By Lauren Graves
Joe Beery and Amanda Clardy, Chief Information Officer and General Manager, Global eBusiness respectively at Life Technologies, have worked closely over the past five years in an effort to evolve their once siloed departments into a revenue boosting team. Together they have achieved great results and drive home the point that a closely united IT/Marketing team can have far reaching effects and ultimately transform the way that business gets done. In this exclusive interview, Joe and Amanda explain what was required from each side of the fence before their cross-functional team finally realized their full, revenue-boosting potential.
[Lauren Graves] You have both been an integral part of successfully aligning the IT and Marketing organizations at Life Technologies. What was a major challenge you and your teams had to overcome in order to bridge the gap between Marketing and IT?
[Joe Beery] Trust and leadership. The key was to get everyone to see that we were aligned at the highest level and each of us was leveraging our strengths without boundaries.
[Amanda Clardy] History of relationships. Our team had major trust issues between each other based on the historical relationship of the two functions. We had to focus on rebuilding trust and fostering collaboration at all levels in the teams. We realized it had to start from the top and we had to walk the talk ourselves.
"We found the most effective way for our teams to innovate great solutions together, that benefit the customer and the company, is for them to have a common goal...that satisfies the definition of success for both teams."
What would you highlight as the key element to your successful working relationship?
[Beery] Amanda is a great visionary and sees into the future, I am the operational leader. The combination made for a great partnership.
[Clardy] I agree with Joe. We both believe in the power of differences, especially when purposefully used to compliment and add to what each individual offers. We are quite different in our approaches, thought processes and leadership styles. And although, we had to go through our own adjustment period to figure each other out, we quickly realized we could use our differences to be a positive force for our teams and our company.
How do you foster collaborative innovation between your teams to drive business outcomes, increase ROI and transform the business?
[Beery] We understand that each team has different needs when it comes to the definition of innovation. IT will be very technical in the definition and marketing more use case and customer focused. Bringing together programs that can satisfy both has generated the greatest ROI and will transform the way business gets done. This has also created highly motivated cross functional teams.
[Clardy] We found the most effective way for our teams to innovate great solutions together, that benefit the customer and the company, is for them to have a common goal and, as Joe said, that satisfies the definition of success for both teams. For example, three years ago, when we made the decision to converge our multiple websites into one, we gave the team the challenge to not just get down to one website, but to also uplift the digital experience of that website so the customer would have significant benefits from the changes we were making. The end result was a website that continues to receive the highest marks from customers in our industry.
Can you give an example of a recent project or initiative that clearly demonstrates the benefits of aligning the marketing and IT organizations.
[Beery & Clardy] The latest project our teams co-led was another major improvement/overhaul to our website, including a major domain consolidation effort that dramatically reduced the number of major and minor domains we manage. We called the program Digital content management because it was originally focused on improving the organization and presentation of our web content. Over the course of 10 months, the project grew in scope because the joint teams felt they could take it up a notch and really delight the customer with, in essence, an entirely new website. We touched everything from the technology to the architecture to the content to the domains. The project was visionary and market leading content, and most importantly the execution of it was flawless – the best the team has ever done. The collaboration, partnership and boundary-less attitude of the eBusiness Marketing and IT teams have paid off and we are proud to have played a part in it.
How are you utilizing more of the data available across the enterprise to drive results and growth?
[Beery & Clardy] We have several efforts underway right now to harness the value in our data in order to better serve our customers. They range from small pilots to connect data elements that have historically been looked at in silo's all the way to a major effort on restructuring the customer data hierarchy so we can speak to our customers at the same level they want to be engaging with us (sometimes it's at the individual level, sometimes at the lab level, sometimes at the global account level.) In general, our efforts are centered around knowing the customer better so we can better serve them through our sales, marketing and operations efforts.
Joe Beery is Head of Information Technology for Life Technologies, a role he has held since taking the position at Invitrogen in 2008. In this role he directs the development and operation of all of the company’s information technology systems including the company’s eCommerce website that supports a product portfolio of more than 50,000 products. He also spearheaded the implementation of IT programs to support the merger of Invitrogen and Applied Biosystems in 2008. Prior to Invitrogen, Mr. Beery was Chief Information Officer at US Airways and America West Airlines. Previously, Mr. Beery spent ten years at Motorola Semiconductor, holding various positions in the computer integrated manufacturing group, and also served as a manufacturing and software engineer at NV Philips in Albuquerque, N.M. Mr. Beery holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and business computer systems from the University of New Mexico. He is a member of the Board of Directors of HeroWare software and services.
Amanda Clardy is the General Manager of Global eBusiness at Life Technologies, where she oversees online sales of more than $1.3 billion with a team of sales, digital marketing, IT and user experience professionals. The global eBusiness team designs and delivers the promise of a simple to use and buy experience to all customers. Prior to this position, Ms. Clardy was the Chief Marketing Officer for Life Technologies, responsible for the company’s global brand strategies, customer relationship management, marketing communications and e-commerce. Under Amanda’s leadership, Life Technologies has transformed how customer’s and the general public view and experience the Life Technologies brand. With more than 19 years experience, she leads a global team of 180 people, now spearheading the company’s mission of creating a digital ecosystem unlike any other life science provider.
Ms. Clardy joined Life Technologies (formerly Invitrogen) in April 2004 as Senior Director, Global Pricing & Analytics where she established the company’s first global pricing strategy and analytics organization. The innovative strategies she implemented enabled the sales force to better negotiate price and optimize value capture through creative and differentiated pricing techniques. Subsequently, she was named Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications in April 2006.
Prior to joining Life Technologies, she held a variety of strategy, finance and management positions at Gateway, Inc., where she also led the pricing/marketing promotions and global FP&A teams, and at industrial technology leader ABB, Inc. Ms. Clardy earned her MBA at Purdue University and B.S. degree in Finance from Fairfield University.
Ms. Clardy’s professional affiliations include board memberships on ViewBug, CONNECT, California Pacific Air and the New Children’s Museum of San Diego. In addition, she is the founder of iWIN, Life Technologies International Women's Influential Network, an organization sponsored by women, designed to support, mentor and inspire employees through personal and professional development opportunities.