I watched Moneyball over the weekend for the first time, and I really enjoyed it. As a nerd, I love all movies that demonstrate the power of mathematics and analytics (On top of that, Brad Pitt did a fine job).
But while everyone loves the of using statistical insight to overturn old ideas and revolutionize baseball, but why are supply chain managers reluctant to apply similar winning concepts? According to a Forrester Business Technographics Survey, only 27% of supply chain management professionals and 22% of logistics and distribution professionals are using or plan to use big data analytics or plan to. At Forrester, I frequently discuss supply chain analytics with clients and how to leverage supply chain insights to drive business growth or improve operation efficiency. Everyone knows analytics is important, but there are still plenty of myths related to what to measure, what tools to use, and what types of analytics to apply. I’d like to briefly summarize my thoughts on these three topics:
Focus on a few key measurements that matters the most. Don’t go down the rabbit hole of measuring everything in multiple ways. It wastes time and effort — and most importantly, it causes confusion. Define a few key performance indicators (KPIs) that accurately measure your top business priorities and stick to them. Your KPI could be perfect order percentage, on-time delivery, or perhaps percentage on base. Data will never be perfectly clean, but you need meaningful analytics, so clean it up as much as you can and establish an ongoing master program for data maintenance.
Digital transformation investments are ultimately about business survival through disruption. Such investments have a direct impact on customer expectations and go beyond the traditional ROI. The business case for such disruptive investments is the focus of the report, Build Your Digital Transformation Business Case Around The Customer And Revenue Growth. The scope for disruption spans the entire customer life cycle, affecting everything from the supply chain to after-sales support. The key takeaways from this report:
Disruptive transformation must be viewed as a strategic investment. The real value of digital transformation investments relates to long-term revenue growth, not short-term technology ROI. Bolt-on digital projects do not change the fundamental value relationship that you have with your customer. To maximize the impact of digital investments, business and technology leaders must learn to value such investments through the eyes of the company’s customers.
A classic ROI calculation is neither always feasible nor desirable for digital investments. Digital transformation changes business processes and models. ROI works for single digital initiatives, but not for shifts in business models. Digital investments aimed at disruptive change across the enterprise challenge traditional ROI calculations. Attributing benefits like customer satisfaction, group productivity, and group revenues — let alone business survival — to a single digital investment is impossible because so much of the impact of digital transformation is cumulative.
Out of a generally uninspiring batch of ads this year, one trend stood out: brands using the largest ad platform in the US to align their brand with social and political values that generally are thought to have no place in the bottom-line world of driving quarterly business results. Social media listening firm Talkwalker notes that 5 of the top 10 most talked about ads have a social or political theme and generated strong positive sentiment: Budweiser, Audi, Coca-Cola, 84 Lumber, and AirBnB.
Not all ads attempting to align a brand with societal values were successful: Audi’s attempt to take a stand on gender pay equity lacked a credible connection to this testosterone-fueled luxury car. And, of course, taking a stand risks alienating consumers who disagree. Since Budweiser’s “Born the Hard Way” ad was originally conceived long before the election, I’m not convinced they were trying to make a statement about immigration policy. But it is certainly being seen in that tone and has brought out a fair share of trolls commenting on YouTube.
These brands are acknowledging that the idea that “the business of business is business” is changing. Along with my colleagues Henry Peyret, Brigitte Majewski, Alex Cullen and Drew Green, I have been exploring the changing nature of how consumers incorporate these broader values into their brand decisions. Stay tuned for the report but our research tells us 3 things a brand must do to walk this delicate line in today’s polarized environment.
Carefully consider where your brand should be on what Carol Cone calls “The Purpose Spectrum”
Be authentic and back up the words with tangible commitments
Executives are making very complicated moral decisions in the face of increasingly difficult situations in order to protect themselves, their stakeholders, and their brands. For anyone involved in business ethics, corporate behavior, risk management, and compliance, the world is getting more challenging and more fascinating all the time.
What a strange time it is to be a marketer. Last year, we on the B2C marketing team fielded hundreds of questions from brands and tech partners alike about the revelations that rocked our worlds: kickbacks, tech consolidation, opacity of even decades-old partnerships, measurement screw-ups from the world’s second largest digital advertising player, and the possibility of a single tweet sending share prices tumbling. And yet…
What is going on? Are we so optimistic that we’re ignoring the data in front of us that seems to say we should be taking a cold, hard look at our strategic planning? Is it that given the greater world context over the last year we no longer know if we can trust the evidence in the first place? Is it as simple as marketers following the eyeballs, proof of efficacy (and constant Forrester pleas to improve your measurement) be damned?
We have been busy in November and December finishing some great research for the year but we ALSO planned some awesome research for you and your team coming in the near future. Are you needing to step up to the DevOps plate? Are you questioning what decisions to make on your cloud journey? Do you struggle to determine your multi-sourcing strategy? Are you questioning your operational excellence around application performance monitoring? oh and did I mention IoT and its related challenges?
Our analysts are able to help you with great research around these (and many more) topics.
But don't wait until the reports are published. Call us, talk to us via inquiry so we can help you today and if you like we insert your success into one of our reports to encourage others.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is real, albiet maturing slowly. You experience it when you talk to Alexa, when you see a creepily-targeted online ad, and when Netxflix turns you on to Stranger Things. Oh yea, and that self-driving car over there is AI super-powered! AI is indeed cool, but many are scared about how it ultimatley may impact society. Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and even the Woz warned that "...artificial intelligence can potentially be more dangerous than nuclear war." In a nutshell, they are concerned about AI that may evolve to outsmart humans and kill people - a valid concern. But, I have another more terrifying concern that would likely be an insidious precursor to runaway, killer AI.
Container technologies allow enterprises to create highly differentiated apps and services faster, with better quality and geographic reach, to create compelling customer experiences. They have quickly become an important element of digital business transformation for EA pros because they promise faster software delivery, tremendous scale, higher resiliency, greater flexibility, and broader implementation options. Everything about enterprise app infrastructures, development styles, and architectures is changing, and containers play a key role in each area.
However, Forrester’s TechRadar™ for business technology infrastructure found that containers and container management technologies are still in the Creation stage, meaning that some container components and management tools are immature and changing quickly. Companies must navigate a complex landscape of technology components to build, package, and deploy containers. To help tech management pros accelerate cloud evolution, I’ve recently published a report with Dave Bartoletti focusing on the software landscape for each layer in a typical container management software architecture. Some of the key takeaways:
It’s Groundhog’s Day, when a sleepy landpig emerges from his little mancave and entertains questions from the press about astronomical phenomena!
As good a day as any to share a few content trends where we at Forrester expect to see considerable acceleration this year.
Here are your 6 content trends and one wannabe-trend that won’t trend in 2017.
The first megatrend
Direct-to-consumer pushes CPG out of the brand advertising comfort zone
Direct-to-consumer plays by the CPG giants, and even more so the CPG small guys, will put substantial pressure on brand marketers to invest in content and experiences that drive action. That means more content for richer websites, email programs, product documentation, and paid and unpaid executions. Mondelez’s made a $10 billion bet on this, and Unilever’s acquisition of Dollar Shave Club signals their interest in more direct subscription-driven sales.
What does it mean?
Digital agencies with strong content chops and some ecommerce nous will be the winners, as brand teams ramp up their direct marketing capabilities.
The second gigatrend Stunts and experiential executions set higher bars for hero and community content