Exploring Digital Transformation and Customer-Centricity
Christo Conidaris, Vice President of Sales for Curvature, the global leader in independent IT maintenance and support for storage, server, and network hardware jumped in the Supply Chain Digital hot seat recently, to discuss Curvature’s ongoing partnership with HCL Technologies, and his personal feelings about the global supply chain networks.
I really wanted to get a feel for exactly who Christo is, as a VP, and he didn’t disappoint. “As you can see from the colour of my hair; I’ve been doing this for a while. I’ve been managing sales organisations, and I’ve had sales leadership positions for the last 15 years,” the increasingly chatty VP stated.
“Originally, I actually started life as a programmer, though,” which, unfortunately, Christo wasn’t too good at according to his peers at the time. “Okay, they said, ‘well you know you won’t make a good programmer, so you’re probably going to be much better in pre-sales”. And so started Christo’s adjacent-stepping journey from computer programming to sales and into sales management.
Today, the industry-leading Vice President of Sales finds himself overseeing Curvature’s EMEA sales, and rather uniquely, rolling up his sleeves and fostering some of the strongest relationships in the industry today. One such relationship comes in the form of Curvature’s tight-knit partnership with HCL Technologies, an Indian multinational information technology services and consulting firm.
“We have different tiers of salespeople all over the world, and I’ve spent a lot of time working alongside them, and we’ve worked very closely with HCL Technologies’ staff to ensure that HCL is always successful as a company with us. There are two reasons for that. The first: the propositions that HCL bring us are always complex ─ they’re never straightforward and simple, often because they need to make tough decisions very quickly, in order to maintain their competitive edge.”
“It’s important for us to get a strong partnership together, and my role is really to foster that and make sure that the business understanding can flow between the two companies. Ultimately, we can meet the objectives of the company, and HCL can meet the objectives of their campaign. It's about making sure those two aspects come together.”
On fostering a strong relationship, Christo stated, “One of the things that really gets me excited about working for Curvature is the customer-centric approach. And HCL is similar, right? When they take on a customer, they put several people on the task, and they push until they’ve provided everything requested. I think that’s part of the success story. When somebody asks why it works so well between Curvature and HCL, I would say that it’s because we have the same vision for the customer.”
On the topic of recent technological development across supply chains, “I think there are a couple of things happening, currently. There is definitely an inclination to move technology into the cloud. At Curvature, for example, we use Microsoft 365 and Salesforce. These are all cloud-driven technologies.”
Through the adoption of cloud technology, Christo believes companies have learnt that industries need to find the perfect hybrid solution ─ “you can’t have everything in the cloud, and you can’t have everything in a physical data centre. It’s about how you use the cloud to benefit you; I think a lot of companies are on a journey, and that journey is to go to the cloud, place some things there, and then come back with other bits. It's about how that whole ecosystem is going to work in the cloud.”
Christo also noted that virtualisation would definitely be a game-changer in the future of supply chain, “Virtualisation is allowing companies to do more with less. So you can take one server, and suddenly you can transform it into ten ─ that means you can get far more out of your existing technologies. Broadly speaking, technology, as a whole, continues to innovate at a rapid pace. From a services perspective, technology is becoming more efficient in the way that it operates and because of that, it’s forcing companies like our own to change our approach to daily business operations.”
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.