Category: Digital Transformation

COVID-19 Crisis Pressures Service Providers To Cut Prices | Blog

As individuals or as businesses, any life-changing event results in rethinking our position. In the case of the COVID-19 crisis, it will change the way companies conduct business for a long time, as the crisis revealed weak spots in business practices and investments. Moreover, as companies begin to exit the crisis, they move forward with a recession mindset. However, the global crisis also reveals business opportunities going forward. Let’s look specifically at two factors: working from home and discounts from third-party service providers.

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COVID-19 Business Crisis Proves Automation Matters | Blog

Consider what’s now happening at companies that made investments in automation and moving work to the cloud. They’re doing better than others in the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re more flexible under trying conditions. They’re more resilient to challenges. They are a bright spot in this awful crisis. The pandemic showed what companies invested in as preparation for challenges. Unfortunately, it also exposed companies that were less prepared. As I mentioned in my prior blog, the pandemic was like what Warren Buffet described as the tide going out, exposing naked swimmers. One fact that the COVID-19 crisis exposed is that automation matters.

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The Need to Consolidate the Vendor Ecosystem to Deliver Great Customer Experience | Blog

Delivering new customer experiences has become the centerpiece of many enterprises’ strategies to achieve sustainable growth. In fact, our research indicates that 89% of enterprises are using digital technologies to redefine customer experience, allocating as much as 30-35% of their marketing budget to experience design. And this share is expected to increase to 50-55% by 2022.

Enterprise approach to experience design

Designing a successful customer experience is an intricate play of many enabling factors, including a well-planned strategic roadmap, a well-defined organizational structure, strong creative execution, the right mix of technology solutions, and use of the right channels, as illustrated in the exhibit below.

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Given this complex interplay of multiple factors, enterprises are actively engaging with service/technology providers, such as design agencies, consultancies, IT service providers, and technology providers, to deliver an enhanced customer experience. However, the number and range of providers involved in delivering the desired experience are creating an extremely fragmented vendor ecosystem; our research shows that an enterprise might work with as many as 100 design agencies across various customer experience initiatives globally. While the aim is to partner with players best suited to deliver on a particular aspect of an engagement, a fragmented ecosystem results in a siloed, disconnected approach to design and lack of success metrics ownership.

Let’s take a look at the area of website design, where one service provider could be responsible for User Interface (UI) design (including user research, defining user flows, creating wireframes, etc.), another for content creation (animations, text, videos),  and a third IT service provider for platform selection and development. A website’s key success metrics are as closely linked to UI as to the underlying technology and a persuasive content strategy. Thus, if the website does not bring these aspects together seamlessly and does meet user expectations (in terms of the bounce rate and time spent per page, among others), which service provider should be held accountable?

Thus, defining and owning the success metrics are the key to any experience engagement’s success.

How are service providers – and enterprises – responding?

Realizing that they can no longer cater to just one aspect of the value chain, both design agencies and IT service partners are bolstering their design and technology portfolios to deliver business value and act as strategic, one-stop partners to their customers. Thus, design agencies are ramping up their technology expertise to build data, analytics, and platform capabilities, while IT service partners are actively acquiring design agencies to build UI/UX, content, digital media design/execution, and design consulting capabilities. To take an example, over the last six years, Ireland-based digital agency Accenture Interactive has carried out 30+ acquisitions to boost its media, digital, and creative credentials across the globe. Another example is the London-based design agency WPP, which appointed its first-ever CTO in October 2018, committing itself to build a robust technology and data strategy.

However, even as service partners rush to build end-to-end capabilities, buyers remain largely unconvinced. They are continuing to partner with individual service partners for their experience engagements. Some doubt the ability of their IT service partners to deliver a strong creative impact, while others believe that design agencies cannot truly understand underlying platforms/technology solutions to deliver viable solutions.

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Is a solution in sight?

It is imperative for enterprises to understand that experience design is KPI-led design. Hence, they must push service providers to define and own KPIs that reflect the overall engagement’s success. Moreover, buyers should engage with service providers that possess robust end-to-end experience management capabilities. Service providers can acquire such capabilities by offering a broad solutions portfolio (either developed in-house or through a partnership network) across creative and technology execution. Doing this will pave the way to successful experience design, consolidation of the vendor portfolio, and higher service provider accountability.

What has your journey been? Share your thoughts on designing experiences for your customers with me at [email protected].

Confusing Predicament For Businesses In COVID-19 Crisis | Blog

The stakes for businesses have rarely been as high as they are now. The global pandemic is upending companies’ existing mindsets, strategies and investments. It’s leading to new decisions about actions and strategies that must occur at the same time but appear contradictory. This causes a lot of confusion for people in enterprises as well as the enterprise vendors. The contradictions and confusion can fuel tensions.

What’s the remedy for this predicament? Before I answer that question, it’s important to understand the underlying factors driving the predicament.

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Capturing Business Advantage After The COVID-19 Crisis | Blog

The crashing global economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic now wreaks havoc on businesses. But the pandemic eventually will end, and there will be compelling opportunities at that time. As I explained in my prior blog, companies need to take steps now that enable them to accelerate through the pandemic curve so they can grab opportunities when the pandemic ends. In this blog, I’ll detail how to establish the necessary infrastructure that enables surviving a recession and thriving after the pandemic. This infrastructure is a top priority.

The pandemic is causing a pause in commercial activity for the next few months. But once the pause is over, the underlying fundamentals for moving to digital at scale are still positive. And it will happen quickly at that point – for companies that have the infrastructure for high velocity and productivity.

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Companies Moving to Digital at Scale | Blog

A lot of vendors are starting to drop the term “digital.” We’re at a point in digital maturity where North American and European businesses accept the importance of technologies such as cloud, AI and automation. They ran experiments on these technologies and validated that they work. Now businesses are moving to “digital at scale.” Let’s look at what digital at scale means and why it’s important.

I first want to point out that the COVID-19 pandemic changes the dimensions of the move to digital at scale – but only temporarily. The pandemic is causing a pause in commercial activity for the next couple of quarters. But once the pause is over, the underlying fundamentals for moving to digital at scale are still positive. And the move will happen quickly at that point.

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Anti-financial Crime Talent Imperatives in the Digital Age | Blog

For years, financial institutions have struggled to attract and retain quality anti-financial crime (AFC) talent, which remains a compliance program’s most vital asset. And the situation is only getting worse.  Why? First, both the importance and application of anti-money laundering (AML) and fraud risk management are increasing. Second, the requirements and expectations of regulators are snowballing. And third, demand for AFC talent is skyrocketing while unemployment remains low. It’s a perfect storm.

Perhaps most importantly, the AFC workforce must now be able to work with artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. Financial institutions that can’t adapt their workforce to the demands of this new augmented human intelligence era simply won’t survive. Knowing what talent to look for – and how to attract, manage, and retain it – is key.

The changing definition of talent and the rise of “bilinguals”

In the past, whenever new compliance initiatives or regulations arose, banks tended to staff up operational teams to address them. Now banks realize that hiring operational staff isn’t enough. Instead, solving for the underlying problem – be it “Know Your Customer” remediation, reducing incidences of fraud, or ensuring better AML compliance – is the answer.

To do this, banks are breaking up their talent pyramid into tasks. Those tasks that are manual and repetitive (and therefore subject to a high degree of automation) sit at the bottom of the talent pyramid. And those requiring a high degree of judgment that can be handled only by skilled employees sit at the top. As a result, talent must now be “bilingual,” possessing not only the domain and operational expertise to drive judgments but also the technology expertise to help automate repetitive, mundane tasks.

Attracting talent

If a bank has bilingual workers, it’s not letting them go, so finding such talent at scale through hiring practices alone is unlikely. Instead, the challenge is to identify skilled workers from either a domain or technology background and train them to develop the skills they lack.

One solution is partnering with universities. For example, recognizing that ready talent is not necessarily available in the marketplace, some service providers partner with universities to identify suitable individuals for entry-level positions and then train staff in those positions on AFC fundamentals.

Developing talent

At the same time, the half-life of professional skills is decreasing at an alarming pace. Regulations and technology are constantly changing, so talent agility is key. Organizations must create an environment of innovation, training, and enabling people to do their jobs faster and better, including enabling them with access to the right tools, be they bots or data libraries.

Firms are increasingly using techniques such as micro learning, which breaks information into bite-sized pieces, and spaced learning, which identifies the right moment for intervention so that trainees retain more information. Gamification is another technique that makes learning fun and increases retention.  Through a combination of these approaches, firms can train employees and develop talent much more efficiently.

Retaining talent

Today’s banks are losing employees not only to other banks, but also to techfin firms. Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are all making forays into banking, and they’re always on the lookout for people who can help their engineering teams understand the financial payments and risk disciplines. To retain talent, it’s important to drive workers’ aspirations.

Keeping employees engaged is essential to retention. Engagement can be accomplished through creative challenges and contests that instill sustainable change and help employees use their skills beyond their day-to-day work.

When it comes to AFC talent, it’s a battlefield out there. To learn more about how financial institutions can attract, manage, and motivate AFC talent to achieve the best balance between human and technical intelligence, check out the webinar I recently conducted with Genpact on this topic.

How To Avoid Unhelpful Or Biased Consulting And Advice | Blog

Many initiatives that companies fund in our current business environment fall under the broad heading of digital transformation. They are large, well-defined projects, but they actually take the form of ongoing agile journeys in which organizations implement and learn to use new technologies and then add more technology. As companies abandon the old waterfall project management structures and adopt agile journeys, they find that they need a continuous supply of advice, ideas, best practices, benchmarks and experience from outside their own ranks. Unfortunately, a lot of advice is not helpful and causes companies to lose money. Let’s look at the remedy for obtaining effective advice and how to consume it.

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Companies Waste Or Overpay Service Vendors At Least 10% | Blog

Organizations buy services from a wide variety of service providers — ranging from managed services for IT applications and infrastructure, contingent labor to supplement gaps in skills and availability, cloud services, business process services, and more. We at Everest Group looked at the administration of these contractual relationships and discovered that most organizations leave tens of millions of dollars on the table. Why does this happen and what is the answer to this dilemma?

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