Author Archives: bearingpointblog

Identifying and measuring the value of customer-centricity

Customer-centricityWhat makes a customer loyal? This high-stakes question resonates from the boardroom to the call center. Finding the right answer is more difficult—and important—than ever. Keeping customers satisfied, without unnecessarily driving up sales or services costs, is a direct path to profitable growth, especially in the face of a challenging economic environment.

“In 2009, (Forrester expects) enterprises to turn their attention from an emphasis on customer acquisition to customer retention. In a recent CustomerThink survey of more than 350 CRM professionals, ‘improving customer loyalty’ was rated as a ‘top five’ business priority by 57 percent of respondents. This was second only to ‘improving the customer experience,’ picked by 62 percent. During an economic recession, sustaining revenue growth—or forestalling revenue erosion—becomes even more critical. Customer management improvement initiatives, supported by advanced business technologies, will continue to be critical to achieving this goal.”1

Industry-leading organizations make customers’ priorities their priorities. When managing performance, they continually measure, monitor and improve what matters most to customers. As companies align their value proposition to meet customer needs, they must periodically evaluate their strategies and processes to present customers with a consistently exceptional experience.

An enterprise that embraces customer-centricity defines its processes around its customer requirements at key interaction points. In essence, the company views itself as a portfolio of customers, rather than as discrete groups of products, services, territories and/or functions. This change in orientation allows companies to effect change necessary for their business processes, organizational structures and corporate cultures so that they can achieve the benefits of customer-centricity.

So, is your company customer-centric? Tell us what makes your customer loyal. If you would like to learn more about customer loyalty, read BearingPoint’s customer loyalty white paper.

1 Forrester, Trends 2009: Customer Relationship Management, Dec. 11, 2008

How the wealth management industry is in position to benefit from today’s economic climate

There is no shortage of issues confronting the wealth management industry in 2009 as clients react to the historic economic events of the past year. These events have removed any lingering doubts that what began as a subprime mortgage crisis has become a global financial crisis. This is leading to a fundamental restructuring of the global banking industry, with a significant effect on wealth management products, services and distribution. As it has done in the past, the industry will move forward, with an immediate focus on regaining the confidence of clients, shareholders, regulators and governments.

As the restructuring unfolds, the wealth management industry will emerge as an obvious beneficiary of a new economic order. The evidence is clear. Wealth management divisions of many global financial services companies have already been the recipients of reinvestment budgets and funding even as their parent companies face overall profitability challenges in the short term.

Wealth managers cannot ignore the immediate effect of what has occurred. As the dust continues to settle from the events of 2008 and 2009, some key consequences have emerged and firms’ strategic direction must now take them into account. First, both existing clients and prospects have suffered wealth erosion like they have never experienced before.

Second, skepticism of complex financial products has greatly reduced investor appetite for risk in their portfolios. Taken together, these two factors have created an atmosphere in which investors are much more reluctant to invest. However, this still is an area of growth.

Do you think the wealth management industry is poised to benefit from the economic crisis? To learn more about wealth management in 2009, download BearingPoint’s white paper.

What Drives Merger Integration? Experts Reveal What Your Organization Needs to Know

This timely three-part podcast series offers technology, global markets and banking best practices for successful merger integration and outlines the ins and outs of merger integration. The podcasts dissect how and where organizations can improve their integration processes from a technology, global markets and banking perspective respectively, and serve to answer listeners’ primary questions about best practices for integrating organizations before, during and after a merger.

Julien Courbe
Julien Courbe
Managing Director

The first podcast in the series, “What is Driving Merger Integration: A Technology Perspective,” showcases managing director of BearingPoint’s CIO Advisory Practice Julien Courbe.  Julien’s insights span numerous best-of-breed recommendations, including the imperative need to enroll the business in all aspects of technology decisions during today’s lightning-speed mergers, where the two must work in aligned partnership to drive cost savings and efficiency.

Peter Horowitz
Peter Horowitz
Managing Director

The second podcast features BearingPoint senior vice president of Global Capital Markets Peter Horowitz.  “What is Driving Merger Integration: A Global Markets Perspective” highlights the importance of aligning and maintaining company values and vision, and prioritizing client, product and service segmentation appropriately to move toward the future of the business.

Frank Mackris
Frank Mackris
Managing Director

The final podcast in the series, “What is Driving Merger Integration: A Banking Perspective,” features Frank Mackris, vice president of BearingPoint’s Banking practice.  Frank speaks to the increasing complexity of today’s mergers, and stresses the need for decision makers to seize opportunities to create new cultures, blend leadership and advance technologies to move forward with the best of everything from each organization.

To shed additional light on this timely topic, read the merger integration Q&A where the experts further elaborate on their ideas. What do you think drives merger and integration? Share your thoughts with us.

Drug safety with a comprehensive risk management strategy

Managing drug safety is core to enterprise risk management. Life sciences companies must manage risks with providing needed drugs to patients and decrease safety risks and regulatory non-compliance. Designing and operating a drug safety risk management program poses challenges that can threaten patient safety and regulatory compliance. A tested drug safety risk management program lets patients access needed drugs and makes sure manufacturers are in compliance.

Drugs with normal risks are generally addressed with labeling alone, but drugs with unusual risks need a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) management program to monitor effective drugs that have serious risks. For drugs that have high potential for serious side effects or abuse, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires a Risk Minimization Action Plan (RiskMAP) to minimize drug risks while preserving benefits.

BearingPoint provides life sciences companies with risk planning, which can monitor drug safety. We have extensive knowledge of risk management program delivery and operational design and can help manufacturers integrate data needed to accurately and easily report to FDA and monitor compliance. Our services for development and operation of drug safety risk management programs include:

  • Design, development, and operation of FDA-mandated REMSes and RiskMAPs
  • Program and vendor management of risk management programs
  • Assessment of vendors’ abilities to deliver risk management services
  • Drug safety and regulatory design

Integrated data warehousing, data collection and reporting for risk management programs
Overall, we have experience supporting large, complex risk management programs and developing drug safety surveillance tools to decrease risks.

To learn more about the drug safety risk management challenges life sciences companies face today, download our white paper on creating a comprehensive drug safety risk management strategy.

Information Management: Tom O’Toole interview

Tom O’Toole,
Former CMO and CIO,
Global Hyatt Corporation

BearingPoint took some time to sit down with executives in a series of discussions to get their insights into information management. This conversation is with Tom O’Toole, Former Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Information Officer, Global Hyatt Corporation.

Global Hyatt Corporation is one of the world’s premier hotel companies. With more than 365 hotels and resorts in over 45 countries, Hyatt’s brands include Park Hyatt™, Andaz™, Grand Hyatt™, Hyatt Regency™, Hyatt Resorts™, Hyatt Place™ and Hyatt Summerfield Suites™.

Hyatt is engaged in a wide range of IT development initiatives for all its major enterprise systems, including electronic commerce, customer data systems and other applications. To ensure that Hyatt’s IT system investments best enable its business success, O’Toole and his team worked very closely with the company’s business unit heads, other C-level executives, senior operating executives, corporate function heads and hotel general managers.

In this Q and A, Tom talks about his leadership as both a CMO and CIO.

Read the full conversation

View the rest of the series

Information Management: Mark Coughlan interview

mark coughan
Mark Coughlan
ING Groep N.V.

BearingPoint took some time to sit down with executives in a series of discussions to get their insights into information management. This conversation is with Mark Coughlan, Director, ING Groep N.V. (Amsterdam).

ING Groep is a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, investment, life insurance and retirement services to more than 85 million private, corporate and institutional clients in over 50 countries. Mark Coughlan, an ING director, is recognized as an energetic, passionate leader who believes success comes from building professional teams with high levels of motivation and empowerment. Mark Coughlan, has responsibilities for operations and information technology (IT) across ING functions—covering finance, risk, human resources and other corporate areas—and part of ING Wholesale Banking.

In this Q and A, Mark talks about topics including the increasing need for better IM strategy and how to build one to eliminate siloed information. He also discusses data governance and data replication and how they are effecting industries.

Read the full conversation

View the rest of the series

Information Management: An interview with Tom Conophy

Tom Conophy
Chief Information Officer
InterContinental Hotels

BearingPoint took some time to sit down with executives in a series of discussions to get their insights into information management. This conversation is with Tom Conophy, Chief Information Officer, InterContinental Hotels.

For the past 25 years, Tom has tackled some of the most challenging issues in technology-supported business strategies across a variety of industries. So when he took over as chief information officer (CIO) of InterContinental Hotels Group PLC in 2006, his mandate was clear: explore and apply the technologies that are most likely to advance the mission of his organization and look for opportunities to innovate in ways that will set InterContinental Hotels apart in a highly competitive market.

With the active support of his company’s senior leadership, Tom has seen InterContinental Hotels leverage its Advantage Technology Platform to establish a competitive advantage in the hospitality sector. He points to the company’s advances in business intelligence and Web-based marketing as central to its recent growth. The company, which is now building the world’s largest hotel in China, is the third largest hotel chain, with brands such as InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Candlewood Suites.

Tom spoke with BearingPoint about his organization’s information management initiative, read the full conversation

View the rest of the series

Supply Chain Calibration for Consumer Goods

Tom Johnson
Tom Johnson
Managing Director

Now more than ever it is crucial for executives at all companies to scrutinize every aspect of the supply chain due to increasing costs and decreasing sales. This is especially vital for consumer goods companies, where the supply chain occupies that ever-tenuous connection between the flow of goods that companies hope consumers will never see, and the actual consumer merchandise in the store that they are shopping for and take to check-out.

But this is what makes you a great supply chain executive, right? You know how to perfectly balance the need to squeeze every dime available from the supply chain while still putting the right products on the shelves at the right volume to keep your guests satisfied. Or is “perfectly balance” too strong of a characterization?

Truth be told, the tools and techniques to report, analyze, and measure supply chain performance are changing drastically. What worked before this broad recession is no longer good enough today. Our goal with this podcast is to quickly introduce you to a new way of approaching supply chain optimization in the consumer goods industry – an approach we call calibration.

Listen to the first in a series of short podcast interviews we’re recording to give you more detail and actual takeaways that you can put to work immediately across your supply chain. Please share in the comments section your thoughts and reactions, and also any questions you’d like us to answer specifically on upcoming podcasts.

Introduction to Supply Chain Calibration

Sweeping Insurance Industry Change

Matt O'Mara
Matthew O’Mara
Managing Director
Financial Services

The US economy is having a drastic effect on everyone particularly insurers. Economic events have created a more skeptical consumer who are looking for more economically sound companies. Insurers need to look at some key business drivers in 2009 in order to combat this growing customer cautiousness. Companies must now work within a new regulatory environment and changing customer demographics and globalization. In this podcast join Matthew O’Mara, Managing Director at BearingPoint as he explores these issues while offering insight into emerging IT spends and how firms can determine their short-term and long-term technology strategies. How have you seen the insurance industry change? Share your comments.

Sweeping Insurance Industry Change: Listen to the podcast

What the Savings & Loan Crisis Taught Me about Public Trust

Dave Cooke
David Cooke

Post by David Cooke, Senior Government Advisor to BearingPoint

It’s impossible to underestimate the challenges that Geithner and the Obama administration face—the pressure to do something—anything—fast to fix the banking crisis. I don’t pretend to have the solution, but I do know that restoring public confidence is a critical part of the recovery process.

What I learned as the Executive Director and COO of the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) during the savings & loan (S&L) crisis is that the two—public trust and the crisis resolution strategy—are inextricable. Even more so when taxpayer funds are involved. The greater the public confusion or doubt, the more difficult operations will become – no matter how hard you try.

I saw this firsthand when the former S&L regulatory agency lost public confidence and was eliminated by Congress. Re-establishing trust was a very difficult challenge for the newly-created RTC, charged with managing the highly unpopular and misunderstood task of resolving hundreds of S&L closings. Congress and the public had very little understanding of the new RTC’s mission and authority, let alone the organizational, staffing, information, and funding challenges that we were facing. We quickly learned that we should have focused on reaching out to the public and stakeholders at the very start to help them understand our challenges—and our progress.

As Treasury Secretary Geithner grapples with finding the right strategy to reverse the enormity of the banking crisis, I offer a few recommendations from my own experience to get a running start in rebuilding public trust.

  1. Design a transparent resolution strategy that is cost effective and makes sense to the public. Minimize perceptions of a banker bailout; remove nonviable banks from the market place with as little disruption as possible. Identify and isolate “toxic assets” to be managed separately from banking operations by qualified and properly incented professionals. Minimize perceptions that errant bankers are being rewarded for their mistakes or relied upon to solve their problems at taxpayer expense. Do not place healthy banks at a competitive disadvantage against assisted banks.
  2. Base decisions and measures on reliable information. You need to know where you are to figure out where you are going and how to get there. Confidence in everything you do will suffer when unreliable information results in repeated funding requests to Congress.
  3. Make every effort to minimize taxpayer losses by operating effectively and efficiently and pursuing those who caused the loss.
    • Develop and disclose meaningful performance metrics as soon as possible. Confusion and misunderstanding about RTC’s mission and its accomplishments were ameliorated once RTC established measures regarding resolution and asset sales activity.
    • Focus on eliminating waste, fraud and abuse. High taxpayer costs and demand for results made RTC more vulnerable to claims of waste, fraud, and abuse in the areas of contracting and contract management, information systems, and asset management and disposition. RTC expanded and enhanced its internal control programs and employee training to complete a very large task without any serious incidents of operational mismanagement.
    • Vigorously pursue claims against bankers and other professionals who contributed to losses. The claims that FDIC and RTC filed against former failed institution directors, officers, attorneys, accountants, appraisers, brokers, and other professionals contributed significantly to cash recoveries.

I can say first hand that resolving failing institutions using taxpayer money will be a very unpopular challenge. Mistakes certainly will be criticized much faster than accomplishments are recognized. Building trust and confidence will not be easy and will take time but following the principles outlined above will help the new administration get there. I look forward to reading what you have to say on this topic so please leave a comment below.

About the David
David Cooke gained lots of experience with failing banks and thrifts during his career at the FDIC and while serving as Executive Director and COO of the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) with responsibility for the new agency’s organization, staffing, and operations that involved managing the resolution of several hundred failing Savings & Loan institutions and many billions of illiquid assets. David is currently serving as a senior government advisor to BearingPoint. For related information, please visit