The (Good) Fortune of Tech: Top 10 Takeaways from Fortune Brainstorm Tech

Posted by on July 23, 2019

Fortune Brainstorm Tech

Several members of the Cherwell team spent a few days in Aspen last week. No, it wasn’t for a company off-site, though that would not be far-fetched considering the vicinity to our two Colorado offices. Our trip was to attend Fortune Brainstorm Tech, an annual conference that draws the who’s who of the tech and business world together for a mind-expanding series of sessions on the future of technology.

Of the many themes explored during our three days in Aspen, one thing was very clear: technology is hardly relegated to company basements, nor is it contained within the sunny peninsula of Silicon Valley. From stocks to sportswear, and deliveries to doorbells, technology is everywhere and impacts everything in business today.

Here is our top 10 takeaways list on the increasing value of technology in business today: 

1. Technology silos no more.

“Mature companies used to separate tech and business. That overlap is where the magic collaboration happens.” – Jill Ramsey, EVP, Chief Product and Digital Revenue Officer, Macy’s

“Digital Transformation used to be something daring to do, now it’s a need to do.” – Vini Letteri, Managing Director, TMT Growth, KKR

2. Consumer tech is driving a focus on “experience.”

“What we’re hearing is that it’s a multichannel world now. Companies need to be providing excellent customer service online and off line. Experiences from technology impact that, giving them a high expectation of service.” – Sam Gilliland, CEO, Cherwell

“What we try to do is listen and talking to our customers, the Digital Natives, and more to truly understand where things are going. My biggest advice is to listen and ask questions.” – Sasan Goodarvi, CEO, Intuit

3. The future is now.

“AI and IoT are coming into play in stores improving data, managing inventory better and improving business results.” – Doug McMillon, CEO, Walmart, Inc. 

“We do hackathons all the time. Uniquely, we’re remote, so we let people engage in our hackathons from all over the US.” – Dave Dupont, CEO, Team Snap

4. Transformation is a team sport.

“At Cherwell we do our best to really focus on the efforts of our transformation team. Their work is critical.” – Sam Gilliland, CEO, Cherwell

5. Keep your eye on the prize.

“Get yourself as close to the customer as possible. Figure out what works and do that over and over again. Technology can help you do that, and getting the people and processes right internally really matters.” – Vini Letteri, Managing Director, TMT Growth, KKR

“Customer obsessed means every waking hour of the day is living and breathing the customer’s needs.” – Jennifer Tejada, CEO of Pagerduty

6. Change is about people.

“The technology part is not the challenge, changing the mindset of the people is the difficult part.” – Minsok Pak, EVP, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, Target

“We had to basically re-invent internally, it doesn’t sound like radical transformation, but it was huge for Macys.” – Jill Ramsey, EVP, Chief Product and Digital Revenue Officer, Macy’s

7. CEOs must be central.

“For Digital Transformation to succeed, there has to be top down buy-in from the CEO and senior leadership.” – Ramnath Venkatarman, Senior Managing Director, Technology, Accenture

8. Technology connects us.

“Planetary inference and decision-making systems” support #tech behaviors and connect us all from the big cities deep into small villages of the world.” – Omoju Miller, Machine Learning Engineer, Github

“We look at how we can leverage #automation and AI to improve the amount of mission-driven work for our employees.” – Jennifer Tejada, CEO of Pagerduty

9. Technology strategy = business strategy.

“Let’s not talk about the technology, let’s talk about the business outcomes.” – Sam Gilliland, CEO, Cherwell

“We don’t chase after every shiny technology that pops up. We have to think about a portfolio of technologies that work together to support the business.” – Minsok Pak, EVP, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, Target

10. Inspire to innovate.

“I do believe it’s critical that whatever we do, we inspire innovation.” – Sasan Goodarvi, CEO, Intuit

“The players who realize how to make a difference with technology, those are the organizations that are succeeding.” – Ramnath Venkatarman, Senior Managing Director, Technology, Accenture