Manufacturing and Service Industries are Blurring

Across industries we are seeing consumers become more demanding of personalised products and services that meet their needs, and this is now expected. While some industries are quicker to respond to this, research by SAP, the Manufacturing Success report, found that manufacturers are falling behind, with 80% agreeing they could be more customer-centric with their approach and product development.

Traditionally, moManufacturing SAPst supply chains were designed from the factory outwards and focused on optimising supplier operations, particularly in terms of cost and efficiency. The rules of competition are changing though – customers are more demanding, products are more easily copied and markets are commoditised.

UK manufacturers are still grappling with this increasing customer complexity and changing competition. In order to truly succeed and grow therefore, embracing customer demands, and putting them at the heart of everything manufacturers do is key.

Here are three things which manufacturers must do in order to succeed in the customer driven economy.

Better understanding of customer base

If manufacturers are to effectively serve customers beyond core products they offer, they must look to build a better understanding of their customer base.

It’s not just about understanding the customer themselves – what they do, and the challenges they face – but it’s also about having deep knowledge of the industry in which they operate.

This will not only help to solve short time crises but through a consultative and integrated approach, this will also mean they can better support in the long term, planning for growth and strategic change. At Invenio Solutions for example, we have extensive knowledge of SAP solutions which enables us to provide tailored SAP support.

Add value

The SAP research highlights one of the biggest shifts that manufacturers expect to see in customers over the next two years is demand for added-value services (67%).

Can you quickly adapt products to meet customer needs? Do you have the expertise and knowledge to make recommendations? Are you available to support 24/7? These are all worth considering when taking a customer first approach – by being flexible, available and positioned as the expert, customers will feel that they are getting an added value experience.

Increase transparency

Customers demand supply chain transparency according to the research which highlights that almost half of manufacturers are expecting this to be a number one priority as we move through this year.

By consolidating suppliers, and being more open and transparent, manufacturers will quickly build trust with customers. Fewer, better relationships mean a value-added consultancy service can be provided which shifts away from the commoditised, ‘race to the bottom’ model which fewer demand.

By creating whole new systems of value for customers that will help secure long term relationships and provide competitive differentiation, the lines between manufacturing and service industries are blurring.

If you would like more information about Invenio’s SAP solutions call us today on +44 (0)330 440 1800, or complete our online enquiry form for further information.

How to Increase Productivity in Manufacturing

Only last Manufacturing SAPyear, industry body EEF found that more than a quarter of UK manufacturers lagged behind rivals because they invest less in innovation. This has resulted in them struggling to remain competitive, particularly in today’s globalised economy.

With that in mind, it’s great to see that one year on, the manufacturing industry is taking steps towards changing this. EEF’s research from June this year found that it is now investing more heavily in technology and skills to help boost productivity. The idea behind this investment is to drive competition today, and secure future growth in the industry.

While this will have a positive impact, there is a lot more manufacturers should be doing. By following the below three steps, they can make this development faster, smoother and more effective.

  1. Forge relationships

In today’s global economy, markets are complex and barriers to smooth operation are endless – language, legal and consumer preference to name a few. Industry knowledge and understanding of each of the markets is important for manufacturers who want to continue to grow.

Having all this expertise in house is almost an impossible task and so forging the right business relationships is key. Partners who have specific tech knowhow can help remove any headaches that arise as a result of changing legislation for example. By building the right relationships, complexity can be eliminated, enabling manufacturers to concentrate on increasing productivity.

  1. Understand your customers

If manufacturers are to effectively serve customers beyond the core products they offer, they must look to build a better understanding of them. Knowing their customer, understanding what they do and the challenges they face is a good starting point. But this should be extended to include having a deep knowledge of the industry in which they operate.

This will not only help to solve short time crises but through a consultative and integrated approach, this will also mean they can better support in the long term, planning for growth and strategic change.

  1. Simplify the supply chain

Traditionally, most supply chains were designed from the factory outwards and focused on optimising supplier operations, particularly in terms of cost and efficiency. The rules of competition are changing though – customers are more demanding, products are more easily copied and markets are commoditised.

This has resulted in increasing customer complexity and changing competition, presenting UK manufactures with a new challenge. In order to truly succeed, manufacturers need to reduce the number of suppliers. By consolidating these and being more open and transparent, manufacturers will quickly build trust with customers which will help them increase productivity.

The increased investment in UK manufacturing is a step in the right direction and will undoubtedly result in greater productivity. However, there is still a lot more they can do. This development will be a lot more effective if they review how they do business. Forging the right business relationships, gaining an understanding of the pain points their customers face and making the supply chain as simple as possible will futureproof the UK’s manufacturing industry.

We can help

If you would like more information about Invenio’s SAP solutions call us today on +44 (0)330 440 1800, or complete our online enquiry form for further information.

Manufacturing and Service Industries are Blurring

Across industries we are seeing consumers become more demanding of personalised products and services that meet their needs, and this is now expected. While some industries are quicker to respond to this, research by SAP, the Manufacturing Success report, found that manufacturers are falling behind, with 80% agreeing they could be more customer-centric with their approach and product development.

Traditionally, moManufacturing SAPst supply chains were designed from the factory outwards and focused on optimising supplier operations, particularly in terms of cost and efficiency. The rules of competition are changing though – customers are more demanding, products are more easily copied and markets are commoditised.

UK manufacturers are still grappling with this increasing customer complexity and changing competition. In order to truly succeed and grow therefore, embracing customer demands, and putting them at the heart of everything manufacturers do is key.

Here are three things which manufacturers must do in order to succeed in the customer driven economy.

Better understanding of customer base

If manufacturers are to effectively serve customers beyond core products they offer, they must look to build a better understanding of their customer base.

It’s not just about understanding the customer themselves – what they do, and the challenges they face – but it’s also about having deep knowledge of the industry in which they operate.

This will not only help to solve short time crises but through a consultative and integrated approach, this will also mean they can better support in the long term, planning for growth and strategic change. At Invenio Solutions for example, we have extensive knowledge of SAP solutions which enables us to provide tailored SAP support.

Add value

The SAP research highlights one of the biggest shifts that manufacturers expect to see in customers over the next two years is demand for added-value services (67%).

Can you quickly adapt products to meet customer needs? Do you have the expertise and knowledge to make recommendations? Are you available to support 24/7? These are all worth considering when taking a customer first approach – by being flexible, available and positioned as the expert, customers will feel that they are getting an added value experience.

Increase transparency

Customers demand supply chain transparency according to the research which highlights that almost half of manufacturers are expecting this to be a number one priority as we move through this year.

By consolidating suppliers, and being more open and transparent, manufacturers will quickly build trust with customers. Fewer, better relationships mean a value-added consultancy service can be provided which shifts away from the commoditised, ‘race to the bottom’ model which fewer demand.

By creating whole new systems of value for customers that will help secure long term relationships and provide competitive differentiation, the lines between manufacturing and service industries are blurring.

 

We can help

If you would like more information about Invenio’s SAP solutions call us today on +44 (0)330 440 1800, or complete our online enquiry form for further information.

Big data is useless – small data is key

Craft customer experiences that drive recommendations (word-of-mouth) and sales

 

As an SME, how can you push the boundaries of your organisation? How do you extend the value of your organisation’s products & services with limited budgets?

The phrase big data is thrown around in every sector and has exploded onto every touch point for business growth, in reality, it is small data that is key. For every business large or small, it is really all about your customer, when a customer has a business problem what do they want to see? Your customer can see millions of products and millions of solutions. But what is it that your customer really needs?

Impact of word of mouth across various stages of the purchase process

We know that:

For an SME, one of the most important factors that drives your business growth is strong recommendations or word of mouth.

As recommendations are a key influencer across all stages of a purchase process; from being initially informed of a product or service through to the concrete purchase decision, you need to engage your customers with above average experiences and build positive feedback properties or word of mouth equity. This can increase the stickiness of a sale and improve the repeat purchase potential of customers.

impact_of_word_of_mouth
Figure 1: Mckinsey: Impact of word of mouth – across various stages of a purchase process.

It is reported that 8 out of 10 purchases are influenced by a recommendation by people talking face-to-face. And every product or service category  (regardless of price point) is usually influenced by friends, family or colleagues rather than more expert sources. The ‘experts’ matter more when seeking advice in technical categories such as digital cameras or cars.

 

So where do you focus for word of mouth marketing?

For an engagement to happen you need to:

  1. First identify the close & trusted set of customers that you can work with.
  2. Understand if they would recommend your product or service to others.
  3. Extract the genuine reasons behind being a promoter or a detractor.
    a.These reasons should not be ambiguous and should be a quantifiable indicator regarding the product design, service delivery or the pricing.
  4. Identify the key influenceurs of the group which you need to focus on to drive the word of mouth recommendations.
  5. Also identify the key influential detractors in the group whowould need to be converted to a promoter.

 

word_of_mouth_marketing

Figure 2: Mckinsey: Where to focus on for an Effective Word of mouth for a Brand.

How do you measure word of mouth marketing for customer engagements?

 

Your objective is to have an understanding of how customers’ experiences are influenced by their overall loyalty so you can figure out ways to improve those experiences. How do you use small data for a competitive advantage? Hence for me it is about my customer’s customer.

It’s not about presenting a billion items and handing over an inventory or your encyclopaedia of solutions, it’s about presenting a highly relevant experience for your customer.

customer_engagement

 

Connect the Dots and encourage your customers to be great!

Sheejo

Sheejo Arvind, Practice Lead – Customer solutions (CEC) at Invenio Business solutions has 9 years of strong SAP Consulting experience, and 6 years of extensive sales experience including the implementation of SAP CRM Sales specific scenarios, delivered key billing revenue & innovation management (BRIM) solutions, actively engaged with Customer engagement & commerce solutions.

 
 
 
 
 
 
References:
  1. Ed Keller
  2. The Face-to-Face Book:  Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace
  3. Mckinsey

Watch out! Competitors are now aiming to engage your loyal customers, what can you do?

Customers can now exercise their might through strong online research and an even stronger feedback, you possibly would have experienced this too. The objective is clear for any business, ‘How can they identify the right set of customers for their key products and service offerings to improve their market share and margins’? This is the core to the businesses success.

However, there would be an internal IT team who have already invested and implemented legacy solutions to provide their business with just that.

So what has changed?

The expected turnaround time.

Businesses now expect their customer relevant analytics to be delivered right now, not in months from when they place their requirement, even more they want to analyse & fine tune it themselves.

Imagine your business or customer now requires you to:

1. Classify customers according to their contribution to your total revenue.
2. Then provide an exact breakdown of the customer-related margin, pocket margin and gross margin, which provides crucial information on discounts, surcharges and costs.
3. They then want a customer rating scorecard, which is based on several key performance indicators (KPIs) that are derived from the source data and calculated against a peer group.

Assuming the legacy systems are in place, this would be a two month timescale of a business intelligence & data warehousing project with the potential to extend beyond six months if the right solution is not put in place.

What if we could deliver this analysis within seconds? Irrespective of the data complexity & the volume of data.
customer_engagementThere are customers across the world who are utilising these solutions and driving your loyal customers towards their products and services, they are using this solution to create effective personas and actively engage with them through the right channel to ensure their patronage.

Invenio business solutions, provides you with services tailored around SAP Customer Engagement Intelligence to maximise the value of your promotions and marketing engagement to drive revenue. Our approach to deliver this solution provides a guaranteed delivery within weeks.

Keep an eye out for instalment of this blog by Sheejo Arvind.

SheejoSheejo Arvind, Practice Lead – Customer solutions (CEC) at Invenio Business solutions has 9 years of strong SAP Consulting experience, and 6 years of extensive sales experience including the implementation of SAP CRM Sales specific scenarios, delivered key billing revenue & innovation management (BRIM) solutions, actively engaged with Customer engagement & commerce solutions.

Online Consumer Privacy. How will it affect the media brands you love?

Advertising and the data that helps drive personalised ad targeting dominates the virtual world. For some, it helps to make online browsing, shopping and searching more relevant. But the number of online users not wanting to be seen, or sold to, is increasing – and that is driving a worrying rise in the number of people who are amending their privacy settings to block unwanted ads or promotions.

As consumers, many of us welcome the opportunity to stop annoying pop-ups and continuous ads being served up on the basis of a search we’ve made some days before. But, from a business perspective, what does ad blocking mean for today’s media companies who rely on advertising revenues to help them make money in today’s digital era? And should media companies be looking at ways to offset a potential decline in ad revenues as the adoption of ad blocking technology grows?

A recent report from PageFair – a technology provider that helps businesses detect site visitors using ad blocking – stated that an average of 22.7% of internet users are now blocking ads – and it’s a number that’s growing at around 43% per year. The report said “[The] high adblocking rate translates directly into revenue loss for advertising-funded web businesses. One typical PageFair client site suffers from 25% adblocking, costing them nearly $500,000 per year. This scale of revenue loss can be fatal. Indeed, several sites that formerly reported data are no longer online”.

The chart below breaks down some of the Pagefair findings into industries that are most affected

adblockingSites that attract more technically advanced audiences such as the gaming and technology industries are particularly affected by this trend. These internet-savvy visitors are more likely to know how to block ads and/or change their security settings which shows in the higher incidence of ad blocking on these sites. As for the news and entertainment industries, their ads are currently being blocked by 16% and 18% of visitors respectively. Should PageFair’s reported growth in adoption prove to be accurate, then these figures are likely to climb significantly during the coming years.

Research from Google Trends also shows that over a number of years the interest in ad blocking has grown at a significant rate

GoogleTrends

 

Although ad blocking may still be in its infancy, these trends do suggest that the number of internet users deploying ad blockers is highly likely to rise in the future. And with new security settings such as the Google keyword blocking coming into force this month, media brands need to be prepared in the event that these trends do ultimately trigger a decline in revenues from the sale of online advertising space.

Is Paid Content the Answer?

One way to mitigate the possible decline in ad revenues is to offer paid and subscription-based media content. Reports around newspaper giants such as The Sun newspaper which has recently erected a paywall on its site have made the headlines in recent months. Although the paywall has resulted in a substantial decline in the paper’s online readership, The Sun’s owners, News UK, still believe that the overall profit to be gained from the paywall will prove to be a winner in the long term. The rationale behind this move is two-fold: build a revenue stream through subscription based sales, and exploit the rich data set that a subscriber’s digital footprint can offer to sell relevant advertising and cross-sell various products and services.

But of course many of us consumers are used to accessing free information – and are loathe to pay money for content that can be found for free elsewhere. If advertising revenues start to decline, News UK’s move may well be prescient in that a paywall will be one of the very few ways in which news publishers can survive online.

How technology can help protect and grow revenues

Protecting and growing revenues in the midst of shifting consumer behaviour is never easy but using technology to support business decision-making can help. Tools such as SAP solutions for the media industry are specifically designed to help companies address these kinds of challenges. They provide a good supporting mechanism in helping media brands overcoming challenges in a dynamic, ever-changing environment.

SAP Business Intelligences solutions can also help to support decision-making around content and content monetisation which can help media companies to:

  • Improve the delivery of relevant premium content based on current consumer demand.
  • Optimise sales by formulating pricing strategies that accommodate different audience segments.
  • Deliver relevant content and offers that help improve subscriber relationships and foster loyalty.
  • Better analyse feedback and behavioural metrics to assess content popularity.
  • Manage complex financial workflow to improve operational efficiencies.
  • Provide highly granular reporting on all content segments for more informed decision-making
  • Communicate up-to-date key performance indicators to relevant parties throughout the business, quickly and efficiently.
  • Better use intelligence to forecast and predict trends thereby helping to identify challenges and opportunities for increased revenues.
  • Visually represent objectives, goals and key performance indicators for improve internal collaboration and confident decision-making.
  • In today’s business climate, a well-designed technology platform can make the world of difference across many areas of your business – allowing you to take decisions with confidence and chart new courses for growth and profitability.

To explore your options in more detail please get in touch with Kedar

Can Western Media Brands Capitalise on the Digital Growth in India?

The global media landscape is subject to constant change, with savvy media brands seeking to adopt the latest technologies and trends to attract a wider audience. And, thanks in part to the growth of smartphone and tablet sales, it is now easier than ever for consumers to discover, share (and even publish) this media content.

These factors have been shaping the way the media industry engages with audiences in the western economies for some time now but, with improving communications infrastructure and an increase in disposable income, more and more consumers in the emerging economies look set to join the party. Take India, for example, where it is predicted that PC sales (comprising desktops, notebooks and netbooks) is expected to grow by 8 percent across 2013-14 – with the tablet being the preferred choice for consumers (source: Times of India). This figure may not seem particularly high but it takes on new meaning, when compared to the overall global figure which, says the IDC, has actually contracted by 11.4% in the last quarter from the same time last year. It is these kinds of developments that are prompting many media companies to explore new overseas markets in search of growth – and further research suggests that India in particular may provide a rich stream of new revenue opportunities for the media industry.

India’s digitisation developments The Indian market has a rapidly expanding middle class and an appetite for western brands. This has seen companies such as British high street retailers, Marks & Spencer, open 10 stores in recent years with joint venture partners Reliance Retail. Media looks set to follow in their footsteps, buoyed by a growing market of consumers who now have access to internet-enabled devices. This growing audience is having an effect on digital advertising too, which grew by nearly 41% last year – with revenues surging from 15.5 billion rupees in 2011 to 21.7billion rupees. And a recent Boston Consulting Group paper, Buzz to Bucks: “Capitalizing on India’s Digitally Influenced Consumers” suggests that the number of internet users in India is likely to triple from 125 million in 2011 to 330 million by 2016 and is likely to increase further as the digital services become more accessible. Digitisation is not restricted to the internet either. In December 2012, Parliament in India enacted a new Bill to make digitisation of cable TV mandatory. The initiative started with the key areas of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai and is expected to be pan-India by 2014. Because of this initiative, Indian Broadcasters are experiencing phenomenal growth – a factor which has been quickly noted by western companies.

So how do western media brands capitalise on this growth? In India, many forms of digital advertising and content delivery are still considered to be in a nascent stage – giving Western media firms with experience in delivering a digital experience, the opportunity to break new ground at relatively little cost. In addition, there are opportunities to licence and/or syndicate Western media brands to experienced local partners so that the market can be tested, and a gradual local presence can be developed and explored. Joint-ventures, as in the case of Marks & Spencer, can provide firms with much needed local market knowledge, and local market acquisitions can also offer a platform to grow a brand into an established base.

External help Although this seems to be an intriguing and exciting prospect for media companies to accelerate growth, some may be rightly exercising caution when considering an expansion strategy into new markets. At Invenio, we continue to help media companies develop the right solutions to support growing a global brand. As a SAP media specialist, we understand the market challenges you face – from platform convergence and digitisation to shifting market dynamics, IP protection and content distribution and can help you explore the right solutions needed to support a growing, global media business. If you would like to know more about how we can help your media company grow and prosper contact us now.

3 Ways to Improve Advertising Inventory Management with Business Intelligence

eMarketer’s latest estimates on digital ad spend in the US suggests that it is set to grow to $42.26bn in 2013 – accounting for 24.7% of all total media ad spending in 2013. The research also found that mobile spend is expected to grow by a healthy 95 per cent – accounting for a fifth of all digital ad spending, and 5% of total media ad spending. Meanwhile, in the UK, the Internet Advertising Bureau reported that in 2012, UK digital ad spend rose by 12.5% to a record high of almost £5.5bn. Just as digital spend crossed the £5 billion threshold, mobile ad spend reached its own milestone as surpassed the £½ billion mark in 2012 – representing an increase of 148% on the 2011 figure of £203.2 million.

The increase may help many media companies for whom advertising is a key revenue stream to offset the decline in ad spend across “traditional” offline business models – and particular in the beleaguered newspaper industry where a hefty fall in circulation for six national UK newspapers has recently been announced. But maximising revenues from online advertising inventory brings its own unique set of challenges.

Forecasting and pricing of advertising inventory – digital or otherwise – is complex. The challenges of selling perishable inventory at the right time and for the right price means publishers need to deploy sophisticated, insightful analytic applications to be successful. But when you take into account the deluge of data that’s being generated from any company’s online activities you begin to see the issue that media firms are faced with in turning this data into timely – and meaningful – business insight. Fortunately analytical technologies have moved with the times and there are a range of solutions that can help media companies to make sense of the vast repository of data produced in today’s digital economy.

Below are three ways in which media firms can deploy analytical platforms like SAP Business Objects to transform raw digital data into the meaningful business information that’s needed to inform digital advertising sales strategies:

1. Optimise Pricing Strategies.

Pricing and business analysts can spend much of their time cleaning and checking data – meaning they spend less time on analysing the information that’s needed to make optimal pricing decisions. What’s more, the amount of data that is available for analysis is increasing. Digital data has the potential to offer much deeper insight into various performance metrics (e.g. video v banner), across a variety of placement options and across differing delivery platforms (e.g mobile v tablet). Analytical tools like SAP BusinessObjects can take raw data and help organisations to create insight into the possibilities and potential of inventory, and help to inform cross-selling and up-selling strategies.

2. Improve Demand Forecasting.

A new breed of predictive analytical applications is helping organisations to identify patterns in past data to inform future business strategy. This is particularly pertinent for media companies who need to optimise demand forecasting to sell inventory. These technologies allow organisations to analyse current data and historical facts helping to better identify potential future demand for inventory.

3. Reduce Unsold Inventory.

Because of the perishable nature of advertising inventory, Media sales reps need fast, unambiguous recommendations on how to price ad inventory to maximize sales – without having to sift through large amounts of data or reading through long-winded reports. Business Intelligence solutions can equip them with this information while, at the same time, allowing them to analyse high volumes of pipeline data at any level of granularity to help inform their pricing decisions. This visibility means advertising sales professionals can react more quickly to changing sales conditions, with real-time information and accelerate deals through the pipeline to reduce the occurrence of unsold inventory.

These are just a few of the ways that business intelligence solutions like SAP BusinessObjects can help media executives to sell more space for the best price. Invenio are specialists in delivering cutting edge SAP solutions for their media customers. Contact us directly for more information.