Friday, November 19, 2021

A Review of TCS's 2021 Global Financial Leadership Report with Expert Paul J. Bailo

In this episode, we take a deep dive into TCS's newly released 2021 Financial Leadership Study and discuss its implications with financial expert and professor Dr. Paul Bailo.

The full report is available to read here.

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Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist at TCS
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***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.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

The Future is Where Everything Happens!

A rip current is a strong flow of water that pulls floating objects out to sea before dissipating in deeper water.  Swimmers who are caught in a rip current often panic and exhaust themselves by trying to swim directly against the flow of water, rather than with it.  The future is not unlike a rip current.  If you fight against the future you will exhaust yourself and ultimately fail.  

Change is uncomfortable, and time brings change.  Many people have a deep resentment against time and all the changes it brings.  These people often look at the future with dread.  All they can see coming is a rising tsunami of change and discomfort - physical, mental and emotional.  They point to today's problems as examples of what yesterday's future brought, and they don't want any more of it.  Often, people don't realize that the seeds of the changes we see today were planted long ago.  It is the past that brought us to today - for good and for bad.

It is the season of planning.  We are all busy looking ahead and planning for 2022.  The reason I get so excited about the future is we can influence it for good.  We can improve upon the past.  It's our opportunity for a next version - a version 2.0.  We can't change the past, but the future is our's.  What is our life's purpose anyhow, if it is not to build a better tomorrow?

Innovating, inventing, planning, creating, designing, developing, growing, starting, birthing and building are all future oriented terms.  They point to what is to come.  The future is a new place.  Let's bring forward from the past all that is good and improve on the bad.  Let's all work together for good so the future can be our gift to generations to come.

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Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist at TCS
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
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***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.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Leadership Advice from a Futurist - A Reading

Leadership is hard.  So for all the leaders and want-to-be leaders out there, here is some advice that I hope you will find useful.




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Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist at TCS
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence

***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, November 03, 2021

Intelligent Customer Experiences With Verint CMO, Celia Fleischaker

In this episode of FOBtv we explore the evolution of marketing and customer experiences and dig deep into the concept of intelligent customer experiences with Verint's CMO Celia Fleischaker.  We explore the role of AI, NLP, chatbots, ML, and the other technologies involved and how these all contribute to a better customer experience.


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Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist at TCS
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence

***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, November 02, 2021

The Next Big Think Podcast: Is Data the New Gold?

My guest today is Susan Cook, CEO of Zaloni.  In this podcast, we explore the massive growth of data and the impact it will have on all of our lives.  We then take a deep dive into the complications involved in managing and securing these giant quantities of data.  

Susan Cook has nearly 30 years of leadership experience in enterprise software sales, strategy, consulting, and with a specialization in Data, Analytics, and Business Intelligence across technology giants like HP and Oracle.  As a data management expert, she believes information can grow in value only if protected and managed well. What does data need in order for it to be preserved well?  Listen to us discuss data as the new gold in this episode of The Next Big Think!


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Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist at TCS
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
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***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.

The Next Big Think Podcast: Why Industry 4.0 is About Industrial Automation

Our guest in today's podcast is Daniel Raj David.  He figured out as a student engineer in university that asset monitoring and maintenance, especially in legacy-led industries like oil and gas, was complicated. So, he and a bunch of friends devised a plan to make it simpler.

Daniel Raj David is the co-founder and CEO of startup Detect Technologies, a company that is part of TCS' COIN™ Accelerator program. Detect Technologies focuses on industrial AI and SaaS, and is reimagining global industrial productivity. In this episode of The Next Big Think!, we delve into Industry 4.0. Daniel demystifies legacy transformation in industries like oil and energy, construction, and manufacturing. The conversation also explores how technology’s primary role is to digitize, de-risk, and automate business. Listen in to know more about how AI, IoT, drones, and ML are freeing up human capital to think, ideate, and design, and why ‘the next big think’ is industrial automation.

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Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist at TCS
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence

***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.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

The Next Big Think - Podcast: Blockchain Changing the Future

My latest podcast episode is a deep dive into what blockchain brings to industry – specifically the insurance industry. Ranvir Saggu, CEO, Blocksure, a startup under the TCS COIN™ Accelerator program, explains how blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) are different but often used interchangeably. Blocksure has developed a technology platform that delivers tailored products and schemes for over three billion people across the globe. As a blockchain expert, Ranvir believes that with insurance becoming an embedded feature in our daily lives, blockchain will bring a fundamental shift in the global insurance industry. It will change the future of insurance.

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Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist at TCS
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence

***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, October 05, 2021

Precision as a Competitive Advantage

Throughout history military leaders have suffered from a lack of knowledge.  They often were desperately searching through the "fog of war" to find the answers to seven key questions:
  1. Where are my enemies?
  2. Where are my own forces?
  3. Where are my allies?
  4. Where are everyone's supplies, materials and equipment?
  5. What condition are they in?
  6. What capabilities are available at a given time and location?
  7. What are the location and environmental conditions that might degrade capabilities?
These great “unknowns” impacted the strategies and tactics leaders used and the results of battles throughout history.  Leaders were forced to expend massive amounts of resources just defending themselves against the inherent risks of these unknowns.  

While military leaders of the past were handicapped by a lack of tools for gathering insights and intelligence, today we have many. With sensors of all kinds, wireless and satellite networks, mobile technologies, drones, analytics and artificial intelligence the “fog of war” can be greatly reduced.  Precise, real-time data from around the globe can be instantly aggregated, analyzed and results distributed to all relevant groups nearly instantaneously through network centric operations.  The resulting reduction of unknowns, releases leaders and resources to be focused more on strategies and solving problems based on knowns.   This is a monumental development in history.

Sensors extend our senses beyond our physical reach and act as our globally distributed digital nerves. These new capabilities significantly impact how businesses can operate, and offer new opportunities for competitive advantages for business leaders.

W. Edwards Deming, the father of quality improvement, once said, “The biggest problems are where people don't realize they have one in the first place.”  These “blind spots” – the unknown status of a process, schedule, delivery or available resource, for example – should be a relic of the past. Today, we have the ability to remove conjecture and work with precise data.

Many companies have yet to evolve from legacy business models based on the “unknown and imprecise” and continue to throw good money after bad by following "estimate-based" models. Many companies have yet to implement a comprehensive digital nervous systems.  As a result, these organizations have yet to update their strategies and tactics to support new models of real-time precision. Ignoring today’s “revolution in precision” is unacceptable, and would be like a manufacturer ignoring the “continuous quality improvement” movement in manufacturing. Leaders must recognize both the micro and the macro-trends impacting their markets.

Deming also said, “It is not necessary to change.  Survival is not mandatory.” Taking advantage of precision is a must if surviving is in your plan. As automation increases due to advances in sensors, bandwidth, artificial intelligence, algorithms and machine learning, precision becomes not only possible, but necessary.

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Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist at TCS
View my profile on LinkedIn
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***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, October 01, 2021

The Speed Impact on Businesses

Roman Roads
The concept of speed as an advantage is not new. Over the course of 700 years, the Romans built and maintained a system of roads extending over 55,000 miles to enable speedy communications and the quick movement of troops and supplies across the vast expanse of their empire.

Our perception of time and speed has been shaped and confused by technologies. A person might say they live five minutes from town, but is that calculated by walking, riding a bike or driving a car.  In the roman era, their military calculations were determined by a standard measurement on how far and fast soldiers could walk on a well built roman road carrying their equipment.  It was about 20 miles.

Digital technologies compresses our perception of time and space while expanding our expectations of what can be accomplished in a given time period. We expect to complete the equivalent of one hour of shopping in a supermarket in five minutes online.  These changes significantly impact the way businesses must operate in a digital era to compete and remain relevant.  

In a shareholder letter from a few years ago, Jeff Bezos identified one of Amazon's key competitive advantages as high-speed decision-making.   In one research project I worked on, many of the participants were from technology and consulting firms.  As a group they identified the pursuit of speed as a key motivation for digital transformation.  In particular, those surveyed identified the following areas of need:

Speed developing - new products and services to meet customer demands
Speed going to market - with new products and services
Speed responding - to changing market conditions and customer preferences
Speed adopting - new innovations and technologies

When asked about the biggest challenges their customers were facing with digital transformation, respondents in one study I worked on identified speed (or lack of speed) issues: legacy systems (too slow), iterative approaches (too slow), technologies evolving too fast to react (response was too slow), grappling with which technologies to adopt and how to build a business strategy (too slow).  The consensus among the technology leaders surveyed was the biggest mistake business leaders were making was - moving too slow.  

One research project findings revealed four important areas where speed has a profound impact:

1. Technology Performance

The majority of executives perceived their IT infrastructure as a disadvantage to their business.  The limitations of their IT infrastructure limited the speed of their response to changing conditions.  Their internal systems were viewed as a hindrance to agility.

Additional findings:
  • The longer an organization is in business, the more complex the technology infrastructure becomes, and the more difficult it is to change. They lose agility and speed the longer they are in business.
  • These limitations prevent a business from changing at the speeds required to remain relevant.
  • Limitations often impact a businesses options and their strategies.
  • The size of a company’s IT challenge is directly proportional to the number of legacy and custom (non-standard) solutions they use.
2. Organizational Agility

The speed with which an organization can change directions - its agility - is critical to success in a fast changing digital world.  As one executive said, “Digital transformation requires the ability to act and react quickly.”  The lack of organizational agility has real consequences. “We missed opportunities,” said another executive.

Agility doesn’t happen by accident. An agile organize must be purposefully developed to act and react with speed to changing market conditions and consumer behaviors.  Agility requires a business model, platform and ecosystem with the right organizational culture, and IT infrastructure capable of responding with speed.

3. Leadership Decision-Making

It takes real-time speed to support real-time interactions with real-time customers.  Decision making must be automated to support these speeds and environments.

4. Customer Alignment

Fast-changing customer behaviors were identified as a top motivation for digital transformation.

Consumers today are changing their habits and behaviors at an extraordinary rate.  An executive we interviewed said, “Our customers’ expectations are always three or four steps beyond us...we are always behind.”

Businesses today must measure and track the speed and pace of changing consumer preferences and behaviors, and align resources and priorities to ensure they are transforming, if not at the same pace, at least at a pace ahead of their competition.

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Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist at TCS
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence

***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.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Leadership Advice from a Futurist

Over the years I have conducted many surveys of business and technology professionals, and the one consistent insight across all these surveys is a high level scepticism that leaders will make the necessary decisions and act fast enough to compete effectively.  I understand that.  Most failures can be directly traced back to either bad decisions or a lack of decisions by leaders, but I also have great sympathy for them.   Leading through rapid market evolutions and disruptions is difficult in the best of times, but when you throw in fast changing consumer behaviors, supply chain disruptions, technology advancements and global pandemics it's just unfair.   There are, however, some great insights and wisdom that can be gleaned from all the surveys I have reviewed and research I have participated in.  I put together the following list that I hope you will find useful.
  1. Develop and monitor your own digital mindset and that of your organization's: Understand the need to continuously upgrade and update your own thinking, as well as your organization’s.  
  2. Accept that business success lies within change. Understand digital technologies and their capabilities.  Rethink every aspect of your business in light of technology advancements and changing customer preferences.
  3. Understand the role and impact of platforms and platform ecosystems.  Understand how they will change your marketplace now and in the future.   Think Uber, airbnb, Amazon, Apple, etc.
  4. Recognize the role culture plays in being successful in three key areas: leadership culture, organizational culture and customer culture.  Make every effort to ensure your culture helps, not hinders your success.
  5. Understand the four areas of digital transformation where speed is essential: technology adoption, organizational agility, decision-making and customer alignment.  Recognize the consequences of being slow in any of these areas and focus on improving them.
  6. Organize for agility: Platform ecosystems are changing the rules of business and rapidly expanding into adjacent markets.  Be prepared to rethink and respond rapidly.
  7. Know the unknowns: If your organization is operating on conjecture as a result of data blind spots, fix that with sensors, analytics, artificial intelligence, automation, customer and behavioral analytics.  Help your businesses operate at a level of precision never before possible. 
  8. Harvest the future: Understand that tomorrow’s competitive advantages are created today.  Invest in innovation experts that can identify new and emerging technologies early, and understand the possible business impacts faster than competitors.  The value of innovations and inventions depreciates rapidly over time, so catching them early optimizes value.
  9. Teach the leaders: Continuously educate and train your leadership and board to ensure they keep an open, curious, updated and innovative mindset.  They need to learn at the same pace and cadence as their markets are evolving.  Running the day-to-day operations of a large enterprise is complex and all consuming, and without a formal process, plan and schedule for continuing leadership education it doesn’t happen.
Thriving during digital and market transformation does not happen by accident.  It is a purposeful effort.

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Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist at TCS
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence

***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.