Josh Langley Of Iron Mountain On How To Use Digital Transformation To Take Your Company To The Next Level

An Interview With Cynthia Corsetti

Building a Digital Culture: At Iron Mountain, our commitment to fostering a culture of innovation and continuous learning is paying off; our focus on AI exemplifies this perfectly. It’s inspiring Mountaineers across the organization to tackle traditional efficiency problems with fresh perspectives.

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 Josh Langley.

For over 20 years, Josh Langley, SVP and CIO at Iron Mountain has worked in custom application development, enterprise architecture, public cloud, and global business platforms, leading teams in each of these areas. He has a wealth of experience in driving large, strategic digital transformation initiatives that prioritize simplification, modernization, and improving the customer experience.

Langley believes the best way to deliver business value is through lean agile teams supported by fact-based decision-making processes. He encourages his teams to move quickly, take calculated risks, and learn from their experiences. Langley is a firm believer that an organization’s most valuable assets are its people and data. “To me, the most productive, happiest people are those that feel connected to the strategy as well as to those they work with,” said Langley. “Our teams are motivated to work harder than ever to transform the Mountain in the best way for our customers; our people are our greatest resource and they want to feel connected, informed, and appreciated.”

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. 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?

I’m incredibly grateful to the many, many people who have helped me reach this point in my career. The work I do is a team sport and it’s important to remember that individual success is only a reflection of collective effort. If I had to single out one person who has really helped me most recently, I’d pick my former boss at Iron Mountain, John “JT” Tomovcsik. JT demonstrated compassionate leadership for me as a new CIO, sharing a few key lessons first hand that have served me well to this day: 1) listen to your customers; 2) get out in the field, meet your team, and listen to your frontline workers as they are delivering for the customer every day; 3) never stop learning. JT is a good friend and has made me a better leader.

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?

I love the book “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight, the founder of Nike. It’s such a tremendous story about perseverance, teamwork and self-determination. Phil instilled his dream into the company culture and repeatedly changed near-certain failure into just enough to fight another day. I found his willingness to innovate, fail and try again very inspiring. Not to mention at the end of the day, you have to love a guy who built a multi-billion dollar shoe company from the trunk of his car. Plus, I love the shoes!

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

The one that comes to mind immediately is our focus on AI. I have a dedicated group of AI and data engineers working closely with the business to rapidly deliver working prototypes and ultimately production versions of AI-based solutions designed to make our company more efficient, customer-centric and cost effective. Freeing up valuable time and space allows our teams, who we call Mountaineers, to focus on tasks requiring complex decision making — helping to improve how we serve our customers and our business performance. In the last six months, we have deployed 26 AI projects into production, are actively developing 24 others and are evaluating a further 100 for future development.

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

Digital transformation refers to the process of leveraging digital technologies to fundamentally change how businesses operate and deliver value to their customers. It involves the integration of digital technology into all aspects of a business, fundamentally changing how it operates and delivers value to customers. This can include adopting new digital tools and platforms, reimagining business processes and fostering a digital-first culture within the organization.

An advantage of digital transformation is its ability to enhance operational efficiency. Adopting a digital transformation framework and automated processes helps businesses streamline operations, minimize manual tasks, and boost productivity. This leads to cost savings, quicker turnaround times and improved decision-making.

Digital transformation also can improve the customer experience. In today’s digital world, customers expect smooth and personalized experiences across all touchpoints. Through digital transformation, businesses can better understand their customers, offer tailored solutions and provide superior service. Altogether, this helps build customer loyalty and attract new customers in a competitive market.

Which companies can most benefit from a Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is now a critical facet for all businesses in our dynamic, digital world. At its essence, digital transformation focuses on decreasing the all-important “time-to-value” metric, which means increased business velocity through efficiency. Depending on the organization, this time-to-value metric will vary, but the common thread across all industries is the ability to conduct business faster, more accurately and more securely.

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

Digital transformation is a complex process. There are three key challenges organizations should address proactively to ensure a successful digital transformation framework:

  1. Overcoming resistance to change and managing organizational culture: Resistance to change is one of the most significant challenges in digital transformation. Employees may be apprehensive about adopting new technologies and working methods. To address this, it is important to articulate the benefits of digital transformation clearly and include employees in the decision-making process. Cultivating a culture of continuous learning and offering training opportunities can also help employees adapt to the changes.
  2. Guaranteeing data security and privacy in the digital era: As organizations adopt digital technologies, data security and privacy become even more critical. It is essential to implement robust data protection measures, such as encryption, access controls and regular security audits, to safeguard sensitive information. Collaborating with trusted digital transformation companies who prioritize data security, like Iron Mountain, can provide peace of mind.
  3. Reducing risks associated with technology implementation: The introduction of new technologies can pose risks such as system disruptions and compatibility issues. Organizations should conduct thorough assessments and devise a detailed implementation plan to reduce these risks. It is also important to have a backup and disaster recovery strategy in place to minimize downtime and data loss.

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

  1. Use AI and Automation to Elevate Customer Centricity: We’re transforming the customer experience through customer-centric automation in our Customer Care centers. By connecting our operations fulfillment systems with our CRM platform, we’ve empowered our Customer Care teams tenfold. This powerful integration, alongside the deployment of an AI chatbot as a virtual assistant, streamlines tasks like order inquiries, placements, email and chat responses, knowledge management, and even translation services.
  2. Real-Time Data Fuels Intelligent Operations: Our commitment to data-driven decision making empowers our operations teams. They leverage our advanced enterprise data platform with its user-friendly analytics to identify labor and capacity optimization opportunities in real-time, across all 60 countries where we operate. This granular level of detail allows them to drill down to individual building data, identifying and implementing optimization opportunities at every level. This approach has led to a significant reduction in labor costs across global operations, a testament to the power of data-driven decision making.

This success is driven by two key factors: powerful digital tools for resources, activity and data management and a global leadership team that champions fact-based decision-making.

Empowering Teams with Technology: The modern workplace is hyper-connected, yet often virtual. To thrive in this environment, we must equip our teams with the right tools. These tools prioritize three key areas:

Uncompromising security and data privacy: Because data protection is paramount, the tools we deploy are built with robust security features and strict adherence to data privacy regulations.

Seamless collaboration anywhere: We foster collaboration across locations by providing tools that make teamwork effortless.

Future-proof productivity: We invest in solutions that continuously improve and adapt to technological advancements, ensuring our teams remain productive.

3. Building a Digital Culture: At Iron Mountain, our commitment to fostering a culture of innovation and continuous learning is paying off; our focus on AI exemplifies this perfectly. It’s inspiring Mountaineers across the organization to tackle traditional efficiency problems with fresh perspectives.

A recent example showcases this beautifully. A cross-functional team of operations and technology experts identified an operational workflow ripe for improvement. Through rapid prototyping and experimentation, they developed an AI-based solution that streamlines processes and significantly reduces cycle time for our customers.

4. Your Journey Can Empower Customers: Iron Mountain’s digital transformation journey isn’t just about us. The tools and processes we develop are also available to our customers, enabling their own transformations. This unique perspective allows me, as CIO, to see things as a customer as well. Utilizing our own solutions like Asset Lifecycle Management, Iron Cloud and InSight firsthand allows me to secure and optimize our IT operations as well as identify areas for improvement. This real-world experience directly benefits our product teams as internal use cases inform the development of even better solutions for our 240,000+ customers around the world.

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

I like to focus on three key elements when it comes to fostering a culture of innovation as a competitive advantage.

  1. Know your customer and get a deep understanding of their challenges and opportunities through well-rounded market research. This research can be exploratory via in-depth, structured conversations about specific problem statements, qualitative via message testing to create a feedback loop for product and marketing teamsand insight-driven where emerging technologies and use cases help identify white spaces ripe for innovation.
  2. Give your workforce a sense of purpose. When the entire company is singularly focused on a mission and can contextualize their day-to-day effort in terms of that mission, you know you have succeeded as an organization. It’s like the anecdote of Joe Byerly, a janitor at NASA in the 1960s. President John F. Kennedy was visiting and saw Joe carrying a broom, so he asked him what he was doing. Joe replied, “I’m helping put a man on the moon, Mr. President.” That exchange shows that Joe had a clear sense of purpose and he understood how his job was connected to the larger mission.
  3. Create a blameless culture. Give the freedom and space to talk about failure so everyone can learn from one another’s mistakes. Transparency and authenticity are essential ingredients in innovation; otherwise we are doomed to repeat each other’s missteps. This doesn’t mean advocating for recklessness, only that taking calculated risks with the proper guardrails through experimentation is how true innovation leads to successful outcomes.

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

It’s not necessarily a quote, but the life lesson that has served me well in my career is to just “say yes to new opportunities.” There have been so many times I’ve been asked to lead a difficult transformation or take on a new role — and I just said yes. If I had mapped out my career path, there would have been many wild forks in the road. But looking back, I’m so glad I had the confidence to lean in, embrace the challenge, and know that whatever skills I didn’t already have, I would learn along the way.

In addition, I know now that by having this ability to step up and lean in, I was also seen as a dependable problem-solver by my senior leaders. This made me appear more valuable as bigger and better opportunities opened up.

None of this was calculated. All I ever did was respond to the call, say yes, and never asked what was in it for me — I let all of that work itself out in the long run. For me, solving the big problems, building my network and learning so many new skills was a big reward in and of itself.

How can our readers further follow your work?

You can follow me on LinkedIn and learn more about Iron Mountain’s digital transformation solutions 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.