EIC Speaker Spotlight: Gerald Horst on Effective Integration of Marketing, CRM, and Customer Identity and Access Management

Gerald Horst, PwC’s Digital Identity team leader in EMEA, is to deliver a presentation entitled Modernizing the Customer Journey at the European Identity and Cloud Conference 2021.

To give you sneak preview of what to expect, we asked Gerald some questions about his planned presentation.





Why is there an increasing interest in digital transformation and how has the pandemic impacted digital transformation projects?

Well, every year, PWC surveys CEOs across the globe about their strategic priorities in this “new normal”. This year, actually more than 5,000 CEOs, which is more than ever before, responded, and by the way, half of them were our CEOs from Europe. And first of all, we found out, most of them are very positive about the economy and the business outlook for their respective firms. And almost half of them are investing with double digit numbers in digital transformation, especially since most of these companies started their transformation efforts due to the pandemic. By the way, digital transformation, we defined it as any large-scale change to the way a company operates their business, and that is supported by the development of an enabling technology. So, why are companies investing in digital transformation?

We learned from the investigation that -and many of them are already on a transformation journey - that they are hoping to realize different benefits in two years from now, including cost savings, revenue growth, product innovation, product enhancement, gathering data and improving their decision-making. But what is apparent is that the organizations want to transform to make the best of technology advantages. There is lot changing: AI, 5G, and they want to use digital to enhance the customer experience, provide a more competitive set of products and services to their customers, generate data and improve, their offering by creating customer insights and really acting upon the information they have at hand.


What are companies doing right when transforming successfully?

It's interesting because we also wanted to know by surveying companies and understanding their digital transformation who actually the winner are. And winning means growing in a disruptive market, achieving the objectives that they set out for themselves at the beginning of the transformation, and we asked them specifically about what the success factors are. And we got over 500 responses from CEOs, and there were five key things: First and foremost, is that the winning companies actually put [the] customer at the center of the transformation. They really, really relentlessly focus on the customer experience. They know their customers very well and they understand the customer needs and behaviors.

Secondly, they also understand that trust is a key market differentiator. So a winning companies have a clear purpose in life, and they keep the promises to their customers and to their employees.

Thirdly, the winning companies are the ones that are investing in enterprise-wide process and data capabilities. They connect from front-end with back-end. They secure their critical infrastructure and enable all that through key technology implementations. And this is probably one of the most difficult tasks because doing company-wide activities [and] going after a company wide objective, requires companies to really break down the silos. Both functional and political. So that's all about stakeholder management.

Fourthly it's about leadership. I mean, CEOs who sponsor digital transformations, they need to play an active role in the transformation and they should not delegate. And then last but not least, of course, the role of technology. We must acknowledge that as much as technology is supporting the vision, it is also the ability to differentiate themselves by using that technology well. Like I said, much focus is on AI and 5G, yet winning companies have more focus on technologies that enable the digital experience for both their customers and their employees than to focus on technologies that drive efficiencies and savings.


Given that there is increased investment in driving online business, why is Consumer Identity & Access Management a critical success factor in any digital transformation?

So, like I said, companies that are going through a digital transformation and who actually are the “winning” companies, they put the customer in the center. Relentless focus on customer behavior [and] on customer needs. If you're in an industry, you know what customer identity and Customer Identity and Access Management is all about. Companies that are successful in transforming, are clearly looking for a common set of factors when they select technologies: ease of use and faster processes are considered the most important attributes to encourage adoption of technologies by customers, and [that] makes them the most essential features to get really right upfront. And implementing Customer Identity and Access Management is providing exactly that, and moreover, it optimizes security and privacy capabilities, which is adding to the trust factor. Like I said before, trust is a competitive factor, and this brings us to the topic of Zero Trust.


What is the relevance/value of a Zero Trust approach to security in this context?

Well, identity really is the new parameter. If you look at it from a customer's perspective, I was doing business online, but also it's the new parameter from an organization's perspective that is securing its business. It has been investigated that by 2023, I believe 75% of security failures will result from inadequate management of identity. So access and privileges. This is growing. I mean, we can see a staggering amount of hacks, attacks etc. happening every day. We are learning fast from many breaches that cyber-crime has actually become an industry, and the breaches are mostly the direct result of weak or compromised access and identity management processes. So I've discussed the topic of Zero Trust over the past year quite a few times in webinars. It's what actually stands for “trust nobody”[or trust] nothing [that] comes from both internal and external networks. So from this, identity is the new parameter. We need to verify the identity of the requester before granting access – [that] is clear. And we need to make sure that any access provided is compliant with rules regulations.


How should organizations go about balancing user experience, cost, and security requirements?

Right, now we know from experience, that our clients need to find the correct balance between customer experience, security, and costs when they are transforming the front end and when they're introducing consumer identity and access management solutions. This needs to involve a lot of stakeholders, ranging from financial, to IT, to marketing, to compliance and security. And as such, you need to really break down those silos in organizations. Functional [and] political silos, to get them all aligned, and to enable their company-wide transformation. And this means that you have to work on having a common vocabulary and have the stakeholders understand each other. For that purpose, we at PWC, we really looked at this at this challenge and we developed over the past two years a customer identity game, which is a form of a gamification that is very innovative and accelerates the start and the facilitation of the identity programs that we are doing with our clients and the technology implementation that come from it. And by playing games with our stakeholders, they do actually come to this common vocabulary, and they really understand each other. They understand the role of digital identity and the strategy they have to automate related [to] onboarding as an example, much faster than before. And the design and implementation of solutions is also much done, much more effectively and playing games is fun.


What types or organizations are leading successful projects in terms of integrating marketing, CRM, and CIAM?

Well, I mean, my answer would say that all business to consumer companies are adapting to changing customer and market conditions. So, they are really implementing consumer identity and access management programs. They're integrating it - well, they're implementing CRM solutions, whether they're integrating or not, that's I think a little bit further down the road. But of course, you've seen that in financial services, and also in retail, but especially in financial services, banks, insurance companies, they have been implementing Consumer Identity and Access Management way before others due to competitive pressures, but also [due] to [the] compliance needs they have.


Do you see CIAM becoming increasingly important in future for online business models?

Well, absolutely. I think, you know, like I said before, what you see is that companies are going through digital transformations for a number of reasons, that the companies that are actually doing that successfully, need to put the customer in the center of that transformation.

They need to understand what their customer actually needs. It's all about ease of use, it's about building trust. It's about automating processes and making it agile and speeding up those processes. So yes, CIAM is going to be increasingly important for that, because basically that's what CIAM is offering. It's, it's offering ease of use, it's offering faster processes, it's offering trust by means of security and privacy capabilities. Yes, so I do believe that CIAM is increasingly gaining importance. It actually is a critical success factor for any digital transformation that is going to be successful.


Do you think this will be influenced by that fact that platforms like Salesforce and ServiceNow are increasingly taking over Identity & Access processes?

Yes, of course. Clearly, platforms like Salesforce and ServiceNow that you mentioned are increasingly supporting clients to transform their businesses into online business models, which is why these providers themselves also are offering wider and deeper IAM and CIAM capabilities than ever before. And as PWC, we have both, you know, both these platform teams and skills, and we have these identity teams and skills in house. We get more questions from clients that are utilizing Salesforce platforms, for example. And they ask us to investigate whether a CIAM from Salesforce can actually deliver the ROI that they are looking for.


What can attendees of EIC expect in your presentation?

I look very much forward to being a Munich. I hope that it will be a physical event and I really hope to present [on site] and I look forward to that. I will, in my presentation, make clear that implementing powerful Customer Identity and Access Management and integrating marketing and Customer Relationship Management functions with Customer Identity and Access Management, if done well, of course, is [a] critical success factor for any digital transformation. And it will help business owners achieve the ROI that they're looking for. I will also share how to get there in terms of an effective way to implement CIAM and integrate a CRM. And especially I will focus on how to break down those silos, those functional and political silos - bring stakeholders together, manage their expectations, keep them aligned. And thirdly, I will discuss a very interesting client case, basically to clarify my messages, all that in 20 minutes, making identity matter, together with PWC. I look forward to it. Thank you.



Related Events

European Identity and Cloud Conference 2021

Hybrid Event

European Identity and Cloud Conference 2021

INFINITY BallhausForum, Unterschleißheim, Munich


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