Monday, July 31, 2017

Digital Transformation and Leadership Development

I have read several articles recently about projects designed to teach digital systems to think more like humans.  For example one article was about teaching chatbot systems to communicate empathy to humans.  It seems ironic that we are developing digital systems to think more like humans, while at the same time much of my work is focused on teaching humans how to think more like and about digital systems and their capabilities.  Let me explain.

Competitive battles in most industries today are increasingly centered on digital technologies and digital strategies, and as a result, it benefits leaders to have a deep understanding of how digital systems work, and how the impact of new digital innovations will change the behaviors of customers, competitors and partners.

A few of the areas that I think leaders should really understand are:

1.     Simple programming concepts and computer logic
2.     Small World, social networks and swarming theories
3.     Industry and technology data exchange standards
4.     Platforms, Cloud computing, Containers and System thinking
5.     Internet and network architecture and design
6.     Big Data and real-time analytics
7.     GPS, GIS and Mapping
8.     Mobile and wireless technologies
9.     Sensors, embedded wireless devices and IoT
10.  Data and device security and authentication
11.  Databases and data lifecycle management
12.  Online catalogs, shopping carts and digital payments
13.  Digital marketing, personalization and contextual relevance
14.  Digital content and delivery: websites, blogs, videos, podcasts, social media (e.g. Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)
15.  Robotics, automation, AI and machine learning
16.  Virtual and augmented reality

There are many more items that could be added to this short list, but I hope you get the idea.  If we can agree that digital technologies are fundamental to our future success, then we must understand them, or at least their capabilities.

To read more about how digital transformation is impacting strategies read this article 15 Rules for Winning During the Age of Digital Transformation.
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Kevin Benedict
President, Principal Analyst, Futurist, the 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 Strategic Enterprise Technologies
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, July 26, 2017

Digital Transformation and Competitive Decision-Making


The winning trinity in competitive decision-making includes people, ideas and things according to the renowned military strategist John Boyd. Although competitive decision-making is not yet an Olympic sport, it affects us all.  Leaders (people) must become trained experts at using digital technologies to make fast decisions.  Leaders must use the right strategies and methodologies (ideas) to make wise decisions fast, and they must collect the needed data and analyze it fast enough using the best solutions (things).  If any component of this trinity is weak, it will be hard to compete.

In a recent survey of high tech VP level and above executives that I conducted, few companies have a formal training program in place to help develop their leaders to be skilled at digital transformation and competitive decision-making.  Most enterprises are just rolling the dice on the skill levels of their leadership.  Given the emerging challenges that digital transformation introduces to a complex business, I would strongly advise companies to invest in formal digital leadership development.

Some of the key goals of digital transformation are to speed up and improve interactions with digital customers, and to be able to react faster to new information.  As digital technologies (things) provide more real-time data, and real-time data analysis, new strategies (ideas) for making real-time decisions must be implemented by leaders (people) or their proxies.  In the future, more and more proxies involved in real-time decision-making will be in the form of robotic process automation systems using artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Any business process where there is a documented best practice for how best to respond to various data inputs can be automated.  As data inputs become more real-time, human leadership decision-making becomes the source of latency in the system.  I predict that decision-making will increasingly be a source of competition, and that decisions will soon be divided into those where there is a defined best option already which allows for rapid automation, and those that have ill-defined options and require humans' capacity for creativity to solve.

My latest video from the field:


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Kevin Benedict
President, Principal Analyst, Futurist, the 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 Strategic Enterprise Technologies
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, July 21, 2017

Brain Change and Digital Strategies

The renowned military strategist John Boyd taught that people and institutions collect favorite philosophies, strategies, theories and ideologies over a period of time, and then try to align the future to fit them.  The problem with this is the future is rarely like the past, and trying to fit new data into old paradigms often forces us to perform irrational mental gymnastics, which leaves us farther from the truth.

Our resistance to change and unwillingness to question our beliefs in the face of mounting evidence, leads us to analytical and execution failure. A more productive habit would be to continuously review our mental constructs to find out how to modify our interpretations to align with new evidence.  This action, however, goes against our human nature that seeks stability and resists change.  We see the consequences of these challenges weekly as we read about companies (especially retail) failing as a result of their resistance. In the future, developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning will have the potential to help us overcome many of our own mental weaknesses that cause us problems in our pursuit of truth.

In the digital era, our ability to change our thinking becomes even more critical as it must happen at a faster rate.  I remember when updates to an enterprise’s mobile apps required all users to bring their mobile devices into the office to get them loaded and tested.  This was a slow, tedious and expensive process.  Today, as we all know, this can be done worldwide instantly and for very little money through cloud based app stores.  Digital transformation equals speed and accelerated change.

In a world of integrated digital platforms and systems, new digital innovations can impact markets instantly and competitors must be able to react.

The bottom line - one of the biggest factors determining the digital transformation winners of tomorrow will be the brains of leaders – their mental constructs.  Can executives and boards look at new evidence and innovations without biases, resistance to change and prejudices, and grasp how economies, industries, markets and competition will be impacted?  Can they learn about new digital innovations, understand the breadth of the impact, and develop new business strategies based on the new realities? Can they overcome themselves?

It is quite the irony that digital winners will be not simply those with the best digital technologies, but those that can best overcome their own human brains.
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I invite you to watch my latest video on digital technology trends.

Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict, connect with me on LinkedIn or read more of my articles on digital transformation strategies here:

  1. Combinatorial Nature of Digital Technologies and Legos
  2. Digital Transformation from 40,000 feet
  3. Winning in Chaos - Digital Leaders
  4. 13 Recommended Actions for Digital Transformation in Retail
  5. Mistakes in Retail Digital Transformation
  6. Winning Strategies for the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  7. Digital Transformation - Mindset Differences
  8. Analyzing Retail Through Digital Lenses
  9. Digital Thinking and Beyond!
  10. Measuring the Pace of Change in the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  11. How Digital Thinking Separates Retail Leaders from Laggards
  12. To Bot, or Not to Bot
  13. Oils, Bots, AI and Clogged Arteries
  14. Artificial Intelligence Out of Doors in the Kingdom of Robots
  15. How Digital Leaders are Different
  16. The Three Tsunamis of Digital Transformation - Be Prepared!
  17. Bots, AI and the Next 40 Months
  18. You Only Have 40 Months to Digitally Transform
  19. Digital Technologies and the Greater Good
  20. Video Report: 40 Months of Hyper-Digital Transformation
  21. Report: 40 Months of Hyper-Digital Transformation
  22. Virtual Moves to Real in with Sensors and Digital Transformation
  23. Technology Must Disappear in 2017
  24. Merging Humans with AI and Machine Learning Systems
  25. In Defense of the Human Experience in a Digital World
  26. Profits that Kill in the Age of Digital Transformation
  27. Competing in Future Time and Digital Transformation
  28. Digital Hope and Redemption in the Digital Age
  29. Digital Transformation and the Role of Faster
  30. Digital Transformation and the Law of Thermodynamics
  31. Jettison the Heavy Baggage and Digitally Transform
  32. Digital Transformation - The Dark Side
  33. Business is Not as Usual in Digital Transformation
  34. 15 Rules for Winning in Digital Transformation
  35. The End Goal of Digital Transformation
  36. Digital Transformation and the Ignorance Penalty
  37. Surviving the Three Ages of Digital Transformation
  38. The Advantages of an Advantage in Digital Transformation
  39. From Digital to Hyper-Transformation
  40. Believers, Non-Believers and Digital Transformation
  41. Forces Driving the Digital Transformation Era
  42. Digital Transformation Requires Agility and Energy Measurement
  43. A Doctrine for Digital Transformation is Required
  44. Digital Transformation and Its Role in Mobility and Competition
  45. Digital Transformation - A Revolution in Precision Through IoT, Analytics and Mobility
  46. Competing in Digital Transformation and Mobility
  47. Ambiguity and Digital Transformation
  48. Digital Transformation and Mobility - Macro-Forces and Timing
  49. Mobile and IoT Technologies are Inside the Curve of Human Time

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Kevin Benedict
President, Principal Analyst, Futurist, the 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 Strategic Enterprise Technologies
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, July 18, 2017

Combinatorial Nature of Digital Technologies and Legos


I came across the brilliant blog site of Futurist Frank Diana this week.  In one of his most recent articles he discusses the concept of combinatorial nature.  He states, "We are seeing exponential convergence across the areas of science, technology, economics, society, ethics, and politics. The combinatorial nature of an overwhelming number of building blocks drives an accelerating intersection across these areas."  As an expert Lego player, I can appreciate the concept of building blocks, and the near infinite number of combinations these blocks can be used to form.  The idea that we have now reached a critical mass of digital building blocks, and that we will now experience exponential growth through the combinatorial nature of them is compelling.


The World Economic Forum also describes the future in similar ways, “We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before... Billions of people are now connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge.  And these possibilities are being multiplied by breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing."

Both of these quotes, and the idea that we have reached a new era as a result of the combinatorial nature of digital building blocks, begs the question of what does this mean for for our organizations today?  The answer can be found in the Lego block.

Legos come in standardized shapes, sizes and integration points that allow for the rapid build of billions of different combinations.  The standardization of Lego blocks doesn't restrict our ability to create new and unique combinations, rather it enhances it. Organizations must recognize that the winners of today and tomorrow are not organizations that create their own bespoke building blocks, but that have the vision to use standardized digital building blocks to offer unique combinations faster than their opponents.

Follow Kevin Benedict on Twitter @krbenedict, connect with him on LinkedIn or read more of his articles on digital transformation strategies here:

  1. Digital Transformation from 40,000 feet
  2. Winning in Chaos - Digital Leaders
  3. 13 Recommended Actions for Digital Transformation in Retail
  4. Mistakes in Retail Digital Transformation
  5. Winning Strategies for the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  6. Digital Transformation - Mindset Differences
  7. Analyzing Retail Through Digital Lenses
  8. Digital Thinking and Beyond!
  9. Measuring the Pace of Change in the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  10. How Digital Thinking Separates Retail Leaders from Laggards
  11. To Bot, or Not to Bot
  12. Oils, Bots, AI and Clogged Arteries
  13. Artificial Intelligence Out of Doors in the Kingdom of Robots
  14. How Digital Leaders are Different
  15. The Three Tsunamis of Digital Transformation - Be Prepared!
  16. Bots, AI and the Next 40 Months
  17. You Only Have 40 Months to Digitally Transform
  18. Digital Technologies and the Greater Good
  19. Video Report: 40 Months of Hyper-Digital Transformation
  20. Report: 40 Months of Hyper-Digital Transformation
  21. Virtual Moves to Real in with Sensors and Digital Transformation
  22. Technology Must Disappear in 2017
  23. Merging Humans with AI and Machine Learning Systems
  24. In Defense of the Human Experience in a Digital World
  25. Profits that Kill in the Age of Digital Transformation
  26. Competing in Future Time and Digital Transformation
  27. Digital Hope and Redemption in the Digital Age
  28. Digital Transformation and the Role of Faster
  29. Digital Transformation and the Law of Thermodynamics
  30. Jettison the Heavy Baggage and Digitally Transform
  31. Digital Transformation - The Dark Side
  32. Business is Not as Usual in Digital Transformation
  33. 15 Rules for Winning in Digital Transformation
  34. The End Goal of Digital Transformation
  35. Digital Transformation and the Ignorance Penalty
  36. Surviving the Three Ages of Digital Transformation
  37. The Advantages of an Advantage in Digital Transformation
  38. From Digital to Hyper-Transformation
  39. Believers, Non-Believers and Digital Transformation
  40. Forces Driving the Digital Transformation Era
  41. Digital Transformation Requires Agility and Energy Measurement
  42. A Doctrine for Digital Transformation is Required
  43. Digital Transformation and Its Role in Mobility and Competition
  44. Digital Transformation - A Revolution in Precision Through IoT, Analytics and Mobility
  45. Competing in Digital Transformation and Mobility
  46. Ambiguity and Digital Transformation
  47. Digital Transformation and Mobility - Macro-Forces and Timing
  48. Mobile and IoT Technologies are Inside the Curve of Human Time


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Kevin Benedict
President, Principal Analyst, Futurist, the 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 Strategic Enterprise Technologies
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.
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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Digital Transformation Crunch Time

Consumer behaviors are changing at speeds never before seen in many industries, which is impacting how businesses operate and bring products to market. In fact, more than a dozen retailers have closed this year as a result of having business and IT systems, and supply chains that are unable to meet the speed requirements of digital consumers. Most companies report they have 
IT systems in their inventory that are too slow or incapable of supporting real-time digital consumers.  That spells trouble.  Consumer and competitive changes are forcing enterprises to rethink their strategies in order to speed up in just about all areas: R&D, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, and sales.

Enterprises that I speak with today seem to understand that the need for digital transformation is being driven by advances in mobile technologies, automation, cloud computing, sensors, big data analytics and artificial intelligence.   They realize they must upgrade their IT systems and business processes to accommodate these changes and increase the speed of their operations.  They are also focused on how to improve their agility and flexibility, so they are nimble enough to respond to changing consumer behaviors, tastes and new competitors.  Many companies today find themselves in a position where their past investments in IT systems, that once provided competitive advantages, are now anchors preventing them from moving into the future.

Achieving real-time operational speeds is required to support real-time digital interactions and experiences.  Supporting these real-time experiences is more than just a technology issue, it requires companies to support real-time analytics, decision-making and business operational tempos. An operational tempo,
 in the context of this article, is defined as the speed or pace of business operations. Achieving a faster operational tempo is a significant challenge for many.  This is why we are seeing more applications of real-time analytics, automation and artificial intelligence.

Changing an enterprise’s operational tempo requires strong leadership that can transform the entire organization. It often requires significant IT updates and upgrades, organizational changes, and reengineering business processes and decision-making matrixes to align with real-time demands.

The biggest challenge for legacy companies today, is how to move to real-time.
On the 20th of July I will be leading an online discussion with the CIO WaterCooler on "Sequencing Digital Technologies for Competitive Advantages Over the Next 40 Months of Digital Transformation".

At my Digital Boardroom we will be discussing that we (consumers) have all changed as a result of digital and mobile technologies and platforms. Enterprises must now follow and transform, in order to support these changes and compete fast enough to matter. If you agree with this premise, then an important question to ask is what sequence should digital technologies be implemented in order to maximize the ROI from digital transformation investments? Another important question is what enterprise business and IT doctrines should guide organizations through this transformation. These important questions and others will be discussed, and research findings shared. (Digital Boardrooms typically take approx. 45min)

If you’re a CIO or an IT leader and you’d like to participate you can register here: https://ciowatercooler.co.uk/digital-boardrooms/

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Kevin Benedict
President, Principal Analyst, Futurist, the 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 Strategic Enterprise Technologies
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.
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