What will business technology look like tomorrow?

13. July 2017

Date: 13-07-2017
Source: The Economist
Subject: A new way to work

Two experts from MIT analyse the business implications of our digital future

Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing our Digital Future. By Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson. W.W. Norton; 402 pages; $28.95 and £22.99.

IN 2014 Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published “The Second Machine Age”. The book was a balanced portrait of how new digital technologies were poised to improve society, even as they increased unemployment and depressed wages. In their latest work, “Machine, Platform, Crowd”, the authors seek to explain the business implications behind these developments.

Mr McAfee and Mr Brynjolfsson believe that the latest phase of computers and the internet have created three shifts in how work happens. The first is artificial intelligence (AI): a move from man to machine. In the past people worked with computers and, at the same time, were augmented by them: what the authors call the “standard partnership”. But that model is breaking down as computers improve and take more control.

You need only look at self-driving cars, online language translation and Amazon’s prototype cashierless shops to see that something big is happening. Digital technologies used to be applied to information—first numbers and text, and, later, music and video. Now, the digital technologies are invading the physical world.

For instance, designing a “heat exchanger”, a part in appliances like refrigerators, means balancing many different specifications and constraints. Humans settle for one that works well enough because to find the optimal one is too hard. But new “generative design” means AI-infused software can run zillions of tiny permutations to find the best possible design—one that a human might not come up with. And with 3D printing, those designs might be shared, modified and manufactured anywhere. Read the rest of this entry »

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Measuring the full impact of digital capital

29. July 2013
McKinsey & Company
Article|McKinsey Quarterly

Although largely uncounted, intangible digital assets may hold an important key to understanding competition and growth in the Internet era.

July 2013| byJacques Bughin and James Manyika

On July 31, 2013, the US Bureau of Economic Analysis will release, for the first time, GDP figures categorizing research and development as fixed investment. It will join software in a new category called intellectual-property products.

In our knowledge-based economy, this is a sensible move that brings GDP accounting closer to economic reality. And while that may seem like an arcane shift relevant only to a small number of economists, the need for the change reflects a broader mismatch between our digital economy and the way we account for it. This problem has serious top-management implications.

To understand the mismatch, you need to understand what we call digital capital—the resources behind the processes key to developing new products and services for the digital economy. Digital capital takes two forms. The first is traditionally counted tangible assets, such as servers, routers, online-purchasing platforms, and basic Internet software. They appear as capital investment on company books. Yet a large and growing portion of what’s powering today’s digital economy consists of a second type of digital capital—intangible assets.

They are manifold: the unique designs that engage large numbers of users and improve their digital experiences; the digital capture of user behavior, contributions, and social profiles; the environments that encourage consumers to access products and services; and the intense big-data and analytics capabilities that can guide operations and business growth. They also include a growing range of new business models for monetizing digital activity, such as patents and processes that can be licensed for royalty income, and the brand equity that companies like Google or Amazon.com create through digital engagement. Read the rest of this entry »


Six social-media skills every leader needs

17. February 2013

Date: 17-02-2013
Source: The McKinsey Quarterly

Organizational social-media literacy is fast becoming a source of competitive advantage. Learn, through the lens of executives at General Electric, how you and your leaders can keep up.

Few domains in business and society have been untouched by the emerging social-media revolution—one that is not even a decade old. Many organizations have been responding to that new reality, realizing the power and the potential of this technology for corporate life: wikis enable more efficient virtual collaboration in cross-functional projects; internal blogs, discussion boards, and YouTube channels encourage global conversations and knowledge sharing; sophisticated viral media campaigns engage customers and create brand loyalty; next-generation products are codeveloped in open-innovation processes; and corporate leaders work on shaping their enterprise 2.0 strategy.

This radical change has created a dilemma for senior executives: while the potential of social media seems immense, the inherent risks create uncertainty and unease. By nature unbridled, these new communications media can let internal and privileged information suddenly go public virally. What’s more, there’s a mismatch between the logic of participatory media and the still-reigning 20th-century model of management and organizations, with its emphasis on linear processes and control. Social media encourages horizontal collaboration and unscripted conversations that travel in random paths across management hierarchies. It thereby short-circuits established power dynamics and traditional lines of communication.

We believe that capitalizing on the transformational power of social media while mitigating its risks calls for a new type of leader. The dynamics of social media amplify the need for qualities that have long been a staple of effective leadership, such as strategic creativity, authentic communication, and the ability to deal with a corporation’s social and political dynamics and to design an agile and responsive organization.

Social media also adds new dimensions to these traits. For example, it requires the ability to create compelling, engaging multimedia content. Leaders need to excel at cocreation and collaboration—the currencies of the social-media world. Executives must understand the nature of different social-media tools and the unruly forces they can unleash. Read the rest of this entry »


The Two Horsemen of the Enterprise Software Apocalypse

18. June 2012

Date: 18-06-2012
Source: BusinessWeek

At 71, Dave Duffield ought to be retired. He’s spent a half-century starting technology companies and is worth billions. He has a $35 million Dassault Falcon 900EX jet, homes in the Bay Area and Palm Springs, and a seven-building vacation compound on Lake Tahoe with plenty of space for his wife of 28 years and their 10 children, the youngest of whom is an adopted daughter, age 2. On a sizzling June afternoon, Duffield stands in his hangar at an airfield east of San Francisco before a flight to Reno-Tahoe International Airport. “I just bought this Chevy Camaro,” Duffield says, gesturing to the black car parked next to his jet. “It’s probably the only one around with a baby seat in the back.”

Duffield did take a break from the tech game, briefly. After his most successful company, PeopleSoft, was acquired in 2004 for $10.3 billion, he unofficially retired. With his thin frame and rich head of silver hair, he’d sit in a rocking chair on his porch in Tahoe overlooking the lake. The relaxing, family-filled glide into his golden years lasted about three months. “I was rocking away and getting bored,” Duffield says. When he told his wife, Cheryl, that he was starting another business software company, later named Workday, she cried, but didn’t try to stop him. “She understood the higher calling,” Duffield says. Read the rest of this entry »


Big Data. Big Impact.

13. February 2012

Date: 12-02-2012

Source: Jim Baum Former CEO

I had the honor this week of speaking with Om Malik of GigaOm on stage at the Structure: Big Data event in New York City. This was a first of its kind event, bringing together an incredibly interesting group of entrepreneurs, enterprises, industry luminaries, investors and press to discuss the state of the “Big Data” revolution that manifests itself throughout the industry. I must say, I feel “vindicated” by all this activity. I have been talking for years about “category convergence”, suggesting the convergence of business analytics, data management, search, data warehousing, ETL, text analytics, data protection, and a few other “categories” as necessary to create the business value we all expect from these technologies.

Let’s go back in time. Historically, we have always talked about “structured data” and “unstructured data” as two, independent, separate things. That segregation is incredibly important as all this “data” is at the root of everything we are doing to make sense of it, improve business and societal decision-making, and create some type of sustainable value from this ever-increasing asset. Yet as a result of this thinking (or perhaps at the root of this dichotomy), the technologies to extract knowledge and insight from these data assets have evolved along largely separate paths. Think databases vs. search. Read the rest of this entry »


Die spannendsten fünf Business-Bücher der letzten Monate

13. October 2010

Meine persönliche Einschätzung.

http://members.chello.at/~hkarner/Book%20Reviews%202&3_10.pdf


Who Is the New CEO?

15. July 2010

Dienstag, 06. Juli 2010, 22:14:23 | Vineet Nayar

You can smell the fresh paint as companies the world over complete their post-recession overhauls. Few business organizations, functions, and processes have escaped this rethink, which is meant to fortify organizations before the next downturn comes.

At the risk of stirring a hornet’s nest, I’d like to ask one question: How many of us CEOs included, as part of the rethink, changes to the CEO’s role and responsibilities? Read the rest of this entry »