imageMarch 1, 2021

Last month, RPM hosted its Digital Transformation Summit, a virtual, companywide event focused on the latest trends and best practices in digital technology—from artificial intelligence and data analytics, to application software and chatbots.

This two-and-half-day event included many participants throughout the organization. Although RPM’s corporate IT team has conducted many similar events over the years, this was the first time the summit was held virtually—and, I must say, it was very successful. Thank you to all of the presenters, attendees and our Digital Transformation Center of Excellence team. I also want to recognize Mark Rankin, senior director of global systems, who did much of the heavy lifting.

This past year has certainly brought a lot of changes—not just at RPM, but around the world. It has taught us that we need to be quick to adapt, react and evolve across all aspects of our businesses. The pandemic has clearly demonstrated the growing importance of digital technology not only in our personal lives, but across RPM and its operating companies. I believe we have risen to that challenge, but there is always more room for growth.

The virtual summit highlighted some of the technology advancements that our organization is implementing, as well as key insights into emerging trends that will help our businesses continue to compete and win in the markets we serve.

The event kicked off with an overview of the current digital landscape and various initiatives underway across RPM to address changing needs in digital technology. Topics ranged from data security and compliance, to RPM’s overall strategic plan for driving policy across the enterprise. Over the next two days, presenters took a deeper dive into hot topics such as chatbots, machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT) technology, data analytics and digital marketing during a crisis.

For example, in a session on Google Analytics, CPG Europe’s Digital Marketing & Sales Manager David Podmore reminded us that digital marketers aren’t the only ones looking to gain insights from digital platforms like Google Analytics—they work alongside content creators, sales teams, designers and even product experts who can all find value in this data.

“I think it can be easy for non-digital natives to feel overwhelmed by large data sets. We, as digital experts, have a responsibility to make sure they are as navigable as possible,” said David, pointing to the need for reporting to be consistent across all accounts, properties and views.

In another session on web development, Rust-Oleum’s Senior Manager of Internet Applications & Development John Zohoranacky shared that the company recently kicked off a pilot program utilizing Solr, a new open-source platform with enterprise search and analytics capabilities, such as full-text search, real-time indexing and database integration. Quickly gaining popularity, it powers some of the most heavily trafficked sites, like AT&T, eBay and even Disney.

As Mark stated to jumpstart this event, “The power of technology has allowed us to find different ways to make RPM a much better company.” Although we certainly wish it could have been held in person, this year’s virtual summit provided a global venue for employees across RPM to be inspired, drive collaboration and learn from one another. To access a video replay of any of the event’s presentations, please contact Mark Rankin at

I suspect this won’t be the last time we hold an event like this virtually. In fact, we plan to host another virtual IT summit over the summer to share corporate initiatives related to IT operations and cybersecurity with our many employees across the organization.


Lonny DiRusso
Chief Information Officer
RPM International Inc.

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