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

Posts Tagged ‘forbes

Forbes Business Leadership Forum @ Impact 2012: Put The Customer At The Center Of Every Action

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Mike Rhodin explains to the IBM Forbes Business Leadership Forum at Impact 2012 Monday morning that the best companies moving forward will put the customer at the center of their every action.

After this morning’s keynote session, I went promptly over to the Forbes Business Leadership Forum to listen for a bit to Mike Perlis, Forbes president and CEO, and Mike Rhodin, IBM’s senior vice president for our Software Solutions group.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m a Forbes magazine subscriber — and apparently I’m hardly alone, even in this alleged age of digital media and publishing. In fact, Perlis took great pains to walk the gathered IBM Impact audience through the evolution of Forbes magazine and its transition into the digital era, as a kind of case study into how one unique traditional media publishing property didn’t succumb to the whims of history.

Perlis outlined some key objectives for Forbes, including keeping its print business on track as it built its digital business, and also by developing its brand extensions and becoming a great technology company.

These days, Forbes has some 100 freelancers, 100 staff editors and reporters, and over 300 posts per day on Forbes.com, the centerpiece of Forbes digital strategy.

But Forbes has also embraced the social media in a huge way, with an aggressive presence on all the major social media properties, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

As Perlis summarized, “it’s about the right mix of quality and quantity of information, driven by great technology.”

Perlis then handed the reins over to IBM senior vice president, Mike Rhodin, who leads our Software Solutions business.

Rhodin picked up the ball and reaffirmed that Forbes business journey was an evolution, and that we live in an “information age like none before, where the complexities are forcing us to take a new approach to technology.”

Rhodin noted that companies like Forbes that successfully navigate these uncharted waters must “deploy solutions that are intelligent, integrated by design, and built atop a tech infrastructure that is inherently more cognitive.”

Rhodin went on to cite some examples of the staggering amounts of data that must be dealt with: That there are 340 million Tweets now per day, that 80% of the new data growth are in images, videos and documents, that there are 5 million trading events occurring every second!

Such astronomical figures are creating some tough new challenges, not only for IT but for the mainstream of a business.  Forty-five percent of CFOs see a need to improve data integration and risk management, Rhodin explained, and 73 percent of CMOs see a need to invest in technology to manage new big data.

Business leaders aren’t just concerned with what product to buy, Rhodin explained, but are focused on garnering better business outcomes, how to improve the efficiency of their online marketing campaigns, how to improve cash flows…business problems needing business solutions enabled by technology.

Rhodin also explained that business leaders need to learn to think differently (a theme brought up time and again in Walter Isaacson’s keynote this morning) about analytics, explaining that a new pattern of automation is emerging that is being driven by the instrumentation of the world around us.

“We’re infusing intelligence into the fabric of the organization,” Rhodin continued, and that organizational leaders of the future will be distinguished by their “ability to make big and small, strategic and tactical, 360 degree-informed decisions.”

“This has become a 24/7 feedback loop where sellers and marketers constantly change roles,” Rhodin concluded, and those who put the consumer at the center of every action would be the new information age’s ultimate victors.

Live At Impact 2011: Forbes’ Publisher Rich Karlgaard On Beating The Economy With IT

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It’s around 1:42 on Tuesday here at Impact 2011, and I’ve not left the Venetian Biosphere since I arrived here on Sunday.

Scott and I have continued to do our live webcasts from the expo floor.  You can find both the live and Memorex sessions at www.livestream.com/ibmimpact (and feel free to stop by…just look for the big, bright light in the corner).

I blogged the general session featuring IBM Senior Vice President Steve Mills’ comments on business agility from earlier today.  You can find that post here.

I’ve also attended some sessions of the Forbes Leadership Summit, a few thoughts from which I thought would be worth sharing here.

In a session yesterday, Rich Karlgaard, the publisher of Forbes magazine, set up the Summit with some comments about the state of the economy…such as it is.

Karlgaard explained that the economic recovery has been uneven and rocky at best, and that the last three years in particular were so traumatizing, it’s impossible to do a forecast, as we have no faith in the underlying economy.

We are, collectively, suffering from Post Traumatic (Economic) Stress Syndrome.  Nice one.

It’s like a roller coaster ride.  A few months ago, GDP projection was 2%.  Then most everyone had a good Christmas and the stock market grew, and so forecasts went up to 3.5% GDP growth for Q1.  Then, Tunisia…Egypt…Libya…Japan earthquake and tsunami…gas went up….well, stuff happened.

So, the recovery is very uneven, which means…you guessed it: The companies with the right technology investments or business processes will do much better than GDP (5%…maybe 10%), and those who don’t…well, they’ll likely do much worse. This is the nature of recoveries that follow big, traumatic economic events (Just glance back to the 1970s: Nixon resigning, oil crisis, Carter’s malaise speech).

And yet, the 1970s produced (other than disco) Federal Express, Southwest Airlines, Apple Computer, even Microsoft…so though economists may have looked upon the 70s as poor economically, it saw a lot of business growth, and in particular those who were new and innovative.

It was then that Karlgaard launched into the meat of his pitch: Eight key focus areas of companies which will best adapt to this new economic environment.

  1. Those good at design (well designed products and services)
  2. Speed (Table stakes).  Fast go to market, with the perfect products at the perfect time when customers need them.  Get to those customers willing to pay the most first!
  3. Cost.  Always a factor.
  4. Supply chain and logistics. Every great leader in its field is generally the supply chain leader (Sam Walton, Wal-Mart, by way of example). Wal-Mart was the first to figure out the power of linking information from bar code back to IBM mainframes, which gave them enormous competitive advantage early on.
  5. Analytics.  Just Google “IBM Business Analytics” to learn more about this one.
  6. External and Internal Communications.  He used an example of ex-IBMers use of Facebook as a powerful advocate community.
  7. Brand — Particularly, three dimensional brands (phony ones are easily exposed in the social media). 2D brands could only be gotten away with in the Mad Men era.
  8. Foundation of Moral Purpose — The trust level have with institutions is at an all-time low.  Companies that have solid foundations also have unsurpassed advantages.

Got it?

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