Alchemy: Why look at technology?
Growing into our third decade, Alchemy has witnessed the dawn, and continued advance of dedicated Mobility/Relocations software. Over the years, various pioneering organisations (such as those highlighted within this material) have dedicated significant foresight and resources to the construction of technology products. Alchemy welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with these industry leading entities; these forward-thinkers are drawing us into a field of endeavour where great technological advances are being accomplished within the Relocation and Global Mobility industry, with multiple tech products now available on the market for a captive professional audience hungry for additional developments.
Opening the dialogue
Alchemy has invited discussion surrounding the technology subject and accordingly we have utilised our global network to approach some of our industry contacts. Influential members of the Relocations and Mobility technology community have stepped up to have their say when it comes to making predictions for the Future of Technology in the Relocation space. So in what direction is Global Mobility and Relocations technology heading? How are industry players aiming to address customer needs accordingly? Alchemy posed these key questions to our expert network and the results have been both intriguing and intuitive.
Answering the call
Several leading firms offering Global Mobility and Relocations technology products have answered the call, sharing their innovative expertise with Alchemy. Prominent contributors to the conversation include New York based Harry Dayton, President of Servicengine; London based Tim Wells, VP Technology Solutions at Equus Software; San Francisco based Sean Pratt, Marketing Manager and Global Mobility Specialist at MOVE Guides; and Richard Hooker, London based Director of Operations EMEA and APAC at AiReS. Alchemy is delighted to have the opportunity to share input provided by this community of experienced and knowledgeable professionals.
What does the market of the future want from technology?
Servicengine’s Harry Dayton kicked off the conversation: ‘The Amazon/Facebook generation demands empowerment. Transferring employees expect to have a suite of online tools available to help them monitor and control their move experience. An effective technology will offer these employees a high degree of empowerment and self-determination.’ Therefore it seems that user ascendancy and autonomy is something tech providers must continue to deliver to achieve success, particularly when faced with an increasingly online and social media focused client base.
So how is Servicengine fulfilling these needs? Harry gave Alchemy a well-rounded answer: ‘The Servicengine differentiator starts with our unique system architecture. Servicengine is designed as a series of interconnected modules, much like ERP system. This allows major components of the software, such as initiation, workflow and expense management to be easily embedded with other enterprise systems or even simple web applications.’ The need for new system integration with client’s existing systems and resulting customisation is a vital conclusion of our conversation with Harry.
What other customer requirements need to be met by future technology?
Tim Wells of Equus Software was kind enough to look back on his own career in answering this question, describing needs he encountered first-hand whilst working within the Global Mobility industry. ‘There is also a strong desire in most Mobility teams to reduce admin levels and provide a more advisory service to the business. When I worked in-house, I remember having log in details for separate technology solutions for each relocation vendor. Each service initiation required similar information to be input manually which took a lot of time and left room for human error with the input.’ Tim clearly highlights the relentless battle between service delivery and time, and pinpoints technology as a solution.
What is Equus doing to resolve these issues? Tim was purposeful in his response: ‘To address this from a technology perspective, we developed the Equus Ecosystem, a hub through which clients can connect their instances of AssignmentPro [Equus’ flagship product] with the systems used by their relocation vendors. By making this connection, clients and vendors are able to send and receive data, initiations, service updates and documents between systems, reducing manual input and administration.’ Successful integration with vendor technology is definitely a time saver which will likely become an ever more present feature of Mobility and Relocations technology in future.
How does the direction of Global Mobility affect the course of Mobility and Relocations technology?
Sean Pratt of MOVE Guides eloquently answered this question by confirming what many industry professionals will have already suspected ‘There are more mobile employees than ever before. At the same time, the sophistication and complexity of international immigration and tax authorities has never been higher. With these two facts in play, it has never been more important to have a commanding grasp over your Mobility program – where are your mobile employees, how long have they been there, and how much has been spent on them? ’ Dependable software is the tool that industry professionals rely on to achieve this task.
So how will technology affect service quality in future?
‘When thinking of the future of Global Mobility, we see a world where high quality service delivery (actually getting your employee from point A to B) is standard and the technology you’re provided to oversee and manage your Mobility program provides the true value to your HR organization and business….’ From Sean’s well-informed response it is easy to infer that the future of Relocations technology lies with the need of businesses to deliver customer service of distinction – how effectively a technology product enables this process is key to its success as on-going asset, ever-evolving industry practice and its technology are irrevocably linked.
Sean went on to tell Alchemy ‘For this reason MOVE Guides’ focus has continually been on creating the platform for Global Mobility management – a centralized management hub with all the data from your Mobility program. Creating this platform requires bringing together all of the disparate pieces of Global Mobility (from immigration, to tax, to supply chain, to employee details) together under a single “digital roof.” With a platform in place a world of insight and management efficiencies never before possible is now at your fingertips.’
How is Relocations and Global Mobility technology responding to increasing needs for customer responsiveness?
Richard Hooker of Aires highlighted the increasingly mobile nature of technology: ‘The technology available for customer support and interaction will continue to evolve, with a move towards transparent access to information on a 24×7 global basis, including immediate access to support via email, interactive web, smartphone/mobile device applications, telephone, videoconferencing, and various combinations of these media… In watching different trends, we can see that there will be a growing demand for customer self-service applications designed to support both the corporate relocation staff as well as the individual transferee.’
So what is Aires doing to answer to these access orientated challenges? Richard told Alchemy ‘Aires is well-positioned to respond to this demand due to the strength of our proprietary Relocation management program IRIS (Integrated Relocation Information System) and online technology platforms. Applications will be targeted at streamlining the administrative tasks associated with relocation, providing real-time status updates and reporting, and conveying detailed Relocation information tailored to specific transferees. We anticipate a convergence of Relocation Provider and customer systems, through the use of business-to-business eCommerce interfaces, which allows for a more seamless integration between the systems of the various touch points involved in Relocation.’
From Alchemy’s broad perspective Relocations and Global Mobility (both in-house and provider) is now almost completely reliant on technology, and this is only set to increase. We agree with Harry Dayton who stated ‘In many instances, technology is not a crucial element of the offering, it is the offering.’ As a result Alchemy can confirm that demand for tech savvy industry talent is on an upward trajectory. We are regularly supporting clients with their requirements for tech focused Analysts, Project Managers and Implementation Managers – all with Relocations or Global Mobility backgrounds.
There is high value to be found in the experience of Professionals with a combination of Mobility and Technology based knowledge whom can understand and provide insight on Relocations or Mobility pitfalls and the ways in which software can address these issues. Alchemy therefore predicts recruitment for technology focused roles within the Relocations and Global Mobility sector will continue to rise, and rise rapidly…
Written by Katie Smith – Executive Assistant at Alchemy Global Talent Solutions