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Jeff Dirks, CTO, TrueBlue [NYSE: TBI]
Investment In Digital Transformation Is Growing At 17.5 Percent CAGR And Could Exceed $7 Trillion Over The Next Three Years As Companies Build On Strategies To Drive Value With Digital At Scale. We Are Learning To Train for Endurance
See Also: Top Cloud Solution CompaniesTwo years ago, TrueBlue launched JobStack in PeopleReady, our blue-collar, industrial staffing brand. JobStack lets customers post jobs and workers accept them on a mobile app 24/7 without the assistance of branch teams. It is easy to underestimate the cultural change that comes with this transformation. This wasn’t just another “IT upgrade,” it was a bedrock change to a 30-year-old business model that put PeopleReady at the top of the heap in on-demand industrial staffing. Many tenured employees built long, successful careers on that model. Some worried this was a New Coke moment for us. It’s a natural reaction. I come from a product background in the Seattle VC and technology arena where nothing stays the same long enough to gain inertia. An established service industry brand can build up a lot of inertia in three decades and it can take an incredible force to change direction. This is where strategy can drift into complacency and you slip into the sites of sharp-eyed competitors galvanized in the belief that they are the incredible force that will solve your inertia problem. All technology projects are people projects A digital transformation needs a corresponding cultural transformation to be successful. CTOs know the correlation between technology and people and the high risk of failure in under-investing or under-prioritizing either one. Our day-to-day operations in PeopleReady ran on a proprietary monolith built to support a network of 600 branches with highly trained users. Thirty years of operational know-how is coded into that system. Breaking it down into critical microservices for a cloud app customers and workers can easily use was tricky. There is no single switch to flip for any part of the transformation. There are a million switches. That’s the beauty of it on the technology side: instead of a handful of nail-biting releases a year, we can do hundreds of limited-blast-radius changes, any one of which can be rapidly fixed if needed without rattling the business The people side of the JobStack transformation was analogous in the sense that the transactional aspects of our day-to-day operations transferred from our branch employees to our workers and customers. We followed a similar limited-blast-radius approach by changing one branch at a time, allowing us to focus support resources on a small portion of the business to quickly resolve issues and help employees and customers transition. Today, PeopleReady fi lls a job on JobStack every nine seconds and more of our day-to-day business is transacted through the app than our legacy process. But we know this is only the beginning. Investment in digital transformation is growing at 17.5 percent CAGR and could exceed $7 trillion over the next three years as companies build on strategies to drive value with digital at scale. We are learning to train for endurance.