It’s Time for a 2017 Mid-Year Strategic Plan Execution Check-Up


Disruption. Transformation. Talent shortage. These are all continuously moving factors impacting business strategies. If you are only asking “How are we doing against what we said we wanted to do?”, it’s likely your organization lacks the agility needed to address the fast-changing behaviors of your customer and the marketplace. If you’re only looking at the speedometer and not the horizon you risk driving significantly off course.

Too often, Capto sees our enterprise clients across healthcare, telecom, media and entertainment (TME) charging after projects agreed to at the beginning of the year, but fail to adjust to market or customer changes. One key tool Capto leverages for our clients is a mid-year strategic plan review. We have used this to improve our clients’ ability to meet revenue goals, maintain or find new ways to increase competitive advantage and ensure alignment with other business units and overall corporate strategy.

Mid-Year Considerations
It’s important to take the time to thoroughly review the strategy against current and future risks and opportunities. Our work in the fast-paced M&A field heavily influences our SYNAPTIC strategy model, which considers both the executable strategic plan in place and future factors to help companies make faster decisions and course corrections when needed.  

We recommend reviewing and evaluate existing and future strategy across several dimensions:

  • Landscape – Where will the company or department be active?
  • Vehicles – How will goals be reached?
  • Differentiators – How will the company or department win and standout from the competition?
  • Roadmap – What will be the sequence of events?
  • Economics – What are the level of returns and how will they be obtained?

Questions to Accelerate Implementation of Your Strategy
We helped one of our telecom clients review and update their SMB market strategy where there was a tremendous growth opportunity. The complexity of execution strategies can in no way be boiled down completely by blog post, but here are some of the questions considered as the entered the second half of their year.

1.     Landscape

  • Is your strategy performing as expected? If not, what needs to change?
  • Is value being created as expected?
  • Is the channel right or does funding need to be moved for better reach, lift and velocity?

2.     Vehicles

  • If your execution is lagging, is there a partnership, joint venture or internal change that can expedite results?
  • Does your workforce need re-alignment or shift in focus to execute effectively or to become more nimble?
  • Does your leadership need support to think differently and operate a higher velocity?

3.     Differentiators

  • Are you able to access and use data and advanced analytics to understand your image, price, styling, product or service factors impacting every part of your business from marketing to sales to operations?
  • Are you delivering on identified differentiators - speed, quality, one-call customer support, easier billing, increased transparency, etc.?

4.     Economics

  • Are you able to apply price premiums due to unmatched services or features?
  • Are you able to increase margin through improved direct customer-first experiences?
  • Is IT spending by area aligned properly? Can dollars be saved and moved to higher return investments?
  • Is the right talent in place for the right project? Are you sacrificing strategic initiatives on a misguided belief it must be done in-house? Could an outcomes-based sourcing program be implemented to accelerate strategic efforts and free key talent from undifferentiated operations?

5.     Roadmap

  • Is your project portfolio properly sequenced and operating at the correct velocity?
  • Is the PMO working to ensure that the projects that are being executed are the ones that will drive the strategy?

Sounds like common sense, right? But when was the last time your organization conducted a mid-year strategy review?

A Call to Action
Don’t be afraid abandon projects that don’t move the needle for the business, prioritize existing or new projects that do.

Too often strategy is set and teams charge off to do their part. Collaboration happens at the project level (hopefully), but too often we see this heads-down approach stifling higher-level and on-going strategic check-ins.

We also encourage looking outside the organization to help predict and understand trends to create an informed strategy for the future. We leverage cross-industry knowledge and learnings to help our clients succeed. For example, there was tremendous opportunity in healthcare for our telecom client targeting SMB growth. Bringing our insights from the healthcare industry helped us move our client forward quickly.

Planning and reevaluating strategy on a more frequent basis will serve the organization well into the future. It facilitates the nimbleness needed to meet the demands of the company and, most importantly, customers.

How to Learn from Churn


We've all been there. To that land of customer enchantment and delight where a recording tells us our calls are important. In fact, we’re so important that we're typically put on hold and pushed to a self-serve website to solve our own problems. If we want to talk to a human being, there’s little satisfaction in knowing our calls will be handled in the order they were received.

In today’s hyper-competitive telecommunications, media and entertainment industry–particularly the rapidly developing OTT video content delivery market–customers rightfully have all the power and come and go as they please. So pleasing them is a good idea to avoid losing customers, the revenue associated with their departure, and added expense of acquiring new ones. With free video service promos, package flexibility, predatory pricing and lack of differentiation OTT churn is inevitable. The question then becomes how can service providers better understand and anticipate churn to reduce it? Even market leaders with less than two percent churn have room for significant improvement.

The short answer lies in applying data analytics in an insightful, predictive and more urgent manner. Anybody can crunch numbers, but too few are able to identify and put to good use the most important and relevant data that can minimize customer loss and the cost of marketing to retain them. That’s where implementing and operationalizing an Insights-as-a-Service model can help organizations become smarter and better control churn.

Insights-as-a-Service, in the true sense of the definition, is more than a self-service dashboard; it’s answers by the slice. Such an approach enables significantly improved utilization of marketing dollars through personalized micro-targeting. Here’s an example: two subscribers are nearing the end of a trial period or popular season of content. Subscriber ‘A’ lives in the city with lightning fast signal via newly laid fiber. Subscriber ‘B’ lives in a suburb with known antiquated cable lines. Using a set of internal company and third-party data, the company can move away from its blanket use of service continuation offers and personalize the best offer for each subscriber, which will vary by individual broadband speed (and plans for improving speed), content engagement, credit history and other account data points. The company can spend less money by customizing offers and not over incentivizing happy customers that would continue on with or without an offer.

Generally speaking, building or reinvesting in your own big data and analytics infrastructure makes no sense because it’s incredibly expensive and takes far too long to gain or retain a competitive advantage, especially on pre-pay. Instead, why not buy the answers using your data and a service provider’s pre-existing capabilities including hardware, software, open source and third-party data? These service providers can leverage in-place and maintained assets along with industry-specific data scientists to produce advanced analytics that discerns previously unidentified signals in the vast and diverse data sets. Further, they can provide insights that create real competitive advantagequickly. With well-informed and executed Insights-as-a-Service, churn model enhancements leading to improved customer experiences and more focused retention treatments can be operationalized for real impact within a few months instead of years.

In a nutshell, that’s how you can learn from churn.

The Importance of Omnichannel for Improving Customer Experience

Two of Capto’s centers of excellence – healthcare and TME (Telecommunications, Media, and Entertainment) – at first would not seem to have much overlap, but our experience finds significant commonality in the business and technical issues faced by these industries.  One area of similarity is the need for both healthcare and TME to develop an omnichannel approach to improve customer experience. In a December 2016 study by Chief Marketing Officer Council, 49% of marketers stated that alignment between physical and digital customer experiences is selective at best.

TME businesses have sought a more efficient means of unifying customer experience (CX) across the enterprise ecosystem to dynamically serve content (and advertising) to the right person on the right device at the right time and place with brand consistency. Omnichannel presents a seamless integration between every possible channel that each customer could pass through.  In healthcare, the extreme fragmentation across business lines—physician’s practices, health plans, drug dispensing, and medical equipment as well as channel discontinuity within a business line, cries out for a seamless omnichannel experience.

Disney delivers an exemplary omnichannel customer experience that seamlessly crosses the face-to-device to the face-to-face experience via an elegantly detailed and technologically augmented platform. First, Disney’s beautiful website is mobile-responsive. From there, Disney-goers use their phone and a Magic Band as their map, their wallet, their photo album and their room key. Want to know how long the line is for Space Mountain? Check. Need to know where the closest restroom is? The map is right there in your pocket and it’s not even a folded-up sweaty mess. And it all works together. Disney’s brand reputation for considering every detail is not spared in its state of the art omnichannel customer experience that spans technology and human interactions. 

Vonage is looking at omnichannel and UCaaS (Unified Communications-as-a-Service) as implementable in the near future. How many times does a customer enter their account information only to have an issue? A customer service chat is initiated and the information is entered again. Inevitably, the customer has not reached the right customer service agent and gets redirected to, once again, enter their account information. Vonage CEO, Alan Masarek, knows that can and will be changed. That once the call or chat is started, the information is dumped into their CRM and accessible by any customer service agent the customer is routed to creating a more seamless service experience.

UPMC Health Plan is the second largest health insurer in western Pennsylvania and is owned by University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.  UPMC Health Plan was one of the first insurers to make a significant investment in an omnichannel business model to improve customer experience for its members.  The goal is to provide proactive inbound and outbound omnichannel customer support.  Some of UPMC’s results include 27% decrease in inbound call volume, 96% customer multichannel satisfaction, and 93% chat satisfaction.  Walgreens, the retail pharmacy, is also committed to developing an omnichannel experience where a customer can be online, offline, in line, on a phone, tablet, or computer and experience the same level of support and functionality.

Healthcare organizations are beginning a journey that TME companies have been on for some time where customer experience and service is crucial to growth. Both TME and healthcare firms have a long way to go to fully develop their omnichannel strategies and implementations, but it is a journey they must take.