Initial results show platform increases efficiency by 63% across the board
Odem Global, Inc. announces the release of a new platform that helps improve workflow, communication, media efficiency, and monitors real time market activity without the need for specialized training or paid support. Odem’s new solution is the first to integrate all marketing channels in one easy-to-use place at an accessible price point for organizations of all sizes. With this new release, Odem opens the door to on-demand, scalable tools, data, and expertise normally reserved for large budgets.
“The marketing industry has been stuck in the same stale model of agency consolidation for about thirty years, which was glorified – and rightfully so because it was right for the time – by the 1960’s ‘Mad Men’ era that pre-dated modern technology,” said Founder and CEO of Odem Global, Frank O’Brien. “This type of technology for marketing is long overdue and we are proud to bring scalable, effective marketing to the masses focusing on results that matter.”
The platform has deep integrations including the ability to connect point of sale data to one-to-one marketing activity, personalizing direct communication, location based reminders based on specific communication or product usage, and end-to-end control of marketing communications from planning to analysis.
Subscribers also have the ability to integrate online and offline activity data enabling consumer targeting based on previous communications received. These user-features change how marketers and salespeople can target specific demographics and interests across any marketing channel.
“With our beta release in July of 2015, we were really testing the market. Was there a need? Was the response viable for us to rollout a turnkey offering? The answer was a resounding ‘yes’,” continued O’Brien. “The words we kept hearing over and over again were ‘wow’ and ‘impressive.’ Phrases like ‘easy to use,’ ‘the system is seamless,’ ‘agency in a box,’ and not surprising ‘you’re going to ruffle some feathers’ was mentioned a few times.”
Odem is rolling out the offering in the month of March across three core monthly subscription packages: Startup, Growth, and Enterprise. At the Startup level, subscribers are able to access the platform at a subscription rate much lower than most single solution platforms on the market. Additional services are available on-demand or on an a la carte “pay as you need” basis. At the Growth level, the monthly subscription is built around a more robust core set of monthly deliverables which can include content, design, promotional strategies, or media placements. Enterprise subscribers unlock access to custom data integrations, Odem team support, and platform customization. There is also an Enterprise-plus option available for larger brands and agencies looking for on-site hosting of data and white labeling.
How CFO’s can Help Their Businesses Successfully Navigate The Financial Fallout From COVID-19
By Mohamed Chaudry, Group CFO of FoodHub
2020 has been one of the toughest years in recent memory for business. There hasn’t been a sector left unaffected by COVID-19, whether negatively or positively. We’ve been in recession, out of recession, then teetering on the edge of the infamous double-dip. Which, at the time of writing, looks impossible to avoid. For CFOs, the financial rudder of any business, the trials have been significant. Many businesses have found themselves unprepared for the pandemic and left floundering in its wake, with the prospect of a potentially lengthy financial downturn to traverse. So, how can CFOs hope to navigate through the financial fallout from COVID-19, and successfully guide their businesses to the other side?
Strategies to Help CFOs Traverse the COVID-19 Recovery Period
The role of the CFO has evolved in recent years, moving from pure financial management to technical implementation, futureproofing, and strategic analysis and planning. And they are all integral to surviving a protracted recession. And the focus should be on five key areas.
Scenario planning vs Forecasting
Who could have seen the pandemic coming 18 months ago? Who would even have considered that the disruption caused by a virus would have such overwhelming worldwide consequences a year after it was first detected? It’s the rare business that will have put adequate protective measures in place. But now that we are all well aware of the damage COVID-19 has wreaked, it would be remiss to fail to plan for ongoing and upcoming eventualities.
Right now, CFOs should be scenario planning for the length and route the pandemic might take. Which industries are likely to recover first? And which countries will be first to come out of the recession?
CFOs need to be crisis planning. Developing strategies to preserve cash, streamline expenses, manage working capital and secure short-term funding. But stratagems also need to be put in place to defend against loss of critical talent (accounting for staff sickness), bolster IT developments, and manage risk.
“Wind Tunnelling” business strategy through each potential scenario will reveal the most robust tactics to carry your business through all potential developments and forecasts.
Liquidity management practices vary from business to business. But at a time of crisis, monthly actions are no longer enough. Liquidity requires daily attention. Working cashflow needs to be generated for the coming months. To do this, CFOS should be:
- Looking to secure short-term funding to ensure a cash buffer
- And cashflow modelling with an aim of preserving current resources
The previous point feeds directly into this one. Cutting costs is always a necessary component of recession navigation. But there are ways of doing it without swingeing cuts. No matter how tight a ship you think you’re running, there is always room for operational improvement, from supply chain to asset optimisation. Bolstering productivity in your workforce, whether through new tech implementation or streamlining processes, can reduce lost hours. Non-core business units and overheads usually present an easy option for pain-free cost reduction. While negotiating better pricing and credit terms from suppliers can be an easy step to enhanced cashflow.
The important thing to remember is that cost cutting should never be a knee jerk reaction. And overly aggressive strategies can be detrimental. You still need to be investing more than rivals to ensure that post-recession, you’re able to put your foot back on the accelerator and be ahead of the competition.
Mergers and acquisitions are an inherent part of any recession. But 2020 has seen a significant fall in M&A activity. This will partly be due to potential buyers waiting to snatch a bargain. But if you’re in the market to increase your portfolio through the acquisition of competitors, look for those that are fundamentally sound, but are facing cashflow issues at reasonable valuations.
If cashflow has become a weighty concern for your business, merging can also be worth considering. Despite the loss of autonomy, mergers can present a wealth of opportunity, if they are handled correctly. And it’s better than facing full closure.
Creating scalable growth is the best way for businesses to weather any financial crisis. But in the meantime, battening down the hatches and taking adequate precautions is a sensible option for CFOs looking to steer their businesses through the COVID-19 fall out.
Time for financial institutions to Take Back Control of market data costs
By Yann Bloch, Vice President of Product Management at NeoXam
Brexit may well be just around the corner, but it is market data spending that financial institutions are more interested in taking back control of right now. In fact, other than regulatory equivalence post the transition period, it is hard to think of a more prominent issue right now than the rising cost of market data. According to analysis at the end of last year by Burton Taylor, global spend on market data topped $30 billion in 2019. With costs showing very little sign in coming down, at least in the short to medium term, now has to be the time for market participants to better grasp of not only what their costs could be at the end of the month, but also the precise areas of business consuming the most data.
The problem has been, and still is, seeking out those month-on-month cost anomalies. For example, why is it that fixed income and FX derivatives costs have all of a sudden doubled compared to the previous month? The trouble is it is nigh on impossible to get accurate answers to questions like this because the vast majority of investment firms have no fullproof way of analysing how spending evolves over time. In certain cases, financial instructions can experience a 10%+ increase on their monthly market data vendor bills.
It is not hard to see why – as every small incremental cost mounts up fast. First there are the direct costs for one or more sets of data – which leads to billing getting far more complex. Sure, a market data vendor may be adding lots of different add-on services to help clients save money, but at the same time, they will also be adding on more costs. If this was not enough, there are also the indirect costs around data governance and regulatory compliance. New rules, such as the Fundamental Review of the Trading Book (FRTB), means that investment banks will have no choice but to consume a lot more data to be able to run models and back testing.
All this begs the question; how exactly can firms gain more control of their market data spending? A good place to start is trying to reduce waste. This involves firms making sure they do not request new sources of data from their vendors that they are not going to use. If data vendors charge for every single piece of data that the client requests, then the client needs to make sure they are going to act on this information. Then there is the recycling of the data. Say an investment fund needed a new piece of data instantly, and also needed that same piece of data at the end of the day. If the fund manager already has the data, they surely, they do not need to request it again? It is all about being smarter about reusing whatever data the fund manager has received previously. After all, different trading desks are all consuming data and requesting information through the data management team, but it is hard for the trader acting on the data to work out how much the data actually costs. This is why being able to allocate these costs to the different trading desks is key.
When all is said and done, the only way financial institutions can harbour any hopes of overcoming this longstanding data cost problem is by deriving more insights to ensure they a squeezing every last drop of value from their market data. Technological advancements mean that firms can now keep right on top of not just their data direct costs, like complex billing, but also the indirect costs around regulation. With so many other cost pressures across the business right now, it is time financial institutions take advantage of new technologies to finally address the issue of rising market data costs that has, frankly, plagued the industry for too long now.
Cash was our past, contactless is our present, contextual payments are the future
By Jason Jeffreys, founder of FETCH
$6tn in the next five years, this is how much the world will spend through contactless payments, according to analyst firm Juniper Research. For many of us who have discovered and since relied heavily on contactless payments since its introduction in 2007, either through card, phone, or watch, or those of us who have taken a stroll down a covid-era high-street to see shop windows adorned with “card payment only” signs, this is hardly a surprise. Even the Church of England in 2018 equipped 16,000 religious sites with terminals to allow for contactless donations. So what is behind this rise? And what is next?
The switch from cash to contactless is a transformation of payments that is driven by four key factors: speed, security, accessibility, and hygiene. While businesses and customers alike have felt the immense benefits of the cash to contactless transition, the next iteration goes further by digitally transforming the entire transaction process. It’s that potential which pushed me to launch FETCH – technology that allows customers to order and pay from their phone, anywhere. By exploring the benefits already felt by our contactless present, I hope to show you why I’m excited to be part of the contextual payments future.
Aldi is all about low prices and this is achieved with efficiency – that is why their checkout staff are trained to scan as fast as possible, it’s why their barcodes are huge, and it’s why you can’t keep up. It’s all in the name of efficiency and cost saving, and contactless payments make this possible.
While increasing the rate of transactions has a direct impact on money through the till, there is an increase in the perceived speed which does wonders to get customers back through the door. Shoppers may have spent an hour or more in-store but their direct interactions with the shop and staff were quick and timely and that’s the experience they remember and the impression they build of the brand.
Aldi are not alone in realising this and while it is easy to point to the impact that contactless has had on the retail sector, its revolution has slowly crept into hospitality – an industry notoriously late at adopting new technologies.
High-street coffee shops rely on getting as many people as possible through the doors and back out again. They want as little disruption to your day as possible but more importantly, they want to process as many payments per hour as possible. Cash transactions are slow in comparison to a single tap, so for the coffee shops, this means fewer transactions per hour and money lost. For businesses in this sector who rely on periodic rushes, measuring performance per hour is a necessity and maximising revenue over these short windows is so important.
For reasons obvious to anyone who has been to a crowded hospitality venue, stood at a crowded bar or waited for waiting staff during a busy dinner rush, the businesses in this space already running on contextual ordering systems like FETCH have all reported a vastly improved staff and customer experience in hospitality venues. While it may be difficult to spot how these benefits can be felt in retail, this reality is not bound to fiction or the distant future – it’s being pioneered already in retail by Amazon.
In a well documented glimpse into the future of shopping, Amazon’s latest Seattle store removes the transaction element completely. Instead, you put your items in your trolley as you go round the shop, and the sensors and cameras accurately and automatically recognise the items, keeping a track and total, before taking payment automatically and digitally through your Amazon account once you walk the trolley back out of the store. Can you imagine standing in a supermarket queue to pay once you’ve experienced the ease, simplicity and effortlessness of that?
Smartphones have got smarter and they have revolutionised the way we get through the day. From how we discover, connect, and socialise, to how we organise, learn, navigate and search for answers – rarely an hour goes by where we aren’t using our phones for something.
As time moved on they only grew to become more capable, responsible for managing more aspects of our lives, and it was only a matter of time before they were capable of handling secure contactless payments. The leap for people to trust their smartphones with just one additional task was tiny.
When you couple this with debit and credit cards being enabled with contactless technology by default, the rise of wearables, and e-commerce growing massively, the results are clear – people are more trusting of online payments, are more familiar with buying in this way, and have more ways of making contactless purchases, than ever before.
In fact, a Mastercard survey in 2016 indicated that Brits carry less than £5 in cash on average, with 14% of people surveyed carrying no cash at all, and 1 in 10 replacing wallets and purses altogether, opting for a simple card in the pocket instead. Figures which have no doubt grown even starker since 2016.
When we take this into consideration with 99% of 16-24 year olds, 98% of 25-34 year olds, and 95% of 35-54 year olds all being smartphone owners, we begin to see the inevitability of contextual payments as the next iteration and how the response to contextual payments will be positive and welcome; something FETCH clients and the vast majority of their customers can all attest to.
Cashless payments means no cash in the till or on-site; no chance of mistakenly accepting fraudulent notes or coins; no trips to the bank to deposit or withdraw cash for the till; the end of time spent counting money every day, and the end of discrepancies which occur from this.
It limits the levels of theft, switches businesses over to an accurate, secure and efficient system, and gives business owners their time back. It makes tax returns, financial planning and forecasting and more all possible, easier and quicker and in short, it makes businesses stronger.
Contextual payments go further by offering really insightful data of what happens before and after people decide to part with their money; for example, how long they spend browsing before ordering, what they look at, what they’ve missed, when they order next and more. This means you are informed and can redesign and improve the user journey so it works better for you and your customers, all based on accurate, relevant and timely data.
As contactless payments evolve to contextual ordering, it’s important to choose a system that easily integrates with the wider business and your systems so you can continue to access the benefits of contactless. That’s why from day 1 of building FETCH I put so much emphasis on ensuring it integrates with one of the biggest and most popular POS systems in hospitality.
Initial adoption has long been the biggest barrier to widespread, sustained use of new technologies and going cash-free is no exception.
Given that the coronavirus thrives and passes through human contact and shared surfaces, going cash-free and contactless was a small, easy and obvious change to implement for businesses to become covid-secure and safer for customers and staff.
FETCH and other contextual payment systems are being used to go beyond this, to keep staff and visitors safe by limiting human contact beyond just payments. In our case, we have allowed hospitality customers to continue to browse, place their orders and pay, just as before, but without the need for repeated human contact at every single stage.
Given the health imperative and coercion from governments, local authorities and health bodies to switch to contact-free operations, businesses who may have once been years away from this change are laying down the infrastructure today out of necessity and it will be no surprise if contactless becomes a staple long after the coronavirus has left.
Post-coronavirus, contextual ordering offers businesses the chance to let the technology take care of these minor tasks, giving staff the space to instead dedicate their time, talent and energy towards elevating the overall experience. It’s the health imperative that acts as the gateway to this.
What does this transition mean for businesses? With visible consideration and effort put into hygiene, you are making your customers feel safe and cared for; by making transactions quick and painfree, you are giving your customers time to spend on the experience they came out for in the first place. In the process, you have created the ideal conditions for consumers to spend money and given them the confidence to do so.
I’ll end with the picture UK Finance data has painted through multiple annual payments reports: in 2006, 62% of all payments in the UK were made using cash; three years later it dropped to 58%; in 2016 the proportion had fallen to 40%; and just two years after that, cash formed just 28% of all UK payments. With a pre-covid prediction envisaging that by 2028 fewer than 1 in 10 payments will be made by cash, the widespread, covid-induced encouragement, adoption and enforcement of cashless policies in retail and hospitality has surely brought that many years forward.
Contextual ordering is the next inevitable iteration and if you were one of the few who reaped the benefits of going contactless early, you have the chance to be ahead of the curve once more. A welcome future for a multitude of industries is being set around us today.
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