#23: Here’s a thought…

October 4, 2009
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An occasional series in which a review of recent posts on SmartData Collective reveals the following nuggets:

The need for cultural transparency
So if CEOs are starting to embrace social concepts for their businesses, then that means the leadership model is starting to change in these organizations… or at least it’s starting to get very stressed. At the core of this change, though, is the concept of transparency. The software that enables social business has inherent transparency built in, but is that enough? Unfortunately no. Just because you enable information flow doesn’t mean that it will actually flow anywhere. Underneath the software there’s a need for a culture of transparency, which is fundamentally different from what often happens in businesses today.

Let’s try analytics
The primary source for improvements in organizational effectiveness and decision making is shifting toward the use of analytics of all flavors. Traditional approaches like 1980s management by objectives (MBOs), bullying employees, and hollow wall banners of rhetoric (“Quality Comes First”) are being superseded by deploying and integrating analytics.


An occasional series in which a review of recent posts on SmartData Collective reveals the following nuggets:

The need for cultural transparency
So if CEOs are starting to embrace social concepts for their businesses, then that means the leadership model is starting to change in these organizations… or at least it’s starting to get very stressed. At the core of this change, though, is the concept of transparency. The software that enables social business has inherent transparency built in, but is that enough? Unfortunately no. Just because you enable information flow doesn’t mean that it will actually flow anywhere. Underneath the software there’s a need for a culture of transparency, which is fundamentally different from what often happens in businesses today.

Let’s try analytics
The primary source for improvements in organizational effectiveness and decision making is shifting toward the use of analytics of all flavors. Traditional approaches like 1980s management by objectives (MBOs), bullying employees, and hollow wall banners of rhetoric (“Quality Comes First”) are being superseded by deploying and integrating analytics.

—Gary Cokins: More Spocky, Less Rocky

The effective business analyst
To be an effective business analyst for business intelligence or master data management, it’s critical to understand how different systems see data, even data that’s ostensibly the same. In a telecommunications firm, System A was account-based and System B was customer-based. Customer details existed in both systems. A good business analyst understands that data is critical from each system and what the rules are for matching records across them.


Getting rid of software patents
Perhaps patents are necessary in the pharmaceutical industry. I know very little about that industry but it would seem that some sort of temporary grants of monopoly are necessary to compel companies to spend billions of dollars of upfront R&D. What I do know about is the software/internet/hardware industry. And I am absolutely sure that if we got rid of patents tomorrow innovation wouldn’t be reduced at all, and the only losers would be lawyers and patent trolls.

Paradigm shift or window dressing?
Why do so many of the attempts to marry BI and SaaS fail? The problem is that Saas BI sounds simple … simple enough to take an existing BI asset (integration engine, open source analytical engine, columnar database, dashboarding, even domain expertise and consulting) and just host it! All it takes is VMware or an AWS account, web server and Flash or JavaScript. Some people call this a paradigm shift; I call it window dressing.  

The new queue
Now let’s add something else to the mix – suppose you are a business that has segmented your customer base and identified your most profitable customers. What if you wanted to design processes for them to “jump the queue”—allowing them to go first? For example, in an effort to reward their most valuable customers, airlines often let passengers with status board an aircraft first. Some airlines employ priority baggage handling where bags in effect “jump the queue” by coming off the conveyor belt first. Passengers without status often look at this special treatment as unfair—at least until they achieve a level of status and start accruing special benefits!

What are they up to?
Kodak’s consumer marketing strategy was built around the belief that the primary job that consumers were hiring cameras, film, and processing for was documentation of life’s special (”Kodak”) moments. Consumer research, for example, showed dramatic increases in picture taking following the birth of a first child (with lower peaks for each subsequent child!). Kodak’s fortunes in consumer photography were tied to this belief… But something strange happened with digital photography. The relationship between the number of images captured and the number of prints produced pretty much evaporated. This was a clue that maybe there was a different job that digital photography was doing for consumers. And it looks like that job is sharing experiences.