Back to all episodes

Long-term tech strategy: Advice from a Chief Digital Officer

September 11, 2022 / 23:37 / E3

Talk to an expert

about something you heard on this episode

Contact an expert
"Too often we build things and then we just let them sit. In all the important aspects of our life, we don't operate that way. So why would we think that a big technology project would be any different?" 

In this episode, Bob Howland lays down your keys to success as a Chief Digital Officer. For his most recent success, Dawn Foods, Bob sketched out his ideal eCommerce architecture - which was a "composable commerce" stack before that term even existed - and built it in just 22 weeks (which was ahead of time & on budget). This is a massive enterprise transformation - Dawn Foods is a 4,000 people company, and prior to Bob, they had zero eCommerce infrastructure or expertise. Less than 6 months to a fully self-service eCommerce experience from scratch? Yup. And it doesn't stop there. Listen to find out Bob's top 5 lessons for CDOs.


  • 0:11 Intro & Dawn Foods story
  • 2:08 Lesson 1: How to buy technology
  • 5:13 Why Bob allocated more dev hours to post-launch than pre-launch
  • 5:55 Taking internal opinions with a grain of salt
  • 7:23 Handling the quality, cost, time, triangle
  • 8:20 How Dawn Foods collects customer data (Voice of Customer)
  • 9:30 Lesson 2: How to allocate your time
  • 11:15 "But we're doing just fine" - pushing for change when you're already market leader
  • 12:25 Lesson 3: How Bob gains credibility in the first 30 days in any company (30 doughnuts in 60 days)
  • 14:56 Lesson 4: The importance of "disproof" 
  • 16:44 How to avoid offending people when you point out what needs to change - and get them to help you instead
  • 20:53 Lesson 5: How (and why) to play the long game when it comes to transformation

Share on

Related episodes

Efficiency unleashed: Leveraging better goal-setting and AI, with Earth Reiser (Topgolf Callaway Brands)

Earth Reiser, Director of Strategy and Innovation at Topgolf Callaway Brands, offers advice on goal-setting, the importance of having a strategic vision as a business, and how to bridge the gap between this vision and actionable objectives. She also shares why she's excited about the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI), discussing how she leverages it in her work today, and its potential for increasing organizational efficiency.01:06 The Importance of clear goals 04:06 The balance between top-down and bottom-up goal setting06:09 The power of sharing goals 07:51 The promise and opportunity of AI11:12 Examples of using AI in professional settings

Ask better questions: The art of data analytics with Topgolf Callaway Brands’ Earth Reiser

Earth Reiser, the Director of Strategy and Innovation at Topgolf Callaway Brands, offers advice for navigating the murky waters of customer data and analytics, and how brands need to be mindful of customers' desire for privacy. She discusses the implications of the increasing call for privacy across various platforms, and why it's important to gather and use data ethically for decision making. Earth also offers advice on marketing analytics, and the art of asking the right questions when using data, without collecting data for its own sake.

Customer-centric composable transformation, with Topgolf Callway Brands' Earth Reiser

Earth Reiser, the Director of Strategy and Innovation at Topgolf Callaway Brands shares insights on the company's transformation journey. Earth shares how Topgolf Callaway Brands restructured its technology and business model around empowering its employees and customers. She provides advice on bridging the gap between business and technology, balancing a north star vision with the necessity for flexibility, and building a strong composable strategy. Listen in to learn why a monolithic structure isn't always a bad thing, how to help companies embrace change, and why a 'one size fits all' approach isn't right for every organization.01:25 The Topgolf Callaway journey to transformation 05:22 How the brand decided to go composable08:01 How the company aims to serve the modern golfer not just today, but in the future09:33 The importance of flexibility in business11:36 How to embrace change13:59 Advice for companies looking to go composable

Your 2024 transformation guide: Wisdom from composable trailblazers

In this episode, we check in with some of our first guests, sharing what they've been working on over the past year - and their advice for anyone looking to embark on a transformation in 2024. Bob Howland, Chief Digital Officer at Dawn Foods, explains how composable technology helps their company to effectively cross-pollinate content between their e-commerce and corporate sites. Jon Richards, Head of Digital at Golfbreaks, shares how composable architecture provides time-saving benefits. Danielle Diliberti, CEO of Sommsation, talks about the fast-paced innovative advantages of building a digital marketplace using composable technology. Andreas Westendörpf, CTO of Emma Sleep, shares how their composable stack helped them handle high business spikes during the holiday season. Along with these insights, the guests offer advice for organizations looking to begin their composable transformation journey.Timestamps:1:02 Bob Howland on the benefits of Dawn Foods merging onto a single composable CMS02:48 Jon Richards on the benefits of composable transformation for Golfbreaks04:07 The Golfbreaks portal project (CXAs award finalist)05:44 How Sommsation, a digitally native business benefits from composable (Danielle Diliberti)8:27 How Emma Sleep leveraged composable to thrive and innovate during the holiday season (Andreas Westendörpf)12:16 Advice for composable transformation: Strategic planning14:45 The value of quick wins16:33 Bridging business and technology - before you begin18:59 Remember the long game