CRM Archive

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Building a customer-centric B2B organization

Customer experience (CX) is an increasingly important strategic topic in the boardrooms of B2B companies in China and throughout the world. Despite the rapid development of the previous decades, the “growth first” principle of Chinese enterprises sometimes implies customer experience can be sacrificed. But CX leaders, globally and within China, drive higher growth, lower cost, and superior customer satisfaction. In times of crisis, they achieve three-times-higher shareholder returns 1 than laggards.

Start with a vision

A successful transformation starts from the top. Cases within and outside China confirm that the CEO must be in charge to continuously push and unify the organization.

The Chinese steel industry has taken an upturn amid the country’s overcapacity-reduction program, and companies have been enjoying robust price and volume increases. In this article, we consider one Chinese steel manufacturer whose CEO set a clear vision to build a customer-centric organization in order to gain a competitive edge and to keep the organization healthy through future downturns. The company took a series of steps to systematically and holistically shift the entire organization toward customer-centricity.

More: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/

By Hai Ye and Will Enger, Open interactive popup; Case study: Building a customer-centric B2B organization; Open interactive popup, A Chinese steel manufacturer systematically transformed its operations to be customer-centric—and in the process, improved its bottom line.

About the authors: Hai Ye and Will Enger are partners in McKinsey’s Hong Kong office.

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BCG Six Steps to Bridge the Responsible AI Gap

As artificial intelligence assumes a more central role in countless aspects of business and society, so has the need for ensuring its responsible use. AI has dramatically improved financial performance, employee experience, and product and service quality for millions of customers and citizens, but it has also inflicted harm. AI systems have offered lower credit card limits to women than men despite similar financial profiles. Digital ads have demonstrated racial bias in housing and mortgage offers. Users have tricked chatbots into making offensive and racist comments. Algorithms have produced inaccurate diagnoses and recommendations for cancer treatments.

To counter such AI fails, companies have recognized the need to develop and operate AI systems that work in the service of good while achieving transformative business impact—thinking beyond barebones algorithmic fairness and bias in order to identify potential second- and third-order effects on safety, privacy, and society at large. These are all elements of what has become known as Responsible AI.

Companies know they need to develop this capability, and many have already created Responsible AI principles to guide their actions. The big challenge lies in execution. Companies often don’t recognize, or know how to bridge, the gulf between principles and tangible actions—what we call crossing the “Responsible AI Gap.” To help cross the divide, we have distilled our learnings from engagements with multiple organizations into six basic steps that companies can follow.

The Upside of Responsible AI

Concern is growing both inside and outside boardrooms about the ethical risks associated with AI systems. A survey conducted by the Center for the Governance of AI at the University of Oxford showed that 82% of respondents believe that AI should be carefully managed. Two-thirds of internet users surveyed by the Brookings Institution feel that companies should have an AI code of ethics and review board.

Much of this concern has arisen from failures of AI systems that have received widespread media attention. Executives have begun to understand the risks that poorly designed AI systems can create—from costly litigation to financial losses. The reputational damage and employee disengagement that result from public AI lapses can have far-reaching effects.

But companies should not view Responsible AI simply as a risk-avoidance mechanism. Doing so misses the upside potential that companies can realize by pursuing it. In addition to representing an authentic and ethical “True North” to guide initiatives, Responsible AI can generate financial rewards that justify the investment.

A Stronger Bottom Line. Companies that practice Responsible AI—and let their clients and users know they do so—have the potential to increase market share and long-term profitability. Responsible AI can be used to build high-performing systems with more reliable and explainable outcomes. When based on the authentic and ethical strengths of an organization, these outcomes help build greater trust, improve customer loyalty, and ultimately boost revenues. Major companies such as Salesforce, Microsoft, and Google have publicized the robust steps they have taken to implement Responsible AI. And for good reason: people weigh ethics three times more heavily than competence when assessing a company’s trustworthiness, according to Edelman research. Lack of trust carries a heavy financial cost. In the US, BCG research shows that companies lost one-third of revenue from affected customers in the year following a data misuse incident.

Brand Differentiation. Increasingly, companies have grown more focused on staying true to their purpose and their foundational principles. And customers are increasingly making choices to do business with companies whose demonstrated values are aligned with their own. Companies that deliver what BCG calls total societal impact (TSI)—the aggregate of their impact on society—boast higher margins and valuations. Organizations must make sure that their AI initiatives are aligned with what they truly value and the positive impact they seek to make through their purpose. The benefit of focusing strictly on compliance pales in comparison with the value gained from strengthening connections to customers and employees in an increasingly competitive business environment.

Improved Recruiting and Retention. Responsible AI helps attract the elite digital talent that is critical to the success of firms worldwide. In the UK, one in six AI workers has quit his or her job rather than having to play a role in the development of potentially harmful products. That’s more than three times the rate of the technology sector as a whole, according to research from Doteveryone. In addition to inspiring the employees who build and deploy AI, implementing AI systems in a responsible manner can also empower workers across the entire organization. For example, Responsible AI can help ensure that AI systems schedule workers in ways that balance employee and company objectives. By building more sustainable schedules, companies will see employee turnover fall, reducing the costs of hiring and training—over $80 billion annually in the US alone.

More: https://www.bcg.com/

By Steven MillsElias Baltassis, Maximiliano Santinelli, Cathy CarlisiSylvain Duranton, and Andrea Gallego

BCG GAMMA is BCG’s global team dedicated to applying artificial intelligence and advanced analytics to business at leading companies and organizations. The team includes 800-plus data scientists and engineers who apply AI and advanced analytics expertise (e.g., machine learning, deep learning, optimization, simulation, text and image analytics) to build solutions that transform business performance. BCG GAMMA’s approach builds value and competitive advantage at the intersection of data science, technology, people, business expertise, processes and ways of working. For more information, please visit our web page.

Authors: Steven Mills, Partner & Associate Director, Data Science, Washington, DC: Elias Baltassis, Partner & Director, Paris; Maximiliano Santinelli, Associate Director, Data Science, Boston; Cathy Carlisi, Managing Director, BrightHouse, Atlanta; Sylvain Duranton, Managing Director & Senior Partner, Global Leader, BCG GAMMA, Paris, Andrea Gallego, Partner & Chief Technology Officer, BCG GAMMA, Boston

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The Cyber-Organisation and the New World of Work

The Cyber-Organisation and the New World of Work: Advocating a twin governance and collaborative intelligence solution to overcome a constant disruptive business context

By Mario Raich, Simon L. Dolan, Dave Ulrich and Claudio Cisullo

This paper explores the concept of the cyber-organisation and, in particular, the so-called cyber-enterprise and its functionality in a business context that is constantly generating disruption due to rapid technological advances and a shift in the definition of work. The cyber-enterprise is, and will be, operating in this fast-changing context driven by artificial intelligence. We argue that cyber-reality will change the fundamental roles of all stakeholders, be they employees, suppliers, customers, investors, partners, associations or governmental agencies, and will require corresponding changes in the governing bodies of organisations. Today, we are living in a world in transition and transformation(1). There are three powerful converging megatrends that may explain the shaping of the new world of work: globalisation, digitalisation and creation / destruction. Add to this the rise in cyber-reality, artificial intelligence (AI), global connectivity, as well as hybrid reality, hybrid work and business entity, and, finally, new, disruptive technologies like quantum computing, blockchain, neurotech and robotics, and you will understand that a new form of cyber-organisation is emerging. It is not a luxury; it is a vital necessity in order to survive and sustain business. We propose a new structure of twin boards to deal with this new business environment strategically and operationally.

Beyond contexts related to business, we are also facing global challenges threatening our sheer existence: demographics and global migration; environmental deterioration through global pollution; climate change; asymmetric conflicts and wars. Other contributing factors that are shaping, or will shape, the cyber-enterprise include the emerging new “Intelligent Internet” (including the Internet of Things), combined with machine learning, mobile technology and new technologies encompassing people, artefacts and cyber-entities (CE)1, which is on the way to becoming the first autonomous cyber-entity existing and acting in hybrid reality.

Beyond digital reality, a new, much-more-potent and disruptive revolution is surfacing: cyber-reality (CR). Cyber-reality is a powerful configuration of elements from digital reality, augmented reality and virtual reality. Together with artificial intelligence (AI), it will lead to a far more radical transformation than anything we have seen before. In fact, digitalisation is just one step, albeit a necessary one, in the transition towards virtual reality (VR). The progress of VR is tightly linked to the development of computer technology and artificial intelligence.

More: https://www.europeanbusinessreview.com

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Allianz: Shipping losses at record low, but Covid-19 impact and political tensions cloud the horizon

  • Safety & Shipping Review 2020: 41 large ships lost worldwide in 2019, down by more than 20% year-on-year and almost 70% over a decade.
  • Number of shipping incidents (2,815) is up, as are claims from machinery issues. Ro-ro vessel safety is a growing concern.
  • Consequences of coronavirus and a sustained economic downturn could threaten long-term safety improvement and trigger an uptick in losses from cost-cutting measures, fatigued crew, idle vessels and weakened emergency response.
  • Rising geopolitical tensions, emissions rules and de-carbonization targets, mis-declared cargo and fire incidents continue to pose risk challenges.

Large shipping losses are at a record low having fallen by over 20% year-on-year, according to marine insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE’s (AGCS) Safety & Shipping Review 2020. However, the coronavirus crisis could endanger the long-term safety improvements in the shipping industry for 2020 and beyond, as difficult operating conditions and a sharp economic downturn present a unique set of challenges.

“Coronavirus has struck at a difficult time for the maritime industry as it seeks to reduce its emissions, navigates issues such as climate change, political risks and piracy, and deals with ongoing problems such as fires on vessels,” says Baptiste Ossena, Global Product Leader Hull Insurance, AGCS. “Now the sector also faces the task of operating in a very different world, with the uncertain public health and economic implications of the pandemic.”

The annual AGCS study analyzes reported shipping losses over 100 gross tons (GT) and also identifies 10 challenges of the coronavirus crisis for the shipping industry which could impact safety and risk management. In 2019, 41 total losses of vessels were reported around the world, down from 53 12 months earlier. This represents an approximate 70% decline over 10 years and is a result of sustained efforts in the areas of regulation, training and technological advancement, among others. More than 950 shipping losses have been reported since the start of 2010.

Coronavirus challenges

The shipping industry has continued to operate through the pandemic, despite disruption at ports and to crew changes. While any reduction in sailings due to coronavirus restrictions could see loss activity fall in the interim, the report highlights 10 challenges that could heighten risks. Among these are: 

  • The inability to change crews is impacting the welfare of sailors, which could lead to an increase in human error on board vessels.
  • Disruption of essential maintenance and servicing heightens the risk of machinery damage, which is already one of the major causes of insurance claims.
  • Reduced or delayed statutory surveys and port inspections could lead to unsafe practices or defective equipment being undetected.
  • Cargo damage and delay are likely as supply chains come under strain.
  • The ability to respond quickly to an emergency could also be compromised with consequences for major incidents which are dependent on external support.
  • The growing number of cruise ships and oil tankers in lay-up around the world pose significant financial exposures, due to the potential threat from extreme weather, piracy or political risks. 

“Ship-owners also face additional cost pressures from a downturn in the economy and trade,” says Captain Rahul Khanna, Global Head of Marine Risk Consulting at AGCS. “We know from past downturns that crew and maintenance budgets are among the first areas that can be cut and this can impact the safe operations of vessels and machinery, potentially causing damage or breakdown, which in turn can lead to groundings or collisions. It is crucial that safety and maintenance standards are not impacted by any downturn.”

More: AGCS Marine Risk Consulting

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The eight essentials of innovation

It’s no secret: innovation is difficult for well-established companies. By and large, they are better executors than innovators, and most succeed less through game-changing creativity than by optimizing their existing businesses.

Innovation and creativity

In this engaging presentation, McKinsey principal Nathan Marston explains why innovation is increasingly important to driving corporate growth and brings to life the eight essentials of innovation performance.

Yet hard as it is for such organizations to innovate, large ones as diverse as Alcoa, the Discovery Group, and NASA’s Ames Research Center are actually doing so. What can other companies learn from their approaches and attributes? That question formed the core of a multiyear study comprising in-depth interviews, workshops, and surveys of more than 2,500 executives in over 300 companies, including both performance leaders and laggards, in a broad set of industries and countries (Exhibit 1). What we found were a set of eight essential attributes that are present, either in part or in full, at every big company that’s a high performer in product, process, or business-model innovation.

Since innovation is a complex, company-wide endeavor, it requires a set of crosscutting practices and processes to structure, organize, and encourage it. Taken together, the essentials described in this article constitute just such an operating system, as seen in Exhibit 2. These often overlapping, iterative, and nonsequential practices resist systematic categorization but can nonetheless be thought of in two groups. The first four, which are strategic and creative in nature, help set and prioritize the terms and conditions under which innovation is more likely to thrive. The next four essentials deal with how to deliver and organize for innovation repeatedly over time and with enough value to contribute meaningfully to overall performance.

By Marc de Jong, Nathan Marston, and Erik Roth

More: McKinsey; About the authors: Marc de Jong is a principal in McKinsey’s Amsterdam office, Nathan Marston is a principal in the London office, and Erik Roth is a principal in the Shanghai office.