Derek Franks Consultant, IBM Center for Applied Insights
The era of “Big Data” presents a variety of challenges and opportunities for marketers. With the increase in volume, velocity, and granularity of data, marketers can become much more precise in how they interact with both the marketplace and individual customers. But the same time, when you’re dealing with large volumes of data, it’s easy to over-fit your models and mistake “noise” for “signal”, to borrow a concept from Nate Silver’s excellent book, The Signal and the Noise.
This is something that we’ve been dealing with internally at IBM for a while now. In response, we’ve developed a framework internally that we think may help others refine their own approach to generating insights from data.
We call this framework “Marketing Science”. This is a 3-step framework consisting of “Architecting Data”, “Applying Science”, and “Influencing Action”. The fundamental idea is to apply the scientific method to developing insights within a business setting. This presents unique challenges in and of itself. But there are some basic concepts to keep in mind:
"Architecting" (or collecting and structuring) data is extremely important. The rest of the process depends on getting access to the right data from a variety of sources and if you haven’t done a good job of dealing with data across your enterprise, it’s like trying to run a 100m race with your shoes untied.
A hypothesis-test-refine approach to data analysis is central to the concept of Marketing Science. Developing and testing hypotheses is one of the main ways you limit your exposure to over-fitting data.
Within a business setting, insights are only valuable in so far as they’re able to inform decision-making and/or influence action. At the end of the day, driving business outcomes is the goal of Marketing Science. Keeping this in mind helps to keep you focused through the first two steps. And it means that once you’ve uncovered a nugget of insight, the real work may just be getting started as you take that insight back to the business.
Marketing Science is a fascinating topic that we’ll be talking about quite a bit more moving forward. We’ve conducted some market research that I think will be very enlightening and have started collecting some use-cases of how we’re applying these principles in a practical sense. In the meantime, if you have any comments or thoughts on developing insights from data, we’d love to hear from you.
I've previously written about our research of leading marketers, both their correlation with improved financial performance and what exactly they do differently than everybody else. We recently sat down with three leaders from our Enterprise Marketing Management team, Yuchun Lee, Elana Anderson, and Jay Henderson, and asked them to discuss our research and the implications of that research in more detail. Check out the video to get their take on why marketing matters, and how you can continue to engage with customers effectively and invest your marketing dollars intelligently.
Leave us a comment here or on YouTube to let us know if you're seeing similar trends in your enterprise.
John Reiners Principal Consultant, IBM Center for Applied Insights
This month is the 10th anniversary of London’s congestion charge. It was not quite the first such scheme (Singapore had been running theirs for almost 10 years) but it was certainly one of the earliest internationally visible Smarter City projects before the term had even been invented. So what can we learn 10 years on from their experience?
Prevailing opinion at the time was that it was an audacious experiment. Most people expected it not to work, & certainly not to be popular. But if it was a success, it would establish London as a pioneering city, with many others in the UK and elsewhere keen to emulate it.
How wrong that opinion was! Congestion charging has been a success with remarkably few technical problems and an acquiescent, if not wildly enthusiastic, public. It had an immediate impact on traffic volumes and congestion and London is a cleaner city as a result. Yet the follow on wave of implementations has not happened. Why not?
I think the reason is in how the benefits from congestion charging are delivered and communicated to the public. The economic case for congestion charging is hard to dispute – it is cheaper to implement than road building programmes and the benefits of reduced congestion, from fewer accidents, increased mobility and fewer emissions are considerable and proven. Yet these benefits are not clearly visible to the public, who only experience the inconvenience of adapting to a new way of paying for their commute. When proposed schemes are put to the public (as they were in Manchester, Edinburgh and West London) the public voted strongly against. It takes a particular brave mayor to risk upsetting public opinion, whatever the ultimate gain to the city as a whole.
So for significant smarter city projects like congestion charging to proceed as more than vanity projects of bold mayors, more work is needed to convince the public of its benefits. There are signs that this may be happening….As technology in related areas like telematics, car to car communications, automated parking systems etc progresses, the creation of a digital city road infrastructure can be seen as an enabler to drive innovation and new business opportunities. Many governments, including the US, UK, Germany, S Korea, Japan and Singapore have identified the potential of investing in traffic management and information services to drive business investment and jobs. There is a race to lead these industries of the future. But to join the race, let alone win it, cities will need first to convince their public that it’s worth it.
Mobile money has progressed by leaps and bounds in the recent years and a lot of innovations are happening globally. The industry is undergoing a lot of changes and ecosystem participants are trying to learn from their successes and failures to innovate further. I have been an avid follower of the various developments happening in the industry. In this post, I will capture my thoughts on key segments of growth/developments which I would expect to happen this year. I believe these segments of growth/developments have the potential to bring further scale and innovation in this industry:
1. Development of ‘App Store’ – I expect that some of the major mobile money service providers may open up their platforms via an Application Programming Interface (APIs) that allows third parties to hook in and innovate. This development has the potential to replicate the success of the ‘Apple Appstore’ by providing an incentivized ecosystem to the developers. They would develop innovative and customized applications for specific markets which would address specific needs and in turn, attract more customers to the service. Thinking further, an ecosystem of these Apps stores from various service providers can provide further scale up and growth opportunities to them.
For example, a Kenyan MPesa customer on his visit to Ghana, can simply download an app to pay parking fees or make some quick purchases in a busy market in Ghana. Implementing platform level and customer level interoperability would be the foundation to build this big ecosystem.
2. Transformation of traditional model of B2B payments – Increasingly, mobile money is finding its application in the Retail industry for Point of Sale (PoS) transactions. Interestingly, I would expect more Business to Business (B2B) mobile money solutions to emerge for various industries. These solutions would focus on transforming the way payments are being made throughout the value chain. The aim would be to reduce risk of carrying cash, optimize liquidity, and provide delivery of goods and payments with security.
For example, Coca-Cola Sabco is looking at the use of mobile money as a way to shift the supply chain of its Manual Distribution Centers away from cash. In Papua New Guinea, IFC is looking at piloting mobile money to reduce the use of cash in the coffee supply chain.
3. Development of new business models – Traditionally a Mobile Network Operator (MNO) or a bank provides the mobile money services either individually or in collaboration. Of late, new business models are emerging as different industries are exploring mobile money based custom applications.
For example, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), a leading telecom service provider in India, has a mobile banking platform which will help mobile subscribers to send money orders electronically. The unique thing is that this SMS based service is done in association with India Post. Receiver will be able to encash the SMS at all post offices in the country. Starbucks, a leading coffee chain is already among the most successful early adopters of mobile payments, claiming to have processed USD26 million in mobile transactions in the US just 12 months after launching the service. Recently, it has forged a partnership with Square that will see the mobile payments company power in-store credit and debit card payments for Starbucks.
I expect that more of these innovative and interesting partnerships will emerge which would utilize mobile money to conduct business more efficiently and effectively.
I look forward to your comments and observations. Please click “Add a Comment” below or “More Actions” to share this with others.
Caitlin Halferty 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.
Current research suggests the top challenges African-based CIOs face today include:
Availability of skilled resources
Network and bandwith availability
Availability of liquid assets to secure investments in technology
Ensuring return on IT investment
Consistent and effective security policies
Familiarity of users and customers with new technologies
Tie to legacy environment and tools that constrains the ability to adopt new technologies
Implementation of technology standards across countries/regions
Ability to meet regulatory and compliance regulations
Stabilize and enhance IT infrastructure in support of the business
Ability to establish meaningful metrics
Improve risk management posture
Establish effective governance processes
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:
Business strategy and process
Risk management and compliance
Innovation and growth
Relationship management and communications
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!
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:
Pacesetters (20%) believe emerging technologies are critical to their business success and are using them to enable new operating/business models. They’re also adopting ahead of their competition.
Followers (55%) agree that these technologies are important and can provide critical capabilities and differentiation, but they generally trail Pacesetters in adoption.
Dabblers (25%) are generally behind or, at best, on par with competitors in terms of adoption. They’re less strategic in their use of emerging technologies, namely citing greater efficiency or new capabilities in selected areas.
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.
Susanne Hupfer, Consultant, IBM Center for Applied Insights Our director, Steve Rogers, recently interviewed Paul Brunet, IBM Vice President of ISVs, Start-ups, and Academic Programs, about his perspective on the 2012 Tech Trends study. Whether you're an IT or business decision-maker, an academic, or an IT practitioner, you may discover valuable insights and recommendations in their broad-ranging conversation.
IT and business leaders: Why are CEOs regarding technology and skills as top concerns -- now outranking even market and economic forces? Why is it crucial to leverage emerging technologies for competitive advantage? Paul discusses four technology areas -- mobile, cloud, social business, and business analytics -- and contrasts adoption and skill levels in mature and growth markets. He covers challenges to adoption -- such as security, skill gaps, and integration -- and explains why security is a business imperative. IT and business decision-makers may also be eager to learn more about the elite "pacesetter" group identified by the study, who are unlocking competitive advantage by being more market-driven, experimental, and analytical.
Academics: How can academia better monitor the needs of the enterprise and teach relevant skills their students will need upon graduation? Paul also examines how using sandboxes and collaborative spaces can encourage experimentation, skills development, and collaboration across universities and practitioner areas.
Practitioners: Where should you be expanding your skills? What traits are IT leaders looking for today?
Paul and Steve talk about the importance of integrating business along with IT skills.
David Jarvis Client Insights, Senior Consultant Center for Applied Insights
In 2012 we saw significant data breaches across multiple industries and governments impacting millions of users. Will 2013 bring more of the same? Is this an uncertain future we will have to live with? Can we accept degraded privacy and security and billions of dollars in lost revenue, damage, reduction in brand value and remediation costs?
Last year, a number of major security themes were part of this uncertainty – cloud, mobile, social media, big data, compliance, advanced persistent threats, physical infrastructure security, and the changing nature of information security leadership. None of these issues are going anywhere. In fact, into 2013 and beyond these issues are only going to become more important and will become the concern of more and more enterprise leaders.
All of these disparate issues come together in a new infographic from IBM. It knits together the pressures CEOs are feeling to deliver transformation with limited resources, the changing role of information security leaders, the threat landscape and the best practices to address that landscape. It connects enterprise priorities with information security practices, achieving innovation while dealing with risk.
In 2012, the IBM Center for Applied Insights released a series of security-related pieces that focused on a number of these important issues. We looked at the changing role of the CISO and other security leaders in our 2012 CISO Assessment. We also published a series of best practices for security leaders through our eight article Security Essentials series. In 2013 we will continue to provide insights on information security.
What does IBM think the future of security will look like? IBM security experts and leaders have developed lists of ideas for 2013 and beyond. Highlights include:
Enterprise security organizations will become more independent and work with the audit committee and risk officers more.
Data scientists will increasingly analyze and correlate security data as well as unstructured business data to reduce the risk of breaches.
Threat data will be shared more readily between the government and private sector, and amongst private sector companies.
Organizations will begin monitoring the information shared on social media back channels to detect threats earlier.
Compliance will remain a strong security driver and will be weighed against the rise of a risk-based approach to security.
Because of data, identity and monitoring technologies, cloud security will go from "mystery and hype" to "secure and move-on".
Mobile devices (the device, network and applications) will be significantly more secure – more than laptops are today.
The type of data collected and inspected to detect advanced threats will increase in variety and volume.
Keeping these ideas, trends and emerging issues in mind, information security leaders must rise to the challenge of creating a future that isn’t like today. By using their best practices to connect with and support enterprise-level goals they can create a better, more secure, future.
To download a copy of the infographic below, click HERE.
The study explores how enterprises are responding to the opportunities and risks introduced by new technologies.This year, we surveyed over 1,200 IT and business decision makers to determine why, when, and how their organizations adopt four pivotal emerging technologies – mobile, analytics, cloud and social business technologies – that are rapidly reshaping how enterprises operate.
Are you in the lead, or is your organization falling behind? You can use the adoption and investment statistics we discovered to help you assess where your organizationstands:
Business Analytics and Mobile Computing are already quite mainstream, with over 50% of respondents deploying.Cloud Computing and Social Business represent a coming wave, with 40% either already piloting the technologies, or planning to adopt them within two years.Moreover, planned investment levels in the four technologies over the next two years indicate that all are moving full steam ahead: 55% or more of respondents plan to increase investment in Mobile, Cloud, and Business Analytics, and 43% plan to increase their investment in Social Business. You can click on the following infographic to take a deeper dive:
Despite the foothold of these technologies and the enthusiastic investment landscape, the report cites critical IT skill gaps that threaten to slam on the brakes just as organizations are hoping to leverage these technologies for their strategic advantage:
Across all four technology areas, only roughly 1 in 10 companies report having all the skills they need to be successful, and one-quarter of respondents report major skill gaps.
We also surveyed about 700 educators and students about these technology areas, and according to their responses, the skill gap is poised to get even worse:
About one-half of academic respondents report major gaps in their institution’s ability to meet the needs of the IT workforce.
Security also continues to be a major concern. In fact, Security is rated as the #1 barrier to adoption for mobile, cloud and social business, and the #2 barrier to adoption for business analytics.
What can you learn from those making the most progress applying these technologies for strategic advantage?
We asked respondents to rate the four emerging technologies’ importance to their businesses and also to rate their enterprises’ pace of adoption relative to competitors. We identified an elite group of Pacesetters who are forging ahead faster than others – despite the adoption hurdles – and who are using emerging technologies in more strategic ways.
If you want to get your organization onto the technology fast track (or keep it there), there are a number of interesting lessons you can take from the Pacesetters. We found that Pacesetters are more likely to exhibit three distinguishing traits that help them capitalize on the potential of mobile, analytics, cloud and social technologies. They are:
So, how are Pacesetters managing to stay ahead of the competition? As it turns out, they’re very experimental in their approach to developing IT skills. Rather than wait until there’s clear business demand for new skills, Pacesetters start building skills ahead of time: they are nine times more likely to experiment with technologies that don’t yet have a clear business application, and twice as likely to proactively develop skills to meet anticipated needs.
To learn more about the study results and how you can follow the pacesetters’ lead in technology adoption, you can check out the complete IBM 2012 Tech Trends report and a variety of other resources.
Don't miss the paper's list of concrete recommendations for becoming Pacesetters. We invite you to join in the discussion and let us know what you think about the study and its recommendations!
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.
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:
Thinking marketplace first, “factory” efficiencies second
Designing operations around client interactions, not vice versa
Cultivating agility – and an ability to see what others don’t
Building and use scale, but not always in expected ways
Partnering to extend their capabilities – and their thinking
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.