Telefónica entered into an exclusivity agreement with Hutchison Whampoa regarding Hutchison’s potential acquisition of the Telefónica subsidiary O2 UK for £10.25 billion in cash, valuing the deal at an estimated 7.5 times 2014 EV/EBITDA. The Hutchison-O2 UK deal — should it complete — will entirely redraw the telco landscape in the UK in terms of market shares. The acquisition of O2 UK will transform Hutchison from the smallest mobile operator with 7.5 million customers to the largest with 31.5 million customers and reduce the number of mobile operators in the UK from four to three.
This development follows on the heels of the announcement by Orange and Deutsche Telekom that they have entered into exclusive negotiations with BT Group regarding a potential divestment of 100% of their shares in EE, their joint venture in the UK. The increased merger activity is not surprising, and we predicted as much in our report Predictions 2015: Telecoms Will Struggle To Align To The CIO's BT Agenda. Still, these deals raise important questions for the European telecoms markets:
Digital transformation will fundamentally affect all aspects of business and society, which makes it a key theme not only for business leaders and CIOs but also for governments. Over the past few years, several governments across Europe, as well as the European Union (EU) itself, have each developed their own respective initiative to address the opportunities and challenges that come with digital.
However, from the CIO’s perspective, these digital agendas often fail to meet the requirements that businesses encounter as part of their digital transformation projects. While the digital agendas emphasize infrastructure and regulatory initiatives such as broadband coverage and Net neutrality, CIOs and their business partners would also benefit also from a focus on “soft issues,” such as promoting an interdisciplinary approach in university education and driving digital innovation across industry sectors. We believe that:
Governments recognize the digital transformation of businesses and society . . . Governments across Europe, as well as the European Commission of the EU, have recognized the importance of digital transformation to their constituencies and citizens. Various digital agendas have been developed and rolled out over the past few years with great fanfare. But in the end, most digital agendas remain high-level discussion papers.
. . . but governments underestimate the magnitude of digital transformation. Most digital agendas lack any real insights about broader business requirements for being successful in the digital economy — let alone any technological insights. Digitization is treated like one of many initiatives rather than the overarching theme for business and society.
An agency head told me how he was on a call between the European head of marketing for a US brand and that brand’s board of directors. The chairman asked the marketing honcho, “How is the European market?” The marketer answered, “There isn’t one.” Awkward silence. “That is, there is no European market. There is a French market. A German market. A British one. And so on. I can tell you about those.”
In no other sphere of marketing are these national differences magnified more than in social media. Social media is, by its nature, participatory and thus takes on the form, tone, and color of its users. Social media in Germany is German social media. In France, French social media.
Then brands enter the picture. That social media strategy hatched in Dallas or Dublin, with a sum earmarked for translations, will not cut it.
Three reasons cookie-cutter strategies will fail in Europe:
Europeans as a broad group are less likely to engage with brands on social media than, say, in the United States or metro Hong Kong.
Europeans’ usage differ significantly country to country; Italians usage is not comparable to German usage.
Each market boasts strong local players that excel at the intricacies of their market’s social media usage.
Customers value tailored offerings. And consumers are increasingly aware of what Forrester calls the “privacy-personalization paradox” — that is, the paradox between their desire for personalization and their desire to keep their data private. A 2013 survey by Populus for Sky IQ of 3,097 UK adults found that 51% believe it is useful for brands to know some information about them, and 53% trust brands to act responsibly with their data. The same survey reveals that 79% respondents are careful about the type of information they pass to organizations, 63% worry about how much personal data they have revealed online, 48% say that data privacy is an issue they think about, and 46% do not trust social networks with their personal data.
This is a guest post from Aurélie L’Hostis, a researcher serving eBusiness & Channel Strategy professionals.
In a world that’s constantly on the move, more and more Europeans appreciate that the phone in their pocket can do more than just cruise the Internet, check the weather forecast, and shoot disgruntled birds into space. For mobile banking now offers a secure and convenient way for customers to do their banking ... all in the palm of their hand.
As mobile banking adoption maintains its steady growth in Europe, customer expectations for functionality within mobile banking apps continue to increase. Customers now want quick access to their accounts 24/7, the ability to perform a range of transactions with only a few clicks, and a way to manage their money directly on their smartphone. Over the past year, European banks have focused on trying to keep up with the demands of these increasingly sophisticated mobile banking users. The result has been a plethora of improved functionalities and exciting innovations in European mobile banking. We used our Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark methodology to evaluate the retail mobile banking offerings of eleven European retail banks from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland, and Turkey. Here are some of the highlights:
In advance of next week’s Forrester’s European Forum For Technology Management Leaders in London (June 12-13), we had an opportunity to speak with Oliver Bussmann, one of our industry keynote speakers, about digital business and how UBS is responding to the challenges of digital disruption and to rising customer expectations.
Oliver Bussmann joined UBS in June 2013 as Group Chief Information Officer (CIO), responsible for the Group Technology organization. As Oliver will explain in his presentation on day 2 of the Forum, digital business transformation success in his view hinges on three key factors: A joint and strong partnership of IT and the business working together; creating a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship; consistent and authentic support of senior leadership to demonstrate by example that this transformation is real, necessary and appreciated.
I hope you enjoy Oliver's responses as much as I did, and do join us on June 12-13 to hear the full story!
Q: What is your agenda as CIO at UBS?
As CIO my job is to position IT as a business enabler, this involves understanding the firm's strategic priorities, and ensuring we strike the right balance between (1) managing the traditional IT functions to ensure a cost-effective, reliable and secure infrastructure and (2) focusing on strategic IT, driving transformational change through innovation, to increase revenue opportunities and deliver real value to our business.
This morning when I woke up, one of the first things I did was pick up my iPhone. It’s increasingly part of my morning ritual – whether its checking the weather app for the day’s forecast or using the Starbucks app to pay for my morning coffee on the way to work. And I am not the only one. Forrester forecasts that European online retail sales will increasingly come from sales completed on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
Europeans spend €5 in-store for every €1 spent online after researching products via digital touchpoints. Digital activities influence a significant proportion of physical store sales. Yet, many eBusiness professionals tend to evaluate their digital efforts in terms of online sales generated and struggle to measure the value of a website and digital activities in terms of the overall influence on the shopper journey.
The key for eBusiness professionals is to recognize the influence that digital has on purchase decisions across the customer lifecycle and keep consumers within their own ecosystem, no matter where the final transaction takes place (in the physical store, on their website or via their mobile app).
But how can you quantify the influence of your digital presence on physical store sales?
For several years we have published the cross channel retail sales forecasts in the US and for the first time Forrester has developed a European version focused on seven European markets: UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Sweden. The forecast projects the growth of cross channel sales - sales that are influenced by the digital touchpoints but where the purchase is completed in a physical store.
A few key takeaways from a European perspective include:
Calculating and avoiding risk is at the core of insurance. So what are we to make of the fact that insurance executives top our list of professionals who think that the digital disruption of their industry is imminent?[i] We should take it seriously, seeing it as admirable clairvoyance rather than blind fear. Unlike many other industries, at least insurers know the risks they’re facing. But will they act upon this vision? They might have no other choice.
Digital disruption has arrived in insurance. In our new report on trends in European digital insurance, we show that years of slow growth, low consumer trust, and heavy regulation have weakened incumbents. Meanwhile, customer expectations have been rising, fuelling the appetites of startups and companies not traditionally associated with insurance, such as digital platforms, car manufacturers, utility companies, telcos, and sensor and wearable manufacturers, whose utility and access to consumer data has placed them dangerously close to the core of insurance.
I have just returned from our Forum For Marketing Leaders in San Francisco, and am now looking forward to being the host at Forrester's Forum For Marketing Leaders in London (May 13-14). Our analysts are excited to share with the European audience our latest Forrester thinking on brand-building in the post-campaign era and how to balance achieving business objectives whilst delivering highly contextual, real-time customer value. We will be joining forces with key industry keynote speakers such as Kristof Fahy, Chief Marketing Officer at William Hill, Amy Nelson-Bennett, President at Molton Brown Global, and Francesca Nieddu, Managing Director, CRM and Sales Planning, Intesa Sanpaulo.
As we make our final preparations for the event, I caught up with Francesca Nieddu from Intesa Sanpaulo about the marketing opportunities and challenges specific to retail banking. Here's what she had to say:
Q: Retail banking marketers aren't typically known for being customer-centric as they tend to focus their marketing efforts around products. What was the biggest barrier you faced as you attempted to pivot?