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The Future of the Retail Store in the Omni-Channel Age

The Future of the Retail Store in the Omni-Channel Age[UPDATED] The Future of the Retail Store in the Omni-Channel Age is third in CSRA’s retail & omni-channel series, and it is especially relevant to Chief Digital Officers, who orchestrate profound organization change using digital technologies and processes. It also offers rare opportunity to high-stakes CMOs. Part1 of The Future of the Retail Store outlines several aspects of market disruption that are affecting retailers as a group, albeit by varying degrees. Part2 features examples of “reimagining retail” for mobile, banking, grocery, hardware and apparel “stores.”

“Future” provides practical examples for the main thesis carried through the series: retailers can thrive by thinking beyond “the product” and its selection, assortment, pricing, etc., because these have a decreasing impact on revenue and profit. Digital social enables customers and retailers to focus on how customers create value with products and services, so when properly used, social is a strong profit driver, and profits are what retailers need to survive and thrive. As examples illustrate, retailers can go with the “showrooming” trend by enabling customers to imagine and […]

Chicago-Style Innovation 2013 [Lightbank Innovation Day]

Lightbank logoChicago-Style Innovation is my notes from Lightbank Innovation Day, which took place on 9 May 2013 at the City Winery (presentations) and Lightbank’s offices (networking). Throughout the day, it was obvious that the Knowledge Economy’s Social Channel was unfolding; entrepreneurs’ startups are stripping off an increasing breadth of enterprise processes and using digital social software to improve them. For example, Needle’s platform creates experts in user (customer) use cases and outcomes that outperform anyone at retail; Fieldglass, HighGround, Fooda, oDesk and TalentBin take aim at various parts of human capital while Aon Hewitt showed how to practice enterprise innovation on the inside; DoubleDutch aims to [at long last] digitize trade shows and conferences through its platform’s geosocial functions. Sprout Social and Contently offered social tools.

Presenters Gian Fulgoni, J Schwan and Ramon De Leon shared valuable advice for entrepreneurs, investors and enterprise executives. Fulgoni provided statistics that showed how mobile was eclipsing ecommerce and analog commerce; Schwan opened the audience’s eyes to Ubiquitous Computing and the Internet of Things, and De Leon showed the power of (pervasively ;^) being yourself.

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Ron May: Digital Social Pioneer

Ron May Digital Social Pioneer

Ron May, 1956-2013

Ron May Digital Social Pioneer, and the notorious Chicago hightech commentator and analyst, died on 23 June 2013. Since I knew Ron longer and better than many people, I’ll reflect on what I knew of his life and considerable gifts and contributions. Above all, I’ll try to convey what Ron taught me about the digital world, where he was a pioneer among pioneers.

I met Ron in late 1996 in Dick Reck’s office at KPMG, when The May Report was fledging. It was obvious that he was unusually smart and passionate and motivated, and I learned that these traits were the foundation of Ron May the person. Ron May cared, and he had strong opinions. He had a brilliant inquisitive mind and indefatigable energy. I had a few conversations with Ron about his health over the years, and I suspect that it had a large impact on how he felt and interacted in public.

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How Social Changed Retail: Empowered Customers and Omni-channel Commerce

Empowered customers and omni-channel commerce are mirrors of each other, and both are transforming “retail.”

empowered customers and omni-channel: retail and ecommerce disruption[UPDATED] Connected customers have the Internet in their pockets and use mobile and other devices in all stages of conceptualizing, considering, evaluating, buying and using purchased products and services. These customers want to interact with firms and brands in a seamless experience that features single sign-on as an entry point; they want the firm to respond using their individual data when that makes interacting more valuable. Omni-channel commerce refers to a collection of technologies, practices and strategies firms use to provide the personal individualized experience that connected customers expect.

IBM’s 2012 study of retail customers in eight mature economies (Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Spain, the UK and the USA) and seven growth economies (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Mexico and South Africa) lays bare that the retail “shopping” experience has shifted profoundly, although you wouldn’t know it by looking at most offline or online retailers’ presences. The paper, “Winning over the empowered consumer: Why trust matters,” is a call to action […]

How Mobile Transforms Relationships Between Brands and Customers [CDO Guide to Mobile Part2]

Chief Digital Office Guide to Transforming with MobileHow Mobile Transforms Relationships Between Brands and Customers presents underappreciated aspects of mobile user behavior before outlining three approaches for engaging customers and other stakeholders.

As outlined in Ubiquitous Computing Primer, “mobile” is much more than a channel or platform internet-connected devices. By any measure, the Internet’s information and utility are growing exponentially, and mobile devices put the Internet in people’s pockets, so they transform human capabilities and experience.

People plus the Internet have expanded abilities to act and perform. For example, having the optimal assortment of travel apps enables people to avoid many problems and capitalize on opportunities; they miss planes less often, pay less for hotels and suffer less crime. The same holds true for most human endeavors, so people without mobile internet are increasingly at disadvantage. [For more context, see: 1) the “Geoweb” and “Web 3.0.”

How Mobile Transforms Relationships Between Brands and Customers is Part2 of The CDO Guide to Mobile for Digital Transformation.

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Personal Individualized Experience: the DNA of Digital Transformation

Personal Individualized Experience: The DNA of Digital TransformationPersonal Individualized Experience is the DNA of digital transformation. It refers to using an optimal mix of people and digital technologies to provide personal interactions at scale, so it’s central to the mission of chief digital officers and CEOs and boards who hire them. Prior to digital and social technologies, organizations faced a trade-off between “personal” and “efficient” interactions with their stakeholders (customers, clients, employees, partners, regulators… hereafter “users”). Now this is no longer true; they can provide personal interactions at scale, once they learn how and where to interact efficiently and authentically.

Used well, digital and social technologies retain an authentic human element while digitizing key aspects of relating to people. Therefore, organizations/firms/brands (hereafter “firms”) can now provide the Personal Individualized Experience (PIE). This post explains the three components of PIE and shows how firms can use them to build and maintain authentic and profitable relationships with users.

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Mobile's Ultimate Business Context: Ubiquitous Computing Primer [CDO Guide to Mobile Part1]

Chief Digital Office Guide to Transforming with MobileUbiquitous Computing Primer reveals mobile’s ultimate business context and enables astute digital executives to create a whole new layer of value from their mobile investments. “Mobile” is far more important than launching smartphone and tablet apps because “smart” devices will interact with each other to provide a new level of capability and customer experience. This primer is a very brief treatment of a complex subject, so follow its links to drill down.

In 2013, smartphones and tablets imply that people are interacting with each other and “the Internet,” but “mobile” is becoming a “feature” of all kinds of devices and products in a phenomenon called “ubiquitous computing.”

Ubiquitous Computing Primer is Part1 of The CDO Guide to Mobile for Digital Transformation.

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Chief Digital Officers and Transformation

Chief digital officers and transformationChief digital officers and transformation will go hand in hand as the position and its competencies take shape over the next few years. Historically, commercial, government and nonprofit enterprises, when faced with profound business change or technology disruption, respond by elevating new types of leader to the “C” level. Chief Knowledge Officer, Chief Process Officer, Chief Ecommerce Officer and the like become de rigeur for a few years and fade, either because the new disruption proved less sustainable than anticipated or because the competency became subsumed by a more core function.

I predict that the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) will play a vital role at most organizations through 2020, but the organizational role will be fleeting as a standalone. “Digital” will integrate all functions and be the standard eventually, but organizations require intense transformation to get there, so the CDO will play a crucial role. My ongoing analysis of social business adoption indicates that the market for social business transformation will hit an inflection point by 2017, as more advisors and executives see the power and results of digital communications […]

Social Business Strategy Use Cases

Social Business Strategy Use Cases[UPDATED] Social business strategy use cases represent scenarios in which most organizations find themselves, and they reflect some of the choices of which CDOs, CMOs and CEOs may use as they plan to evolve their enterprises in order to either improve returns or simply remain relevant in volatile markets.

Social business strategy is inherently transformational to large organizations whether they are in commercial, nonprofit or government sectors. All organizations are hives of people communicating and collaborating to execute business processes (“work”). Digital social technologies have reduced the cost of communication (and therefore much collaboration and work) by an order of magnitude (roughly ten times). Collaboration and innovation, before digital social technologies, were slow and expensive. Now they are very fast and inexpensive—when organizations learn how to use them. Organizations that learn how are more responsive to their constituents and customers, so the market rewards them—and will increasingly punish those that lag too far.

These use cases focus on building enterprise social business internal capability, and they are also helpful to consider when selecting social business advisors. Please consider […]

Transform the Enterprise [Social Business Team Building]

Transform the Enterprise [Social Business Team Building] case5Transform the Enterprise is almost always initiated by the CEO’s office, the CDO, the board of directors or other strategic body. Its defining characteristic is enterprise transformation, using social business as a key enabler. Some of its common business contexts are: the hiring of a (new) CDO (Chief Digital Officer), which is itself a commitment to use social business for transformation; a merger, major acquisition or sale whose focus is to redefine the enterprise; “pervasive social business” that results when several of the enterprise’s brands have had some social business success that the executive team wants to scale; scaling enterprise 2.0 social collaboration technologies; self-disruption to create a new level of competitiveness.

In 2013, digital marketing and firm executives are thinking about building their internal teams to provide more continuity and scale. Transform the Enterprise also focuses on the right side of the Social Business Life Cycle, specifically on Scale and Integrate. At this point, the enterprise usually has a panoply of social business or social media resources that it wants to knit together into a cohesive […]