Category Archives: Leadership

Cognigy Hires Automation and RPA industry veteran Dennis Walsh

March 18, 2019  3:36:08 PM – Press Release

 

March 18, 2019, Düsseldorf, Germany. Cognigy, the market leader in Conversational AI, proudly announced today a strategic addition to their senior management team. Dennis Walsh joins the founding management team of Cognigy as President of its US operations.

walsh-cognigy

Walsh has a deep experience in delivering automation solutions to enterprise organizations. He brings 20 years of high-level performance in the Business Process Automation (BPA) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) markets. Previously, Walsh was President of Redwood Software. There, he built the US and APJ operations and established a highly-successful OEM, reseller relationship with industry giant SAP. Walsh’s experiences also include building sales, marketing, partner and delivery operations at Sitelite, a startup Management Services Provider, as well as sales leadership roles at Tivoli Systems / IBM.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Cognigy at this stage of their growth. They clearly have a superior solution which delivers immediate value to large enterprises”, Walsh said. “Their focus on delivering an open-architected, all-encompassing enterprise solution, where today only departmental solutions exist, is very appealing to CEO’s, CIO’s, CMO’s who wish to realize the potential of Conversational AI in their organizations.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to have Dennis join our team” said co-founders Philipp Heltewig and Sascha Poggemann. “Dennis brings invaluable experience in the BPA and RPA marketplaces along with exceptional management skill and experience which are important for us at this stage of growth in our company”.

 

About Cognigy: 

Cognigy is a leader in the Conversational AI marketplace. The Cognigy solution delivers an  Enterprise Conversational platform enabling organizations to build complex, integrated cognitive bots on a single platform. Their solution helps companies rein in “bot sprawl” and delivers the most advanced level of Natural Language Understanding and enterprise application integration in the industry. Leading companies in the USA and EMEA have standardized on the Cognigy platform to accelerate their adoption of Conversational AI.

 

Learn more about conversational AI and Cognigy? Schedule a demo today or send us your questions…
Martina yazgan

Contact
Martina Yazgan

COGNIGY GmbH
Speditionstr. 1
40221 Düsseldorf

 

Digital Transformation, Dynamic Threats and Growing Accountability

March 1, 2019

By Mark Sangster, Chief Security Strategist at eSentire, Inc., contributor to SecurityMagazine.com

 

Businesses today accept the presence of cyber risks. In fact, 70 percent assume a business-altering event will occur in the next few years (FutureWatch Report), but often have a more difficult time identifying specific risks, key factors and mitigation strategies. Worse, the board or senior leadership often makes assumptions about the safety of the firms that is overly optimistic when compared to confidence ratings of security practitioners.

The difference between awareness and understanding is driven by the communication gap between the board and executives steering the business, and the security experts close to the problem. Both parties struggle to comprehend the other’s needs and responsibilities.

A firm’s risks stem from a handful of business aspects, including the firm’s participation in high-risk industries, its appetite for emerging technologies, and willingness to properly invest in targeted security practices. While this sounds obvious at first, it’s lost when the line of sight from the security practitioners to the board is over the horizon.

This article will explore board-level concerns, key drivers to invest in security, and how emerging technologies outpace the evolution of security technologies and services. The data presented in this article was collected in late 2018, through third-party research that surveyed 1,250 security executives, managers and practitioners. Data was collected from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Participants were equally represented across various industries and company sizes, ranging from less than 100 employees to 5,000 employee or more. Read the full FutureWatch Report.

Major Attacks Are an Assumption

Unanimously, business leaders such as the CEO, board members and technical executives (CIO) alike predict a major cyber-attack in the next two to five years. Over 60 percent of respondents assume a major event will occur. Interestingly, 77 percent of CEO and board respondents consider their organization prepared for such an event. As expected, technical leaders are approximately 20 percent more likely to predict an attack and are 10 percent less optimistic than their business peers in their organization’s preparedness.

Senior leadership fears operational disruption, reputational damage and significant financial losses over regulatory penalties as top consequences of a major security event.

While business leaders show a confidence in their firm’s ability to manage a security breach, the devil is in the details. Only 29 percent of respondents indicated that their high-value or high-profile information is not adequately protected. And two-thirds of respondents are not confident that their cybersecurity programs match their peers, nor that their programs are appropriately resourced.

The Cybersecurity Rosetta Stone

Boards and security practitioners still struggle to translate their concerns and objectives. Only one-third of business leaders are confident in their security executive’s ability to monitor and report on cybersecurity programs and 66 percent worry that these programs are not aligned to business objectives.

IT and security leadership sentiments echo this concern. Most organizations struggle to show the value of IT security spend to senior management, including status reporting difficulties. Aligning to enterprise risk management confounds over half of businesses, along with the ability to managed external risks with third-party vendors and the growing complexity of regulatory compliance.

On the positive side, progress has been made over the last few years. The CISO is no longer the least interesting person to the board, until they are the most important person.  Over half of respondents indicate their board is very familiar with the security budget (51 percent), overall strategy (57 percent), policies (58 percent), technologies (53 percent), and currently review current security and privacy risks (51 percent).  Moreover, line of sight from the CISO to the board is more direct. Forty-five percent of security officers report to the board or CEO, 33 percent continue to report to the CIO and a small handful (10 percent) report to a privacy or data officer.

Moreover, nearly two-thirds of security budgets are set to rise in 2019. Spend on the security side is still reactionary. While regulatory requirements is in the basement of the board’s concerns, it tops the list for security practitioners. A security teams spend is generally reactive to client demands, major technology purchases, a major security event or near miss, and the adoption of emerging technology.

Emerging Technology: A Double-edged Sword

IT and security teams find themselves in a difficult position between meeting the demands of the business to adopt emerging technologies that offer competitive advantage, while also carrying the burden of mitigating the risks that come along with new deployments.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents are currently using cloud services or plan to deploy cloud services in the next six months, with financial services, manufacturing and healthcare leading the adoption rate. Only law firms lag in their cloud adoption. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet-of-Things (IoT) and Industrial IoT (IIoT) top the list behind cloud.

Cloud security adoption is the priority, followed closely by identity and access management, threat detection and response, and endpoint detection and response. Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) moves beyond a compliance tool and now plays a role in the greater detection and response portfolio.

More than half of telecom, information technology, financial services and manufacturers invested in securing their cloud services. Similarly, financial services, healthcare and manufacturing also emphasize threat detection and response investments. These industries are equally investing in identity and access management as a response to a more distributed workplace. Again, law firms are significantly less likely to adopt these technologies.

Digital transformation is here to stay and brings with it a drive to always evolve and constantly change. Economics demand that vendors constantly improve and offer new features and technologies which outpaces our understanding of the associated risks. We focus on the benefits while assuming vendors have resolved the security issues. For example, cloud technology tops the list of security priorities today, but AI and IoT/IIoT are on track to surpass cloud as the primary risk concern in less than two years.

This challenge will only increase over the coming years as 5G facilitates a ubiquitous mosaic of always connected devices. Risk associated with emerging technologies becomes more concerning as adoption rates accelerate, compressing the time in which organizations and vendors can adapt and develop appropriate security controls and deploy protective solutions.

Most Susceptible to Risk: Law Firms, Transportation and IT

Law firms lead when it comes to risks associated with external actors and attacks and their ability to report status, show value and meet internal risk standards and regulatory requirements. Transportation and IT firms report higher than average levels of risk. Financial services tend to run just below industry averages across external attacks and internal or industry requirements.

Digital Transformation Outpaces Current Security Approaches

Digital transformation touches every facet of business operation and redefines how businesses engage with their customers. The emerging technologies underpinning this tectonic shift must constantly expand capabilities and adapt to survive in a competitive environment. Current security approaches are not fluid enough to keep pace with adoption of emerging technology and platforms.

Today, most firms identify their primary security posture as leveraging prevention technologies and device management. Firms that leverage a predictive security model such as threat hunting, machine learning, and device analytics reduce their risk by thirty percent. Less than one-fifth of firms identify as predictive. The trend is consistent across all industry segments with financial and healthcare services leading the charge and law firms lagging.

Firms adopting predictive security models are better able to identify never-before-seen threats and have engaged rapid response capabilities to reduce the risk of a business-altering event. Over the next two years, older preventative models drop to less than one-third, while predictive threat hunting will more than double to 40 percent. This trend correlates with the shift in business drivers away from regulatory dominance toward business-centric considerations such as operational disruption, reputational damage, and, of course, financial losses.

Interestingly, advanced firms are more apt to adopt emerging security technologies such as endpoint, threat detection and response, identity access management, and cloud security. Moreover, mature firms aggressively leverage SaaS and are more likely to adopt 100 percent cloud-based security services than firms using a device-management model. Outsourcing is a palatable alternative to recruiting and retaining threat hunting talent from a pool that cannot support the growing demand.

Digital Transformation, Dynamic Threats and Growing Accountability

Digital transformation continues to expand a larger and more fluid attack surface from the advanced methodologies used by well-resourced adversaries like organized criminals and nation-state actors. Regardless of industry, businesses operate in a world with ever-increasing accountability to protect their clients’ confidential information, adhere to state legislation, comply with privacy laws and meet the growing complexity of overlapping regulatory obligations.

This triad of risk demands that IT, security practitioners, and leaders align with business governance objectives, while senior leadership acknowledge their role in establishing expectations and providing resources to adequately protect the business, its investors, employees and customers.

We’ve left the world of prescriptive regulations as a measure of security end state. Many organizations recognize that the financial loss associated with operational disruption and reputational damage outweigh the penalties set out by regulators. In the future, organizations will likely move to a perspective driven by their clients. In this state, brand and reputation will form the barometer by which a company’s security performance is ultimately measured. Protecting the client will mean by extension, protecting their data and services, avoiding operational disruption and resulting financial losses.


Author: Mark Sangster, Chief Security Strategist at eSentire

Mark Sangster is an industry security strategist and cybersecurity evangelist who researches, speaks and writes about cybersecurity as it relates to regulations, ethical obligations, data breach incident response and cyber risk management.

Human Trafficking – Technology and Real Issues

Commentary
Bill Owen – TechNewsBlog.net

Follow up Commentary to 2/14/19 post on Human Trafficking: How technology is tackling human trafficking by Alexon Bell, Global Head of AML and Compliance at Quantexa.

Human trafficking is the trade of humans for the purpose of forced labour, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others.[1][2] This may encompass providing a spouse in the context of forced marriage,[3][4][5] or the extraction of organs or tissues,[6][7] including for surrogacy and ova removal.[8] Human trafficking can occur within a country or trans-nationally. Human trafficking is a crime against the person because of the violation of the victim’s rights of movement through coercion and because of their commercial exploitation.[9] Human trafficking is the trade in people, especially women and children, and does not necessarily involve the movement of the person from one place to another.

Human trafficking has always been a part of society. Slavery, of any type, can be dated back to the establishment of any form of human civilization. It is fair to say that it exists in any major city and many smaller cities and towns, across the globe, right under our noses. It is the advent of various technologies that has brought this issue to the attention of the general public and has allowed governments and specialty organizations to make significant inroads into the freeing of victims and the incarceration of criminals.

Human trafficking: countries of origin and countries of destination


Click to enlarge

 

I have listed a small sampling of organizations involved with human trafficking below, be it a provider of technology that is currently being used to combat human trafficking, or a provider of direct surveillance and apprehension of criminals involved in this activity. It is the combination of technologies and collaboration of efforts from all parties that is making the difference. Note: I am not implying endorsement or making statements of support for their personal work or their projects.

Quantexa: As noted in the 2/14/19 article provided by Alexon Bell above, Quantexa has been involved in providing the technology, specifically artificial intelligence, that helps to keep law enforcement and global organizations on the heels of traffickers. An additional article/report from  Brian Wang, sole author and writer of nextbigfuture.com and his interview with Alexon Bell, posted January 26, 2019: Quantexa Uses Context-Aware Artificial Intelligence to Uncover Human Trafficking Networks

Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.): As their website main page states, “We exist to rescue children from sex trafficking.” Operation Underground Railroad is a non-profit founded by Tim Ballard which assists governments around the world in the rescue of human trafficking and sex trafficking victims, with a special focus on children. O.U.R. also aids with planning, prevention, capture, and prosecution of offenders, and works with partner organizations for prevention, victim recovery, strengthened awareness, and fundraising efforts.[10]  Quite a background story on Tim and the impetus behind this organization.

Human Trafficking Fact Sheet Infographic via O.U.R.

 

THORN: Digital Defenders of Children, previously known as DNA Foundation, is an international anti-human trafficking organization that works to address the sexual exploitation of children. The primary programming efforts of the organization focus on Internet technology and the role it plays in facilitating child pornography and sexual slavery of children on a global scale. The organization was founded by American actors Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher.

Kutcher speech on human trafficking before Congress:

 

Blue Campaign (DHS). The Blue Campaign is the unified voice for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) efforts to combat human trafficking. Working in collaboration with law enforcement, government, non-governmental and private organizations, the Blue Campaign strives to protect the basic right of freedom and to bring those who exploit human lives to justice.

 

Additional organizations involved with Human Trafficking

It is important to verify the legitimacy of any organization that you may want to get involved with. Remember, if there is ever a non-partisan issue that would be considered, this is definitely one of them. Be aware of any potential criminal or political attempt to capture your donations for anything other than the intended use for anti-trafficking causes. This list of organizations is the tip of the iceberg. There is no doubt a solid organization near you, if you want to get involved hands-on. Of course, donations can be made to any organization in any location. Again, all should be vetted first.

Before Giving to a Charity (via the Federal Trade Commission)

15 Ways You Can Help Fight Human Trafficking (via the U.S. Department of State)

List of organizations that combat human trafficking (via Wikipedia)

National Human Trafficking Hotline

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Human Trafficking

 

Background on Human Trafficking by region (via Wikipedia):

Human trafficking in the United States

Human trafficking in Canada

Human trafficking in Mexico

Human trafficking in South America

Human trafficking in Europe

Human trafficking in Australia

Human trafficking in the Middle East

Human trafficking in Southeast Asia

Human trafficking in Indonesia

Human trafficking in China

Human trafficking in Russia

Human trafficking in India

 

As you can see, this is a huge problem globally. This could happen to anyone. The news stories that you have heard over the years of missing people could very well be the victim of human trafficking and are still alive today under duress. With the diligent work of governments, organizations and individuals focused on this issue, as well as prayers from many people, a serious dent is being made to try and bring it to an end.

 

References

  1. “UNODC on human trafficking and migrant smuggling”. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  2. “Amnesty International – People smuggling”. Amnesty.org.au. 23 March 2009. Archived from the originalon 9 March 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  3. “Child Trafficking for Forced Marriage” (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 July 2013.
  4. “Slovakian ‘slave’ trafficked to Burnley for marriage”. BBC News.
  5. “MARRIAGE IN FORM, TRAFFICKING IN CONTENT: Non – consensual Bride Kidnapping in Contemporary Kyrgyzstan” (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 April 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  6. “Trafficking in organs, tissues and cells and trafficking in human beings for the purpose of the removal of organs” (PDF). United Nations. 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  7. “Human trafficking for organs/tissue removal”. Fightslaverynow.org. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  8. “Human trafficking for ova removal or surrogacy”. Councilforresponsiblegenetics.org. 31 March 2004. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  9. MCLAUGHLIN. “What is Human Trafficking?”. http://www.unodc.org. Retrieved 2018-09-06.
  10. Erica Ritz (2014-10-27). “The Disturbing Reason Operation Underground Railroad Is Able to Take So Many Photos of Child Sex Traffickers”. The Blaze. TheBlaze Inc. Archived from the original on 2016-05-16. Retrieved 16 May 2016.

Better Recruiting Through Social Media

Don’t just mess around on Twitter. You need a plan in place to get solid results.

Social Joy Duce, Partner-in-Charge, Human Resources Consulting Services at Sikich | Feb 14, 2019

 

Social media has become a near-constant feature in almost every American’s life, and for that reason it must also be major component in any successful talent acquisition strategy. Today, 69% of American adults use at least one social media site, according to Pew Research.

Manufacturers, meanwhile, are engaged in a no-holds-barred war for talent. Part of the problem is that they don’t know how to reach job candidates effectively anymore.

As a hiring tool, social media allows manufacturers to reach large numbers of prospective employees at relatively low cost. But leadership often underestimates the resources and planning required to execute an effective social media plan.

Fortunately, there are strategies manufacturers can deploy to establish a powerful social media presence that enhances recruitment efforts.

Find the Right People for the Job

Many manufacturing company leaders make a crucial early mistake by tasking their human resources teams to manage their companies’ social media pages. This can pose two major challenges:

1. HR professionals—while typically excellent at assessing candidates, improving company culture and ensuring compliance—often lack expertise in social media. Without the right people handling social media, companies can send mixed messages to the marketplace or even make mistakes that harm their brands.

2. The 24/7 nature of social media requires companies to provide nearly instantaneous responses to inquiries. Manufacturers that fail to respond quickly to a potential applicant can lose out to competitors that are immediately engaging with prospective talent online.

Consider recruiting skilled communicators from other departments to the social media effort. In some cases, it might be a good idea to form a larger committee of employees who can work together to plan and execute social media content. Human resources staff can certainly contribute to the effort, but they should not be the sole contributors to a manufacturer’s social media operations.

Play by the Rules

Often, companies extend their social efforts into applicant screening processes. In fact, according to CareerBuilder, 70% of employers will search applicants on platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter before hiring.

But using social media as a screening tool often provides more details than a company needs to make its hiring decisions—such as religious affiliation, political views or sexual orientation. If a company makes a decision based on personal information that it mined from social media, it could quickly become vulnerable to a discrimination lawsuit.

To avoid this scenario, a manufacturer should create a written social media policy that outlines employee usage guidelines as well as HR screening guidelines that discourage problematic hiring practices. This policy should clearly prohibit hiring decisions based on personal information and beliefs that are irrelevant to the open position. It should also clearly detail the factors that are relevant when considering an individual for employment, such as professional qualifications and credentials, work experience, and facts gathered during the interview itself.

Start Planning Today

Manufacturers who are new to social media will want to start with a very targeted social media strategy, involving only one or two channels. The channels that they select should depend on the positions they seek to fill. LinkedIn may be a good place to reach management personnel, but it won’t be the best option when searching for entry-level plant workers, who are more likely on Instagram, Craigslist or Facebook.

No matter which social media channels they choose to use, manufacturers can’t afford to ignore Glassdoor, an online platform that features employee reviews of companies. Many applicants rely on Glassdoor for the “inside scoop” about a company. Though an employer can’t control the reviews current and former employees post on the site, it can actively manage its Glassdoor page and ensure the page features valuable information about company benefits and culture.

Once a manufacturer has developed a social media strategy that aligns with the company’s global mission, vision and values and puts it into action, the next step is to monitor results and continually tweak and refine the strategy as the company’s needs evolve.

Nobody is going to create the perfect social media plan on the first attempt. It takes time to master online activity and optimize messaging. As the social media team gains capacity, manufacturers can consider adding new channels to the mix to reach new talent.

The manufacturers that invest the time and effort to develop a robust social media strategy will put themselves in a position to recruit the best and brightest employees – and come out on top in the war for talent.

About the author

Joy Duce is partner-in-charge of the human resources consulting services practice at professional services firm Sikich.

 

Gartner Indicates Seven Future CMO Spending Trends in Their Latest Survey

Viraj T

Gartner Surveys 600 Marketing Champions Across the US and the UK to Uncover Industry Trends for Enterprises to Prioritize Their Budgets and Allocate Funding

Innovation emerges as the loudest thought in a CMO’s cognizance! About 16 percent of Chief Marketing Officers have confirmed that they spent the maximum on innovation in 2018 — two-thirds confirmed that spending on innovation will grow next year. The irony here is that marketing leaders admitted they are not very confident about how to innovate or exactly where to spend — although beaming of huge ambition about being innovative.

MarTech Series runs down Gartner’s findings and talks about eight trends for 2019 and beyond where marketing leaders are most likely to spend.

1.    Digital Marketing

The winds of change have begun to flow! Businesses are going digital by the hordes and the pursuit to make businesses successful on digital mediums has now gotten the eyeballs of the entire C-suite. 57 percent of marketing leaders are confirming now that they would be inclined to spend on digital marketing endeavors.

We interacted with Derek Slayton, CMO Terminus, and asked him his views on 2019 CMO spend:

Derek Slayton
Derek Slayton

“I actually think marketers are going to have to spend on technology to help with the first two bullets (better targeting and better measuring progress). Most activity-oriented systems today don’t help with where we point the resources and how we measure success.

As far as my team goes — tech aside from Terminus tech (which we are using for segment identification and measurement) — we are excited about Vidyard because it helps us focus on creating great connections with key accounts and stakeholders.”

However, CMOs need to work in conjunction with CFOs. Convincing financial officers to invest for methodologies not yet in the limelight can be extremely hard for the CMO. More so, even if they agree, the CMO is accountable for ROMI.

Also Read: Gartner Predicts Digital Optimization Will Disrupt CRM Sales Technology

2.    MarTech

Marketing Technology is on the radar of CMOs for investment. MarTech spend has increased when compared to the percentage spend last year (29% in 2018 as against 22% in 2017). Evidently then, MarTech is the crux of CMO spend because it serves as the paramount source of marketing resources and initiatives.

As per Gartner’s survey, CMOs will be spending the most on the below mentioned ‘big three’ technologies:

  1. Email Marketing platforms
  2. Web Content Management
  3. Digital Marketing Analytics platforms

Although, Ewan McIntyre, who is the lead author of the report, asks CMOs to practice caution. MarTech is extremely effective but can be costly. Marketing leaders need to think this through in order to avoid financial disasters.

3.    Advertising

The survey reflects the CMO’s annual spend for 2018 was capped at 21 percent for advertising. This is for both offline and online (digital) models of advertising. However, as per the first trend of this report, CMOs now prefer to spend a lot more (two-thirds out of the 21 percent budget) on digital advertising. Paid advertising on digital channels such as search engines, social mediums, et al. are the focus areas of digital advertisement spending.

Also Read: Can Google’s Flutter Truly Solve the Developer Nightmare of Cross-Platform Application Programming?

We spoke to Jenn Steele, CMO, Madison Logic, to understand if she agrees with the trends:

Jenn Steele
Jenn Steele

“Well, ABM is still super-hot, so I see people continuing to spend on various ABM tactics. At our recent client summit, everyone was buzzing around how to use data in the best ways, so data sources and solutions should be in most marketers’ budgets.

Personally, I’m looking at AI tools such as Drift and Conversica so that I can do more with less (because we all have to do more with less, right?). These tools help us drive contacts to a more “ready” state before we have to get a more expensive human being involved.”

GDPR and the current atmosphere of user privacy and data security is the worst nightmare for owners of digital mediums. Even when red flags are being raised for brands as huge as Facebook, marketing leaders choose to continue ingesting a substantial chunk of dollars for paid advertising. Main reasons? Increasing revenues and proving to stakeholders that marketing is a critical cog to aid the enterprise’s engine to run smoothly. Other reasons are bolstering brand value gaining new business.

4.    Workhorses

Tech watchers are going gaga over emerging technologies such as ABM, AI, ML, Programmatic and Native among many others. Even then, CMOs spend a whopping 25% on workhorse technologies such as email, organic search, paid search, etc. So why do marketing leaders continue to invest in these technologies that belong to a prior phase of MarTech evolution? Here are the reasons:

  • These channels are easy to measure for ROI
  • Easier to groom in-house talent to operate workhorse technologies
  • Easier to prove the effectiveness of these channels to stakeholders compared to newer, impactful but complex technologies

Workhorse technologies still work, and really well!

5.    Innovation

Innovation is a major focus area for the CMO. According to 9 percent of the CMOs surveyed, innovation will be vital in enterprise growth over the coming 18 months. And they are right — the business eco-system overall is flux. Disruptions, changing consumer behaviors, M&As, and so many other factors are ensuring that it is difficult for enterprises to run their business. Hence, innovation automatically becomes the fallback element of every enterprise.

Also Read: Interview with Peter Isaacson, CMO, Demandbase

To confirm the growing importance of innovation, now, 63% of CMOs confirm that their spend on innovation will only grow in 2019.

Speaking about innovation, Jeff Nolan, CMO, Kahuna, said,

Jeff Nolan
Jeff Nolan

“Modern marketing is increasingly centered on data science, and if we accept that premise, CMOs will spend big on AI. The underlying neural networks are services now. It is the training model and ability to ingest massive amounts of data, which is generated by your systems but increasingly purchased from other vendors, that is the critical element in these initiatives. I am in a B2B market, so what I’m looking at are technologies that give me deep perspective on funnel and pipeline. I want to be able to look at my demand gen activities holistically but then down to increasing granular cohorts that I can gauge for the probability to close, or not.

This is important for me because this will give me insight into where I should be focused, which then guides strategy and tactics. Where existing analytics solutions come up short is that they start with a premise of “this is good, do more of it,” which leads to unnatural bias that gets increasingly narrow in scope, and then misses the opportunities that emerge that are outside of the static scoring models. Basically, I need a really intelligent system that is capable of generating human insights on data across a portfolio of groupings and metrics.”

Marketers nowadays employ a hybrid marketing strategy for their campaigns. Here the hybrid model will mean sticking to the core marketing tactics and methods while embracing and applying newer technologies. But as discussed before, Chief Marketing Officers’ abilities do not really match up to their ability to innovate. The survey is indicative though marketers want to change and be more matured and absorb innovation.

6.    Customer Experience

The start-up culture is going full throttle. Newer companies that offer innovative, cutting-edge and problem-solving technical capabilities are being founded in multitudes. This has given rise to stringent competition and made it harder for businesses to better serve their existing customers and gain newer ones. From a customer standpoint, their expectation from a brand about how they want to be treated has skyrocketed.

Spending on Customer Experience (CX) has been picking up speed from the past several years. According to the survey concluded, it will see a good amount of CMO spend over the coming one and a half years. CMOs that were a part of the survey have declared that they will be spending 18% of their budget on Customer Experience.

7.    Personalization

Personalization is an extension of existing enterprise efforts towards providing a maximum positive customer experience. CMOs are spending an average of 14.2 % of their budgets on personalization efforts. The interesting element here is that double-digit spends are common across industries. The spending is critically invested in gaining deeper insights into the accumulated customer data.

Richard Black, CMO at Aki Technologies, said,

Richard Black
Richard Black

“I think brand CMOs will continue to increase their spend on the media that actually works. These days, mobile is no longer a place to test; it’s where a brand has to be because consumers have their devices with them all day long. Eyeballs are always on mobile.

So, smart CMOs will look for tech that helps them optimize and maximize the impact of mobile dollars so they reach people when they are most receptive to marketing messages. AI developments will help there. And, of course, video can make mobile creative even more impactful. OTT is another area that I see spend increasing with better and better content coming through and more eyeballs heading that way.”

Considering GDPR, marketers need to be careful about not pushing too much in their efforts to obtain data. This might just completely drive away consumers. Marketers may have dollars and data but there is an atmosphere of uncertainty pertaining, where marketers must tread cautiously. Marketing leaders need to develop fool-proof strategies taking into account the current market and consumer complexities.

Clearly, 2019 seems to be the year for innovation and customer experience with statistics pointing at a maximum spending in these spheres. The survey also speaks of changing patterns of marketers towards their perspective on the whole marketing operations stream. Typically, to gauge marketing performance, businesses have a fixed set of KPIs that are crafted around ROI and customer satisfaction. However, marketers are adamant that they would want to design their campaigning around brand awareness.

Andrea Lechner-Becker
Andrea Lechner-Becker

Here is Andrea Lechner-Becker, CMO, LeadMD, with the parting note:

“I think they’ll spend on technology. But I wish they’d spend on headcount and training. Marketing teams, regardless of size, are missing core and important skill sets. We have not educated marketers well at the collegiate level in a decade. The pace of change in marketing is too fast to go to a conference or webinar here or there and maintain the ability to be “good” at your job.

Technologies I’m looking at… I’m obsessed with B2B data right now, or the lack of great data. I want someone to fix the buyer insights data problem for me.”

Recommended Read: TechBytes with Josh Martin, Sr. Director, Product Marketing, Brightspot CMS

Guess Who’s Looking At The HR Tech Market? Microsoft.

By Josh Bersin, Author | Published December 20, 2018 – Updated January 1, 2019
[From JOSH BERSIN, Insights on Corporate Talent, Learning, Leadership and HR Technology site]

Over the last few months, I’ve been spending time with Microsoft, and the company is doing some interesting things in the HR Tech space. In this article I’d like to give you some background, and share why I believe Microsoft is going to have a big impact on the market.

First point:  Microsoft is on fire right now, and your IT department knows this.

First, let me start by saying that Microsoft has entered one its company’s hottest product cycles in years.

In the latest quarter, Microsoft’s revenue increased by 19% to $29.1 billion, and operating income increased by 29% to $10 billion. This growth is based on many things, not the least of which is the tremendous change in company culture leading to one of the company’s most innovative product cycles in years.

Microsoft Financials in Context (CB Insights)

I’ve been following Microsoft since my days at IBM in the 1980s, and it has always been a powerhouse. Yes, it had rough periods over the last 40 years, but today it generates more than $8 billion in cloud revenue and products like Office 365, Microsoft Teams, LinkedIn and Dynamics are all growing at double-digit rates.

Microsoft Teams:  Messaging And More

Microsoft Teams, a product I believe could re-invent the way we work, is already in use by 87% of the Fortune 100 and is the fastest-growing app in the company’s history.  While products from Google and Slack are exciting to many, Microsoft still owns the enterprise, and the new Microsoft Modern Workplace is amazing to see.

Not only does Microsoft Teams provide messaging like Slack, it automatically transcribes and translates video and audio, it serves as a meeting platform, and it is going to be positioned as a replacement to Skype. I’m sure your IT department has plans to roll it out.

(More on this later, but if you really want to understand it, read this article – it describes how Microsoft Teams was built.)

Second point: Microsoft understands HR.

While Microsoft doesn’t specifically sell to HR today (its sales teams focus on technology, tools, and industries), the company really understands this space.

Satya Nadella’s book, “Hit Refresh,” is one of the most important books you can read about corporate culture, leadership, and learning. In many ways, it is a manifesto for the new world of work, and many of the principles are appearing in Microsoft products.

Just as Diane Gherson, the CHRO of IBM, has played a huge role in transforming the HR profession around topics like agile, AI, and careers, Kathleen Hogan, the CHRO of Microsoft, is doing the same in the areas of culture, leadership, and learning. The company recently hired Karen Kocher (ex-IBM and ex-Chief Talent Officer at Cigna) to lead an initiative for 21st Century Jobs, and many others in Microsoft are looking at ways to reinvent learning.

So the DNA of Microsoft is now focused on the empowerment, development, and inspiration of people.

Third point:  Microsoft is already in the business applications market with HR solutions today.

Microsoft Dynamics, which includes financials, ERP, CRM, manufacturing, and other applications for front-office workers, is over $1.3 billion and grew by 61% in Microsoft’s fiscal year 2018. Its new versions are AI-enabled are in use by companies like Chevron, H&M, and many large and mid-market companies around the world.

(Note: Workday’s revenues are around $2.1 billion and growing at 36% YTY, so Microsoft Dynamics is more than half the size of Workday with almost twice the growth rate.)

While Microsoft Dynamics 365 is not an end-to-end talent platform yet, the company is investing in this area. Microsoft recently introduced Microsoft Attract (ATS), Onboard (an innovative onboarding and onramp tool), and Core HR.  (Core HR is a very light employee record-keeping system today.) Dynamics is tightly integrated into the Microsoft 365 suite, Microsoft Teams, the Microsoft Graph (integrated directory and organizational networking), Workplace Analytics (the company’s leading product to analyze your daily interactions at work), and other Office tools are integrated.

There is a reason to believe Microsoft can thrive in HCM space. HR technology is moving away from the back office and getting closer to employees, moving “into the flow of work.” While SAP, Oracle, and Workday aspire to be a “system of productivity,” Microsoft is already there. So as Dynamics 365 for Talent matures, the product could be more integrated into your desktop than almost any competitor.

Think about the needs of front-office workers (retail, hospitality, service). They need the same types of HR and learning tools that office workers need, yet they often don’t have desks. Microsoft’s products can deliver applications to these workers through the wide array of Microsoft mobile and collaborative products.

And there are a lot of Dynamics customers. While the company does not disclose customer counts, my estimates are that there are more than 50,000 small and medium businesses using these products, so there are many HR departments Microsoft can reach. And most of these customers don’t have much HR technology to replace: most are primarily using payroll as their core system.

(By the way, Microsoft has invested very heavily in AI, building an entire business unit focused on this technology. Dynamics 365 AI is already enabled to provide intelligent alerts for sales, customer service problems, and market changes. Imagine how this technology could be applied in areas like employee retention, fraud, or engagement.)

Fourth point: Microsoft has an amazing sales and partner channel.

Over the last 30+ years, Microsoft has heavily invested in its sales, reseller, integrator, and educator channel around the world. While most large application vendors have a small number of dedicated resellers and consultants, Microsoft has thousands.

My office productivity software, for example, all comes from a large Microsoft reseller – and this particular company is one of the most service-oriented providers I have ever done business with. So as the company rolls out more products in HR, there are literally thousands of integrators to help make it work for customers.

Fifth point: Through LinkedIn, Microsoft has a very strong reach to HR buyers.

While Microsoft did not traditionally sell to HR, LinkedIn always has. LinkedIn, which is now over a $5 Billion business growing at 38% YTY, is rapidly expanding into almost every area of the HR technology landscape. LinkedIn Recruiter has become a standard tool for almost every talent acquisition professional. LinkedIn Learning has more than 14,000 corporate customers and is growing at double-digit rates. And the company’s recent acquisition of Glint gives LinkedIn (and Microsoft) a leading platform in the market for employee engagement, analytics, and performance management software.

Today LinkedIn is being run as a separate business, but I know the teams are talking. It’s only a matter of time before sales teams start cross-selling products and the Dynamics tools and LinkedIn tools start to come together. Already LinkedIn has announced deep integrations into Office for candidate scheduling and resume generation. More such integration is in the works.

Sixth point: Microsoft has some amazing core technology to take a lead.

Finally, I think Microsoft has moved to where the market is going.

First, as I’ve discussed frequently in the last few quarters, the HR technology market is exploding with innovation and quickly moving “into the flow of work.”

Consider the fact that today you can use Teams to author videos, share them, translate them, and intelligently recommend them to others. While this is not a full-fledged Learning Experience Platform, it’s awfully close. And companies like EdCast (micro-learning) and Disco (recognition and rewards) are already integrated into Teams, with more to come.

While companies like BetterWorks, Reflektiv, CultureAmp, and hundreds of others build better tools for feedback, goal setting, and surveys, they all have to reach your employees. Why not plug into Teams? I think this will happen faster than you may think.

Second, think about Microsoft’s potential solutions in core HR. Yes, there are lots of HR platforms in the market today, and most have taken years to mature. But none really integrate data from your organizational network (with the exception of ADP’s new Lifion) to really model, analyze, and improve your company like it really works. Most are built as hierarchical management systems, designed to manage people as “holders of jobs” in “hierarchies of job titles.”

Microsoft Graph Is Essentially A Graph Database

As most of you know, this is not the way companies work – we work on projects, teams, and programs. By leveraging the Microsoft Graph and Microsoft Teams, the company could build its core HR system into a true “system of record” of your network, storing data on network use, behavior, and real team activity. (I’m not saying Microsoft has announced this today, but I can see this coming over time.)

Third, think about Microsoft’s strengths in analytics, reporting, and AI. Tools like Excel (perhaps the most powerful user analytics tool ever invented), PowerBI (a similarly powerful analytics tool in the cloud), and Workplace Analytics (probably the leading tool for organizational network analytics) – all connected to your core HCM and business application system. Every interaction, survey, comment(feedback), or employee project can be analyzed and viewed by Microsoft tools. All the company has to do is add some application functionality, and believe me they’re thinking about it.

Microsoft Workplace Analytics:  ONA for Every Employee

I visited one of our largest insurance clients a few months ago and they told me they are using a Graph database (Neo4J) to model their customer service organization with more than 70,000 employees. By looking at interactions as well as talent data they have identified new drivers of customer service, retention, and productivity they had never seen before. And all this is based on capturing and analyzing “network and interaction data,” not just “talent transaction data.” Microsoft’s products store all this data, and they have the analytics to make sense of it.

HR In The Flow Of Work Is Here

While I’m not here to promote Microsoft in particular, I see the writing on the wall. As HR in the Flow of Work grows in importance and Microsoft Teams and Office 365 grow, it’s more important than ever that HR technology buyers look at what Microsoft is doing. We’ve had a series of CLO and CHRO meetings at Microsoft recently, and they’re seeing things they like.

The integration points between Microsoft and LinkedIn have barely even been explored, but just think about the possibilities.

Imagine a world where the tools you use to get work done are also coaching you on what you need to learn, giving you tips on your goals, providing nudges to be more engaged, and providing tips and guidance on your wellbeing and capabilities as a manager. And behind the scenes, all this data is being stored, analyzed, and intelligently used to make your work life better.

This is really the next big thing in HR technology, and Microsoft is in an amazing position to help. Let’s see what comes next.

Innovation reboot: Small, practical digital transformation initiatives preferred

 

By Tim Scannell, Director of Strategic Content, CIO Executive Council | NOV 29, 2018 2:30 AM PT

Innovation remains one of the key drivers of digital transformation, but today’s initiatives may be smaller and more targeted.

While corporate-wide innovation labs and blue-sky hack-a-thons were all the rage over the past few years, the coming trend for many companies might be innovation with intent and smaller, more pragmatic projects that have significantly less glitz and glamour but a better chance of success.

Innovation plays a key role in driving digital transformation in business today. Everyone knows that, right?

Nearly 90 percent of the IT leaders who took part in the 2018 State of the CIO Survey, released earlier this year, admit the CIO role is becoming more focused on both digital initiatives and innovation. Dig a little deeper into the study, and you’ll find that 37 percent of the top IT heads point to innovation as a way to identify which parts of the business can be transformed using digital technologies.

No doubt the results of the coming 2019 State of the CIO research, to be presented in a January CIO Executive Council webcast, will show similar and more supportive figures when it comes to the adoption and use of innovative technologies and tactics in the enterprise. Clearly, innovation is a top line item when it comes to technology and business investments.

Before you carve out a piece of your 2019 budget for innovative activities, however, you should be aware of one thing: The definitions for innovation, as well as the scale of projects, have changed considerably over the past couple of years. Those show-stopping company-wide epics that were exemplified by such companies as Toyota Financial Services (TFS) and its hack-a-thons, internal competitions, and dedicated innovation lab have shifted somewhat south in favor of smaller single-spotlight productions.

Where before the effort was to innovate to the max, today’s initiatives are more likely to be more modest and lean toward innovating with intent. In short, a lot of the smart budget money will be spent on projects that are framed with a more thoughtful and even surgical approach to innovation.

“I tend to take a more pragmatic view and try not to get bogged down in big initiatives that get your name in the paper, but nothing ever happens,” notes Ed Winfield, who has been the CIO for Maricopa County, Arizona, for little less than a year and is a passionate advocate for small and more meaningful approaches to innovation.

ed winfield photo Maricopa County, Arizona
Ed Winfield, CIO for Maricopa County, Arizona

While he may sound a bit folksy at times, Winfield is no rube when it comes to digital transformation and the ins and outs of championing IT initiatives in state and local governments. Previously, he was CIO for Wayne County, Michigan, the 19th-most populous county in the nation that includes the city of Detroit. While there, Winfield orchestrated an upgrade from an aging legacy system to cloud-based systems and deployed more data analytics to help state services run more efficiently — all under the cloud of tight budgets and economically challenged environment. In fact, these efforts and results were acknowledged when Winfield was recognized as a 2016 Top 25 Doer, Dreamer and Driver by a respected government IT online publication.

The challenges at his new post are no less daunting, since Maricopa County is the fourth largest U.S. county by population and one of the fastest-growing areas in the country. Rather than jumping on the smart cities bandwagon and pitching high-speed fiber and pervasive wireless connections for every nook and cranny of the county, Winfield prefers to take a breath, listen closely to his constituents, and focus on small projects that are scaled to deliver positive but sometimes less dramatic results.

“I don’t view what we’re trying to do in becoming a digital county as some type of massive endeavor,” Winfield explains. “We can make significant forward progress with small innovation projects.”

However, the county does have a range of ongoing projects that look at such things as smart highways, smart traffic light management, and other smart initiatives that are interesting. There is a group called the Institute for Digital Progress that looks at innovation from a regional business perspective as it tries to position the county and surrounding areas as a “smart region.”

Even before the ink had a chance to dry on his new business cards, Winfield mapped out a plan for an all-digital county that serves as an umbrella over a series of small and more-targeted projects that will be rolled out over the next few years that will collectively move the entire county from the restrictions of paper-based tangibility to a more flexible digital world.

“At the end of a three-year period, I would rather look back and say we knocked out a lot of small projects that really made a difference to the way we operate and potentially the way people interact with the county via web services or mobile tools,” he says.

That is exactly what Winfield is doing as he connects with different departments to plan for internal productivity improvements that include eliminating paper forms and moving toward digital signatures and online approvals. He also wants to improve the online services available to the residents of Maricopa County. In addition, plans are in the works to revamp the court system, both to eliminate paper and create an online dispute resolution system and totally automate case management.

Practical innovation

The trend toward more practical innovation is apparently catching on. In its 2019 predictions for enterprise digital transformation, Forrester Research notes that while business leaders championed large-scale initiatives in 2018, many of which focused on customer experience, efforts this coming year will shift to more pragmatic and smaller surgical initiatives. Purpose will become strategic priority, given the complexity and cost of larger and more expansive projects.

IT organizations and business stakeholders should strive to embrace the minimum viable product when it comes to innovation projects, says Mihai Strusievici, director of information technology, North America for Colliers International, a global real estate services company, in an earlier Digital Divide column. He advises other leaders not to pitch one or two large and expensive innovation initiatives that typically eat up a significant chunk of a budget due to their complexity and scope. Instead, spend money on a variety of smaller innovation efforts that are more focused and may have a higher chance for success or conversely have far less of a negative impact should one or two fail.

“Don’t only look for the big idea,” adds Pradip Sitaram, senior vice president and CIO at Enterprise Community Partners, an organization that brings together people and resources to create affordable housing and thriving communities for low- and moderate-income people. Instead of always looking for the home run, he says, making use of a baseball analogy, “you keep hitting a bunch of singles and doubles, and with the runs you get from those, you can achieve the amazing results.”

pradip sitaram photo Enterprise Community Partners
Pradip Sitaram, SVP and CIO at Enterprise Community Partners

A few years ago, for example, the business team and Pradip decided to automate the way people in the organization checked the performance parameters in their real estate portfolio to ensure compliance and efficiency. The tools used were able to quickly identify exceptions to the established parameters that fell outside established business rules that dictated a certain level of risk tolerance and boil the results down to a much more manageable subset of properties. While a great innovative first step, Pradip and team decided to piggyback on that success and take it a step further to see what innovation possibilities might be lurking outside the fancy technology and algorithms.

The solution was to empower the business stakeholders to proactively change the rules used by the tools to check against the parameters, without having to rely on IT to field suggestions and then make the changes. To do this, a system was designed that allowed business to insert rule updates into the system, which then created new logic to check against performance parameters across the company’s real estate portfolio.

“We didn’t set out to do something innovative,” explains Pradip. “All we did was empower people to use these tools more efficiently, with a different mindset.”

While he doesn’t see anything wrong with large-scale innovation labs from a culture-building and even a marketing standpoint, Pradip does not think highly visible efforts like this really drive grassroots innovation. For him, the recipe is simple: When things get tough, the tough get innovative.

The key to innovation is your mindset, he adds. It’s your willingness to think differently, to take a risk and try some new process or technology, and to see the world differently and not simply conform to established practices.

“I think some of the great motivating factors for innovation are constraints,” Pradip points out. “When you have budget constraints, when you have resource constraints, when you have time constraints.”

Constraints are not restrictions or barriers, but a gift, he says. “If you have constraints, you’re forced to think out of the box, to think innovatively and say, ‘How can I best make use of the limited resources that I have in time, money, and people to come up with good solutions?’”

To encourage, foster, and sustain an innovation culture, organizations and executives must understand and accept that every experiment will not succeed; every innovation exercise will not result in a revenue generating product or operating efficiencies, Pradip points out, adding that you will likely fail more than you succeed. Every exercise will deliver valuable learnings.

“As long as there is a culture that accepts that it’s OK to test and learn — to fail fast and learn quick — then teams will be more likely to venture out of their safe zone and the magic can happen,” he says.

Technology and the changing business and consumer cultures

While more restrictive budgets and the push to do more with less has a lot to do with the emphasis on more surgical and pragmatic approaches to innovation, the shift in business and consumer cultures due to the pervasive use of technology has also played a key role.

People, in general, have a different posture and cultural understanding of technology and what it can do, since it saturates their public and private lives, explains Winfield. Years ago, conversations on technology adoption and use around the topic might center on the impact — good or bad — on a person’s life or continued employment. Today, it is all about leveraging technology in small and incremental ways — whether it is cyber banking, online shopping, or eliminating a tedious task in the office.

“People are able to converse and maybe see how something might work and I think that’s the spirit of it,” Winfield says.

In this new world of practical “baby steps,” is there still some wiggle room for larger-scale projects and maybe a hack-a-thon or two as part of the overall innovation effort? Absolutely, says Winfield.

“We’re just getting underway, and I’m starting on the fringes, so we’ve got enough to do here in the short-term,” he says. However, “I’m not close-minded about the idea of some type of gathering or larger effort, but we’ve got to consider how it would move us forward.”

Pradip agrees, noting that hack-a-thons are useful because they usually establish constraints in time and the number of team members, which are great motivators. However, you won’t find more-structured corporate-led innovation labs and internal think tanks on his to-do list.

 

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