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Digital Revenue Growth: Getting Started Tips by Next Step |   posted: 06/12/2017

Customers today demand convenience, ease of access and personalized offerings from corporations such as GE, Otis Elevator, and many smaller companies. By offering digital services, software interfaces and ‘pay for use’ business models, many traditional companies are reaching new market segments, delighting their customers and creating new highly valuable revenue streams.

A recent study shows 82% of business leaders consider ‘digital initiatives’ top priority. However, many question – “Where to start?”.

From Next Step’s experience, the answer may lie with your customers. By collaborating with key accounts to jointly define new digital offering, companies build value and loyalty during the planning process.

Success in this customer-first approach to digitalization requires:

1. Clear segmentation of markets served today and in the future.
2. Deep understanding of future trends with each customer segment.
3. Openness to collaboration to design, build and pilot new offerings.
4. Facilitation of digital co-creation workshops and stakeholder engagement.
5. Commitment to change through initial pilot project success.

Next Step offers Digital Executive Programs, Digital Readiness Assessments and Future Co-creation workshops to maximize digital revenue and customer value for our clients.

Contact us for more information to start your journey to revenue and value growth.


Leading Digitalization: Nordic Happiness Pays Off by Next Step |   posted: 05/17/2017

Digitalization, the use of technology to streamline work processes, access information and improve global productivity can be considered the ‘next big paradigm shift’, impacting the way we all work, live and relate to one another. As with all change, this brings both benefits and challenges.

Based on recent Gallup polls have indicated that less than 15% of workers today feel truly engaged and happy in their jobs, change is needed. Often low employee satisfaction is the lack of challenge and opportunity, not feeling valued but trapped in traditional hierarchies and management structures.

Digitalization allows automation of repetitive tasks so employees can be utilised as true ‘value-added human resources’ analysing and resolving problems, creatively developing innovative solutions and enhancing customer experience.

In addition, successful digitalization involves the use of technology to create and deliver new products and services, integrate complementary offerings from partners and continually innovate to compete globally. This can provide many new opportunities for employees to collaborate, innovate and grow in the workplace.

In the Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2016, 92% of 7000 companies surveyed say that today’s digital world of work has shaken the foundation of their organisational structure. As company shifts from traditional functional hierarchies to project team approaches, values and culture, transparency of goals, frequent feedback and free flow of information, and an employee’s contributions and accomplishments are valued more than the position in the organisation.

As seen by Adobe, GE, Daimler Benz and other global corporations embracing technology, successful digitalization requires leadership to:

  • Build project teams instead of hierarchies to dynamically achieve results.
  • Recognise, reward and compensate people based on goal achievement and productivity versus activity and hours.
  • Develop and demonstrate trust and respect for all employees.
  • Define and communicate a clear vision for the future.
  • Innovate and engage employees in creatively and dynamically building new solutions.

With an egalitarian culture and inclusive leadership style, Nordic organisations are well poised to make the transition to the new world of work and digitalization. By building a company culture focused on people having fun and driving innovation, profits will follow.
Known for a high quality of life and ‘happiness’ for citizens and employees, the Nordic area can provide many great examples of leadership in the new world of digitalization.

Provided to Norwegian American by Jennifer Vessels, CEO of Next Step, based in Silicon Valley with Oslo subsidiary which is bringing best practices from their leadership of Adobe, ShoreTel, Precise’s digital transformation to Norwegian enterprises. See original on http://bit.ly/2rpzG4p.


Digitalization: Great Opportunity for Norwegian Success by Next Step |   posted: 04/29/2017

The rapid advances in technological capabilities, combined with the global growth of entrepreneurialism and the ‘sharing economy’ bring many new opportunities for Norway. However, there can be challenges as new digital competitors compete with traditional corporations in all industries and today’s buyers demand engaging digital access to what they need when they need it.

Welcome to the Digital Age. This world of digitalization brings great opportunities for growth of new innovations and transformation of companies into globally recognized solution providers. Recognized for very high levels of adoption of technology by individuals, great technical competency and rapid growth in the startup community, Norway is well poised for leadership in the Digital Age.

To fully leverage these strengths for success, Norwegian organizations from media powerhouse Schibsted to DnB, Posten, and Avinor are assessing, piloting and leveraging digitalization to increase customer satisfaction, create new revenue streams and more efficiently serve their customers. As DnB has experienced with the fast growth of mobile app, ViPPs, digital offerings can open new markets and engage new customers.

Through innovative thinking, combined with a deep understanding of customers’ needs and future interests, all organizations have the opportunity to reap the benefits of digitalization:

• Increased customer loyalty and retention – leading to more predictable revenue streams
• Ability to penetrate new markets and gain incremental revenues
• Streamlined operations and improved efficiency
• Enhanced employee productivity and engagement
• Greater market position today and future

As shown by Silicon Valley-based Adobe which has transformed from a software vendor to a digital marketing services company (through Creative Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Document Cloud), the ultimate result is higher market valuation and a much stronger market position. For this level of success with digital transformation, Norwegian businesses need to consider, plan and implement:

1. Business Model for service delivery and predictable revenue creation
2. Customer journey, service delivery, and loyalty attainment
3. Value network partner and stakeholder engagement and collaboration
4. Organizational readiness, adaptability, and competencies
5. Technology processes for agile product and service development and delivery
6. Integrated and iterative service delivery and communications with all stakeholders

During a Digitalization Information Forum organized by AmCham in Oslo, executives from Cisco, Schneider Electric, Burston -Marsteller, Selmer and the US Embassy and others agreed that digitalization is the future. They also recognized the opportunity to work together, learn from successful global leaders and innovate through pilot projects.

In the age of Digitalization, global markets, delighted customers, and engaged employees are available to all organizations – now is the time to move forward to a successful future.

Provided to Norwegian American by Jennifer Vessels, CEO of Next Step, based in Silicon Valley with Oslo subsidiary which is bringing best practices from their leadership of Adobe, ShoreTel, Precise’s digital transformation to Norwegian enterprises. She can be reached [email protected]

This article originally appeared in the April 7, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American.


Venture Capital: The Dream or Curse? by Next Step |   posted: 04/29/2017

To many entrepreneurs, a key milestone on the path of success is attracting and securing venture funding. An even greater aspiration is funding from a US investor.

However, if you really want to build a lasting, high-value company, venture capital might actually be damaging to your success. When you take VC cash, you are giving away ownership and often control of the direction and future of the business. Lean startup guru Steve Blank has summed this up well – “When you accept funding from a VC, their goals become yours – profitable exit in short period of time. In essence, the VC’s business model becomes your business model.”

Therefore before seeking (and taking) VC funding, it is important to understand their standard business model… Let’s take an example – A VC with a fund size of $300M. Their goal, and in some cases requirement is to deliver 4x return to their investors, i.e. $1.2B.

Let’s say the VC invests $2M in your startup for 20% of your company (common terms in Silicon Valley). Based on successful growth, they invest an additional $8M over the next several years to maintain their ownership of 20% as profitability and/or valuation growths. After a few years, they’ve funded you to the tune of $10M.

And let’s say you have an opportunity to sell. Exit for $800M. This may sound great to you while potentially being unacceptable or simply disappointing to your investor.

That $10M investment by them is now worth $160M (20% of $800M). As the graph below indicates, that’s only half of their fund and only 13% of their needed return of $1.2B.

So, while you feel the exit is a great opportunity for additional/future growth of your company or to allow you to move to your next venture, you may be required to continue to grow the company to meet the VCs higher requirements.

Therefore in retrospect, while the 10 million investment sounded great, it might not have been the best thing for your business and/or personal goals. It is for this reason that Next Step and many others in Silicon Valley counsel our entrepreneurial clients to consider their goals and options before seeking or taking Venture Capital.


Leading in Digitalized World by Next Step |   posted: 04/26/2017

The ubiquitous use of technology, from apps such as Uber, artificial intelligence by Facebook through robotics in all industries is driving change in the way company’s view and utilize ‘human resources’.

For all, digitalization brings change, which requires new perspectives, ways of working and employment structures.

In recent panel discussion between Next Step CEO Jennifer Vessels, Corporate Spring founder and previous Chief Culture Officer for Tandberg and Cisco, Annicken Day as well as Employment Attorney Gary Gansle discussed leadership challenges in the digital world.

Key points included:
• Human drivers for digitalization and why it is good for the workplace
• Approaches to gain engagement in definition and adoption of new ways of working across the organization
• Techniques for managing in a digital world (virtual teams, agility, etc) using video, collaboration and face to face (not email communications).
• The importance of building trust and respect for employees while working to achieve a vision.
• Start with people – fun, goals, rewarding accomplishment to lead to profit (not vice versa)
• Work with teams that want to change, make them successful and others will want to join/follow.
• Include employment law expert as you design organization to build in compliance.
• Hire slowly – know people well and integrate through well-organized onboarding into the organization and culture.

Today’s digital global world provides companies and leaders with many new opportunities – which also come with challenges. While there isn’t a clear ‘playbook’ for success in this environment, there are best practices which can provide insight. With experience leading Adobe, ShoreTel, Live Nation, Avinor and many other global organizations through this with a process, Next Step can help.


You have a Patent: So What? by Next Step |   posted: 04/15/2017

For many global entrepreneurs, patents may be viewed as an important part of Intellectual Property and of great value to the entrepreneur. In the Nordic, we have heard that a patent ‘ensures a 20-year monopoly’. However, in Silicon Valley, a patent is simply a document of how something could be created.

Success comes from acting on the idea and patent to build a product, customer base, revenues and hence a company to turn the idea into reality. Another question is the market need for and acceptance of the product developed from the patent. There are many examples of great ideas, technologies, and products that were simply ‘before their time’.

As an example of this, Silicon Valley based Next Step recently discovered information on granted patents in auto and logistics tech from IBM, Ford, Uber, and Google. Ford was granted a patent for a spring-loaded vehicle charging system for electric vehicles. It is only now much more than 20 years since the patent as granted that electric vehicles are mainstream across the world.

So while it is great to receive a patent, real success comes through market understanding, dedication and success in building a product and company to meet market needs and timing.

This article was recently published in Innomag.


Travel Value Network of the Future: Role of Digitalization by Next Step |   posted: 04/15/2017

Capturing the Lucrative Traveler’s Loyalty: Role of Digitalization:

Like all industries, the world of travel is evolving rapidly through technological innovation and changing consumer demographics. As many studies* have shown, the lucrative tourists of the future are middle class residents of USA, Central Europe, China and Middle East, who leverage technology to choose destinations, providers, and experiences. Their selections are based on ease of access and perceived quality and uniqueness of experience. While traveling, these passengers spend freely on local products and adventures, then openly share their experiences and opinions to their communities back at home.

The ubiquity of technology today makes it easy for travelers to learn about various destinations, then select and book flights, rooms, tours and many related products and services – all from mobile or web devices. Traditional travel agencies, hotels, tour agencies and airport shopping are often circumvented as travelers ‘self-plan’ their own experience.

Gaining the ‘wallet-share’ of from these prized customers is one of the greatest challenges facing all organizations in the ‘travel value chain’ i.e. airlines, airports, hotels, ground transportation providers, tour operators, retail and food and beverage. Globally, countries, regions and cities are all in competition to attract and retain their loyalty.

As demonstrated in retail and consumer technology products, customer commitment and referrals are based on a provider’s ability to respond to and even anticipate customer needs. This combined with ease of access drives success. By ‘digitalizing’ i.e. making offerings easily available via mobile/web apps and then analyzing and leveraging data demonstrating customer behavior, organizations enhance customer experience, leading to loyalty.

Digitalization of the Travel Value Network:

Next Step, global consultancy based in Silicon Valley with Europe subsidiary has led digitalization of technology, transportation, finance, retail/consumer and media businesses since initial success driving Adobe’s transition from a perpetual (license) software company to a leader in ‘marketing / creativity as a service’ in 2008.

Based on work with Avinor, United Airlines, Choice Hotels and Airbnb, Next Step has defined a vision of the European Travel Value Network through which a traveler can easily plan, prepare for, experience and share their travel experience. This includes a well-designed customer journey providing easy access across the travel value network. Technology is leveraged to maximize responsiveness, adaptability and customer experience.

Ultimately the Travel Value Network allows each of the travel providers (airport, airline, hospitality, transportation, tour operators, retail and food and beverage) to attain a sustainable role in the travel value network.

Through Next Step’s Digitalization Blueprint, the Travel Value Network will provide:

• Travelers easy access to relevant (personalized) information, offers and services
• Easy, pleasant booking, planning and experience of the journey travel
• Integrate air, ground transportation, lodging, adventure, dining, shopping experiences
• Offer and deliver relevant locally produced products, services and cuisines to travelers
• Gain ongoing customer loyalty through facilitation of travelers’ communication and sharing of their experiences during and after travel
• Personalize and enhance each traveler’s experience

Next Step Digitalization Blueprint for the Travel Value Network

Next Step’s proven Blueprint for Digitalization is built on the following key principles:

1. Executive commitment to Digitalization Business Case including:

a. Reasons to change and / or complement current approach with digital, service based offerings.
b. Stakeholder Requirements
c. Financial model with five-year Return on Investment
d. Key Performance Indicators and Success Milestones
e. Risk Mitigation Plan
f. Program and Project Plans

2. Customer journey definition, monitoring, adaptation, and feedback processes to drive:

a. Service/product offerings and business model decisions
b. Pricing and packaging of offerings
c. Collaboration partner selection with revenue and data sharing models
d. Online communications
e. Organization structures and business processes

3. Value network Partner Engagement:

a. Identification of suppliers and complementary service providers required
b. Business model, rules, processes and revenue share modeling
c. Integration of go to market and digital offerings with partners

4. Organizational readiness:

a. Use of technology and tools to increase agility and operational efficiency
b. Ease of sharing and utilization of business rules defined with value network partners
c. Customer-led innovation and responsiveness
d. Consistent execution of digitalization program and project requirements

5. Integrated delivery and communications plan providing regular personalized services and information to each stakeholder audience (customers and potential customers by segment, value network partners, shareholders, employees and the market).

About Next Step

Next Step, based in Silicon Valley with Europe subsidiary, delivers revenue and valuation growth for global organizations needing to scale and transform. Since 1997, Next Step’s 40 professionals with hands-on experience in sales, marketing, leadership and innovation have delivered measurable results for Adobe, Cisco, Live Nation, Avinor, Comerica Bank, Google, Genetech, Goodwill Industries and hundreds of other organizations.

For more information, visit Next Step at www.nextstepgrowth.com or call 1 650 361 1902 or (47) 902 30 982.


Digitalization – Is Your Business Ready? by Next Step |   posted: 04/15/2017

Through effective use and leverage of technology, service-based business models, and enhanced customer experience, organizations such as Adobe, Daimler Benz, Hilton and Schibsted Finn have achieved growth in revenue, profit, and market valuation. Across all industries, digital capabilities, along with new market dynamics and buying patterns are driving the need for change.

Benefits of digitalization include:

• Increased customer loyalty and retention – leading to more predictable revenue streams
• Ability to penetrate new markets and gain incremental revenues
• Streamlined operations and improved efficiency
• Greater market position today and future

Keys to Successful Digitalization:

Success in digitalization requires planning, design, and implementation of:

1. Market and opportunity understanding and development
2. Customer journey definition, monitoring, adaptation, and feedback process development
3. Value network partner/ stakeholder engagement
4. Organizational readiness and adaptability
5. Technology and services development and implementation
6. Integrated delivery and communications with all stakeholders

Is Your Company Ready for Digitalization?

Planning, piloting, adapting and then implementing a digitalization initiative can be time and resource intensive. Therefore, starting with a clear and objective assessment of what will be required prior to beginning the change process is essential.

Through Next Step’s experience leading digitalization initiatives globally, we have compiled an extensive checklist and assessment of a company’s readiness (and requirements) for digitalization.

Some of the most critical factors to assess to determine readiness for digitalization include:

1. Current market segmentation today and new potential market opportunities
2. Packaging and pricing model today (products, licenses, services, delivery methods)
3. Organizational structure, management, and decision-making processes
4. Use of technology and tools for collaboration, communication and service delivery
5. Employee tenure and diversity (backgrounds, generations, and ideas)
6. Product development and delivery processes and cycles
7. Partnership model and/or value chain approach
8. Organizational adaptability to customer and market requirements

The full assessment can be conducted by Next Step’s team over a three – four week period with recommendations for value improvement provided at the end of the assessment. This can also be extended to include engagement of Next Step for strategy, business case and implementation of digitalization on a project basis.

The full assessment can be conducted by Next Step’s team over a three – four week period with recommendations for value improvement provided at the end of the assessment. This can also be extended to include engagement of Next Step for strategy, business case and implementation of digitalization on a project basis.

About Next Step:

Next Step, based in Silicon Valley with Europe subsidiary, delivers revenue and valuation growth for global organizations needing to scale and transform. Since 1997, Next Step’s 40 professionals with hands-on experience in sales, marketing, leadership, and innovation have delivered measurable results for Adobe, Avinor, Cisco, Comerica, Google, Genetech, Goodwill Industries, LiveNation and hundreds of other organizations.

For more information, visit Next Step at www.nextstepgrowth.com or call 1 650 361 1902 or (47) 902 30 982.


The Traveler’s Journey via Value Travel Value Network by Next Step |   posted: 04/03/2017

Like all industries, the world of travel is evolving rapidly through technological innovation and changing consumer demographics. The ubiquity of technology today makes it easy for travelers to learn about various destinations, then select and book flights, rooms, tours and many related products and services – all from mobile or web devices. Traditional travel agencies, hotels, tour agencies and airport shopping are often circumvented as travelers ‘self-plan’ their own experience.

Gaining the ‘wallet-share’ of from these prized customers is one of the greatest challenges facing all organizations in the ‘travel value chain’ i.e. airlines, airports, hotels, ground transportation providers, tour operators, retail and food and beverage.  Globally, countries, regions and cities are all in competition to attract and retain their loyalty.

By ‘digitalizing’ i.e. making offerings easily available via mobile/web apps and then analyzing and leveraging data demonstrating customer behavior, organizations enhance customer experience, leading to loyalty.

Ultimately the Travel Value Network allows each of the travel providers (airport, airline, hospitality, transportation, tour operators, retail and food and beverage) to attain a sustainable role in the travel value network.

The Travel Value Network will provide:

  • Travelers easy access to relevant (personalized) information, offers and services
  • Easy, pleasant booking, planning and experience of the journey travel
  • Integrate air, ground transportation, lodging, adventure, dining, shopping experiences
  • Offer and deliver relevant locally produced products, services and cuisines to travelers
  • Gain ongoing customer loyalty through facilitation of travelers’ communication and sharing of their experiences during and after travel
  • Personalize and enhance each traveler’s experience

Next Step, global consultancy based in Silicon Valley with Europe subsidiary has led digitalization of technology, transportation, finance, retail/consumer and media businesses since initial success driving Adobe’s transition from a perpetual (license) software company to a leader in ‘marketing / creativity as a service’ in 2008.

Based on work with Avinor, United Airlines, Choice Hotels and Airbnb, Next Step has defined a vision of the European Travel Value Network through which a traveler can easily plan, prepare for, experience and share their travel experience. This includes a well-designed customer journey providing easy access across the travel value network.


Digitalization is More than Technology Usage by Next Step |   posted: 03/14/2017

Today, ‘digitalization’ is the hot topic, buzzword and goal of most organizations – from industrial companies through startups and public / government entities. However the term ‘digitalization’ is frequently (mis) used to describe use of mobile and other technology in one’s daily life and work.

Real digitalization of an organization involves:

  • Delivering solutions to customers through technology (ie ‘solution as a service’, software, platform / API integration)
  • Gathering, understanding and leveraging data on actual customer behavior through software, sensors, analytics and / or artificial intelligence
  • Designing solutions with your customer to ensure your company and your clients’ are prepared to deliver real value to the next generation of millennial buyers.
  • Integration of complementary offerings into the value network of solutions provided to your customer – across and via a technology platform.

Through using technology, business leaders today can enhance customer satisfaction and revenues while future-proofing their and their customer’s business. Contact Next Step to learn more about Digitalization for Success and the results of our business model transformation services for Adobe, ShoreTel, Precise and many other global organizations.


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