Image courtesy of Flickr user Solo.

Fall 2010
Volume 52, Issue # 1

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The Collaborative Organization: How to Make Employee Networks Really Work

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 21 min 

CIOs who learn to balance formal and informal structures can create global IT organizations that are more efficient and innovative than organizations that rely primarily on formal mechanisms. Organizational network analysis provides a useful methodology for helping executives assess broader patterns of informal networks between individuals, teams, functions and organizations, and for identifying targeted steps to align networks with strategic imperatives.

Image courtesy of PepsiCo.

Selling to Many Cultures — Within the U.S.

  • Opinion & Analysis
  • Read Time: 4 min 

Image courtesy of PepsiCo. International markets have been increasingly important for many U.S. companies, and they are the assumed priority for future growth. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is representative: In 1998 it obtained 6% of its revenue internationally; by 2008, international revenues constituted 25% of Wal-Mart’s much larger sales base.

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How Fast Can Innovations Get Big?

  • Opinion & Analysis
  • Read Time: 2 min 

Energy sector innovation faces an important hurdle, according to MIT’s Ernest Moniz. How do we reconcile the cultural mismatch between innovators and the establishment?

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How to Manage Risk (After Risk Management Has Failed)

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 17 min 

Over the past decade, a number of the world’s respected companies have collapsed. A factor was these companies’ approach to risk management. Two different views have evolved on how risk should be assessed. The first — the frequentist view — is based on historical data. The second, or Bayesian, considers risk to be in part a judgment of the observer. Many measures are being deployed to prevent future crises — a shift from frequentist to Bayesian risk management should be part of this effort.

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When Should You Nickel-and-Dime Your Customers?

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 23 min 

When should a company “nickel-and-dime” customers by charging separately for various extras, and when is it better to combine all of the charges into one total price? It depends on a variety of factors, such as whether customers comparison shop, whether they are more sensitive to the prices of some components (delivery) than to others, whether the price of one component is small or large relative to the others, and whether the company controls the costs and quality of a particular component.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Kliefi.

Designing the Soft Side of Customer Service

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 20 min 

This article examines how three factors—emotions, trust and control—shape customer assessments of service experiences and their overall view of service providers. Drawing on research conducted at companies including Dell, the Seattle Supersonics and McKinsey & Company, the article posits that organizations seeking to excel in customer service need to attack the “soft side” of customer management with the same type of intensity they have previously used to reengineer workflow and supply chains.

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Opportunism Knocks

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 7 min 

Complex supply chains with many agents are more prone to problems, and on occasion, to spectacular collapse. Examples from the last few years include the subprime mortgage crisis; the failure of the Peanut Corporation of America; and dioxin-contaminated Irish pork. Without a doubt, today’s complex supply chains are vulnerable to opportunistic behavior leading to sometimes catastrophic failure. But there are five steps managers can take to protect their companies.

Image courtesy of Flickr user raspberreh.

Are You Ready to Reengineer Your Decision Making?

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 14 min 

There has been enormous progress in embedding the use of analytics at lower levels of companies. But according to Thomas H. Davenport, professor at Babson College and one of the best-known thinkers about analytics and business intelligence, the upper levels of companies haven’t kept up.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Solo.

10 Data Points:
Information and Analytics at Work

  • Read Time: 5 min 

Early returns are in from the first annual New Intelligent Enterprise Survey. Here are major highlights of what executives and managers said about how they are — or are not — capitalizing on information.

Image courtesy of Microsoft.

Can You Measure the ROI of Your Social Media Marketing?

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 24 min 

Effective social media measurement turns the traditional ROI approach on its head: “managers should begin by considering consumer motivations to use social media and then measure the social media investments customers make as they engage with the marketers’ brands.”

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