This week in New Orleans, Microsoft launched it's first conference aimed squarely at business leaders as the company looks to move beyond the department of the CIO. Envision 2016 replaces Microsoft's previous Convergence conference and comes on the heels of "Build2016" the previous week.
As a guest of Microsoft, I had two reasons to attend Envision: First, to hear from CEO Satya Nadella and other Microsoft executives; I wanted to better understand their business strategy going forward, specifically as it relates to enterprise customers. Secondly, I had the opportunity to provide feedback to Microsoft leaders on its enterprise marketing strategy.
It was no doubt clear to attendees that Microsoft wants a relationship with enterprise customers beyond the office of the CIO. Based on Satya's opening keynote, there is a recognition that Microsoft must become a more strategic business partner, helping today's CIO clients work alongside their line-of-business peers to deliver on the promise of digital business.
“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” - A.A. Milne
There’s good food for thought in that statement. “Organizing” is a topic that customer insights (CI) professionals and their marketing, digital, and other business partners are asking about. And one frequently asked question is “what’s the best way for us to organize?”
Why is that question so top of mind? Consider this: Forrester research shows that despite continuing investments in people, big data, and technology, companies are not driving enough insights to actions. For example, 74% of firms say they want to be “data-driven,” yet only 29% say they’re good at connecting insights to actions. In addition, business satisfaction with analytics went down 21% between 2014 and 2015. These numbers show that there’s an insights-to-action disconnect, and it’s an expensive problem.
In addition to organization, CI pros also frequently mention two day-to-day pressures they experience:
They can’t keep up with the volume of stakeholder requests.
There’s what one CI pro described as “the black hole” between insights and actions: CI pros may never know what action, if any, resulted from insights they provided.
Day one of the GPU Technology Conference in San Jose and I'm still glowing from watching Steve Wozniak "travel to Mars" through NVIDIA's photo real virtual reality. Or, holding my stomach as Jen Hsun Huang, CEO of NVIDIA took us soaring over Everest. Or cringing, as I watch the early attempts at a car teaching itself to drive and being reminded of how my 16 year old daughter is learning to drive (there were a few similarities...). Each emotion illustrates what everyone will experience shortly on NVIDIA's next gen compute platform with announcement for AI, VR, self-driving, SDK and new deep learning appliance.
This is not your traditional or even big data analytic platform. It's a complete overhaul of the computing architecture. It's a complete rethink of data management. It will also change how you think about analytics.
Stepping back from what may seem like hype and examples steeped in robotics, VR and infrastructure, the truth is, the announcements today show that deep learning in action is at most a year away, and as soon as now. In addition, the innovation coming out of robotics, VR and infrastructure will allow introduction of new form factors and channels to engage with customers and shape our workforce. In the end, it is a data challenge for the very reason that for every channel we use and add, it always ends up being a data challenge.
The implications for how you manage data are radical. Here is what you need to think about:
Deep learning systems are voracious eaters of data. If you think you have volume issues now, it will only get worse. Traditional integration won't cut it. You need bigger compute on GPUs not CPUs for speed, performance, and efficiency. Don't you want to train your data in 2 hours vs. 2 weeks?
For the NFL: Of all social networks, Twitter has the most active real-time conversations around football games, and NFL athletes use Twitter as their primary social sounding board. It makes sense to sync live viewing with live social conversation and merge those activities into one platform. In addition, this partnership offers the NFL reach into global markets. While the NFL has worked to establish a UK footprint by flying teams to London to compete, this deal signals real expansion.
For Twitter: Twitter is struggling with user and revenue growth, and this is a huge win for two reasons: the partnership provides 1) the ability to deliver quality content and attract dormant users and, more critically, non-users; and 2) the ability to be a unique provider of a live event plus live conversation viewing experience, creating more engaged users.
For users: Broadcasting live events on social networks isn't new (see: YouTube live concert streaming; Periscope live streaming the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao boxing match). But, the NFL is the varsity league: more teams, more games, more fans, and more dollars at stake. And, let's not forget the mobile factor – now users can (theoretically) watch Thursday NFL games on the go.
Is this Twitter's Hail Mary pass to prove it can still compete? Maybe. But, a Hail Mary still represents a chance (just ask Aaron Rodgers).
Last week Salesforce published its 'State of Marketing' survey results, which included some interesting findings for data-driven marketers.
First of all, the over-ambitious title* and the survey's methodology tell you to take the findings with a grain of salt. 43% of the survey's 4,000 respondents were either CEO or owner, which correlates well with the apparently 39% of respondents from companies of 1-100 employees.
To highlight best practice, the survey designers created a sub-set of respondents (18%) classified as 'high-performing teams' because they responded that they were extremely satisfied with the outcomes from their marketing investment.
Which leads to the first compelling data point (reflected in this post's title):
"47% of high-performing marketers extensively use UGC (vs. 19% of moderate performers and 8% of underperformers)"
Essentially, 'happy' marketers are 6x more likely to use UGC than their 'unhappy' counterparts. I believe that this story is much greater than 'SMB marketers use UGC because it's free'; this is a case of effective marketers expanding their brand governance to include input, interpretation and involvement from communities outside the immediate control of the brand (to tell the brand's story). A lesson here: If you can't get third-parties interested in what your brand's all about, your brand's relevance is likely dwindling.
The second intriguing datapoint relates to email tactics:
Faced with increasingly empowered customers, together with mounting pressure from existing and potential digital disruptors in the financial services sector (such as Alipay in China and Codapay in Southeast Asia), many banks across Asia Pacific have launched mobile banking apps to enable customers to make mobile transactions. Initally, these mobile banking apps suffered from abysmally low customer adoption and delivered poor customer experience. However, mobile banking apps have come a long way over the past five years, going from little more than an extension of online banking to what one digital banking executive calls “the most important part of my job.”
Through conversations with our FSI clients, we have observed a positive transformation in how eBusiness executives think about and execute on their mobile strategy, which contributed to rising adoption levels and better customer experience. The most notable shift that eBusiness executives have made is to perceive mobile as a crucial part of their organization’s broader business transformation imperative linked to specific business objectives and outcomes — this is fundamentally different from the early days when some eBusiness executives equated a mobile app to a mobile strategy.
Our exclusive FSI summit in Singapore on Friday, April 15 will bring together an intimate group of senior executives from banks, insurance companies, and selected fintech firms. At the event, my colleagues and I will share Forrester’s FSI digital business research, and facilitate discussions with industry leaders.
My presentation, “Who Does Mobile Banking Well In Asia Pacific?”, will explore:
Businesses must focus on those activities that they can transform into digital business models. Not every industrial activity can become a digital business, but it will be impossible to succeed in digital transformation by developing a digital business and an industrial business and then operating them side by side indefinitely. GE sold 40% of its business activities because it felt that it could not transform them into digital businesses. For those industrial activities that can become digital businesses, executives need to be aware that:
Every industrial worker has to develop digital DNA. Industrial workers and mechanical engineers have to be comfortable interacting with digital systems. At GE, mechanical engineers have to design a locomotive in such a way that they can place a local data center inside it. Every industrial worker will have to have analytics skills, whether that’s the ability to create sensible and reliable data sets or to analyze and interpret these data sets.
I’m a bit of a car nut. I love driving cars. So does my wife. We both autocross one of our cars most weekends in the New England summers (FYI AutoX is a great way to hone your driving skills and be a safer driver). We love our cars and I’m pretty passionate about the whole driving experience.
In my post from CES this year, I noted that every single automaker seems hell-bent on making the car the center of their customer’s digital world. No doubt manufacturers hear the siren call of customer data; imagining all that they could do with such rich information. But it’s inside-out because, even for car-lovers like me, the car is not the center of my digital universe and I doubt it ever will be. Why? Because my car doesn’t go with me wherever I go. But you know what does? My phone.
My colleagues and I have spent the last four years studying the links between technology, human performance at work, customer experience, and the financial performance of companies. One fascinating insight we’ve learned is that what separates the highest performing people in their work from others is their ability to reliably focus their attention, bringing more of their cognitive resources to bear on their work each day than their colleagues do. It’s not easy in our distraction-rich, techno-charged world.
There’s plenty of research that proves that happy employees are more productive, but Drs. Teresa Amabile and Steven J. Kramer made an important discovery in 2010 that turns conventional wisdom about where happiness at work comes from, upside down. The most powerful source of happiness at work isn’t money, free food or recognition, but rather getting things done; making progress every day toward work that we know is important. The more conducive our work environment is to staying focused, and the better we are at suppressing the sources of distraction within ourselves to get our most important work done, the happier we will be at work. And, the effect is even stronger for work that requires creativity and problem solving skills.
Unfortunately in our workforce technology research, technology distraction isn't on the list of things leaders are concerned about. It should be, because the most pernicious sources of distraction employees face are the ones that lie beyond their control - the distractions that originate from the technologies their employers require them to use, when there are no alternatives.
Clients and services partners have talked for years about linking services partner pricing to business goals. However, traditional pricing models such as time and materials and fixed fee still dominate in services partnerships; examples of truly innovative pricing models are rare. Despite the rarity of these outcome-oriented pricing models, interest remains high. Clients frequently ask Forrester for examples of next-generation, innovative services pricing models. So, I’m writing this post to highlight two recent examples (showcased at March customer and analyst events) that truly push the envelope for services pricing models linked to business goals.
Example 1: Venture-based
At BearingPoint’s recent analyst summit, the EMEA-centric business consulting provider showcased multiple examples of venture-based engagement. The examples showcased go beyond the typical “VC fund” that we see at other services providers (in which an arm of the services vendor operates like a venture capitalist by doling out funds to a set of early-stage companies). Instead, BearingPoint gives consulting time and tools to select clients or alliance partners in return for equity. For example, Bearingpoint has a services-for-equity partnership with tracekey, an early-stage company focused on track and trace functionality for pharmaceutical companies. This means that Bearingpoint’s financial rewards are directly tied to tracekey’s results, without getting tangled up in managing to the contract terms or project dashboards.