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Digital Transformation

Honeywell’s Que Thanh Dallara on Driving Growth During the New Normal

Que Thanh Dallara

Que Thanh Dallara is President and CEO of Honeywell Connected Enterprise, leading efforts in software innovation, including IoT solutions, data analytics and new business development. She is helping Honeywell grow faster than the market through the development and delivery of strategy, marketing, and sales practices to consistently improve product portfolio, pricing, Salesforce effectiveness and customer decision journeys.

Below are highlights from a recent discussion Dallara had with Bill Patterson, EVP and General Manager, CRM Applications at Salesforce.

Q. How are you doing with everything that’s going on all around the world?

Since March, it’s been one breathless ride, and in some ways exhausting, but in other ways really inspiring, because what I’m seeing with my customers is they’re trying to compress years of digital transformation into months. And despite the pandemic happening, people are just resilient and inventive about how they achieve the things they want with what’s going on.

Q. Can you talk to us about the last six months at Honeywell and the changes you’re driving every day in your role?

The business problems haven’t changed that much. I think companies are looking for growth and they’re looking for productivity, as they were 10 years ago and six months ago. The difference is that everyone’s looking for those things, but it’s gotten a lot harder. If you’re trying to drive, say 5 percent productivity in sales, you previously had a lot of ways of doing it. You can leverage Salesforce, or you can implement a commercial excellence program, but now companies are trying to do that with 40 percent less fixed costs. And so, that’s a massively different problem to solve. COVID is forcing us to reimagine and reinvent, not just the work we do, but how we do it. And I think what’s inspiring about that is it’s forcing all of us to think about new ways of doing things to achieve those same goals.

Q. When I talk to leaders, especially as they make the transition to digital, one thing everyone talks about is this notion of going digital fast. Can you talk about the role of speed and how going fast has really helped you at Honeywell?

It always takes a crisis to really be the shot in the arm for you to do something. We had a plan coming into January and that plan got completely redone in about two weeks. And we also live with a lot of uncertainty. It wasn’t as if we had a plan and we knew there was a certain cadence and progress we were going to make, but we asked ourselves how long this was going to take. And we looked at parts of the business where we’ve got exposure in aviation and oil and gas, where there was a lot of uncertainty. So, how do you manage through that?

Agile is kind of a cliched word, but it describes the ability to be flexible enough to adjust, to look at signs, and indicators, as well as customer contacts, that helped us make adjustments. We built a factory to make PPE when the nation needed us – in six weeks. That would have previously been a year to build a factory from scratch to make PPE. And so, it’s scary on one hand, but it’s also exhilarating to be able to see what you’re really made of when a generational test like this falls in your lap.

Q. How has the partnership, in your eyes, with Honeywell and Salesforce come together to echo and amplify moments of customer success for your business?

Honeywell and Salesforce have been working together for many years now. I think our organizations know each other really well, and there’s a good trusting relationship. And so, I would point to two things that I draw out of what we’ve done over the years. One is Salesforce is a great inspiration for what could be possible. I mean, as a company, you guys have been tremendously successful in CRM, in sales automation, marketing. I mean, these are just a handful of things. We want to be like you guys, especially around the connected worker. What’s fascinating is that the frontline workers have had so few tools available to them to do their work safely and productively, whereas knowledge workers, I mean, there’s a bazillion things they can choose from.

So, I think there’s a massive opportunity for us to work with the billions of frontline workers out there that our customers have and help them operate more safely and more productively. I think the other part is we’ve been working closely with you on strategic accounts. We don’t have a global sales team in Honeywell. We have 40 sales teams and they operate slightly differently. And I think you’ve been very helpful with experts, account-based marketing, and how to use Salesforce in a better way, so that we can start to grow our own muscles around strategic account management and things like that. So, this is a little bit of a journey. This is not something that we’re going to conquer overnight. But as Honeywell continues to build capability, you guys have been awesome partners in helping us along that journey.

Q. Partnership goes both ways. And like you said, partnership is focused on trust. I think one area where trust gets put to the test is in service and service delivery. Can you talk a little bit about service delivery at Honeywell and why service is so important now, more than ever?

Honeywell has a large service business. And so, we have a reputation with our customers that we’re going to be there with them no matter what, when things go wrong. And the better we are at that, the more differentiated we will be to them. I think this is also a source of a lot of new ideas that we have, in terms of opportunities. I’ll give you an example. One is the industrial world has always been safety first. You never start a meeting unless you talk about safety and review that. But in the commercial world, no one thinks about that really. And COVID’s ompletely changed that.

Now, wellness and safety are things you have to care about before you even get to the office. So, that’s a switch. And then on the other hand, you see digital tools in the knowledge worker space that have been there for decades. The IT industry has done a tremendous job with innovation there. But in other areas, there is a dearth of availability of tools. And so, you see a bit of convergence between these areas and the IT world. And I think the linkage there is going to come from service, customer success, and seeing those opportunities come up, and as you say, Bill, the sort of speed and agility needed to bring those things to market.

Q. Why do Service and Field Service matter in these times to Honeywell?

Covid-19 requires a change in behaviors across all of society as we adapt to the new normal. Salesforce Field Service aids us in this change by implementing new best practices directly, guiding professionals through workflows and capturing operational data for continued adaptation and compliance. In these difficult times our customers are looking to Honeywell for support and guidance as they work through ever-changing challenges.  

Today, Salesforce Field Service is enabling thousands of technicians in our Honeywell Process Solutions group to achieve greater efficiency and customer satisfaction. Through Honeywell Forge our field service professionals can utilize industry leading data analytics and building insights alongside their intimate knowledge of our customers’ buildings to ensure the best and fastest decisions are implemented.Our new partnership with Salesforce enables the next evolution of field service by directly connecting the Honeywell Forge Intelligence to the field service professionals directing their day-to-day tasking and outcomes. Through this, we are leading a rapid transformation of the building service industry.

Q. What other advice might you have for leaders that you’re going to continue to incorporate into your strategy moving forward?

When I think about the business problems, they haven’t really changed. They’re there, and ever present. When executives look to digital tools as a way to help them, I sort of see three forms. One is, some people try to implement a tool to help with marketing, or sales, or supply chain. And that’s good, it’s good to think about automation and how tools can help your workforce achieve that.

You see some companies build data lakes, where they’ll have a digital team, and they’ll try and do ad-hoc analysis. And that’s good. They’re trying to get end-to-end visibility across the enterprise, which is a very difficult problem to get to.

And then the third way, you don’t really see very much. Honeywell is one of the few companies doing this, where we’re actually trying to virtualize the physical layer. Just as in the IT world, we virtualize the server and networking, in order to do more with less. That’s what we’re doing with control systems. We believe one day you can have not only analytics, but drive the analytics into action in the physical layer. And so, that’s pretty exciting. We’ve had a really great reception around some of these concepts with our customers this year. I’m super excited about what’s ahead, as this year has been one breathless ride.