Reem brings more than 15 years of experience managing big data and digital transformation programs. Her background in technology, digital, retail and fintech, coupled with a deep understanding of organizational change management and international experience, gives her a unique perspective into how to make digital transformation initiatives successful. She currently leads the Digital Consumer 360 Global Product portfolio at VF Corp – a $13+ billion portfolio of leading lifestyle brands like North Face, Dickies and Vans. She established the first Global Enterprise Data and Analytics function for VF, and the company’s first comprehensive digital consumer understanding and engagement portfolio of products referred to as Consumer 360.
Why are you passionate about helping leaders within IT services firms?
I’ve been in tech for most of my career, which has given me the opportunity to see where service firms struggle and where they shine. This experience has led to a toolkit of skills, ranging from how to stand up effective product teams, to analytics governance and operations, to operationalizing consumer data, to KPIs for consumer engagement. These skills have not only helped my own organizations, but could be valuable to them as well.
Crafting a seamless customer experience across multiple brands, channels and regions is hard for any retailer, but doing it at the scale you are in a $14B company like VF Corp requires real vision. How do you get people bought into a vision of this scale?
It starts by getting everyone to acknowledge that the way we’re working is not working. Most companies talk about consumer centricity, but are very internal or product centric, which means the consumer experience is not where it should be. From there, it’s about painting a vision to build a distinctive capability and competitive advantage, while making small changes in parallel by investing in the right people, processes and technology. An agile approach and quick prototypes go a long way in showing progress and delivering regular wins.
What are some of the biggest mistakes service providers make when selling in large-scale digital transformation programs?
A lot of service providers try to fit their clients into a generic box instead of understanding what they need to accomplish with the transformation, and what’s really required to get them there. You can only create a clear vision by understanding the biggest problem areas, where to play and how to win. With that vision, you can establish leadership alignment and support, which is required for any kind of transformation. From there, define a phased and iterative approach, starting with a few use cases. Measure success and adjust as you go. Other mistakes include ignoring the organization change management that is required to be successful, or setting unrealistic expectations. Transformation takes time.
How can service providers help their clients with organizational change readiness?
Start with basic education about what org readiness entails, and why it is important to invest in. Lots of service providers assume organizations are well versed in all aspects of Organizational Change Management (OCM). It helps to showcase examples to paint a better picture of the outcomes and gain the right investment for it.
Retail has changed so much in the past 5 years. What big trends do you think will shape the next 5?
More people are getting comfortable with online shopping and they expect a great experience. If retailers want to increase retention, they need to invest in great omni-channel digital consumer experiences. A few other big trends that are shaping retail right now:
- Pricing analytics have become more important than ever. Consumers can easily compare prices online and their loyalty can easily shift. Applying dynamic pricing strategies will allow retailers to stay competitive.
- Loyalty programs are evolving, and there’s an opportunity to redefine what loyalty means. Lots of retailers still run traditional clunky loyalty programs that don’t really address experience as much as they should.
- Global citizens are bringing their loyalty with them. Sustainability and corporate social responsibility are top of mind.
- Models are shifting too. Amazon has fundamentally changed delivery and return expectations. Retailers need to be competitive but still keep costs low. Try before you buy models are increasing, as is the role of organic social.