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Key to Transformation: Never give up

William J "Bill" Amelio, CEO, Avnet in conversation with Anand Swaminathan, EVP & Global Industry Leader - Communications, Media & Technology, Infosys

Highlights

  • Performance, Productivity, Incubation, and Transformation - The four management zones, basis which transformation is undertaken.
  • "When you pick that one thing to go double down on and say that's in your transformation zone, you can't give up,” says William J "Bill" Amelio, CEO of Avnet
  • Avnet is also looking at a great opportunity in the IoT space, with customers seeking ways to make use of the technology and get an ROI out of it.

As a global technology solutions company that’s just about to turn a century old, Avnet is not resting on its laurels. The Fortune 500 company, which started in the year 1921 in Radio City, New York, realizes that while their vision to help customers with the technology they need is well suited for all times, the technology itself keeps changing, and with that thought, Avnet is facing its transformation journey head on.

In a conversation with Anand Swaminathan, EVP & Global Industry Leader - Communications, Media and Technology at Infosys, William J "Bill" Amelio, CEO of Avnet, spoke about the four management zones, basis which transformation is undertaken. Performance, Productivity, and Incubation Zone, being the first three. The final zone, which he calls the Transformation Zone, is where you pick the one thing that you think can change the company.

“So, when you pick that one thing to go double down on and say that's in your transformation zone, you can't give up,” says Amelio talking about the early days, which are hard with people in the organization complaining. “You get investors blaming, other stakeholders complaining, and all of a sudden, you give up. That is the worst thing you do,” says Amelio, citing the reason: “Because you get all of the costs and none of the benefit of the transformation... And that was the right thing to do, you’ve got to make sure that becomes successful, you’ve got to put more resources on and not less resources.”

Amelio further notes that being on SMP’s global board woke him up to how powerful monetizing data can be, and there is so much one can do with it. “We do business with thousands of suppliers and millions of customers, and we have all that data. And we do tens of thousands of transactions every single day,” he says, noting that this could be a great barometer to work out things like economic conditions. “Can we see by looking at our data sets, and massaging in such a way that we're able to then give that information back to people who would really like to know it,” says Amelio.

Avnet is also looking at a great opportunity in the IoT space, with customers seeking ways to make use of the technology and get an ROI out of it. Speaking about the technology, Amelio suggests, early on they had noticed that most IoT applications aren’t able to be successful, and they figured out an opportunity to help customers figure out the solutions they should go after.

“Because (it is) more challenging than expected. They're very complicated. And you need way too many partners,” says Amelio, adding that the company then worked towards becoming the one-stop shop for clients, basically the iTunes of IoT.

He talks about their platform called IoT Connect, wherein the company will be able to help clients with the device, the gateway, the network, the cloud, the applications, “And most importantly,” says Amelio, “The insights you get off the device.”

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