Innovation Advisory Council Spotlight: Harsha Bellur of James Avery
For December's Innovation Advisory Council Spotlight, we're excited to feature, Harsha Bellur, EVP/Chief Information Officer at James Avery.
Q: What are your current goals for this year?
Our overall goals has not impacted much. At James Avery, we are always focused on customer outcomes and experiences. We are currently working on factory automation with manufacturing execution system (MES) to improve cycle time. This also connects our digital ecosystem all the way from sales to manufacturing. When completed, the shop floor will have real time understanding of demand and likewise, the stores will have full visibility of work in progress(WIP). Specifically, on customer experience we are working on an AI based customer intelligence platform for optimized marketing and personalized engagement. We are also making great strides in developing a unified data analytics platform for analytics at scale.To support these and other business strategies, we are executing a multi-cloud infrastructure strategy. Of course, Security is always top of mind, and we are also adopting Dev/Ops automation to our traditional application development as well.
Q: How do you encourage creative thinking within your organization?
There are a couple of key elements that I strive to emphasize with my team. 1) Know your customer and 2) Understand the need/problem. This approach has allowed my teams to bring their creative best to problem solving. They more or less self-organize and are fully empowered to explore all options. I encourage them not to kill any idea but consider all input with a description of the pros/cons for each option. I have seen this approach yield great results as it establishes clarity of need, allows for free exploration of solution options and builds consensus on the optimal path, all with the customer in mind.
Q: How has your productivity been affected by working from home?
Productivity in the absolute sense has definitely improved. This is primarily due to reduction in commute times and ability to virtually switch from one meeting to another. We have gotten a whole lot accomplished working remotely but I’m concerned about how effective this set up is in the long run. We are already experiencing challenges when it comes to ideation and brainstorming. Then there is the question of culture and ways we can foster that with remote teams. When the dust settles, I believe we will end up in some kind of hybrid mode between working at an office and non-office environment.
Q: How would you describe yourself in one word?
“Learning” is what comes to me to describe in one word. More broadly, I believe a tag line of a major car manufacturer, “The pursuit of perfection” captures the essence of me as a person. You are never perfect, but you learn everyday and better yourself as a person, leader, husband, father and all other roles you play in your life.
Vation works closely with Silicon Valley VC’s to help their portfolio companies gain market feedback. In doing so, we have put together an IT Executive Innovation Advisory Council in twenty key markets across the country.
Each group, comprised of 20-30 CIOs/CDOs/CISOs/CTOs, meets semi-annually to discuss market trends and to give feedback on emerging tech companies. The meetings always begin with a trend discussion on a disruptive innovation topic, followed by presentations from four emerging technologies and wraps up with feedback and open discussion. If you're interested in learning more or joining the Innovation Advisory Council, please click here.