cio blogs

The pandemic slashed the West Coast’s emissions. Wildfires already reversed it.

Wildfires raging across the US West Coast have filled the air with enough carbon dioxide to wipe out more than half of the region’s pandemic-driven emissions reductions last year. And that was just in July. The numbers illustrate a troubling feedback loop. Climate change creates hotter, drier conditions that fuel increasingly frequent and devastating fires—which, in turn, release greenhouse gases that will drive further warming. The problem will likely grow worse in the coming decades across large parts of the globe. That means not only will deadly fires exact a rising toll on communities, emergency responders, air quality, human health, and forests, but they will also undermine our limited progress in addressing climate change. Together, California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington saw fossil-fuel emissions decline by around 69 million tons of carbon dioxide last year as the pandemic slashed pollution from ground transportation, aviation, and industry, according to data from Carbon Monitor. But from July 1 to July 25, fires in those states produced about 41 million tons of carbon dioxide, based on data provided to MIT Technology Review from the European Commission’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service. That’s far above normal levels for this part of the year and comes on top of the surge of emissions from the massive fires across the American West in 2020. California fires alone produced more than 100 million tons of carbon dioxide last year, which was already enough to more than cancel out the broader region’s annual emissions declines. “The steady but slow

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“Where You Sit is Where you Stand” – Issues with Sales and Marketing Camaraderie

The Olympics are here and I love it.  I really do.  I root for those representing my country and admire all those that have dedicated so much of their life to something specifically great.  Each night, we see moments of triumph and camaraderie.  It’s great!

Why do I mention this on a business-related blog?  It’s the camaraderie that is often missing between business units.  Specifically, this is a recurring issue between corporate functions like sales and marketing.

Miles’ Law
Poor working relationships among those that should be motivated to work together make me think about Rufus Miles, an American government administrator, and author. He is the namesake of the aphorism Miles’ Law:
“Where you stand depends on where you sit”
Simply, this statement reflects on the unique perspective that we have based on our perspective. A bit more deeply, it’s clear that our allegiance and loyalty are also influenced by where we sit. As an American administrator, Miles noticed this between government agencies but the same is true across corporate functions. 

Dysfunctional Relations across Sales and Marketing

Camaraderie suggests a trusting and collaborative working relationship.  If you are in sales, how much do you trust and collaborate with marketing (and vice versa)?  Hopefully, the answer is something constructive.  Commonly, it’s not.

Ideally, the sales and marketing camaraderie serves customers.  Unfortunately, this rarely occurs.  Many sales and marketing functions have a less productive relationship where they operate more functionally-centric rather than buyer-centric positions.  This is Miles’ Law.

Undoubtedly, sales and marketing contribute uniquely and supplementally to help buyers in their journey.  To sustain commercial success, these functions must be well orchestrated.  They must trust each other with constructive feedback on what’s working and what’s not.  Instead, communications degrade to finger-pointing.  Marketing doesn’t give sellers enough quality leads.  Sales don’t take the right action during a campaign.  The blame game doesn’t accelerate revenue.

Certainly, sellers should be excited to be in sales.  Marketers should be excited to be in marketing.  But, what if…. What if these resources got more excited to work as a team on something specific like cross-selling a new product to existing customers.  What if the team was aligned and measured to jointly acquire new customers in a new market or vertical.  Special things can happen.
Commercial Convergence or (at least) Re-alignment
Commercial leaders must overcome the friction and misalignment caused by siloed, customer-facing functions. Buyers simply don’t care about your functional design. Instead, they are focused on completing purchases, so leaders must explore alternatives.  Many organizations recognize these challenges and are starting to shift away from the traditional functional alignment.  However, merely naming a chief commercial officer or chief revenue officer will not entirely reduce the cross-functional friction or improve revenue generation.  It requires more.

The boldest action is to tear down the siloes between sales and marketing to build something that is truly buyer-centric.  Note, this can additionally include related functions like customer success, service, etc.  The more pragmatic option is to better align and orchestrate commercial resources to key sales motions – perhaps better said is to orient to key buying motions, including new buys, expansion buys or re-buys.

Ultimately, something must be done.  The most successful commercial leaders are taking deliberate action to align commercial resources – across sales and marketing as well as digital and in-person– and connect them to buyers.  The unified theme is buyer-centricity above all else.  That’s where loyalties must lie.

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CSM certification: What you need to know

CSM certification Agile practices are being rapidly adopted in project and product management across many industries, and the Scrum master is an important leadership role in agile development. The Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) certification, available through the Scrum Alliance, is an entry-level certification aimed at providing professionals with an awareness of the methodologies and values of Scrum, including team performance, accountability, and iterative progress. This certification is beneficial for people in product delivery who use the Scrum framework or those responsible for optimizing Scrum, including Scrum masters and their teams.Becoming a CSM offers individuals various valuable benefits, including increased recognition and credibility as a leader, additional opportunities within organizations with agile practices, and a demonstrated knowledge of Scrum.To read this article in full, please click here

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Describe Security in Terms Digital Workplace Owners Understand

I was recently perusing data from Gartner Peer Insights on content services platforms (CSPs) when I noticed something surprising near the bottom of the priority list. “Content security” was hovering there near the bottom of the list of end-user reported priorities. It was in either #12 or #15 out of 15 priorities that could be selected depending on which time frame I looked at.

It is hard to imagine a content platform owner that would say security is not important, so why does security rate so low?

Indeed, security is a prominent feature on nearly all RFPs and is often weighted quite heavily.  This finding is validated by conversations with vendors who have touted their security as a key selling point and wonder why prospective customers do not seem to engage on that topic as much as anticipated.  

This seems to be an example of where a low rating means “overlooked” or “taken for granted” rather than being an explicit statement that something is bad or unnecessary.

Here is why:

Buyers consider it a “given” or “table stakes”. Of course security is important, but it is assumed no product could exist with bad security, so the other features are much more important as differentiating vendors.
Buyers don’t know what to ask or how to rate. This can be seen in evaluations that simply ask “tell us about your security” or list a bunch of standards that may not even be applicable.  
Buyers outsource security considerations to the security team. Buyers of CSPs are experts in how the content will be created and consumed by the business. They are not security experts.  In fact, they are often happy to have specialists in security handling those issues. If the surveys were taken by security personnel I’m sure security would rate at the top, but they don’t own the CSP.

What should CSP vendors do about a feature that seems simultaneously critical and an afterthought?  As with all messaging, the key is to understand your audience. And in this case there are two: the CSP buyer and their security team.  Product marketers need to use the primary messaging, which will be targeted at CSP buyers, to describe security in terms that those buyers will understand. That includes how the end user is engaged with security protocols and what their user experience will be.  Then you also need to prepare separate in-depth messaging for the security professional that will be brought in during the process.

And product leaders need to invest more in security than buyer interest would sometimes dictate.  For security-minded buyers, content security will weigh heavily into the conversion. And even for less security-minded buyers, content security is a consideration factor – you won’t even get on the shortlist without a good security reputation.

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Determining What Goes Where in Hybrid IT – There’s an App (tool) For That!

Gartner analyst Craig Lowery once described “Hybrid IT” as “connecting, managing and getting the full value out of all the infrastructure and services available wherever they are, including on premise, in the cloud and at the Edge”. Often clients will refer to Hybrid IT as a combination of on-premise based assets interacting with, or even integrated with, cloud-based assets.  This is often a byproduct of partial migration to the cloud, where not everything can be placed in the cloud for technical, organizational, or economic reasons. In some cases this is an interim situation, and in others, may be preferred by design. But a key question arises – In an Intentional Hybrid IT design, what goes where, when, why, and how?

While many Hybrid IT instances may have begun with attempts to integrate Cloud -based assets with those not ready for migration, we are seeing much more in the way of Intentional design, where the non-cloud-based assets to be integrated are where they are for explicit reasons, not just accidents of timing.  Intentional design then, would balance overall application attributes such as business criticality and integration level required , with application requirements such as for agility and scalability and innovation, and lastly, technical specifics, such as the considerations for low latency, data volume generated, or network dependency. The difficult task then, has been to proactively examine workload characteristics and determine in a consistent and explainable fashion why portions of the application are placed in the array of locations and technologies. What is needed is an easy-to-use tool.

In recently published research titled Tool: Workload Placement in Hybrid IT, analyst Henrique Cecci has developed and presented a comprehensive tool that prompts the user for workload and organizational characteristics, and then provides detailed assessment of where the workload should reside. It uses well proven Gartner models as an underpinning, and when tested, it placed workloads for edge computing implementations exactly where the traditional manual process would have, with the benefit of less work, greater speed, and well documented rationales. I would urge those planners and implementers faced with Hybrid workload placement tasks to give it a try.

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The Myth of Supply Chain and Manufacturing Operations Alignment

A continuing effect of the pandemic is the robust momentum and new energy behind enterprise digitization, Industrie 4.0 and smart manufacturing initiatives.

Seventy-six percent of the respondents in a 2020 Gartner smart manufacturing survey anticipate that their organizations will increase their investments in technology to support smart manufacturing over the next two years. At the same time, 2021’s expanding economic activity and surges in demand across industries bring new challenges and constraints. Organizations are increasingly pressured to explore and implement new concepts and practices to cope with the eroding workforce and erratic availability of raw materials.

Our globally recognized definition of the supply chain process is plan, source, make, deliver, regardless of industry, geography, product or service. Supply chain management connects customers to products and suppliers to manufacturers. Supply chain professionals understand the importance of plan, source, make, deliver to effective commerce. Supply chain control towers promise visibility and better decision making across the value chain. Yet without the actuals from factories it’s hard to run the business unless you’re comfortable with assumptions. Let’s look at the reality of the “make” function and its position within the global supply chain.
Strategy Alignment
In the past few years, Gartner has performed research surveys on the business value of manufacturing execution systems (MES) (most recently in 2018) and smart manufacturing strategy and implementation trends (most recently in 2020). The initial MES surveys on manufacturing strategy and supply chain alignment were encouraging, where supply chain collaboration was ranked at or near the top in a list of important IT Trends by respondents at companies that have an MES system. Also, 75% of surveyed professionals reported some level of involvement between the supply chain organization and MES strategy, with 31% stating that manufacturing is integrated as part of a full supply chain end-to-end strategy. The expectation set is that this alignment and involvement would produce full adoption of end-to-end supply chain strategies across manufacturers (Figure 1). What could stand in the way?

Organizational Alignment
Admittedly, there is no “one size fits all.” In some cases, the supply chain value proposition may favor logistics, or manufacturing capabilities may be sufficient and may play a lesser role. However, there is a difference between strategy and alignment, and in some cases the results show that strategy does not necessarily lead to alignment. There is often an organizational and cultural gap between supply chain and manufacturing operations that has existed for decades and has shown to be stubbornly difficult to overcome. One indicator of this organizational gap may be found in some of the findings from our recent smart manufacturing strategy and implementation trends survey. While we in supply chain believe in the mantra of plan, source, make, deliver, the data from our 439 manufacturing respondents to the survey tells a different story. Only 21% of supply chain professionals noted that their manufacturing organization report to the supply chain organization. The majority report to the chief operating officer.

The COO and CSCO work to achieve the same high-level corporate goals, but their strategy and focus will differ. COO focus is on cost and efficiency (local optimization of manufacturing operations, improvements in KPIs such as yield, overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), energy management, quality management). This internal focus is aimed at specific improvements in how the “make” function is run.

On the CSCO side, there has been a pandemic-driven shift in emphasis between investments in resilience and agility, and being cost-efficient. The challenge for CSCOs and their organizations is to find new trade-offs between cost, speed and service in a changing landscape where uncertainty and higher customer expectations go hand in hand. The need is to optimize supply chains to deliver the desired customer experience efficiently, while leaving room to maneuver around uncertainty and disruptions.

End-to-end supply chain strategy becomes a more difficult task when the alignment between plan, source, make and deliver requires alignment at the CxO level. Bottom line, in the majority of manufacturing companies, an end-to-end supply chain strategy is easier to define than it is to implement.
Technology Alignment
Technology vendors follow the Willie Sutton Rule (they go where the money is). Technology solutions for manufacturing operations have focused on the needs of the manufacturing plant as driven by the COO. The top reasons for investing in MES have always included improving quality, reducing cycle time and increasing yield at or near the top of the list. As MES has morphed into Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM), the added functionality (detailed scheduling, dispatching, warehouse management) are often targeted versions of their supply chain counterparts optimized for tasks within the four walls of the plant. These systems actually make alignment with the rest of supply chain more difficult. Manufacturers continue to expand the volumes of data that they collect using both traditional operations technology and newer Industrial Internet of Things capabilities to continually improve energy management, asset performance, quality and visibility. Meanwhile, on the supply chain visibility side, control tower applications extract the bare minimum information from manufacturing, typically just order status and raw material consumption.
What to do …
While it’s fun to admire the problem, the answer follows the problem definition. Align your end-to-end supply chain strategy to include manufacturing operations, align your organization to achieve your end-to-end supply chain strategy, and make technology choices that will support your strategy and organization. Or, as stated in “4 Tactics for CSCOs to Shift Manufacturing From a Cost of Doing Business to a Competitive Weapon”:

Reshape the team that makes the final manufacturing strategy decisions by including a wider set of stakeholders across supply chain and other business functions.
Achieve the next level of performance for the customer by synchronizing smart factory’s role as part of an agile supply system and avoid the peril of isolated production capabilities.
Develop a digital strategy for manufacturing operations built on contextualized data and agile IT systems.
Reinvest in and modernize the production system by expanding upon current lean and continuous improvement foundations with new digital capabilities and talent.

Rick Franzosa
Senior Director Analyst
Gartner Supply Chain
[email protected]

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The new equation for total reward strategies

What workers value in terms of employee reward has changed over the past decade, but employers keep offering the same menu of choices. PwC analysis shows that companies can save money–as much as US$2,800 per employee per year–and attract and retain top talent if they use data analytics to understand what people want and provide a menu of options in their total reward offerings to suit everyone.

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