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Ahead of the Curve
21 minutes | Jul 20, 2021
AOTC EP 32 - Health Cloud Builds A New Patient Experience
Many industries have benefited from the rapidly growing movement to digitalize over the past half dozen years or so. Wherever you look, there is an ever increasing level of IT and operational technology at work behind the scenes, putting mountains of data to use. So, it may seem odd to realize that the healthcare industry, which has perhaps more potential data than any other industry, has not yet fully grasped how to gather it and how to put it to its best use. That has resulted in fragmented healthcare where the patient has no clear idea of their road to health and the system has no clear idea of the patient. In this episode, we examine how Health Cloud from Salesforce is bringing badly needed change to healthcare by gathering, analyzing, and leveraging health data from Electronic Health Records and many other sources in order that medical practitioners can create a complete picture of a patient and develop the optimal treatment and care plan. Guest Bio Dr. Jose Quesada – Dr. Quesada is a trained physician who has focused his career on healthcare administration in many areas, from Chief Medical Officer for Bupa Global and Cigna, to the Director of Finance and Operations at the University of Miami Health Care System. He is currently the Vice President of Global Healthcare at Salesforce. Key Ideas 02:02 – The healthcare industry has yet to adopt CRM technology but COVID has shown the need for digitalization 04:42 – Patients aren’t really patients; they’re CONSUMERS of healthcare and must be treated like consumers since they are the ones paying for the care 06:41 – Patient data is siloed with little to no interoperability which leads to redundancies in care or, worse, gaps in treatment plans. 11:39 – Would patient data be exposed to hacking in a platform like Health Cloud? No, says Dr. Quesada 16:34 – How Health Cloud helps the elderly and those with chronic care issues to remain in their own homes longer
22 minutes | Jul 9, 2021
AOTC EP 27 - A Story Of Survival In The Travel Industry
On March 15th, 2020 – the Ides of March – the management team at Florida Tours.com, a large transportation company in Miami, began to shut down its operations in the early days of the global pandemic. Florida Tours plays a large role shuttling passengers and crew members from airports to cruise ships but when the ships stopped sailing, Florida Tours’ buses stopped as well. But, in the true spirit of entrepreneurship, the team buckled down, went into survival mode, and rode out the storm. Florida Tours’ story is a story of survival in the face of steep odds. We’d love to tell you that their survival was driven by CRM technology but it wasn’t. In fact, they didn’t have any such digital tools. However, both the CEO and the head of business development now realize how much a CRM system could have assisted in making their recovery even stronger and faster. In this episode, the CEO and head of business development tell the story of what they did to survive and how they could have done it so much more easily with a CRM system in place. Theirs is as much a cautionary tale as a success story. Guest Bios Crane Gladding - Crane has extensive experience in the cruise industry through years spent with Norwegian Cruise Line where he was the Senior V.P. of Revenue Management and Passenger Services. When he left, it was to create Florida Tours.com, a bus travel company that would work closely with cruise operators and others needing large capacity transportation vehicles. Aaron Florence – Aaron heads up business development at Florida Tours.com. He has spent 20 years in travel, at senior sales levels of travel and tour companies, including US Airtours, the cruise industry and now at Florida Tours.com where he’s responsible for generating new business and retaining existing customers. Key Ideas 02:03 – Aaron Florence describes the beginning of the long struggle to survive 06:16 – The survival plan and how it came about 13:01 – Implementing the plan was awkward. Why? No CRM technology 18:01 – – How a CRM would have accelerated Florida Tour’s survival
26 minutes | Jul 7, 2021
AOTC EP 29 - Why Educational Companies Must Deliver On Their Brand Promise And How They Can Do It
In the United States, there are more than 5 thousand colleges and universities. For students, this represents wonderful choice. But for each of those 5 thousand educational institutions, the challenge is convincing students that what they offer is better than their competitors. Make no mistake, it is a competition. In a world where the customer is more important than ever and competition is greater than ever, a college or university’s brand promise is everything. It goes to reputation, student retention, product value and, ultimately, growth. So, if that brand promise is broken in any way, the institution could be in peril. Perhaps nowhere else will a customer (that’s what students are) turn away faster than from a school offering training or education that fails to measure up. That student will never return and will likely let a whole lot of other people know about it, too, via something called…social media. In this episode, we’ll examine the brand promise in education through the thoughts and words of two experts in the education field. Guest Bios Mackenzie Kerby is the Director of Global Higher Education Recruitment at ELS, a large English language training organization, and a member of the board of English USA, an organization dedicated to supporting quality English language programs in the US. Mackenzie holds a Master’s degree in English linguistics. Gordon Forsythe is the senior practice lead in digital experience innovation with Gerent Digital, Gerent’s digital marketing arm and someone who has worked extensively on digital solutions for education and training organizations. He is the founding partner of a global marketing and branding agency in New York City. 02:12 – What is a ‘brand promise’ in education? Think ‘people, process, and product’ 04:23 – How that brand promise is relying on CRM, CMS, and other digital tools 11:04 – First impressions are lasting. So they’d better be good 13:42 – Why ELS uses Salesforce to help deliver on its brand promise 21:27 – Exactly what and how digital technology is being deployed in educational companies
26 minutes | Jun 28, 2021
AOTC EP 31 - The Silver Tsunami: Manufacturing Is At A Labor Crossroads
The manufacturing industry in the US is in the midst of a silver tsunami: aging workers who are retiring at the rate of 10 thousand a DAY, a rate projected to continue until 2030. The industry employs nearly 9 percent of the American workforce, so such a loss of talent, knowledge and experience will have a severe impact on the economy unless something is done. Raising wages in the short term may help but it can trigger its own negative consequences like inflation. In this episode of Ahead of the Curve, we’ll examine the impact and cost of a retiring workforce and some possible solutions that will help sustain overall economic growth. Some of the solutions can be implemented quickly, but others will take years to bear fruit. Our guests include David Morley, Gerent’s VP of Manufacturing Practice and Charlie Commisso, VP of Human Resources for Niacet Corporation, a global leader in the manufacture of specialty chemicals. Key Ideas 2:31 – The silver tsunami is quickly becoming the biggest problem in manufacturing today 6:39 – Skilled manufacturing roles will be hit the hardest by retiring workers 09:28 – To attract new workers, manufacturers must fight the bias that a manufacturing job is a lousy job 13:47 – A real-life story that demonstrates how education and manufacturing can solve the issue of finding and keeping new workers 16:33 – It’s imperative to create roles that young employees will embrace and grow with
22 minutes | Jun 15, 2021
AOTC EP 24 - How Hotels Have Used Technology During The Pandemic
The hotel and lodging industry suffered enormously last year as a result of the pandemic. For the first time ever, over a billion room nights went unsold. Revenue per available room was just 48% and the industry barely turned a profit. For all intents and purposes, hotels were just as badly off as the financially crushed cruise lines. But whereas cruise ships spent all of 2020 in port, where many are still stuck, the hotel industry in the US began to recover in the summer of 2020 as Covid restrictions eased – prematurely, as it turned out – in state after state and people jumped at the chance to get away. In this episode, Ketta Riley, Gerent’s Senior VP of Travel and Hospitality Practice, joins us to provide her take on the hotel industry and what the future might look like. We’ll also talk with Michael Blake, Chief Technology Officer for the American Hotel and Lodging Association on the value of and the role that technology plays in the hotel industry today. Key Ideas 04:52 – How the vaccination program has aided the hotel industry 08:24 – Can small hotels afford to take advantage of available technology or is it too expensive 09:51 – How Salesforce solutions can play a role in restoring health to the hotel industry 11:38 – The biggest challenge for hotels right now? Bringing back the business traveler 18:17 – DeepQuest: Gerent-designed expressly for small hotels to compete with global chains Ketta Riley is Gerent’s Senior V.P. of Travel and Hospitality Practice with more than 30 years of travel and cruise-related experience at the C-suite level in IT. Michael Blake is the CTO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association and someone with 20 years in the hotel industry in the United States in various senior roles that include a number of global hotel chains.
21 minutes | Jun 9, 2021
AOTC EP 28 - Is The Distributor Still Relevant In Today’s Supply Chain?
Supply chains are very complex entities. We saw what happened to supply chain infrastructure early in 2020 and, more recently, we’ve seen how supply chains have struggled to get up and running fast enough to meet surging demand. Because there are so many moving parts in a chain, it’s worth questioning if every component is necessary at a time when raw material costs are spiking and cost control is more important than ever. One of the moving parts that may come under scrutiny is that of the distributor. We’re living in an age where e-commerce has proven its worth and, if supply chain managers are looking for redundancy, perhaps the bricks and mortar distributor is expendable. In this episode, we examine the relevance of distributors through the thoughts and comments of David Morley, Gerent’s V.P. of Manufacturing Practice and Mike Simon, partner in Gerent Digital and someone with an extensive background in logistics and supply chain processes. Key Ideas 01:52 – Is the distributor redundant? 03:39 – The pros and cons of a direct to customer role for the manufacturer 07:08 – Where distributors really add value for the manufacturer and the customer 19:39 – Rather than eliminate them, manufacturers benefit enormously by supporting distributors
29 minutes | Jun 1, 2021
AOTC EP 26 - Single Channel To Omni-Channel: The Evolution Of Life and Annuity Distribution
The digital revolution in the insurance industry is in the process of transforming the way insurance is marketed and sold. The reason it’s undergoing such a metamorphosis is because of how customers want to do business. Smartphone technology, the internet and e-commerce have all combined to allow purchases at the touch of a button and this is changing the role of the insurance agent, as well. In this episode, we learn from two experts why and how insurance selling is changing. Donn Vucovich is Gerent’s Insurance Practice Lead and someone with a rich background in providing technology solutions to carriers, MGAs, and others. Michael Plazony is a former senior executive at both Kemper and Erie Insurance and also possesses a strong understanding of modern insurance technology. Key Ideas 02:05 – Insurance carriers need new digital tools to reach customers where they are. This is also changing the traditional agent role dramatically. 06:51 – The “Amazon Experience”: What it is and why carriers are failing to deliver it to customers. 15:17 – How does a carrier align sales and underwriting to give the customer the best possible experience? Get rid of preferred rates. 26:20 – What Salesforce solutions can do to help carriers manage and maintain omni-channel distribution.
21 minutes | Jun 1, 2021
Ahead of the Curve EP 25 - Organic Growth Or Growth From Acquisition Which Is Better?
At some point in their life, manufacturers may consider an acquisition to spur growth versus continuing to develop new products internally. Acquisitions can be far quicker but they have their own challenges, which could end up being more problematic than the acquisition is worth. In this episode, two guests with years of experience in manufacturing discuss the pros and cons of organic growth and growth through acquisition: David Morley, Gerent’s V.P. of Manufacturing Practice and Kevin Shaw, Global Product Manager with Elliott Manufacturing. Key Insights 01:59 – Why acquisitions may NOT be the fastest way to grow. 06:36 – Acquiring a company is one thing. Integrating its culture, systems and processes is a whole other issue. 09:23 – How organic growth can go off the rails when product developers deviate from plan. 16:33 – How listening to the customer led one agricultural product to evolve into another, sparking millions in worldwide sales.
29 minutes | May 5, 2021
Ahead of the Curve EP 23 – How Insurers Can Use Digital Tools To Acquire New Business
In this episode, we examine how insurance carriers can acquire new business efficiently, using methods that are strictly customer-centric and digital. We’ll be hearing from Gerent’s Insurance Industry lead, Donn Vucovich, as well as Robert Rudy who has founded several Insurtechs and has years in the insurance field. Robert helped a major carrier in the Caribbean create a fully digital company in 8 months that generates new business in a digital omni-channel environment using products developed in mere weeks at a tenth of the cost for a traditional carrier. Location Of Key Ideas 2:59 – Customers want to be in charge. So, insurers must make it easy for customers to contact them across all channels. 5:07 – Forget old legacy technology. It’s too product - and process-centered and too slow to access customer data necessary to be truly customer-centric. 10:18 – Digital insurers interact with customers more frequently than traditional insurers. Interaction is what today’s customers want, something traditional insurers have shied away from. 18:56 – Hear how a multi-line traditional carrier in the Dominican Republic went digital and how that impacted its business model and new business acquisition. 25:09 –Salesforce Insurance technology is built on CRM and is a customer-based solution. It’s also a low-code, no-code solution which contains platform-based engines already built to allow carriers to interact more effectively with customers in real-time.
20 minutes | Apr 16, 2021
Ahead of the Curve EP 22 – How S&OP Can Recover Fast In A Post-Pandemic Manufacturing World
Supply and demand has been turned on its head twice in the past year. The first time when the pandemic struck and the second time recently, as demand has begun to accelerate, leaving manufacturers without enough spare parts or materials. Failing to spot shifts in demand quickly enough leads to enormous problems for manufacturers. In this episode of Ahead of the Curve, you’ll hear why the old rules for demand planning don’t work any longer; how S&OP teams can respond quickly and adeptly to sudden shifts in demand; and how open communication is critical to keeping the entire supply chain on the same page.
24 minutes | Mar 23, 2021
Ahead of the Curve EP 21 - Why Educators Need To Master Journey Mapping
What is journey mapping? It’s a way of “seeing” a customer so that a business can provide better service. In the education field, journey mapping is a way for a training organization to really KNOW their customer, the student – what they like, how they want to be contacted, how they’re feeling about their educational journey. In this episode, you’ll hear: Why trainers and educators are missing the boat when it comes to knowing their customers How a simple step-by-step process can create a detailed student profile How Salesforce CRM provides the technology to make journey mapping possible and easy
28 minutes | Mar 19, 2021
Ahead of the Curve EP 20 - Salesforce Insurance: The Ideal Platform To Automate Underwriting
In the latest episode of our ongoing series on digital transformation in the insurance industry, we examine the importance of accelerating digital underwriting for insurers. We have an insightful conversation with Doug Stitzer, the Global Director for Insurance Industry Advisors at Salesforce. You’ll hear about: • Why the underwriting function has to be transformed sooner than later • What could happen to insurers who do not begin their digital transformation journey • The powerful Salesforce capabilities that propel underwriting automation
25 minutes | Mar 1, 2021
Ahead of the Curve EP 19 - Technology Builds A Brand New MGA For Insurers
Managing General Agents or MGAs have been vital links in the insurance chain. Their knowledge of local and regional markets is second to none. They are the eyes and ears for the insurance companies. So, why are they being showered with investment money from financial firms and even the insurers themselves? What’s changed? We’ll provide the stunning answer in this latest episode of Ahead of the Curve, featuring Gerent’s Insurance Practice Lead, Donn Vucovich.
24 minutes | Mar 1, 2021
Ahead of the Curve EP 18 - Is Online Learning Really Working?
In the latest episode of Ahead of the Curve, we examine online learning today. Training organizations and higher education institutions are struggling to meet the challenges presented by a global pandemic. Some were prepared but many weren’t. And their students are paying the price. Hear why a technology platform like Salesforce can break through to a brighter future by solving many of the problems learning institutions, whether trainers or universities, are facing. Our guests include April Bollwage, Gerent’s Senior Director of Education and Jeff Hutcheson, founder of Global Ed Professionals – two individuals with decades of experience in international education and remote learning.
27 minutes | Feb 9, 2021
Ahead of the Curve EP 17 - P&C Carriers, MGAs Create New Digital Customer Experiences
In this episode, we continue our examination of the digital transformation in the insurance industry with the focus on property and casualty carriers and the MGAs who work with them. You’ll hear how: - MGAs and carriers can combine siloed systems into a single processing path - How this single system can bring new products to market faster and cheaper than ever before - How a digital transformation using Salesforce Industries can make companies agile and responsive to changing market conditions Listen now!
26 minutes | Jan 28, 2021
Ahead of the Curve EP 16 - Accelerated Underwriting: Technology Changes The Face Of Life Insurance
The Medical Information Bureau reports that sales of life insurance increased by 4% in 2020 – a dramatic rise for a product that is often ignored by many. The pandemic accounts for the renewed interest but accelerated underwriting is making issuance faster and easier for the consumer. Data gathering, analytics and artificial intelligence are the means by which this is accomplished. In this episode of Ahead of the Curve, you’ll hear why accelerated underwriting is changing the product, how third-party data aggregators are playing a critical role, and what the future could hold for insurers.
28 minutes | Jan 5, 2021
Ahead of the Curve Episode 15 - Insurance In The Cloud: Security, Agility, Strong ROI
The insurance industry is discovering the extensive benefits from migrating to the cloud and away from on-premises systems, servers, and mainframes. However, it’s a complex process that needs to be done carefully by following a well-conceived digital roadmap. Done properly, companies in the insurance space will reap the rewards. Ahead of the Curve talks with an expert in insurance cloud migration and the CIO of an insurance firm in the midst of its own move to the cloud.
27 minutes | Dec 2, 2020
Ahead of the Curve Episode 14: Digital Transformation Sweeps Through The Insurance Industry
Insurance and Banking: two venerable professions steeped in tradition. Technology transformed the banking industry and it’s doing the same to the insurance industry with the growth of new, tech-driven insurers and the promise of customized and affordable products for the consumer. Learn how Insurtechs are changing the landscape, driving down the cost for new products and forcing traditional insurers to follow suit. Find out more on the latest episode of Ahead of the Curve featuring Donn Vucovich, Gerent’s Insurance Industry Lead and Julie Zimmer, co-founder of the Insurtech firm, Embroker.
23 minutes | Oct 30, 2020
Ahead of the Curve Episode 13: The State of Travel Today
An in-depth interview on the health of the cruise industry right now and the outlook for its future with Andy Stuart, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line for more than 30 years. Andy talks about the role of the CDC, what cruise lines are doing to make their ships safe and how they’ll bring people back to cruising.
20 minutes | Sep 29, 2020
Ahead of the Curve Episode 12: Quality: With It You Win; Without It You Lose
Quality is critical to a company’s success. Whether it’s the quality of products, services or internal practices, a company’s long term future rests on quality. So why does quality get sand kicked in its face so often? In this episode of Ahead of the Curve, we speak to Gerent’s Senior Director of Enterprise Quality Management Systems to learn why the pursuit of quality is viewed as an obstacle to doing business but is in fact essential and how technology can smooth the way forward.
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