Brian DeWyer Of Reveille Software On How To Use Digital Transformation To Take Your Company To The Next Level

An Interview With Cynthia Corsetti

Data Analytics — Domino’s Pizza gathers data on the full customer experience during the pizza ordering, fulfillment, and payment. Ordering is possible from the phone, web, and Alexa; numerous ordering choices, available coupons, and order status are immediately available from your chosen interface. Then, within days, notifications are sent offering more pizza based on your ordering history.

Digital transformation has become a crucial component for businesses striving to stay competitive and relevant in today’s rapidly evolving landscape. As technology continues to shape industries and redefine business models, companies must adapt and leverage digital tools and strategies to unlock new opportunities for growth and innovation. In this interview series, we aim to explore various aspects of digital transformation, including best practices, challenges, success stories, and expert insights. We are talking to thought leaders, industry experts, entrepreneurs, technology innovators, and executives who have firsthand experience in driving digital transformation initiatives within their organizations. As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Brian DeWyer.

Brian DeWyer is CTO and Co-Founder of Reveille Software, with more than 25 years of experience in technology. Brian leverages his extensive knowledge from his tenure as a senior IT leader at Wachovia and as a process consulting practice leader for IBM Global Services delivering on-premises and cloud-based solution implementations for Fortune 1000 commercial and government clients, and has led process change efforts within large organizations, building on content-driven solutions for high-volume transaction processing applications. Brian graduated from Virginia Tech with a BSME and holds an MBA from Wake Forest University.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I was raised in Northern Ohio in the area where Lake Erie causes a lot of snow. I chose to move south (VA) for college to have a different experience and escape the constant shoveling of winter snow. I have always liked being outside, so I ran a lawn/snow/tree-cutting business in high school to earn money. I played basketball in high school a bit in college, and had fun playing the piano. I joined an engineering work-study program in college, alternating between working for six months and studying for a semester; this helped pay for college and gave me real work experience. I had work assignments in AL, OH, TN, Luxembourg, and France. I was lucky to travel throughout France, Luxemburg, and Northern Italy on a company-owned BMW motorcycle that the family business provided. During my third year in college, on a co-op assignment, I witnessed 300 engineers lose their jobs in one day; I then understood the need for more business management knowledge. So, after graduating, I rejected several engineering-related jobs to get my MBA in industrial marketing and organizational behavior. Many people thought I was crazy at the time.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

One of my co-op assignments was at a tire manufacturing plant in plant operations, but I also worked at night to earn extra money. I joined the union and worked in a high-temperature carbon mixer for raw tire material called a Banbury mixer, which I had to crawl in to clean. The first time I was inside, I felt sweat, soot, carbon-laced mist, and sharp mixing blades. I slipped and hit my shoulder against the side of a mixing blade. The 2nd shift companion with me said, ‘Be very careful, or you will end up like me’. He had lost his left arm, but not from the Banbury mixer. He advised that you should always pay attention to your surroundings and not take yourself too seriously.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

After graduating from graduate school, I was hired as an assistant plant manager for a new manufacturing facility. However, just a month before my start date, the company canceled the project due to competition from foreign manufacturers, leaving me without a job. Fortunately, within a week, a friend from the local YMCA, a manager at IBM, invited me to interview for a solutions engineer role. At that time, IBM was expanding, and I became the first hire in five years at that office. This opportunity allowed me to gain valuable experience in leading technology and business solutions across various industries. My friend and I remain close to this day.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

When I was new to the broader business world, a former professor recommended this book during my early years at IBM. The sound principles within this book are timeless. Druker discusses how to balance innovation with business result outcomes, with examples of companies leveraging the core tenants of entrepreneurship with a market-driven focus.

Are you working on any new, exciting projects now? How do you think that might help people?

Our company offers solutions to enhance the customer experience for vital applications that rely on unstructured content (also known as digital assets). How to use AI on the abundance of data our product gathers is an ongoing project. We expect to launch an AI product extension later this year that provides lower risk, better service levels, and increased operating efficiency to our customers.

Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion about Digital Transformation. Digital transformation can mean many things to many people, from your perspective, how do you define digital transformation in your industry?

Digital Transformation (DX) fundamentally answers the question — ‘How can we change how we do business to improve our value to our customers?’

Which companies can most benefit from a Digital Transformation?

Companies that see their products and services losing customer value need to change their culture, and DX is a potential solution. However, the more a company is at the ‘going out of business’ stage, the less time it has for DX. Options like merging with another business or selling off business lines will hurt any existing DX effort.

Has integrating Digital Transformation been a challenging process for some companies? What are the challenges? How do you help resolve them?

Given just 22% of 445 executives deemed their current digital transformation approaches ‘very effective’ in a HBS survey. Yes, there is much room for improvement and the common inhibitors are:

· Lack of budget beyond silo projects.

· A disjointed strategy not tied to company goals.

· Fear of failure permeates the workforce.

To ensure the success of your digital transformation (DX) initiative, it’s important to consider the following four steps to alleviate the above blockers.

Step 1: Identify the Right Stakeholders

Identify executive stakeholder interest and ownership. It is important to have someone with sufficient standing in the organization and significant budget access leading the charge with the authority to speak across the different silos of the organization. Ensure the DTX team members include individuals who have been asking for change, have experienced the challenges of current processes, and believe there are opportunities for improvement.

Step 2: Commit to ‘All-In’ Strategic Planning

Commit to an all-in strategic planning process that asks why changing everything can transform how you do business. For example, an organization building and owning its own data centers without a strategic plan to do away with that burden, will hamper its success. It comes down to questioning how you can best serve your customers. Competing in a world where hosting services are commoditized requires doubling down on innovations that are dependent on your own subject-matter expertise.

Step 3: Create a Strict Timeline

Create a strict timeline for your DX milestones and focus your investments on competitive, customer-centric applications and services built on top of resources from your cloud-provider partners. You can only keep some of the talent and resources previously allocated to managing current processes and infrastructure. By freeing up these areas and leveraging technology provided by the major cloud vendors, infrastructure that might have cost you millions of dollars every year to keep up can now be thoughtfully redeployed. Your focus should then be on investing heavily in people, products, and services with deep subject matter expertise that can significantly cloud services — thereby pushing your company’s truly innovative efforts forward.

Telehealth is an excellent example. The telehealth communications industry (and the companies pushing innovation forward) uses something other than conventional data centers. Instead, they are leveraging the massive investment and capabilities subsidized by significant cloud vendors to specialize in the software that runs on top of that infrastructure. This investment allows them to spend all their focus and resources on serving the patient, the actual “customer.”

Step 4: Take Responsibility for Data Security

Ultimately, you are responsible for internal and external data security as the security risk only increases. Even relying on a reputable cloud service provider, you should still be vigilant about your data security policies. In addition to taking precautions against the many external threats, it is imperative to actively monitor the performance and security of technologies core to DX, such as intelligent automation-based solutions. You need to identify the early warning signs of insider threats, be they employees or contractors who might use their authorized access to — wittingly or not — put your data at risk. Monitoring authorized user activity and leveraging AI to handle data streams allows you to identify usage trends, misuse, and theft quickly. If you are providing a mission-critical service on behalf of your customers, traditional security tools will not guarantee your data’s safety. Instead, cloud-based companies of the future will need to create a layer of security and protection that considers internal threat vectors at the application layer. This means implementing measures to monitor file and document access, identify and quickly address suspicious behavior, and audit sensitive content access for compliance.

It’s important to remember that digital transformation is a marathon, not a sprint, like so many sweeping and intensive technology-driven initiatives. As any distance runner will attest, the key to success along such a long journey is to establish small, feasible goals along the way, continuously monitor your key performance metrics (i.e., how to measure the absorption rate of digital transformation change — where is the “wall” stopping change acceptance?), and broadly celebrate your achievements as you approach the finish line.

Based on your experience and success, what are “Five Ways a Company Can Use Digital Transformation To Take It To The Next Level”?

  1. Data Analytics — Domino’s Pizza gathers data on the full customer experience during the pizza ordering, fulfillment, and payment. Ordering is possible from the phone, web, and Alexa; numerous ordering choices, available coupons, and order status are immediately available from your chosen interface. Then, within days, notifications are sent offering more pizza based on your ordering history.
  2. Delivery Optimization — UPS uses dynamic route optimization and alternative delivery options for faster deliveries and reduced transportation costs. Predictive analytics look ahead for potential disruptions, thus decreasing possible delays and improving reliability. UPS’s focus on last-mile delivery reduces missed deliveries, which raises customer satisfaction and the overall UPS brand perception.
  3. Operating Efficiency — Amazon promises over 200 million Amazon Prime customers free two-day shipping for more than 100 million products, and, in 2023, it shipped 7 billion items to them worldwide. The company’s homegrown inventory management system uses a random storage philosophy, made possible by a worker placing a product on a shelf, and a handheld computer scans a barcode on both the product and the shelf. This process allows the inventory system to track where every item is located. Inventory randomization sounds counterintuitive, but is a hidden gem that prevents even bigger warehouses and is fundamental to meeting a 2-day (or less) delivery promise.
  4. New Business Model — Netflix transformed its business model from a DVD rental-by-mail business to a streaming video in-demand service, leveraging the growth of the Internet and the decline of DVD media. This transformation allowed the company to reach a much wider customer base, grow worldwide, and generate new sources of revenue.
  5. Self-Service — McDonald’s restaurants determined that the fastest way to increase profits is to avoid the ordering window altogether, gently encouraging customers to self-serve. This change required in-store kiosks and enabled phone apps to place and pay for orders. Drive-thru is also a big part of this change. McDonald’s restaurants garner 70% of their sales in major markets from consumers who do not wish to get out of their car. A confusing menu choice can back up the drive-thru line and reduce operating profits. AI can enhance the consumer experience by changing the ordering window menu choices based on weather, previous orders, and local trends.

In your opinion, how can companies best create a “culture of innovation” in order to create new competitive advantages?

Changing the culture is the most complex challenge to overcome. There is no single solution, but trying to change culture by decree only works with today’s global workforce. Culture change takes a long time if it happens through the traditional bottom-up approach. I have seen that a dedicated ‘skunkworks’ team can achieve great results and foster widespread adoption and emotional commitment. Champions who have the expertise and charisma to connect a network of individual contributors and generate enthusiasm should be selected across the organization and job levels. Leadership should support this respected team in embracing small failures as a normal outcome of ‘exploring the waters’ and increasing risk. If the company has little time because of market factors to create innovation threads naturally, external change agents can help by speeding up the pace and outcomes. Leadership must understand the risk type — brand, operating, financial, reputation, skill, workforce, and supplier — to know an overall risk score. This feeds consistent leadership-sponsored communication of the purpose and results and reduces the fear of job loss that hinders (‘What will AI do to my job?’). Only then will middle management consider smaller projects that affect a clear organizational goal. Goals related to customer touchpoints and experiences need less time to integrate into daily actions across divisions than inward focus targets. Of course, ‘bet the company’ level risks need careful evaluation before disrupting existing revenue streams.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Be quick, but don’t hurry.” John Wooden, the UCLA hall of fame coach for Kareem Abdul Jabar and Bill Walton, among other 1st team All American players, and winner of ten NCAA men’s basketball championships. Don’t go full speed all the time, but when your instinct, a few trusted data points, and your gut see larger possibilities, go for it.

How can our readers further follow your work?

Blogs and articles at

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

About the Interviewer: Cynthia Corsetti is an esteemed executive coach with over two decades in corporate leadership and 11 years in executive coaching. Author of the upcoming book, “Dark Drivers,” she guides high-performing professionals and Fortune 500 firms to recognize and manage underlying influences affecting their leadership. Beyond individual coaching, Cynthia offers a 6-month executive transition program and partners with organizations to nurture the next wave of leadership excellence.