The Biggest Ideas of 2014

In the latter months of 2012, LinkedIn launched a Blogging platform for some of the world’s best known thought leaders. As part of that series, posts were gathered to provide a perspective on the biggest ideas for 2013. LinkedIn has replicated that series for 2014. I have provided the links to each post below, along with some commentary on those that stood out to me.

But first, my Big Idea is that the convergence of a number of forces makes 2014 the year of the transformation agenda. Those companies that have already embarked on a transformation journey will accelerate their efforts. A good percentage of those that have yet to begin their journey will find compelling reasons to start. But sadly, many companies will fall further behind. I expect these transformation efforts to tackle much needed structural change – driven by the disruptive influence of technological, societal, and other factors. Transformation efforts that have merely scratched the surface will find another gear. The one common thread will be the realization that this transformative period is different than those of the past. Many of the Big Ideas described in the LinkedIn series underscore this point. For instance, it’s not your Father’s innovation process anymore, as Collaborative Innovation is Shaping and Changing Our World. No single company can master all the knowledge it needs; rather, innovation relies on a network of connected firms. In short, companies need to collaborate to compete.

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Progress Towards Systems of Engagement

In my recently concluded transformation series, I identified Systems of Engagement as a key enabler of the future enterprise. A recent Survey conducted by Forrester suggests that systems of engagement will soon rearrange the landscape of IT organizations, technologies, architectures, budgeting, funding, and governance. It is not surprising that in this age of the customer, systems of engagement are finally getting attention – but as the survey reports, they require more than organizations are prepared to deliver.

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IBM Report on Analytics

In October, IBM released a report from their Institute for Business Value titled Analytics – A Blueprint for Value. IBM releases these reports on a periodic basis, and this one is focused on the growing importance of analytics to business success. Through their analysis, they came up with nine levers that represent the sets of capabilities that most differentiated leaders exhibit:

  1. Culture: Availability and use of data and analytics within an organization
  2. Data: Structure and formality of the organization’s data governance process and the security of its data
  3. Expertise: Development of and access to data management and analytic skills and capabilities
  4. Funding: Financial rigor in the analytics funding process
  5. Measurement: Evaluating the impact on business outcomes
  6. Platform: Integrated capabilities delivered by hardware and software
  7. Source of value: Actions and decisions that generate results
  8. Sponsorship: Executive support and involvement
  9. Trust: Organizational confidence

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A Closer Look at Transformation: Thinking Differently

Next up in this transformation series is the ninth and final enabler: thinking differently. How can we enable the characteristics so important to future success, if we don’t start thinking differently? Status quo thinking is the cause of many transformation failures – a trend that will continue without the re-imagining necessary to support the coming transformative period. The keyword to reflect on is “re-imagine”. To do this in the context of where the world is heading forces us to think differently and involves creativity – a trait that consistently heads the list of key traits that CEOs look for in leaders. It requires design thinking, innovative approaches and a willingness to let go of models built for another time.

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Digital Enterprise Road Map Series: Part 6 – Insight

Part six wraps up our Digital Enterprise road map series with a focus on moving insight delivery from descriptive to prescriptive. Throughout this series, I have stressed the importance of analytic excellence to long term success. But current methods such as traditional business intelligence (BI) focus on reporting and analysis that seeks to answer questions related to past events – what happened. Advanced analytics seeks to answer questions such as: why is this happening, what if these trends continue, what will happen next (predict), and what is the best that can happen (prescribe). There is a growing view that prescribing outcomes is the ultimate role of analytics. To accomplish this, analytic initiatives need to leverage an insight-action-outcome framework that starts by defining outcome-enabling insight and ends with a focus on data provisioning.

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Thoughts on 2013

Another year is coming to a close, and that means it’s time for 2013 predictions. Blog posts and articles will focus on the possibilities that lie ahead in the coming year. With so much uncertainty in the global community, people predict at their own peril. So this year, I am focusing my thoughts on the journey that I believe will dominate the rest of the decade. That journey will span three very broad categories: the accelerated movement towards systems of engagement, operating model change, and Digital innovation.

So here it goes – my thoughts for 2013:

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The CIO and CMO Partnership

Much has been said about the critical need for the CMO and CIO community to work towards a more effective partnership. Yesterday at the CIO Executive Summit in Dallas, Suzanne Kosub – CIO at Concentra – closed the event by underscoring this point. She described the traditional CIO relationship alignment, which in most cases was with the CFO and in some cases the CEO. But the many disruptive forces affecting us today are driving the imperative for the CIO to partner more effectively with the CMO. At an upcoming CIO Summit in New Jersey, I will moderate a panel discussion with three CIO/CMO teams to explore this subject further. How do these executives overcome the relationship challenges of the past? There are many perspectives on this topic, including this recent Forrester piece that proposes the creation of a Marketing Technology Office (MTO). The MTO is a center of excellence that leads technology strategy, develops marketing technologies and evangelizes innovations throughout the marketing department.

In this scenario, the CIO would relinquish control of certain customer-facing technologies and hand responsibility for the function over to the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Rubbermaid is an example of a company that has created such a function. Their MTO function reports to the CMO, not the CIO, and the only CIO relationship with the department is to ensure that it is complying with the company’s defined IT standards and processes. Other models are emerging, many of which disrupt the current CIO structure. At this same CIO Summit, I heard several approaches described:

  • IT application resources aligned with the business versus the CIO
  • Creation of new innovation groups that combine business and technology resources
  • The emergence of the Chief Digital Officer
  • A model that categorizes IT into three buckets: Enterprise, Local and Federated – and then organizes accordingly

Regardless of the model, it is growing clearer that change is coming. The interesting question for me is: are we witnessing another swing of the pendulum, or are we seeing lasting change to long standing operating models? My bet is that the impact and rate of change is a forcing function and there is no turning back. I’d be interested in your examples of emerging models.