Category: Service Provider Industry

Unlocking Revenue Potential: Service Provider Strategies for Tools/Accelerator Monetization | Blog

IT service providers are increasingly exploring monetizing their proprietary software tools and accelerators as independent products. This strategic decision can create new revenue streams and differentiate providers. While these accelerators offer numerous benefits, they face challenges in gaining client acceptance. In this blog, we explore the pricing strategies for accelerators and discuss five crucial factors that providers need to consider to maximize the value of their assets. Contact us to explore further.

IT service providers have invested heavily in developing homegrown intellectual properties and proprietary accelerators, tools, and software solutions that have demonstrated impactful results and value creation for clients.

Many providers are now actively pursuing monetizing these assets as standalone offerings. TCS and HCL have created subsidiaries, TCS Digitate and HCLSoftware, respectively, focusing on software and accelerator monetization.

Suppliers have developed software solutions used in different phases of the technology development lifecycle (build, quality assurance, run, modernize, and transition/transformation). Some examples are TCS Ignio and Mastercraft, Infosys LEAP and Nia, Wipro Holmes, and HCL Tech Advantage.

Let’s delve into the opportunities and obstacles service providers face in this pursuit.

Challenges to asset monetization

Despite the money-making potential, success has been limited for various reasons. Some of the primary factors we have observed contributing to this shortcoming include:

  • Internal challenges – Difficulties with legal and procurement process delays in maintaining and executing separate license agreements for these accelerators
  • Post-implementation challenges – Issues related to continued support and maintenance requirements of the accelerators, particularly after the end of services Statement of Work (SoW) term, and the ongoing need for product innovation and marketing investments
  • External challenges – Struggles with low revenue and profitability from product licenses

How accelerators are sold

Let’s take a look at the two ways accelerators are sold:

  • Bundled with services: Service providers frequently include accelerators in their solutions and position them as key differentiators. These accelerators are bundled with services within the provider’s scope and delivered to the customer. This model is preferred when:
    • The accelerator adds value to the existing services offered
    • Customer preferences and market trends show demand for all-inclusive solutions
  • Licensing models: Licensing models can be structured as follows:
    • One-time fee – Service providers propose that customers use the capabilities of their accelerators for a one-time fee
    • Recurring fee/subscription-based – Charging the customers for accelerators through recurring monthly or annual fees is another prominent commercial model

In addition to the one-time/recurring fee, some providers charge for professional services separately. This model is preferred when:

    • The accelerator addresses specific pain points with a standalone solution
    • Customers seek flexibility and independence in using the product

While service providers ultimately aspire to move toward standalone licensing for accelerator monetization, bundling with services is currently the more dominant model. Providers tend to leverage services to grow the reach and mindshare of their accelerators through bundling.

Service providers typically provide the costs of these assets separately in deals where external advisors are involved or where the client’s procurement function is mature. There is a growing emphasis among service providers to focus on asset-led models, with many expecting high asset revenue growth in the coming years.

Research findings

To unlock the value that service providers can realize through their asset and accelerator monetization, we conducted detailed research to understand the key areas that providers must consider.

Here are five key insights from our research:

  1. Positioning: Providers position assets as “investments” in some deals until a predefined threshold is met. This strategy helps to increase the penetration of their specialized accelerators and tools in a client’s ecosystem. The provider then starts charging for these assets when the client has consumed services proportionate to the initial investment
  2. Value proposition: Providers tout numerous benefits for clients using their accelerators, including increased productivity, streamlined costs, reduced rework, automation of routine tasks, instant simulation, end-to-end incident remediation, predictive failure, and proactive decision-making
  3. Fee amortization: The period over which the accelerator fee is charged is determined by its share of the total contract value (TCV). For deals where the share of accelerator fees is minimal, the accelerator fee is charged in the first year. Conversely, the duration is longer when the share of the accelerator’s fee in the overall deal value rises
  4. Return on investment (ROI) articulation: ROI articulation is critical to reinforce the client’s confidence and willingness to invest in accelerators. ROI in the 2.5 to 5 times range has been observed in large deals covering services across the technology development lifecycle
  5. Sales channel: Service providers use different sales channels to increase sales of their assets, including leveraging channel partners, independent software vendors (ISVs), the third-party marketplace, and, in some instances, their subsidiaries

As service providers move towards establishing alternate revenue streams through their accelerators, the observations in this blog will help move them toward devising a robust accelerator monetization strategy.

Everest Group collaborates with leading global and Indian service providers to help identify suitable commercial model(s) and pricing strategies for tools and accelerators. To discuss software solutions and accelerator monetization in more detail, contact Rahul GehaniUdit Maheshwari, and Manan Arora or email us at [email protected].

Key Issues 2023: Assessing the Global Services Industry’s Performance Against Expectations | Blog

The global services industry’s confidence waned in 2023 after a banner post-pandemic year. Leaders were more cautious and prioritized cost optimization. To gain valuable insights into how the year unfolded compared to expectations, read on.

Participate in the Key Issues Survey 2024 to better understand the current thinking of industry leaders across the globe.

Coming off a bumper year in 2022 with double-digit growth driven by pent-up demand after the pandemic, the global services industry entered 2023 with macroeconomic uncertainty clouding the forecast.

As a result of these concerns, global leaders adopted a more cautious stance going into this year, according to Everest Group’s annual Key Issues survey of over 200 global leaders across industry enterprises, Global Business Services (GBS) centers, and providers.

In the survey, price and cost margin pressures ranked as the top business challenge expected in 2023, and subsequently, cost optimization emerged as the highest business priority for the year.

As 2023 nears an end and leaders start planning for 2024, let’s reflect on how the year fared against global services industry expectations of the industry.

1. Macroeconomic uncertainty subdued industry growth in 2023

In the face of macroeconomic uncertainty, most industry leaders felt cautiously optimistic about 2023. True to their expectations, results from the first three quarters of this year indicate subdued industry growth similar to the pre-pandemic numbers. A mix of macroeconomic concerns, rising prices, fiscal tightening, and geo-political tensions have resulted in a slowdown in customer demand and growing margin pressures on the global services industry. While revenues grew, the escalated cost and price pressure resulted in stagnant or even declining operating margins for most providers, as presented in Exhibit 1.

Exhibit 1: Key financial metrics for providers for 2022-23

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2. Talent demand and supply mismatch eased but remain challenging for niche skills

With attrition at an all-time high and growing industry demand, talent supply continued to fall short of the demand in 2022. The talent/skill shortage was the top concern industry leaders highlighted as part of the Key Issues Survey 2022. However, as the industry prepared for the looming uncertainty in 2023, these concerns took a back seat. In line with the industry expectations, the talent situation eased in 2023. Data for the first half of 2023 show that attrition rates have declined, and most delivery geographies are reporting a narrowing talent demand-supply gap. An assessment using Everest Group’s proprietary Talent GeniusTM tool indicates talent demand for delivery of IT and contact center services has declined substantially compared to 2022, as shown in Exhibit 2.

Exhibit 2. a: Talent demand across select countries for delivery of IT services indexed to January 2022 (Jan 2022 = 100)

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Exhibit 2. b: Talent demand across select countries for delivery of contact center services indexed to January 2022 (Jan 2022 = 100)

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However, this improvement in talent supply has not applied to all global services, especially those requiring niche skills. Digital and next-generation technology services continue to witness a mismatch between talent demand and supply. This disparity is especially true for emerging skills like generative Artificial Intelligence (AI), where talent supply is even more limited. Preliminary estimates by Everest Group show that only 1% of AI talent has expertise in generative AI, pushing companies to focus on upskilling and reskilling their employed talent pools to bridge this gap.

3. Offshore locations and tier 2/3 cities are being considered to optimize costs

To manage growing cost pressures, a key strategy for global leaders entering 2023 was continuing to leverage offshore locations and exploring alternative delivery strategies, such as leverage of tier 2/3 cities. Global services trends in 2023 resonate with this approach. Offshore locations like India continue to be the destination of choice for global service delivery, given the significant cost arbitrage opportunities. Similarly, enterprises and providers alike are more enthusiastically exploring tier 2/3 locations driven by needs of cost savings, talent access, employee preference, and market competition management. Exhibit 3 shows how the leverage of tier 2/3 cities witnessed growth in 2023.

Exhibit 3: Trends in center setup across Tier 1 and Tier 2/3 locations (2022-23)

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4. Provider bill rates increased but at lower levels than expected

Despite the prevailing macroeconomic pressures, providers maintained optimism about bill rate increases in 2023, although they were expected to be at a lower rate than in 2022. Unlike other economic downturns, provider bill rates have continued to show positive growth despite the growing cost and price pressures in the first seven months of 2023. However, with the macroeconomic scenario hitting much harder than expected, input-based pricing has been subjected to hard negotiations. This has led to muted growth (0.5-2%) in bill rates across different functions, much lower than provider industry expectations going into 2023. For example, provider bill rates for traditional applications skill delivery in offshore regions grew by only 0.5-1% compared to the expected growth of 2-5% from January to July 2023.

5. Provider portfolios underwent significant rebalancing and consolidation to ensure better deal terms

Enterprises reported much lower satisfaction with providers in 2022 compared to 2021 when providers played a key role in supporting enterprises in navigating the pandemic. The leaders cited a lack of innovation and communication as the key reasons behind this dissatisfaction. Consequently, procurement leaders expected a significant change in their provider portfolios. Additionally, with macroeconomic concerns clouding all strategies, enterprises looked to consolidate and rebalance provider portfolios to negotiate better deal terms with limited providers. As expected, 2023 witnessed a shift in provider portfolios, with major providers winning deals that had vendor consolidation components.

6. Investments in strengthening the digital core are a priority over moonshot endeavors

Prioritizing resilience through uncertainty, the focus of the global services industry continues to be on pragmatic digital investments like cloud solutions, cyber security, analytics, and automation. While the advent of newer technologies like generative AI has created an industry buzz, the primary focus continues to be on strengthening the digital core and building a resilient technological foundation. Most industry verticals continue to wait and watch before diverting constrained resources to newer projects with limited use cases and industry adoption.

As 2023 comes to a wrap, the global services industry is at the forefront of another transformative shift – the need to create value and the need to create it fast. This becomes especially imperative as technological advancements like generative AI threaten to shift the industry’s current equilibrium and potentially start the next phase of a technological revolution. The global services industry must adapt swiftly to stay ahead of the curve.

Participate in our Key Issues Survey 2024 to capture the pulse of Information Technology and Business Processing industry leaders across the globe and uncover major concerns, expectations, and key global services trends that are likely to amplify in 2024. To discuss further, or for any questions, reach out to Ravneet Kaur or Hrishi Raj Agarwalla.

Don’t miss the Key Issues 2024: Creating Accelerated Value in a Dynamic World webinar to gain valuable insights into 2024.

The Recessionary Conundrum: What Lies Ahead for Healthcare Payers?

A looming global recession may finally take its toll on payers who have escaped prior economic challenges. Let’s take a look at the healthcare trends influencing decision-making by payers, the markets most likely to be affected, and the actions payers can take with the uncertain outlook.

Wall Street predicts that the probability of a global recession in 2023 is 61%, well above the stable benchmarks. Although inflation has eased up marginally since the last quarter, tighter financial conditions and weaker global growth still indicate a potential downturn.

The healthcare industry historically has weathered economic collapses better than core industries that are generally more severely impacted. A Forbes assessment shows that while the US economy (as measured by GDP growth) plunged into recession eight times over a 60-year period from 1960-2020, healthcare expenditure growth never shrunk, often outgrowing gross domestic product (GDP) as illustrated in Exhibit 1.

This stability is primarily because impacted employees either opt for subsidized government programs or forego medical care, as applicable, pushing the healthcare cost to the future. As a result, health plans tend to be relatively less affected due to recessionary headwinds. In fact, reports suggest that earnings for healthcare payers declined only by 27% compared to a 77% decrease for the overall S&P 500.

Exhibit 1: Real GDP growth and national health expenditure growth 1960-2020
Exhibit 1: Real GDP growth and national health expenditure growth 1960-2020

Although many healthcare payers posted strong growth rates at the end of fiscal year 2022 as shown below (Exhibit 2), the results may not be as positive in 2023, particularly for employer-sponsored or provider-owned health plans.

Exhibit 2: Year-over-year growth rate by revenue for healthcare payers
Exhibit 2: Year-over-year growth rate by revenue for healthcare payers

The overall impact on the payers in the fiscal year 2023, however, will be determined by several upcoming trends. Let’s look at some of these influencing factors in detail below.

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Exhibit 3: Major healthcare trends defining the decision-making process of payers in 2023
  • Medicaid redetermination: As states kickstart Medicaid redetermination in April 2023, over 15 million Medicaid members are expected to lose their enrollment after the renewal process. Several payers, such as Centene, expect to lose about 2.2 million members over the next 18 months. On the other hand, payers like Humana and Molina Healthcare project their Medicaid membership to be largely stable due to new Medicaid contracts offsetting redetermination losses
  • Prior authorization rule: The CMS Interoperability and Prior Authorization rule requires regulated payers (Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP, and QHP) to utilize Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that give healthcare providers more streamlined access to data. Payers will be required to maintain these APIs using the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard. This regulation is expected to bring effective workforce utilization, improved data exchange, reduced appeals, and, in turn, more timely claims disbursal
  • Inflation reduction act: Starting this year, Medicare will be allowed to negotiate prices for prescription drugs with pharmaceutical companies. Apprehensions are high that this will lead to cost-shifting to privately funded and employer-sponsored health plans. Or, the reverse also could be true, and privately-funded plans may demand similar negotiations along the lines of Medicare to avoid overpaying for healthcare. Moreover, the Part D plans will have to bear higher responsibility in the catastrophic phase as the law puts a spending and inflationary cap on out-of-pocket expenditure beginning in 2025
  • Focus on alternative care market: Payers are striving to strengthen preventative care and ensure end-to-end offerings, as many big players (e.g., United HealthCare, CVS Health) have invested in home, virtual, and alternative care. The race to outcomes-based care is shifting from retrospective to proactive and comprehensive health management through multiple integrations
  • Member experience and STAR Ratings: With the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers & Systems (CAHPS) member experience weights increasing to four times in 2023, ensuring top-of-the-class member experience will remain a priority for health plans

Impact of the potential downturn on the healthcare payer market

So, how specifically will payers be impacted? It’s hard to say, given the global inflation outlook improvement. But lessons from the past indicate that a sustained period of economic uncertainty will impact both the government and the private markets in the following key markets:

  • Privately-funded market: Markets such as employer-sponsored health plans could lose members due to layoffs and loss of employee-sponsored coverage. Payers such as Cigna, that have significantly high commercial membership (Exhibit 4), could feel the heat of the competition from the health insurance exchange (HIX) and Medicaid plans. However, these losses can be offset if payers can retain these members in other product lines. Alternatively, having a diversified business portfolio such as a pharmacy or data services also may provide a cushion against medical membership loss
  • Government market: While the Medicaid market would traditionally gain membership in a recession, instead it will see the combined effect of redetermination and a potential economic downturn. As some of the members who lose employer coverage join Medicaid, the drop in membership might be less than expected after the redetermination process. The impact on Medicare, however, is expected to be relatively insignificant. Overall, the payer mix might experience a shift toward government business

Lastly, the uninsured population may experience an uptick due to information asymmetry and administrative complexities. According to an assessment done from 2007-09, only some of the insurance loss from a lack of employer coverage was offset by added public coverage, leading to a 5.6 million rise in uninsured adults. While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has lowered the uninsured population, an economic downturn potentially can add to the current uninsured coverage.

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Exhibit.4: Percentage of membership in the commercial business

What should payers do in this uncertain market outlook?

With the market unpredictability, healthcare payers will have to take calculated measures to prevent business impact. Here are four actions they can take:

  1. Focus on operational efficiencies: Healthcare providers are more likely to be impacted by a downturn, pushing them to negotiate for higher contract prices. Payers will have to explore ways to offset any price hikes. This can lead to increased outsourcing and offshoring of traditional processes, such as provider and claims management to ensure lower administrative spending and higher operational efficiencies
  2. Invest in preventative care: Price-conscious members may move to higher deductible plans and avoid care, particularly preventive services, leading to lower utilization. This can have lingering long-term effects, particularly for members with multiple chronic diseases. To combat this, payers should identify susceptible members, invest in areas such as social determinants of health (SDoH), and devise strategies that prevent care gaps and discontinuity
  3. Increase digital member engagement efforts: Millions of members lost their coverage in the last recession despite being eligible for other plan options, partly due to a failure in getting the right information and comprehensive engagement with their insurers. To avoid this from happening again, payers will have to ramp up investments in member engagement to avoid losing members. Regional health plans and the Blues will have to bring in digital-enabled solutions that help to understand member needs and provide forward-planning insights. Support from third-party services providers who offer customized, plug-and-play customer experience (CX) solutions can help meet this need
  4. Upgrade systems: Several payers with strong capital support can undertake digital transformation efforts to replace legacy systems and move to interoperable, connected ecosystems that will help improve administrative as well as care outcomes. However, this might only be applicable for payers who experience limited utilization and payouts due to the downturn.

Outlook for service providers

These measures will require service providers to proactively engage with healthcare payers and focus on three levers – the right clients, the right capabilities, and the right value addition. This will enable service providers to aim for the right opportunities such as member engagement and preventive care and ensure sustainable growth in an uncertain economic environment. Finally, in a highly competitive market like payer services, service providers will have to offer targeted digital and traditional Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services to serve the right client need and differentiate themselves with unique value propositions refined as per the prevailing market demand.

To learn more about healthcare payer and provider trends, contact Lloyd Fernandes or Vivek Kumar.

To learn about the changes in the pharmacy benefits management (PBM) industry, such as increased regulatory scrutiny surrounding pricing transparency and rebate-sharing rules, watch our video, Pharmacy Benefits Management: The Next Big Healthcare Opportunity.

You can also learn more about How to Deliver Hyper-personalized Customer Experiences in Life Sciences in this LinkedIn Live session. 

Financial Services Trends Fueling Outsourcing Opportunities in Emerging Markets | Blog

With customer demand for financial services rising across geographies, looming recessionary fears and competition is leading enterprises to expand beyond North America and enter developing markets such as the UK, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific, the Nordics, and the Middle East. Read on to understand the geographical differences, financial services trends driving growth, and the outsourcing opportunities in these regions.

Fueled by high volumes, new technological products, and enhanced customer experience, demand for financial services is rising across developing geographies. Banks, lenders, FinTechs, and other banking and financial services (BFS) enterprises are expanding into new markets following the rising customer demand.

The saturated and competitive North American market and high-cost pressures, against the backdrop of the looming recession, are forcing enterprises to move beyond traditional markets and enter new geographies to increase their customer base. Let’s take a look at where they are headed.

The UK and Europe, along with nascent geographies such as Latin America, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand (ANZ), the Nordics, and the Middle East, are some of the geographies identified for rapid development by enterprises that have unique factors driving end customer demand.

But like the rest of the world, these markets have been impacted by the pandemic and domestic challenges that have reshaped business models and environments. Outsourcing service providers can identify these pain points and leverage capabilities to provide support.

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Financial services trends driving outsourcing demand by enterprises in upcoming geographies

A few major trends impacting the enterprises in these geographies, where third-party providers can offer support:

  • Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) – While a board room discussion for BFS enterprises across geographies, enterprises in Western Europe and the UK are leading other geographies in the charge for ESG adoption because of high regulatory pressure
  • Super-apps and buy now pay later (BNPL) – As a result of increased technological advancement in these geographies and enhanced experience demanded by end customers, these financial services trends are making waves in Asia Pacific and Latin America
  • Embedded finance and neo-banks: Traditional banks are setting up their own digital banking arms to cater to the pandemic-induced demand spike. From nearly US$47 billion in 2021, the global neo-banks market is poised to be valued at US$2.05 trillion in 2030, growing at a CAGR of 53.4%

Enterprises increasingly are leveraging third-party provider support to build scale and ramp up services in these growth areas, but various internal and external factors impact the ease of outsourcing in the respective geographies.

How can service providers help enterprises in making outsourcing decisions? What factors are pushing financial services firms to outsource? 

Factors like high volumes, technology, and cost margins act as demand drivers for outsourcing from these geographies, as illustrated below.

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Let’s take a closer look at some of the geographies that are uniquely placed based on their outsourcing maturity:

  • Nordics, Western Europe, and the UK – High costs and wages act as major demand drivers for these areas, but tight talent markets create high-cost pressures to scale. The UK and Western Europe also face vendor consolidation issues
  • Asia Pacific and Latin America – Enterprises based in these regions have to grapple with regulatory challenges and the political environment to varying degrees. Latin America is faced with political and economic uncertainty.

Geographic segments

Based on Everest Group’s assessment, the emerging geographies for BFS have been segmented into the following three categories:

  • Leaders: UK and Western Europe: have high or full provider coverage in outsourcing and operate in highly competitive markets
  • Major Contenders: Asia, ANZ, and Nordics: offer high outsourcing potential and scope and less competition
  • Aspirants: Middle East and Latin America: have high potential but low outsourcing penetration because they are riddled with challenges such as complex regulations, rigid culture, low volumes, etc.

Service provider strategies to seize opportunities in emerging geographies

Each region has unique outsourcing-related differences that should be met with targeted approaches. Service providers willing to make inroads into these geographies must carefully assess the demands and challenges enterprise face. Talent and skill availability, geopolitical risks, and regulations can be obstacles to outsourcing for enterprises and impact costs.

In our report, Emerging Geographies’ Specialized Banking, Mortgage, and Risk and Compliance Needs, we detail these specific nuances and provide recommendations for service providers to approach and expand coverage in each geography.

Some takeaways from our research include:

  • Enterprises in Asia need a customized, comprehensive services suite to address regional requirements
  • Providers should increase their focus in ANZ on the underserved mid-tier and smaller banks buying segment
  • Uruguay and Peru are the outsourcing locations to watch in LATAM
  • Know Your Customer (KYC) and related procedures are in demand in the Middle Eastern market
  • Outsourcing demand by enterprises will increase in the financial crime and compliance area in the Nordics
  • In the UK, traditionally less outsourced segments such as commercial lending and payments are witnessing an uptick
  • The Western European market is observing the need for ESG operations support from mid and smaller banks in countries such as France and Germany

Please reach out to Sameer Das, Shrey Jain, and Sahil Chaudhary to gain additional insights into the research and to discuss financial services trends.

Product Manager Role In Selecting Value Partners Or Best-of-Breed Service Providers | Blog

We’ve had ten years of digital transformation initiatives. Companies that have reached a maturity level now invest in software-defined operating platforms. These platforms are tech stacks that evolve and become very intimate with company operations. Companies need to think about these platforms holistically and develop a road map for the platform and operations together. Consequently, the core versus non-core aspect of technology services is no longer a useful construct for selecting third-party service providers or vendors. That old model is changing.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

The Role of Experience Service Providers (ESPs) in Extracting Value from Brand Communities | Blog

Through brand communities, companies can gain loyal, engaged advocates and customer insights that are key to personalization. With the help of engagement service providers, enterprises can realize tremendous business value by using this marketing channel. To learn more about the value of ESPs in unlocking the full potential of brand communities, read on. 

Why are brands suddenly talking about communities?

The hunger for social interaction and human connection that started during the pandemic has not subsided, fueling the continued growth of niche communities on social media platforms and offline self-help groups. Companies are realizing that strong brand communities can help create long-term brand advocates and have many other benefits.

Influencer marketing and social media marketing are proliferating – from thriving online blockchain NFT communities such as CryptoPunks to strong offline communities that are avenues for in-person events like fitness brand Gymshark.

How can brands leverage communities for personalization?

With Google sunsetting third-party tracking cookies, marketers will need to quickly adjust their strategies to use first-party data directly from customers to champion true personalization.

Beyond solely capturing behavioral first-party data, brands have an opportunity to incentivize customers to voluntarily share zero-party data that a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a business, which will be paramount for personalization.

This is where brand communities come to the rescue – making highly credible customer data available on both an individual and aggregated cohort level, expanding the scope for effective customer engagement.

In addition to being a source of high-quality, sustainable customer data, let’s explore how communities also can help brands in several other enticing ways.

 Six possibilities that come with brand communities:

  • Actionable insights across the customer journey – Starting from the discovery phase with display ads and FAQs to building loyalty through customer stories and peer answers, communities help brands engage with customers across all touch points and gather meaningful insights to incrementally enhance customer experience
  • Self-sufficiency mindset to minimize support cost – Most customers are self-solvers and communities give them access to the ears of other customers facing similar issues and multi-department company teams in one place. This leads to faster problem resolution for customers and reduced support costs for enterprises
  • Co-creation of products – Communities can help product teams gather continuous customer feedback for testing concepts, validating roadmaps, and prioritizing product backlogs at every stage of the product planning lifecycle
  • Acquisition through advocacy – Customers tend to trust other customers when they share testimonials. Brands can leverage communities to organically acquire new customers by identifying brand advocates and incentivizing them to share their experiences
  • Experience-based marketing for retention – Brands also can use these platforms to create engaging experiences such as competitions, events, discussion boards, and surveys, keeping customers hooked and further enhancing retention
  • Reusable user-generated content – Community-created content such as food reviews, skincare routines, fashion looks, or DIY projects can be reused in emails, ads, product pages, etc. to drive revenue and cut content creation costs

How can ESPs help brands build sustainable communities?

While communities bring a plethora of opportunities for enterprises to meet their personalization goals, brands struggle to extract tangible Return on Investment (ROI) from community engagements because they frequently lack a sustainable customer engagement strategy.

Also, when it comes to choosing the right technology platform for building communities, the extremely fragmented technology landscape makes it difficult for brands to evaluate the right fit for their custom needs.

This is where the role of ESPs becomes extremely crucial, as illustrated below.

Exhibit 1: The role of ESPs in extracting value out of brand communities 

Engagement strategy ESPs need to devise a strategic implementation roadmap in collaboration with creators and influencers to create impactful communities for brands from the ground up. They also need to provide hand-holding support to brands who have been unable to scale their community efforts due to the lack of strong engagement strategies
Technology implementation ESPs will need to either partner with existing community platform vendors such as Tribe and Vanilla Forums or create their own tech landscape for embedding data inputs from community platforms into customer data platforms (CDPs). They will need to meld insights from communities to continuously enhance the customer’s 360-degree profile for personalization
Managed services (experience operations) Since communities take a longer time to generate value and need continuous content and security support, ESPs can provide the benefit to upstart communities of already having technology expertise and also deliver support services to brands with existing communities

Investing in creating a new successful community might seem like a daunting task, but enterprises need to draw on learnings from leaders such as Starbucks, Harley-Davidson, Sony PlayStation, and SAP, which are already reaping significant benefits from their communities.

ESPs also need to spread their knowledge and educate clients about this largely untapped market and begin building their tech ecosystem for this opportunity to get ahead of their peers.

Promising outlook for ESPs

With skyrocketing customer acquisition costs, relying on growth through paid media to create truly personalized experiences becomes increasingly difficult. Adopting cost-effective alternatives for achieving sustainable customer loyalty is crucial for enterprises. Successful brand communities can become the secret sauce for gaining long-term competitive advantage in the race for hyper-personalization.

ESPs will play a crucial role in actualizing the returns from communities for enterprises. Providers need to kick-start the process by educating clients about the tremendous benefits of using this marketing channel while also building robust technology architecture to support long-term business outcomes.

To discuss further, contact [email protected] or [email protected].

Learn more about how to create hyper personalized customer experiences in our webinar, Strategies for Customer Experience (CX) Success in an Uncertain World, for recommendations on what to prioritize to deliver exceptional customer experience.

ChatGPT – Can BFSI Benefit from an Intelligent Conversation Friend in the Long Term?

With the advent of chatbots reaching human-like sentience and mannerisms, and banks being at the forefront of adopting conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI), the question arises whether ChatGPT threatens the likes of Google, other AI platforms, and the non-critical workforce in the technology and services industries. While its promise remains high, will the banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) sector unearth ChatGPT’s full potential?  Read on to find out.

ChatGPT has taken the internet by storm and has become a trending sensation overnight. This AI-powered innovative chatbot has taken the world for a spin and is generating a big buzz among millions of professional users experimenting with it. Microsoft has also invested billions in the tool.

But what is ChatGPT? Developed by OpenAI, it is a generative language model that has been trained over large volumes of text to generate human-like responses. Like a search engine, it curates answers for queries but is designed to answer in a more conversational flow that goes beyond chat and delivers a richer experience with an intelligent chatbot. The AI engine generates solutions for all sorts of queries, including R, Python, and VBA codes.

Let’s explore ChatGPT’s potential to impact the future of AI and its usage in the technology and services industry, particularly by financial institutions, banks, and insurers.

What makes ChatGPT approachable and different to use?

  • The amount of data used to train the GPT model
  • Human-like interaction
  • Versatility and variety of responses
  • Low data input requirements
  • Highly scalable
  • Adjustable coherence and adaptability

What does it mean for banking and financial services?

Banks can use ChatGPT in several ways to enhance their operations and customer experience. Here are a few examples:

  1. Assistive chatbots: ChatGPT can be used to build natural language-based chatbots that can assist customers with common inquiries, such as account balances, transaction history, and bill payments. The chatbot also can guide customers through more complex processes like applying for a loan or a credit card. It also could help increase agent efficiency by aggregating requests by type to the appropriate departments
  2. Automation of simple and repetitive tasks: ChatGPT, along with other conversational AI models, can be used to automate simple and repetitive tasks, such as customer service interactions, order processing, and data entry. This can increase efficiency and lower costs for service providers and their clients
  3. Customer service: ChatGPT can assist the human agent in answering customer questions, improving efficiency and response time, and providing more accurate and detailed information. This can improve customer service and satisfaction and employee onboarding
  4. Marketing: Banks can use ChatGPT to analyze customer data and build personalized marketing campaigns that target specific customer segments. It also can generate personalized responses to customer inquiries by fine-tuning the model to a specific client, enabling it to generate tailored responses to their needs
  5. Decision Making: With the right database connections and integrations, ChatGPT can be used to analyze data to generate insights that can be used in decision making
  6. Learning and development: ChatGPT can be used as a learning and development tool. It can be trained with a company’s pre-existing data to create learning tools and modules and as an onboarding tool for new employees

Current mapping of ChatGPT to the BFS BPS value chain

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Current use cases of ChatGPT in banking and financial services (BFS) and business process services (BPS) operations are limited. Building capabilities around conversational AI and incorporating ChatGPT into offering portfolios can help BFS and BPS firms unlock innovation. Enterprises such as Microsoft, AWS, and Meta are developing their capabilities internally or through partnerships with conversation AI specialists.

Industries leading in innovation investments are becoming early adopters of ChatGPT. Microsoft is reportedly investing US$10 billion in OpenAI and plans to introduce it along with its Azure OpenAI service bundle in the Bing search engine. This furthers Microsoft’s stake in the market, where it already has a working partnership with OneReach.ai, one of the market’s leading conversation AI providers, since 2019.

Current capabilities still have hurdles to overcome

Although ChatGPT appears to have multiple uses and strengths, some limitations include:

  • Biased and inconsistent output: Content generated by ChatGPT depends on the trained data, making it prone to biases. It is difficult to achieve the same level of consistency in output generated. Cases requiring more context and complexities may lead to biased and inconsistent output. When training for complex operations such as trade reconciliation, exception management, and know your customer (KYC) remediation, the subject matter experts (SMEs) must be well-versed with minute details, which can’t be guaranteed when using ChatGPT
  • Standardized data requirement: ChatGPT cannot process different file types or extract information from them. A lot of consumer data is often received in varied file types and formats that require intelligent operations to skim through and sort, which is beyond ChatGPT’s current text-based data capabilities
  • Largely text driven: Its text-based generated content can fall short of expectations for the coming generation of users that desire more visual stimulation. Dashboards and descriptive analytics have become a basic requirement of all transaction-intensive industries that ChatGPT cannot fulfill
  • Limited ability to handle sensitive customer information: ChatGPT may not have the necessary security and privacy measures to handle sensitive customer information, such as account numbers or personal identification numbers. With the ever-evolving compliance norms varying across industries, it doesn’t yet have the capability or the secure framework to process, analyze, and interpret KYC or transaction data
  • Outdated information: ChatGPT’s information database is limited to data up until 2021 and can result in outdated opinions and facts. Deals, news, and updates in recent years aren’t recorded. For a constantly-evolving industry like BFS, where new deals and contracts dictate the capital markets, this makes the source of information unreliable
  • Ethical concerns: As artificial intelligence improves, the lack of proper credit for AI-generated content is becoming more widespread. The distinction between content created by AI and content created by humans is becoming less clear, causing confusion, mistrust, and ethical dilemmas
  • System Integration issues: Incorporating new technology with outdated systems can be difficult due to potential incompatibilities and differing protocols or data formats. This can decrease efficiency, add complexity, and impair interoperability

 Where will the future take ChatGPT?

While ChatGPT’s future looks promising, it is too early to say the product will revolutionize banking and financial services. Before it gets integrated into banking products, it needs to overcome several hurdles, including:

  • Responding to competition from rising financial technology (FinTech), regulatory technology (RegTechs), and other AI/Machine Learning (ML) service providers
  • Meeting regulatory, compliance, and cybersecurity requirements
  • Catering first to front-office requirements for low-critical queries and then for more complex queries and back-office operations that have not yet been explored
  • Maintaining high operational efficiency, accuracy, and customer satisfaction
  • Expanding variation in output categories
  • Overcoming the lack of recent factual data

Though ChatGPT use cases are promising, it is still a machine learning model that needs modifications to be used in real-world applications. The model would have to consume specific industry data to build domain depth and be programmed to manage contextual nuances for various tasks. Its ultimate success would depend on end customers’ user experiences.

While the road is being paved for innovation, ChatGPT still has a long way to go before making strides into banking and financial services.

To further illustrate the nature of results and drill down on the capacity of ChatGPT, below are some screenshots for financial crime and compliance queries (platforms, codes, advisory):

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If you have questions about banking and financial services trends or would like to discuss developments in this space, reach out to [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected].

Also, download our Navigating the Regulatory Tightrope via End-to-End Solutions – Financial Crime and Compliance (FCC) State of the Market 2022 report to explore key trends. Stay updated by following the latest research on Banking and Financial Business Process Services.

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