Monday, 2 June 2014

The Future of HR and the power of Data

Businesses that are not investing in data analytics today will be in the very near future or someone else will be doing it on their behalf. According to the latest data, Talent is the single most important item on the minds of CEO’s today. One of the reasons that Human Resources is lagging behind the trend is the complexity and magnitude of HR data available. Organizations that are able to correctly analyse HR data and integrate it into the data available from other operational business areas will gain a distinctive competitive advantage.

In many emerging markets, well established belief systems and ways of working present a significant challenge to businesses. It is through proven data and analytics that such methods can be successfully introduced and established.
The following are the key issues facing Human Resources in terms of data analytics.

Proliferation of available HR Data
HR executives are asking themselves what they can do with all the data in HR and other operational areas of their business. The areas in which some organizations have used data effectively is in the selection process, managerial effectiveness and employee engagement. There are still significant opportunities in emerging markets to increase the use of analytical methods in selection and even greater opportunities in management development and engagement.

The emergence of HR analytics
30 years ago the emergence of ERP systems revolutionized the data used in effectively operating and managing finance, manufacturing, sales and marketing. Organisations that have effectively completed such initiatives have developed robust processes and data to effectively analyse, monitor and improve the operational efficiency of these functional areas and will not tolerate the quality of data that currently resides within HR.

Changing the way that we work in HR
The challenge for HR is to implement robust processes and revolutionize their use of data. Some organisations have done this and as a result they are more effective at identifying and selecting candidates, they understand and improve the leadership pipeline and the leadership believes that the function adds significant value to the business. The emerging markets provide the largest opportunity to transform the way that HR functions, integrates with other business areas and is perceived as adding value.

Developing Patterns of integration with other business areas
HR must focus on monetising the value of their data and integrating with the operational processes that are typically defined as adding value. Embarking on an exercise of data optimisation and analysis in isolation will result in large expenditure without the required quantifiable benefits to be obtained. Traditional HR processes must be integrated with the operational processes so that there is a clear understanding of how HR data can significantly add value to the business.

 Planning the way forward
Organisations must identify the operational areas that bring the most value or present the greatest operational risk to their businesses. Data must be obtained from the operational areas and interpreted together with the HR data to ensure that is it specific and relevant.

Talent as previously mentioned is the single most important issue on the minds of CEO’s and Human Resources must focus on this area across the entire range of HR processes.
Data from operational areas must be combined with HR data to ensure that work is not completed in isolation.

For example the profile of which people are the most successful at sales must be obtained from the sales area and then combined with the data that currently exists or is yet to be obtained from HR. Global and regional data must be applied in conjunction with the data found in the organisation.

Most companies are still doing reactive data analysis and the speed at which they improve the quality and accuracy of data and integrate it into the operational data will be a determinant of a successful initiative. Organisations that accurately collect, report on, and analyse data will be more successful than the organisations that continue to work in a reactive fashion.

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Monday, 12 May 2014

Businesses look to expand through mobile commerce in SE Asia

Mobile Commerce providers are now incorporating Near Field Communications (NFC) capability into their products. This allows push notifications to a customer’s device informing them of customised content. It is a far more powerful way of interacting with customers in order to engage with them, obtain feedback and provide customised information.

In response to the growing demand for mobile engagement, companies are now incorporating Geographical Fencing (GEO) Fencing, Push Notifications and Near Field Communications (NFC) capability into their mobile solutions. This allows businesses to send customized notifications to a customer’s handheld or mobile device.

NFC also allows for location specific promotions using close proximity Bluetooth transmitters. Geographical Fencing is a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) feature that enables businesses to set up geographical boarders around specific locations so that when consumers enter these boarders, a timely and relevant message can be delivered to them to drive promotional and sales information.

Another advantage presented with these capabilities is advertising. Businesses with customised mobile apps can sell advertisement space to companies looking to target people in specific areas with specific interests. This allows the publishers to deliver more relevant content according to the current location of their customers.

Further enhancements to interacting directly with customers will be provided in the form of smart packaging. Mobile and Handheld devices will be equipped with Ultra High Frequency (UHF) capability to enable the wireless non-contact use of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data.

In essence smart tags with embedded data and information can be attached to materials such as posters and packaging. This labelling will not require any form of battery as they will collect energy from the handheld or mobile device that is in close proximity.

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Thursday, 27 March 2014

Creating an effective Mobile Engagement Strategy

We are now living in the living in the age of the customer. What this means is that businesses that have traditionally had an offline presence are focused on developing an online presence and businesses that have purely had an online presence are focused on developing an offline presence.
Customer experience is an integral element of marketing and executives are asking themselves how mobile is impacting customer experiences. In order to win in the age of the customer you have to know who your customers are.

Customers are in the position where they can decide if they wish to opt in or not. This applies to both rational and impulsive consumers. Businesses that wish to maximize the degree to which they can successfully engage with their customers will have to ensure the following in each and every interaction:

Building Trust
Understanding the customer needs
Serving the customer needs
Generating focused insights
Becoming more relevant

An effective engagement
 strategy will be built on deep analytical insights which inform the technology decisions, business strategy decisions and customer engagement decisions. Executives will have to answer the follow questions in order to assess the effectiveness of customer engagement.

Are we leveraging customer generated data to enable customers to easily discover our products and services?
Do we understand the customer context well enough to serve customers in their mobile interactions?
Are we using customer purchasing data to improve conversion rates online and offline?
Are we collecting data from products to layer on services to give the customer more control?
Traditional marketing and customer feedback is only part of the story, are we tapping into customer mobile data to understand what they really think?
Are we engaging customers in the right moment/context to drive the next purchase or brand engagement?

Online and offline engagement will have to be integrated into the existing 
business processes, technology platforms and product offerings. Mobile will drive the largest re-engineering of companies since the introduction of the web.

Mobile will have a fundamental impact on all businesses. Businesses will have to serve customers in their moment along their journey which basically means that they are going to directly influence the value chain. There are essentially 3 types of mobile moments. Loyalty Moments, Manufactured Moments and Borrowed moments.

Loyalty Moments – These are the ones that a company owns and their ability to deliver on this will impact customer experience. An example of this is the mobile moments that companies like Starbucks and McDonalds have focused on from the moment that a customer enters a store to the point where they leave.

Manufactured Moments- These are created by a company through sponsored content associated with downloads that run into the tens of millions. Companies promote a product and offer rewards for loyalty and purchases.

Borrowed Moments – These are moments that occur when a company leverages the online presence of another business. This has occurred extensively in Asia where retailers and financial services businesses are linking their mobile content with mobile applications such as We Chat, Line, Whats App and online gaming applications.

Reorganizing any business is never an easy task and companies will have to decide if they are going to change all elements of their operations or focus on trialing in a specific area and then applying it to the rest of the business.
Success will largely depend on a company’s ability to achieve optimal business and people connectivity moments which includes;

Identification of mobile moments and their context
Designing an effective mobile engagement
Engineering processes, technology platforms and people to deliver on these moments
Analyzing results (data) and monitoring performance to optimize outcomes.

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Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Digital Marketing Operating Models

Rapid changes in technology are changing the way that consumer industries Define, Discover, Acquire and Retain customers.

In this article I will present a number of options that marketers can pursue in order to succeed in the 
digital market. The consumer is now expecting to obtain access to brands and products through the digital channel of their choice and to be able to engage with, influence and provide feedback on the experience throughout the entire lifecycle of their experience from discovery through to purchase and after sales service.

Many business leaders believe that the transition to the digital market is happening at such a rapid pace that they are scrambling to keep up. Whilst this may sound like a death blow for many typically intransigent organisations, those that are prepared to embrace the change will provide themselves with a distinct competitive advantage that others will follow.

The opportunity lies in the fact that through digital marketing, companies can gain access to detailed data on the consumer and consumer behavior and provide detailed feedback on the degree of success of a marketing campaign that was simply not available to them in the past.

The digital market allows a marketing department to not only gather data on their products and consumers, but it also allows them to obtain feedback through a number of channels at a fraction of the cost. Merely looking at the potential ROI on advertising expenditure through channels where access to data is almost unlimited must be appealing to even the most cost conscious businesses. Imagine a scenario where you can not only market and sell a product through multiple channels, but you can constantly evolve and refine the quality of the products and your sales process through the feedback that the consumer provides to you at a fraction of the cost.

The distinct advantages that come through embracing the digital channel also comes with an expectation that organisations can identify the correct channel to engage with their consumers, respond rapidly to the information that they gain as a result of it and be prepared to build the lessons learnt into all aspects of their business operating model.

There are essentially three digital marketing models Digitizers,Customizers and Product Leaders that will ensure success in the digital market and organisations may utilise elements that are present in each of the models in their total marketing expenditure.

Digitizers  consumer products companies that focus on brand equity and the strength of an existing brand. They want to continue to increase the level of engagement with their customers through an existing brand with a renowned presence in the market. They will focus on all available digital channels in order to identify new customers and interact with them in a number of ways, they not only use the maximum available digital channels to acquire customers but to retain their existing customer base. Specifically these companies leverage the power of social media to promote their products via the social media network of their existing customer base.

Customizers – Use customer data and patterns of behaviour to identify customer needs and respond to them when and where the customer need arises. They offer tailored solutions before the customer feels like shopping around. These companies build their business based on strong relationships with their customers. They have outstanding customer service and pride themselves on it. (Financial Services, Retailing, Entertainment, Travel and Transportation) They focus on website optimisation, search engine optimisation, social media optimisation and mobile applications. Specifically these companies leverage the full spectrum of digital media channels in order generate new demand and maintain their existing customer base. The power of geo fencing which will enable companies to promote their products when customers enter a defined geographical area will be of specific significance to them.

Product Leaders – Use customer data and digital marketing channels to roll out new products and services. They use interactive digital media to design, sell and market new products and services, the market perceives their brand as having the cutting-edge products with superior features – justifying premium prices. . (Luxury Brands and Consumer based Technology companies) They will leverage the power of social and digital media to develop innovative new products and enhance existing products based on the feedback that they receive from their customers. The marketing department is effectively growing the value of the company by providing superior products.

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Monday, 10 February 2014

Success In the Digital Market place

A discussion on structural and operational approaches for businesses in the digital marketplace.

Most discussions around enterprise excellence focus on performance drivers developed and refined in industrial sectors, drivers that include simplification and standardization together with the elimination of waste, waiting time and re-work.

The emphasis is on the right day to - day work processes to enable an 
organization to achieve significant measurable performance improvements in cash flow and cost efficiencies by improving flexibility and speed to market, quality and reliability, and customer value.
But the emphasis on how work is carried out day to day tends to obscure the importance of attending to how the business is organized.

An organisation can pursue structural advantages by ensuring that the follow key components are in place.
The “right” Business Model
The “right” Operating Model
The “right” Asset Footprint to support the Operating Model

The following is a list of structural questions for Executives pursuing a future in the digital marketplace.

Is my organization aligned to the local, regional and global business models and priority markets?
How do I strike a balance between global presence and local responsiveness?
Does my Supply Chain network (manufacturing and distribution) align with market demands, including?
Meeting customer requirements and being endorsed for doing so
Compliance with local, regional and global regulations and licensing requirements
Shareholder expectations that they will thrive in the digital market place
The provision of employment opportunities for the millennium generation
Do I know what my core and non-core business processes are at each level of my organization?
Does my business model include redundant activities?
Are any of the redundant processes non-core to the business?
Do I have the right capabilities to drive the business forward?

An organisation can pursue operational advantages by ensuring that the follow key components are in place.

The required ability to respond to market shifts (Speed and Agility)
The ability to adapt processes, organizations and assets to meet changes in customer demands (Flexibility)
The ability to maintain rigorous process execution across the enterprise to drive sustainability (Discipline)

The following is a list of operational questions that Executives pursuing a future in the digital marketplace should be asking themselves.

What degree of flexibility do I need in adapting my processes and organization to accommodate market shifts and changes in customer demands?
How much discipline is needed to support process execution?
What are the critical processes that drive my primary value chains?
Do I need the ability to adapt my processes and organization to changes in customer demands?
What is my productivity requirement?
How successful has my process ownership program been?
Are my day to day process challenges local issues or are the same issues dealt with globally?
Do I track performance at the process level?

Businesses that will thrive in the digital marketplace will be characterised by the following attributes.

Optimal global and local processes that support the organizations core value chains
The ability to identify and remove non value added processes
Customer recognition of the businesses agility, flexibility and level of service
The maturity and integration of their digital information systems
The ability to identify, secure and retain unique talent
The degree to which their governance model enables the following:

The internal DNA of the business will need to reflect the following:

Cultural characteristics that allow for discipline, agility, speed and an ability to rapidly change in line with market trends and competitor innovations
Leaders that can drive change on a scale and at a speed we have not seen before
Employees that can embrace customer expectations or be prepared to pay for it in a very public manner.

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