Deze week was een goed voorbeeld van hoe internationaal het werk bij Accenture eruit kan zien. Afgezien van de internationale opdrachten die ik zelf heb gedaan in Duitsland, België en de VS heb je constant internationale contacten om verschillende redenen. Het kan zijn omdat de klant in meerdere landen is gevestigd, omdat je je project doet met Accenture collega’s uit andere landen, of omdat je hulp nodig hebt van experts die voor Accenture de wereld rond reizen. Read more…
Archive for October, 2010
Yesterday I hosted a strategy session for the Dutch Marketing team of Accenture. As a fiscal year kick-off, we discussed our various strategies for the year ahead and brainstormed where we can outperform. As innovation is a key personality trait of Accenture, it is always an important theme in our marketing and communications. Also, it is something we always strive for in our strategy, tactics and operations. To open our eyes and see what is out there, I invited Dutch internet serial entrepreneur Boris Veldhuizen van Zanten for discussion.
One of the elements Boris talked about was his work with The Next Web, one of the top weblogs in the world and one of the few truly global ones on their topics. Here, as opposed to some American blogs, they try to take a truly global view and take for example Africa very serious as an innovative region. This made me think of an interesting Point of View I read recently: Trendsetters in the Networked World? Look to Consumers in Emerging Economies, by colleague Andy Zimmerman.
The Accenture study, Telecommunications Competitive Future Research: A Consumer Perspective, formed the basis of this PoV. Here, a number of sophisticated early adopters of technology devices and networked services in major economies around the world where surveyed. Because the survey sample included not only the United States, Europe and Japan but also Brazil, China and India, the data analysis uncovered several interesting insights about tech-forward consumers in developing nations compared with their counterparts in the industrialized world.
The headline finding from the research is that advanced users of communications services in emerging economies are setting a pace at least as fast as those in the developed world. Although these consumers represent a smaller percentage of the overall population in emerging economies, they are more enthusiastic about the future of technology than those in industrialized nations. They are optimistic about what a networked world can do for them, their families, their communities and their nations—and are more likely to associate digital devices and services with advancing their personal economic position.
These emerging-world consumers are prepared—maybe even more than their developed-world counterparts—to be extremely entrepreneurial in their adoption and use of technologies. Boris mentioned how they skip certain steps we have taken in for example payments, by going straight to mobile payments for all kinds on purchases. Accenture believes that communications and high-tech companies should see these consumers as forerunners of a much broader market. They are also an excellent target group with which companies can test new devices and service offerings, and from which the next generation of entrepreneurs might be developed.
Our marketing team learns from our practices in these regions in what channels work and how. But more importantly, our clients in the Netherlands get the benefit from all this global knowledge we build up within Accenture and leverage at the local client need. As Dutch marketers, we will do a better job at spreading these stories.
Last week, Sony announced it was ceasing production of the Walkman after 30 years. At the demise of the once-so-popular device, we can only conclude that this was truly a breakthrough innovation that forever changed the way consumers enjoyed their music.
A successful innovation addresses a real customer need in a differentiated and superior way. Without a compelling value proposition, any idea is just a lead balloon that will never fly. In this particular occasion the customer need was discovered at very close range, within Sony itself. The lead-user that instigated the development of the first device was Sony’s co-chairman Akio Morita, who wanted to be able to listen to his favorite operas during his frequent trans-Pacific plane trips. Dragging around a Sony Boom-Box or Ghetto-Blaster obviously wasn’t an option for mister Morita.
The cassette player in itself wasn’t the real innovation. Technically speaking it was just an incremental line extension as Sony had already produced compact cassette players before, such as the Pressman. The real breakthrough was created when Sony developed a light-weight headset to complement the small cassette player, the H-AIR MDR-3 model. This total solution enabled people to walk, jog or cycle around without feeling too ridiculous wearing the large 70’s soft-padded headphones. It addressed people’s unarticulated, yet real desire to comfortably move about or exercise while listing to the music of their own choice.
Sony’s execution capabilities, fine-tuned to copy western technologies in the post WWII era, were finally deployed to surpass the competition. The product was launched in 1977 to become a commercial success. In 1995 Sony had already sold 150 million Walkmans around the globe, as the premium choice for the young and mobile music lover.
At the end-of-its lifecycle, the walkman got confronted with superior challengers, such as the Discman and the MP3-payer. In the end it wasn’t Sony that delivered the best value proposition to the customer: this time it was Apple that captured the heart of the customer with a stylish player and a new breakthrough innovation that drastically changed the rules of the game called I-Tunes.
The story of the Walkman demonstrates that it is not easy to remain competitive forever. It’s no simple task to create a sustainable flow of highly differentiated innovations to the market. Capturing the next wave and continuously out-innovate your competitors requires ongoing monitoring of the market landscape and understanding emerging technologies, but foremost the timely discovery of changing customer needs.
Curious to find out if the “next Walkman” is about to be launched? In the past months the professional juries of the Accenture Innovation Awards have thoroughly evaluated hundreds of concepts and elected their nominees who compete for the prestigious ‘Blue Tulip Award’. The award ceremonies take place in the first week of November. The Media, Communications & High Tech Innovation event will be held on Tuesday November 2nd in ‘Pakhuis de Zwijger’ in Amsterdam. On Thursday November 4th the winner of the Financial Services Innovation Awards will be announced at the Financial Services Innovation Event, to be held directly after the Emerce eFinancials event on that same day.
Continuous innovation and rapid transformation have been themes throughout Accenture’s history. Established in 1989 primarily as a technology consultant and systems integrator, Accenture soon began offering a new breed of business integration solutions to clients—solutions that aligned organizations’ technologies, processes and people with their strategies.
Digital is driving fundamental shifts in how businesses operate. Instead of a handful of online and offline touch points, companies have the opportunity to meet customers anywhere and everywhere: in social media sites, inside their smart phones and on their favorite blogs. Since marketers are intruding in domains that are much more reflective of the personal interests of their targets, earning and maintaining the right to visibility on these channels requires a new and extraordinary level of content that reflects the wants and needs of the consumer. In other words: Messages need to be relevant. That requires eschewing traditional “push marketing” and instead offering information that is engaging and timely to individual consumers based on their specific interests.
10 years ago when I phoned the cable company in Canada they would answer my call with my name, “Good afternoon Ms. Gordon”. Back then I thought it was the norm; but what I wouldn’t give to get this basic service from my current cable company.
Let’s think about it for a moment; the key companies I deal with in Holland (phone company, cable company, bank, etc..) all know who I am. I have trusted them with my person details. They have my name, address, birth date, passport, bank account info, phone numbers, email addresses, etc. So they know everything about me yet treat me like they do not know a thing? How much does it really cost to put in a little more effort in the delivery of a valued customer service experience? Read more…
Pierre Nanterme will become Accenture’s chief executive officer on January 1, 2011. He is currently group chief executive of Accenture’s Financial Services operating group, which serves clients in the banking, capital markets and insurance industries. He is also a member of Accenture’s Executive Leadership Team.
“This is the right time to further strengthen Accenture’s global leadership. Accenture is on a solid growth trajectory and is better positioned for the future than at any time in our history,” Green said. “Pierre’s significant involvement in both developing and delivering our growth strategy — and his tenure as a senior leader in our company — all point to a seamless transition. I look forward to working closely with Pierre as he accelerates the execution of our business strategy and guides Accenture through our next phase of growth.”
Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, lead director of the Accenture board, said, “Pierre possesses all the qualifications that we believe are critical to lead Accenture — including a keen understanding of the global marketplace and competitive landscape, a deep-seated commitment to serving clients and delivering value to shareholders, and true passion for Accenture’s people. Speaking on behalf of the board, we look forward to working closely with Pierre in his role as chief executive officer.
More on the announcement from the following publishers:
- The Wall Street Journal: Accenture To Promote Nanterme To CEO On Jan. 1
- Bloomberg: Accenture Names Pierre Nanterme CEO, Replacing Green
Who is Pierre Nanterme?
Pierre Nanterme, 51, is based in Paris. He currently serves as group chief executive of Accenture’s Financial Services operating group, which serves clients in the banking, capital markets and insurance industries. Prior to assuming his current role in September 2007, Mr. Nanterme served as Accenture’s chief leadership officer, with primary responsibility for Accenture’s human capital strategy as well as the design and implementation of its highly regarded global operating model. In that role he was also actively involved in framing Accenture’s client-service model and global strategy.
As part of the Gallia region of Accenture (France, BeNeLux), I am personally very proud to see a man coming from this region to become the CEO of the company.
On the 14th of October I attended the Klantbelevingsconferentie in Baarn. I had reviewed the program of speakers in the weeks prior and made my assessment of which were likely to be the most interesting. I quickly realized I was wrong in my assessment; each speaker was equally interesting and all the topics were highly complimentary of one another. Here are a few highlights from the day: Read more…
In just a few weeks, the winners of Accenture Innovation Awards 2010 will be known. The concepts that will compete for the prestigious “Blue Tulip“ have been selected and will be presented during live events on November 2th and 4th 2010 in Amsterdam (more on the Innovation Awards).
Since 2007 the Innovation Awards are organized to create an overview of high performing innovative concepts in the Media, Communication, Entertainment and High Tech sectors. Due to the success of previous editions, Accenture introduced the Innovation Awards to the Financial Services sector.
To accompany this introduction, Accenture has written an article for the Dutch magazine Banking Review. The article explains why this is the moment for financial institutions to get serious about innovation.