Excellence Vol.2 - Issue 2, February 2016
WITH JASIM AL ALI-ADAEP 2015 AWARD WINNER FOR THE "BEST DIRECTORCUSTOMER SERVICES CATEGORY"
Do you have a winning attitude?
FIND OUT AS PSE CORRESPONDENT ALEXANDER MATTHEY DISCUSSES THE ADVANTAGEOUS ATTITUDE
MMA has a new home
Meet this month’s local start up inspiration: Tam Khan
BUILDING THE SMART CITY An inside look at the UAE’s Smart City Vision
Vol.2 - Issue 2, February 2016
AED 20 • US$ 6.00
DUBAIâ€™s SMART CITY
smart initiatives smart services
End of 2016
of Smart Dubai initiatives on track
SMART CITY DIMENSIONS SMART CITY PILLARS Efficient Seamless Safe Impactful
Smart Economy Smart Living Smart Mobility Smart Governance Smart Environment
PROUD SUPPORTERS OF "YEAR OF READING"
Project Management PSE’ Project Management Correspondent Alexander Matthey talks attitude!
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Table of Contents 06 Word From The Editor A few words from our Managing Editor, Denise
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Empowering Excellence An inside look at the manufacturing sector’s great contributions to quality management and excellence: Kaizen, Lean and Six Sigma
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08 Current News and Affairs A summary of the latest public-sector news and current affairs across the UAE
16 Knowledge Exchange Professor Malcolm Morley shares his insights on customer service excellence from a leadership perspective
21 Delivering Excellence in Medical Services Dr. Osman, CCT Consultant in gynecology and gynecological cancers at Healthpoint Hospital, discusses battling with cancer and offers some practical advice to readers
In Focus BUILDING THE SMART CITY: A look at the current and future state of UAE’s smart city initiatives that are changing the way we live and interact
Meet this month’s start up inspiration and one of the UAE’s pioneers of Mixed Martial Arts, Tam Khan
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• PAGE 32 38 Benchmarks A look at the top 10 most successful smart cities from around the globe
28 Sharing Excellence Meet Jasim Al Ali, Director of Customer Care at the Department Of Transport and Excellence Award Winner for “Best Director-Customer Services Category” 2015
46 Build Your Digital Profile Are you reaching your customers everywhere? Here is what it takes to create a winning omni-channel experience
50 Idea Watch
Step into the world of Artificial Intelligence as we explore how robots will begin to shape the future
54 Off Topic Check out these six secrets of the human mind that will make you a better marketer
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Word from the Managing Editor FEBRUARY 2016 VOL.2 ISSUE 2
e’ve been hearing term ‘Smart’ thrown around quite often in the last decade. From smart goals to smart applications and now ‘Smart City’! What is this all about? This month, we turn our reader’s attention to the UAE’s Smart City Vision as we take a look at some of the amazing smart city initiatives that are taking place before us. We then look to the 2015 Global Innovation Index to explore some of the most successful smart cities from around the globe and how they have topped the ranks. On the excellence frontier, PSE turns the spotlight on what is arguably the most important element in attaining business excellence: ‘Delivering Outstanding Customer Experiences’ in Empowering Excellence. Then in the Sharing Excellence section, we are joined by Jasim Al Ali, Director of Customer Care at the Department of Transport and winner of the 2015 Excellence Award for ‘Best Director-Customer Services Category’ to hear his insights on what it means to deliver excellence in customer service. Attitude is everything! Or so we keep hearing. In Project Management at a Glance, PSE Correspondent Alexander Matthey discusses how to adopt a winning attitude for not just project success, but for life in general. Then over in Idea Watch, step into the future with us as we look at some of the robots that could be joining your team very soon in ‘Artificial Intelligence: The Robots are coming’. Moving on to the world of digital marketing, our team shares what it takes to create a winning omni-channel experience. And for an extra treat, we have included the 6 secrets of the human mind that will make you a better marketer in Off Topic. Don’t forget to check out our favorite responses at the end in ‘Join the Debate’, where our readers have shared their opinion on the minimum wage debate. To our subscribers who have contributed their valuable feedback and suggestions, we offer a word of appreciation and continue to encourage our readers to Join the Debate and share their opinions via email to email@example.com. Also, stay tuned for some upcoming competitions with great prizes in our future issues. If you have missed any of our previous issues, or are looking for additional articles, downloads, and professional resources please visit our website: www.psemagazine.com Our Best regards,
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In March, PSE takes you into the future of the economy as we look at the UAE Vision 2021 and the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 to see what’s in store.
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Join us in May as we explore the UAE's MGovernment initiatives that are empowering the digital government strategy.
In May, PSE puts the spotlight on government innovation as we investigate some of the innovative initiatives we have seen over the past few years.
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NEWS AND AFFAIRS
NEWS AND AFFAIRS GENERAL NEWS
FEDERAL NATIONAL COUNCIL MEMBERS COMMEND FIRST PARLIAMENTARY CONSULTATIVE RETREAT
A number of the Federal National Council (FNC) members held the first parliamentary consultative retreat at the end of January on Sir Bani Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Chaired by the FNC Speaker Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi and held under the theme, “Looking forward to Future,” the parliamentary retreat was dedicated to setting the FNC’s four-year strategy. The strategy will serve as a roadmap for parliamentary performance aimed at adopting leading global practices in administration and parliamentary work.
EMIRATES PROGRAMME FOR EXCELLENCE IN GOVERNMENT SERVICES LAUNCHES NEW ELECTRONIC HUB FOR ALL FEDERAL SERVICES
The Emirates Programme for Excellence in Government Services at the UAE cabinet has launched an electronic hub to interconnect all federal departments in one database for all services offered by the federal government. The Programme was launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid in March 2011 to set higher standards in client services by improving efficiency. The programme is aimed, among other things, at improving star rating for customer service centres. The move is part of the shift to e-government and will support efforts to achieve the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda and UAE’s Smart Vision.
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SUSTAINABILITY WEEK AND GLOBAL ACTION DAY BRING LEADERS TO THE NEGOTIATING TABLE
Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week took place in January with an estimated 30,000 visitors from more than 170 countries at what some say was the biggest event of its kind in the Middle East, according to Masdar. World leaders and businesses took part in the event to take steps in identifying and implementing solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges in sustainable development. During the event, the hosts held the first ever Abu Dhabi Global Action Day, an international forum calling on public and private sector leaders to drive forward the commercial ventures and technology breakthroughs needed to tackle climate change and deliver on the global sustainability goals adopted in 2015.
SHEIKH MOHAMMED MOST ‘LIKED’ GCC LEADER
Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is announced as the most popular leader on Facebook in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), with 3.1 million ‘likes’ on the platform, according to a new study by Burson-Marsteller, a leading global public relations and communications firm.
BANKING AND FINANCE
UAE CENTRAL BANK SAYS DEMAND FOR CREDIT DOWN
The demand for loans in the UAE has turned negative for the first time since 2014. The Central Bank reported in a survey that tracks de-
mand for loans in the fourth quarter of 2015 that loan demand has moved into the negative zone for the first time since the bank began measuring demand in 2014 amid the steepest drop in oil prices since the financial crash. Small businesses and individuals have been shying away from borrowing, and banks have also become more reluctant to lend at a time when bank deposits are dwindling amid lower government revenues from the sale of crude oil. Higher interest rates are also making companies and individuals think twice about taking out a loan.
SUKUK ISSUANCES EXPECTED TO DECLINE THIS YEAR
According to rating agency S&P, Sukuk issues are expected to drop to between US$50 billion and $55bn this year from $63.5bn last year as lower oil prices dampen appetite for spending in the Arabian Gulf and Malaysia.
DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT REPORTS POSITIVE BUSINESS RESULTS
According to the Annual Report on the Commercial Activity in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi 2015 published by the Department of Economic Development (DED), the new trade licenses issued in Abu Dhabi in 2015 amounted to 9228 licenses compared to 9999 in 2014 and 8657 licenses in 2013, which reflects a constant ascending trend in Abu Dhabi’s business activity due to positive optimism amongst businessmen and investors towards the business environment in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, which supports the emirate’s business cycle and economic performance.
TRANSPORT AND PORTS
RTA REPORTS RECORD YEAR FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN DUBAI
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) reported that the average
daily ridership on public transport in Dubai last year was about 1.5 million, up from an average of 1.475 million in 2014. The RTA also said public transport’s share of all means of transport rose to 15 percent last year from 6 percent in 2006. It aimed to increase the figure to 20 per cent by 2020 and 30 per cent by 2030.
EMIRATES AIRLINE BECOMES WORLD’S FIRST AIRLINE WITH 1 MILLION INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS
Emirates Airline continues to engage with its fans far and wide as it becomes the first airline to hit the coveted one million follower mark on Instagram. The remarkable achievement positions the airliner as the largest transportation brand on the popular photo and video-sharing platform. Recently named the world’s most valuable airline brand, Emirates launched its Instagram channel in November 2013. In less than three years, the airline’s diverse and engaging content on Instagram has generated
MAQTA GATEWAY’ BEGINS INITIAL OPERATIONS
Abu Dhabi Ports, the master developer, operator and manager of ports and Khalifa Industrial Zone in the Emirate, has commenced trial operations of its new Port Community System, ‘Maqta Gateway’. Maqta Gateway is the first purpose built Port Community System (PCS) in the UAE, offering shipping lines, shipping agents, customs agents, terminal operators and other agencies a single point-of-access and real-time information across a wide range of services via any online device.
UAE CABINET DISCUSSES HEALTHCARE REFORMS
A national public hospital evaluation programme was proposed as one of the ways to improve health care at the recent UAE Cabinet meeting. The programme for public hospitals and clinics would involve evaluating waiting time, patient satisfaction, stay duration and percentage of surgery success. The Cabinet also disPSE MAGAZINE • 9
NEWS AND AFFAIRS cussed the creation of a database that would help in developing policies and strategies for health.
ARAB HEALTH EXHIBITION AND CONGRESS 2016 TAKES PLACE IN DUBAI
The Arab Health Exhibition & Congress 2016, the Middle East’s largest healthcare event and the second largest in the world, took place over four days from January 25-28, at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. More than 115,000 participants attend the 41st edition of the show with over 4,000 companies featuring their latest innovations to visitors from 163 countries. This year’s event included 3D printing to the Arab Health agenda in a newly added 3D Medical Printing Conference and a 3D printing zone, a unique open space for all those who are seeking dedicated educational experience about the latest 3D technologies.
DOCTORS IN THE UAE SUPPORT NEW DIABETES GUIDELINES
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) guidelines for this year, all people above the age of 45 should be screened for type 2 diabetes, regardless of their weight. Dr Maha Barakat, director general of Health Authority Abu Dhabi, said the number of diabetics in the country was expected to increase in the coming years, stating that she anticipates a growth in demand for general medical services linked to lifestyle-related diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, with larger volume increases in outpatient and inpatient settings. She Therefore, it is important for the medical community to convene to discuss trends, optimal treatment standards and realistic means of prevention and mitigation of complications.”
SHEIKH MOHAMMED BIN RASHID ISSUES IDEAS CHALLENGE
Following the success of the Year
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of Innovation in 2015, the nation’s Rulers have declared 2016 the Year of Reading. A nationwide brainstorming session is now under way on social media platforms after Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid asked for ideas on how to promote reading. Last month, Sheikh Mohammed challenged the public to share their ideas and suggestions on how to make “reading a part of the culture, identity and life of our generations” using the hashtag #ReadingYear.
NEW ABU DHABI EDUCATION PROGRAMME REACHES THOUSANDS
In March 2015, the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) introduced changes to the Emirate’s school curriculum to place more emphasis on science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) subjects Now, an education programme intended to steer students towards science and technology has been launched by the Abu Dhabi Technology Development Committee (TDC) and reached tens of thousands of people. The “Lema?” (Why) programme reached 32,370 students through 882 workshops during more than 120 school visits, reported the state news agency, Wam. The initiative is aimed at getting students more excited about science and technology through demonstrations that go beyond the formal classroom setting.
UAE TO CUT ENERGY SUBSIDIES
The UAE will extend its economic diversification strategy by removing further subsidies on energy, Suhail Al Mazrouei, the UAE’s Energy Minister, told the World Economic Forum in Davos. In particular, Mr Al Mazrouei said he was planning to cut subsidies on electricity and on gas sold to power generators. The move is reportedly due to a need to think about major reforms to make the budget less dependent on the oil price, and to build an
economy that is vibrant but also taking advantage of the lower oil prices. The subsidies are to be redirected to other parts of the economy, like building schools and hospitals. Mr Al Mazrouei pointed out that the low oil price had also led to the cancellation of $400 billion of energy industry investment.
MINISTRY OF INTERIOR
RESIDENTS INVITED TO PROPOSE IDEAS ON MAKING ROADS SAFER
The Saaed Society to Reduce Traffic Accidents and the Traffic and Patrols Directorate of the Abu Dhabi Police launched “The Community is a Traffic Cop” initiative during a Ministry of Interior majlis in the capital. The initiative aims to promote community dialogue and solicit the public’s views about traffic safety issues, as well as improve road users’ behaviour, enacting traffic laws and safety standards, raising public awareness, and providing road safety education.
MOI LAUNCHES “MY JOB IS A TRUST” CAMPAIGN
The Ministry of Interior launched a new media campaign under the slogan “My job is a trust” across all government and private sectors. The campaign aims to promote positive professional values in society, notably preserving public money; refraining from making illicit gains from the job; avoiding abuse of position or power for personal gains; not favoring someone or an organization at the expense of others; and applying rules and legislations without slackness. The campaign is designed to emphasize the role of members of the public in cooperating with the relevant police sectors to report any incorrect behaviors that may have a detrimental effect on society.
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PROJECT MANAGEMENT AT A GLACE
The dictionary defines attitude as: ‘a position of the body or manner of carrying oneself, a state of mind or a feeling, a disposition.’
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PROJECT MANAGEMENT AT A GLACE Despite the definition, attitude is very difficult to express with precision as it consists of qualities and beliefs that are non-tangible. For instance, an important project team attitude is confidence. The development of a project presents tremendous challenges to a project team. An enormous amount of detail is collected, analysed, organised, and assimilated into a functional ‘whole’. Without the right attitude, it can never convert into a cohesive goal. Attitude is a brain filter through which you experience the world. Some project managers see the world through the mind of optimism while others see life through pessimism. One can obviously find some people in the middle—not very optimistic but also not very pessimistic. Simply put, attitude is a window to project success.
How to attract project success We become what we think about. Self-development literature proves that our thoughts determine our actions. And our actions bring results. The project manager must believe in the success of the project from the beginning to the end to convince others. The idea that we become what we think about has also been expressed as the Law of Dominant Thought. This means that there is a power within each of us that propels us in the direction of our current dominant thoughts. The key word here is dominant. However an infrequent positive thinking does not produce positive results. One needs to be disciplined, practice thinking positively every day until it be-
comes a habit. Thoughts and ideas precede actions and when our thoughts are positive, we feel compelled to take action. We are not afraid of making some mistakes, because we know we can rectify the course. The positive belief system is the starting point for the achievement of any goal. Do you have positive or negative thoughts? Many times what we say silently is critical and self-limiting. We create our own obstacles, e.g. “I can’t do this”. We often use those negative thoughts to express ourselves inadvertently, thus setting up our subconscious mind for failure. Instead, we should repeat to ourselves that we can and will accomplish our goals. Achieving positive thinking is a process that takes time and patience; it is not an overnight success. Positive project thinking requires effort, commitment and patience. Positive thinking does not mean absence of problems though, you will have a lot of setbacks along the way. However, if you continue to believe in yourself, you can overcome those obstacles. Remember; you are moving constantly in the direction of your dominant thoughts.
Make your Plan for Success We constantly generate mental images based on our past project experiences and other events. It does not serve us to deny what happened in a previous experience, no matter how painful or disappointing. One cannot, for instance, change the fact that a manager criticised them. One can, however, alter their interpretation of the event in an attempt to learn from it.
We can create new mental pictures whenever we choose to do so. And when we develop new images that evoke powerful feelings and sensations, we will act in ways that support those new pictures. The first step is to create an image of our desired outcome, which will be interpreted as success. For example some project managers are terrified about public speaking. They see themselves standing nervously in front of the audience, not being able to speak articulately. Run these images over and over on your mental screen and you can be sure that you won’t have much success as a speaker. It is vital that you see yourself as succeeding on a consistent basis. If you are not getting the results you want, there is no question that you are holding onto pictures of mediocrity rather than success.
Make a Commitment The key to getting what you want is the willingness to do whatever it takes to accomplish your objective. Now, before your mind jumps to conclusions, let me clarify that in saying, “whatever it takes” I exclude all actions which are illegal or unethical. So, exactly what do I mean by this “willingness”? It is a mental attitude that means that if it takes five steps to reach my goal, I’ll take those five steps, but if it takes fifty five steps to reach my goal, I’ll take those fifty five steps, and so on. To succeed, all that’s necessary is that you make a commitment to do whatever it takes, regardless of the number of steps involved. PSE MAGAZINE • 13
PROJECT MANAGEMENT AT A GLACE
Convert your Project issues into Opportunities When faced with problems or setbacks in the projects you manage, what is your immediate reaction? If you are like most people, your first impulse is to complain- “Why did this have to happen to me?”. This response is only natural. However, after the initial disappointment wears off, you have a choice to make. You can either wallow in misery or you can find the lesson that the problem is offering. You should see that a ‘problem’ is often not a problem at all. It may actually be an opportunity. For instance, a problem may point out an adjustment you can make to improve certain conditions in your project. Without the problem, you never would have taken this positive action.
Choose careful ly your words of self-talk When was the last time you seriously thought about the words you use each and every day? Many times your words have much more power that what you can imagine. They can build a bright future, destroy opportunity or help maintain the status quo. Your words reinforce your beliefs, and your beliefs create your reality and contribute to project success. Think of this process as a row of dominos that looks like this: Thoughts –> Words –> Beliefs –> Actions –> Results. PSE MAGAZINE • 14
Here is how it works. Ahmed has a thought, such as “I am not very good when it comes to project sales”. Now, let’s remember that he does not have this thought only once. He runs it through his mind on a regular basis, maybe hundreds of times. Then, Ahmed starts to use words that support this thought. He may say to his colleagues, “I am never going to do very well in sales”. Here again, Ahmed repeats these phrases over and over. This, in turn, strengthens his beliefs and it is at this stage where the rubber really hits the road. You see, everything that you will achieve in your life flows from your beliefs. So, in the sales example, Ahmed develops the belief that he is not going to be successful in project sales. This becomes embedded in his subconscious mind. Do not underestimate the role of your words in this process. Professionals who feed themselves a steady diet of negative words are destined to have a negative attitude.
How are you? Our answer to the question: How are you? Seems like such a small thing. But we must answer that question many times every day. It is a significant part of our daily conversations. When someone asks: How are you? The answer is usually no more than a few words, yet that short response tells a lot about you and your attitude. If you find yourself responding in the negative or neutral, I’d suggest you immediately consider revising your response and joining the ranks of the positive. When asked how you are, if you respond negatively,
your physiology is adversely affected. You tend to slump your shoulders and head and take on a despondent posture. What about your emotions? After stating that you are lousy, do you feel better? Of course not. Why not instead reply “today is a good day”? Many people will be surprised at the beginning. The question is rather poetic, so the answer should be short and preferably upbeat, for the benefit of both. Try this experiment. When anyone asks, “how are you?”, respond with energy and enthusiasm. Say it with a smile. It does not matter whether or not you completely and totally feel terrific at that moment. Simply apply the actas-if principle. In other words, if you want to be more positive, act-as-if you already are and, pretty soon, you will find that you have, in fact, become more positive.
Associate with Positive Professionals I believe that human beings are like sponges. We soak up whatever people around us are saying. So, if you spend time with someone who is negative, you sponge up the negatives and it affects your attitude and when you hang around positive people you soak up the positive. You feel better and perform better. You must join and encourage positivity. Every organization and every project has some negative people working there and sometimes you have to work with these people. But be sure not to go out of your way to spend time with these prophets of gloom and doom. You cannot
PROJECT MANAGEMENT AT A GLACE perform at your best if you allow these people to dump their negative issues onto you. You should be able to find a diplomatic way of distancing yourself from negativity, and as you increase your associations with positive people you will see how your own positivity grows.
Grow through your fears To achieve your goals and realise your potential, you must be willing to do things that you are afraid to do. That is how you develop your potential and I encourage all project managers I work with to follow this principle. Many professionals, whom I asked, have admitted that they expressed anxiety before big tasks. Most of them also told me that sometimes that fear stopped them from taking action. Every time you step out of your comfort zone you may be gripped by fear. Each of us has a comfort zone and the activities and situations that lie inside the comfort area are familiar and routine. In this category are tasks such as speaking to your friends or colleagues, or filling out the daily paperwork at your job. However, as project manager you may face experiences or challenges that are outside your comfort zone. I have asked many project manager professionals about their most common fears. From professionals across different countries and cultures, the same answers come up again and again. Here are some of the most common fears they identify: Now, I want you to consider the price you pay when you back out from those fears that
are standing in the way of your growth. Many of us are indeed unwilling to pay this price, simply to avoid temporary discomfort and possible ridicule from others. In the long run, retreating is not the best way to handle your problem. You will never be highly successful unless you are willing to confront your fears. You may fail here and there, but you must demonstrate you learned from it.
Networking The sooner you start creating a network, the faster you will progress in your career. Simply put, you cannot succeed on a grand scale all by yourself. That is why networking is so important. Networking is defined as the development of relationships with people for mutual benefit. Some of the business benefits you can get as a project professional from networking activities are:
GENERATES NEW CLIENTS OR BUSINESS LEADS Increase business and professional opportunities Helps in finding the right people to fill critical positions or jobs Provides valuable information and resources Helps to your professional relationships for personal and professional growth Assist in problems
But, what can we do to enhance the effectiveness of our network? I found some productive techniques that have been very helpful for me. You must project a winning attitude and you must be active in organisations and associations. Another key aspect is referring people. If you refer someone, make sure that the person mentions your name as the source of the referral. You should also be a good listener. Have you ever been
speaking to someone who goes on and on about himself and his business – and never takes a moment to ask about you? They are the last people you want to help. So, in your conversations, focus on drawing other people out. Let them talk about their careers and interests. In return, you will be perceived as caring, concerned and intelligent. Remember that networks are built over time and that significant results usually don’t show up immediately. Passion, persistence and patience must be cultivated if you want to increase your network. Professional networking is also a project, so you must prepare a plan for that project. It is critical that you clearly identify your network contacts, develop a personalised networking plan and build an administrative process to manage it all. It is very important to ask your network contacts for their help, not for a job. People are delighted to help, but few will have a job to offer you.
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CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE:
A LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE In a service context value is defined by the customer and is created at the interface of the customer and the service provider. Whether an organisation provides customer service excellence, therefore, is assessed by the customer at the interface of the customer and the service provider against the customer’s definition of excellence. This is often an implicit evaluation based upon the norm experienced by the customer when compared to the customer service provided by that, and other, organisations. Whilst there are some generic standards for how customers like to be treated e.g. with respect and in a timely way; true customer service excellence can only be achieved if:
1 2 3
There is recognition that different customers define the elements of customer service differently and apply different levels of importance to those elements. Those at the interface of the customer and the organisation have the willingness and ability to determine, and act upon, the customer’s definition of customer service excellence.
Those at the interface of the customer and the organisation understand the organisation’s boundaries for the provision of customer service.
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Customer Service Experience
Competitor Organisation’s Performance
Physical Assets & Facilities
Other Organisation’s Performance
All of the above is represented in the Customer Service Excellence Framework at Figure One. The Framework, and the approach to customer service excellence, has to start with the customer. It is vital to understand who the customers are and the context within which they are interested in the products and services offered by the organisation. It is also vital to understand how the customers identify needs and desires in relation to customer service and what the expectations they have from the perceptions and experience created from the organisation’s published standards and brand values. Customer’s expectations of an organisation’s customer service are impacted by the experience they have from contact with competing organisations and other organisations. In terms of public services the level of customer service from one Government Department or part of the public sector will create the benchmark for the expectations the customer has from all parts of the public sector. Similarly, contact with non-public sector organisations and the customer service received will create a benchmark for how customer service from the public sector is evaluated.
Product/Service Functionality Fit
Customer service excellence is more than a marketing slogan and is reflected in the culture of the organisation and has the full commitment of its leadership.
Figure One: The Customer Service Excellence Framework
Brand Values Fit
The organisation can learn from the feedback from its customers and the performance of other organisations to evolve its approach to customer service.
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Public sector organisations need to identify and evaluate both customer definitions of customer service excellence and the customer service provided by other parts of the public sector and non-public sector organisations. This will help the organisation to understand the customer’s context for comparing customer service experiences. I have often seen public sector organisations state in glossy brochures that they aim to provide world class customer service. Regrettably, they often have not defined what world class customer service is other than in generic headlines. In these cases it is pertinent to ask: How can an organisation seek to provide world class customer service if they can’t define what it is? Against who and what is the customer service to be evaluated by customers? Do customers want world class customer service or customer service to meet their needs? Do the people in the organisation believe that they can, and will be supported to, provide world class customer services? What is the gap between customer service now and world class customer service and how will that gap be addressed? Labelling customer service as world class when it isn’t undermines credibility and confidence in both customers and those providing services. Customer service excellence should be more than just a marketing slogan. An organisation’s customer service involves ensuring that communication, behaviours, channel accessibility, products/services, physical assets/facilities, practical fulfilment and timeliness of services, technology/systems and brand values are all consistent with, and support the provision of, customer service excellence. These provide a challenging portfolio of tangible and intangible elements of customer service excellence. Someone at the interface with customers will not be able to provide customer service excelPSE MAGAZINE • 18
lence unless they are able and willing to respond to the customer within the parameters set by the organisation. This means that those providing customer service need to have access to information and knowledge and people to enable them to work with customers to identify what is required and what can be done to address the customer’s requirements. The provision of customer service excellence requires linkages between all of the activities of the organisation with a free flow of information between them. Back office activities can affect the organisation’s ability to provide customer service excellence. The organisation needs to be able to learn from both internal and external experience and to act upon that learning. How can external customer service excellence be achieved if there isn’t internal customer service excellence? Customer service needs to be embedded within an organisation’s culture, competencies and capabilities (function and organisation spanning systems and processes) if it is to deliver excellence. Similarly the organisation has to have the capacity to deliver customer service excellence. All of the above requires leadership to recognise customer service excellence as a corporate strategic objective and organisational cultural imperative. Leaders act as a catalyst for, and symbol of, customer service excellence and enable the organisation to invest in, and develop, the culture, competencies, capabilities and capacity to provide customer service excellence. It is not just an activity to be treated as a front line activity but requires the commitment and input of all parts of the organisation. To achieve it often requires a change in organisational culture in many organisations.
Professor Malcolm Morley OBE
Chief Executive of Harlow Council Visiting Professor at the Lord Ashcroft International Business School of Anglia Ruskin University and the Business School of the University of Bedfordshire. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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DELIVERING EXCELLENCE IN MEDICAL SERVICES
World-beating initiative The prevention, detection and treatment of cancer are among the biggest challenges faced by the medical profession worldwide, but the UAE is making progress with groundbreaking initiatives. We talked to Dr Osman Mustafa Osman Ortashi, who has been instrumental in making a UAE cervical cancer prevention programme one of the most successful in the world. By Imogen Lillywhite
orn in Sudan, Dr Osman undertook his initial medical training in his homeland before embarking on a prestigious career first in the UK and then, from 2009, the UAE. He was accredited by the British Society of Cervical Pathology and Colposcopy (BSCCP) in 2004 and later specialised in gynecological oncology, completing advanced special with the UK Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in 2007. His current post is in the
gynecological department at Healthpoint Hospital in Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi, and he is a member of both the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) board and the UAE National Cancer Committee. Speaking about his current place of work, he says: “Healthpoint is a highly specialised hospital providing a high standard of care to the population of Abu Dhabi and the UAE. In our gynecology department, we are providing a wide range of
services from routine obstetric care to highly complicated gynecological laparoscopic and gynecological procedures.” Research has formed an important part of Dr Osman’s career, and he was awarded a Cancer Research UK scholarship which enabled him to spend time researching the screening and early detection of ovarian cancer, currently the fourth most common kind of cancer among UAE women. “If you work in cancer, the main area that will improve the outcome for your patients is to do research because a lot is still not understood about it,” he says. “We are still far away from dealing with it in the most appropriate way. Cancer research is always a growing area of research, there is a lot of unknowns that need to be answered. This is why I got interested in cancer research.” According to Cancer Research
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DELIVERING EXCELLENCE IN MEDICAL SERVICES
UK statistics, more than 14million people were diagnosed with cancer worldwide in 2012, and the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) cites it as the second leading cause of death in the Emirate. These facts make Dr Osman’s assertion that there is still much to be understood about the disease a sobering thought, but the UAE is leading the way in some aspects of its prevention. Most women will be familiar with the concept of cervical cancer screening - undergoing a pap smear to detect precancerous changes in the body which can be easily treated before the disease has the opportunity to develop or spread. Last month, progress was made in the way ovarian cancer is detected when research was published showing that ovarian cancer screening may save also save women’s lives - a new finding in the field of cancer research. PSE MAGAZINE • 22
Ovarian cancer screening differs from that of cervical cancer as it in the form of a bimodal assessment - patients undergo ultrasound assessment and a blood test called a tumour marker. Neither test should be used in isolation, explains Dr Osman, the two tools must be combined to give an accurate picture of whether cancer is present. Since moving to the UAE, Dr Osman’s focus has been on cervical cancer screening and prevention, in particular on the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. The virus is the cause of 99 per cent of cases of cervical cancer and therefore vaccinating young women against it helps dramatically reduce the number of cases. Part of the programme was launched in 2008 when HAAD started providing the HPV vaccine free of charge in schools
for both local and ex-pat girls in grade 11 or aged 16. “It is the only place in the region which provides the vaccine free of charge,” says Dr Osman. “The HAAD and its cancer committee has worked very hard to implement the vaccine by training school nurses and healthcare providers and by educating and campaigning for the vaccine among the public. As the result of this hard work, now the programme is one of the most successful worldwide with the uptake of the vaccine more than 95 per cent.” This remarkable statistic shows that Abu Dhabi is currently ahead of the UK, where the take up in 2013/14 was reported as just under 90 per cent by Public Health England. So successful has the programme been, that Dr Osman and the other members of the HAAD task force for cervical cancer screening received an award from HAAD. The HPV vaccine has been the source of some controversy since it first became available in 2006, but Dr Osman says that in Abu Dhabi, it was a matter of carrying out research, then educating and informing to help create understanding of its importance. “We researched the uptake of the vaccine and the barriers to the uptake of the vaccine. We did not find any significant religious or cultural barriers to the vaccine. The main barrier is in the minds of healthcare providers - that people of the UAE might refuse the vaccine for various reasons, but when we asked women, school nurses and girls themselves, we found that there was no barrier at all, they did not mind taking the vaccine.” The main issue was that incorrect information had been given to healthcare providers, he explains. “When we did work-
DELIVERING EXCELLENCE IN MEDICAL SERVICES shops with healthcare providers we found the take up of the vaccine started to increase,” he says. Another concern addressed by the HAAD was of possible side effects caused by the vac-
programmes. Our experience in cervical screening is very encouraging. The success of the HPV vaccine programme shows that there is no real barrier to screening programmes as long as you educate people about the importance of the programme you are providing. In my experience, women in the UAE are very sensible. When you explain why they need to do something, they will do it, as long as you explain to them well.” He explains: “We have screening facilities in the private and public sector; staff at these screening facilities are responsible for calling every woman for the screening. There is a national programme which is due to implemented very soon across the UAE.” Dr Osman’s place of work, Healthpoint Hospital, provides the HPV vaccine as well as specialist procedures for the early detection and treatment of gynecological cancer and well as uterine fibroid treatments in collaboration with Cleveland Clinic. During his time at the hospital, new services have also been introduced, including advanced laparoscopic surgery, a form of minimally invasive pelvic surgery which allows a surgeon team to access organs using only keyhole incisions. “We are very proud of advanced pelvic surgery, where we work as a team operating on
A lot of countries could learn from the Abu Dhabi experience. It is very unique experience to implement the vaccine in the Middle East and to get a take up better than many European countries. cine: “We carried out a study on side effects, which was published two years ago, and we have not detected any major side effects caused by the vaccine throughout Abu Dhabi. Since it was introduced, HAAD has been successfully addressing all of these concerns. A lot of countries could learn from the Abu Dhabi experience. It is very unique experience to implement the vaccine in the Middle East and to get a take up better than many European countries.” An additional part of the cancer prevention initiative is to provide cervical screening for women aged above 25 who are sexually active in a bid to improve early detection rates for the disease. “Most of the cancer cases we detect, we detect at a late stage, but women in the UAE, both local and ex-pat are well informed. They are very motivated to take part in screening
very complicated cases in collaboration with my colleagues in the urology and surgical teams,” he says. “This collaboration has allowed us to operate on very complicated cases. The newest and most unique service we have introduced is the fibroid clinic, which is the only multi-disciplinary fibroid clinic in the UAE with a full range of options for treatment of the condition.” As to how people in the UAE can take steps to prevent cancer themselves, many may be surprised to know that factors such as smoking, obesity and lack of exercise are risk factors in gynecological cancers as well as many other forms of the disease, therefore Dr Osman advises patients to consider changes to their lifestyle as a way of preventing them. As someone who is clearly passionate about cancer research and has their finger on the pulse of the way treatments will evolve in the coming years, Dr Osman says medical professionals will look more towards immune therapies in the future. “That is using the medications that modify the patient’s immune system to attack cancer rather than giving medication from outside that kills cancer,” he explains. “This is a very clever and intelligent way of dealing with cancer. It has been used in the past few years for selected cancers but I am sure it will come to be used for most cancers.”
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Delivering Outstanding Customer Experience
ustomer experience has always been king, and we have always seen statements like ‘The Customer is always right’. What has changed, however, is the way people interact with companies, and what is included in customer experience. Things used to be much easier before the Internet, because all you had to care about was how the customer felt when PSE MAGAZINE • 24
they walked into your store and when they talked to you over the phone. Since our methods of interaction were limited, the interaction itself was also very limited. This couldn’t be farther from the truth nowadays, thanks to social media and the Internet. Now customers can be interacting with you any time and in any place, and one small
mistake can end up being seen by thousands of people. In such an environment, you have to ensure that your customer service is exemplary.
THE COST OF BAD CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES
This isn’t just common sense; the effect of customer experience has long been researched and proven. According to a recent research report presented by Accenture, 72% of people who switched brands say they switched because of poor customer service. 30% of retail consumers said they switched brand after a single negative experience. The worst part is that 73% of people who had switched brands said they would never consider doing business with the previous brand again. These numbers should tell you all you need to know about the unparalleled significance of customer experience. The poor customer experiences that drove away cus-
EMPOWERING EXCELLENCE tomers were things we can all relate to. According to Accenture’s Survey Findings, here are the most frustrating customer service experiences: Contacting customer service multiple times for the same reason (86%) Being put on hold for a long time (85%) Customer service agents who cannot answer the questions (84%) Repeating the same information to multiple customer service agents (83%) The company delivering something different than what they promised up front (83%) Unfriendly or impolite customer service agents (82%)
CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE IN THE DIGITAL ERA
The worst part about poor customer service is that it is easier to improve it now than it has ever been before. We have better information technology now and can accomplish so much more if we use the technology properly. There are 4 simple things that a company needs to do in order to provide excellent customer service:
Data is the king of customer interaction. If you do not know your customers then you will not be able to customise the experience according to them, which results in a poor experience. We have seen companies that had email support, Twitter support, Facebook support, and phone
support but they did not have their data integrated. This means that when a customer who had previously emailed their complaint called to talk about it, the customer service agent had no idea what the customer was talking about. This is very agitating for the customer and needs to be fixed immediately. When someone from your company talks to a customer they should have a file ready with all the interactions with the customers from every channel. This is basic stuff and can result in amazing customer service.
Too many companies have invaluable data that they never utilise. Using your data properly can lead to customised marketing with more efficiency than ever before. Target is one of the companies that does it right. An example of this being the recent instance (featured in Forbes and other places) where the company Target managed to figure out a girl was pregnant before the father, through their personalised data system. How you ask? Simple, Target considers all the purchases of its customers and creates trends. The girl started buying things that are usually bought by women who are in the early stages of pregnancy, which put her in the list of customers that are pregnant. You do not need to do such detailed analysis if you aren’t a retailer, but even a little bit of analysis will teach you much more about your customers.
KEEP EXPERIENCES PERSONALISED
People hate spam and anything that does not specifically
target them can be considered spam. 67% of people unsubscribe from mailing lists when they receive emails that are not personalised. On the other hand 45% of customers are more likely to make further purchases if the online store personalises recommendation according to what they like. Big companies like Amazon execute this very well but smaller stores will need to do the same in order to compete and succeed.
KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER’S JOURNEY
You will not be able to create a great experience for your customers unless you know what they experienced on the way to your store. You have to create a PSE MAGAZINE • 25
EMPOWERING EXCELLENCE map that properly displays every channel they touched upon before they reached you. Are you customers coming to you from your social media channels? Then you need to ensure that everything you do on your social media channels is of the highest
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quality. You need to learn what websites they visit to gather information about products and what influences them. Once you have a map you can focus on improving every step of the journey. Make your website easier to read and browse,
of people who switched brands say they switched because of poor customer service
% of retail con-
sumers said they switched brand after a single negative experience
of people who had switched brands said they would never consider doing business with the previous brand again
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make information easily available on social media channels, and be more responsive when it comes to customer service on unorthodox channels. Also try to locate the main pain points, the parts of the journey causing the most dissatisfaction.
of people unsubscribe from mailing lists when they receive emails that are not personalized.
of customers are more likely to make further purchases if the online store personalizes recommendation
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AND CUSTOMER SERVICE
You need to focus on customer experiences, not just service. The reality is that people are willing to pay more for better experiences; you do not have to race the competition to the bottom when it comes to costs, and you need to ensure that you are using all the weapons in your arsenal. Making the experience is not a complicated thing but what it will need is commitment. Having loyal customers is the best thing a company can possibly ask for; not only do they buy more than other people, they are also much more likely to recommend your product to another person. When it comes to experiences on social media, you need to be extra careful. One bad experience may end up getting retweeted thousands of times; similarly, one good experience may be seen by thousands of people as well. You also need to ensure that you give your customers as much choice as possible. Do not force them to work in ways they do not want to. Do not force them to use the payment option or purchasing method that you want. Let people pay in different ways. One thing
which consumers appreciate a lot is being allowed to select products online which they can pick-up in store. They know they can do research online easily but they still want to look at the item before buying it. The reality is that customers have more power now than they have ever had before, and you need to respect it. If you do not make the experience good for them, they will simply go to the next seller. They will also notify other people on their social media about the move. Use each and every thing you have to make the experience better.
Essentially, customer service really boils down to the concept of communication and understanding. How can you give people what they want, if you have no idea what that actually is? Through the pillars of collecting and implementing data, properly utilising social media, personalising content and ultimately being compassionate and understanding of the customerâ€™s desires, anyone can create a customer service experience that will be nothing but beneficial to business.
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Meet Jasim Al Ali, Director of Customer at the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport and Winner of the “Best Director-Customer Services Category Award” at the 2015 Abu Dhabi Awards for Excellence in Government Performance. By Imogen Lillywhite fter more than six years working for the Abu Dhabi Government, high-flying Jasim Al Ali was rewarded with the Honorable Individual Excellence in Government Performance award, customer service category. We talked to him about his experiences, his goals for the future and his interests outside the workplace: Jasim Al Ali, the director of the customer care division of Abu Dhabi’s Department of Transport, is clearly a man with ambition. Having graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in the USA with a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology, he returned to the UAE to work for telecommunications company Etisalat which gave him more opportunities to travel, taking up positions in Pakistan and the Ivory
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Coast, West Africa, working as a project manager and quality expert. In addition, he found time to study for and complete his Masters Degree in Quality Management at the University of Wollongong in Dubai. In 2008, he moved to the DoT, working first as the director of the organisational development division and, for the past three years, of the customer care division. He describes organisational development as his passion, but, he took up the opportunity to lead a revamp of the customer services division, to account for changes that were happening within the Abu Dhabi Government and help raise performance levels. He received his award along with other winners at a ceremony in November, watched by more than 1,000 government employee colleagues. “The Abu Dhabi excellence
awards is the highest award in the Abu Dhabi government, and there are three categories - entities, employees and projects. It’s for those who excel in their work and add a lot of value to Abu Dhabi government,” he explains. “In the individual category they have selected 10 employees out of all the government employees to be given that award.” When you consider that it is estimated that there are 150,000 people employed by the Abu Dhabi Government, including Etihad and Adnoc employees, you start to realise what a huge achievement it is to be selected as one of the winners. Regarding this prestigious award, Jasim goes on to say: “Out of all the government and some semi-government organisations, they short list 100 people, and from those 100 people, 10 are selected. These 10 people are all from different fields, so one managerial, one executive, one in the technical field and others. From that, I was selected from the individual employees and I was selected as the best employee at the customer service manager level.”
He is understandably proud of what his achievement, “It was really amazing to win this because I have been working for it for the past two years, so I was trying to do my best and meet all the criteria for this award.” “They evaluate you based on seven criteria - leadership and motivation, planning and organisation, qualifications and personal development, team work, innovation, performance management and finally results and achievement” Jasim explains with a smile on his face. Speaking about his style of leadership and philosophy on
excellence he cites leading by example as a major factor, saying: “I believe excellence has to come from the top person in the organisation. The top person has to select and develop the leadership team to have an excellent leadership style. Then, it will be like a snowball effect, then things will change and there will be a great impact on the culture of the organisation.” Many organisations see changes throughout the period when a new CEO or MD is installed, he tells us, based on their individual philosophy -“It is much easier for excellence
managers to implement or help in the change process if the top person and the leadership buy into this philosophy and they understand it. The top person has to lead by example.” An issue that plagues numerous organisations, is the mistake of bringing in a good, competent excellence manager in with the aim of winning an award, he explains. “They think with having the right excellence team, they are guaranteed to win the award. They don’t realise that excellence starts from the top. It has to be embedded within the system and the HR policy, within the customer service strategy - Not just in one team, but across the organisation.” When we asked Jasim what he thinks marked him out as a potential award winner, he cites his contribution to the community (Jasim has founded two community groups, ‘Yolo Emirates’ & ‘Abu Dhabi Walkers) as a deciding factor. “I established the first walking club in the UAE, which is now the largest. That has impacted a lot on the community in Abu Dhabi because we have so many people who walk with us. Their health has improved and in turn their lifestyle has improved. A lot of people came to me saying they wanted to walk to lose weight, and they have.” The club’s membership is diverse, he explains that some members are making huge strides in changing their lifestyles, losing up to 30kg, while others join for a short time to achieve a fitness target. Some even join on a social basis or for networking purposes. He describes Yolo Emirates, based on the acronym YOLO you only live once - as the first Emirati adventure team. Founded a year ago to encourage EmiPSE MAGAZINE • 29
ratis to have interests outside the UAE. Adventures so far have included trips to Vietnam and Scotland, with plans underway to take on an ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro - the world’s fourth highest mountain, the highest peak in Africa and a notoriously tough climb. Impressive! “The team started with two people and now we have 17 people. The purpose of establishing this team is for people to experience travels where you experience nature, doing something that is going to add to their personality, to get away from the five star hotel and luxury travel experience and see a different side to the world” he tells us, when quizzed on how much Yolo Emirates has grown. Jasim says that each Yolo-Emirates trip has three goals“first, to do some physical activity, second, to socialise with local people, third, to experience nature”. The initiative has been a success, with members’ families taking an interest in the adventures themselves and asking to PSE MAGAZINE • 30
join future expeditions. It is fairly clear he approaches his work with the same tenacity and passion that he has for his extra-curricular activities,
need to reach out, we need small service centres in malls, in communities, schools and universities - kiosks in convenient places”. “Within that, I would say a
I believe excellence has to come from the top person in the organisation. and he has high hopes for the future of customer service, not just in the Department of Transport, but also in the Abu Dhabi Government in general. One of his ambitions is to help make customer services Internet and app-based to make them more convenient for the customer. Jasim explains that, “the other direction we need to go in is that we need to go to the customer rather than have the customer to come to us. In other words, we
marker of success is for us to be having fewer customers come to us, not more” he adds. Of the UAE and customer service he also says: “We see now that companies, in the UAE and all over the world, are very proud of their big customer service centres, saying it’s the best because it’s five star hotel-style or coffee shop-style. We should not be saying that anymore, we should instead be having the best app or the best
SHARING EXCELLENCE service, we should not be making the customer come to us.” And his words ring true as this process is already actually well under way within the DoT, with 70 per cent of the department’s services already automated. Another challenge for the future, he says, is for government organisations to integrate their services, to save customers time. For example, families who have a new baby should be able to go to just one place to get their child’s birth registered, and people opening new businesses should be able to get all the necessary approvals in just one place is one of his notions. “If we achieve that, it will have a great impact on Abu Dhabi as a city and as an emirate. One of the positive impacts of that will be for people to have to travel less around the city, which will mean less pollution and less traffic on the roads, as well as saving time for people who will have to take less time off work. So, this is a macro effect for the Abu Dhabi economy.” Jasim also has advice for aspiring leaders coming into workplace, not only to work hard, but to think outside the box and follow the examples of their successful senior colleagues. “They need to not only work hard and put in a lot of effort, but understand what their job requires them to do and exceed that, not do only what they’re asked to” he states. “They need to choose a mentor, someone they look up to, and follow their example, ask themselves what they would do in certain situations.” It seems likely that Jasim himself will be the example chosen by many young recruits coming into the Department of Transport in the coming years and it was a pleasure for PSE to be able to speak to him. PSE MAGAZINE • 31
he UAE has historically pioneered exceptional quality of life and an unparalleled business environment. As part of the UAE’s vision and digital government strategy in particular, the UAE has been on the move in building smart city infrastructure with the development of numerous initiatives across the Emirates aimed at empowering UAE’s residents and improve the quality of life through smart ICT Solutions. A smart city, also called ‘Smarter city’, uses digital technologies or information and communication technologies (ICT) to enhance quality and performance of urban services, to reduce costs and resource consumption, and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens.
More than a buzzword! The concept behind Smart Cit-
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ies (also sometimes referred to as Smarter Cities) is to create cities that use the developments in information technology much in the same way as cities now use developments in sanitation or power. This includes using information and communication technologies to increase the efficiency and quality of services provided by the government, and in turn, increase the quality of life for citizens. It also means allowing the citizens to interact and communicate with the government to allow instantaneous feedback that can shape the security and infrastructure conditions of the city.
Dubai’s Smart City Vision
The move for smarter cities in UAE is being spearheaded by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid. It is his vision to exploit information communica-
tions technology to its fullest by developing and implementing technological innovations into the core infrastructure of the city. Dubai is already aiming to expand its infrastructure for 2020 and make the city ready for and expected 30 million more visitors. Dubai is also in the perfect condition to incorporate these changes as most of its infrastructure is relatively new with many other initiatives already in progress. The Smart Dubai Initiative was inaugurated and undertaken in March of 2014, and it aimed to make Dubai the smartest city in the world by the end of 2017. The vision for turning Dubai into a smart city is based on three fundamental ideas- integration, communication, and cooperation. The aim to is to in-
tegrate technology within government entities such as roads, hospitals, schools, energy, allowing citizens to cooperate with the government to make them better, by opening up instant communication channels between the citizens and the government. The plan has 4 strategic pillars that are guiding every initiative. The pillars are: Efficient: Through the optimized use of the city’s resources Seamless: Through the provision of integrated daily services that are easy and convenient to use Safe: Through applying carefully planned risk management considerations to protect people and information, and Impactful: Through the provision of impactful solutions that enrich lives of residents, visitors, and businesses
Aside from these pillars the project also codified six strategic dimensions that would guide the project. The pillars and the dimensions also show how well managed the project is. The pillars and dimensions are based on the leading research and practice from all over the world. Additions have also been made to the smart metrics; Smart Economy and Smart Living are new concepts when it comes to Smart Cities.
Smart Economy involves integrating information technology into the hubs of economic activity in Dubai. This includes better and more technologically advanced logistics support at Dubai’s seaport and airport in order to increase global competitiveness. Dubai is already
the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) capital of the world, and further improvements in information communication technology are being made to create a better experience for visitors. Entrepreneurship is also being focused upon, creating an infrastructure that supports innovative information technology companies for the local and international market.
As Dubai continually strives to maintain exceptional quality of life and a culturally vibrant lifestyle in a safe and secure environment, Smart homes, offices and connected neighbourhoods will quickly become the norm in Dubai. This is principally due to the fact that much of the city’s growing inPSE MAGAZINE • 33
IN FOCUS frastructure and development is a great opportunity to implement smart city connectedness. Public and private sector developments will continue to adopt a ‘smart by design’ approach, rather than being smart as an afterthought. The initiatives in this dimension range from the small, such as digital signage on roads, to much larger initiatives, such as connecting the healthcare institutions of the country to increase the response rate and accuracy of medical treatment.
Dubai already has one of the best road infrastructures in the world but it is being improved even further through information technology. Focus areas within Smart Mobility include: transportation, roads infrastructure and traffic management—including Dubai’s taxis, bus, metro network, water taxis or shared cars — each to be serviced by smart touch-points. Enhanced asset management initiatives, such as smart parking will drive true seamlessness and efficiency. Sustainable Mobility initiatives are already being implemented in the form of electric vehicle charging stations and legislative support around renewable transportation. The city’s existing ICT infrastructure, together with future initiatives will enable impactful movement and implementation of ideas.
Dubai is not a newcomer to the world of e-governance; it was one of the pioneers of the initiative and has had an active
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DUBAI SMART CITY LAYERS
THE DUBAI SMART CITY PLATFORM IS SPLIT INTO FOUR LAYERS SPANNING THE FULL EXTENT OF THE CITY ARCHITECTURE.
Public and private data analytics, governance, and services platforms
Secure and accessible data intake, transformation and storage
Dashboards and applications for public within unified services ecosystem
Citywide data, Internet of things and ICT Infastructure
of remote communities not directly connected to the central city infrastructure.
Smart Smart Dubai Environment initiatives are on Often unfairly seen as a City enjoys excess; Dubai is actrack and will be that tually a surprisingly green. The realises that a delcompleted by the government icate ecosystem like Dubai’s is end of 2016 threatened by the prospect of a
e-governance infrastructure since 1999, a time when most other countries were only beginning to grasp the implications of the vast information technology network being created. A key opportunity and area of focus within the strategy is Open Data and its governance, deployment, and eventual impact on city decision-making. Other objectives within the governance dimension include the active promotion of public education, as well as the active inclusion
bad environment. Accordingly, there are many green initiatives that focus on reducing harmful pollutants. Focal areas of the strategy include energy, waste management and environmental conditions for better quality of life.
In order to include the people of Dubai in the growth of Dubai it is vital to empower them. A better, more knowledgeable, and ultimately a happier society is being supported through e-learning centres, skills development, and social communication mediums.
IN FOCUS The strategy lists public involvement and education via e-community centres, digital and social communication channels and alternative skills development as primary focus areas. The end goal remains creating a native culture of continual learning, participating and innovating within society.
Smart ICT Infrastructure
Smart ICT Infrastructure is not a separate dimension; it is a dimension that is made to support the other 5 dimensions by enabling the technological infrastructure required to support such an ambitious project. This includes; increasing internet coverage, smart apps, a centralized layer which can manage and monitor all the smart services, and analysis of real time information for updated intelligence.
Smart Abu Dhabi
Meanwhile in the capital, a host of smart city initiatives are underway with a plan create an equally smart ecosystem that supports the UAE’s vision for excellence in government services and quality of living. Most notable and international recognised of these efforts is Masdar City, Abu Dhabi’s flagship and first of its kind project to build the world’s first carbon free city built on a host of smart infrastructure and sustainable technologies.
Among some of the other notable initiatives is the Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Centre’s (ADSIC) proactive role in reshaping the public sector’s ICT landscape. The new and improved e-Government strategy that has been mapped out by clear and scalable objectives aims to rapidly enable the digital transformation of Government services and shared ICT infrastructure through a road map that will be followed in the years to come. Through services like ‘CityGuard’, residents can instantly report any incidents around the Emirate by taking a photo, movie or audio of the reported incident and use an embedded interactive map to locate the exact geographic position of the incident. We have also recently seen the launch of the new Abu Dhabi Govern-
ment Services App, which is a strong start to offering hundreds of convenient e-government services right from your mobile phone! Elsewhere, the Abu Dhabi Municipality have launched a new smart app called ‘Onwani’, which uses the latest technology to help you find any location faster, easier and smarter! Every street sign and building number plate will have a Quick Response (QR) Code that you can scan with your smartphone to instantly get accurate information about that location. Once integrated with the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport’s award winning smart application ‘Darb’, residents will be able to navigate the capital smoothly with basic interactive maps that show public transport routes and timetables.
The UAE has many advantages when it comes to comes to implementing Smart initiatives. Their infrastructure is much newer than most cities, which makes it easier to implement new technologies. The UAE also has a lot of disadvantages it is fighting through; a punishing climate and its geographical location which leaves it far away from most economy hubs of the world. Despite all the troubles, the UAE is the home of the most prominent Smart City initiatives in the world. The commitment by the government is unparalleled, and there is no red tape prohibiting innovation. PSE MAGAZINE • 35
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The cities embracing the future… The term ‘smart cities’ is one of those terms which is hard to explain but easy to show. Essentially, a smart city exploits information communication technologies in order to increase the standard of living in the city. There are many other definitions, all of them trying to quantify what it means to be a smart city, but the gist of them all is same. Once a city starts integrating information technology the same way cities have integrated roads and sanitation, they start becoming smart.
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We have seen some great initiatives in the field of smart cities in the last few years and 2015 was a great year as well for smart city initiatives. More countries have pledged to create more smart cities and the rise of the concept is inevitable. Smart cities are more efficient and lead to the citizens being happier, so it is easy to see why governments want to invest in such initiatives. In a decade or two it will be considered essential to implement smart city initiatives.
While the rest of the world catches up there are already some cities that are pioneering the smart city concept. Instead of waiting till smart cities become the norm; these cities are spearheading the effort through innovative concepts that have never been seen before. They will end up benefiting the whole world by becoming examples of what works and what does not. Let’s look at some of these cities and what they did to be considered the best:
London has commenced with many initiatives that have resulted in it becoming the paragon of smart cities. The most influential among these has been the government embracing
It seems the home of Silicon Valley is putting all that technological clout to good use. San Francisco has been recognized as the second best smart city in the world, thanks to their government’s great commitment to smart city initiatives. This includes services like free Wi-Fi hotspots, energy projects that help consumers minimise their usage, and one of the most technologically advanced city-wide recycling systems in the world. San Francisco has also pledged millions of dollars for even more smart city developments in 2016.
open data. Information that was locked up in vaults previously is being digitalized, and real time information from smartphones and other gadgets is interpreted and made available to part-
Singapore’s information communication technology platform was already amongst the best in the world, but it upped its commitment to becoming smart with an aim to become the smartest nation in the world by 2016. Over a 1000 sensors were deployed in the Jurong Lake District in order to test the smart city platform, and the project will be expanded to the whole city once testing is complete. Video analytics are being used to analyse real-time CCTV footage and detect if a place is dirty. If any trash or garbage is detected cleaning services are notified and sent automatically. This is just a notable example of how efficiently Singapore is grasping and implementing smart city concepts. ners. The London Datastore has invaluable information for developers, providing data based insights to achieve smarter and more efficient constructions.
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Tokyo aims to achieve its smart city objectives before it hosts the Olympics in 2020. It will be a perfect time to showcase the innovation of Tokyo as visitors from all over the world will flock to the city. Tokyo already feels like a city that exists in the mind of a science fiction writer, with its neon drenched streets and fascination with innovation, and this reflects a city whose entire population seems very receptive to new technology. The most impressive developments in 2015 were the integration of information technology in the Tokyo Electric Power and Tokyo Gas sectors, which are now considered a model for the whole world’s smart city energy objectives.
We are just as surprised as anyone else that Vienna ranks so highly; but apparently Vienna has been running one of the best public works program for smart cities. One reason that Vienna has flown under the radar is that their approach is very
different; instead of huge projects that generate headlines, Vienna is running many small programs that combined, manage to effectively increase the city’s efficiency. This includes multiple solar power panels open for public use, treating sludge and generating energy from it, apps to improve local transit experience, open government data projects, bike zones, and much more. Every little counts!
One of the biggest issues in Boston is the large amount of traffic and the pollution caused by it. Instead of taxation or new laws the city is focusing on using smart city initiatives to reduce traffic congestion and emissions. This includes developments of apps which will seek to help ease congestions. The reason that Boston is so high on this list is their continued commitment; the government is working closely with multiple stakeholders, including corporations and students, and has been publishing research about potential smart city improvements that can be implemented.
Amsterdam has gone above and beyond the call of duty to make itself a smart and efficient city. The list of smart city initiatives already existing in Amsterdam is staggering and the list of upcoming projects is even more impressive. This includes innovative projects like 3D Print Canal House, Smart Citizens Lab, and flexible street lighting. Amsterdam also has the Civocracy platform, which allows stakeholders to freely discuss upcoming proposals and solutions to problems. Amsterdam isn’t just letting people vote on things, they are letting people articulate change for the city.
While most countries are still starting smart city projects, Seoul’s initiative had 2015 as the year the project would be completed. One advantage that Seoul has being in South Korea, which as a country overall, already has an excellent information technology infrastructure. Seoul truly has one of the most comprehensive smart city infrastructures in place, where everything from the streetlamps, to getting admission in a school, is infused with technology.
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New York 2015 marked the year when New York started to become a prominent smart city. One of the City’s most interesting projects is the quantified community project, which seeks to create a space that has its data completely monitored. This means monitoring all types of
pollution, usage of services, and much more over an area of 17 million square feet. The aim is to examine and subsequently improve the standards of living for people in the area. The project has launched another phase that is estimated to be completed in 2020.
While other cities have smart city plans that aim to be completed in a few years, Paris’ smart city vision will be actualized in 2050. This isn’t because of slow work; it is because Paris aims to transform itself completely. The vision that has been officially supported by the government looks like no city we have right now, and if Paris stays committed, then by 2050 it will be the most beautiful and advanced city on Earth. One of the most ambitious plans is to allow greenery within an urban context by creating gardens that enclose already existing buildings. PSE MAGAZINE • 41
Tam Khan T MMA Pioneer and Founder of TK Fitness
If you haven’t heard the name already, Tam Khan has been making headlines in the world of mixed martial arts in the UAE over the past 5 years. Once a sport foreign to UAE residents, Tam is recognised as one of the pioneers of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in the UAE and the region as a whole. In his exclusive interview with PSE, Tam shares his story. PSE MAGAZINE • 42
am was born in London in 1982 to Afghani parents who had moved to the United Kingdom in 1979. At the age of 11, Tam and his family relocated to Essex where his father was offered a better job opportunity. Essex is where Tam went on to spend most of his senior school life. Tam recalls being one of the very few ethnic minorities in town, a fact that meant he was subject to a good deal of racism-fuelled bullying. “We moved to Canvey Island, the most British town in Britain, and I was the only ethnic kid in the whole town!” Tam says with a laugh. After a few rough encounters with some of the kids from the neighbourhood, Tam’s mom put him in the nearby boxing gym. “You have to be a man!” He recalls his mom saying, using his best Afghani mother impersonation. “From there, that was it. I built some muscle and learn how to fight. You have a little six pack at that age and its like you’re the man!” He chuckles. “Being ethnic and different, people start liking you and I eventually made a lot of friends.” By the age of 15 to 16, Tam started to significantly improve his boxing skills and began taking the sport more seriously. Then one day he came across his first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) video. “I was like, what is this?! I came across Royce Gracie, who was undefeated at the time, smaller guy taking down bigger opponents with his jiu-jitsu. I fell in love with it. Then one day I was walking down my high street when I came across this advert in an Italian restaurant of this popular local tough guy named Daniel Burzotta adver-
tising Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Classes.” Tam couldn’t resist and went in to met with the trainer who told him he trained with Gracie in Los Angeles. Soon after, he joined his club. “We trained in a small space behind a church yard with a couple mats on the floor! That was the club! It was me, him, and 3 others. I was the biggest guy there at the time and thought I was so tough, until I got beat by this skinny little guy over and over again. He would just be hanging on my arm and I kept tapping out. It was driving me crazy but I just fell in love it. It was a challenge and soon I was training as often as I could.” Three months after first joining the jiu-jitsu club, Tam won bronze at a National Jiu-Jitsu Tournament. From there, Tam participated in a few local mixed martial arts tournaments. It was during this time that he got the chance to meet Royce Gracie in person during
a seminar at his gym. Progress was indeed being made. In 2005, Tam came to Dubai on holiday for the first time. “I couldn’t believe it. I was like,
this place is amazing! Everything is halal, halal fast food everywhere! Then I remember one day after returning from Dubai, I was working in mobile phone PSE MAGAZINE • 43
LOCAL ENTERPRISE sales. It was cold and I was sitting on a bench on a work break and thought: I am going back to Dubai!” Tam soon returned to Dubai on holiday. He was preparing for an upcoming fight at the time and so went on search of a good local MMA gym in Dubai. The results came back empty. Finally he found a small dojo with a jiu-jitsu and a kickboxing trainer, but there was no MMA centre to be found, and that’s when it hit him. “I thought to myself. That is what Dubai needs, a full MMA centre! I packed my bags and moved over in 2008, just in time for the recession! I started checking out the local gyms and eventually started teaching at a local gym called Top Sports. I had a Lebanese student who eventually became a close friend of mine, and he recommended that I make some flyers. So, I printed some flyers and soon enough I started getting a few customers. Then one day, a journalist from 7 Days shows up and does a piece on me. It ended up on the front page. The next day, my phone started ringing like crazy. When I showed up at the gym, which was the size of my kitchen, it was packed!” Tam exclaims. “And from there it took off. It just went crazy!” Tam even managed to bring Royce Gracie over to do a few seminars at local gyms as he continued to train himself wherever he could to prepare for fights and keep in shape. “There were no MMA trainers. So I was doing it old school; running and doing pushups in Safa Park, self-training, and getting support wherever I could. He travelled back and forth from Dubai and the UK to attend a few fights, some of which he won and a few that he lost. Then, in 2010, the Abu PSE MAGAZINE • 44
Dhabi Fight Championship contacted Tam at the last minute to fight in the debut tournament. “It was a few weeks notice. I hadn’t trained or prepared but I took the fight. It would be good for the gym. I turned up and beat the guy in 3 rounds, but I was dead!” A few months later, the UFC came to Dubai for the first time and Tam knew that Dubai was ready. Together with a few friends and investors, Tam opened up his first gym, The Contender. “It was a huge success. We had a massive opening. I brought Wanderlei Silva down (MMA legend) and many other leading names in mixed martial arts from around the world.” In 2012, The Contender closed due to landlord issues. From there, Tam opened up Glory Gym on Meydan Road with a partner. “Glory was another huge success. Fight Zone Magazine even voted us as the number one MMA gym in the world! Unfortunately though, due to some differences in opinion among the partners, I went my separate way.” Tam explains. Next up for Tam was establishing his third MMA Gym in Dubai soon after. HM Fitness was another joint partnership that he was involved in from the beginning. “That was a huge success, eventually becoming globally recognized with a host of MMA stars from all over the world coming to give seminars, events, and special appearances.” During this time, Tam also launched the successful local fight promotion, Dubai Fighting Championship (DFC). Now in its
4th cycle, the show sold out every time. With Royce Gracie as Ambassador and Tam putting together the fight cards with a close team of friends and promoters, the DFC has become one of the most anticipated sporting events in the city! “Our 4th one was huge! We moved from a conference room at the Habtoor Grand Hotel to Madinat Arena! We had pay per view streaming online for the first time,
You have to take risks. If you are scared of failure, you will never get anywhere and more importantly, Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum was a guest of honor! That is unheard of at events here! That was amazing to have him here!” Tam had trained Sheikh Maktoum and developed a good friendship over the years. “We were good friends. He is such a nice guy and has helped me out a lot during my time here.” Tam says of the Deputy Ruler of Dubai. “We managed to get SkyDubai to sponsor the last show as well which was a huge support.” He adds. After his third gym venture, HM Fitness, Tam decided that it was time for him to part ways and establish his own brand. “I thought to myself: Why build these names when they can go down? I am going to build my own brand. I decided to use my own name and
call the brand TK Fitness.” Not one to shy away from work Tam also tell us about his other projects, “I am also working on a Promotion Arm for fight night events and a clothing line Insha Allah” he tells us. TK Fitness was launched at the beginning of 2016 in the heart of Dubai Marina. The gym boasts separate sections, which include a mixed training area for combat & martial arts, a section for cross training & conditioning & a fully functional fitness gym. “We’ve got world class coaches and some fantastic partners this time around, and thankfully I have a big group of loyal followers from my previous gyms who have joined.” We asked Tam what he thought were the biggest challenges involved in setting up a business in the UAE, and after 3 gyms and a long learning curve, here is what he had to say: “You need to find a good and trustworthy sponsor and fair investors if you need financing. Choose wisely. More impor-
tantly, if you don’t put your contract down in writing and have it reviewed by a lawyer, you are setting yourself up for problems. You need to know your value to the business and negotiate terms that work in your favour. At the end of the day though, the laws here fair and business owners are protected.” Tam insists. “In my opinion, the best place to network is Dubai, and the best place to build a successful business is Dubai! The way the global economy is right now, there is nowhere else like here, unless you are a huge business tycoon or global superstar. What I have been able to do here is amazing! In terms of start-up success factors, Tam insists that “you have to take risks. That’s number one. If you are scared of failure, you will never get anywhere. It’s like going into a fight, you are either going to win or lose. But if you have that fear, you have lost already.” Furthermore, Tam believes that to be successful, “you should con-
centrate 100% on what you are good at and focus on that one thing. Too many people here are trying to do so many things at one time. Unless you are Bill Gates or Donald Trump, that’s not going to work.” So what’s next we ask? His response was immediate: “I want to build a brand, open branches everywhere, make a clothing line, and produce fighters who make it to the world stage, UFC level types! I am also thinking of launching a YouTube channel to share some of the amazing moments at TK Fitness and other events and activities I am involved in. Lastly, I want to get a few more fights in myself before I get too old.” Before we ended the interview, Tam insisted on ending with a thank you note: “I want to give a special shout out to all of my supporters, family and friends who have helped me along this journey. I also want to thank the UAE and its great rulers for all their support and love!”
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BUILD YOUR DIGITAL PROFILE
mni-Channel marketing is not a new concept but the technological advancements in the previous two decades have changed what it means completely. Having a successful Omni-Channel marketing campaign can completely change the way your customers interact with your business. Companies that have been successful in running such campaigns have reaped huge rewards, and companies that are ignoring Omni-Channel marketing are rapidly losing customers.
Omni-Channel marketing means ensuring that your marketing campaign reaches the consumers on all the mediums of information they use. Previously, this meant putting our advertisements on television, radio, and newspapers/billboards,
but these days, there are many new channels that people are consuming, and often companies end up skipping a lot of them. This is a huge mistake, and when your company ignores such mediums, it ends up losing customers. The secret of Omni-Channel marketing that makes it so successful is that it is based on how consumers make purchasing decisions nowadays.
THE CONSUMER BUYING DECISION PROCESS IN THE AGE OF DIGITAL MEDIA
The consumer buying decision process is simple. The first step is Need/Problem Recognition, then Information Search, then Alternative Evaluation, then Purchase Decision, and finally Post-Purchase Behavior. This was a simple process before we had the Internet and social media but it has been completely changed now. Here is how consumers purchase these days:
This is the first step, where people realise that they need to buy something. Nowadays, people spend all their day on social media, which makes it a
fantastic place to make people recognise that you have a better product. The post purchase behaviour of other customers also matters a lot here, even though it is traditionally the last step of the process, because satisfied customers can post on social media and make other people realise they want to buy the same thing.
Information search has been totally changed. Now when people want to find out more about something, they instantly search for it online. People have been searching for information online for more than a decade, but what has changed in the previous few years is that people often search on social media before turning to traditional search engines. While Google (through Search Engine Optimisation or ‘SEO’ keywords) is still a great way to search about a new restaurant, searching for the same restaurant on Facebook yields a much better result for the consumer. They can see customer reviews and can even see if any of their personal friends have recommended the restaurant. People also often directly ask their friends through Twitter or Facebook about whether they should purchase something they are in-
Kids these days do not find it hard to evaluate alternatives. It used to be done through calling people you know who may know about the product, or comparing advertisements of other products. But now, you can simply compare reviews of the products, as you are even shown comparisons between what you are buying and alternatives on Amazon.com.
Purchase decisions depend a lot on how your stores are. It means that you have to make the shopping experience as convenient as possible to encourage such decisions. Companies that do not have an established presence online are seen as inconvenient and may end up losing many customers.
This has become more important than it has ever been. If there was a dissatisfied customer 15 years ago, they would have maybe complained to a few of their friends, and your company would lose a miniscule amount of sales. These days, bad customer experiences are posted on social media where they can go viral. A tweet
from a dissatasfied customer can be seen by thousands of people, damaging your brand irreparably. A good response to complaints on social media can, on the other hand, end up benefitting your company by providing good exposure.
WHAT DEFINES A WINNING OMNICHANNEL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE?
Omni-Channel marketing isn’t just a buzzword; it is something that has already been successful for many companies. How successful? Well, companies that do Omni-Channel marketing report a 42% increase in referrals. In order to successfully run an Omni Channel Marketing strategy, you have to understand what people expect from your company in the age of digital media. Hybris Software, an SAP company, conducted extensive research that revealed the following consumer preferences:
BUILD YOUR DIGITAL PROFILE
71% of customers expect to be able to view your offerings online. They donâ€™t want to make the trip to your store to find out what you are selling. 50% of them want to be able to pick the items they want online and just show up to pick up the items in store.
People expect the same branding and products across all channels. 69% of people do not like it when you have offers only present on a specific channel.
58% of consumers want information such as product size and specific measurements online. The lack of such information leads to them being confused about your products.
There is nothing better than loyal customers, as 80% of the sales of most companies come from just 20% of their most loyal customers. So make sure you reward your customers and keep them updated.
80% of consumers say that they would choose a brand that they followed on social media over a brand they did not follow. 80% is too much to ignore for any business in the world.
So go ahead and find your social media voice; something that represents your company and its products successfully. Remember that the omniscient nature of embracing Omni-channel will greatly enhance your customers experience and how they are able to interact with you. Omni-channel marketing has been proven to result in loyal customers and a loyal customer, in most cases, is a customer for life. PSE MAGAZINE â€˘ 48
o f consumers want more product information online
o f consumers say that they would choose a brand that they followed on social media
o f customers expect to be able to view your offerings online
of customers want to be able to pick the items they want online and just show up to pick up the items in store
Omni-Channel marketing results in a 42% increase in referrals
echnological revolutions arrive fleetingly. We had giant wireless phones in the beginning and from there we transitioned to everyone having a smartphone in the span of a few years. Social media seemed like a gimmick for the young generation at first, until everyone was on social media. Now Artificial Intelligence is slowly becoming commonplace, and soon we will be in a society governed through artificial intelligence. The research firm Gartner reaffirmed
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this when they highlighted Artificial Intelligence as the key strategic prediction of 2016. The rise of Artificial Intelligence is becoming a reality thanks to the developments in computer sciences and neurology. Companies like Google are trying to emulate the way the human brain works in order to create intelligences that can pass the Turing test. Neural networks are being studied to learn how thought is created in the brain and what fuels creativity. An example of this is Googleâ€™s Deep Dream projects,
which is trying to emulate the way we recognise objects based on visual stimuli. What is even more interesting is how much automation already exists in the market. Stock markets have had high frequency trades for many years now. These trades are done without any human intervention, purely based on data and predictions done by computers. The implications of Artificial Intelligence affects every part of our lives, but there are a few causations we can already see.
We already have books for sale on Amazon that have been completely compiled by software algorithms. As the capabilities of artificial intelligence increase, it is becoming more common in content creation. The impact right now is much more on non-creative writing such as reports, researches, simple news articles, and white papers, but we will slowly see the growth of Artificial Intelligence in creative writing as well. We have not reached the point in Artificial Intelligence where they can create art, but we will soon. It is sure to open new conversation about what art means, and whether art can be created by machines or are they expressly human things.
The Internet of Things has been in focus for many years now, but it is now being combined with Artificial Intelligence to create unparalleled customer experiences. We can expect our appliances to talk to each other and work together to run our homes, for business machines to anticipate workloads and increase capacity, and much more.
A.I. as a Manager
If you think your current manager is not emotionally open, just wait till they are replaced by a software algorithm. Artificial Intelligence is already playing a huge role in the leading companies of the world, helping with employee scheduling and
other human resource tasks. For tasks that have clearly defined KPIs, companies are practicing with giving management over to Artificial Intelligence. There are many advantages to working under an Artificial Intelligence. The most basic is the lack of stress; people know that if they make mistakes the A.I. will not be angry or disappointed at them. There is also a fear though that the A.I. manager cannot be reasoned with, and things which human managers were flexible about will no longer be possible.
An Automated Workplace
We already went through a phase where humans were replaced by machines in the workplace for many tasks, and with the advent of Artificial Intelligence the number of tasks that machines can do better than human beings will only grow. We already have a few completely automated factories operating around the world. In these factories the only human beings present are the ones monitoring the operations; their job is just to ensure that nothing goes wrong. While this creates exciting new frontiers for manufacturers, it has also been the source of a lot of stress for people with such jobs. Company owners are ecstatic that they will be able to accomplish more with machines, which do not fatigue and do not make errors the way humans do, but this is going to cause us serious problems on a global scale. We have to ask ourselves what a post employment world will look like. If machines can do
If you think your current manager is not emotionally open, just wait till they are replaced by a software algorithm. everything, socio-political questions arise such as; why would human beings be needed for any jobs? If we eliminate too many jobs, who will there be to purchase the items being produced? These are the questions that economists are already working on. There is a popular way of thinking that suggests that 0% employment is not something to fear, it is the actual goal of work automation. If we automate things, then we will not need to do jobs to earn money since the only reason we needed the jobs in the first place was to do work that needed to be done. We cannot be sure about how this will play out, but what we are sure about is that the future workplace will be a very different environment.
We already have gadgets that can monitor the health of patients and communicate them
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to medical professionals. In the future, we will all be wearing such gadgets that will be continuously monitoring our health and helping us make healthier choices. We will also be able to detect any alarming signs, such as a stroke, and the gadgets will automatically alert hospitals and ambulances. Our medical records will also be analysed automatically and suggestions given to improve our health.
A Helping Hand in the Hand
Technologies like Siri and Cortana are already available to the public; they emulate human interaction to make our interactions with machines seamless. They are still very primitive examples of artificial intelligence in the grand scheme of things; but they can answer our questions and do some basic tasks
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for us. In the future they will be able to anticipate our needs and hold conversations with us.
A.I. as the Boogeyman
Artificial Intelligence has often been portrayed as the enemy in science fiction. It seems it is one of humanity’s fears that we will create intelligence greater than our own and it will turn on us. In reality, Artificial Intelligence is very different. It isn’t one mind controlling everything; it is small algorithms working together as a cohesive whole. It is not wise to think that artificial intelligence will behave in any way like humans do and be susceptible to emotions. What is worrying however is that people like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking are somewhat concerned about artificial technology. Nevertheless, they re-
alise that Artificial Intelligence is inevitable and shouldn’t be halted; instead, the focus should be on creating guidelines and doing research that will help us ensure that artificial intelligences are made safe.
Where do we go now?
The most exciting thing about artificial intelligence is that we have no way to predict how things will go. The whole point of creating Artificial Intelligence is to create an entity that can think something better than us; thus, we cannot possible predict the complete ramifications of A.I. What is needed, is a smooth transition from our current way of working, to working WITH artificial intelligence in a way which keeps all the stakeholders involved.
TO BECOME A MORE EFFECTIVE MARKETER
arketers have been using attractive visuals and catchy audios to increase the efficiency of their marketing efforts since the field of marketing began. While up till now most of this has been done through guesswork and focus groups; ‘Neuromarketing’ is a new field that is focusing on turning consumer preference into a science. Neuromarketing involves studying the effect of stimuli on purchasing decisions of people. It has long been known that people respond differently to different stimuli, but the field employs a rigorous testing and research methods to
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find out the exact effects. The field is focused on physiological reactions, both non-verbal and subconscious. We have extracted six basics secrets from the field of Neuromarketing that you can begin using right now to create more effective and engaging marketing campaigns:
WE PROCESS EMOTIONS FASTER THAN THOUGHTS We feel much more than we think While we may believe that most of our decisions are based on our minds, which we control, the reality is that we are much more in control of our mind than the other way around. This is why often
OFF TOPIC things that we do not find rational still end up making us emotional, such as laughing when we know we shouldn’t, or crying when watching something sad even though we know it is fiction.
When creating any marketing material, make sure that your campaign is capable of making an instant reaction that can capture the interest of the consumers. The focus needs to be on things that catch the eye when something is being skimmed over. We are being bombarded with information through our phones, billboards and ads, televisions, computers, and our environment. So in order to create a marketing material that actually catches people’s eye, it needs to stand out or be attractive enough that people want to know more.
WE PROCESS PICTURES FASTER THAN WORDS
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words Marketers have been using pictures to attract people from the beginning; we have exam-
ples of advertisements from the Roman era featuring enticing illustrations. Neuromarketing has demonstrated that this concept isn’t just common wisdom, it is fact. Our brain is much faster and better at adapting visual information quickly.
fer human faces from the moment we are born. Recognising and understanding other human beings is a vital
Use images, but those that tell a story or send the right message. Using boring stock images will end up tarnishing your whole campaign, as people are guided more by visual data than any other form of data. Using images that strike a chord in the mind of the consumers is the most effective way to run a successful marketing campaign. Images such as the crying Native American in vintage environmental ads have been seared into the minds of the society, and are able to instantly elicit the emotions that the marketers desired. The reason that people still remember these images is that they represented the story that was being told in other ways; someone living close to nature crying due to nature being destroyed by environmental recklessness is an easily understandable story, which is told just through the image of the man.
WE LOVE HUMAN FACES Look into my eyes and tell me what you see We are hardwired to pre-
survival trait, and natural selection has ensured that this trait is present in most of us. When we look at a human face, we subconsciously decipher the emotions on the face to understand the situation. Neuromarketing studies have also shown that when shown a picture, people’s eyes gravitate towards the faces first, and then they go towards what the faces are looking at. This reflects our inherent receptiveness to the faces of our own species.
Make sure that you use people’s faces effectively in your marketing campaigns. This can be done by effectively communicating the emotional response you are trying to evoke in consumers through the faces in your advertisements. You can also use this insight in creative ways, such as having the people in your advertisements pointing or looking at the piece of information you want to highlight.
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KEEP MARKETING REAL People have been overexposed to marketing; they know the usual clichĂŠs employed by marketers and avoid the tropes, leading to diminishing returns on marketing campaigns. You
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need to use the secrets mentioned above in unique ways to stand out and captivate people. You also need to ensure that the message you are sending out about your product actu-
ally resonates with it, or else, any false promises made to the subconscious will result in a subconscious repulsion to your marketing for the next time.
COLOURS HAVE DIFFERENT EMOTIONAL RESPONSES Red is the colour of love urgency
paign for a product that releases stress, use a light blue shade, as it is associated with keeping things cool. Also, use different colours to guide the brain into thinking what you want. Using green colours for positive stimuli and red colours for negative stimuli is a well-known way to affect the way things are perceived.
tion to ‘double size’, resulted in a stark drop in the amount of food people ate.
Choose each and every word as a reinforcement that further drives your point. Words have immense power because words are how we interpret things.
WE WANT TO BE SOCIAL
What’s in a name anyway?
There is a reason that most warnings have yellow background and most emergency equipment is red. Yellow has been shown to create feelings of anxiety, and using it on warning boards helps people take the warnings seriously and act with caution. Similarly flashing red lights are used in emergencies because they create a feeling of urgency. There is much more to choosing the colours for your product or marketing campaign than just what looks good. What is even more interesting is that different shades of the same colour can elicit different reactions. Symbolism and interpretation is very important and there are theories that suggest it has been used as far back as 90,000 BC.
Use colours that evoke the feelings that make people want to engage with your campaigns. If you are focusing on creating a cam-
Names of things matter much more than conventional wisdom suggests, just changing the name can alter the whole perception of something. This secret is also used a lot by the government and media to create a narrative. In the book 1984 by George Orwell, the government controls the dictionary and creates approved word lists for the media, to make sure they can influence the way people think. Similarly, what you call something will have a prominent effect on the people’s perceptions. A study showed that the renaming of the ‘regular’ portion at a fast food por-
There is an innate desire in all of us to be a part of the collective. We do not want to be left out; we want to be unique but we wanted to be accepted by society for our uniqueness, not shunned for it. Thus people can be influenced into doing things simply because other people are doing it.
Focus on the community. Do not just tell people about what benefits they will receive, tell them the benefits which other customers have received. This causes consumers to want to be a part of the group that receives the benefits.
PSE MAGAZINE • 57
JOIN THE DEBATE
Join the Debate:
: Do we need a minimum wage
to protect the interests to ensure companies do not take advantage of employees? Here are our favorite submissions:
Introducing a minimum wage is the only way to protect low income earners, particularly those in the â€œunskilled laborâ€? categories of the employment sector. These workers simply do not have the bargaining power to fight for a minimum wage without government intervention. Personally, I feel that most businesses can afford to pay a little extra for the sake of corporate social responsibility, especially large corporations that earn millions in profit every year. Samer A., Solidus Consulting, Abu Dhabi
A fixed minimum wage will actually hurt low income workers more than it will help them. The real value of a worker should be decided in the open market through supply and demand economics. Furthermore, introducing a mandatory minimum wage will only encourage more job cuts as employers seek to minimize their costs where they can. Alternatively, business owners will have to raise the prices of their products/services to compensate for these additional costs, harming the local economy in both ways and perhaps causing inflation. Omar K., Dubai Government Entity, Dubai
NEXT ISSUE QUESTION: Is a casual dress code beneficial for the company and boosting employee morale?
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Whether you choose to stroll amongst the cafĂŠs of the Corniche, or savour the hustle and bustle of the Central Market, a serene oasis awaits your return. You will be captivated by Arabic splendour and tones and textures as warm as the welcome you will receive.
The 2nd issue of 2016: BUILDING THE SMART CITY. Check out our exclusive interviews with Jasim Al Ali, Winner of the 2015 Excellence Award in...
Published on Feb 15, 2016
The 2nd issue of 2016: BUILDING THE SMART CITY. Check out our exclusive interviews with Jasim Al Ali, Winner of the 2015 Excellence Award in...