PNR | Q3 Insights

October 2, 2018

Welcome to the Q3 edition of PNR quarterly. This past quarter flew by with several important client engagements. We continued to push the envelope as to what it means to be a consulting firm. Our firm can be categorized under “management consulting” but we don’t cater to the same conventions as traditional firms. We focus on telling like it is, measuring results and being tech aware. We’ve carved out a unique niche in the Canadian market by helping businesses accelerate plan for growth and adding substantial rigour on their strategy execution.

We’d like to share our top strategy insights from the past quarter

Creating a data driven organization

The words people use matter especially when it comes to communicating a vision or ideal end state. No word is more widely misunderstood than artificial intelligence.

Many organizations have a corporate slogan of becoming more “data driven” but what value does data really bring? For entirely digital products, data brings about virtuous feedback loops. More usage equates to more information on how users react and improvements are made. For certain products, this creates an unassailable advantage, think Google and Facebook. Tying usage and customer feedback back into the product is the ultimate way to improve customer experience moving forward. For organizations without a direct customer touch point, getting access to the customer is increasing in strategic importance.

This past quarter, we worked with several organizations to help them center their strategy around data and most importantly get closer to their customers. What we learned often is that it doesn’t start with data at all. It starts with team collaboration and only then democratization of data.

Here are our top reads about data strategy

State of AI

This 160 slide deck is a great synopsis on where AI stands today. If you want to skip ahead, check out the industry, politics and predictions sections.

Alibaba and the Future of Business

One company that symbolizes the use of data in its strategy is Alibaba.

Ming Zheng, EVP at Alibaba, details the new rules of business in a digital world, notably automating all operational decisions. His best recommendation is that companies need to get smarter, faster.

Mapping the customer journey

Understanding the entirety of the customer experience can be a daunting task but it shouldn’t be. A good way to think about is with personas. Customer journey maps are similar to personas. The difference is that they express the customer’s experience over time, rather than as a snapshot.

We held an in-depth customer journey session with a customer and the insights were revelatory; there were many areas where our client needs to rapidly improve especially in their use of digital platforms to respond to customer needs.

We firmly believe in the strategic importance of customer experience. We wrote a blog post detailing our philosophy on the matter. Customer expectations are always increasing and the root for competitive advantage begins there. The most evident place to start is better understanding customers.

Strategy design and execution

90 percent of organizations fail to execute their strategies successfully. This is usually due to poor measurement, lack of accountability and insufficient communication. Rigor around strategy execution is particularly lacking. As such, we’ve launched an internal initiative (called Project Power) to improve our corporate strategy practice. We’re continually refining our approach to strategic planning and we’ve divided our practice into three components: situational awareness, design and execution. Stay tuned for more developments as we iterate on our model.

Here are our top reads about strategy design and execution:

Strategy vs. Tactics: What’s the Difference and Why Does it Matter?

In our line of work, we’re often confronted with the challenge of strategy vs. tactics. This article explains the distinction between the two using well known academics in the field.

Planning doesn’t have to be the enemy of agile

Mainstream corporate interest for agile is starting to pick up. HBR has covered this topic a few times and this one falls squarely in line with one of PNR’s core tenets; agile planning makes a lot of sense in an uncertain world.

Fun stuff

Our most downloaded podcasts from the past quarter:

Being ahead of technology with Richard Cohene, CMO @ Dynamite Group

Richard Cohene, an advisor and friend of the firm stopped by to discuss the future of retail and how technology is changing marketing.

Incubating the future with Helge Seetzen, CEO @ TandemLaunch

Helge Seetzen leads world class incubator TandemLaunch. He shared some fascinating insights into what it takes to build a technology firm today and some great tips on how CEOs should spend their time.

We moved into our first official office downtown Montreal. We held a small event with our customers, partners and friends who helped us along the way.

If you have any suggestions or comments, we would love to hear from you! insights@thepnr.com

Have a great fall!

The PNR Team