yourself and really understand the technology around big data".

"You need engines, you need technology that can listen and could interpret the massive volume of data very quickly.''


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