Behind the Tech: A Closer Look into Mondelez’s Global Innovation Investment

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CGT catches up with Dr. Kevin L. Powell, RDQ vice president, Biscuit, Gum & Candy of Mondelez International, to get a closer look behind its latest innovation investment.

Behind the Tech: A Closer Look into Mondelez’s Global Innovation Investment

By Alarice Rajagopal - 08/21/2020

Last week, CGT reported on how global snacking giant Mondelez International, Inc. was partnering with Sopheon to transform its innovation and commercialization processes and portfolios. The two companies are set to collaborate in an accelerated deployment program that is expected to enable Mondelez to go live with Sopheon’s SaaS-based Accolade platform and replace two global legacy systems before the end of the year.

Here, we caught up with Dr. Kevin L. Powell, RDQ vice president, Biscuit, Gum & Candy for Mondelez, to get a closer look into the pain points driving the decision to tap into a new solution, and some expected benefits of the collaboration.

“We recognized the power of resource and portfolio management/health, but were running this through a fairly simple, and labor-intensive tool,” Powell tells CGT. “While this tool enabled us to gain valuable insights into our portfolio, it was time-consuming and complex to use and maintain. Moreover, there were other systems we had used over time to manage projects and resources and none of these systems talked to each other, or lived in one place, which would have allowed data to be easily accessed by stakeholders,” he explains.

As such, Powell notes that there was a lot of room for improvement as far as the usability of these tools and streamlining the overall process. Using Agile methodology, Mondelez plans to have the first phase operational in under six months. “The Sopheon solution offers a lot of flexibility and we have chosen a two-phased approach,” Powell adds.

The initial phases of deployment will automate critical aspects of Mondelez’s portfolio management, Stage-Gate governance, and resource planning processes. These initial capabilities should provide global visibility to all new product initiatives in the portfolio, making it easier to focus limited resources on the highest-value products. They will also reduce the amount of time required by initiative leaders and cross-functional teams for successful commercialization and lay a foundation for future phases of deployment that focus on project execution.

As for expected benefits, Powell says that Mondelez expects to maximize the ROI of its resources across both the innovation and base businesses.

“Using newfound insights, we can quickly flow our resources into growth opportunities that offer the highest levels of incrementality as well as the most efficient savings activities. We will be using the solution to track progress against our goals and – by making faster decisions – we expect to minimize our time-to-market,” he says.

For other consumer goods companies looking to invest in an innovation management solution, Powell advises: “Don’t underestimate the importance of bringing your multi-functional internal stakeholders with you on the journey from the outset. It is important that you are all clear and aligned on the key requirements.”

“As you shortlist vendors, share their proposed solutions with your stakeholders to ensure the solution will meet their needs today, while also having the flexibility to accommodate the unknown needs of the VUCA world of tomorrow,” he concludes.