CDO interview: Athina Kanioura, chief strategy and transformation officer, PepsiCo | Computer Weekly

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Athina Kaniura, Director of Strategy and Transformation at PepsiCo, is a seasoned government devoted to utilizing expertise to assist remodel the operations of the multinational meals, snack and beverage firm for the higher.

“My ambitions for digital transformation are a five-year journey, and we’re now two and a half years into that journey,” she says. “We’re absolutely on observe for each throughput and outcomes. And by the top of this course of, I need us to turn out to be a totally totally different firm.”

Kaniura says it is essential to know the dimensions of the transformation. Slightly than utilizing digital methods and providers to alter what enterprise does and the way it works, its objective is to make use of a variety of instruments and methods to enhance enterprise effectivity, effectiveness and productiveness.

“It is not about creating a distinct sort of firm that depends on expertise to do every thing,” she says. “However it might be a greater firm by way of leveraging expertise, digital and knowledge to allow my staff to attain higher outcomes for the broader organisation.”

Getting a thirst for transformation

Kaniura joined PepsiCo in September 2020 after 13 years at Accenture Consulting. Earlier than that, she was within the academy.
“My training has at all times been theoretical,” she says, suggesting that her time as a advisor allowed her to research totally different issues in numerous industries, discover commonalities, and develop performance that will match a specific use case.
“A part of the rationale I joined PepsiCo was as a result of it was in all probability the one firm I hadn’t labored with in my consulting years,” she says. “It was an enormous problem. There was lots of alternative for somebody like me, with a background in digital and expertise, to take this firm on its subsequent development curve.”
Earlier than becoming a member of, Caniura spoke with PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta and met “an amazing visionary.” As a substitute of merely specializing in present efficiency, he emphasised that the important thing to long-term success will probably be to proceed to rework by making a significantly better expertise for the agency’s clients and its workers.
She says she was actually interested in the position anticipated of her on this program of change. And now, as PepsiCo’s first-ever Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, Kaniura oversees the corporate’s end-to-end digitalization strategy. She leads a staff of over 700 knowledge engineers, software program engineers and knowledge professionals.
In his broad senior workplace position, Kaniura is liable for a variety of key enterprise areas, together with company strategy, mergers and acquisitions, transformation, change administration, worth supply, digital merchandise and providers, product administration, software program improvement, course of engineering, knowledge analytics and synthetic intelligence (AI).
“This position provides me the chance to do every thing from defining this firm’s strategy to turning it into actionable digital parts, to rethinking the group’s processes, and then turning that work into concepts and quick motion. And right here comes a mix of information evaluation, synthetic intelligence and software program improvement,” she says.

Creating a powerful basis for change

Kaniura says her first 12 months at PepsiCo has centered on strengthening the corporate’s five-year digital transformation strategy.
“It was about articulating what we have to do: What are the large stakes, what are the priorities, what’s the roadmap and what are the large drivers?” she says “The truth that everybody united was an amazing achievement. The corporate’s prime 200 workers knew precisely what we have been going to attain by way of outcomes, how we have been going to do it and the place we have been going to start out.”
With some expectations, Kaniura says her second 12 months at PepsiCo has been about delivering. She says {that a} main achievement throughout that interval was reaching outcomes on time and inside price range. Whereas this may occasionally seem to be a easy objective, exterior components performed a job.
World macroeconomic and geopolitical instability meant that reaching targets on schedule and in an economical method was removed from straightforward. Right this moment, her staff continues to concentrate on environment friendly supply.

“We now have to maintain our eye on the ball so we do not sacrifice the long-term success of this firm for short-term outcomes.”

Atina Kaniura, PepsiCo

“We now have to maintain our eye on the ball so we do not sacrifice the long-term success of this firm for short-term outcomes,” she says.
“It is about making certain that we meet our commitments in two areas: one is the unique horizontal framework, which is especially in regards to the enterprise knowledge platform; and the second is about vertical capabilities from a program perspective that concentrate on launching and deploying built-in enterprise planning.”
The primary of those commitments – the enterprise knowledge platform – was delivered forward of schedule and on price range. Microsoft is PepsiCo’s largest knowledge processing associate, and the corporate makes use of Azure Knowledge Lake. Nevertheless, Kaniura doesn’t imagine in utterly outsourcing knowledge platform improvement. Her staff of in-house knowledge engineers does a lot of the work, and their efforts are supported by the tactical use of exterior integrators.
In the meantime, an built-in enterprise planning system permits individuals within the enterprise to make forecasts for the following three years as a part of provide planning, monetary planning and industrial planning as one centralized course of. “In occasions of uncertainty, provide chain disruption or manufacturing shortages, it provides you nice visibility,” Kaniura says.
Once more, the design method is certainly one of mixing exterior choices from expertise firm o9 with in-house experience.
“The mind, the dashboard, the info integration and the consumer expertise are all our inside assets that we have constructed — we wish to personal the mind of an built-in enterprise planning system,” she says.

Implementation of enormous work packages

As for the horizontal initiatives that span PepsiCo’s operations, Kaniura says the following part of digital transformation consists of three main work packages, certainly one of which improves the core enterprise knowledge platform already in place.
The second initiative focuses on upgrading the core system. Her staff is at the moment deploying SAP S/4Hana. This program entails transitioning from a variety of enterprise useful resource planning (ERP) methods to a single cloud-based set up throughout the corporate. “As you possibly can think about, it is lots of effort and lots of work for a corporation of our dimension,” she says.
The third work program entails utility rationalization and cloud modernization. This initiative requires the migration of lots of of functions to the cloud. The corporate has a roadmap to finish the migration course of inside the subsequent three years. “We now have lots of legacy software program, so it is a massive challenge,” she says.
Constructing on these horizontal foundations, Kaniura says her staff will intention to create robust enterprise leads throughout this time-frame. Though PepsiCo usually markets and sells merchandise by different organizations similar to retailers, the corporate additionally desires to develop its business-to-consumer (B2C) channel and search for methods to enhance the client expertise.
Business excellence is one other space the place Kanioura is dedicated to increasing enterprise alternatives and creating true omnichannel experiences.
“It is not straightforward in CPG [consumer packaged goods] a context the place you depend on a number of events,” she says, referring to a mixture of potential routes to market, together with retailers, distributors and the corporate’s personal gross sales channels.
Kaniura may also proceed to work on built-in enterprise planning, which is about offering a single supply of reality for managers now and sooner or later, in addition to provide chain transformation, which focuses on revitalizing operational processes in key areas similar to packaging and logistics.
Lastly, it refers to worker expertise and the requirement to offer employees with intuitive entry to data from information administration methods.
“This work covers every thing from recruitment to retirement, onboarding and upskilling,” Kaniura says. “I do not need individuals to should undergo 5 totally different logins to get wage data.”

Development with sustainability in thoughts

Whereas Kaniura is obvious about her key digital transformation objectives, she says one other issue – sustainability – is a vital overarching objective that underpins all of the work her staff and the broader enterprise will do over the following decade.
The Kanioura staff operates a variety of methods and packages to make sure environmental, social and governance (ESG) components are taken into consideration in all enterprise selections. Right here, the company knowledge platform, which her staff is engaged on creating and bettering, will probably be essential.
As a substitute of holding knowledge associated to ESG objectives in disparate methods throughout the enterprise, Kaniura says a consolidated knowledge platform will turn out to be a single supply of reality the place individuals at PepsiCo can observe and observe sustainability efficiency.
Extra broadly, the corporate’s ongoing efforts to enhance the setting and the broader communities it serves are referred to as Pep+ (PepsiCo Optimistic), which PepsiCo CEO Laguarta describes as “the way forward for our firm.” The initiative goals to make sure that the merchandise bought by the corporate are produced, delivered and bought in probably the most environmentally pleasant means attainable.
“It is centered on how we will create an enabling setting for the world, for the meals worth chain, for the communities and individuals we serve,” Kaniura says.
“As for the database, we determined to construct it ourselves. As for different alternatives, we’re working with startup companions to resolve the precise challenges now we have.”
Innovation work with startups is led by David Schwartz, vice chairman of PepsiCo Labs, which is a staff of specialists beneath the management of Kaniura, whose job is to make use of exterior innovation. Final 12 months, Schwartz defined to Computer Weekly how the lab has grown to greater than 30 startups in additional than 200 international locations thus far.
These improvements cowl a variety of areas, together with the prevention of water leaks in factories and the event of bio-based thermoplastics for product show stands. The long-term objective, Kaniura says, is for the revolutionary applied sciences her staff delivers to assist the remainder of PepsiCo’s enterprise develop in a optimistic means.
“Sustainability must be current in every thing we do on this firm transferring ahead, whether or not it is inexperienced planning, inexperienced shopping for or inexperienced promoting,” she says.

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