In this monthly post, I highlight some of the best thought-leadership articles and reports that cross
my desk. I note why they rise to the top of the pile and are worth reading (or skimming), even if they focus on functions or industries outside your areas of interest. Among the criteria I use to make the selections are freshness and provocativeness of insights and timeliness, analytical rigor, depth of prescriptions, and overall readability.
In the past few months, COVID-19 has dominated professional services firms’ thought-leadership output. More recently, firms have begun publishing on other topics. Below, I’ll review some of the more interesting work not related to COVID-19 they have produced.
Bain & Company
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Doing Agile Right
Agile may be the most-hyped management trend. Like many professional services firms, Bain has been promoting the merits of agile for several years in its thought leadership. Now, three of its consultants have taken the next step and published a book on the subject, Doing Agile Right. In the introduction, the authors state: “In this book we want to bring agile down to earth, to separate Agile Done Right from Agile Done Wrong.”
The BCG Henderson Institute discusses why Europe is behind China and the United States in development of artificial intelligence and what it could do to catch up. The authors are refreshingly blunt about Europe’s challenges—especially its struggle to commercialize AI. And they go as far as touching the third rail of thought leadership by characterizing a group of countries as “underperformers.”
“The good news: Not all is lost. There’s enormous potential for the development and deployment of AI technologies in Europe because of its large number of global, industry-leading, and world-class industrial companies. As AI becomes more important in the post-Covid-19 world, only companies that adopt the new AI-based digital rules of competition are likely to thrive. Thus, Europe’s companies must incorporate AI into the core of their operational and business models.”
BCG Henderson Institute
Europe can catch up in AI, but must act—today”
Capgemini offers a provocative view of the evolution of the fintech world and how incumbent banks might respond. “No longer simply disruptors, FinTechs have matured to become respected, global players with robust acquisition rates and profitability potential. It is up to incumbents to decide where to consider FinTechs formidable competitors or enabling allies.”
Capgemini Research Institute and Efma
World FinTech report 2020
Professional services firms have published extensively on the future of supply chains in the aftermath of
COVID-19. A report from Kearney highlights its seventh annual US “Reshoring Index,” looking back at 2019 trends in manufacturing imports and exports before the pandemic hit. The results won’t surprise business people following the trade conflict between China and the United States, but putting numbers to the trends is a valuable service.
Trade war spurs sharp reversal in 2019 Reshoring Index, foreshadowing COVID-19 test of supply chain resilience
This article from McKinsey Quarterly weighs in on the debate on stakeholder capitalism and long-term value creation versus short-termism. The authors recently published the seventh edition of Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies, one of the leading texts on this subject and from which the article was adapted.
“Particularly at this time of reflection on the virtues and vices of capitalism, we believe it’s critical that managers and board directors have a clear understanding of what value creation means. For today’s value-minded executives, creating value cannot be limited to simply maximizing today’s share price. Rather, the evidence points to a better objective: maximizing a company’s value to its shareholders, now and in the future.”
McKinsey & Company
The value of value creation”
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the transition from the London Interbank offered Rate (LIBOR) to alternative interest rates by 2021 seems to be proceeding. Trillions of dollars of financial products are tied to LIBOR. Authors from Promontory bring us up to date on the subject: “As firms adjust to the ‘new normal,’ we believe they may need to revisit their transition plans, which could prove challenging. Despite some milestones loosening, firms may find that significant progress needs to be made in a compressed timeframe — according to everything we have seen so far from regulators, 2020 is likely to remain the key year for LIBOR transition.”
The LIBOR transition
The LIBOR transition in the wake of COVID-19: Is your program in good health?”