Head of International IT at Kelly Services
Joining the company in 2018, Alexandre Kozlov is currently Head of International IT at staffing and recruitment company Kelly Services, serving the international arm of the business, which covers all geographies outside the US and Canada.
Holding over 20 years of experience in multiple industries, he was tasked with a mandate to develop and execute a new international IT strategy that would enable future business operating models and support business growth.
Leading the development and delivery of technology solutions, he is responsible for ensuring that the new technology strategy converges and integrates with the existing strategy and goals of the corporation, as well as individual business units.
“Today, IT is at the forefront in building up a data-driven business: Netflix knows what you are going to watch next week; Amazon knows what you are going to order next week. How about a staffing company that knows what job a candidate will be looking for next month?” Kozlov posited.
When you embark on a transformation journey, you have to decide about the business operating model first and then, based on that, look for suitable technology solutions and organisational setup.
Before scanning the market for tools, Kozlov started his transformation journey with a series of business modelling workshops engaging all business functions in key markets to design the to-be business operation model. The key objective was to design a future operating model that should be in place in three years.
Kozlov believes that technology alone does not transform companies – it is business processes change that transforms companies, and technology makes it possible and scalable.
It took the company 18 months to complete the whole programme – from the first modelling workshop until the last go-live in the 15th country. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it was right in the middle of the implementation.
“Digital transformation must be initiated from the business side, not technology. But this doesn’t mean that IT just ‘sits and waits’. Business transformation initiatives should tie back to the business, grounding each initiative to explicit results and having specific metrics to track progress against business – not technology! – KPIs. From the three ingredients in a tech project – people, funding, and time – the latter is the most difficult to gain or recover.”
Touching on the importance of technology, Kozlov discussed how, without technology, businesses probably could not operate. We’re no longer in an era where CVs are sent via post; today, it’s all automated. In some instances, companies are even using robots to help with the hiring process and to interview candidates.
“Having the right technology solutions in place is an essential competitive advantage for staffing companies. However, technology is like a magic rod – it will give you what you ask for, but it will not tell you what to ask. It’s for the latter that IT needs to dance with the business. You need two to dance a tango,” concluded Kozlov.
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“Sometimes automation is seen as a panacea. We see it as one of a number of solutions, not a silver bullet.”