At a time when disruptive business innovation is all the rage, long-established companies are striving to reinvent themselves and their business models. Problem is, many executives find themselves frustrated by rigid corporate cultures and layers of bureaucracy.

The greatest barrier to achieving successful business transformation is underestimating the significance of changes to their organization’s operating model, according to a 2016 report by KPMG.

But these hurdles haven’t hindered Sealed Air Corporation, a Charlotte, N.C.-based leader in food safety and security and product protection.

“Companies are in search of finding innovative solutions. At Sealed Air, we are determined to move from being a product-based company to a knowledge-based company focused on creating new value for our customers, improving the efficiency of our customers’ operations, and making a positive impact by conserving resources.” said Jerome Peribere, Sealed Air’s President and CEO.

At the heart of Sealed Air’s transformation is what Peribere refers to as “industrial digital,” an enterprise-wide initiative that is being spearheaded by Marc Hamer, Corporate Vice President, Global CIO and Chief Digital Officer.

“We believe we can add new value to our customers by eliminating waste,” said Peribere. A prime example is how Sealed Air can use digital automation to customize packaging so that boxes that are used for e-commerce shipping are designed with the right dimensions to eliminate waste and reduce freight costs for the company’s clients.

Raising Digital Consciousness

One of the top challenges Hamer sees for Sealed Air to execute its business transformation successfully is increase and enhance the digital knowledge of its commercial teams. “I’m looking for ways to get our commercial teams to think outside of the box,” said Hamer.

This includes having members of Sealed Air’s commercial teams envision solutions for clients using the Internet of Things and to approach client challenges and opportunities from more of an analytical perspective. “The more they’re able to think this way, the more they’ll be able to see different opportunities when they’re out with customers,” said Hamer.

But developing that type of mindset takes time. “Leaders must have the ability to conceptualize what can be done and should be done,” added Peribere. Sealed Air began making advancements into digital before Hamer joined the company in late 2016. “We started out in an entrepreneurial manner,” said Peribere. “When Marc arrived, he shared a different approach, which is leading us on a path to success.  

Hamer is helping transform Sealed Air into a technology company. “It’s my responsibility to help lead my peers and the other leaders of this company through this transition and to help grow the company,” said Hamer.

As Peribere sees it, Hamer has all the ingredients necessary to help lead Sealed Air make the digital pivot. “There’s a class of CIOs who can fix a program or help a company decide which platform is the best choice. That’s not what I think a CIO should be,” said Peribere.

In many companies, the roles of the CIO and the Chief Digital Officer or digital leader are separated. That’s not what Peribere wanted.

“I was looking for somebody different,” said Peribere. “What Marc brings is business passion. That’s what I wanted.”