Global Competition For "Doing Business"

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

I've written about the World Bank's Doing Business Index in several blogs and reports.  One of my favorite graphics from my "Where In The World?" report on market opportunity assessment looks at the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) - relative to a selection of other emerging markets - in terms of population and then compares their rankings across three economic and political indicators: Doing Business, Economic Freedom, and eReadiness.  The point is that "bigger is not always better" in terms of a potential market to enter. 

Saudi Arabia has used the World Bank's Doing Business Index as a critical measure of its 10 x 10 initiative - a program of reforms launched with the objective of being in the top 10 countries for doing business by 2010.  They missed the mark in 2010. But with the 2011 new rankings, we can congratulate Saudi Arabia's reformers for making it to 11 x 11. 

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GSA Picks Google Apps: What It Means

Ted Schadler

The General Services Administration made a bold decision to move its email and collaboration systems to the cloud. In the RFP issued last June, it was easy to see their goals in the statement of objectives:

This Statement of Objectives (SOO) describes the goals that GSA expects to achieve with regard to the

1. modernization of its e-mail system;

2. provision of an effective collaborative working environment;

3. reduction of the government’s in-house system maintenance burden by providing related business, technical, and management functions; and

4. application of appropriate security and privacy safeguards.

GSA announced yesterday that they choose Google Apps for email and collaboration and Unisys as the implementation partner.

So what does this mean?

What it means (WIM) #1: GSA employees will be using a next-generation information workplace. And that means mobile, device-agnostic, and location-agile. Gmail on an iPad? No problem. Email from a home computer? Yep. For GSA and for every other agency and most companies, it's important to give employees the tools to be productive and engage from every location on every device. "Work becomes a thing you do and not a place you go." [Thanks to Earl Newsome of Estee Lauder for that quote.]

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It's Beyond The Basics For Education: Add T For Technology To The Three Rs

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

“School Bond Measure Fails” seems a common headline these days.  In fact, a quick Google search found that school bond measures and tax levies have just this fall failed all over the US, notably in Santa Clara County, which was characterized as “tax friendly.”  However, despite the hardships of raising money for schools, per-pupil spending continues to increase – having increased steadily from just over $500/pupil in 1919-20 to $11,674/pupil in 2006-07, according to the National Center for Education Statistics

One place that the expenditure has been going has been toward technology investments.  The number of computers in public elementary and secondary schools has increased:  in 2005, the average public school contained 154 instructional computers, compared with only 90 in 1998.  More importantly, the percentage of instructional rooms with access to the Internet increased from 51 percent in 1998 to 94 percent in 2005. 

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How To Develop A Social Innovation Network

Nigel Fenwick

Customers already use social technologies to wrest power away from large corporations. Now employees are adapting social technologies in pursuit of innovations to support these empowered customers; Forrester calls these employees HEROes (highly empowered and resourceful operatives). By designing social technologies as part of their Innovation Networks, CIOs and their IT teams help establish new Social Innovation Networks — innovation ecosystems employing social technologies to enhance HEROes' innovations. These Social Innovation Networks help drive faster, more effective innovation across the enterprise. And CIOs must rise to the challenge of nurturing and developing these networks while structuring their IT teams to fully support them.

In an earlier post, I described how we’re entering a new era of social innovation. Building on these concepts in subsequent research has led to the latest report “CIOs: Support HEROes – Create Social Innovation Networks Using The PACT Framework” (and yes, I’m guilty of introducing yet another acronym).

PACT: Process, advocates, culture, and technology

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IT For Sustainability Will Drive The Next Wave Of Corporate Evolution

Chris Mines

Will IT Firms Drive the Sustainable Wave of Corporate Evolution?

Environmental concerns like climate change have not yet become the primary driver for businesses to define, implement, and execute a dedicated sustainability strategy. Rather, sustainability initiatives are driven today by cost and efficiency opportunities.

However, many companies are realizing that sustainability is increasingly important to advance their brand and competitive differentiation, respond to rising customer and regulatory pressures, attract new generations of talent, and enter or even create new markets. While the growth side of sustainability seems to be generally recognized, it is much more complex to measure and, hence, to manage, than the cost side.

Thus, we see widely varying approaches to corporate sustainability, and many companies are still reluctant to pursue sustainability at all.

A recent Accenture study of 766 CEOs, conducted in cooperation with the UN Global Compact, found that brand, trust, and reputation is the most frequently-cited driver for pursuing sustainability, followed by potential revenue growth/cost reduction, and personal motivation. Interestingly, CEOs rank pressures from governments/regulatory and investors/shareholders at the low end of their motivation scale (see Figure 1 below).

 

 

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In Sustainability, Britannia Rules

Chris Mines

Three Reasons Why the UK is Leading the Charge of IT for Green

I was in London last week, delivering the opening keynote at the Green IT Expo conference. I had previously spoken at this event back in 2008, and it was nice to see a bigger crowd of perhaps 400-500 delegates, a lively hall full of vendor exhibitors, and a larger and plusher venue (the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in the shadow of Big Ben). In my estimation, the U.K. continues to be the country at the leading edge of innovation and implementation of IT for Sustainability. Why there? At least three factors:

1. Public awareness of climate change. Unlike here at home, there is little debate in the U.K. about the reality of climate change and the need for urgent action to monitor and reduce carbon emissions to slow its effects.

2. Government mandates for carbon reporting and reduction (the Carbon Reduction Commitment or CRC). The public awareness is reflected in governmental policy. Despite the reporting and reduction requirements of the CRC being pushed out in time, the U.K. still has the most teeth of any country or region in its mandate for companies to monitor, report, and reduce (or pay taxes on) their carbon emissions.

3. Leading companies' efforts to improve their sustainability posture. Whether it's Astra-Zeneca in pharma, Tesco and Marks & Spencer in retailing, BA in transportation, or the U.K. Ministry of Defence in the public sector, leading U.K. institutions are making the commitments and investments to transform their business processes in a more sustainable direction.

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"Smart" Is Here To Stay: Smart City Tweet Jam Summary

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

Forrester’s Smart City Tweet Jam was a great success.  On Tuesday morning/afternoon/evening, smart city followers around the globe participated in an hour of intense tweeting on smart cities.  We touched on a range of issues from the definitions of a “city” and a “smart city” and the evolution toward the goal of becoming smart to the challenges city leaders face and the business models that enable adoption of technology-based solutions.  We ended with a contrarian view that “smart cities” might just be a fade. But that was quickly refuted with reminders of the growing challenges faced by cities and the imperative of facing these challenges in a sustainable manner. 

One hour, 62 Twitterers, and 389 tweets later we were exhausted – at least I was.  But we were pleased to have aired and shared our opinions about the challenges, the potential solutions to those challenges, and the paths and business models that will make those solutions possible in the short-run, and hopefully sustainable in the longer term.  Below are some excerpts from the conversation.  But there were many interesting points of view and contributions to the discussion. I've included here a visual representation of the key words and topics discussed during the Tweet Jam, created using ManyEyes.  For the more stats and the full transcript, check out #smartcityjam.  

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Launch A Team Challenge: Get Smart Together

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

Ready, set, go.  Earlier this week IBM announced their Smart City Challenge – a competition for cities to help investigate and launch smart city initiatives.  IBM will award $50 million worth of technology and services to help 100 municipalities across the globe.  The city has to articulate a plan with several strategic issues it would like to address and demonstrate a track record of successful problem solving, a commitment to the use of technology and willingness to provide access to city leaders.  Hmmm...this sounds exactly like IBM’s existing target market.

The challenge for IBM is to demonstrate that this program is incremental to IBM’s existing activities with cities and local governments.  This program really is an opportunity to extend smart city activities – both from a philanthropy perspective and from a business development perspective.  (I’m acknowledging that there can be business development in philanthropy.) Will cities that have not yet embarked on a smart city initiative or program now consider applying for funding and assistance in starting down that path? 

One way to ensure a broader, and incremental, audience is to get the word out – and, actually evangelize to cities that have not already understood the benefits of technology as a means of addressing their critical pain points.  Many of these are perhaps smaller cities, which leads me to another recommendation.

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Who Will Win The Retail Battle: Apple Or Microsoft?

Nigel Fenwick

Microsoft began opening its own retail stores in 2009 and recently began a push into more US cities. A recent post by George Anderson on Forbes.com about Microsoft's new store format prompted me into some late-night analysis. It appears Microsoft's store format strategy is to ride in the draft of Apple by building larger-format stores very near, if not adjacent to, Apple's own stores. As a retail analyst and both an Apple and Microsoft customer for over 25 years, I feel compelled to weigh Microsoft's retail strategy against Apple's (and since I cover retail strategy from a CIO perspective, it feels appropriate to publish here).

Comparing eight success factors

Location: I'll start here, as it was the subject of the original post. Across from Apple may be the only sensible choice for MS, but the challenge MS has is that Apple is a destination store, i.e. people plan to go there for the experience. This makes it less likely they will decide to browse the MS store because it is close. On the other hand, assuming MS does some promotions to attract traffic to its stores, they are likely to also drive additional traffic to Apple. Predicted winner = Apple.

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Welcome To The Empowered Era

Ted Schadler

We inhabit an age in which empowering technology is readily available first to individuals, not institutions. Consumers and employees will always get the new good stuff first. And it will always be so. The economics of technology investment seal that deal. The consumer market is bigger and easier to get started in.

In this empowered era, smart mobile devices, social technology, pervasive video, and cloud computing are the anchor tenants of the new technology platform. These technologies are available to every consumer and employee, even yours. The question is what to do about it? Two things:

  1. Because customers can hijack your brand (consumers in the US make 500 billion impressions on each other online every year), you have to use empower your customers with better information than they can get from their networks. You have to honor your customers as a marketing channel.
  2. Because employees have ready access to technology to improve their working lives, you have to give employees permission -- and protection -- to adopt these technologies. You have to honor employees' use of consumer technology as a source of incremental and sometimes breakthrough innovation.
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