The secrets to a successful digital transformation initiative

Ben Shea spoke with TechRepublic at the 2019 SAP SAPPHIRE NOW conference about how communication and teams determine successful digital innovations.

The secrets to a successful digital transformation initiative Ben Shea spoke with TechRepublic at the 2019 SAP SAPPHIRE NOW conference about how communication and teams determine successful digital innovations.

At SAP SAPPHIRE NOW 2019, TechRepublic Associate Staff Writer Macy Bayern sits down with Tapestry's Ben Shea to discuss how communication and teams determine successful digital innovations in the enterprise. The following is an edited transcript of the interview.

Macy Bayern: How would you say digital transformation is revolutionizing your enterprise?

Ben Shea: At Tapestry, we are building a house of brands. Your readers must know us as Coach and Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman, but we are building this house of brands, and hoping to be bigger than just those three brands. In order for us to be able to do that, we are really embarking upon, and have embarked upon a digital transformation involving finance, in terms of fashion. We're the first fashion company to be going live on that platform. We've done a complete digital transformation in terms of HR, in terms of implementing success factors across our organization, and we did that for 22,000 employees, 27 markets and 16 languages. Unlike most people, mobile day one. Because 83% of our workforce, they're in stores. They're customer facing.

We're also looking at the way that we procure our goods through things like Ariba, and also using Concur for our expense control, and those types of things. If you look end-to-end, we're investing heavily in our digital platforms to make sure that we're leveraging our data, both our organizational data, but also the experiences that our people have, so that we can take our organization to the next level, and find that next big thing for us.

SEE: Special report: Digital transformation: A CXO's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Macy Bayern: What tips or pieces of advice would you give to other organizations that are beginning to undergo digital transformation efforts?

Ben Shea: Get the support of the board and the C-suite to make sure that you've got permission to do what it is that you want to do. Be bold. Go on that journey. Bring people along that journey with you. There's no such thing as over communicating. It's what I learned very early on. I think Tony Blair said it yesterday, maybe, that once you have thought that you've said it enough, you've only just started to get the message across. So, communicate and communicate often. Get the business involved. This is, in my case doing an HR transformation, it's not about HR. It's about the business, and how can we transform the business. And pick a great team. Nothing gets done without having the right people in these positions to get it done. Pick the great team and trust them.

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By Macy Bayern

Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.