Archive for November, 2014

Making Sense of High Tech In A Regulated World

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Why do so many managers, investors and Boards in financial services and insurance find the process of evaluating and making wise decisions about technology investments so darn difficult? After all, they probably spend more time “living” with some form of technology than their partner or children.

I was reminded of this in three separate conversations recently with the COO of a mid-sized global insurance company, a Private Equity Operating Partners community and the Head of the UK’s Wealth Management regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority.

All three agreed that the speed of technological advancement and the resulting impact on firms’ business models is likely to be the biggest catalyst for businesses to raise professional standards, transparency and the customer experience. Nothing like the fear of losing clients, key people or being labelled increasingly “irrelevant” to your future customers, to move money rapidly towards upgrading skills and technology.

Where I observe key decision-makers get lost is the conversation meanders towards how to use the technology (the inputs, the “cool” images and so on), not the outcomes (results) it achieves.

Try answering these three questions:

  1. We have the correct level of accountability within the organisation to enable the technology to dramatically enhance the relationship with our target clients and their dealings with our firm (legacy systems, silos, CRM systems, internal compliance etc)
  2. We demonstrably have people today (or we can hire them quickly) with the skills and volition to apply the new technology effectively and efficiently to our target clients’ needs. In so doing, dramatically increasing the quality of the target clients’ outcomes (increased revenues, increased productivity, increased peace of mind) while reducing the time taken, and the risks of meeting or exceeding their expectations.
  3. Our target clients with minimum assistance are able to quickly grasp the degree to which they are better served and personally better supported by the new technology. Client’s good deal = (Tangible Benefits over the duration + Intangible Benefits x impact on their well-being + Supplemental Benefits) / Investment Required.

So the investors, Board and top management of a health insurance company, who is considering a $10M investment in a new “tele-health” tool for a worldwide group of executive travellers, providing “real time” access to a  General Practitioner, they would want to readily see hard evidence or strong anecdotal reports from the firm’s research stating some or all of the following before committing to the investment.

  1.  Tangible benefits: increased speed of responding to and resolving health conditions, increased productivity, reduced time procuring treatment, greater accuracy and less duplication exchanging  information with the patient’s “home” doctor, reduced costs of healthcare expenses etc.
  2. Intangible benefit: increased peace of mind for the executive and his/her next of kin, increased reassurance about the quality and accuracy of the healthcare advice, less stress and so on.
  3. Supplemental Benefits: improved image for the employer, more fulfilled executives willing to travel to remote and hazardous locations, repeat business (new user groups within the same client or in different geographies demanding the same tool), unsolicited and solicited referrals to their peers with similar needs and so on.

If you cannot unequivocally state you are “highly” confident to each of the above questions, you have ground to cover before signing off on any proposed investment in new technology.

Technology is a tremendous boon in enhancing the customer experience in a regulated world (stopping fraud, speed of making electronic payments, accessing real time valuations) but in equal measure it can erode customer loyalty at lightning speed (automated telephone banking systems, overzealous ATM fraud protection protocol etc.).

Think about the client experience you want to see, feel and hear. Understand the impact the new technology has in enhancing the relationship and your dealings with your target clients . Never allow technology to replace the relationship with the client.


© James Berkeley 2014. All Rights Reserved.

A Conversation with James Berkeley

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014


Join Chad Barr in a conversation with James Berkeley on how his firm, Ellice Consulting, is helping executives and organizations dramatically improve their operating performance. James talks about his “past”, his passion and his ability to apply that rapidly to transform his clients’ futures (increasing revenues, improving image, happier clients, faster growth, reduced risk and so on). Over a near 25 year career, James has sat in almost every seat in the “house”. An adviser to multinational businesses, an entrepreneur, a corporate executive, an investor and a Board member, he brings a unique perspective of someone, who has successfully tested his powerful approaches in the real world, not just on white boards in a sterile executive’s office. He also brings a “blast of fresh air” (success practices from other industries and geographies) to industry sectors that are awash with corporate executives and so called “experts” swimming in endless industry data and information.

An Interview With Me From TheStreet

Monday, November 17th, 2014

TheStreet’s Taiwan-based reporter, Ralph Jennings, interviews James about the implications for International businesses with China’s rapidly expanding space program:

“Which Aerospace Firm Will Help China Reach The Red Planet By 2020?” 

An Interview With Me From The Guardian

Monday, November 17th, 2014

The Guardian’s reporter Eleanor Ross interviewed James on the importance of team building, the myth that erodes success and alternative approaches to dramatically increase productivity in the workplace in both small and large organisations:

“How To Make Your Building A Great Place To Work”

An Interview With Me From Your Better Business

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Your Better Business, a UK business media publication interviewed James on the tangible and intangible benefits to Britain as host of the Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games:

“Olympic Rewards Or Running Up A Debt”

An Interview With Me From The Street

Monday, November 17th, 2014
The Street’s reporter Ralph Jennings interviews James which private sector businesses are likely to gain from President Obama’s latest trip to China and the short-term impact on their market presence:
“Obama’s China Meeting to Boost Travel, Helping Hotels and Airlines.”

An Interview With Me From Forbes

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Kate Harrison, a reporter with Forbes magazine interviewed me on the fastest and most effective ways to get investors to commit to your investment proposition:

“10 Ways To Create Investor Demand When Raising Money”


An Interview With Me From The 10th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF)

Thursday, November 13th, 2014
The Host Organiser of the 10th World Islamic Economic Forum, the foremost meeting place for the global business community to uncover the opportunities and potential in the Muslim world, has interviewed me here:
“Business Management In A Globalised World”

141028 WIEFBusiness Management In A Globalised World

10th WIEF Dubai

What Is In A Brand Name

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

I received in my inbox this morning from one of the media communities I am quite active in:

“About FCKING Time (AFT), a magazine focusing on sex, dating, relationships and travel and aimed at women in London, has launched. The monthly title will be produced by the About.Time Magazine team.”

Seriously, this is not a reflection on my choice of reading material. There is a valuable lesson for those of us creating new brands or refreshing tired ones.

If you consider what attracts your ideal clients to your business, the impact of your brand name and the way you chose to organise and convey your value, think about “CUPID:

1. Compelling content (articles and insights that cause the reader to say “I never thought of it that way before?”)

2. Unparalleled credibility (the people speaking, the suggestions offered and the results outlined are something I would have difficulty in challenging)

3. Powerful affinity (the intellectual perspective, the stories shared, the shared values)

4. Incredible value (tangible benefits personally and professionally)

5. Demonstrable impact (repeat business, referrals, growth of your community and so on)

An effective brand name is one that is short and memorable, which when applied consistently, frequently and intelligently in the mind of your ideal clients conveys the key attributes of your organisation and the impressive value you provide. Organisations spend kazillions on endless needs analysis that does little in moving the needle.

Pick three potential names, draw up a list of key constituents (customers, shareholders, employees, business partners and so on), ask their feedback and move confidently to a final decision. The objective here is both quality AND speed.

You may well choose  a brand name with a higher degree of subtlety and taste than the aforementioned magazine, however, don’t waste a lot of valuable time and money that could  more productively be deployed on your marketing, client acquisition and client delivery processes. After all “Goldman Sachs”, “Apple” and “Versace” have served those organisations just fine, long after their founders’ deaths.  

©    James Berkeley 2014. All Rights Reserved. 

An Interview With Me From Virgin Disruptors

Monday, November 3rd, 2014
Virgin Disruptors, Sir Richard Branson’s online meeting and debate forum for entrepreneurs and those challenging widely held beliefs about the future of travel and entertainment has interviewed me here:
“Tourist or Traveller: Who Is The Greener Globetrotter? “