In Basingstoke, England, dozens of beautiful trees shade the campus headquarters of Glory Global Solutions. But one tree, an English Oak, stands out. It was planted in 2018 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Glory’s parent company, Japan-based Glory Ltd. The stalwart oak serves as a reminder to employees of the deepening roots of the company’s international business outside of Japan. And, while Glory Global Solutions is poised for growth in its core businesses, it’s also branching out into new business models.
Over the last few decades, Glory Ltd has grown steadily, both organically and via acquisitions. Glory Global Solutions (Glory) was established in 2012 as the international sales and service subsidiary, operating in over thirty markets and responsible for roughly half of the company’s total revenue.
Glory is a pioneer in the development and manufacture of hardware and software that automate cash handling processes, such as counting, sorting, dispensing and recycling cash in financial institutions, gaming facilities, and retail outlets.
After holding leadership roles in both American and British companies, Paul Stapleton joined Glory in 2018 as the company’s CIO. It was a natural next step in his career, one that he welcomed eagerly.
“The culture here is second to none,” says Paul. “It’s one that drives innovation by nurturing success from within.”
Since the 1990s, pundits have been predicting a global move to a cashless society. Yet, as one cash market fades away, another emerges. Take, for example, what’s happening during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the average person carries more cash than they did a year ago, up from $69 to $81. Cash in circulation in the United States has skyrocketed to more than $2 trillion. In the United Kingdom, the pandemic has exacerbated the “paradox of banknotes,” a situation where cash payments are decreasing while the demand for bank notes grows.
How do financial institutions and other cash-intensive businesses handle all that folding money—those fivers, Fünfzigers, and Benjamins? That’s where Glory’s solutions come into play.
Glory serves the cash handling needs of customers in over 100 markets. Historically, each operating unit was free to make technology decisions centered on its own market and region, with a relatively low investment in IT infrastructure. This autonomy was a reflection of leadership’s commitment to local employees and their culture.
With the pace of global innovation skyrocketing, Glory decided to upgrade its information platform to take advantage of new technologies, such as cloud. The goals are to make work easier for the company’s employees, speed up the integration of acquired companies, and expand into new business opportunities. For example, revenue from the company’s CASHINFINITY™ solutions, which increase the productivity of cashiers and salespeople in retail environments, has been growing steadily in Europe over the past decade, and now Glory is aggressively expanding into US retail markets.
To support these goals, Glory has deployed a hybrid cloud platform, anchored by Oracle JD Edwards ERP and hosted on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). The objectives are to gain economies of scale, remove IT operations risk, and take advantage of cloud offerings in a secure data center maintained by Oracle. Paul was recruited into the role of CIO to be a change agent, with a holistic view of IT across all operations and subsidiaries.
“In addition to the technology objectives we’ve achieved, and continue to achieve, we’re focused on making Glory a better place to work,” says Paul. “We’re driving greater value for employees and taking away the more mundane aspects of what they do. We want people to see this as a great digital place to work.”
Paul and his team have established, and continue to refine, what they refer to as “Glory processes.” These are new ways of working, many of which could not happen without cloud capabilities. Glory is optimizing each activity and rolling them out across all markets. Oracle JD Edwards manages core financials. Across procurement, supply chain, planning, and service, it will eventually be a mix of JD Edwards and cloud applications. For example, service management is supported by JD Edwards, while field service uses Oracle Fusion Cloud SCM. Overall, about twenty-two major processes are or will be made possible by Oracle applications.
The company’s master plan is to consolidate over thirty legacy ERP systems onto the Oracle platform. Glory is now two-thirds of the way through, with two years to go. Glory is also expanding its Oracle applications footprint with a mix of on-premises and cloud solutions. Paul describes his Oracle strategy as “everything but the kitchen sink. By moving to OCI, we get the best of both worlds for the business.”
Paul is delighted with his team’s increased ability to meet Glory’s business needs.
“We’re now in a better position to fulfill requests from the business units,” says Paul. “We can help them understand the value proposition of the technologies we offer, and the processes they enable. We’ve also de-risked individual business units from availability problems and enhanced our security and disaster recovery plans.”
Paul now can move his corporate IT team away from tasks such as IT system maintenance and make them into an innovation engine, while enabling IT staff in the business units to do the same.
“We now have a project management office that currently has about thirty active projects and programs,” says Paul, “each of which are reviewed quarterly with representatives of the business functions and regions. Our governance structure now enables them to either plan for the future or reflect back on the value that our technology systems have delivered.”
When the pandemic struck, the company’s leadership adopted two key priorities: first, keep everyone employed, and second, establish and maintain a financial operating equilibrium in which the company could ride out the crisis—and subsequently build on. At the start of 2021, with a healthy balance sheet, leadership is confident the company is in a good position to address the new normal, taking learnings from the crisis and the strong IT base that we have developed to spring back with new products, synergIes and solutions that meet our customers needs.
“The phraseology we use is that we’re crouched,” says Paul. “Crouched and ready to spring back into action when the market comes back. We’re always looking at how to grow our business. But the lens now is a bit sharper and cleaner because there are opportunities in the marketplace to expand our solutions into new markets and technologies.”
Operationally, establishing a hybrid cloud platform prior to the pandemic is paying off. When asked what the situation would be like for his team if they were still operating as they did in the past, Paul replies, “We’d be working twenty-four hours a day—in the office, not remotely—to keep critical components of the business up and running.”
In a company with such a rich heritage, a commitment to employee well-being and finding new ways to deliver customer value, that must mean a lot. And it’s just the start of more great things to come.