Technology

Image credit: LinkedIn Corporation

The Relevance of Data: Going Behind The Scenes at LinkedIn

It is an understatement to say LinkedIn is growing like a weed. With 238 million members in over 200 countries, 2.8 million active company profiles, and 1 million professionally oriented groups, LinkedIn has become the world’s largest professional networking site. Deepak Agarwal, LinkedIn’s director of relevance science, explains how his company uses data and analytics to sustain this growth.

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?

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Video: What Digital Transformation Means for Business

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  • Read Time: 1 min 

New technologies are changing the nature of business in powerful and unpredictable ways. Executives need to know which technologies to adopt and how to leverage them. Kim Stevenson, Intel’s chief information officer, and Mark Norman, the president of Zipcar, discuss how they manage for technological change with Andrew McAfee, a principal research scientist at MIT’s Center for Digital Business and Didier Bonnet, senior vice president and global practice leader at Capgemini Consulting.

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Eight Steps to Digital Transformation

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  • Read Time: 2 min 

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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A Process of Continuous Innovation: Centralizing Analytics at Caesars

Over the past several years, Caesars has undergone a reorganization, in part to centralize its analytics functions. It has sought to build a deeper understanding not only of customers, but also of operations — everything from food and beverage analytics to labor analytics. Ruben Sigala, chief analytics officer at Caesars, talks with MIT Sloan Management Review contributing editor Renee Boucher Ferguson about that process, some valuable lessons learned, and where innovation and intuition play a role.

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Video: Digital Transformation Comes to Education

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Linda Zecher, CEO of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, is leading the U.S.’s largest K-12 publisher into a more digital era where curricula will increasingly adapt to individual student needs. Along with HMH chief content officer Mary Cullinane, Zecher is guiding HMH through changes that will include new skill sets as well as extensive infrastructure and content management changes.

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How eBay Uses Data and Analytics to Get Closer to Its (Massive) Customer Base

You can find just about anything on eBay: A vintage BMW, a Lear jet, a half-million-dollar yacht. From all that activity stems a lot of data and, eventually, information. In conversation with MIT Sloan Management Review contributing editor Renee Boucher Ferguson, Neel Sundaresan, senior director of research at eBay, discusses how eBay uses data and analytics at every level of the company to continuously evolve eBay’s numerous sites and services for buyers and sellers.

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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 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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Competing in the Age of Omnichannel Retailing

Recent technology advances in mobile computing and augmented reality are blurring the boundaries between traditional and Internet retailing, enabling retailers to interact with consumers through multiple touch points and expose them to a rich blend of offline sensory information and online content. In response to these changes, retailers and their supply-chain partners will need to rethink their competitive strategies.

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With 3-D Printing, the Shoe Really Fits

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  • Read Time: 3 min 

Few new technologies receive more intense interest than 3-D printing, with some predicting that it will revolutionize manufacturing. That promise remains emergent. But it is taking shape in some industries, such as shoes. The shoe company New Balance thinks that within five years it will custom-make shoes with 3-D printers. And there are already entrepreneurial fashion designers trying to leverage 3-D printing to build up their presence in the market.

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Predicting the Performance of Analytics Talent

The surprising finding that 55% of big data analytics projects are abandoned comes from a recent survey of 300 IT professionals. The most significant challenge with analytics projects, according to the survey? Finding talent. Most (80%) of the respondents said that the top two reasons analytics projects fail is that managers lack the right expertise in house to “connect the dots” around data to form appropriate insights, and projects lack of business context around data.

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Video: The Digital Transformation of Health Care

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  • Read Time: 1 min 

One of the largest health insurers in the United States, WellPoint, is using technology to change its business model. Lori Beer, WellPoint’s executive vice president of specialty businesses and information technology, talks about how technology is helping doctors and nurses be more efficient and effective and lowering costs. Beer explains how WellPoint, which is the first commercial adopter of IBM’s Watson technology, is using analytics to help health-care providers work more efficiently.

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How Starbucks Has Gone Digital

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  • Read Time: 15 min 

Starbucks chief digital officer Adam Brotman and chief information officer Curt Garner explain how they collaborate closely. The two constantly seek to improve customer experience through technology and to unify marketing efforts across channels. Their partnership has forged a fast-paced rollout of new digital efforts, from faster payment processing to mobile ordering, across Starbucks’ 17,000 stores.

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The Importance of IT-Enabled Flexibility in Alliances

Strategic alliances are arguably more critical now than ever before. In this highly digital age, organizations rely increasingly on Internet-based or computerized products and services that require the simultaneous cooperation of multiple organizations. The authors’ research has shown that flexible IT systems can help enable successful partnerships. But the opposite — that inflexible IT systems can hinder partnerships — is true, too. And it’s something about which organizations should be careful.

Image courtesy of Flickr user BenLucier.

Optimizing Your Digital Business Model

A company’s digital business model describes how the enterprise interacts digitally with its customers to generate value. If you lack a good digital business model, your customers may leave you behind. This article presents a framework to help enterprises compete digitally with three capabilities: their content, customer experience and platform. The framework is illustrated with case studies of top performers like Amazon, Apple, LexisNexis and USAA and results from an effective practices survey.

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Image courtesy of Flickr user Robert Scoble.

Managing the Human Cloud

Online crowdsourcing platforms are growing at double-digit rates and are starting to attract the attention of large companies. Just as cloud computing offers unconstrained access to processing capacity and storage, the “human cloud” promises to connect businesses to millions of workers on tap, ready to perform tasks and solve problems that range from the simple to the complex. The article explores four new human cloud models: The Facilitator model, The Arbitrator, The Aggregator, The Governor.

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The Advantages of Digital Maturity

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  • Read Time: 5 min 

New research suggests that companies with well-managed investments in digital technology and transformation management can achieve up to 26% more profits than their industry average. A digital maturity model developed by MIT’s Center for Digital Business and Capgemini Consulting combines two elements: digital intensity (the level of technology investment directed towards changing how a company operates) and transformation management intensity.

Image by Greg Morris courtesy of Riverhead Books.
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What “Peer Progressives” Bring to Corporations

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Steven Johnson’s new book “Future Perfect: The Case For Progress In A Networked Age” shows that “collaborative peer networks outperform free-market arrangements all the time,” according to the Guardian.

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Video: Leading Your Company’s Digital Transformation

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Business leaders hear plenty about how digital technology can transform a business, but so much of the discussion focuses on technology-based companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google that executives at traditional companies might be forgiven for thinking that only high-tech startups can achieve digital transformation. In this video, George Westerman of the MIT Center for Digital Business explains how business executives can drive digital transformation within established companies.

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How to Digitally Transform Your Company

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  • Read Time: 3 min 

Companies such as Apple, Amazon and Facebook aren’t the only ones who can use high technology to get bottom-line results. For instance, PagesJaunes, the French Yellow Pages, has completely changed its business model with a strategy of building 100,000 websites for small businesses.

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