Congratulations to Our 2021 MCA Awards finalists

24th May 20218 Minutes

We are delighted to announce that Curzon Consulting are finalists in 2 categories of the Management Consulting Awards 2021, representing the very best of our consulting business.

Established by the Management Consultancies Association, the #MCAAwards demonstrate the transformational work the sector has undertaken during the last challenging twelve months.

2021 marks the seventh consecutive year that Curzon Consulting has been finalists at the prestigious awards. 

Commercial Excellence

Curzon with AIG – ‘Back to Life’ – Fast-Tracking to Leadership in Customer & Profit Retention

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After a period of impressive top-line growth, AIG Life’s leadership now concentrated on driving for profitability on a US GAAP basis.  Working with Curzon to isolate what could best deliver profit uplift, we zoomed in on a stubbornly un-moving customer persistency rate and recognised that every 1% point of lapse averted would yield significant and multiplicative profit gains.  

Curzon was engaged on an ambitious programme to rapidly get control of lapse and release commercial benefit, and to build the capability to achieve best practice retention management.  This was an enormous challenge given the starting point: no set persistency strategy, an absence of key lapse analytics, retention not owned or resourced in the organisation, and a lack of lapse prevention and turnaround processes.   

Over 11 months through 2019, we took a pragmatic, agile, and ‘together’ approach to accelerate to retention excellence, securing the organisation’s buy-in to what it would take to get there, and quickly demonstrating the commercial, operational and customer benefits of joined-up retention management.  Curzon enabled the new cross-functional working essential for success, and gave the business the structures and confidence to operate highly effective preventative and save processes – internally and leveraging external partners.  

Among the prime watershed moments were revealing how:

  • a shift in distribution mix from advised face-to-face to telesales had created a hitherto unseen problem of drop-out inside first 3 months
  • customer communications from welcome onwards needed to explain clearly the personal value of life insurance, and how holding it ensures financial provision for those you love
  • rather than automatically cancelling customers on request, customer service had a responsibility to engage them before they make a potentially uninformed decision 

When the business took the reins 3 months after improvements were implemented, lapse rate had been reduced to the best practice % mark on a run-rate basis and incremental revenue and profit benefit unlock was exceeding our original target.  This translated annualised into 5-figure policy saves and a cumulative £multi-million gain in Pre-Tax Operating Income by 2023.  The business had taken ownership of a new retention management function, with a new Lapse MI suite providing the predictive insights to continually optimise retention.  Beyond achieving the agreed objectives, the work also led to complementary projects including work to minimise drop-out in the Bank partnership sales channel. 

Commenting on the success, AIG Life CFO Donald MacLean said: 

“Curzon helped us obtain the confidence and operational ‘can-do’ to get control of lapse sooner than we could have expected, and then to push on to best practice performance. 

As always, their skill was in balancing pace of change and the results imperative with the need to take the organisation with them on the journey.  A key achievement was building the necessary collaboration between the many functions that needed to act together to manage retention in a joined-up way.  

The result was a tangible and ongoing commercial win, and a vital new balance struck between sales and retention for business profitability and sustainability”

People

Curzon with Highways England – ‘Project Performance Accelerator – Enhancing delivery capabilities through innovative approaches and working relationships to achieve HE delivery goals

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Project Performance Accelerator (PPA) was designed to develop and implement a delivery mechanism for Highways England’s (HE) overarching Business Transformation Programme, addressing inconsistent levels of capability throughout HE’s Project Management community and developing highly skilled project delivery teams. Overall, HE’s three main Major Project programmes account for 80 projects worth more than £23bn, each being delivered by a supply chain or contractor led by a Project Management team.

PPA’s leader Steph Illingworth engaged Curzon to interpret and structure her Vision of the PPA Programme into clear deliverables, shaping the fundamentals. There was consensus on cultural flaws and ineffective ways of working. Revealing a deeply siloed organisation with multiple departments or technical areas that lacked collaboration or a holistic view of the primary objectives and deliverables: projects were not executed on time and within budget, nor maximising benefits and social value. Also, capability development and training programmes were too theoretical and onerous, focusing on processes and systems rather than people, impacting the overall project success.

Focusing on performance management, capability development, project control capability and enhancing commercial acumen, the PPA Programme included two outputs as the medium for change: An Immersive Learning Experience and Digital Project Management Guidebook.

The Immersive Learning experience was designed to disrupt the way programmes are delivered. The Digital Project Management Guidebook contained PM content selected through independent reviews and capability assessments. Both outputs were crafted around the project lifecycle of typical HE infrastructure projects, set to be delivered in-person over a period of 18 months. Cohorts were selected to receive a tailored experience, improve project team maturity, and provide a solid foundation for capability uplift to achieve clear learning outcomes and benefits.

At the heart of the PPA philosophy was to enable project teams to grow, enhancing ‘ways of working’ whilst bolstering project performance. These included a “working better together model”; a fundamental shift in the way individuals interact and take ownership of overlapping project aspects and problem-solving techniques. This, along with the Immersive Learning, reinforced the Programme’s success, shifting the focus from systems and processes to people.

The pandemic introduced significant challenges, necessitating the immediate conversion of the Programme from in-person workshops to a virtual setting. The team adapted structures and materials, incorporating a variety of software suites to enhance the learner experience. Frequent interaction and close collaboration with the internal and senior stakeholders were critical to maintaining speed and delivery, adopting a fail-fast, fix fast approach to syllabus creation

The consulting team could interpret the client’s vision into a clear pathway, support and enhance the design to become one of the most successful transformation project delivered in HE.

The Digital Project Management Guidebook launched in August 2020 via four interactive webinars to c.300 employees have now received over 1,000 unique viewers. A modified deployment strategy was adopted in light of the pandemic, redesigned as a remote Immersive Learning Experience. However, over 5,049 hours of remote learning have been received by 100 staff through 9 project teams, enhancing teams’ capability with a combined portfolio value greater than £3.3bn.

Congratulations to all of the other finalists.

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UK’s Leading Management Consultants 2021

18th February 20211 Minutes

Ranked in the Top 20 of the UK’s consulting firms, we are delighted to have been recognised for the third consecutive year as one of the ‘UK’s Leading Management Consultants 2021’ by the Financial Times.   

Recommended in seven categories compiled with data company Statista, the annual rating is based on endorsements by clients and peers and demonstrates our steady consistent year on year sector & service line growth.

Consulting companies are awarded Bronze (recommended), Silver (frequently recommended) or Gold (very frequently recommended).

Sectoral expertise

  • Construction & Infrastructure – Silver
  • Financial Services – Bronze
  • Healthcare – Bronze
  • Public & Social Sector – Bronze

Consulting services

  • Digital Transformation – Bronze
  • Operations & Supply Chain – Bronze
  • Strategy – Silver

Managing Partner Andrew Morgan said

We are thrilled to see the continued progression of the firm, competing alongside some major consulting brands.  I am really proud of the team and this reinforces their dedication to deliver tangible results for our clients in a range of markets through strategic, operational and transformational delivery.

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curzon consulting infrastructure bridge

Infrastructure after Covid-19 – when the mould is broken where do you want to be?

21st July 2020

Competition or collaboration? Navigating change in infrastructure after Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about rapid unprecedented change. Companies have responded to imposed restrictions, people have adapted to new ways of working, and the impact on the economy, employment and productivity has been immense.

Businesses face an ever-shifting timescale for recovery but uncertainty on how they need to adapt in the short, medium and longer term.

A commitment to investment in infrastructure

With uncertainty over the shape of economic recovery, the UK government is under increasing pressure to provide answers. The current political agenda is balancing the risk of further outbreaks against the need to kick-start the economy and get people back to work. Infrastructure is a key part of this recovery plan.

As such, we are seeing a range of statements, commitments and emerging policies that::

  • Commit to accelerated investment in infrastructure
  • Criticise past failings in the delivery of major programmes which have taken too long and cost too much
  • Question how other countries can do it so much better than us
  • Recognise that we have developed a huge burden of bureaucratic processes
  • Challenge the slow adoption of new technologies and innovation
  • Reinforce previous goals on climate change and the environment

What does this mean for core infrastructure and regulated industries?

The services and facilities provided by infrastructure and regulated industries are essential to the future growth of the economy. The challenge is how to fairly manage the cost of recovery, which will ultimately be passed onto the consumer. This creates further pressure on the whole system including clients and service providers. Some key questions and considerations include:

For Clients (or sponsors)

  • With greater pressure on household budgets, customer expectations on service and value will increase
  • Customers will be less tolerant of failure and companies will be under greater scrutiny
  • Social and environmental conscience is increasing
  • As a result of COVID-19 there will be sustained change in the way people work. But is the full impact fully understood?
  • Clients or sponsors will be under increased pressure from the regulators to deliver more for less
  • Continuing to stretch existing resources and deliver incremental change will not be enough
  • Companies will be driven to develop different and more efficient operating models

For Service Providers

  • No longer contractors or consultants but “Service Providers”
  • Has traditional contracting had its day and does it really deliver what clients and customers are ultimately looking for?
  • Service Providers will be under the greatest pressure to address the higher-level challenges through creating new ways of working or new service offerings
  • “Necessity is the mother of invention” – the time of greatest need will drive the greatest change and the more agile companies will be those that win
  • Traditional contracts delivered in a traditional way will become an increasing “race to the bottom” based on price with associated increase in failure

Innovation and technology inevitably has a major part to play in addressing the above.

What part should Innovation and Technology play?

Regulated industries are notoriously slow adopters. If this is to change, it is essential to understand the reasons why and break these paradigms.

  • Risk of failure is too high either in terms of impact on customers or regulatory action
  • Procurement processes are cumbersome and often preclude SMEs/Start-ups
  • In reality, Intellectual Property has a very short shelf-life, products are quickly copied
  • There is more to be gained from running faster and letting others follow compared to standing still and protecting what you have got

With many organisations facing the same challenges, is there something to be learned from collaboration?

Competition or Collaboration?

Regulation has often been based on the premise of driving or simulating competition. So, what delivers the greatest benefit – organisations collaborating or competing? Many “alliance” delivery models are based on the benefits of collaboration which raises a number of questions:

  • Regulated utilities by their nature are often monopolies so why isn’t there far greater collaboration and sharing of ideas?
  • Technology/Innovation start-ups often have to prove their concepts several times over to separate clients passing through individual tortuous procurement routes. As a result many collapse before they start. As a wider industry why do separate companies re-invent the same wheel
  • Contractors/Service Providers provide similar services to different clients and sectors in the same geographic area. Is there more to be gained from a common approach across sectors?
  • If the same Service Provider is providing a service across multiple clients and sectors who is the regulator actually regulating – the Client or The Service Provider?
  • If the end service across sectors is a similar service why should there be different regulatory models and different regulatory measures or even different regulators?

Acceleration, adaption and adoption

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an undeniable impact on organisations. Businesses have been forced to adopt a more radical and agile approach in how they adapt to change.

This unprecedented challenge has also created opportunities. Many businesses have failed but some have flourished. In the main, these organisations have embraced a culture of learning from others. They have collaborated and openly shared resources. They have undertaken the accelerated development of complex solutions and executed them with simplicity.

Going forward, significant commitments have been made, expectations are high and pressure on delivery will increase. The challenges will necessitate change and those that move fastest stand to gain the most.

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Want to find out more or meet one of our Infrastructure team? Contact us by email, phone or our web form.

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case studies

Digital productivity management in infrastructure

17th July 2020

The full package: digitising productivity management in infrastructure delivery

Infrastructure owners and construction companies are selecting or developing, and then seeking accelerated implementation and scaling of, their preferred digital productivity management tool(s).

In consideration of the current economic climate, the critical role that Infrastructure investment is set to play in boosting growth has been amplified.

In light of these two factors, it does not feel as though there could be a better time to suggest that if we are going to do the whole ‘digital productivity thing’ in infrastructure and construction… we should do it properly. So, what does ‘doing it properly’ mean? It means that it is time to assess the full spectrum of construction-site productivity management capability areas that can be enhanced through the new or improved application of digital tools. We need the full package.

Unlocking greater efficiencies through digital

Digital enablement has revolutionised productivity and the definition of efficiency norms in other industries. Most notably in Manufacturing industries such as Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) where market leaders such as Unilever have reduced material factory waste by more than 40% by digitally enabling end-to-end quality management. (Source: World Economic Forum, How manufacturing can thrive in a digital world and lead a sustainable revolution, January 2020)

Similarly, by 2025 the digital enablement of Logistics has the potential to reduce global carbon emissions by 11%. (Source: World Economic Forum, Digital Transformation of Industries Demystifying Digital and Securing $100 Trillion for Society and Industry by 2025, January 2016) A powerful endorsement of advanced productivity management tools.

The Agriculture industry presents further evidence. Here, as an example, data gathering and historical analysis data-driven decision-making tools are having a transformative impact on crop productivity.

Productivity management in infrastructure however is often driven by manual cost and performance benchmarking processes. Some efficiency gains have been achieved through the successful adoption of Lean methodologies. But the meaningful use of digital tools that enable higher productivity rates will be key to unlocking much greater efficiencies in the construction phases of infrastructure programmes.

There is an entire spectrum of construction site productivity management capability areas that can be enhanced through the application of digital tools. These can be broadly placed into three categories:

  1. Planning and Collaboration: Ensuring the feasibility of planned activities and improving communications between the site and site-office
  2. Data gathering: Gathering data on the work accomplished on-site to feed performance/progress metrics
  3. Data-driven analytics: Collecting historical productivity data on-site to feed data-driven decision making

In pursuit of significant improvement

Organisations tend to focus on the independent application of a discrete digital tool to enable productivity. Most often this means dedicating themselves to a data gathering tool for the purpose of productivity tracking. However, in the pursuit of significant efficiencies it is not sufficient to introduce digitally enabled capability to just one area of the productivity management spectrum. For infrastructure delivery, at the construction site level, a suite of digital tools covering the full range of capabilities (outlined at a high level by the three categories above) is required. Many of the more recently developed tools incorporate data as a service (DaaS) offerings but there is the opportunity to go further. Attributes for productivity information gathered, processed and analysed should adhere to the standards set by data and information frameworks being built by infrastructure owners.

For data generated by any suite of tools, there is the opportunity to actively inform cost and performance benchmarks and subsequently productivity norms for the delivery of work. This applies within the integrated environment for information that programmes, alliances or organisation level data frameworks house.

So how to decide on which digital productivity management tools to work with?

Whether through in-house development or accessing solutions already in play, several factors should be considered, including but certainly not limited to:

  • Ease of implementation
  • Supply chain buy-in
  • Scalability across multiple construction disciplines

Prioritisation frameworks can be designed and applied to rapidly assess an entire landscape of digital productivity management solutions, thoroughly reviewing each through the lenses of standard attributes.

Digital productivity done properly

Individual tools applied in isolation in areas such as productivity tracking can offer benefits. But there is an entire spectrum of on-site productivity management capability that can be enhanced through the application of digital tools. These benefits can be amplified through alignment with the principles for data defined by information frameworks being developed by infrastructure owners. Other industries are demonstrating the scale of productivity benefits available through digital enablement. These are most notable where a complete end-to-end process approach is adopted.

So, if we are going to do the whole ‘digital productivity thing’ in infrastructure and construction… we should do it properly.

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people at airport

The convergence of healthcare and travel

5th May 202011 Minutes

Airports and the wider transportation industry are facing a number of new challenges as they prepare for the realities of a post COVID-19 world.

Aviation and mass transit are dependent on density, the antithesis of social distancing. John Holland-Kaye, CEO, Heathrow Airport recently stated “It’s just physically impossible to socially distance with any volume of passengers in an airport.” He continued “The constraint is not about how many people you can fit on a plane; it will be how many people you can get through an airport safely”.

To address these constraints, many airports are considering how to adapt their existing operating models for the new reality and adhere to any new health and safety regulations.

What could the future of airports look like?

Already many airports, including those based in the UK, have introduced measures to enable essential travel based on government guidelines. Those guidelines include social distancing, ample distribution of hand sanitiser throughout airports and efforts to spread passengers evenly across terminals.

However, such measures may not be as easily implemented when capacity is ramped up towards pre COVID- 19 levels and therefore innovative and creative methods will be needed to help increase passenger confidence and change the narrative. Passenger confidence will be the key driver to getting back to some level of normality!

Accelerated automation across the customer journey

The passenger journey is changing. Post COVID-19, passengers may welcome the acceleration of automation across commercial aviation and urban mobility in order to limit physical contact.

A new era of automation is likely to extend from the basic such as the eradication of all remaining doors requiring pushing or pulling to the more advanced. These might include gesture or eye-movement-based interactions with payment kiosks and in-flight entertainment screens; robots and drones equipped with UV lights that continuously sanitize surfaces; and artificial intelligences that govern our previously clumsy attempts at everything from bus scheduling and curb usage to security screening and aircraft boarding.

We spoke with one passenger experience company, Elenium Automation, who are trialling ‘touchless travel’ technology. Etihad Airways recently announced that it plans to partner with Elenium Automation to trial new technology which allows self-service devices at airports. The technology will be used to help identify passengers with medical conditions, potentially including the early stages of COVID-19. Watch our interview with Elenium Automation here.

The new customer journey requires process optimisation and staff upskilling to ensure new regulations are complied with and the spread of viruses are mitigated.

The convergence of healthcare and aviation

Airports in Asia are one step ahead, having learnt from their experience dealing with SARS. For example, the Airport Authority Hong Kong are in the process of rolling out new measures that include the following:

  1. Full body disinfection channels
  2. Antimicrobial coatings
  3. Autonomous cleaning robots working 24/7

Bournemouth Airport are currently trialling thermal cameras in order to detect if passengers have fevers or other indications of disease. Airline passengers would simply walk through a series of tunnels, gardens, or other environments designed around new biometric-enabled security screening methodologies—without ever touching anything or even producing passports or other documents.

Identification through temperature monitoring then is likely to funnel through to more rigorous and accurate healthcare assessment. Technology is simply the enabler. This flow through process needs to be designed, procured for and integrated into the overall operating model, which will require retraining of airport employees, third-party contracting staff, process and system changes.

Service based offering

Less footfall simply means less custom, just as it does on any high street. In addition to less footfall, customers may be less willing to browse, and there may be capacity constraints in entering retail spaces.

How will customers spend their time at airports? We may see a shift from retail to service-based airport offerings. We may start to see GP (physician) kiosks or pharmacies set up within airports to provide health check-ups or assessments.

Similarly, first class lounges may start to offer basic health check services, particularly for frequent flyer customers. In addition, this repurposed real estate could serve a highly valuable consumer segment that includes those retired and travelling throughout off-peak hours.

Virus passport integration

The aviation industry may increase health and safety measures through integrating passports or ID documents, “immunity passports” with recent medical records or vaccination history. However, the introduction of such solutions will likely open up the debate of civil liberties and data security.

The identification and rapid diagnosis of COVID-19 symptoms is key to limit the spread of the virus and implement next-steps such as track-and-trace, self-isolation or early warnings to the receiving/host country. There is evidence now emerging in the US and China, based on small studies, that a large percentage of the population may be asymptomatic. If true, then airports will also have to put in place measures to monitor passengers who might be asymptomatic (i.e. showing no symptoms, but may still carry an infectious virus).

Future direction of travel

As evident above, there are a number of complex nuances to any airport COVID-19 response. Ultimately, the response must strike the correct balance between ramping up capacity so passengers can begin to book fares and reassuring passengers that it’s safe to be on a plane and in an airport.

1 Response continuum

  • An airport may choose to do the bare minimum. Taking this option, airport management may roll out a minimum cost and effort plan that includes temporary measures with the view to ramping up and down the measures as they see fit while capacity increases or the threat decreases.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, an airport may invest heavily in technologies coming to market and seek to robustly implement health and safety guidelines.

Taking the latter option, its salient that management look to strongly embed this move in their infrastructure and operations, processes and technologies so that they look to benefit from the implementation in the long run irrespective of an increasing/decreasing COVID-19 threat. This may include catering for a ‘new norm’ of passengers who expect hygiene and safety measures in place. Availability heuristics refers a mental shortcut that relies on immediate examples that come to a given person’s mind when evaluating a specific concept and it is likely that passenger behaviour and expectations may shift drastically even if a vaccine is found in the near future.

Outside of the confines of the airport, there is also opportunity to look at what assurances could be provided pre-travel. Such measures could minimise the chances of spread from travel and re-write the narrative on airline travel as a conduit of illness spread.

2 Assess readiness

Rapid assessment and implementation of most effective and customer reassuring COVID-19 protection measures. This may include measures such as staff testing, upskilling and scaled approaches/scenario planning to a capacity ramp up. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, global pandemics have been as strong, if not stronger in wave two. If this is the case, airports have a fiduciary responsibility to their staff, customers and shareholders to have scenario planned the impact of wave two to minimise the impact.

3 Analyse feasibility

Detailed customer journey analysis to identify highest points of risk and feasibility analysis of MedTech offerings to cater for above risks. The solution is likely to be different for inbound versus outbound travel. The question then arises about where the level of responsibility lies. Is it with the government who may own the airport, or with the airlines and/or airports or a combination or all of the above. Scenario planning and insight driven decision making is key to getting these essential business decisions correct.

4 Assess revenue opportunities

Identify and generate a business case for post coronavirus revenue drivers and opportunities such as service offerings. For example, vacant airport real estate could be utilized as a lead generator for a major UK private hospital and/or a retail pharmacy chain and also heighten confidence of consumers remiss to getting back to aviation travel. Health and general well-being are likely to propel up the consumer agenda going forward.

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We help businesses with strategy and digital transformation, Get in touch to find out how we can help or arrange a free virtual meeting with our Healthcare and Infrastructure partners.

Chetan Trivedi
Healthcare Partner

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Nigel Brannan
Infrastructure Partner

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Cover Future of Infrastructure Raconteur

Future of Infrastructure 2020 report

17th March 2020

This 2020 report by Raconteur explores the future of infrastructure, including:

  • Smart cities, digital and new technologies
  • Sustainability and the challenge of achieving net-zero
  • Public perceptions of infrastructure in G8 countries
  • Future-proofing infrastructure against climate risks
  • Reusing existing assets to bring buildings into the circular economy

Access the report
Future of Infrastructure 2020 report image spread

How we can help infrastructure organisations

At Curzon Consulting, we understand it’s about the destination and the journey.

We work with rail, road and utilities organisations to deliver tangible results. Our award winning management consultants help our clients get where they need to be through:

  • Digital Monetisation and Transformation
  • Data Driven Decision Making
  • Operating Model Future Proofing
  • Value Enhancing Strategies

Visit our infrastructure page or contact our Infrastructure Lead, Nigel Brannan, to find out more

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Curzon Consulting Financial Times UK Leading Management Consultants 2020

UK’s Leading Managing Consultants 2020

29th January 20201 Minutes

We have been named as one of the ‘UK’s Leading Management Consultants 2020’ by the Financial Times. We are recommended in four categories:

Sectoral expertise

  • Construction & Infrastructure
  • Financial Institutions & Services

Consulting services

  • Operations & Supply Chain
  • Strategy

Managing Partner Andrew Morgan said

We are delighted to be comfortably in the top 40 UK management consultancies alongside some well known brands. This reflects our dedication to delivering results for clients in our chosen markets through strategy, operational and digital transformation.

2019

This is the second year that Curzon Consulting have been recognised in this special report. In 2019 we were recommended or frequently recommended for consulting in strategy, financial institutions, and construction & infrastructure.

Methodology

Compiled with data company Statista, the annual rating is based on recommendations by clients and peers. Statista compiled results based on recommendations. As a result, consulting companies are awarded Bronze (recommended), Silver (frequently recommended) or Gold (very frequently recommended).

Curzon Consulting Financial Times UK Leading Management Consultants 2020

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Chairman's Masterclass: "Net Zero - the journey so far and options ahead"

Event: Net Zero - the journey so far and the options ahead

12 February 2020, London

Event details

Where: Central London

When: 7pm-10pm, 12 February 2020

What: Dinner, Speech from National Grid Executive Director UK, Nicola Shaw CBE

About the speaker

Our guest speaker, Nicola Shaw CBE, will be discussing the journey to net zero carbon emissions

Nicola Shaw was educated at both Oxford University, where she studied for a bachelor’s degree in History and Economics, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she received a master’s in Transportation.

Nicola has served in senior management roles, as Chief Executive Officer of HS1 and Managing Director of UK Business Division at FirstGroup plc. She was also an independent Non-executive Director of Ellevio AB and Aer Lingus Group plc.

Nicola’s career, in the UK and overseas, has included senior positions in several regulatory, commercial and operational roles. She has a strong leadership track record, including Chief Executive Officer of HS1 and Managing Director of the UK Business Division at FirstGroup plc.

Who should attend?

The Chairman’s Masterclass Dinner Series is a forum for senior business to discuss topical issues under Chatham House Rules.

Typical attendees include Chief Executive Officers, Chief Financial Officers, Chief Commercial Officers, Chief Strategy and Transformation Officers, Managing Directors and business unit Directors.

Want to find out more or meet one of our Infrastructure team? Contact us by email, phone or our web form.

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Digital transformation in infrastructure

Digital transformation across UK infrastructure

7th November 20194 Minutes

Curzon Consulting have partnered with Victoria Trukhanovich to deliver an MBA research project at Cass Business School, on the topic of digital transformation.

Over a series of articles we will explore existing challenges, business requirements, relevant technologies and strategy that needs to be applied by infrastructure organisations in order to design and perform transformative digital change successfully.

In this introductory piece we present a summary of findings on the current state of digital adoption across the infrastructure industry, including the transport, utilities and construction sectors.

Using digital transformation to address challenges

The challenges that companies operating physical infrastructure face include:

    • aging assets
    • frequent incidents of underperformance
    • capacity congestion
    • inefficient capital and maintenance programmes,
    • strong regulations
    • dissatisfied customers

Digital transformation is increasingly viewed as an enabler to address these issues, providing opportunities for infrastructure companies to achieve significant gains in areas of system resilience, capacity utilisation, asset productivity, process efficiency and customer engagement.

Lagging digital maturity

Yet, the digital maturity of infrastructure companies lags behind that of many other industries. Although level of maturity varies across and within sectors, the majority of infrastructure companies have not started to implement digital technologies on a wide scale and digital activities are fragmented. Due to a number of legacy factors, infrastructure companies often lack the capacity to build a clear digital vision and drive technological change throughout the organisation.

Empirical evidence from digital transformation projects, conducted by Curzon Consulting with UK transport infrastructure network owners, water and sewerage companies and airport operators, reveals the common challenge of an inconsistent approach to digital integration. Companies often run innovative, technology-enabled initiatives on a project-by-project basis without systematically integrating technologies in line with strategic objectives.

The digital transformation strategy challenge

A dispersed digital agenda was thus found to be the most pressing challenge for companies to solve in order to assert direction within the transformation process and consolidate digital initiatives around achieving clear business objectives.

This study asks how infrastructure companies should go about developing an effective digital transformation strategy. The urgency of addressing this challenge is exacerbated for companies in competitive markets as digital leaders and emerging start-ups are well positioned to identify adjacent niches and secure dominant shares quickly.

The role of technology

To offer a summary of digital strategy recommendations, we seek to:

  • assess the potential of critical digital technologies to deliver industry objectives
  • identify key capabilities enabled by technological advancements
  • examine the evolutionary timeline of digital transformation
  • analyse organisational functions affected and value outcomes generated

Developing a framework for successful digital transformation delivery

Once developed and agreed at the corporate level a digital strategy framework can be used by infrastructure companies to evolve from an ‘adapting- enterprise systems’ approach into a smart network operator approach. Although each digital transformation programme will have a degree of uniqueness, the framework developed within this study offers a high-level plan for successful development and delivery of digital change in infrastructure sectors.

Effective transition to the state of being a digital-champion also requires a company to make important early decisions often targeted at legacy factors that would otherwise inhibit change. Those decisions include establishing a strong leadership position, engaging an appropriately skilled workforce, removing silo-based barriers, instituting cultural change in the corporate mindset and addressing ways of working throughout the organisation.

This article marks the first in our Digital Change for Infrastructure series.

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transport case study Curzon Consultin

Evaluating structural entity options for a new arm of government transport body

The issue

  • Embryonic consulting business established one year ago by a local government body responsible for transport, to monetise and deploy in-house specialist experience
  • Consulting business deeply embedded in one of the organisation’s existing holding companies
  • Business had not yet established the appropriate frameworks for managing revenue, project delivery, Intellectual Property and assets
  • The client wanted to review the optimal entity structure for its Consulting business in order to better drive commerciality
  • Strong desire to set up the Consulting business using an entity structure that fostered commerciality and leveraged in-house resources in the most optimal way
  • Clear focus on building a profitable revenue funnel, self-financed growth, better IP and asset monetization, capitalisation on tax benefits, simplified and robust governance and transparent risk management
  • Aim to start competing for, or partnering with big organisations to, deliver Advisory, IP and Operations & Maintenance contracts

What we did

  • Conducted an exhaustive benchmarking exercise to provide the client with insights into how other service utility organisations have established successful Consulting businesses
  • Defined a robust set of design principles and considerations for reference throughout the operating model design exercise
  • Identified and shortlisted a set of structural options following a complete option evaluation in terms of feasibility and suitability
  • Conducted end-to-end scenario testing, using carefully selected in-flight example bids, across the shortlisted structural options
  • Refined the final structural model based on outputs of the scenario testing, for proposing to the client’s Finance Committee.

transport case study Curzon Consultin

The results

  • A benchmarking report, providing a crystallised view of the comparator landscape, including assessment of comparator suitability, and a summary of key insights and recommendations
  • A report outlining the full assessment of entity options against a set of robust criteria and the rationale for down-selection
  • A recommended structural model, clearly outlining three distinct entity options catering to the distinct requirements of each activity stream
  • A high-level timeline illustrating implementation options and a trajectory of maturity
  • A concise, crisp report containing key messaging for the Client to socialise to key stakeholders in order to secure Board approval

An award-winning team

Curzon consulting mca finalist 2019

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