Outstanding Operations is the Chief Challenge of Media & Entertainment Incumbents

It is essential that all sectors of a Media & Entertainment company work in a coordinated, digital fashion to collaborate effectively with the latest digital tools to stay competitive and enhance the customer experience.

Jun 17, 2020 by Christopher S. Dean
VP / GM Media & Entertainment
6 minute read in Media & Entertainment
Outstanding Operations is the Chief Challenge

The vision of a digital Media & Entertainment company cannot be complete without considering how the entire enterprise embraces the advantages enabled by digital technology and a digital mindset. 

A global survey by PriceWaterhouseCoopers found that three out of five operations leaders (61%) expect that changes in customer behavior will disrupt their operations over the next five years. Operations expert DMG Consulting found that the back office represents 2.5x the number of employees compared to front-office operations. And research from McKinsey & Company suggests that digitizing information-intensive operational processes can cut costs by up to 90% and improve turnaround times by several orders of magnitude. In light of such evidence, it seems clear that the back office and its attendant operations have a major impact on customer experience and the bottom line.

There are three key areas of value that impact Outstanding Operations:

  1. Process Automation

  2. Machine Learning & Process Optimization

  3. Data Visualization

Let’s first talk about process automation. The back-office functions generally include things like processing orders, completing billing, and ensuring fulfillment of products and services. Collectively, these activities are a significant portion of what a typical enterprise works on day-to-day. In addition, these tasks often arrive in blocks, creating heavy queues of work that can diminish employee efficiency, slow processing time and place strain on employee resources (and employees themselves). While the addition of employees to manage workflow is sometimes looked to as a solution, the digital age clearly demands new thinking to streamline operations and optimize the employee and customer experience.

McKinsey & Company research suggests that as many as 45 percent of the activities individuals are paid to perform today can be automated by adapting currently demonstrated technologies. Process automation drives productivity, performance, accuracy, execution speed and agility. It is a game-changer on all levels and extends across front and back office operations.

Vlocity is at the forefront of driving process automation in the industries we serve. Below is an example of dramatic improvements enabled by industry-specific, digitally enabled cloud solutions from Vlocity.

The Italian Pay TV company we worked with not only reduced call-handling time and increased their agent Net Promoter Score, they also experienced a 70% reduction in agent training time and saved $2 million a year on software upgrades. As a result, the chief technology officer said, “We’ve seen immense value in the switch from our legacy CRM system to Vlocity and have saved millions each year in training and IT costs; most importantly, our customers have increasingly effortless, efficient and positive interactions.”

The results are real, and driven by many of the key tenets of digital:

  1. Put human experience at the center of decision-making (customers and employees)

  2. Innovate rapidly

  3. Understand, nurture and invest in digital as a competitive advantage

Beyond the gains fueled by process automation today, digital leaders are employing machine learning methods to further optimize automated processes. With machine learning, systems are not programmed to perform a precise function, but rather designed to “learn” through exposure to various real-world scenarios. A machine might observe a process step that consistently identifies human errors or sub-optimal customer workflow, and then employ an alternative approach to improve defined, desired outcomes.

According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, corporate investment in artificial intelligence is projected to be a $100 billion market by 2025. As more money is spent to develop AI capabilities, it is clear that businesses will be in a race to acquire the ability to intelligently mine the large corpus of ever-increasing data needed to establish valuable new algorithms—all in an effort to extract new insights more quickly and with greater precision.

Essentially, the power of machine learning is finding the best outcome among all possible outcomes within the full range of the decision criteria. Finding the best outcome leads to better operational performance. According to Morris Cohen, professor at The Wharton School, machine learning will lead to better outcomes because it utilizes all of the data available compared to current methods, which ignore potentially relevant additional information.

Of course, executives driving Outstanding Operations need to understand what specifically needs improving and whether the intended goals are being met. This starts with identifying the KPIs that matter, defining the sources of information, understanding the current state and target future state, and establishing a mechanism to track progress over time. The explosion of data makes this final step particularly challenging, given the volume, velocity and variety of data entering enterprise systems today. Some data is structured, and other data is not. These new realities mandate new approaches for how companies visualize data to achieve desired outcomes.

A global survey by pwc found that three out of five operations leaders (61%) expect that changes in customer behavior will disrupt their operations over the next five years.

Every company or organization has a reality that’s embedded deep in their data, hidden in isolate pools of analysis that rarely get identified or expressed. Frequently, even tangible data is not communicated to stakeholders in a memorable way. By leveraging innovative digital tools, enterprises can seize upon dormant data, express it visually, improve decision-making, and help employees engage with customers in more relevant ways.

Vlocity, for example, provides industry-specific customer consoles that integrate every facet of a customer’s interaction journey, product and service ownership, order status, social relationships, churn propensity and other variables designed to help employees instantly understand who they are interacting with and how to best add value to the relationship.

Simplicity is the key for effective data visualization in the digital world. Operational leaders will need to understand the few measures that have the greatest impact on process efficiency and improving the customer experience, and then create simple, easy-to-understand views to measure ongoing improvement. To be effective, operational measures will need to be visually presented one way for the operations team, and, if applicable, another way to front office personnel. Business context is crucial, and critical data demands a visualization style that is targeted, meaningful and impactful.

For example, churn propensity algorithms factor in a variety of operational data, including customer-level billing discrepancies and order accuracy, but its visualization will ultimately be expressed as a single churn risk figure or color code. While the underlying predictive model may be complicated, the visual presentation should not be. With the continued explosion of data emerging from devices, sensors and systems, data visualization will continue to rise in importance to deliver Outstanding Operations and, ultimately, customer success.

If you are interested in learning more about the many and growing methods to visualize data, I encourage you to check out The Periodic Table of Visual Elements, sponsored by Visual-Literacy.org. This site contains an encyclopedia of approaches to help providers present data in an intuitive and meaningful way.

Digital leaders know that a digitally-enabled front office is, by itself, insufficient to achieve real digital success—it is just one, albeit very necessary, piece of the puzzle. To avoid becoming a DINO-saur (Digital-In-Name Only), companies must execute end-to-end transformations to fulfill the promise of the digital enterprise while also working tirelessly to change the collective mindset and bring forth a transformative digital culture. This approach means creating a blueprint for Outstanding Operations as part of your overall digital strategy.

Whether it is leveraging process automation, machine learning or data visualization, it is essential that all sectors of a Media & Entertainment company–including those nested in back office operations–work in a coordinated, digital fashion to collaborate effectively with the latest digital tools–and each other– to stay competitive and enhance the customer experience. To succeed, business leaders must institute an inclusive, holistic, and well-funded digital culture to adapt and flourish in the age of digital transformation.

Download the Media & Entertainment guidebook here, to learn more and dig deeper into these best practices. 

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