FedEx Senior VP of IT Nik Puri shares his thoughts on digital transformation and its impact on customer service, business alignment and the benefits of Technology Business Management (TBM).
FedEx provides rapid, reliable, time-definite delivery to more than 220 countries and territories, connecting markets that comprise more than 99% of the world's gross domestic product. It is also the largest cargo airline in the world with more than 650 aircraft, 100,000 vehicles, and 450,000 team members, all working to ship 12 million pounds of freight every day.
Amsterdam-based Nik Puri is Senior VP of IT, responsible for FedEx IT strategy, application development, infrastructure and security across the Middle East, Africa, Europe and APAC. When discussing the key drivers for the digital transformation he’s driving at FedEx, he says it’s “to ensure the agility to differentiated customer service across the ecosystem the company serves, and to reduce complexity – which is the enemy of speed from an IT point of view.”
Driving service excellence through digitalisation and innovation
“Our digital strategy is part of our overall European success strategy. We are building Europe's premier logistics business, and we don't just have to take care of our customers. We must also ensure that our customers have new ways of taking care of their customers. The power of digital transformation is to be able to provide a single data-driven interface to enables our customers to optimise their businesses. The value we’re delivering needs to be measured through the eyes of the customer”.
A few examples of the new services now available for FedEx customers include:
- FedEx Cross Border: A more secure, localised virtual checkout experience tool to calculate the fully landed cost of shipping, alerting international customers to any unexpected fees.
- Checkout by FedEx: This global e-commerce application accepts over 80 currencies, includes 15 payment options, and offers fraud protection. Shoppers can now securely complete their checkout on a merchant’s site in over 200 countries, using the local currency and one of nine languages.
- FedEx Monitor: Provides shoppers and merchants with full chain of custody visibility for every order, anywhere in the world.
Increasing Agility with Data-Driven Decisioning and Collaboration
An early adopter of TBM, FedEx is in the advanced stages of rolling TBM out around the world and Nik considers TBM an essential part of the company’s governance and modernisation journey: “TBM adoption has successfully driven large infrastructure upgrades. We need to be able to document the value a capability provides for us. Our CFO needs to know how much we are spending on running the business today. Should we be hosting in the cloud? Should it be in a co-lo or our data centre? These economic questions are easier to answer when you have data at your fingertips, that you can model, that you can process, that enables us to ask where this will lead and to visualise our change levers. By having a very intelligent data-driven discussion, we can make much more relevant and quicker decisions. TBM is at the heart of it.”
Discussions such as these have led to the internal usage of tools such as robotics process automation (RPA) to help FedEx customer service representatives respond to customers faster, artificial intelligence and machine learning to expedite customs clearance for international packages, and a host of infrastructure and operations improvements, all ensuring a better experience for internal and external customer interaction.
Delivering global governance and insights with TBM
According to Nik, TBM data has become the basis for all IT staff meetings at FedEx. “Instead of having Excel-based, ‘here's your budget, here's your plan, here is your variance,’ conversation, we now look at our TBM data. We look at what the system is telling us. All our budgets are loaded into it, all our plans are loaded into it, all our actuals are there at almost near real-time after the books close, and we can have a global discussion about how IT is doing around the world.”
Having access to this data has bolstered confidence in IT and helped up-level the conversations Nik and his team have with key stakeholders: “My role is evolving from less about making sure everybody knows what our budgets are, to more about being able to drive transformation to the marketplace. TBM allows us to shift the role, to have dialogue with our partners on business transformation and value—not just cost.”
FedEx corporate culture values three important things: learning, caring and results and Nik says that TBM has been fundamental in providing the global transparency to track the status of every project, discuss the change levers, and to move ahead with confidence and at speed. “If I were to summarise the value of TBM in one phrase”, says Nik, “I’d say do it for business agility”.