Technology

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Luminar Insights

Facing headwinds from a shifting media industry, executives at Spanish-language broadcasting company Entravision recognized the need to innovate their business model. To get there, they created Luminar, a big data insights division that utilizes about 2,000 external data points to deliver customized, transaction-based insights to marketers about Entravision’s Latino audience. The fastest-growing U.S. demographic, Latinos have amassed buying power worth more than a trillion dollars annually.

Courtesy of Women's World Banking.
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Women’s World Banking: A Model Knowledge Network

Knowledge networks are helping members of organizations of all sizes learn quickly and collaborate productively. The most effective networks are clear about goals, allow for shared expertise and embrace online communication. Women’s World Banking, for instance, has a robust website where members discuss topics, share documents and collaborate on wikis.

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Inside Renault’s Digital Factory

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 12 min 

Engaging with the digital technology in consumers’ lives creates unique challenges for traditional companies. Renault hired Patrick Hoffstetter, an executive with extensive Web experience, to shape its Digital Factory concept — a new way of marketing its cars. Hoffstetter says Renault must shift its mindset about the auto business and uses pilot programs in test markets to help the company respond more quickly to consumer interest in things like content for their cars or shopping online.

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The Nine Elements of Digital Transformation

  • Opinion & Analysis
  • Read Time: 10 min 

Companies use emerging technologies to achieve powerful enhancements to their operations. Research finds nine change areas: understanding customer wants and needs, increasing top-line revenues, opening new touch points for customers, automation of operations, knowledge sharing, performance management, digitizing parts of the business, creating new business models and globalization. The key is for executives to have vision, focus and follow-through.

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DBS Bank Pumps Up the Volume on its Technology

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 15 min 

DBS Bank, Singapore’s largest, is using analytics, social media and mobile technology to boost customer satisfaction and its bottom line. The company is using technology more effectively, filling in with outside vendors where it feels it cannot achieve top performance on its own. The bank is also building on its traditional transaction model to leverage information more effectively — a process it expects will radically remake the way it interacts with its customers.

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Raising the Bar With Analytics

More than half of managers surveyed strongly agree that their organizations need to step up analytics use, according to a 2013 global survey by MIT Sloan Management Review and SAS Institute. In addition, survey data suggests that in companies where analytics has improved the ability to innovate, managers are more likely to share data with partners and suppliers.

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Thriving in a Big Data World

Words have become data; the physical states of our machinery have become data; our physical locations have become data; and even our interactions with each other have become data. Three recent books offer expert perspectives on the increasing power and importance of analytics.

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Should You Outsource Analytics?

Outsourcing analytics activities can offer benefits, but it requires a carefully constructed relationship between the company and the business process organization (BPO). Customers must be careful not to lose their expertise or their core intellectual property. Research suggests that companies with superior analytics capabilities will approach outsourcing differently than companies that are analytically challenged.

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What’s Your Information Footprint?

Wealth once was measured by the amount of land, employees or equipment you had. Today we are on the cusp of a period in which another factor is an indicator of potential wealth: how much information you have. Information has the potential to be a valuable asset, and a new framework, dubbed “the information footprint,” presents a way for companies to assess their information assets and the opportunities it gives them for new value creation.

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The Real Savings From IT Outsourcing

Research suggests that outsourcing IT can help reduce sales expenses and general and administrative costs, which are often four to five times IT costs. Managers need to take a balanced approach to their investments in internal systems and outsourcing to reap greater benefits in terms of cost savings. Analyzing the impact of outsourcing on non-IT costs and formulating strategies for maximizing the savings on these expenses can help companies get the most out of outsourcing spending.

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How Big Data is Influencing Big Companies

A recent data and analytics survey sheds light on what large organizations are actually doing with big data initiatives. The survey of nearly 100 senior executives from Fortune 1000 companies found that executives are reporting anincreasing commitment to big data projects. As well, most executives, 70%, are looking to improve their “time to answer” with big data.

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Video: New Opportunities in the Transformed Music Industry

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 1 min 

It’s been a difficult decade for any company that’s been in the recorded music business. But at Universal Music, the company is using external partnerships, technology, new platforms and “democratized data” to surmount challenges in one of the first industries to go digital. Universal’s Rob Wells explains how he and his colleagues have dealt with massive change and how they take advantage of new opportunities to put the company at the forefront of the industry landscape.

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How to Revitalize Your Digital Business Model

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 3 min 

What should a company do if its digital business model isn’t working very well? Peter Weill, chairman of the MIT Sloan School of Management’s Center for Information Systems Research, has created some principles to revamp the fortunes of a digital business. His framework focuses around three planks: content, experience and platform. Executives should decide which plank offers competitive advantage and develop a world-class version of it online, partnering with others for the other two planks.

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CDOs Are Reaching New Heights — and Quickly

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 3 min 

The chief digital officer (CDO) is a new title in the C-suite, and it’s gaining traction. According to David Mathison, the head of the CDO Club, the number of executives with that title has risen from 75 in 2011 to nearly 500 in 2013. Though the CDO title is most prevalent in industries related to content, where digital disruption is ongoing, CDO posts are appearing in all sectors of the economy. And CDOs are becoming hot candidates for CEO jobs. Despite their small numbers, at least seven people have leapt from the CDO chair to a CEO or president’s title.

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The Nine Obstacles to Digital Transformation

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 3 min 

To get real transformation from technology requires company leaders to set digital priorities and work together across departments to reach those goals. A new survey identifies nine significant leadership, organizational and cultural challenges that work against digital transformation. But leaders who present a strategic vision and continue to articulate it will get buy-in from employees, a large majority of whom see technology as a way to gain real competitive advantages. Digital transformation is a challenge — but a manageable one.

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Embracing Digital Technology

A study by MIT Sloan Management Review and Capgemini Consulting finds that companies now face a digital imperative: adopt new technologies effectively or face competitive obsolescence. While there is consensus on the importance of adopting digital technology, most employees find the process complex and slow. Many say their leaders lack urgency and fail to share a vision for how technology can change the business. Companies that succeed tend to have leaders who share their vision and define a road map, create cross-organizational authority for adoption and reward employees for working towards it.

Image courtesy of Nestle.
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When Big Businesses Push the Start(up) Button

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 2 min 

Companies inevitably lose their startup mojo as they get big. But even the biggest companies can get it back, as evidenced by Nestlé. It brought in Pete Blackshaw to serve as a stimulant for its digital and social media. He’s helped the company build a little bit of Silicon Valley startup into its operations, forming a Digital Acceleration Team that spreads “digital vitamins” throughout Nestlé. The company is speeding up its digital marketing, too.

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How Digital Acceleration Teams Are Influencing Nestlé’s 2,000 Brands

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 14 min 

Nestlé is taking digital vitamins, using a leadership and social media training program called the Digital Acceleration Team to spread knowledge of how to operate brands across different mediums. Pete Blackshaw, global digital marketing chief at Nestlé, talks about the benefits of spreading digital vitamins, discusses adaptive marketing. and acknowledges the ongoing “torture tests” social media presents for companies.

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Designing Effective Knowledge Networks

In today’s interconnected world, networks for sharing knowledge are important. Authors Katrina Pugh of Columbia University, and Laurence Prusak, coauthor of the book Working Knowledge: How Organizations Manage What They Know, write that by paying careful attention to eight dimensions of network design, leaders of knowledge networks can facilitate desired behaviors and outcomes.

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Five Steps to Digitally Transforming City Government

  • Blog

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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