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The Morning Download: Computing’s Future Lies at Edge of Network, Just Before the Cloud - CIO Journal. - WSJ
By Steve Rosenbush
Jun 20, 2018

For years, computing has been centralized in one place or another. First, the data center, and later massive clouds. Now, networks are taking a more decentralized structure, with power located at the so-called edge, be it a retail environment, an oil rig or an automobile. On Tuesday, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. said it will invest $4 billion during the next four years to accelerate innovation in what HPE calls “the intelligent edge.”

Edge of opportunity. “We see significant areas for growth … (as) more assets and ‘things’ come online and the amount of data generated continues to grow exponentially,” HPE CEO Antonio Neri told CIO Journal’s Sara Castellanos in an email. The number of devices connected to the internet will reach 20.4 billion by 2020, up from 8.4 billion in 2017, according to Gartner Research Inc. By 2021, 40% of enterprises will have an edge computing strategy in place, up from about 1% in 2017, Gartner says.

The payoff. Stewart Ebrat, CIO at bridal gown and fashion company Vera Wang Co., an HPE customer, maintains that with data analytics and Bluetooth-enabled beacon devices at the edge, a salesperson could know more about a prospective customer’s preferences as soon as they walk into a brick-and-mortar store. Says Mr. Ebrat: “The customer has always been number one (at Vera Wang), but technology is going to enhance that experience even further.”
cloud_computing  decentralization  edge  future  Industrial_Internet  IT  artificial_intelligence  centralization  machine_learning  HPE  HP  data_centers 
june 2018 by jerryking
The future of computing is at the edge
June 6, 2018 | FT | by Richard Waters in San Francisco.

With so much data being produced, sending it all to cloud does not make economic sense.

The economics of big data — and the machine learning algorithms that feed on it — have been a gift to the leading cloud computing companies. By drawing data-intensive tasks into their massive, centralised facilities, companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google have thrived by bringing down the unit costs of computing.

But artificial intelligence is also starting to feed a very different paradigm of computing. This is one that pushes more data-crunching out to the network “edge” — the name given to the many computing devices that intersect with the real world, from internet-connected cameras and smartwatches to autonomous cars. And it is fuelling a wave of new start-ups which, backers claim, represent the next significant architectural shift in computing.....Xnor.ai, an early-stage AI software start-up that raised $12m this month, is typical of this new wave. Led by Ali Farhadi, an associate professor at University of Washington, the company develops machine learning algorithms that can be run on extremely low-cost gadgets. Its image recognition software, for instance, can operate on a Raspberry Pi, a tiny computer costing just $5, designed to teach the basics of computer science......That could make it more economical to analyse data on the spot rather than shipping it to the cloud. One possible use: a large number of cheap cameras around the home with the brains to recognise visitors, or tell the difference between a burglar and a cat.

The overwhelming volume of data that will soon be generated by billions of devices such as these upends the logic of data centralisation, according to Mr Farhadi. “We like to say that the cloud is a way to scale AI, but to me it’s a roadblock to AI,” he said. “There is no cloud that can digest this much data.”

“The need for this is being driven by the mass of information being collected at the edge,” added Peter Levine, a partner at Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and investor in a number of “edge” start-ups. “The real expense is going to be shipping all that data back to the cloud to be processed when it doesn’t need to be.”

Other factors add to the attractions of processing data close to where it is collected. Latency — the lag that comes from sending information to a distant data centre and waiting for results to be returned — is debilitating for some applications, such as driverless cars that need to react instantly. And by processing data on the device, rather than sending it to the servers of a large cloud company, privacy is guaranteed.

Tobias Knaup, co-founder of Mesosphere, another US start-up, uses a recent computing truism to sum up the trend: “Data has gravity.”....Nor are the boundaries between cloud and edge distinct. Data collected locally is frequently needed to retrain machine learning algorithms to keep them relevant, a computing-intensive task best handled in the cloud. Companies such as Mesosphere — which raised $125m this month, taking the total to more than $250m — are betting that this will give rise to technologies that move information and applications to where they are best handled, from data centres out to the edge and vice versa...Microsoft unveiled image-recognition software that was capable of running on a local device rather than its own data centres.
Andreessen_Horowitz  artificial_intelligence  centralization  cloud_computing  computer_vision  data_centers  decentralization  edge  future  Industrial_Internet  IT  latency  low-cost  machine_learning  Microsoft  Richard_Waters 
june 2018 by jerryking
The Cyber Age Has Hardly Begun - WSJ
By Mark P. Mills
Sept. 17, 2017

Most everything critical to daily life—food, energy, buildings, transportation—is physical, not virtual. The fabric of civilization involves digging up, processing, fabricating, moving and operating gigatons of material composed of atoms, not bits. As amazing as artificial intelligence and the cloud seem today, the world is still in the early days of truly useful, ubiquitous software that can be infused into the physical world’s hardware.

The billions of dollars in economic value from information technology has been associated with improvements mainly in information-related activities: mail, news, entertainment, advertising, finance and travel services. That’s no accident, as those domains are relatively easy to digitize. Very little of the hardware world is digitized so far. The “smart” objects industry is dominated by monitoring and analysis. That’s valuable but doesn’t fundamentally alter how objects are created or operate.

Contrary to breathless prose about robots taking manufacturing jobs, the data show underinvestment in automation and information technology in factories. U.S. companies need more robots and software to boost their competitiveness, profits and employee rolls. While spending on information technology remains high in media, banking, education and insurance, it lags far behind in chemical and food processing, energy and transportation.

Infusing software into hardware so that it becomes invisible and reliable is hard. The physical world involves factors like inertia, friction and gravity, all of which present serious safety implications. Cyberphysical systems have to work with near perfection. The real, rather than virtual, world cannot tolerate the equivalent of frozen screens, reboots, video jitter, or iterative upgrades of sloppy software rushed to market.

One iconic cyberphysical system, the self-driving car, has seen many impressive demonstrations, but engineers know much more work remains to be done. Several researchers recently demonstrated how easily self-driving cars are confused by simple graffiti on street signs. Automotive AI systems have yet to achieve the situational awareness of an inebriated college freshman......When more tech companies use their gargantuan cash hoards to acquire traditional enterprises—like Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods—we’ll know the fusion between atoms and bits has really begun.
Silicon_Valley  digital_economy  Amazon  cyberphysical  physical_economy  IT  atoms_&_bits  physical_world  pervasive_computing  ambient_computing  idle_cash  autonomous_vehicles 
september 2017 by jerryking
Global shipping boss charts course through troubled waters
August 14, 2017 | Financial Times | by Richard Milne.

When AP Moller-Maersk came under cyber attack this year, chief executive Soren Skou was presented with a very basic problem: how to contact anyone. The June attack was so devastating that the Danish conglomerate shut down all its IT systems. The attack hit Maersk hard. Its container ships stood still at sea and its 76 port terminals around the world ground to a halt. ...Skou had no intuitive idea on how to move forward....Skou was “at a loss”, but he decided to do three things quickly.
(1) “I got deep in.” He participated in all crisis calls and meetings. “To begin with, I was just trying to find out what was happening. It was important to be visible, and take some decisions,” he says. Maersk is a conglomerate, so IT workers needed to know whether to get a system working for its oil business or container shipping line first.
(2) He focused on internal and external communication. Maersk sent out daily updates detailing which ports were open and closed; which booking systems were running and more. It also constructed a makeshift booking service from scratch.
(3)Skou says he made sure frontline staff in the 130 countries it operates in were able to “do what you think is right to serve the customer — don’t wait for the HQ, we’ll accept the cost”.

He says that he has learnt there is no way to prevent an attack. But in future, the company must “isolate an attack quicker and restore systems quicker”. He adds that Maersk will now approach its annual risk management exercises in a different spirit. “Until you have experienced something like this — people call them ‘black swan’ events — you don’t realize just what can happen, just how serious it can be.”

Danish conglomerate AP Moller-Maersk is planning to expand into transport and logistics ...

....Mr Skou’s plan for Maersk is about shrinking the company to grow — a “counterintuitive” approach, he concedes. Maersk’s revenues have stagnated since the global financial crisis and the solution has been to jettison what has often been its main provider of profits, the oil business.

In its place, Mr Skou has already placed his bet on consolidation in the shipping industry.....His real push is in bringing together the container shipping, port terminals, and freight forwarding businesses so as to make it “as simple to send a container from one end of the world to the other as it is to send a parcel with FedEx or UPS”. That requires quite a cultural shift in a group where independence was previously prized.....Another priority is to digitalise the group. “It is pretty messy,” Mr Skou says cheerfully. Unlike most businesses selling to consumers who offer few possibilities to change much, almost everything is up for negotiation between Maersk and its business customers — from delivery time, destination, cost, speed, and so on. “It’s easy to talk about digitalising things; it’s quite difficult to do in a B2B environment. It’s hard to digitalise that complexity,”
crisis  crisis_management  malware  cyber_security  cyberattacks  conglomerates  black_swan  improbables  CEOs  Denmark  Danish  IT  information_systems  think_threes  post-deal_integration  internal_communications  counterintuitive  digitalization  shipping  ports  containers  Maersk 
august 2017 by jerryking
What the history of the electric dynamo teaches about the future of the computer.
JUNE 9 2007 6:18 AM
By Tim Harford

David's research also suggests patience. New technology takes time to have a big economic impact. More importantly, businesses and society itself have to adapt before that will happen. Such change is always difficult and, perhaps mercifully, slower than the march of technology.

More recent research from MIT's Erik Brynjolfsson has shown that the history of the dynamo is repeating itself: Companies do not do well if they spend a lot of money on IT projects unless they also radically reorganize to take advantage of the technology. The rewards of success are huge, but the chance of failure is high. That may explain why big IT projects so often fail, and why companies nevertheless keep trying to introduce them.

Brynjolfsson recently commented that the technology currently available is enough to fuel a couple of decades of organizational improvements.
technology  Alfred_Chandler  historians  IT  productivity  productivity_payoffs  Erik_Brynjolfsson  organizational_improvements  organizational_change  organizational_structure  Tim_Harford  business_history 
may 2017 by jerryking
Prepare for a New Supercycle of Innovation - WSJ
By John Michaelson
May 9, 2017

Things are about to change. Consider information technology. Today’s enterprise IT systems are built on platforms dating from the 1970s to the 1990s. These systems are now horrendously expensive to operate, prone to catastrophic crashes, and unable to ensure data security. The cloud only made this worse by increasing complexity.

Corporate CEOs complain that they are unable to get the data they need. These rickety systems cannot easily accommodate data mining and artificial intelligence. Evidence of their deficiencies is seen daily. The New York Stock Exchange stops trading for hours. Yahoo acknowledges the compromise of one billion user accounts. Airline reservation systems go down repeatedly. The pain level for users is becoming intolerable.

Each decade for the past 60 years, we have seen a thousand-fold increase in world-wide processing power, bandwidth and storage. At the same time, costs have fallen by a factor of 10,000. Advances in these platforms, in themselves, do not produce innovation. But they facilitate the development and deployment of entirely new applications that take advantage of these advances. [jk: The Republican intellectual George F. Gilder taught us that we should husband resources that are scarce and costly, but can waste resources that are abundant and cheap] Amazing new applications are almost never predictable. They come from human creativity (jk: human ingenuity). That is one reason they almost never come from incumbent companies. But once barriers to innovation are lowered, new applications follow.
10x  artificial_intelligence  CEOs  creativity  cyber_security  data_mining  economic_downturn  flash_crashes  George_Gilder  Gilder's  Law  innovation  history  human_ingenuity  incumbents  IT  legacy_tech  Moore's_Law  NYSE 
may 2017 by jerryking
Auction houses embracing digital technology to sell to the new global rich
SEPTEMBER 18, 2014 by: John Dizard.

....The auction houses have been under pressure to adapt to this changing universe. While the most visible aspect of the houses’ digital revolution may be their online auctions, the most essential is in the systematising and networking of their customer, market and lot information. Without that, the auctioneers would lose control of their ability to charge gross margins in the mid-teens as intermediaries of the $30bn global art auction market....Within the quasi-duopoly of Christie’s and Sotheby’s at the top of the auction world, Christie’s has now moved to implement what it calls its “digital strategy”....Christie’s now has James Map (as in founder James Christie), a sort of private internal social network that allows specialists, client service staff, support staff and executives to see what is known about a client and his tastes. Past auction records, relatives’ purchases and sales, statistical inferences on how likely clients are to move from buying an expensive watch online to participating in a high-end evening sale – it all can be in the mix.

The idea, Murphy explains, was “to create an internal app that spiders into our database of information and brings up on our internal [screen] environment lots of connectivity. This is faster and better than the email chains [that it replaced].”....This summer, Sotheby’s announced a partnership with eBay, the online auction giant. While the details of the partnership are still being developed, it is understood eBay will distribute live Sotheby’s auctions to its global audience of 150m buyers.

Ken Citron, Christie’s head of IT

The digital strategy is also making it easier to take part in auctions. Even with all the unseen know-your-customer checks now required by financial supervisory agencies, it has become much faster and easier to register as an auction house client. About half now do so online.

But while the online revolution may have left some auction houses behind, for others it is generating new business. Auction houses used to regard the sale of smaller, cheaper objects from, for example, estate liquidations as an annoying loss-leader business that just wasted their specialists’ time. Now, however, many are making money selling objects for $2,000-$3,000; it’s just a matter of cutting transaction costs. “We have a new app with which you can take a picture, push a button, and it goes to a specialist, with a description. Then the specialist can decide if it might fit into an auction,” says Citron.
auctions  Sotheby's  Christie's  data  art  collectors  high_net_worth  partnerships  eBay  duopolies  digital_strategies  CRM  IT  margins  intermediaries  internal_systems  loss-leaders  transaction_costs  cost-cutting  know_your_customer  Bottom_of_the_Pyramid  estate_planning  liquidity_events  online_auctions  digital_revolution 
november 2016 by jerryking
Tech Startups Struggle to Close Deals With IT Buyers - WSJ
By ANGUS LOTEN
Aug. 24, 2016

As Haier and other large corporations become increasingly digital, they are spending more time checking out technology offered by small, independent tech firms. Yet startup products and services for enterprises, while more accepted than a few years ago, still face significant resistance on the path toward revenue, CIOs and industry analysts say.

“I won’t take a risk on something that isn’t from a proven enterprise technology company,” especially for key functions, such as sales, human resources, cybersecurity or even office email, said Ms. Johnston. “Some startups are just so cheap or free, you’re nervous to go with it. What if they go out of business?”

Only 23% of 112 large corporations in a recent survey said working with startups was very important, according
customer_adoption  start_ups  large_companies  CIOs  Haier  challenges  cloud_computing  risk-aversion  SaaS  IT  risks 
august 2016 by jerryking
Death by digital: CEOs pay the price for tech trouble - The Globe and Mail
ANDREW WILLIS
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jul. 14, 2016

Recent changes in the executive suite at Canadian Tire, Sobeys and Torstar show there’s little tolerance for a boss who lacks a smart strategy for an increasingly tech-driven marketplace and even less patience for a leader who fails to deliver on digital promises....It’s this ability to blend tech savvy with the rest of the management tool box – finance, marketing, leadership – that’s essential to CEO success in every field, and critical in sectors such as retail, media and financial services. Because when the tech strategy doesn’t work, corporate boards are clearly holding the CEO responsible. That accountability was not as direct in the past: The head of IT was more likely to be sacrificed, rather than the CEO. Now, the top boss is being held responsible for coming up with the tech-based strategy and executing.
Andrew_Willis  boards_&_directors_&_governance  C-suite  CEOs  CIOs  digital_first  digital_savvy  digital_strategies  execution  IT  strategies  systems_integration 
july 2016 by jerryking
How CEOs Can Manage Information Technology - WSJ
By JEANNE W. ROSS And PETER WEILL
April 25, 2011
Question No. 1
Are we using technology to transform our business, or are we just adding bells and whistles to existing processes?
Question No. 2
Are you ignoring important business differences as you standardize processes
across the company?
Question No. 3
Who is making sure the company's digital strategy is being implemented?
Question No. 4
Is electronic data empowering your people or controlling them?
Bonus: Question No. 5
What is the investment in reducing IT cost to Run-the-Business versus investing in business advantage initiatives in order to Change-the-Business?
CEOs  questions  IT  company  transformational  cost-cutting  CIOs  digital_strategies 
october 2014 by jerryking
Fresh Produce Group Chooses NetSuite Over the Competition
Challenges:
Previous systems provided limited visibility into company financial performance.
Vital information had to be retrieved from multiple sources, leading to frustrating delays in financial and management reporting.
High levels of manual processing were required to maintain spreadsheets for forecasting and inventory management, which was costly and prone to error.
An inefficient paper-based inventory management system meant perishable produce was regularly wasted.
Hours were also lost every week locating pallets on the warehouse floor.
Non-financial staff had very limited access to vital business data needed to be more accountable in their roles.
fresh_produce  ERP  challenges  information  IT  perishables  OPMA  spreadsheets  inefficiencies 
june 2014 by jerryking
Jobs, jobs, jobs! The future is brighter than you think
Feb. 16 2013 | The Globe and Mail | Margaret Wente.

if the idea of working for someone else doesn’t appeal to barista girl, she’s in luck. Thanks to the IT revolution, starting your own business is easier than ever, as American thinker Walter Russell Mead has pointed out: All you need is a computer and an Internet connection. You can provide math tutoring to kids, music instruction, even long-distance psychological counselling. You don’t even have to be in the same country as your clients. You can find cheap marketing information to identify your potential customers, and you can reach them via social media. You can buy inexpensive accounting and billing software. If you have employees, you can even get HR advice online.

The IT revolution is wiping out entire industries, like bookstores and travel agents. But it is also creating virtually unlimited opportunities for new service businesses.
Margaret_Wente  entrepreneurship  Desire2Learn  disruption  self-employment  IT  millennials  Walter_Russell_Mead  bookstores  travel_agents  new_businesses 
february 2013 by jerryking
Goodbye Stranger, It's Been Nice
October 4, 1999 | Forbes ASAP pg. 255 | by Regis McKenna. Pushing a myth that technology will make obsolete the marketer.

"As marketing and IT continue to converge, practitioners of the old traditions of marketing— reach and push—will play a smaller role. IT applications and systems don’t require middlemen to work."..."Who is responsible for developing and implementing the
infrastructure for this e-marketplace? Not marketing. Marketing is being marginalized to the “creative"
functions. such as promotion and advertising. All marketing’s other functional areas are vanishing into the network."
marketing  e-commerce  IT  myths  software 
december 2012 by jerryking
Seth's Blog: States rights
posted by Seth Godin on November 02, 2007

Don't treat everyone the same. First time visitors want something different than repeaters. Loyal customers want to see something different from the masses.

Get your IT person to show you how to divide the world into states. Then start from scratch and make a different experience for everyone.
websites  market_segmentation  Seth_Godin  customer_loyalty  tips  customer_experience  IT  UX  first_time_visitors  repeat_visitors 
september 2012 by jerryking
Starting Up in High Gear
July-August 2000 | HBR |An Interview with Vinod Khosla by David Champion and Nicholas G. Carr.

To create the kind of new wealth you’re talking about, we’re going to have to see massive investments in information technology. Where’s the money going to come from?

It’s going to come out of corporate budgets. Companies invest wherever they’re going to get the biggest returns, and right now that’s IT. Look at the trend in capital expenditures. Twenty years ago, information technology accounted for about 10% of capital expenditures in the United States. ...
Today, if you have a plan for a new business, you circulate it in the venture community and you get funded in a week. What you don’t get is an honest, painstaking critique. What are the downsides in your plan? What are the shortcomings? What are the weak links? The strengths of your idea get a lot of attention, but the weaknesses get ignored—and ultimately it’s the weaknesses of your plan that will kill you. A start-up is only as strong as its weakest link....
The first thing we focused on was getting the right set of people for the company—the right gene pool. We started out on the technical end. Pradeep had helped architect the Ultrasparc processor at Sun, so he had strong skills in building technical architectures and could apply those skills to routers. But he needed somebody with experience in building and operating an IP network, and he needed somebody who’d done operating systems software for routers and somebody who’d done protocols for routers. So we drew out a map that said, “Here are the ten different areas of expertise we need.” Then we made a list of the companies doing the best work in each area, and we listed the five people in each company who would make good targets. We went after those people, and piece by piece we assembled a multidisciplinary team that could make Juniper a leader.
IT  interviews  HBR  Kleiner_Perkins  start_ups  large_companies  management_consulting  Vinod_Khosla  executive_search  shortcomings  weaknesses  new_businesses  CAPEX  weak_links  Nicholas_Carr  talent_acquisition  gene_pool  expertise  team_risk  wealth_creation  cross-pollination  interdisciplinary  teams  protocols 
june 2012 by jerryking
Executive Learns From Hack - WSJ.com
JUNE 21, 2011 By EVAN RAMSTAD.

• Trust the authorities.
• Stay open and transparent."
• Learn IT and know where vulnerabilities are. "These days, the CEO
should understand the basic structure of hacking even though he cannot
do programming. A CEO has to make tradeoffs and organizational
decisions.
• Create a philosophy that drives IT decisions. "Up to a few years ago,
the hacking route was very simple. But these days, there are so many
holes. Smartphone applications, so many websites … so the CEO has many
decisions to make.
• Reassess plans for products and services. Understand that each
application creates a new route for hacking. The real cost is not the
development cost. It's also the cost of hacking exposure.
Hyundai  South_Korea  blackmail  consumer_finance  IT  lessons_learned  cyber_security  product_development  product_management  hacks  data_breaches  vulnerabilities  new_products  hidden  latent  tradeoffs  CEOs 
june 2011 by jerryking
The Tech Profile: How a Small Retailer Handles I.T. - NYTimes.com
May 17, 2011 | NYT |By DAVID H. FREEDMAN
The business: JetPens, based in San Jose, Calif., is a 14-person online
retailer of mostly Japanese pens and pen-related paraphernalia. The
slick, slightly edgy Web site is packed with stuff that you won’t find
just anywhere, including pens designed specifically for drawing Japanese
Manga-style cartoon art and a five-function eraser. As a result,
JetPens has drawn a cult following and fills about 100,000 orders a
year.
running_a_business  marketing  retailers  e-commerce  David_Freedman  google  PayPal  Quickbooks  facebook  handwritten  analog  writing  artifacts  IT  owners  small_business  Japanese  premium  brands  Stanford  alumni 
may 2011 by jerryking
Big business for big data
21 September 2010 | O'Reilly Radar | by Alistair Croll. What
IBM's acquisition of Netezza means for enterprises. With the
acquisition, it seems like big data is also big business. Companies are
using their data assets to aim their products and services with
increasing precision. And there's more and more data to chew on. Not a
website goes by without a Like, Check In, or Retweet button on it.

It's not just the marketers that are throwing petabytes of information
at problems. Scientists, intelligence analysts, governments,
meteorologists, air traffic controllers, architects, civil
engineers-nearly every industry or profession is touched by the era of
big data. Add to that the fact that the democratization of IT has made
everyone a (sort of) data expert, familiar with searches and queries,
and we're seeing a huge burst of interest in big data.
large_companies  massive_data_sets  Enterprise_2.0  data  analytics  IBM  IT  mergers_&_acquisitions  digital_economy  cheap_revolution 
may 2011 by jerryking
Seven questions that managers should ask
March 29, 2010 | The Globe and Mail | by Harvey Schachter.

Do you miss opportunities that others spot?

Despite massive investments in information technology and sophisticated data systems, many companies miss market shifts that rivals sense and exploit. To continually identify gaps in the market, you need real-time data, the ability to share it in your company, and the wisdom to supplement that data with direct observations in the field. He notes that Spanish retailer Zara, known for its capability to respond speedily to market shifts, has its designers, marketing managers and buyers work side-by-side in an open office setting that stimulates sharing and discussion.

Are your hydraulics broken?

Organizational hydraulics, Prof. Sull explains, are the mechanisms that senior executives use to translate corporate objectives into aligned actions by individuals across the organization. But in many companies, top executives deluge staff members with multiple, often conflicting, priorities, and everything plugs up. Alex Behring, chief executive officer of Garantia Investment Bank in Brazil in the 1990s, set out to repair the deteriorated organizational hydraulics in a railway bought from the government through such measures as capping the number of corporate priorities at five per year and requiring every employee to meet and negotiate with his or her boss both team and individual priorities for the year, again limited to five.

Do you reward mediocrity and call it teamwork?

In many organizations, he says, executives socialize bonuses in the name of teamwork, believing that differential payouts can stifle co-operation and long-term thinking. Variable pay represents a small portion of overall compensation, with the range of bonuses narrow. He argues instead for rewarding individuals who do what they say they will with outsized bonuses.

Are your core values a joke?

The most agile organization that Prof. Sull studied shared a core set of values: strong achievement ethic; personal responsibility by all employees for results; creativity to challenge the status quo; and integrity, to offset the temptation to cut corners when taking on ambitious goals. "Rather than print posters listing the values that then languish on conference room walls, executives should breathe life into the corporate culture by hiring and promoting individuals on the basis of the adherence to values," he says, noting that Reckitt Benckiser, a consumer goods company, created a pre-screening tool that allows potential employees to assess their fit with the organization.

Are you talking about the wrong things?

Managers spend about three-quarters of their time in discussions, and need to be adept at four different types of conversations that facilitate execution: making sense of volatile situations; deciding what to do, not do, or stop doing [Sounds a lot like Peter Drucker] ; soliciting and monitoring commitments by others to deliver; and making corrections in mid-course. Beware of executives who excel at only one type of discussion, and struggle with or avoid the others.

Have your Vikings become farmers?

Effective executives are like Nordic Vikings, who attacked when they saw an unprotected spot, and retreated when they realized they couldn't win. Do some of your executives have that same instinct, or are they all like farmers, more interested in protecting and tilling their current fields?

Do you rely on heroic leadership?

The economic crisis forced many executives into firefighting mode but, over the long haul, you need leaders who can build up your organization's execution strength in a disciplined way. "Senior executives who dash from crisis to crisis are a sign of organizational weakness, not leadership strength," Prof. Sull warns.
Harvey_Schachter  IT  Donald_Sull  observations  questions  wisdom  conversations  sense-making  real-time  data  mediocrity  overlooked_opportunities  Peter_Drucker  missed_opportunities  long-haul  primary_field_research  core_values  Zara 
march 2010 by jerryking
Finding opportunities with deep customer 'discovery'
February 23, 2009 G&M column by GEORGE STALK JR.

One approach that works for customer-supplier partnerships is something we call "discovery," which goes beyond cost reduction tactics to find opportunities for increasing revenues and improving entire processes....The discovery process goes behind traditional contact points to explore issues that affect the hand-offs, such as consumer usage, retail merchandising, promotional effectiveness and pricing.

By using fact-based analysis, information technology and strong project management, discovery has transformed purchasing department contacts into broader, deeper relationships, helped suppliers and customers create new value in their businesses, and led to dramatically more innovative products and services.
opportunities  business_development  George_Stalk_Jr.  discoveries  partnerships  process_improvements  IT  LBMA  OPMA  customer_insights  cost-cutting  BCG  merchandising  pricing  handoffs  purchasing  relationships  new_products 
february 2009 by jerryking
Battle Stations - Sunoco's Peter Whatnell talks about how IT departments can help their companies succeed in tough times
Dec. 8, 2008 WSJ interview of Sunoco's Peter Whatnell by Ben
Worthen. The source of competitive advantage is knowing how IT can help
your business. You should to be able to ask any CIO: Are you able to
describe in three minutes or less how your company makes money? To me
that's where it starts. And the answer isn't "we're in retail" or "we're
in the insurance business" or "we're an oil company," because everyone
is in retail or the insurance business or is an oil company.....We have three measures when we are looking to approve a project: First, what does this project do to support the company's strategy. The second is what is the business case. And the third is around risk. One of the components we look at under risk is organizational change. The more change that a project would introduce, the more risky we consider the project. That doesn't mean that you don't do it, but the attention you give to the change-management activities has to be far higher.
information  technology  competitive_advantage  Ben_Worthen  change_management  change  Sunoco  think_threes  corporate  CIOs  IT  hard_times  value_creation  organizational_change  risk-assessment 
february 2009 by jerryking
Ten Things Your IT Department Won't Tell You - WSJ.com
July 30, 2007 WSJ article by Vauhini Vara offering IT-related
productivity tips on sending giant files, using s/w your employers
disallows, visiting web sites the company blocks, clearing your tracks
from a latop, searching work documents from home, storing files online,
keeping privacy while using webmail, accessing work e-mail without a
Blackberry, access personal mail from a blackberry.
tips  IT  hacks 
january 2009 by jerryking

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