Previous IORMA Roundtables

Previous IORMA Private Roundtables

23 November 2016

Mapping the world around you

This IORMA roundtable, hosted by Ordnance Survey Geovation in Clerkenwell, London EC1, examined the value of geo location data, mapping and visualisation, and how this is developing through innovation by start up firms helped by the OS Geovation Hub.

For IORMA, Barbara Walker summarised the relevance of different aspects of geo location for businesses at all parts of consumer supply networks, including identification addresses and of individuals, and urge development of technologies for driverless cars. 

For OS Geovation, Laura Alderson and Gauri Kangai showed the Ordnance Survey business model as a publicly owned, independently run entity which provides both proprietary and open data to business users, and supports innovative start ups in this field via advice, funding and collaborative workspace.  Two of these start ups, KeyNest and Urban Intelligence, showed how they add value for Airbnb and for all involved in the planning process.

Discussion among the guests covered:

  • New ways to source funding
  • Need for solutions that cross national and regional boundaries
  • The strength of well structured and visualised data in speeding up decision making both by management and by policy makers.
  • The need for smarter addressing systems, based on geo-coding, in logistics and local deliveries
  • The quantity of data being collected by the pioneers of driverless cars, and other ways that it could be used.  Can it be crowd sourced?
  • The growing importance of mobile and other devices in providing both personal identity and point of delivery for services.
  • The need for fast moving businesses of all sizes to have instant access to data
  • Developments in blockchain and distributed ledger in transferring data of this kind
  • Visualising the land use characteristics of cities centres.  Scope for expanding this to smaller towns and rural areas
  • The need not only for access to open data, but for better integration between data sets
  • Readiness of individuals to forgo ownership in favour of getting a better deal by renting or hiring

See the presentations by


 18th October 2016

Brands and retailers working together to convert online customer interest to offline sales, given the growth of digital-led customer journeys?

This roundtable, hosted by Google at its offices in London WC2, was chaired by Nick Pendleton, IORMA’s COO and Research Director, who outlined IORMA’s keenness to keep its Associates up to date with developments in this as in other aspects of global consumer commerce. 

For Google, Matt Simpson Client Lead, Global and Agency Solutions, showed the latest developments in the way that Google enables brands and retailers to give their customers a consistent and easy journey through the stages of interest, research and purchase.

The old world where brands and retailers cooperate and share budgets to influence purchase in store now needs to change to reflect the fact that most discovery is done on-line and this now greatly informs purchase decisions made in store.

Ricardo Varela, founder of Localistico, a local marketing start up that is collaborating closely with Google, showed how his solution is designed to enable business owners and chains to ensure that their business locations and information online is up to date – quickly and easily. 

Ricardo explained that there is an increasing challenge for companies with physical locations to drive footfall and be found – this needs a new online approach. The fastest growing category of Google and other platform’s search is now local search and most searches never end up on a company website but instead on a search platform. These platforms aim to increasingly be the end destination for searchers, containing maps, photos, contact details, opening hours and reviews.  Typically these details are inconsistent across different platforms (e.g. google vs bing) and often have wrong information. The challenge is to manage and update these platforms as well as a companies’ own website. This is where companies like Localistico seek to help.

Discussion among the roundtable guests covered these areas:

  • The changing power of advertising, with agencies buying customer data from retailers
  • Difficulties in access to data from social media ads
  • Using social media to track changes in consumer attitudes and practices
  • Difficulty for a major company in keeping up with which social media are most relevant for fast changing categories of customer
  • The particular interests of a luxury store with a strategy of limiting the number of its outlets to a few selected locations.  How it can use online and mobile in ways that reinforce its brand profile
  • How customers can use the internet to seek out suppliers who prefer a low profile
  • Current and changing consumer attitudes to proactive marketing based on data supplied by themselves
  • Can product manufacturers and brands rely on retailers for their marketing and sales?  They may have outlets and product ambassadors in other sectors, e.g. healthcare, travel, leisure
  • Problems that in store concessions may have in getting customer data from store owners

13th October 2016

Reaching the new generations in new ways

A breakfast was hosted by Christine De Largy, MD of Impact Executives and Head of the specialist Retail/Consumer and Private Equity Practices (Harvey Nash).

As a Board member of IORMA, Christine will hosted and lead a discussion over breakfast at Home House, London W1.  Her previous breakfast discussion concluded that although everyone believes big data and AI are critical for future success, neither is anything without insight into the customer’s experience and journey – both quantitative and qualitative.  Leaders must create and reinforce  a culture for innovation and success.  The impact of Generation Z, and indeed Generation-i, unveils a whole new set of challenges and opportunities. These radically different customers demand justice, authenticity and community  (McCann Erickson).  So – how will our businesses need to evolve to embrace and engage with the new consumers of 2020?

Read the review of this Roundtable here:  

” Gen Z are focused on social reputation and rely more heavily on virtual communities over face to face for recommendations “

7 July 2016
New Designers show and business reception

IORMA partnered with the Knowledge Transfer Network at the New Designers show in Islington London N1 in July.  Demonstrating the new skills that young people are developing to create new products and services forms an important part of IORMA’s offer to companies, because the upcoming generation provides both the customers and the competitors of today’s brands and businesses.

24 May 2016

Data privacy management – the new EU rules

A breakfast roundtable at the Charlotte Street Hotel London W1 hosted by TRUSTe

This was a private meeting organised by IORMA Board member TRUSTe for data privacy professionals to discuss how best to respond to new EU data privacy rules that will soon apply to all companies, wherever they are based, that process private data of EU residents.  Ralph O’Brien, EU Principal Consultant and Eleanor Treharne-Jones, VP Consulting at TRUSTe illustrated different methods, and guests compared and contrasted their own approaches.  For more information on the timing and implications of the new EU General Data Protection Regulation click here ………………

28 April 2016

3D Printing – exploring the impact on consumers and brands

An IORMA private roundtable hosted by My Mini Factory held at: iMakr Store 79 Clerkenwell Road London EC1R 5AR, 28 April 2016 6pm to 8pm

Attendees were from organisations including BBC, KPMG, Cancer Research UK, Shoosmiths LLP, UKTI, Moving Food and Somo.

See video links below to take the opportunity to find out how an IORMA private roundtable feels, and what you can learn from a lively, dedicated group of your business peers & others interested in the subject, that you may not meet otherwise.

Topics discussed included:

  • When an individual consumer is doing their own design, customisation and delivery of the product, what place is there for the retailer and for the brand?
  • How seriously will IP threats compromise 3D innovation?
  • What are the parallels with the music industry & with You Tube?
  • How fast are 3D printing machines, materials and design skills evolving to make this technology accessible to all?
  • How significant is the opportunity for smaller businesses and start-ups – will the advantages fall mainly to major corporations?
  • What are the environmental implications – will this create more waste?
  • Will the market be dominated by big brands and corporates or will start ups be able to seize disruptive opportunities?
  • What will be the impact on global supply chains, will we see far more localised manufacture and how will this be organised?
  • What is the role and impact of education in schools? How much is happening today to build the skills for the future? Discussion of the BBC micro bit programme.

Overall the group concluded the following:


  • 3D printing in the medical, manufactoring and spare part sectors is now maturing and will become significant.
  • Other areas such as food, fashion and clothing are likely to take longer to evolve into true business opportunities and see significant impact on consumers.
  • There are a number of near term barriers to overcome (such as design skills, appropriate software and hardware, clear IP frameworks) for significant traction to take hold in the home, consumer sector.
  • But, as companies like My Mini Factory illustrate, there are some niches that are seeing significant growth including jewellery design, fan art, gaming etc.
  • 3D printing forms part of a broader makers movement & trend towards personalisation and as such it is important for brands, retailers, governments and us all to monitor and engage with.

Experience the event

View the  introduction by John Andrews, Chairman and CEO, IORMA

View the presentation on the 3D market by Nick Pendleton, COO and Research Director IORMA

Obtain a free copy of Nick Pendleton’s presentation here 3D Printing - exploring the impact on consumers and brands
Sample the feel of an IORMA Roundtable event and dip into the areas discussed
by watching the videos below


View the discussions led by Romain Kidd, CEO, My Mini Factory 

Romain Kidd discusses the My Mini initiative with the BBC to grow interest in STEM skills in the next generation

14 April 2016
Data, data everywhere – who is best placed to make sense of it?

A breakfast roundtable at Home House London W1, hosted by Impact Executives/Harvey Nash.

We all feel swamped by data, and our natural reaction is to tie it all together, to deliver consistent experiences across every interaction.  Digital analysis makes big promises to sort it all out, and produce meaningful communications with our most important others – our customers.

But is analysis the best way?  Perhaps businesses actually need a digital story-teller to take the lead, planning and creating new customer experiences based on instinct and empathy, using data analytics as an add on.

In recent roundtables, many participants have preferred to abandon 99% accuracy in all predictions, settling perhaps for 70%, and creating a series of options to investigate and test.  Is this a sensible approach, or are we underestimating what the number crunchers can do?

christine-de largyRead a review of this Roundtable by Christine de Largy here

Christine de Largy
IORMA Board Member

Chair UK Board Practice
Harvey Nash

1 March 2016
Luxury and technology; do they make a happy couple?

A roundtable at Somo Lab in London at which Somo COO Carl Uminski, IORMA’s luxury director Pandora Mather-Lees and Caroline Iannello, product director at Moët Hennessy gave their perspectives on the essence of luxury for different customers, and on people’s feelings about the most innovative products and ways to acquire and use them.

Luxury and Techhnology  Read a review of the Roundtable here 


IORMA Summer Reception 2015

Our roundtables so far this year culminated in IORMA’s Summer Reception hosted on the evening of 15 July at the offices of Powa Technologies, on the 35th floor overlooking the City of London. 120 guests gathered for an evening of keen and lively conversation over drinks and canapes. Powa CEO Dan Wagner, a Board member of IORMA, gave his vision of business change into the future.

POWA LogoDan Wagner - IORMA


John Andrews - 02IORMA Chairman and CEO John Andrews described how IORMA is responding to its Associates’ priorities and needs, by helping understanding of developments in society and technology that are changing the ways in which business with consumers is done.

Thank you to all our many Guests who kindly commented:

‘Thanks for a great evening – most enjoyable, and more importantly I met some really interesting people’……’a splendid event last night: so good to meet such a cross range of people’………… ‘Thank you so much for inviting us to the Summer Reception – it was a fabulous event and we met some incredibly interesting and useful people. And we loved the view! ‘……..’IORMA is an absolute font of interesting thought leadership’

Global Consumer Commerce - The Shape of Things to Come - Slide 1

IORMA - Looking at things from another perspective

Looking at things ... from the 7 billion global consumers perspective


Appian Logo 2

Transforming the customer experience with digital connectivity and mobility.

A breakfast discussion was hosted by Appian at the Goring Hotel, London SW1

Tuesday 9th June 2015 from 8.30 am to 10.00 am

Online and mobile connectivity can deliver consumer services faster and at lower cost than traditional channels.

Having a modern and responsive website for online, mobile, and offline transactions is only half of the journey – you also need effective operations and efficient processes for all transactions across multiple channels.

Appian and a major client in the leisure sector will demonstrate how better connectivity across information, processes, people, systems can help to transform the customer experience.

At this breakfast briefing for consumer facing companies across the sectors, guests discussed discuss these examples and their own thoughts and experience, in an informal exchange under the Chatham House rule.


Oxygen8 LogoMastering multi-channel journeys: making engagement pay 

 A research presentation and panel  discussion hosted by Oxygen8 in London EC4

Thursday 28 May 2015

Simon Brennan, Head of Corporate Sales at Oxygen8 joined with IORMA in holding this afternoon presentation and panel discussion.

The roundtable opened with a presentation by Nick Lane, Mobile Insight analyst at Mobilesquared, of Oxygen8’s recent research into how consumers are using mobile devices to connect with brands, and which high-street brands are making mobile engagement pay.  This research showed that:

  • Over 31 million (92%) UK mobile users will make payments with their mobile device in 2015.
  • A further 24% of users said their spend on mobile would increase with additional payment platforms available at the point of purchase, such as carrier billing
  • 75% of businesses will use four different channels to connect with their customers ‑ typically their brand’s website, social media, email and either app or SMS up to the point of purchase. However, following purchase the number of channels used drops to around two.
  • 10.8% of consumers will increase their spend with the business following relevant engagement, and a further 24% will be positively influenced
  • Engagement gold: Almost 50% of connected mobile users are attracted to vouchers and promotions

Simon Brennan summarised how Oxygen8 is building on these findings in developing its services to consumer facing businesses.

Global Consumer Commerce - The Shape of Things to Come - Slide 1

John Andrews, IORMA’s Chairman and CEO, illustrated IORMA’s latest thinking on the trends in society and technology will shape future relationships between consumers and business.  Connectivity, linked with the richer analysis of data enabled by intelligent systems, will enable both businesses and their customers to do new things in new ways.  Similar innovation in design and manufacture will enable dramatic changes in the way that products can be customised and logistics transformed.Global Consumer Commerce - The Shape of Things to Come - Slide 2

Panel members, including also Adam Crickmar from Barclays, Chris Taplin from Oracle and Andy Bolter from Pepper, gave their perspectives on these developments and their expectations of what may follow – both as business leaders and as users of connected communications.


 Pythian Logo


28 April 2015
Personalising your customers’ experience
A private IORMA roundtable hosted by Pythian at Rocket Restaurant in central London 5.30pm to 7pm, followed by a drinks reception and networking.

IORMA Associate Pythian hosted this event in order to explore with others in the IORMA community a topic of crucial importance to all businesses dealing with consumers.  Customer data is of great value to your business – as it is to your competitors’.  The data that you gather from your customers, whether online, via mobile, cards or social media, helps you to know both the broad profile and the individual characteristics of your customers. But one crucial thing you need to know is – how keen are your customers about your having that knowledge? Do they know how much you know about them? And when you target them with tailored offers – are they charmed by your approach, or do they find it intrusive? The collection and use of customer data is expanding rapidly – how are people’s attitudes to that changing? And if people start to walk away from sharing, disaffected by the intrusion that they sense from so many sources – might they include some of your most valuable customers?

Guests from UK and global logistics, advertising, newspaper publishing, Board level communications and innovation shared their perceptions as businesses, and also as users of online communications.  Several felt that although customers had initially been intrigued by new ways to use mobile links in store, they were beginning to sense intrusion.  These people were increasingly aware of the potential risks of having their personal information shared, with growing publicity about misuse of eg health data.  Not everyone was charmed by being personally greeted, or having relevant offers directed to them based on their previous purchasing habits – many preferred to engage on their own terms.  And businesses had to be aware of what their competitors were doing – a customer who finds your competitors intrusive will switch off your communications as well.  Two of the participants were definitely in the Millennial generation, and gave vivid illustrations of how differently their peers acted in the connected world.  This was a particularly frank exchange on a business issue subject to constant change.  We will return to it in a future


Connectivity in retail sites
A working breakfast hosted by Viewsy at St Katharine Dock London E1
29 January 2015

As a fast growing suppler of in-store analytics, IORMA Associate Viewsy wanted to take the experience of businesses at all parts of the supply chain on how in-store traffic data can help location based businesses keep up with online and mobile advances.  CEO Odera Ume-Ezeoke gave an overview of ways to track how customers move, and and how they prefer to interact at different parts of their journeys.  This generated a keen discussion of the multi faceted relationships that people want to have with the businesses supplying them, and how using online and mobile data in new ways can stimulate performance and commitment of in store staff.  The participants also came up with ideas on how measurement and analytics can help store maintenance, parking etc work better.  And they identified a need for store owners and retail parks to work more closely on sharing data, to ensure better usage with less pressure on customers.


New directions in connectivity
A visit to Somo Lab in Shoreditch, London, UK
31 October 2014

This private visit to Somo Global’s Innovation Lab in Shoreditch attracted senior people from Alliance Boots, Google, Barclays, Unilever and Royal Mail and other IORMA Associates, to see and hear how Somo’s innovation team explores the changing world of connectivity and creates new ways to exploit it.Participants shared their own visions of business adoption of mobile and connected technologies, and how customers’ experience of them – for example, using iPads in store – can develop new ideas and opportunities for businesses. Working with clients including Audi, BP, De Beers, and reinforces Somo’s ability to ensure that its award winning websites and smartphone/tablet native apps are integrated into global marketing strategies.  The keen exchange at this IORMA event showed how valuable it is to look for the fundamentals underlying innovation and to extend them into new business approaches.


Beyond Compliance: Data privacy as a differentiator for global brands
Breakfast discussion hosted by TRUSTe at the Charlotte Street Hotel, London W1
17 October 2014

TRUSTe presented the findings of its 2014 GB Consumer Confidence Privacy Research
Debate among the 20 participants round the table was both lively and profound.  Main points:

  • Compliance is not just a legal issue.  People’s perceptions, and their changed behaviour, have a big commercial impact, so the issue is one for marketing directors
  • Public awareness is stimulated by reports of major data breaches, and will grow as people become more aware of how their data is collected and used.
  • Some people are happy to trade an element of privacy if that brings rewards.  But the rewards have to be the right ones for them
  • We are only seeing the beginnings of people’s response to location tracking.  Innovation in wearables and other connected devices must respect people’s concerns for privacy as well as for smarter access to products and services.
  • How much clarity should a business provide on its privacy policies?  Does clarity threaten to reinforce the potential risks in people’s minds?


What’s happening to brands in omni world?
A breakfast discussion hosted by Bell Pottinger in Holborn, London EC4
10 September 2014

Business networks in consumer supply chains are becoming both simpler and more complex, provoking the question ‘Who owns the customer?’.  Any business that so far has confidently given the answer  ‘We do’  needs to understand consumers’ new motivations and abilities, and act fast to retain that ownership.  Kevin Read, Managing Director – Corporate and Brand at Bell Pottinger shared his thoughts as to how brands will change a world in which consumers themselves are such powerful drivers.


Private View of Hiscox Art Collection
City of London
10 September 2014
6pm to 7.30pm

IORMA Associates in luxury businesses were given a private view of some key pieces from the collection, representing the personal taste of Robert Hiscox. This was a rare opportunity to see some true masterpieces and have an explanation of the background to the works.


IORMA summer reception Hosted  at Heron Tower, City of London by Dan Wagner Founder and CEO Powa Technologies
28 August 2014  6pm to 8pm

This was an opportunity for 80 IORMA Associates to mix socially at an informal gathering, hosted by a company renowned for its innovation, and entrepreneurship.
The venue was an impressive one high above the City of London, and we shared some far reaching views.


The moment of truth – understanding your omni channel customer journey
A dinner discussion at Quo Vadis in central London Hosted by Chris Russell, Joint CEO eDigitalResearch and a member of the IORMA Advisory Board
11 June 2014

Chris Russell led a discussion for 20 IORMA associates about how to get closer to customers. A relationship has to be a two way journey. Traditionally, customer research has told you a great deal about your customers, but how can you stimulate them to tell you more themselves – to provide information that they are happy to give, and that you genuinely will use in your business?How can you get quick information about your customers (their desires and feelings, likes and dislikes) into the business, to facilitate fast and educated decisions?These questions generated keen discussion about the key moments for a customer.  A main theme identified by guests was the need to unite the communications that disparate parts of the business – often in different countries – have with their customers.  Another was the need not only to communicate outwards, but to respond.  Getting this right is the best way to increase average transactional spend and build customer loyalty.  Guests also commented on the power of social media, with some businesses seeing up to 80% of their media coverage controlled by individuals, not the the company itself.  This trend underlines the need to manage not only brand, but also reputational equity.  And they exchanged trenchant views on which businesses are best at creating a customer experience that extends into different aspects of their lifestyle.


Smarter deliveries and returns
A dinner discussion held at Hoxton Grill in London EC1
Hosted by Dave Emerson, owner of SEKO Logistics and a member of the IORMA Advisory Board
16 April 2014

Over dinner, participants from retail, high end brand owners, the fine arts business and technology providers talked about delivery and returns.   Customers are choosing and ordering their purchases using the latest devices.   How can you create a delivery and returns mechanism that matches their experience of smart systems and slick execution?  How can you mitigate the cost to your business of so much stock in transit?  And how can you provide a seamless experience worldwide?  Guests enjoyed a rich exchange of both questions and answers across these vital topics.
Global consumers’ expectations are naturally different from UK customers’, and the challenge for retailers lies in understanding exactly how best to serve these new customers during the returns process.  Several of the retailers present discussed the difficulties encountered when trying to match expectations across regions, whilst almost all agreed that paid-for returns have become a higher priority, in order to keep up with competitor offerings.


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