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Connect to win: Competing at the intersection of media and tech

Three levers tech and media enterprises must strengthen to survive and thrive

The lines between technology, media, and entertainment industries are blurring and disrupting business models and ways of working. And as the rapid growth from sky-high demand during the pandemic slows, industry leaders are looking for new revenue streams that cross industry boundaries. In a bid to spark hyper growth and gain market dominance, they're creating new business models, integrating value streams upstream and downstream, and unlocking fresh value for customers. Think of Cisco's move to everything-as-a-service (XaaS), Apple making its own chips, and Facebook selling smart glasses.

And as these industries look to compete in the metaverse, the stakes couldn't be higher.

What are the trends driving this convergence of industries that all tech, media, and entertainment firms should master? And how can these companies build the agility and responsiveness they need to pivot their businesses and capitalize on opportunities at the intersection of these trends?

We answer these questions and more as we uncover how media and tech businesses can ride the next wave of disruption through the three levers of sales, customer experience, and environmental, social, and governance.

Brave new world

1. A confluence of technologies: The past few years have seen significant advancements in technologies such as the internet of things, big data, robotic automation, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, virtual reality, and 5G cellular networks. These developments are enabling greater (and cheaper) connectivity and more powerful data analytics than ever before. Young startups have been quick to seize these opportunities and revolutionize business models and ways of working to overtake incumbents.

Now the trillion-dollar question is: how can these companies establish and normalize disruption at scale – all while the competition is nipping at their heels? The businesses that succeed will be those that connect ecosystems within and beyond their organizations with data and analytics to continue to innovate constantly and at speed.

2. New customer expectations: Customers don't expect to buy just a product or a fixed-term license – they expect flexible, environmentally sustainable solutions that deliver the outcomes they want along with exceptional experiences from the first touch to the last. Companies have met this demand by moving on to on-demand, streaming, direct-to-customer, XaaS, and subscription-based services.

These expectations have also changed operating models and ways of working across marketing, sales, and customer experience (CX), with the focus shifting to maximizing customer lifetime value and securing user trust and safety.

3. Geopolitical turmoil: The past couple of years have seen businesses grapple with volatility from multiple sources – the pandemic, trade wars, sanctions, and the war in Ukraine, to name a few. These events have shaken up supply and demand, driven up inflation, and spurred organizations to rethink their location strategy for more labor-intensive functions.

To manage ongoing uncertainty, business leaders need agile organizations with simplified processes, adaptive technology, and real-time data analytics and reporting, as well as a trained, flexible workforce that can work from anywhere.

As these macrotrends continue to evolve, media and tech companies too must transform to stay one step ahead. This involves fundamentally changing ways of thinking and working.

Preparing to converge: Three levers to strengthen and connect

Industry disruptors are innovating and growing at breakneck speed. To maintain escape velocity, their processes and systems must keep pace. And though all functions – from human resources to finance and supply chain to risk and compliance – are critical to enabling growth, we have identified three sources of rocket fuel that will deliver hyper growth across industry boundaries.

1. Build a seamless sales experience from the first touch to the last

The pivot to XaaS and subscription models has transformed the sales function for software, consumer tech, media, and on-demand platform companies. The focus has shifted from a one-time sale to customer lifetime value, driven by improved retention, upselling, and cross-selling. In addition, marketplaces, on-demand platforms, and XaaS companies manage sales to thousands of small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMB) customers and millions of individual consumers. Traditional sales cannot manage the complexities of delivering exceptional experiences and customer success at such high volumes, across multiple channels, and at feasible costs.

How organizations can prepare

a. Unify customer experience. Customers today demand a consistent, seamless experience across marketing, sales, and customer service – from the first touch all the way through to sales, renewal, and till the end of the relationship. To do this at scale, organizations need a fully digitalized, data-driven methodology to measure and improve CX across the customer lifecycle. A 360-degree view of the customer – powered by intent, consumption, and usage data – can enable AI and machine learning (ML) technologies to anticipate customer needs and predict and prevent churn.

b. Transform the sales team into trusted advisors for customers. Today, customers are looking for growth partners, not vendors. To meet this expectation, sales teams must be equipped with the skills and knowledge to meet customers' needs in real time, across channels. This means reskilling, upskilling, or hiring specialized, digital-savvy sales talent. AI can also support sellers with real-time agent assistance with next-best action or next-best offer technologies.

Case study

Better CX = better business

A fast-growing social media platform was struggling to keep up with demand for its advertising services, resulting in poor CX and high SMB churn. Genpact stepped in to streamline and digitalize the sales process. We started by closing the skill gap with our SMB Academy. Next, we analyzed calls to assess sales behaviors and enhanced and cleansed customer data to improve contactability and conversion.

The impact? Within four months of launch, we helped the platform connect with over 4,000 advertisers and bump up customer satisfaction to 90%, making the platform one of the biggest digital ad vendors worldwide.

2. Deliver an engaging, trusted, and safe customer experience

As businesses pivot from selling products to engineering experiences, they're finding that the ability to deliver personalized CX while also securing customer data and privacy is a key competitive differentiator. Trust and safety are particularly important to social media companies and platforms that leverage user-generated content. And with marketers looking at a cookie-less future, it has become vital to look for innovative new ways to engage with customers.

How organizations can prepare

a. Connect digital ecosystems with AI- and ML-powered data and analytics to maintain a fine balance of trust and personalization across multiple channels and touchpoints. AI and ML tools can seamlessly connect people, processes, data, and technology to:

  • Provide contentual analytics that delivers a single, accurate, real-time view of the customer
  • Help identify and fix disjointed customer journeys and clunky user experiences
  • Find patterns across vast volumes of data to enable accurate data labeling, content moderation, and fraud management
  • Filter out misleading or noncompliant ads, scams, clickbait, and false information
  • Prevent identity theft and account takeovers, and enable the quick recovery of compromised accounts
  • Protect the content moderators' wellbeing through better work management and sentiment tracking and analysis

b. Augment technology with human moderation. Technology alone is not enough to address the complexities of keeping our digital streets safe. As phishing, online bullying, and fake news continue to get more sophisticated, human judgment is essential to stay one step ahead.

Case study

Unlocking customer insights with the cloud

When a media and entertainment major saw traditional revenue streams dry up during the pandemic, it sought a 360-degree view of its customers to meet their evolving needs. Genpact helped the company synthesize first- and third-party data to gain real-time insights into the consumer household and drive new revenue across all its channels.

Case study

Keeping users and content moderators safe through AI

One of the world's largest social media companies needed robust content moderation to keep harmful content away from users. It also wanted to protect the wellness of the content moderators who dealt with challenging content daily. Genpact delivered a new trust-and-safety framework with more advanced AI to do both.

Unlock business value by improving ESG impact

Enterprises today understand that putting ESG considerations at the heart of every business decision is the right thing to do. But how can strengthening ESG help media, tech, and high tech companies capitalize on industry convergence? Because a mature ESG program can become a differentiator and a growth engine (see the figure below). Here's how:

  • COVID-19 and the rapidly increasing threats of climate change have heightened customers' and investors' focus on whether a company is doing the right thing, making ESG a key driver of company value and competitiveness
  • Environmentally sustainable processes are also more efficient and streamlined, and better support rapid growth and pivots to new business models
  • Companies that prioritize the social side of ESG by improving diversity, equity, and inclusion are widening their access to top talent, realizing the power of the diversity of thought, and building employee loyalty.

However, walking the walk on ESG is far from easy. Faced with multiple ill-defined metrics and reporting standards, enterprises are finding it difficult to measure, disclose, and improve their ESG performance. Further, large organizations with offices around the world and hundreds of third-party suppliers often don't have the visibility and insights they need into operations across the organization and beyond.

How organizations can prepare

a. Strengthen data foundations. At their core, these are data challenges. Investors and other stakeholders demand investor-grade ESG-related data and disclosures. And in response, organizations such as the US SEC and the IFRS are establishing reporting standards. To comply with the alphabet soup of ESG regulations, businesses must define data requirements, map data sources, and strengthen governance.

b. Transform supplier management. Companies connected to suppliers that flout labor and environmental ethics have faced significant reputational damage. Leading brands are now committed to responsible sourcing by running AI-led due diligence on suppliers. This involves measuring the ESG impact of their supplier base through information requests and third-party data and looking for opportunities for improvement.

c. Streamline supply chain design. Enterprises are working toward reducing the carbon footprint of their supply chains by using supply chain network design to optimize inventory and transportation.

d. Leverage data for more accurate carbon accounting. As regulators are setting up global baselines for reporting direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions, businesses are looking to acquire the new data and technology capabilities they need to accurately record, measure, and report auditable emissions information across their value chain and design carbon-reduction roadmaps.

Despite all these benefits of using technology and data, our flagship Tech for Progress 360 research shows that only 37% of respondents' organizations use data and insights to identify opportunities to cut waste and boost sustainability. This must change for companies to meet their ESG goals.

Case study

Sustainable and ethical supplier management for an e-commerce major

A German e-commerce company needed a broader and more systematic risk assessment approach that would allow it to scale up to cover its entire supplier base when required. Genpact integrated ESG risks into its supplier management program and screened over 500 suppliers on parameters such as environmental sustainability, human and labor rights, and health and safety. This helped the company discover that 15% of suppliers were either high or medium risk or had potential sanctions and bribery cases.

As tech, media, and entertainment converge, enterprises must reinvent themselves to stand out and unlock fresh value and competitiveness beyond their core industries. This is a challenge for many. But those that navigate this shift successfully will be the ones that strengthen and connect their sales, CX, and ESG ecosystems effectively.