Connect with us

Business

Organisational agility is critical to financial services performance

Published

on

Organisational agility is critical to financial services performance

By James Reid, Financial Services Expert at PA Consulting 

Successful businesses have always adapted to developments in the world around them and financial services companies are no different. Recent PA research has shown that leaders in the sector are acutely aware that they need to do things differently to keep up with changes in the market, in technology, and in customers’ demands and expectations. It also showed that they are struggling to embrace the organisational agility that is necessary to drive that change.

We found 70 per cent of financial services leaders believe their competitors will take significant market share from them by 2023 if they do not reinvent their company’s business model. They know that the stakes are high, with two thirds of those we surveyed expecting prominent companies to fail because they are unable to keep pace with change.

The good news is that they know what needs to be done. They need to get products or services to market faster and that means better decision-making in key areas of their strategy. All that has to be underpinned by effective assessment of customer needs through fast feedback loops and an ability to adopt technologies that support efficiency or innovation.

Creating customer intimacy is another fundamental issue for the sector with 69 per cent of respondents in our research saying they believe failure to truly understand their customer’ needs is significantly slowing their business down, and that is almost ten per cent higher than their peers in other sectors.

Addressing this requires a focus on three areas. The first is to reduce the time from idea to value from months (sometimes years) to days (and even hours), by delivering small, incremental improvements. The second is to measure customers’ response to these improvements to understand to what degree their evolving needs are being met and what needs to be done to maximise the value for the customer. Finally, firms should create a direct link between customers and development teams to instil a stronger sense of ownership of that relationship and improve decision making at a point when it can have the biggest impact on customer experience.

All this underlines that it is customer relationships that drive real value in financial services. Those relationships are with ever more demanding customers who are expecting the same levels of service they receive from other industries, such as online retail.  The threat to traditional firms is that they will lose those relationships to smaller, more agile competitors unless they adapt their systems and processes to allow them to keep up with those rising expectations.

This can be seen in the account opening process which traditionally required customers to send ID documents in the post or spend time going into a branch to deal with the paperwork.Digital banks such as Monzo and Atom have used technology to provide a way to open accounts at a time and in a place that suits customers. Incumbents are now racing to catch up, with NatWest recently launching a service to enable customers to open a current account by taking a picture with their smartphone and uploading one piece of photographic identification.

The bad news is that many financial services businesses are struggling to implement these kinds of changes.They are just not showing the organisational agility that is required to keep up with the pace of change. Part of this is about leadership to inspire and drive transformational change. In particular, the sector needs to find ways of embedding new ways of working that will allow them to respond more quickly to their customers’ needs.

A further challenge for insurance firms and banks is the need to unpick complex operating systems and infrastructure, the foundations of which were put in place over 40 years ago.Technology development practices which support agile ways of working and are common practice within other industries, such as DevOps and automated testing, are proving harder to implement in this environment slowing progress and frustrating development teams. Just at the time when teams are being asked to take ownership for their continuous improvement, they bump up against significant issues at the enterprise level.

The answer to this is to set aside a proportion of the team’s capacity and budget to deal with the technical challenges and prioritising them alongside development work. That will help to create a holistic view of the work required. At the same time, firms need to ensure there is accurate and timely communication across the organisation of both the problems and potential solutions. Leaders should also make better use of standard team activities to understand the issues first-hand and bring the right people together.

Adopting an agile mindset and practices to work through legacy technology issues, does not necessarily reduce the challenge or work involved.However, those firms that set out a bold vision for the future and adopt agile ways of working will be best placed to succeed. 

Business

Foxconn chairman says expects “limited impact” from chip shortage on clients

Published

on

Foxconn chairman says expects "limited impact" from chip shortage on clients 1

TAIPEI (Reuters) – The chairman of Apple Inc supplier Foxconn said on Saturday he expects his company and its clients will face only “limited impact” from a chip shortage that has rattled the global automotive and semiconductor industries.

“Since most of the customers we serve are large customers, they all have proper precautionary planning,” said Liu Young-way, chairman of the manufacturing conglomerate formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd

“Therefore, the impact on these large customers is there, but limited,” he told reporters.

Liu said he expected the company to do well in the first half of 2021, “especially as the pandemic is easing and demand is still being sustained.”

The global spread of COVID-19 has increased demand for laptops, gaming consoles, and other electronics. This caused chip manufacturers to reallocate capacity away from the automotive sector, which was expecting a steep downturn.

Now, car manufacturers such as Volkswagen AG, General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co have cut output as chip capacity has shrunk.

Counterpoint Research says the shortage has extended to the smartphone sector, with application processors, display driver chips, and power management chips all facing a crunch.

However, the research firm predicts Apple will face a minimal impact, due to its large size and its suppliers’ tendency to prioritise it. Apple is Foxconn’s largest customer.

Foxconn is looking at other areas for growth, including in electric vehicles (EVs), and Liu said their EV development platform MIH now had 736 partner companies participating.

He expected it would have two or three models to show by the fourth quarter, though did not expect EVs to make an obvious contribution to company earnings until 2023.

Liu also said the company was still looking for semiconductor fab purchase opportunities in Southeast Asia after not winning a bid to take over a stake in Malaysia-based 8-inch foundry house Silterra.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Jeanny Kao; Writing by Josh Horwitz; Editing by William Mallard and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

Continue Reading

Business

EU seeks alliance with U.S. on climate change, tech rules

Published

on

EU seeks alliance with U.S. on climate change, tech rules 2

By Sabine Siebold and Kate Abnett

BERLIN (Reuters) – Europe and the United States should join forces in the fight against climate change and agree on a new framework for the digital market, limiting the power of big tech companies, European Union chief executive Ursula von der Leyen said.

“I am sure: A shared transatlantic commitment to a net-zero emissions pathway by 2050 would make climate neutrality a new global benchmark,” the president of the European Commission said in a speech at the virtual Munich Security Conference on Friday.

“Together, we could create a digital economy rulebook that is valid worldwide: a set of rules based on our values, human rights and pluralism, inclusion and the protection of privacy.”

The EU has pledged to cut its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, while President Joe Biden has committed the United States to become a “net zero economy” by 2050.

Scientists say the world must reach net zero emissions by 2050 to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial times and avert the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

The hope is that a transatlantic alliance could help persuade large emitters who have yet to commit to this timeline – including China, which is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2060, and India.

“The United States is our natural partner for global leadership on climate change,” von der Leyen said.

She called the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol a turning point for the discussion on the impact social media has on democracies.

“Of course, imposing democratic limits on the uncontrolled power of big tech companies alone will not stop political violence,” von der Leyen said. “But it is an important step.”

She was referring to a draft set of rules unveiled in December which aims to rein in tech companies that control troves of data and online platforms relied on by thousands of companies and millions of Europeans for work and social interactions.

They show the European Commission’s frustration with its antitrust cases against the tech giants, notably Alphabet Inc’s Google, which critics say have not addressed the problem.

But they also risk inflaming tensions with Washington, already irked by Brussels’ attempts to tax U.S. tech firms more.

Von der Leyen said Facebook’s decision on a news blackout on Thursday in response to a forthcoming Australian law requiring it and Google to share revenue from news underscored the importance of a global approach to dealing with tech giants.

(Additional reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Robin Emmott and Nick Macfie; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Continue Reading

Business

Packaged food giants push direct online sales to gauge consumer tastes

Published

on

Packaged food giants push direct online sales to gauge consumer tastes 3

By Siddharth Cavale and Nivedita Balu

(Reuters) – Packaged food giants including Kraft Heinz, General Mills and Kellogg are pushing sales of their products to consumers directly via their own online channels, in a quest to gather more data about shoppers’ purchasing habits.

Velveeta-cheese maker Kraft Heinz saw its e-commerce sales double in 2020, now representing more than 5% of its global sales, Chief Executive Miguel Patricio said at the virtual Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) conference this week.

The company sells Heinz baked beans and tomato soup by subscription or in bundles directly to consumers on a “Heinz To Home” website in the United Kingdom, Australia and Europe.

Sales on the site are “giving us valuable insights into consumer behavior, enabling us to quickly test and learn from innovations,” Kraft’s head of international business, Rafael de Oliveira, said at the conference.

Kraft would continue to use the site as a channel to generate strong sales in developed markets, he said.

The company also counts sales of its products through marketplaces such as on Amazon.com and Walmart.com as part of its e-commerce sales.

U.S. shoppers spent on average $1,271 buying groceries online last year, 45% more than they did in 2019 as the pandemic spurred shopping online, according to market research firm Earnest Research. In contrast, the average dollars spent in stores rose only about 7% to $3,849.

PepsiCo sells products including Doritos, Quaker oats and Gatorade directly to consumers through two websites, pantryshop.com and snacks.com, both launched in 2020.

Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston said that more than 45% of the company’s capital investments over the next few years would be dedicated toward manufacturing capacity, automation, and a “ramping up of investments in our e-commerce channel.”

As major online retailers including Amazon.com and Walmart.com continue to gather valuable data on shoppers, many packaged food manufacturers are keen to gather their own data on shoppers, too.

“COVID (has) simply accelerated our digital growth and has provided us with yet another source of data and insight,” Monica McGurk, chief growth officer at breakfast cereal maker Kellogg Co., told the conference.

Kellogg, producer of Corn Flakes as well as Pringles chips, said on Wednesday it had launched a direct-to-consumer website focused on digestive wellness. The group plans to sell its new Mwell Microbiome Powder for gut health via the site to gather data on customer interest before it launches the product more widely.

E-commerce sales have doubled in the past year and now represent about 8.5% of the group’s $13.77 billion in annual sales, Kellogg said.

Pillsbury dough-maker General Mills also sees the benefits of tracking consumer habits more closely.

“We’re aggressively investing in data and analytics. We are gathering unparalleled insights from the first-party data we collect through our brand websites,” General Mills’ Chief Executive Jeffrey Harmening said at the conference.

On its Bettycrocker.com website, General Mills provides hundreds of recipes using Betty Crocker cake mixes and frosting. The site leads people to the closest store or an online retailer where they can purchase the products, thereby generating data for General Mills on what a particular customer from a certain zip code is buying. The company does not sell the food products directly on its website.

Consumers, however, may have to shell out more if they shop directly from brand websites.

Prices on the two PepsiCo sites, for example, were generally higher than those on Walmart.com or Amazon.com, Reuters checks show. On Walmart.com, for example, a 10 oz pack of Doritos Nacho Cheese was on sale for $2.50 compared to $4.29 on Pepsico’s website.

Kraft Heinz offers tins of soup, beans, pasta and baby food bundled into packs ranging from six to 25 items and costing between 10 and 20 pounds ($14.01-$28.03) on its UK website. It told Reuters the relatively higher prices of items and bundling of packs than on some other online marketplaces was to be able to eke out a margin after including delivery costs.

“Longer term, we see real value in this channel to be an insight and data channel for us,” Jean-Philippe Nier, head of e-commerce for Kraft Heinz’s business in the UK and Ireland, told Reuters. People are more prepared to order directly from manufacturers than they were before. The time is now.”

Graphic: Direct online sales to cross $20 billion in 2021 – https://graphics.reuters.com/PACKAGEDFOODS-ECOMMERCE/rlgpdexngvo/chart.png

($1 = 0.7137 pounds)

(Reporting by Siddharth Cavale and Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Vanessa O’Connell and Susan Fenton)

Continue Reading
Editorial & Advertiser disclosureOur website provides you with information, news, press releases, Opinion and advertorials on various financial products and services. This is not to be considered as financial advice and should be considered only for information purposes. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information provided with respect to your individual or personal circumstances. Please seek Professional advice from a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. We link to various third party websites, affiliate sales networks, and may link to our advertising partners websites. Though we are tied up with various advertising and affiliate networks, this does not affect our analysis or opinion. When you view or click on certain links available on our articles, our partners may compensate us for displaying the content to you, or make a purchase or fill a form. This will not incur any additional charges to you. To make things simpler for you to identity or distinguish sponsored articles or links, you may consider all articles or links hosted on our site as a partner endorsed link.

Call For Entries

Global Banking and Finance Review Awards Nominations 2021
2021 Awards now open. Click Here to Nominate

Latest Articles

FTSE Russell to include 11 stocks from China's STAR Market in global benchmarks 4 FTSE Russell to include 11 stocks from China's STAR Market in global benchmarks 5
Trading16 hours ago

FTSE Russell to include 11 stocks from China’s STAR Market in global benchmarks

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Index provider FTSE Russell will add 11 stocks from China’s STAR Market to its global benchmarks, according...

Foxconn chairman says expects "limited impact" from chip shortage on clients 6 Foxconn chairman says expects "limited impact" from chip shortage on clients 7
Business16 hours ago

Foxconn chairman says expects “limited impact” from chip shortage on clients

TAIPEI (Reuters) – The chairman of Apple Inc supplier Foxconn said on Saturday he expects his company and its clients...

Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs 8 Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs 9
Top Stories16 hours ago

Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Bitcoin hit a fresh high in Asian trading on Saturday, extending a two-month rally that saw its...

UK insurers estimate to pay up to 2.5 billion pounds for coronavirus claims 10 UK insurers estimate to pay up to 2.5 billion pounds for coronavirus claims 11
Trading16 hours ago

UK insurers estimate to pay up to 2.5 billion pounds for coronavirus claims

(Reuters) – The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said on Saturday insurers are likely to pay up to 2.5 billion...

Citigroup considering divestiture of some foreign consumer units - Bloomberg Law 12 Citigroup considering divestiture of some foreign consumer units - Bloomberg Law 13
Banking16 hours ago

Citigroup considering divestiture of some foreign consumer units – Bloomberg Law

(Reuters) – Citigroup Inc is considering divesting some international consumer units, Bloomberg Law reported on Friday, citing people familiar with...

World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers 14 World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers 15
Top Stories16 hours ago

World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers

By Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank is working to standardize COVID-19 vaccine contracts that countries are signing...

Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion 16 Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion 17
Top Stories16 hours ago

Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion

By Paresh Dave (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google will evaluate the performance of its vice presidents and above on team...

EU seeks alliance with U.S. on climate change, tech rules 18 EU seeks alliance with U.S. on climate change, tech rules 19
Business16 hours ago

EU seeks alliance with U.S. on climate change, tech rules

By Sabine Siebold and Kate Abnett BERLIN (Reuters) – Europe and the United States should join forces in the fight...

Oil extends losses as Texas prepares to ramp up output after freeze 20 Oil extends losses as Texas prepares to ramp up output after freeze 21
Trading16 hours ago

Oil extends losses as Texas prepares to ramp up output after freeze

By Devika Krishna Kumar NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices fell for a second day on Friday, retreating further from...

Dollar edges lower as investors favor higher-risk currencies 22 Dollar edges lower as investors favor higher-risk currencies 23
Investing16 hours ago

Dollar edges lower as investors favor higher-risk currencies

By Stephen Culp NEW YORK (Reuters) – The dollar lost ground on Friday as market participants favored currencies associated with...

Newsletters with Secrets & Analysis. Subscribe Now