Technology advances have changed the way home appliance manufacturers are designing, building and marketing products. The effect of technology innovation has been felt across the industry, affecting products, the customer experience, and the appliance supply chain.
In this special HomeWork series, AHAM speaks with senior technology leaders from AHAM member companies that were scheduled to participate in AHAM’s Tech at the Top panel during the 2020 AHAM annual member meeting. Their insights on supply chain innovation, the retail experience, new business models and connecting with the consumer are not to be missed.
The third installment of AHAM’s special HomeWork series features Viren Shah, Vice President and Chief Digital Officer at GE Appliances, a Haier company.
As the Chief Digital Officer of your company, what elements of your business are the focus of digitization?
Our digitization strategy is to be platform-focused, vs. applications-focused. It is comprised of five platforms:
- Owner/customer experience
- Internet of Things
- Integrated ecosystems (internal/external)
- Insights and intelligence
What is the most important technological development to affect your company in the past decade?
Connected appliances and our ability to do over-the-air software upgrades, just like Tesla does for their cars, is a very unique capability that was conceptualized for our appliances by our product technology team many years ago. In the current COVID-19 situation, this ability of our appliances to communicate empowers us further to serve our purpose, to enable health and well-being in every home.
What is the trigger for developing technology in-house as opposed to outside partnerships?
My belief is that focusing the in-house capabilities on building competitive advantage enables the organization for the long term.
Has digital changed your talent pool?
Digital has truly made our physical boundaries more virtual, opening up access to a larger and diverse talent pool. Consumer needs are changing very fast, and our focus on training and development will surely help us leverage this new talent pool to serve them better.
What will be the most important technological development to impact the industry in the coming decade?
Quantum computing is going to be an area that we should all watch out for in next decade. Cloud providers are now providing simulated quantum computers and these capabilities will surely allow us to take artificial intelligence to the next level.
What will be the biggest innovation as a result of COVID-19?
Virtual communications that has allowed us to connect and solve problems. For example, a proof of concept is in process to help our owners using video calls in conjunction with our connected appliances capabilities.
What personal and professional goals are you currently pursuing? Are you picking up any new skills now that you are at home more?
My personal purpose is to “Grow Businesses and Help People Reach Their Potential.” The journey continues.
Having never worked from home, adapting to work from home by itself is a work in progress for me.
What appliance can you not live without?
Washer and dryer. It would be my cooking range as I really enjoy varieties of food, just that my culinary skills are quite limited. 😊
Outside of the appliance industry, what would be your dream job?
My Second Mountain (based on a book by David Brooks) is to achieve my personal purpose, mentioned earlier, with organizations like UNICEF/Red Cross globally.
What is the best career advice you have ever received?
Be curious, as change is constant.
Be humble, there was a lot achieved before we were born.
Prior to becoming part of GE Appliances, a Haier company, Viren Shah was the CIO at Masco Cabinetry, and CIO Council Leader for their parent company, Masco Corporation. Viren has more than 20 years of global experience in creating business value using technology, with a strong focus on customers for Fortune 10 organizations, such as Walmart. He has contributed as a senior leader towards the success of startups, turnarounds and global mergers and acquisitions. Viren implemented “Think Global and Act Local” methodologies, utilizing operational and cultural experience in areas of IT strategy, omnichannel, business development and governance in more than 20 countries across the Americas, Australia, Europe, Asia and Africa. Viren holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Bombay University, a master of business administration degree in international marketing/short-term finance from the New York Institute of Technology, and an executive education certificate in digital marketing strategies for digital economy from the Wharton School.