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Roxbury Community College Partnership
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Five Steps to Digitally Transforming City Government

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Boston Mayor Tom Menino is almost radically tech averse, yet he’s led a revamp of a customer relationship management system that has transformed the way the city, its workers, and its citizens interact. Starting with its Citizens Connect app (initially for better pothole reporting), Boston has expanded its data interface to allow faster turnaround times for repair, and has even held a competition across departments to reward the quickest response to citizen requests.

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BMW Test-Drives Mobile Microvideo

BMW is pursuing consumer-to-consumer marketing using microvideo on mobile phones. The company wants to see if mobile social media can help boost sales. Wolfgang Breyer, head of international advertising, online communications and social media at BMW, says the company wants to see how mobile sharing compares to PC-based sharing, and whether microvideo offers an effective format for consumers. BMW is planning a pilot this fall.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Paul L Dineen.
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Does Data Have a Shelf Life?

Recent research out of the Department of Operations and Information Systems at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, and the Department of Management Information Systems, Eller School of Management at the University of Arizona, Tucson, asks a seemingly simple question about organizations’ data collection and usage that could have some big implications on your own data techniques.

The question: When is the right time to refresh data to support organizational decision-making?

Image courtesy of Flickr user Vermin Inc.
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Omnichannel Retailing and Data Analytics: Leveling the Playing Field

We’re in a new world of omnichannel retailing that includes physical, online and mobile channels. And those channels are blurring.

In a recent AllAnaltyics video and web chat, Analytics in the Age of Omnichannel Retailing, researchers Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the MIT Center for Digital Business, Yu Jeffrey Hu, associate professor at Georgia Institute of Technology’s Scheller College of Business, and Mohammad Rahman, associate professor at University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, discussed the challenges facing retailers.

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Big Data That’s Good for the Public

Facts: 900 million. Active sources: more than 100,000. Data sets: 30,000, with 200 million time series and 1.5 billion fact values.

Link all these data sources together and what do you get? Timely, if not crucial, contextual information about markets, trends, competitors, products and consumer opinions.

This is the promise of DOPA, a project funded under the umbrella of the European Union.

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Social Business: Flat or Hierarchical? A Surprising Answer

The most effective social businesses of the future may start to look more like organizations that long predate modern corporations — so-called “loosely coupled” organizations such as military, education and religious institutions.

These organizations remain deeply hierarchical, argues Gerald C. Kane, but these hierarchies operate differently than modern corporations, pushing decision-making capabilities down to people who can better deal with conditions on the ground.

Image courtesy of Flickr user tink tracy.
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Five Steps To Leading Change Successfully

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Before making a change, you need to identify the influencers who can push the project forward — or who can cause it to stall. “Left unattended, skepticism, fear and panic can wreak havoc on any change process,” write Ellen R. Auster and Trish Ruebottom.

Their solution is a five-step, proactive process designed to help leaders navigate both the politics and the emotions that are churned up by heading in new directions. The steps include mapping the key stakeholders who will be affected by the change and involving the most influential of them.

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Sustainability? Don’t Go It Alone

At the Sustainable Brands seventh annual community in June, a key theme was succinctly framed by Sally Uren, acting chief executive, Forum for the Future: “pioneering companies are hitting the limits of what they can do alone.” To address sustainability-related issues, a growing number of companies are becoming more collaborative. Not merely with suppliers, but with competitors as well. The complexity of business problems connected with sustainability is demanding collective action.

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Eight Steps to Digital Transformation

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Companies want digital transformation, but achieving it is hard. Executives from two transformative businesses, Kim Stevenson, Intel’s CIO, and Mark Norman, the president of Zipcar, discuss how they do it, with Andy McAfee of MIT’s Center for Digital Business and Didier Bonnet of Capgemini Consulting’s digital transformation practice.

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Transparency as a Competitive Advantage: Think Very Carefully About Communicating Your Data Sharing Initiatives

In the weeks following revelations that the NSA has a domestic spying network that taps the electronic and telephone communiqués of nearly every American, consumers have intensified their concerns about corporate complicity in government data snooping. That leads to the question: Are we at the beginning of a consumer backlash that will stymie expected economic growth related to data-sharing? Or are consumers resisting the inevitable: a new era of diminished privacy?

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Mitigation or Adaptation? Lessons from Abolition in the Battle Over Climate Policy

Although both mitigation and adaptation are needed to address climate change risks, says MIT professor John Sterman, adapting to climate change may be taking resources that could be better spent on mitigation and prevention. We have the ingenuity to successfully tackle this complex issue, and can look at the lessons learned from the abolition of slavery to help guide us.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Mayo Clinic.
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Mayo Clinic Leads Social Conversations About Healthcare

The Mayo Clinic has been able to leverage and enhance its reputation as a trusted source of health information through a robust online presence and expansive social media program. Through its YouTube channel, Twitter feed, and Facebook page, it brings health information to hundreds of thousands of consumers. The Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media coordinates and focuses the Clinic’s various social media initiatives and programs.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Lil Larkie.
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Procedural Versus Strategic Approaches to Social Media

Is your company’s social media team grounded in the culture of your organization? Younger employees often have a procedural understanding of social media tools but need strategic vision, argues Boston College’s Jerry Kane. The most effective social media initiatives may be partnerships between younger employees experimenting with social media technologies while more experienced employees harness their enthusiasm and ideas to give them strategic direction.

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The Pitfalls of Using Online and Social Data in Big Data Analysis

Is Twitter a litmus test for how a segment of society is acting — or thinking — at any given moment? Not quite. Striking new research out of Princeton University and the University of North at Carolina Chapel Hill suggests that inferences based on how people use social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook should be reconsidered because these platforms represent skewed samples from which it is difficult to draw accurate conclusions.

Image courtesy of Flickr user trialsanderrors.
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Valuing Influentials Means More than Just Counting Connections

New research shows that marketers who want to determine the value of a particular online influencer need to look beyond just the size of a person’s network connections. Zsolt Katona, assistant professor at the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, found that the value of an influencer depends on underlying factors in the network structure of that individual with the target set of consumers. Specifically, Katona found that people who provide sole influence over consumers are the most valuable.

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Big Data’s Travails Don’t Mean It’s Derailed

Executives are growing dismissive of Big Data’s value. Even the best companies can struggle to get good results from their data. But data isn’t getting smaller, it’s getting much, much larger. Corporate executives should look at what’s emerging from universities like MIT, where researchers are beginning to get answers to longstanding big questions in healthcare, public policy and finance.

Image courtesy of Flickr user PhotKing ♛.
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One Size Does Not Fit All in Social Media

How can corporations get more value from their use of social media? They can start by paying attention to research into developmental psychology, argues Boston College’s Gerald C. (Jerry) Kane. Understanding why people use social media differently at different ages can provide considerable insight for corporations that want to interact with customers.

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When Competition Shifts From the Known to the Unknown

In a research paper, Masters of Big Data: Concentration of Power Over Digital Information, Alessandro Mantelero posits that because not everyone has access to all sources of information — or the ability and infrastructure to exploit data — there is a concentration of a new kind of power: the power of information.

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Analytics is Transforming Customer Service: Should We Worry?

Customer service and … cognitive computing? Really?

Yes, it’s happening. A recent Forbes article, IBM’s Watson Now a Customer Service Agent, Coming to Smartphones Soon, describes cognitive computing’s growing influence on customer service at a wide range of consumer-facing organizations — think financial services, telecoms, retail and insurance companies. ANZ Bank in South Africa offers a glimpse into a present that sounds more fictional than real.

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Sustainable Finance: 7 Steps in Managing Reputational Risk

Financial institutions’ funding decisions makes them gatekeepers for sustainable development. But how do they develop the policies and procedures that will guide how they make decisions and satisfy stakeholders? According to Olivier Jaeggi of ECOFACT, effective decision-making for sustainability can be summed up in a set of seven best practices.

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