The importance of leadership in digital transformation

The importance of leadership in digital transformation

In order to undergo a successful digital transformation as a B2B organisation, it is important to pick up those initiatives that make the customer happy. This is often accompanied by more efficiency and growth. However, this requires a different mindset within your organisation and therefore leadership. In part 10 of the Let’s talk B2B! series, the experts discuss strategic ecommerce.


During this session, the B2B digital commerce group answers the question; What is the importance of leadership in change management and digital transformation? Herbert Pesch (CCO Evident) and Roelof Swiers (Intershop) together chair the expert group. This time the session takes place at Fabory, specialist in the field of fasteners and related products. Fabory is active in 11 European countries and exports its products all over the world. Since 2011, Fabory has been part of W.W. Grainger Inc., a Fortune 500 company and one of the largest international suppliers of products for maintenance and repair.

Keep up the pace

Vasuki Muralidhar, Chief Digital & Information Officer at Fabory: “First and foremost, it is important in this market that Digital and IT are one team. If you turn IT into a separate department, you lose speed. And speed is exactly what you need when it comes to digital transformation.” Parent company Grainger has a considerable track record when it comes to digital. They started with digital commerce as early as the 90s and nowadays, the lion’s share of revenue comes from digital channels.” This makes Grainger an example for many when it comes to ecommerce in B2B.

Innovation related to the strategy

Innovation is not necessarily in the DNA of the wholesaler. What is in the DNA is helping the customer. And when the two come together - innovation with the goal of providing the ultimate customer experience - then you are taking major steps in the field of ecommerce.

At Fabory we have bottom lined everything around digital to 2 things; growth and working more efficiently. That is the ultimate goal of everything that we do with Digital. This strategic direction is the yardstick by which we measure everything; does it contribute to growth, for example new customers and markets or do we work more efficiently through it? That is the only thing that counts.

Digital transformation

Muralidhar sees 3 things that must always contribute to either growth or efficiency:

  1. Strengthen the core: Ensure that your (product) data, IT systems and internal processes are in order. This is the basis from which you launch your digital transformation.
  2. More efficient customer contact: That saves time and money. A digital order results in a cost saving of 50%. You also learn more about what your customer needs.
  3. Experimentation & exploration: Applications of 3D printing, IoT. etc, for example. Fabory examines the role these innovations can play in the customer journey.


New digital initiatives sometimes encounter resistance. You often hear that online sales will be at the expense of offline sales. Muralidhar: “I don’t think that is the discussion we need to have. What matters is that the business grows, it does not matter through which channel that happens. If the online channel grows, you have to celebrate that. Finally, this shows that you meet your client’s needs. And what you pay attention to, grows. And growth is one of the two most important objectives."

“The fact that some people are reluctant to the online channel is nothing new. It is a normal reaction to change. It is therefore important that you properly explain internally why digital is so important and that you, for example, set your sales targets accordingly. Once people realise what digital can do, they will – almost always - naturally become enthusiastic.”

Nevertheless, Vasuki also has a comment: “You must always ask yourself whether digital is the solution for your organisation. For example, when you look at a manufacturer, ecommerce is not always happening, often you are looking at ways of electronic ordering. You only talk about ecommerce when you can influence it, turn the knobs. Digital must also have added value and solve a problem. It’s up to B2B players to figure out where the customer’s problem is and how you can solve it.”

Fabory 2

Do you want to stay informed?

Are you active in B2B and responsible for digital commerce/e-business or e-commerce? Then quickly register for the exclusive LinkedIn group B2B digital commerce to stay informed about insights from the B2B digital commerce group and relevant articles. (already close to 500 participants).
Also check out the YouTube channel B2B digital commerce to find videos with interviews and lots of B2B topics.

Any questions? Please contact Mascha Tamarinof (


Herbert Pesch
Founder and CCO of @Evident. Initiator/host for "Let's talk B2B!"

Herbert Pesch