30. November 2012
Source: The Wall Street Journal
The recent Silicon Valley Comes to Oxford event focused on Big Data, the next “next big thing.” Analysts are saying that going forward, companies will differentiate on how they handle data.
The next Next Big Thing is Big Data. Evangelists claim it has the power to reveal hidden truths about our companies, about our lives, about society as a whole.
So important is it that last week’s Silicon Valley Comes to Oxford annual event was built around the topic.
Inevitably the real world crashes into digital utopia. According to Peter Tufano, the dean of Oxford’s Said Business School, which played host to the event, while awareness of the topic was high among enterprises, only about 6% of companies have got beyond a pilot stage, and 18% are still in one.
“That means three-quarters of industries are looking at this and saying ‘what is this all about?'”
Why aren’t they looking at Big Data? “The answer across all business,” he said, “was ‘we don’t know what the business case is.'” Read the rest of this entry »
30. November 2012
Source: The Economist: Schumpeter
Subject: Taking the long view
HE IS the chief executive of a multinational corporation, but Paul Polman sometimes sounds more like a spokesman for Occupy Wall Street. The boss of Unilever (an Anglo-Dutch consumer-goods firm with brands ranging from Timotei shampoo to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream) agonises about unemployment, global warming and baby-boomer greed. He puts some of the blame for these ills on the most influential management theory of the past three decades: the idea that companies should aim above all else to maximise returns to shareholders.
He appears to mean it. Since taking charge in 2009, Mr Polman has stopped Unilever from publishing full financial results every quarter. He refuses to offer earnings guidance to equity analysts. He has introduced a lengthy “sustainable living plan” and attracted a new cadre of long-term investors, particularly in emerging markets. He even told an audience in Davos that hedge-fund managers would sell their own grandmothers to make a profit. Read the rest of this entry »