Thursday, February 06, 2020

Digital Transformation Requires a Doctrine

Knights using Stirrups for Balance
In my 30+ years in the high tech industry I have often heard the business maxim, “Develop a business strategy first, and then find the technology to support it.” This teaching I have come to believe is wrong.

Let me support my argument by first asking a few questions.  What came first e-commerce or the Internet, mobile commerce or wireless networks, commercial airline travel or the airplane, knights in shiny armour being used as shock troops, or stirrups?  Answer: Stirrups of course!  Innovations and technology have a long history of appearing first, and then doctrines and strategies forming later.

What we are learning is if your outdated business doctrines and strategies are dictating the speed of your technology adoptions - you are in big trouble! The world is moving much too fast and organizations must now align the tempo of their business doctrine and strategy evolution with the pace of technology innovations and customer adoptions.
"Strategy is the art of making use of time and space. I am less concerned about the latter than the former. Space we can recover, lost time never." -- Napoleon Bonaparte

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

A Digital Leader's Playbook for 2020

Digital Strategies for 2020
Winners know how to win. When competition, data and/or rules change, so do their game plans.  Recently while watching NFL football, I was intrigued by a discussion between analyst about how the best coaches can change their strategies mid-game based on new and different data.  Some coaches are able to pivot, others can't.  

What follows is a list of key strategies, concepts and mindsets that will help your enterprise win in 2020:

Monday, January 20, 2020

Being Faster than Real-Time is a Competitive Advantage

Competing in Future-Time
Businesses must continuously transform themselves to compete.  Why?  That is what their customers and competition are doing.  One of those areas of transformation involves competing in time.  Think about the impact of Amazon on shopping and delivery times!  All businesses operate in time, whether human, digital or future.  Businesses today must transform in order to successfully compete in all three of these time states simultaneously.

Let’s first discuss the definitions of these times:
  • Human time – time governed by our physical, biological and mental limitations as humans
  • Digital time – time governed by computing and networking speeds
  • Future time – time governed by predictive analytics and algorithms

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Hiding from Karma in an AI World

Recently an artificial intelligence system in China successfully passed a medical exam for the first time.  This is a significant advance in healthcare.  Potentially AI can soon provide high quality medical diagnoses remotely anywhere around the world.   Another significant step in AI and robotics happen a couple of years ago in Saudi Arabia where they granted citizenship to a robot named Sophia.  I wonder if that robot will be forced to wear a burka?  With all these rapid advancements, I think it is time we explore the spiritual life of robots and artificial intelligence.

Up until recently, human programmers coded and configured algorithms, AI, automation and machine learning system and took personal responsibility for all of their own 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 potentially a big problem for karma.

A simplistic definition of karma is a spiritual principle that teaches good actions and good intent lead to good things now and in the future, while bad actions and bad intent lead to bad things now and in the future.  What happens to a human programmer that empowers or transfers responsibility for future decisions and actions to a robot - an autonomous machine with artificial intelligence?  Will karma eventually seek out the original human programmer of the autonomous system, long since retired and fishing on a mountain lake to extract retribution, or direct bad karma to the machine?  It's a problem.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The Emerging Crisis in Truth and Reasoning

I have the good fortune to meet with and interview many distinguished business and technology leaders in the normal course of my work.  One of the most common subjects of discussion in 2019 was the increasing importance of data and data analytics.  Everyone needs data and an understanding of what it means to operate today.  Data is captured and analyzed to determine facts, and the facts are weighed and measured to derive the truth.  Without data, facts can’t be supported, truth can’t be determined and effective reasoning cannot be applied.

Most people recognize the role of truth in reasoning.  Reasoning without truth is like programming without logic.  It doesn’t work.  Computers run on logic as does nearly the entire world as a result of digital transformation. Truth and logic allow others to replicate your processes by following the logic, testing it, and debugging any issues.  That is why it is so critical, in an advanced digital society, to respect and honor the value and utility of truth and logic.  Without truth scientific breakthroughs and processes can’t be delivered, digital systems and economies can’t operate, and governments cannot sustain the trust and cooperation of their citizens.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Managing the Risk in Complex Global Supply Chains with Expert Padmini Ranganathan

In this episode, I interview supply chain risk and sustainability expert and SAP Ariba Global Vice President, Padmini Ranganathan. She shares her knowledge, advice and experiences with us. She also updates us on the latest trends in SCM and shares where the industry is heading. The full interview can be watched here.

Kevin Benedict
Managing Partner, Digital Transformation, Regalix
Website Regalix Inc.
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.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Measuring Enterprises' Capacity for Change

Change is difficult.  The default mode of most organizations and people is to resist change.  It's like a helmsman who steers a ship straight into an iceberg because he doesn't want to rock the boat.

Agile businesses, however, that can redirect energy to fast and positive change and transformation can exploit many more opportunities than enterprises mired in resistance.  The challenge for leaders today is to create an organization that is not only prepared and willing to change, but that also has enough energy and resources to succeed.

One of the rules of the First Law of Thermodynamics in physics is, "Energy can be changed from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed.”  I propose there is an application of this rule in business as well.  If energy is being consumed on resisting changes to your business, then it is not available for making positive changes to your business.

If markets are changing due to economic conditions, competition, technological innovations or rapidly changing customer behaviors and preferences, then companies must be able to quickly redirect their energy to implementing positive change in order to win.

Change consumes energy, and energy is finite.  That means in order to make changes to keep up with a rapidly changing market, energy must be conserved and stock piled so it is available.  Expending scarce energy resisting intelligent change is a huge waste.  Making investments and taking your business down a path that cannot quickly be undone if the market moves a new direction is also a big waste.

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Adapting Our Minds to Perpetual Change

Customers' expectations continue to grow. They want instant, convenient, personalized, customized, predicted, recommended, rewarded and private. They want their own curated lifestyle mirrored back to them. They want control. They want mobile and fast. They desire digital experiences that are simple, consistent, beautiful and elegant. They want massive quantities of information – but in bite size quantities. They want to manage their lives from a smart phone anywhere at any time. The want to work from a coffee shop and be 100% productive.

Most of the world has already embraced the digital revolution. Our lives and behaviors are changing. The way we think and act are evolving as we integrate digital tools into our habits and processes. We constantly reach for our second brains (i.e. Wikipedia, search engines, apps) to access all of the information needed to both survive and thrive in the digital age. Our memories have been altered. We remember how to find information, rather than knowing the information itself.

These changes are rapidly impacting marketplaces, industries and even global economies. We use our smartphones for everything from meeting romantic partners, finding jobs, investing our money, ordering food, finding a ride, remembering to breathe, paying the water bill, monitoring our health, analyzing our DNA and even finding and buying our homes.

John Boyd, a renowned military strategist, taught that life is a process of adaptation, and that winners/survivors will find ways to exploit change and to adapt to it in order to survive and win. He taught that adapting and winning requires three things:
  1. People - must be trained to think, and act in ways conducive to winning in their environment
  2. Ideas - learn ideas (doctrines, strategies and tactics) conducive to winning in their environment
  3. Things - utilize the best technologies, equipment, materials, design, etc. available to exploit change and win

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Power of Knowing

Throughout history military leaders have suffered through the “fog of war" - the desperation of not knowing critical information.  Information as basic as where are my people and resources, and where are my opponents' people and resources?

The answers to these questions were and are critical for implementing the right strategies and tactics to win. Likewise, the absence of answers to these questions are equally impactful. Leaders spend enormous amounts of time and energy defending against all the possibilities represented by a lack of data. Think about a scenario of being lost in a dark forest at night with an unknown dangerous predator lurking about. Which direction would you face? How would you defend yourself? It is difficult in the best of times, but the absence of data can make it even more excruciating!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

A Deep Dive Interview with SAP Ariba's Gretchen Eischen

In this interview recorded at SAP Ariba Live, I have the pleasure of sitting down with and learning from Gretchen Eischen, SAP Ariba’s VP of Corporate Marketing. She gives us a behind the scenes views into what it takes to organize and manage large event’s like SAP Ariba Live, and discusses SAP Ariba’s focus for 2019. We also take a deep dive into what is really meant by the term intelligent spend, and how spend-choices can be used for global good.

Kevin Benedict
SVP Strategy, Regalix Inc.
Online TV Channel RegalixTV
Website Regalix Inc.
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.