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Naveen Poonian of iBASEt On How To Use Digital Transformation To Take Your Company To The Next Level

An Interview With Tyler Gallagher

Improve decision support by acting more decisively and with greater confidence. Having access to real-time data that is trusted and then sharing it across the organization provides a profound impact on overall company performance, profitability, and operational agility. This capability simply means that decision-makers can now make better decisions with more confidence.

As part of our series about “How To Use Digital Transformation To Take Your Company To The Next Level”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Naveen Poonian.

Naveen Poonian is Chief Executive Officer of iBASEt, where he is passionate about driving the company’s overall vision and mission by aligning organizational and departmental objectives. Under his leadership, the company has expanded its rapidly growing aerospace business across France, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I grew up in iBASEt. My father started the company in 1986 and in one way, shape, or form, I was always involved with the company — whether through internships or even helping install cabling in the building. After high school, I went to college thinking I was going to go into marketing or investment banking, but after a stint of cold calling people, I ended up coming back to iBASEt and the rest, as they say, is history.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

When I started at iBASEt, I had ended up sending an email to the entire company that I meant to send to a friend. It was nothing too embarrassing, but it taught me the power of a good first impression as well as the need to proofread everything before clicking “send.”

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

This has to be a combination of both my mom and dad. As I mentioned earlier, my father started iBASEt in 1986 when I was very young and so I grew up in the company. After he passed away when I was 16, my mother took over the business and I learned so much from her, especially how to persevere despite really difficult circumstances. She also taught me to take pride in the legacy and history of the company and to do whatever it takes to make the business a success.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I read Customer Success: How Innovative Companies Are Reducing Churn and Growing Recurring Revenue, and it put into perspective how customer success drives the future of a company. You look at any successful company, from Apple to Amazon to Salesforce, and you’ll see that the common thread that ties them together is this obsessive drive towards customer success.

Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When your company started, what was its vision, what was its purpose?

My father started iBASEt with the vision of using technology to make manufacturing more efficient. Whether it’s technology decisions, capabilities, functionality, or even our pivot toward a microservices platform, iBASEt has always been about simplifying the complex and creating a better user experience.

Are you working on any new, exciting projects now? How do you think that might help people?

Right now, we are focused on simplifying how our solution can be implemented and maintained by offering cloud-hosted managed services that can be paid for as a subscription model. This approach offers a way to remove many of the cost and resource constraints that have typically prevented smaller manufacturers from implementing more robust operations management solutions. Every company can benefit when costs can be removed. This is not something we just started — it began over five years ago when we began building our new, cloud-native platform to host each of our solutions. If you want to build a new digital strategy, you must first start with a new digital foundation.

Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion about Digital Transformation. For the benefit of our readers, can you help explain what exactly Digital Transformation means? On a practical level, what does it look like to engage in a Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation means different things to different people. To me, it’s about understanding how to leverage technology to run more efficiently. Digital transformation also touches so many different areas. Whether you’re in HR, a design engineer, or you’re leading a business, technology allows a low-touch capability to bring departments, data, and people together. Take, for example, the traditional way of writing something. You used to have to write on a piece of paper and mail it to somebody and how long did that take? Now, you can write an email and send it simultaneously to 5,000 or more people — and do so for free! The goal is still to communicate, but with technology, it can be done at a far greater scale for less cost.

Everything in our life is going through a digital transformation, whether it’s on a personal level or in a business. In some respects, it is a personal decision as we each figure out what our priorities are, and how we get the most efficiency out of our systems. But ignoring the mounting tide is a risky choice, with the potential for creating an insurmountable gap between your performance and the industry you compete in for customer attention and share of wallet.

Which companies can most benefit from a Digital Transformation?

The companies that can benefit most from investing in new digital systems are, ironically, those that have done the least in terms of already digitizing their operations. There is a group of companies that are risk-averse or afraid to take the jump towards digital transformation. Industry analysts refer to this group as “late adopters” or “laggards.” Regardless of what label is applied, this group stands to benefit the most by starting or moving forward a digital transformation strategy, which will first appear as a significant return on their investment. These companies will also quickly see that digital transformation is not just an enabler or a task, but instead, a much larger strategic vision that entails rethinking how their business operates, the way that value is derived, and in the end, how to offer a more differentiated product or service.

We’d love to hear about your experiences helping others with Digital Transformation. In your experience, how has Digital Transformation helped improve operations, processes, and customer experiences? We’d love to hear some stories if possible.

Digital transformation is enabling manufacturers to completely rethink the way they do business. While many companies expect digital transformation to improve productivity or reduce costs, they’ll find other significant benefits too including greater resilience to change, less unplanned downtime, and improved employee retention and satisfaction.

Has achieving Digital Transformation been a challenging process for some companies? What are some of the obstacles? How do you help resolve them?

Implementing a digital transformation strategy is challenging because at the end of the day if you’re not leveraging things from one department to another, you have isolated pockets of disparate systems and data, comprising what could be called a broken “digital thread.” This is especially true of larger companies — but can happen in smaller organizations too where many different departments operate as silos. Information gets stuck in one department and is then isolated from the rest of the organization.

Additionally, it’s not just about investing in digital technologies. It’s about how to be smarter with how processes and systems are initially established, how these can be cost-effectively improved over time without losing any of the performance gains. We’re beginning to see companies hire digital transformation executives who report to their CEO or CIO and work across business units or departments to ensure that the company’s digital transformation operations are not just established but are built to last.

Ok. Thank you. Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are “Five Ways a Company Can Use Digital Transformation to Take It to The Next Level”? Please share a story or an example for each.

While there are many ways a company can benefit from adopting a digital strategy that takes its business performance to the next level, here are five of the most important benefits that manufacturers should consider as part of their evaluation:

1. Improve decision support by acting more decisively and with greater confidence. Having access to real-time data that is trusted and then sharing it across the organization provides a profound impact on overall company performance, profitability, and operational agility. This capability simply means that decision-makers can now make better decisions with more confidence.

2. Operate with greater efficiency with an infrastructure that better supports continuous improvement. If you have a more malleable system, you’ll have more flexibility and an easier ability to implement process improvements. And you will be able to measure performance improvement better and with greater accuracy, helping to justify further operational improvements.

3. Elevate your employee’s work experience. With the challenges to hiring new employees and an overall workforce now much younger and digitally native, organizations must adopt a digital mindset and adapt to the modern workplace, or risk being left behind.

4. Take advantage of new technologies. Digital transformation allows you to future-proof your business and stays current with new technologies. For example, the “metaverse” may not be mainstream for many years but if you establish and maintain digital transformation, you will be able to take advantage of these leading-edge technologies.

5. Expand growth opportunities. Digital transformation lets you build an infrastructure that can be a powerful enabler of future new services and business opportunities — both for new customer acquisition and partnership opportunities. We are only just seeing the start of what options might exist in the next several years — avoiding investing today could be a big mistake in the future.

In your opinion, how can companies best create a “culture of innovation” to create a new competitive advantage?

One step a company can do to help drive innovation is to take away the perceived risk of trying something new. If innovative ideas are rewarded and applauded, the number of new opportunities will increase. Encouraging ownership of innovative ideas can also be a powerful enabler.

How can our readers further follow your work?

You can follow me on LinkedIn.

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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Tyler Gallagher

Tyler Gallagher

CEO and Founder of Regal Assets

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