Category: IT Services

Alert on Engineering and IT Hiring Dilemmas for 2023 | Blog

The most dangerous words regarding investing are, “This time, it will be different.” The same words often occur when planning for a recession. But, quite possibly, this time, it will be different. Why do we at Everest Group believe it may be different for the looming recession we now face? Because there is a confluence of trends that are different from past recessions.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Building Web 3.0 Business for Clients: Opportunities for Strategy, Technology, and Consulting Providers | Blog

The next-generation exponential technology of Web 3.0 holds promising opportunities for brand, technology, marketing, and business strategy providers to partner with enterprises in five key service areas. To learn more about the opportunities in this emerging market, read on.  

Multiple consumer and business brands have taken the first steps in experimenting with Web 3.0 business by building non-fungible tokens (NFTs), purchasing virtual lands in metaverse platforms, organizing virtual events, and creating enabling platforms.

But building a Web 3.0 business goes beyond just creating NFTs for a company and requires embracing the concepts of Web 3.0 business, the creator economy, decentralization, social commerce, immersive experience, trust, and sustainability.

As enterprises like Ferrari, Starbucks, JP Morgan, McDonald’s, Samsung, NBA, Walmart, Disney, Google, Nike, Oracle, EY, and Stripe begin to see traction in this space, they will seek to partner with brand, technology, marketing, and business strategy providers who understand this ecosystem to scale initiatives and drive newer ones.

Let’s explore the following five key demand areas where providers can offer their expertise.

Business strategy services: Web 3.0 business needs to be conceptualized and aligned with the enterprise strategy. Beyond that, service partners should also be bold enough to push clients to adopt Web 3.0 business models that may not be entirely related to their existing businesses. This has already started to happen and has blurred the boundaries between industries and company classifications.

Normally enterprises start with building NFT offerings for their brand to engage consumers. NFT design and implementation can create short-term demand and may eventually become a small part of overall Web 3.0 initiatives. Many enterprises use celebrities, while others use crowd contributions, technology, and various other models to build NFTs. Professional service partners need to understand this complex landscape and advise clients accordingly. With an estimated 15,000 Web 3.0 start-ups, making the correct selection is important.

At the beginning of a Web 3.0 journey, clients will seek services tailored to their specific industry, such as an automotive company creating a virtual showroom in metaverse; an apparel company using NFTs to trade for physical goods; a bank building a Web 3.0-enabled payment system; or an energy company incentivizing customers to sustainably consume power with crypto assets. In addition, many clients may want finance, procurement, and Human Resources to leverage Web 3.0 principles. Service providers who support such enterprise functions need to be at the forefront to serve this demand or risk near-term losses.

Architecture and platform services: Recently, leading cloud vendors such as Google and AWS launched blockchain node services. In addition, start-ups are focusing on Web 3.0 infrastructure services to enable out-of-the-box offerings. Start-ups such as InfStones, ChainSafe, and Alchemy collectively raised US$300 million to enhance their blockchain infrastructure offerings.

Service providers need to work with these vendors to build enabling infrastructure for clients’ Web 3.0 journey. Even for seemingly simpler initiatives such as building NFTs, clients have multiple platform decisions to make, such as NFT marketplaces, wallets, and underlying blockchain. Not only do service providers need to understand these complex technologies and work with an extended ecosystem, but these firms also need to be thought partners to guide clients in the right direction and drive initiatives.

In addition, the core offerings for edge, network, and pervasive computing must be delivered. Unlike cloud-based workloads, the Web 3.0 ecosystem will heavily rely on edge processing. Materially high network bandwidth and resiliency will be required. Therefore, ongoing hyper-automated technology operations services will need to be amplified using next-gen observability, resiliency, and predictive maintenance. Service partners will have to focus on the right messaging infrastructure, decide between off/on-chain computing, build digital simulations, and create the underlying Web 3.0 core for their clients, much like they did for cloud services.

Brand and experience services: At the core of Web 3.0 businesses is the experience it can create for end consumers. Branding and experience service providers such as Dentsu and Publicis are already investing in the Web 3.0 ecosystem. Moreover, technology providers such as Adobe and Salesforce have also launched offerings to address this client need. Although “user centricity” has gained pace in recent years, Web 3.0 businesses need to take this even further. Brands such as Adidas have already experimented with token-gated communities and provide exclusive access to assets.

The enabling technologies, platforms, and environments now available to build such experience offerings are powerful but complex. Socially distributed networks, creator platforms, crypto payments, generative Artificial Intelligence (AI), enhanced reality, and various other solutions have the power to create previously unimagined customer experiences. Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) have to become extremely tech-savvy to explore the potential Web 3.0 business has for their brand strategies.

Software and integration services: Web 3.0 business requires thousands of software to work together. Enterprises will build many of these internally to drive differentiation. However, many back-end software will be SaaS-based and bought through vendors that will need integration. In addition, numerous Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) will be built and purchased that will need to work in unison.

This will not just be the software we see today but will have AI/Machine Learning (ML) and other advanced data technologies as their core. These context-aware software will need to leverage advanced auto-development, auto-tuning, and auto-management concepts to be more efficient and sustainable. Rather than being cloud-first, these software will have to be edge-first and compatible across various hardware, unlike browser-based systems. Building lightweight yet rich workloads will be a complex engineering problem to solve for.

Governance, risk, and cyber security services: The legalities of Web 3.0 businesses are unknown, and clients need significant help from service partners to navigate this complex new pioneer. Enterprises will need assistance deciphering contractual obligations, data privacy, personal identity, cyber security, and interpreting platform terms and conditions.

The recent collapse of crypto exchange FTX is a good example. Some law firms have found the terms and conditions of popular Metaverse platforms extremely one-sided. If these platforms shut down their business, the consumer would lose all their virtual assets. Service partners need to work with clients to help them understand the risks and build recovery solutions. Providers also will need to deliver cyber security, content moderation, trust, and related security and risk services so clients feel secure that customers will trust their Web 3.0 business initiatives.

In addition, given Web 3.0 enabling technologies are under scrutiny for their environmental impact, clients will look for service partners who have sustainability as a primary offering. Environmental sustainability will take near-term priority for such initiatives.

Moreover, massive opportunities will emerge to build technology workloads by adopting Web 3.0 concepts. In the same way clients adopted Web 2.0 social media and digital commerce to enhance their businesses, they will want to adopt business-contextualized Web 3.0 technologies. The key difference is that Web 3.0 will propel enterprises to engage with stakeholders in previously unknown ways, learn about newer architectures and monetization models, and embrace the creator economy – all pushing them beyond what they are now and realizing the art of the possible.

For more on Everest Group’s research in this area, see our reports on the following topics: NFTs, Decentralized Finance, Metaverse, crypto assets, Blockchain, and trust. If you are a brand management, technology, or strategy consulting provider, please reach out to [email protected] to share your experience in building Web 3.0 business for clients.

Start planning for the future of your organization. Join our upcoming webinar, Key Issues for 2023: Rise Above Economic Uncertainty and Succeed.

Metaverse Adoption: How Cloud Can Add Reality in Virtuality | Blog

As the foundational technology for metaverse, a cloud infrastructure can unleash metaverse’s true promise and help it grow. To learn about the five critical elements cloud offers metaverse and how it is impacting enterprise strategies and the future, read on.

Metaverse holds the promise to transform the way we create, consume, and communicate information by integrating virtual, augmented, and physical realities in a world where users can engage and gather immersive experiences.

Technology pioneers are betting on this multi-billion-dollar industry that can offer experiential engagement to digital customers. With a potential growth rate of more than 50% by 2030, it is considered the technology of the future.

From redefining the hybrid work model to modernizing product payment systems and innovating experiences at speed and scale, metaverse has found applications most everywhere across all enterprises. It has evolved from only being accessible through Virtual Reality (VR) headsets to becoming directly available through smartphones.

“The metaverse is here, and it’s not only transforming how we see the world but how we participate in it – from the factory floor to the meeting room.”

– Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO, Microsoft

The metaverse’s foundation

But what enables metaverse to create synced avatars that can interact in real-time with such ease? Which underlying technologies integrate to create the virtual existence of our physical realm?

Beneath this world of enhanced user experience and engagement lies the core of all the new-age order – the cloud. Metaverse seems to be a natural use case of cloud adoption. Its ever-expanding universe of existence demands resources that can support its growth.

Moreover, cloud can exhibit its true potential to be purpose-led with the expansion of metaverse. Thus, with the underlying requirements of accessibility and connectedness, a cloud-native infrastructure can unleash metaverse’s true promise.

Five critical elements that cloud offers metaverse

Cloud caters to the metaverse in the following ways:

  • Scalability: Metaverse requires a similar experience for several concurrent users. Distributed cloud computing allows easy interactivity and accessibility through on-demand computing power, storage, and networking capabilities. Underlying flexible architectures allow constant scaling and user expansion. Hyperscalers have already recognized their role and are creating technology stacks to enable metaverse
  • Efficiency: Creating an open metaverse system requires a powerful underlying infrastructure that can combine complicated virtual environments into a single ecosystem. Being complex and compute-intensive, more innovative ways to leverage infrastructure are needed. Hosting environments must not only store and immediately process huge data streams but also maintain similar operational levels at all times. With a hybrid and distributed cloud environment, metaverse applications can seamlessly access enormously powerful processing resources. Cloud services providers are continuously providing optimized cloud environments based on adopting metaverse applications
  • Interoperability: Metaverse provides an interconnected virtual environment where users can find new means to engage and access content. This opens new opportunities for monetization with virtual and physical synergy. Interoperability in metaverse requires standard protocols, homogenizing multiple data structures, and output streams to converge for a seamless experience. Cloud-enabled open metaverse architecture has embedded interoperability principles empowering users to port their identities into a shared digital ecosystem
  • Real-time experience: Providing real-time experiences to millions of concurrent users requires low latency levels. Latency is directly related to decision-making in the virtual environment. Also, latency reduction helps remove cyber-sickness (similar to motion sickness), which is prominent in VR usage. Cloud delivers believable experiences through dispersed points of presence, and with edge cloud, service providers can boost computing powers and improve response time. Edge computing thus plays a vital role in providing high-quality rendering in real-time
  • Cost-effectiveness: Consumers need Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) glasses to have a truly immersive experience in metaverse. Even entry-level versions of these equipment pieces are relatively expensive because of inbuilt hardware. Offloading compute to edge cloud infrastructure can potentially lower the costs and increase the feasibility of the systems

Metaverse’s impact on cloud strategies

Industry players have recognized the cloud’s pivotal role in the metaverse space. Social media companies, game developers, and technology vendors have begun to meaningfully invest in strengthening their cloud infrastructure.

The race to embrace metaverse is changing future cloud adoption strategies in such ways as:

  • Increased hybrid cloud adoption – Adopting a hybrid cloud to host enterprises’ metaverse entities will improve the speed, availability, reliability, and scalability of metaverse environments
  • More secure cloud investments – Financing is essential for the operations and to build native applications to leverage the power and capacity that cloud offers
  • New edge computing appreciation – This architecture can help alleviate performance and connectivity challenges
  • Increased custom-built cloud solutions – Enterprises are favoring this approach, which can accelerate their metaverse adoption, such as AR cloud

Metaverse adoption outlook

We expect enterprise leadership to increasingly push for metaverse adoption to meet evolving internal objectives or changing environmental dynamics. Transforming the underlying infrastructure to be metaverse-ready is the first – and most critical step – for enterprises embarking on this journey.

For more details on metaverse adoption, see our Metaverse Primer: What Is It and Where Can It Be Used? To discuss leveraging the cloud to have a metaverse-ready infrastructure, contact [email protected] and [email protected].

You can also watch our LinkedIn Live session, Trust and Safety (T&S) in the Metaverse, to learn risk mitigation strategies for challenges that could arise when taking on metaverse initiatives, and implications for the third-party T&S services market.

The Rising Role of Customer Data Platforms in Data-driven Personalization | Blog

By bringing together disparate data to gain a single customer view, Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) are becoming increasingly important to help brands drive personalized marketing efforts while maintaining trust and privacy. Learn more about the benefits of Customer Data Platforms and why they matter in this blog.

With the explosion of data on consumers’ spending and online behavior available from a multitude of sources today, gleaning valuable insights from the massive amounts of information is a top priority for brands.

But unifying the various disconnected touch points clearly and comprehensively to make sense of all the data is one of the biggest challenges facing marketers.

Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) have emerged as an important software solution that can help businesses get closer to consumers and achieve their organizational goals. Let’s explore what is driving the rise of CDPs.

Shift to data-driven marketing

Third-party cookies stored within users’ browsers have historically been a key marketing technology to track visitor behavior activity, improve the user experience, and collect metadata.

But today’s new consumer priorities, data privacy laws, and evolving technologies are leading to the third-party cookie’s demise. Following Safari’s lead in 2016, the world’s three main browsers eliminated (or will eliminate) the use of third-party cookies.

In addition to the demise of third-party cookies, other developments are limiting the use of consumer data for marketers. On the mobile/tablet devices side, Apple’s iOS 14 now requires explicit consent for any mobile identification collection.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and other similar regulations are impacting consumer data collection and processing. In addition, 71% of countries have data protection and privacy regulations and 9% have draft legislations, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD.)

These developments significantly impact the consumer targeting capabilities of advertisers who often depend on third-party data. The vast majority of advertisers use or have used retargeting and old-generation Data Management Platforms (DMPs) that rely heavily on segments fed by third-party data.

Along with targeting, measurement is also significantly hindered. With more stringent consent collection requirements, collecting the consumer identifications needed to track impressions, clicks, or views and reconstruct complete customer journeys is more difficult.

These changes represent a major shift in data-driven marketing – leading to greater reliance on first- and second-party data to meet the challenges of an increasingly privacy-focused world.

But the unfortunate reality is that most organizations simply aren’t ready to adapt to these trends.

In our report Emergence of CDPs: Charting the Path to Data-driven Personalization, we estimate that even though 90% of businesses agree that data-driven marketing is the future, only 20% consider themselves highly mature enterprises, citing the high cost of data acquisition, limited automation, and data fragmentation as some of the top challenges.

How can enterprises prepare?

With this imminent shift from third-party to first- and second-party data, the changing regulatory environment, and evolving customer expectations for omnichannel and hyper-personalized experiences, enterprises are actively investigating new ways of collecting and activating customer data to drive personalization while fostering customer trust.

This is where CDPs become increasingly important and act as a central repository for the marketing stack.

A CDP allows enterprises to capture and store user data to link with all the users’ interactions, including Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and eCommerce platforms, social media, websites, and apps. Having data from multiple different systems improves the likelihood of identifying an individual. See the customer data platform framework below:

Customer data platform framework

Screenshot 2022 11 10 093829

 

By gaining a single customer view, brands can better understand customer requirements and up-to-date communications preferences, personalize individual brand experiences based on past behavior, and create personalized recommendations for customer segments. All of this can be achieved using unique, relevant, and accurate information that a person has willingly shared with the brand.

CDPs do not replace existing data systems. Instead, their role is to enhance current tools’ capabilities, mitigate risk from the third-party cookie demise, and power marketing teams with near real-time best-in-class audience selection. CDPs bring together existing customer data, anonymous floating attributes, and digital behavior across channels, devices, and tools.

Customer data platform landscape

Adoption is on the rise with, CDPs being viewed by enterprises as one of the most viable, future-proof solutions for managing the overwhelmingly disparate data streams that today’s brands gather and generate about their consumers and prospects.

Enterprises have many choices in this rapidly expanding market, including:

  • Large enterprises like Adobe, Oracle, and Salesforce that are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the space and offer CDP as part of a greater MarTech (marketing technology) package
  • Pure play CDP players like Celebrus, mParticle, and Treasure Data that are purpose-built to support and address CDP use cases first that don’t need to be integrated into a larger system

Along with the growth in new entrants, the CDP space has seen a flurry of merger and acquisition activity in recent years of players that have showcased their unique data, campaign, analytics, and delivery capabilities, as illustrated below to see merger and acquisition activity in the customer data platform landscape.

Merger and acquisition activity in the customer data platform landscape

Screenshot 2022 11 10 094205

The road ahead for customer data platforms

As the data management landscape continues to rapidly evolve, CDPs will play an important role in the marketing tech stack and enable marketers to achieve true 1:1 personalization.

For enterprises to reach the desired business outcomes and mitigate risks in their personalization journeys, they should follow a comprehensive roadmap with the following four steps for data-driven 1:1 personalization:

Roadmap for data-driven 1:1 personalization

Screenshot 2022 11 10 094416

 

For more, see our report, Emergence of CDPs: Charting the Path to Data-driven Personalization, or view our webinar, Hyper-personalization Using Customer Data Platforms (CDPs). To discuss Customer Data Platforms further, please reach out to Sandeep P at [email protected].

Discover  how CX leaders can meet the expectations of their digitally enabled customers in our webinar, How are Leading Organizations Delivering Exceptional Customer Experience?

How to Clear Up Industry Cloud Confusion and Choose the Right Solution

With so many industry cloud platforms available from different technology players, selecting the right solution for your enterprise is not simple. Learn the important characteristics to look for from providers in this latest blog in our industry cloud series.

As cloud technology matures, industry-specific solutions are emerging as a leading preference over generic options to deliver efficiency, experience, innovation, and business-enabled growth. According to Everest Group’s latest survey, a staggering 87% of enterprises rate industry cloud as one of their top three investment priorities.

The supply landscape is heating up with technology providers leading with an industry cloud-focused go-to-market narrative, investing in multiple offerings for target verticals, initiating industry cloud-dedicated partner launch programs, and announcing large enterprise engagements.

Many technology providers operating in different spaces are approaching this market in their own ways. In our last two blogs on this topic, Demystifying Industry Cloud and The Battle for Supremacy in Industry-specific Cloud Has Begun, we discussed the evolving industry cloud solution provider landscape and go-to-market strategies adopted by key ecosystem players.

Read on for a deep dive into suppliers’ industry cloud offerings and our recommendations to equip enterprises to select the best-suited industry cloud solution for them.

The industry cloud solution marketplace is proliferating

The following three broad categories of industry-specific cloud solutions are emerging in the market:

  • Cloud infrastructure providers such as Microsoft Cloud for Manufacturing, AWS for Health, and Google Cloud for Telecommunications focus on providing an industrialized set of cloud solutions and services tailor-made for specific industries. Industry-specific configurations, interfaces, use cases, and blueprints are embedded into existing functionalities and bundled with partner solutions
  • Enterprise platform providers such as Salesforce Financial Services Cloud, SAP Digital Manufacturing Cloud, and Oracle Retail Cloud embed industry-specific processes, solutions, and frameworks into their horizontal applications and functions to enable industry specificity
  • Business solution providers such as Veeva Systems Life Sciences Cloud, Temenos Banking Cloud, and Guidewire Cloud for Insurance deliver true and heavily nuanced vertical solutions by providing niche industry-specific functionalities covering the breadth and depth of the value chain, targeting industry pain points

Though the objectives appear similar, technology providers take different routes for portfolio development based on their heritage and core strengths and provide varying degrees of industry specificity, adaptability, and improvisation.

For instance, cloud infrastructure providers offer flexible and ecosystem-driven industry cloud, while business solution providers have a more exhaustive use case coverage.

How to select the right industry cloud for your firm?

Enterprises need to make informed decisions when selecting providers of choice and carefully consider their business objectives, existing technology landscape, level of industry-specificity and enterprise-contextualization required, and preferred consumption model (off-the-shelf solution versus customized offerings).

Below, we detail the key characteristics of each solution type to assist enterprises in selection.

  • Industry cloud solutions by cloud infrastructure providers

Cloud infrastructure players provide a basic level of industry-specific functionalities and configurations powered by advanced cloud computing and next-generation technology capabilities in data analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML), and the Internet of Things (IoT).

These most benefit existing consumers of cloud infrastructure providers’ technology stack that intend to digitize their platforms and services by co-creating or co-developing solutions with ecosystem players, instead of preferring directly consumable end-to-end industry cloud offerings.

Level of industry-specificity: Low-medium

Degree of customization: High

  • Industry cloud solutions by enterprise platform providers

Enterprise consumers of Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and other horizontal applications focused on achieving unified customer relationships, and employee experience can leverage industry cloud solutions by these providers.

Enterprise platform providers provide out-of-the-box industry solution workflows, built on core horizontal enterprise platform functionalities consisting of purpose-built functionalities, pre-built data models, and automation and AI/ML capabilities for particular industries.

Their focus is on digitizing vertical systems across the front, middle, and back offices, powered by customer data-related insights and integration between the sales and operations teams. These offerings have a limited level of customization and are usually available as different editions of off-the-shelf offerings.

Level of industry-specificity: Medium

Degree of customization: Medium

  • Industry cloud solutions by business solution providers

Enterprises requiring extensive value chain coverage and high-grade industry-specific cloud solutions that are looking to digitize their industry platforms can consider offerings by business solution providers.

These solutions are delivered in a pre-packaged and composable format. Enterprises can consume these solutions and services in a modular form and augment functionalities by developing vertical-specific solutions and services on top of these platforms.

Level of industry-specificity: High

Degree of customization: Low

  • Interdependence of technology providers and the role of System Integrators (SIs)

These providers cannot independently provide end-to-end expertise across all layers of an industry cloud stack – infrastructure and platform layer, application layer, differentiation layer, and customization layer.

While these players bring their own strengths to the table, they rely on each other to fill in the missing pieces.

Both cloud infrastructure players and enterprise platform providers depend on business solution providers for domain expertise and vertical-specific contextualization. Meanwhile, enterprise platform and business solution providers rely on cloud infrastructure providers for underlying compute and next-generation technology capabilities.

In this ecosystem-led play, SIs play the key role of ecosystem enablers. For an effective industry cloud implementation, enterprises should engage with SIs for enterprise contextualization, industry knowledge, implementation capabilities, and system integration expertise.

Industry cloud offerings in banking and financial services

To illustrate, we compare different industry cloud solutions in the banking and financial services space by these provider categories below:

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The industry cloud outlook

Though this space is witnessing heightened investments and significant interest among enterprises, the market is still primitive, and the road to success is not straightforward.

To ensure optimum value from industry cloud adoption, enterprises need to clearly define their industry-specific cloud requirements, identify target use cases, choose the appropriate sourcing strategy, analyze available solutions, align the partner ecosystem, factor in technology-related dependencies, and consider industry-specific compliance regulations.

To share your thoughts and discuss industry cloud, contact [email protected] and [email protected].

Also, learn how enterprises can measure the value of cloud and how to unlock its full potential to maximize efficiency in our webinar, How to Unlock the Full Value of Cloud.

Unleashing the Potential of Data in Insurance – The Road Ahead | Blog

Leading insurance organizations seek to be more data-driven in their business decisions by harnessing the full potential of the data that resides within their enterprise boundaries. With the evolving technology landscape, real-time experience management, and explosion of data types, insurers are increasingly leveraging real-time insights to improve customer experience. In this blog, we will explore the potential benefits for carriers of unlocking data in the insurance value chain.

Insurance enterprises are facing a tough business environment marred by macroeconomic challenges, heightened natural catastrophes, and unfavorable interest rates. This is creating an urgency to re-evaluate underwriting and pricing models by taking data-driven approaches.

Data can help insurers unleash the next growth wave, enable targeted cross and up-selling generated through higher customer engagement levels, and provide a 360-degree view of their customer needs. For example, embedding data and analytics and Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) models within the claims workflow can enable zero-touch insurance claims transactions. The digital interaction process can flow seamlessly from intaking all filed claims consistently across channels, validating and assigning complexity scoring to each claim, segmenting and routing the claims based on complexity, to finally settling them as quickly as possible.

Infusing intelligence across insurance operations while investing in data and analytics capabilities can generate a surplus economic value of US$ 874 billion, according to Everest Group research, as illustrated below.

Exhibit 1

Picture1
Source, Everest Group

However, the industry faces challenges to effectively unlock the full potential of data in insurance, including:

  • Siloed and scattered data: Insurers face a high data spread across disparate systems, business lines, functional areas, and channels preventing them from gaining a 360-degree customer view, resulting in high integration costs
  • Inadequate enterprise-wide data strategy: Insurers need to foresee the entire insurance lifecycle to democratize enterprise-level data and analytics objectives and define how they can manage data as an asset and drive critical business decisions
  • Attraction and retention of skilled talent: Employees with technical expertise and domain-specific skills are scarce

The changing road ahead

Insurers are not only striving to make data-driven decisions but also beginning to explore new business models by combining available big data with advanced AI and ML capabilities.

Insurers are shifting from being risk mitigators to playing more of a risk avoidance role with data, cloud, and platforms being their foundational components. Digitization of the value chain, new business models, and underwriting transformation are helping insurers expand their roles from underwriters to risk decision partners who predict unforeseeable risks and ensure protection.

Data from connected devices is becoming a prominent source to assess and prevent risks. To illustrate, in the auto insurance industry, sensors, blind-spot assist, collision avoidance tools, and other safety systems have already been pre-built into vehicles using behavioral data to help improve safety.

Vast data stores are opening up opportunities to price risk more accurately and offer personalized product structures. For instance, utilizing climate and other third-party data empowers insurers to assess geographical areas that present greater catastrophic risk and charge higher premiums instead of measuring these types of risk through traditional approaches.

Deploying AI and other latest technologies not only assists with ingesting unstructured data but also helps generate actionable insights that previously were unavailable to underwriting and claims teams. Insurance data and analytics spend is growing at an accelerated rate of over 25% annually as insurers look to transition to being data-driven enterprises.

Leveraging data from different types of sources such as wearables, internet of things (IoT) sensors, and telematics through clients’ lifestyles and behavior, insurers are embarking on a new age digitized underwriting process. Smart loss capture and IoT sensors are expected to bridge the gap between the traditional claims processing mechanism to zero-touch claims transactions.

How will the insurance industry progress toward a data-driven approach?

Insurers need to actively engage with the ecosystem of data generated by the insurance enterprises as well as information coming in from external sources such as InsurTechs, and services and technology partners. By doing this, insurers can create and implement strategies that will lead to unmatched automated decision-making support that they can leverage to drive growth and efficiency and extract maximum value.

Exhibit 2

Picture2

Source, Everest Group

Data will be a central driving force to strengthen competitiveness in the industry moving forward – allowing carriers to leave behind their traditional approach of solely being risk protectors and move them toward being risk preventers.

As insurers look to become data-driven, data centers and cloud services can enable companies to respond to evolving customer needs, improve resiliency, instill agility, and drive enhanced operational efficiency. Similarly, leveraging AI/ML models and predictive analytics offer a major solution to the challenge of providing real-time actionable insights. Insurers that can create true differentiation and impact using internal and external data will be able to future-proof their business and be seen as leaders in times to come.

To learn more, check out our State of the Market Report 2022 – Unveiling the Economic Value of Data and the Road to Actualization. To discuss more on these topics and share your perspectives with our analyst team, contact [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected].

Life Sciences Supply Chain Visibility: A Strong Link in the Chain | Blog

Improved supply chain visibility can help global pharmaceutical and medical device suppliers overcome the many logistics challenges they face post-pandemic. Internet of things (IoT) and blockchain technologies offer promise to address the growing demand for product traceability and transparency. Read our second blog in this series to learn more.

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed major supply chain weaknesses in the life sciences industry as the industry experienced skyrocketing demand for innovative medical products.

Enterprises struggled to keep operations running amid the pandemic without adequate supply chain product visibility or unified systems to provide needed data to improve logistics performance.

Most companies lack the analytical tools to completely integrate and analyze data from various systems at all levels – from the plant’s local work centers to the world’s end-to-end supply chain.

As a result, the massive data generated during the pandemic provided little usable information and insights.

Supply chain visibility: right time for real time?

Supply chain visibility can help enterprises overcome these challenges and build more robust and effective supply chains by tracking medical products in transit and providing a clear view of the inventory and activity.

Let’s look at the factors that are driving enterprises to invest in supply chain visibility.

  • Product loss and recall: Theft is costly to the industry and needs to be stopped. The pharmaceutical industry experienced its largest theft in 2020 when $1.2 million worth of oncology drugs were stolen from a cold storage warehouse. In the second largest theft that year, $600,000 in pharmaceuticals were taken from a distributor.

 The industry also is being hit by losses due to expired, non-compliant, or recalled products that have problems with temperature parameters or other issues. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 281 drugs and 50 medical devices were recalled during the two years of the pandemic

  • Counterfeit products: Increasing numbers of fake drugs and medical devices have found their way into customers’ medicine cabinets. Counterfeit drugs are valued at an estimated US$200 billion annually. Since the World Health Organization (WHO) established a global surveillance and monitoring system in 2013, it has received 1,500 reports of substandard or falsified products. Of these, antimalarials and antibiotics are the most reported. Geographically, 42% come from the African region and 21% each from the Americas and Europe.

Local regulatory frameworks are being implemented to provide more product visibility. For example, the Indian government has mandated life sciences enterprises include Quick Response (QR) codes on Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), effective January 2023

  • Regulatory frameworks: The Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA), amended by the FDA in 2013, mandates enterprises to create an electronic system to track and trace certain prescription drugs. Manufacturers and trading partners are required to encode their products with unique identifiers on the individual packages and track products at the unit level by November 2023.

Similarly, the European Union (EU) Medical Device Regulation (MDR), which regulates the production and distribution of medical devices, mandates MedTech enterprises place a Unique Device Identifier (UDI) for better visibility and tracking of products across the supply chain

A recent analysis found the top 15 global pharmaceutical companies emit 55% more greenhouse gas emissions per million dollars of revenue than the automotive sector. Medical waste has also become a significant issue, particularly with the spread of single-use personal protective equipment and testing kits. As a result, life sciences enterprises are taking initiatives to build more transparent supply chains to track and trace carbon emissions, medical device decommissioning, and secondary package waste

Everest Group’s view of end-to-end supply chain visibility solutions

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Let’s explore more on the supply chain visibility framework:

  • Make/Manufacture – Inbound logistics that includes procuring raw materials, drug packaging, and moving finished goods to the supply chain

Use Cases: Addressing drug serialization and aggregation, strategic sourcing, fleet tracking, drug e-labelling, artwork management, and API tracking

  • Deliver – Outbound logistics that include order confirmation, shipping, last-mile delivery, and customer service

Use Cases: Addressing drug expiry monitoring, network management, demand forecasting, and warehouse management 

  • Stakeholders experience – Unifies vendors, suppliers, distributors, pharmacies, patients, and others in the life sciences supply chain with one platform 

Use Cases: Asset tracking, anomaly detection, and condition monitoring alerts

  • Returns management: Communicating with end-customers, stakeholders, and life sciences enterprises to obtain and restock goods. Having visibility of goods in reverse logistics helps enterprises make calls on whether to discard, repurpose or recycle drugs and medical devices

Use cases: Case and compliance management, returns tracking and scheduling, conditional monitoring alerts, and drug serialization

Service provider landscape

IT service providers are increasingly offering solutions to address these needs as these instances gain traction. One example is HCL’s serialization and authorization solution that helps track product returns in real time.

Recognizing the need for greater insights into supply chain performance, enterprises have invested in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Laboratory Information Systems (LIMS), Electronic Batch Records (EBR), Manufacturing Equipment Systems (MES), Quality Management Systems (QMS), and other IT systems to capture transactional and performance data.

Information sharing, data interoperability, security, and trust are the major hurdles for life sciences enterprises to implement supply chain visibility solutions. Blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT) offer promising prospects to tackle these challenges by maintaining the continuity of information, realizing the link between physical and information flow, and providing fraud detection alerts.

IBM, KPMG, Merck, and Walmart successfully completed an FDA pilot program in 2020 that found blockchain technology can be used to meet the DSCSA requirements to track and trace prescription drugs and vaccines distributed in the U.S.

We recommend life sciences enterprises partner with IT service providers that have point solutions for supply chain visibility or engage with niche platform providers to build end-to-end supply chain visibility solutions.

Keep following this space as we explore the technology in supply chain visibility platforms, and see our prior blog on Five Factors Transforming the Life Sciences Supply Chain and Creating IT Opportunities.

What are your views on life sciences supply chain visibility? Reach out to [email protected] and [email protected] to discuss.

You can also learn about planning for a sustainability in your organization in our webinar, Sustainability and the CIO’s Office: A Powerful Connection.

Advocating for IT Innovation in an Evolving Market | Blog

The biggest advocates for information technology transformation can come from inside your organization. Internal IT innovators can spark business growth and evolution. Learn how having employees as innovation champions can benefit your company in this blog. 

With companies increasingly relying on IT post-pandemic and through the current macroeconomic headwinds, innovation is vital to continue pushing the business world forward. Having employees as IT innovation advocates can help your company attract talent and optimize efficiency. While it may seem like a big undertaking to tackle, let’s explore how employees can play this important role in organizations.

How can IT organizations become more innovative?

Leadership alignment and buy-in can inspire innovation and make IT organizations more effective. Technology should enable and act as the catalyst for business objectives – not the end state. Organizational leadership should align on objectives. Executives responsible for IT and digitalization who report to the board and executive committees, such as CIOs and CTOs, should sponsor innovation initiatives.

Implementing contextual metrics for progress is another focus of innovation. Because IT organizations often are viewed as cost centers, they are typically measured on efficiency and policy only. As technology fundamentally enables new business models, organizations need to ensure they are using purpose-led metrics. Everest Group recommends using different metrics based on the objective, such as time to implement systems, improvement in customer onboarding scopes, and automating back-office processes that measure efficiency, and customer experience and new business model innovation that track growth. We believe IT is becoming an enabler for growth, through Systems of Growth thinking, Agile governance also drives innovation in IT organizations. Given the rapid technological change and disruption, IT organizations cannot be static. A cross-functional leadership team should re-examine IT organizations frequently to ensure they remain aligned to their “North Star” and quickly learn from mistakes and course correct.

What benefits come from being an IT innovator?

Innovative-driven IT organizations benefit in three main ways. First, organizations can respond to customer needs faster. More and more, an organization’s ability to use technology determines its success in a fast-changing environment as customer preferences and consumption patterns evolve.

Second, IT innovation improves the ability to attract the right talent. As Gen-Z (and beyond) become the primary workforce that organizations try to attract, they must provide the right tools and infrastructure to make the employee experience a key part of their value proposition. This is also the key to managing attrition and creating belonging in the workplace.

Lastly, IT innovation allows organizations to stay ahead of compliance and security needs. With the ever-evolving regulatory environment, using purpose-built technology can help organizations become resilient and secure. As a result, organizations can avoid brand, reputation, and financial loss.

How can IT leaders convince their business counterparts that it’s important to fund innovation?

Creating internal advocates and champions is vital to IT innovation. IT should seek greater feedback from internal and end users to create a distinctive business case. Beyond that, individuals can start promoting IT innovation.

The first way is to speak the language of business. IT enables business growth and innovation — thus, it needs to be referenced in the same context. Framing technology investments as anchored to growth, efficiency, and resilience will enable a wider cross-section of organizational counterparts to understand its impact.

Another avenue to garner support for IT innovation is to regularly report results. IT leaders shouldn’t wait for end-of-year results or budgeting cycles to showcase progress. They should do this quarterly or more frequently, so leaders see the impact and value.

The IT department shouldn’t be an isolated team but instead, plug into a company’s DNA and morph as the company changes. By collaborating with multiple sectors of the company, IT innovation can be built into the organizational framework. This will ensure the IT team is not at odds and can more easily assist their company by continuously adapting to changing markets.

For more information or to discuss how to implement innovation into your IT team, reach out to Nitish Mittal at [email protected].

You can also discover how technology, processes, and business networks will evolve in our webinar, What’s Ahead After a Decade of Digital Transformation?

How Enterprises Can Achieve Full Value from ServiceNow Investments | Blog

In response to changing market demands, ServiceNow has expanded its platform over the past two years, from primarily managing IT workflows to providing full enterprise solutions. Read on to learn the best practices from industry leaders to ensure your greatest return from ServiceNow investments.   

Since our inaugural ServiceNow Services PEAK Matrix Assessment in 2020, the software company has significantly expanded its portfolio to go beyond IT Service Management (ITSM) to new offerings that help clients drive business growth, increase resilience, and enhance employee productivity.

Our recently published second edition of the assessment found about 65% of enterprises are exploring scaling up ServiceNow investments for end-to-end process modernization. CIOs who have upgraded their IT workflow on ServiceNow are now looking to transform business processes and integrate the platform with existing systems of record, engagement, and intelligence.

Based on our interactions with industry leaders, we recommend enterprises consider the following factors when seeking to modernize their business processes with ServiceNow:

  1. Shift away from IT to business Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

The watermelon effect of KPIs in ITSM is not new. Over the past two years, we have addressed several situations where ServiceNow clients struggled with having all the metrics look green on the outside but are red on the inside.

The reason often is two-fold – tracking irrelevant metrics and overreliance on IT metrics. Enterprises need to track relevant metrics closely tied to business outcomes while being aware of the pitfalls in measuring these metrics.

ServiceNow customers are tracking business KPIs such as customer experience, reduction in touchpoints, percentage of issues resolved by self-healing, and cost efficiency. Leading service partners are proactively collaborating with customers to course correct and update KPIs and tracking methods during quarterly and mid-year reviews.

  1. Minimize customization

Early adopters leveraged ServiceNow to make custom applications and create a final product that mimicked organizational processes. These solutions were developed on the go to meet demand. As ServiceNow continues to push new and improved versions, it has become very difficult and costly for these customers to make updates due to the huge technical debt.

Clients that adopted ServiceNow largely out-of-box are more agile and tend to benefit from improved processes. Enterprises should modernize their processes to fit the standard offerings and minimize customization or wait for the offerings to sufficiently mature before investing.

  1. Select the right transformation partner

We think Albert Einstein’s famous statement, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results,” unfortunately, applies here. Most enterprises need qualified staff to help guide and manage the project over multiple years. They also need to deal with unplanned turnover, the ServiceNow talent gap, inflexible contracts that don’t allow for strategy changes, ever-shrinking budgets, and, last but not least, the desire to have measurable outcomes. But often, enterprises end up using the same vendor selection and RFP processes without taking these factors into account.

Leading enterprises have not only updated their vendor selection methods but also have started planning for attrition, contractual flexibility, and outcome accountability right at the beginning of the engagement.

Large enterprises now are more open to engaging with specialist ServiceNow partners for module-specific requirements, especially for non-ITSM products such as Human Resources Service Delivery (HRSD), Customer Service Management (CSM), and Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC). This is mainly owing to the specialized focus and right mix of flexibility and agility that large Global System Integrators (GSIs) often fail to offer.

We are closely tracking demand and supply-side developments in ServiceNow. For more insights, see our report, ServiceNow Services PEAK Matrix Assessment 2022, which sheds light on the ServiceNow partner ecosystem.

We would like to hear your thoughts on your ServiceNow investments and the growing adoption of innovative operating models to achieve business outcomes. Please reach out to us at [email protected] and [email protected].

You ca also find out What’s Ahead After a Decade of Digital Transformation in this webinar as we share perspectives on what’s in store for the digital transformation industry.

The Evolution to Open Finance Offers Promise: Everest Group’s Open Banking Research | Blog

Open banking – a system that provides third-party access to financial data through application programming interfaces (APIs) – has unlocked digital financial innovation and disruption. Its next evolution – open finance – holds the promise to greatly enhance the customer experience and empower users of financial services. Read on for more on our latest open banking research.   

A combination of government regulation and market forces has created a growing demand for open financial data to build an expanded provider ecosystem beyond banks and financial institutions to also include non-financial platforms, FinTechs, and payment facilitators.

According to the recent forecast by the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE), more than 6 million individuals and businesses in the United Kingdom regularly use open banking services. Payment volumes on open banking-related services increased dramatically to around 21.1 million transactions over the six months through March 2022, compared to 6.1 million during the same period.

The first wave of open banking has given customers and third parties easy digital access to their financial data from banks and other traditional financial institutions. This has solved critical issues for customers by ensuring better account visibility and convenient payment access.

In the next stage of open finance, an individual’s entire financial footprint, such as mortgages, savings, pensions, insurance, and credit, can be opened up to trusted third-party APIs with consumer consent. Brazil is expected to move into this final stage of its four-part implementation of open banking by the end of the year.

Open finance offers the following key benefits:

  • Improved customer experience – By opening access to financial instruments, personal financing, and asset and wealth management, companies can create personalized products and services to meet customer needs
  • More inclusive – Open finance has addressed the critical need of making financial practices more accessible and provides simplified banking for a large portion of the unbanked population in growing geographies
  • Greater transparency – Open finance lifts the veil for customers on their financial options, giving them clearer insights into their full financial pictures
  • Customer empowerment – Banking customers are better informed to decide if their current providers or services are best for them, giving them greater financial freedom

Open banking research findings

Let’s take a look at how banks and financial institutions, FinTechs, small- and mid-sized businesses, and banking and financial services (BFS) providers will be impacted by this powerful trend:

Banks and financial institutions

Data architecture will need to be redesigned to help banks manage data securely, quickly, and efficiently. Firms will use an API-based microservices approach to make data more accessible, thereby enhancing digital agility.

For example, US Bank and Plaid announced a partnership in 2021 to connect the bank’s customers to third-party accounts. Plaid will provide the open APIs to initiate third-party payments between the bank and financial apps such as Robinhood and Venmo.

This approach also allows banks to leverage their data internally. Bankers and traders can access personalized front-end applications.

The potential to develop new API-led products with relative ease is another exciting benefit. New API products can create additional direct monetization streams and access to newer customer segments. This can lead to better customer lifetime value and predictably improve long-term profitability. Barclays, for instance, enabled account aggregation in their mobile banking app to allow customers to view other bank accounts within the same app.

FinTechs

Open banking has produced a space for FinTechs to innovate in a sector otherwise dominated by traditional banks. It has created countless opportunities for competition and collaboration. Some examples include:

  • Payment infrastructure provider Dapi and FinTech firm Afterbanks launched real-time account and data aggregation services via an API in Mexico in 2021
  • Prometeo, an open banking platform provider, launched its payment API for the Latin American market enabling efficient exchanges using API connectivity and providing a single access point to information and payments

As illustrated below, the FinTech ecosystem has morphed into three distinct categories: challengers (direct competitors that have built digital-only banks and financial institutions), collaborators (partners with traditional banks to leverage open APIs), and enablers (infrastructure and platform support providers):

Picture1 1

Small- and mid-sized enterprises

Open banking creates efficient and seamless business processes for small- and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) and can assist in effectively delivering accounting, payroll management, and auditing services. For example:

  • Mexican FinTech Kavak offers same-day application and loan approval to customers
  • Neobank Plurall launched its services in Columbia and focused on improving the financial inclusion of SMEs

BFS firms

Adoption of open banking poses some challenges for BFS firms that fall broadly under these categories, as illustrated below:

  • Change management and business alignment
    • As banks adopt a customer-centric approach and align their business strategies with customer engagement, they will need to expand their offerings to position themselves as end-to-end customer experience enablers
    • Banks must widely market their own APIs to developers for wider adoption across various open banking platforms being built
  • Extending offerings beyond the regulatory mandate
    • Enterprises should not limit their open banking capabilities to what is mandated by regulators but venture beyond to gain a competitive advantage. They should offer more APIs and undertake integration with new sales channels
    • Data security and privacy should take center stage in all branding efforts to earn consumers’ confidence
  • Augmenting the value proposition
    • Banks must focus on giving customers greater control over their data and enhancing the customer experience by providing more convenient payment methods, account aggregation services, and tailored product offerings as incentives to adopt open banking
  • Managing the shortage of trained talent
    • Access to the required skills for scaled open banking adoption is hampered by a demand-supply gap that requires BFS enterprises to pay a heavy premium for talent
    • Financial institutions must focus on workforce hiring, training, and revamping to equip their employees to contribute to the digital metamorphosis powered by open banking

Picture2

To learn more about our open banking research and discuss your experiences in these emerging areas, contact [email protected], and [email protected]. Follow our webinars and blogs to learn more about upcoming technologies and trends.

To learn more about customer experience trends and how CX leaders are assessing their future customer experience delivery needs, watch our webinar, How are Leading Organizations Delivering Exceptional Customer Experience?

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