Thought Leadership: Measuring Our Success

Now that we've posted the outline for our study of thought leadership in the technology industry, it's a good time to take stock of our success so far. It's important to start the retrospection process, even if we're not completely done with the project yet, because we're using this study to pilot a different way of doing research. As we said in the document explaining this approach, Agile Research Development, we set the following goals (shown in order of priority):

  1. Ask the right questions.
  2. Enhance the quality of the answers.
  3. Maximize the voice of the customer.
  4. Make adjustments quickly.
  5. Be even more relevant to our clients.
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Thought Leadership: Outline Ready For Comments

For those of you who have been following our thought leadership research project, we're now in the final stages of this project. I've posted the proposed outline here for your comments. If you're not familiar with this project, here's the development document that summarizes the topic, working hypothesis, and research method. Also worth reading is this blog post, which explains why we're using this piece of research to pilot an Agile, community-based approach.

Realistically, comments will have an impact on the final document if you post them by the end of the week. After that, I'll be writing the actual document.

Also worth mention: in drafting the outline, I realized that some of our earlier work on B2B evaluation, selection, and adoption is applicable here. Expect to see a cameo appearance from some of that interesting research in this document.

Portfolio With A Capital "P"

In the last couple of years, an increasing number of technology companies have discovered, or rediscovered, or redefined their own portfolio. Here are a few examples of where you can see this new appreciation of portfolios:

  • Using the portfolio to define alignment. Recently, I wrote a profile of Sterling Commerce's efforts to deal with the inevitable misalignments that occur in any company with lots of products, particularly after making acquisitions. Their decision to use the portfolio as the instrument of realignment is by no means unique, but it wasn't as common several years ago as it is now. (And it's still not as common as it should be.) Vendors like Sterling have to take two steps for realignment to succeed: (1) define the portfolio clearly, in a way that suggests measures of misalignment; (2) enforce this standard on people who would otherwise continue moving in the same direction unless acted upon by an outside force. Not everyone has succeeded at both, or even understood that both were necessary. 
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