Ken: Good day, and welcome to episode 167 of our Momenta Digital Thread podcast series. Today it's my great pleasure to have Girish Juneja, Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer of Dover Corporation, a diversified global manufacturing solutions provider with annual revenue of over $7 billion. Before joining Dover in 2017, Girish served as Chief Technology Officer of Altisource Portfolio Solutions, a premier marketplace and transaction solutions provider for the real estate and mortgage industries.
Prior, he was general manager of Big Data Products and Chief Technology Officer of Data Center Software at Intel Corporation. He led the company's Big Data software strategy, drove the technology vision for Intel's data center software, and launched the Intel Hadoop platform worldwide. As part of Intel's executive team, he helped lead several strategic acquisitions, including the acquisition of McAfee. Girish came to Intel through the acquisition of Sarvega, a company he co-founded to deliver XML solutions for enterprise IT. He started with senior technology and management roles at Thomson Financial Services, Verizon, and MCI Telecommunications. Girish holds a B.E. and M.S. in Economics, Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Birla Institute of Technology & Science, an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, and an M.B.A. in Finance and Strategy from the University of Chicago. Girish, welcome to our Digital Thread podcast.
Girish: Thank you. I appreciate you having me here.
Ken: I appreciate you taking the time. If I judge one's value in terms of a podcast based on how long it takes us to coordinate and get everything there, this will be a really interesting podcast because you and I have been working on scheduling this for quite a while. I always like to start with this idea of a digital thread. What would you consider to be your digital thread? In other words, the one or more thematic threads that have defined your digital industry journey?
Girish: Ken, that's a fascinating question. It helps me think through connecting the dots in my career as I've been in different verticals. The theme that runs through them has been businesses trying to change what they do with technology. I go back to my early years in telecom, such as MCI and later GTE, both Verizon. Telcos are trying to move upstream and have some value add-on on the content side; I spent the first ten years there where they were innovating what content services we could deploy. And they were starting from scratch, having built major businesses around the core telco services, but little to no experience in content. And then, that is kind of what led me to Sarvega. And I'll come back likely to explain how that story came about. And then at Intel, again, a company steeped in the tradition of silicon and silicon innovation, beginning to see cloud and mobility, transitioning away from having this monolithic silicon architecture to far more distributed silicon architecture, and how to position in that market. Their open-source software became a big lever to try and influence the purchasers of silicon to keep the customer on silicon, despite the changes in the architecture at the hardware level. And then later on and all these sorts of financial industries.
As you know, real estate has gone through at least two or three major digitalization cycles. This was the last one coming out of recession in 2008 and trying to completely digitize the entire process, all the way from origination to servicing and generating value as a result of doing that. And finally, at Dover again, my last four years in manufacturing- Dover is a great company with incredible brands that have been there. These storied brands have been there for 80, 100 years, some of them longer than Dover's lifespan. And as is true of manufacturing companies, much continuous improvement in Lean Culture. Looking at the next step, function, change in value creation, and digital is one of those value creations levers. That's another similar digital thread running through my career. So here we are.
Ken: Wow. What a great background to culminate in the role that you're working at now. Let's take that last digital lever, or so you call it, our change lever. I like to start with a broad question. And that is what does digital transformation mean to you?
Girish: Yeah. Ken, as you know, it's become kind of the buzzword used to describe everything and anything to do with technology. And then, after a while, you begin to think, is it just a marketing term? You got to step back and see more from- I would say, a business standpoint rather than a technology standpoint. Fundamentally, it's a core value creation lever. To me, digital transformation is non-incremental. Technology is used in industries all the time; I'm referring to information technology. And many times, it's used as a continuous improvement lever. Automation of certain processes, reducing the error rate of some manual efforts, making the materials management work in an industrial environment, materials flow work, making the billing and accounts payable far more automated. Those, to me, are all continuous improvement exercises that happen and need to happen to businesses all day long as information technology advances. Digital transformation is about rethinking the product, the service, or the operations from the bottom up in terms of experiences it offers for different personas engaged in it, reimagining that experience to address stated and unstated needs, and the eventual goal is to generate exponential value out of that effort. And that's the way I look at digital transformation efforts that we push internally.
Ken: Yeah, you hit on several excellent points there. This idea of non-incremental change is the transformation element, rethinking business processes as part of that and looking for exponential results. Let's go back to some of your early entrepreneurial work because I think it's salient to what you're doing now. You co-founded Sarvega, and so, first of all, you're always impressed when we see somebody who has been in the entrepreneurial trenches end up in a Chief Digital Officer role. What inspired you to the data management space and XML appliances at the time?
Girish: I'll date myself and the technology at that time, Ken. This is going back almost a couple of decades now. But I think it'll be an interesting, maybe conversation as it connects some of the threads we do now. I worked in the telecom and financial industry in my early career when the internet was still in its infancy plus major innovation cycle. And if you recall those days, the focus was about presenting information in interesting interactive ways to a user because the origin of worldwide consortium and HTML came from a publishing industry standard called SGML. The XML standard came about in, I think, 1998, and I was first exposed to it right around that time. What struck me was that it's a beautiful way for systems to talk to systems, getting out of just a consumer or a customer interaction with a site or a webpage. XML was just a transformative way to change the way systems and data interact with each other. Data used to be locked up in information silos and required tons of effort to use in applications for which it was not designed. And that's got me going on the idea of Sarvega, and obviously, that became the norm. Now, we will look in hindsight. JSON has, in some ways, overtaken XML, but the notion of semantically structured data has continued with us for the last 20 years.
Ken: Well said on that last point, especially when you see non-IP data, typical OT data, if you will, factory floor systems, etc., some companies starting with Kepware. But several others recently have launched to look at how to semantically classify that data and, of course, normalize it, and that's a hotbed, right now for I hear people calling it industrial data ops, so there you go. So even though you've dated yourself, I'd say those patterns are just hitting the IT/OT converged space here just now.
Girish: I completely agree. We're beginning to see that moving away to more semantically defined machine data that engines can then process along the way. Certain capabilities around quality and process improvement can be added to read that semantic data through a machine. I think we are on the sunrise side of those applications for the next few years.
Ken: Yeah. Yeah, I fully agree. Well, going back to Sarvega, you must have done well as you exited the company to Intel. And then subsequently, as we said, serving as General Manager for Application Security & Identity Products and General Manager of Big Data over your eight-year tenure. If I could ask you to kind of boil down your insights during that tenure into three insights around enterprise software, what would those be?
Girish: When you spend 30 years in a career, you get asked inside questions. I would've put a bit of an asterisk on it, and this is one person's opinion. I'm sure there are many others. But it's been an exciting journey for me. I've spent most of my career building, deploying, managing environments around enterprise software. And I would say the three things to me that jump out, and they're consistent. They've happened across industries, timings are different, but they happened repeatedly. One, enterprise software adoption cycles based on innovations are long. You start something- I remember Sarvega days; it is a five to seven-year adoption cycle. But they are secular, the next 10 to 15 years. They just migrate from early adopter verticals. People often consider financial- and technology as early adopters of any kind of information technology innovation. But then, over the ten years or so, traverse through from early adopters to laggards till the entire industry fully embraces them. And they often get disrupted by something better, and then we get started with that same cycle again. Second, the difference I have seen in the last 20 years is that time to value expectations continues to shrink. The software delivery models go from enterprise software to SAS and cloud. And that immediate feedback loop available through mobile experiences is also an adequate time to value expectations on enterprise software. Regardless of its delivery model, it needs to demonstrate ROI in six to nine months. It used to be 18, 24 months, 20 years ago. And the third bit, which is fascinating to more technology-minded people, is when you look at the infrastructure- by that, I mean network, compute, memory. There's an innovation cycle in that infrastructure layer. That innovation cycle and the enterprise software innovation cycle are intertwined.
Progress in infrastructure, whether internet and cloud and smart mobility in AI hardware or 5G, is followed by an innovation cycle in enterprise software. And the extensions of those inputs in enterprise software usages eventually feedback the loop to drive more infrastructure innovation. Those three things, to me, have been consistent. If you look recently, the cloud model leads to the SAS model, the cloud infrastructure model leads to the SAS model of enterprise software, smart mobility leads to apps and enterprise apps. AI hardware leads to innovations in how some applications are delivered and how AI and machine learning are becoming part of this. I'm sure 5G will drive another enterprise software innovation spike, especially in industrials where there are many communication issues due to a lot of metal available on the factory floor, around WiFi, and so on. And this private 5G model potentially has the opportunity to remake the software stack inside the factory.
Ken: Three great points in there. We often discuss the adoption rate for industrial IoT with our podcast guests, which did not meet some of the initial hype-driven analyst predictions around how quickly the OT, if you will, generally would adopt such things. I think your point number one is applicable there, and perhaps with an OT bias, you could add a couple of years on both the adoption and the stickiness side of it. But again, I think your past and your insights well-positioned you for your current role. Let's go ahead and fast forward to that current role. So your SVP and Chief Digital Officer at Dover. Tell us a bit about both the company and your remit there.
Girish: Sure. So, as I said earlier, Dover is a fascinating, diverse industrial manufacturing company. We build a range of industrial software products, we take them- sorry, sophisticated industrial products. We take them to market through our five segments. We sell not just the products but also their parts and consumables. To make these products work, we also, in many cases, have embedded electronics and software with them that is built internally. And in many manufacturing factories that we have, we also design our manufacturing processes and occasionally tooling. We have a very diverse, worldwide workforce that is highly talented and a broad ecosystem of channels and partners who often work very closely with us to do installation and services. All these activities are heavily enabled by information, the IT and OT capabilities that we deploy, and continue to innovate across our companies. And because we are so diverse, there is no central model that works in this entire environment. My remit is- in some ways, I can put it in as a three-fold category. One is to drive digital innovations in our physical products, processes, and business functions, especially when creating business value across our family of companies. And this could be organic or inorganic. So that's kind of one aspect of it. The second is to hire, nurture, and motivate digital talent that comes to Dover, either internally- incubated and grown, or acquisitions, or hiring. Eventually, digital innovation is driven by people, and having the right skillset becomes supremely important. This is especially in industrial manufacturing companies where that has not been the forte traditionally. And the third is to provide governance and oversight on information technology, digital products, and other services enabled by digitization or information technology to ensure that they're used securely. They're used; they're there. They're built with manageable costs, and they're fit for purpose. I would package it in those three areas. The first one focused on new revenue, new growth. The last one more focused on better utilization of resources more, I would say, cost-side focus on improving inefficiencies, while at the same time securing environments and people being the bridge between the two.
Ken: Well said, especially the people statement, because digital transformation is cultural change, especially for companies with hardware DNA, as Dover traditionally has. You've joined this role in 2017 or took on this role. Tell us about some of your early use cases and wins.
Girish: I would call it our teams or broader digital teams use cases and wins, as you earlier mentioned, right? These are change management jobs, and we need to bring that internal bind together to push forward towards a certain direction. So those changes are only made with the full collaboration of teams across our businesses. As we reflect internally, I would say a couple of areas I can call out have done well. One of the issues in typically disparate industrial manufacturing companies like Dover, especially five or six years ago, was this massive- I would say decentralization of information technology. As a result, many legacy information technologies and traditional thinking around IT governance are implemented. One of the earlier efforts that we made, which has borne itself out over the last two or three years, is to rethink how infrastructure keeps the lights on. IT needs to be managed, organized, secure, supported end goal. And we have run through a 3-year iterative cycle to reach the transformation end goal. And this has allowed us to retire many old systems for functional operations, consolidate on few, far more managed and governed and more SAS-like business systems and then standardize our processes how people engage with those systems around it. That has been a big win for Dover as a whole. And then, a second example I would mention is more on the product innovation side. There are many examples that I'll mention one or two.
Still, the general theme was four years ago; barely any physical product we manufactured was connected or connectible to industrial IoT or IoT environments if they were in the field.
Over the last four years, we have connected many hundreds of our solutions that offer now connected operations. And many tens of them have additional value adds on top of that, not just their connectible or connected. They also offer functional capabilities like improved safety, demonstrably improved efficiency, predictive maintenance in some areas, and then the quality of operations oversight in some other areas. To give you one public example, we acquired a company about five years ago called 3rd Eye. When we acquired it, it was primarily in basic telematics, like recording the video with the camera or- I think they barely started at that time connecting those video streams back to the cloud. But by closely integrating that in our waste-hauling equipment manufacturing, we build the better waste trucks that large waste haulers use. We closely integrated the 3rd Eye technology at multiple levels in that truck. And now we can look at the same truck as a factory on wheels that has safety capabilities, that it offers operational efficiency capability, that it offers performance and utilization, and driver efficiency capabilities. All of those exposed to the data that is collected through that truck while it's doing its service operations, looking across a fleet, learning those capabilities that I just mentioned on top of that data, and then offering that as a service to the haulers' back office so they can maintain their fleet, which is the single largest capital expense they have in a better, more efficient way. That example is illustrative of the product innovation side of it.
Ken: The idea of having to rethink, as you said, your IT or your data systems base. I've heard very similar patterns from your peers at other companies as well, where they've had to come in and think about- not the central business systems, but those physical systems. The systems that touch down to the factory floor supply chain, etc., think, as one calls it, 'customer back.' You're starting with that customer use case and working back to understand how all those digital systems apply. And what I like about the product innovation example you looked at is that there tend to be three phases we see. If you will, operations are more efficient, which is the base use case. There are value-added services like predictive analytics, if you will. Predictive maintenance is a traditional one. Then there's this nirvana of product as a service or, in some cases, serve as a product. And it's interesting because the examples you gave almost touched all three of those when you talked about this factory on wheels concept, which I think is pretty interesting. Many of the first movers in the digital industry like GE created central organizations and usually took on this subtitle of 'digital,' almost like calling an organization the innovation organization. Some of those, of course, have been a bit more successful than others, which is interesting for you because, in some sense, you guys can play the fast follower if you choose to and learn from your peers. To whom do you look for inspiration on your digital journey, and how are you organizing to approach this opportunity, if you will?
Girish: Yeah, this question always creates the most exciting dialogue whenever we talk about digital transformation. Look, I firmly believe there isn't one playbook that works for all industrial companies. The more often I have gotten to our peer group industrial companies, the more I have understood how different some of them are from each other. Because they have multiple businesses under a roof, industrial manufacturing companies end up being fairly unique once you understand what markets they play in, how they play in those markets, and what kind of role competitors and partners in the ecosystem play. Because that defines the playfield, you have available for digitalization. We try and be cognizant of learnings from our people, larger industrial companies that have tried or are trying two or three models before, but we try to kind of chart our course that fits Dover best. And it may or may not look exactly like anyone else's. But the good news is, there are three or four different design patterns out there, so we can pick and choose what applies in certain areas where we want to move the needle forward for our business.
Ken: I like the way you worded that. There may not be one playbook that fits. But as you think of those design patterns as chapters, you can apply depending on your situation and use case, right? You can freely choose from many different good examples in the industry. And again, it's good when you're in a fast follower stage.
Girish: The way I look at it is a multi-inning game. You have to move the- iteratively you try to do major transformations. But you have to have organizational change happen to collaborate with that transformation goal. You have to deal with it as the situation arises but in multiple layers. So certain transformations are easier than others from a change management standpoint. And so you go ahead and do those, and then you prepare the organization for the next stage.
And meanwhile, the environment around the round over is also evolving; the ecosystem is evolving, our portfolio is evolving. We buy and sell companies. We have a portfolio strategy that also influences what the next biggest change of transformation possible is. This is why I said it's not always exact ones, you almost have recipes out there, and you pick which recipe might fit, and sometimes you're creating your own, a new one.
Ken: That's an excellent way to think about it. You mentioned earlier people are the bridge between driving this digital change at the physical and providing governance and talent overall. So how do you assess each of your team's readiness for digital change? And how are you building the leadership and infrastructure to support that transformation?
Girish: Another topic of our discussions often is how to disseminate that leadership, that digital awareness across organizations. I think we are just finding our way through it. But there are two aspects of applying this assessment to our operating companies. First is more outside in, which is the criticality of the role digital transformation will likely play in the business at a particular moment in time. And then second is more internal, how ready and capable the organization is to leverage digital transformation fully. So while the timing can be defined outside in, if we believe the role of digitalization is significant for that business to leverage it fully, the latter defines the path we take. We can take a more lean-in path where we have certain corporate digital innovation, resources, and leadership that we- because they need to go faster, we come in there and help our businesses to move faster in that direction. Or, if the organization's internal capability exists, then we play more of a supportive role. That being said, in all fairness, there's also an opportunistic element of this readiness. Sometimes you get some very interesting relevant M&A opportunities that might offer value creation, and the organization may not be right away at that point be fully ready to absorb it. So you're not going to wait for perfection, in some cases. In those cases, surround them with the digital capabilities from corporate, but still move ahead because those opportunities are far and few between these days.
Ken: Yes. And it would help if you indeed moved quickly, given how far the market is right now, mainly. You've mentioned outside in, portfolio, M&A- leading to leveraging the innovation ecosystem both inside and outside the company. What's your strategy? How are you guys approaching this?
Girish: So again, when I joined Dover, right, we didn't- I was the CDO, but I was also the employee number one of the digital organizations. So, the need for talent has been- I've been very acutely aware of it since the time I started this job. And so, we've taken a multi-pronged approach, and I would say we continue to tweak upon it as labor markets are tight and various other- the cost of good digital talent continues to rise. We take an approach where we have internal and external innovation ecosystems. On the external side, we work with universities. We have some labs that we have worked with MIT and Georgia Tech on, some universities in Europe, close to where plants are situated. We work with them externally; we also work with- or are in close touch with venture groups that tend to invest in industrial software companies. We have early eyes on what capabilities might be out there that we may go down the road look at as business secretions by M&A. And then some private equity companies that play closely in industrial software companies, we stay in close touch with them. On the organic side, which is really where the magic comes together, we have a digital lab here in Watertown, Massachusetts, where I am today. It's not a very large lab, but we do have a lot of thought leadership that comes from here on digital innovation possibilities. They're allowed to do more breakthrough thinking and not just look at the next immediate adjacencies but to look further out and experiment with it. And then try to bring it together to invalid business cases that the operating companies who have the field resources can take to market. So that is another angle. And then finally, when you look at digitization in the processes, that is far more of a collaborative effort in operating companies where you're trying to drive change management not just in technology but in people and processes. This major initiative is digitizing our commercial operations to have most of our product information and transactional capabilities to our digital channel. We closely collaborate with the sales and marketing teams. We continue to ask for leaders in the operating companies to continue to push for in their organization bringing in digital marketing and selling capabilities so that they can fully take leverage of technologies you're putting in place for them. It is a multi-pronged-aspect, multi-pronged effort. This is one of the biggest reasons digitalization in industrial companies succeeds or fails; is the right talent in the right place at the right time.
Ken: And I'd say a holistic perspective- you seem to appreciate the outside innovation as much as you appreciate the organic, if you will, innovation internally, and I think that's key. As you said, external innovations might catalyze, if you will, what the company needs to do, but both- like you said, looking at the ability of your company to absorb such changes is as critical as well. And so it is in some sense, defines that dual footed role of the best Chief Digital Officers in one foot and kind of that external innovation arena and one foot in the company's operations and future. And so, well done. In closing, I always like to ask, where do you find your inspiration?
Girish: Look, we are all following the steps of giants. There are a lot of phenomenal people. Thinkers out there that have led business changes, complex business changes, so at least I try to when I get a chance to-
Ken: In closing, tell me a bit about how you find your inspiration.
Girish: It's funny; I'm the father of two grown-up boys. And I'll tell you; I learn more from them every day. We are going in the footsteps of giants. People have made giant strides in business transformations through technology. If you look at tech companies, some of them have successfully transitioned from a traditional tech company to a modern tech company- take examples like Adobe, Google, and Microsoft. I mean, there's lots to learn there on how to make business transformations work. On the industrial side, you look at Siemens and others making significant strides. But really, where I come back to is change; how to make people come together in this change exercise that we are going on to and there, I've learned that the softer skills are as relevant. In some ways, far more relevant than our technical skills in making these change management journeys possible. I love books like "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell that talk about how we make decisions based on first impressions, sometimes for good, sometimes for blunders. Or economic books like "Nudge" by Richard Thaler talk about human behavior and how choices are presented. I have to tell you- I learned more from this non-technical reading because I believe more of my work now involves affecting that change. Then I need to understand how that is done in a more straightforward, at-scale manner that is deployable in an organization with the complexity we have. I get some inspiration from those.
Ken: There used to be a logo phrase from the TV show, "A-Team." "I love it when a plan comes together." And again, it probably defines the role of the Chief Digital Officer. Girish, it was well worth the wait to get a chance to put this together finally. Thank you for sharing the time and these insights with us today.
Girish: Thanks, Ken. Thanks a lot for having me. I appreciate it.
Ken: As well. This has been Girish Juneja, Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer of Dover Corporation. A man and a company redefining what's possible. Thank you for listening. And please join us next week for the next episode of our Digital Thread podcast series. Thank you, and have a great day.
Girish’s Inspiration Comes From..
Girish admits that his two children hugely inspire him. Another source of inspiration are books like "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell, which centers on how people make decisions based on first impressions, and "Nudge" by Richard Thaler, which talks about human behavior.
Dover is a diversified global manufacturer and solutions provider with annual revenue of over $7 billion. We deliver innovative equipment and components, consumable supplies, aftermarket parts, software and digital solutions, and support services through five operating segments: Engineered Products, Fueling Solutions, Imaging & Identification, Pumps & Process Solutions, and Refrigeration & Food Equipment. Dover combines global scale with operational agility to lead the markets we serve. Recognized for our entrepreneurial approach for over 65 years, our team of over 24,000 employees takes an ownership mindset, collaborating with customers to redefine what's possible. Headquartered in Downers Grove, Illinois, Dover trades on the New York Stock Exchange under "DOV." Learn more at www.dovercorporation.com