When a business leverages technology, it not only streamlines business processes but offers data and insights that drive further innovation and digitization leading to growth and effectiveness. Pioneering leaders understand this critical aspect and continue to focus on expanding their array to bring transformative change. Ann Dozier is one such leader who has created a vast impact in the technological facet in her workings with transformational leadership skills.
Ann is the Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. It is the world’s pre-eminent selling, logistics, and data insights company for beverage alcohol and a multi-generational, family-owned company operating in 44 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and Canada.
Over the past eight years, Ann has created an enterprise IT function that operates with agility using a product and portfolio model while also leveraging a partner network that allows Southern Glazer’s to expand to meet business needs while modernizing and integrating its infrastructure and legacy systems and growing the business through digital innovation.
The Professional Voyage
Ann’s career in technology began with companies like EDS and IBM, which laid her technological foundation. She considers herself fortunate to work with great companies, fantastic leaders, and capable teams that presented her with opportunities for tremendous learning and growth.
Early in her career, Ann moved into the consumer products industry with a focus on the beverage industry, where she used transformational leadership expertise, working with high growth companies during times of acquisitions where opportunities were abundant. She was often tapped for the roles that were integral to the business’s success with tight timelines to deliver.
Fast-paced environments allowed Ann to embrace new opportunities to learn and collaborate, which is why she decided to join Southern (now Southern Glazer’s) in 2013. In addition to modernizing and integrating core business systems as part of the merger, she has also enabled the digitization of the business and partner relationships, while implementing a cyber program focused on managing risk—all key objectives of delivering business value for the company, its supplier partners, and customers.
Ann had great mentors and sponsors that helped her along the way. She now provides her team opportunities to learn and grow while mentoring future leaders, including promoting diversity, inclusion, and belonging. She also spends time giving back to the communities with a focus on building a diverse talent pipeline for the future.
Southern Glazer’s mission is to exceed the expectations of its supplier partners and customers with outstanding sales, service, and business results through innovative strategies, unmatched relationships, and cutting-edge technology through the industry’s best trained and most talented team.
Southern Glazer’s built its culture on FAMILY, with a team that thinks and acts like owners, reflecting core values of respect, transparency, excellence, integrity, inclusiveness, and leadership in everything it does, while recognizing that people are its greatest asset. The company thinks “customer first,” recognizing that it sits in the middle of the top supplier brands across wine and spirits and various customers across the U.S. and Canada. It strives to be the partner of choice by offering best-in-class capabilities, while making it easy to do business and offering insights that drive business.
Being a technology leader in a company that understands the value of technology and highlights “data insights” and “cutting edge technology” in its vision and mission enables Ann to partner across the enterprise. She ensures technology is a differentiator for the suppliers, employees, and customers.
Ann expresses that as an IT leader, she benefits from working across company functions, which provides a unique opportunity to connect the dots across strategies and objectives. She uses that knowledge to create a clear strategy and goals for the team while creating an environment that inspires the team to maximize their capabilities. It allows Ann to use her market experience to deliver results at scale.
Blending experienced, tenured wine and spirits talent with top tech talent in an environment where each team member is empowered and feels a sense of belonging has allowed Ann to advance the technology and its value for Southern Glazer’s. Ann says, “We talk about being’ your best you,’ which leads to great business outcomes.”
Implementing Technological Advancements
A primary focus of technology is to make doing business easier by simplifying a day-in-the-life of customers, suppliers, and employees, states Ann. It comes in many forms, including automating repeatable processes through technologies, like Robotic Process Automation (RPA); making data-driven insights readily available for quick decision-making; offers predictive analytics to simplify planning and forecasting; and fully automating day-to-day business operations.
Southern Glazer’s wants to offer access to solutions in multiple ways to create a personalized experience that allows its users to connect in a way that best meets their needs. IT has partnered with the commercial business function to create SGProof, an omnichannel solution that offers eCommerce, sales, and service capabilities. It is powered by insights customizing the selling experience to meet each customer’s need while also offering valuable insights to its supplier partners.
Ann is constantly looking for ways to continue evolving digital capabilities to make it easy to do business with Southern Glazer’s. She acknowledges the importance of getting the right product in the right place at the right time for customers—something that is paramount for the company.
Going Above and Beyond
Ann expresses that five years ago, Southern Glazer’s combined a company that was more than 50 years old with a company that was more than 100 years old, which meant it had a very decentralized technology stack. So naturally, one of her main focuses has been on standardizing and simplifying the company’s technology to offer enterprise solutions. It’s been an overall transformation for Ann, and she has been extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to make investments in infrastructure, back-office solutions, and digital experiences.
Ann says that success for the technology team comes from offering superior service, automation that drives efficiency and effectiveness, and digital solutions with differentiated value for their business partners. She wants to use technology to continue to be the best distributor of wine and spirits while differentiating Southern Glazer’s with capabilities and predictive insights that offer a unique value proposition.
Bequeathing Budding Entrepreneurs
Ann states that technology is always changing and evolving, so the opportunities are limitless. The key is to offer technology solutions that have a direct correlation to business value. She says, “Knowing what you are trying to solve and applying new technologies to address what are often age-old problems can lead to great results. It’s important to constantly challenge the status quo, not fearing failure and recognizing that often, the greatest lessons come from turning failures into success.”