In the first AU-NZ edition of the Mastercard and Harvard Business Review Analytic Services Become 2021 report, AU-NZ business leaders from Xero, Afterpay, Optus, Westpac and others, revealed that improving the customer experience is a key motivator for innovation initiatives.
Innovation was undoubtedly accelerated during the pandemic and research revealed that 75 percent of executives at AU-NZ organisations view customer insight as a vehicle for innovation.
Alex Clemente, Managing Director, Harvard Business Review Analytic Services (HBR-AS), says many organisations have proven they can emerge stronger after whatever next awaits, but there are some gaps in what businesses saw as important and what consumers need during and after the pandemic.
“I believe business and society are now forced to redefine what it means to be innovative. And businesses everywhere should re-evaluate if the new-found velocity and pace of change can be sustained,” he says.
Privacy and security are paramount to AU-NZ consumers
An increased focus on customer experience brings the risk of a privacy and data security pandemic. 80 percent of AU-NZ consumers agree it is important that the companies they buy from are using secure technology to make their privacy ironclad. Yet, among AU-NZ organisations, only 35 percent have or will invest in data privacy and cyber security management to improve CX in the next 12 months.
To improve this statistic, Mastercard has invested locally in capabilities that increase the efficiency of connecting buyers and sellers, including tokenisation, AI, biometrics, loyalty, data analytics and fraud solutions.
Innovation is a deliberate act
68 percent of AU-NZ organisations include innovation among their strategic objectives.
Those organisations that stand out as the most innovative in AU-NZ, as revealed by the survey, have the following five key traits:
- Digital agility: keeping up with accelerated digital adoption and real-time customer needs, especially touchless experiences
- Surround-sound analytics: making data-driven decisions the lifeblood of the organisation
- Ironclad data security: protecting customers and their data
- Strategic investing: taking intentional risks and accepting failure as part of the process
- Customer proximity: keeping customers close as a guiding force for innovation
AU-NZ organisations lag behind global counterparts in critical areas
Comparing AU-NZ results to findings from the global Become 2021 report, local organisations lag in a few critical areas; such as measuring the impact of innovation on business performance (55% of AU-NZ organisations, versus 66% of global), and acquiring at least one business for its innovation capabilities in the last three years (41% AU-NZ, 55% global).
Businesses can close this gap by building metrics into their innovation initiatives to ensure accountability, and by providing financial or other rewards for recognition of employees’ innovative work. The use of rewards is both “under-used” compared with global organisations (37% AU-NZ vs 47% global).
Mastercard invested heavily in innovation prior to and throughout the pandemic in three key areas; people, digital capabilities and partnerships. It ensured businesses have talented and committed employees who practice design thinking and putting customers at the centre of strategy.
“This is the first time we have expanded research with the Harvard Business Review to provide clear leadership insight into Australia and New Zealand,” says Kallan Hogan, Vice President, Fintech Account Management, Australasia, Mastercard.
“Ultimately, Mastercard partners with Harvard Business Review to ensure it is always at the forefront of innovation trends globally for customers and consumers.”
To download the full Become 2021 reports: Faster Innovation and a Focus on Customer Experience Helping Australia and New Zealand Battle Through Adversity, visit BecomeIndex.com or HBR.org.
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