As part of our “Meet the Team” series, we sat down with Doug Shulman, Chandresh Iyer, Jon Theuerkauf and Jeannette Osterhout for a roundtable discussion to hear their thoughts about the industry. In this second of three parts, the team talks about fundamental shifts impacting clients. Some excerpts of our conversation are below.
On what clients are interested in most
Jon Theuerkauf, Managing Director and Group Head of Performance Excellence: They all are on this similar path of trying to understand how to use these smart technologies. They are all starting with robotics. Even though we kind of look at ourselves thinking we’re in the very beginnings, they are even further back than we are, so they really do lean on us and ask us, ‘how did you do it? What are the pitfalls?’ every time we have the conversation , because of the way that they ask us questions, we learn things, and we learn things about maybe we ought to go back and look at that a little bit differently. I always tell them I really like doing these things, because it helps me rethink if we’re on the right path, or do we need to pivot and go do something else, and I think that is really important, because they appreciate hearing that as well. I think all the feedback that we’re getting from our clients, whether they directly share it with me or they share it with the front office teams is that they are amazed by how far we have come in just a very short period of time on a particular technology, but they are all trying to use it and they are really kind of lost because they are getting advice from a third party, but they are now talking to somebody who was actually their trusted partner in the past, and that trusted partner now is kind of leading the way into something relatively new for them, and they didn’t really expect that, so I think it is pretty cool.
Jeannette Osterhout, Managing Director of Strategy and Planning: I completely agree. I think trust is a core component to the way that we need to work on these strategic partnerships, and I also think that it is combining trust with insight and the value that we’re able to provide them in terms of thinking about how the market is changing, what their competitors are doing, how we’re looking at new events coming and thinking through that with them on the basis of trust is really important.
On the fundamental shifts impacting clients
Doug Shulman, Senior Executive Vice President and Global Head of Client Service Delivery: The most fundamental shift happening right now in our industry and in our business is the amount of change that our clients are going through. So I think as we use technology to automate a lot of what we do, it frees our people up to be out with our clients, knowing how our clients are working. In many ways it used to be our client did something, they threw it over the wall to us. More and more we’re intertwined with our clients and with our clients processes, and so we’re going to be using smart technology to interface with them, we’re going to be using smart technology and our NEXEN platform to get our work done better, and as we do that, hopefully we free up more and more people to be with our clients, understand the industry, be out in the markets, develop new solutions for our clients.
Chandresh Iyer, CEO of Alternative Investment Services and Structured Products: Some of the clients that I have interacted with, they are actually quite keen on understanding how we have utilized those smart technologies. It is not just the fact that we use them for delivering the services or the products and services that we do, but they want to learn more about robotics, or they want to learn more about artificial intelligence. So it is almost as if we are becoming the go-to experts for these kinds of technologies in the way that we have applied them. So that is an interesting change I am seeing, where clients are looking at us as the experts in technology, so that they can learn more from our experience.