“Can business intelligence (BI) solutions, software that helps organizations mine and analyze big data and small, help your company improve its bottom line? To find out, CIO.com asked dozens of BI experts and IT executives. Here are their eight top suggestions regarding how you can get a positive return on your BI software investment.”
“Consider these examples to help determine which category suits your situation:
Work Policy: BYOD policy Security Policy Enforcement: Strong Mobile Device Management (MDM): Yes Smartphone Monthly Cost Reimbursement: Good Use of Own Device for Daily Work: Extensive (most online activities)
Work Policy: Some policy applies Security Policy Enforcement: Varies Mobile Device Management (MDM): Minimal, may sync w/ Microsoft Exchange Smartphone Monthly Cost Reimbursement: Partial, sometimes Use of Own Device for Daily Work: Mixed (email, browsing, several apps
Work Policy: No BYOD policy Security Policy Enforcement: Varies Mobile Device Management (MDM): None for personal devices Smartphone Monthly Cost Reimbursement: None Use of Own Device for Daily Work: Generally light (email only)”
“No popular idea ever has a single origin. But the idea that the sole purpose of a firm is to make money for its shareholders got going in a major way with an article by Milton Friedman in the New York Times on September 13, 1970.
A corporate execÂutive who devotes any money for any general social interest would, the article argues, â€œbe spending someone elseâ€™s moneyâ€¦ Insofar as his actions in accord with his â€˜social responsiÂbilityâ€™ reduce returns to stockholders, he is spending their money.â€
The success of the article was not because the arguments were sound or powerful, but rather because people desperately wanted to believe.
So for a time, it looked as though the magic of shareholder value was working. But once the financial tricks that were used to support it were uncovered, the underlying reality became apparent. The decline that Friedman and other sensed in 1970 turned out to be real and persistent. The rate of return on assets and on invested capital of US firms declined from 1965 to 2009 by three-quarters, as shown by the Shift Index, a study of 20,000 US firms.
Yet, precisely the opposite occurred. In the period of shareholder capitalism since 1976, executive compensation has exploded while corporate performance declined.
In due course, Jack Welch himself came to be one of the strongest critics of shareholder value. On March 12, 2009, he gave an interview with Francesco Guerrera of the Financial Times and said, â€œOn the face of it, shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world. Shareholder value is a result, not a strategyâ€¦ your main constituencies are your employees, your customers and your products. Managers and investors should not set share price increases as their overarching goalâ€¦ Short-term profits should be allied with an increase in the long-term value of a company.â€
Peter Drucker made a sustained argument against shareholder value in his classic book, Management. In his view, â€œThere is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer. . . . It is the customer who determines what a business is. It is the customer alone whose willingness to pay for a good or for a service converts economic resources into wealth, things into goods. . . . The customer is the foundation of a business and keeps it in existence.â€
A whole set of organizations responded by doing things differently and focusing on delighting customers profitably, rather than a sole focus on shareholder value. These firms include Whole Foods [WFM], Apple [AAPL], Salesforce [CRM], Amazon [AMZN], Toyota [TM], Haier Group, Li & Fung and Zara along with thousands of lesser-known firms.
The new management paradigm is capable of achieving both continuous innovation and transformation, along with disciplined execution, while also delighting those for whom the work is done and inspiring those doing the work. Organizations implementing it are moving the production frontier of what is possible.
“Our research into more than 20 front-line focused organizations (the basis for our recent book Judgment on the Front Line), led us to a set of principles for moving well beyond the basics of customer service by putting power, resources and trust in the hands of front line personnel. By doing so, an elite group of companies has enabled their employees to more rapidly address customer problems, anticipate unarticulated needs and drive customer-facing innovation.
We uncovered information about a variety of companies, ranging from the Ritz-Carlton and Yum! Brands to the Mayo Clinic and U.S. Navy SEALs. Consider what we can learn from the following examples:”
Even with these successes, we’ve found that no single organization has all of the answers. But combining effective best practices from these diverse organizations and others provides a methodology for building a front line-focused organization, as well as the leadership required to enable your front line to make real-time judgment calls.
Step 1: Get Started: Connect the front line to the customer strategy. Paradoxically, empowering the front line starts with senior leaders, who have the authority to ensure frontline voices are heard.
Step 2: Empower Your Workforce: Teach people to think for themselves. Employees at every level need to understand the customer strategy. They also need simple problem solving frameworks that are used throughout the organization to promote cross-hierarchical dialogue
Step 3: Experiment to Implement: Grant front line workers latitude to experiment. Front line workers not only see service breakdowns but also opportunities for serving customers in entirely new ways.
Step 4: Eliminate the Barriers: Break down the hierarchy. Nearly every organization has embedded assumptions about roles and power. Freeing front line capacity requires frequent, diligent effort to eliminate decision processes or administrative work that gets in the way of enabling the front line to expeditiously serve customers.
Step 5: Invest in Your Frontline: Put budget behind it. Too often, companies reserve big budgets for senior management training while spreading funding thin for front line personnel. Similarly, too many companies are content to hire front line staff without carefully considering whether they possess the right attitude and values to represent their brand.
“Open standards have long been a major boon to information technology users because of the many benefits they confer: Interchangability, economies of scale, interoperability, efficiency, open markets, and avoidance of lock-in. The list goes on and has led to countless success stories and even the creation of entire industries.
Not coincidentally, open standards have also been absolutely instrumental to the success of the Internet itself, making it possible for you to read this very piece on any device of your own choosing, running any operating system, any browser, on any network connected to the Internet. As long as they follow the open standards that underpin the Web, that is.”
To be clear, the benefits of open standards are potentially quite considerable: All our data would be open in any social network, we could export our contacts and conversations whenever we want, we could easily find knowledge anywhere it lies any social system, and innovative new social tools would be easier to adopt because they talk to everything else already (and I do mean everything, since standards like OpenSocial mean even all our applications are integrated into the social fabric.)
That’s because there’s a very important piece missing, and that piece is end-user demand for standards and interoperability. Unfortunately, we have only to look in the mirror for why this is the case. We are not requiring our providers of social media to support them, and especially, to enable them in a way that provides us the value we seek.
However, for all these reasons, there simply isn’t critical mass in the social media industry today around open standards.
Nowadays, commercial providers provide everything in the cloud, including our friends and data, largely using their own technologies. This has led to the fragmented silos and social apps that increasingly isolate our digital activities into parochial conversational islands within our businesses and across the Web.
“In their book, Big Data, authors Viktor Mayer-SchÃ¶nberger and Ken Cukier define it as â€œthings that one can do at a large scale that canâ€™t be done at a small oneâ€ and that, I think, gets to the heart of the matter. Big data is not just a difference in scale, itâ€™s a difference in kind and it demands that we make serious changes to how we think, manage and operate.”
Thatâ€™s the secret to the transformative power of big data. By vastly increasing the data we use, we can incorporate lower quality sources and still be amazingly accurate. Whatâ€™s more, because we continue to reevaluate, we can correct errors in initial assessments and make adjustments as facts on the ground change.
n the past, weâ€™ve mostly operated by testing hypotheses. We come up with an idea of how the world might work, like a new way to treat an illness or a potentially lucrative marketing approach and then do some research in a lab, conduct consumer surveys or use some other method.
With big data, we can simply look for patterns that correlate with real world phenomena. Once we identify a potentially fertile model, we can continue to observe and test it as more data comes in. With billions of data points and cheap computing power, this is extremely efficient.
big data is enabling us to create a simulation economy where organizations can learn much more efficiently. However, before we can manage effectively in a big data world, we must first change our business culture from one that values clever ideas to one that embraces simulation, testing and action.
“At some level, I see dysfunction in almost every client I work with. This isn’t something new. There probably isn’t an organization on the planet without some level of dysfunction. Perhaps a degree of dysfunction is acceptable or even desirable. But eventually organizational dysfunction reaches a point where it begins to impede the ability of the enterprise to function. One area where this appears to occur with great frequency is between IT and the rest of the business. In far too many organizations IT is seen as out of alignment with the business, or worse, as an impediment to business units. So why is this?”
The cause is metrics. Specifically, the metrics we use to measure employee performance. Sometimes we suffer from the unintended consequences of what appear to be sound metrics.
If CEOs and CFOs measure the effectiveness of CIOs and IT on things like keeping the IT budget low, delivering projects on-time and on-budget and keeping the lights on, then IT will inevitably appear dysfunctional to the rest of the organization
If, however, CEOs were to measure IT on the same measures as the rest of the exec team, such as business growth, customer retention or overall profitability, then I would expect to see far less dysfunction with respect to IT.
So there you have it. IMO the #1 cause of organizational dysfunction is measuring employees on different things.