At the recent 2018 EuRA conference, the panel session “DSP Darwinism: The Need for DSPs to Embrace Technology” drew as much excitement as the magical location of Dubrovnik itself. The panel, moderated by Kendra Mirasol, President of IOR Global Services, consisted of Simon Johnston, Icon Relocation, Kay Kutt, Asian Tigers Mobility and Raman Narula, Formula Group India.
The session began with a short video narrated by Futurist, Gerd Leonhard, who prompted the audience to think of ways we can lead a transformational change in our industry, with technology being the engine. To understand the future, we need to look at the past. Our morning routine looks radically different than it did just 2 years ago. Today, I wake up to birds chirping from my iPhone. I switch to the BBC App to catch up on world news while readying myself in front of the mirror. I then open my Tesla app to warm up my car and summon it out of the garage. On the way to work, I command SIRI, “Launch Starbucks” to order and then pick up my piping hot Decaf Tall Blonde Flat White. I wave a chip at the building to enter the parking garage and plug in my car to charge. I order a bagel sandwich from a touchpad in the café and swipe my credit card to pay. In almost a dozen consumer experiences, I’ve not spoken to a single soul.
Will this be the way relocation works in the not-too-distant future? Leonhard says, “We will engage, relate and buy things because of the experiences they provide, because of their transformative power.” Simon Johnston, CEO of Icon Relocation stressed the nuance that technology is not only an evolution, but more a REVOLUTION. He noted that in the past we used technology to perform a single task. But with the complexity of relocation, not to mention the added challenge of not always being able to speak to an assignee, it is necessary to design an integrated system with multiple functions. Icon’s technology platform, “MoveWise,” is a case management system that marries home search, property management and live rent maps, all rolled into one.
Raman Narula of Formula Group India shared his insights into the relocation technology evolution, calling it a “P2P” or “People-to-People” business. He added that, because technology has become a way of life and integrated into our thoughts and behaviors, a new model has emerged: “P2T2P” or “People-to-Technology-to-People.”
Kay Kutt, Managing Director of Asian Tigers Mobility, gave her perspective having personally moved 25 times, 13 of which were cross-border. “The assignee’s greatest pain point is having to tell everyone the same thing over and over and over.” When working with her software development partner, she began from a blank slate and process mapped 27 workflows, resulting in an “Idiot’s guide to doing Destination Services” that is consistent across 30 offices, yet allows for local nuances across 13 countries.
Can’t handle the transformation to leveraging technology? You may as well write your letter of resignation now. Although cost was of greatest concern to audience members, the reality is that companies who invest in technology will leapfrog ahead of their competition. Transformation will take place when we align KPIs and employee performance to measurable achievements. As we shift our paradigm to treattechnology as a return on investment that automates processes, we will be able to focus on the human side of the business, providing creative solutions, empathy and support for relocating employees. Leonhard predicts, “Human only traits such as creativity, imagination, intuition, emotion and ethics will be even more important in the future, because machines are good at simulating, but not at being.”