Consultant, IBM Center for Applied Insights
Derek Franks 1100007YTJ firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  merchandising customers elana_anderson merchandisers consumer-products cp marketing jay_henderson cpg retail consumers retailers demandtec analytics 1,081 Visits
I came across this Smarter Commerce video a couple of weeks ago and I really like because it gets to the core of what Smarter Commerce is and why you should care about it. If you take a few minutes to watch it, what you’ll notice is that it keeps coming back to the customer as a central theme.
And at the end of the day, that’s really what Smarter Commerce is all about. It’s taking all of that data you’re collecting, helping you develop insights about your customer and the marketplace, and then applying all of that to every aspect of your business.
We recently conducted some research on a couple of specific areas with our colleagues from IBM DemandTec. Specifically, we looked at retail merchants and CPG sales organizations. The retail merchant research was conducted in collaboration with Planet Retail and the CPG sales org research was conducted in collaboration with Kantar Retail.
As we looked at the data from these research projects, we kept coming back to the same central theme as the video above: the customer. Everybody talks about being customer-centric. It’s almost a cliché. But what we found was that while everybody talks about it, most aren’t actually doing it.
Merchants tend to be product and category oriented, and CPG sales orgs tend to focus on their customer, the retailer, rather than the end consumer. Now we’re not saying that merchants should forget about product categories or that CPG sales teams should ignore the retailer, but we found that groups that placed a strong focus on the customer (or more specifically the consumer when talking about CPG) tended to outperform those that didn’t.
These “leaders” were customer-focused and collaborative, both within their enterprises and externally with vendors and partners. And they also made much greater use of analytics to uncover insights about their customers and the marketplace. The differences were really quite striking. For example, Leading Merchants were 1.6x more likely on average to use analytics to drive merchandising decisions, while Leading CPG Sales Organizations were more than 1.7x more likely to use analytics to improve product innovation.
If you’d like to learn more, our CPG paper, Putting consumers at the heart of the consumer products industry, is now available for download, as is our Retail paper, Understanding leading retailers. Take and look and let us know what you think. We're always happy to talk about our research and maybe your question or comment could be the basis of our next blog post.
Caitlin Halferty 060000YXNY email@example.com Tags:  gmu growth_markets global_competencies africa 752 Visits
Consultant, IBM Center for Applied Insights
Yesterday, on Tuesday February 5, 2013, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty addressed more than 200 South African business leaders in Johannesburg. IBM has been doing business in Africa for more than 90 years. Most recently, the company has been expanding its presence by focusing investments in more than 20 African countries.
As African-based CIOs rise to meet these challenges, should they look to the West or the East for their mentors?
To further explore how these CIOs strengthen and transform their organizations in light of these challenges, we're assessing competencies and capabilities that span:
What competencies and capabilities do you see as most promising?
We look to answer these questions and several others for you when we publish our research later this year. Post a comment and contribute your opinion to the conversation!
Caitlin Halferty 060000YXNY firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  emerging-technologies cio it_leader africa technology pacesetter 167 Visits
Forget about “out of Africa.” These days, everyone’s trying to get in – and by that I mean, get in on the explosive growth that will soon expand the continent’s consumer-facing industries by an estimated US$400 billion.
Today, we launched a new study based on a survey of 180 Africa-based IT leaders across Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Morocco. We wanted to learn how these IT leaders are preparing their organizations for this huge market opportunity.
We knew – going in – that the African people are adopting new technologies as fast as, or faster than, people in other parts of the world. So, we were not surprised to find that nearly 9 out of 10 IT leaders believe emerging technologies (including mobile, cloud, analytics and social) are critical to their business success.
However, we learned that far fewer enterprises are rapidly adopting those technologies. It’s a shortfall we’re calling Africa’s technology adoption gap. What’s slowing them down? Turns out, it’s the same factors giving Pacesetters their lead:
You can learn more about how pacesetting IT leaders are equipping their businesses to ride Africa’s growth curve in “Setting the pace in Africa: How IT leaders deliver on the potential of emerging technologies.”
Alison Fetherstonhaugh 270005WCPT email@example.com Tags:  sourcing marketing cmo thought-leadership it financial cio mckinsey ibmcai cfo 2 Comments 2,100 Visits
Consultant, IBM Center for Applied Insights
At the IBM Center for Applied Insights, we’re always searching for new best practices to share with IBM, our clients, and the rest of the world. Which is why, at a recent team meeting, we gathered to discuss a new article from McKinsey. In “The do-or-die questions boards should ask about technology”, McKinsey outlines nine questions all boards should be posing to their company management in order to be “technology winners”. You’ll probably notice that few of these questions focus on the technology – they focus on how to get business value from the technology. These nine questions fit so well with what we try to accomplish at the Center, I thought it would be a good exercise to pull key insights from some of our studies to see how we are helping to address them:
1. How will IT change the basis of competition in our industry?
As we’ve seen in many industries, technology is radically changing the competitive landscape, allowing new companies to gain significant market share from established players. In our 2012 Tech Trends report, we segmented over 1200 respondents into 3 groups based on their organizational stance on emerging IT. What we discovered was that the leaders (Pacesetters) were ahead of their competitors in the mobile, analytics, cloud, and social business spaces. These Pacesetters believe emerging technologies are critical to their business success and are using them to enable new operating and business models to improve their competitive position.
DAVID JARVIS 1000007UE6 firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  information social_business cloud tech-trends mobile analytics security_leader security 1 Comment 2,894 Visits
David Jarvis & Susanne Hupfer
IBM Center for Applied Insights
There are four pivotal information technologies that are rapidly reshaping how enterprises operate: mobile technology, business analytics, cloud computing, and social business. All four of these technologies are potentially disruptive, and they also come with unique security concerns. Many people fear the security implications of employees bringing their own mobile devices to work, or storing mission critical databases in public cloud environments. Fear shouldn’t drive organizations away from these potentially transformative technologies. How are organizations overcoming their fears? How are they breaking though the “security wall”?
Recently IBM released the results of its 2012 Tech Trends Report, which looks at the adoption patterns of these four technologies. It is based on a survey of over 1,200 professionals who make technology decisions – the respondents came from 16 industries and 13 countries. As part of the analysis, three different types of organizations were identified:
One common thread across all three of the identified groups is that security is a significant area of importance and concern. In fact, 62% of respondents cite security as one of the three most important areas facing their organization over the next two years, with 27% rating it number one. One interesting aspect is that, the less mature an organization is with respect to the four strategic technology areas, the more security rates as an area of importance and focus. Seventy-seven percent of the Dabblers cited security as a top-three area of importance, versus only 49% of the more mature Pacesetters. Why is that? Perhaps the Dabblers don’t fully understand, or trust, that there are security technologies, policies and practices that can ensure a more secure approach overall. Or perhaps they lack the experience the Pacesetters have.
“Security and privacy are not always treated as first-order problems. Things are deployed and made widely available without regard for security and privacy. In a best-case scenario, security and privacy are thought of as add-ons. Worst case, they’re ignored completely.”
– Dr. Eugene Spafford, Professor and Executive Director of the Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security, Purdue University
Besides being an area of significant importance, security is also seen as a significant barrier to technology adoption by the survey respondents. Information security is ranked as one of the top two barriers to adoption across the four technology areas – more than integration, inadequate skills or regulation and compliance. Overall, security is the biggest barrier for a majority of respondents for mobile (61%) and cloud (56%) adoption. Security is cited less often as the top adoption barrier in social (47%) and analytics (31%). As shown by the dark blue bars in the graph below, there isn’t a huge gap between the groups (9-11%) when it comes to security concerns, but, in general, less mature Dabblers see security as more of a barrier than the more mature Pacesetters. The exception is analytics, which has the lowest adoption barrier. Perhaps Pacesetters better understand the potential risks in implementing advanced analytic systems.
Another part of the security wall blocking the full realization of the benefits of the four technologies is that organizations’ current IT security policies aren’t sufficient. The figure above generally shows correlations between viewing security as a barrier to adoption (dark blue bars) and inadequate security policies (light blue bars). The Pacesetters are more confident across the board, with a majority saying that their security policies are adequate. The “adequate policies gap” between the Pacesetters and Dabblers ranges from 13% to 32%, a fairly wide margin. This tells us that organizations that have the right security policies in place are more confident, and less likely to see security as a barrier. For the others, there is a gap between their fears and taking the steps needed to address those fears.
Another tool organizations are using to attack the security wall is skills development. A majority of the respondents know that security is an issue and are working hard to boost their confidence. Overall, 70% of organizations are planning to develop or acquire skills in “mobile security and privacy” and “cloud security” – the two technology areas where security is seen as the biggest barrier.
Security is tightly intertwined with the four technology areas discussed. You shouldn’t pursue cloud, mobile, social or analytics endeavors without also focusing on needed security technologies, skills, policies and practices. The more you focus on policies and skills, the less likely you will see security as an impediment. Treat security as a business imperative and make it a priority. Design security in from the start of any project. Doing this will increase confidence and help to tear down the walls that are slowing the adoption of important, transformative technologies.
Derek Franks 1100007YTJ email@example.com Tags:  marketers surjit_chana marketing cmo marketing-science retail digital-marketing analytics 1,317 Visits
The Guardian's Media Network recently hosted a live chat around the topic of how CMOs can align and use digital marketing and data analytics - two areas we've taken a close look at since the inception of the IBM Center for Applied Insights.
The Guardian notes:
It becomes the job of marketers and CMOs to make sense of all that data and not get lost in the noise. Doing this, takes an analytical and curious approach to data. It's easy to find the "big numbers" but more challenging to find the "right numbers." As Surjit Chana, CMO of IBM Europe, has said, the core principles of marketing haven't changed. What has changed, dramatically, is how those principles come to life in today's marketing campaigns, customer experiences, and business results. In our paper, Marketing Science: From descriptive to prescriptive, we found that only 23% of marketing professionals use tested analytic approaches to understand the vast amount of data they have access to. More traditional marketers, using data to describe outcomes but not determine actions, consistently use data at face value - without applying data models or scientific thinking.
When technology and analytic skills don't exist in the marketing teams, it makes perfect sense to build partnerships with those who do. The closest partner in most organizations is IT. Thus, the renewed focus on CMO + CIO collaboration. We're continuing to watch, collaborate, and recommend approaches to our C-Suite colleagues. Check out "Understanding leading retailers" to see how the retail industry is collaborating with IT and partners to serve customers better.
Ellen Cornillon 110000K9SX firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  public_safety outcomes roi ems fire disaster_response police smarter_planet roi-for-smart efficiency law_enforcement benefits 984 Visits
John Reiners (profile)
Government Leader - IBM Center for Applied Insights
Last week, IBM hosted several U.S. Congressmen, their support teams, and media on Capitol Hill on the theme "IBM's Smarter States: How Tech Innovations Will Impact the Future of Government."
At the event, public safety was discussed as one of the areas of opportunity. We have recently published our research into the ROI of smarter public safety.
Our research, carried out over several months last year, looked at new approaches to public safety being adopted by agencies around the world, in law enforcement, fire, EMS, and disaster response. It presents the growing evidence of tangible benefits that these new approaches are delivering. You can check out a summary of the results in the study report. You and your colleagues can also access a Benefit Estimator, which can apply the research findings to calculate the potential benefits for your own organization.
I was asked the other day to summarise what we found out from our research, beyond the results presented in the report. There is always more to say than will fit in a single report! That question got me thinking, however, because the lessons learned during this research project probably apply equally to other areas of government and indeed other industries facing rapid technological change. So, here are my top 5 lessons learned:
There is a natural tendency to prefer this last one, as it offers the promise of cost saving & improved service levels as well as keeping control of operations. Though because investment is needed, it may be harder to secure the funds needed unless a convincing case can be made.
So do these points resonate with other areas of government and other industries? and what are the implications? For example, how can we move to a more sophisticated debate on how to invest in smarter approaches that:
Shubham Jain 270003FVPN email@example.com Tags:  developers enterprise mobile worklight bluemix application mobilefirst 34 Visits
Within the IBM Center for Applied Insights (CAI), I’ve begun an additional research path on enterprise mobile application development. To share and solidify my thinking, I’ll be posting some insights and early observations here.
A ‘mobile application development primer’ by IBM provides some useful pointers towards a great user experience:
Connection to legacy systems and data sources
One company that has been successful in integrating front and back-end systems through a mobile platform is Air Canada. It developed an app to help customers check their flight status and obtain electronic boarding passes in real time. The app has had over 1.5 million downloads and was ranked number two overall in the Apple App store in Canada a week after its release. As a result, Air Canada was able to reduce its per-check-in costs by 80 percent.
Mobile application developers can address these challenges, and others, if they view them as opportunities and try to find innovative solutions to these problems. These challenges can very well become the guides/pointers towards the future course of enterprise application development.
I look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions. I’ll also have more to say in the coming weeks, as our research progresses.
Susanne Hupfer 2700006BQ0 Susanne_Hupfer@us.ibm.com Tags:  cloud ibmpulse pulse saas pacesetters 804 Visits
The Software as a Service train has left the station, and there’s no slowing it down: global spending on SaaS is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 20.2% in 2012-2017, reaching US$45.6 billion by 2017.
The study examined Saas “Pacesetters” – those organizations that have adopted SaaS most widely and are gaining competitive advantage through their initiatives – to see what sets them apart. These leading organizations realize better enterprise efficiency with SaaS, but they also achieve deep collaboration, better decision making, and market agility more so than their peers. What’s so special about the Pacesetters’ approach that helps them overachieve? The study found that Pacesetters take a more cohesive, enterprise-wide approach to their SaaS strategy and foster greater collaboration between IT and LOB.
How does your organization measure up to the SaaS Pacesetters? Why not take your SaaS pulse by checking out our new interactive SaaS Pulse tool… We’ll ask you nine key questions that were part of the SaaS study questionnaire and let you know how your responses measure up to the Pacesetters. If your SaaS pulse is a little weak, we’ll give you some recommendations on how to improve your SaaS fitness. Good luck!
DAVID JARVIS 1000007UE6 firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  security ciso retail security_leader 1,915 Visits
Special thanks to Geert Van De Putte and Tim Appleby from IBM Software Group for their help with this post.
Like other industries, retail has its own set of unique security challenges. Loss prevention is a significant component of that challenge. The latest National Retail Security Survey stated that in 2011, U.S. retailers lost $34.5 billion to retail theft – combining employee theft, shoplifting, paperwork errors and supplier fraud. That accounted for approximately 1.4 percent of total retail sales last year.
Today, the checkout/point of sale is the nexus for retail security. Here, the four most important flows for a retailer converge – cash, inventory, electronic payments and customer data. All sorts of different security incidents and fraud can happen at this point – self-checkout fraud, shoplifting, counterfeit coupons, employee theft and compliance in theft, and the theft of customer data through compromised equipment.
As the boundaries of retailers extend beyond the traditional brick and mortar of their stores, additional security concerns come into play. There is fraud around online ordering and home shipment, portal security issues for retailer websites, supply chain security associated with contamination, theft and low quality, and even stealing intellectual property (if retailers have their own private labels).
On top of all of this, retailers are also transforming their business with emerging technologies that all have their own unique security challenges. These include new payment technologies like mobile point-of-sale and in-aisle purchasing, e-receipts, RFID and near-field communications, video and social analytics, mobility and multi-channel access and social networking.
All of these are increasing the number of contact points between the customer and the retailer – pushing out the security boundary further and further. Retailers are struggling to create a better, deeper customer experience and, at the same time, mitigate the potential risks to the organization.
The threat landscape and new technologies are creating a need for an integrated security environment. Are retailers up to the task? Are they approaching physical and information security in new, united ways? Is loss prevention being included in more and more technology conversations? Are retailers moving away from being purely reactive?
We gained a bit of insight into this as part of the IBM 2012 CISO Assessment. There were eleven retail respondents from four different countries (France, Germany, Japan and the U.S.). Their answers compared to the overall statistics from the survey shed some light on the issues:
Another statistic that highlights the fact that retailers know the importance of information security but are struggling to address the changing technology environment comes from IBM’s Global Workforce Study. Overall, 49% of respondents stated that they have “completely addressed” their mobile security concern. For retail it was only 22%. However, 73% of retail respondents expect to make significant investments in their mobile environment in the next 1-2 years, signaling they know it is an issue.
Retailers are not only responsible for protecting their own information, but they are under considerable regulatory pressure to make sure they protect customer information as well. They are faced with a diverse array of threats and technologies that are creating new potential vulnerabilities. They need to have the right security organization and capabilities that unites information and physical security, risk, loss prevention and others into a holistic approach. Retailers realize this, but they still have a way to go before they’ll be confident in their capabilities.
Feel free to contribute to the conversation. Are these the right security challenges for retailers? Will it take more than just technology to address them? How do you think they are addressing this important issue today? Do retailers have a harder go at it than other industries because of the nature of their business? Let us know what you think.
DAVID JARVIS 1000007UE6 email@example.com Tags:  security_leader erm leaders security ciso information_security leadership 1,537 Visits
Client Insights, Senior Consultant
Center for Applied Insights
Some things are bad to do by committee, creating a work of art, cooking dinner, closing a baseball game – and sometimes committees are a necessity. Security and risk committees are an essential part of any enterprise’s security and risk management infrastructure. They are a sign of a mature organization. By promoting collaboration across the enterprise and making security and the associated risk discussions an integral part of senior leadership’s responsibilities, the enterprise can be better protected. Yet, even though the benefits are clear, not enough enterprises have one.
A study released last week by the Carnegie Mellon CyLab, looking at privacy and security governance in the Forbes Global 2000, reported that boards and senior leadership still are not exercising appropriate governance over the privacy and security of their digital assets. The study stated that there is still a significant gap in understanding around the fact that security, privacy and IT risk are all a part of enterprise risk management.
The study did note one encouraging sign – that more and more enterprises have cross-functional privacy/security committees – 70% of 2012 respondents versus 17% in 2008. These committees can act as a bridge to boards and senior leadership and elevate the discussion around security and risk, potentially closing the governance gap.
These findings line up very nicely with what we recently uncovered as part of our 2012 CISO Assessment. Overall, only 49% of the total sample reported that they had a security or risk committee. When we delved deeper, 68% of the most mature group of organizations, Influencers, had a security/risk committee. In comparison, only 26% of the least confident and mature group, Responders, had one.
What was interesting was, regardless of the organization’s overall security maturity level, if they had a security or risk committee they shared similar characteristics. In general, leaders of the committees tended to be Senior IT Executives (28%), CISOs (24%) or Senior Business Executives (22%). These committees met on a fairly regular basis, with 48% meeting quarterly and 27% meeting monthly.
The security and risk committees also took a comprehensive, enterprise-wide approach with both business and IT representation. From the business side, the most represented functions included Compliance (80%), Legal (65%), Business Executives (64%), Business Operations (64%), and Finance (59%). From the IT side, IT Executives (91%), IT Operations (72%), Network Operations (60%), and Data Governance (51%) were all a part of a majority of the committees.
Finally, as part of the CISO Assessment we looked at the primary objectives of the security/risk committees. Looking at the chart below we can see that, based on their top two choices, most committees were primarily focused on developing enterprise security strategy and developing action plans and recommendations. So should committees only be focused on strategic policy and governance issues? Is there more they could be doing?
At IBM, our risk management team meets quarterly with a top advisory committee, including senior vice presidents of all the business units, who report directly to the CEO. These include the leaders of many functional areas including finance, marketing, technology and others. Each of these executives must understand the security risks to his or her unit and what controls are in place. Together, they shape and decide strategy. Security, after all, is intimately tied not only to their units, but to the future of the enterprise.
Based on all this information, I think that enterprises are using security and risk committees more and more and they are adopting best practices around the leaders, members, operations, and goals of those committees. To make the next step:
Derek Franks 1100007YTJ firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  cloud retail customer_experience retailers 1 Comment 448 Visits
This week, at the annual National Retail Federation conference, “customer experience” is a hot topic. Whether they’re doing anything about it or not, retailers instinctively know experience impacts loyalty, and loyalty keeps customers buying. Forrester Research analyst Harley Manning has long argued it’s the only thing that matters. His premise: “The only source of competitive advantage is the one that can survive technology-fueled disruption: an obsession with customer experience.”
While there’s a lot of truth in Manning’s assertion, I have a corollary – one reinforced by the research we’ve done recently at the IBM Center for Applied Insights: The only way to provide a superior customer experience is with technology-fueled delivery. In other words, fight fire with fire.
Take showrooming, for example. Mobile phones have clearly disrupted the traditional shopping experience. And some retailers are still wringing their hands about sales lost from shoppers checking competitors’ prices and assortments via smart phones while in their stores. Meanwhile, other retailers are finding ways to capitalize on all those devices in shoppers’ hands – through real-time analysis of in-store shopping behavior and merging real and virtual experiences.
What will the next retail disruptor be? Will Square and Paypal do away with POS terminals? How will retailers re-imagine the cross- and up-sell process when checkout counters and wrap-stand displays disappear?
Will cognitive systems like Watson sell products and field customer service questions? What about augmented reality? Wearable technology? Rather than view emerging innovations as threats, smart retailers will see these as opportunities to improve the customer’s shopping experience.
Although Manning might consider IT “table stakes,” I disagree. Obviously, there’s a certain technology bar retailers must meet to stay relevant, but IT – executed well – can still be a differentiator when it comes to the retail customer experience. Admittedly, I’m a bit biased (given where I work). But my opinions are backed by a fair amount of evidence too.
IBM’s annual State of Marketing study – involving more than 500 organizations across 15 industries – showed companies that effectively integrate technology to influence the customer experience are outperforming financially. These leading companies are experiencing 3.4 times the net income growth – and 1.8 times the gross profit growth – of their peers. The study outlines a suite of differentiators that set these leading companies apart, but two fundamental IT capabilities stood out to me.
First, these leaders have tackled the tough job of integrating all their channels. Unlike many of their peers, they’re equipped to deliver a consistent omni-channel experience. This behind-the-scenes plumbing allows them to accomplish the second feat – adjusting those customer experiences as they happen, often based on cloud-enabled data analytics (Listen to IBM Distinguished Engineer Frank DeGilio discuss how cloud is changing the customer experience).
Through integration and contextual insights, these leaders are building the muscle mass they need to tackle technology-fueled disruption. As new possibilities emerge – even when disguised as threats – leading companies will be ready to turn the tables, using technology to reinvent the customer experience.
DAVID JARVIS 1000007UE6 email@example.com Tags:  academic-initiative security education cybersecurity-education university cybersecurity industry governement 3,405 Visits
In a world of increasing and varying information security threats, academic initiatives focused on cybersecurity are proliferating - yet, there is still the danger of falling short in addressing the long-term threat. To avoid becoming too focused on near-term issues, programs must be more collaborative across their own institutions, with industry, government, and among the global academic community. Only by working in concert can we meet today’s demand while educating the next generation to create a more secure future.
1. Collaborate within your own institution – Cybersecurity programs should embed security practices and principles in computer science and engineering courses and take a holistic technical approach. They should work with other disciplines and schools in the university (e.g., business, law, ethics, medicine, policy). They should offer diverse education options for students and professionals (graduate, undergraduate, professional development, etc.).
To read more about leading cybersecurity education practices, case studies, and IBM’s recommendations, download our report . The paper is part of our ongoing security insights series which includes the 2012 IBM CISO Assessment and the Security Essentials for CIOs series.
DAVID JARVIS 1000007UE6 firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  industry cybersecurity security education university cybersecurity-education government academic-initiative 1 Comment 1,575 Visits
This was a very valuable event, and I hope that it continues on an annual basis. Even though it was to raise local awareness and promote URI and its computer science program, it could stand to have increased global participation in the next iteration – which was one of our key findings.
Ellen Cornillon 110000K9SX email@example.com Tags:  cai thought-leadership leadership 839 Visits
Client Insights, Consultant
IBM Center for Applied Insights
The CAI team have spent some time recently musing on the meaning of “thought leadership” – how do you define it and what makes good thought leadership. These may seem like obvious questions but, in my experience, as the amount of content multiplies (web commentary, blogs, social media, and so on), many people are unclear about what is distinctive about thought leadership. Our discussion highlighted some interesting points.
Firstly, there is a hazy line between thought leadership and marketing material. Thought leadership uses fact-based research to analyze a topical client issue and uses this to propose client action. Marketing material, on the other hand, uses assertion to argue the case for a supplier’s products and services. Both have their place. A potential customer would expect to find detail of products and services when accessing suppliers’ websites and point-of-view documents can provide a persuasive case to buy. Effective thought leadership, though, can offer something a little different. It can entice a potential client in, change their perspective on an issue, and increase their levels of trust and confidence in their supplier. It is for this reason that thought leadership features so prominently on the websites of all major IT systems & service providers.
So what makes effective thought leadership? I recently carried out a scan of a number of IT providers websites and the quality varies hugely. The best included several thought provoking articles which were easily accessible, thoroughly researched, and well presented. They made a compelling case for actions which clearly aligned closely with the strategic direction of the supplier. The worst were short opinion pieces which demonstrated a poor appreciation of market dynamics. In determining what makes effective thought leadership I use four categories (borrowing considerably from the analysis carried out by source for consulting.com):
Credible research: This means sufficient depth and breadth of data collection (perhaps using a customer survey) plus analysis which has rigour, yet can be understood by the reader.
Client appeal: It must draw the client in – to pick up the report/article and to carry on reading. To do this it must tackle an issue of immediate client interest and be written from the clients’ point of view, offering practical recommendations and demonstrating outcomes.
Distinctive: It must say something new, different which makes a difference (i.e. it qualifies as newsworthy).
Effective messaging: It must draw the reader almost subliminally to a set of messages which are aligned to the suppliers’ agenda. It this is done too obviously, the research and analysis loses credibility.
Derek Franks 1100007YTJ firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  ibm mobile system_of_engagement marketing emm marketer social unica cmo 2,155 Visits
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post discussing our recent paper that links Leading Marketers with financial outperformance. In our study, these Leading Marketers had 40% higher revenue growth and twice the gross profit growth. Naturally, the next question you’d ask is “how do I become a leading marketer?” And that’s exactly what I’m going to talk about over my next few posts.
To kick things off, we found that Leading Marketers engage with their customers across a variety of channels. These leading marketers are more likely to have integrated inbound, outbound and offline marketing programs in some or all channels. They are more likely to use interaction optimization technology in all of their channels. And they are also more likely to adjust offers in real-time across all channels. In short, they create a “System of Engagement” that allows them to engage each customer as an individual, across multiple channels.
So if leading marketers are creating a system of engagement to deliver targeted messaging across channels, what specific tactics are they using? To answer that, we looked closer at mobile and social channels.
Essentially, a number of tactics within these channels can be considered “table stakes.” Everybody has a mobile version of their website and delivers mobile e-mails. Everybody has a social networking page on a site like Facebook and most engage in micro-blogging (Twitter). But there are some specific, innovative tactics where we saw differences between leading marketers and others.
When it comes to mobile, we found that leading marketers were more likely to use mobile messaging campaigns, location based targeting, and mobile-specific ads. For social, leading marketers were more likely to develop apps for 3rd party networking sites (Facebook), leverage social/local group buying (Groupon), and participate in location-based games (Foursquare). All of this means that leading marketers are faster to begin leveraging emerging/trending technologies to see if they can enhance the system of engagement. Some of these tactics may or may not prove to be effective in the long run, but the leading marketers get there first… not unlike the adage “fail fast, fail often”. By being at the forefront with these tactics, they stand to benefit when they come across something that’s especially effective.
It’s also interesting to note that location-based tactics saw greater use by leading marketers in both mobile and social. When you think about a system of engagement that strives to deliver targeted, personalized, relevant offers in real-time, it makes perfect sense that location-data is a key component to enhancing that ability.
There are a number of ideas you can take away from our data, but there’s one over-riding principle that I think is worth taking to heart: Innovation. Leading marketers aren’t afraid of trying out new channel engagement technologies or tactics. They get there first and they find out what works. They don’t worry about whether a channel is completely mature… they jump in and get their hands dirty. This enables them to be proactive with their customers, rather than reactive.
I’ll be back next time to talk about the barriers that prevent many organizations from becoming Leading Marketers. As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions. And, if you haven’t read it yet, take a look at our executive report, How Leading Marketers Outperform: Effective Engagement and Intelligent Investment.
Shubham Jain 270003FVPN email@example.com Tags:  network payments benefits uganda user airtel mobile m-pesa mtn experience ghana kenya interoperability agent money 2,011 Visits
Today, I’m going to take a different approach to, hopefully, give you a glimpse into how mobile money can change users’ experiences. This is an imaginative piece (all characters are fictitious) where I’ll try to highlight the concerns, joys and satisfaction of a mobile money user from the hinterlands of India in the year 2015. It highlights the importance of an effective and trained agent network, importance of sufficient face-time for new customers, interoperability issues, and benefits of mobile money for a typical user.
Today, I woke up late at 5 am, startled to already be a half hour behind schedule. My mobile phone in hand, I kept checking the time and rushed to get ready. I can’t afford to lose half a day’s wage, US$6, if I report late to work even by half an hour.
At work, Sultan, one of my best friends, asked me for a loan of US$15 which he needed to pay the school fees of his daughter. I checked my Airtel mobile money wallet balance and instantly transferred the amount to his mobile money wallet. For a nominal fee of 10 cents, it was worthwhile to help a friend.
Thinking back, I remember the last time I loaned Sultan US$10. I had to walk down 2 Kms to the nearest branch of State Bank of India to transfer money to his account. That was when we met Harpreet, the sales agent of BharatiAirtel mobile money services at the bank. He introduced us to the new mobile money services. Until then, I had a basic feature phone and could not understand much of technology or features of mobile money in the first go. Harpreet was patient; he explained the service, its features, its tie up with banks, charges and benefits for us for about 30 minutes. I was particularly wary of the notion of holding money in mobile – how secure could it be? What if I lose my phone/SIM or someone else makes use of PIN delivered to me? Harpreet demonstrated everything and explained it in detail to clear our apprehensions. This convinced both of us, me and Sultan, to subscribe to the service on our Airtel SIMs. He even gave us the contact details of two local agents in our locality who can help us cash-in and cash-out, as required.
The first few days in using this service were difficult. I forgot some of the steps of using various services; user interface of the application was not so convenient, etc. I remember approaching the local agent and was so relieved to see that he could help. He was very well trained and he helped me from time to time in using the services more efficiently. One challenge I faced in the beginning was that the agent used to run out of cash. This was a major let down for me and I had to walk a Km to get cash from another agent. Over the last two months, though, I feel the service has improved a lot.
Since then, I have been using this service quite frequently. I have used it to make recharges on my cell phone, make and receive money transfers to/from my friends, send money to my family, check bank account balance, withdraw and deposit cash at the agent and even pay my electricity bill. The list keeps on getting longer! Here again, the agent is proactive enough to let me know of the new services and discounts offered by the service providers.
For me, it’s a hand to mouth situation, given my meagre salary. I work in New Delhi but my family lives in a distant village in Orissa, more than 1000Kms from my place. With this service, I can transfer money to them on a real time basis and with minimal charges. Earlier, I used to transfer money through post office or hand it over to someone who would be travelling to my place. It took a few days for the money to arrive and I was charged about thrice as much. I am quite happy that this service enables me to send money to my family as and when they need it.
One challenge I faced initially, while transferring money to my family, was that my family was using the mobile services of Vodafone and Airtel was not allowing money transfers to non-Airtel subscribers. Sending remittance to my family constitutes 80% of my transactions and this was a major handicap for me. Either, I had to take the services of Vodafone or my family had to take the services of Airtel. Due to this, I was not able to transfer money to them for a couple of weeks. I consulted some of my friends and they advised a workaround solution they had been using. However, I was not convinced and instead, asked my family to take Airtel connection.
I have genuinely recommended this service to my fellow workers at the construction site and taken four of them to Harpreet to sign up for the services. For this, Harpreet gave me bonus talktime on my cell phone. It is a nice incentive for sharing my experience.
I finally got free from my work at 7 pm this evening and received my daily salary. I transferred the entire amount to my family since the monthly rent was due on their house.
Though it is tough for me to survive in this salary and work condition, mobile money has surely made the journey a bit simpler and convenient.
I look forward to your comments and observations. Please click “Add a Comment” below or “More Actions” to share this with others.
DAVID JARVIS 1000007UE6 firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  ciso mobile cso risk_management security_leader security 684 Visits
I've had the priviledge of working with IBM's Security Systems and Services teams over the past two years looking at the evolution of security leadership and what security leaders, like the CISO, are going to need to look like in the future. We’ve also looked at leading practices in cybersecurity education and we’ve identified essential security practices for CIOs based on our experiences at IBM.
Have a strategic vision… ensure global consistency in policy… engage in lots of communication with business leaders… speak business value and understand risk… minimize the impact of security to the business… be on the bleeding edge of enterprise and consumer technology...
To learn more and download the full report and other materials visit the IBM Center for Applied Insights and join us in an open discussion about the future for information security leadership.
Ellen Cornillon 110000K9SX email@example.com Tags:  broadridge ibm financial_markets financial operations financial_services ibmcai 1,898 Visits
Client Insights, Consultant
IBM Center for Applied Insights
Not many people empathize with financial markets firms these days. Yet, they are facing a one-two punch of increasingly onerous regulation combined with increased competition (a result of more demanding customers, technological change, globalization and the downturn in the global economy).
Industry experts estimate that 15-20% of the market share for wholesale and investment banking will be reshuffled in the next few years. To survive let alone thrive, financial markets firms must adapt – by changing the way that they operate.
Working with Broadridge Financial Solutions we looked into how financial markets firms are responding to this demanding environment – and specifically the changes they are making to their operating models – that is how they organize their resources, business processes, systems, information assets, etc.
We surveyed over 130 senior decision makers from firms in the USA, UK and Far East (Hong Kong and Singapore), and conducted 18 more detailed interviews. The findings have recently been published in Beating market mandates: How winners are re-engineering financial markets operations.
The research highlighted a leading group – who excelled at both compliance and innovation. This group had five key things they were thinking and doing differently than the rest:
These firms have a different perspective on operations and how it contributes to the business. The distinctions between front, middle and back office are becoming less distinct. As a UK-based Chief Operations Officer at a Universal Bank observed: “We must make sure changes enhance the whole process - It’s no good having a Rolls-Royce in the front and a Mini in the back.”
The leaders are looking at how operations can positively contribute to the business – through consolidation and greater efficiency of course, but also through creating the flexibility to scale resources and adapt to market conditions, facilitating faster product development and enabling innovation.
The leaders are also more open to working with external partners – and see the positive value to be gained through collaboration, for example accessing the technology and resources of an external partner. Leaders outsource more of their business processes, in particular, traditional areas like back-office accounting, settlement and clearance and reporting systems.
Success in these areas will likely encourage leaders to forge ahead into sourcing more complex functions such as reconciliations, data management, tax reporting and corporate actions. But what they outsource is perhaps of less interest than how they outsource. The leaders outsource with a business objective in mind, seeking to get the best from their partner, whereas those lagging tend to see the potential benefits in a more limited way – focusing on cutting costs of the back office.
And importantly, the study points to these differences in attitude feeding into improved results. Those who recognize how operations can contribute to the business and see collaboration as a way of improving business outcomes are rewarded with improved customer satisfaction, faster product introduction, improved regulatory compliance and improved access to information.
So what are the implications, for firms operating in financial markets as well as those in other industries who are trying to optimize the contribution of their back offices? For financial markets firms - focus on achieving agility, scalability and customer centricity, with the potential help of external partners. Many of those currently lagging are planning to evolve their operating model over the next three years. However, there is no time to delay, as the leading firms are forging ahead, and gaining market share as a result.
For those in other industries seeking to optimize their back office operations, this study also provides valuable insights. The financial markets industry is an extreme case where technological change, globalization, market turmoil, low switching costs and significant regulatory change have come together accelerating required operating model change. But the drivers are similar in many other industries – and we are observing a transformation in approaches to outsourcing – focusing more on sharing expertise and delivering business value rather than simply efficiency savings. Increasingly, the winners, across all industries, will be those who exploit these new capabilities to the full.
DAVID JARVIS 1000007UE6 firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  platform-as-a-service cloud cai paas 1,352 Visits
Client Insights, Senior Consultant
Center for Applied Insights
Platform as a service (PaaS) is at a critical stage in its life cycle – with promising business benefits offset by lingering reservations. PaaS promises increased flexibility, lower costs and higher quality IT services, while maintaining control over data and applications. It sits squarely between infrastructure as a service and software as a service, and could prove to be the most transformational of the three main types of cloud computing.
The IBM Center for Applied Insights wanted to explore attitudes around PaaS in order to identify leading practices in PaaS adoption and provide recommendations on how to exploit its potential. We interviewed over 1,500 IT decision makers in 18 countries and a wide range of industries so we could better understand their motivations, experiences and concerns relating to PaaS. This week, we released the results of our exploration in our latest paper “Exploring the frontiers of cloud computing – Insights from platform as a service pioneers”.