What Does It Mean To Have Privacy As A Competitive Differentiator?

Heidi Shey

In 2015, 26% of global security decision makers consider privacy as a competitive differentiator for their organization.* But what does that even mean? And how would an organization achieve this?

Last week I was out in Las Vegas for Privacy. Security. Risk. and moderated a panel on this topic. Panelists included Michael McCullough (CPO, VP, Enterprise Information Management and Privacy, Macy's), Nathan Taylor (Partner, Morrison & Foerster), and Jamie May (VP of Operations, AllClear ID). Two things were clear:

  1. The ability and desire to use privacy as a competitive differentiator heavily depends on the nature of the business. For example, a cloud provider would approach this differently vs a company that sells gasoline.
  2. Treating privacy as a competitive differentiator vs marketing/selling with it are separate concepts. Some organizations may choose to embrace both. Treating privacy as a competitive differentiator has more to do with corporate culture, privacy practices, and your privacy team. The notion of responsible information management came up several times during the panel session. There is also risk involved with marketing/selling with privacy as a competitive differentiator; if you make a promise, you must be able to fulfill it.
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Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad AI?

Peter Burris

I’ve read a lot recently about the emerging danger of increasingly powerful artificial intelligence. Are there dangers? Of course, but I don’t think we have to worry about machines suddenly deciding it’s in their best interest to end humanity. Here’s why:

The debate first assumes that machines develop a “self-interest” that’s distinct from their programming. Again, leaving aside all the research that demonstrates that the relationship in humans between self-interest, rationality, and intelligence is weak, at best, let’s assume that machines do “learn”:

  • the need to protect “themselves”;
  • acts that can protect them from humans;
  • the ability to discern the impacts of taking those acts; and
  • acquire enough control to execute those acts.
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The Time Is Now To Invest In Knowledge Management

Kate Leggett

All that customers want these days is effortless engagement. 55% of US online adults say that they are very likely to abandon their online purchase if they cannot find a quick answer to their question. 77% say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service

Customers increasingly use web self-service as a first point of contact with a company. In fact, last year, web self-service was the most commonly used communication channel for customer service, exceeding phone use for the first time ever.

Companies are not only investing in customer-facing knowledge. They are also using knowledge management solutions to add order and easy access to content for customer-facing personnel - specifically for customer service agents. Our data shows that 62% of technology decision-makers say that they have implemented or are expanding their implementation, and 21% plan to implement their knowledge implementation in the next 12 months.

Knowledge delivered to the customer or the customer-facing employee at the right time in the customer engagement process is critical to a successful interaction. When done correctly, deeper knowledge can be used to personalize an interaction, increase customer satisfaction, reduce call handle time, lead to operational efficiencies, increase customer engagement, and ultimately drive conversion and revenue. 

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Do Developers Need a Hippocratic Oath?

Jeffrey Hammond

"I will utterly reject harm and mischief."

These words, taken from the Hippocratic oath, are ones that I think application development and delivery professionals should consider carefully as we watch the latest example of "Software eating the world" gone wrong. In this case the software algorithms in the "defeat device" that Bosch created for VW defeated emissions testing for millions of diesel cars. Now, 7 years later, VW is setting aside $7.3 billion to remediate the result. But this is just the latest example of developer complicity in creating algorithms of questionable quality. Consider:

  • Facebook's manipulation of users' news feeds. In 2014 Facebook revealed that it had manipulated the news feeds of over half a million randomly selected users to change the number of positive and negative posts they saw. It was part of a psychological study to examine how emotions can be spread on social media.
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World Retail Congress and kicking the discounting habit

George Lawrie

McGarrigle, Chairman of the World Retail Congress, makes his keynote opening address. © World Retail Congress



If you follow me on Twitter or if you attended WRC at the beautiful Cavalieri hotel in Rome  you’ll know that I had the privilege to moderate a panel of distinguished retailers to discuss the subject of discounting, specifically selling for less than the planned margin.

One of the event’s sponsors JDA had earlier presented data from a survey of retail leaders showing that their top foiur risk concerns included : increasing competitive threats (41%); margin erosion and cost reduction (39%); data security threats (25%), and attracting and retaining customers (24%).

Our panel, hosted by Congress sponsor and price optimisation software vendor Revionics, tackled the margin erosion issue asking: ‘How do we kick the discounting habit?’. The panellists, ranging across wholesale, fashion and apparel and general merchandise sectors, established a consensus view that discounting for its own sake, without a clear strategic goal and tactical execution, could be more damaging than beneficial to the bottom line – as was also arguably seen more recently with some of the more negative sentiment generated around Amazon Prime Day, as well as Black Friday.

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Some Thoughts On Shippable Software And Microservices

Ted Schadler

Stop reading now if you don't care about the machinations, architectures, and human reality of software. This post is for software philosophers and architects.

Dries Buytaert, the founder and core committer in chief of open source Drupal (according to Built With, the second most popular content management system software among the top million web sites) posted thoughtfully on keeping his open source software always in a shippable state. He writes this after a 3-year delay in releasing Drupal 8:

"We [will] create a feature branch for each major feature and only core committers can commit to feature branches. . . . Once we believe a feature branch to be in a shippable state, and it has received sufficient testing, we merge the feature branch into the main branch. A merge like this wouldn't require detailed code review."

This is sensible and now standard practice: Develop new features as decoupled components so committers and software managers can add them to the application without breaking it. That keeps the application always in a shippable state.

But the future of software is more than decoupled components. It also requires highly decoupled runtimes. That's called a microservices architecture: decoupled components available over the Internet as decoupled services. Think of it as a software component exposed as a microservice -- a microservice component. 

A microservice to place an order is decoupled from a microservice to alert you that your shoes have shipped. A microservice to display an image sized to your phone or computer is decoupled from a microservice to paint the page.

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Creating Security Conscious Developers

John M. Wargo
I recently completed preparing a presentation for the Forrester Digital Business Forum in Chicago this fall. The session I’m delivering is on delivering mobile app quality, and through my research, I’ve learned that security is an important part of app quality. My colleagues Michael Facemire and Tyler Shields recently published a report on The Future Of Mobile Security Development and that, plus some experiences I had working with a development team in a previous position, started me thinking about what it takes to make a developer that understands how to code apps securely. The report I listed above covers the security topic well, and makes some recommendations on how the security aspect of app development is likely to change, but beyond security capabilities and tools, how do you ‘create’ the type of developer that understands exactly what to do to build security into their apps?
I know trial and error works, but that’s expensive. Tools exist that can validate security aspects of an application, even tools that enforce security on apps, especially mobile apps, but those are last mile solutions – what do you do to help developers implement solid security into their apps in advance of those tools? If you have insights into this topic, can you reach out to me and let me know? I think this would be an interesting report to write.

CRM is Fragmenting. It's A Controversial Topic

Kate Leggett

CRM purchasing is undergoing a sea change. I see that companies are no longer purchase heavyweight, end-to-end CRM solutions that have had the reputation of being complex, expensive and hard to implement - even if they have great industry specific capabilities. They itend to mpede user productivity with a bloated set of capabilities that many users can't leverage. A number of dynamics driving this change in purchasing behavior:

  • CRM purchases are moving to the cloud. Companies are replacing legacy CRM with SaaS solutions at a higher rate than before.  Cloud CRM has gained traction, as it provides lower upfront costs, better flexibility, and faster time-to-value compared with traditional on-premises applications. It also shifts the burden of software maintenance to the vendor.

  • Cloud CRM extends the life of legacy CRM. Modernizing legacy CRM to support omnichannel customer journeys is a critical priority. Companies are using cloud CRM  to complement and extend on-premises implementations. Cloud  CRM provides the systems of engagement while legacy CRM provides business process support and data management capabilities.

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Where Would The Wearables Market Be Without Smartphones?

Julie Ask

Few consumers categories have seen the explosive adoption that wearables have - especially fitness wearables.The category has gone from zero to tens of millions in sales in less than five years.

Without smartphones, however, the wearables market is likely nothing more than a fad for devoted athletes and passionate (or overzealous) weekend warriors. Smartphones have fueled growth in two core ways:

  • Mass adoption of smartphones made the components cheap.
  • Apps allowed for and created the engagement (e.g., gamification, competition, support, coaching) consumers need to meet their goals.
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Which French, German, And UK Brands Create The Most Loyalty With Their Customer Experience

Joana van den Brink-Quintanilha

Don’t miss the latest in a series of reports we've published about the state of customer experience around the world. We have told you how companies in India, Australia, China,the US, and Canada perform. It’s time to shed some light on the European CX landscape, by looking at which French, German, and UK brands create the most loyalty with their customer experience. There’s good news and bad news in this latest CX Index report. Let's get the bad news out of the way first: 

  • The majority of brands in the UK, Germany, and France deliver mediocre experiences. In an era where customer obsession is the best strategy for winning and retaining customers,the unfortunate reality is that no brands in the UK, Germany, or France achieved excellent scores, and only 12% and 14% received a good score in the UK and Germany, respectively.
  • Not a single brand’s CX in France achieved even a good score. Adding to the bad news, 5% of French brands ranked in the very-poor category. 
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