Join Rahul Malhotra, Senior leader, QTC Avis, Joe Craughan, Head Global Process & Service Owner O2C, Novartis, Tina Lilje, Head of Customer Experience, Philips and other speakers to get actionable advice and insights on how to leverage the technology to optimize operational agility across shared services and boost the order to cash cycle.
Join Rahul Malhotra, Senior leader, QTC Avis, Joe Craughan, Head Global Process & Service Owner O2C, Novartis, Tina Lilje, Head of Customer Experience, Philips and other speakers to get actionable advice and insights on how to leverage the technology to optimize operational agility across shared services and boost the order to cash cycle.
Hello, everyone. I’m Andrea from Marcus Evans. I would like to thank you all for attending today’s webinar audit to achieve Process Excellence in shared service centers through end-to-end solutions and technologies brought to you in partnership with HighRadius. Before we begin, I would like to cover a few housekeeping items. As you can see at the bottom of your screen, there are multiple application widgets you can use, or widgets are resizable and movable, so feel free to move them around to get the most out of your desktop space. If you have any questions during the webinar, you can submit them through the q&a widget. We will try to answer as many as possible during the webinar. But if a fuller answer is needed, or we run out of time, we’ll make sure to follow up with you in a separate email. A copy of today’s slide deck is in the resource list. We encourage everyone to download any link to the low sources or save any links you may find useful. For the best viewing experience, we recommend using a wired internet connection and closing in any programs or browser sessions running in the background. You can find additional answers to solve common technical issues located in the Help widget at the bottom of your screen. Lastly, I would like to remind you to look out for an email within the next two hours after the event is done. That will include links to watch the event on-demand and download any resources. Now I’d like to hand it over to today’s moderator today. Elaine Nowak, Director of Product Marketing and Management at HighRadius.
Hi, Andrea, thank you so much. We are super excited to be here today. So I’d like to introduce the distinguished panel that we have. It’s a great lineup of leaders that are going to share their insights around achieving Process Excellence in shared services and Global Business Services. First off, we have Joe Cron, he’s the head of global process and service owner order to cash at Novartis. We have Rahul Malhotra, senior director of SSC operations and global process owner at Avis Budget Group. And Tina Lilia customer experience from Philips and Rena Petani account executive HighRadius, and I’m the Director of Product Marketing Management. So I’m gonna call the panelists just to tell us a quick summary of your role. And I’m going to start with Joe.
Thank you very much, Elaine, excited to be here, and a big Happy St. Patrick’s Day to everyone. I’ve worked in Novartis Pharmaceuticals for the last 10 years for hopping between GPO roles and also operations. And I’m in a current role as a combination of GPO and operational responsibility for order to cash. Hello.
Good morning. Good afternoon, everyone. Very excited to be part of a panelist on this forum. I’ve been working with Avis Budget Group for 10 years now, just like Joe, and indeed responsible for managing operations out of Budapest, but also quite recently took over a global order to cash. In Avis terms, we call it Q TC go to cash workstream for Avis Budget Group. So I’m looking forward to the discussion today. Thank you,
Everybody, happy to be here today. My name is Tina. I’ve been with Philips for 17 years. And after seven years in services in three years in operation a year ago, I moved into the role of head of Global Customer Experience, encompassing all our businesses, countries, and functions. And I’m excited to be on this panel today.
Excellent, we’re excited to have you. And then really want to take a moment just to tell to your role.
Hi, everyone, I’m Rena. I’m an account director for hire radius. And my role is to help companies to transform their audit to cash process using of course technology from HighRadius.
Excellent. So for today’s agenda, I’m gonna first tell you just a little bit about HighRadius for those of you who aren’t familiar with our organization, and then we’ll have the panel q&a. And I’d love to have questions come in for the audience. So please go ahead and put your questions in the chat box, and we’ll be sure to answer those questions at the end of the session. But first, what I’d like to do is start with a poll question because I’d really like to gauge the views of our audience. So if you could please participate, answer this question. What is the most important initiative for your AR shared services in 2021? Is it that you’re looking to leverage your current models and drive further cost optimization? Is it that you want to focus on recovery for COVID-19 Perhaps you’re looking to forge stronger connections from customer to cash, maybe your goal is to really improve the customer experience. Or maybe you are still working on your plan for 2021. So if you could go ahead and respond to that poll, that would be great. I’ll share the results from that poll after I talk a little bit about HighRadius. So HighRadius is an enterprise FinTech software as a service company, and we leverage artificial intelligence-based autonomous systems to help companies automate their accounts receivable and Treasury processes. We’re headquartered in Houston, we have offices in Europe and Asia. And I read it says the only provider of the integrated receivables platform for the entire order to cash cycle that includes credit, electronic invoice presentment, and E payments, cash allocation deductions, and collections. We’ve been vetted by industry leaders, and we’ve formed strategic partnerships with the likes of Citi, PNC, and Bank of America. And today, we focus on dot one performance or what we call being a one in 1000. And we really work very closely with our clients to help them become a one in 1000, finance and air department. We recently launched our radius one AR suite. And that includes a set of ai powered solutions that are designed to support AR processes for midsize companies. And it helps them automate their labor-intensive processes, maximize their working capital, and enable faster cash conversion. For looking at, we’ve dozens of some of the largest companies in the world that use our solutions. And we represent a wide range of industries. And we work with any ERP system. We also work with a large number of midsize businesses to help keep their teams lean and efficient as they grow. So we’ve had more than 1000 Plus finance transformation projects across 45 countries with years of research and development. And our global footprint really allows us to bring a ton of experience because we work very closely with industry leaders that implement our solutions. So now having gone over who we are and what we do, let’s take a look at those poll results. So it looks like the number one actually, it’s a tie between leveraging our current model to drive further cost optimization and improving the customer experience. So I would definitely say that we have the right people on the panel today, considering that those are the initiatives that are most important to the people that are attending in our audience. So let’s get to question number one. As experts to my panel who have been in this business for some time, you must have seen the evolution of Global Business Services in the past, you know, over these years. So previously in a lot of shared services, they were traditionally cost optimization centers. So how has the approach to Global Business Services shifted? And why do you think there is such an increase in popularity in GPS services in today’s climate, and I’m going to call on Joe first because he’s wearing the most green.
Thank you. Elaine Um, if I think of the approach first, I saw, you know, mission-focused on shared services was on cost reduction, and we see that coming out through the poll. From a personal perspective, I think there’s a need for the GBS organization to move up the value chain, doing two things, one, embracing digital solutions, and the second focusing on business partnering and delivering the data insights for the business to grow its revenue and margin. If we then shift to the second part of the question on popularity, I mean, the key core of GBS organizations is about consolidating your footprint, and also process standardization. The impact of COVID things like business continuity planning is much easier if your processes are standardized and then the rollout of that to a limited number of locations also makes it easier again. However, I think the impact of digital solutions and remote working probably means that the debate on consolidation needs to be revisited. What are your thoughts on Whoa?
Do I fully agree with you? And I think for large corporations like Avis Budget Group, this is also a key strategic area to work on. I can give you a brief background. When I joined Avis Budget Group, we were having five shared service centers across the globe. And in need that was already, I would say up the chain when I joined Avis Budget Group and I saw that largely, at least regionally the processes were centralized. However, definitely, there were non-standard operations. silos in which each and every region were operating, and they were As a need to have a global service delivery model and the process ownership which was very well defined, and hence as an organization, the step was taken to move towards a Global Business Services model. Pandemic definitely helped us in a way, I should be using that word to induce that entire strategic plan to move forward towards establishing the GBS service delivery model, rather than still going at a slow pace that you know, some of the organizations move. And definitely, it is induced by our digitization initiatives, which is not just happening at the front office, or I would say, the customer experience, part of the business but also the back-office operations as well. I mean, the speed with which we are transforming the way customers are going to rent cars in the future is redefining the way we manage our back-office operations. And I believe you know, GBS and the service delivery model. In that parlance, it plays a very vital role.
Excellent, what I call a lot of the SHUNS THE consolidations, standardization, digitization. So, a lot of the shunts are what we’re kind of focusing on. Thank you, gentlemen, for your insights. So let’s jump to question number two. And I think this question will be well suited for Tina. You know, when we look at the impact of COVID-19, on customer behavior, we can see that it was an immediate impact. It was widespread across industries, countries, demographics, and expectations have really heightened as these priorities have shifted from, you know, to health and safety first, and then the implementation of more of these digitized services. So this, in turn, has changed customer decision-making and buying behavior. So, given these shifts, how do you deliver an exceptional customer experience in 2021 and beyond? And, Tina, let’s hear your insights on this.
Thank you, Elaine. I think for sure it needs to be digitized. Like you just mentioned, customers want to access the service they need anywhere in any channel they prefer. I think it absolutely needs to be standardized with a very high level of consistent customer experience across the journey. But you also needed to be personalized. Customers expect you to know them and to understand their needs. What it means also, then, of course, it needs to be data-driven. And centralization and outsourcing business processes can significantly support the standardized approach.
Excellent, Rahul, Joe do either one of you have thoughts on exceptional customer experience and how you can deliver that?
Sure, I can take a shot on that, and then probably show you can add to it. I think again, talking about the pandemic situation itself, like many other organizations around the globe, the global pandemic hit us very hard being a part of the travel and tourism industry. So travel restrictions had led to a decline in the number of people hiring cars, for example. But also what we have observed is that people are seeing car rental as a safe and flexible and private alternative to public transport. Hence, it became even more vital for us to provide our customers a safe environment, a safe rental experience. But not just that, looking at the entire customer journey and experience, but we believe that our customers are going to be more comfortable if they have a touch less driving experience. Hence, you know, we started to move towards our digitization initiative, and create that touchless rental experience at our operations. And that’s what we have been focusing on for the past seven to eight months, which really has led us to see our customers becoming more comfortable. And the way we have adapted to the whole situation. We have seen how the market is also reacting to Avis Budget Group as a brand as well. So definitely customer experience. We keep the customer at the heart of everything that we do. And that is what is going to make us successful in the future. So it’s really the key for us. Joe, if you’re anything to that. Yeah,
yeah, yeah, absolutely. To build on it. Like I think what I see is really important, which is what Tina, and were you referring to is the customer-centric mindset. And I noted actually in your opening or who you are not ordered cash or cold cash or in some organizations to call the customer cash tonight. I believe that’s where GPS needs to start to branch out from its siloed base, typically finance functionally related but really getting this customer-centric mindset to think like a customer we see now working from home etc. We now want a consumer-grade experience even from our own organizations, not just from let’s say when we’re buying products from Amazon, etc. So it was great to hear the insightful story from Rahul regarding changes to Avis, but I think this is something Regardless of the industry that companies need to start to really dig into. And it’s great to hear Tina’s journey now she’s Head of Customer Experience, I think it’s something that organizations need to start replicating.
I think it’s so interesting that Tina, that perspective of you’ve got the personalized, and then when it comes to a whole, it’s more about this touchless. But regardless, I think, Joe, you summarize it, it’s customer-centric. So whatever it is that your expectations of your customer are, you need to deliver on those. So let’s look at let’s get to question number three, you know, we’re looking at a decline in cases, I’m super excited to say I did get my first COVID vaccine shot. And vaccines are going up all over the world, organizations are now shifting their focus from surviving to thriving, and GPOs are really under tremendous pressure to lead business units to drive revenue. So what has been the impact to GPOs? Amid the current climate? And what are some of the expectations from GPOs, and GPS heads? In 2021, and beyond? And, Rahul, let’s hear from you.
Alright, so I think I should show my goal sheet to you, which is kind of full of a lot of targets that I have for this year. Sometimes I’m even thinking to myself that Who am I reporting to, because I have my reporting line to CFO, I have my reporting line to commercial director, I’m even accountable for our fleet operations. But that gives me the excitement as well. And on the other hand, you know, I have my regional process leads, you know, whom I’m supporting from time to time. So we are at a fantastic juncture in our transformation journey, working on a significant project for our group is called as accounting modernization program, we are in the midst of rolling out Oracle Fusion as our ERP. So you can imagine 60 to 70% of my time is devoted towards the initiative of moving on to new ERP. But that’s just a technology. Because what we have seen, what I’ve seen and experienced is you can put any best in class technologies, if your business model doesn’t cater to the requirement of what your customers are expecting what the business really demands, your technology won’t be able to kind of, you know, deliver the business impact. Hence, right now the biggest responsibility or the expectation, from me as a GB global process owner is to look at those business models, which were established years ago, you know, is an old organization. In Europe, when I joined Avis Budget Group, it was Europe was a family-run business. So each and every country was running as its own entity. So those business models are still kind of, you know, going on our relationships with our network, with our licensees, the transfer pricing model, and all those things are something which is now being getting challenged. So we are now even thinking beyond what’s going to come beyond 2021. Those business models, which really worked for us in the past are not going to work for us in the future. So over an overall 360 degree. process reengineering is something which is expected from a GBP Oh, I think at least from me at the moment. So I’m, I’m totally enjoying what I’m doing right now. A lot of confrontation is, is happening with my key stakeholders, not easy change management. So maybe this forum is not you know, it won’t be enough for a Best Practice hearing on that part. But maybe next time when you organize a panel discussion, let’s spend some time on, you know, how we can fulfill the requirements of change management as well. But in a nutshell, I would summarize by saying, change management is something which is the biggest expectation from me. I don’t know, Joe, if you’d like to add something or Tina
Yeah, it’s interesting. I, you know, I kind of thought when you were talking there, Rahul, it’s kind of living the future. Now. The future, at least for your role. And my role is you’re not a GP or PowerPoint expert. You also have operational accountability that the process should be enabling. And I think that’s something that you start to see in many organizations starting to move more towards the GPO on let’s say, service delivery starting to come together. I think the other area, which is what I mentioned before, is about going beyond or additional silos or, or functional areas of GPS and really creating end-to-end enterprise processes. And we hear a lot about digitization, etc. But that only really works if you’ve got your master data. And that’s something that many companies haven’t got a handle around. And in my own company, we’re only starting that journey because we’ve found that we cannot do digital at scale until we actually fix our mind data. And it’s tough. But I think tools like slowness, various process mining tools like that. I think that really helps to back to Rails comment on the change management, you can share a, in a session on ambiguous on biased data to show where the bottlenecks are, where the wins for the organization are. And I think the thing now is not just about winning for the organization, it’s also winning for your customer as well. So I think that the data and how to present that data in a way that gives insights to senior leadership, it starts to become a skill set that every GPO needs to have. I don’t know, Tina, where you’ve seen from your side, like, what would your expectations of a geek GPO be for a customer experience?
I completely agree with what you both said. Because everything we do is based on data. I mean, you don’t guess customer expectations need to understand them, you need to have data to do that. And I think the whole digitalization is just giving us so much more insights than what we had before. But then the question is, to your point, Joe, how do you present it? And how do you draw the right conclusions from it to guide your actions? Because customers don’t have to stick with you if they don’t like your strategy or your approach. So you really need to understand what they need.
Yes, I can agree more than winning for the customer, I think is an excellent summarization to take away from that. Thank you for your insights. So let’s take another moment here. Let’s pull up another poll question. And kind of again, if the audience if you could participate, tell us what is the top reason for your organization to embark on digital transformation? You know, winning for the customer that this would come with digitization and all that’s going on? Is it that you’re feeling pressure from the competition? Maybe you’re feeling that the marketplace is moving forward, and you need to either catch up or remain ahead? Perhaps it’s you’re looking to deliver a top-notch customer experience? Again, is that going to be the top reason for embarking on a digital transformation? Are you looking for organizational flexibility and agility? So to what Rahul said, is looking at your goals and your business model? And is it the appropriate business model? Is it something you need to update? Or maybe if you’re strictly still looking at cost savings through things like increased efficiency? So if you could just go ahead and respond to the poll? I think in the meantime, we’ll get back to the questions for the panels. And then once the results come up, I will share them with the audience. And then perhaps we’ll have the panel’s comments on what we’ve seen. So digital transformation, we’re hearing that mentioned that a lot today. Digitization digitizing, it’s what some might call the modern-day gold rush to reach these new markets to grow your revenue. Business leaders are really flocking to embrace new technology and digital processes. And especially I think it was kind of pushed to the forefront as a result of COVID. And a lot of these work-from-home situations ahead be put in place. So the question is, how important is digital transformation in shared services? And what is the role of digital transformation across shared service centers? And how does it create a difference in customer satisfaction? So for this question, I’m actually going to call on Rena, because we haven’t heard from Rena yet. So it really can you give us some insights about digital transformation and its importance.
Oh, thanks, Elaine. So I think it’s obviously very important. Digital Transformation is really an essential, essential underlying part of the conversation and defining the future for shared services. Digital transformation from a lot of people’s perspectives is not a separate thing of tool or technology. It’s some fundamental, fundamentally different way of operating really to drive value by balancing the cost and the growth and real continuous improvement So from working with technology, a lot of existing processes, or solutions only process simple transactions, and they’re very inadequate in a digital world. Which really, I think requires more timely, frequent, and increasingly complex interactions. I think it’s also what customers have come to expect. And at HighRadius we work with different types of industry and the impact as Joe and Rahul were saying earlier in terms of post-COVID, across the different industries has been very different understandably. So some of the most common challenges companies faced were naturally related to remote working. So those challenges were things like payment delays or a decline in sales for those belonging to the non-essential groups. Obviously, not wearable works, or a sudden spike in demand for those that were not prepared. So for example, the toilet manufacturers. So those are just a couple of examples. We did a customer survey and 80 87% of the executives said that tightening credit control was their top priority during the pandemic, while collections were only number two. And by introducing the digital transformation, what we’re doing is helping remove those manual repetitive tasks, upskilling your workforce and then having them concentrate on the more meaningful tasks and from a cash perspective, obviously, to collect cash quickly. What we also found is that by integrating automation, AI, data analytics, and other technologies into their operations in the shared service center organizations, they can answer existing systems and processes globally. It helps the organization’s really to achieve what we’re calling the next-gen services, which in turn constitutes a positive experience. And finally, the executives were working with really do understand that in order to order in order to survive and thrive, it’s important they leverage these kinds of technologies, future proof that organizations, so at HighRadius, we have customers such as Walmart, Uber Starbucks, who actually chose to automate irrespective of the crisis. So digital transformation is not a buzzword. And on a final note, I did read a report recently produced by track guitar, it’s a market research firm, and report forecast, the annual global revenue for AI products and services will grow from 643. Seven points at sorry, $643.7 million in 2016 to $36.8 billion by 2025. So that’s a 57 fold increase over that period. So as we move forward, more and more leaders will share the digital vision. Thanks, Elaine.
Yes, thank you. What are your thoughts in terms of how can digital transformation create a difference in customer satisfaction?
I’m sorry, Elaine, you broke up just as you were mentioned, who was attracted to you?
That was for Tina, the second half of the question, in the role of digital transformation, and how does it create a difference in customer satisfaction? It wouldn’t be a webinar without something going wrong, you know.
It might sound counterintuitive, but I don’t think without digitalization, you can drive personalization at scale. I work in a b2b environment, a large part of our business is healthcare. So we had a different experience through COVID than I think many other companies did. But those customers are demanding, right, they need you to be there, they need the best service that’s possible. And on the other end, we need to know who they are, what they need, what the history is, the moment they call, or ping or chat, or whatever animal they use. And you need to be there 24/7 Because that’s how they work. Their hospitals don’t shut down at six at night. So digitalization, I think is really important to give that present to have the response time that’s needed and to understand your customer needs better because it also gives you an immense amount of data insights if you look in the right places, and if you connect the different data points that you can get. So it’s very, very important. And then also as Rina said, customers are consumers and they expect it. They expect you to be available online. They expect digitalization in your interaction and you need to go with it at times.
Yes, it’s so true. I’ve heard that it’s definitely something that resonates across industries. Is that as a customer, your experience as a person in your home life? It’s a very high level of customer service. That’s the expectation. And now that’s really you’re starting to see that being driven in the b2b services and the delivery, so very much trying to mimic the b2c Yeah, absolutely. Joe or Rahul, do you have any thoughts on digital transformation and shared services? And how can I make a difference?
Yeah, I think the big probably area that can greater trances apart from the customer experiences is on the footprint strategy. Now, instead of trying to move transactional activity from one timezone to another, you can look to start to eliminate it. And I think that’s been one of the big problems UBS organizations have faced is that sometimes they’ve located the back office too far away. rarely even considering the timezone of the local customer, the back office is meant to serve. And with that, although I know, digital transformation is the big boy at the moment, and I’m very much into it myself, I still believe our people are probably our most important asset in an organization. And I think that’s one thing I would encourage organizations to look at is, you know, start to plan, how the people who are going to be in your organization in the future, how they will enable the digital workforce, what skills they need, not just from a heart perspective, data science, etc. But very much from a soft perspective, how are they going to essentially behave as key account managers to partner successfully with the business? I think there are some of the things that when you’re thinking of digital transformation is not to forget the personal perspective as well.
Thank you for those insights. Rahul, will come back to you for another question, I think but let’s take a look at the responses to the poll question. What is the top reason for organizations to embark on digital transformation? Only about 10% said it was competitive pressure. Just a little bit more said it was delivering a top-notch customer experience. I’m sure Tina would disagree.
The organization’s flexibility and agility were about 30%. But almost I’d say about 45% was cost savings through increased efficiency. So it’s definitely still a focus for organizations to undertake a digital transformation thought on these results? Does anyone want to jump in?
Okay, Rahul, I can call on you this time?
I’ll take you to know, I was quiet. But I will relate it to the previous question, actually. And I think I agree with what Tina said that digital transformation. It’s not something that is a separate element in itself, I think digital transformation is becoming a part of the global Target Operating Model. It’s kind of you know, what we breathe in, breathe out. And it is very much related to how our businesses are innovating today. And as they say, you know, if you don’t know it, then somebody else will. So for instance, you know, again, coming from the current industry, I like to give some examples, the way we are renting cars, there are a lot of possibilities. And you’ve heard a lot about self-driven cars as well, right? There’s a lot of work that has been done on the technology. And if someone if you don’t invest into that, as a company, somebody else will do that. And you might miss out on the opportunity. So you might see that the businesses and you know, the products are innovating, but at the same pace, your back-office operations need to innovate as well. Just a simple example of how our customers can actually make a reservation, you can use Alexa today. So you know, everybody has a, you know, a Google App or Alexa at home. And you know, if you’re busy personnel, you can just tell Alexa, I’m traveling from, you know, Heathrow too, you know, whichever location and you would like to rent a car and Alexa do the needful, but it’s not as easy, you can imagine that you know, there’s a big data behind it, and how you convert that big data with a fantastic you know like Joe said, Master Data Management because if you don’t have your master data management, the pricing the product in place, you know, these technologies won’t be able to fulfill the requirement. And, you know, shared service centers that GBS, play a vital role in providing the appropriate backbone and the foundation so that when you are innovating your product, it can be really successful. So having said that, I mean, at the end of the day, I mean, I also agree with, you know, Tina, what you said, I think at the end of the day, we are doing all of this to provide a top-notch customer experience, it might not be cost-effective in initially. But in the long run, it has a much, much bigger value and business impact. So yeah, at the end of the day, you know, we are just focusing on how we make things easier for our customers and enhance their customer experience. So
yeah, I think it also goes back to your earlier points earlier about change management. And that ties into what Joe said about people being so important. And I think you have to have those three main points when looking at any kind of digital transformation. It’s people process and technology and if you don’t have a focus on all three of those, then you will not be successful in implementing a digital transformation. Tina Joe, any quick thoughts on these results?
Yeah, I mean, it’s not. I find it not really just distinguishable because if you become more agile, you will increase the customer experience. So I think there is overlap there. So the question is, what do you start out from? And it might be a different thought in the beginning, but it’ll end up delivering similar results. I think a lot of it.
So where would customer experience come in? What do you think in terms of implementation? Is it something that you should be looking at first, or it’s something that you think comes as a result, once you get processes in place?
Well, it comes as a result if you get it right, but I think to get it right, you need to start with a customer. Most of us are our customers somewhere. So start with that point of view, and look how that experience should look like, and then design your organization around it. And most customers will tell you as Ron will just say, Make it easy for them. And they’ll also tell you that they want deliveries or results, or whatever they want, they usually want it fast. So the Agile piece comes in, they want to be flexible, should keep that in mind, and design accordingly, you’ll hit many of your targets at the same time.
Elena, if I could just build on the last. A really simple scenario. So if you looked at just cost savings and isolation, you could have the scenario you are collecting for many English-speaking countries in Europe, for example, or us. And you say, Okay, I want to reduce costs. So I moved my collections to a lower-cost country. For example, in India, wherein this language is available, you can reduce your costs. That way, you lose proximity to Kosovo. Or you could look at something else the way in looking at a digital perspective and delivering I suppose value. And I think that’s where we need to probably separate the difference between a costly proposition or value proposition is, for example, you could start to engage with your customers, may take longer to change management’s rules, but start doing too many things like direct debits. And then you could put some tech on the cash application side. So as the direct debits come in, you get the automatic clearing, etc. That way you save costs. And as well, you also improve the customer experience. But even very important for your CFOs as well who’s up with stakeholders, you have a cash flow, increase, and a DSO reduction. So it’s just when people start to look at costs, I would urge them to look a little bit beyond costs and understand what value can degrade whilst achieving the cost-saving as well.
Excellent points. Thank you, Joe, for sharing. I’m glad we got to call on you. So let’s move to question five. I think this goes back, Rahul mentioned Alexa, and you can talk to her to book your car. You know, let’s also look at this human level. And then understanding you know, what is this impact with artificial intelligence, the importance of digital transformation, definitely, we can all agree that it’s there. But a very important aspect is to ensure that the organization is you know, managing the talent and the people. So do you think that including things like artificial intelligence poses a threat to human resources within an organization? And is there fear? Have you found artificial intelligence replacing humans, you know, stopping employees from accepting new technologies because they’re scared they might be replaced by a robot. So Reena, since you’ve had the technical background with the transformation such What are your insights on artificial intelligence?
Okay, so personally, I don’t think AI poses a threat to human resources within an organization, as we’ve already said, I think it’s just the humans having the fear of replacement. And it’s the hindrance that stops employees from accepting it at work, but not in our everyday life. And I think really, the message we always say at HighRadius is, people need to understand it’s humans and machines, and not humans versus machines because that’s for the movies. So machines help humans, you know, at work by reducing those tedious, repetitive tasks, so that really the humans can hone in on their superhuman reasoning skills like, in their creativity, to put energy into those higher-value tasks. And I think we said this before a Rahul, Joe, you’ve touched on this, it’s the leaders that not only automate the project but they have to educate the employees about the benefit, you know, technology can create. And it’s very much the role of change management gurus to make change an integral part of the corporate culture and make sure it’s a critical one just communicating the Watts The wise to how in a pragmatic manner. So a lack of support, of course, will obviously be In the program and the impact of perception as well. And it’s interesting, because at the end of the day in our everyday life, personally, I couldn’t live without Uber Eats and machine learning. It’s me that I’m hungry at 6 o’clock, and I’ll leave my weekly feed, so on a Tuesday to get out of cooking and false. And all the other little machines that Amazon and abs and you know, all those great companies make my everyday life complete. So well. Thank you for the question.
Joe, what are your thoughts?
Yeah, it’s really interesting. I think Humans , who are natural psychics, see everything as a threat. I think when GPS first came out, probably 20 years ago, it was its threat. And as I walk outside my front door, I have a threat of getting Corona. Possibly, again, I’m not sure if you get twice. But I think you know, it comes back to where Venus is talking about and the change management, it’s, it’s about turning that potential negativity towards understanding and engagement. Because, you know, anyone that’s known that if they’ve put in or said, or PA, you have a bot, but every bot has a bot driver, and the bot driver is the human. So I think humans and machines will definitely work together. But I think that’s back to my earlier talks about, you know, best in the skill set of the organization for the future so that they can get the most out of the technology to enable them to do their future roles.
Tina, thoughts on artificial intelligence, replacing humans, and the fear of losing your job? thoughts around that?
Yeah, I do think there’s fear there. That is stopping acceptance. I think we’ve all agreed on that and the importance of change management. To counteract that. I will also say that I do think it’s going to have an impact on the workforce. If you look at say, warehousing at the moment you have, you used to have people taking things from the shelves, and now you have a robot taking things from the shelf, you still need someone taking care of that robot, but quite honestly might not be the same person. It’s a different skill set. It’s different training that’s needed. So I think as leaders, we need to be careful to understand that fear, and to understand also what the mitigation could be, and to be honest about it. But yeah, I do think there’s going to be an impact. I think you still need humans, also larger numbers. But the roles are gonna change. And then the question is how well do people change with it? And I think that’s different from person to person.
Yes, absolutely agree. And I think you hit on that training, education, I think is key. Because there is that sort of idea of things happening behind this black box, that magic is happening behind the scenes, but really taking away that veil and understanding what is this technology really doing and how does it operate? And what is an algorithm? And how is that being practiced? To make my life easier, and to make my workload much less? So I think that’s all very important, Rahul, thoughts from your perspective on artificial intelligence in the work? Yeah.
Sorry, I got kicked out for like, I think, a minute or so. But I’m glad I can log back in. So I think I like what, what Joe stated about artificial intelligence and the involvement of people. And Tina mentioned upskilling as well, I think. So I have a live example. I remember I think it was almost three or four years ago when we started using artificial intelligence. But in our center, when we started the robotics Process Automation initiative. And indeed, the first, you know, the reaction from people was like, Alright, my job’s gonna go away because now we’re gonna have RPA. Now, I think what lesson learned for me was that as long as you can have another element, which is involvement, more, you involve people more, they start to learn the technology more they adapt to the technology easily. And one of the things that I kind of made sure we did was decentralized automation. Now, decentralized robotics or automation means we give access to our experts and indeed, to every person in the departments. And we asked them to kind of try out the technology and learn robotics and kind of implement it on smaller processes. Now, what it did was that there was more acceptability for people for the technology itself, they became more creative to make their you know, mundane, repetitive jobs easier. And by putting proper governance in place, we could actually have much higher efficiency and productivity coming out. So the Same goes for artificial intelligence as well. And Dena mentioned, like, it’s all around us, you know, when we, when we are driving, you know, through AI, get like on my Google Maps, you know, that I should refill my car, or probably I should get a takeaway burger from Burger King or something like that. But that’s all it’s helping us out. And I think I think in our, in our business world as well, it plays vital importance. And hence, I’ve seen that in a key role in AR as well, machine learning, for example, we talked about that, you know, once you, I mean, HighRadius have great technology as well. And you know, we are also a customer of HighRadius, we use Irek. Now, for Bank of America, I think it’s the system that learns by itself. And knowing more about it, the algorithm has been defined in such a way that you apply your remittance once, if the system doesn’t know it, for the next time, it knows by itself. So this is all helping us outright in our AR world as well, everyone, you know, in, you know, that I wasn’t paid for saying this. And this is something which is coming out of, you know, a real-life example. So, yeah, I’m a big fan of AI. And I always promote, like, people should kind of embrace automation and artificial intelligence, however, yes, we need to be careful with that as well in its own purlins.
Joe, anything to add?
No, nothing much apart from I think, Tina, you know, really set a really important point just emphasize again, is that we need to have good understanding and have that conversation organization, sometimes we’re a bit too quick to kick off these digital initiatives will not think about the impact that may have on on the associate’s employees themselves. So I think that conversation is necessary upfront to get the right level of engagement. And Rahul was giving some real examples, which we’ve also seen internally at Novartis where, to be honest, we’ve struggled to do digital at scale, we’ve just started in pockets. And part of it is through that change management. We haven’t gone through that journey successfully.
Yeah, and I think it comes back to managing expectations is a huge piece of all of this, with what and really keeping all your, your key stakeholders engaged and involved. Super important. So actually we’ve touched on this a little bit. So now I think we’re going to delve into a little bit more. You know, there are early shared services models focused on cost-cutting standards, standardizing services, I think that’s still a focus for many organizations. But we are seeing the shift towards value creation and driving business growth. So delivering this value, though, requires a particular understanding and a skill set, as Tina had alluded to, as well. And that’s not generally fostered within the ranks of traditional shared services. So what would you say are some of the top skill sets that this next generation, if you will, of analysts, of people who work in the centers of your coordinators, what will they need? And what role do you think leaders would play, in pushing this development hour and making this development happen? Joe, let’s start with you, since you just touched on that a little bit, maybe go into more detail on the skill sets?
Yeah, I think it’s a team and I’ve had some offline discussions on this, I think it’s a combination of soft skills. So developing the customer-centric mindset, business partnering, and the hard skills around process mining, so that you can deliver those insights to create value for your organization and the win for your customers as well. I think that’s it from, from a skills perspective, I think, you know, we have I cannot underemphasize the need for the soft, you know, just getting a bunch of data scientists together is not going to do it for you. When we look to the future, I think leaders, not just within GPS, but government leaders have a lot to do, you know, I would encourage those GPS leaders who have large service centers, in certain cities to partner with the universities to understand the curriculum, see how you can help shape but it’ll also extend your talent pipeline from the university to your own organization because hopefully, you’ll be seen as an employer of choice. If I look at, macro level, I’ve seen some countries like Estonia start to do a lot of work on this in the last few years, but I’m a bit worried. When I, you know, even look at my own home country of Ireland. I don’t think the education systems are agile enough from a curriculum perspective to deliver the right skill sets to associates in the future, and the future is not 50. Here’s where I think he was getting reached. Here. I would say he would.
Tina, you’re nodding your head. What are your thoughts on this? Yeah, I think Joe just made a really excellent point about the curriculum. And I think it is relevant for companies as well, when we talk about what the next generation needs in terms of skill set, we think, digital natives, right? Digital skill sets, programming skills. And that’s all-important. But I think the leaders need to lead here, right, the leaders are already in place, they need to skill up, too, they need to understand what they’re actually asking of their teams, they need to become change managers, and they need to get the insights to drive this forward. Because if you don’t understand it, how you’re going to lead the team of data scientists. So I think that’s on everybody to upskill and get to that point. And what Joe just said, I was laughing about the curriculum piece, because I think a lot of the people that are designing that curriculum, don’t fully understand it. So that’s not why it’s not in there, right. It’s not there. They are not digital natives. So they’re not maybe giving it the importance that it should have. And I can see that in other countries as well, as much as Ireland, I would put Germany on the list as well. And it’s scary in a way, right? Because we’re not equipping the next generation to handle these challenges.
Let’s throw the US in there, too. Why not? An international panel we can get through? Since we’re at it. Rahul What about your thoughts on the top skill sets for the next generation? And what’s the role of the leader? I think?
I think Joe and Joe and Tina really summarized very well, I think, in my opinion, yes, what Joe said, you know, technical skills play a vital role. But more than that soft skills, which I also call it as high performing behaviors, because what we really look at people today are those high performing behaviors, more than the technical skills, you know, technical skills, what you have today might not be even relevant tomorrow. Because you know, the technology is changing, you know, the speed of change is very, very fast. So what we look for in our employees and our leaders are, you know, they have some really significant high performing behaviors, such as leadership change, or learning agility, or adaptability as well, that those kinds of skill sets or key high performing behaviors are also relevant and probably more relevant than the coming future. So and coming to your second point on, you know, how do we institutionalize? Let’s say GBS learning, or you know, transformation learning, I think it’s a key topic. I mean, I’m a, I’m a keynote speaker at one of the key universities here in Budapest. And whenever I am invited to deliver a lecture, this is something which every student feels that they are so much far away from the practicality and how do we help them to kind of upscale so that when they come to the corporate world, and they don’t get a shock of their life that okay, that’s not something which was taught to them in their college or universities. So yeah, upskilling and institutionalizing what we do day in day out is really the key. So and that’s a role that we as leaders need to play. We need to go to the schools and colleges and probably help institutionalize what would be required as the real skill set for tomorrow. That’s what I believe. So I think each one of us has a vital role to play.
Excellent points all around. I think. Now, it’s time we’ve had a couple of questions come in from the audience. But if there are some additional questions that you want to ask the panelists, it’s a great opportunity to get insights from some tremendous thought leaders in this particular role. One of the first questions we did get in this one specifically for Rahul, said, Did you find resistance from it to open technology to your team members, you said, you let all your team members get access to that technology?
Then how did you manage it in part two of the question? So can you share?
Bring your IT directors for a couple of beers, and it helps I mean if a guy is into beers,
you know, but it’s always a battle. Because, you know, once when we were starting our journey on robotics, the first key question, which came out was, who’s going to own the RPA? Is it going to be the business or is going to be it? And of course, you know, that kind of led us to the next steps that we were taking. But it wasn’t from day one that we could, we could, we could have everybody get access to. We use UiPath to get access to our technology and then kind of work on it. It was a journey. And I know that you know, we had our IT consultants from a third party company, they came in, they came in for six months. They stayed for 12 months and then we built up our own COE and by that time, we got some Trying to convince IT as well that they have a very small role to play. And hence kind of when, you know, I could phase that out, I could kind of make some decisions in the operations. But it wasn’t from day one. And it’s a, I know, it’s a very valid question, because there’s always a question on Sox compliance and controllership, etc. And that’s why I mentioned that if you have proper governance, that you have established, and some code controllership behind it, it is possible. So, yeah, but we could only achieve it after I would say, two, two, and a half years of already trying and testing and creating our internal COE. And then it kind of, you know, just left it on the business to manage. So that was kind of, in short, the journey that we lived on robotics.
Thank you for that. We did have another question that came in this one.
It seems to be more relevant for Tina, is there a method you use to determine the customer reaction towards a new implementation? Or how can companies measure this customer satisfaction?
Yeah, so what we would do generally is use surveys and interviews. And I find it very useful to have both kinds of company discussions with them, some someone, their account manager, or someone that you work with, but also have a third party come in to see what’s the statement if you’re not in the room. So if you really want to watch that reaction, that’s something that I would highly recommend. Yeah, and then service, depending on I guess, the size of your change and the impact. The survey can also work if you’re just not sending it in blind, but you know, inform the customer that it’s coming and prepare them for what you’re expecting as well. Usually, what we find is they want to help you get the experience better because they will enjoy it if you do it. Right. So there’s usually a good partnership going on that helps both sides move forward.
Okay, thank you, Joe, Rahul, do you have any thoughts on that, you know, determining customer reaction towards your implementations, or how to measure customer satisfaction?
Yeah, it’s interesting, he shared a story. So we were on the journey of what we call co-creation. So we take the customer to the design phase. And the team at this point, you know, it starts off by interviews, surveys with the customer, you know, to also understand which of the customers would like to be part of that journey. And I’ll show you one very simple example, our US Customer Portal won an award in 1999. And it’s still the same portal we have now. So there’s been tremendous pressure to change that portal, because, believe it or not, for our life-saving drugs, we cannot tell customers that the status is just it’s on a truck, I can’t tell you where it is, which was pretty terrible. So when we went to the customers, we started interviewing them and we said, look, what do you like? They said your customer service team is the best in the industry. And we said, Give us one thing, what you would like to change that we never need to contact them that we could have some service portal, and then that was from the customer who was the procurement person, and then I went up the chain and this particular distributor, and they said, I would rather not even having a procurement person contacting Can we not do vendor integrated supply chain, integrate our supply chain, your supply chain, etc. So I think you know, it’s back to attain the same you know, you could do the surveys, but you have to augment it with the interviews. And I think when you then go back to your leadership team mapping out the customer journey now versus the future is very powerful.
Excellent, there you are,
You’re nodding, you might have similar experiences to share.
I mean, I just totally agree with you, it was as if you know, we are sailing in the same boat and I think we are having the same set of feedback coming in. We have put some kind of customer excellence champions and what not created roles. But yeah, I think this is something which we have to live with. Customer expectations are going to increase in the future as well and we need to continuously have that dialogue with our customers and kind of embrace the change that they are expecting. We need more passionate people. I will simply say that you know, because if we do not have as an organization or as leaders the appetite to change what our customers want us to deliver, and probably we’re not doing something right so we need that passion and it takes a lot.
Bravo as a happy customer of yours. Could you add some wings to your car so that I can travel?
I think if you allow us from the safety regulations, I guess it won’t fly. But yes, specifically for you, we can do something about it.
One nice thing and you said you’re enjoying the same boat, but I think in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, you should be drinking from the same pint or something like that instead.
I think we might have time for one more quick question. It came in and the question was, how long is it going to take before artificial intelligence becomes a norm in AR and finance? Does anyone want to take a grab at that?
So might even say it’s already here. Yeah. sooner.
Sooner we realize and accept it.
Well, I think that’s about time we have today. This has been a great panel. Thank you, everyone, for your participation. Thank you, Rahul, Tina, Joe, Rina. It’s really been a pleasure. Talking with you today and learning your insights. I’m going to hand it back over to Andrea to close out for the day.
Thanks for having us. Thank you, everyone
Thank you. Thank you, everyone, for attending today. And thank you, all of you for your insights. I just like to remind everyone to look out for an email within the next two hours with links to download today’s material. We’ll also get your feedback. So if you could take a minute to answer a very brief survey that will pop up on your screen at the end of the session that will be very much appreciated. On behalf of HighRadius Marcus Evans online events. We would like to thank you for joining us today. And we hope that you will be listening to our next webinar. Thank you, everyone.
What I've seen and experienced is you can put any best in class technologies, but if your business model doesn't cater to the requirement of what your customers are expecting and what the business demands are, your technology won't be able to deliver the business impact.
I don't think AI poses a threat to human resources within an organization, I think it's just the humans having the fear of replacement. And it's the hindrance that stops employees from accepting it at work, but not in our everyday life.
When people start to look at costs, I would urge them to look a little bit beyond costs and understand what value can degrade while achieving the cost-saving as well.
I think you have to have those three main points when looking at any kind of digital transformation. It's people process and technology and if you don't have a focus on all three of those, then you will not be successful in implementing a digital transformation.
Customers are consumers and they expect you to be available online. They expect digitalization in your interaction and you need to go with it at times.
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