Tech Savvy

Using Predictive Analytics to Enhance Your Company Culture

What’s happening this week at the intersection of management and technology.

Simulate your organizational culture: I don’t think Peter Drucker ever actually said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” But he certainly recognized the influential role that culture plays in corporate success and failure. The problem is that nobody really knows how to measure culture’s effects, let alone what levers to pull and how hard to pull them to get a great one. Enter predictive analytics and a company called Icosystem.

“[Icosystem’s] software simulates the complex workings of any given organization by mimicking the behaviors and interactions of individual employees, like a custom-built Sims universe, in order to predict how slight changes in one area, like a call operator’s time on the phone, might impact another, like customer satisfaction,” writes Stephanie Russell-Kraft in Motherboard.

If you can simulate the effect a call operator’s behavior has on customer satisfaction, why can’t you measure the effect of, say, a better gender balance in your company? Icosystem CTO Paolo Gaudiano thinks you can. He tells Russell-Kraft that Icosystem is now developing software can be used to model changes to the organizational culture, simulating, for example “typically ‘female’ and ‘male’ attributes to see how putting women in leadership positions might help firms lower HR costs or boost sales.”

Add software to your value proposition: Vijay Gurbaxani, director of the Center for Digital Transformation at UC Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business, says that no matter what business you’re in these days, you’re in the software business. “That doesn’t mean that you should stop delivering your current products or services. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you should suddenly start selling something labeled ‘software,’” he writes in Harvard Business Review. “Rather, this approach recognizes a fundamental shift in the sources of value creation and competitive advantage toward software.”

That means incorporating software into your company’s strategic thinking by asking how it can contribute to competitive differentiation, help surmount barriers that keep customers from realizing value, and bolster your value proposition. Look to Disney World, says the business professor. Its $1 billion investment in the RFID-enabled Magic Band created a better, more seamless customer experience and provided the data needed to better manage its parks — enabling the company to “accommodate an additional 5,000 daily visitors.”

Rightsizing the C-suite for digital: What was the name of your company’s reengineering czar? Too young for that? That’s okay. Twenty years from now, it’ll be just as tough for you to remember the name of your company’s blockchain czar. But by then, you’ll certainly understand that the next big thing often adds to the headcount in the C-suite.

That’s why it was refreshing to read the latest post on Dion Hinchcliffe’s blog, On Digital Strategy. In it, Hinchcliffe argues that not only is it time to downsize the C-suite, but that companies are actually doing it. No kidding!

“Specifically, the positions of chief marketing officer (CMO) and chief communications officer (CCO) are sometimes being consolidated into a single role, even in very large enterprises,” writes Hinchcliffe. “Such consolidation has already happened at PG&E, Walgreens, and Citi, and I’ve recently encountered other notable instances as well.”

This runs counter to the conventional wisdom, which suggests that you need expert champions to drive the adoption of major, new technologies. “In fact, what’s often hampering us [is] functional silos, both in our org structures and in our technology,” explains Hinchcliffe. “In other words, with CMO and CCO consolidation, we will have a single top-level org structure that is substantially better suited to oversee engagement across the single continuum of digital.”

The blood-letting on the top floor doesn’t stop there. Hinchcliffe also predicts the merging of chief information officer and chief digital officer into a single position — for the same reason. Let the politicking begin!