Article of the Week
Two-Speed IT: A Linchpin For Success in a Digitized World (bcg.perspectives)
Big Idea: Capturing the advantages offered by the digital age demands changes throughout the company. The IT organization, in particular, needs to reinvent itself. Developing a second speed of delivery should be a key aim of that reinvention.
Editor’s Choice Articles
E-Commerce Style Big Data Analytics Meet Brick And Mortar Retailers (Forbes)
Big Idea: Now physical stores have tools to collect data on their shoppers by monitoring their movement, and their pauses, as they move around the aisles of real stores. RetailNext is one of the providers of shopper intelligence through video that can provide up to 10,000 data points per store visitor, allowing stores to, for example, develop heat maps so they can put the items they want to sell in areas of the stores with the most traffic. Coming soon — cameras that can detect a shopper’s mood through facial expressions. Try that online!
Talk to Me, One Machine Said to the Other (NYTimes)
Big Idea: Ocado, an online grocery store in England, prides itself on its delivery of refrigerated foods: When the company says the goods will arrive at a certain temperature, they mean it. The promise is more than a marketing boast. Aided by microchip transmitters, heat sensors and a fast-growing form of wireless communication, the boast is a measurable fact.
Big Technology Change Without Big Risk (HBR Blog Network)
Big Idea: Companies can execute major process improvements to reduce risk and allow organizational learning by breaking projects down into a series of small, reversible experiments. This approach reduces risks and allows people to learn from each, and make adjustments as they go. But when the change involves a new information technology, it’s harder to make incremental updates.
Startup idol Axonify is training to thrill (Fortune Tech)
Big Idea: Instead of packing training into one grueling engagement, the startup Axonify, breaks lessons into shorter, ongoing sessions. Consisting of trivia-style questions and mini-games, each training takes 90 seconds or less to complete. Over time, the cloud-based software picks up on areas that workers are having trouble with and personalizes training accordingly.
Social Project Management Gets Big Picture View (The Brainyard)
Big Idea: Described as “less about the day to day task management, more about strategic, long term resource planning,” 10,000ft is easy to see as part of a broader trend of focusing social software on getting work done, along with software services like Do.com and Asana.
Human Workers, Managed by an Algorithm (Technology Review)
Big Idea: Stephanie Hamilton is part of something larger than herself. She’s part of a computer program. She recently began performing small tasks assigned to her by an algorithm running on a computer in Berkeley, California. That software, developed by a startup called MobileWorks, represents the latest trend in crowdsourcing: organizing foreign workers on a mass scale to do routine jobs that computers aren’t yet good at, like checking spreadsheets or reading receipts.
Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare as Corporate Focus Groups (NYTimes)
Big Idea: Frito-Lay is developing a new potato chip flavor, which, in the old days, would have involved a series of focus groups, research and trend analysis. Visitors to the new Lay’s Facebook app are asked to suggest new flavors and click an “I’d Eat That” button to register their preferences. So far, the results show that a beer-battered onion-ring flavor is popular in California and Ohio, while a churros flavor is a hit in New York.