skip to content

Cambridge Service Alliance

At the forefront of service transformation in the digital era
Introducing Industry Day - Dr Zaki tells us about this years Industry Conference

Dr Mohamed Zaki - Deputy Director of the Cambridge Service Alliance - Introducing Service Week Industry Conference 2017

Mohamed Zaki introduces this year's Cambridge Service Week - listen to find out all about this theme and speakers for 10 October 2017 'Bridging to New Services Technology.

Dr Mohamed Zaki, Deputy Director of the Cambridge Service Alliance, discusses the importance of using digital technology to ensure manufacturing firms who make the shift to services know what to do when and how to embark on the challenge of transformation.

At the CSA Industry Day Conference on October 10th delegates will hear how Emirates airline, Alibaba, IBM and Thales are making plans about “Bridging to new Service Technology” which is the talking point of the day.

While the keynote speakers from these global technology giants may be competitive by nature they will share some of their important industry experiences with members of the Alliance.   

In the podcast Dr Zaki  says the speed of change maybe catching some unawares but that this special University of Cambridge academic alliance with leading industrialists has led to some fruitful findings on what the best way of going about creating strategies, new innovative management cultures and road maps to successful technology change are.

Full Podcast Interview:

Video Introduction:

Dr Zaki says:

  • Firms are experimenting to understand more about how they can use new technology in a professional way and how it can impact their business opportunities to change the dynamics of their interactions with their customers as well. Some firms see the vision of it and try to implement it and use a top down approach while others may have a champion or one business unit that does that type of implementation and then also to test it in order to transform the whole company.
  • It is quite radical because we are living in an economy that is dynamic, it is customised, it is personalised, there is intense customer competition and you don’t always know what is driving it.   Some may want to be leaders in their market and others may want to wait.
  • We know that culturally some firms want to wait and see what others do and they learn from their successes or mistakes and they try to follow the tail of the industry leaders. Others culturally will take the risk of being first because they see the benefits that can be reaped from this type of transformation.
  • There are a lot of management frameworks that can help you to assess where you are in that type of transformation. They may look at the market and your customer, and internally your employees too to see if they are all ready for the change. You might ask if you want to be fully automated run by digital technology or are you going to build a new business model, like the IOT platforms?
  • Today’s technology is different from any past IT transformation. It is a fast pace of change. The new maturity and the technology that we have at the moment and the nature of the start-ups that try to disrupt the market without any capital or costs makes companies worried about their position. They have to be on their toes.
  • Our CSA research suggests you need to pilot and test and pilot and test and you need to see which model is going to work for you and you can then see if it is the right one for you or not.
  • We see a lot of examples of that, we are living in the World of data and analytics that allow companies to come up with new ideas and to do it fast, and to penetrate the market quicker. Today’s start-ups have the culture of failing and they don’t worry about losing anything, and if they succeed they can threaten the position of the big firms.
  • The ecosystems that develop around your firm allow you to understand all the players and how they can complement the skills you might not have. Collaboration with Universities is important as well, and to work with others to keep innovating and innovating to build a lot of services and solutions to differentiate you from your competitors.
  • We have a number of speakers from big brands at our Industry Day who are on that journey of transformation. We have B2B firms and B2C and technology pioneers and there are different lessons we can learn from them. They can assess the challenges to address on the digital transformation and also how they can help their customers too.
  • We will ask how are these digital transformations changing their thinking about the new business model opportunities? How are they addressing their competition and what are the challenges they need to address in their strategies? What are the technologies they are using and how are they designing their customer experience? The three themes we will be exploring are getting the right business model, the customer experience and how to operate seamlessly.
  • Emirates will talk about travel experience and their use of technology.  Alibaba succeeds in China and we need to understand that type of market and more about their digital platform. Thales is big in rail and defence services and cyber security and we will look at how they go through that journey of transformation. IBM is looking at cognitive computing and its Watson analytics and how it helps their customers and their vision of the future for the technology. 
  • At the CSA we have been looking at how we can capitalise on the techniques of machine learning to allow us to manage and monitor customer experience. We think in terms of would you like to understand more on how to measure your customer satisfaction? One metrics is not enough. With machine learning you can use these techniques more to allow you to understand your customer better and to learn what type of frictions happen while they are interacting with you and how you can design a better experience for your customers in the future.
  • The key takeaways will be how the B2C are making a seamless experience for their customers, what are the technologies being used to allow prototyping and also come up with new business model opportunities for their firms. How firms can design the right experience for their customers, and how they address the challenges while they are on that journey.
  • Everything now is dematerialised and platforms and social media are allowing people to share experiences. The technology has its advantages so it allows you to do things seamlessly and quicker but at the same time everything is networked, interconnected and transparent.
  • There is a lot of debate about where AI is going in the future and whether machines will replace humans. I don’t think AI will fully replace humans, but it will help us to take decisions more efficiently and accurately than before. AI can process information better and quicker than us.

 You can find out more about the conference here.

Cambridge Service Alliance

Welcome to the Cambridge Service Alliance…

  • a unique global alliance between leading businesses and universities;
  • bringing together the world's leading firms and academics;
  • all of whom are devoted to delivering today the tools, education and insights needed for the complex service solutions of tomorrow.


Follow us on Twitter

Latest news

Bouygues Construction joins the Cambridge Service Alliance

27 May 2021

We are delighted to announce that Bouygues Construction has joined the Cambridge Service Alliance, Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), University of Cambridge as a new industry member alongside our existing partners HCL Technologies , Caterpillar Inc. , Perkins Engines Company Limited and CEMEX . Press release

'Using AI to Track How Customers Feel — In Real Time' published in the Harvard Business Review

13 May 2021

The paper 'Using AI to Track How Customers Feel — In Real Time' by Mohamed Zaki, Janet R. McColl-Kennedy and Andy Neely has been published in Harvard Business Review.

Industry Day 2020 | What we learnt

6 December 2020

What is the future of services in the new pandemic-driven era? This was the topic explored at our 2020 Industry Day by senior executives from L'Oréal, Microsoft Research, Manchester United and start-up, Fairjungle.