Business Process Optimization

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Data Analytics Makes the Transition From Novelty to Commodity

Business is nearing a tipping point in which the use of data analytics is becoming routinely adopted. While widespread adoption of analytics will mean that it offers less competitive advantage to companies, it also means that the business environment overall will change. Information systems expert Sam Ransbotham identifies four key changes that businesses need to consider now.

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Revisiting Complexity in the Digital Age

As businesses grow and diversify, they almost inevitably make their range of offerings more complex. Until now, managing that complexity usually involved a trade-off between creating value from complexity and benefiting from the efficiencies of simplicity. But smart use of today’s digital technologies can help companies finesse those trade-offs between costs and benefits. Digitization can help companies, for instance, increase product variety and integration while maintaining process simplicity.

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Capitalizing on Data by Building Organizational Capabilities

The idea is simple: develop a methodology that ties patient outcomes to provider fees so that clinicians are rewarded when patients’ health improves. Making it happen is a lot more complicated. When WellPoint undertook this task, it discovered that there was more to it than simply the challenge of applying data analytics technology — the company’s innovation processes had to be reinvented.

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Technology Solutions for Health Care Need a Continuous Process

It’s no secret that the fee-for-service model in U.S. health care is a driving factor in spiraling costs. WellPoint’s innovative plan to shift to a value-based payment plan may prove to be a key innovation that keeps a lid on those costs. But as commentator Sam Ransbotham points out, their effort to change the payment system also highlights a need for process changes at WellPoint itself.

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What to Expect From a Corporate Lean Program

“Lean” programs help many manufacturers boost productivity. But misplaced expectations of how quickly these programs can improve performance can make their implementation difficult. Better understanding of the rates at which lean programs produce improvements would make implementation go more smoothly — and lead to more increases in productivity. Managers should set targets that are appropriate to specific plants and be careful not to derail progress by using initial gains to lay off workers.

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Accelerated Innovation: The New Challenge From China

Chinese companies are opening up a new front in global competition. It centers on what the authors call accelerated innovation — that is, reengineering research and development and innovation processes to make new product development dramatically faster and less costly. The new emphasis is unlikely to generate stunning technological breakthroughs, but it allows Chinese competitors to reduce the time it takes to bring innovative products and services to mainstream markets. It also represents a different way of deploying Chinese cost and volume advantages in global competition.

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 Role of the Chief Strategy Officer

The Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) is a comparatively new but increasingly important role in many organizations. This article proposes a typology of four CSO archetypes – Internal Consultant, Specialist, Coach and Change Agent – who carry out a variety of responsibilities in the CSO role. By understanding how the duties of the CSO can vary significantly from organization to organization, boards and CEOs can make better decisions about which type of CSO is necessary for their leadership teams.

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Is It Time to Rethink Your Pricing Strategy?

Companies differ in their approaches to price setting, but most fall into one of three buckets: cost-based, competition-based or customer value-based. Customer value-based pricing uses data on the perceived customer value of the product as the main factor to determine prices.

However, implementing customer value-based pricing is not easy. Developing a customer value-based pricing program is a multiyear project demanding executive attention and requiring substantial changes in corporate processes.

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Creating Value Through Business Model Innovation

Companies are increasingly turning toward business model innovation as an alternative or complement to product or process innovation. Changes to business model design can be subtle; even when they might not have the potential to disrupt an industry, they can still yield important benefits to the innovator. The article offers a number of examples of business model innovation and poses six questions for executives to consider when thinking about business model innovation.

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Mind the Adoption Gap: Why Do We Still Email Documents?

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“Business users tend to ignore IT tools that require them to switch contexts, juggle multiple browser windows, and learn new collaboration habits . . . Eighty-three percent of business users continue to abuse email, ping-ponging document attachments back and forth, thus creating document chaos.

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Measuring user innovation

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A new working paper examines the prevalence — and policy implications — of innovations that come from technology users.

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