Alwin Brunner, SVP & CIO, Head of Knowledge Management, Heidrick & Struggles
Integrating Data across the Enterprise for a 360-degree View of the Customer
An organizational leader needs to get educated on what the new 360-degree view of the customer can look like. Today, many people would say that they have a 360-degree view but with all the data accessibility today, one could argue that their view is far from complete.
Yesterday we had perhaps 100 views on customers and the market; today we have 10,000. We also have affordable data analytics. So you can often pre-conclude what your client may be interested in. And benchmark in a more automated fashion against peers. Not long ago, you could not do that; today you can. And so you should.
Gaining a Competitive Edge
Our business at Heidrick & Struggles is largely driven by becoming a trusted advisor to our clients on executive talent, leadership and culture. Our competitors may take a different approach, for example focusing exclusively on search. But what is true for all of us is that it is an industry based on relationships – with decision-makers at client companies and with individual executives on the candidate side.
Maintaining close relationships is crucial. The competitive edge lies in getting help in keeping track of those relationships through technology. Mobile and social technologies are becoming indispensable as we are all on the move, all the time.
Additionally, the real competitive edge will come in predicting the future. No one will ever be able to do that with a 100 percent guarantee but it is a desire of our clients for their leadership and talent advisors to do a better and more thorough job in combining forward-looking analytics to the judgement of our consultants to ensure that a candidate can and will succeed in a challenging new role. This goes way beyond ensuring that there is a strong “fit” but also that the executive candidate has the right blend of leadership styles to succeed in the role despite a unique blend of challenges and opportunities. And this is just what we have begun to develop.
Recent Trends Impacting the Industry
Of course each of these big technology trends are important to our industry, because they are important to our clients. Executives in every industry sector need to be mindful of the digital transformation all around us—affecting for example product development, manufacturing, relationship management and of course how we connect and interface with our client.
At our firm, we have consultants spread out in more than 50 offices in 30 countries around the world, and they are continually out of the office meeting with clients and candidates in their own and other geographies. So we need to further develop our communications and data-sharing technologies to enable our people who are far apart to share information and insights, and to collaborate. Our global footprint is a huge advantage but it requires us to invest to fully leverage. Each consultant has a different line of sight on the market. Together, we have an unmatched set of eyes and brains processing what our clients and candidates are experiencing—at the highest levels of business in every sector and geography. But we need to find efficient ways to further share insights and grow smarter together. Clearly, mobile and social are part of this, but our need for collaborative insight sharing goes beyond what has currently been invented. Again, this is something we are working on.