Monday, February 19, 2018

An Executive's 2018 Checklist for Digital Transformation

“The size of competitors and the longevity of their brands, are less predictive of future success than the importance they give to data, the quality and speed of their information logistics systems, and the operational tempo of their business.” ~Kevin Benedict
More data is being generated today than ever before, and in 2018 leaders should be laser focused on investing in and implementing the following digital systems/solutions:
  • Data collection
  • Big data analytics
  • AI/Machine learning
  • Automation (RPA)
  • Security
  • Real-time contextually relevant personalized experiences
There is a new sense of urgency today as businesses realize data is the blood that runs through the veins of a successful business in this digital era, and that data has a shelf life, and the value of it diminishes rapidly over time.  In an always-connected world where consumers and their needs are transient, timing is everything and a special type of data is needed – real-time data. In order to capture competitive advantages and contextual relevance before data expires, enterprises must deploy optimized information logistics systems (OILS) that deliver on the potential fast enough to exploit it.

Digital consumers are impatient and demand instant results.  IT infrastructures must be able to support real-time interactions, and this requirement will increase as mobile commerce is predicted to grow to 47% of all e-commerce by 2018.  Supporting real-time information requires not only real-time IT environments, but also digital transformation across the entire organization so the business can exploit it. In order to succeed, businesses must react to location-based and time-sensitive information while it is still contextually relevant.

Data is the lifeblood of digital commerce, and increasingly in physical stores as well where the digital and physical worlds are rapidly converging. As commerce rapidly shifts to digital, the success of products, brands and companies are increasingly dependent on data and systems that consume it in order to support the demand for more personalized digital experiences (Read Cutting Through Chaos in the Age of Mobile Me). How an organization makes sense of data, protects it, and disseminates it is a complex and challenging issue.

Data strategies and the execution of them will determine the winners of the future, and the future is now. Businesses are learning that effective data and analytics strategies are the secret to success in digital markets (Read How Digital Thinking Separates Retail Leaders from Laggards).  Information dominance is now the strategic business goal.

In addition to investments in IT, achieving real-time operational tempos in the enterprise takes rethinking business models, organizational structures, decision-making and business processes.  It requires new ways of operating and employee training.  Supporting real-time operational tempos is a daunting task many have failed to prioritize, and are suffering as a consequence.

At the risk of repeating myself, winners of a digital tomorrow will invest in the following six IT and business areas:
  • Optimizing their information logistics systems
  • Implementing effective sensing systems (IoT, IIoT, automated data collection systems, etc.)
  • Utilizing automation supported by AI to gain speed, predictability and quality (think RPA)
  • Achieving real-time business operational tempos
  • Increasing business, leadership and cultural agility
  • Using contextual relevance to personalize digital user interactions and experiences
The purpose of these investments are to capture the value of data fast enough to gain competitive advantages and to deliver the best possible digital and physical experiences.  Speeds should be maximized in the following 6 areas:
  1. IT systems
  2. Business processes
  3. Decision-making
  4. Business alignment/transformation
  5. Customer alignment
  6. Cultural alignment
IT systems that support real-time speeds will take advantage of sensors of all kinds, online interactions, wearables, mobile devices, etc., to collect data.  Sensors can be embedded chip technology that monitors physical and chemical environments and wirelessly transmits digital results, or they can be software code that monitors contextually relevant opportunities, moments and environments (CROME) by reading data inputs collected from all digital sources.  CROME triggers are “meaningful bits of data that when captured and analyzed can activate time-sensitive and relevant personalization that can be used to enhance user experiences.”

CROME triggers integrated with real-time artificial intelligence algorithms can transform the potential value of data, into kinetic value by instantaneously personalizing a user’s experience and making it contextually relevant.

Businesses that embrace digital transformation will optimize their organizational structures and business models to support the operational tempos demanded by a mobile and connected world.  By tempos we mean the pace or speed at which the organization must operate to compete successfully.  Increasingly digital users demand real-time responses.  To support real-time responses requires an enterprise to move beyond “human time” and into the realm of “digital time” (Read 40 Months of Hyper-Digital Transformation).

Humans are biological entities that operate at a pace governed by the sun, moon, and the physical requirements that keep our carbon-based bodies alive.  These requirements and mental limitations make scaling humans beyond these time-cycles impossible without augmentation.  Augmentation takes the form of robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning and algorithms.  These types of augmentation technologies have the advantage of being able to work 24x7x365, and don’t as yet ask for holidays off.

Once an organization is capable of supporting real-time business tempos, and can support the personalized interactions digital users demand, the challenge becomes business agility.

Agility is the speed at which a business can recognize, analyze, react and profit from rapidly changing consumer demands in a hyper-competitive market. Businesses that can accurately understand customer demand and their competition, and then respond faster, will soon dominate those, which are slower.  The military strategist John Boyd called these competitive advantages, “getting inside of your competitor’s decision and response curves.”  This means your actions and responses are occurring at a pace that surpasses your competitions’ ability to understand and react.

Businesses must recognize the demand for real-time operational tempos is only going to increase and this requires strategy, action and a budget. One of my rules based upon experience is the following, “As the number of digital consumers and interactions increase, so also will the need for more speed, digital transformation and automation.”  They go hand in glove together.  Delaying a response, or denying the need for these requirements are not winning options.

Sub-optimal information logistics systems, and the glacial operational tempos of yesteryear will not succeed in today’s or tomorrow’s world, and company valuations have already begun to reflect this.  One-third of investors and equity analysts surveyed believe that good data and analytics strategies are rewarding companies with higher valuations.  Gartner’s Douglas Laney has even coined the phrase infonomics to describe how information, as a new asset class, can be measured to estimate its impact on company valuations.

To succeed in the digital future, leaders must implement innovative data strategies and information logistics systems capable of winning in a real-time world where contextually relevant, instant and personalized experiences are required.   They must develop company cultures where change is viewed as an opportunity.  They must digitally transform their businesses to operate at real-time tempos and move beyond “human-time” limitations to algorithm and automation supported “digital-time.”  They must understand that rapidly changing digital consumer behaviors mandate companies operate in a more agile manner capable of rapid responses to new opportunities and competitive threats.

************************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Senior Vice President Solutions Strategy, Regalix Inc.
Website Regalix Inc.
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin's YouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Mobile Expert Interview Series: Jonathan Kaplan, CTO and Co-Founder of PowWow Mobile

In this in-depth interview, I get the chance to ask PowWow Mobile’s CTO Jonathan Kaplan why 2012 was a good year to start an enterprise mobility focused platform company, and what problems they recognized still needed resolved in the market.  We also dig deep into how AI and IoT fit in with enterprise mobility.  Enjoy!
************************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Senior Vice President Solutions Strategy, Regalix Inc.
Website Regalix Inc.
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin's YouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Monday, January 29, 2018

How Robots are Invading Commerce and Sales Enablement Processes

Robots Invade Sales Enablement in 2018
What if I told you that consumers are now happy to give up personal information in exchange for quality conversations with robots?  Let me provide some context to that question.  In my research over the past few months most recent studies show that consumers don't mind giving up their personal details if the value in return is perceived as fair.  As evidence, let me reference the extraordinary popularity this year of smart speakers powered by voice enabled digital assistants (VEDAs) such as Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri and Google's Assistant.  VEDAs enable what Capgemini calls "Conversational Commerce."  Conversational commerce is when VEDAs help users shop and buy things through an AI supported voice interface.  In order for them to be effective, they capture huge amounts of personal data, and consumers don't seem to mind at all.

How important is it then for companies to support "conversational commerce" today and in the near future?  In a recent survey of 5,000 consumers conducted by Capgemini*, 24% of surveyed consumers prefer VEDAs over shopping on a mobile apps or website today, and this number jumps to 40% when asked about their anticipated preferences three years from now.  This giant leap in popularity from 0% just 4 years ago to 40% preferring VEDAs by 2020 suggests that consumers realize a high value in them.

When asked about their preferences for using VEDAs, or visiting a physical retail shop or bank branch, 20% said they prefer VEDAs today, while this number jumps to 31% by 2020.  Nearly a third will prefer to interact with robots instead of humans within 3 years (35 months from now).  That is a massive change in a very short period of time, and this should raise the alarm for all C-level folks, especially those involved in sales enablement.  The robots are on the march.

There are many questions the C-suite should be asking themselves today.
  1. What sales enablement processes and tools must change to support VEDAs?
  2. Does the value of VEDAs stop at sales enablement, or is it equally as valuable for customer service and other areas of customer and partner interactions?
  3. What IT systems must change to support it?
  4. How do I integrate VEDAs across all my channels?
  5. How do I take advantage of the value found in conversational commerce solutions internally?  Do my employees also prefer VEDAs instead of a plethora of mobile apps and web portals?
  6. How can I implement VEDA supported commerce?  (Google recently announced that over 40 major retailers are partnering with them to support voice enabled shopping.)
  7. What data management and data privacy processes and policies must change (in addition to the impact of GDPR in May of 2018). 
  8. How do I integrate a combination of both humans and robots into a complex customer journey to optimize our customers' experiences?
VEDAs of course are software robots supported by artificial intelligence, machine learning, analytics, CRMs, CMSs and personalization engines.  None of these function effectively without good and complete data.  When a third of your customers prefer using VEDAs to interact with your brand, then you had better be feeding your VEDAs the largest amount and highest quality data possible.

Companies can often get away with being laggards - slow to upgrade and digitally transform back-office systems, but companies cannot afford to be laggards in customer facing sales and marketing interactions.  Consumers' expectations and behaviors are changing at an accelerating rate, and increasingly driven by changing digital technologies.  Digital transformation within the sales enablement process cannot be ignored or delayed.

Now let's return to Capgemini's study*, more than two-thirds of VEDA users want them to be personalized, and to demonstrate an understanding of context, such as providing relevant recommendations, while understanding different languages and accents.  In fact, 60% of VEDA users said they want them to anticipate their needs!!!  All of this requires a great deal of personal data, but that seems OK with VEDA users.

For those of you following me, I have recently joined Regalix.com as Senior Vice President of Solutions Strategy. Regalix is focused on helping the world's largest companies bring together the best digital strategies, technologies, processes and people to deliver exceptional customer experiences, journeys and successes through the combination of best in class thinking, artificial intelligence, machine learning, analytics, automation, process management and services.

Now instead of just pontificating and writing about digital transformation and strategies, I must now deliver. Sounds like a fun challenge! If your company is in need of help in any of these areas just raise your hand!

*Capgemini Digital Transformation Institute, Conversational Commerce Survey, October-November 2017. N=5,041 consumers in the US, UK, France and Germany.

************************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Senior Vice President, Solutions Strategy, Regalix Inc.
Website Regalix Inc.
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin's YouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Announcement: The Center for Digital Intelligence is Acquired and Kevin Benedict Joins Regalix Inc.

Greetings All!
Kevin Benedict
Senior Vice President, Solutions Strategy
Regalix Inc.

Last week Regalix, a Silicon Valley based company, acquired my boutique research and analyst practice, the Center for Digital Intelligence. In addition, they brought me on as a Senior Vice President of Solutions Strategy. Regalix is focused on helping the world's largest companies bring together the best digital strategies, technologies, processes and people to deliver exceptional customer experiences, journeys and successes through the combination of best in class thinking, artificial intelligence, machine learning, analytics, automation, process management and services.

Now instead of pontificating and writing about digital transformation and strategies, I must now deliver. Sounds like a great and fun challenge! If your company is in need of help in any of these areas just reach out.

Cheers,

************************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Senior Vice President Solutions Strategy, Regalix Inc.
Website Regalix Inc.
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin's YouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Video Interview: Kevin Benedict on Digital Transformation

I had the honor of recently being interviewed by two hip, nordic, brilliant and blond millennials from Finland - Kati Lehmuskoski and Timo Savolainen.  In addition to making me feel old and frumpy, we covered digital transformation from many different angles, and explored its impact on competition, leadership and the future.



************************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin's YouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

CIO Interview Series: Jim Dubois, Former Microsoft CIO

I had the privilege of interviewing Jim Dubois, former CIO of Microsoft last week!  In this interview we discuss Microsoft's digital transformation over the past few years, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, IoT, analytics, change management, automation and the future.



Read more on artificial intelligence from the Center for Digital Intelligence here.

************************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Principal Analyst | Consultant | Digital Technologies and Strategies - Center for Digital Intelligence™
Website C4DIGI.com
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin's YouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Friday, December 15, 2017

An Executive's 2018 Checklist for Digital Transformation

Center for Digital Intelligence™
"The size of competitors and the longevity of their brands, are less predictive of future success than the importance they give to data, the quality and speed of their information logistics systems, and the operational tempo of their business." ~Kevin Benedict
More data is being generated today than ever before, and in 2018 leaders should be laser focused on investing in and implementing the following digital systems/solutions:
  • Data collection
  • Big data analytics
  • AI/Machine learning
  • Automation (RPA)
  • Security
  • Real-time contextually relevant personalized experiences
There is a new sense of urgency today as businesses realize data is the blood that runs through the veins of a successful business in this digital era, and that data has a shelf life, and the value of it diminishes rapidly over time.  In an always-connected world where consumers and their needs are transient, timing is everything and a special type of data is needed - real-time data. In order to capture competitive advantages and contextual relevance before data expires, enterprises must deploy optimized information logistics systems (OILS) that deliver on the potential fast enough to exploit it.

Digital consumers are impatient and demand instant results.  IT infrastructures must be able to support real-time interactions, and this requirement will increase as mobile commerce is predicted to grow to 47% of all e-commerce by 2018.  Supporting real-time information requires not only real-time IT environments, but also digital transformation across the entire organization so the business can exploit it. In order to succeed, businesses must react to location-based and time-sensitive information while it is still contextually relevant.

Data is the lifeblood of digital commerce, and increasingly in physical stores as well where the digital and physical worlds are rapidly converging. As commerce rapidly shifts to digital, the success of products, brands and companies are increasingly dependent on data and systems that consume it in order to support the demand for more personalized digital experiences (Read Cutting Through Chaos in the Age of Mobile Me). How an organization makes sense of data, protects it, and disseminates it is a complex and challenging issue.

Data strategies and the execution of them will determine the winners of the future, and the future is now. Businesses are learning that effective data and analytics strategies are the secret to success in digital markets (Read How Digital Thinking Separates Retail Leaders from Laggards).  Information dominance is now the strategic business goal.

In addition to investments in IT, achieving real-time operational tempos in the enterprise takes rethinking business models, organizational structures, decision-making and business processes.  It requires new ways of operating and employee training.  Supporting real-time operational tempos is a daunting task many have failed to prioritize, and are suffering as a consequence.

At the risk of repeating myself, winners of a digital tomorrow will invest in the following six IT and business areas:
  1. Optimizing their information logistics systems
  2. Implementing effective sensing systems (IoT, IIoT, automated data collection systems, etc.)
  3. Utilizing automation supported by AI to gain speed, predictability and quality (think RPA)
  4. Achieving real-time business operational tempos
  5. Increasing business, leadership and cultural agility
  6. Using contextual relevance to personalize digital user interactions and experiences  
The purpose of these investments are to capture the value of data fast enough to gain competitive advantages and to deliver the best possible digital and physical experiences.  Speeds should be maximized in the following 6 areas:
  1. IT systems
  2. Business processes
  3. Decision-making
  4. Business alignment/transformation
  5. Customer alignment
  6. Cultural alignment 
IT systems that support real-time speeds will take advantage of sensors of all kinds, online interactions, wearables, mobile devices, etc., to collect data.  Sensors can be embedded chip technology that monitors physical and chemical environments and wirelessly transmits digital results, or they can be software code that monitors contextually relevant opportunities, moments and environments (CROME) by reading data inputs collected from all digital sources.  CROME triggers are “meaningful bits of data that when captured and analyzed can activate time-sensitive and relevant personalization that can be used to enhance user experiences.”

CROME triggers integrated with real-time artificial intelligence algorithms can transform the potential value of data, into kinetic value by instantaneously personalizing a user’s experience and making it contextually relevant.

Businesses that embrace digital transformation will optimize their organizational structures and business models to support the operational tempos demanded by a mobile and connected world.  By tempos we mean the pace or speed at which the organization must operate to compete successfully.  Increasingly digital users demand real-time responses.  To support real-time responses requires an enterprise to move beyond “human time” and into the realm of “digital time” (Read 40 Months of Hyper-Digital Transformation).

Humans are biological entities that operate at a pace governed by the sun, moon, and the physical requirements that keep our carbon-based bodies alive.  These requirements and mental limitations make scaling humans beyond these time-cycles impossible without augmentation.  Augmentation takes the form of robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning and algorithms.  These types of augmentation technologies have the advantage of being able to work 24x7x365, and don’t as yet ask for holidays off.

Once an organization is capable of supporting real-time business tempos, and can support the personalized interactions digital users demand, the challenge becomes business agility.

Agility is the speed at which a business can recognize, analyze, react and profit from rapidly changing consumer demands in a hyper-competitive market. Businesses that can accurately understand customer demand and their competition, and then respond faster, will soon dominate those, which are slower.  The military strategist John Boyd called these competitive advantages, “getting inside of your competitor’s decision and response curves.”  This means your actions and responses are occurring at a pace that surpasses your competitions’ ability to understand and react.

Businesses must recognize the demand for real-time operational tempos is only going to increase and this requires strategy, action and a budget. One of my rules based upon experience is the following, “As the number of digital consumers and interactions increase, so also will the need for more speed, digital transformation and automation.”  They go hand in glove together.  Delaying a response, or denying the need for these requirements are not winning options.

Sub-optimal information logistics systems, and the glacial operational tempos of yesteryear will not succeed in today’s or tomorrow’s world, and company valuations have already begun to reflect this.  One-third of investors and equity analysts surveyed believe that good data and analytics strategies are rewarding companies with higher valuations.  Gartner’s Douglas Laney has even coined the phrase infonomics to describe how information, as a new asset class, can be measured to estimate its impact on company valuations.

To succeed in the digital future, leaders must implement innovative data strategies and information logistics systems capable of winning in a real-time world where contextually relevant, instant and personalized experiences are required.   They must develop company cultures where change is viewed as an opportunity.  They must digitally transform their businesses to operate at real-time tempos and move beyond “human-time” limitations to algorithm and automation supported “digital-time.”  They must understand that rapidly changing digital consumer behaviors mandate companies operate in a more agile manner capable of rapid responses to new opportunities and competitive threats.

Read more from the Center for Digital Intelligence here.

************************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Principal Analyst | Consultant | Digital Technologies and Strategies - Center for Digital Intelligence™
Website C4DIGI.com
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Subscribe to Kevin's YouTube Channel
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence
Join the Google+ Community Mobile Enterprise Strategies

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Silicon Valley Series: Digital Precision with IIoT, Analytics, AI and Digital Transformation

In this Silicon Valley Series I have the privilege of interviewing very smart and experienced Silicon Valley veterans on a variety of important business trends, technologies and strategies.  I hope you find this series of short interviews interesting.

In this episode, experienced Silicon Valley CEO Tom Thimot and I discuss the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and digital transformation, and how it all plays a role in operating a more precise business that leads to competitive advantages.


Monday, December 04, 2017

Digital Expert Series: Digging into IIoT with AMI Global's Expert Terrence O'Leary

In this episode of the Digital Expert Series, we dig deep into the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) with AMI Global's expert Terrence O'Leary.  We learn about all the various components in the IIoT ecosystem including sensors, analytics, security, AI, machine learning, and the competitive advantages available and the strategies employed.


Read more from the Center for Digital Intelligence™ here:

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Do Robots have Karma?

This month, an AI (artificial intelligence) system passed a medical exam in China for the first time.  I wonder how its bedside manner will be?  In addition, Saudi Arabia granted citizenship to a robot named Sophia.  I wonder if the robot will be granted the rights of males, or females?  With all these rapid advancements, I think it is time we explore the spiritual life of robots.

Up until recently, programmers coded and configured algorithms, AI, automation and machine learning system and took personal responsibility for all the code.  Today, however, AI has escaped the confines of human oversight and has been empowered and employed to self-program, self-optimize, self-test, self-configure and self-learn.  David Gunning writes, "Continued advances [in AI] promise to produce autonomous systems that will perceive, learn, decide, and act on their own."  That's a problem, not only with me, but with Karma.