Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for November 11th, 2010

IBM Industry Summit: Smarter Analytics — From Insights To Outcomes

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IBM Business Analytics and Optimization global leader, Fred Balboni, walks the IBM Industry Summit audience through the new IBM global analytics study.

I mentioned in an earlier post from here at the IBM Industry Summit in Barcelona, Spain, that there are a number of key “memes” emerging.

One that emerged loud and clear yesterday was the opportunity to channel new business insights into concrete business outcomes, and the presentation on the productive use of analytics by Fred Balboni, global leader with IBM’s Business Analytics and Optimization practice, painted a very clear picture of this trend.

Balboni even shared some data of his own, results from “The New Path to Value,” a new study conducted in collaboration with MIT Sloan Management Review and IBM.

This worldwide survey of nearly 3,000 respondents helped IBM, and now the world, better understand how companies are using analytics in their businesses to provide valuable insight.

For example, the study discovered that those organizations which lead in using analytics outperform those who don’t some 3X. Top performers are 5.4X more likely than the average organization to use an analytical approach to business decision-making than those using “intuition.”

Here’s a not-gut-hunch for you: It’s organizational — not data or financial concerns — that are holding back adoption, Balboni informed us. He also explained that it’s not just about having data — organizations want to see insights more clearly and then act on them.

That means moving from simple visualization of data to adopting scenarios and simulations to understand the practical application of analytics to business processes.

The next key finding was that analytic use propagates across functions in a predictable pattern, so start with areas of your business where practical application will be self-evident.

And finally, as adoption spreads, there will be a growing demand for a greater variety of skills and deeper expertise.  Makes sense.  The deeper insights you can gain, the more need you’ll have for more specialized analytical and business skills.  So, like the Boy Scouts, be prepared!

Balboni continued and pointed out how analytics programs can create value for organizations.

One, through infrastructure productivity (taking out costs and improving efficiencies).

Two, through business productivity (improving business control and the bottom online).

And three, helping a return to growth (creating new value for the business).

And finally, as with most every session at the IBM Industry Forum, Balboni provided five recommendations on how organizations can start down the path to this new value and operationalizing their own analytics:

  1. Focus on the biggest and highest value opportunities (Something the business really values.)
  2. Start with the questions that the business wants to ask. Within each opportunity, start with questions, not data.
  3. Embed insights to drive actions and deliver value. Embed analytics practically into processes.
  4. Keep existing capabilities while adding new ones (don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater). Add new functionality/insight to your business.
  5. Use an information agenda to plan for the future. This is a roadmap as to how your organization is going to adopt analytics and use it to enhance your business.

You can learn more about the IBM Global New Intelligent Enterprise study on analytics here.

Written by turbotodd

November 11, 2010 at 1:46 pm

IBM Industry Summit: John Kao On Getting Innovation Done

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If you’ve never had the opportunity to see John Kao speak in the flesh, then you’ve probably never heard a greater champion of innovation (and improvisation as one means to that end…Kao was once a student of Frank Zappa, and a longtime pianist).

Innovation expert John Kao speaks about innovation disruption at the 2010 IBM Industry Summit in Barcelona, Spain.

I first saw Kao speak about his book, Jamming: The Art and Discipline of Business Creativity, the ideas from which helped lead to IBM’s own massive internal jam that helped we IBMers reinvent T.J. Watson’s core business values for the 21st century.

Kao keynoted the morning session today and explained he went out to Google the word “innovation” earlier today, and there were over 92M results! His point was that innovation continues to be important, but the word is used so often, it becomes a meaningless term.

Kao asserted in his talk that we need to restore meaning to the word, to bring “innovation to innovation,” and that his life’s work has been dedicated to understanding it as both a science and discipline.

With a little audience Q&A, Kao discovered that though 98% of the Industry Forum audience in attendance asserted that innovation was key to their business success, only about 5% of the hands went up when he asked how many had a system for innovation.

He then observed why the IBM smarter planet agenda was so compelling to him, because, he said, “it’s putting a map of innovation on top of the whole world.”

Kao used that as an elegant launching point for providing his own five point perspectives on innovation:

Definition, Disruption, Dissemination, Design, Digital

By definition, Kao explained that we have to be specific about what we mean, that creativity and innovation, for example, are not the same thing.

Creativity is enabling the human ability to be able to generate new ideas, and innovation is creativity applied to a specific purpose to realize value. Innovation is the muscle that brings creativity towards some intended end.

He then explained point number two, disruption, of which is there is no current shortage. Kao made reference to the “ghost dance” of native Americans, driven to their deaths after they denied they denied the disruption being brought about by the “white man.” A very sophisticated form of denial, that dance, but the buffalo outfits did little to stop the bullets.

Another example of disruption: Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, who went to work for then candidate Barack Obama and social media-fied his campaign, leaving the top down, command-and-control Clinton campaign babbling in its social media fallout.

Disruption can also mean great opportunity, as Bilbao, Spain, demonstrated with its Frank Gehry-designed museum now drawing 1M tourists a year to the Basque country.

Next up, dissemination: How do we innovate from a systems perspective? After WWII, the US was the main innovation game in town, but we’ve since seen, particularly with globalization, the advent of innovation centers sprouting up around the globe.

Kao walked the audience through a series of airport pictures of advertisements for those centers: Qatar, Singapore, Shanghai…the list went on and on.

That expansion enables smart managers to now pick from a global buffet of innovation offerings, and with the innovation web including a dog’s breakfast menu of disciplines to choose from.

Call it, Kao said, “innovation arbitrage.”

Next up, the importance of innovation, another lens for how innovation needs to be reinvented. If innovation is the big answer you seek, Kao asked, what is the question? Doing the work of design thinking (user centric, using tacit knowledge, prototyping, etc.), organizations can tap into the reservoir of design depth needed to bring innovation from dream to reality.

And finally, digital. Digital with a capital “D.”

He asked the audience to remember 1998: No mobile phones. No social networks. No digital music. (Yes, but let’s remember, there WAS a whole lot of commercial Internet hype).

But his point was well taken. This is no longer your mom and dads’ innovation. H.G. Well’s “world brain” is coming to reality, and as we increase the nodes of participation in the global brain, we increase the interaction between our brain cells.

The higher the ratio of brain to body cells…well, that’s why we humans are at the top of the food chain, and this syndrome Kao referred to as “encephalization.”

Innovation will no longer be just about better, faster, cheaper, or incremental improvements. It will be about major disruption, and the ability of organizations to adapt and embrace that disruption and turn it into an enhanced capability to innovate.

And that, Kao concluded, comes about as the by-product of effective leadership.

Written by turbotodd

November 11, 2010 at 1:13 pm

IBM Industry Summit: IBM Video Analytics For Smarter Government

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As mentioned in my earlier post, I’ve been attempting to mix things up a bit, and lo and behold, as I walked around the Industry Solutions Expo here at the IBM Industry Summit in Barcelona, I had the opportunity to speak with Hans Kahler about how IBM is applying smart video analytics in the public sector, bolstering public safety and learning all sorts of things about video “events.”

Imagine this: A single security camera in a big city like New York or Chicago can capture upwards of 50,000 events, per day (car passing by, pedestrian walking by, etc.). How to make sense out of it all and separate the unimportant “events” from the critical ones?

Watch the video and find out!

Written by turbotodd

November 11, 2010 at 12:32 pm

IBM Industry Summit, Day 3: Getting Vertical

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Starting yesterday afternoon, and continuing on in to today, the IBM Industry Summit kicked into an entirely new, and more industry-specific, gear.

Living up to its moniker, here in Barcelona leaders from around the globe, and from across a wide range of industries, have begun breaking out into individual leadership roundtables to share anecdotes, stories, experiences, pain points, and best practices with one another.

I’ve been able to attend a couple of those sessions, and others no IBMers, or other outsiders, were allowed, as we wanted our customers to have the benefit of being in the same room with their colleagues and to be able to share those experiences with no outside intervention or intermediation.

In future posts, I will share some of what I’ve heard in those discussions, as well as recapping some of the other keynotes we’ve heard, including this morning’s from John Kao, “Mr. Innovation.”

Though the IBM Industry Summit is coming to a close, it seems it’s having its intended effect, in terms of instigating a comprehensive conversation about the IBM smarter planet agenda, but importantly, increasingly in the context of specific industries.

Keep a continued eye out on the Turbo blog for future posts from the Summit. Even though the event ends today, the content will continue rolling for a bit, as today I’m focused on gathering even more information, but which will take some time to process!

Thanks to those of you who have been listening and sharing these posts via your Retweets, and I hope you’ve found the recaps of some of the sessions as fascinating as I have found listening and writing about them.

We are truly in the midst of a fascinating change in our world, and the leaders here in attendance who will start to depart Barcelona later today will no doubt be integral players in helping shape that change.

More soon.

Written by turbotodd

November 11, 2010 at 10:26 am

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