Data flows in and around every type of business. Whether providing products, services or both, building a future-ready state through modern data infrastructure is critical to revenue in the short-term and survival down the road. Brain+Trust Partners has deep experience across the full spectrum of business verticals, with particular expertise in several essential arenas.
Oil and gas, coal, solar, hydroelectric and wind power are key drivers of the U.S. energy sector. Shifts in consumer sentiment, coupled with market volatility and political ideology that spurs regulation and deregulation, translate to rapid changes ahead for the world’s largest industry.
A U.S. Energy Information Administration forecast indicates renewables will be the fastest-growing source of power generation through 2050, as the production costs of solar and wind power are going down. At the same time, coal and nuclear are declining as sources of electricity, with most of this drop-off expected to occur by the mid-2020s.
It is no surprise that the energy industry experienced more disruption from 2011 to 2018 than any other major industry. And for the foreseeable future, it will remain one of the industries most prone to volatility.
Companies large and small must be fully equipped to deal with this volatility and disruption.
To navigate such challenges, today’s energy companies must improve the integrity and accuracy of data across upstream, midstream and downstream operations. Information shared between services at the well site, lab and the retail suite will dictate revenue and margin performance. Employing a digital workforce and automation can improve productivity and bolster efficiencies throughout that value chain. By moving to a future-ready state of operations, energy companies will be in a position of strength, whether a market opens up or becomes more competitive.
In retail operations, the time is now to meet and exceed customers’ expectations, shifting away from legacy systems and toward a unified, data-driven view that connects all teams with an understanding of internal operations and customer behavior — a view that provides powerful insights into what’s being done well and what must be changed to compete in the 21st century.
Brain+Trust Partners offers the experience to establish a future-ready, revenue-rich stance for energy companies, including:
- Modern data infrastructure
- Streamlined minimal viable product (MVP) development
- Diversification of revenue channels
- introduction of upstream and downstream operational efficiencies
- Personalized external communication
travel + hospitality
The travel and hospitality industry has gone through what seems like a number of generational revolutions in just a decade, with legacy hotel, airline and travel services brands facing myriad challenges.
The peer-to-peer ability for a property owner to market a home directly to tourists and business travelers, book and manage use of that home, and accept payment is now possible without a third-party online travel agent (OTA) or aggregator/marketplace. Further, travelers today have more choices and control over airfare, meals, entertainment and transportation, radically reshaping market and consumer expectations.
The rise of technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR)/augmented reality (AR) are sure to both enhance and challenge travel behavior, but will not replace human needs to experience new cultures and satisfy wanderlust.
While some legacy players have modernized their offerings, most are falling behind as innovation in other sectors (retail, entertainment, mobility) sets consumer expectations for convenient, immediate and economical services. Fewer than 50 percent of hotels surveyed for a 2019 lodging study published by Hospitality Technology magazine were confident in their technological edge over competitors. Modern-day hotels and other travel-related businesses are miles ahead of the first U.S. hotel, but need to cover a lot of territory before they’re thoroughly ready for the future.
As a leader for your brand, you know that leveraging changes in audience behavior and meeting customer expectations is never a turnkey process. This will remain especially true amid COVID-19 challenges, 5G connectivity and IoT proliferation. Now more than ever, this is an ever-evolving commitment that must be customized and iterative. Just as hotels must constantly devise ways to enhance the customer experience, operators in the travel and hospitality industry must embrace and integrate new technology to keep them ahead of competitors. This requires a keen focus on improving customer lifetime value (LTV) and lowering operating costs while lifting revenue.
Data storytelling reveals the complexity of travel influences, from cuisine to weather to “tribe” behaviors, and predictive models guide timing, tone and content strategy to maximize engagement with travelers, diners and passengers. The team at Brain+Trust has delivered profit-growing solutions in the travel and hospitality sector, modernizing customer experiences for global leaders in the vertical for more than two decades. For some of the world’s largest hoteliers and airlines, we have delivered global mobile strategies that reduce operational expenses, and data analyses that ensure travelers are repeat customers.
health + wellness
Innovation is happening across the highly regulated health and wellness industry. But in many cases, it takes years or even decades for drugs and medical devices to be approved. Even when these innovations are brought to market, it can take years for healthcare leaders and the public to adopt them.
Designed to replace the “house call,” telemedicine was first introduced in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and its evolution has been extraordinarily slow. Leading up to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, which pushed remote care to the forefront, telemedicine was trudging along with just 18% of U.S. physicians using it in 2018. Forecasts now predict the global telemedicine market will reach $130 billion by 2025, up from $38.3 billion in 2019. That would be an increase of nearly 240%.
Both patients and providers have higher expectations in today’s connected world. Whether it’s telemedicine or another innovation, the healthcare industry has been woefully behind in adopting technologies that aim to deliver more accurate medical records, provide for case analytics and leverage cloud computing.
“Choosing doctors, requesting appointments, and obtaining medical advice often requires multiple phone calls and in-person visits. Prices are all but invisible, bills are often unintelligible, and procuring medical records can be an impossible task,” the Health Affairs blog explains.
Friction is found at every touchpoint in the industry, endangering both lives and revenue.
Remaining technologically stagnant ensures lower year-over-year revenue growth, fewer opportunities for innovation and poor patient experiences, and supports the rise of aggressive new competitors in the vertical such as Amazon and Google. Future-readiness involves data structuring and predictive modeling to capitalize not only on macrotrends but microtrends, and migration, geographic and societal shifts call for advanced analytics.
Brain+Trust Partners views transformation of health and wellness as a unique responsibility, as no two organizations or departments within a brand have the same needs or opportunities. There must be a commitment to cleaning and organizing existing data to deliver operational, diagnostic and patient satisfaction improvements. And there must be a commitment to fully understand healthcare operations by pulling data from every area, not just data about care. Care data alone doesn’t tell the full story.
smart city + government
Analytics, cloud computing, mobility and the Internet of Things (IoT) sit at the center of transformation for smart cities and smart government. Unfortunately, if those forces don’t run smoothly and simultaneously, they will collide at the center of town.
Factors surrounding sustainability, globalization and transparency are influencing the future of both state governments and municipalities. This transformation is intended to make government more efficient and more accessible to citizens in an integrated, inclusive, personalized manner. This is a critical task, as government infrastructure directly influences the employment, education, health and safety of each citizen.
Engineering a transformation requires overcoming budgetary barriers as well as governmental status quo. Institutional practices can be especially difficult to transform, as they’re anchored by long-held political ideologies, societal beliefs and practices.
“Governments can have a substantive impact on stimulating innovation even though the private sector owns the responsibility. … If governments provide a well-connected environment where businesses can flourish, there is a huge opportunity to harness the power of technology to service human creativity, empathy and [judgment],” according to the Smart Cities World website.
The team at Brain+Trust understands the crucial nature of modernizing our cities and governments, with a deep appreciation for each and every stakeholder. Our expertise in organizational change and transformation delivers transparent, solid results in the effort to move communities forward.
industrial + manufacturing
The Industrial Revolution radically transformed the economies and societies of the United States and Europe at the turn of the 20th century. Today, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is underway in manufacturing. This monumental shift touches all segments of society, commerce and government. It will transform policymaking and business operations including sales, marketing, research and development, and supply-chain and logistics management. It goes beyond robotics to include computer-aided design, predictive analytics, 3D printing, blockchain, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and automated vehicles.
According to an estimate from the World Economic Forum, more than 70% of companies in the manufacturing sector are wrestling with how to effectively foster technological change. One reason is that companies often balk at executing a change without having a thorough understanding of how it will affect ROI and efficiency. Such skepticism can be erased through proofs of concept and testing. But left unchecked, such reluctance prohibits improved productivity and diversification.
Those that do embrace technological progress are rewarded with increased revenue, reduced inventory through just-in-time operations, increased time-to-market, lower emissions and a decrease in costly errors. According to an estimate from McKinsey & Co., early adopters of AI in manufacturing observe an average 122% increase in cash flow, compared with 10% for AI laggards.
While many conjure images of flashy tech and fashion brands when discussing a future-ready state of business, we see industrial and manufacturing businesses as integral to the success of all other industries. The infrastructure of any society depends on confident innovation, and the effect of advanced upstream and downstream analysis from clean, structured data delivers stronger revenue for the brands, along with a better, safer human for us all.
automotive + mobility
As Automotive World magazine observes, “uncertainty and volatility are now the new normal” for the automotive industry, with the sector undergoing its most drastic transformation since the early days of Mercedes-Benz and Ford.
Today, advanced technology propels innovation in mobility and transportation. The speed of change will only accelerate over the next decade. Several key developments in mobility promise to change the industry every three years, including electrification, urbanization and density, shared micro-mobility services, smart and autonomous vehicles, mass transit and connectivity.
Duplicate, outdated and incomplete data might lead to missed opportunities, frustrated consumers and revenue loss. For automotive and mobility companies to achieve success in a technology-driven environment, OEMs and dealers must rely on data that can reveal the lifetime value of customers and expose opportunities to diversify revenue beyond conventional incentives, sales and repairs.
As business moves into a post-COVID-19 era, the automotive and mobility industry must address advances in technology as much as changes in behavior and customer needs. Collaboration and sharing of insights between business units will help develop clear, actionable steps from data that informs smart and progressive decisions. Incorporating a digital workforce, as well as leveraging machine learning for more accurate analytics alongside human capital, enables business continuity and growth.
Brain+Trust’s team can enable a future-ready, regulatory-compliant structure for OEMs, dealerships and shared transportation operators, building on a successful history of transformation in the automotive and mobility sector. We offer experience in developing frictionless commerce and remote service solutions, structuring data from over 50 sources to yield more efficient and effective marketing, leaner operations, and new product development aimed at diversifying revenue.
retail + cpg
To say that retail and CPG brands are being challenged today is an understatement. Beyond COVID-19, abrupt shifts in digital commerce, convenience services and consumer behavior are shaping how products are found, discovered, purchased and delivered.
Major e-commerce companies such as Amazon, Alibaba, eBay and Zalando continue to cannibalize margins and market share from other retail and CPG brands, threatening the survival of many physical businesses and promising upstarts. In 2019, global e-commerce sales approached $3.54 trillion, compared with nearly $1.37 trillion in 2014. In 2023, that figure is projected to top $6.54 trillion.
The rise of e-commerce coupled with significant shifts in consumer expectations, evolving purchase journeys and new mobility options mean your brand cannot be complacent and must consider direct-to-customer digital operations. Most retail and CPG data is owned by a handful of behemoth corporations, though, not the brands themselves. So, when you’re building a personalized relationship with your customers, and someone else owns most of the data and insights about those customers, we see that as an opportunity to gain an edge.
For e-commerce and physical retail combined, spending on technology is expected to hit $225.4 billion in 2022, up from $210.9 billion in 2020. The spend includes big investments in digital marketing, mobile capabilities, analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and augmented reality.
These investments should be aimed at boosting ROI, reducing risk and trimming costs. But while technology is important, dispersed datasets and overinvestment in technology does not generate insights or grow revenue.
Despite the chaos in this space, we see great opportunity ahead for retail and CPG brands. Building one-to-one, personalized customer relationships not only lets brands regain ownership of their data, but it empowers them to maximize revenue, bring new products to market quickly and improve the customer experience. It also enables collaborations that lift all of those involved. That shouldn’t be underestimated as retail apps gain traction in the U.S. and blockchain is on the rise.
banking + finance
In the 10-year period through 2019, the U.S. lost more than 13,000 bank branches. Yet the incredible shrinking pool of brick-and-mortar branches isn’t indicative of a decline in the banking and finance sector. Instead, it reflects a massive shift in consumer preference, and those preferences are supplying opportunities to FinTech startups and new ways of credit and savings management, commerce and banking.
A 2019 survey commissioned by the American Bankers Association showed that almost 75% of Americans favored online or mobile banking over traditional banking. On top of that, online-only banks are growing in popularity and number, as are mobile wallets and blockchain-enabled commerce networks. COVID-19 is forcing those previously resistant to online or mobile banking options to embrace them quickly. There’s no looking back.
Other segments of the financial sector are grappling with digital transformation as well. Online shopping for insurance policies continues to expand, while brokerage firms are stepping up to meet the demands of digitally savvy customers. Aimed at millennial consumers, a number of micro-investing apps have emerged, and progress with one generation is sure to flow to others.
The pace of digital innovation in the banking and finance sector remains electric. As the World Economic Forum emphasizes, technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing and robotics “have profoundly changed” the way banks, insurance companies and other operators in the financial sector deliver products and services to customers. Thus, it’s vital for providers of financial services to branch out from their standard brick-and-mortar strategies in order to stay competitive.
To survive and grow in today’s banking and finance sector, companies must fully grasp the wants and needs of their customers. But this goes well beyond customer surveys, reviews and scores. To address and anticipate customer expectations, banking and finance businesses must gain a holistic view of their customers. Yet this cannot be achieved through a one-off project. Truly understanding what’s in the hearts and minds of customers is a never-ending journey that’s guided by technology and expertise.
Brain+Trust understands the challenges facing banks, credit unions, investment firms and wealth managers. Closed-system vendors, open banking options, FinTech and other non-traditional financial entities are moving forward. Consumer data privacy laws are taking hold, adding new layers to the compliance conversation. As the industry transforms, only clean, normalized, deduplicated data will enable a true understanding of customer needs and where revenue opportunities lie.
sports + entertainment
Innovations like virtual reality, artificial intelligence, esports and “smart” venues are pushing the boundaries of sports and entertainment. Leagues, teams, arenas, theaters and stadiums are challenged by COVID-19 event limits in 2020, and only those organizations that grasp digital opportunities stand to compete in 2021. Growing consumer demand for e-ticketing, immersive experiences, digital engagement and e-commerce merchandising had shifted revenue and profits for many organizations even before the pandemic. But not every sports or entertainment brand is prepared to meet even these expectations.
The global sports tech market is predicted to grow from $8.9 billion in 2019 to $31.1 billion in 2024, attributed to an increased emphasis on audience engagement initiatives, data-driven decision-making, and online and offline events.
This level of investment in sports and entertainment shouldn’t be made to maintain comfort or copy a competitor. Collectively spending billions of dollars on technological innovation must be done in concert with well-crafted strategies that are tied to measurable business outcomes. A future-ready position in sports and entertainment means leveraging the data generated at every touchpoint to fuel customer engagement and risk management. It also must drive collaboration with strategic partners and sponsors to enable portfolio diversification and market evolution.
The team at Brain+Trust Partners has an extensive record of success in transforming experiential brands, rewriting the rules in the sports and entertainment fields. Our work enables streamlined operations and improves the fan experience, leading to increased revenue and new opportunities for data monetization. We can also show you who your fans actually are, what makes them happy and how to deliver experiences that keep them in the seats and engaged digitally, beyond the live experience.
software + technology
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and technology companies enable business to operate in new ways that many of us couldn’t imagine just a decade ago. Whether you own or license hardware or software, your brand, our infrastructure, health, safety and security are reliant on the continuous uptime and iterative success of these devices, platforms and tools.
At Brain+Trust, we’ve sat where technology executives are today: facing a need to integrate and responsibly share data beyond anything you may have designed, amid increasing scrutiny and regulations. You are going to market of me-too competition and end users suffering from dashboard fatigue. As is all too common among those firms addressing specific verticals, though, these critical systems and devices frequently fall victim to myopia, narrowly focused only on what’s in front of them. Many VC and PE firms compound this challenge, failing to capitalize on non-linear opportunities to drive demand generation and leaving significant revenue unrealized.
According to the Forbes Technology Council, a whopping “94% of executives have increased their focus on digital growth, leading to Gartner projections of a $3.7 billion year for information technology (IT) spending.” Clearly there is opportunity for returns, and though the average software contract requires a far greater commitment than a retailer requires of someone buying a dining room set, a poor end-user experience has the same results – fewer cross-sell and renewal opportunities, little to no organic growth and far lower customer lifetime values.
COVID-19, in it’s human destruction, has awakened global businesses. Those hesitant to tackle the nebulous concept of digital transformation are now taking the leap, on terms set by an invisible change-agent. In this environment, software and technology companies can opt to establish themselves as short-term solutions or long-term partners. Will you play well with others, empowering your clients and removing friction from their experiences? The time is now to align customer expectations and analyst relations, leveraging public relations, marketing and social media to tell a more powerful story that results in customer trust and higher revenue.
At Brain+Trust we take an agnostic view of software and technology partners. This position enables us to serve clients in dozens of verticals efficiently, effectively and with empathy. When we serve our technology clients, our position does not waiver. The roadmap to success is different for every firm, and we give you the keys to realize what’s possible, and always plausible.