Posts Tagged ‘productivity’
We’re finally getting some rain in central Texas. We’ll see how long it lasts!
And on the topic of rainmaking, this just in from our friends at Nucleus Research.
Nucleus conducted an analysis of 21 of IBM Smarter Commerce case studies and their ROI, and discovered that for every dollar spent, companies realized an average of U.S. $12.05 in returns.
According to the research, this payback occurred in an average of 9 months (with a high of 23 months, and a low of two).
The cases Nucleus analyzed included U.S. and European companies and government agencies which had deployed IBM Smarter Commerce technologies.
All the case studies were developed independently by Nucleus, following their standard ROI methodology, and IBM was privy to the results only after the research was completed.
In their analysis, Nucleus also observed some summary conclusions, finding that Smarter Commerce projects delivered both top-line and bottom-line benefits, with roughly 60 percent of returns coming from indirect benefits such as productivity, and the rest from direct savings such as reduced operational costs or hires avoided.
Specific key benefits included the following:
- Increased productivity. In many cases companies were able to accomplish more work with fewer staff or avoid additional hires as they grew by automating previously manual processes and increasing employee productivity.
- Reduced costs. Smarter Commerce customers experienced cost reductions in areas such as customer call handling costs, technology costs, and other costs associated with supply chain transactions.
- Improved inventory management. Greater visibility into customer demand and inventory levels enabled Smarter Commerce customers to gain better control over their inventory, reducing inventory carrying costs and increasing inventory turns.
- Improved decision making. Greater agility and rapid insight into data for decision making enabled companies using Smarter Commerce to more quickly make decisions and act on them with confidence.
- Reduced customer churn and increased customer satisfaction. Companies using IBM Business Analytics were able to more rapidly understand customer satisfaction and retain more profitable customers by proactively addressing customers’ propensity to churn. For example, one telecommunications customer was able to reduce customer churn by 8 percent in the first year and 18 percent in the second year by further refining its churn analysis.
Customers Leverage Prepackaged Functionality
Nucleus indicated that the $12.05 average return from Smarter Commerce was at the high end of the range of returns Nucleus had seen from other assessments of deployments such as analytics and CRM, and many IBM Smarter Commerce clients indicated they had achieved high returns by taking advantage of the investments IBM has made in providing integrated solutions, more intuitive user interfaces, and prepackaged industry functionality.
By way of example:
- Integrated solutions and prepackaged industry functionality accelerate time to deployment and time to value while reducing overall project risk.
- Usability improvements drive more rapid adoption and make it easier for companies to drive adoption of technologies such as business analytics to casual and business users beyond the data expert specialists that have historically been the primary users of analytics.
Industry-specific functionality and expertise were particularly important in the success of customers adopting Smarter Commerce technologies in the government sector, such as social services agencies and police departments, where IT often has limited resources.
You can go here to download the full report.
Once again, I don’t think I’m going to make any New Year’s resolutions.
I find bargaining with myself like that to be somewhat whimsical, if not purposeless.
That’s not to say I’m not optimistic about the future. I just find that being practical…being realistic, if you would…has served me better over the longitude of time.
Another thing that has served me well is the very act I’m currently engaged in: Writing.
This blog is now well into its 8th consecutive year, and trust me, if I didn’t like to write, it wouldn’t have lasted this long.
So rather than come up with a list of grand technological projections and prognostications, this year, I’ve decided to go a little more Luddite on you.
Fear not, that doesn’t mean I’m abandoning all social media and going out to live in a cabin in the woods with nothing but a copy of Thoreau’s Walden, or, Life in the Woods and some granola bars.
God, live without Facebook or Twitter for a year, are you *&^@#$# kidding me?! How in the world would I know what was going on in the world, or whose friend’s cat just took its first bath?!
No, I’d never do anything that extreme.
But I did do this: I ordered a new ribbon for my old Royal manual typewriter.
For you kids in the audience who have never seen a typewriter, it’s a small portable machine we used to use to put down our thoughts.
It’s a contraption that…I know, get this…requires NO batteries or electricity (unless you bought an electric typewriter, in which case you were bound to the grid).
Now, again, I want to be straight with you: The typewriter didn’t have a “Like” button, so for many of you, I know, that’s a dealbreaker.
In fact, it had no share function whatsoever, other than taking the piece of paper you were writing on and mailing it to another person. So yes, it was essentially useless for any kind of crowdsourcing.
But, what it WAS good for was sitting down, thinking through an idea, focusing, and actually starting to tell a story or pull together a thesis with no interruptions (instant messages, Facebook messages, direct Tweets, SMS messages, smoke signals…) other than those created by your own imagination
I know, it’s a hard notion to comprehend, focusing, especially when you’ve never had to focus.
And the idea of doing one thing at a time…well, yes, it’s almost heretical in our multitasking times.
But that is one of the things I wish for in 2013.
Because I’ve seen what happens when people become possessed by the multitasking smartphone demons. They remind me of Linda Blair’s head turning round and round in “The Exorcist.”
It’s not pretty to watch, and yet there’s no priest you can call for smartphone demons. You just have to watch the poor person suffer until their multitasking becomes so overwhelming they just have to let their iPhone run out of juice.
Yes, that’s what I wish for in 2013: For people to have the opportunity to focus.
Instead of trying to do everything, and doing it mediocre, I wish to see more people do just a few things, or even just one thing, really, really well.
Come to think of it, at minimum, I’d like to see more people doing just one thing at a time (especially while they’re on the freeway).
Multitasking is highly overrated. There are very few humans who can do it and do it well, and the odds are pretty high you’re not one of them. And studies suggest that people who smoke marijuana do better at cognitive functions than people who multitask.
Put that in your iPhone and smoke it!
So my recommendation: Consider revitalizing American productivity by using a manual typewriter.
No, you won’t be able to directly enter that blog post into WordPress (although perhaps that’s a new widget Matt Mullenweig and his team can consider for future versions), but writing that first draft without electricity and with minimal interruptions will be good for the environment and your psychological wellness.
The other thing you might consider is to keep a journal. When I was traveling across America in 1987 in my Volkswagen bus, I used a manual typewriter AND kept a journal, and that period is one of the few times in my life I can actually go back and account for because there’s an actual record.
If you use a Mac, DayOne is a great journaling app that makes it very easy to journal and allows you to even synch up your entries into the cloud (if that gives you even a small sense of permanence).
It’s January 1st, and I promise I’m going to get started on all this just as soon as that new replacement ink typewriter ribbon I had to order off the Internet arrives via the mail.
Those things are harder to find than an iPhone 4 case these days!
It’s a big day in tech, all the way around.
We’ll continue our mission to “Think Big” here in Las Vegas at the IBM Information On Demand 2012 event.
We’ll also get a glimpse into how big the mobile market is becoming as Facebook announces its earnings after the bell later today.
But of course, one of the biggest stories of the day has to do with the downsizing of one of our favorite tablets, the Apple iPad.
Rumors abound about the new iPad “Mini,” which I very look forward to referring to as my “MiniMePad.”
If you’re using an Apple device (including an AppleTV), you should be able to tune in to watch the announcement live starting at 10 AM PST.
If not, there will be shortage of bloggers out there giving you the blow-by-blow.
Why am I so interested in the Mini iPad?
First, Apple set the bar for tablets with the original iPad, which I still use to this day.
Second, the smaller form factor is raising a lot of questions about price. Can Apple afford to take down the price from $499 to the $200 range, especially when their iPod Touch is still priced at $299 (the last time I looked…I can’t look this morning, as the Apple store is down getting busy for the Mini introduction).
I’d say the question more is, can they afford not to? Like the early browser wars, this is a market AND mindshare battle. iOS and Android are lined up for a full cage death match, and if Apple’s to maintain its market share lead of 69.6% (as of Q2 2012), they’re going to have to compete aggressively on price.
The new Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HDs are coming in at under $200, and while I doubt that’s a price Apple can match, they’re going to have to strive to stay somewhat price competitive, figuring the Apple premium could be worth $100 per unit or so.
Third, the original iPad was the starting line of the shift away from desktop-centric technology, and as Microsoft attempts to come into this market with its Surface tablet, a key question emerges: Can Apple continue to entice productivity hounds away from the Microsoft ecosystem, despite the advent of the Surface, and stay price competitive in a burgeoning competitive market?
As for me, you might ask, will I buy one? I’ll never say never. The iPad has become a full-on personal entertainment and productivity workhorse for me, an elegant blended use case of both the personal and the professional.
I watch movies on the thing, I use it for blogging and broadcasting, I play games, I do email, I read books, I hold conference calls. There’s not a lot I can’t do on it.
So, I can easily justify the upgrade, and I’d love to get a faster iPad, but like with the original, I may wait for an initial software upgrade so Apple has the opportunity to work some of the kinks out.
Then again, I may not.
After spending six and a half lovely hours at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, watching the miserable snow and misty rain falling out of the sky, my Air Canada flight was finally allowed off the ground and into the air, only to find myself soon in Times Square in NYC, standing amidst more nasty weather.
This is why I left NYC 11 years ago and moved back to Texas.
But, I must say, Pearson is a true business travelers’ airport.
I’m long unqualified for any of the airline lounge programs (unless I want to fork over $500 a year), but Pearson makes such havens unnecessary. There were plenty of chairs freely available to the masses, nice restaurants and bars (where I enjoyed some insurance sushi and beer before my long-delayed flight), and most noticeably, free wi-fi throughout the airport.
Yes, I said it: Free wi-fi throughout the airport. The kind of wi-fi you can suck oxygen freely through without gasping for bandwidth. The kind where you can stream a Netflix show or get your actual file attachments without looking back and forth guiltily at all the the other normally weary, bandwidth-starved travelers.
Steve Lohr with The New York Times just penned a piece this morning about how the web is, by necessity, speeding up, but being nicknamed “Turbo,” I fear it could never get fast enough for me. But I’ll appreciate every effort that Akamai and others are making to speed up the bits and bytes.
Me, I took charge of my own privacy with Google a number of years ago, shutting down their search history feature. What I’m searching for and when is my own business, far as I’m concerned, but I’m happy to let them put little ads up against my queries if that’s what it takes to keep the service free.
As I explain to people, having that search history feature turned “on” is like having multiple people following you around the shopping mall, with nice HD cameras, capturing your every move. If you don’t believe me, Google “Ghostery” and download the handy little app to see how many third-party cookies are watching YOUR every move.
Ghostery positions itself as “your window into the invisible web – tags, web bugs, pixels and beacons that are included on web pages in order to get an idea of your online behavior.”
Ghostery “tracks the trackers” and lets you know who all has invaded your machine.
So that if you decide to do a little hunting yourself, you’ll know precisely what you’re looking for.
If you were wondering what your CEO was doing all day, you need wonder no longer.
A story in today’s Wall Street Journal cites a research study conducted by the London School of Economics and Harvard Business School entitled the “Executive Time Use Project” reveals that CEOs spend about a third of their work time in meetings.
Funny, I would have thought a third of their time was spent on airplanes!
In any case, as a study overview on the London School explains, “A CEO’s schedule is especially important to a firm’s success, which raises a few questions: What do they do all day?”
And, more importantly, can they be more efficient with their time?
Here’s a few other sound bytes from the study:
- On average, some 85 percent of a CEO’s time was spent working with other people, with only 15 percent spent working alone.
- The time CEOs spent with outsiders had no measurable impact on firm performance. But, time spent with other people inside the company was strongly correlated with positive increases in productivity.
- In companies with stronger governance, CEOs spent more time with insiders and less time with outsiders, and at the same time were more productive.
So how else did they spend their time? In total, some 85 percent was spent working with other people through meetings, phone calls, and public appearances.
Of that precious time spent with others, 42 percent was spent with only “insiders,” 25 percent with insiders and outsiders together, and 16 percent with only outsiders.
The time spent with insiders, however, was strongly correlated with productivity increases. For every 1 percent gain in time spent with at least one insider, productivity advanced 1.23 percent.
Not so reassuring was the fact that the time CEOs spent with outsiders had no measureable correlation with firm performance.
Turbo’s Translation: Focus on meeting with your more senior troops, skip some of the speaking engagements, and be very discriminating about the biz dev meetings you take.