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The Future of Innovation: Insights From Twitter and Honeywell

The past year has underscored the importance of a trusted technology partner, capable of adjusting as your organization and market needs demand.

guy walking in front of a white wall looking at his phone CXO
[*Santi Nuñez/Stocksy United]

Interaction leads to collaboration, but what happens after a year of little face-to-face interaction and forced collaboration via screens? For forward-thinking companies like Honeywell and Twitter, the pandemic sped up employee productivity, service and product innovation, and the linchpin of business success, better customer experiences.

We caught up with Que Dallara, president and CEO of Honeywell Connected Enterprise and Matt Derella, Global Vice President of the Customers Team at Twitter to get their thoughts on the last year and what trends they see on the horizon.

New York Times: The Future of Honeywell

The century-old Honeywell touches most Americans’ lives, and innovation is in the company’s DNA. Honeywell invented unleaded petrol (unleaded gas), designs and builds heating and cooling (HVAC) systems, created technology for 85% of the world’s biodegradable detergents, designs and builds large-scale manufacturing plants, designs and builds military aircraft, and more. As Dallara remarked, “Honeywell has been a part of innovation, whether it’s energy or safety or security. We’ve been a part of every U.S. space mission.” In essence, Honeywell’s business is four-prong; they design innovative products and systems, they help customers operate and maintain those products and systems. And then, they take software and help customers drive their productivity to the next level of performance.

New York Times: The Future Of Twitter

Twitter exists in the cloud and democratizes connections around interests. The social platform has more than 192 million monetizable daily active users (mDAU) worldwide who use it every day to connect with what’s happening globally and in their local region. Derella believes, “It has the power to give voice to the voiceless.”

Pandemic sped up digital transformation

While people have gradually moved their work and personal lives online over the last decade, the pandemic sped up digital transformation in all technological aspects. What IT directors planned for in two years, there was a sudden demand for within two months. Dallara believes the pandemic has shown us the need to move even more of our processes online, “Anything that can be digitized will be digitized. Information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) data will converge. This will open up opportunities to drive performance in a way that it can’t today.” 

Derella agrees the pandemic has quickened the pace to move operational technology online, and with Work.com, Twitter employees are productive no matter where they log in. That aligns with the company’s connect everywhere mission. “Certainly in the world where there isn’t the natural connection to talk with people, the way you normally would, the intensity and enthusiasm around talking on Twitter is intensified.”

Align employee experience and customer experience

It was a year that connection seemed necessary to get through, but circumstances made it harder to do so. Without shining a positive light on the past year, it pushed businesses to consider what connection meant, what productivity meant — and related, what is necessary to support both. The answer is employee experience. Employee experience leads to better customer service experiences and that leads to business growth. 

Dallara knows a superior employee experience is a cornerstone to Honeywell’s success, “The needs of our customers and our employees are very aligned. And I think if you take care of your customers, everything else works itself out. And so long as that’s the North Star that we have, we can’t go wrong.”

Twitter has always allowed employees to work where they can be the most productive and creative. After shelter in place, the company gave employees a stipend to build out their home offices, and it was one of the first companies to move to a “work from anywhere model.” Derella says employee experience leads to creative solutions for Twitter customers, “Our customer service is one of the key advantages we have, relative to other players that might be larger and have more resources. It’s our goal to create an environment where our employees can connect and create magic with customers. That’s where innovation happens.”

Get the right technology for now and the future

Beyond the focus on employee experience, innovative companies need the right technology to unite teams around customers for continued business growth.

Honeywell’s Dallara mentions it is crucial to get a trusted technology partner and platform capable of adjusting as your organization and market needs require. “Companies are learning from each other in this crisis. The more that companies try things, and either make mistakes or have a breakthrough, it encourages others to take the plunge.” This flexible yet secure technology is at the heart of the core strategic partnership between Honeywell and Salesforce. According to Dallara, Salesforce Customer 360 helps them with three areas, “One, is around managing our thousands of customers and thousands of sellers, and we couldn’t do this without software that helps us keep it together. Two, is around our field service organization. And again, we have thousands of frontline workers in this area. And then last, we use it in HR (human resources) to handle our employee service cases.” Connecting multiple departments through one integrated platform enables Honeywell to provide a 360-degree view of their data.

Twitter approaches its internal technology platform with a beginner’s mindset, making adjustments as its needs grow. Customer 360 is the foundation of the company’s service, sales, marketing, and human resources operations. “Salesforce has become a single source of truth for our business operations. It helps us understand where our customers are and how we can improve their experience.” Customer 360 frees Twitter employees to concentrate on what they do best, innovate for customers. Derella adds, “Salesforce allows us to really learn from data, spot trends and patterns early, to help us adjust our strategy, and be more nimble. And most importantly, to stay close to our customer.”

What’s next?

So, what does the future hold for innovative companies? For Honeywell, the company continues its work in safety, sustainability, performance, and productivity. As Dallara shares, “We believe what happens tomorrow is determined by what we do today.”

Twitter’s Derella envisions more open conversation as we move into recovery. “The future is conversation. Twitter adds a conversational layer to what’s already happening around the world. Conversation makes the world a better place. It allows us to learn faster, fix problems faster, and remind us that we’re all in it together.”

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