IG&H Best Workplace 2019

By IGH, News

Once again, consultancy firm IG&H has been voted Best Workplace 2019, ranking in the top 10 in the ‘midsize-employer category.’ The organization achieves an exceptionally high score on camaraderie, among other things – which is all the more striking considering that last year, the company grew from 100 to 150 employees. This expansion didn’t impact intensive collaboration: 97% experience a sense of family or team spirit, and 99% described the working atmosphere as “friendly.”

IG&H provides guidance on end-to-end transformations in the fields of finance, health, and retail. Notable clients of the consultancy firm include Bol.com, ING, and the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology.

“Close group of people with a tremendous drive”

What makes the organization unique is the high degree of camaraderie between co-workers – a domain which earned a 97% survey score rating. Employees state that they can be themselves. They experience a socially friendly, welcoming atmosphere and team spirit. “To find such a large group of people who have such a tremendous drive and ambition to make a difference, combined with very close-knit friendships, is absolutely unheard of,” says a consultant in the survey report.

One of the ways in which the organization fosters friendships between co-workers is by organizing a multi-day company event four times a year. This event revolves around ‘fun,’ ‘training,’ or ‘inspiration.’ Employees are also encouraged to initiate sports-related activities. Last year, a group of employees came up with the idea to participate in a half triathlon in Portugal. Eventually, approximately fifty percent of the organization participated, and several employees traveled all the way to Portugal to cheer on their co-workers.

Secure feeling as a foundation for optimal growth

Rooted in a strong belief that satisfied employees lead to satisfied customers, the organization puts its employees’ development and growth first. The foundation for optimally challenging people is a secure feeling – which, according to the survey, 84% of employees experience at IG&H.

To simultaneously strengthen this foundation and sufficiently challenge employees, IG&H collaborates with the IMD Business School. All partners and directors complete the intensive High Performance Leadership Program at IMD. Additionally, the training institute and IG&H have jointly developed a three-day personal leadership course, which gives employees insight into their behavior and the way in which past experiences affect them – all under the guidance of a coach. These coaches are co-workers who have completed the High Performance Leadership Program at IMD.

As it’s unique for a midsize company to invest this amount of time and money in staff training, the Switzerland-based business school has included IG&H as a case study in its training program. Notable IMD alumni include Mark Rutte (the Dutch prime minister), Paul Bulcke (former CEO of Nestlé), and Ian Charles Steward (Wired).

About IG&H

IG&H operates in the finance, retail, and health sectors. From its Utrecht-based office, the consultancy and implementation firm helps organizations realize the transformation to radical customer focus, setting high standards for itself and its working method. Using in-depth knowledge and a personal approach, IG&H takes its customers by the hand to help them improve the sector.

What is ‘Great Place to Work?’

Once a year, Great Place to Work lists organizations that score well above average as employers. These ‘Best Workplaces’ are determined through a test which uses 58 statements related to trust, pride, and fun. In addition, the survey focuses on nine themes in the employer’s policy, including the onboarding process, development, and remuneration. This year, a total of 38,000 employees spread over 140 different organizations cast their votes and participated in the associated survey.

IG&H Dutch Mortgage Update: Mortgage market growth caused entirely by refinancers

By Banking, Mortgage Update, News

Dutch mortgage revenues grew in 2018 from 101 billion euros to 106 billion euros, according to consultancy bureau IG&H’s Dutch Mortgage Update. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2017, the number of mortgages shrinked considerably (8.7 percent). That was the largest decrease since the fourth quarter of 2013. As a result, the full growth in the mortgage market has come entirely from people who are not moving to new homes.

The number of mortgages also fell throughout 2018; by 2,1 percent to a total of 346.000. The average mortage sum few by  grew by 7.2% to 306,000 euros; the highest ever. Whilst the number of starters and existing homeowners in the market fell, the number of refinancers grew from 78,000 to 96,000 in 2018. This makes it the highest number ever. “These signs point to mortgage lenders not succeeding in retaining their existing customers”, says Joppe Smit, senior manager at IG&H. “These signs point to mortgage lenders not succeeding in retaining their existing customers.”

Lowest mortgage revenue growth fourth quarter 2018

The total mortgage revenue during the fourth quarter of 2018 was 28 billion euros; a growth of 2.2% over the third quarter. This is the lowest growth rate during this period since 2011.

Smit: “In previous years, there was additional market growth during the final quarter. This year we will not see as much of this. The lower number of granted mortgages and the smaller growth of the mortgage sums play a role in this. Moreover, the maximum lending capacity in past years was lowered at the end of the year, which always ensured extra volume during the final quarter. The lowering of the capacity did not happen this year.”

The shares of major banks during the final quarter sank to 50%, the lowest point in 3 years. Refinancers were responsible for 8.4 billion euros of the total mortgage revenue during the final quarter. The shares of starters (€5.9 billion) and existing homeowners (€13.8 billion) fell by 12 and 15 percent respectively compared to the fourth quarter of 2017. Foreign parties rose slightly to 4,7 percent. Both the largest grower and shrinker is an insurer this quarter. The market share of Nationale Nederlanden increases by 2.05 percent, while Aegon surrenders 3.31 percent.

Written by: Joppe Smit (Senior Manager), Lisa Klein Goldewijk (Banking Consultant) and Niels Roelofs (Banking Consultant).

How can you get the most out of your employees in three (proven) effective steps?

By News, Organizational transformation

Do you ever get the feeling that you aren’t winning any battles with your current team? That your employees reject responsibility and lack operational capability? You’re not the only one. IG&H encounters this problem often during client inquiries. With these three simple steps, you will get more out of your employees.

Do you prefer to read? Scroll down.

Step 1 starting: ‘purpose’ as the basis of performance

People have a natural need for development and progress (A. Maslow, 1967). Despite this, only one third of employees in the Netherlands goes with a sense of enjoyment and involvement. That has consequences on the work floor; those who do not feel involved are less likely to work hard in order to perform well. As a manager, you can use this natural need for development by giving the employee’s purpose a place within the team’s objectives.

A large retailer asked IG&H to assist them with this. One team member only showed enthusiasm for a certain type of project. By having a discussion about her personal purpose as well as the manager’s, both parties became more understanding of each other’s ambitions. By doing this, the manager was able to more effectively utilize the employee on projects in line with her goals. In this manner, the company was able to profit more from her qualities and the employee was more motivated and strongly involved with the achievement of the team goals.

Step 2 keep going: ratifying

Influencing and sustaining positive and proactive work behaviour can be done following a simple ABC: A stands for Antecedents, B for Behaviour, and C for Consequences.

In order to ensure that the team members of the aforementioned retailer were able to more effectively attain team goals, a daily stand-up was introduced in collaboration with IG&H; in other words, a precondition (A) in order to help the team to work together optimally and in order to stimulate (C) desired behaviour (B).

During the stand-up, team members were motivated to share help requests (B) via a ‘team standard’ (A). This dictated that colleagues, in these cases, must always offer help. By then ratifying the helpful behaviour (C), the chance that this behaviour is repeated becomes higher.

Around 80% of our behaviour is dictated by a punishment or reward that stems from our approach (Thorndike, 1874-1949). Coaching the application of ‘C’ is therefore crucially important.

Step 3 securing: culture in which making mistakes is allowed

Thereafter, it is important to create a culture in which mistakes are seen as possibilities for learning and growth (C. Dweck, 2012). Through this, employees will try more things out, experiment, and show courage, allowing them to be the best that they can be.

As a manager, you can make time during the stand-up for fuck-ups. Focus on the question of what the individual employees and the team have learned from the mistake. Ensure that an employee is appreciated rather than punished for sharing. It helps if the manager also shares his or her own fuck-ups. Look into the process with the team or the individual; what could have been done better here? Research shows that receiving feedback on the applied strategy works better than feedback on end results. Team members learn more effectively from mistakes, take on more challenges, and enjoy their tasks more (Dweck, 2012).

A successful organization

After following the steps mentioned above, the team of the big retailer worked together with more involvement and motivation, with a growth-centric mindset. The team members turned out to be able to realize team goals in a self-motivated, proactive way using the correct preconditions.

The aforementioned steps to optimization will also make your company’s teams stronger and more effective. Do you want more information? Feel free to contact the Organization Transformation Team at IG&H.

Written by: Eline Reurik (Consultant Organization Transformation) and Myrthe van Stralen (Consultant Organization Transformation).

Artificial Intelligence… Low-code… Public Cloud… Which technology trends should retailers bet on NOW?

By News, Retail, Technology

Technology trends are rapidly changing the retail sector. Retailers looking to remain relevant in the future must primarily focus on two developments: High Productivity Platforms and Artificial Intelligence. This became clear during an analysis by IG&H.

In contrast to other technology trends such as Internet of Things, blockchain or virtual reality, High Productivity Platforms and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have been identified by Gartner as trends that have reached a mature stage, which enables them to disrupt the retail sector. Both High Productivity Platforms and AI intervene in each link of the retail chain, giving them a new dimension. That’s why IG&H believes that retailers who embrace these developments now greatly increase their chances to remain a frontrunner in their market.

 

High Productivity Platforms; react more quickly to developments

A High Productivity Platform can be based on generating code, as well as on model-driven execution. Low-code, for example, is an increasingly well known High Productivity Platform for software development based on object generated code.

The main business advantage of this technology is the ability to build new functionality quicker and at substantially lower cost, and the success of ideas can be evaluated more rapidly. One method of doing so is ‘rapid prototyping’. Retailers who adopt this trend are able to test new propositions quickly in changing market conditions and with little risk. A striking example is a leading food discounter which temporarily offers a more extensive luxury assortment through an online channel during the holidays. The technology offers countless applications; from small mobile apps to large back-end systems. Because of this, High Productivity Platforms are suitable for medium sized businesses as well as larger multinationals.

The accelerated development of applications shortens the time-to-market with 70 per cent in comparison to traditional packages. This is especially interesting when the development of applications requires customization. In comparison to traditional solutions, total cost of ownership is reduced to a third, a recent study by Gartner found. Next to development time, High Productivity Platforms offer big advantages when it comes to operational controllability in terms of ease of integration, altering applications, and the assurance that applications keep working after the update. All of this against lower maintenance costs.

Boost business with Artificial Intelligence

Data science is a multidisciplinary domain for more effective data gathering and analysis to facilitate better business decisions. Different techniques and algorithms can be applied, such as Machine Learning and AI. Deep Learning, an AI algorithm, is an advanced follow-up technique based on neural networks. Both Machine Learning and AI algorithms are often self-learning, which improves the effectiveness of applications over time and means the complex underlying mechanisms don’t have to be fully understood.

In the current retail landscape, we are increasingly seeing applications supported by AI and Machine Learning. There are ample examples of AI being applied in the chain, from bots in customer service with active customer dialogue, to creating supply chain flow by proactively sending goods to locations even before consumers made their purchase.

Even at the heart of retail, category management, we see AI making a difference with better integral business control. AI can, in contrast to error-prone and often department-coordinated traditional ways of working, make an accurate prediction of sales based on numerous chain factors, leading to better purchasing decisions. Our experience tells us that this prediction is accepted in up to 90% of the cases, leading to higher shelf availability and lower residual stock, in combination with higher efficiency at the department concerned.

In the fashion industry, for example, algorithms are being utilized to predict trends earlier and more precise. With Machine Learning, this enables offering personal discounts to the customer. Through enhanced customer personalization higher conversion ratios can be achieved and purchasing can be done more accurately. This results in lower residual stocks. The urgency is confirmed by the expectation that by 2020 more than 85% of retail transactions will be based on AI.

Dawn of exponential technological developments

Exactly the same reality holds true for us as consultancy. We see that our customers have a need for support with a large number of technologies and trends. To meet this need, our firm has more than doubled in size the last few years in the domains of Analytics and Technology.

The current and expected trends make us realize that we are at the dawn of exponential technological developments. To remain relevant and flexible as a retailer it is crucial to make the right choices. AI… Low-code… Public Cloud… On which technology trend will you bet?

Written by: Iris Huisman (Analist Retail), Michiel van der Werf (Consultant Retail), Sjoerd Norden (Consultant Retail) and Bram Gilliam (Director Retail)

Ruud Schoenmakers: ‘Retailers are becoming digital businesses’

By News, Retail

The retail market is changing enormously, partially due to the growing success of digital platforms such as Amazon. At the same time, technology is developing further and further and customers are making more online purchases. How can retailers respond to this? Ruud Schoenmakers, IG&H’s new retail partner, shows us.

How will the retail sector look in 10 years?

“Developments are happening so rapidly, it’s actually impossible to look that far ahead anymore. Newcomers, sometimes industry outsiders, are making increasingly large impacts on customer expectations and ‘what it takes to win’ within retail. Until recently it was still possible to downplay these developments. However, these days are now truly behind us.

For example, supermarkets in major cities never used to view restaurants as competition. However, with the current growing success of platforms such as takeaway.com and UberEats, it’s becoming apparent that traditional parties are being affected and need to adjust their business models.”

What is the central challenge facing existing retailers?

“It requires a lot of attention and energy to ensure that the current operation runs smoothly. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly important to change rapidly and to innovate in order to remain relevant to the market.

It is extremely difficult to do two things at once. The question of how to combine these issues in a controllable manner without being hampered by the enormous complexity is causing headaches for many executives.”

What do retailers need to focus on?

“Just like in other industries, such as financial services, there needs to be a realization that the transition towards becoming a digital business is both essential and existential. The moment that you lose clients to new competitors, technology and data science capabilities become your best friend.

At the moment, I would dare to estimate that most retailers currently allocate 90% of their budget to simply keeping the current systems up and running. A mere fraction is used for exceptional, let alone innovative, solutions.

This is not a sustainable state of affairs. It is essential that retailers set up their organizations to be flexible in order to respond to the changing customer demands. Software that supports them in this can lead to a breakthrough, including the high performance, low code platform OutSystems as well as the use of cloud solutions.”

How important will data science become for ‘physical stores’?

“Shop assortments are currently quite static and homogeneous. Data science allows retailers to frequently check what the optimal assortment is for individual locations, leading to optimal turnover and profit margins.

Moreover, data science combined with technology allows retailers to make the switch to real one-on-one interaction with individual consumers via all channels. This is a totally different ballgame to the impersonal and primarily product-based mass communication. Isn’t it a shame that I, a man, keep seeing handbag commercials? It’s a total waste of marketing money!”

How much will organizations have to change internally?

“Successful transformation into a digital business requires different skills, leadership, governance, attitudes, and behaviour. This transition is substantial, impactful, and requires care.

I am very proud of the fact that we at IG&H, as sector insiders, not only can sharpen strategies, but also implement them. A new way of working also requires different behaviour. Our organization’s transformation professionals help executives and employees sustainably adjust their daily work methodology. What’s more, our technology experts can implement the required software so that it stays fast and flexible in the future.”

Behaviour as the key for impactful transformation in the mortgage sector 

By Banking, News, Organizational transformation

The most impactful transformations for mortgage brokers focus not only on a new strategy, process or system, but also on the behaviour that goes with it. IG&H’s years of experience in the sector have proven this time and time again. Transformation trajectories often only accomplish a part of their original goals due to the fact that employees (and executives) eventually fall back into their old habits. How to prevent this as an organization? 

The mortgage sector is changing fast; technological developments are happening quicker and quicker, customer behaviour is changing and laws are being altered. Mortgage advice, for example, is changing towards a hybrid model. Clients begin the advice trajectory online so that the mortgage advisor can focus on only the most important decisions during their discussion. Smart software and data science technology are also making it possible to respond more effectively to the personal needs of individual clients. 

In practice, we often see advisors making little use of the new possibilities available to them. For example, the steps that a client has followed online are often not used, resulting in double the amount of work. It is also often the case that they do not know how to use new information, such as conclusions stemming from data science research, in practice. 

Consistent guidance

A new way of work calls for adjusted behaviour. It is often the case that employees are told to teach themselves new habits, which often results in them falling back into their old habits. Those who wish to create transformations with real impact on the organization will need to guide employees on the work floor consistently. If this does not happen, many applications and changes will be only partially utilized. 

How do you coach employees after a change in working conditions?

A few necessary basic principles for those who want to create lasting behavioural changes became obvious to us after countless transformation trajectories with mortgage brokers: 


If working conditions change, higher management often has the tendency to tackle problems that originate on the work floor directly using solutions which they have used before. Though this may sound logical, it can have a perverse effect. Previously used solutions have been proven to have an unsatisfactory effect. For this reason, do not immediately spring into action. 


Identify the root cause of the behaviour. We often see that the problem is literally the tip of the iceberg. The behaviour is merely what is visible to us. What is causing it to happen? Which convictions and motivations are strengthening or hindering? Begin working with this ‘undercurrent’ in mind. 

An often seen example is that employees fail to ask for help from each other or their executives. This results in them drowning in work or not sounding the alarm on time if they are experiencing problems. It turns out that people often do not dare ask for help. They are impeded by the belief that they should not disturb somebody else. 

This root cause is important; don’t tell people that they should ask for help more often, opt to discuss the problem during a meeting. Ask the entire team if they experience inconvenience when somebody asks for assistance. The majority of times this is not the case and this knowledge will ultimately lower the threshold. 

A second handle that we use often is the ‘change curve’. Everyone follows the same psychological trajectory from denying a problem, to frustration or resistance and, ultimately, acceptance. This is the case for both employees and executives, though some may start the trajectory sooner than others. The speed of the trajectory can also differ; one person can process a change within minutes, another within months. Some people may never be able to.

Higher management often recognizes the change much earlier than the rest of the organization. Therefore, they experience the change curve sooner. By the time the rest of the organization is informed, they have already accepted the change themselves and often cannot comprehend why the rest of the organization is not yet ready

Take, for example, a certain organization that went through a major change of direction. After months of meetings about what was needed, the management decided to share the outcome in a staff meeting. To their great displeasure, there was no immediate enthusiastic response. Half of the group did not see the impact and the other half wondered what this meant for their job. Taking people into the thought process at an early stage can help speed up the change curve.

Those wishing to prevent their employees from reverting told behaviour will need to guide the new work methodology on the work floor. Attention to both antecedents and consequences are of the utmost importance during this process. 

Shaping the correct conditions is a prerequisite for the creation of new habits. Employees must know what is expected of them and how they can achieve these goals. Organizations spend 80% of their energy on average on the creation of these antecedents. 

It is noteworthy that these prerequisites only play a small part in bringing about behavioural changes on the work floor. The largest part of the behavioural changes is caused by attaching consequences to the behaviour. This is crucial to changing somebody’s daily routine. 


In our experience, it often helps to let teams make explicit agreements over desired results and collaboration. Often, the existing situation has grown in a certain way, and it can do no harm to shake it up a bit. After this, create moments for feedback. For example, keep a frequent team dialogue, or ensure that an executive pays attention to the agreements, both written and behavioural.

Written by: Joppe Smit en Jorien Weerdenburg

IG&H and GroupLife combine forces

By Banking, Health, Insurance, News, Pensions, Retail

Consultancy firms IG&H and GroupLife are moving forward together under the name IG&H, resulting in a specialized consulting group that is able to help realize business and technology transformations from start to finish.

Both companies have in-depth sectoral knowledge, close customer relationships, high quality people and service. By combining their expertise in strategy, organizational transformation, data analytics and technology, they will be able to more effectively help organizations with transformative matters. The new consortium includes more than 220 specialized professionals.

Execution of strategy requires integral approach

Jan van Hasenbroek, managing partner IG&H: “The rapid developments in the technology sector have an enormous impact on the business models of our clients. In order to remain successful in the future, our vision must include addressing organization and technology together. This will lead to corporate strategies being immediately operable, providing concrete results and sustainable organizational transformation. GroupLife has an impressive track record and a proven methodology in business modelling, implementation of technological platforms, and data management. That’s why a collaboration fits well within IG&H’s strategy to continually strengthen its technological ecosystem.”

Wim Groenen and Tom Bottinga, co-founders of GroupLife: “In previous projects with joint clients, we discovered that we had similar ideas about how to address complex business transformations. IG&H knows how to combine its expertise in strategy, data analytics, technology and organizational transformation with sector knowledge. We are delighted with the collaboration and together with IG&H we can make an even greater contribution to the success of our clients.”

About IG&H

IG&H is committed to help leading organisations in the financial services, retail and healthcare sectors. With 160 involved and enterprising professionals, the consultancy and implementation firm, based in Utrecht, helps organizations take steps towards radical customer centricity. They set high standards for themselves and their way of working. With in-depth knowledge and a personal approach, they aid their clients to help them improve the sector. IG&H is recognized as a ‘Great Place to Work’ and puts a lot of emphasis on a high net promotor score.

IG&H and GroupLife combine forces

By Uncategorized

Consultancy firms IG&H and GroupLife are moving forward together under the name IG&H, resulting in a specialized consulting group that is able to help realize business and technology transformations from start to finish.

Both companies have in-depth sectoral knowledge, close customer relationships, high quality people and service. By combining their expertise in strategy, organizational transformation, data analytics and technology, they will be able to more effectively help organizations with transformative matters. The new consortium includes more than 220 specialized professionals.

Execution of strategy requires integral approach

Jan van Hasenbroek, managing partner IG&H: “The rapid developments in the technology sector have an enormous impact on the business models of our clients. In order to remain successful in the future, our vision must include addressing organization and technology together. This will lead to corporate strategies being immediately operable, providing concrete results and sustainable organizational transformation. GroupLife has an impressive track record and a proven methodology in business modelling, implementation of technological platforms, and data management. That’s why a collaboration fits well within IG&H’s strategy to continually strengthen its technological ecosystem.”

Wim Groenen and Tom Bottinga, co-founders of GroupLife: “In previous projects with joint clients, we discovered that we had similar ideas about how to address complex business transformations. IG&H knows how to combine its expertise in strategy, data analytics, technology and organizational transformation with sector knowledge. We are delighted with the collaboration and together with IG&H we can make an even greater contribution to the success of our clients.”

About IG&H

IG&H is committed to help leading organisations in the financial services, retail and healthcare sectors. With 160 involved and enterprising professionals, the consultancy and implementation firm, based in Utrecht, helps organizations take steps towards radical customer centricity. They set high standards for themselves and their way of working. With in-depth knowledge and a personal approach, they aid their clients to help them improve the sector. IG&H is recognized as a ‘Great Place to Work’ and puts a lot of emphasis on a high net promotor score.

Ruud Schoenmakers new IG&H partner within retail practice

By News, Retail

IG&H expands the retail branch of the company with Ruud Schoenmakers as new partner. Schoenmakers joined IG&H as a consultant in 2005. Since then, he has served both national and international customers in the areas of retail, trade, logistics and financial services.

IG&H is a leading player in business transformations, where new platform technology plays an accelerating role. “Our approach is distinctive because sector experts and experts in the field of technology, data science and organisational transformation work together intensively. I really believe in that. That is why I’d like to join IG&H as a partner for a long time. By combining different competencies, strategy becomes reality and we can help our customers make a difference for their own customers,” Schoenmakers says.

The new partner is mainly involved in the changing digital retail market. In recent years he has developed innovative concepts in several areas, including smart pricing, last mile delivery, new business ventures and agile business transformations. As a sector expert he is also involved in converting traditional IT environments into high performance platforms, making customers more innovative, agile and keeping costs relevant.

Although the head office of IG&H is located in the Netherlands, Schoenmakers has gained a lot of experience abroad. He has worked in England, Poland, France, Belgium, Germany and America, among other countries.

“Ruud has proven to be able to complete major change processes for international customers. He has really helped leading retailers reach a higher level in times of disruption. This allowed them to innovate faster and respond better to customer demand. In recent years Ruud has proven to be a true IG&H person; he looks at the facts and at the same time knows how to create energy in the organisation”, says managing partner Jan van Hasenbroek.

Are we in the Dutch healthcare market looking forward to Amazon?

By Health, Healthcare, News

Last year, Amazon entered into a partnership with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase & Co. The company also bought Pillpack, an online pharmacy. Both initiatives aim to offer good care at a low price. This step arouses unrest: the share prices of several companies in the med tech and pharmaceutical industries fell. Has a new disruptive healthcare player emerged? And what will the effect be on the Netherlands?

By entering into a partnership with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase, Amazon is circumventing the health insurer. The purchase of Pillpack and the plans to open clinics indicate that the ambitions of the web giant go beyond just financing care. If Amazon interferes with technological developments in the healthcare market, the impact will be vast. It fits in with the strength and motivation with which the company has also entered the supermarket sector, for example.

Opportunities for digital platforms in the Netherlands

In other markets, we see tech parties that bring supply and demand together on a single digital platform emerge. This excludes intermediaries, as Airbnb and Netflix are already doing.

Does Amazon have this healthcare role in mind and is their plan to take it outside the US? There are many intermediaries active in the Dutch healthcare sector, for example in health insurance, pharmacy or medical devices. For Amazon and other online disruptive players, there are plenty of opportunities to integrate and digitise the role of these intermediaries.

Exciting, because they will significantly increase the competitive pressure in the healthcare market. A platform offers many advantages in terms of ease of use and experience. It also makes the offer transparent, which lowers prices. And that is the – so far only – goal communicated by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase.

Getting a foothold is difficult

Before a digital player like Amazon gets a foothold in the Netherlands, it will have to overcome many hurdles. Our complex financing structure leaves little space for new business models. The patient is not or hardly willing to pay extra for new services, on top of the premium. This is a major entry barrier for new initiatives.

Health care systems across the globe vary considerably, making it more difficult for platforms to scale up across borders. Crucial to the success of digital platforms is the low cost of an additional user. With different systems, this success factor does not seem to work. Truly successful digital players need a minimum scale that is larger than the Dutch market alone.

To be successful, digital disruptive parties use data and algorithms. In Dutch healthcare, mass data and especially medical data are well protected by laws and regulations. Previously, the national EPD had already failed in the Senate for privacy reasons. Technological innovations in data exchange offer a solution, but are still in pilot phase and not widely implemented.

Finally, healthcare is a service par excellence for which human contact is essential. There is a relationship of trust between doctors, pharmacists and their patients. This can be supported, but it is difficult to replace it entirely by a digital platform of an American tech giant.

Pressure on these barriers is increasing: breakthroughs are imminent

However, we cannot assume that a party like Amazon will be held back by this. Health insurers are increasingly looking for innovative ways to reduce healthcare costs. This may change the payment culture among patients, making them more sensitive to the supply of new parties. Progress is also being made on digital data exchange. This will hopefully be further accelerated by the obligation to share patient data digitally, recently announced by Minister Bruins.

As a result of these developments, the aforementioned stumbling blocks for tech players are becoming less threatening. The current healthcare market can see this as an opportunity for further development. Tech players are successful because in their business operations, they put their customers first. They offer more convenience and excellent service. Ask yourself whether your organisation still meets the needs of the patient or customer to the maximum. Identify the steps you can take to match this level, perhaps in collaboration with successful tech players.

Wondering how (digital) disruptions can take your organization to the next level? At IG&H we are happy to think along with you.

By: Roos Blankena (r.blankena@igh.nl) and Linda de Jong (l.dejong@igh.nl).