What will the ups and downs of 2021 be?

January 2021

Welcome to thryve’s January newsletter. This month, we ponder what 2021 will bring, including risk management, as well as trends around financial services and customer-centricity:

  • An interview with IRMSA’s Chief Risk Advisor
  • What are customer data platforms (and why should you care)?
  • The three technology trends impacting insurance and FSI companies

Learn more in the blogs linked below, enjoy our Managing Director’s monthly column, and thank you for reading thryve’s newsletter.


Letter from our MD

Do companies dream of electric sheep?

I’m not a technologist or even a science fiction fan. But that is increasingly like saying one isn’t a fan of automobiles. You don’t need to be a petrolhead to see and appreciate a car’s immense usefulness to our modern world. Yes, they cause problems as well. But I’m eternally thankful that I don’t live in a time where the distance you can walk determines your potential.

Digital technology is the same, hence why I can lead a technology-centric company without being a technologist. We have the people with skills to take care of those considerations and inform the rest of us. But a lot of what I do is to connect those dots with business leaders who – like myself – can see the broad potential. Like the androids from the cult classic movie Blade Runner, we all dream of electric sheep.

That can be a problem. Ambition and vision are important, but we often get lost in the noise of all that potential. This struck me again when I happened upon a new PwC report titled The Essential Eight. The report is another reminder of the technologies that may define our near future. Specifically, it names artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, blockchain, drones, the Internet of Things, robotics, and 3d printing as the eight game-changers.

Is your head spinning yet? Mine was. We learn about these fantastic possibilities, but not as much about the nuanced pragmatic issues inherent to them. The technology world loves to talk about what will come, yet less so about what it will take to realise those ideas and make them operationally and commercially viable. They don’t mention as often that most projects cut from that cloth fail. For example, a recent MIT survey revealed that 89% of AI projects aren’t delivering the expected value.

The problem is that people don’t want to think about the gap between what companies have and what these technologies need. For example, virtual reality is great for training, but you first need to modernise your training procedures and protocols or end up with a white elephant. And artificial intelligence sounds fantastic, yet only if your data is sorted and cleaned to use it.

There are answers to these questions, but they look mundane compared to the exciting stuff like the ‘essential eight’. Building data cultures, modernising and automating processes, building efficiency… These are the steps that take us into the future. But they are not easy to accomplish. They take focus and an appetite for disruption (as in the classic definition of the word.)

I can’t say that the essential eight will all realise their potential. The world once thought airships would dominate the skies, whereas today they are less common than horses on a highway. But don’t let those hazy technology dreams lull you into complacency – the future will be a digital one, so it is necessary to start doing those hard things that lead to meaningful changes.

This is thryve’s mission and should be the mission of every technology provider. Our job is to help make the intermediate steps stick and get our customers ready for the next level of technologies. That is what it means to walk with the customer, and that should be the primary value you’d want from a provider such as us. In a year where austerity and other hard choices will dominate agendas, you should lean even more on partners such as thryve. That’s why we are here – to help smooth the difficult steps so you can reach those electric dreams.

Sean Pyott

MD, thryve


What to expect from IRMSA’s 2021 Risk Report

We always look forward to the Institute of Risk Management South Africa (IRMSA)’s annual report, which focuses on South Africa. This year’s edition will, no doubt, be quite something given the year we’ve just seen through. To find out more, thryve chatted to Christopher Palm, Chief Risk Advisor at IRMSA, about the report’s history, the changing reputation of risk management, and what to expect in the 2021 edition. Click through to read this Q&A session.

CDPs will make 2021 the year of customer-centricity

Have you heard of customer data platforms or CDPs? These services close the gap between customer insight and the daunting data environments companies need to understand their customers better. CDPs are more than glorified CRMs and more specialised than general data management platforms. But they are also much easier to access and understand. This article unpacks the CDP concept for you.

2021’s trend predictions for Insurance and Financial Services

The insurance and financial services industries are going through some turbulence – both from the pandemic’s fallout, as well as new digital-first startups, shaking things up. Yet companies in either sector are well-positioned to ride the current digital wave. In this article, we identify three trends that bring the Insurance, FSI and technology worlds closer together.

thryve’s monthly roundup of interesting blogs

Do you want a quick checklist to help evaluate compliance software? Are you curious how Starbucks uses data to make money during the pandemic, and beyond? Are you hoping to up your LinkedIn networking game? Or maybe you just want a pithy quote for your email signature this year. Every month, we selected blogs from our partners and other sites – click through and see what you’ve been missing!