Interview – Jackie Montado, CIO & Senior Director, PepsiCo Asia Pacific

Jackie MontadoJackie Montado is the PepsiCo Asia Pacific Region CIO & Senior Director. She leads the strategy formulation and value realisation from digital transformation initiatives across 25 markets in the Foods & Beverages categories. Jackie is passionate about people and developing future leaders whilst learning and leveraging new technologies and capabilities. She is a trusted, strategic advisor, continuously shaping her role and contribution as well as that of her teams. She is a great advocate for women in business, technology and leadership roles.

Jackie has undertaken significant multi-cultural business transformations and M&A work over the years and focuses on developing strategic partnerships at the C-Suite level.  Prior to joining PepsiCo, Jackie held various positions working for ICI Petrochemicals & Plastics, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals and PWC Management Consultancy in Australia and UK/Europe as well as undertaking several global roles.

What do you feel are the biggest challenges IT leaders are currently faced with?

One of the key challenges across organisations in today’s world is talent retention.  IT leaders face an even more acute challenge as the demand for technology as a foundation for digital disruption is ever increasing. It is no longer enough to offer competitive remuneration. Millennials and Generation Z are looking for much more. They are global, social and technological natives who need to be engaged in purposeful work. Their expectations of companies and future employment is very different to that of previous generations. The challenge for IT leaders is therefore how to attract, engage, develop and grow our future leaders. How do we build and execute strategies to do this to ensure the future digital capabilities are developed and we stay ahead of the game? This has implications on the future workforce. IT leaders play a key role in shaping the future of business today.

What are some important points which need to be understood about IT strategies and the how the IT/Digital function can add value?

A robust IT strategy needs to be shaped around the business strategy itself. It needs to support the vision and strategic objectives which the organisation has set and provide competitive advantage to that business within the wider industry. An IT strategy needs to include the technological capabilities to be deployed and leveraged both in the short and long term. It should clearly articulate the current and future skills, competencies and workforce capabilities required, illustrating how these should be evolved over time to ensure continued business growth.

The IT/Digital function needs to add value to the overall organisation. Value realisation and avoidance of value leakage is important to ensure that all initiatives contributing to operating and strategic business plans return the desired ROI. Appropriate governance models and frameworks need to be established to facilitate this. Delivery of leading-edge IT/Digital solutions via cross-functional, empowered teams within the business is most effective with clear ownership and accountabilities understood at all levels. IT leaders need to be one step ahead of the game at all times and continuously shape their role, and that of their function, within the Business’ growth journey.

What is the best piece of advice you have received in your career over the years?
It is important to focus on continued life-long learning. As I have progressed in my career into more senior roles I have stretched the boundaries of my roles and continuously taken on new challenges. I have moved into very exciting business roles and across industries on several occasions and this has been facilitated by my continuous learning and curiosity on how businesses operate and how value can be generated.

As we move into more senior roles it is possible to continuously shape our role and contribution by widening our lens to focus on the broader business and corporate social responsibility agenda. This allows us to make an even bigger impact to the development and future growth of our cross functional staff members, as well as our broader community by making the world we live in a better place.

What is one key takeaway you hope our IT audience leaves with after hearing your presentation on site?

In today’s world we witness companies experiencing digital disruption. We see changes in Business operating models executed via major transformation programs in line with business growth strategies, delivering significant productivity savings and incremental sales. We see the advent of new technologies and capabilities coming to the forefront and playing an integral role in today’s businesses. It is therefore essential that Boards and C-Suite executives are engaged and understand the value of technology to their businesses, with CIOs/CDOs playing a pivotal role in increasing digital savviness across the organisation.