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aim10x, Best Practices, Knowledge

Day 1 Recap: aim10x digital 2024

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Published: Reading time: 16 mino9 Solutions The Digital Brain Platform
o9 SolutionsThe Digital Brain Platform

Asian Paints

o9 Co-Founders Session

Nirmal Purja, '14 Peaks'


Magdi Batato, former Group COO, Nestlé

AB InBev


Consumer Products Panel

Big Lots

DISH Network

Bill McRaith, former CSCO, PVH Corp.

Arla Foods


General Atlantic

Generation Investment Management


—It’s a brave new world for business leaders.

The waves of change from the last four years show no signs of abating. Business volatility and complexity are only expected to increase. Companies are under increasing pressure from regulators to mitigate their environmental impact. Gartner has predicted generative AI will have “an impact similar to that of the steam engine, electricity, and the internet.” 

But while some companies delay the decision to digitize their operations in the face of rapid change, others are taking action. Boardrooms of the latter are investing in the advanced planning and decision-making capabilities that enable the agility and resilience required. In making the leap to digital, such companies not only separate themselves from laggards financially, capturing hundreds of millions in incremental business value per annum, but they also create the foundation to continuously advance their digital supply chain and commercial transformations. 

Day one of aim10x digital 2024 provided a platform for a global audience of thousands of planning and decision-making professionals to learn from these pioneering companies as they shared their insights on digitizing supply chains, generative AI, and sustainability.

Asian Paints

aim10x digital opened its first session by hearing from Asian Paints. Celebrated by Forbes India as one of the top 10 most innovative companies globally, Asian Paints delivers directly to over 100,000 registered dealers multiple times daily, bypassing intermediaries.

The company's Heads of Supply Chain and IT, Harish Lade and Aashish Kshetry, shared insights on the critical role of data in planning transformations—a common thread that ran through many of the day's presentations—and the exciting generative AI pilots it's running.

"Data makes or breaks this kind of project," Aashish remarked. He explained that this is especially true for the complexity resulting from expanding product lines and distribution channels. "Ensuring that you have the appropriate data for planning is critical."

The discussion then shifted to generative AI, with Aashish sharing how Asian Paints is exploring how large language models (LLMs) can transform tribal knowledge, which he called "the intellectual property of the organization," into accessible digital assets.

"If you marry [systemized tribal knowledge] with planning data, the combination can be great."

Aashish kshetry
Aashish KshetryVP of IT, Asian Paints

o9 Co-Founders Session

After a record-breaking year at o9 that saw its annual recurring revenue (ARR) increase by 47% and its valuation increase from 2.7 to $3.7B, o9 Co-Founders Chakri Gottemukkala and Sanjiv Sidhu reflected on the company's most significant achievements in 2023. 

Chiefly among them was a significant value milestone achieved with T-Mobile. "We had our first client who publicly stated one billion dollars of value realization from the o9 planning transformation," said Chakri, o9's CEO. "By accelerating the rollout, reducing inventory, improving productivity, and reducing the cost of goods, a billion dollars has been realized over a three-year timeframe."

"We had our first client who publicly stated a billion dollars of value realization from the o9 planning transformation. This is a milestone worth celebrating."

Chakri gottemukkala
Chakri GottemukkalaCEO and Co-Founder, o9

Upon being asked what his most impactful lesson learned from the previous year was, at the top of his list was taking an iterative approach to overcoming data challenges. "Planning transformations require good data. So, you have to address the data challenges," he said. "And what works best—what has proven successful—is an iterative approach. You try certain things, you innovate, you learn, and you iterate."

He cited examples from o9 clients T-Mobile and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, companies that “embraced data as a challenge” and leveraged the o9 platform's flexibility to “capture missing data” rather than significantly delaying their implementations with protracted data-cleansing efforts. The latter approach his fellow co-founder, Sanjiv Sidhu, likened to “building your muscles before you go to the gym.”

Chakri also expressed his excitement around generative AI, sharing that the company is already seeing "game-changing results" from the pilots o9 is running with several clients. According to the CEO, GenAI will help planning leaders answer what he calls the 'three W's of management': what is happening, why is it happening, and what should I do about it?—activities that he says are still "80% tribal-knowledge driven."

"The ability to convert tribal knowledge into digital knowledge is what we believe to be the fundamental opportunity," he stated. Sanjiv echoed this sentiment, saying, "Companies that take advantage of [generative AI] will definitely get a huge competitive advantage."

Nirmal Purja, '14 Peaks'

Nirmal Purja, ground-breaking mountaineer and star of the award-winning Netflix documentary '14 Peaks,' joined next to share his lessons learned from achieving a feat many thought impossible: summiting 14 Death Zone peaks—mountains with altitudes above 8,000m where the pressure of oxygen is insufficient to sustain human life—in just six months and six days. His insights proved practical for those searching for extraordinary athletic performance and overcoming the daily challenges of life and business.

"I believe the first thing is to be a good human. You need to have a good heart," he shared when asked what his top lessons learned from his harrowing experiences were.

"Whatever you're doing, you will gain so much strength because you're not acting solely for yourself."

Nirmal purja
Nirmal PurjaGround-breaking Mountaineer and Star of Netflix’s ‘14 Peaks’

"These actions provide you with internal energy that I struggle to explain," he continued. "Doing good things brings energy from deep within your core. And when you have that energy, there's a solution for every problem."


The vision of truly integrated business planning (IBP)—digitally connecting Supply Chain, Finance, and Commercial functions for truly cross-functional decision-making—has been a dream since the 80s. Today, pioneering companies like PepsiCo are making it a reality.

Angelika Kipor, Senior Vice President and IBP Lead at PepsiCo, joined next to share insights into the food-and-beverage giant’s unique approach to leveraging transformative IBP technology, which has been rolled out first in Iberia and Turkey and is now being deployed in their largest market: North America.

"We're elevating [IBP] beyond demand-and-supply reconciliation activities by positioning it as a business decision-making activity, which shifts the entire focus," she explained. "Ultimately, a general manager owns this process."

One of the hallmarks of PepsiCo's approach to leveraging transformative IBP is its commitment to making decisions that positively impact the balance sheet and the planet.

"IBP enables GMs to make the right decisions for the business, and one of the critical parameters is improving sustainability."

Angelika kipor
Angelika KiporSenior Vice President and IBP Lead, PepsiCo

Angelika expressed excitement about the company's initiative to integrate ESG parameters into its IBP process. Such integration will provide PepsiCo with the ability to balance its sustainability and business objectives. "Currently, we have many indicators measuring progress in this area, and very exciting progress is being made," she shared.

Magdi Batato, former Group COO, Nestlé

Magdi Batato, a distinguished Consumer Products executive with over three decades of experience at Nestlé, took the virtual stage next to share his insights on regenerative agriculture and its pivotal role in ensuring food security for the future.

He began his presentation with a sobering fact: "If we fail to care for the environment, feeding nine billion people by 2040 or 2050 will become a significant challenge. Therefore, ensuring food security is crucial."

"If we fail to care for the environment, feeding 9B people by 2040 or 2050 will become a significant challenge. Therefore, ensuring food security is crucial."

Magdi batato
Magdi Batatoformer Group COO, Nestlé

Fundamental to providing food security, Magdi explained, is the critical role of soil health in agricultural productivity. "You need to consider soil health because it all starts there. If the soil is of good quality, it will naturally yield more," he explained. He advocated for the adoption of multi-cropping practices as a means to enhance soil health, using the example of a coffee farm to illustrate the concept. "Between two rows of coffee, you could plant chili and banana, making better use of the land. This not only reduces soil loss but also helps the soil regenerate and become healthier," he detailed.

Magdi expressed optimism about regenerative agriculture's potential to bolster food security, stating it's a true win-win for all parties involved. "It's a win for the environment—for the soil—it's a win for the farmer, and it's a win for productivity," he said.

AB InBev

The results of AB InBev’s digital planning transformation have been remarkable.

Elito Siqueira, AB InBev North America’s  Global SVP of Supply Chain and Logistics, took the virtual stage next, sharing that, since the famed brewer embarked on a truly end-to-end planning transformation journey with o9 four years ago, its supply chain KPIs are at an all-time high.

"Forecast accuracy is around 10% better. Network efficiency and execution are at all-time highs this year. Service levels and inventories have improved by 15%. So we are quite happy."

Elito siqueira
Elito SiqueiraGlobal SVP of Supply Chain and Logistics, AB InBev North America

The transformation, both global and end-to-end in scope, covers its major markets and encompasses capabilities from supply and demand planning extending to the reverse flow of goods with returnable packaging.

He also explained that adopting the o9 platform has ushered in benefits that have compounded over time. "The more you mature, the better the planners are using the platform, and the better we connect with the other areas. That's where the incremental uplift came from," he shared.


Danone's Global Planning Lead, Agnes Dyduch, joined next, sharing insights from its planning transformation journey with o9. 

"Our scope is truly end-to-end," she emphasized, outlining the comprehensive nature of the transformation, which includes demand planning and sensing, detailed scheduling, MRP, and vendor collaboration and covers all time horizons in the program, from S&OE in the short-to-mid term to IBP in the mid-to-long term.

Central to Danone's success has been a focus on data governance and quality, Anges explained. "Data is crucial for journeys like this." However, instead of adopting a more traditional and time-consuming approach to data cleansing and harmonization before implementation, Danone chose a more dynamic path. Similar to the data approaches of AT&T and T-Mobile shared earlier in the day by o9’s CEO Chakri Gottemukkala, Danone decided to proceed in parallel with data cleansing and deploying new functionalities.

Effective communication emerged as a key theme in the change management process. "What we have seen working already is tailored communication to certain groups," Agnes noted, explaining that engaging lead sponsors and social influencers to foster a positive outlook toward change has been a core tenet of Danone's change management strategy.

"The true joy that planners express when they discover different ways of working with new technology—that is the success story."

Agnes dyduch
Agnes DyduchGlobal Planning Lead, Danone

She concluded her presentation by sharing the impact of the new platform on planners' work lives, revealing the "true joy" they experience by engaging with technology that enables them to focus more on decision-making rather than tedious tasks. "Happy users are the evidence of these new ways of working," she said.

Consumer Products Panel

The next session was a panel discussion featuring Consumer Products executives Adis Sulejmanović from Kraft Heinz, Natalie Burbidge from Constellation Brands, Tuomas Penttinen from Arla Foods, and Francesco Tinto from Advantage Solutions.

Adis, Head of Demand Planning at Kraft Heinz, began the discussion by stressing the foundational role of data in navigating the industry's future. "It all starts with data. It's a foundation we're building from leveraging o9 for our forecasting capability, decision intelligence, and being predictive in consumer behavior changes," he remarked.

Echoing Adis's sentiment, Francesco Tinto, the Chief Digital Officer at Advantage Solutions, highlighted the importance of choosing the right technology platform that provides the flexibility to ingest and enhance new data sources as new business use cases emerge. "[Data] will be a continuous improvement initiative because new use cases will require more data. [You must] continually enhance what you have created over time. Thinking about the platform correctly at the beginning is very important to ensure you have the flexibility to expand over time," Francesco articulated.

Big Lots

Brick-and-mortar retail has undergone a profound shift since the pandemic. Such a shift has necessitated big-box retailers such as Big Lots—with over 1,400 stores spread across 47 states—to take a digital-first approach to merchandise planning.

Matthew Weger, the Chief Digital and Technology Officer at Big Lots, took the virtual stage next to provide an IT leadership perspective on its merchandise financial planning transformation. He began by outlining the program's initial motivation: Big Lots' homegrown planning system couldn't meet the needs of the new normal, and the team wanted to "go faster with better quality and enable the business to be better decision-makers."

Matthew shared his initial concerns about the o9 platform's ability to handle Big Lots' data without performance and accessibility issues. However, these concerns were quickly allayed.

"I thought the volume of data would choke the platform and that we'd have problems with performance and accessibility, but we haven't. It's been working like a champ."

Matthew weger
Matthew WegerChief Digital and Technology Officer, Big Lots

He shared that Big Lots is on track to meet, if not exceed, the strategic goals outlined in its business case. This includes benefits such as increased turnover, more accurate product alignment, and improved sales.

"What I don't think we fully appreciated are the intangibles that come along with it, too," he acknowledged, referring to the adjacent benefits realized from the transformation program. "We've been able to give more people better visibility of our forecasts and plans, and that read-only access we've enabled goes well beyond what anybody had access to before, which has been really beneficial for the company. It gives us better insight and visibility into how we want to execute."

DISH Network

Mergers and acquisitions often spur new operating models that require new technologies and ways of working to support them. Such was the case with DISH Network, which entered the consumer wireless market by acquiring Boost Mobile to become a multi-brand wireless telco company.

Geoff Fry, the company's VP of Supply Chain Management, took the virtual stage next to share insights into DISH's journey toward a digital-first approach to supply chain management that would support the rapid delivery of mobile phones from suppliers to Boost Mobile subscribers.

Sticking with the theme of data, he began by explaining how overcoming DISH's data challenges was critical to the success of its planning transformation. "The data was scattered," he explained. As a solve, Geoff and his team decided to strive for a single source of truth, a centralized data platform that could unify data from various sources, including their ERP system, 3PL partners, distributors, and dealers—data sources they now feed into the o9 platform for "better decision-making and efficiency."

He praised o9 for its dedication to understanding DISH's unique business needs, engaging with experts within the company, and introducing new ideas. "And the adoption that we have today is based on the fact that the tool and o9's team, through their help, have made it feel familiar and useful and usable to us," he noted.

"Our adoption today is based on the fact that the tool and o9's team, through their help, have made it feel familiar, useful, and usable for us."

Geoff FryVP of Supply Chain Management, DISH Network

Bill McRaith, former CSCO, PVH Corp.

The retail industry has constantly been challenged by the amount of waste it creates. Fashion and Apparel supply chain veteran Bill McRaith, formerly of PVH Corp., joined next to share why he believes retailers must make “a collective effort” to mitigate their environmental impact while boosting profitability.

Bill began his presentation by identifying "long lead-time supply chains" as a primary contributor to over-ordering, which results in substantial inventory surpluses and an industry-standard seventy-five percent sell-through rate. "We over-purchase by about twenty-five percent," he explained.

He introduced the concept of Multi-Dimensional Dynamically Optimized planning to optimize the flow of goods from off-shore, near-shore, and on-shore facilities to maximize sustainability and profitability. This approach, he argued, could dramatically reduce waste and improve sustainability by aligning production more closely with consumer demand.

Bill concluded his presentation by challenging the industry to rethink its approach to waste, saying, "Let's think of [waste] as a commodity, work together on it, and start converting [it] into the newest commodity that feeds into fashion," he proposed.

Arla Foods

Tuomas Penttinen, Head of Net Revenue Management at Arla Foods—a farmer-owned cooperative based in Europe with annual revenue exceeding ten billion euros—joined to discuss its Commercial transformation journey across 1,200 team members. "It's affecting roughly twelve hundred colleagues across sales, marketing, finance, and all roles involved in commercial decision-making," he shared.

This transformation, aimed at achieving best-in-class commercial and RGM capabilities, is focused on "how we want to do pricing, see our assortment play, manage promotions, and understand our trade terms and profit pools," he noted. "We've also invested in joint business planning capabilities, allowing our commercial teams to execute with our customers."

He concluded his presentation by sharing feedback from the users of the o9 platform.

"Having the ability to simulate scenarios live with a customer on the phone and tweak your plans together is a superpower."

Tuomas penttinen
Tuomas PettinenHead of Net Revenue Management, Arla Foods


The die has been cast regarding globalized supply chains, meaning no OEM is an island. For Toyota, this means increasingly complex and interdependent supplier ecosystems that are optimized for cost but leave them more vulnerable to shortages.

Toyota North America's Group Planner Manager Andy Woehler joined the virtual event next to share how Toyota is shoring up its resilience by enabling what it calls "two-way supplier connectivity" in partnership with o9. Explained Andy, "This transformation is as much about creating a better customer experience as it is about navigating supply issues."

Andy recognized the interdependent nature of Toyota's business, relying heavily on its suppliers to provide them with critical information regarding demand signals and risks. "We rely on our suppliers to analyze demand signals, evaluate changes to those signals, and determine what risks might exist for them," he noted. "We then ask them to communicate those risks to us effectively." The two-way supplier connectivity initiative aims to lessen the communication burden on suppliers by improving the speed and quality of data flow between them and the OEM.

Andy explained that the choice of o9 as a partner was driven by the platform's user-friendliness, adaptability, and capacity for customization to Toyota's specific business requirements. "We saw the o9 platform as rising to the top in terms of the ease of use, the ability for our stakeholders to navigate the system, understand the information, and make good decisions," he said.

"The o9 platform rose to the top in terms of ease of use and the ability of our stakeholders to navigate the system, understand the information, and make good decisions."

Andy woehler
Andy WoehlerGroup Planning Manager, Toyota North America

He also shared that Toyota sees this initiative as a critical enabler for scaling its operations across its global footprint. "One of the big benefits we see for two-way supplier connectivity is our ability to scale this into other regions,” he said.

He concluded by sharing that the feedback from suppliers on the o9 platform has been overwhelmingly positive, pointing to significant value in capabilities like shipping-based forecasts and longer-range planning. "All capabilities our supplier partners have expressed will be valuable; the o9 platform enables,” he said.

General Atlantic

Supply chains remain a high-priority topic for boardrooms. Fewer would know this more than Gary Reiner, Operating Partner at General Atlantic and board member of ten companies, including HPE and CitiGroup.

Gary took the virtual stage to provide insights into why supply chains have become top of mind for executives.

"People realize how vulnerable they are to supply chain disruptions because any geopolitical event or security breach can cause concern about a company's performance. So, this is still a front-and-center topic."

Gary reiner
Gary ReinerManaging Director, General Atlantic, Board member, HPE and CitiGroup

General Atlantic, KKR, and Generation Investment Management invested in o9 twice in the past several years, driving its valuation to $3.7B. When asked why GA chose to invest in o9, Gary cited not only o9's promise but also its ability to "delight the client," which he evidenced by sharing a success story from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, where he is currently a board member. "Where there was difficulty forecasting demand at the SKU level before, they have massively improved that."

Generation Investment Management

As the event approached its last session, a presentation by Generation Investment Management—a pure-play sustainable investor co-founded by Former United States Vice President Al Gore—impressed the urgent need to address climate change. Its message for business leaders: "The train has left the station in regards to sustainability."

Generation, also a twice investor in o9, was represented by Growth Investors Niki Rosinski and Lucia Keijer-Palau. They began their presentation by exploring the regulatory pressures driving companies to track, report, and mitigate their environmental impact.

Central to addressing climate change, the two argued, would be balancing considerations of cost, service levels, risk, and sustainability through leveraging advanced demand and supply planning capabilities, a key driver behind Generation's investment in o9.

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NEW: aim10x On Tour

This year, o9 is hosting a series of 12 in-person events at 12 major global hubs for forward-thinking supply chain and IT professionals. Explore a city near you and request to join today.

About the author

o9 Solutions The Digital Brain Platform

o9 Solutions

The Digital Brain Platform

o9 Solutions is a leading AI-powered platform for integrated business planning and decision-making for the enterprise. Whether it is driving demand, aligning demand and supply, or optimizing commercial initiatives, any planning process can be made faster and smarter with o9’s AI-powered digital solutions. o9 brings together technology innovations—such as graph-based enterprise modeling, big data analytics, advanced algorithms for scenario planning, collaborative portals, easy-to-use interfaces and cloud-based delivery—into one platform.


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