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How Organizations are Using AI and Digitization to Operate More Efficiently, Safely, and Sustainably

In this episode of the Futurum Tech Webcast, I’m joined by Jeffrey Hausman, Product Officer at Samsara, for a conversation focused on how organizations are using AI and digitization to operate more efficiently, safely, and sustainably.

In the last decade, we’ve gone through a period of unprecedented change. Everything is connected. Organizations have trillions of data points at their fingertips to make decisions faster, increasing productivity and efficiency in the process. But it can often feel overwhelming — and with good reason. Hausman shared that there are some 4+ trillion data points collected annually, and 2+ million total IoT devices deployed globally, and those numbers are growing at a rate that is mind-blowing. And that velocity? It’s absolutely not slowing down. So, what can organizations do to make sure that they are capitalizing on their data and preparing for whatever change is ahead? This is exactly what Jeff and I discussed as he shared insights from his team at Samsara, the role Samsara’s Connected Operations Cloud is playing, the successes their customers are having, and what’s ahead as AI continues to evolve.

Our conversation covered:

  • An overview of Samsara and how its product offering, the Connected Operations Cloud, helps customers solve real-world problems through digitization so they can operate more efficiently, safely, and sustainably.
  • How organizations can think about data differently, and make sure they’re capitalizing on the data they have and preparing for the changes ahead.
  • How the Connected Operations Cloud solution handles third-party integrations to help drive the right outcomes, offering significant competitive advantages.
  • Jeff shares some examples of customer success stories using Samsara’s solution, highlighting how digitization through the Connected Operations Cloud solution has solved significant challenges in physical operations.
  • We discuss what challenges customers are facing in the year ahead, and what the biggest opportunities are for digitization in helping surmount those challenges, as well as the increased pressure to improve sustainability.
  • Last but never least, Jeff and I discuss what Samsara is seeing with regard to how AI is evolving in their space and offering unique advantages to their customers, as well as the importance of data privacy for those customers now and in the future.

You can view the video of our conversation here:

Or grab the audio on your streaming platform of choice here:

You can find and connect with Jeffrey on LinkedIn here: Jeffrey Hausman on LinkedIn

 

Disclaimer: The Futurum Tech Webcast is for information and entertainment purposes only. Over the course of this webcast, we may talk about companies that are publicly traded and we may even reference that fact and their equity share price, but please do not take anything that we say as a recommendation about what you should do with your investment dollars. We are not investment advisors and we do not ask that you treat us as such.

Transcript:

Shelly Kramer: Hello and welcome to the Future in Tech webcast. I’m Shelly Kramer, principal analyst here at Future and Research, and today I am joined by Jeff Hausman, the Chief Product Officer for Samsara, and we are going to have a conversation about digitalization, AI and what’s ahead for 2023. And you know what? That’s a really big bucket, but I can promise you this is going to be a really interesting conversation.

So for starters, I don’t have to tell anybody that in the last decade, unprecedented change has kind of been the catchphrase to identify everything that we’ve been going through. And so not only is unprecedented change a thing, everything is connected and we’ve got organizations have literally trillions of data points at their fingertips. And those data points when used effectively, will help them make decisions faster, increase productivity, increase efficiency, all of which will have a major impact on the bottom line. That said, one of the things that our team here at Futurum knows firsthand in dealing with our clients across every sector and every industry is that data is a challenge. Managing it, utilizing it, storing it, all of these things, data presents huge challenges. It can very often feel overwhelming.

Our conversation today, and what Jeff is going to dive into a little bit is how organizations can maybe think about data differently. How they can make sure they’re capitalizing on the data that they have, preparing for the change ahead, and actually leaning into increased productivity and greater efficiency, and the ability to get more done more quickly, generally speaking, often with less resources, because that’s kind of the business climate that we live in today. So with that, Jeff, welcome. It’s great to have you.

Jeff Hausman: It is great to be here. And thank you for having me, Shelly.

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely. Absolutely. So before we talk about Samsara, tell me a little bit if you would, about your career and where you’ve been and what you’ve done and how you got here.

Jeff Hausman: Sure. Well, listen, I have a background that’s really focused on helping customers get value, and I’ve done that in several areas throughout my career, from data analytics, to storage and data protection, security and digital workflows, and a strong emphasis on working with cloud delivered solutions. So I’ve been with bigger companies, names people are probably familiar with, ServiceNow, McAfee, Hewlett Packard, Veritas. I’ve held C-level roles with early stage companies, and I am a recovering consultants. So I worked at Booz Allen and some other decision analysis consulting companies. But really my passion, it’s all about building and delivering products and solutions that are to help customers get value.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, absolutely. I always felt like that was sort of everything that my whole career has been centered on. Maybe there’s a better way to do this, there’s a different way to do this. And really, I remember years ago I had a colleague, and this was back in my consulting days, and we would go to new business meetings together and we would talk about solutions and costs. And my colleague’s attitude was often, “Well, it just costs what it costs. I mean, that’s just what it costs.” He was a creative director. And I loved him and he was brilliant, and his work was so brilliant, but I hated him saying that, “It costs what it costs, and you just have to suck… I mean, the rest of that sentence is, “You just have to suck it up and pony up the dough,” and I don’t believe that. I believe there’s a way to help your clients get to great value and great solutions and sustainable solutions. And so I’m happy we share a passion. We share a passion.

Now, we’re going to shift our conversation a little bit, and we’re going to talk about increasing the safety and efficiency and sustainability of operations that today, power our global economy. And I know that well, Samsara something a little bit about, isn’t it?

Jeff Hausman: Uh-huh, and it’s actually one of the things that drew me to Samsara, the fact that we can help customers solve real world problems. A lot of these customers that we work with, they have all sorts of different types of challenges, from rising fuel costs, inflationary pressure, supply chain issues, helping make sure that they’re operating safely, et cetera. And these are endemic to sort of physical operations, right?

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Jeff Hausman: And this world of physical operations is one where Samsara is trying to help digitize the world of physical operations. We’re working to help take that power of IOT data and deliver insights so they can operate more efficiently, safely, and sustainably. And maybe I should share a little bit about some of our customers and how they get value, if that makes sense.

Shelly Kramer: That would be great. That would be great.

Jeff Hausman: So we have tens of thousands of customers, and our customers, I like to think of them as they power the global economy. They span a variety of industries, transportation, logistics, supply chain, manufacturing, even food and beverage, field services, construction, utilities, public sector. The biggest challenges that they face, how can they run things better, how can they run things in a safe manner? Because a lot of times we’re talking about heavy machinery, we’re talking about sites that are in rigorous and physically demanding locations and situations. And our goal is how do we help them do that?

Let me highlight a couple of examples of how data actually can be at the root and the heart of helping them, back to your early point. So one example is one of the largest independent food distributors in the US. They have to maintain, think about this, what we call supply chain integrity of the food. So when the food is delivered to them, or they first pick it up, they have to take it all the way to the store and ensure that the cold chain of custody, so to speak, is managed. They have to make sure that their drivers are complying with regulations. They have to maximize the assets that they’ve got, because really at the end of the day, they have to run their business. They have to figure out where they’re running and how they’re running, and they need to manage costs, so things like fuel efficiency.

So we help them, we collect data via sensors. These sensors are on vehicles, they’re gateways on vehicles. There are temperature sensors. They could be in the back, if you will, of trailers or integrated if you will, in the third party, what you call reefer trailers. They can be deployed in warehouses, and we can integrate and take the data from physical devices we have, third party data, we can analyze it and we can surface insights that then they can use to take action.

One example that they saw is they were able to reduce credit payouts for rejected deliveries. So if the food shows up and the food is not chain of custody properly maintained, it can be rejected by the receiving party. They reduce that by 30% while also saving on fuel efficiency and other operating costs. So pretty amazing how you can take data to solve cost. So pretty amazing how you can take data to solve and run a business better.

Shelly Kramer: Well, it actually makes perfect sense, right? I mean, I have a saying that I will admit to using far too often, but you don’t know what you don’t know until you know. So if you’re not collecting data, if you’re not managing data, if you’re not using that data and gleaning insights from that data and then applying it to your business decision making, you’re kind of shooting without a target. I mean, it really is that simple.

Jeff Hausman: Absolutely. And our whole goal is how do you take that data? How do you process it in a way, but then how do you make sure that you’re surfacing it in a way that the customer can make sense of it and take action on it? This is not about just data for the sake of data. We gather billions of data points on a regular basis, but it’s not about that. It’s about surfacing the important insights. It’s helping people run as best possible, make sure that they’re understanding what, let’s say, their assets are doing. How are they being utilized? How they get the most useful life out of them. Should they even do things like renting them or leasing them as opposed to buying them? From a safety standpoint, how do you understand a specific driver safety score or record? And how do you help them be better?

How do you manage the overall company’s safety risk? Right? How do you look at information related to carbon emissions? Because people need to present and report things in ESG reports. How do you navigate transitions to electric vehicles? There’s just so many things that by taking data and analyzing, you can help people run safer, more efficient, and more sustainably.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, absolutely. Well, and we do a lot of work in the ESG space, and I do have to say that as many organizations are focused and have been for the better part of the last decade and will continue to be focused on all things digital transformation, they’re also concurrently focused on sustainability. And the challenge here is that many organizations have planted a flag in 2030 or 2040 or 2050, we’re going to have certain accomplishments and now what we’re seeing happening is organizations going, holy moly, that’s just around the corner. What are we going to do? What technology solutions exist to help us reach our goals? What technology solutions help us to track and measure and manage our path to success here? So I think that’s incredibly important. So this connected operations cloud of Samsara is what it is that you have that allows businesses to harness their IOT data. Is that correct?

Jeff Hausman: That’s correct. Our connected operations cloud is, think of it as the system of record for physical operations. It is a common platform in which we’re able to pull and analyze and manage data, but then we have a set of applications that customers can use and that suite of applications is ever increasing, but it includes things related to telematics or things related to safety or things related to site visibility or asset tracking. And we help our customers then get access, like I said, to the insights from that data so they can use it to drive coaching behaviors for safety, efficiency and driver usage and driver fuel management, and the way that they run their vehicles, the way that they use and understand where their assets are. So for instance, if we have a large crane operator, for instance, every time that crane goes out to a particular site, it’s not just the crane, it’s all the other rigging parts that have to show up. And if you don’t have all the right pieces and parts-

Shelly Kramer: You can’t do anything.

Jeff Hausman: Not able to do the job. So helping them literally make sure that they understand what they have and how do they do things better.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, absolutely. Well, that makes sense. So what about now you have to get, I would imagine, customer requests to integrate with third party companies that they’re already working with. How do you handle that?

Jeff Hausman: Well, look, I go back to, it all starts with the customer and the outcomes they’re trying to drive. So our goal is to help them get those right outcomes with this system of record. And we welcome integrations to help drive different outcomes. We have Shelly over 220 partner integrations already available and constantly growing. We’re the largest open ecosystem in our industry. And these integrations span a whole host of different industries and a whole host of different areas, excuse me, including compliance, fuel management, insurance, maintenance, navigation, routing and dispatch, safety coaching, supply chain, transportation management, and even OEMs.

Let me highlight a couple of examples for you. So we have a company customer called ARC Best. They’re a logistics company. They’ve been in business for almost a century. All right? They integrate into their own software and they’re using it to minimize manual tasks and manual management and increase accuracy of hours of service compliance, which is an ELD compliance regulation. Or another company, Liberty Energy. They do oil field service kind of management and whatnot, and they integrate into financial systems and other systems. Because we have open APIs, they’ve saved over 10,000 hours and 300,000 in administrative costs in a single year. So again, it gets back to the point of we integrate with all different types. I can go and talk about specific examples in a minute, but it’s all on service of helping them get access to the insights, combining that with other systems data and whatnot in order to drive an outcome.

Shelly Kramer: It’s funny, I was just having a conversation with a vendor right before I popped over here, and one of the things that he was mentioning is that as they were exploring certain solutions to add to their tech stack, one of the questions is, what integrations are there? Does this integrate into my CRM? Or does this integrate here? And decisions were made solely based on the answer to that question. So I think that’s a really, really important part of the Samsara value proposition.

Jeff Hausman: In fact, on average we have, for our large customers, they tend to integrate with six other systems. So putting in a perspective that notion of, I described the cold chain example. We integrate with OEMs such as Thermo King, right? Or Carrier who build Reefer if you will, or deliver the Reefer trailers. Being able to take that information in and bidirectionally be able to control the settings, if you will. So you get alerted if, wait a minute, I’m supposed to have frozen foods, and now the temperature is climbing. Making sure you’re able to alert on that, potentially go and correct that and change that remotely as a dispatcher. It’s really, really powerful.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that it’s powerful, but it’s really a significant. All the things that we’re talking about, Jeff, really come down to, in my view, kind of one really key thing, and that is the ability to establish a competitive advantage. And I think that thinking about when you’re considering the addition of some piece of technology into your tech stack, I think that needs to be part of the conversation. And this is a career brand strategist showing my roots here. But I think that’s an important part of the value proposition. I want to win and I always want to win when working alongside our clients. So talk a little bit, if you will, about how you have customers who are able to take these vast amounts of data. When we think about data, sometimes it’s incomprehensible. I was looking at your website earlier today and it looks like you are collecting four plus trillion data points annually.

Jeff Hausman: It’s actually up at six already.

Shelly Kramer: Okay, then you need to update your website.

Jeff Hausman: The point is there. The point is lots and lots of data.

Shelly Kramer: Lots and lots of data and millions-

Jeff Hausman: And that is a recently-

Shelly Kramer: Oh, I’m sorry, go ahead.

Jeff Hausman: No, I was going to say that’s a recently updated stat for us because we do this on a regular basis. But you’re right, it’s not about just data. It’s about how do you actually get to the heart, how do you get to the insight, and how do you deliver the right data to the right people at the right time and the right way that they can actually consume it? And so we have a number of customers that are again, using us to unlock operational efficiencies, which helps make them more competitively advantaged.

So maybe an example that highlights this is a company that I did a recent discussion with called Logistics Warehouse. Now, they’re using video data and they’re analyzing that video data in their production warehouse. And one of the things that they found, Shelly, is we were able to help them understand and see where they were having unplanned pauses on their production lines. So literally, the video data could expose to them when this was happening and flag an alert inactivity. They were able to take that and turn it into alerting behaviors, change of behaviors on the production lines, and they are now producing 45% more per day on those production lines. That’s increased their profit margins by 8%. That is absolutely showing how you can use video data and analyze it to then drive the business to better outcomes and be more competitively strong.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, that’s very cool. That’s very cool. And part two of, I think what we’re touching on here is one of the things that we know as a reality is that creating a culture of continuous learning is important across the board for just about any organization. And that’s what I’ve noticed you hitting on a couple of times is training, retraining, using the data that we’re seeing from video or otherwise to say, you know what, Jeff? I know this is how we’ve been doing it and that’s great, but let me coach you into a way that we might do this slightly differently because this is what the data is showing us that we need. And then you can walk away from that interaction with Jeff. You can get him back on the right track or on the right track, and then we can go back in the space of 10 days or 30 days and we can see the impact of that and that kind of sells itself.

Jeff Hausman: Yeah. Here’s an interesting one. Many of our customers are still using heavily paper-based workflows or paper-based tooling. And I had the opportunity to visit with a customer who is going through this transformation. And every time they were dispatching, there were mounds of paper making sure that people knew what was supposed to be going out with the particular load, making sure that the right driver was going to the right location, literally showing a hand drawn map of what route they were supposed to take. Now think about it. If you can digitize all of that, bring it into a system, then you can, in real time, help them to see, holy cow, you could actually do this much more efficiently by taking pictures and using forms rather than doing something related to ticking off pieces of paper. Or more importantly, if there’s all of a sudden a disruption and let’s say that the route you were put on, there’s an accident. How do you reroute if you don’t have the ability to real time communicate-

Shelly Kramer: Shuffle all your papers.

Jeff Hausman: Correct. Communicate to the driver in their application, on their mobile device. “Hey, here’s a new way to go. Let me alert you that you need to do something differently.” It’s amazing what you can do when you actually bring this stuff in a digitized framework, if you will. And then you help people to be able to do things better. Absolutely.

Shelly Kramer: And I think that when you are an executive leader and you are evaluating a technology spend, I think it’s really important for all of us in leadership positions to step back and say, “Imagine if I was doing this.” And the last thing any of us wants is this sheath of papers. I mean, it’s like reading an instruction manual. Who wants to do that?

I was doing a little project with the Amazon devices team a couple of weeks ago and they launched a car cam that goes in cars, and it’s a dual facing camera, and it’s in the Ring doorbell family of products. So you think about why people use Ring doorbells, people would use a Ring car cam for the same thing. And one of the things that they asked me to do was to install it. And they did not hear me groaning on the phone when we were talking about this, but I was groaning because that is my least favorite thing to do. But what was so exciting about the process of the installation was that I needed one thing, just this, and it walked me through the system, the process, the workflow, everything. I was able to just navigate, one, two, three, on my phone, and I kept remarking how amazing it was. So when you think about this and you put yourself in the shoes of your workforce, your drivers, other users of this platform, when you think about which option are they going to be more effective at, more efficient.

We had a situation similarly when we had a video crew on site at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and we had a document that was being updated in real time that was just modifying recording schedules as needed. And one of our Barcelona based film crew was still going the old school route and they had printed off a spreadsheet that had ultimately changed. So it’s kind of like your situation where you needed to reroute, how are you going to do that? I mean, we all really need that to be on the devices that are in our hands, whether it’s a phone, whether it’s an iPad, whatever.

Jeff Hausman: We clearly need to have you go through the experience of installing one of our devices, which we all do because it’s the same thing. There is literally a walkthrough. You scan a QR code on the device and it walks you through installing that in the vehicle. And it is so easy to do.

Shelly Kramer: But it’s a beautiful experience. When you’re the person walking through it, you’re just going, “Oh my God, this is so…” Look, here it is. Right here. Everything I need is right here. I don’t have to go look for something. When you start off a relationship with an end user on that foot, you’re in good shape moving forward, I think.

Jeff Hausman: Yes, absolutely.

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely. Absolutely. So let’s talk a little bit about, I know that we talked about this in the early part of the show, businesses are facing enormous pressures, supply chain disruptions, energy costs that keep rising, talent shortages, talent constraints, budget constraints, and of course, as we also talked about the pressure to improve on the sustainability front. So what are you seeing, what challenges do you see customers wrestling with this year?

Shelly Kramer: Do you see customers kind of wrestling with this year, and where do you see this? It’s a two part question. One, what challenges do you see customers wrestling with this year? And then the second part of my question is, where do you see the biggest opportunities for digitization that can help kind of surmount those challenges?

Jeff Hausman: Sure. Well, I’ll start with the fact that, yes, we know that there are a number of challenges and frankly, our customers are telling us they feel, and we see them continuing to face those challenges that you just mentioned. They’re not going to go away, whether those are related to supply chain, just general efficiency, talent shortages, they’re going to continue to be there. And so, we want to do is, we want to help them to appreciate and understand, again, back to the point that these are kind of data problems.

Shelly Kramer: Right.

Jeff Hausman: And if you understand your business, you can drive better decisions, and these can help you to address anticipate in some cases, and certainly to respond and adapt to drive better performance. So for instance, we have an example of a customer who… Fuel efficiency was a big challenge for them, right? Fuel expenses can be a major non-headcount cost for these organizations.

And in one particular customer case, this is a company called GP Transco, they were realizing and seeing that their fuel expense was pretty high, and they were able to work with us to understand that idling was actually contributing substantially. So, they were having drivers who were idling vehicles. We were able to help them reduce those idling events by 35%. That saved them over 200,000 gallons of fuel in a year. Shelly, that is enormous.

Shelly Kramer: It’s huge.

Jeff Hausman: And these are the types of things that are not going to go away just because there are going to be other new problems, fuel and usage and consumption is going to clearly be one. Utilization of assets is going to continue to be a problem, et cetera. So the bottom line is that I would say, we’re going to keep helping our customers in these areas of efficiency and safety and sustainability, and we will keep working with them.

But the other important thing is that on our platform, we are constantly working with what we call the flywheel of success with customers. They help us actually see how to take our data. We talked about integrations, how to bring data into our platform or work with other systems to unlock other areas of opportunity and savings. And so it’s really the customers who start saying, I have this type of challenge, and our goal is to try and say, how can we take the data and our platform, and continue to extend it, and continue to build it in such a way that people can use the insights to solve other types of challenges. One big one that I’m sure we’ll get into, is that everybody is talking about what’s going to happen in the area of electric vehicles and electrification.

So, I just talked about fuel usage. Well, they’re also customers who are going through this transition trying to determine which vehicles should potentially be actually transitioned or what routes are possible to be shifted to vehicles that are electric. How do I manage… Maintenance is a very different thing. There are elements of battery usage and management, different from fossil fuel usage and management. And so the point is, we’re going to have to keep evaluating and evolving with our customers, and we’re excited to do that. You’re going to see us bringing out more and more different types of solutions as the challenges change and increase. But I think frankly, the three ones that we just talked about, they’re somewhat durable in the next year for sure.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, I think you’re absolutely right. So my last question is a very hot topic. Let’s talk about AI a little bit, and what do you see as interesting? I mean, there’s a lot of things going on in this space that are interesting. What do you see as interesting, as it relates to Samsara, and serving your customer base?

Jeff Hausman: Well, I’ll tell you, I’m fascinated by this notion of how AI is going to keep evolving. And it’s going to help us find new ways to bring suggestions and insights and answers to customers. Right? Today, we use a lot of AI around computer vision technology. So this is leveraging data from our dash cams, bidirectional, inward, and outward facing, helping understand and correct risky driving behaviors, right? Trying to do it in the moment and ideally correct it before something unfortunate happens, right? Distraction is a leading cause of accidents, and we’ve had customers dramatically improve their instant rates. In fact, I was talking with a customer a few months ago in Europe, and I won’t name them. But in this particular situation, our technology caught a driver who was driving late at night, falling asleep. The dispatch was alerted, able to get the driver to pull off to the side of the road and take a break.

That particular driver ended up writing in to tell the management, that the technology that they had deployed-

Shelly Kramer: Saved his life.

Jeff Hausman: Saved his life. And, he thanked them so much for the investment. And the point is, that is done by use of AI. But I think when you look at the massive amount of data that we have, we talked about the 6 trillion data points that we have, right?

Shelly Kramer: Yeah.

Jeff Hausman: The different types of challenges. I think you’re going to see us find new ways of applying AI. And by the way, we have a pretty big team of world-class data scientists that are focused on how can they work and partner with customers to unlock data by using AI and machine learning in different ways. So, the bottom line is, it’s important, it’s something we’re focused on. And we also do believe very strongly in ethical AI, trying to avoid bias and protecting customer privacy while we’re doing this. So we’ll take a measured approach, but I’m super excited that they’re going to be some new breakthroughs that we deliver for customers.

Shelly Kramer: I think that’s very exciting. And as someone who has actually been riding in a taxi, and had the taxi driver fall asleep, this technology is in fact lifesaving technology. So.

Jeff Hausman: That is a story for another day, and I’m glad that you’re still here to tell it.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, absolutely. Well, Jeff Hausman, chief product officer for Samsara. Thank you so much for making time to join me today. What a terrific conversation. I very much look forward to continuing to watch what you and the Samsara team are doing, and lots of exciting things ahead I’m sure.

Jeff Hausman: Shelly, thank you so much for having me. And we are very excited about how the power of our connected operations cloud is going to keep helping customers.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah. I think it’s going to be awesome. Well, with that, thanks to you, Jeff. Thanks to our viewing audience, our listening audience. I’ll include information in the show notes on, where you can learn more about Samsara and where you can stalk Jeff on LinkedIn, and get answers to any questions that you have. And so with that, that’s a wrap, and we’ll see you next time.

Jeff Hausman: Bye-bye.

 

Author Information

Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”

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