How Mars Petcare redefines their digital customer engagement
In this week’s podcast, the Global Chief Information Officer at Mars Petcare talks about digital transformation and the impact on the customer experience.
Miao Song is the Global Chief Information Officer at Mars Petcare. In this week’s podcast with host Seth Adler, she shares her thoughts on the digital transformation journey.
There are two perspectives on which to focus, according to Song. Firstly, the external perspective and how the organisation is connecting with customers in a digital fashion. There, you’re looking at customer-centricity and how you can improve digital engagement.
And then of course there is the internal perspective too, where you focus on digitalising internal business processes, continuously driving improvement, automating internal processes to create an efficient organization, and so on.
A third focus would be building advanced analytics capabilities across the organization, supported by big data.
“Redefining is 50 per cent and refining is 50 per cent. So internal digitalisation work is refining but external digitalised customer engagement is redefining; redefining the way the business is run and the way that the customer is engaged.”
Seth Adler: Miao Song joins us. First some supporters to thank. And thank you for listening.
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Recorded in advance of customer experience management Asia, Miao Song joins us to share her thoughts on the digital transformation journey. There are two perspectives on which to focus: the external perspective; how is your organization connecting with customers in a digital fashion, there you look at customer centricity and how you can improve digital engagement; and of course the internal perspective where you focus on digitalizing internal business processes continually driving improvement, automating internal processes to create an efficient organization and so on.
A third focus will be building advanced analytics capabilities across the organizations supported by big data. Welcome to CX Networks on B2BiQ. I'm your host Seth Adler. Download episodes on cxnetwork.com or through our app in iTunes within the iTunes podcast app and Google play or wherever you currently get your podcasts. Miao Song.
Miao Song: So you should go to a lot of nice places. Depending on where you go, you know Singapore is a really famous for providing a lot of choices in terms of food. You can try local foods, some laxa, nu-dan-sa-kas, or you go to China town to try some local food. But at the same time, if you try something fancy we have a lot of things to offer. We have nice Japanese restaurant in this area. We also have some other western restaurant in this area as well. It offers a lot of variety depending what you really want to eat.
Seth Adler: I'm not going to eat any western food. On the flights over they offered the western meal and the eastern meal and I tried to dive into the eastern meal. It's very interesting how they segregate us by our cuisine. Don't they on the airlines, right?
Miao Song: I really recommend you try some local food. For example, try chicken rice in Singapore. There is one brand called tien-tien chicken rice, which is very famous and is not far away from here. Highly recommended you to try tonight.
Seth Adler: There we go. So now I know where I'm going tonight. Miao, you have been in Singapore for how long?
Miao Song: I have been in Singapore for more than eight years.
Seth Adler: Okay. Kind of half with J and J, right?
Miao Song: Yes. Halfway in J and J. I came to Singapore at the end of 2009 with Royal Dutch Shell and I actually spent 14 years with Shell. After that I have two years experience with large conglomerate company called cinemas before join J and J. Time really flies. Now I have been with J and J Asia Pacific for more than three years.
Seth Adler: Okay. In that more than three years, I'm sure a lot has changed. What specifically is on your desk now? And then maybe we'll go back in time and figure out what your experience has been leading up to that.
Miao Song: If you look at how IT functions support a business and technology enable business innovation, this is actually change a lot in the last three years. Specific in Johnson and Johnson. We pretty much focus on two things; one is how technology enable internal business capabilities, but also broadly we focus on digital transformation in terms of driving the business growth, continuously improve customer experience and customer centricity program in organization.
Those are the key things in your desk. I think those agendas are in some of some other companies' agenda as well.
Seth Adler: Of course. When you say digital transformation, to that end, everyone is involved in digital transformation. You mentioned at a surface level what that means for J and J. I wonder though, what do you need to attack as far as digital transformation. What absolutely needs to change, what absolutely needs to be kind of fostered, what do you have that does work, what needs to be promoted, what needs to be taken away type of thing?
Miao Song: Sure. For digital transformation we focus on two perspectives. The first one is really around external perspective. How we connect with a customer in a digital fashion. We call it deepen customer engagement through digital channel. That's really primarily looking at customer centricity, how you improve your digital engagement with a customer. From internal perspective we focus on digitalizing our internal business processes, continue to drive improvement, automate our internal process to create a efficient organization. Broadly we have a third piece really focused on building advanced analytics capability across organization supported by big data.
Because we want to reach to a stage that we know what happened in the past, but we also want to know what will happen in the future. To drive predictive analytics based on data we collected from customer, but also from internal as well.
Seth Adler: How much of that is refining versus redefining?
Miao Song: I think if you look at redefining or refining I think redefine's probably 50%, refining is 50%. Internal digitalization work is probably refining, but external customer engagement, digitalized customer engagement those are probably more redefining. Redefining the way we are doing our business, redefining the way we engage with a customer.
Seth Adler: As a CIO, this is a big ... Here we are at a kind of another intersection, right?
Miao Song: Right.
Seth Adler: Do you see it that way? Is that fair?
Miao Song: Yes it is fair. I think for CIO I'm very excited than ever as a CIO because I think this great time for technology to make a difference in the organization regardless which organization you are. Every company is in technology organization.
Seth Adler: Now they are.
Miao Song: I think that's where CIO plays a role. Not just a traditional role of supporting functions most importantly as a business leader to shape the business leveraging technology. For example, the conversation around digital transformation, I do see CIO has the best role to really convince the board to implement some for digital initiative, not just for the sake of digitalizing the organization, but really looking at innovation, innovating the business model, innovating the customer channel, innovating the RND space. It's very exciting.
Seth Adler: Many conversations I have like this often put business versus IT. As opposed to one executive being capable of both, which of course is the case, right? Take me through why there is this false premise of business versus IT that I'm offered often.
Miao Song: I think if you think about a lot of organization you can still hear a lot of CIO saying, "Hey, the business don't endorse us, they don't invest on us, we have problem with the business." I think this is primarily based on in the past that we would run IT. We run IT as a traditional function. We were very passive. We wait there until business tell us what to do. Traditional way of running ERP project, traditional way of running our infrastructure. That led to a very, I call it traditional relation bit of function IT, but in the new model, because technology is so advanced, you know cloud technology, big data, virtual reality.
All of this has enabled a much nimbler way of adopting technology. Therefore, the engagement model between a business and IT has changed. The IT organization has been good with the business. Every working IT has to understand the business processes and also the business has to understand technology better nowadays. Because as I mentioned every company use technology. If you don't understand technology, how technology contributes to your innovation, your business model, you are going to be dinosaur very quickly.
Seth Adler: That's exactly right.
Miao Song: I think we have a role to play. To be much active. To be as bold business leader and function leader in an organization.
Seth Adler: All right. So, we agree this has evolved as we've gone. As have you, right? Let's go all the way back, where are you from originally?
Miao Song: I originally from China. I came-
Seth Adler: Where in China?
Miao Song: I came from Beijing, China. I started in Peking University in China a long time ago and started my career with Nestle. It's one of the largest food companies in the world.
Seth Adler: Certainly. As we were talking before we started, Peking university is a kind of a vaunted institution with some fairly well known alumni, yeah?
Miao Song: Yeah. Absolutely. The school is very proud of developing a lot of leaders. I mean true leaders in different times. In the past we had a lot of leaders who led the revolution in China. Nowadays we had a lot of leaders who lead innovation in China. For example, the founder of Baidu, he came from Peking University as well.
Seth Adler: All right. So, maybe not that first group, but more your group of executives. What do you think it was about the education there that set you up to do what you can do?
Miao Song: I think the education there set ... I was always reflecting what the university gave to me. It's not about knowledge of computer science, being able to understand computer science domain knowledge, I think most importantly the school actually gave us freedom to have critical thinking capability. I really appreciate the atmosphere in that school where you have freedom to think about something which is very different with other people's thoughts. I think the diversity of thinking really helped to generate creative idea, which I treasure most from my educational experience.
Seth Adler: How did you bring that forth to Nestle? What was your first remit? What did they have you do?
Miao Song: My first job, it was very interesting. I was the first local IT staff they hired in Nestle China. When I came in to the organization, I really had a lot to do and to learn at the same time. To be honest, I really didn't even have time to learn because there was so much work to be done yet we have a large expatriate department of people who didn't have domain, who didn't have local knowledge at all. I actually developed the infrastructure project. I had to learn how infrastructure running a large organization.
I started to learn ERP implementation long time ago. But if I reflect my experience there, I really think it's a great challenge for me to learn and learn quickly and to grow quickly.
Seth Adler: It sounds like they were teaching you the business and you were teaching them the locality.
Miao Song: Absolutely. I teach them how to run ... For example, we had a office relocation project where there were large components of IT infrastructure. I had to teach them how to deal with the local [van-dour] on infrastructure about 20 years ago. They taught me, hey, this is the technology standard you have to adapt. I taught them a lot of local domain knowledge as well. I thought was learn and learn and win and win situation.
Seth Adler: There we go. That's it. How high did you rise within Nestle?
Miao Song: I was ERP implementation manager before leaving Nestle. I actually implemented ERP system across China including 10 manufacturing locations and 15 sales offices in China.
Seth Adler: So, I mentioned crossroads earlier and how we are at one now, these ERP, take us through what that ... At the time, these were gigantuan products.
Miao Song: Absolutely.
Seth Adler: These were gigantuan projects. They redefined the way that the organization worked. So, take us through it without getting too far into the weeds exactly what you had to do. How big of a-
Miao Song: The projects were very big. I can use the example when I work for Shell, we had, from 2006 to 2012, there was one of the largest global SAP implementation in the world. It took the company more than five years, more than $1.2 billion US to consolidate more than 200 SAP instances into single one. However, it's not just consolidation of recommended SEP systems. Most importantly say global wide streamlining projects in terms of streamlining the processes, consolidating some of the services.
I'll give examples, the master data services was consolidated global wide two years prior to the system went live. That's a huge effort. In the manufacturing location I worked in before, we spent about two years to clean data. Data cleansing was huge efforts. There is a lot of huge amount of work in terms of change management partnership with the business. We really have the business to own business processes and data quality. It's a really big change management project across all the organizations. It was done perfectly at that time. I think that-
Seth Adler: Now you are talking about the Shell one or the Nestle one?
Miao Song: The shell one.
Seth Adler: Okay.
Miao Song: Nestle one was very successful as well. I think was done very well, but if I reflect nowadays, the technology actually offer much more flexibility to be nimbler. So, if nowadays we do the same project, I think we'd probably [inaudible] a different way.
Seth Adler: That leads me to the question that I was about to ask, which was the difference between the technology that you were using during Shell's ERP implementation versus the Nestle implementation. I would imagine the Nestle one was, was that in the late 90's or?
Miao Song: Yes. Nestle was late 90's.
Seth Adler: How much did the technology change?
Miao Song: It changed tremendously. Just take SAP example, you are starting from R3 and then all the way to ECC6. How we they are looking at SAP HANA, so SAP SNLs that you have to migrate to HANA by 2020 if I'm not mistaken. Technology shift tremendously from, for example, from a traditional premium hosting all the way to clouds. Nowadays, if you are not on clouds, you are not even on the trend, you are not even in the scope. That shifted a lot. Also, at the same time, the integration was either systems become way easier, nimbler, cost effective than ever.
Seth Adler: It feels like what you are saying is the Nestle implementation was essentially analog?
Miao Song: Yeah. Then I think I heard that they actually reform nowadays to be much more [crosstalk].
Seth Adler: No, but I'm just saying what you were doing.
Miao Song: Exactly. It was cumbersome at that time. We had to work really hard to go live every single location. I remember 1st of January, we were about to go live. That was new year eve. All of us work really hard and we celebrate new year's eve with our work, minus 20 Celsius degree in North China. It was unforgettable experience before.
Seth Adler: That's it. These are the stories that you take forth to your staff today, I would imagine. If you think this is bad, let me tell you about a time-
Miao Song: I even talk the story to my daughter. It's a story that I worked so hard to get ERP online, I go live. It was minus 26 degree in cold weather. For few days we worked so hard on that. I said everybody has to work hard. [crosstalk] example.
Seth Adler: What did she say?
Miao Song: She say, "You can work smarter nowadays."
Seth Adler: Exactly. That's very millennial of her, right? To respond that way. I guess as we make our way to today, again, what lessons did you take from Nestle into the Royal Dutch Shell years? You mentioned change management, how much of you knowing what you needed to do in terms of change management at Royal Dutch Shell did you learn from Nestle?
Miao Song: Yes. I learned a lot from Nestle in terms of change management. Because you have to really make sure that people embrace the change. That people really like the change in terms of business processes, tools, whatever. Communication is super important. Also, secondly to make sure people feel ownership of their own job is super important.
If a person deal with data on day to day basis, then he would have to make sure data quality is a part of his job. Instead of the function like IT is dealing with data quality. There is no way for IT to deal with data quality. That ownership conversation has to happen upfront. Sometime it's a tough conversation, but it's helpful to really clarify the responsibilities across organization to facilitate implementation of such kind of large system.
Seth Adler: It's a tough conversation upfront, but it's even harder after the fact if you don't have that conversation.
Miao Song: Yeah. After, you need to continuously have that conversation; who owns business processes continuously to drive improvement of business processes. All of this has to be taken into consideration.
Seth Adler: You mentioned cleaning data for two years, earlier in our conversation, now that you are at J and J, are you still taking that type of time to clean data or are we in a better place just generally?
Miao Song: We are in a much better place nowadays. I think first technology is much nimbler. There is a lot of technology, a lot of tools to help people even doing data cleaning nowadays. It's much effective. Secondly as I mentioned, the way we integrate technology is so different today. Look at block chain, block chain can really help you to integrate data from different platforms to different systems to really help to drive data visibility. I mean that's one of the examples.
I think nowadays we don't have to do the old fashion way of doing work probably ten years ago with the new technologies. That's what I had to use in J and J-
Seth Adler: You are using block chain technology?
Miao Song: No, we don't. We actually use different technology to consider to be much nimbler for example rather than traditional way of consolidating data. We use data lake technology, we also use [inaudible] data grade technology based on different scenarios to create data visibility rather than just building one data warehouse.
Seth Adler: Are you on your way to using block chain technology or you've chosen another path?
Miao Song: We are looking at opportunities. We are not there yet. But from a personal belief that block chain has good potential to be used in healthcare industry because one of the challenge of healthcare industry is fragmented data. Give example, different hospitals, service providers, and insurance company as players. They all got different platform, different systems, so if I'm a patient, I can't even take my EMR information to another hospital at all easily today, but with block chain technology it will enable the patient information, medical record, digital medical record to be transferred seamlessly across different platforms.
Seth Adler: It almost seems like it has to happen from a patient's perspective. I'm pointing at myself, but from your perspective, how quickly can this occur? We are here at a beautiful hotel in Singapore so you are hearing some folks that are I guess maybe on vacation, I would imagine that those are Americans because they are so loud, right?
Miao Song: Yeah. Probably.
Seth Adler: Yeah. Probably. Exactly. If I was in the airport and I was able to pick out who the Americans were as an American. Which, is an interesting thing.
Miao Song: I think I'm picking them up from the lounge as well.
Seth Adler: From where?
Miao Song: From the lounge. Lounges in the airline. [crosstalk] lounges in airline.
Seth Adler: Okay. Getting back to what we were saying, as far as these digital medical records, how quickly can this happen with the regulations being what they are, the healthcare being as fragmented as it is as you mentioned in one country, let alone all the countries? How quickly can we find our way here do you think?
Miao Song: I don't think there is a standard answer. Here is absolutely my personal view.
Seth Adler: Personal. Personal.
Miao Song: Personal. Personal view. It doesn't represent any company. I think depending on how fast the collaboration between the government, the players, and the healthcare providers happen. I don't think it's a technology issue, I think is a issue around how open people are willing to share data and how open they are willing to collaborate. I read news the yesterday that Alibaba in China they actually got into block chain in healthcare space already. They are building blockchain technology in healthcare with the support from different parties. I think it is important people really break the boundaries to make this happen. If the collaboration happens, it can happen very quickly.
Seth Adler: You are saying, I mean Alibaba coming in to the space, obviously that's going to be a good technology player, a big technology player. Smart technology player in the space that needs them. But your point was it's really about change management. It's about the players involved as opposed to the technology.
Miao Song: It is change management. Technology is there. It's just how make sure that you don't have the constraint there. So, if this hospital is not willing to share information with another hospital, there will be a big challenge.
Seth Adler: Which brings us to customer experience, right?
Miao Song: Absolutely.
Seth Adler: So, J and J, how are you looking into customer experience as we make our way into the last half of 2017 and on?
Miao Song: I can speak on behalf of medical devices in this region. We are looking at first improve our customer experience and drive customer centricity program. Initially, in the past, we were pretty much focused on product and the services most of the other organizations do. But with recent change, I think it's driven by the industry. It's not even driven by the organization. Because industry is shaped. Then we have to really looking at what customer really need. Not just from product perspective.
More broadly what customer really care about services. What are the right product for them. What is the right engagement for them? Any value added services will be offered as part of the company offer. All of this has to happen. Our system is build on this philosophy where we integrate the need of a customer really having external view around our customer.
Even is used by our sales organization and commercial organization but we took a very external view to focus our customer centricity.
Seth Adler: Okay. Very external view to focus on customer centricity. This sounds like what you should be doing. What kinds of technologies are you using and what are you finding already?
Miao Song: For our system, we use salesforce.com technology. We also customize some of the capabilities to fit for purpose of our specific industry. Because we are in medical devices industry, we have lot of unique needs in our industry. Example how we have [inaudible] in the hospitals, the surgery space. We actually develop the capability to manage our [inaudible], we call it set-booking in our base on salesforce.com platform.
Those are not readily out of the box function. The reason we build that capability because we see a huge business value behind it. Also we continue to measure the business value generated from our functionality.
Seth Adler: Right. Some of the decisions that you make, excuse me, all of the decisions that you make are guided by regulations of heavily regulated industry. What can you do, what can't you do, and how are you doing what you can do based on that?
Miao Song: Yes. We really look at regulation. I give example, the set-booking functionality we are building a Salesforce. [inaudible] is actual target to the patients. We are not allowed to have patient specific information associated with that set. However, we are allowed, we are not allowed to have the names, all the little information, however, we are able to pull just the patient ID there.
Seth Adler: Got it.
Miao Song: That's where we differentiate to be compliant with the regulatory law in each country.
Seth Adler: Got it. So, we've got specific information, but we don't have that specific information. We don't even want that specific information if you don't want us to have it.
Miao Song: That's the reason we had to dive into the details of if the regulatory law says, "This is what is required." Then we dive into details say, "Hey, is this what you require?" But then we will make sure we can protect people privacy. That's where we get compliant with the local regulation.
Seth Adler: All right. So, it's all about privacy. However, once we have privacy, then we go to innovate. Is that basically it?
Miao Song: Yes. Absolutely. I think one of the things very important is that as cyber security become bigger and bigger topic in all industries including healthcare industry, one of the key things for CIO to do is really make sure that you understand cyber security of each individual location and being compliant. You are within the right, I call it the right technology solution, to be compliant.
Seth Adler: Are folks focused on cyber security enough, do you think?|
Miao Song: I think depending on which industry and which company. I do think some of the company really focus on cyber security because the loss can be big. I gave you an example of when [inaudible 00:29:08], a virus happened this year, started from UK. The loss has been huge. A lot of hospitals couldn't even continue with their surgery because it was hacked into the hospital system.
Seth Adler: Right directly into the healthcare-
Miao Song: [crosstalk] healthcare system and I heard the medical devices is the next target for hackers.
Seth Adler: Yeah. I was in London at the time that that happened. It was around about the time of the election as well. So, what would your advice be to your colleagues then who are either paying attention to it as much as they should be or not.
Miao Song: I do think everybody has to pay attention. You should talk about cyber security. You have to pay attention to cyber security. I think you have to take a completely different approach to tackle cyber security.
Seth Adler: What do you mean?
Miao Song: You can't use the traditional way to be reactive. The traditional way of cyber security is something happened. I developed something to prevent it happens again. What I can tell you is next time, when something happens, when the hacking happens, it's in a different format, different way, therefore you can predict. Therefore, the best way of doing cyber security is apply a hacker's mindset. Just imagine yourself as a hacker. What he or she or he would do. Then you put your protection of your data assets, your company assets just subject to a hacker mindset all the time. That's the best way of doing cyber security.
Seth Adler: Interesting. Preemptive?
Miao Song: Yeah. Preemptive. Absolutely.
Seth Adler: So, you are looking at new technologies, we've talked about that. Cyber security is almost at the top of your list.
Miao Song: It is in the list. [crosstalk] organization, I think it's in the list of all the large organization nowadays, absolutely.
Seth Adler: Sure. Customer centricity. Then what else would be-
Miao Song: The other one in our list is really look at the new technology continuously to drive digital health, continuously innovate to go to a market model or a business model. Those are in our list. We are looking at virtual reality technology. We are looking at-
Seth Adler: How so?
Miao Song: There are a few things. If you look at virtual reality technology, it's not really widely used yet. Because, there are a few things, one is the cost of devices, we call it goggles or gear, VR Gear. Is still rather high. For example, we spent $800 for a Samsung VR gear or $1,000 dollar for HTC gear. The cost is not well accepted yet, but in the new mobile phone, new version of mobile phone, the VR function will be enabled.
That would drive the cost down tremendously. Therefore, the broader leverage of VR in all the domains, just imagine eCommerce, online shopping using VR technology, manufacturing location, testing, remote control roam using VR technology. We actually have a few pilots in this region using VR technology to help us to run professional education to the doctors. So, the doctor wear VR goggles and just doing simulation of a surgery efficiently. That creates a lot of value, in a very cost-effective fashion. Those are some of the examples of VR technology. I think it's going to be widely adopted with the cost down and also being mobile. In a very near time, I think.
Seth Adler: Being tied into the hour actual handsets as we go here. It brings the cost all the way down and makes it unbelievably accessible. You mentioned training physicians. Any other thoughts as far as VR in healthcare?
Miao Song: I think training physicians definitely. Also I think, probably even some of the curation of some of diseases, some of the chronical diseases. Help people to recover from the disease. There are some VR solutions to be offered to the patient and consumer as well. For example, obesity. If you develop a VR solution to really help people to imagine how they look like in the future. Continuously give them encouragement through VR solution in a very cost-effective way. That's probably the best cure on top of just taking medicine or having a surgery.
Seth Adler: Yeah.
Miao Song: I personally see huge leverage in this space in technology. Technology enable better health and wellness for people. How exciting that will be.
Seth Adler: Your mind seems to be inquisitive.
Miao Song: Yeah.
Seth Adler: I wonder if that was instilled in you from your parents. I mean not everybody is the CIO of a fortune whatever company, right? Were your parents very hard workers I wonder?
Miao Song: My mom is a doctor. She's a doctor. She was act like a gynecologist before she retired. I remember that she worked really hard to get where she was. It's all about hard working, it's all about recognizing what you can achieve continuously to push your limit. For me, it's very important. I continue to learn. Not just learn in my own domain, but continuously to learn new business, continues to have curiosity, that's super important.
Seth Adler:Absolutely. I think as far as global society is concerned, if we all remain curious, we might be able to take steps to make it just a little bit better each day, right?
Miao Song: Yeah. Absolutely. Challenge status code rather than being comfortable in your own zone. I think that's very important. We call it learning agility nowadays.
Seth Adler: Have to have it?
Miao Song: It has to happen, yeah.
Seth Adler: Thirty years ago you could get away without learning agility, right? What about, and then again, this is of course your personal point of view, just the state of education and the fact that folks need to learn differently and folks need to continuously be learning as far as automation coming in and changing the very way in which we work. What are your thoughts on all of that?
Miao Song: I think there is a lot of, and again this is my personal view, I think that innovation should happen in our education system across the board. It's not just teaching people the knowledge, it's not just tell people, "Hey this is history, this is Europe history, American history, or Asia history." Most importantly to sparkle the critical thinking. To really make people excited about what they learn and continuously to push boundary of innovation.~
I think that's the way of education. For me that's a purpose of education. You learn not just the knowledge, but you learn the way to learn. You learn a way to keep your curiosity all the time through your life. I think that's where education should be changed and reformed. By the way, I was talking to a group of people in the company yesterday and one of the questions we asked them, everybody, is what do you think the best education can be offered by the organization.
In that group, we have several intern, I don't know which generation they are, they are probably less than 20 years old.
Seth Adler: Right. Generation Z almost, right?
Miao Song: Almost Z. We have a group people in the middle age and we have a group of people in their probably 50. Then the mid age or 50 all said, "Oh, of course if somebody can coach us, coaching fact to face, I will really appreciate." But when you ask Z generation, all of them, five of them, said digital learning. They said, "I don't want to be coached in person. I want digital learning."
That's one of the things, I think one of hints on how education can be conducted to be more effective nowadays. Everybody has very different preference. How we continuously keep the excitement of people, continues to explore new knowledge. Having that curiosity, it's very important for me.
Seth Adler: I could talk to you all day. Unfortunately we don't have that kind of time. So, I'll ask you the three final questions. I'll tell you what they are and then I'll ask you them in order.
Miao Song: Okay.
Seth Adler: What has more surprised you at work along the way? What's more surprised you in life? And then on the soundtrack of your life Miao, one track, one song, that's got to be on there. But first things first.
Miao Song: Okay.
Seth Adler: What has more surprised you at work along the way?
Miao Song: Surprised me at work-
Seth Adler: Because we talked about ERP implementations in the 90's and we talked about VR in healthcare education. So, long the way, what's more surprising?
Miao Song: What's surprised me at work is, there are a few things, I think one is really I saw some of the CIOs of the company can become a CEO to run a business. I never thought about it as IT staff 20 years ago. But I saw it happens. It can happen. That I think is a great motivation to a lot of folks working in IT industry.
Seth Adler: That gets back to your point that you made earlier in that IT has changed, businesses have changed, everything is digital, and it's all IT. For a CIO to become a CEO it makes perfect sense now whereas maybe 35 years ago would have been a stretch, right.
Miao Song: Exactly. It can happen. As long as he or she knows the business, having the quality of leadership, and being able to innovate. I don't see why they can't. They can. There is opportunity there.
Seth Adler: That's it. What's more surprised you in life?
Miao Song: [inaudible] of our life is I never imagine ... When I was a teenager, I never imagined I could travel across a world and relocating so many times for my work. I thought I would ended up with somewhere being as a scientist. By doing a research job initially. I never thought the world is so big and as long as you embrace the world, there is endless opportunities there depending on how you take it.
Seth Adler: Yeah. We mentioned China, we mentioned Singapore of course when ... Just talk about your years in the Netherlands a little bit. How was that?
Miao Song: It was a great experience. It was both very joyful. It was super joyful from both career development perspective as well as my life perspective. So, life part, I enjoy the quietness, I enjoy the life quality there. From career perspective, I learned how [inaudible] manufacturing is running on top of my work. There was probably very few Asian female in there among thousands of them. That gave me opportunity to embrace different culture. Manage myself, change management, and also speak a language. I spent six months to learn Dutch so I could speak Dutch fluently at that time. I really appreciated that type of learning experience.
Seth Adler: You mentioned not many Asian female folks working there and then. What about female executives in general? I'm starting to notice that I am ... I've noticed that I speak to a fair amount of female executives. It's not 50/50, right?
Miao Song: Absolutely. In fact, I have a passion in this area. I used to lead DNI council in the Netherland when I work there. In Johnson and Johnson I was involved in women leadership initiative in Singapore. We do have data in this domain. Some specific data, when women become more senior, the percentage of women presenting the boardroom dropped. For example, at a manager or director level, you probably see 40% of women still there. But then, when you see vice president or even boardroom level, the C suite across the board.
Even in Singapore here, you'd probably see 25 to 30%. I don't have exact number, but you can see the percentage job. There is something happen behind it. I don't think-
Seth Adler: It drops when women executives escalade the rest of the women in the organization de-escalate?
Miao Song: No.
Seth Adler: I'm missing it.
Miao Song: No, so basically the percentage of women as senior manager or director at that middle management level is about 40 to 45%, but then the percentage of women senior executive as vice president or C suite is probably only 20% in this region in general. There is a lot of work to do. I do see, we really have to empower women to really speak up, to lean in and to better present themselves in their career.
Then we need to also provide some social support. Women support women and men support women as well. Everybody support each other to create a gender equality in every organization to make sure people are comfortable to work there and continue to develop themselves.
Seth Adler: Lean in. I've heard of that principle certainly. You said speak up before you said lean in though. What do you mean by that.
Miao Song: I find this probably specific in this region. I find maybe this Asian culture, I think people really have to speak up in Asian culture, make sure that the voice is heard. But also their ideas is conveyed in such a way people can understand, can also put into reality. I think in general people here are quiet. They are a little bit worried about if they put up their idea there, bring up their idea it might be people think they are either stupid or something goes wrong. They are a little bit worried about that. I think it has to be changed.
Seth Adler: Yeah. The only stupid question is the one that isn't asked. I like to say, right?
Miao Song: I think so too. There are no stupid questions. You have to make sure that your voice is heard. You have the visibility along your career development. That's very important.
Seth Adler: Excellent. Most importantly, on the sound track of your life, one track, one song that's got to be on there. Your last name is Song, I need to point this out.
Miao Song: Yeah. So, the question is which song is my song, right?
Seth Adler: Yes.
Miao Song: I like a lot of songs. I'm just thinking.
Seth Adler: It doesn't have to be a perfect song. It doesn't have to be-
Miao Song: I like Adele a lot.
Seth Adler: Yeah!
Miao Song: [crosstalk] Like Adele a lot. I think I like her song, you know the-
Seth Adler: Hello?
Miao Song: The James Bond movie, there is a Skyfall. She actually sing that song was perfect. I like that song a lot.
Seth Adler: We will put that on right now in our minds and on our phones.
Miao Song: Okay.
Seth Adler: Miao, thank you so much for your time. Really very much appreciate it.
Miao Song: Thank you.
Seth Adler: I can't wait to keep checking in with you on this female executive thing. It seems like this is your issue, right?
Miao Song: I have a lot of passion on that topic.
Seth Adler: That's it.
Miao Song: I was in lot external conferences in the women leadership topic and huge passion on that one.
Seth Adler: That's it. Thank you so much for your time today.
Miao Song: Thank you.
Seth Adler: All right.
Miao Song: Thank you so much.
Seth Adler: There you have Miao Song. She's more excited than ever as a CIO because this is a great time for technology to make a difference in the organization regardless of the organization because every company is now a technology organization. Very much appreciate Miao and her time. Very much appreciate you and yours. Stay tuned.