Information technology leaders say cloud strategic service provider GreenPages Technology Solutions, No. 203 on the CRN SP500, is providing much needed muscle for them to seize the opportunities arising from the digital transformation revolution.
Dave Widener, director of information technology for Dead River Co., a New England energy, heating oil and propane gas provider, said GreenPages has helped provide the "thought leadership" around a massive shift to digitally transform the energy company. "The new things we are doing with GreenPages are the most exciting," he said. "We are transforming our business with them."
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Widener was one of three top IT executives featured Monday at GreenPages Technology Solutions Cloudscape 2018 summit in a keynote panel session on digital transformation and cloud-first strategies moderated by Simon Johnson, senior vice president of client services for GreenPages.
The 110-year-old South Portland, Maine-headquartered Dead River, with 200,000 customers across northern New England, is getting ready to launch a new digital business model at the end of the third quarter, said Widener.
"We are doing it because of the digital opportunity," he said. "We even see a day where IoT (internet of things) and connected home becomes part of who we are. Can you imagine a future state where we have more insight into your furnace or boiler and we can understand when it is performing sub-optimally? We will be able to understand what that means to your monthly bill through big data and analytics. Doesn't that sound more rich and lively and more sticky than being just another commodity energy player? We think so."
Dead River is leveraging GreenPages' managed services offerings to "unleash trapped value" within the IT budget with an aim toward reinvesting the savings in digital transformation,said Widener. "We are showing our owners and shareholders that we respect their investment in our company," he said.
The "consumer mandate for convenience" is at the heart of the digital transformation initiative by the energy company. "We have to meet those consumer demands," said Widener. "There is an evolution from a product-based economy to a service-based economy."
Widener said key to Dead River's digital transformation is a business outcome-focused strategy delivered to the company's CEO. "This was so compelling because it addressed who we were as a company, the clear threats we all saw that were keeping us up at night and the opportunity to move forward and become more of connected digital partner (with our customers). It was hard to refute given that it was written from the perspective of the business."
Dead River's CEO and board of directors signed off on the digital transformation strategy a year ago, said Widener. "Our executive team and board of directors realized that the call to action was now and it is because of the competitive threats entering our marketplace," he said. "We see the best way to compete as a commodity fuel provider is through digital. That is our transformative avenue. When you say IT is running the business - that is true. We were front and center in this."
Kevin Hall, head of technology for ButcherBox.com, a born-in-the-cloud subscription service for 100 percent pasture-raised grass-fed meat, said GreenPages' ability to move quickly is a big differentiator in driving digital transformation.
In fact, GreenPages helped ButcherBox -- which certifies that its products are certified humane and free from added antibiotics and hormones -- move quickly to a Microsoft Azure cloud analytics platform that is helping the company deal with astronomical growth, said Hall, a former CIO for GreenPages.
GreenPages was able to provide ButcherBox strategic technology consulting hand in hand with Microsoft on Azure data analytics, said Hall. "GreenPages is agile and can move quick," he said.
Before the Azure analytics implementation, ButcherBox was pulling data off a LAMP stack website into Excel, GoogleDocs or Tableau, said Hall. Hall is leading a charge to bring more cloud scale to ButcherBox.com which has grown to a $150 million company with 100,000 members that is doubling every six months.
The company's LAMP stack platform was built originally to handle 10,000 customers, said Hall. "As we look out to being a $1 billion company in our fifth year of business which is our internal goal now we have to start talking about scale," he said.
Key to the company's success is its born-in-the-cloud heritage, which is disrupting traditional meat providers, said Hall. "Everyone is in IT in some ways (at ButcherBox.com) and everyone is very, very engaged," said Hall. "It is a very smart, very young organization."
Hall – who was previously CIO of ProFlowers,com, a direct mail flower business, is also driving the technology strategy at ButcherBox.com's sister company SmoothieBox.com- a subscription-based smoothie company free from additives and added sugar.
SmoothieBox.com was launched just last week on an AWS platform, said Hall. "We went from a decision to use AWS to launching AWS for SmoothieBox in four months," he said.
GreenPages' Johnson said GreenPages' move from a product to a digital transformation services organization is paying off with big benefits to customers. In fact, Johnson said, customers that engage in digital transformation are delivering applications at a 100 percent faster rate and capturing additional market share with revenue increases of 25-40 percent.
"Digital transformation is going very fast," he said. "It is both exciting and a huge challenge to keep up with it. Technologies pivot and come and go on a monthly basis."
GreenPages CEO Ron Dupler, for his part, said what is essentially at stake for customers in the digital transformation era is their very survival. "The speed of the technology changes means that there is going to be winners and losers in every industry," he said. "The infrastructure governance model that has been built up over the years can't move at the speed needed at the software layer. What we are doing is fixing that for our clients."