|A Strategy for Success - TransConstellation Academy assessment day – ULB – 28 October 2011|
Last but by no means least – the winner of the TransConstellation Academy 2011 business project is the last business group of the day. Plaudits go to Anne-Catherine Corbu (SWIFT), Elisabetta Fabris and Diederik Geeraerts (both Euroclear), Sandrine van der Ghinst (Atos), Nathalie Noël (BNY Mellon) and Sponsor Sandra Branson (Euroclear) for their very informative explanation of the future strategy for TransConstellation in the years to come. More on this later. But, first things first, let’s start at the beginning.
09.00 - Solvay Programme Director Paul Verdin takes to the floor and welcomes the assembled crowd to the culmination of the 8th TransConstellation Academy. Sporadic applause rings out as Professor Schmit enters the room 10 minutes late - blaming traffic. Without much further ado, it is time to welcome the first group to centre stage.
Jan De Paepe (BNY Mellon), Chris Gruwier (Isabel), Leen Vermeersch and Abdelilah Akroud (both Euroclear) opened proceedings with a look at “How to Migrate to e-invoicing by 2020?” The group focused exclusively on SMEs, which account for more than 99% of companies in Europe. One of the initial slides showed that there is a North-South divide in Europe in regards to take-up of electronic invoicing in B2B and B2C. Countries in Scandinavia are more likely to automate payments of invoices electronically, when compared to Southern European counterparts.
By way of in-depth interviews and research of existing materials, the four looked to explain why there was scepticism from SMEs to e-invoicing and also how to unlock the EUR 18 billion market savings that e-invoicing would bring. In concluding, the opening team showed an innovative “You-invoice” interface which demonstrated the value proposition for SMEs. Fielding comments about its proposal, the group explained the variety of extendable functions that a centralised electronic system could bring – from an automated link to tax filings to “Get cash Now”, i.e. a way to use incoming funds to cover outgoings directly (outside the scope of a banking network).
Leen Vermeersch stated: “There are 500 firms out there offering electronic invoicing solutions. Ideally, they should make this a reality. However, I think that they have mainly focused on large businesses, where it makes most economical sense, and as yet have not focused on the SME segment.”
She continued: “While the volumes of cross-border invoicing traffic are marginal compared to domestic volumes, any SME that sends or receives an electronic invoice needs the comfort that it has exactly the same regulatory value as a paper invoice. We know that the EU has passed a number of Directives on electronic signatures and common systems for value added tax, some of which are still in the course of being transposed into local national laws in member countries.”
Second to the presenters’ floor were SWIFT’s Pat Antonacci and Maria
Goranova, Krimo Azzouza (Atos Worldline) and Tom Verrept (Isabel) to cover
“Indirect Sales Channels for Dummies”. Tom Verrept, Senior Go-to Manager at
Isabel, spoke to the TransConstellation reporter about how his team came to the conclusion that a firm’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy rests on four main channels that need to be centrally managed and interconnected.
According to Verrept: “I immediately became very interested in this project as it is highly relevant to Isabel and its goal of shifting over 40,000 clients in 18 months to a new operating platform. If you do the maths, that’s an average of over 2,000 clients every month. In a sense, we were forced to be innovative and move away from the traditional direct sales channels. I must say that I have learned much from the rest of the group and this has
helped us to crystalise our recommendations. You need to symbiotically link marketing, website, telesales and partners.”
When asked how the real-life conversion programme at Isabel is progressing, Verrept answered: “We are well on target to complete the entire migration by the middle of 2012. As we have no ambition of becoming a company of enormous scale, we have to service our thousands of clients in a smarter way, which means leveraging all of the technologies and channels available. This collaborative team effort at TransConstellation has helped me hone my approach to supporting live business needs.”
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