Digital Transformers
Episode 21

Senior executives must be properly trained, and they need to be educated on how to evaluate, select and manage cloud services. This process is not limited to the IT team. To be cost effective, and to have secure cloud operations, no matter the industry, you have to have it managed and understood by every critical business process, because going to cloud -- or cloud strategy -- will affect every one of your processes.

-Kevin L. Jackson, Host, Digital Transformers

Episode Summary

Everything seems possible in the cloud — including promising new applications for artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and blockchain in healthcare, education, manufacturing, entertainment and beyond. But how can you make sure your implementation goes smoothly? Who should be involved in the selection process for cloud service providers? Are these new technologies only viable at the enterprise level — or is there room for SMB? If you’ve ever asked any of these questions, you’re in luck. In this episode, Kevin joins forces with Samer Mahmoud, Dr. Mahmoud Barraj and moderator Lee Alcorn for a panel in partnership with MENA Cloud Alliance. Hear their expert views on all these questions and more — and get practical advice for getting started on deriving real business value from convergence solutions.

Episode Transcript

Intro/Outro (00:01):

Welcome to Digital Transformers. The show that connects you with what you need to build, manage, and operate your digital supply chain. Join your host in a timely discussion on new and future business models with industry leading executives. The show will reveal global customer expectations, real world of employment challenges, and the value of advanced business technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, and robotic process engineering. And, now we bring you Digital Transformers.

Kevin L. Jackson (00:43):

Hello, everybody. This is Kevin L. Jackson, host of Digital Transformers, and welcome to 2022. On the Chinese Zodiac, 2022 is a year of the tiger, which signifies a time for making big changes, a year of risk taking and adventure. I’ve personally seen that businesses are finding enthusiasm again for both their professional and personal lives. Everyone is fired up and that includes the entire digital transformers team. In 2022, we welcome back our inaugural sponsor, Total Network Services, who has kicked off the year with a recent feature in smart industry magazine online on how their blockchain enabled network device security service is helping manufacturers meet the internet of things security challenge. We’re also excited to announce our newest sponsor, AT&T Business, who will be regularly featured on a video podcast this year. We are also proud to work this year with the Middle East and North Africa Cloud Alliance, better known as MENACA. This organization is a nonprofit vendor neutral industry association with a focus on strengthening local cloud markets by leveraging a unique community of major players within the Middle East and North African regional technology ecosystem.

Kevin L. Jackson (02:21):

This January 2022 video podcast features the advanced technology convergence panel from their recent road show in Qatar. The panelists discussed any other things, blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation, and innovation at scale. Please listen to Dr. Mahmoud Barraj of the Middle East Artificial Intelligence Foundation; Lee Allcorn, Temenos Director of Software as a Service Middle East and Africa; Samer Mahmoud, Senior Manager Solutions Architecture at Amazon Web Services; and me, Kevin L. Jackson, as we discussed disruptive ideas and groundbreaking insights into the Middle East Regional and Qatari cloud ecosystem. Thank you for kicking off your new year with Digital Transformers.

Lee Allcorn (03:24):

My name is Lee Allcorn. I’m the moderator of today’s panel, where we’re going to talk about the role of cloud with these emerging technologies. And I have some fantastic, fantastic panelists to join me today. So, gentleman, we can go around to just briefly introduce ourselves, to maximize our time and I go around. And, Samer, would you like to start, just like to say hello to everyone and introduce yourself?

Samer Mahmoud (03:45):

Sure. Thank you, Lee. Hello, everyone. So, my name is Samer Mahmoud. I’m based out of UAE, Dubai. I work for AWS. I’m leading the Solution Architecture Team for product sector, working closely with our customer and product sector in the region.

Lee Allcorn (03:58):

Brilliant. Thank you, Samer. And, Kevin, good morning, I think.

Kevin L. Jackson (04:04):

Yes. Good morning. Good early morning. How are you doing today? Kevin Jackson. I am the host of Digital Transformers on Supply Chain Now. Also, I’m technologist and a consultant, helping organizations leverage all cloud computing and all the technologies that are built on top of cloud. Thank you for having me.

Lee Allcorn (04:26):

Brilliant. Thank you, Kevin. And, bit closer to home, Dr. Mahmoud.

Dr. Mahmoud Barraj (04:30):

Thank you so much. My name is Mahmoud Barraj, founder of the AI Foundation Middle East. So, what we do is we are an AI research company by heart. We have business leaders is across different verticals, map applications, and applications of AI to help them basically develop and validate winning AI strategies. Thank you for having me.

Lee Allcorn (04:51):

Thank you, Dr. Mahmoud, and I really look forward to your insight. And, just to finish up with myself. So, as well as moderating panels, which seems to be a bit of full-term role lately, my role is I run cloud for Temenos. We just do banking software, so I run the cloud part of Temenos here in the Middle East.

Lee Allcorn (05:09):

And so, let’s get going with today’s panels. I know how these sessions work. There’s going to be lots of conversation. I know we’re going to have, you know, a lot of interaction. We’re pretty [inaudible] but I’m going to straight into it. And, Kevin, [inaudible], okay. So, it’s the first time we’ve actually interacted, Kevin. So, I’m really, really look good to what you’re going to come across with. So, now we’re talking here about cloud and, but specifically how some of these new technologies can work with cloud and clearly in the context of Qatar, right?

Lee Allcorn (05:35):

So, I want to keep everything in the context as we can as local as we can to Qatar. So, one of the things, when you adopt any technology and you put it in the cloud is you’re sort of giving up control a lot of the time, right? You’re giving up control of how things are running and how things are operating. You know, how do customers keep some sort of control? And, I think that’s particularly, you know, concerning when we talk about things like AI technologies, you know. So, what’s your thoughts on this? And, you know, how do you think, you know, customers can deal with this challenge?

Kevin L. Jackson (06:03):

Well, first I’d like to challenge you on that you don’t give up control. In fact, it’s important for you to realize that you still have the responsibility. So, the first step is to do proper due diligence before you trust your data or any of your business processes to a cloud service provider. And, in my experience, this is the really – the first step, lack of proper due diligence in just about every security incident trail of events. This is what you see in failed cloud deployment. The root cause of the era normally lack of proper formal training on cloud technology, service models, and economic models. Consuming a cloud service is very, very different from a traditional IT organization’s role of buying and implementing technology. You are consuming technology services. So, it’s a false assumption that the cloud service provider will shoulder all of the responsibilities for meeting your requirements, policies, and expectations.

Kevin L. Jackson (07:22):

The only responsibility that the CSP has is to deliver their services in accordance with the published service level agreement. You know, people don’t like hearing this, but your requirements mean just about nothing to the cloud service provider, really. I mean, they have built the infrastructure. They have designed the service to target a specific customer set. If you happen to be in that customer set, great. If you are not, it’s your fault. So, failure to ensure that the published SLA is sufficient to meet your organization’s IT policies and operational requirements is your responsibility. That’s where you keep control. So, failure to ensure that all the required data security and privacy controls are available and that your organization has the proper processes in place to continually monitor the effectiveness of those controls is your responsibility. And, that’s how you maintain control.

Lee Allcorn (08:39):

You know what, Kevin, I couldn’t agree with that more. In fact, and we didn’t rehearse that answer. And if I was to write a script what I would like you to have said there, that be new. And, I spent my life working on contracts with clients for banking software, right, which is the most regulated strictest piece of, I think, of any, maybe other than military’s pretty much strict to get in the IT business. And, it is all about clients understanding what that service is and what they don’t, you know, what they give up is in the contract. So, literally, you can have said that any better. So, yeah. Thank you.

Lee Allcorn (09:15):

The piece I’ll add is that most decent cloud providers give a level of contractual protection around governance, right? So, what you can change, what you can’t change, what you can do. And, I think that’s a bit to, really, focus on because even if you’re not sure if you’ve got the service right, or what can you adapt as you learn yourself as you go on, you know, what’s in that [inaudible] because there’s some sort of contractual change in the earth, so brilliant. Absolutely, brilliant.

Lee Allcorn (09:36):

So, Dr. Mahmoud, I’m going to pick on you now, if I may, sort of extending from that. But I am saying Dr. Mahmoud – is it – do I address you as doctor? Or do you like just Mahmoud?

Dr. Mahmoud Barraj (09:48):

Mahmoud is better. Mahmoud is better.

Lee Allcorn (09:49):

Okay. Mahmoud. I like the doctor title. [Inaudible] Mahmoud for familiarity. So, now, if we’re talking about technologies like AI and blockchain, ML, who, as in function-wise, should be evaluating these from a crowd perspective? Is it just an IT decision to look at these? You know, what’s your view on who in customers should be looking at these technologies?

Dr. Mahmoud Barraj (10:14):

Well, actually this is great question, Lee. That’s basically one of the most recurrent questions that we receive from different clients across different verticals. So, question is like, who shall lead on the evaluation process, who should be part of the team, or is the best team composition and what have you? So, basically, AI has the biggest impact when it’s developed by cross-functional teams with a mix basically of perspectives and skills. So, when you have a business and operational work side by side with technical expertise, you’d find the best results. So, initiatives address, broad organizational priorities other than just isolating business issues. That’s really damaging the full process of the ideal deployment of AI project or initiative. So, just, also it’s worth noting that it, of course, depends on the size of the business, the nature of the business and the scope of the AI initiative at hand.

Dr. Mahmoud Barraj (11:19):

But, in a general sense, the general take, I would suggest basically a team composition of an executive sponsor. And this guy is basically responsible of – it shows that there’s a management by end towards the AI projects to ensure that these initiatives will be successful. And, also this role entails the executive sponsor to ensure that it’s aligned to the organizational objective system architect as well. A data engineer is normally over overlooked. I believe it’s one of the most important role within an AI team composition. They are responsible of keeping the quality of the data in check. I mean, the value output is as good as the input. So, this shows how important the role is. A data scientist, of course, who is responsible of developing or finding patterns within the data and basically generating insights from those systems. And last, and as important I believe, is the business side, the frontline managers or front frontline leaders, which basically they make business sense or economic to the organization and through those AI initiatives.

Dr. Mahmoud Barraj (12:36):

So, in my opinion, this will basically accelerate adoption and reduce resistance for the initiative to kind of succeed.

Lee Allcorn (12:47):

Absolutely, 100% on your page. And, you know, you took that executive sponsor. I’ve made notes here, data scientist, client architect, and the business sponsor. I think you covered it brilliantly there. And, from certainly my experience, if you don’t have those four functions, either the project never gets signed in a contracted form or it does get contracted [inaudible], it never gets adopted. Just to extend, I know I didn’t ask you this beforehand, but just to extend on that a little bit, if a customer doesn’t have those skills, particularly thinking about data science, right. You know, they’ll have a business sponsor, like everyone have an executive sponsor, but data scientists may be quite client architect. They don’t have those skills internally. You might have a bias opinion on this, but can they pull those skills in?

Dr. Mahmoud Barraj (13:25):

That’s the thing. I mean, it depends again on the nature and the size of the organization that we’re talking about. If it’s a large organization, I believe they should have the human capital in order to kind fill this position. If it’s an SME or a small kind of size company, I believe some of those, [inaudible] the executive sponsor could work, could have different hats. If he’s working in tech or he’s working retailer, he can basically – the data engineer could find – because those titles are fairly new and there’s a lot of commonalities across most of the titles or most of the operations, but the composition which I gave is basically directed towards large organizations. When it comes to smaller organizations, you can combine overlap certain task.

Lee Allcorn (14:21):

Yeah. Okay. Brilliant. And, I think often, and also the reality, I think, you know, [inaudible] you may not have all these schools anyway, locally, so that that’s a brilliant answer. So, Samer, so we have the what with Kevin, we’ve had the sort of who with Mahmoud. So, I’m going to go and talk to you about how a little bit, you know. You know, how do you see companies leveraging and adopting AI and, you know, who’s getting first mover advantage and what’s the use case? Can you talk me through your thoughts on there?

Samer Mahmoud (14:48):

Yeah, sure. So, technology in general, we know that technology in general enabled consolidation and it shifts power. We saw this happening multiple times, and once consolidation happen and power shifts, the barrier to entry is very high for competitors, so, whoever started with this. And, AI is not any different. AI is still part of the technology enablers that can lead to consolidation and at the same time to the shifting powers. So, the competition game is not a leapfrog anymore. The moment you have the first mover powered by AI and other technology, it’s very hard to catch up with you. Very quick example. We know this physically happens with libraries, so very less people now go to library to do research. They go to Google or to any search engine to find that information they’re looking for, and it’s happened in the automotive way before also.

Samer Mahmoud (15:38):

So, shifting powers is very important. If I take this and put in the AI context, it’s – and I take one use case, which is image processing for healthcare. So, processing MRI images or x-ray images, the future where we, it looks like we’re going towards, it’ll be two to three big centers or AI algorithm, what will be able to process the image and provide the feedback to the consumers as a service. So, it’s not [inaudible] these scattered centers where they are doing all of this. Now, if we take one step back and look more into a little bit more details about how this cycle is happening, one of the great practices in recent IT technology is the DevOps. So, DevOps is the ability to update your code and your application way more frequent than what we used to do before. And, in some cases, some organization, they can send updates every 10 seconds or even every 1000 updates a day.

Samer Mahmoud (16:37):

And, definitely they don’t do this for the sake of just doing this. There’s an effect of Flywheel behind that. So, they do the updates so they have a better application. If they have a better application, they have more users. And the moment they have more users, they actually have more data. That’s where the magic happens, is they having and collecting data because the moment they have the data, which is the most important input to AI and machine learning, that’s where they can create this barrier and maximize on this barrier. And once the Flywheel end, it’s keep moving.

Samer Mahmoud (17:11):

So data itself, it doesn’t happens intrinsic value unless you take it and work on it and try to get something out of it. And, the key magic ingredient here is technically your own data. Because many organizations, they can rely on open data, they can rely on buying data, but what gives you the actual advantage is your own data. And that’s how everybody’s trying to go and do.

Lee Allcorn (17:36):

Brilliant. And, I’m going to pick up on a few points you said there. Healthcare, DevOps, and your own data were the three sort of big things I took out what you just said there. I mean, if the healthcare industry doesn’t adopt it first than known, well, I really do believe that, and it’s outside of my field of expertise, but that’s where the need is. Often healthcare has the desire and the money to fund these things in many case. DevOps, because it is a simple, easy way to start and learn for all industries, for sure. And, I love your point on data. It’s definitely on my personal expertise, but, you know, building these models on your own data surely has to give you leaps and frogs and bounds of advantage. So, thanks, Samer, that’s very useful.

Lee Allcorn (18:15):

So, I’m going to go from one extreme to the other. Kevin, I’m going to come back to you and you’re on mute, Kevin, by the way. Kevin, I’m going to go from one extreme to the other now. So, [inaudible] first mood advantage and probably makes it easier to get going. That’s where it might be a bit harder. Let’s talk about what really regulated industries, you know governments, banking. Can these guys really adopt cloud for emerging technologies in Qatar? You know, what’s your view there? I’d love to hear that.

Kevin L. Jackson (18:41):

Well, absolutely, yes. Highly regulated in industries can certainly adopt cloud technologies but, you know, senior management must absolutely must complete two crucial enabling task. The first, and I’m taking a risk here of repeating myself, but senior executives must be properly trained and they need to be educated on how to evaluate, select, and manage cloud services. This process is not limited to the IT team to be cost effective and to have secure cloud operations no matter to industry. This, you have to have it managed and understood by every critical business process because going to the cloud or cloud strategy will affect every one of your processes. This includes acquisition, legal, governance, project management, budgetary management, and revenue recognition, where everybody’s really important. And, second, industry regulators and stakeholders must be made fully aware of the significant differences between traditional enterprise, IT service model, and an enterprise cloud IT service consumption model. The organization must ensure that they are fully briefed on their differences. I’m talking about the regulators and the stakeholders within your industry vertical, and they need to have agreed to modify or even in some cases, eliminate regulations or laws, because the previous laws and regulations were designed with a different world view. And this also establishes some different expectations that may conflict with the cloud IT service model. So, these two aspects need to be addressed by senior management. Once senior management has the understanding of the policy holders, the regulators, and other important stakeholders in the ecosystems, then go to cloud.

Lee Allcorn (21:19):

Yeah. Absolutely. I love that the two themes there, one of let’s get educated especially we’re a bunch of old timers on this call. We are all in a similar situation, but we think we know everything, but we probably don’t. Right? So, we get to, you know, be humble enough to learn. And the point you pick that’s really close to my own heart is regulators. Regulators really need to try and say yes instead of saying no first. You know, how can we say yes to doing things as opposed to a speaker conservative is saying no, and hope it goes away in the future. Right? Let’s really try and work things up. And, I think that’s down to us on this call, it’s down to our clients to help the regulators, get them on that journey. So, thank you, Kevin. That’s really good [inaudible].

Kevin L. Jackson (21:59):

Absolutely. It’s important to have a conversation with the regulators, and this is a two-way dialogue.

Lee Allcorn (22:13):

Hundred percent. And so, I’m going to extend that conversation again. I like this is just flowing beautifully and I didn’t plan for this, but, you know, Mahmoud. And now, sort of bringing that down close to home, Qatar, and you know, where can you see the biggest actual use cases? We talked about a bit like industry with healthcare, and we’ve talked about some of the barriers, maybe some of the regulators, but in all practicality that you’re going to have on this call will be people from all sorts of industries, all sorts of sides. And where would you go, hey, here are the big use cases, right? There are the use cases we should be going after. What would you say?

Dr. Mahmoud Barraj (22:47):

So, basically yes, true – I mean, the idea of AI is still in its infancy globally. And, like Kevin was saying, it’s very much – everyone needs to be educated on this front, whether it’s business leaders or executives, board members. Everyone should kind of educate themselves when comes to AI. Because it’s basically revolutionizing every discipline that we know whether it’s healthcare, education, sports, media, I mean. And, for Qatar, it’s basically you’d find AI applications across more sectors. And, probably, we find from customer support chatbots to industrial robots. So, it’s across the board. More specifically, when it comes to AI domain I see more, for 2022, AI domains, like machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, image processing, like we said healthcare, government, sports, education media, [inaudible], they’re implementing major use cases, cyber security, as well is a hefty one in Qatar.

Dr. Mahmoud Barraj (24:05):

So, on an education level, you find like several use cases, including like recently Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, they have a branch here in Qatar. So, they’re utilizing at artificial intelligence and the fleet of autonomous robots to better explore and basically graph the marine environment around Qatar. [Inaudible] Corporation’s speaking about healthcare. They’re doing [inaudible] on this front as well a lot of things in the pipeline when it comes to radiology, pathology  and the list goes on and on. Aspetar Hospital, which is basically for sports and athletes hospital, they’re using prevention cases, Aspire Sports Academy as well. [Inaudible] use cases like to not understand utilizing machine learning to help athletes basically understand the right posture at the right moment when they are playing. And, recently, just recently, FIFA is basically testing an AI supported offsite technology for the Arab during the Arab World Cup, now it’s happening here in Qatar.

Dr. Mahmoud Barraj (25:12):

So, it sends like an instant message to the referee and the referee makes a decision whether it’s a correct goal by the AI system or not. So, it’s still investing phase. But I see it being realized very soon. Al Jazeera, the media giant as well, I mean, they’re utilizing in certain areas of their own businesses. [Inaudible], like for example, content moderation, just to make sure they are compliant with the international standards.

Dr. Mahmoud Barraj (25:44):

So, I mean, the list goes on and on and, but particularly answering your question, those are the key industries. I still insist that most like retail also, they’re embracing, probably in a slower momentum, but their attention is there. And, I see them embracing as well very soon.

Lee Allcorn (26:04):

That’s surprised me. I’m going to – so that surprised me about the retail statement there. And, I wonder if that’s a local nuance. I mean, I’m not a retail expert, but it feels like as a consumer, I guess, that if anything retail’s one of the faster adopters, but, and I’m going to pick on you Mahmoud a little bit here. So, if you were to advise, and maybe Samer and Kevin chip in after, but if you were advising the government of Qatar, you know, to the 2022 focus or encourage and these three things around AI and ML have the biggest impact next year, what would those three things be?

Dr. Mahmoud Barraj (26:38):

Healthcare. Again, because I mean the AI applications and applications on healthcare is – although, I mean, like I said, a medical hospital they’re doing really big advancements on this front, but I believe there’s also a lot of space to fill. Sports as well. I mean, the world cup is coming. There is a lot on ground operations that can be automated utilizing AI for their own good. This will ensure optimization of the resources. Education. I mean, we also – I came across one of my clients. We had a discussion. They are also testing. This is just in a testing phase. They’re testing like early a detection kind of AI software to identify possibility of mental disorders for kids at an early stage. So, again, this is a testing phase. I mean, if this pulls off, this is an amazing, I think. Because, you know, when it comes to mental disorder or ADHD or autism, if you early, if you catch, or if you manage to understand or locate the student’s struggling, you can help them early on in the position or devise a solution for him at an early stage. So, yeah, that’s basically –

Lee Allcorn (28:04):

Education, sports, healthcare. Kevin, you want to chip in?

Kevin L. Jackson (28:08):

Yeah, sure. I’m going to say something that people may not really realize and this is an entertainment. You may not know that as you are consuming content, there’s AI evaluating you as a consumer and maybe actually changing what’s being delivered to you based upon your needs, your wants, or what they want you to think and what they want you to want. So, entertainment is actually leveraging AI in a big way.

Kevin L. Jackson (28:45):

The other area is in smart manufacturing and smart factories. Computer vision is being used with AI and the internet of things in order to improve efficiency, reduced waste, and reduced cost. This is really changing the economic model in the manufacturing industry. And, once again, that’s something that’s sort of behind the scenes that you may not realize.

Kevin L. Jackson (29:16):

And, the third thing that’s sort of CPS is AI that’s being used in data processing. Okay. Trying to determine what data is important, what data is not important based upon the goals of the organization, and then picking that data, processing it and delivering it. One of the important aspects ethically is really the biased, data biased, and biased in the AI process itself. This is a big issue.

Lee Allcorn (29:56):

Yeah. It is. And I, you know, that entertainment point I’m going to pick on specifically because media – well, Qatar and media got a very successful industry in media that’s born locally, but running globally. So, I think that one really resonates for sure. Samer, any extra comments for you on that topic?

Samer Mahmoud (30:13):

Just a quick comment. So, probably we spoke about this, Lee, and I’m a big fan of AI in healthcare. So, because simply we know many of the diseases that human being faces are very easy to deal with if they have been detected early and that’s exactly what AI can help with and save a lot of pain for our love one.

Samer Mahmoud (30:35):

Another one I will actually second Kevin on is the manufacturing and AI. So, we know that many of the manufacturing has happened using robots, part of the automation and the 4.0 industry revolution and manufacturing, but what AI is giving the robots now. So, most of the robots in the manufacturing industry and the production lines what we call are blind robots. They only follow what exactly they are programed to do. They don’t make decisions by themselves. AI is making them smart, and not only blind, they can even take extra steps and do extra stuff by being empowered to make decisions on the production line. So, definitely two key areas.

Samer Mahmoud (31:13):

And the last one, probably I second also Mahmoud on that, which is very important, is education. So, the same way works for entertainment. So, what data is being collected to provide you with the next best movie to watch, it’s same works in education. So, there’s a lot of content in education. A lot of data get collected from the students and propose what next would be best for the student.

Lee Allcorn (31:37):

Excellent. Thanks. And, I hope the audience, we can’t see the audience, but I hope those scribbling notes because you all came up with very good use cases. And actually there’s a lot of overlap there between, and so I’m hoping that Qatar audience go “That was me, that was my use case.” I’m going to, yeah, follow up. It’s very good.

Lee Allcorn (31:52):

So, my last question is to you, Samer, well, actually we got one more point [inaudible] with Samer, back to you, I guess, is, you know, machine learning, AI, is it for everyone? Or are we really practicalities just talking about of organizations? You know, can small businesses use these types of technologies or is it just out of their reach? What’s your view there?

Samer Mahmoud (32:12):

For me, it’s a very straightforward answer. Definitely indeed, it’s for everyone. And, the main reason for that is the, what cloud brings in. So, the cloud empowers everyone to go and test and innovate without having to put in a huge capital investment at the beginning. And, again, so as we discussed before, AI will help you to beat a competition and have a high barrier of entry. But to enter AI itself, the barrier of entry is very low and that’s, again, back to what the cloud provider can help and provide.

Samer Mahmoud (32:46):

However, there’s some key points that’s very important to have a very successful AI project. So, it’s always start with the business. So, whatever we do, whatever technology we’re using, these technologies are only enablers for our business or for a business case or something we need to achieve from a business point of view. So, to understand what question we need AI to answer, and if this question will be helpful or not, that’s very important as a starting point.

Samer Mahmoud (33:11):

Next data, as Dr. Mahmoud mentioned, the quality of the output depends on the quality of the input so we need to know, make sure you have the data and the data actually affects the prediction of the future so you can use it and build on top of it. And then, resources. Again, you need to make sure you have the right resources either by having them in-house or to outsource the skills you need, like data scientists, data engineers, and so on. And the last thing to keep in mind, which is very important, and this is again, back to Kevin point at the beginning, and Mahmoud touched on it and I will second this again. Education at all levels of organization, because this will make it very, very easy to have a successful project. Without education, for example, AI, many people think AI is something magic that if I have it, I can do magical stuff, which is not the case. Education will help in picking the right use case that benefit the business and the success rate to be much higher in an organization and all levels, not only the higher levels, all levels, including online of business in the business.

Lee Allcorn (34:15):

Brilliant. Thank you, Samer. That’s very insightful, I think. Well, gentlemen, we’re coming towards the end now of the session. I just want to wrap up and don’t think you’ve got wait for this for free. I want you all now to, and I’m putting you on your toes here. I want to come over an offer guys each, right, one minute each. I want something you can offer the Qatari, you know, people here that are listening, what can we do to help them, right? You know, us, as individuals or the organizations we represent, what can we do to help these guys get going faster? Dr. Mahmoud, I’ll pick on you first.

Dr. Mahmoud Barraj (34:47):

Yeah. So, I mean, basically, there’s a lot of things that we need to basically adapt on. But, I mean, I’m just going to compile them into possibly three or four points. As far as AI is concerned, first, I would advise, I will suggest enterprise executives to start by researching different AI domains across their own verticals, understanding what goes on within it, understanding the underlying dynamics and what is the best practices, what other use cases, check around what’s happening in their industry, recent developments. And then, identify business processes where AI can create and capture value. And this is really important to avoid like a vicious circle of looking for business process to kind of create unnecessary havoc within this business unit. Make sure that those processes are already in good shape so that you can, again, you wouldn’t create havoc within this business processes. Third, I would advise to determine the potential returns that AI could deliver in each area or process. And finally, designate three or four or five business tops, five business processes with the highest AI potential returns and focus on those and deliver on those. And as soon as you are achieving or are making business sense of them, you can introduce other AI initiatives or projects.

Lee Allcorn (36:25):

Wonderful. Thank you, Mahmoud. Samer, from you, please. What can you give up?

Samer Mahmoud (36:30):

I would highly recommend – so, I represent AWS and we do have a lot of services that in the domain of AI and machine learning and data processing. So, I will highly recommend to go and test them. Most of these services have a trial period or version. It’s very nice to go test them, play with them, try your ideas. Something may work and get familiar with them. That will be very useful.

Lee Allcorn (36:54):

Brilliant. And I think that money’s particularly valuable one. Thank you. It’s nice to made riff on the call, Kevin, last but not least, what can you offer?

Kevin L. Jackson (37:02):

All right. So, with all due respect to Samer and AWS and many other CSPs that I work with, do not rely on vendor specific training or education when you’re developing and embarking on your cloud journey. Doing so may lead you on a blind path to vendor lock in. You should always expect to use multiple cloud service providers and make sure that your policies are in place and that you expect, you can expect to change and use different cloud service providers. So, you must always have a vendor exit strategy in mind. I love AWS Samir, but.

Lee Allcorn (38:01):

That’s brilliant. Well, hey, I’m a vendor myself, so that hurts a little bit. But no, I think that’s very, very valuable point. That’s very good. I’ll extend and say here at [inaudible], so if anyone on the call from banking, et cetera, then give us a shout. What we can offer you is you’ve got an independent benchmark called Temenos value benchmark, where we look at banks that have adopted various technologies and get rated on their agility, their cost of ownership, their return of equity, things like that. So, you can go [inaudible] adopting this technology compared to other banks, what would that look like? So, you get a representative set of data to use. So, that’s the offer from Temenos that we can – the Temenos value benchmark.

Lee Allcorn (38:44):

So, gentleman amazing. You’ve been a great crowd that flow brilliantly. I hope the audience enjoyed it as much as I did. So, with that, thank you very much.

Intro/Outro (38:53):

Thank you for some supporting Digital Transformers and for being a part of our global Supply Chain Now Community. Please check out all of our programming at supplychainnow.com. Make sure you subscribe to Digital Transformers anywhere you listen to, or view the show, and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. See you next time on Digital Transformers.

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Featured Guests

Lee Allcorn is the director of Temenos SaaS.  Connect with Lee on LinkedIn.

Dr. Mahmoud Barraj, Prior to establishing The AI Foundation ME, Dr. Mahmoud Barraj’s career was marked by a long and distinguished academic and professional at various multinational and regional institutions across the middle east. Mahmoud holds an executive masters of business administration and a doctorate degree from top tier universities from the United Kingdom and France. Connect with Dr. Mahmoud on LinkedIn.

Samer Mahmoud, As a Master Certified IT Architect, for over two decades I have led teams around the world. Our mission has been to deliver enterprise IT solutions for clients and business partners; organizations and companies of all sizes. Combining technical expertise with a people-focused methodology sets us apart and benefits both clients and teammates. Our professional vision is taking our solutions to a higher level, showcased by integrating the highly-technical with a human-centered approach for the people creating solutions and those served by them. We’ve accomplished that with a transformational approach to IT Architecture employing innovative Executive Data Science perspectives and Enterprise Design Thinking. Connect with Samer on LinkedIn.

Hosts

Kevin L. Jackson

Host, Digital Transformers

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Adrian Purtill

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.

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Joshua Miranda

Marketing Specialist

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.

Donna Krache

Director of Communications and Executive Producer

Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys.  She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.

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Vicki White

Controller

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.

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Scott W. Luton

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.

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Allison Giddens

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.

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Greg White

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.

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Chris Barnes

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.

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Karin Bursa

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.

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Kevin L. Jackson

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 CiscoMicrosoft, 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 UniversityO’Reilly MediaLinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight.  Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems EngineeringCarrier 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.

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Enrique Alvarez

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.

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Kelly Barner

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’.

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Mary Kate Soliva

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.

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Jeff Miller

Host

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.

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Amanda Luton

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.

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Clay Phillips

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.

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Trisha Cordes

Administrative Assistant

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.

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Billy Taylor

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.

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Chantel King

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.

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Lori Sofian

Marketing Coordinator

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.

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Katherine Hintz

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.

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Ben Harris

Host

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.

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Page Siplon

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).

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Kristi Porter

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.

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Kevin Brown

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.

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Sofia Rivas Herrera

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.

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Jose Miguel Irarrazaval

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.

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Demo Perez

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.

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Kim Winter

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).

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Nick Roemer

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.

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Alex Bramley

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.

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