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A Bank On the Edge of a Deep River

South African finance leader Nedbank is using data and analytics as a way to help the bank’s clients better understand their business. And the more data-oriented the bank becomes, the better able it will be to turn its developing prowess on itself. As the bank dives deeper into analytics, the same data it’s using for clients can help Nedbank better understand its own organization, employees, suppliers, and more.


Taking a Value-Chain Perspective on Innovation

Market leaders have many advantages when adopting new technologies such as e-business, but they don’t always make the move. Why? It’s partly because new technology can be leveraged along a chain of related companies only if business partners also make the leap to adopt these changes. And research reveals that when large companies are significantly concerned about customer adjustment costs of new innovations, these powerful and otherwise highly capable organizations often resist change.


Customer Relationships Get the Data Treatment

A new case study by MIT Sloan Management Review, “A Data-Driven Approach to Customer Relationships,” details how the South African bank Nedbank is using its rich access to a trove of transactional data from credit card use — from the time of transactions and size of purchases to retailer locations, and even specific details like the age, gender, race, marital status, and income bracket of some users — to help merchants make strategic decisions to better serve those customers.



Free Webinar: Platform Strategy and the Internet of Things

IoT, a “worldwide platform of platforms,” offers power for companies who can capture its value. Watch as Professor Marshall Van Alstyne, author of Platform Revolution, offers insights on how platform strategy and IoT combine to produce value for all players in the ecosystem, using his research and real-life examples. Learn what what platform strategy is and how companies are using IoT to advance their platform strategies


Do You Have a Conversational Interface?

  • Read Time: 5 min 

AI-driven interactions between customers and brands will soon be occurring more often. Messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger and Slack will combine with AI to make sense of text — both conversational and written — and offer services in real time. Companies can prepare for this shift by choosing a platform, running experiments, and begin introducing AI to their customers today.


Why It Pays to Be Where the IT Talent Already Is

As demand for big data technologies grows, so does the problem of finding sufficient skills. Result: Talent shortages could limit the rate of productivity growth. Research shows that labor-market factors have shaped early returns on investment in big data technologies such as Hadoop, a framework for distributed processing of large data sets. It turns out that when know-how is scarce, organizations that invest in new IT or R&D derive significant benefits from the related investments of other organizations.


Lady pushing a shopping cart in the supermarket.

A Fresh Take on Supply Chain Innovation

  • Read Time: 5 min 

For PepsiCo, entering the natural beverage markets of coconut water and smoothies meant developing new risk-management practices. In the coconut water business, “lead times are longer and supply is more variable than in PepsiCo’s traditional beverage supply chain,” write Tim Rowell of PepsiCo and James B. Rice Jr. of the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics. “The company has had to build enough inventory to minimize stock outs — without causing excessive losses through obsolescence.”


Achieving Trust Through Data Ethics

Eight out of 10 executives surveyed say that as the business value of data grows, the risks their companies face from improper handling of data increase exponentially. While digital advancements enable new opportunities for businesses to compete and thrive, they also create increased exposure to systemic risks. Success in the digital age will require a new kind of ethical review around how companies gather and use data.



Paul Michelman on the Launch of MIT SMR’s Frontiers Initiative

In a video interview, MIT SMR editor in chief Paul Michelman explains the impetus behind the launch of the publication’s Frontiers initiative and the value he hopes it will hold for readers. Michelman explains the genesis of the Frontiers idea, the nature of the essayists selected for the program, and why it’s important for MIT SMR to launch this initiative now. He also discusses the themes that emerged from the essays, including the changing nature of the man-machine collegial relationship.


When Machine Intelligence Meets Main Street

We are past the point of debating whether human intuition can be replicated. Machine learning is already here. It will impact most companies over the next few decades and become part of everyday business life. Executives must quickly come to grip with how companies and industries will evolve.

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