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  • Clay Shirky on the 'Disruptive Power of Collaboration'

    Clay Shirky is a leading thinker on digital disruption, especially in the media and information sector. In this interview with the McKinsey Insights , Shirky discusses how the rise of social media in particular has reshaped the way we work. And it may be changing the basic rules of business. In this excerpt, Shirky talks about the rules of supply and demand in the age of social media and collaboration: Watch the full interview here .
  • Making the Transition to a Digital Enterprise

    The rapid advancement of digital technologies has provided companies with "huge new opportunities," but also "threats." So says McKinsey director Paul Willmott . In this interview, Wilmott lays out a concise playbook for organizations to transition to becoming "digital enterprises."
  • 'Unscaling' and Power to the Little Guy

    Care for a bit of optimism on behalf of the American worker/consumer? Hemant Taneja , a managing director at General Catalyst , says that while we are living in a grim time for the "little guy," good things are coming. There is a paradigm shift underway, and it has everything to do with accessible technology and "unscaling." From the Harvard Business Review online: But the tide is about to turn. A series of breakthrough technologies and new business models are destroying the old rule that bigger is better. By exploiting the vast (but cheap) audience afforded by the Internet, and taking advantage of a host of modular services, small becomes the new big. The global business environment is decomposing into smaller yet more profitable markets, so businesses can no longer rely on scaling up to compete, but must instead embrace a new economies of unscale. Unscaling has emerged over decades. FedEx offered overnight delivery services in the 1970s, letting anyone ship a product anywhere, fast, at a modest cost. Around the same time, Chinese companies like Foxconn were developing less expensive approaches to manufacturing, and opening those facilities up to product designers across the globe. These two changes alone allow a lone innovator in Austin to build a world class product in China and ship it to Berlin — and that’s a revolution for someone with a good idea. Two decades later, Amazon and eBay launched online marketplaces that allowed small businesses to sell their goods to global consumers, creating enormous marketing power even for the little guy. However, like an orchestra missing several of its musicians, these platforms did not offer the complete ensemble needed for small businesses to compete effectively. That has now changed. New platforms abound: Facebook and Twitter for social marketing, YouTube for video distribution, and iPhone and Android for mobile. Payment processing was once a legal and financial nightmare, but today companies like Stripe and Square have made it simple for anyone. Using such tools, companies that embrace economies of unscale compete with far larger competitors. Warby Parker offers prescription eyeglasses over the Internet at $99 a pair in dozens of attractive styles. They leverage a whole range of services — from the logistics of parcel carriers like UPS to customer analytics software and social media marketing — to build a new business with extremely high customer satisfaction rates. With only a couple dozen employees, they have taken on the world’s largest manufacturer and seller of glasses, Luxottica, which last year had a market cap greater than $13 billion. Read Economies of Unscale: Why Business Has Never Been Easier for the Little Guy here .
  • Marketing Profs: The 'Super Powers' of Top Social Media Marketers

    We have not seen any strong figures, but it sure seems that marketer has to be among the fastest growing jobs of this century. The anecdotal evidence is in your email inbox every morning, maybe every hour. This suggests that the market will place a premium on those marketers who truly understand how to win the signal-to-noise challenge and really hold our attention and drive us to action. Marketing Profs has put together an infographic highlighting the traits of a marketing superhero. We think it strikes a bit of an optimistic tone in parts, but it is a good conversation starter on what sort of economic impact social media marketing can have, and what approaches will spark productive business-to-consumer interaction. Take a look: (Full size infographic is at Marketing Profs, here )
  • Moms: A Driving Force in Mobile Media

    In many homes the CEO, CTO, and CFO goes by another three letter title: M O M. Moms get credit for a lot of things, but they rarely are mentioned as driving forces of innovation and early tech adoption. At Marketing Profs , Ayaz Nanji shares some data that shows the impact moms have on mobile commerce and social media. Here's a sample: -Compared with the general population, 49% more moms have smartphones (81% vs. 54%). -In a year-over-year comparison, smartphone ownership by moms is up 25% and tablet ownership is up 79%. -89% of moms with smartphones access Facebook on those phones, and moms are four times more likely to prefer to check social media on their smartphones. -45% of moms say they are emailing less and communicating more through social media. Don't forget that moms have the purchasing power in most households. So social engagement leads to online spending. Read Moms More Likely to Use Social Media and Mobile, and to Shop Online here .
  • Ritholtz: The Rising Value of Twitter to Investors

    It is easy to thumb your nose at social media as an unreliable news source these days. But then you turn on your television for coverage of developing events and, well, you quickly realize that @yourfriendsnamehere is often more reliable than a well-staffed cable news station. Delivery systems don't misinform people. Lazy people misinform people--whatever medium they use. The same can be said for investment news. In his weekly Washington Post column, Barry Ritholtz makes the case that Twitter has become central to savvy investors. For him, Twitter has become his first stop for news about markets and companies: To put this into context, think back to the 1990s. It seems like a million years ago when people worked on huge trading floors with hundreds of colleagues — analysts, traders, salespeople. That camaraderie allowed for a flow of ideas among various employees. In techland, Steve Jobs even had the new Apple headquarters designed to encourage more accidental meetings among employees to encourage idea exchanges. But Wall Street has downsized. Giant trading floors are now much smaller; exchange floors are smaller or closed. The professional interaction that was once the hallmark of finance seems to exist less these days as fewer people work on or for the big Wall Street firms. Into this finance void came social media. It is much more than reconnecting with your long-lost bunkmates from summer sleep-away camp. Social media has allowed all sorts of like-minded people to find each other digitally. One key factor is that Twitter is a meritocracy. In social media, people cannot build big followings organically unless what they are putting out to the world has value. The more valuable it is over time, the more followers you get. Twitter has become a group conversation of that type that used to take place on trading floors. Who are you talking to all day? With Twitter, you can build your own virtual trading floor and research department, populated by the smartest people on earth. Almost any subject or sector has you can think of, you can find a few people with an expertise in that area. When Europe is blowing up, you probably cannot read all of the foreign language newspapers — but you can find and follow reporters who cover Cyprus or Greece locally. Read How Twitter is becoming your first source of investment news here .
  • The Era of Datification

    As Data Editor for The Economist , Kenneth Cukier has been watching the impact of big data on global business from a front row seat. At the moment, that has meant watching the growth of social media companies and trying to understand how they "datafy" our lives and relationships. But Cukier says we are really at the beginning of the era of big data, and there will be so many new ways to use data. In this Big Think interview, Cukier discusses datafication today and in the near future:
  • Coca-Cola CIO Discusses Integrating IT with Marketing

    One often overlooked aspect of digital disruption at large companies is the extent to which various departments have had to engage more with IT. No longer does it make sense to see IT workers as servants to the people who are doing "the real work" to build up an organization. In an interview with McKinsey Quarterly , Coca-Cola CIO Ed Steinke speaks of getting his staff and marketing more integrated. Here is an excerpt: McKinsey : How is the role of IT changing at Coca-Cola, and, with it, your role as CIO? Ed Steinike : IT and marketing are very close partners at Coca-Cola today—more so, I think, than at most other companies—and that’s the way it should be. Coke is spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on digital marketing, and that number will, no doubt, continue to rise. Almost all of that spending is IT-related. This development calls for a broader CIO role. It’s not enough to be an operational back-office CIO running the systems. It’s also not enough to be a process CIO reinventing the supply chain and transforming support functions. Important as those two roles are, they need to be complemented by what I call the revenue-generator CIO or business-level CIO. McKinsey : What were the beginnings of the strategic partnership between marketing and IT at Coca-Cola? Ed Steinike : Our marketers started to think more seriously about digital channels five years ago or so. As mobile adoption expanded, they started to build a direct connection with our customers by pushing mobile applications for social-media sites and our loyalty programs, such as My Coke Rewards. Marketing was driving a lot of it through its own advertising and digital agencies while IT, at the time, was struggling to be relevant. We were viewed as a back-office function, not as one of the strategic leaders and partners in our digital-marketing efforts. I believed we should be bringing ideas to marketing instead of marketing coming to us for creative solutions and more often than not getting the answer, “Sorry. We don’t have the people to do these things.” Our first step was simply to offer traditional operating, hosting, and security for the sites and platforms the agencies were building. We did that quite well and now have over 600 consumer sites hosted in one platform environment with great data protection. Read the full interview here .
  • ExactTarget: Super Bowl Miss

    CBS set new records for viewers of the Super Bowl during our de facto national holiday last Sunday. But most of the advertisers who helped make it a great evening for CBS failed to fully realize how consumers are using technology beyond the television to experience big events, says ExactTarget 's Jeffrey Rohrs . Rohrs lists Oreo as a key exception: Sure, the press today is giddy with praise over Oreo's quick-thinking, news-jacking, real-time marketing effort -- a picture of an Oreo in the dark that has been retweeted nearly 15,000 times as of this writing. It has led many to say that "Oreo's Tweet Won the Super Bowl." There's no arguing that what Oreo did was fast, witty, and a helluva lot less expensive than their "Whisper Fight" Super Bowl commercial which was the only ad driving viewers to an Instagram page during the entire game. The real reason Oreo won the #BrandBowl, however, was because both their free and paid efforts sought to build and engage audiences. Their ads weren't just "one & done," they walk away from Super Bowl XLVII with bigger followings on Instagram and Twitter--and those are audiences they can activate long after the Ravens' victory has faded from memory. Rohrs offers some key lessons to other marketers and company leaders here . And ExactTarget's graphics team put together this infographic to drive home the point:
  • An Overlooked Labor Market: Microworking

    Wingham Rowan founded Slivers-of-Time to fill what we may think of as a very limited need: connecting people who require very flexible working hours with companies and organizations that can use them at seemingly random times. In this TedTalk , Row discusses the impact of his company's work, and how this highly specialized service makes a big difference for both workers with unpredictable constraints on their productivity, and for the businesses who employ them as important additional labor:
  • Don Tapscott: Stop 'Containerizing' Knowledge

    Don Tapscott says that it is time for organizations to shift their internal communication platforms. Out with email. In with effective use of social media. But don't make the mistake that he is making a simple point about just about how workers send messages. This is about decision making and knowledge management, Tapscott says. In this interview at the McKinsey Quarterly , Tapscott says that knowledge management "has failed." And the only way to fix the problem is to take knowledge out of a "container" and focus on "content collaboration":
  • A New Twitter Trading Platform

    Social media has become a valuable tool for investors to measure consumer sentiment. Now hedge fund Derwent Capital Markets (DCM Capital) is trying to take the use of Twitter as a stock trading tool to a new level. In this interview with the Wall Street Journal Markets Hub , DCM Capital CEO Paul Hawtin explains the plan to open up Twitter to more people by building a new type of trading platform:
  • Unlocking the Value Potential in Social Technologies

    The disruptive force that is social media has only just begun to show its influence on global business, according to McKinsey analysts Jacques Bughin , Michael Chui , and James Manyika . In a new article for the McKinsey Quarterly , the authors say that companies have not really begun to see the full potential of the "value creation" social tools provide: Since “social” features can be added to almost any digital application that involves interactions among people, the range of uses is immense and measurement correspondingly challenging. Thus, we cast a wide net. We studied several hundred cases of organizations using social technologies around the globe. In addition, we examined the patterns of knowledge work within organizations and drew insights from data covering several years of surveys involving thousands of global executives on the ways their companies use social technologies. Our analysis of successful uses served as a basis for modeling potential improvements across the value chain. Of late, some bearish sentiments surround social technologies after disappointments for several companies in the capital markets. It’s worth noting, however, that today only 5 percent of communications occur on social networks. Moreover, almost all digital human interactions can ultimately become “social,” and jobs involving physical labor and the processing of transactions are giving way, across the globe, to work requiring complex interactions with other people, independent judgment, and the analysis of information. As a result, we believe social technologies are destined to play a much larger role not only in individual interactions but also in how companies are organized and managed. We estimate that using social technologies to improve collaboration and communication within and across companies could raise the productivity of interaction workers by 20 to 25 percent (Exhibit 1--below). These dramatic gains would occur thanks to shifts in the way these workers communicate—from using channels designed for one-to-one communication, such as e-mail and phone calls, to social channels, which allow “many-to-many” communication. Specifically, our research indicates that interaction workers typically spend 28 percent of each day (13 hours a week) reading, writing, and responding to e-mails. A huge amount of valuable company knowledge is locked up in them. As companies adopt social platforms, communication becomes a new form of content, and more enterprise information can become readily accessible and easily searchable rather than sequestered as inbox “dark matter.” Employees will be able to find knowledge in the organization more readily and to identify experts on various topics, given the expertise implied by their patterns of social communication. We estimate that 25 to 30 percent of total e-mail time could be repurposed if the default channel for communication were shifted to social platforms. Read Capturing business value with social technologies here .
  • Learning to Embrace the Risk of Social Networks

    Some corporations are finding the age of social networks difficult, as the seemingly leaderless networks gain power. Barry Libert , CEO of Open Networks and the author of Social Nation , says that corporate leaders need to embrace the reality that "risk" now resides outside the organization--in social networks. No longer do these leaders have the power to control messages, and they don't control the data behind their decisions as they once did. Libert discussed the risks and rewards of embracing social networks in this Knowledge@Wharton video:
  • McKinsey Quarterly: 'Demystifying Social Media'

    When it comes to social media in global business, McKinsey & Company 's Roxane Divol , David Edelman , and Hugo Sarrazin say the experimentation stage is over. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets are an integral part of the corporation-to-consumer relationship, and now executives of global brands know that. But, as Divol, Edelman, and Sarrazin write in the McKinsey Quarterly , "few have a deep understanding of exactly how social media interacts with consumers to expand product and brand recognition, drive sales and profitability, and engender loyalty." Despite offering numerous opportunities to influence consumers, social media still accounts for less than 1 percent of an average marketing budget, in our experience. Many chief marketing officers say that they want to increase that share to 5 percent. One problem is that a lot of senior executives know little about social media. But the main obstacle is the perception that the return on investment (ROI) from such initiatives is uncertain. Without a clear sense of the value social media creates, it’s perhaps not surprising that so many CEOs and other senior executives don’t feel comfortable when their companies go beyond mere “experiments” with social-media strategy. Yet we can measure the impact of social media well beyond straight volume and consumer-sentiment metrics; in fact, we can precisely determine the buzz surrounding a product or brand and then calculate how social media drives purchasing behavior. To do so—and then ensure that social media complements broader marketing strategies—companies must obviously coordinate data, tools, technology, and talent across multiple functions. In many cases, senior business leaders must open up their agendas and recognize the importance of supporting and even undertaking initiatives that may traditionally have been left to the chief marketing officer. As our colleagues noted last year, “we’re all marketers now.” The authors go on to outline successful approaches to integrating social media into global marketing and corporate growth strategy, and share some examples of effective models. They also provide a basic structure for leaders to consider, as a way of focusing social media efforts at key "touch points." Click here to read about examples of companies engaging with customers at these touch points.
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