Cambridge Service Alliance Industry Day

On Wednesday 16 October, the Cambridge Service Alliance hosted its annual industry day at which keynote speakers from some of the world’s leading companies shared their insights into the challenges and opportunities of developing digitally-enabled service businesses.


Watch a video of the event here:



The programme explored these topics in a range of excellent keynote talks, as well as workshops and researcher lightning presentations.


How to benefit from the Fifth Wave of Computing

Graham Budd, President and COO of Cambridge success story Arm, talked about the ‘Fifth Wave of Computing’, resulting from the convergence of three technologies: IoT, AI and 5G. Together they will give us access to unprecedented amounts of data as well as the means to analyse that data and derive insights from it – using 5G connectivity – in real time.


For Budd, the challenge is how to maximise the potential of this new wave of computing. In order to derive real value from it, he contended, you need standardised, industry-wide infrastructure otherwise everyone is reinventing the wheel and getting nowhere fast. And that requires a “collaborative mindset that builds trust across the ecosystem and acts as a powerful accelerator of innovation.”


Putting the customer first

Sheldon Hee, General Manager UK and Ireland, Singapore Airlines, described the customer-led digital transformation programme undertaken by his firm over the last seven years.  Hee emphasised: “Digital is not just about the technology, it’s about understanding the problem, knowing what our customers and staff need and being able to anticipate and deliver that proactively.”


The programme has had on impact on all aspects of the business, providing insight and intelligence to enable, for example, more seamless and highly personalised customer service, the recruitment of high performing front-line staff and more reliable scheduling.


Achieving competitive advantage through digital

Cambridge Service Alliance partner HCL Technologies is the world’s largest provider of third-party research and development services. For Ashish Gupta, Corporate Vice-President, Head of EMEA, this means helping customers like Manchester United to get value from digital.


According to Gupta, it’s those businesses that are moving beyond back office efficiency to transform first their business processes and then their entire business model that are achieving real competitive advantage through digitalisation.


The ‘digital first’ perspective

Offering a different perspective on digitalisation was Alex Bazin, Managing Director of FLEC, a digital start-up joint venture with DHL which has set up a new platform-based business to help logistics firms recruit staff who want to work flexibly. The issues for FLEC are very different from those facing multinationals. Establishing a new digital business is not easy but it has the benefit of being almost infinitely scaleable and with no legacy system – or mindset – to overcome. 


Understanding your customers

Whatever the size of your organisation or its stage on the digital journey, understanding what your customers are thinking, feeling and doing is fundamental to your success. Dr Mohamed Zaki, Deputy Director of the Cambridge Service Alliance, concluded the talks by explaining how the research he is leading applies machine learning to the language customers use and combines the outputs with conventional approaches such as Net Promoter Scores to produce valuable and actionable insights about the customer experience.


The day also included workshops exploring the CSA’s key research themes and a series of three-minute presentations from CSA researchers on a range of topics including: digital transformation strategies, customer experience analytics, putting blockchain into practice and developing an Industry 4.0 maturity model.


Register your interest for the 2020 Cambridge Service Alliance Industry Day here:

Date published

21 October 2019

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