Posts Tagged ‘CIO Rob Kruk’

Customer Centricity on Steroids with Agile Commerce

August 10, 2011

Over the years the term of “Customer Centricity” has been the buzz word for retail organizations. Retailers are now focusing on operations to optimize the customer relationship.  This includes setting up as many touch points within the store and via web and print media as possible.  However, as we move into a social networking paradigm the term of “Agile Commerce” is taking hold and it has a lot to offer retailers on how they take “Customer Centricity” to the next level.

Many retailers recognize the need for visibility everywhere their customers are, but most don’t really know how to do this yet.  As a result, far too many retailers attempt to fit old-school marketing tactics to these new touch points. Display ads on social networks, non-conversational Twitter streams full of nothing but brand announcements, one-time deals attempting to buy fans–are (simply put) square pegs, and hammer as marketers might otherwise think, these types of online marketing programs just cannot fit  in round hole

The key to Agile Commerce is to deliver targeted content effortlessly and seamlessly across multiple touch points such as email, smartphones, social media, websites, print media, and within the four walls of the store.

But how is that accomplished when the constant spread of social means the number of these touch points increases every day?

One rudimentary answer would be to deeply understanding a customer’s needs, and proactively delivering content that meets those needs. Retailers must now “operationalize” customer intelligence across channels from existing systems such as customer relationship management, web analytics, business intelligence, and data warehouses. 

Forward thinking retailing CIO’s are beginning to tackle this issue and those that are not will place their organizations at a competitive disadvantage. 

Forrester Research has best described Agile Commerce as “... not just an incremental change; it’s a metamorphosis to a new form of operations and technology orientation. While the pieces and capabilities of an agile commerce operation may look similar to those focused for years on multichannel commerce, it’s how they come together and how the organization responds to the customer that represents the significant change. With the advent of agile commerce, organizations need to reconfigure resources and capabilities to stay ahead of the rate of change as consumer technology adoption and behaviors change. The customer is now at the center, and delivering relevant content, commerce, and service is the key to delivering on the new reality.”

So the big question is: How do you begin to develop and execute a strategy to better meet the needs of this new paradigm? 

Stay tuned, in my next post I will start to lay out the foundation that needs to be established and the tools that are now available to maximize the relationship with your customer.

Cloud computing can be a time saver…..

April 12, 2011

Businesses and organizations of all sizes and orientation are undergoing a massive shift in how they acquire IT services and solutions. Today, provisioning new applications and services can be a complex design and integration exercise, with the business itself having to bear the risk and burden of the deployment. More and more, CIOs are looking for simplified approaches like Cloud services and managed services relationships that enable them to focus on their core business.

On average the typical IT department spends 70% of its budget on maintaining its existing infrastructure and only 30% on innovation to generate a competitive advantage for the business. The biggest challenge CIOs face is the need to react much faster to business demands and to get ahead of the curve toward using IT as a competitive differentiator.

While cloud computing adoption has been swift among startups and small-to-midsize businesses with little or no legacy IT operations, larger enterprises have been slower to adopt cloud-related services. Selecting the right providers and services is a gamble when products, pricing and performance change daily. Also, companies that have large capital investments in custom software or infrastructure can find it difficult to make a case for scrapping it all. Then there are the issues of integration, standardization, security and control.

But when the time is right, the cloud can be the way to grow, no matter the size of the enterprise. Not only can software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and platform as a service (PaaS) be fast and relatively cheap enablers of corporate growth, they can enable IT groups to serve the expanding enterprise more strategically. The cloud allows IT organizations to focus its efforts on improvement and innovation.


Want a Successful IT Transformation Project? Try tweeting, texting and blogging…

March 10, 2011

In the not so distant past, IT Transformation efforts utilized email and communication managers to communicate updates to the employees of an organization. This was only as effective as the communications manager and leadership team ability to keep the mechanism moving. This method of communicating primarily only allowed for one way communication – normally taking the shape of progress reports, status reports or issue reports.

The introduction of Facebook has changed the way we communicate electronically from a one-way to two-way communication to the masses. The ability to get real-time feedback from a small group or from millions of people on a comment, idea, or thought has transformed the way we as a people tend to communicate. Twitter has pushed this concept even further, people now have the ability to “follow” specific people or discussions. Now when one person states their opinion, status or issue, it is heard by hundreds, thousands or even millions of people.

With the advent of social networking, an ordinary person has the ability to reach large numbers of people with minimal effort and resources. And the people you reach have an opportunity to talk back and share their opinions. The power to sway mass opinion is now available to everyone. Companies have recognized this phenomenon and have tapped into this network. At first, most companies viewed this as just another form of feedback or input on their performance. But remember, true social networking is a “two-way” communication. Smart companies have recognized this and are using social media outlets to talk directly with their end consumers, with minimal efforts and cost.

The question has always been asked as to why IT Transformation projects fail and the most common answer after all of the dust has settled is that they fail due to a lack of communication. The second reason they fail is due to a lack of communication and the third reason they fail is a due to a lack of communication. I know it’s redundant, but there is no other reason! Today’s generation are more likely to communicate via Twitter, Facebook and texting than they are by email. Companies undergoing an IT Transformation need to take a page from this generation’s playbook and establish a two-way dialog during their IT Transformation initiatives.

So the question is “How?” Most companies do not want their internal transformation initiatives on Facebook or Twitter.  A good solution is the use of Microsoft SharePoint–a platform that allows companies can create a discussion dialog that allows people to communicate with the Transformation Team and with each other. Not the same as Facebook, but users can “write on a SharePoint wall.” You can also use internal Web Pages that support Blogs or Forums that provide similar functionality.

Almost every company uses some form of internal / external Instant Messenger (IM). Although this is not the same a Twitter, you can simulate some of Twitter’s functionality. As long as your IM software will deliver messages to offline people when they log in, it will function like a “tweet.” In addition, most IM software will allow you to create “chat rooms” that will allow people to communicate with each other on-line and with your Transformation Team.

Now once the tools are in place the Transformation team MUST ALSO use them. The worst thing that can happen is that when people send questions to the team and those questions go unanswered which can also allow rumors to spread across the organization without being addressed. Remember, smart companies are already using social networking tools to reach their end consumer. And really smart companies are turning Social Networking into a mechanism to reduce risk on their mission critical IT Transformation projects.

Iomega does it again with the launch of v.Clone technology

January 13, 2010

Iomega, an EMC company and a global leader in data protection, today announced the launch of Iomega v.Clone software, an application that empowers people to create and carry on an Iomega hard drive an image of their primary PC which can be run on almost any PC in the world.

Iomega’s ground-breaking v.Clone technology will be available later this month as a download for purchasers of Iomega portable and desktop hard disk drives. In addition to being available by download, v.Clone software is expected to begin shipping with Iomega USB 2.0 portable hard disk drives beginning the first quarter of 2010.

“Iomega’s v.Clone technology represents the first time virtualization has been made easy-to-use and extremely convenient for consumers and small offices,” said Jonathan Huberman, president of Iomega and the Consumer and Small Business Division of EMC. “With v.Clone software, you can carry your PC in your pocket and access your files, email and applications on almost any computer anywhere, including netbooks. Taking the files on your PC or laptop with you wherever you go is simple with v.Clone technology and an Iomega portable hard drive. v.Clone is the perfect application for people with multiple computers – it allows you to use a virtual clone of your primary computer with your other computers, ensuring access to your digital content wherever you go.”

Developed in conjunction with EMC and incorporating VMware virtualization technology, v.Clone makes a virtual clone of a primary computer’s operating system, applications and personal settings and stores that content on an Iomega external hard drive (USB interface only). Attach the Iomega external drive with v.Clone software to almost any PC and the user now has access to everything that was on the primary computer. Data is not left on the secondary computer when the user is finished (only the application itself). v.Clone also syncs your data back when you return to your primary computer.

What makes Iomega v.Clone software novel is its ability to keep the virtual image updated with changes made to the user’s primary PC, and to synchronize changes back to the primary PC when the Iomega USB hard drive containing the v.Clone image is reconnected. These capabilities give users the freedom to move between the physical computing environment on their primary PC and a virtual computing environment almost anywhere they connect their Iomega external hard drive with Iomega v.Clone software.

 “Whether you’re using your friend’s computer or a family member’s netbook, at the office or even flying 35,000 feet over the ocean,” said Huberman, “v.Clone technology gives you computing advantages you’ve always wanted when you’re separated from all your data on your primary computer. Now you can have it with you with your Iomega hard drive.”

Netbooks, popular as they may be, lack onboard storage and are considered by most as not powerful enough to run more than simple web-surfing tasks. Not true. The dirty little secret is that netbooks are capable of running a virtual image of a fully featured PC using Iomega v.Clone technology.

Connecting an Iomega USB hard drive with a v.Clone image to a netbook turns it into an ultra-portable version of the user’s primary PC, complete with all of the applications, data and files that are typically used on the main computer. This capability provides an astounding level of flexibility for people who prefer the convenience of traveling with a netbook. Now they can do so without sacrificing the capabilities of their more powerful PC. Security is always important.

To protect user’s information and critical data stored in an Iomega v.Clone image, two levels of security are employed. The first level of security is password protection built into the v.Clone application. Individuals who cannot enter the proper password are prevented from gaining access to the virtual environment of the primary PC.

For security, v.Clone can be used in conjunction with an Iomega eGo Encrypt or Encrypt Plus Portable Hard Drive, which safely encrypt data stored on them. Security measures aside, because the user’s environment is virtualized and stored on their Iomega external hard drive, personal data is not left on a computer used to run the v.Clone image.

In case of emergency, in addition to its primary functionality as a supremely portable backup of a primary computer, an Iomega v.Clone image also provides a “never down” benefit. Should the user’s primary PC fail, the Iomega USB hard disk drive containing the v.Clone image can be used immediately on almost any available PC. Because the v.Clone image is kept updated automatically, the user will have access to their latest documents, email, settings, etc., and can even migrate documents and settings from their v.Clone image to a new computer. Upgrading to a new operating system and something doesn’t go right? With v.Clone technology, you can run your virtual PC on another PC until you remedy the new OS or upgrade issues with your primary PC.

A Near-Sourcing trend in 2010 for the U.S.?

January 7, 2010 recently published its predictions for 10 trends in 2010 (December 2009).  Chief among the “good news” is that expectations are that the market for outsourcing in 2010 will improve with the general economic recovery.

Trends expected for 2010, however, may alter the landscape for both customers and providers. Among the most interesting of the cited trends is the Offshoring to America. That said on-shore U.S. locations, particularly in economically distressed areas, are NOW beginning to look like relative bargains compared to other global markets. This will likely be particularly true for public sector outsourcing, where U.S.-based solutions are likely to get preferential treatment.

If the U.S. continues to keep up its “Weak Dollar” strategy in 2010, I believe that we will see an increase in the number of “Near-Sourcing” companies being created in the lower cost of living areas and lower-income tax areas of the U.S. —in states like Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Nevada.

Outsourcing to India, China, South America and Eastern Europe will still thrive but some of the risks associated with outsourcing to these countries might be mitigated by the use of some of the newer Near-Sourcing alternatives.

Intel’s 48-core processor to compete with the human brain

December 10, 2009

Pushing several steps farther in the multicore direction, Intel demonstrated a fully programmable 48-core processor on December 2.  The company believes that it will pave the way for massive data computers powerful enough to do more of what humans can.

The 1.3-billion transistor processor, called Single-chip Cloud Computer (SCC) is successor generation to the 80-core “Polaris” processor that Intel’s Tera-scale research project produced in 2007. Unlike that precursor though the second-generation model is able to run the standard software of Intel’s x86 chips such as its Pentium and Core models.

The cores themselves aren’t terribly powerful–more like lower-end Atom processors than Intel’s flagship Nehalem models according to Intel Chief Technology Officer Justin Rattner at a recent press event.   He went on to say that “collectively they pack a lot of power”  and that Intel has ambitious goals in mind for the overall project.  “The machine will be capable of understanding the world around them much as humans do,” Rattner said. “They will see and hear and probably speak and do a number of other things that resemble human-like capabilities, and will demand as a result very (powerful) computing capability.”

Intel is working with companies facing large-scale computing challenges that today require thousands of networked servers. This is pretty much a here-and-now problem compared to the more sci-fi challenges of computer vision! The chipmaker found only one flaw with the chip so far and has booted Windows and Linux on SCC systems. The company has also demonstrated computers using the processor running Microsoft’s Visual Studio on Windows and other tasks.