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Innovation

Change is Faster than Ever, but Will Never Again Be This Slow

This succinct summary of the challenge of modern life is a quote from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, from his keynote at the Davos World Economic Forum in 2018.  And although that organization tried to downplay the sentiment later that year, Trudeau's claim seems an accurate summary of our times. Change is hard for human beings; we are accustomed to a great deal of consistency from one day to another: in what is expected of us, in the tools we use to perform those duties, in how we're perceived by others and how we interact with others, in what constitutes the necessities of life, and in how we obtain those necessities.  Most of us feel we can "handle" change, but when we say that we usually mean one change at a time, and with a pause after each change before we're forced to confront the next one. The challenge today [...]

Business Impact – the True North for Innovation

There is a lot of hype within the business sector around emerging technologies. Talk of finding new, creative ways to solve business challenges never fails to incite a buzz within organizations, for good reason. With the right compass heading, technology can sustain or change a company’s culture, and many new technologies are emerging that promise a significant impact on business over the next few years. At times the excitement is about the technology and not its business impact Innovation is important, and powerful, and impactful, but only if it creates real business results. Without the right compass heading, forward motion is NOT progress but only wasted effort and time.  Likewise, innovation for its own sake (outside of a pure research context) is often just a drain on time and money. Instead of seeking the latest technology for its own sake, an assessment of need & opportunity is incredibly important. Innovative [...]

Virtual CIO Case Study · Paying By the Drink for the Right Wine

Buying wine by the bottle (or case) may be the most economic option to acquire it at scale, but if a bottle is beyond your means or needs, and you find the particular vintage you want, paying by the drink is the right option. And so it is with Virtual CIOs (aka Fractional CIOs/Remote CIOs/Part-time CIOs)... This quote is actually from one of our recent clients, a mid-size company who engaged our Virtual CIO service to provide IT leadership to several IT groups who had previously reported separately to the CEO.   Why Our Case Studies are Anonymous Innovation Vista does not list our clients on our website or post a "logo page"; we do not issue press releases to announce client signings or project successes.  This policy is an important extension of our care and protection of our clients' strategies, in order to avoid letting their competitors know anything [...]

Gold Nuggets of Data all over the Ground

Increasingly, how an organization views and uses their data determines their level of success, and therefore the value of the enterprise. Data can be as valuable as gold nuggets for companies, but too often it’s ignored--“left on the ground” rather than mined, gathered, and inventoried as a strategic asset. Gartner research indicates that by 2021, the vast majority of stock analysts will include “data” components in their corporate valuation models for how much structured information each company possesses and how strategically they use it.  This fact will surprise few.  And yet despite this being a well-known fact, Forrester estimates that between 2/3 and 3/4 of corporate data still goes unused in any capacity for analytics.   Care Must be Taken to Protect Your Customers’ Privacy No doubt your organization has contractual obligations and has made promises (explicit or implied) to your customers to protect ALL data which, if released, could [...]

Nurturing a Culture of Innovation

“Companies must innovate or die”.  “Record-setting innovation investments poised to disrupt many industries”.  Headlines like these proliferate business journals and have become calls to action for boards of directors. On the other hand, we are in the midst of a pandemic which already broadsided the economy once, and threatens more impact from heightened consumer and business caution, forced lockdowns, and high costs of preventative measures until a vaccine solution is available at scale. We’re in an unprecedented time of change and challenge; it’s easy for business leaders today to feel stuck between a proverbial rock and hard place.  And yet, in the midst of these strange days – and in some ways because of them – it is in fact possible for companies to innovate without decimating their P&L.   Innovation isn’t a Task to Check off - it’s the Outgrowth of a Culture of Collaboration and Teamwork   Innovation [...]

By |2021-01-05T19:54:39-06:00July 17th, 2020|Innovation, IT Leadership|

The New Digital Normal of Customer Expectations

Digital disruption began well before we were all forced to practice social distancing, but recently it has advanced into sections of society that were previously slow to adopt. As more and more business is conducted online, especially from the palm of their hand, customers are beginning to distinguish between companies who provide an easy experience vs. those who have limited or no digital capabilities. This is really just a continuation of the evolution of customer preferences, and the rewarding of those who align with (or even drive) that evolution.  In the not so distant past, we witnessed what can happen to a brand that does not respond quickly to customer behaviors. Customer battles were everywhere: Blockbuster vs Netflix, and every box store vs Amazon. Now, in the tenuous aftermath of the nationwide COVID-19 economic shutdown, we are seeing other sectors being challenged to make digital the new normal, including service, [...]

Escaping the Catch-22 of Post-COVID Digitalization

COVID-19 has escalated and turbo-charged digital transformation across the globe. Prior to COVID, many organizations planned to build out more options for their employees to be more productive by working remotely. They planned to create a way for customers to interact with them and buy from them online, and allow for their management teams to have dashboard views of their internal productivity and customer interactions. Most planned for these enhancements to be phased in over the next few years. Now digital transformation is a necessity for successful business in a post-COVID economy. Yet companies without those capabilities already integrated in will struggle to build them. With the onset of social distancing measures and state mandates for keeping business fronts closed, remote work has never been more essential. It's not just for the sake of productivity, but for safety--and ultimately, worker engagement. Success is now incumbent on a company's ability to [...]

Successful Leadership in the New COVID Reality

Successful leadership in the new COVID reality will require a new approach to overcome the unforeseen challenges presented by the pandemic. So many plans for 2020 have been paused or fully abandoned in the wake of more pressing concerns. Organizations must learn to adapt, to continue finding innovative ways to carry on, to begin looking ahead. Here are a few potential traps and ways to overcome them as leaders begin rising to the challenge:   COVID changed the landscape of many aspects of our lives. The world will no longer operate like it did prior to the arrival of this virus.  Leaders should challenge their assumptions, existing plans, and business models to consider what must, or should, be different now.  The future still remains uncertain, but it is certain that many aspects of life will not return to what they were before.  Creative contingency plans will help ensure that whatever [...]

By |2020-10-02T14:23:53-06:00April 13th, 2020|Innovation, IT Leadership|

Turning CRM Data into Deep Customer Insights

The world is becoming increasingly personalized.  Frequent flier numbers and customer membership programs enable companies to track consumers' buying patterns; social media platforms and digital marketing channels enable them to know even more about our preferences and lives.  The door has been opened to inappropriate uses of this information, as evidenced by the "fake news" and Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandals from the 2016 election.  But far more commonly, companies are using customer data in legitimate to personalize their communications with customers, with significant results. Customers are happy for you to know about them According to Accenture, 83% of consumers are willing to share their data in order to enable a personalized B2C experience, and 91% say it actually impacts their buying habits.  For B2B purposes, companies have long known there is easy access to public data about them, so any gain in efficiency is welcomed from suppliers who make use of [...]

CRM Adoption Needs Good Leadership as Much as Good IT

Over 90% of companies with dedicated sales teams have licensed a CRM system, and yet far fewer of these companies believe their CRMs are strategic in their impact to the top and bottom lines.  Quora got double-digits responses to the question "Why do salespeople hate CRM?"  "Why do salespeople love CRM?" had not been posted as a question as of the time of this writing. Why is it so challenging to get sales teams to use CRM systems? Contrary to some other commentators on this topic, I don't believe the problem of low CRM adoption is due mainly to the systems being overly complex, or salespeople having limited grasp of software generally.  Don't get me wrong; some CRMs are no doubt too complex, designed by techies without sufficient input from real sales teams, etc.   There are over 300 different CRM systems in the market today, and no doubt some are [...]

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