Understanding the journey to digital transformation: q&a with bill meaney, ceo of iron mountain

Blogger og artikler

The journey to digital transformation is an imperative for all companies. In this Q&A, Bill Meaney, CEO of Iron Mountain, discusses that journey.

5. mars 20217 minutter
Iron Mountain logo with blue mountains

You can't look anywhere without observing some type of digital transformation. From your health insurance provider to your nearest airport, it's infiltrating every aspect of business and life. So what's driving this dramatic growth? And what can we expect in the future?

In a recent virtual forum on Physical Meets Digital, Bill Meaney, CEO and president of Iron Mountain, answered questions and provided key insights on the matter.

Q: Digital transformation was first talked about more than 20 years ago and it didn't stick. Why should we pay attention now? What's changed?

A: The reason I think it's really important now, and beyond what people were talking about in the mid '80s and here to stay, is really two-fold. First of all, if you look at GDP growth over the last few years, it's primarily been driven, especially in the developed economies, around consumption and not productivity growth. It was historically productivity growth, so that's a big change.

I would say since the mid-2000s, definitely since 2010, our growth has been driven more by consumption and less by productivity. So, I think that the world is recognizing that we need to get back in the productivity game. And when you look at productivity in terms of making humans more productive, then you immediately look at information, technology or digital ways of doing things. The part that feeds into it, besides just in terms of furthering economic growth, is the tightness of the labor markets. We're left with the challenge to innovate at the rate of the demand — digital transformation.

Q: Why is the journey to digital transformation so challenging for many companies?

A: Change is hard, always. You're asking people to go out of their comfort zone. Some of those people aren't even tech-savvy, so they may not understand the need for change. The other factor that contributes to this challenge is that there's no readily visible path on how to achieve digital transformation. Not only are companies grappling with how to handle their digital data, they also face the challenge of taking physical documents and moving them to a digital platform. Lastly, in large organizations, teams can be very siloed, so it can be a challenge to align the whole business.

Q: What do you hear from companies on the organizational challenge as it relates to digital transformation?

A: It depends on the size of the organization and the industry vertical. Oftentimes, our customers become our pathfinders because they're also trying to help their company grow. They help give us access to the right people in the organization. The whole landscape is shifting, and I think our challenge as a company is, how do we help our clients not only get the solution for their company, but move within their own organization so that they can go across their silos and deliver a full solution.

Q: How are the people at Iron Mountain helping to lead their customers through the journey from physical to digital storage?

A: Previously, we were more transactional in the way we managed our business. We dealt with questions like managing the growing costs of real estate or remaining compliant. However, today we're answering questions like, "How can I get more value from my data?" In order to help lead our customers in the right direction, we really have to listen to their needs and priorities. We also need to develop solutions tailored to each individual customer to ensure we're helping them navigate within their own environment.

Q: How are customers juggling the balance with GDPR and the need for compliance and trust?

A: We've been advising customers about how long they need to keep assets from a risk management standpoint. Obviously, GDPR is related to privacy, but both of them are about viewing the rules and how they apply to your environment around digital information.

Q: How are the people of Iron Mountain working to embrace digital transformation?

A: We're making considerable progress. We've set up four proofs of concepts on the machine learning platform, which we call Iron Mountain Insights. Two of those are in financial services, and one of them is in oil and gas. And the fourth one is internal in terms of how we'd manage contracts in our legal department. In addition, we have more and more expansions into SaaS-based products and how we serve ourselves internally. We know we can push ourselves to be faster and more agile, but we are making steady progress in these areas.

Q: Digital transformation was first talked about more than 20 years ago and it didn't stick. Why should we pay attention now? What's changed?

A: The reason I think it's really important now, and beyond what people were talking about in the mid '80s and here to stay, is really two-fold. First of all, if you look at GDP growth over the last few years, it's primarily been driven, especially in the developed economies, around consumption and not productivity growth. It was historically productivity growth, so that's a big change.

I would say since the mid-2000s, definitely since 2010, our growth has been driven more by consumption and less by productivity. So, I think that the world is recognizing that we need to get back in the productivity game. And when you look at productivity in terms of making humans more productive, then you immediately look at information, technology or digital ways of doing things. The part that feeds into it, besides just in terms of furthering economic growth, is the tightness of the labor markets. We're left with the challenge to innovate at the rate of the demand — digital transformation.

Q: Why is the journey to digital transformation so challenging for many companies?

A: Change is hard, always. You're asking people to go out of their comfort zone. Some of those people aren't even tech-savvy, so they may not understand the need for change. The other factor that contributes to this challenge is that there's no readily visible path on how to achieve digital transformation. Not only are companies grappling with how to handle their digital data, they also face the challenge of taking physical documents and moving them to a digital platform. Lastly, in large organizations, teams can be very siloed, so it can be a challenge to align the whole business.

Q: What do you hear from companies on the organizational challenge as it relates to digital transformation?

A: It depends on the size of the organization and the industry vertical. Oftentimes, our customers become our pathfinders because they're also trying to help their company grow. They help give us access to the right people in the organization. The whole landscape is shifting, and I think our challenge as a company is, how do we help our clients not only get the solution for their company, but move within their own organization so that they can go across their silos and deliver a full solution.

Q: How are the people at Iron Mountain helping to lead their customers through the journey from physical to digital storage?

A: Previously, we were more transactional in the way we managed our business. We dealt with questions like managing the growing costs of real estate or remaining compliant. However, today we're answering questions like, "How can I get more value from my data?" In order to help lead our customers in the right direction, we really have to listen to their needs and priorities. We also need to develop solutions tailored to each individual customer to ensure we're helping them navigate within their own environment.

Q: How are customers juggling the balance with GDPR and the need for compliance and trust?

A: We've been advising customers about how long they need to keep assets from a risk management standpoint. Obviously, GDPR is related to privacy, but both of them are about viewing the rules and how they apply to your environment around digital information.

Q: How are the people of Iron Mountain working to embrace digital transformation?

A: We're making considerable progress. We've set up four proofs of concepts on the machine learning platform, which we call Iron Mountain Insights. Two of those are in financial services, and one of them is in oil and gas. And the fourth one is internal in terms of how we'd manage contracts in our legal department. In addition, we have more and more expansions into SaaS-based products and how we serve ourselves internally. We know we can push ourselves to be faster and more agile, but we are making steady progress in these areas.

Elevate the power of your work

Få en GRATIS konsultasjon i dag!

Slik kommer du i gang