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Tessa Myers, our latest guest on Learning From Leaders, started out as a chemist, but she quickly learned that primary research in a lab wasn’t what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. So she turned to engineering.

“Which turned out really well,” says Myers, “because it takes my passion around all things science and math but it combines that with problem solving and thinking about how to apply science and technology to practical problems.”

It’s a pivot that paid off, as Myers is now Regional President of Rockwell Automation for North America, responsible for all of Rockwell Automations’ commercial operations in the United States and Canada.

Marketing consultant, Katie Martell, speaks with her about what digital transformation means in the manufacturing sector, with a focus on how the Industrial Internet of Things is changing the way those in her line of business get the job done.

“We believe that there are a number of things you can do to implement IIOT, to move into digital transformation and really create a connected enterprise. You have to understand the assets that you have. You really need to create a secure network infrastructure. You need to start to collect data and apply analytics and start to draw insights.”

She sees the most commonly overlooked part of digital transformation and IIOT as “the people side”: combining data and technology with process is critical for improving a business. Soft skills are playing a larger role in the industrial sector, and Rockwell Automation finds that its customers want relevant, personalized information — a demand that has changed the relationship between the company and its customers.

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Learning From Leaders is a Microsoft thought leadership series of in-depth conversations with executives at firms who are facing the challenges of the digital age head-on. Each episode features insight from leaders whose clear vision of the future is guiding them to a path of embracing change, made possible by a mindset of continual learning.