Article

05.03.2018

Diversity: a factor in company performance

More women in management positions equals better financial results. The findings are the same when cultural and ethnic diversity and inclusion are encouraged in leadership roles. This striking correlation is highlighted by the "Delivering through Diversity" report from the consultancy firm, McKinsey & Company.

In a new study on diversity in the workplace, involving more than 1,000 companies across 12 countries, the McKinsey & Company consultancy firm reveals that companies which emphasise greater inclusion and more ethnic, cultural and gender diversity on their teams perform better. Not only in terms of profit, but also with regard to long-term growth prospects and the creation of added value. This significant correlation, which was first described in an earlier report "Why Diversity Matters", published in 2015, does not wipe out another conspicuous finding: women and minorities are still under-represented in key company positions.

More women in top positions

On the issue of gender diversity, the McKinsey report shows a clear, positive connection between a company's profit margins and the presence of women in top management. Indeed, companies with more women on their executive teams were 21% more likely to outperform on profitability. The result is the same no matter which region of the world is investigated.

Ethnic and cultural diversity: the same findings

On the basis of data collected in six different countries, the study also shows that the ethnic and cultural diversity of executive teams has a positive effect on a company's financial performance: they do 33% better, both in absolute terms of representation and with regard to the variety of origins. McKinsey also highlights the significant disparity between the number of graduates from minorities, in the UK and USA, and their presence in leadership roles. So Black Americans, who represent almost 10% of graduates, only hold 4% of senior executive positions. A finding that gets even worse when one looks at Black American women...

Implement a diversity strategy

Besides these conclusions, the report also lists four imperatives to be implemented by companies wanting to integrate an effective strategy for more inclusion and diversity:

  • Commit and Cascade: while an example must be set at senior levels, it is crucial to cascade down to all company ranks and ensure that everyone, especially middle management, has enough resources to buy in to diversity principles.
  • Link inclusion and diversity to growth strategy: The idea is to define the relevant factors (ethnic, for instance, or academic achievement) based on what will drive the business growth strategy. This is also expressed by creating conditions to attract and keep skills with high added value.
  • Craft an initiative portfolio: initiatives in pursuit of inclusion and diversity goals require the creation of coherent change conditions, upheld and shared throughout the company, particularly through an effective plan of action.
  • Adapt the diversity strategy to local specifics to maximize its impact

Just like any cultural change, implementing a real strategy for inclusion and diversity necessarily involves considerable effort by companies. But if one trusts in the conclusions of the McKinsey study, it's worth the effort in terms of the potential company benefits.

Article

02.12.2016

Le M-commerce impose sa loi et banalise l’achat

Menace ou opportunité pour les e-commerçants ? Sans nul doute bousculés par l’empire des tablettes et des smartphones, mais néanmoins obligés de se réinventer… Pour un acte d’achat de plus en plus anodin

Avec son éloge à la simplicité, Apple inspire ses concurrents directs et indirects. Ils prennent pour priorité la simplification à l’extrême du parcours d’achat.

Des géants comme Amazon développent tous azimuts pour assister l’acheteur et ne plus le lâcher. Pour la Fnac, le mobile doit simplifier au maximum l’acte d’achat. L’enseigne française s’efforce de rendre ses parcours d'achat full web et de les inscrire dans un usage drive to store en optimisant les usages multicanaux.

Rendre l'expérience la plus simple et efficace possible, c’est précisément ce que les marchands ont de la peine à réaliser, mais c’est pour eux l’occasion de relever le défi. .

Le M-commerce joue des coudes

Le mobile ne se contente pas d’être une ‘alternative’, il s‘impose : même de la maison, on achète sur sa tablette ou son smartphone. En France, le commerce mobile a doublé en 2015 et atteint aujourd’hui une part de 23,6 % de l’e-commerce. En 2016,15 achats seront effectués depuis un appareil mobile contre 10,5 en 2015.
Une fois installées sur le smartphone de l'internaute, les applications de commerce électronique natives garantissent un taux de fidélité bien plus élevé qu'un site Web responsive et offrent de belles opportunités pour tracer les clients via leur identifiant personnel afin de mieux les connaître et donc mieux les cibler.

Parcours d'achat réduit à sa plus simple expression

A l’ origine, Pinterest est une simple plateforme de partage social d’images. Aujourd’hui, Pinterest inspire Wish, Wanelo, The Hunt… Une nouvelle génération d’applications de commerce mobile. A la mode des buyable pins de Pinterest, elles ne demandent de l’internaute qu’un simple clic voire un effleurement de la photo du produit pour lancer la commande. Epoustouflant comme il devient facile d’acheter n’est-ce pas ? Pinterest n’a pas l‘audience de Facebook et pourtant, son public de femmes et l’engagement de ses membres attirent les marques de mode : 80 % de taux de ‘ré-épinglage’ contre 1,4% sur Twitter. Quant à son trafic, il dépasse largement, aux Etats-Unis du moins, celui de Google+, LinkedIn et YouTube réunis.

Choisir un produit via questions/ réponses

Plutôt que de consulter un catalogue, l’internaute peut choisir son produit à l’aide d’un chatbot, un agent conversationnel qui vous pose des questions et vous conseille des articles en fonction de vos réponses. Mark Zuckerberg vient enfin d’annoncer pour fin 2016 l'arrivée du paiement en ligne sur Messenger permettant de mener une transaction de A à Z. Avec 4 ans de retard sur WeChat qui brasse entre-temps les infos bancaires de 200 millions d'utilisateurs.

Bataille de coqs sur le marché de l’internet de l’objet

Amazon a déjà montré l’exemple en termes d’achats banalisés avec son bouton d’achat en 1 clic sur chaque fiche produit et la simplicité du parcours d’achat sur mobile ou Kindle. A présent, l’américain réinvente le e-commerce avec l’assistant Alexa (qui compte déjà des millions d’utilisateurs), installant le système de reconnaissance vocale sur sa console de jeu Fire TV ou l’enceinte Amazon Echo diffusant le son à 360 degrés.

La riposte de Google qui consisterait en une véritable interface vocale universelle pour l'ensemble des objets connectés de la maison serait plus ambitieuse que l'Amazon Echo. Et le Siri d’Apple bénéficierait bientôt lui aussi de son hardware. Qui sera le plus rapide ?

Amazon n’entend pas perdre son avance si l’on en juge les adhérents à l’Amazon Echo : les électroménagers de General Electric se pilotent à présent à la voix, qui peut aussi bien lire des tweets, la Bourse, commander un Uber ou lancer Spotify…

Acheter sans s’en rendre compte ?

Sur le territoire de l’achat sans effort, Amazon approfondit ses recherches et développe un bouton connecté aux marques, une solution ‘Push to Buy’ où le consommateur peut, via un bouton physique pour chaque consommable, commander à nouveau automatiquement son produit via son abonnement Amazon Prime.

Comment son concurrent, la Fnac, analyse-t-il cette nouvelle offensive ? La démarche est inverse, selon Ghadi Hobeika, Directeur Marketing Digital de la Fnac : Nous essayons de faire venir les clients sur nos canaux de vente, que ce soient les réseaux sociaux, les canaux digitaux ou physique. Amazon, quant à lui, s’installe dans le parcours de vie du client en allant quasi jusqu’à effacer le geste d'achat puisqu'il suffit d'un mot, d'un geste pour que l'achat soit réalisé sans aucun effort du consommateur.

Le client est-il dupe ?

Une étude de Slice Intelligence le révèle, peu d’acheteurs du bouton connecté Amazon Dash effectueraient un achat via ce bouton. Les consommateurs auraient du mal à s’y faire. Les marques par contre en sont folles : 50 nouveaux boutons et 150 enseignes représentées à ce jour.

Et nos pays, quand passeront-ils au bouton d’achat ? Juste une timide initiative pour l’instant verrait le jour chez notre voisin du sud et porterait sur du service après-vente…

(Source : atelier.net)
Article

27.12.2016

Trend spotting. A manual.

Would you like to know what people will want next? If so, all you have to do is look at successful innovations and the expectations they generate, according to David Mattin, trendwatcher at www.trendwatching.com and co-author of the book Trend-Driven Innovation.

Any professional is long accustomed to the hyper-accelerated pace of innovation that sees new products and services arrive and disappear at light speed. With that comes the sense that consumer behaviours and mindsets change faster, more unpredictably — chaotically, even — than ever. Put together, it's an avalanche that can feel overwhelming.. That is, in summary, what David Mattin writes in his article How to spot a trend at www.trendwatching.com.

Still, being on board wih the latest trends or even anticipating them doesn't have to be the preserve of a chosen few with seemingly magical intuition, Mattin says. According to him, trendspotting can be a simple, replicable process that anyone can do. His article provides a model that answers the question that any start-up, CEO, marketing director or product developer struggles with: what will my customers want next?

Human needs

There are various methods to determine what customers want. Traditional market research is the most well-known method. Yet Mattin believes this method is inadequate to spot future trends in an environment of rapid change.

”After all, our job is to figure out what people will want before they want it. People often don't know what they want until you show it to them."

Observing potential customers with ethnographic fieldwork is another research method. This can yield deep insights, but it is hard, slow and expensive. Big Data can provide useful customer information, but it usually only allows you to optimise what you’re already doing. Big data rarely generates the radical insights that can underpin something truly new, Matting claims.

So what’s the answer? The key to actionable foresight lies in looking at the overwhelming onslaught of innovation — new brands, products, services, campaigns, experiences and more — that now parade before our eyes and across our screens every day.

Mattin: "The ultimate answer lies in the customer expectations those innovations are creating. In order to be successful, businesses must meet those expectations at the right time.”

In order to spot consumer trends, it is essential to define what a trend is exactly. According to the trendwatcher a trend is a new manifestation - in behaviour, attitude or expectation - of a fundamental human need or want, usually via a new technology or an economic or social change. In other words:, when an age-old human need: for connection, security value, excitement… is served by a new technology, this will most likely introduce a new trend. A good example of this is Napster, the well-known illegal music streaming platform from 1999 This innovation served the basic needs ‘novelty’ (more music) and 'convenience' (instant access). It was this innovation that has led to iTunes, Netflix and Spotify, all of which satisfy those needs and are extremely successful.

Learning from Uber

But there's still a piece of the puzzle missing. How does a cluster of innovations that serve a basic need in a new way become a worldwide trend? The answer lies in two words: expectation transfer.

David Mattin: “When an innovation serves a basic human need in a new way, it sets new customer expectations: it primes consumers to expect something new. Once created, new expectations spread across markets, industries, product and service categories.”

He refers to Uber as an example, with which the basic human needs of 'convenience' and 'low-cost transport' are served. The iconic innovation of Uber raised consumer expectations of one-touch smartphone fuelled services, and these expectations were served by others, such as Handy, an American on-demand home services start-up that earned 50 million dollars in just one month.

Mattin claims it is crucial to watch as many innovations as possible, as this allows you to tap the collective intelligence of the business crowd around the question: what will customers want next? When you spot a cluster of similar innovations, you'll know that you could be on to an interesting new signal of where customers are heading. The trendwatcher also emphasises to not dismiss innovations that seem niche or even ridiculous — they can often be weak signals of powerful new emerging expectations.

“Remember when couch-surfing was just for students and broke travellers? Now, Airbnb will let you rent the Villa Machiavelli in Tuscany for 5,164 pounds per night”, Mattin argues.

Goldmine of opportunities

The trendwatcher concludes that in order to spot trends, you should start interrogating every innovation you see for the new customer expectations it creates, and pretty soon it will become a habit.

“That habit becomes something more: a new way of seeing the world that turns the overwhelming flood of innovations into a goldmine of opportunity. Of course, you'll need to apply the trends you spot. That means turning them into winning new innovation ideas, and then executing.”

Read the whole article here

(Source: www.trendwachting.com)

Article

29.12.2016

What will 4G Internet of Things and 5G bring to the company?

Proximus and Orange are ready. From 2017, their 4G network will be adapted to meet the challenges brought about by the Internet of Things, just as 5G unveils its first key benefits. We focus on new developments that will impact how companies work.

Proximus was the first operator to develop a solution for the Internet of Things with LoRa (Long Range), a network that transports small quantities of information between objects and systems with a lower electricity consumption. Some key applications include analysis of air quality in buildings, stock management and monitoring volumes in bottle banks, for example.

A few days ago, Orange announced it is upgrading its existing 4G network for the same Internet of Things market, thanks to the implementation of new LPWA layers on a national level. (NL version)

There's no need to reinvent the wheel, as it's simply a matter of updating the existing infrastructure. Indeed, the current Orange 4G network, which will soon cover the whole territory (currently 99.8% of the population), will be equipped with NB-IoT and LTE-M technologies in 2017. The benefits are bidirectional communication between the device and the network, better mobile coverage inside buildings and guaranteed connectivity abroad through agreements in Europe and elsewhere. In this new mobile world, the company's SIM card provides secure connection using unique authentication and strong encryption of transported data.

According to Frank de Weser, Business Marketing & M2M Business Unit Director at Orange Belgium, M2M applications will undergo major upheavals in the coming months:

"We are already working in transport ("track and trace") and mobile payment methods, but 2G still dominates at 90%. This development of 4G gives us new opportunities, with remote monitoring or smart metering (of electricity or gas consumption, for example). This market is going to explode, and fast. Our upgraded 4G network offers a battery life of 5 to 10 years for smart devices. The first commercial applications are planned for the beginning of 2018 for our business partners."

In line with this strategy from the Orange Group, mobile big data (NL version):

"Our network can already provide anonymous data to 'data scientists' to measure the presence and movement of mobile subscription holders. This is what we internally call crowdmonitoring. Using this, we can find out how many people are within a radius of 100 metres. Some cities such as Antwerp and Mons have already called upon us for tourism and security purposes, but this data can also be useful in the retail sector, for example to analyse the affluence of a given place before opening a shop."

Awaiting 5G in Belgium

On 14 November, Proximus invited the press to a demonstration of its 5G network of the future, planned for 2020 (standards still need to be defined) in collaboration with Huawei. (NL version) Equipment and staff made the journey from China for this event, which enables incredible data transfer speeds of more than 70 Gbps, with latency times reduced to their lowest level since the beginning of mobile data connectivity. By way of comparison, 4G currently offers average speeds of 50 to 150 Mbps, but these speeds are poised to triple in the weeks and months to come on 4.5G-compatible devices once the 4G/LTE network is updated by the three operators, including Telenet/Base. (NL version)

For companies, this explosion of available bandwidth will enable sites without fibre-optics and copper to be connected. It will theoretically be possible to connect a subsidiary, a remote plantation or an isolated laboratory in a large urban area at speeds equivalent to or faster than copper cable. One of the first applications will also involve driverless cars, which will need a permanent connection to mobile networks.

5G in infographic

Article

11.01.2017

Mixed teams increase turnover

Diversity isn't just a political objective, it's also good for business. That’s what a recent article in the Harvard Business Review says. A number of academic studies suggest that businesses with a diverse range of employees are significantly more successful.

According to the well-known research bureau McKinsey, businesses that have a policy on ethnic diversity have a turnover that is 35% higher than the sector average, and businesses that have a similar policy on gender have a turnover that is 15% higher. What is the reason for this? According to the Harvard Business Review, diverse teams are basically smarter. Collaborating with people who are different from you challenges you to sharpen your thinking.

It works in the following three ways:

Focus on facts

A number of different academic studies suggest that diverse teams focus more on the facts. One study divided 200 people into different mock juries: all white, all black or mixed. These groups were given videos of court cases to watch and had to decide whether the accused was guilty or not. This is what happened: the mixed teams came up with more factual evidence and made fewer errors when discussing this evidence. And when they did make mistakes they were more often corrected by the other jury members. A second, similar study involved financial experts pricing stocks. The ethnically diverse teams produced 58% more correct answers than the uniform teams. Both studies concluded that mixed teams focus more on the facts and are more objective. According to the experts, this is because working in a less uniform team makes you more aware of your potential biases  and causes you to think in a more open-minded way.

Better processing of information

In another academic study members of US college fraternities were asked to read the interviews conducted by a detective  investigating a murder and to decide who was the most likely suspect. For the deliberations, they were split into groups of three, with a fourth person joining them at a later stage. In some cases the newcomer was a member of their own college fraternity, in others they were a member of a different fraternity. The outcome: although the mixed groups were less confident that they had made the right choice, their decision was more often correct. The experts concluded from this that mixed groups achieve better results because they process the information more carefully. Taking the views of an outsider into account appears to be counterintuitive, but the pay-off can be huge.

More innovative

In order to be competitive  businesses should always continue to innovate. According to a number of different studies one of the best ways of ensuring that this is the case is to recruit women and employees with a different cultural background. A study of 4,277 businesses indicated that businesses with more women are more inclined to launch radical innovations.* Cultural diversity also appears to be beneficial. A study of 7,615 UK businesses suggests that businesses whose management team is made up of people from different backgrounds develop new products more quickly than those with a homogenous management team. The conclusion is that hiring individuals who do not look, talk or think like you can allow you to dodge the pitfalls of conformity, which discourages innovative thinking.

Read the full article

Source : Harvard Business Review
*According to recent Belgian statistics only one entrepreneur in three is a woman. In Brussels, the situation is even worse: only 27.6 per cent of entrepreneurs are female. In order to improve the situation, the Brussels Chamber of Commerce, BECI, has joined the International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC).

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