Every organization develops its own unique strategy for digital transformation. I spoke recently with Bhupesh Arora, Vice President/CIO, Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P., and we discussed his journey as a genuinely transformational executive. 

Magellan is a 20-year-old publicly traded partnership with a $10.5 billion market cap. The company primarily transports, stores and distributes fine petroleum products and crude oil. Its refined products assets include nearly 10,000 miles of pipeline across 22 states with 54 connected terminals and 26 independent terminals (not connected to their pipeline) as well as two marine terminals. It also has 2,200 miles of crude oil pipelines and facilities that can store up to 37 million barrels.

Bhupesh joined Magellan Midstream Partners in 2020, at a moment of extraordinary change, stress and uncertainty. Despite the seemingly insurmountable challenges, Bhupesh took a lead executive role in helping Magellan re-examine and reconfigure its approach to growth, using the right technologies to introduce new efficiencies and to facilitate and enable positive change. He improved the structure of Magellan’s IT department, built digital awareness among the company’s leaders, and created a new technology vision, strategy and operating model with a detailed three-year roadmap.

“Once we created digital awareness, we held multiple workshops across a broad group of about 60 functional leaders in the company. We created digital aspirations for each function. What do we want to achieve in the next three years? We then generated more than 130 ideas that create true business value,” Bhupesh explained. “The ideas are spread across commercial, operations and technical services with three main themes: customer, asset, and data. When we think about that from a technology viewpoint, we find opportunities to automate our workflow and utilize advanced and intelligent technologies to become an automated and data-driven organization.”

Thanks to the guidance and leadership provided by Bhupesh, Magellan is executing on its three-year road map, moving purposefully from stage to stage, from strategy to delivery.

“We are executing proof of concepts to validate the value that we estimated during our exercise in a very agile, design-thinking and rapid-prototyping fashion. What we’ve done with digital, in the end, has shifted mindsets. We’ve shifted the company’s thinking on how technology can create value, and to me, that’s the definition. We are also shifting mindsets by creating an innovative and agile-driven culture that is really looking at the tip of the iceberg. We are breaking down silos to create more and more connected value.

From my perspective, Bhupesh is precisely the kind of executive leader needed to guide technology strategies in the turbulent times we are living through. In addition to understanding the technology challenges, he focuses on talent development and management, which are indispensable capabilities in today’s rapidly shifting hybrid workplace environments.

I am delighted that Bhupesh took the time share his highly valuable insights and experiences with the HMG Strategy Community. I look forward to our next conversation.