“Well, I, I think as we talked about this earlier on about what the pandemic has done, is to significantly speed up the need for digital transformation customers. We talk to customers, we talk to partners that we were wondering whether they should do projects, whether the business case was strong enough. And the questions that are being asked now is whether you can afford not to do it right.”
-Dr. Evaristus Mainsah, General Manager, IBM Hybrid Cloud & Edge Ecosystem
In this episode of Digital Transformers on Supply Chain Now, hosts Kevin L. Jackson and Scott Luton welcome Dr. Evaristus Mainsah, with IBM, to the show. Together, they discuss IBM think #2021, post-pandemic digital transformation, using AI to make your workforce even more effective, and even exactly what drives innovation. Join us!
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Kevin L. Jackson (00:32):
Hey, Hey Scott, just stepping off the transporter here. Good morning, everyone. Kevin L. Jackson and Scott Luton with you here, presenting Digital Transformers on Supply Chain Now, welcome to today’s live stream. On today’s show, we are gleaning some key takeaways and insight from one of the biggest, most revered business leadership events of the year, IBM think 2021.
Scott Luton (01:03):
Hey Kevin, how you doing?
Kevin L. Jackson (01:05):
Hey, I’m doing good. It’s sunny down there in Atlanta?
Scott Luton (01:09):
It is sunny, not quite as hot as your neck of the woods, thankfully but really excited about this live stream. And of course all the key practical takeaways we’re going to hear as we’re featuring an executive leader from the IBM team, right?
Kevin L. Jackson (01:25):
Oh yeah, absolutely.
Scott Luton (01:27):
So key takeaways, lessons learned, eureka moments, you know, we’re big about eureka moments around these parts, there are so many that we have them daily these days, right?
Kevin L. Jackson (01:37):
We’re moving so fast.
Scott Luton (01:39):
And of course, if you’re going to move fast, you gotta move fast successfully. And we’re going to hear a lot about that here today, but Kevin quick programming note we were talking pre-show about the pandemic and we’re trying to get the entire world into the post pandemic environment. And we want to encourage our listeners and folks out in our community to support our efforts, to get much needed supplies and equipment to our friends in India. So you can check out the nonprofit where every dollar is going to the good fight, at Vibha.org or shoot a note over to firstname.lastname@example.org. And we’ll make sure that we get you involved in the fight. A lot of I’ll tell you, we want to get the whole world, right, into this post pandemic. It’s not, it’s not one country or this country, and that country, but it’s truly a global fight.
Kevin L. Jackson (02:24):
Yeah. They say, you see this commercial on TV. We’re all not vaccinated. No one is safe. So it’s worth it all.
Scott Luton (02:32):
Excellent point, excellent point. One other quick programming note for bringing our wonderful guests here today, if you like our live streams, we go live usually every Monday and Thursday at 12 noon. Be sure to check out Digital Transformers on Supply Chain Now, wherever you get podcasts from, you can find Kevin’s really neat and always informative perspective. Just about that feels like every week, at least every month. Right? Kevin.
Kevin L. Jackson (02:56):
Hey. Yeah. I’m trying keep the pulse on the world, right? I keep running around this internet.
Scott Luton (03:07):
Tell ya along those lines, we’re going to be talking about the internet. We’re going to be talking about edge computing. We’re gonna be talking about, of course, IOT, AI, you name it, from folks that are making it happen. So let’s say hello to a few folks, and then we’re going to bring in our guest. Kevin, Musi is tuned in via LinkedIn. Great to have you here today. Looking forward to your POV. Okay. Yeah.
Kevin L. Jackson (03:27):
Where Are you? I wonder where you’re from. Who was he?
Scott Luton (03:30):
Yeah, tell us where you’re tuned in listening to today’s conversation and of course Clay and the whole gang is behind the scenes making it happen here today. Clay is the big dog, as his nickname is here, helping us produce today’s live stream. And Kevin, do we have a live stream these days without the one only Peter Bolle, all night, all day, from Canada. So Peter, he didn’t miss anything either. He picked up my comment where I shared with the world that Clay’s a scratch golfer. So we’ll see if we can’t get Peter and Clay signed up for a, a golf match. See who brings home the trophy?
Kevin L. Jackson (04:09):
I only do best ball. Someone who can do better ball than me.
Scott Luton (04:15):
I knew there were some kindred spirits and bonds that tied us together. I’m the same way I love best ball. Lot easier golf. Ackram is asking about the nonprofit. Yeah. Check out vibha.org. They’re doing a lot of great work, getting much needed supplies, respirators, you name it, to India. So check that out directly. Amanda, of course, I mentioned is with us. And she’s excited about today’s conversation as well.
Kevin L. Jackson (04:38):
I’m getting hungry. Somebody is from Philadelphia. I think that’s the Philly state.
Scott Luton (04:42):
Which one do you prefer? Aren’t there two competing ones,
Kevin L. Jackson (04:47):
Really? Cheese steak, as long as it has cheese and steak on it. I’m good.
Scott Luton (04:52):
Awesome. Clarence is tuned in from Colorado Springs, Colorado Peterson air force base is where he’s a subplot manager. How about that, Kevin?
Kevin L. Jackson (05:00):
Yeah, I mean, I’ve been out there to Peterson a couple of times.
Scott Luton (05:04):
We are so glad to have you tuned in with us, Clarence. Looking forward to your POV. Musi, tell us where you’re from. We’d love to know where you’re tuned in looking forward to your POV here today. Okay. Well, Kevin, you ready to bring in our guests here.
Kevin L. Jackson (05:19):
Today? Oh, I’ve been sitting on my hand.
Scott Luton (05:23):
Well, it’s time to jump into the conversation and, and really we’re going to learn a ton of goodness from Dr. Evaristus Mainsah general manager, IBM hybrid cloud and edge ecosystem. Evaristus, is how are you doing this afternoon?
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (05:37):
Hey Scott. I am delighted to behHere.
Kevin L. Jackson (05:41):
Oh wow. Thank you very much. This is, this is an honor.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (05:44):
True. It is. The pleasure is entirely mine. Kevin, thank you so much.
Scott Luton (05:49):
We had so much fun in the pre-show, you know, learning from you and getting to know you a little better. We should have recorded all of that, but Hey, we got plenty of time now that with us here today. Yes. All right. I do want to acknowledge a couple of additions, Jeffrey, great to have you here with us from Bogota via LinkedIn. Of course Jeff’s been on the show with us before hope this finds you well, and Assim is tuned in via LinkedIn. Thanks, Assim. We’d love to know where you’re tuned in from and welcome. Welcome. Welcome. Okay. So Dr. Mainsah, we want to get to know you a little better. So tell us a little about yourself and tell us about your role at IBM.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (06:24):
Okay. Again, thank you so much to you and Kevin for inviting me. So I’m Evaristus Mainsah, I am the general manager of IBM’s hybrid cloud and edge ecosystem. So in that role, I work with our ecosystem partners to enable them on a hybrid cloud with AI platform and then help them build practices and solutions. So they can use that technology in the service of their customers.
Kevin L. Jackson (06:52):
Wow. That’s a very powerful, but you’re talking about, I guess, cloud pack and edge ecosystems in the cloud. What does that really mean? I mean, these, these words sound important.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (07:07):
Well, Kevin, let me, let me take a step back and put that into a bit of perspective. So acquisition of red hat a couple of years ago really underlined our intention to become a platform company at based around red hat piece, around red hat OpenShift. So now we’re really, our focus is hybrid cloud with AI and we have products that help clients basically navigate a hybrid cloud universe, which is where a lot of our customers live, right? Some workload is on premium. Some workload is in private cloud. Some is in multiple public clouds and red hat. Openshift container platform really is the glue that makes all of that work. So it’s an enterprise grade. It’s a secure Kubernetes platform that allows our customers to deploy, to run, to manage all of their containerized workload, wherever the customers want to run them, not where they happened to be, but wherever they happen to be when they’re on them.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (08:08):
But I know Kevin, your question was really about cloud packs, right? Cloud packs really represent so the IBM and open-source containerized cloud native software that is built on red hat OpenShift, and therefore it will run anywhere. So if you think about what our clients trying to do typically want to do sort of four things, right? They want to modernize or secure their environment. That’s two, they want to use data to predict or to automate whether they talk about work when they’re talking about it, when they’re talking about processes and basically these cloud packs allow them to do that. Right? So if you’re looking to do AI, then you Google the cloud pack. The data that allows you to to collect, organize, analyze the data, all the difficult work of actually improving outcomes in AI gets done in the cloud pack for data. And then you’ve got other AI that sits on top of that.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (09:07):
You’ve got the cloud office security that allows you to secure your hybrid cloud environment. It works at IBM opensource work with third party offerings. It’s got offerings that we know and love like Q Radar and verifies and tardy. And we have cloud packs for multicloud management that are sort of part of IBM automation to talk about that later. So it’s a broad range and this is what they do. So they really tied that specific use cases, a lot, are focused on helping our customers deal with what they do with modernization of their environment, what they do with the security of the environment, what they do to predict what’s going to happen within the environment and what they do overall to automate their environments.
Scott Luton (09:49):
Hey Kevin, if I could interject for a second, I know we’re going to get some of Dr. Mainsah’s key takeaways from think 2021, but I think it’d be helpful maybe if we take a step further back, and Dr. Mainsah, and really understand, you know, what your journey and your experience and your POV, what, what led you to IBM.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (10:10):
Thank you for that question, Scott. So I I was born in Cameroon. You might wondering where the accent was from, which is a bit of United nations, so I was born in Cameroon, and I got a government scholarship as a teenager to study at the University of Birmingham in the UK. And I remember showing up in the fall a little bit late for classes because of all the visa processes. And I studied computer science and electronic engineering, and then did their master’s degree in manufacturing engineering. And I did a PhD in, in metrology, which is really the science of measurement is like 600 people that, you know, this is all they live and dream in the world. I used to be one of them. So I know there’s a lot of fun, but not all of us think that.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (10:54):
And then after that, I spent a short time as an academic, as a research fellow and the research lecturer and the lecturer at the university of Birm- at research for the University of Birmingham and the lecturer at the University of Coventry. And then I wrote to IBM, 23 years ago to say, I would like to come work for them. Right. Apparently it was okay to simply write a letter to a large company, letting them know I wanted to work for them. So I joined it thinking of course, that this has never, this has never been done the last 23 years. Hence I’m still here. And I have to say that I absolutely took the scenic routes as I meandered through several of the most fun parts of the company. So I started in a Helsley labs in the UK as a developer. Then I transitioned into sales where I discovered a brand new world of more fun than you could imagine.
Kevin L. Jackson (11:48):
You were at 1100 Westchester weren’t you?
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (11:54):
And then I transitioned through finance to, to an MBA back into ABM. And I did find jobs like assistant treasurer, general auditor of IBM. Then I ran a big part of leasing business. IBM has a captive leasing business called IBM global financing for about 10 years before I was captured and brought back into technology after 10 years on the run. Right. And so I ended up in the hybrid cloud unit, basically working to bring ecosystem partners to our platform. So in a sense, I’ve gone full circle, but it’s a circle where every spot set up represents increased gratification. So I’ve been, I’ve been very lucky on the journey.
Scott Luton (12:34):
Unbelievable, just your education. I could, I could barely work my way through one computer science class, Dr. Mainsah. So you, I mean the here your formal education prior to 23 years, I think with IBM, I would think that if I got that right, so Kevin, he’s the pro to know, and we’re going to be learning from someone who’s been there and done it. Hey, really quick though, Kevin, before we move forward, we got our answer on a couple of things. So Assim is here from Berlin. So welcome via LinkedIn. We’ve got Mary tuned in from Kenya. Welcome Mary, get ready buckle up for a great conversation. Hotter is from Sudan. Great to have you here and Musi answered our question. He is from South Africa. So great to have you here as well, Musi. Okay. So Kevin, where are we going next?
Kevin L. Jackson (13:21):
Well, one of the things, I mean, you talk about Dr. Mainsah’s education and all the components that went into his big brain right there to understand how to develop these solutions on top of cloud. And when he was talking about cloud pack, what came to mind was these different components that a partner could actually look at and select and, and put together. But I guess some of our audience not been asked this, I mean, all of these cloud packs, are they themselves are IBM cloud? Are they in IBM cloud? Are they outside of IBM cloud? I mean, how was this described in think 2021 and you know, how would you describe it?
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (14:11):
So I would say so that’s a great, great question. Now the beauty of these cloud packs are they’re, again, they’re built on products that, you know, and love. If you’re talking about security, I talked about some of them, right? So curator verify, they’re all parts of the cloud part for security, right? And then cloud pack for data talks about what they did earlier on. You’ve got other products that, you know, such as the cloud, the integration that allows you to connect. And when you’re thinking about you’re modernizing, say a mainframe, you need to be able to access information in there through APIs. And therefore the cloud integration is brilliant, brilliant at doing that. Now these cloud packs, again, think of them as there’s an underlying layer that is red hat OpenShift, okay. That gives it wheels, right? Because you can take those wheels and you can run them in any cloud that you want.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (15:01):
You can run them on prem. You can run them in your private cloud. You can run them in anyone’s, any other person’s public cloud, which is why it’s proving really so interesting and attractive for customers that want the opportunity to be able to take their workload and to take their innovation where they have the opportunity, rather than saying, I’m completely locked into the cloud because I made the decision three years ago, you’ve got some new innovation that comes up in another cloud and they feel as if you don’t have access to the cloud packs, allow you to run them and you can run them. You can run them in the IBM public cloud. You can run them in a jail. You can run them on Google cloud platform. You can run them on, on AWS.
Kevin L. Jackson (15:39):
Well, I mean, that’s, that’s an important point. I mean, vendor lock-in is one of the biggest dangers of cloud computing. And I’ve always seen IBM as a system integrator, a provider of end-to-end solutions. And this IBM cloud pack seems to be the new instantiation of that end-to-end approach. Is, is that an important takeaway from things
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (16:08):
An important takeaway, because this is also an enabler for our ecosystem partners. If we talk about this 75% of workload that is yet to move to the cloud, some of that workload is written in Java. Some of it is written in even in a variety of different languages. They run on a number of different systems and clients are thinking, well, how do I get this workload out into the new world? And, you know, you can go from a monolithic application into a microservices based application that enabled you to automate, to be more agile. So you can change things much more quickly, but you can do that without necessarily making a decision about which public cloud you’re going to live in. And so you run that as a microservice on prem in your data center, or you can run that in the current public cloud that you’re using.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (16:54):
And if by necessity, you need another public cloud. And we see customers with more than five clouds in a pretty much on average, you can run those workloads in bear. So our ecosystem partners really value them because it makes it easier for them to modernize the environments in which they are. It makes them easier to take advantage of the large amounts of data that we have. It makes it easier to secure their environments, working with what’s there and what’s to come. And it makes it easier for them to carry out all sorts of automation. And again, the, what you learn through COVID is just the importance of, of automation. In fact, IBM as a unit called IBM automation, that is dedicated to basically helping hands deal with automation. And therefore this plug back support that, where they are talking about automation, of workload, of, of processes. You’re talking about automation of it. You talked about AI ops or indeed, whether you’re talking about automation, when you’re dealing with that telco customers,
Kevin L. Jackson (17:54):
I’m sorry, but this seems to be all about the integration of APIs and microservices, is this what, you know, your ecosystem partners bring a, this, the core, the innovation that drives all these solutions.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (18:11):
So what we do, so these, these, these four areas that I talked about, modernization prediction, automation, and security cover the range of different types of use cases that customers want and the IBM software, which has all been containerized all lives and works on right at open shift to get out of the cloud. Back to that, talk about provide the sort of the platform is in the platform is right at OpenShift, but they sit right on top of the red hat, open shift, allowing you to take full advantage of red hat, open shift, to build a ride, your applications that will then run in any environment. And therefore our ecosystem partners are able to rely on that to provide services to their customers.
Kevin L. Jackson (18:54):
Sorry, Scott, you were gonna say something.
Scott Luton (18:56):
So I liked that modernize, secure, predict, automate. And I think that really breaks it down. That’s what leadership’s after. And then clearly that’s what it, that’s what IBM is helping to power. And then that was to share a couple of things here from our community. Peter says, listen up, this is how it needs to be sold with a smile and excitement. It keeps one glued to the learning. How about that?
New Speaker (19:19):
Thank you, Peter. The check’s in the post.
Scott Luton (19:23):
David, David agrees, David hope this finds you well. Great to see here today. Let’s see here. Assim is also digging the information being shared and of course, Charles Walker, the one only Charles Walker is with us. Good stuff. So great to have you here with us, Charles, Assim, and David. Okay. So Kevin, where are we going next?
Kevin L. Jackson (19:44):
Well, actually I want to know exactly that. So, Dr. Mainsah, what is the future of this cloud ecosystem and your partners? Where are we going?
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (19:56):
Well, I, I think as we talked about this earlier on about what the pandemic has done, is to significantly speed up the need for digital transformation customers. We talk to customers, we talk to partners that we were wondering whether they should do projects, whether the business case was strong enough. And the questions that are being asked now is whether you can afford not to do it right. And therefore the digital transformation is, is really important for our customers right now. If you look at customers, the ability to change agility is so important. These cloud packs and the IBM software, which runs on red hat enables that we also seeing increasingly that our customers recognize a few years ago, there was a view that because cloud itself is such a big endeavor for the customer to go pick that, why would you pick more than one that you just think about the effort associated with doing all of that?
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (20:50):
And we always knew this because we know that our clients live in heterogeneous environments. It’s the hardware, it’s the services, it’s all the technology that they have. They’re wholly heterogeneous and with edge becoming more important. That’s also in fact, added another level of complexity because of the heterogeneity that is inherent in the equipment that people have out with, as you’re talking about the shop floor, or you’re talking about your retail environment, all this says that the hybrid imperative gets more important and the need to reduce time to value has never been more acute. And therefore, you know, focusing on this hybrid cloud with AI platform that accelerates time to value that improves agility for our customers and helps ecosystem partners learn the same set of skillset, and then deploy it in a range of different applications for a range of different partners is important.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (21:41):
So you’re going to see us, Kevin, really continue to focus on improving already brilliant products that we have. But I talked about many of them are household names, the sort of really high in the, in the magic quadrant, right? Focusing on improving those, making sure that our ecosystem partners and our clients don’t have to worry about that. And also that if our clients has chosen a specific public cloud, that they don’t have to have regrets, or they have had probably good reasons why they chose them, they may have been the best for their needs at the time. But if tomorrow they are no longer the best for them, for a need or they’ve got specific new needs that require a different cloud that they can use the platform that we provide, which is horizontal to bring on that other and carry out the management facility, the management of all of that workload in those environments.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (22:33):
Exactly the same way. So if you identify a good use case in one part of the geography and you then decide to deploy that in another part, and let’s say they’re using a different paradigm, they’re using a different cloud. It’s another eight months worth of work. No, you can get this done in a matter of weeks because you’ve got this red hat open shift with the cloud packs that sit on top of that. So we see this drive to continue to help our clients to be more especially our partners to to continue to work in to work closely with these cloud packs. We enabled them to bring value to their customers much more quickly as a path that we are going to be on for a long time.
Kevin L. Jackson (23:12):
Well Scott, I thought Dr. Mainsah talked a lot about artificial intelligence. I know that’s an area that you look into.
Scott Luton (23:19):
Yeah, definitely. And you know, one of the things that he’s speaking to is it is, sounds like he and the IBM team is allowing business leaders to focus on the business and not on all the technology stuff. That’s gotta, it’s gotta work. It’s gotta happen. And gosh, when you can apply that focus to the business itself and grow in the business, that’s where you can get some of the biggest gains. So I love that element to what you’re sharing Dr. Mainsah by the way, Peter says he accepts, he transfers! Just so brilliant. I love that. And I do want to ask about AI, but one of the comments here from Mitchell, he says, “we must on a mainstream level, develop our youth with an it mindset in order to overcome global competitors, such as China, VM, cloud, blockchain, all a great step forward. What is the thought on the true usability of smart contracts, considering it being basically code and not what the layman thinks of as a contract?” And any thoughts there, Dr. Mainsah?
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (24:18):
Yeah. You know, I’m not a blockchain expert. Right. But what I will say is that we’re seeing some really important use cases coming up in, in blockchain, right? The example that he talks about was this work that we’re doing, we did that with the state of New York. We’re doing that with various other states to enable people to register their vaccination status and for COVID-19 right. And because of that. So, and again, because it’s blockchain, you can be certain that the information you get is what it is because of the nature of the technology that allows you to nothing goes in the blockchain until it’s been confirmed, that it is correct. And and and you can do that without sharing your personal information. So if you went to an NBA game and you use your QR code to, which is the (inaudible) you can come in, because it only says it’s green or red, right.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (25:11):
It’s not providing any other information other than that. And, and, and that’s a really powerful blockchain use case, which you did actually Watson health, right? Digital help us, it Watson health and IBM developed. And we’ve been working with a lot of our ecosystem partners. We have some ecosystem partners that are actually going to take that technology. So not specific to these smart contracts, right. But just, you know, some blockchain applications that you see coming up again, to deal with these supply chain issues that we have at that much more prominent now, because of COVID-19, excellent points.
Kevin L. Jackson (25:45):
One thing I want to bring up, it sort of came up before the show. We were talking that, you know, some people many decision-makers see blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning as, as different things. But in reality, they all layer on top of the cloud. And in this case, the IBM cloud with red hat. So while you may not call yourself an expert in blockchain, you have to provide all of, all of that capability across all of these. I would call them applications that run on top of the cloud. How do you explain it to your customers? The word is red hat OpenShift.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (26:35):
Yes. Because the app blockchain also runs a red hat, OpenShift. IBM blockchain platform runs on red hat OpenShift, which means we can run it the IBM public cloud. And they are great reasons to run it in the IBM public cloud. But if you want to run it in any other cloud, they want to run it on prem even that’s also possible. Right. So, and that’s why I keep going back to this message about optionality, right? So, you know, okay, vendor locking is, is the term that we use. But, but the reason that’s such an issue is that it takes away from our customer’s important options that need to be open to them. What red hat OpenShift as your underlying platform does, is it allows you to eat your cake and have it. You can run it quite, it needs to run right now because those decisions that you made were right for right now, but nobody knows what the right decisions need to be a few months from now, if you years from now, and every time we take workload and we run it on red hat OpenShift, you’re basically saying I’m confirming the decision that I’ve made right now, but I leave open and I maintain the right to change my mind when it becomes necessary, because there’s a better mouse trap that runs elsewhere because they’re new processes that because they’re new legal requirements.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (27:49):
And in fact, we see, you know, these rules and regulations around privacy, the sentiment in Europe, in California, sentiment in Brazil, various other countries around the world. They’re not getting easier, they’re getting more difficult. Right. And so there might be workload currently that is running in your preferred cloud for good measure. Good reason that all of a sudden with the stroke of a pen, the new bill is signed and you have to bring it back or you have to move it elsewhere. And therefore, again, you don’t hear much talk about optionality that I think it’s really important as a business brisk management tool, right. To say, even though my decisions are now, they may not be the right ones in future, but I want to leave myself open to make the right decisions in future if I need to.
Kevin L. Jackson (28:34):
Yeah. So, so red hat OpenShift, sorta future-proofs your business within or across a hybrid and multi-cloud environment, but not just a hybrid cloud, but hybrid it where you can leverage any cloud as well as managed services and even your own traditional data center.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (28:59):
I think that is spot on absolutely spot on, I am. I am not going to try to improve perfection.
Scott Luton (29:09):
So, you know, Kevin, I love options are always good. And I love the flexibility that you’re, you’re talking about, Dr. Mainsah. And anytime I have the option of getting my cake and eating it too, I do, I do just that. I’ll share a couple of comments and then we’ll talk about, more about the, how the tech- these various technologies kind of come together and play a big part working together. It’s not one or the other Ackram says “for the third world countries where internet is slow. IBM notes workspace is a very good solution that is like cloud.” So thanks for that perspective there Ackram and then co-write Koray Kose, who’s back with us here, he says “cloud on cloud. Good for the ones that can’t decide.”
Scott Luton (29:53):
Yeah. We’ll appreciate your response to his question. He posed earlier. So thanks for being here, Mitchell. Thank you. Okay. So I want to talk, you know, more of course, all of us, unless you’ve had been buried in the sand somewhere, you know, artificial intelligence, AI machine learning IOT, you know, has been around forever. How do you see all that play in together kind of, to extend on some of your earlier responses, and then factoring in edge computing? What else would you add with these technologies that come together to form pretty powerful force?
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (30:24):
Yeah. So let me talk a little bit about AI, right? So I think there’s, there’s no question that we need to, that we’re going to be doing more AI on a go-forward basis, right? The, the, if you think about digital transformation and automation, it’s really about how you take AI and use it to make your workforce, to make the smartest, the most productive worker on your company, just like every other worker. So those ones that are not as productive, make them productive, right? And so AI has always focused on making the worker the best that they could possibly be. And it’s not one or the other aides together. And if you look at the amount of investment that needs to go into AI in a, for productivity purposes to drive innovation, to drive automation, it says that, you know, our customers will increasingly be looking for these solutions, which is why we spent such a large amount focus on driving the IBM cloud pack for data, which itself, as I said, builds the information architecture that is designed to improve your AI options.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (31:27):
Often people are saying, let me just go get AI done. But actually there’s a lot of work that you need to do around the gathering, the collection, the organization, the governance around you, around your data to make sure that you get the best, the best outcomes. And so ecosystem partners see this platforms, a platform that can really enable them solve one of those two. So if you think about in a digital transformation, you think about AI and hybrid. Those are really important trends that our customers are seeing. And they look to us to provide again, that platform to enable them to go drive these outcomes for their customers.
Scott Luton (32:04):
Again, you’re leveraging of a variety of technologies is not either, or, as you say it, which is so important. It’s such a, you know, we see survey after survey. I just saw one earlier this week on Twitter, which of these platforms, these technologies are going to make the biggest impact, but that’s, that’s a fine question. That’s really what can be accomplished. What’s the art of the possible when you, when you bring it all together and use it in a very directed, focused manner that Kevin you’re nodding your head, that’s the opportunity, right?
Kevin L. Jackson (32:32):
Right. Absolutely. I saw other surveys of senior executives and it was like almost 80 or 90% of them said, yes, we need to have artificial intelligence in our business, but 65% of them couldn’t explain the fundamentals of artificial intelligence. They didn’t really understand that. And the fact that in order to leverage or use artificial intelligence, you actually have to have data. I mean, clean data, good data, data governance. And if you don’t manage your data properly, you can’t have good artificial intelligence. Similarly data underlies the applicability and usability of, of machine learning and IOT and edge computing. And where is that data? It’s in the cloud. So you don’t have proper governance of your data in the cloud. You can’t use any of these new capabilities that you run into that back. The main stuff.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (33:42):
Indeed. And also it’s not even just the data in the cloud. It’s also in the way some people do it. It’s you know, you have to move the data and create like a data lake in order to do the work, but having technology that allows you to process and manage that data where it is, which is one of the things that’s really important to our cloud pack for data becomes really important. And you’ve got egress charges and ingress charges associated with moving data, even in cloud environments. And, and so that, so that’s one thing the other is. And so we, we deal with, and we work with the data, again, access to the data and we work with the data in place. The, the other important thing on that is what type of data are you dealing with? Are you dealing with structured data, only dealing with structured in a structured?
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (34:31):
And then there are other things around AI that are becoming really important, which is explainability, right. We hear lots of talk about bias and AI, which basically means bias in the data, which basically means the past was biased because data is a representation of the past. And do you want to propagate the bias in the past, into the future? And, and that’s why, you know, we focused on a Watson open scale, looking at the technology itself to make sure that it helps. All right. So it’s all focused on how do you manage AI environments and explainability, and some of the leadership positions that you’ve taken around the use of AI, right. They’re really useful, good force for good, but very important that we focus on on tech for good as well, which means providing a tow it to where you can make decisions based on small amounts of data, which again, is another advantage that we have with with our products, small amounts of data, to, to make good decisions. And secondly, the explainability of that, right? So that you can, at least if you identify and again, credit to the many of the companies, when people say, Hey, look, your AI did these terrible things. Well, no, the AI actually made the same decision that you usually made in the past because it’s spacing this on data.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (35:49):
So what it is doing though, it’s shining a nice light on it, so we can all see, and then we can do things differently and we can be better in the future. That’s why this era of explainability in AI is something that we focused on.
Kevin L. Jackson (36:02):
Yeah. One thing you mentioned briefly was Watson, and you’re talking about the difference between structured data and unstructured data and is optionality sort of comes into play as well. I mean, today, 80 to 90% of all the data that’s created is unstructured data, but businesses today and in the past are built on structured data. So you have to use both. And Watson is a, I think a perfect example of how the value of leveraging both structured and unstructured data in order to deliver value. Once again, that, that optionality that’s given in date. So, and thanks 2021, I sort of go back to that because I heard that you did a surface session, that it was quite it, what’s your number one takeaway, can you tell us more about that, that service session that you did?
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (37:07):
Yes. Thank you very much for that. So the, the, the service session that was really focused on giving examples of some of the things that you’re doing with our service sparklers and I had my friend Kalyan coma, who is the chief technology officer of HCL with me, basically talking about the journey that we’ve been through over the last few years as we work, they’re building a number of practices based on IBM technology. But whether it’s hybrid cloud doing lots of work with them on on the telco cloud, which, which they’re adopting and, and, and KK has been a great sponsor. So we’re talking about the journey they’ve been through IBM. Some of the support that you’ve provided, I said, my team, you know, helps our partners be our practices and solutions on our technology. So they can use that to deploy either as a managed service or they can as a solution that they present to the customer.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (38:01):
And he was talking about some of the recent customers that, that, that we’ve worked with. And and, and that we continue to work with and also talked about the cloud engagement fund. So the, again, focused on the ecosystem is such that we announced that we investing a billion dollars in the ecosystem over three year period to go drive really investment to the ecosystem partners. A lot of that goes into enablement and in hopping with them with you know, pilots and proof of concepts and, you know, funding to support modernization funding, to support replatforming, where they moving it onto red hat OpenShift, for example. And he was talking about ways in which you’ve been able to use that cloud engagement fund to really drive positive outcomes for him for, for them as a company and also for their customers.
Kevin L. Jackson (38:52):
Wow. You’ve given so much in this 2021. I mean do you have anything left for 2022?
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (39:03):
We, we have plenty, as I said, in a 75% of workload is yet to move it’s on-prem, it is complex and difficult. A lot of this is in highly regulated industries, like telco talked about telco released a cloud for telecommunications recently with more than 40 ecosystem partners and with working with them to bring them into the cloud. A lot of that workload is also is in financial services. We released the cloud for financial services, and in fact, we had a new drop at the end of March, which is really it’s an incredible cloud. And what it does really is it’s got 400 or so different financial controls built into it based upon, and again, we have, we have a Promontory assets. That’s all about risk governance and compliance will be all control controls based on what banks need. And so we’re working with a number of different banks on it.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (40:00):
We had working in a lot of different ecosystem partners. So, so if you, if you look at this from a banking position, obviously they’re subject to enormous regulation, right? Nobody wants to get a phone call from the office of the controller of the currency because you bring some control. And so they they’re looking at all of this technology. A lot of it is coming from FinTech, small ISV that they would like to consume because their customers would like it, but they are worried about the difficulty of bringing them onto the platform. So typically it could take you nine months a year, once they’ve decided they want your platform to actually get tested, become a fully paid up first-class resident of your cloud environment of your private cloud or off your data center. And so with IBM cloud for financial services, we’ve got all these controls built into it.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (40:48):
We can bring the, these ecosystem partners, these fintechs into that cloud environment. We work with the, with the banks, the banks recognize the, the work that they’ve done, they say, okay, this is just like my data centers with all the controls that are built. If you’ve got them certified in the IBM part of financial services, I’m pretty okay with that, but I’m not going to just take your word for it. And maybe I’m going to take another two months or three months or even four months, right. To do extra checks, I’m going to have consumed them. But from the bank’s perspective, they’ve just cut down the time to consumption from a year to four months to three months. And the other thing is that it’s sort of protected them from third and fourth party risk, which is, are all the issues, every worry about them.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (41:30):
They bring fintechs. And then if you look at it from the point of view of the FinTech, they knew that this process has to take a year. And if you do a year, let’s say, do that. The JP Morgan, you think you’d show up to Citibank and Citibank would say, that’s great. I see you’ve already done this at JP Morgan. Just walk right in. No. Right. They’re going to go through their own process. So that’s another year. And if you decide, you want to go to backwards bank, that’s another year. So, but again, if they go through the work, I would take them, do the work to get them on boarded onto the cloud or to the cloud for financial services. Then once they’re in, again, it’s this four month lag, right? So it’s no longer a year if it’s four months, four months. So you cut down 12 months, 12 months to four times the number of banks that you’d like to consume. So it becomes a really strong value proposition, both ways for both the banking clients who would like this technology, as well as the independent software vendors, who would like to get their ways onto the banks, where
Kevin L. Jackson (42:25):
You bring up a very important point when it comes to cloud computing, some cloud service providers highlight the importance of having a, a general cloud platform while others are looking more towards industry vertical type of, of cloud platforms. How do you come down on that discussion to the company, look at a general purpose cloud, or should it look more towards these industry vertical cloud?
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (42:59):
And I think the answer is yes, no joking aside. I think they might need both. Right. Which is why, again, why we’ve really focused again, this idea of optionality. We really want to give the customer choice and there might be good reasons why you picked a class that a cloud that’s more general purpose. But if, if you’re a financial institution, in fact, you may, you may have both. I mean, if you’re running your email or you’re running something else, that’s really not really close to anything of your core systems of record, and you feel comfortable running that in a public cloud, you may just pick the clearest one, maybe one that you already use it. But if you really going to move your workload, that has, that is subject to regulatory constraints. Then I don’t think you’re going to get too many, you know, banks or telecommunications companies or healthcare companies trying to do that.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (43:51):
And that is why we focused ourselves. Again, we think of AWS and and Microsoft, we think of them as partners, right? Because our clients have them. And we want to make sure that our clients make the best use of what they’re running on those platforms, as well as what we provide. But what we really focus our attention is providing this industry, different stations, these industry specific clouds that build on what IBM always does. Right? So our public cloud, even before the cloud for financial services has FIPs 140-2 level 4 support, which is the highest level of inner Fitz is federal information processing standard. It’s the highest level of, of certification that you can get for security, right? And we’ve, we’ve always had that. Why because, you know, IBM set up, we do security. And so we go on this, the fact that in a way I’ve always been real focused on the enterprise and therefore real enterprise grade.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (44:47):
The fact that security is really in our DNA and the fact that open and openness in our DNA. And so you get all of this across a basic cloud, but you also have all of that, then that can be cloud for financial services, then builds on top of that. And so we’ll pick areas. So we have great differentiation and great specialization, and that’s what we put our energy. But the expectation is that our clients will use that and they may use something else. But for your mission, critical workload, you’d want it running here. The same idea for the (inaudible) competitions.
Kevin L. Jackson (45:20):
All right, sorry. You’re I could go on and on talking to you about this, but audience would probably go to sleep if they’re not already gone to sleep, they’re in an African all around the world, but I’d like to do something I’m sorry. But on a sort of a personal note, I know that diversity and inclusion is a real passion of yours as it is mine. And we’re kind of, you know, running out of time here, but I understand you work a lot to elevate, you know, diversity inclusion at IBM as a co-chair of the black executive council. Can you tell us more about the work you do as part of that council?
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (46:04):
Thank you, Kevin, for asking that question. I think elevate overstates my role, right. So for sure, let’s get down to basics, but yeah, so I was co-chair of the black constituency in IBM. In fact, I stepped down at the end of last year and I’ve got a guy called Maurice Blackwood who runs that now together with Kitty Chenere, they are the two co-chairs of the, of the community of that black constituency. And, and they they’re doing unbelievable work, but this work is sort of personal to me. And it’s personal to me first of all, as a black man, right? But you, you, you face lots of steps that you’re going to get over a lot of the time, sometimes discrimination, sometimes it’s meant sometimes it’s not. And, but the good, I talked to you about a joke.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (46:51):
I said, I came to IBM 23 years ago, and I thought he was never going to last and here I am. And the reason I’m still here is that the, you know, IBM has always had a real focus on diversity and inclusion. And the- and the reason is very simple. And we go back, we have stories going back to the 1920s, you know, how we had, and again, it’s across the board, whether it be a disabled people, whether it’s hiring and promoting women, whether it’s what do you call policy led to number four, where we basically issued in, in one of the states in the U S basically saying, we’re going to treat all of our workers exactly the same way, by the way, it was illegal to do that in that, because it was, they had the separate but equal policy at time, we did it anyway, because that’s what IBM does.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (47:35):
So and then you can come back to recent. I mean, you’ll see us filing Amicus briefs in support of various numbers of, of causes, whether they against LGBTQ, whether there was a bathroom laws and more recently support for our Asian community who have been subject to huge abuse in the United States for which we regret. And we are all together on that. And then of course you have the George Floyd murder last year, the killing last year, which led to a series of, of conversations inside IBM about basically saying, you know, we’ve always done this. We’ve always prided ourselves on our focus on this, but could we do better? And of course, if everybody asks that question again, even with our track record, of course we could do better. So, I mean, we had a senior executive sponsor as a senior vice president who worked really hard to bring the community together.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (48:25):
We engage in a lot of conversations about what we could do and what we should do better. And, you know, there’s nothing better when it comes to diversity because diversity generally is about ignorance. And therefore just having these conversations and understanding, you know, different viewpoints and the lived experiences of some of our employees was really energizing for the community they felt heard. And and also I think energizing for the rest of the rest of our employees as well. And we kept that, you know and I can cite a number of different things that you’ve done in the time we’ve got a tech for good initiative. We’ve got initiative is focused around how you engage more black owned businesses. We’ve got initiatives around how you or you help with the talent pipeline. You know, we announced a number of you know, with P tech, which is stands for pathways of technology early college, high schools and initiative was started in Brooklyn first.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (49:22):
It’s now in tens of states we’ve got tens of thousands of students in the pipeline. It’s a six year high school where we basically, and us and others, again, ecosystem is really important. I can’t do it alone. Working with ecosystem partners to help set the curriculum, provide internships for the students. We’re increasing the number of internships, I think it’s 1000 or 2000, someone’s going to tell me it’s 2000, internships that they’re going to do it. So it, so, so diverse has always been really important. And it’s not just the black community. I want to state here. We have, you know, LGBTQ, we have women as a constituency. We have people with disabilities, we have the broad range. And one of my favorite pictures of this is a professor at Stern called Kenji Yoshino. And he wrote a book called covering. And it basically discusses this idea that in a way, all in one way or the other outsider, right, that’s maybe all overstates it, but most of us are, maybe you’re hiding the fact that a few got depression, right?
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (50:28):
Maybe if I hide the fact that you’re in the military, oh, you in the military, maybe you’re hiding the fact that you’re a bit overweight, whatever it is that you are. And the, the way that we try to look at this as how do you help every employee to show up as they are, right? Cause nobody does their best work when you’re pretending to be somebody else. And so, and that’s why I think IBM takes this view of, you know, roundabout looking at it. And we think it’s a talent issue, right? Because if we are an innovation company, that’s what you do for a living. That’s why we’re still here after more than a hundred years as an it company. If you’re not in your company every 10 years, you’re gone. Right. So, so, and, and how do you innovate? You innovate with people and what really drives innovation. It while it’s different experiences, different lived experiences, different cultures, different backgrounds, different perspectives come together and you create magic. But of course it’s also the right thing to do,
Kevin L. Jackson (51:21):
Right? The two things that I think are more important than anything is that appreciating everyone’s independent worldview, and then leveraging that as a team, the African proverb, you know, it takes a village. So you all have to work as a village to create a future. Scott, I know you probably have comments on that.
Scott Luton (51:43):
This last segment is as much as I’ve enjoyed the whole conversation. This last segment is my favorite and, and, and it deserves hours and hours of, of not just dialogue, but, but action and deeds, because it’s deeds, not words, that’s how we’re going to bridge these, these, these gaps and lift all people up to your point Dr. Mainsah. So I love it. I really admire your passion, both of y’all’s passion here. I admire the actions and, you know, as you put it, Dr. Mainsah, if, gosh, if IBM can do better every company, but it’d be looking at itself to figure out how they can do more and more and more. And by the way we got plenty of t-shirt-isms in, in this last segment. Kevin, a couple of our team pointed out that Dr. Mainsah has said, “nobody does her best work when they’re trying to be somebody else.”
Scott Luton (52:31):
And then how do you innovate? Of course you innovate with people as Dr. Mainsah said and that’s where the beauty of it, that both of you are speaking to the beauty of differences and views and differences and experiences and journeys and how you view things. You know me and my brother spent some time together in Atlanta and, and pointed something out as we were driving past it. And downtown, I said, man, that reminds me of, of some cartoon character. And my brother looked at that and said, how in the world do you get to that from this structure? That really, I’ll never forget that because that really illustrates just how different brothers can look at it, much less the world. And that’s where real good ideas that change the world come from. So Dr. Mainsah, we’re going to have to, Kevin, we’re gonna have to have him back and we’ll dive deeper into this, this topic, right?
Kevin L. Jackson (53:18):
Oh yeah, absolutely. We’re going to have to do it a two hour livestream. But, but you know, as we come to the end, unfortunately, we have a huge audience here, how could they reach out to you and to learn more? And, and I mean, you’ve given such great insight and such great words.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (53:38):
Well, thank you so much, Kevin. I think LinkedIn is the best you can reach me. I’m pretty active on LinkedIn and I do respond so please, message me, just reach out to me on LinkedIn. And I really appreciate the feedback and the comments coming through. Really appreciate that.
Kevin L. Jackson (53:57):
Oh, well, I know from experience that you are very approachable, so thank you. Thank you very much. And I really enjoyed this conversation.
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah (54:07):
Thank you. It’s been my pleasure entirely. Yeah, the huge thanks.
Scott Luton (54:12):
Dr. Evaristus Mainsah, a pleasure to have you. We look, we admire all that you’re doing and your, and your, your action focused leadership. And we look forward to having you back here really soon. Thanks so much. Thank you.
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Dr. Evaristus Mainsah is General Manager, IBM Hybrid Cloud & Edge Ecosystem. In this role he leads the IBM ecosystem team working with technology hardware manufacturers, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), and Global Systems Integrators (GSIs) to put his partners first and enable them to deliver value to their clients by taking advantage of IBM’s hybrid multicloud platform. This includes offerings such as Red Hat OpenShift, the IBM Cloud Platform, the highly differentiated Financial Services ready public Cloud including the ISV partners that are certified on it, and IBM’s Telco and enterprise 5G/Edge ecosystem. In his prior Commercial Model role was responsible for working across the entire Cloud & Cognitive Software Unit, engaging with offering leaders, sales leaders and finance teams to develop a set of models and recommendations rooted in market practice for driving subscription revenue growth. Some of those are now being implemented. His prior assignment was in IBM Global Financing where he served as General Manager, Global Asset Recovery Services, IBM. In that role he is responsible for optimizing the financial recovery of IBM’s leased asset portfolio and IBM’s excess inventory worldwide. Evaristus leds worldwide sales and reverse logistics operations to maximize reuse of returned inventory and to remarket and dispose of IT equipment in retail, wholesale and liquidation secondary markets globally. This business delivered about $2B in internal placements and $740M in revenue in 2015. In addition to remarketing, the GARS organization encompasses IBM reverse logistics worldwide: refurbishment, repair, remanufacturing, dismantling, transportation and warehousing, as well as environmentally compliant and sustainable disposition strategies for IBM and client-owned equipment. Prior to this, Evaristus was General Manager, Client Financing, responsible for the development and sale of financial offerings that assist clients in their acquisition of hardware, software and services solutions – in about 60 countries. In 2015, the Client Financing line of business generated $1.1B in revenue and with $38 B in assets. Before that he was General Auditor of IBM. In that role he was responsible for providing the IBM Board of Directors and senior management with an independent, objective assessment of IBM’s system of internal controls, guidance in managing control risks, as well as investigations regarding allegations of fraud and violations of business conduct guidelines. From 2010 to 2013 he was IBM Assistant Treasurer – responsible for global treasury centres, treasury transformation, business controls and risk management. He is also responsible for the IBM’s International Treasury Centre in Dublin. Prior to this role, he was Executive Assistant to the Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, IBM and served for a short period as CFO of Enterprise Initiatives and Cloud Computing. From July 2007 to 2008, he was Director of Commercial Financing for IBM Global Financing (IGF), responsible for all Commercial Financing operations across Europe including Russia, the Middle East and Africa – and based out of London. Evaristus holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia Business School (’04), a Ph.D. in Engineering, an M.Sc. in Manufacturing Technology and a B.Sc in Computer Science & Electronic Engineering all from the University of Birmingham, UK. Evaristus is co-chair of the Board of Trustees of the IBM UK Pension Fund and serves on the Investment Committee. He serves on the Board of two non-profits – the King Baudouin Foundation, United States (KBF-US) and of Taconic Opera (NY). Connect with Evaristus on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Data Analytics and Metrics Intern
Patch is a fourth-year Management Information Systems and Marketing major at the University of Georgia. He is working with Supply Chain Now in data analysis, finding insights and best practices to increase company efficiency. Patch previously worked as an intern at AnswerRocket, a data analytics company where he gained invaluable knowledge about analytics, webpage SEO and B2B marketing best practices. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, going to concerts, and watching movies.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Host of TEKTOK
If there’s one Supply Chain ‘Pro to Know,’ it’s Karin. She’s earned the title for three years and counting – culminating in her designation as the “2020 Supply Chain Pro to Know of the Year.” Karin is also an award-winning digital supply chain, business strategy and technology marketing executive. A sought-after speaker at industry conferences, you will find her quoted in a variety of supply chain publications – and active in forums like ASCM/APICS and CSCMP.
With more than 25 years of supply chain experience, Karin spearheaded strategy and marketing for Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader and IDC MarketScape Leader, Logility. Karin has the heart of a teacher and has helped nearly 1,000 customers transform their businesses and tell their success stories. Today, she is a sought-after advisor helping high-growth B2B technology companies with everything from defining their unique value propositions to introducing new products and capturing customer success. No matter their goals, she makes sure her clients have actionable marketing strategies that help grow global revenue, market share and profitability.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is transitioning from active duty in the US Army. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Jeff Miller is the host of Supply Chain Now’s Supply Chain is the Business. Jeff is a digital business transformation and supply chain advisor with deep expertise in Industry 4.0, ERP, PLM, SCM, IoT, AR and related technologies. Through more than 25 years of industry and consulting experience, he has worked with many of the world’s leading product and service companies to achieve their strategic business and supply chain goals, creating durable business value for organizations at the forefront of technology and business practices. Jeff is the managing director for North America at Transition Technologies PSC, a global solution integrator, and the founder and managing principal of BTV Advisors, a firm that helps companies secure business transformation value from digital supply chain technologies and their breakthrough capabilities.
Chief Marketing Officer
Amanda is a marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In 2016, Amanda founded and grew the Magnolia Marketing Group into a successful digital media firm, and now she develops modern marketing strategies, social campaigns, innovative operational processes, and implements creative content initiatives for Supply Chain Now. But that’s just the beginning of her supply chain impact. Amanda also served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah for several years, and is the face behind the scenes welcoming you to every Supply Chain Now livestream! She was also recently selected as one of the Top 100 Women in Supply Chain by Supply Chain Digest and IBM. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now marketing team, you can find Amanda with her and her husband Scott’s three kids, in the kitchen cooking, or reading.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.