Ways to remain connected with your employees during the Coronavirus outbreak

By News, Organizational transformation

The Coronavirus outbreak has a firm grasp on organisations. Now that people are working from home, as an employer you may feel that you are losing connection with your employees. Working remotely can be challenging as it requires a certain level of self-discipline. Also, it can be difficult for employees to still feel involved with the organisation which may be detrimental for their productivity. How can you, as an employer, improve productivity and maintain strong relationships with your employees? 

 Working from home requires employees to adopt new behaviour and a shift to a new way of working. As the Organisational Transformation team at IG&H, we approach behavioural change from the perspective of the ABC-model. The ABC-model found its origin in cognitive behavioural therapy. The model helps to analyse and influence behaviour. In this model, A stands for antecedents; anything that triggers behaviour, B stands for behaviour and beliefs and C stands for consequences. According to the ABC-model, focusing on antecedents and/or consequences is pivotal to changing the behaviour of people. In fact, behavioural change can be accelerated even more by focusing on positive consequences.

Knowing this, as an employer you can focus on antecedents to make sure that your employees can function optimally while working from home. For example, by facilitating an ergonomic workplace (e.g. providing desk chairs or additional computer screens). Additionally, they can reward employees for positive behaviour. This can be done by giving compliments or sending thank you cards when employees set an example by combining hard work with their private life.

Besides creating the right preconditions and rewarding good behaviour with positive consequences, we have some additional practical tips to stay connected with your employees:

  1. Stay in contact frequently: it is of utter importance to stay in contact frequently with your employees and to make sure they have the feeling of being involved. Communicating frequently through online meetings and digital stand-ups, helps to assure that you are connected to your employees and to know what they are up to. This can be established by using Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype and Google Hangout.
  2. Be available: make sure to be available when your employees need you. It is easy to drop by when you are in office, but for some employees it may be difficult to break down the digital barrier. Encourage employees to reach out when they have questions. It can be helpful to host digital one-to-one conversations with employees.
  3. Address needs: especially during these unprecedented times it is important to address the needs of your employees. Ask employees whether they feel enough support from the organisation and whether they feel involved. There are plenty of digital options to facilitate this, for example through online surveys and feedback forms.

Would you like to learn more about digital collaboration? How to make working from home more efficient and fun for you and your colleagues? Or would you like to get more information on the requirements for setting up a home office? Please read the first part of our Online Best Practices.

Would you like to talk about working in a digital environment or use the unprecedented times to get a head start? We would like to help you explore new opportunities!

 

 

IG&H is involved in setting up and running the National Coordination Centre for Patient Evacuation (LCPS)

By Healthcare, News

Due to the crisis, the workload of patient care across the Netherlands needs to be spread as effectively as possible. We are proud to announce that we have been asked to help with this very challenging, but also important task by the Ministry of Health and the Dutch Network for Emergency Care (LNAZ). This means we will set up and coordinate the National Coordination Centre for Patient Evacuation. The Team, led by Bas Leerink and Bart ter Horst has succeeded in making the system operational in 5 days.

More information about this can be found here: www.lcps.nu

How Retailers can rebound from the Corona crisis | 2) Fight now to take advantage later

By News, Retail

Five imperatives for retailers as they battle the Corona crisis, addressing most immediate challenges that simultaneously strengthen their future position.

It has been two weeks since the Corona outbreak has derailed the Netherlands through unprecedented measures to limit the spread. The Dutch government uses a ‘flatten the curve’ approach to fight the virus. Measures like social distancing, working from home and closure of restaurants are starting to have a stabilizing effect on the outbreak according to RIVM. Meanwhile, these measures are shaking up retail like never before.

The virus has major implications for every retailer. Both different immediate actions and preparation to rebound must be undertaken. We listed five immediate imperatives for retailers in their battle against Corona, that simultaneously strengthen their future position.

1) Use data to re-establish critical business performance

The Corona virus creates uncertainty. Uncertainty about the speed at which the virus spreads, about regulations that might be imposed, and about how long the current situation will last. For retailers, a key immediate challenge is how to deal with uncertainty in demand patterns. Customers show different and sometimes irrational behaviour. They are buying online instead of in stores due to contamination fear, they are hoarding in supermarkets out of fear for a total lock down and they are buying products to cook, sport and entertain themselves at home, since restaurants and sport clubs are closed.

In the meantime, retailers have switched to crisis mode and focus mainly on business continuity, trying to re-establish control. Decisions (e.g. around inventory) have to be made fast and are sometimes made based on business intuition or rule of thumb, rather than data driven. However, especially in these times it is of immediate importance to step up fact-based decision making. Step one is to establish access and structure to all available data (from the massive number of sources most retailers have) and turn this into sound business intelligence and relevant insight. With the level of uncertainty higher than ever, new well-structured insights are the only way to re-establish control. For retailers who do not yet have their data management and business intelligence capabilities in place, this is the time to rapidly set it up. A crash team can improve predictability of changing demand patterns step-by-step, even within few weeks. Such a team should include data science & IT and closely collaborate with buying & merchandising, and channels. Rapid roll-out of real time dashboards can facilitate decision making within critical retail processes such as online customer engagement, promotion management, supply chain planning and store merchandising.

2) Deepen customer understanding to rebound to the new reality

ING bank investigated the changes in Dutch card transactions. Their research shows a decrease in the number of transactions with 24% on March 20th this year, compared to a similar day last year. Toy stores, supermarkets and DIY see an uplift in the number of transactions (+10%; +5%; +2%), where all other retail segments show a decline, including restaurants & bars and clothing stores (-81%; -72%). This emphasizes that customer behaviour is radically changing, possibly structurally. Retailers must develop insight in demand changes to understand the new reality. Not having a grip on customer needs hurts everywhere in the business, from customer contact to product availability and prioritization of projects. For some changes, like the increase of online shopping, it is likely they will last not only during the crisis but also long after. However, other changes in demand will stay erratic and are dependent on the developments and measures the virus will bring us. In preparing for the rebound, retailers must not only respond to these customer demand changes but even outpace competitors in adjusting to the new reality. Time to find new growth opportunities.

The key to customer insight is understanding customer behaviour and identifying disruptive shifts in the customer journey. With customer insight comes the possibility to segment and develop tailored solutions. Think for example of a differentiated service for elderly people, where it is possible for them to chat or call with staff to place orders, instead of placing them online. At the same time, it helps control buying behaviour of your customers towards targeted outcomes. For example, a supermarket in Denmark came up with a pricing trick to stop the hoarding of hand sanitizers by pricing the second bottle of sanitizer 25 times as high as the first one.

To adjust the supply chain to the new normal, developing predictive analytics based on customer demand patterns is key. Since demand is erratic, only point of sale data is not a good parameter for future demand. Instead, predictive analytics reflecting new demand patterns are needed to adequately adjust buying plans, intake orders, stock management policies and allocation rules. Intensive cooperation between store planners, replenishment planners, category managers and purchasers, together with these data and analytics, makes it possible to prepare for the rebound.

3) Scale e-commerce by leveraging store network and investment in logistics capacity

Changes in demand as well as governmental measures have major implications on the utilization of retailer infrastructures. Food retailers suffer from an overburden of their distribution centres and reach their logistical as well as their technical maximum capacity for e-commerce. Conversely, various non-food retailers are closing their stores to protect their staff and customers’ health or because of a dramatic decline of traffic. Both situations ask for creativity and flexibility in the deployment of existing infrastructures.

Most non-food retailers face (a period of) further underutilized store infrastructure. To stay relevant to customers, focus shifts from offline to online sales. Not an easy task when stores used to be the main channel. If retailers succeed in having customers find their way to their website and shop online, they face a next challenge in scaling their logistics. A solution in this case might be to use the store network as customer fulfilment centres, so called ‘dark stores’. This relieves the existing logistics network. Alternatively, retailers can be creative and think about helping others. As does fashion giant H&M, who is offering up its supply chain to help hospitals reduce their medical supply shortages, by producing protective medical equipment. Moreover, food retailers reaching their maximum capacities for e-commerce, should try to leverage their store network to provide immediate capacity relief.

In parallel, this is the moment to develop a plan how to scale-up structurally and mature a true omni-channel proposition. Whilst today’s e-commerce hyper growth is driven by Corona regulations, it will likely turn out to be a structural accelerator of shifting demand from offline to online. This provides new growth opportunities for which online pure players are at pole position, just as SARS boosted Alibaba in 2003. Capturing these opportunities requires swift action (a topic we will discuss in our next blogpost). This can involve immediate decisions to prepare investment in mechanisation and capacity, in omni-channel IT integration and where possible leverage suppliers in the network.

4) Turn Corona crisis way of working into structurally more efficiency and responsiveness

Due to the Corona outbreak related governmental measures, people are working from home as much as possible. This requires virtual team collaboration with distributed team members, which was new to many of us. Meanwhile, a lot of retailers are already used to digital collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams to work together from a distance. It starts to demonstrate core retail processes can be operated with greater efficiency, by fewer and less long meetings with only the minimum amount of people involved.

As a result, we see some immediate implications for retailers. Most retailers by now have re-prioritized and shortened the often very long list of projects that hostage the organization. Now it is time to establish a separate digital project innovation workstream, focused on a very small set of active projects. Think of 5 to 10 for the entire business. As there is an immediate need to deliver these projects within days or weeks rather than months or years, a digital factory has to be established. A combination of low-code software and data analytics is very well suited to cut through these project lead-times and deliver business relief quickly.

Moreover, in running the day to day business, we see an opportunity to use the Corona crisis to overcome traditional HQ functional silo’s and make a structural shift to virtual teams. Through digital collaboration, operating with suppliers in a well-integrated way (and directly on board) is finally possible as well. Making this work requires new dashboards to be created instantly whilst establishing a (new) well-working workflow for core processes like assortment changes, promotion processes and supply-chain planning and replenishment.

5) Last but not least, put people first and keep communicating

With Corona still not at its peak, the health situation of staff is a growing concern. Most obvious, it is important to facilitate frontline staff who are constantly in contact with a lot of different customers, and to optimally protect them against the contamination hazard. Next to that, pressure is high on staff working in the supply chain, with absenteeism expected to increase over the near term. Even at headquarters, where employee tasks seem to be more easily executed from home, concerns are high; if not about one’s own safety then about the safety of others. Day-by-day new insights arise, making it an uncertain time for all of us which should not be underestimated.

A lot of retailers are already taking actions to protect, inform and involve their people. Only if necessary, people work from the office where teams are mostly being split up in several work shifts to prevent spreading of the virus between them. Furthermore, CEO’s provide daily communication about the most recent developments and decisions made. Finally, in a growing number of cases, non-food shops are voluntarily closed to protect their staff. At some retailers, we see rigorous and detailed staff contingency planning to ensure continuity of all aspects of the business. All examples of difficult decisions or time investments to make, but ones that will not be forgotten.

Putting people first is the right thing to do, now more than ever. Customers will remember decisions companies make during this crisis and the effort they put in to deliver goods and services to the best of their possibilities. Being seen to put people first and communicate frequently will create a positive relationship between companies and their customers as well their employees, with long-lasting benefits after the crisis.

Interested in the implications of above imperatives in your organization? Please let us know!

 

Robert Spieker
Partner at IG&H
E: robert.spieker@igh.com T: +31622791962

Maarten Vaessen
Partner at IG&H
E: maarten.vaessen@igh.com T: +31653571666

Author:  Myrthe van Hoek (myrthe.vanhoek@igh.com)

 

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Banks take societal role

By Banking, News

From crisis to opportunity
Even though the Corona crisis brings along huge challenges, it also offers the opportunity for banks to act in accordance with their purpose and take a societal role. This way, lost confidence of clients can be regainedAnd in addition, client loyalty can be increased by truly listening to clients’ needs and concernsBy combining fast decision making and execution power, banks can – especially now –  differentiate and position themselves as the partner in good and in bad times. The question remains: how? 

Banks take responsibility
The Corona virus has impacted the Dutch economy enormously within a short period of time. Big events are being cancelled, ‘social distancing’ is already the word of the year and both small, medium and large enterprises are forced to close their doors. As a consequence, many organisations are worried about their financial situation, also because most issued loans were based on growth, not taking this crisis into account.  

Immediately after the start of this crisis, many Dutch banks have acted upon their societal responsibility. Good JobBanks offer a great variety of support measures, such as extension of credit standards and deferral of interest and instalments, to support clients through these difficult timesBank employees are working overtime to answer questions of clients experiencing liquidity problems due to the Corona virus. While banks were part of the problem during the credit crisisthey are now playing a crucial role in the solution, thanks to strong capitalization and liquidity buffers. 

A challenging promise
While banks are well positioned to support entrepreneurs due to their strong capital position, mass demand of SMmight lead to huge operational challenges. Banks already find themselves in need of capacity for large compliance projects, like KYC and CDD, wherefore managing this crisis and the expected mass demand for deferral interest and instalments will only increase this need. All in all, this might lead to huge operational pressure. 

Making impact, now and in the future
During this crisis period, the operational execution and adaptability of banks are being testedFirst of all, the banks need to demonstrate to what degree they are able to support entrepreneurs efficiently. Secondlythis shows the ability of a bank to offer a solution for this crisis and at the same time keep the daily-operations up and running. For banks to actually position themselves as a partner in good and in bad times, it is necessary to deploy people, data and technologyMature use of digitalization and data-driven processes are crucial to efficiently handle applications. Doing this, banks are able to decrease their operational pressure and increase the delivered client valueThis way, banks can deliver their promise to support clients in need, today and in the future! 

In the following blog we will discuss the pre-conditions for successful crisis management.  

 Joppe Smit
Director at IG&H
E: joppe.smit@igh.com T: +31620352438 

Authors
Bas de Jong (bas.dejong@igh.com); Laura Hendriks (laura.hendriks@igh.com); Marijn Schneider (marijn.schneider@igh.com) 

 

IG&H starts series of blogs for banks in the Corona crisis
The banking industry takes societal role in the Corona crisis! In a series of blogs we will explain the lessons Corona teaches us and the opportunities this crisis gives us as the banking industry. The notion that the corona virus is impacting every bank, is a given. The virus puts huge pressure on the industry resulting in a great amount of questions and uncertainties. What is the effect of this crisis for our clients and employees? What can we do to make sure we can scale up after this crisis? What will the market look like after the crisis and how can we continue business like before the crisis? This first blog focuses on the impact of the Corona virus for commercial clients. 

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Download: The Digital Transformation Journey

By News, Technology

Download: The Digital Transformation Journey

In this playbook we explain the journey an organization and its employees go through when they start to work with new platform technology.

Digitalization develops at an unprecedented speed. Yet quite a few organizations are unequipped to respond to it. A real issue, as digitalization is no longer a choice –it’s a necessity for every company that wishes to survive. The problem is, many organizations lack insight into the number and quality of their applications –they are flying blind! Budgets are largely spent on maintaining outdated IT systems, rather than invested in applications which facilitate innovation and differentiation.

 

 

Download e-book: “innovation is the driver for all change”

By News, Technology
Innovation is all about improving existing business models and finding new, sustainable business models.

An innovative organization is rigorously customer focused, allowing its employees the time and money required to work closely with customers.

As a result, they can constantly test and launch new products and services.

Read more in our e-book.

Download the e-book

Download ebook: “what does a digital transformation project look like?”

By News, Technology

All business is digital business. But not all businesses are digital.

Besides skills required for each different role, a digital and entrepreneurial mindset is also important. In addition a development program is part of the journey to get teams up to speed, along with an on the job coaching program to ensure the transformation to a digital culture is made.

Real agility is about behaviour!

Read more in our e-book.

Download the e-book

 

Ready for the future with the right organizational design

By News, Organizational transformation

A (re)design of the organization accelerates the realization of the (digital) strategy, provided that it is properly tackled and implemented!

Do you recognize the feeling that the current organization prevents you from realizing strategic goals and plans for the future? Do you feel that tasks and responsibilities are sometimes divided in a superfluous or completely fragmented way, or that they’re not divided at all?

With changes following each other at an ever-increasing pace (digitalization, in- or outsourcing of business units, or disruptive innovations), having the perfect fit between the organization’s design and ambitions is a growing challenge for organizations. The moment your organization does not adapt to internal and external developments, you create organizational debt: an ever-growing heap of changes the organization should have implemented but hasn’t.

Establishing and implementing a successful organizational design requires a thorough process in which management is actively involved. This article shows you how to establish an optimal (re)design in four steps (see figure 1) and describes decisive success factors.

Phase 1: Designing the organization encompasses more than drawing an organization chart
A frequently heard statement about the design of an organization is, “We already have an idea of the organization chart, so all we need to do is draw and include the people.” A missed opportunity, if you ask us. An organization’s design process requires a lot more than knowing who will be in what place. It all starts with understanding why the current setup of the organization has a restrictive effect on realizing the strategy. The result is a shared sense of urgency.

After that, it’s important to determine a direction by establishing starting points and translating these into design principles. Not only do these principles ensure a consistent course when (re)designing, they also provide a clear, explainable story as well as a mainstay for future decisions. With this context in mind, a core team joins forces to create a clear outline of the desired design, including required functions, responsibilities, and processes.

Organizing the design process like this with one of our clients in the insurance sector made it easy for us to settle difficult (political) issues and discussions based on content at a later stage in the process. This didn’t result in a simple drawing, but in a well thought-out organizational design.

What does it yield?

  • Objectives and frameworks for what can and can’t be changed
  • Clear design principles with starting points for the (re)design to direct choices and to let ratio predominate over politics
  • A detailed design that goes down to the team and business-function levels so all activities are included
  • A clear division of tasks and responsibilities (RACI) and associated objectives (KPIs) so as to clarify how the various teams contribute to the organization’s ambitions
  • All relevant input for drafting a request for a recommendation for the works council to complete an efficient consulting process with the works council

Phase 2: The impact of the design goes far beyond FTE numbers
Major steps need to be taken before the new organizational design is also the new reality. A typical statement in this phase is, “Our new organization chart says a lot about the changes going on in our organization, but the real impact is evident at the level of the individual employee!” It’s because the employee can end up elsewhere in the organization, needs to work in a different way, or is assigned other responsibilities.

To ensure this goes as smoothly as possible, it is crucial to determine the impact of the organizational design on people, processes, systems, physical design, and management. Devising all this helps draft an implementation plan.

Logically, it requires the involvement of several parties within the organization – for example, for cost centers, physical design, and FTEs. To tie all parties and components together, it’s useful to designate one directing party.

At an organization in the financial sector, for example, we put HR in charge. This resulted in an overall picture of the impact, in all parties being the true owners of the IST-SOLL transitions in their respective fields, and in a grip on interdependencies.

What does it yield?

  • Impact on formation (FTE), functions, competences, and way of working, included in IST-SOLL overviews, so as to see the required changes
  • Insight into the way in which the IST-SOLL transition impacts existing processes and systems within the organization
  • Concrete and time-bound implementation plan so as to be ready for a proper rollout in phase 4

Phase 3: Decision-making is the result of a solid process rather than an obstacle

A question we often hear at organizations that want to realize a new organizational design is, “How can we complete the consulting process with the works council in a smooth and effective way?” Organizations that involve the works council at a later stage often encounter a huge heap of formalities as well as delays in decision-making. This means the desired implementation can’t take off until later, resulting in higher costs and a lower return on investment.

Rather than considering them an impediment, you should involve them early on and collaborate properly so you’ll have a good brainstorming partner. When working with a client from the retail sector, we contacted the works council as early as in the design phase, which initially yielded a surprised response. During the process, however, they also noticed the difference. This approach turned the works council into a constructive partner rather than an obstacle. We were able to test any choices made early on, which, in turn, provided additional insights. Ultimately, we used these to increase support. Moreover, this approach resulted in a fast, smooth, and timely consulting process.

In other words, involving relevant stakeholders at an early stage helps you create support for the organizational design and, on top of that, acceleration during the implementation. Organizations which, for example, involve the works council at a later stage often encounter a huge heap of formalities as well as delays in decision-making. This means the desired implementation can’t take off until later, resulting in higher costs and a lower return on investment.

What does it yield?

  • Grip and influence on the main stakeholders in the decision-making process to complete the process smoothly
  • Support for the new organizational (re)design among the various stakeholders, which supports the spreading of the story to the organization
  • Constructive and efficient consulting process with the works council, which contributes to a good relationship and a higher quality of the (re)design

Phase 4: Implementation determines the success of the organizational design

Often, the previous phases have already taken quite some time and effort, while the actual implementation still needs to be performed. A frequently asked question is, “How do we ensure the design lands successfully in the organization?”

For one of our clients in the banking sector, we made the conscious decision to approach the implementation in a positive way with a lot of energy. Freeing up time and capacity throughout the organization, paying great attention to communication, and celebrating successes ensured that the implementation became part of everyone’s job.

Making sure a new (re)design lands well forms the key to its success. In doing so, paying attention to how the message is conveyed is at least as important as the message’s content.

What does it yield?

  • Employees understand why the change is taking place as well as what it means for them and can therefore contribute to the transition
  • Grip on the execution of the implementation plan from phase 2, ‘Determining Impact,’ so the transition proceeds in a controlled manner
  • Ownership among internal stakeholders for the realization of a transition and/or implementation plan, so everyone contributes actively to the transition
  • A dialogue with the organization on the progress of the implementation, so there is a constant stream of input to tighten up the implementation plan

Success factors for the (re)design of the organization
You can’t roll out the four phases overnight. For many, the thought process surrounding the (re)design of the organization seems to be the biggest challenge, but the real challenge is to pay attention to the content as well as the change process and the way people are affected. This can be realized using the following eight success factors:

  • Create an organization-wide understanding of the mismatch between strategic ambitions and the design of the organization and the underlying causes
  • Use design principles to ensure that rational substantiation predominates over politics and pragmatism
  • Include responsibilities (RACI) and objectives (KPIs) in the new design
  • Put one party in control of the change process – from head to tail, from design to implementation
  • Have a compact, diverse, and content-focused working group research the design process content-wise
  • Involve the organization actively in the change process, but only communicate about content-related changes and impact after final decisions have been made
  • Involve stakeholders who play a role in the decision-making process (works council, supervisory board, et cetera) early on
  • Map out what needs to be done to ensure the new organizational design lands successfully and incorporate this into a roadmap

All this takes time, but you’ll regain it because the implementation will actually work and land in the organization. Taking shortcuts and opting for a sloppy process often boomerang in the form of poor support, delayed decision-making, and an incomplete execution of the strategy. A good preparation and well-considered steps lead to a first-time-right implementation.

Distinctiveness of IG&H: what can IG&H do for you?
In addition to adopting a thorough and proven approach to achieve an organizational (re)design that is supported, we tackle every organizational transformation based on our Make Strategy Work principle. We believe that any transformation only has a true chance of success when there is a balance between content, process, and people. We consider an organizational (re)design to be a part of the overall (digital) organizational transformation – not an isolated component. Such a transformation requires the integration of various competences, which is an area IG&H specializes in – from leadership development to innovation, from process optimization to culture change.

Contact
Peter Hardy
E: peter.hardy@igh.com
T: 06 509 29 204

Eline Reurik
E: eline.reurik@igh.com
T: 06 187 45 737

Stijn Driessen
E: stijn.driessen@igh.com
T: 06 381 62 289

How process mining and low-code increase flexibility and reduce costs

By News, Technology

Many organizations are facing exciting challenges as a result of increasing digitalization. To stay relevant, it’s ever-more important to quickly respond to new opportunities. Unfortunately, old IT systems, entrenched organizational structures, and outdated outsourcing contracts usually offer little room to properly respond to such opportunities. The combination of the ‘Superfluid Enterprise’ concept and IG&H’s unique ‘Make Strategy Work’ approach helps solve this challenge.

According to leading research and consultancy firm Gartner, companies currently spend 80 to 90 percent of their IT budget on maintaining their existing systems. To increase differentiation, innovation, and flexibility, it is recommended that this percentage is reduced to approximately 50 percent. Additionally, the organizational structure of most companies is mainly focused on maintaining the status quo. As a result, it is often unable to move along with the market in a sufficiently flexible manner.

In their value discipline model, Treacy & Wiersema state that an organization should perform in at least 3 areas. These are:

  • Operational excellence
  • Product leadership
  • Customer intimacy

In other words, for an organization to be viable, its customer friendliness, its efficiency, and the quality it provides should be sufficient.

As these areas are opposing forces, Treacy & Wiersema state that the organization needs to pick an area in which it wants to excel and make a difference.

However, as a result of increasing digitalization and technological innovations, the Superfluid Enterprise doesn’t have to choose. It excels in all these aspects!

Why is this relevant?
IG&H’s proven approach ‘Make Strategy Work,’ combined with the modern technologies that facilitate the Superfluid Enterprise, redesigns the organizational structure while tackling IT challenges. As a result, flexibility is increased and costs are reduced. This leaves more money and resources for differentiation and innovation to pursue new market opportunities.

The Superfluid Enterprise is based on two core technologies: process mining and low code.

What are the benefits?
Combined with a new look at business operations, Process Mining provides a clear picture of how your company is currently functioning. Sometimes, the outcomes may be little painful at first, but they’re always instructive. Also, remember that competitors are in a similar situation. By way of illustration, according to you, how many processes follow the standard-defined step-by-step plan in your organization? When we ask this question, the usual answer is 80 to 90 percent. In reality, the percentage is nearly always lower – sometimes even as low as 8 (!) percent… This (significantly) impacts your operational costs and lead time, as well as customer experience and satisfaction! This insight is provided by hard data gained through Process Mining. However, it’s perfectly possible to start in places where your gut feeling tells you a certain process could be improved.

Based on those hard data, you can start by improving individual processes, which will result in an improvement of the entire business process. Subsequently, it is possible to look beyond individual processes to determine a company-wide approach. Therefore, the key is to first break the familiar vicious circle, indicate points for improvement in small chunks, and demonstrate success, after which you can include the organization in an overall business improvement.

In addition to staff instructions, this improvement often requires adaptation of (existing) software. By using low-code technology, the maintenance costs for applications can be reduced step by step while delivering the required changes and additions. This makes it possible to keep using your old systems while quickly adding new functionalities at low cost from the start. No need to throw your existing systems out of the window at once – you can reuse them and phase them out step by step (this is also referred to as application rationalization). This results in major cost savings and allows you to safeguard your current operations as well as reduce risks.

Low-code also provides a solution to the risks, costs, and lead time of replatforming, as well as the discontinuation of certain packages/subscriptions. Moreover, it solves the issue of a supplier acting like a monopolist (working with unconscionable contracts). It takes less time and reduces the risks of errors while adding new, required functionality, which would take considerably more time during a replatforming project. In addition, it will also be cheaper to upgrade standard software packages used by the organization to a newer version in the future (for example, SAP Hana), and user license fees can often be reduced.

How do I get there and how do I go about it?
Your company can only be successful if it can respond effectively to the continuous changes in the market. Therefore, it’s very important to start by organizing processes in an optimal way: hire or build the right skills and experience.

In doing so, it is essential to clarify the leadership role that management needs to play in the various parts of the process. One thing is certain: an orchestration role will become increasingly important within your organization. For example, which products and services will the organization purchase, what will it build, which subscriptions will it take, and what will the company integrate?

To help make the right decisions, we use Process Mining tooling, supplemented with developments by our data science experts. The use of existing data will provide insight into how your processes actually go and help identify good potential starting points for the continuous improvement process. As mentioned, in reality, your processes often differ quite significantly from the way in which they were written down.

This instantly creates an impact list and a hard business case to make the required change negotiable in the organization. Now that you have a clear visualization as well as figures, this is a lot easier than before. Good to know: the number of interviews required to properly chart the organization is thus greatly reduced, so you can achieve results faster and with less interference of day-to-day operations. A few interviews with key individuals in the organization so as to get access to data and discuss connections will suffice.

These steps form the foundation for the transformation to a Superfluid Enterprise. Alternatively, you could, for example, start from a new business opportunity or a (major) system’s end of life notice. In all cases, it’s important to have the right partner on board that possesses all required knowledge and experience while being small enough to operate as a single company. This is what makes IG&H unique, and it’s the reason why major financial service providers, retailers, and healthcare institutions, among others, make us a preferred partner increasingly often.

Next steps
Who will realize the first successes in the organization? You can, for example, deliver a working prototype in a pilot – a so-called minimum viable product (MVP). In this case, priorities are determined based on impact, considering the departments and processes in which the highest profit can be made. With the right people, the right focus, and our support, it is easy to take the first step towards a Superfluid Enterprise!

Want to know how this could work for you? Feel free to contact Aernoudt Bottemanne to explore your opportunities.

Written by Tom Jongen, data scientist, and Aernoudt Bottemanne, technology & innovation director


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Income protection market: Dutch consultants call on insurers to raise the bar

By Insurance, News, Pensions

The Dutch collective income market is booming – its social relevance is greater than ever and margins are improving. Foreign insurers enter the market and several Dutch insurers make strategic acquisitions throughout the value chain. At the same time, consultants and insurers are increasingly at odds. IG&H spoke to several parties in the market to determine how they can break the tension and join forces to work on effective customer solutions together.

There is a strong consolidation in the income protection market. In 2018, for example, the 50 largest consultancies accounted for half of the total production – 60% without sick leave insurance. All insurers are fully committed to this leading group and are improving their services. Nevertheless, they don’t always hit the right note: insurers’ average NPS among income consultants is -15 in mid 2019. The average performance score is 7.1.

Gradually, the consequences are becoming clear. For instance, >5% of the total WIA/WGA premium is placed with foreign insurers, elipsLife being the main example. Their success primarily results from ample underwriting capacity, sharp pricing, and an equality-based collaboration model with room for services offered by the consultant. In addition, we’ve observed a development we’re familiar with in the non-life market: substantial growth of mandated brokers. By now, 35% of the sick leave portfolio has been placed with mandated brokers (2016: 25%) – with service providers (including Felison, Nedasco, and Mandaat) making a name for themselves. Often, they turn out to be the go-to solution in the SME segment: they offer administrative convenience and quickly arrive at a market-wide price comparison. Between 2016 and 2018, their portfolio grew by more than 50%, and their market share in the intermediary sick leave market has increased to as much as 12%.

We believe insurers can improve their services on three axes:

1.    Mismatch between customer demand and product offer

Sustainable employability is high on employers’ agendas: absenteeism costs are rising, and in this difficult labor market, all attention goes to being a good employer. At the same time, income issues are growing more complex, and customer needs increasingly diverge.

A common observation is that many insurers opt for standardization – which, of course, results in simplicity and lower costs. But it also leads to a limited response to sector-specific needs and a lack of product innovations. Furthermore, consultants believe predictive data are still underused. For example, they are open to a model in which investments in sustainable employability lead to lower premiums. After all, it improves the risk profile, which means the insurer can benefit from a decreasing claims ratio. Finally, they indicate that the risk appetite of Dutch insurers seems to wane, making it difficult to insure a growing part of the market.

2.    A lack of digital innovation

As a result of consultants’ professionalization and cost pressure from the market, they place increased demands on digitalization. A much-heard adage is, ‘Stagnation means regression’ – which concerns administrative processes, among other things. Requesting information during quotation processes is often time-consuming, and the lead time for customized quotations increases. Furthermore, consultants expect more digital insight into customer and risk data so it can support their consultancy and serve as an additional service for employers.

3.    Declining trust due to conflicts of interest

Both consultants and insurers support employers in improving sustainable employability through consultancy and various prevention & reintegration services. This often leads to conflicts of interest with consultants and insurers ‘competing’ for access to the customer and the associated revenue. To many consultants, recent acquisitions by Aegon, a.s.r. and NN also fit into this picture. They fear that insurers will become competitors in an increasingly important part of their business model. Therefore, their message is clear: actively seek collaboration so the customer ends up getting the best solution.

In-depth solution guidelines

Our conversations yielded more than a problem analysis. In fact, they’ve provided concrete tools for a better collaboration between consultants and insurers. Curious? We’ll explain them in our next three blogs.

Written by: Bob van Opstal (Manager Pensions) and Idriss Abdelmoula (Consultant Pensions).
For more information, contact Bob: bob.vanopstal@igh.com