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.”
Ivy.ai’s new chatbot streamlines resources and policies
Ivy.ai, a creator of AI chatbots for higher education, is offering a chatbot that helps institutions streamline name, image, and likeness policies for athletic programmes.
This solution will allow athletic departments to dramatically reduce inbound inquiries while answering inquiries related to compliance, financial aid impact, how-to documents, and best practice training videos.
It will allow institutions to condense information in a way that is easily accessible and eliminates the need for student-athletes to read complicated manuals. Institutions can also engage with student-athletes via a real-time feedback loop to see which topics truly matter and what needs further clarification. This allows administrators to be proactive and provide a competitive edge in recruiting.
Helping institutions connect their students with information
“Athletic departments at colleges and universities are overwhelmed by the challenges posed by the name, image and likeness legislation,” said Mary Frances Coryell, Vice President of Strategic Alliances and Partnership.
“Ivy.ai is uniquely positioned in the market to help institutions connect their student-athletes with policies and information related to NIL such as state laws, restrictions and relevant contacts. Our chatbot can digest all relevant policy information and provide answers to student-athletes at any time on any device. We expect the NIL market to move quickly, so student-athletes deserve the answers on their terms, rather than exclusively during work hours.”
Primary use cases for the chatbot include:
- Answering commonly asked questions related to name, image and likeness
- Communicate policies such as state laws, restrictions and compliance regulations
- Provide contact information for various advisors and agencies
- Connect training materials for athletes to improve their branding
- Engage in two-way reactive and proactive communication to keep policies student-centric
Back in March 2020, the company offered schools a free COVID-19 Response System, including a customisable COVID-19 Response Bot, a human-to-human live chat system and an SMS Text platform. These services are offered completely free of charge.
"The customisable COVID-19 Response Bot will help schools connect their students with important information, such as the school's operational status, where to go for treatment, and what to do to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus. We already added that information to all of our clients' AI chatbots, and we found that in many cases students needed additional support. That's why we're including our human-to-human Live Chat system in this offer. The SMS Text platform can be used to drive awareness to this communications channel for your students." said Mark McNasby, CEO of Ivy.ai.