With Brexit, A Customer-Focused Agenda Is More Important Than Ever

Yesterday’s decision by UK citizens to leave the European Union (“Brexit”) brings about short-term uncertainties and unintended consequences that will make it harder for UK businesses to keep customers and attract talent. While times of high-market volatility can tempt firms to panic and cut spending on customer-focused initiatives, now is the time to drive innovation in order to win, serve, and retain customers. 
As decisions over the next several years are determined by legislators and driven by compliance, UK companies will be challenged to operate as customer-obsessed firms. Forrester believes that the UK’s decision will have five major implications, including:
  • Digital and customer-facing talent will migrate out of the UK. Concerns about immigration laws (i.e., who will have the right to stay) will both drive footloose talent to look for jobs abroad and dissuade others from coming. And CIOs will find it even more difficult to recruit already-scarce developers and engineers to build customer-facing systems. 
  • Product and delivery innovation will slow. Companies will now have to spend more time and effort to deliver products across borders and less time innovating on new customer-focused solutions. 
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Digital Transformation Forum Europe 2016: Q&A with Blake Cahill, Head of Digital, Royal Philips

Forrester’s Digital Transformation Europe 2016 Forum in London starts today, and our first industry speaker will be Blake Cahill, Head of Digital, at Royal Philips. Over the past 20 years, Blake has led a series of marketing, creative, client management, product innovation, and thought leadership projects for both Fortune 500 organizations and digital start-ups. At Philips, Blake is helping to lead the Dutch company’s international rebranding and expansion into new technologies and markets. In his presentation, he will talk about the role of digital marketing in the transformation of Philips into a global digital business, and in entering the Chinese market, providing key best practices and lessons learnt.

As I prepared for my role as Forum co-chair, together with Benjamin Ensor, I spoke to Blake about his views on the age of the customer and the impact of digital on companies like Royal Philips. Here is what Blake shared with me, and I hope you will enjoy his answers as much as I did. If you would like to attend Blake's presentation in person, there is still time to register!

Q. How is digital transforming Philips' business and, as a digital marketer, how are you collaborating with and/or advising your peers in other parts of the business on the transformation?

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Digital Transformation Europe Forum 2016: Q&A With Fergus Boyd, VP, Digital And IT, Yotel

This week, Forrester’s European Digital Transformation Europe Forum 2016 kicks off in London at the Lancaster on June 8-9. Myself and Forum co-host Benjamin Ensor are very excited about the program that we have been able to put together across the two days. Our list of industry speakers is impressive, and includes Blake Cahill, Global Head of Digital and Social Marketing, at Philips, Toby Wright, Chief Technology Officer, at Telegraph Media Group, Nina Jones, Global Owner Experience Director, at Jaguar Landrover, and Dr. Horst J. Kayser, Chief Strategy Officer, at Siemens AG.

On day one, we will also be hearing from Fergus Boyd, Vice President, Digital and IT at Yotel. Fergus is responsible for this start-up affordable luxury hotel brand’s digital strategy and services (web, mobile, social), IT innovation, and all back-end and guest-facing technology. He is a serial digital entrepreneur and technology transformation agent and led award-winning IT, eCommerce, and innovation initiatives at Virgin Atlantic and British Airways (BA).  

In the run-up to the Forum, we asked Fergus to answer a number of questions on how Yotel uses digital to differentiate itself in the hospitality and accommodation market. His answers are a must-read for other tech management and digital business leaders facing similar challenges. I look forward to hearing Fergus’ presentation, “From Raw Fish To Moving Beds,” this Wednesday. Come and join us by registering today!

Q. How does Yotel use digital (web, mobile, social) to differentiate itself as a startup hotel brand?

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BT Transformation Q&A With Marcello V. Ronco, SVP, UniCredit Business Integrated Solutions (UBIS)

At Forrester’s Forum For Technology Leaders in Lisbon (June 2-3), Marcello V. Ronco, Senior Vice President and Head of Core Banking Production Line of UniCredit Business Integrated Solutions (UBIS), will be speaking about the bank's BT transformation journey and, in particular, its mobile banking initiative. Marcello is co-leading with Marketing Directors within the organization the restructuring of UniCredit Retail in Italy, Germany and Austria, to realize the company's ambition to become a truly digital omni-channel bank. In his session, Marcello will explain how to change a traditional IT department so that it is set up to support a modern multichannel bank, and why IT plays a strategic role to ensure the right level of customer service through mobile banking.

As I prepared for my role as Forum Chair, I spoke to Marcello about his views on the age of the customer and the impact it has on financial services organizations such as UniCredit. Here is what Marcello shared with me, and I hope you will enjoy his answers as much as I did.

Q: How is the age of the customer impacting your industry (financial services) and the solutions provided by UniCredit Business Integrated Solutions?

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BT Transformation Q&A With Sharon Cooper, Chief Technology Officer, BMJ

The age of the customer demands more of companies, forcing them to change how they develop, market, sell, and deliver products and services. In response, CIOs must invest in business technology (BT) — the technology, systems, and processes to win, serve, and retain customers. At Forrester’s Forum For Technology Leaders in Lisbon (June 2-3), leaders from firms like BMJ, Portugal Telecom, BBVA, Mastercard, Alliander, DER Touristik and UniCredit will share strategies that you can use to achieve Read more

Security & Risk Professionals: Leapfrog Your Global Competition. Rethink Security; Run At The Threat.

One of the highest-stakes parts of my job as the leader of our Security & Risk business is the in-depth business review that I present to Forrester’s executive team twice a year.  And I always start those presentations with a single slide in which I attempt to capture the Security & Risk profession in as few words as possible.  My current formulation is: “We protect our company’s brand – and our Security & Risk program allows our company to pursue new business opportunities safely.”

Our CEO, George F. Colony, sat bolt upright and said, “Wow – I didn’t know that CISOs saw their roles in such business-centric terms!”  To which I replied, “And that’s exactly the problem.  Strong CISOs are generally all action and very little talk – they put the brand and business opportunity at the center of everything they do, but they don’t brag about it.  And thus they don’t get the recognition they deserve.”

And my team and I are on a mission to help you change that.  Because we know that a strong security & risk program can be a competitive differentiator.  We can help our businesses win on the global stage by enabling our firms to accept more (and different!) risks than others can afford.  Rethinking your security assumptions and your security infrastructure means that you will have the skills, processes, and tools your business needs to seize new opportunities.  So now you just have to get the word out that you can help.

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Protecting The Extended Enterprise

“To succeed, Security & Risk leaders need to be part of the business strategy.” If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone give some variation on that piece of advice, I’d be rich. As you all know, that’s an easy thing to say but a difficult thing to do. And that’s particularly true now, because our business leaders today are prioritizing growth – they’re entering new markets and releasing new products and services to grow revenue. Your business will unleash the creativity of its entire extended enterprise ecosystem – employees, partners, suppliers, and current customers – to find new ways to win and serve new customers. And your extended enterprise will connect via mobile and social applications and use cloud services. 

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Security & Risk And Infrastructure & Operations Pros: Drive Customer Growth And Business Differentiation

Security & Risk (S&R) chiefs and Infrastructure & Operations (I&O) leaders have a lot in common, and in great companies, we work in concert to run an efficient, reliable technology infrastructure that keeps critical business assets safe. Much has changed in the world of technology since I pulled my first all-nighter in a data center (falling asleep next to the EMC Symmetrix array was not one of my better ideas – those corners were sharp!), but that partnership is still the same – it takes security engineers and network/server engineers working together to solve really thorny problems.

We have our frictions, of course – I&O pros prioritize operational stability and continuity of service, while S&R pros must occasionally interrupt that continuity to contain security breaches. But when a serious incident (whether security breach or system failure) threatens to sideline our business systems, it falls to us to find and fix the problems – together. We may be organizationally separate now, with I&O reporting into the CIO and the CISO reporting into a COO or Head of Operational Risk, but we share a set of fundamental challenges.  We must excel in our own domains (not exactly a cakewalk) but also anticipate and deliver on what our businesses need (much harder).

 And what our businesses seek today is growth – in Forrester’s most recent survey of business decision-makers, the top two priorities were growing overall company revenue and acquiring and retaining customers. S&R pros have already worked hard to escape their “Department of No” reputations, and I&O pros have labored tirelessly to get out of the data center and into the business. 

But that’s not enough. 

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