Adam Gartenberg's Blog

Business Analytics and Optimization, IBM and Social Marketing

Live blogging IOD2009 Day 3 General Session (Merv Adrian, Malcolm Gladwell)


I will be live blogging the Day 3 IOD 2009 General Session.  Check back in for updates during the session.

Today's host - Mark Register, VP Information on Demand, Asia Pecific

A couple of statistics.  As of yesterday evening, we'd consumed 3,000 gallons of coffee. 1,900 tweets.  Sharing Many Eyes visualization of the tweets from the conference.  Can find the file out on many eyes.  Question of the day on the IOD Smart Site.  How much change is required in your organization?  39% responded "massive."

Today's focus is on leading the change.

Industry Analytst Merv Adrian coming to stage.

Am guessing didn't go into information management to lead change in company.

Showing top concerns of CIOs.  BI tops CIO List - year after year, according to a multiyear Gartner study.

Here's a question - if we've been doing this so long, why aren't we done yet?  We need to get someone else involved here other than power users.  Why haven't we gotten there yet?  Partly because not delivering on expectations.  Heard Ambuj talk about it on day 1. For last decade or two, getting low hanging fruit.  Automated business processes, and got really good at predicting the past.  If you want to know why things went wrong last quarter, we can help you with that.  

The reasons business not taking tools up is not enough - want something else.  Want to improve operations, and expect business intelligence to help us get there.

Transformation is the new imperative

  • Information is the raw material
  • Recorded, specific executable process is the enabler
  • Analytics guide the priorities - and measure success or failure
  • Information professionals can lead now - in fact, we must.

These pieces form the basis for information-led transformation

Information Management trends are opportunities
  • Move logic closer to the data
  • Learn "Big Data" technicques
  • Drive compliance, security and privacy initiatives
  • Develop formal stewardship skills and organization.

And one more thing... become friends with your hardware guys.  MPP, Cloud, Solid State Disk

Anton Langeler - Global IT Director, O'Neill coming to stage to join Mark Register. O'Neill - global organization providing surf, snow, lifestyle brands.  Founded first surf shop in world in San Francisco in 1952.  

Started MDM project 4 months ago, implemented in 30 days, it looks like IBM brought to the moon - to untouched ground.  In principal, made him happy, but made all of their users (surfers) happy.  Originally each country manager took data down to Excel, but have 26 countries in Europe, and each might have own language.  60,000 SKUs, 26 languages, more than 2-3 million entitities in data management before sending to Web.  

Q:  What role did information agenda approach have in achieving outcomes?
A:  IBM came in, 55 interviews across organization.  80 different ERPs have to deal with.  IBM, based on best practices and O'Neill's vision and roadmap, and interviews.  Saw have possibility to grow business, reduce costs, streamline processes. Easy to get the board on board due to amount of money saving.  

Q:  Spent a lot of time figuring out what need to do to be successful and what cost savings are.  How measure ongoing success?
A:  Saved a lot of FTEs, a lot more turnover (revenue) in countries.  Used to take 6 weeks to update website, and can now do in seconds.

Q:  If had one piece of advice to all info professionals in room:
A:  Not easy - have so much advice.  Jack O'Neill said try to give best perfect fit to each person to make each person happy.  With whole product suite of IBM, can give people the best perfect fit to make people happy.  

Malcolm Gladwell coming to stage.

Is only one who finds it ironic that is information analytics conference in a city built around casinos?

Take us back to something happened 80-90 years ago.  Prize fight in Jersey City between two great heavyweights - billed as fight of the century, with $1M purse (huge for 1920).  At time, was young man named David Sarnoff who worked for RCA - leading manufacturer of radio sets.  They had a problem - no one was particularly interested in buying radios.  Sarnoff says they should broadcast boxing event live.  No one had done before - radio was just news, classical music in between.  Management all told him that was crazy, but he's persistent.  Finally the grey hairs at RCA say he can do it on his own time, no budget.  "Steals" radio transmitter from army, parks next to arena.  Finds a guy to come in and do announcing.  Talks to salesmen to arrange for radios in bars, etc. for people to listen.  Transmits first live broadcast of sporting event.  And next day, people start lining up to buy radio.  Was tipping point that radio went from fascinating tech no one was interested in to runaway success.

Sarnoff on his own - own initiative, brings on technological transformation of his business.  Everyone in this room is in same position.  Have set of tools, capabilities that can transform your business.

What are some lessons from Sarnoff on how he pulled off transformation that might be relevant for you.

1.  Time.
 When Sarnoff goes to bosses, one of reasons they are so skeptical is that they think it's trivial... can't think of how something like this can bring upon transformation.  Think radio is so important tech that nothing can be done overnight.  When look at institutions, socities, grappling with transformation - tha tintuition is false.  Radical change happens far more quickly than could imagine.  Crime rate in NY dropped by 2/3 in 3 years.  No one thought it could be done without spending billions and billions of dollars (and moving half the population of the city somewhere else).  Transformation doesn't have to take years and years.

2.  Reframing.
What was boxing match so instrumental? It reframed how americans thought about radio.  Up to then, if asked americans what a radio was, would have said it was a big box where someone reads you the news.  At the time, everyone was inundated with news.  Kids on every streetcorner, 6 papers in a city (morning, mid-morning, afternoon, evening...).  Would you spend 2 months' salary on a box to read you the news?  But Sarnoff came along and said radio will bring the world live into your living room.  Attend most anticipated sporting event of the year without leaving your house.  Lightbulb went off in consumers' heads.  If look at successful  transformation, always begins with reframing.  

Seat belt use - 20% to 75% in 3 years in 1980s.  Happened because of act of reframing.  Had been campaigns, laws, public service announcements for years.  Nothing worked.  People framed those efforts as gov't telling me what to do, and americas hate gov't telling us what to do with life.  Finally seatbelt advocates stopped talking about adults and gov't and asked for laws that said children under the age of 5 should be restrained.  No one could argue with that... and people were much more susceptible to Johnny in back seat saying "I'm wearing a seatbelt, why aren't you?" than gov't telling people what to do.  

Another example - ipod.  Not first mp3 player, but reframed it.  People couldn't program VCRs, and were expected to understand this new mp3 gadget?  iPod came out in 2 colors, one button, changed how people viewed what this device was.

How can you frame your problems for your organization to get your management to improve?  Are bringing about democritization of intelligence.  Bringing analytical tools to every layer of organization.  Making entire organizations marter, not making it more complex.  Are democratizing incredible amount of intelligence.  When framed that way, can be irresistable.

3. Mavens  - Social power.
 Who is David Sarnoff who brings about incredible transformation?  Did he hold senior position at RCA?  He was a kid.  Did he have political power?  Did he have a lot of resources?  Did he have a huge budget?  No.  What did he have?  He was the kind of guy who knew someone who knew someone who could steal a radio transmitter in Jersey City, who could find an announcer, who could convince salesmen to go out and put radios in bars and union halls.  He had social power.  

Social power is most undervalued.  Able to win respect of peers through specialized skill or knowledge.  In Tipping Point talk about notion of mavens.  Power lies in hands of specialized few with access to information.  A lot of understanding of mavens started in supermarket world.  Were studying why supermarket specials worked.  We don't know the prices of things worked (how much is the big box of cornflakes?), so why should it matter that it's discounted.  We don't shop the discount, we shop the sign.  So why don't supermarkets raise the price and then pretend to discount it?  Because the reality is that only 99.9% don't know the price of corn flakes... that 0.1% does know, and they will tell all their friends.

The same way that when needed to buy new laptop, called his brother who worked in IT.  Called someone he had a relationship with and trusted, not someone with power.  And until understand those kind of relationship, won't be able to push transformation in organization.

Close with another story - one from WWII.  At beginning of war, was something called east coast Pearl Harbor.  For first 9-10 months after enter war, was catastrophe off east coast of US.  Huge number of ships heading for England with supplies were sunk by u-boats, just a few miles offshore.  Millions of tons of shipping lost.  At first thought might be problem with leadership, but had very good leade.r  Thought maybe weren't spending enough, but were spending a lot of money, one of best funded Navies.  Thought maybe it was information, but had lot of intelligence.  The problem was really one of informational analytics.  Is simple way to stop sumbarines.  Break codes, find one and track where it might be, capture one and interrogate.  Pull together and create probalistic model on where think u-boats might be, instruct ship captains on where to go and how to avoid if encounter.  Realized were doing all of the piece parts, but no one was pulling it all together, and no one was communciating it out to the captains.  Created unit - 10th fleet - and they became mavens of that process.  Analyzed all information, picked up phone and let captains know what was happening.  Within weeks, battle in Atlantic changes, and goes from being at mercy of u-boats to commanding the seas for rest of war.

Transformation didn't take years.  happened instantly.  Happened because framed properly - wasn't about leadership, resources, or information, was about bringing intelligence together.  And by social power, with mavens that could communicate effectively today.  

Is same thing you can do for your organizations.  {Malcolm Gladwell leaves stage}

Recognizing IBM Information Champions. Showing names on screen    Grow and nurture communities, and recognize them for being the mavens of IBM Information Management.

Recognizing winner of IBM customer innovation awards.  
  • Martin's Point
  • Qualcomm
  • Faurecia
  • Moody's
  • LG
  • University of Ontario Institute of Technology
It's up to us to be that maven.  Sign up for user groups, participate in blogs, ask your account exec for an Information Agenda workshop.  We have power to lead the way to transform organization through information.

General Session over.