“Recruitment is Marketing”: “3 Changes” you Need to “make with Talent-Strategy”| by: Kevin Wheeler | ERE

Once upon a time we sold products much as we “Sell” Jobs & Organizations today…!! At the turn of the 20th century, merchants waited for a potential buyer to show up… The buyer was supposed to know what they wanted and ask for it…. Most of the merchandise was kept in drawers OR under the counter… A customer had to ask for something specifically and the merchant showed them only one particular item… There was no engagement, no selling, and no touting the benefits of the product…!!

But, soon department stores like Macy’s changed all this by displaying items openly, running ads targeted, in particular, to women. It offered well-known socialites the newest fashions and relied on gossip and word of mouth to attract new referral customers….Window displays created dream worlds and played to emotions. They encouraged salespeople to engage with the customers, build relationships, and even try on clothes or demonstrate the product…

“Recruitment has a Lot to Learn from this Story and from Marketing”…

Talent scarcities remain and the primary differentiator between companies is often only their brand, public image, and emotional appeal… Why work for Google over Facebook ? The pay is roughly similar, benefits are great, and management is similar…

The primary reason is a belief that one is in some way better than the other… This opinion is largely subjective, built or weakened by friends, and also partly built by the press and social media…

To create “differentiation” and “improve #CandidateEngagement”, Recruitment must morph into a #MarketingProcess…While there has always been an element of marketing in a good recruiting process, it has never been the core…

Most recruitment resembles the turn of the century store I wrote about above. It has been and still is centered around a recruiter. A person applies for the only position they know about. The candidate is a relatively passive element who the recruiter and subsequently a hiring manager interact with. Many jobs are not advertised at all or advertised only lightly. Others are advertised, but the descriptions don’t reflect reality. The job a person applies for may or may not be a suitable one, but only the recruiter makes that judgment.

A Recruiter generally decides if and for which job a candidate is best suited…. “The recruiter controls everything by reaching out, interviewing, and ultimately recommending the candidate”….The candidate’s role is to be compliant, somewhat subservient, and showcase his or her talent…!!

While there are better variations on this, it is a fair summary of most recruiting processes…

If the goal of recruitment is to bring the best possible people to the organization – the people who will accomplish the objectives, sell the product or service, design, and innovate — then to accomplish that goal we need to attract candidates from as wide a spectrum as possible and always have the attitude that by interacting together and learning more about each other, we can find a good fit.

There are “THREE Area” where Recruiting-Functions can begin to make the changes that will keep them relevant and useful…!!


This will require some deep discussion about where recruitment can add real value. One of the ways is to enable potential candidates and people in the organization to share information, talk about the brand, about daily life, and about the good and not so good sides of working there.

Websites, social media, and communication tools need to be redesigned to deliver a personalized, customized experience to the candidate and go so far as to invite them into conversations with current employees or experts within the firm. Candidates should decide where to focus their interests and when to look for opportunities. It is the job of the recruiting folks to provide them with information about all the opportunities you have. There should be tools that let potential candidates screen themselves against a variety of job competencies and skills.

The usual, simple, and one-directional recruitment websites we are used to are not adequate… Even social media pages that are updated only occasionally offer little to no value to a candidate who is seeking current information or looking for help in understanding or needs a question answered…!!

Other aspects of Re-design include making job descriptions better indicators of what the work really is like, locating employees who are willing to talk with potential candidates, building referral programs that are engaging, and making sure mobile apps are appealing, easy to use and effective…

Be fully aware that candidates seek out information about the corporate culture and research who works at the organization by searching on LinkedIn….They check on Glassdoor to see what employees are saying….They look at social media, and their own network to become aware of issues, culture, working style, and even knowledge about who they will potentially work for and what that person is like…. There are no secrets and open communication is critical to creating trust…


In order to build the most useful websites and social media tools, recruiters need information that is gleaned from data. Many corporate websites and social media sites collect data — number of hits, retweets, likes, clicks, and so forth, but few make much sense of the data.

Does it matter than one item was retweeted more than another? Do more Likes mean more hires? What data elements are most useful to predicting a good candidate versus a mediocre one? What content draws the most number of qualified candidates? When do people engage in the website and with who? And so on…

Every recruiting function needs to collect this kind of data and analyze it…Decisions about new content and areas to focus on can be made better and faster. You should have a data scientist involved who can help answer these kinds of questions. Perhaps you can pull together a cross-functional team made up of data scientists, IT folks, and marketing people to get the information you need to continuously learn and update your content, websites, and social media.

You can only target content and draw in the most qualified people when you have the right data…


Using the tools and data that I have described, recruitment functions can become engagement hubs, information centers, and conduits. Employees and potential candidates can get to meet each other, learn from each other, and find ways to collaborate, whether it is as a full-time regular employee or as a part-time or sometime-employee or in some informal way.

Think of this as a journey. For some it will be the first time they have heard of your organization; for others, they will know some but not a lot. For others your firm may be an old story. But wherever they are, there should be compelling content, videos, and perhaps games or other tools that enlighten, engage, and keep them involved.

To do this will require redesigning the recruiting function and moving it from a transactional, sequential, one-directional process into one that is relationship-based, multi-directional — involving a cross-section of employees and potential candidates — and whose end goal is not necessarily a hire, but an engaged and interested person who might become a candidate at some point.

The formula for Recruiting Success is beginning to look a lot like a #MarketingStrategy :

Recruiting Success = Data + Targeted Content + Authentic Information +

Candidate Interaction + Candidate Experience + Brand

A note on Brand : Do not confuse what I am saying with #RecruitingBrand….Recruiters have spent too much time relying on their recruiting brand to differentiate themselves when, in reality, it is the ability to shape opinion, create emotion, and create authentic interaction between candidates and employees that leads to the best results….!!

#EmploymentBrand, is only a small piece of the equation…. For example, Macy’s brand is an important part of its success, but it also needs to make sure salespeople engage customers, that there are discounts, and enticements to come into the store. They need ways to solicit shopper feedback…

They need displays that “Create Emotion” and “Create a Desire to buy”….They also need to collect and analyze data about what customers buy, when they buy, what actions improve sales and inhibit sales, and so forth…A successful marketing or recruiting process is far more than just brand…!!

How “Established-Companies” can “Innovate” like a Start-up ? | ET Retail

Why do start-ups seem to have an easier time than established companies do in coming up with “Break-through innovations” ?? Is it the people, the organizational structure or the culture ?? 

More than anything else it is incumbents’ obsession with “incremental innovation,” say Professor Tony Davila and Professor Marc J. Epstein..!! When a company pursues incremental innovation, for example by increasing efficiency here and improving execution there, research-and-development investments actually can end up making companies less able to make breakthrough innovations…That is the innovation paradox..

Building on ideas put forward in their best-selling ” Making Innovation Work : How to Manage It, Measure It and Profit from It “ (Wharton School, 2006), Davila and Epstein step up to offer advice on how to foster different types of innovation both for times of stability and for times of change…!!

“Incremental innovation delivers results as long as the industry structure remains stable,” the authors explain, “yet it can fail miserably when unexpected developments redefine an industry…”

The goal is to avoid being left behind, as were Nokia or Blackberry maker Research In Motion, as industries are transformed by paradigm-changing breakthroughs..The problem is that many corporations fail to realize that there are different types of innovation, and that they require different management approaches..

At one end of the spectrum, incremental innovation usually means reducing costs and adding customers by gradually improving operations and products. Incremental innovation is about managing knowledge effectively..

At the other end of the spectrum, breakthrough innovation is about managing ignorance. Pursuing breakthroughs requires the handling of a high level of uncertainty to build products for markets that might not yet exist, markets such as space tourism, nanorobots or an ageless society. The organizational design that works well for improving operational excellence often gets in the way of the kind of breakthrough innovations that leaders seek in changing times.

Nonetheless, some established companies succeed in defying the innovation paradox. IBM, for instance, completely reinvented itself after facing near-certain death. Apple revolutionized the mobile-device market after having been dismissed as a relic of the past. Nespresso, part of the food giant Nestle, created a totally new market – coffee by the cup – that is now worth several billion dollars.

To help other incumbents defy the innovation paradox, the authors develop a new model called “the start-up corporation,” which identifies the fundamental traits of successful start-ups that large corporations should adopt to foster breakthrough innovation.


People with breakthrough ideas are likely to be found at any level of a company….Effectively managing innovations that come from below the C-suite is crucial…


Breakthrough innovations often come from collaborations with outsiders such as universities, suppliers or customers. Larger corporations usually have more valuable networks, but they need to better leverage those networks to make breakthroughs…


Learn from failures, rather than punishing them… Encourage employees to take calculated risks and to go after hard, high-potential challenges. Leaders of innovative organizations trust their people beyond what many would consider reasonable limits..

Granted, changing a corporate culture and an organizational model is not easy, especially for large incumbents set in their ways. Large incumbents bring their accumulated resources, their networks and their abilities to execute, however. As a model, the start-up corporation is designed to leverage incumbents’ strengths, adding start-ups’ agility to meet future challenges…

The alternative is to cling to a let’s-hope-my-industry-stays-the-same-forever strategy, which opens the door for New or More Aggressive-Players to redefine the rules of the game – or start a new game altogether…!!

“Modern Supply-Chain”: “No-more a mere Support-Function” | by: Pradeep Chechani | ET Retail

Gone are the days when Supply-chain used to be Restricted to Warehousing & Logistics..However, even today, there are few Indian Retailers who continue to Restrict #SupplyChain, to its old form…In the process, they have failed to create a differentiating factor for themselves…!!

How can a #SupportFunction, such as Supply-chain create a Differentiating Factor..?? Arguably, its no longer a Support Function now….!! Lets see How Supply-chain is being able to create a #WinningFactor for a Retailer in its #NewAvatar…!!

The following are the Functions which have been put into the Supply-chain kitty in this #ModernEra :

Vendor Management: #SupplyPartner, is the mast of any Retailer-ship…Merchandise is the main reason why a customer walks into the store, converts into a purchase and repeats the process multiple times. Within this vendor evaluation is a big process. Tying up with the right kind of vendors will ensure that a retailer provides the merchandise to the customer on a continuous basis, in the right quality and at the right price. A vendor can do this seamlessly if he is involved in the strategic and tactical decisions and processes of a retailer…

Volumes can be channelized to select few vendors so it becomes mutually beneficial. All this obviously leads to cost savings mainly in the COGS (Cost of Goods Sold).. And the percentage savings in the COGS contributes directly to the bottom line. Biggest impact of savings comes from here…!!

Order Management: Supply Chain is better equipped to bring the order into the store in the right time. Close coordination with Merchandise Planning & Buying teams is required. Warehousing & Logistics and replenishment can be planned in a better way..

Quality Assurance: Entwined with the order management process, QA logically falls under the supply chain function. Product technocrats are required at Quality Control levels. A quality assured process ensures that there are minimum delays in the manufacturing cycle of a product. This works well for the suppliers as well. A scientifically implemented Supplier Relationship Management system ensures time savings topped up with cost savings as well…

Inventory Management:Traditionally, almost 30% of the working capital is invested in Inventory. Optimising inventory can reap huge benefits for a retailer in interest costs and cash flows. Auto Replenishments, Drop Shipments, VMI (Vendor Managed Inventory) are a few ways how better cash flow can be attained. For merchandise with fairly stable demand an auto replenishment model can implemented with auto orders being published on suppliers which meets the EOQ (Economic Order Quantity) and Delivery frequency. Drop Shipments are prominently used by ecommerce retailers where the vendor is issued an order once a sale is made. The inventory in this case lies with the vendor. VMI is an arrangement where inventory lies in the retailers premise but is managed by the vendor. These arrangements however are spearheaded in terms of negotiations by the merchandisers. Such kinds of push & pull supply chains are used for best utilization of inventory…

Reverse Logistics:As the volumes of modern retail is increasing, reverse logistics is becoming a big cause of concern. Retailers have started to dedicate space within their warehouses for this devil. One of the best preventive practices available here is RDDD (Revert, Divert, Dilute, Dispose) not necessarily in the same order. Where Revert stands for RTV (return to vendor), Divert is when a retailer can optimise the concerned inventory to other physical location, Dilute is where markdowns are made to sell this merchandise and Dispose when the shelf life has expired and the retailer has no other option but to dispose. However things like merchandise lifecycle, broken sizes, saleability, vendor agreements etc need to be thought through before implementation of the same…

Supply Chain for E-commerce businesses:#Ecommerce has opened a new set of challenges for modern supply chain…Supply Chain is a very critical part in this business and is still evolving to cater to Ecommerce business needs….Service which includes timeliness of delivery of the required product without any damage is one of the main factors for customer satisfaction…

Apart from the above factors the following pose a challenge to modern supply chain:

Courier: As & when the volumes on ecommerce are increasing this is becoming more & more challenging. First challenge is penetration into Tier C towns & rural India. Second challenge is reverse logistics. Almost 30% of deliveries get returned from the customers door itself. This also increases the probability to damage.

Customer Order Shipments: Ecommerce retailers require customer orders to be shipped from vendors. However this becomes difficult for a manufacturer who wants to focus on his core business that is manufacturing. As a result, consolidators are springing up who collate the inventories from various merchandise manufacturers/vendors. This gives respite to the ecommerce supply chain in terms of working capital and customer order shipments. However this increases the overall supply chain cost to some extent.

Just to summarise, there no rocket science to realise that #Modernisation, of supply-chain for a retailer can give an edge…..Coordinated #SupplyChain, will lead to timely order transmission and receiving merchandise in the right quantities & quality…. This will give a big boost to the sale…!!

Hence it is advised that due strategic importance should be given to this function….Specialists should be involved at early stages who can take supply chain and thereby the business to a different level altogether…!!

“Closure of Bad-Assets”, “shelving of Mall-Projects” pose “challenges for Domestic & Global Retailers” to expand business in India | ET Retail

International Retailers are finding it difficult to get Quality Retail-Spaces, in Top-Indian cities even as several Malls across major-markets are lying mostly vacant because of Poor Standards..!!

” Demand for Quality #MallSpace, is soaring with #InternationalBrands, posting a healthy jump in their year-on-year revenues. However, we are seeing many bad malls shutting down and mall projects in early stage of planning are being shelved,” said Limaye, head of research and real-estate intelligence service at JLL India..

According to a recent CBRE report, out of the more than 300 malls in the country, only a handful can be described as successful retail projects as 40% of the total available malls are bad assets and have over 50% vacancy. Most malls lag behind global standards with some of them spread across just 4-5 million sq ft, it said..

” Over 60% of global retailers already have a presence in India but the lack of quality retail space and legislative issues have been an impediment to the spread of organised retail in the country,” said Magazine, managing director of property consultant CBRE South Asia. This has posed challenges for global brands like Abercrombie & Fitch, Topman Top Shop, Ralph Lauren Polo and Uniqlo that have lined up to enter the country…!!

While some brands are planning a greater presence in high streets and co-location, others are penetrating into tier II and III towns to keep their expansion intact till March 2015 when real estate analysts foresee a void in mall expansions…

” We still make good of shortage of quality malls through standalone high-street stores,” said Vasanth, Executive Director at Max Fashions….He said the retailer, which has seen 15%-18% growth in like to like sales this year, plans to open 30 stores annually..

A senior executive from an international brand that is yet to launch operation in India said besides malls there is lack of quality space on high streets as well. Some developers are expected to revamp existing malls to accommodate retailers looking for global ambiance, this person added..

According to JLL India, Average Absorption of #MallSpace, has halved from the peak of 10.7 million sq ft in 2011…The Total #MallSupply, also “dropped to 5.7 million sq ft in 2013 from 13.8 million sq ft in 2011..”

Industry experts say many brands are focusing on tier II and III towns. “In the next few years, modern retail is expected to grow 50% to 60% per annually in tier II and tier III cities, compared to only around 30% in the metros,” said Joshi, AVP marketing at Pioneer Property Zone. Marks & Spencer has entered secondary cities such as Kochi, Kanpur and Surat..

” With new retail sites opening, we plan to enter new cities like Guwahati and Mohali, even as we expand in the cities where we are already present,” said Nair, managing director at Marks & Spencer Reliance Retail India….The firm has introduced Marks & Spencer Lingerie & Beauty store format that trade from a smaller footprint…Nair said the retailer, which reported 42% jump in sales last year, targets a total of 100 stores by 2016 including M&S Lingerie & Beauty stores…!!

“Amazon to Partner” with “Narayana Murthy of Infosys”, for E-commerce Business in India | The Economic Times

We had recommended a similar venture-structure to some of our clients that we work with, within the Indian Modern/New-age Retail brands..

This JV announced between Catamaran Ventures (Family Office of N.R. Narayana Murthy) & Amazon-Asia, is a testimony of the business-model & concept of the J.V we had recommended early this year….wish they had put some serious thoughts behind that recommendations..?? I am positive, they would realize what, opportunity they missed..!!……M.P

Narayana Murthy to partner with Amazon for e-commerce business in India – The Economic Times.


“Rakesh Jhunjhunwala betting Highly on Retail”: “BCG expects sector to grow” to $200 bn in 5-7 years | Business-standard

India’s Billionaire-investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s, optimistic outlook on India’s Consumption-sector sent Retail Sector stocks soaring on Tuesday(25th June, 2014)…

Addressing Chief Executives from Retail and Consumer companies at the Confederation of Indian Industry’s Retail & FMCG summit on Tuesday, Jhunjhunwala said retail stocks hadn’t done well over the past-decade but he expected this year to be different, as Higher Income-Levels (Discretionary spending power would increase) would ensure better growth for these companies…

Looking ahead, he said he remained optimistic of the government’s effort to put the economy back on track….Once there is a semblance of growth, Funds should be pouring money into the Retail sector, he said…!!

Jhunjhunwala said companies in the Sector (domestic discretionary consumption)were perfectly positioned to ride a wave of growth in the Indian consumer-industry…..” The opportunity (in retail) is going to be there for a good period of time. The competitive incentive is going to go up,” he said at the opening session of the summit…

Jhunjhunwala also believes implementation of the long-debated Goods and Services Tax (GST) will provide a much needed boost to the consumer goods sector, currently witnessing a slowdown, given the slacking pace of the economy….“GST is one advantage that will come to the (consumer) business in two years….I think, in general, it is going to make India more tax-compliant,” he said….!!

Successful Retailing models, from the Food & Grocery sectors to Footwear and Lifestyle products, have done exceedingly well on the stock markets and given very high returns to investors, he said..

On the future of retailing in India, Jhunjhunwala said he was in awe of the D-Mart (chain of hypermarket and supermarkets in India, started by R K Damani). business model, where the company owned a majority of the outlets and had pledged to sell all products five per cent below the maximum retail price. “D-Mart today has 75 shops, the turnover is about Rs 4,000 crore and is growing at about 25 per cent a year. He has set up a model. I think if you want to learn, you must study D-Mart,” he added.

The Boston Consulting Group’s report on retailing, issued at the summit, expects the sector in India to grow from the present $40 billion to $200 bn in the next Five to Seven years, as India’s consumption story remains robust….Retail models, especially in the food and lifestyle segments, have done exceedingly well and given high returns to investors…

The report has covered 45 Retail and Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies. ..2014 will be a good year for retailing in India, as income levels have increased for much of the population…. Availability of a wide range of brands, from luxury goods to basic private label products, gave consumers more options to choose from and also boosted awareness of particular brands and products…

The FMCG sector has been annually growing at a consistent 11 per cent. This has been largely driven by steady growth in demand from consumers, who now have an array of brands to choose from. In the past five years, the growth had accelerated to 17 per cent. Though this had slowed in the past few quarters, India’s long-term consumer story remains intact. “FMCG is typically the last sector to slow down,” said ITC’s executive director for FMCG businesses, Kurush Grant. Over the past year, FMCG has also come under pressure and, hence, what is needed by the industry is to think about reviving itself, Grant said, adding recovery here will be faster than other sectors. Growing demand and rising incomes will continue to drive demand for lifestyle and FMCG products…

The BCG report highlights the need for and approach to how an integrated top-down effort to drive successful transformation can be undertaken in the FMCG and retail sectors..

There is a need to understand the consumer better and the last-mile connectivity distribution infrastructure and capabilities are critical to achieving success for FMCG businesses, it said…

“7 Biggest Ways” Top-Performing Firms “Sustain their Growth” | by: Matt Sirinides | Investment News

” The Fastest-Growing and Most Profitable Firms often take Un-conventional Approaches to their BusinessModels…”

Advisers spend a lot of time thinking about their #GrowthStrategies….Two years ago, when Investment-News fielded the Moss Adams Financial Performance Study of Advisory Firms, we identified a subset of firms that were deemed “ Top-Performers”..

These firms were defined as the Top-Quartile of participants across a range of metrics including revenue growth, cost control and profitability….The study found that the Fastest-Growing and most #ProfitableFirms, sometimes take an unconventional approach to their #BusinessModels….!! 

(Source for all charts: Investment News/Moss Adams Studies)..

Fast forward to 2014. We’ve internalized the study’s findings and are now fielding an updated survey that we hope will help firms not only benchmark their practices and attain greater productivity and profitability, but will also help them rethink their strategic processes and confirm that their firm is on the right growth track..!!

Below, we’ve presented SEVEN of the Biggest Trends that separated the #BestPerforming organizations from their peers :

1. Take a Holistic Approach to Services – 

When participants were asked to identify services they routinely provided to a majority of their clients, Top-performers offered an average of 10% more services than their counterparts…!!

2. Upgrade your CRM – 

Top performers distinguished themselves from the field in two major revenue-expanding initiatives.. Implementing a New Customer Relationship Management System created the Second-Biggest gap between #TopFirms and the rest of the industry among the list of #RevenueGrowth initiatives…Easier access to “intelligence about your clients translates to higher productivity”…

3. Merger Talks :

The biggest gap among #RevenueGrowth initiatives between Top-performers and all others ?? M&A…Partnering with another firm can be a quick avenue to strategic growth…..!!

4. Leverage “Staff to Increase Profits” – 

Hiring New Staff was the No. 1 Profit-Growth initiative among Top-performers, as well as the Biggest Differentiating Factor from their Non-Top Performing counterparts and by a wide margin…..Staffing costs are by far the biggest expense at today’s advisory firms….Leveraged properly, they are the Surest Path to #SustainedGrowth…

5. Update your Website – 

The only Marketing-Activity Top-performers engage in more Frequently than all other firms ?? Updating their own #Websites…#WebTechnology, moves fast — a modern design can set your firm apart…!!

6. Form Relationships with “Centers of Influence” – 

Particularly accountants. 96% of performers use accountants as centers of influence, vs. 87% of all others….!!

7. Be Selective with your Clients – 

The most #PopularStrategy Advisers use when dealing with clients that are Not Profitable is to Limit service…, but Top-performers take things a step further — 53% of Top-performers say they will Dis-continue an Unprofitable Relationship, versus just 38% of all others….!!


“In VCs / PEs”, Birds of a Feather “Lose Money-Together” | by: Carmen Nobel | HBS Working Knowledge

The more “Affinity there is between two VCs / PEs investing in a Firm/Venture…”, the “Less-likely the Firm/Venture will succeed”, according to research by Paul Gompers, Yuhai Xuan and Vladimir Mukharlyamov…!!

To illustrate the old adage that Birds of a Feather Flock Together, there may be no better example than the #VentureCapital, industry..!

A recent study finds that #VentureCapitalists, have a strong tendency to team up with other VCs / PEs whose ethnic and educational backgrounds are similar to their own…”Unfortunately, that tendency turns out to be bad for business…”


“Much of the homophily-literature in business research talks about the positive benefits of working with people who are similar to you—ease of communication, comfort level, and the like,” says Paul Gompers, the Eugene Holman Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, who cowrote the paper with HBS Associate Associate Professor Yuhai Xuan and Vladimir Mukharlyamov, a graduate student in the Economics department at Harvard. “What we show is that, in this context, the effects can be quite negative”..

The Team set out to Answer a Few Key-questions : What specific characteristics influence individuals’ desire to work together on an investment deal ?? And given that influence, how does affinity affect investment performance  ?? Do common characteristics lead to better communication, which then leads to better decisions ?? Or does like-mindedness lead to narrow decision-making, to the detriment of the deal  ??

The research began with a database of 3,510 individual venture capitalists and their investments in 12,577 companies between 1973 and 2003….Over the course of six years, the research team collected detailed biographical information on each VC, including ethnicity, educational background, and employment history. They then looked at who had invested with whom, and what those co-investors had in common…!!

Across the board, the researchers found that venture capitalists tended to co-invest in deals with other VCs who possessed similar characteristics. This was true regardless of whether the similarities were ability-based or affinity-based. For example, two VCs who graduated from the same undergraduate school were 34.4 percent more likely to collaborate on a deal than were two VCs from different alma-maters… And the probability of collaboration between VCs increased by 39.2 percent if they were members of the same ethnic minority group…!!

The data held up with what Gompers had observed qualitatively in his two decades of studying the venture capital industry…”There are strong affinity groups with Indian venture capitalists and entrepreneurs and with Chinese venture capitalists and entrepreneurs,” Gompers says. “And there’s sort of a cabal of Jewish entrepreneurs and VCs as well…”

The Team then examined how these similarities had affected the outcomes of the portfolio companies in the study…(For the purposes of the paper, a successful outcome was defined as one in which a company eventually filed for an initial public offering)

They found that the probability of success decreased by 17 %  if two co-investors had previously worked at the same company—even if they hadn’t worked there at the same time… In cases where investors had attended the same undergraduate school, the success rate dropped by 19 %… And, overall, investors who were members of the same ethnic minority were 20 %  less successful than investors with different ethnic backgrounds.

It dawned on the researchers that affinity might make it easier for one venture capitalist to guilt-trip another into making a bad deal—doing a favor for a friend. “We thought it could be that they only syndicate the deals to their friends that they can’t get anyone else to do,” Xuan says.

To test for that possibility, the team assessed the 12,577 investments according to measures that had proven to be indicators of future success, according to previous research…Such indicators included whether a company’s founder had a history of founding successful companies, the stage of the portfolio company (risky early stage versus less-risky later stage), and how much media attention the company had received at the time of investment…!!

Controlling for these factors, they found that the quality of the deals was not apparently affected by co-investor affinity…In other words, birds of a feather did not necessarily pick worse investments than birds of different feathers on day one…”It’s not like we invest into a deal that’s bad to start with, and therefore we get a bad outcome in the end,” Xuan says…

Rather, the lack of success among similar investors seemed to lie in the decisions that followed the investment…!!

In addition to granting Cash, Venture-capitalists are heavily involved in Hiring or Firing the CEO of the Portfolio-company, choosing a Board of Directors, devising an Overall Strategy, Identifying Potential-Partners, and so on…Indeed, the researchers found that the negative affinity effect was strongest in early-stage deals, which generally require more input from investors than do later-stage deals…

“[The] lower likelihood of success of co-investments between venture capitalists that share similar characteristics is triggered by them making inefficient decisions or even mistakes that they would otherwise avoid,” the researchers write in The Cost of Friendship.

They attribute this in-efficiency to “Group-Think,” the psychological phenomenon in which members of a group make poor decisions because they fail to consider viewpoints other than their own….“When you are really familiar with each other, you tend not to go outside of your circle to get an outside opinion,” Xuan says…!!

The findings are in line with some organizational behavior studies, which have found that that work groups perform better when members learn from one another’s disparate experiences…!!

“I think this carries over to venture-funded start-ups, in which having a diversity of venture-capitalists around the table is actually critical to their success,” Gompers says….”Take two people who once worked at Google, who went to Harvard Business School, and who are Indian American….They probably look at things in a very similar way and are unlikely to challenge each other…But at the early stage of a company, you want the people around the table to challenge each other…”

Gompers and Xuan make a point of sharing the finds with students in the MBA program at HBS, many of whom pursue careers in the venture capital industry. In fact, people with Harvard MBAs make up 24.4 percent of the professional ranks at venture capital firms in the United States, according to a study by PitchBook. A network that powerful must beware the power of group-think and collaborate with other networks, the professors advise.

“But it’s likely that if you’re an HBS MBA, you think like other HBS-MBAs, because you took the same courses from the same professors…And it’s important for students to realize that it might be useful to have a diversity of people around the table when you make investment decisions OR you’re working on New-ventures..That, at least for me, is an important prescriptive element of the paper…”

Accelerating the “Digitization of Business-Processes”: Answer to “Radical Overhaul & Efficiency of Business-Operations” | McKinsey

” Customers want a Quick and Seamless #DigitalExperience, and They Want it NOW… “

Customers have been Spoiled….!!  Thanks to companies such as Amazon & Apple, they now expect every organization to deliver products and services swiftly, with a seamless user experience…!!

Customers want to log in to their #OnlineElectricity Account and see a Real-time Report of their Consumption…They expect to Buy a Phone from their Telecommunications provider and have it Activated and Set-up immediately out of the box…They want #BankLoans, to be Pre-approved OR approved in minutes.. They expect all #ServiceProviders, to have automated access to all the data they provided earlier and not to ask the same questions over and over again…They wonder why a bank needs their salary slips as proof of income when their money is being deposited directly into the bank every month by their employer…!!

Many traditional organizations can’t meet these expectations… As a result, attackers born in the #DigitalAge, can swoop in and Disrupt the Market through rapid delivery of digital products and services combined with advanced algorithms and full access to information…

Customers wouldn’t phrase it this way, but they are demanding from companies in many industries a radical overhaul of business processes…Intuitive interfaces, around-the-clock availability, real-time fulfillment, personalized treatment, global consistency, and zero errors—this is the world to which customers have become increasingly accustomed. It’s more than a superior user experience, however; when companies get it right, they can also offer more competitive prices because of lower costs, better operational controls, and less risk..

Delighting the customer :

To meet these high customer expectations, companies must accelerate the digitization of their business processes. But they should go beyond simply automating an existing process. They must reinvent the entire business process, including cutting the number of steps required, reducing the number of documents, developing automated decision making, and dealing with regulatory and fraud issues. Operating models, skills, organizational structures, and roles need to be redesigned to match the reinvented processes. Data models should be adjusted and rebuilt to enable better decision making, performance tracking, and customer insights. Digitization often requires that old wisdom be combined with new skills, for example, by training a merchandising manager to program a pricing algorithm. New roles, such as data scientist and user-experience designer, may be needed…

The benefits are huge: by digitizing information-intensive processes, costs can be cut by up to 90 percent and turnaround times improved by several orders of magnitude. Examples span multiple industries: one bank digitized its mortgage-application and decision process, cutting the cost per new mortgage by 70 percent and slashing time to preliminary approval from several days to just one minute. A telecommunications company created a self-serve, prepaid service where customers could order and activate phones without back-office involvement. A shoe retailer built a system to manage its in-store inventory that enabled it to know immediately whether a shoe and size was in stock—saving time for customers and sales staff. An insurance company built a digital process to automatically adjudicate a large share of its simple claims..

In addition, replacing paper and manual processes with software allows businesses to automatically collect data that can be mined to better understand process performance, cost drivers, and causes of risk. Real-time reports and dashboards on digital-process performance permit managers to address problems before they become critical. For example, supply-chain-quality issues can be identified and dealt with more rapidly by monitoring customer buying behavior and feedback in digital channels. Leading organizations, have come to recognize that the traditional large-scale projects to migrate all current processes to a digital world often take an extremely long time to deliver impact, and sometimes don’t work at all. Instead, successful companies are reinventing processes, challenging everything related to an existing process and rebuilding it using cutting-edge digital technology. For example, rather than creating technology tools to help back-office employees type customer complaints into their systems, leading organizations create self-serve options for customers to type in their own complaints..

This kind of approach is usually done process by process in a series of short-term releases combining traditional Process Re-engineering methods like Lean, with New Agile software-development methodologies…!!


Companies in most industries can learn from the practices employed by firms that have done this successfully..Which are :

Start at the End State and Work Back :

Digitization often enables a process to be fundamentally reconfigured; for example, combining automated decision making with self-service can eliminate manual processes. Successful digitization efforts start by designing the future state for each process without regard for current constraints—say, shortening a process turnaround time from days to minutes. Once a compelling future state has been described, constraints (for instance, legally required checks) can be reintroduced. Companies should not hesitate to challenge each constraint. Many are corporate myths that can be quickly resolved through discussions with customers or regulators.

Tackle the End-to-End Customer Experience :

Digitizing select stages of the customer experience may increase efficiency in specific areas of the process and address some burning customer issues, but it will never deliver a truly seamless experience, and as a result may leave significant potential on the table. To tackle an end-to-end process such as customer on-boarding, process-digitization teams need support from every function involved in the customer experience. The end customer should be heavily involved too, not least to challenge conventional wisdom. To do this, some firms are creating start-up-style, cross-functional units that bring together all colleagues—including IT developers—involved in the end-to-end customer experience…The cross-functional unit has the mandate to challenge the status-quo…Members are often collocated to improve lines of communication and ensure a true team effort.

Build Capabilities :

Digitization skills are in short supply, so successful programs emphasize building in-house capabilities. The goal is to create a center of excellence with skilled staff that can be called upon to digitize processes quickly. Still, many times companies must search for talent externally to address the need for new skill sets and roles, such as data scientists or user-experience designers. Given its importance, the first managers selected to lead the transformation should be carefully chosen, well trusted in the organization, and ready to commit for a long period of time. It is also important that the team has the skills needed to build the required technology components in a modular way so that they can be reused across processes, maximizing economies of scale.

Move Quickly :

Traditional IT-intensive programs deliver a return only at the end of the project, sometimes years after the project’s kickoff…Digitizing end-to-end processes one by one, however, can deliver improved performance in just three to five months. Complex IT challenges such as legacy-systems integration can be harder to move along quickly, but there are ways to mitigate the risks of delay. For example, one industrial company pursuing an IT legacy-systems integration used low-cost offshore resources to re-key Data among Systems, allowing a new #DigitalCustomer, process to be brought online for use with pilot customers while a robust IT interface was built in parallel…This approach reduced the risk involved with the integration effort and accelerated payback…

Moving quickly isn’t always easy…More often than not, it’s business decision making that’s causing the bottleneck rather than IT development. That’s why digitization programs need strong board-level support to align all the stakeholders, while all other decisions should be delegated to the project team..

Roll In, NOT Out :

In traditional deployment, a new solution is rolled out progressively across sites to existing user teams. However, a different approach may be needed when organizations undertake digitization, because of radical changes to processes and the supporting organization. For example, telecommunications salespeople may prefer customers to apply for services through the existing store system instead of self-serve kiosks. Bank-credit underwriters may not trust automated algorithms and may choose to review automatically approved applications. In these cases, it might be easier to roll in a new organizational unit to handle the new digital process, and then bring employees into this unit while increasing the volumes handled by it in parallel. This ensures a much easier transition to the digital process by not expending extensive energy on changing old habits and behaviors. By the time all process volume has migrated to the new digital process, the new organizational unit will have “swallowed” all the required employees from the legacy units.

Companies that digitize processes can improve their bottom lines and delight customers….The value at stake depends on the #BusinessModel, and Starting point but can be estimated by allocating costs to End-to-End processes and Bench-marking against peers…To kick-start the approach and Build Capabilities and Momentum, organizations can undertake one OR two pilots and then scale rapidly…!! 

“Narendra Modi effect”: “Clutch of VC & PE funds” out to raise $2 billion | The Economic Times

More than half-a-dozen VC & PE Funds, are set to start the process to raise a combined $2 billion (about Rs 12,000 crore) from foreign and local investors, riding on the #BullishSentiment the change in Government has brought to the market…!!

At least FOUR established PE Funds have begun talks with investors while three have revived previously shelved plans, said people with knowledge of the matter and fund managers…

Arth Capital and Exponentia Capital are among the funds that have brought back plans that had been put on the back burner. ” We have a commitment of $150 million now and would raise up to $500 million for our infrastructure fund,” said a person with direct knowledge of the ICICI Venture fund’s plans.

ICICI Venture, India’s second largest PE fund, is betting on the infrastructure sector, which is high on the investment agenda of the Narendra Modi government to kick-start the economy…” There is a huge equity requirement for infrastructure projects,” this person said…!!

Narendra Modi Effect: clutch of PE funds out to raise $2 billion

Investor sentiment towards India had soured in recent years as economic growth slowed to less than 5% in fiscal 2013 and 2014 from over 8% in 2007. PE funds that have invested more than $50 billion in the past decade couldn’t exit their holdings as company valuations took a dive.

With returns from PEs drying up, limited partners (LPs), who commit money to these funds, stopped making new investments, delaying closure of new funds.

Though those concerns have now eased as the window for public offers opened again, industry experts say fund-raising will still be challenging for those who don’t have a good track record, quality and team continuity.

” VC & PE funds which demonstrate these parameters will have an edge over others,” said Vikram Utamsingh, managing director of transactions advisory group at Alvarez and Marsal. “LPs have been negative as the India story had been dampened for the past four years, but post national elections they are turning positive.”

According to him, investors are watching how the government will improve the investment climate. “There have been lots of enquiries from investors,” Utamsingh added..

Everstone, owned by former Mckinsey consultant Sameer Sain and partner Atul Kapur, is planning to raise around $750 million, its third fund. They have already made investments from two funds, focusing on companies in sectors such as consumption, infrastructure, real estate and financial services. Between 2006 and 2011, Everstone raised $975 million, closing the first fund of $425 million in September 2006 and second in May 2011 after raising $550 million. The last fund invested in 11 companies, including Hinduja LeylandBSE -1.51 % Finance, Burger King and Indostar Capital Finance, a non-bank finance company..

” We will raise the third fund by the end of the year only. It’s too early for us,” said a spokesperson. ” Typically, PEs raise funds once they have invested close to 80% of the money which is usually threefour years from the time they raise the fund,” said Utamsingh.

Some funds have received commitments from their main investors, or anchor investors. Multiples, owned by former ICICI Venture head Renuka Ramnath, has received a commitment from Canadian Pension Fund (CPF) for $100 million, as it plans to raise $500 million in its second fund. CPF had invested $80 million in the previous fund…!!

Exponentia Capital of PR Srinivasan, former head of Citigroup PE fund, has revived its plan to raise $250 million. “Fund-raising should accelerate as PE funds successfully exit from some of their investments in the past five years and return capital,” Srinivasan said…But some fund managers say fund closure will take longer…!!

” Though the stock markets have run up much faster, limited partners will take a longer time to react,” said Sumit Chandwani, managing partner of Arth Capital that has revived plans to raise $200 million…

“We could be closing the fund in the next 6-12 months,” said Chandwani, who had worked at ICICI Venture for 12 years before starting his own fund….!!