Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Moving Physical Interactions to Digital During a Pandemic

When major disruptive events like the Covid-19 pandemic happens they can act as an accelerant or as an obstacle to change.  The pandemic we are experiencing today is no different.  In a recent report by TrustRadius 2020, the following technologies are currently experiencing large increases in demand during the pandemic:
  • Telemedicine
  • Electronic signatures
  • Web conferencing
  • Mobile app development
  • Antivirus
  • Remote desktop
  • Video platforms
  • Webinar
  • Web portal
  • Live chat
All of these technologies are designed to facilitate human interactions via digital interaction points thus keeping us safe from virus transmission, and to help us be productive working remotely.   In the case of these technologies the pandemic is accelerating their adoption.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Microsoft - The Right Place at the Right Time During the Covid-19 Pandemic with Dr. Tomer Simon


In this episode, Dr. Tomer Simon, Futurist and National Technology Officer for Microsoft Israel, discusses his experiences living and working around Covid-19, and the explosive growth Microsoft is experiencing during the pandemic.  We then discuss how the pandemic impacts different industries and businesses in their digital transformation journeys, leadership mindsets and the emerging technologies that Dr. Simon is most excited about.

Read more on Covid-19 business impacts here:
  • The Covid-19 Pandemic Impact on the Global Supply Chain with Expert Roger Blumberg
  • The Covid-19 Impact on Digital Transformation with Expert Nadia Vincent
  • Business-as-a-Service a Resilient Response to Pandemics
  • Speed, Accidents and Pandemics
  • State and Local Supply Chains Challenged by the Pandemic
  • Paying the Piper In the Midst of a Pandemic
  • What is the Destination of Technological Progress?
  • Protecting Our Global Economic Network from Pandemics
  • Post-Pandemic Risk Strategies for Supply Chain and Procurement Leaders
  • Superstitions, Spaceships and Covid-19
  • Covid-19 and the Value of Ideas
  • Six Degrees to Contagion - Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic
  • Ecosystem Commerce and Pandemic Supply Chains - Interview with TCS Expert Rich Sherman
  • Covid-19 and the Role of a Futurist
  • Pre-Pandemic Assumptions and Presumptions
  • A Mid-Pandemic Interview with Supply Chain Risk Expert Joe Carson
  • Space, Pandemics, Roman Roads and Air-Conditioners
  • Navigating a Pandemic with Dropbox's CMO Tifenn Dano Kwan
  • Thinking Like a Futurist During a Pandemic with Frank Diana
  • Napoleon, True Competition and Pandemics
  • Covid-19, Demographics, Risk Analysis and Mobile Apps
  • A Pandemic Inspired Tsunami of Channel Switching
  • Ahead of the Curve - Pandemic Responses and Business
  • Pandemic Resilience is Knowing When to Quit
  • Using Data and Deming in a Pandemic
  • The Steps Required to Stop and or Live with the Pandemic
  • Flattening the Curve of a Risky Future
  • A Faustian Bargain Involving Privacy, Pandemic and a Functioning Economy
  • Leadership and Mental Biases in a Pandemic
  • ************************************************************************
    Kevin Benedict
    Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies 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.

    Friday, June 19, 2020

    The Impact of AI and Digital Transformation on the Sales Profession

    In this FOB TV episode, I have the opportunity to learn from Geoff Webb, VP of Strategy at PROS about the impact of Covid-19 and digital transformation on the sales profession.  We then explore how artificial intelligence and machine learning are now augmenting sales professionals and helping them be more efficient and productive as revenue generators.


     

    Read more on Covid-19 business impacts here:
  • The Covid-19 Pandemic Impact on the Global Supply Chain with Expert Roger Blumberg
  • The Covid-19 Impact on Digital Transformation with Expert Nadia Vincent
  • Business-as-a-Service a Resilient Response to Pandemics
  • Speed, Accidents and Pandemics
  • State and Local Supply Chains Challenged by the Pandemic
  • Paying the Piper In the Midst of a Pandemic
  • What is the Destination of Technological Progress?
  • Protecting Our Global Economic Network from Pandemics
  • Post-Pandemic Risk Strategies for Supply Chain and Procurement Leaders
  • Superstitions, Spaceships and Covid-19
  • Covid-19 and the Value of Ideas
  • Six Degrees to Contagion - Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic
  • Ecosystem Commerce and Pandemic Supply Chains - Interview with TCS Expert Rich Sherman
  • Covid-19 and the Role of a Futurist
  • Pre-Pandemic Assumptions and Presumptions
  • A Mid-Pandemic Interview with Supply Chain Risk Expert Joe Carson
  • Space, Pandemics, Roman Roads and Air-Conditioners
  • Navigating a Pandemic with Dropbox's CMO Tifenn Dano Kwan
  • Thinking Like a Futurist During a Pandemic with Frank Diana
  • Napoleon, True Competition and Pandemics
  • Covid-19, Demographics, Risk Analysis and Mobile Apps
  • A Pandemic Inspired Tsunami of Channel Switching
  • Ahead of the Curve - Pandemic Responses and Business
  • Pandemic Resilience is Knowing When to Quit
  • Using Data and Deming in a Pandemic
  • The Steps Required to Stop and or Live with the Pandemic
  • Flattening the Curve of a Risky Future
  • A Faustian Bargain Involving Privacy, Pandemic and a Functioning Economy
  • Leadership and Mental Biases in a Pandemic
  • ************************************************************************
    Kevin Benedict
    Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies 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, June 17, 2020

    The Covid-19 Impact on Digital Transformation with Expert Nadia Vincent

    In this episode, we reach out to Belgium-based digital transformation expert Nadia Vincent to get her perspective on digital transformation challenges and strategies in general, and then discuss how the Covid-19 pandemic will impact these initiatives.

    With over two decades of international work experience, M. Nadia Vincent is an MIT SLOAN Certified Digital Transformation and Artificial Intelligence Executive Advisor. A top 10 Digital Transformation Thought Leader, she led many major transformation initiatives on the European market. The author of "Leveraging Digital Transformation," Vincent is also a professional keynote speaker, leadership coach, trainer, and the founder of www.digitaltransformationleaders.com, the ultimate training and coaching platform for business executives and transformation leaders.

    Read more on the Covid-19 business impact here:


    Tuesday, June 16, 2020

    Covid-19, Drones, Hyperspectral Remote Sensors and Customer P&Ls

    Hyperspectral camera embedded on an
    OnyxStar HYDRA-12 UAV
    from AltiGator
    Digital transformation is more than replacing analog systems and processes with digital ones.  It is often about enabling entirely new strategies and tactics never before possible.  One of these new strategies is the ability to use technologies including: artificial intelligence, predictive and big data analytics and machine learning technologies to forecast a lifetime profit and loss (PL) statement for individual customers.  How is this useful?  It can enable companies and brands to develop unique personalized marketing campaigns, sales and loyalty programs for individuals dependent upon how much they are likely to spend over a lifetime, rather than marketing to anonymous demographic groups. 

    I call these predictive lifetime profit and loss statement, PL-360.  PL-360 can use data feeds from mobile apps, websites, loyalty programs and brick and mortar check-ins, etc.  The more good data the better the accuracy of the predictive PL-360s.

    Friday, June 12, 2020

    Secrets, Brands and Global Swarming

    How long does it take to ruin a brand, destroy sales and devalue investors’ millions?  The answer is seconds.  In today’s world of 24-hour news and perpetual social media feeds, one ill-conceived communication can destroy as much investor and employee value as a pandemic.  This demonstrated fact, means companies must seriously consider how they can remain engaged with their customers and markets, culturally relevant and good stewards of their brands’ and company’s value all at the same time.

    Historically, large corporate brands would simply designate a tightly controlled team of corporate spokespeople.  The members of this team would speak on behalf of the company and read official company communications to the press word-for-word.  Limited news and internal communications with employees meant there was little knowledge employees could share externally - even if they wanted to.  Today, however, all employees, no matter their position have direct access to hundreds of news sources, and the ability to communicate directly with an audience of billions of internet and social media users.  Employment contracts offer little barriers to late night drunken Twitter barrages in this environment.  

    Thursday, June 11, 2020

    The Covid-19 Pandemic Impact on the Global Supply Chain with Expert Roger Blumberg

    In this episode, global supply chain and procurement expert Roger Blumberg shares what it is like to work in the middle of the pandemic's vortex helping large companies address supply chain challenges.  He also shares how he anticipates supply chain strategies will change, what the long term impact will be.   



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    Kevin Benedict
    Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies 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, June 09, 2020

    Pounce - The Exploitation of Business Opportunities and Trends

    When opportunities present themselves, as they regularly do in business, it is important to quickly recognize them, have a framework for processing them, and have a team and an organizational philosophy that can pounce!   Many companies focus so heavily on running lean organizations that they have little capability to pounce.  Successful businesses, when viewed from history, are nothing more than a series of recognized and captured opportunities.

    Before moving on let’s define opportunity as a – a favorable set of fleeting circumstances that makes it possible to do something. 

    In 1980, Microsoft formed a partnership with IBM to bundle Microsoft's operating system with IBM computers; with that opportunity IBM paid Microsoft a royalty for every sale.  The partnership ultimately launched Microsoft into a global technology powerhouse and Bill Gates into being the wealthiest man in the world.

    Friday, June 05, 2020

    What is the Destination of Technological Progress?


    Definition of Progress – a forward movement toward a destination.
    I have spent several decades working in and around the Silicon Valley where progress is measured by how many new ideas you can get funded, developed, scaled and sold.  The problem is Silicon Valley’s definition of progress is controlled by a relatively small group of investors focused on ROI.  I don’t think it’s such a good idea for investors to be the guardians of our progress or its destination.  Human progress is more than investor returns.  It should include a longer and better-quality life for a larger proportion of people, equality and justice.  Many of these qualities, however, don’t attract a lot of VC money.

    When the destination for progress is good - humanity benefits.  We must all remember that the past wasn’t so great, and progress helped us improve it.   Analyst Marian L. Tupy described it as follows, “For most of human history, life was very difficult. People lacked basic medicines and died relatively young. They had no painkillers and people with ailments spent much of their lives in agonizing pain. Entire families lived in bug‐infested dwellings that offered neither comfort nor privacy. They worked in the fields from sunrise to sunset yet hunger and famines were commonplace. Transportation was primitive and most people never traveled beyond their native villages or nearest towns. Ignorance and illiteracy were rife. The “good old days” were, by and large, very bad for the great majority of humankind.” 

    Reading Tupy’s description of our history helps us clearly understand the value of progress, but what happens when the destination of progress takes us in the wrong direction?  A direction that does not benefit humanity.  Many proponents of globalization would describe it as progress, yet it opened the door to a deadly and widespread pandemic that killed hundreds of thousands and shut-down the global economy.  Others call robots, robotic process automation, artificial intelligence and digital commerce progress, but they may eliminate millions of jobs, causing despair and increasing income inequality.  

    Many of the largest investors and technology companies today, the ones with the most money, are choosing our destination and defining progress without our vote.  A destination designed to maximize their revenue, rather than the destination offering the most good for humanity.  It seems to me that guiding progress and selecting our destination are two things that are far too important to leave up to investors or the invisible hands of the market.

    The Covid-19 pandemic taught us many lessons.  Lean and long global supply chains are vulnerable to disruptions, pandemics require pre-developed plans and actions, viruses can shutdown entire economies, finding and developing a working vaccine and successful treatments require global collaboration and investment, testing and manufacturing and many other things.  Progress with a purpose to improve the human condition is far more important than progress to maximize investor ROI.

    ************************************************************************
    Kevin Benedict
    Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies 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, June 04, 2020

    Digital Anthropology, Covid-19 and the Future of Work

    In this interview we discuss Covid-19's impact on businesses, digital transformation, the impact of automation on humans and the second digital revolution with entrepreneur and future of work expert, Richard Skellett.  Richard is opinionated and calls the displacement of humans with robots and automation immoral.  Join us for a thought provoking exploration of the future of work.

    ************************************************************************
    Kevin Benedict
    Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies 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, June 03, 2020

    Operational Tempo and Speed as a Competitive Advantage

    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 the empire. 

    Today digital technologies have altered our perception of time and space while expanding our expectations of what can be accomplished in a given time. We expect to accomplish one hour's worth of shopping in a brick and mortar supermarket, in seconds shopping online. These expectations significantly impact the way businesses must operate in a digital era to compete and remain relevant. 

    Achieving Transformational Business Speed

    It took Magellan’s crew three years sailing ships to circumnavigate the earth.  Today, at hypersonic speeds of 7,680 MPH, it takes just over three hours to circumnavigate the earth.  Data on the Internet, however, travels at 670 million MPH, which means it only takes milliseconds to circumnavigate the earth.  In this age of digital businesses and digital interactions, companies must digitally transform to work effectively in a world where mass information moves at these unimaginable speeds.

    It's not just IT systems that are impacted by the volume and speed of information.  The creators of business processes that were designed and developed in an analog area, simply never envisioned a business environment that would require these operational tempos.  Analog business processes were designed to have humans involved.  These dependencies were designed to slow down the process to ensure accuracy, compliance and accountability.  Today, however, operating at the slow speeds of an analog, human dependent business process, will doom your company.  Analog business processes must be quickly automated via robotic process automation (RPA) using artificial intelligence and machine learning to effectively interact with impatient digital customers and B2B partners.

    Tuesday, June 02, 2020

    The Help or Hinder Solution to Complexity

    Help or Hinder (HoH)
    I have led many executive workshops over the years where a long list of digital transformation challenges and requirements were identified.  At the end of the session the overwhelmed participates often asked the question, “Where do we start?”  My answer to that question was usually to suggest developing a high-level master or doctrinal statement on what the company wants to achieve by digitally transforming, followed by implementing a simple “help or hinder” analysis.

    A “help or hinder” (HoH) analysis involves working with the experts in the business and in IT to label systems, applications and business processes with a HoH label.  For example, does the 40-year old mainframe application help or hinder your ability to accept mobile payments in real-time?  If it hinders your ability to accomplish your goals, fix or replace it.

    It’s important that an executive team have a clear understanding of the size of their challenge.  If 47 of their 186 applications, systems and processes hinder digital transformation and progress, then these should be acknowledged, and plans developed to fix or replace.  

    Executives might argue that it is not as easy as HoH, but my response is you must start somewhere.  To overcomplicate the analysis means it is highly unlikely to ever get completed.  

    The HoH solution to complexity can also be utilized for evaluating vendors or internal talent.  With a clear understanding of what a business needs to do to accomplish their goal, leaders can ask the HoH question in many different contexts.  Do my current vendors, partners or ecosystem HoH my ability to accomplish my objectives?

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    Kevin Benedict
    Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies 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.

    Superstitions, Spaceships and Covid-19

    This week I listened to prominent voices praising the success of the SpaceX rocket ship and the work of the scientist involved there, while at the same time publicly rejecting the guidance of other scientist on how to best prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.  This got me thinking about what people understand or don’t understand about science and the scientific method.

    Scientists working in the areas of space flight and disease prevention both utilize the same scientific methods in their work.  The scientific method is a way to systematically discover what is true in nature.  It’s a way of logically making progress in our understanding about nature. It’s not a political or religious statement.  In fact, Albert Einstein famously described the differences between science and religion with these words, “Science can only ascertain what is, but not what it should be...”   Knowing what is…is pretty important for astronauts, medical scientists and all of humanity.