Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation Just Can’t be Doing More of the Same

digital transformation

Einstein famously described insanity as repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting different results. Recent research from Gartner found that the Digital Transformation efforts of many Financial Services firms were, in effect, hoping that “doing ‘more of the same’ will equate to improved performance”. While this isn’t insanity, it’s not exactly transformational either. There has been a great deal of investment throughout the Financial Services industry to provide an omnichannel digital customer experience. But this  has yet to reap the expected benefits of Digital Transformation. Gallup has noted: “Although banks are offering more channels, they are not realizing desired outcomes such as reduced costs and higher customer engagement.” The principle reason for this is that, in many cases, banks have simply used digital technologies to underpin the business processes that were already in place. They have been able to make small efficiency improvements but nothing that is transformative. Recently, finews.com noted that digitization efforts had not really altered the core products and services offered by traditional banks. This is a statement that’s equally true in other areas of Financial Services such as Insurance – if not more so. Insurance remains 50-year-old business processes, information siloes and legacy systems that no longer meet business needs. Any organization will struggle to build the extensible, collaborative and agile business structures in those circumstances. They inhibit financial services firms fully benefiting from Digital Transformation and from delivering excellent customer experience. McKinsey suggests that this requires a two-pronged approach – Digital and operational – with the first step being to move beyond the product and service departmental silos that have so long underpinned the Financial Services model. The consultancy recommends that the business should be aligned to the key customer journeys for the firm. This recognizes that a customer journey – such as opening an account or making a claim – encompasses a number of business functions, processes and IT systems. Customer-facing journeys for a bank according to McKinsey, can typically be divided into seven categories: signing up for a new account; setting up the account and getting it running; adding a new product or account; using the account; receiving and managing statements; making changes to accounts, and resolving problems. Similar journeys can be easily mapped for Insurance firms or Investment brokers. Digitization – both of customer experience and day-to-day operations – is one of the five ‘levers’ necessary to achieve the Digital Transformation required to a customer-centric model, according to McKinsey. It sits alongside lean process design, intelligent process automation, advanced analytics and business process outsourcing. While it’s undoubtedly true that all are necessary to maximize investment in Digital Transformation, trying to do everything at once is extremely risky. An early focus on digitization is my preferred approach for a number of reasons. First, it offers a number of operational and cost ‘quick wins’. Just replacing paper-based processes with digital ones increases productivity and efficiency while reducing the cost associated with manual processing and paper storage and management. Making content digital – especially when you can bring structured and unstructured data together – can significantly reduce risk and facilitate effective compliance. This may sound very much like ‘doing more of the same’ but it isn’t. I believe that digitization is the foundation upon which other McKinsey levels are built. It is difficult to imagine how you can apply advanced analytics and intelligent process automation unless you have full control of the data within your organization. Gartner suggests that digital maturity for Financial Services companies requires that CIOs focus their firm’s participation in an expanded ecosystem that includes customers, competitors, suppliers, regulators and stakeholders from other industries. This allows for better customer connection and engagement – as well as driving innovation – within the dynamic digital markets that all Financial Services firms are facing. It also requires a sound digital platform upon which to build these new connections and services. Let me give you an example. OpenText, SAP and Delaware Consulting have recently been working with an insurance company in Asia. The firm had over 800 different types of correspondence – which totaled over 50,000 separate documents that were all printed and mailed each day. The company realized that it could make huge cost and productivity improvements if it could replace its paper-based correspondence. That was only the start. The company set about using its digitization program to radically alter how it engaged with customers. It built a completely new level of experience for its customers based around a self-service portal that went much further than simply automating the exchange of document types. Customers can receive information, ask questions, upload documents and administer their accounts. Each customer now has a personalized portal that they can access any time, anywhere and through any device. Digitization has been a foundation for this insurance company to deliver true Digital Transformation. The firm implemented the OpenText™ Extended ECM (xECM) solution to create a centralized repository of all customer information. Its agents now have a single source of truth on every individual. They now have up-to-date, real-time information when dealing with customers. The program has given the firm the ability to take an enterprise-wide view of the systems and services it needs that can help target its operations towards the specific journey of each of the customers. Digital Transformation has to be built from the ground up. It starts with replacing paper-based processes but it must gone much further. Digitization is the platform to create the business innovation and customer engagement for success. In its 2017 CIO Agenda, Gartner found the banking CIOs lagged behind other industry leaders when it came to investing in Digitization. The company recommended that Financial Services firms should dedicate as much as 40% of their IT budgets to Digitization by 2018. We can be certain that consumer demand will continue to grow and competition will continue to accelerate through digital-only financial service providers. Perhaps Gartner’s estimate will yet prove to be too conservative.

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Are we in Danger of Confusing Digital Transformation With Digitization?

digital transformation

Digital Transformation has been at the top of the priority lists of Public Sector CIOs for some time now. Yet, Deloitte research has shown only 41 percent of Public Sector leaders are satisfied with their organization’s current reaction to digital trends. Perhaps, part of the reason for this under-achievement can be found in Gartner’s study of public and private CIOs that put digitization as top of their priority list. With a focus on digitization, we may be in danger of missing the truly transformative potential of digital technology. Let’s not understate the importance of digitization though. There are great cost and efficiency benefits from converting paper-based to digital-based processes. Deloitte report into the Digital Transformation efforts in Australia found that a paper-based transaction was over 3000 times the cost of an online transaction. But, when the OECD countries signed its recommendation in July 2104 that ‘government’s develop and implement digital government strategies’, the organization made explicit that digitization was only a first step. An OECD report states: For me, the danger in digitization lies in an over-emphasis on the citizen experience to the detriment of the operational and process improvements inherent in Digital Transformation. I agree with Rick Howard, Research VP at Gartner when he says: “digital government is currently being deployed as an extension of earlier e-government initiatives, which largely preserved existing operational or service models”. Famous examples of Digital Transformation in the Public Sector – like gov.uk in the UK and census.gov in the US – demonstrate just some of the benefits of digital service provision. The more that e-government moves beyond digital information provision to end-to-end digital process the more benefits Public Sector organizations will achieve through customer engagement, targeted service provision and efficient business operations. The UK – currently the world’s leader in e-government according to the UN – has put in place a policy of ‘digital by default’ for all new services. The UK government sees success as multi-dimensional. It stated: Perhaps some early Digital Transformation programmes have been framed from the citizen to the government agency rather than from the agency out. So, we have looked at the interfaces and channels for good citizen engagements and not spent enough time on the back-end stuff. However, there is evidence that Public Sector organizations are increasingly turning their attention to the systems and processes needed to support Digital Transformation. The 2017 NASCIO survey of the technology priorities of US state CIO’s place system consolidation/optimization and legacy modernization in second and fifth places respectively. To fully reap the benefits of Digital Transformation, Public Sector organizations have to move beyond a closed business system model to introduce a platform that extends across and beyond the organization. Gartner’s Howard neatly sums it up by saying: : “In government, the system business model’s function is to deliver value isolated to the citizens within allocated jurisdictions, budgets and risk tolerance. In contrast, a platform provides the business with a foundation where resources can come together — sometimes very quickly and temporarily, sometimes in a relatively fixed way — to create value that may extend beyond budget and jurisdictional boundaries”. Implementing an Enterprise Information Management platform provides such a foundation for government agencies to re-engineer their business processes while creating the secure citizen engagement across channels that characterises effective digital government services.

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Putting the X Factor Into Customer Experience

content

For many years now we have heard that organizations must look to improve their customer experience to stand a chance of retaining their existing customer base. This, we have been told, is the cornerstone of customer engagement – but what exactly is customer experience and why is it here now? How did we ever manage without it? The fact is our propensity to always be connected means we are bombarded with information and what feels like a vast array of choices to buy the same product with the only real variations being factors like price and delivery time. What fundamental difference is there in the myriad of offers we are exposed to that leads us to choose one supplier from another? There is one ingredient behind customer experience and customer engagement that has preceded the Internet and still makes a big impact on our behavior and brand loyalty today. Walk through a modern airport or drive through the suburbs of a city and you will be exposed to advertising hoardings, walk into a dentist surgery or add yourself to mailing lists and you will encounter lifestyle magazines. These are all forms of customer experience and engagement that rely on one characteristic – they grab our attention. Often they do not lead with product data such as price or specification, they cannot measure and analyse how successful they are (unless you take into account passing traffic volume, print circulation), they simply grab our attention through something that appeals to us as humans beings – stimulus. Most often it’s visual, in the case of lifestyle magazines they might even try to appeal to our olfactory senses to advertise a scent – indeed some magazines even just smell good! But if we go back to the advertising hoardings and the lifestyle magazines examples for one moment it is easy to see that visual stimulus provides the X factor that excites us, it grabs our attention and leads us to follow up. The common name for this stimulus is content. We have all heard the phrase “every company is a media company1” and of course this is true to varying degrees – every company produces content to grab customer attention and this has transformed from a rather small set of content to what can only be described as a tidal wave of diverse material. Some talk about a “content shock2” where we are overwhelmed to the extent that we are unable to consume more, but the real issue here is that the valuable content that grabs the attention is buried amongst the volume of mediocre material. Every company faces this challenge. We have also seen that CMO’s are starting to recognize the value of content but do not prioritize its management3. Content has intrinsic value – it is expensive to produce so like any valuable material it should be collected, curated and put to use where it can have maximum impact. Could it be that we are so focused on the customer experience where we measure, analyse and try to predict our customer’s next step that we are forgetting the one factor that defines what we are? Content provides stimulus and grabs our attention. Getting our attention is the first step in becoming a customer. Lets start looking after that content. 1 – “Every company is a media company” by Tom Foremski 2 – “Content Shock: Why Content Marketing is Not a Sustainable Strategy” by Mark Schaefer 3 – “CMOs believe in value of visual assets but don’t prioritize their management” by Lisa Hoover McGreevy – Fierce Content Management

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European Energy CIOs Reap Benefit of Digital Transformation – and That’s Just the Start

Energy

According to new research from IDG and OpenText, over 90% of Energy companies in the UK and Nordic region have Digital Transformation programs in place. These companies are beginning to realize significant benefits from their digitization effort. But, Energy CIOs say, there’s much more to come. Pricing instability places focus on operational efficiency Our research showed that pricing affects energy businesses in two ways. First, the volatility in oil prices makes it difficult to properly manage supply and demand. As one UK Energy CIO put it: “Much of the sector’s focus has been on the oil price dynamics of supply and demand, and the implications for capital efficiency.” A Finnish CIO explained the flip side of pricing: “To thrive in the market amid increasing competition, we are forced to decrease our prices regularly … To add to our worries about pricing, as we are a customer-centric company we need to invest heavily on customer satisfaction measures. We also have to provide a fair price to customers along with transparent customer services.” The results of pricing pressures were neatly summed up by another UK Energy CIO: “Profit maximization is the top business concern of energy producers as they work to change the cost and process efficiency of their operations.” Digitization advanced in operations The responses to our survey from Energy CIOs suggest that early Digital Transformation efforts have focused on operations and customer experience. Managing supply and demand is a huge issue for the Energy companies surveyed, with them placing load balancing as both one of the largest industry challenges and the second biggest opportunity for digitization. It appears that many companies have made good progress in this direction. One Nordic CIO expressed a feeling common to many of the CIOs questioned: “With the help of digitization, we have connected our physical assets with the virtual environment, which helps to provide efficient output and can be monitored from different locations. Demand and supply can easily be handled, and all operations can be controlled from one location with the help of centralization of data.” The results of these efforts can be impressive. One CIO reported: “Digitization has helped us to improve operations and increase flexibility available throughout the value chain. Digital Transformation has boosted profitability by 20 to 30 percent.” Big Data ties operations to customer experience Without a doubt, one of the main benefits of Digital Transformation lies in the ability to effectively exploit Big Data. It was seen as the largest opportunity for digitization and a staggered 98% of companies surveyed said they already drew on data analytics and predictive data to make decisions. One Swedish CIO said: “We have noticed the positive outcomes of digitization through increases in productivity and can easily monitor the supply and demand processes of our organization. With the help of digitization, we can easily interact with our customers and understand their needs and receive feedback on a regular basis.” An UK CIO put a figure on this ability: “We are using advanced analytics to enhance service quality, lower costs, and preserve and deepen customer relationships. By digitizing a single core process, we can cut process costs by 20 percent in the first year while also improving customer satisfaction.” Analytics drives customer experience It’s clear from our research that all CIOs understand the power of data analytics and most are already applying the insight to improve customer services. The drive is towards delivering a highly personalized, highly individual service to boost customer loyalty and retention. “We have been adopting integrated customer services and this has helped us move from being ‘energy-centric’ to ‘customer-centric’. We have been using increasing volumes of customer data to better understand consumer behavior. A tremendous opportunity exists to develop innovative, digitally-enabled products and services, bundled to provide an integrated customer service,” said one UK CIO. Another spoke for most others when they commented: “We have been offering consumers the ability to view, monitor and purchase electricity online, on mobile and via social media. From this we have been able to offer a differentiated, modern service by providing convenient, cost-effective and personalized access to Energy packages at a range of price points.” In fact, personalized product and service development allied to personalized pricing was a common theme in this research. As a Swedish CIO stated: “In our organization we already provide various options for customers to choose from. These rates can be modified according to customers’ needs and usage. We continually work on launching new packages for customers’ requirements.” Smart Grids will make customers into partners Continually improving the experience delivered to customers will be a focus for investment for European CIOs, according to our research. A major part of this will be down to the effects of Smart Grid implementations. An UK CIO commented: “The electrical grid will underpin the future Energy network. It will enable bi-directional flows of electricity, transmit information and price signals, and ensure the optimal balance of supply and demand. This will enhance grid reliability, reduce losses, and integrate distributed resources that can help decarbonize the system. The digital grid will generate a continuous flow of data on consumption behaviors, load variations, revisions to price signals and supply response data that will help raise the efficiency of the entire system. Another CIO explained the benefits to customers and suppliers: “Power grid helps customers to make it possible to monitor and adjust their energy use through smart meters and home energy management systems that offer 24/7 usage readings. Power grid allows direct communication with end-user equipment to reduce consumption during these peak periods, lowering the need for costly standby power plants.” In effect, Energy CIOs expected that Smart Grids will help form a partnership-like relationship with customers where customers take more control of the demand side – encouraged by personalized incentive pricing – enabling the Energy company to more efficiently and cost-effectively manage supply. This may still be a few years away and the environment will be further complicated by the decentralization of power production and distributed energy resources but it seems like the direction of travel for the CIOs surveyed is already fixed. Want to find out more about how Digital Transformation is affecting UK and Nordic Energy companies? Attend the OpenText Innovation Tour taking place in London (March 21) and Stockholm (March 29). Book your place today.

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Celebrating Our Customers, Celebrating Your Success

We pride ourselves on many things here at OpenText: we are the undisputed leader in EIM, we are one of Canada’s top 100 employers and hands down; we work with the absolute best customers in the industry. As we mark the one year anniversary of our OpenText Elite™ Customer and Partner loyalty program, it’s important that we take time to say “thank you.” Technology is changing the world and we’re so proud of our customers and the amazing things that are being done with OpenText software: Together we enable doctors to access crucial patient data, pharmaceutical companies to bring lifesaving drugs to market, and keep planes safely maintained and on time, to name a few. Better Together I travel quite often to meet OpenText customers and one thing that always sticks out is the overwhelming number of customers who share their digital journey with us and I can tell you; we deeply value that feedback. I’m continually blown away by our customers’ dedication and excitement. Our customers make us who we are and drive our continued innovation to support their digital transformation. Nothing excites me more than learning how a customer is leveraging OpenText solutions to gain business efficiencies, lead in their markets or transform the world. Here is just one example from our customer, Solenis, a leading global manufacturing company: “…Implementing OpenText has increased our efficiency and helped drive down costs. And we have met our number one goal of helping key staff focus on the business, so we continue to grow, innovate and get our sales teams what they need in the field.” Charles Wallace, Chief Information Officer, Solenis …and here is just a small sampling of our amazing customers from around the world: OpenText Elite™ Celebrates a Big Milestone Thanks to our OpenText Elite™ program, we have a fantastic way to reward our customers for their willingness to share their success with others. Over the last year we have had over 500 members join – a truly incredible testament to our customers’ commitment and support. For those of you who have not joined OpenText Elite™ yet, it’s never too late. Here’s why you should join the OpenText Elite™ Program: 1. Recognition as an industry leader: It brings us great joy as a team to acknowledge the amazing things our customers do with OpenText as they lead the way the technology world changes. “It is a truly humbling experience to be recognized as an OpenText Elite™ winner by an industry leader, OpenText. HEINEKEN has always strived for improvement through innovation in the F&B sector and being acknowledged for our hard work is rewarding.”                                    Sofia Sergeenko                   Functional Consultant at Global Solutions, HEINEKEN 2. Connecting with future customers so they can learn from your success: We want to provide an opportunity for our customers to showcase how we’re changing the software landscape together. “I feel that my contribution makes a big difference when engaging with future customers of OpenText. Regardless of the time it takes out of my busy schedule, sharing how we use OpenText products brings value not only to them but to our organization as an OpenText Elite™ member.” Sonia Diaz-Sotomayor Senior Consultant, IT/IS, Bell Canada 3. Obtaining early access to insight and roadmaps: We value our customers’ input and relish the opportunity to have them help shape our roadmap and the future of OpenText. “By being part of the OpenText Elite™ Customer Loyalty Program, our organization obtains early insight into OpenText roadmaps and has the opportunity to influence the execution of those roadmaps.” Wouter Van Der Heever Enterprise Information and Performance Systems Management, DISTELL 4. Forming connections with like-minded industry leaders: Our customers are thought leaders who are shaping the industry through their innovative and transformative use of OpenText technology. “OpenText Enterprise World allows us to make connections with people in our industry and we help each other by advising on the best ways to implement. It is very valuable.” Clint Wentworth Manager IS Project, NuStar   5. Gain rewards and recognition: We put our money where our mouth is – our customers are the lifeblood of our business and we want to ensure that they know how important they are to us. #LoyaltyRewarded “Abu Dhabi Airports is excited to share how our efforts are recognized and rewarded as an OpenText Elite™ Award winner. This motivates the whole team to develop ways to utilize the features OpenText applications provide us.” Hamed Al Hashemi VP Information Technology, Abu Dhabi Airport   We are thrilled with the progress we’ve made in our first year and look forward to the continued growth of our OpenText Elite™ Loyalty Program. Thank you for your support and partnership, and happy anniversary, Elite! If you’d like to learn more about the program, please reach out to elite@opentext.com.

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Challenges & Opportunities In Energy’s Digital Transformation

Innovation Tour

In this post we introduce guest blogger Martin Veitch, Editorial Director at IDG Connect UK, who will present at the Innovation Tour in London on March 21, 2017. The energy sector’s focus has historically been on the oil price dynamics of supply and demand. The implications for capital efficiency, business intelligence, data management, and enterprise information management technologies are now changing the once physical nature of energy. Globally both companies and business leaders are now grappling with a world that is more volatile and more complex, yet demands greater agility, more speed, and more digital competence. It’s a topic we’ve studied in depth, surveying senior executives in energy companies across the UK, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. I’ll be presenting the research findings in greater depth and explaining why digital transformation is so crucial for the energy sector in my upcoming presentation at the OpenText Innovation Tour London on 21 March. Obviously I don’t have space to cover all of the main findings and implications from our research in this blog, so I’d like to touch on just some of the industry-wide challenges and degree of digitisation we are seeing. The biggest challenges the research discovered are around maintaining service levels, and avoiding down-time, which are both crucial for the energy industry as every down-time second impacts the bottom line. The second biggest challenge cited by our respondents involves customer retention and meeting industry regulations. New industry disruptors are more agile and able to adapt to new regulations faster, giving them a competitive edge in winning market share. And of course, just about every company is concerned about making enough money to maintain, repair and replace infrastructure and assets – especially the capital investments required in both digital technology as well as physical plants. Which leads to another issue – the current lack of digital skills and what to do about. (I’ll be touching on how some companies are addressing these challenges in my presentation). Respondents say the best opportunities for digitalisation lie in the ability to store and search media rich content effectively and gain insight to make better decisions. The three obvious areas of digitisation – keeping up with supply and demand and load balancing, administrative workflows, and customer contact – still have a long way to go in many energy companies. Most are focused on the front end looking at digital interaction with customers for workable and attractive solutions, but successful digital transformation requires a holistic, end-to-end view. But lack of budget, management buy-in, and being able to point to a hard ROI remain big barriers to digitalisation. There’s still time to get your house in order – most respondents in our research expect full digitisation to become a reality in the next 5-10 years. But the runway is getting shorter. As technology disrupts business models, adoption accelerates and competition increases, digital readiness will become one of the deciding key factors in long term success. If you look at every other industry that has gone through disruption, history shows that technology powers the winners – period. If you’d like to hear how the leading energy companies are getting their house in order, join me on the 21st March at the Innovation Tour.

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Analytics is Key to Digital Transformation in UK Manufacturing

digital transformation

When TS Elliot famously wrote ‘Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?’ he could easily have been speaking about the vast amounts of data produced by every manufacturing organization today. It’s the new lifeblood of business, but only if it can be properly harnessed. Recently research from OpenText and Sapio Research suggests that knowledge of data analytics is still in its infancy and is holding back Digital Transformation efforts within UK manufacturing companies. Manufacturing is one sector where Digital Transformation will have the biggest impact. It goes far beyond the process of digitization to improve productivity and efficiency. It provides the opportunity to embrace product and market innovation in a way that drives completely new revenue streams. Little surprise then that 80% of respondents to our ‘Digital Transformation in Manufacturing’ survey placed it as a key priority for their business. Change is accelerating While the transition to digital processes is disrupting the sector, it has taken companies some time to put in place the plans to respond. In fact, a full 90% of respondents who had plans admitted that they have begun implementing them within the last 24 months. Worryingly, almost one fifth of respondents didn’t have a plan. It’s very clear from our research that companies understand the value in the data created with any Digital Transformation program. When asked what they considered the key benefit of Digital Transformation, the ability to improve decision-making based on big data analytics came top of the list. Strategies are becoming actions Companies have started work on creating the environment where big data analytics can be fully exploited. Our survey showed that over 50% of respondents has already begun digitizing unstructured information into a contextual framework with a further 34% planning to do so within the next 18 months. In addition, almost half had introduced processes that filter and analyze internal data to help optimize business insight, with 47% planning to do so within the next 18 months. In terms of business operations, the ability to organize and analyze data is already producing benefits for manufacturing companies. When asked, almost two thirds of respondents said they were already using analytics to improve productivity. Over half the companies surveyed were using analytics to achieve supply chain efficiencies. Yet, more business oriented objectives are still lagging behind with only 40% of respondents said they were using analytics to enhance their levels of customer engagement. Analytics skills is still a barrier While our research report shows that real progress has been made in both Digital Transformation and the implementation of data analytics, it remains a barrier. In fact, handling and analyzing the vast volumes of data create ranks as the second and third most significant hurdle to the adoption of Digital Transformation. Manufacturing companies are struggling to gain visibility of all data held in various silos within the business. It is very interesting to note the affect that survey respondents see these legacy, non-integrated systems spread throughout the organization having on their business. Over 70% said that disparate and legacy systems had a negative impact on scalability, 60% said it impeded business agility and 70% felt it held back business innovation. There is an urgent need for organizations to consider implementing a robust infrastructure that supports data analytics as an enterprise-wide capability. With investment a major challenge for Digital Transformation programs, manufacturing companies need a centralized system that can provide complete control and visibility across all its information – both structured and unstructured – and allow advanced analytics to be applied for real-time business and operational decision-making. OpenText™ Content Suite is a Enterprise Information Management (EIM) system that provides the building blocks to underpin an organization’s Digital Transformation while connecting with legacy systems and information silos to maximise investment and speed the transformation and implementation processes. It includes the powerful OpenText™ Analytics Suite, including OpenText™ Big Data Analytics (BDA),  whose advanced approach to business intelligence lets it easily access, blend, explore, analyze and display data. Want to find out more about how Digital Transformation is affecting UK and Nordic manufacturers? We are presenting the results of our Digital Transformation in Manufacturing Survey at the OpenText Innovation Tour in London (March 21) and Stockholm (March 29).   Join us at either event and find out more.

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Digitalisation: Hits and Misses in the Energy Industry

energy

In this post we welcome guest blogger Dario Nazemson, Business Unit Manager, IDG Connect Nordics who will present at the Innovation Tour in Stockholm on 29 March. The speed and scale of the digital transformation is impacting multiple industries, including energy. Whilst much of the sector’s focus has historically been on the oil price dynamics of supply and demand and the implications for capital efficiency, the speed and scale of advancing digital technologies like business intelligence, and data and enterprise information management are now digitally transforming the once physical nature of the energy industry. Companies and business leaders are now grappling with a world that is more volatile and more complex, yet demands greater agility, more speed, and more digital competence. It’s a topic we’ve studied in-depth, surveying senior executives in energy companies across the UK, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. I’ll be presenting the research findings in greater depth and explaining why digital transformation is so crucial for the energy sector in my upcoming presentation at the OpenText™ Innovation Tour Stockholm on 29 March. As I don’t have space to cover all of the main findings and implications from our research in this blog, I’d like to touch on just some of the industry-wide challenges and degree of digitisation we are seeing. The biggest challenges the research discovered are around maintaining service levels, and avoiding down-time, which are both crucial for the energy industry as every down-time second impacts the bottom line. The second biggest challenge cited by our respondents involves customer retention and meeting industry regulations. New industry disruptors are more agile and able to adapt to new regulations faster, giving them a competitive edge in winning market share. And of course, just about every company is concerned about making enough money to maintain, repair and replace infrastructure and assets – especially the capital investments required in both digital technology as well as physical plants.  Which leads to another issue – the current lack of digital skills and what to do about. (I’ll be touching on how some companies are addressing these challenges in my presentation). Respondents say the best opportunities for digitalisation lie in the ability to store and search media rich content effectively and gain insight to make better decisions. The three obvious areas of digitisation – keeping up with supply and demand and load balancing, administrative workflows, and customer contact – still have a long way to go in many energy companies.  Most are focused on the front end looking at digital interaction with customers for workable and attractive solutions, but successful digital transformation requires a holistic, end-to-end view. But lack of budget, management buy-in, and being able to point to a hard ROI remain big barriers to digitalization. There’s still time to get your house in order – most respondents in our research expect full digitisation to become a reality in the next 5-10 years. But the runway is getting shorter. As technology disrupts business models, adoption accelerates and competition increases, digital readiness will become one of the deciding key factors in long term success. If you look at every other industry that has gone through disruption, history shows that technology powers the winners – period. If you’d like to hear how the leading energy companies are getting their house in order, join me on the 29th March at the Innovation Tour. You can register here.

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Bye-Bye Repetitive Marketing Tasks, Hello Compelling Customer Conversations

For nearly two decades, email has been the main message bearer in marketing. But with tightening regulations, it is becoming less and less viable to simply email your database—not to mention the ‘email fatigue’ we all feel; it’s simply becoming a less effective tactic. As marketers look to uncover alternative ways to get their message out, many organizations are opening deeper, more effective dialogues with customers through compelling content. Today’s customers desire interactive conversations with organizations, to get to know not just the product but the organization behind it. Email as a marketing tool will be dead in 5 years or less, and marketers need to think quickly about what will replace it in the age of the digital customer. Content and conversations, self-service and self-selection will form the epicenter of B2B and B2C marketing. Creating rich, engaging and, most importantly, timely customer interactions from initial contact through to buying takes time, data and a deep understanding of both current and future customer requirements. And while many of today’s marketing leaders recognize this, most would admit that they just don’t have the insight they need to really deliver on a customer-centric approach. But, today’s marketing automation tools can help create digital experiences. These tools nurture close relationships, and engage customers at every step of the decision journey to drive brand loyalty, revenue, and customer lifetime value, freeing up marketers to focus on creating compelling content. The Power of Content Content alone is not enough. It must be compelling. It must be engaging. And, it must be optimized to reach your customers at each touch point. Compelling content draws audiences in to your message. They begin a journey with the brand, from awareness to consideration to decision and advocacy. Unlike email, the ultimate interruption-driven marketing tool that pushes your message, content and experience marketing drives the journey through engagement with your customer, and is more efficient—costing over 60% less (62% less) than traditional campaigns. The Journey There is no single “channel” that today’s marketers can rely on to engage with customers. Customers today interact via multiple avenues, whether through social channels, a brand’s “owned” digital properties or more traditional routes like the media. In each case, the customer must experience a continuous, personalized and authentic digital journey that offers the best experience at every point of interaction and in every phase of the lifecycle. With a lineup of engaging content, customers can delve into the information they are looking for in their preferred medium. For instance, almost 50% of Internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store (Google, 2016). In a recent report on demand generation, 96% of B2B buyers said that they want content with more input from industry thought leaders, and over 50% said they relied on content as they researched buying decisions—from both the vendors and independent third parties. With all roads leading to the power of engaging and personalized content, it’s time to re-focus on the future of marketing. The Freedom to Create More Content Knowing how important content is, it’s time to balance your efforts. The bottom line is this: a big driver of today’s conversion rates is compelling content. The better the content, the better the conversion rate. But with all the technology and touch points and channels in play, there’s no question that marketers are making tough choices on where to spend their time. Automate your marketing processes and free your big thinkers to create the kind of content that speaks to your audiences in personal terms. For more information on how you can automate your marketing operation, check out the OpenText Experience Suite.

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Regulatory Matters: Collaboration is key for Life (Sciences) in 2017 – Part Two

Regulatory

The Life Sciences sector is very innovative. The Boston Consulting Group found that almost 20% of the world’s most innovative companies came from the sector. In fact, PwC suggests that Healthcare will surpass Computing as the largest industry by R&D spend by 2018. Shining a light on the innovation paradox Yet, for all the effort, there is still a lack of new products. Last year marked a six-year low for new drug approvals by the FDA. The rise of treatment-resistant superbugs has shone a light on the fact that there hasn’t been a completely new antibiotic for over 30 years. The poor return on R&D investment explains the paradox between innovation increase and new product decrease. Deloitte found that returns on research and development investment at the top 12 pharmaceutical companies fell to just 3.7 percent in 2016 from a high of 10.1 percent in 2010. While many Life Sciences executive remain upbeat about the development of new medicines, it’s clear that two factors will drive success: achieving improved operating efficiencies internally and creating more strategic alliances externally. The Internet of Things will increase the focus on cybersecurity In 2014, the Financial Times found that cyber security for the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries worsened at a faster rate than any other sector. As the sector becomes more and more IT driven in terms of innovation, R&D and manufacturing, cyber crime has been increasing in areas such as intellectual property (IP) theft, international espionage and denial of service attacks. As the sector looks to embrace digital transformation and the Internet of Things (IoT), cyber security is likely to be top of every CIOs priority list. The trend towards preventative and outcome-centric models relies on the ability to monitor and measure the health of individual patients. Whether wearables or other intelligent medical devices, the requirement for some form of online connectivity creates a vulnerability. At a recent cyber security conference, experts showed how items such as an insulin pump can be hacked. This represents a real threat to the individual but also raises the possibility of devices such as pace makers being used to launch denial of service on other targets. Addressing cybersecurity concerns, the FDA has issued guidance to medical device manufacturers to mitigate and manage cybersecurity threats. The excitement around IoT has to be tempered with the need to deliver water-tight security. This stretches way beyond the ability to gain access to user devices. It has to encompass data in transit and the management and storage of data within the life sciences company itself. Security-by-Design – built into all OpenText solutions – will become a foundational element of every part of the IT infrastructure for healthcare and pharmaceutical companies. Achieve operational efficiencies to improve margin and time to market With the focus firmly on value-based medicine, personalized care and population health, the Life Sciences sector is experiencing new levels of convergence and collaboration. Companies have begun to transform their business operations through collaborative product development and new service development. The ‘not invented here’ model is no longer appropriate for increasingly complex and expensive product lifecycles. As Deloitte points out: “Collaborating throughout the product development lifecycle is becoming an increasingly common and effective way for biopharma and medtech companies to offset mounting R&D costs, funding shortfalls, increasing disease complexity and technology advances”. In 2017, life sciences companies are transforming their traditional, linear supply chain into a supply chain of dynamic, interconnected systems that integrate their ecosystem of partners. This new supply chain modality allows organizations to extend their value chain beyond product development into the enablement of care in an increasingly outcome-based healthcare environment. By creating a secure, open and integrated supply chain, organizations are able to reduce cost, increase quality and manage risk across the partner ecosystem. It provides the foundation to quickly and easily extend the partner network for Life Sciences. As you evaluate your business strategies and priorities over the next 12-18 months, collaboration with trusted partners like OpenText can prepare your organization for the challenges ahead. Contact me at jshujath (@opentext.com) to discuss how we can help. If you missed the first blog in this two part series, you can view it here.

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Regulatory Matters: Collaboration is key for Life (Sciences) in 2017 – Part One

Life Sciences

Life Sciences, like life itself, is constantly evolving. The rigid, product-based environment of complementary but discrete healthcare specialists is rapidly being replaced with a fluid ecosystem where growing and global value chains and strategic alliances drive innovation and price competitiveness. Secure collaboration is key as Greg Reh, Life Sciences sector leader at Deloitte says: ” All of the pressures that life sciences companies are under, be they cost, regulatory or operational, in some way shape or form can be de-risked by adopting a much more collaborative approach to R&D, to commercialization, to manufacturing and distribution”. As increased collaboration touches every part of a Life Sciences business, there are a number of trends that will affect most companies during 2017. Prepare for uncertainty in the compliance landscape There has been a great deal written about the affect that the Trump administration will have on regulatory compliance.  Amid all the uncertainty, Life Sciences companies can’t take a ‘wait and see’ attitude. One thing we do know for certain is that new legislation and regulations will keep coming. Whether the pending regulations on medical devices in the EU  or MACRA  (the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act) in the US, regulatory change does not stand still – not even for a new president! We also know that there is greater focus on enforcement. According to law firm, Norton Rose Fulbright, almost one third of all securities class actions in the US in 2016 were against Life Sciences companies, a figure that had risen in each of the previous three years. The company noted that 56% of claims in 2014 were for alleged misrepresentations or omissions. In response, companies have been placing focus on effective marketing content management to develop appropriate quality control on promotional and advertising materials. In addition, enforcement is becoming more stringent is areas such as TCPA and FCPA – where last year the global generic drug manufacturer Teva International agreed to pay $519 million to settle parallel civil and criminal charges. Within extended value chains, compliance becomes an increasingly collaborative process to ensure that information is available to the regulators. However, in compliance, collaboration is working both ways. Life Sciences companies need to be more collaborative as global regulators and enforcement agencies are already cooperating with each other. As global regulators and agencies share information and work together, it becomes even more important to manage compliance risk across the organization and beyond. Consumer price sensitivity continues to drive value-based pricing models According to Statista, the sales of unbranded generic drugs almost doubled between 2005 and 2015. In Japan, the government has an objective of substituting 80% of branded drugs with generics by 2020. There is increasing price sensitivity within both the buyer and regulator communities. Within many economies, the depressed fiscal environment limits the potential for healthcare spending. Governments and insurance companies want to shift payment for product sales to patient outcomes. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) wants 90% of all Medicare payments to be value-based by 2018 . This value-based pricing model places extra burdens on drug companies but also offers opportunities for the organzations to maintain the profitability within branded drugs. It provides the opportunity to look ‘beyond the pill’ to look more at the patient and what they’re doing. This requires end-to-end evidence management systems that exploit the masses of data created through managing patient outcomes to deliver value-added services around patient wellbeing, rather than simply selling more or more expensive drugs. At OpenText, we would expect most digital transformation efforts to include an element to enable the correct environment for value-based pricing, especially as operational efficiencies and time to market are improved. Part Two of this blog is available to read here.

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2017. The Year Distributed Becomes Mainstream for Utilities?

Utilties

There’s been a great deal written about the regulatory uncertainty surrounding the new President but one thing is certain: the influence of renewables and Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) will continue to grow. So, will 2017 be the year that Utility companies fully embrace DERs and what will this new business model look like? The growth of DERs The challenges of loss of revenue due to DERs and the justifiable concern of the utilities that the DER users are not paying their fair share of Grid maintenance costs will need to be taken into account by regulators when they are making the Rate Design policies. At the same time, the Utilities are also beginning to see the opportunities that DERs bring to an aging infrastructure, badly in need of modernization allied with increasingly stagnant demand. Regardless of the new administration’s attitude to the EPA, the Clean Air Act or the Clean Power Plan, it is clear that the US government is keen to legislate in a way that Utilities companies are rapidly adapting to DERs ties grid modernization to the integration of DERs. Indeed, we are beginning to see more and more evidence of Utility companies investing in DERs as a means to abandon or defer upgrades to existing bulk generation and transmission/distribution assets. There are at least two reasons for this: renewable energy – especially solar – is rapidly reaching price parity with traditional energy sources, even natural gas. In some cases, solar and wind are proving, on average, most cost-effective than natural gas. The second reason is that Utility companies understand they need to change from a ‘cost centric’ to a ‘customer centric’ model to survive. Utilities companies are rapidly adapting to DERs While Utility companies struggle with stagnant or declining demand which has meant them seeing any impingement from DERs as a serious competitive threat, customers have been faced with rising costs and declines in the quality of service including unexpected power outages and planned rolling black-outs. So, the growing customer demand for DERs is completely understandable. It is not seen by most as a money-making scheme but more as a way of improving energy provision services in a way that may lower the cost to them. It is that context that has seen Utility company executives quickly turn their attention to the opportunities – not the threats – of DERs. It is instructive that in the State of the Electric Utility Survey 2015, 56% of the utility sector respondents said they understood the opportunities of DERs but were unsure how to build a viable business model. A year later, they had begun work on those models – with the majority favoring partnership with third party providers as the best route. Seizing the DER opportunity Whether acting as an aggregator for DER providers and microgrids or developing completely new supply chains, the Utility companies can lower the cost of DER market entry while protecting existing revenue generation and beginning to explore entirely new service opportunities away from bulk generation into niche and targeted supply. For this to succeed, two things must happen. First, Utility companies that have traditionally provided an end-to-end service must learn how to work in what ABB has neatly termed the energy neighbourhood.  ABB states: “Adopting the energy neighborhood perspective can help bridge historic silos in the energy market, which have been hindering the evolution of more flexible, efficient, sustainable, and environmentally friendly energy systems. By working together more, or at least consulting each other more regularly and proactively, utilities, DER operators and customers can make mutually beneficial decisions about assets, business operations and resources.” Secondly, The ability to communicate and share data and information across this neighborhood becomes essential and proactively adopting digital is going to be a key requirement in Utilities. The DER market already requires sensors and meters to regulate quality and output, the type of ecosystems being built for Utilities to integrate DERs into the grid require complete transparency and visibility. The Utilities, DER companies and customers working together have to be able to make complete sense of the structured and unstructured data involved in service delivery. Coping with this level of digital disruption was recently covered in an interesting blog from OpenText CMO, Adam Howatson which you can read here. In practice, terms of service, SLAs and production and maintenance schedules will need to be combined with generation data and ratings engines to ensure that every party is sure that they and others are fully meeting their obligations. This is especially true with the trend towards Time of Use (ToU) and other demand-side rating design as a means to more effectively compensate DER providers. The challenge will be to implement new types of software – such as EIM – that can act as a central, integrated platform of communications, content sharing and data analytics both within the Utility company and beyond to connect and engage with customers, DER providers and, of course, the regulators. Successful integration of DERs with the existing grid is going to be critically important, as DERs are forecasted to have a big impact on the “Duck Curve” – Net Load forecast curve for the 24 hours of the day. California System operator, CAISO, has performed detailed analysis of net load forecasts till the year 2020 and has shown the need for steep ramping of resources and possibility of over-generation risks. CAISO is also working with the industry and policymakers on rules and new market mechanisms that support and encourage the development of flexible resources to ensure a reliable future grid. American Council for Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has recently reported that Utilities can drive a 10% reduction in peak demand by using demand response capabilities and reduce the impact of the steepening Duck Curve.  New EIM software as an integrated platform for communications will be crucial for the Utilities. It is essential for the successful sharing of content and structured and unstructured data with all the stakeholders including DER providers, Customers and System Operators and for introducing new Demand Response technology initiatives. Read more on page 2 to find out about regulation, and regulators taking center stage.

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What are the key Strategic Initiatives for 2017 for OpenText and SAP?

S4/HANA

As always in early January a few of us attend the SAP FKOM (sales kick off) event in either Barcelona, Singapore or Orlando. This is a great opportunity to meet with SAP Sales teams and introduce people to our joint solutions. As we prepared and attended this year, we defined a number of key strategies for 2017 and beyond – Journey to S/4HANA, Cloud and IoT. Journey to S/4HANA At a recent UK conference, the number of customers who had migrated to SAP was only 5% meaning that there are a lot of customers who are planning, or yet to start their migration to S/4HANA. The solutions we offer can both speed up the migration and reduce the costs of the migration. When migrating to S/4HANA organisations should ask themselves “Do I need to move all my content from all these systems?” and “As part of my migration, can I decommission some of these applications” and to save time, the answers are No and Yes respectively. With our solutions a customer can store all non-live data in a fully compliant archive, before migrating only the live enterprise data into the S/4HANA Platform. This will save money when purchasing S/4HANA Appliances up front. And, of course, since all the content that is archived can be accessed from the S/4HANA applications, customers can safely decommission their legacy applications, saving money on hardware, software and support costs as well as reducing their carbon footprint and helping the environment. Finally, by maintaining an effective archive strategy, customers can also keep the growth of the S/4HANA platform controlled and predictable. The graphic above is an indication of the savings over 3 years that can be achieved for an average-sized SAP implementation. Cloud We are committed to offering our solutions in both the OpenText and SAP Hana Enterprise Cloud (HEC)  as well as certification for other clouds such as Azure; and offering the correct cloud pricing structures, and quick start solutions. Our latest cloud release is Extended ECM for SuccessFactors. This solution allows SuccessFactors users to view the employee file within the SuccessFactors UI, rather than having it in two separate applications or in extreme cases, archived in a paper file somewhere. As with the example provided above, time and cost savings can be impressive. In addition, not only does xECM For SuccessFactors allow for viewing the employee file, it also supports the automatic generation of employee letters (for example, in response to employee queries, performance reviews, etc.) thus automating the process whilst delivering personalised letters in paper and electronic format. Other OpenText for SAP solutions will be certified and released for the cloud over the coming months, so keep watching for more announcements. IoT In the EcoSystem world of OpenText and SAP the IoT is one of the most discussed topics. It is probably the largest industry buzz-word over the last 12 / 18 months and could enable new business models for almost every organisation. With over 5 million devices being registered each day the relevance of ‘Things’ is increasing. A lot of ‘Things’ are generating structured data, which means a massive increase in structured data storage is coming for SAP customers. Machine learning and AI are key topics when dealing with unstructured data – how to interpret, decide and respond to the new data correctly. But what about the content? I recently watched a great whiteboard session detailing an entire data-driven scenario around the IoT Fridge, reporting faults, that lead to repair cycles, supplier interaction, billing, shipping of parts and a lot more scenarios. This was a great example of the SAP Digital Core but at no point was content mentioned, even though a large amount of the process above was automated, content is still being generated – in the form of employee work orders, billing, invoicing, customer warranty information, guarantees, receipts and supplier invoices for example. So, as the IoT and associated topics continue to be delivered and new use cases are invented, there is also going to be more and more content generated, and that needs to be managed effectively by OpenText. We will be attending the SAP Innovation Forums all across EMEA in the coming months and I will be in Dubai in 2 weeks at the Gartner Symposium. If you are also attending feel free to reach out to me for a chat about the above, or anything related to OpenText and SAP.

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What a Difference a Year Makes, Here and in IoT

Internet of Things (IoT)

This is my first anniversary at OpenText – and what a year it’s been. I’ve travelled the world and met some amazing people doing some amazing things. Special mention has to go to the 2016 Enterprise World, OpenText’s flagship event, and the IDC Manufacturing Summit  in Lisbon where we discussed the role of Digital Transformation in the sector. But, let’s talk about the Internet of Things (IoT). I wrote a blog in early 2016 predicting that it would be the year that IoT went mainstream in manufacturing and I thought it might be good – unlike so many other analyst predictions – to go back and take a look at just how right I was! A year back, my argument was that IoT was beginning the move from theory to practice. Organizations were building IoT ecosystems that would fundamentally change the way they operated. My particular interest is the Industrial Internet of Things – or Industry 4.0 – which is about enabling manufacturers to work smarter and attain business goals such as: Doing more with less by increasing the use of smart data to power business efficiencies Open up new market opportunities that were previously inaccessible before disruptive technology was available Grow their business by increasing to value of their product through full life support by enhancing products with added life long services Increasing quality of product through real time and virtual monitoring and predictive maintenance and thus retain customer loyalty for life. Glance at recent research and my predictions are looking pretty good. According to McKinsey, the economic impact of IoT applications could be as much as $11 trillion by 2025 – up to $3.7 trillion of which will happen within factory environments. By 2019, says IDC, 75% of manufacturing value chains will undergo an operating model transformation, with digitally connected processesthat improve responsiveness and productivity by 15%. More impressively, Tata Consulting has found that manufacturers utilizing IoT solutions in 2014 saw an average 28.5% increase in revenues between 2013 and 2014. Indeed, OpenText’s own 2017 research has shown that 38% of European manufacturers surveyed have already implemented IoT solutions with another 48% planning to within the next twelve months. Look out for more on this in a future blog. One company I highlighted as a great example of how IoT is already beginning to change everything was Tesla. I had the luck to test drive the Tesla S on its introduction to the UK and the motoring and customer experience was like no other. It demonstrated functionality and capability that are real differentiators for the industry. Add to that a very unique go to market, service and ownership model this car is an automotive game changer in so many ways. Now, Tesla says it’s pretty close to having a driverless car that can travel from New York to Los Angeles without any human intervention. This is an incredible example of how quickly things have progressed in such a short period of time – and it’s only one of many. We are now at the stage where it is easy to point to factories that are already moving away from traditional centralized production process to an integrated, highly automated network of devices and machines. Companies are already beginning to create flexible production processes to move from mass production to individual runs that can be achieved cost-effectively and just in time to unique customer demands. So, we’ve made a great start but I’m not sure we can call IoT mainstream just yet. As the World Economic Forum points out, there are still some important challenges to be overcome: How to assure the interoperability of systems How to guarantee real-time control and predictability, when thousands of devices communicate at the same time How to prevent disruptors, or competitors, taking control of highly networked production systems How to determine the benefit or return on investment in IoT technologies This echoes exactly my thoughts. You can watch a webinar here that I held in partnership with The Manufacturer magazine in the UK. At the time, I made the point that organizations had to take much greater control of their data. By adding the technology that collects that data and channeling it through an Enterprise Information Management (EIM) system like OpenText, they have been presented with suites of information on which to base much smarter and faster business decisions. To this I’d add the need to for a powerful and easy-to-use analytics engine  that can deliver both predictive and operational insight into the vast amounts of data created within any IoT ecosystem. Placing IoT at the heart of business strategy is also essential – and companies that have done this are starting to reap the rewards. One of my first engagements when I joined OpenText last year was to take in the inaugural IoTTechExpo Conference in London. Patrick Bass, CEO of ThyssenKrupp NA, gave an excellent presentation of how successful transformation projects need to be part of your business strategy. One year on,  Andreas Schirenbeck, CEO of ThyssenKrupp Elevators spoke about how IoT is now transforming their industry. I’ll come back to this in another blog soon. So, I’m going to take credit for being half right! The trend towards IoT implementation is coming on in leaps and bounds but, while organizations focus on building the interoperability of networks and devices, they must also make sure they have a platform to ensure they mazimise the value in their data and information. And, if you’d like to wish me a happy anniversary, you can send me a tweet!

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Beyond the Tipping Point: The Role of Digital in the Financial Services Customer Journey

financial services

Something very significant happened in late 2015. It happened quietly and I guess many people didn’t even notice. For the first time, there were more mobile-based transactions than from traditional bricks-and-mortar branches. The tipping point had been passed. More importantly, it was the customers and not Financial Services firms that determined when it happened. So if your customers are going to choose how and when to engage with you, you need to be able to offer services at each stage of the digital customer journey. The same trend towards new channel adoption is beginning to play out with mobile and online banking. In 2015, the amount of mobile transactions in retail banking grew by 54% compared with only 2% for online. We’re not yet at parity but we’re not far away. Atom Bank is an excellent example of what mobile-only Financial Services can look like. The success of the new branch-based model of Metro Bank in the UK, however, illustrates something that should be perfectly obvious: customers want to consume services the way that best suits them – often the way they are simply most comfortable with. Financial Services organizations – whether banks, insurance firms or investment houses – need to be aware of this fact. This thought occurred to me as I read a recent report entitled ‘The evolution of Financial Services’.  It mainly looks at the effect that Digital Transformation is having on what it calls “traditional, challenger or disruptor” Financial Services companies. It talks a lot about customer experience but, in the end, it actually focuses on the communication channels. But customers don’t really care about channel – that’s simply a means to an end – they care about simplicity, transparency, fairness and security. And, they expect that from their provider before they have even bought something through to the day they leave – and beyond. Financial Services companies have worked hard to create a single view of the customer – with varying degrees of success – now they need to create a single view of the digital customer journey.  Here are my 4 top tips to building excellent customer experience: The world’s gone digital. It just forgot to tell some important people! There is no doubt that mobile banking and insurance apps are changing the way that many people consume financial products. And the smartphone is the firm favorite of the Millennial. But Forbes has pointed out a small paradox. Although 80% of retail customer transactions were through self-service applications, more than half of US banking customers had visited their branch within the last six months. Incredibly, a lot of people still prefer their statements printed out and mailed to them. So omni-channel isn’t always a process of channel migration and Digital Transformation isn’t always about replacing paper documents with electronic equivalents. For most Financial Services companies, the requirement is for a flexible and agile infrastructure that allows a mix of channels from which customers can select. It requires a means of managing content so that digital data management is combined with traditional document and records management. In this way, firms can deliver the experience customers expect. Simple, secure and satisfactory. The three S’s for Financial Services success It is always tempting to think we should always be looking to ‘surprise’ or ‘exceed expectations’ but customers seem to want something much more grounded. Within Financial Services, they want products that are simple and fair (no hidden fees or unnecessary jargon). More widely, customers simply want to be satisfied with their experience – which can be defined as you doing what you say you’re going to do – and that is also the best way to build loyalty. This is, of course, easier said than done.   I think that an Enterprise Information Management (EIM) platform to collate and coordinate all customer data and gives everyone – including your customer themselves – access to the right information whenever they need it. Personalization is most powerful when it moves beyond marketing Digital marketing has had a major impact in Financial Services. Organizations have begun to maximize the value of the data they have. It allows them to better understand and connect with customers. Being able to personalize and create marketing around their life events leads to much more targeted and successful campaigns. But, here’s an interesting thing: customers are happy to give you permission to use their data for personalized marketing purposes – although most don’t really want to. They do, however, actively want you to personalize their purchase and support experiences. This is something that requires a fresh approach to how Financial Services look at Big Data. There needs to be a move towards real-time data analytics without which one industry expert said: “data warehouses become white elephants that serve a very specific purpose“. It’s not the Channel. It’s the consistency that’s important Here’s a popular myth: People hate contact centers. No, they don’t. What they hate is the poor experience that pretty much everyone has had when dealing with a contact center. If your experiences had been nothing but great then I bet you’d love contact centers. So if you can provide an excellent customer experience – and ensure that it’s consistently great regardless on which channel your customer uses – then the idea of the traditional customer service scenario – Press 1 to descend into a deeper layer of hell – can be consigned to history. Customer Communications Management provides a solid foundation for delivering consistent, targeted and personalized communication whichever channel or channels your customer prefers. Gartner has suggested that 89% of companies will compete mainly on the quality of the customer experience they provide. There’s no doubt that digital is transforming the business processes of Financial Service firms and how they engage with their customers. But successful companies will be the ones that understand that excellent experience is based around customer preference. You’re going to need to know what customers want as they move along their buying journey. Additionally you must deliver the personalized experience that appeals to each of your individual customers – not just the ones that like exciting new technologies!

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Excellence in Sales Order Entry – From Document to Digital

digital sales orders

Sales orders, the documents with the odor of company success attached to them! Physical (or electronic) proof that your company sells products that your customers like. Proof that you make money and create and retain jobs. So what could there be that is not to like about sales orders? Well, the question here is: Are your sales orders solely creating value and financial success for your company? Or are they also costing you money? Are they slowing down your business? Maybe even creating conflicts with your customers? Fully digital sales order process – why? In a digital world, you should consider automating your sales order entry process from beginning to end. The digital sales order process should start the minute a sales order enters your company, from document to digital. This should be independent from your input channel – whether your sales orders reach you via EDI, email, fax or paper document, make sure to digitize your sales orders when they first touch your company. Many of our customers have EDI in place for 60 – 80% of their sales orders. However, the remaining 20-40% slows down their business, preventing them from having full insight and transparency of the status of ALL sales orders. The impact When our customers started to capture the data also from PDFs, emails and paper documents, they realized how valuable a fully automated a digital process is. With their model from document to digital they turned the sales order process into a fast, customer-friendly and fully transparent process. They now have full insight into the status of any sales order. If a customer has a request referring to a sales order, they can answer it within seconds, independent from its input channel or process status. Reporting and transparency have exponentially improved. Management is now able to track the performance of the sales order process across countries, from month to month or year over year. Now, even the performance tracking task is a simple activity, too. It is fast and it is accurate. Not only for the electronic input channel, but for all sales orders. The information extracted is also proof that with the new integrated sales order automation, customers have been able to cut sales order cycle time in half by also automating the remaining 20-40% of sales orders. Customer relationships have also improved because disputes over orders and invoices or wrong deliveries have reached an all-time low. The analysis of sales orders allows making purchasing recommendations to customers from evaluating other customer orders – those who regularly order specific products in combination with other products. These cross-sell opportunities are well-received by customers as they create value and often help to meet their core business needs. Have you identified a need to further digitize your sales order entry process? Take a look at how OpenText™ Business Center for SAP Solutions helps to improve the sales order process and much more.

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How Digital Transformation is Giving Humans More Time to Really Think

The pace of technological change today is being called the “fourth industrial revolution.” New solutions powered by artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and machine learning are enabling machines to handle processes that once required human decision-making. Just as mechanical muscle lowered the demand for physical labor in the first industrial revolution, today cutting-edge technology is reducing the demand for human intervention. The “migration” of tasks from humans to software and machines has been evident for quite some time. From ATMs to automated check-in at airports, technology has been performing relatively simple and repetitive tasks. Today, this transformation allows much more complex and nuanced tasks to move from human speed to machine speed, across industries that have remained largely untouched by machine intervention. Most recently, AI and cognitive systems have found a place in legal discovery, insurance applications, underwriting and claims processing, and the delivery of financial investment advice. In healthcare, telemedicine allows diagnosis and monitoring without the need to physically see a clinician, and a surgeon can operate from another hospital or country—just more examples of where jobs long understood as “human” are being displaced by technology. The automation option New opportunities for automation will continue to appear, as mechanization, automation, AI, and robotics replace human workers. But it’s not all doom and gloom. As “traditional” roles are replaced, new jobs will be created in the transition—jobs that require creativity, innovation, and strategic thought. As we do away with mundane work, the time gained through automation can be used to innovate, germinate ideas, and conceive new processes fueled by the kind of thinking that only happens when our minds have time to wander. The beginning of a sweeping societal change? The World Economic Forum, economists, analysts, and labor organizations have predicted a wave of job losses due to the surge in AI, robotics, and other technologies. We could see a net loss of 7.1 million jobs over the next five years in the 15 leading countries that make up approximately 65 percent of the world’s total workforce. But two million of the jobs will be offset by the creation of new positions that will support and foster the new wave of innovation, beyond what we see as credible or possible today. But as some roles are automated, others will come online; for instance, individuals who can build, develop and make sense of these sweeping changes. Developers, programmers, scientists, and technologists will—more than ever—be required to drive forward the accelerating pace of change. There will also be a greater need for economists, lawyers, and policy makers who can interpret how governance, intellectual property, and society at large will have to adapt. While algorithms may automate decision-making, it won’t be easy to replace leaders who can navigate this new fast-paced, intense change. At the end of the day, you may wonder if a machine could do your job. And the answer is that it could probably do some of it. And that’s okay, because automation will free us up to do more of the thinking required to come up with what’s next, perhaps with the help of a new robot friend or two.

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How Your Mindset Is Holding You Back…..(And What To Do About It)

Innovation Tour Stockholm

In this blog we welcome guest blogger Fredrik Härén who will be speaking at the Innovation Tour Stockholm in March. Fredrik is an author and keynote speaker on business creativity, change and global business. In our business lives, we’re used to regularly upgrading our IT systems. But when was the last time you upgraded your mindset? I’m guessing your answer is ‘rarely’ or ‘never’. You’re not alone. I spend a lot of time travelling the world delivering keynotes to all sorts of different audiences, and our mindset – as well as our language – is holding most of us back. We’ve grown accustomed to new, disruptive technology, creating new markets and giving us new services and options in ways we’ve never considered or imagined. And that disruption has happened because someone chose to look at a solution or outcome differently. They changed their mindset. I’m not suggesting we all need to become serial entrepreneurs, but our static, fixed mindset and the language we use to refer to the world around us is limiting our potential with new technology and tools. Take the internet for example. Years ago, everyone referred to ‘web pages’ because that’s how we thought of its structure. (Remember WAP?). Today, we just see it as content, which the likes of Netflix, and a host of other companies are monetizing. Likewise, the rise and fall of early mobile phone companies had as much to do with their mindset as it did with their market share. Eriksson and Nokia looked at the mobile phone and thought, ‘how much computing power can we put in a phone’? It was the wrong question. Apple said, ‘how much of a phone can we put into a mini computer?’. The same thing is going on today. Drones would never have gained traction so rapidly if we had referred to them as ‘micro helicopters’ because that kind of language and vocabulary automatically limits the way we think of their potential. By calling them drones (with no pre-existing frame of reference), we haven’t put them into a pigeon-hole. My point in telling you this is to make you aware that you’re doing it. Just having simple awareness of the way we are thinking, the language we are using and the frame of reference we are imposing, can change things. It can help us look at the problems and desired outcomes around us with fresh eyes. There’s so much more I’d like to tell you that I can’t cover in a single blog, but it is something I’ll be covering in greater depth at the upcoming OpenText Innovation Tour in Stockholm on 29 March. If you’re interested in learning how to take the blinders off and apply new ways of thinking to your own work and personal life, I’d love to see you there. You can register here. Fredrik Härén has delivered more than 2,000 presentations in over 60 countries on six continents. He was voted Speaker of The Year in Sweden and selected as one of the “Sweden’s Top Ten Best Speakers Ever”. Fredrik is a Certified Speaking Professional (one of 700 globally) as well as GSP Global (one of only 30 globally). He is the author of nine books, including “The Idea Book”, which was included in “The 100 Best Business Books of All Time”. His latest book, “One World. One Company” discusses what it means to be a truly global organisation. 

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6 Considerations for Charting Your Digital Course

Today’s digital disruptors make headlines across the sectors with sweeping changes in data management, analytics, and customer experience. A wave of change is rolling in as organizations automate the way customers buy, the way suppliers fulfill orders, the way manufacturing happens, and more. As customers and business professionals, we are witnessing how digital transformation is restructuring the face of business and, ultimately, our world. Jumping the information hurdle An initial challenge for large organizations moving towards a digital future is getting a handle on the terabytes of information and content generated by employees and systems each week, along with the information collected from websites and contact centers. These volumes add up to far more data than any human could read, process, and fully understand. And, on its own, this information is of no use; we have to be able to use it to generate value, improve service, and increase customer satisfaction. Without a doubt, information holds intelligence and your ability to get to that insight is what helps you to compete. To that end, here are six thoughts on charting a digital course for your business: Increase your competitive preparedness. Digital transformation can help your business quickly adapt to shifting customer demands, making it possible to compete with old and new rivals. Use a digital approach for a big win. The ability to go digital can level the playing field for some businesses, allowing them to have a huge impact on established markets, companies, and brands. What you may not have been able to do manually, or at scale, you can launch into with a digital approach. Gain an advantage with analytics. Sticking with out-dated methods of managing and analyzing data, keeping processes manual, and only operating at human speed puts your business at risk of being outperformed by competitors. You can regain your advantage by implementing intelligent systems to detect and analyze predictive trends. Unlock the value of information you already have. By using data and information analytics with content and process management technologies, you can uncover valuable ‘digital breadcrumbs.’ This insight can help your business to make intelligent changes to create products that better suit customer requirements, improve organizational efficiencies, and implement self-regulating business processes that save time and money. Use automation as a differentiator. Automating tasks that previously required human intelligence can now take place using digital processes. Consider the way Tesla Motors releases over-the-air updates to improve the functionality of their electric cars, just as if you were downloading mobile phone software. Not only are owners spared a trip to the garage, but Tesla cuts the expense of scheduling and managing customer visits. Create a digital culture in your organization. Don’t go digital for digital’s sake. Adopt a well-planned strategy to understand where digital can deliver the best benefits for your business, and start there. Let this go hand-in-hand with fostering a cultural change in your organization that acknowledges how employees may view the impact of a digital-first approach on their own roles. To explore how to move forward with your digital transformation, take a look at how OpenText Release 16 enables companies to manage the flow of information in the digital enterprise from engagement to insight.

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Drawing Conclusions – A Visual Picture of Our Increasingly Digitized World

Innovation Tour

In this blog we welcome guest blogger Jasmin Deniz Karatas who will be attending Innovation Tour London in March. Jasmin is a Consultant, Digital Interactive for Accenture. As human beings we all interact with the world slightly differently. Some of us understand and digest information best when we hear it. Others remember things better by sight, with pictures and graphics. And some of us are “hands-on” learners who prefer to touch, move, build, or draw what we learn, and perhaps even involve some type of physical activity alongside it. Most of us have an intuitive preference for one of these styles over another, depending on how we’re wired. Regardless of your ‘style’ of absorbing new information, one thing we all have in common is that digitized data now surrounds all of us, and digitized environments are helping to make us smarter and harness our human potential. It’s something my Accenture Interactive colleagues will be outlining at the OpenText Innovation Tour London on 21 March using highlights from the latest Fjords Trends 2017 report, Mixed Reality and Humanizing Artificial Intelligence, which examines the most significant emergent digital trends expected to disrupt organizations and society in the year ahead. For my part, I’ll be painting you a visual picture of what’s being discussed on stage, in parallel with the presentation, as well as the topics and issues raised from audience members in the form of questions. As a Consultant within Accenture’s Digital Interactive, I specialise in a human-centred design approach with a focus on gamification and design thinking. I take what I hear and paint it on a canvas. People often tell me it makes them ‘hear with their eyes’. From my perspective, it’s an exciting thing to do. I tend to go into my own world and visually represent whatever it is that I’m hearing. Once I’ve started, I continue to add to the canvas long after the presentation has ended. Many people often sit in on a session, watch what I do, and then come back a few hours later to see how it’s progressed. In the same way that all of you will be looking at your information strategies more closely over the coming year, I’ll be painting you a visual canvas of the critical new technologies, design considerations and disruptive trends that will shape both your thinking and interaction.Depending on your individual style of engaging with new information, it might help you to better digest what’s being said, or visualise what it would mean for your own organization. My hope is that it will make you think about what this means for your own actionable insights in a rapidly evolving digitized world. I look forward to seeing you at the event.

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