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Today, Sima joins Gary Laben, the former CEO of Dynata, and Jason Sobel, Head of U.S. Advisory, Evercore Partners, for a panel discussion hosted by Dynata on reinventing and reinvesting.
Sima is a research practitioner. She worked on the supplier side early in her career and had some experience on the client side at IBM, understanding how people use information. Then she worked at the NPD Group before becoming an entrepreneur. She currently does advisory services and investment banking through Oberon Securities and has a podcast.
For the last 25 years, Jason has been doing investment banking, mergers, and acquisitions in information media and marketing. Before that, he was a singer and songwriter.
Common threads that exist amongst companies that thrive in the current environment and any rapidly-changing environment.
Sima feels that leadership and employee experience are critical to activate, motivate, and inspire people to produce good quality work. Since Covid, it has also become necessary to account for the mental component and look at the entire person and their life to inspire them to do good work.
For companies to thrive in challenging times, Jason feels they must laser-focus on talent development. He also believes that companies must challenge their employees to innovate, be fearless, and go forth unafraid.
Leadership is no longer about command and control. It is about understanding where people are, meeting them there, and motivating them to do better.
Investors and buyers
Now more than ever, investors and buyers look for focused teams that deliver value for shareholders or buyers. There is currently a lot more concern about risk and uncertainty. Sima feels that investors are asking for way too much right now.
What companies that are thriving in the information services world are doing
In addition to employees, thriving data companies in the information services world are incorporating more and more AI, analytics, and technology to move up the value chain from descriptive to prescriptive data. That requires more data of all types to be fused, aggregated, synthesized, and integrated in real-time to form an accurate picture. Those companies are also being empathetic about what their clients are going through. So instead of just selling their world of data, they are being more consultative and understanding which other data assets they can infuse into their prescriptive recommendations and insights.
Some companies are now looking at a layer of software that allows them to democratize a lot of data within an organization.
A tech-enabled services layer
Companies and clients require customer service and help. Yet, Jason has found that many data and technology companies resist the tech-enabled service layer, even though it is a critical component. He feels that it is essential for companies to have a services layer to thrive.
The four components that make for a good business in information services:
- Domain expertise
How do companies deliver value to investors?
Investors are looking to drive long-term shareholder values. A long-term shareholder value is sustainable and has terminal value. That is a moat, which is what investors try to assess. So companies can deliver value to investors by looking for different sources of moats. Other things investors look for in information companies are barriers to entry and the sustainable shareholder value they can create.
Some other critical components that may be overlooked that investors look for in a business
Investors look for the value created in a business. They often look at the worst-case scenario and see there is something of value they can ultimately use to recoup their investment. Investors may also look at the agility of a business and its ability to respond.
Sometimes, thriving companies get lazy and comfortable. So they overlook what’s around the corner and miss things that are right in front of them.
What the future holds for the industry
Sima feels that if people in the industry are bold and fearless, their information applications could expand to a broader sector.
Jason feels we are in the second inning of a data revolution. He finds it exciting to see how quickly the industry has moved from brand-centric to customer-centric because that will provide unlimited opportunities for efficient and effective one-to-one marketing at scale in real-time, using data, in the future. The scary part for him is the integration of technology and data. He fears that the new competitive set is the tech giants who will come downmarket into the data world and end up owning it entirely.
If the industry, as a sector, can be fearless and agile, Gary feels it can be relevant across a myriad of places in time.
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Competition Demystified by Bruce Greenwald