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Service Week 2018

Disruptor or disrupted? Harnessing digital technologies for the next-generation of services

Disruptor or disrupted? Harnessing digital technologies for the next-generation of services

Industry Day - 3 October 2018

The world is undergoing a technological revolution. Technologies such as Artificial intelligence (AI) and Block-chains will transform the way we live and work, from the way we diagnose and treat cancer to the security of online transactions. This fourth industrial revolution is of a scale, speed and complexity that is unprecedented. These technologies became an important source of competitive advantage in both B2C and B2B businesses.

It has become critical for companies to respond to market dynamics accurately and quickly. It is changing consumer behaviour, changing the way companies are organized and changing the role of “humans” in the marketplace. Thus, firms are currently facing a ‘crisis of immediacy’ challenge to meet consumers’ need to receive content, expertise, and personalized solutions in real time during their experience.

In this ‘Thought Leadership’ event, we heard from keynote speakers from big brands to discuss whether these technologies are the disruptors or disrupted and how firms can harness these digital next-generation technologies of services. 


9.15 Welcome by Professor Andy Neely, Pro-Vice-Chancellor & Director, Cambridge Service Alliance

How is Alexa always getting smarter?`

Craig Saunders, Head of Applied Science, Amazon Alexa Knowledge


Canon Business Information Services: disruptor or disrupted?

Sander Kuik, Director Services Delivery & Consulting, Canon BIS EMEA

Refreshment and networking


CEMEX delivering a Digital Superior Customer Experience

Homero Resendez, Head of Digital, CEMEX


Creating and harnessing exceptional customer value through a dedicated Customer Experience (CX) team and discipline.

Phil Wolfenden, Vice President, EMEAR, Cisco Customer Experience (CX)
13.00 Poster Presentations and Elevator Pitches
A summary of current research in the Cambridge Service Alliance.
13.15 Lunch

Customer Experience - Challenges and Opportunities in the digital era

Dr Mohamed Zaki, Deputy Director, Cambridge Service Alliance
Refreshments and networking
Roundtable Discussions: Applying the Lessons
  • Challenges and risks of digital technologies
  • Best practices and applications of digital technologies
  • Future of technology and ICT infrastructure
  • New business models and future of smart services
16.15 Panel Session: with Keynote Speakers and Partner Representatives
17.00 Wrap-up and Close



How is Alexa always getting smarter?

Craig Saunders, Head of Applied Science, Amazon Alexa Knowledge

Voice assistants such as Alexa are now used by millions of people every day. The technical challenges in bringing such devices and services together for general use to reach this point were significant – but we are only scratching the surface of the potential and opportunity.   In this talk, Craig will describe some of the innovation inside Alexa, including examples of the machine learning and natural language processing research and engineering challenges they have overcome.  He will also give insight into innovating inside a product which is very much in the public eye.

Craig Saunders is Head of Applied Science at Alexa Knowledge. He leads a team working on making Alexa smarter through machine learning and natural language processing techniques that enable her to respond better to user questions.  Prior to joining Amazon, he was Director of the Analytics Resource Centre for Xerox Services.  Craig has led machine learning research and delivered a number of big data solutions across different industries.

Canon Business Information Services: disruptor or disrupted?

Sander Kuik, Director Services Delivery & Consulting, Canon BIS EMEA, Canon 


How do big corporates face the era of disruption? For many years Canon BIS is active in information supply chain services. Technology is advancing in an increasing speed, disrupting the current business models. As a global corporation Canon is moving forward into the new era through changing their business models and embracing automation. On business unit level the challenges are no differences and the delicate balance between current and future, disruptor or disrupted is a true high rope act. In the keynote, Sander Kuik will share an insight in the mechanics of a technology products company delivering business services in a changing environment. How to overcome the corporate jungle and become agile and selective disruptive, internally and externally.

Sander Kuik studied Geography & Information Technology at the Fontys University for applied Science and Business Services at the Rotterdam School of Management / Erasmus University.  He started his professional career as a teacher. He worked as a principal consultant with Capgemini in the domain of engagement management and strategy consulting before joining Canon Europe.

Within Canon Europe, Sander is responsible for Services Delivery & Consulting within Canon Business Information Services EMEA designing and delivering digital transformations for customers and the internal organisation. Within his current line of business, new business and operating models and digital technology play an important role.

CEMEX delivering a Digital Superior Customer Experience

Homero Resendez, Digital Enablement Vice President, CEMEX

Founded in 1906, CEMEX has grown rapidly from being a local player to one of the top global building materials companies. A few years ago, the company committed itself to provide the best customer experience throughout the full customer journey. After listening to more than 3,000 customers worldwide, the company deeply understood the customers’ pain points and redesigned its commercial policies and processes to create the best possible experience for them. CEMEX embarked on a Digital Transformation journey and launched CEMEX Go, an integrated digital solution which covers all CEMEX’s customer segments and products and enables its clients to increase their productivity, make better business decisions and enjoy more control over their businesses.

CEMEX Go has already been implemented in Mexico, USA, Colombia, UK, Germany, France, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and El Salvador. It is expected to reach the rest of the countries by the end of 2018. In this keynote, Homero Resendez will talk about the key enablers of this Digital Transformation. The adoption of new methodologies and ways of working to support accelerated product development practices, researching and piloting emerging technologies, and how CEMEX developed a new digital mindset within the organization. 

Homero Resendez has worked at CEMEX for almost 30 years. He was appointed as Vice President of Digital Enablement, leading CEMEX Digital Transformation. Homero owns a vast experience in IT, Business Process Consulting, Process Design and Re-design, Process Standardization Strategy & Implementation, Organization Design, Project and Change Management and Business Processes & IT outsourcing. He studied Computer Systems Engineering and owns a Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering & Operations Research both from ITESM in Monterrey, Mexico.

Creating and harnessing exceptional customer value through a dedicated Customer Experience (CX) team and discipline

Phil Wolfenden, Vice President, EMEAR, Cisco Customer Experience (CX) 

In a market that is moving rapidly toward recurring revenue as a key driver of value and customer satisfaction, how can traditional Services vendors evolve their talent, structure, processes and tools to bring powerful and innovative solutions that solve our customers' most challenging problems. And, do this whilst driving revenue, increasing efficiencies and attracting the best people.

Phil Wolfenden, Vice President of Cisco’s Customer Experience (CX) Centres in EMEAR, to support the delivery of the full CX portfolio for a seamless customer experience done efficiently and at scale. Phil’s 900-strong team focus on delivering technical assistance (TAC), centralised project delivery, centralised high-touch support, sourced support, managed services and global logistics focussed on delivering outstanding service. Previously at Cisco, Phil led the $2 billion Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia (EMEAR) Technical Services Organisation. Phil specialises in delivering services that help customers and partners ensure business continuity, mitigate risk, and maintain compliance. During his time as Senior Director of Advanced Services (AS) in Emerging Markets, Phil built a $400M professional services business across the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Growing the AS business by more than 70% each year, and establishing Technical Centres-of-Excellence in 22 countries.

With almost 30 years of IT and Networking industry experience, Phil’s career spans executive and management positions. Phil joined the Technical Assistance Centre (TAC) in Brussels, Belgium in 1997. He is a graduate of Newcastle University in the UK, is a Chartered Engineer and a Cisco Certified Internet Expert (CCIE). He is a principal advocate for inclusion and diversity in the workplace and is the Executive Sponsor for the Disability Action Network, Hidden Disabilities and Cisco Cancer Network. Phil also sits on numerous industry bodies, advisory boards and holds the position of Cisco Executive Sponsor on the British Black Business board and two international financial institutions. Phil has lived in a number of countries across the globe but currently resides in the UK with his wife, two children and five horses.

Customer Experience - Challenges and Opportunities in the digital era

Mohamed Zaki, Deputy Director, Cambridge Service Alliance

In an increasingly digital world, an excellent customer experience is more crucial than ever and businesses must understand what exactly a customer needs. Join us to hear more about customer experience in the digital era.






Interview with Sander Kuik, Canon for CSA Industry Day 2018

What are the key messages/themes for your talk at the CSA Industry Day?

When I started to write my talk, I began scratching my head about the theme of the conference: “Disruptor or Disrupted?” What do we actually mean by ‘disruption’? And has there really been a fundamental shift in how we are doing things?

When people talk about disruption, they tend to be referring to a change in business model, or the introduction of a new technology, or new way of working. But we’ve been making changes and improvements like this for the last decade and longer. In fact, improvement-seeking and progress has always been a feature of the business landscape.

So why is everyone so hyped at the moment about disruption?

What do you think is really happening? What kind of industry changes are we experiencing?

I think there are some significant changes going on – not necessarily because of specific technologies like mobile, AI, virtual reality – but because of the collective impact those technologies are having on how businesses operate, and how they can meet customer needs.

But interestingly, larger companies don’t always follow new trends very quickly. Actually, changes are often happening quite slowly, which isn’t what is implied when we talk about ‘disruption’.

Do you think that successful companies will be the ones who are embracing changes faster than others?

I think successful companies will be the ones who make smart decisions.

Current changes reflect a need to work in a different way, in a more networked, collaborative environment. I think this is proving difficult for traditional product manufacturers because there is a skills gap. They are not seen as digital companies, so don’t easily attract people with the skills, knowledge, mindset, and approach needed for this way of working. They are losing those people to the digital giants. But those are also the people we need for making smart decisions.

Do you consider Canon to be a disruptor, or to be disrupted?

It’s a bit of both. Like many other large manufacturing companies, Canon sometimes lacks the organizational culture to be geared up for making change quickly. There are other companies moving faster.

Canon’s business culture tends to avoid risky, big steps. Other companies ready to take higher risks may beat them to capitalise on new opportunities. But evolution can happen over a longer period of time.

How are decisions made about new technologies in your organisation?

In order to make good decisions, we need to understand where change is driven from. What are the reasons for making a change?

The Holy Grail is to find new technologies which improve several factors at once: speed to market, lower operational costs, higher customer satisfaction, etc. 

But decision-making is not clear cut for two main reasons. First, you need to have people with the knowledge and skills required to make strategic decisions about technology and to manage the transition.

Second, changes may involve discarding significant systems or parts of how things work at the moment. If, for example, you want to transition a delivery centre to digital from manual processes, you would need to retrain the workforce, invest in new resources, and abandon legacy systems. All of this costs money and time, so you have to be clear that the benefits are worth it.

What do you think drives technology adoption more widely?

We can think about drivers for change at consumer, business and government levels.

Consumer openness to technology makes a difference. If there is a change in consumer demands or expectations, or if competitors with alternative business models start taking market share, then that can stimulate companies to adopt new technologies.

At business level, change can be motivated by the need to reduce costs, increase speed to market, or make processes more efficient. With more complex business processes, this may take longer.

Sometimes legislation is driving change. For example, in The Netherlands, the government’s introduction of the digital ID has changed the way that information about citizens is handled. Or in Italy, citizens now need to communicate with government electronically. In both cases, this has increased the exchange of information, and the opportunities for individuals and organisations to interact electronically.

Overall, if we dig into what’s happening, usually the organisations are the limiting factor not the technology.

How do you think emerging technologies will change Canon’s operations in future?

At Canon we are structured around small business units, and often the motivation for change is pushed upwards from these units.

As a Business Services Unit, my group is different from the prevailing organisational culture in the product-based units, and we work in different ways. Some of our units are pushing through ‘disruption’ in the technological sense, with strategies around robotics, AI and more. Business Services is not driving change in this way, but Canon has taken the strategic decision not to separate out services as a separate entity, so we need to work hand-in-hand with our technology teams to offer products and services to customers that make sense as a portfolio.

I’m a geographer by background, and I like to imagine corporate culture as behaving a bit like tectonics – there is a build of pressure, then a small or large earthquake, and things change a bit but usually settle back to normal. So robotics or AI or self-driving cars might create some disturbance, but ultimately we need to keep working on the main objective which is to meet customer needs effectively.


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This event may contribute towards your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) as part of your professional institution's monitoring scheme. 


Accommodation is available at the Moller Centre for the night of Tuesday 2 October. For bookings, please contact the Moller Centre direct (Tel: +44 1223 465500) and quote KX Reference – 34971All rooms are en-suite with air-conditioning, free wifi, tv, tea and coffee making facilities and mini-bar. Further information is available here.

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This event may contribute towards your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) as part of your professional institution's monitoring scheme.


Substitutions may be made at any time. Bookings cancelled less than 10 working days prior to the event will be charged in full.

We reserve the right to modify the programme of any event up to the day of the event. It may, in exceptional circumstances, be necessary to cancel or rearrange an event at short notice. The CSA, IfM and IfM ECS can accept no liability for loss caused by cancellation or rearrangement. Its liability is limited to refund of the registration fee if the event is cancelled. For further information on our Terms and Conditions, please click here .

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