5 items tagged "leadership"

  • 3 Reasons why competitive intelligence is key for marketing

    3 Reasons why competitive intelligence is key for marketing

    There are only so many hours in a day, and there are a lot of tasks that marketing teams tackle on a daily basis. When we think about competitive intelligence (CI), we most commonly think about its benefits for the product marketing and sales teams. But as new companies are popping up, companies are fighting for the top spot of the market leader. Brands are trying to find new ways to resonate with their target market and ultimately win more customers. Now, more than ever, marketing leaders need to prioritize CI in their marketing strategy. 

    Not only does competitive intelligence help shape business strategies and help evaluate where you need to invest resources, but it can also help solve common business challenges. With the help of competitive intelligence, you’ll be able to craft a strong marketing strategy, improve your competitive win rate, and never be blind-sided by your competition. Marketing leaders might not be responsible for conducting competitive intelligence research themselves, but they will gain immense benefits from having a pulse on every move their biggest competitors make. 

    Let’s dive into three reasons why marketing leaders should prioritize competitive intelligence.

    Spend more time on what matters

    As a marketing leader, you have a team to manage, budgets to build, strategy to plan, and competitors to keep watch for. With the saved time and resources of an automated CI program, you’ll be able to focus more on executing your strategy. With the support of an excellent marketing team, product marketing team, and a competitive intelligence solution, marketing leaders can focus their time on the work that matters most.

    Historically, gathering competitive intelligence data has been manual and time-consuming. Now, competitive intelligence data collection is made easy. It’s often powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, which means the data presented to you is filtered for what’s highly valuable. Depending on what you’re looking for in a competitive intelligence solution, you’re able to drill down in the data to get as specific as you need to get the results you’re looking for. Regardless of who on the marketing team is responsible for competitive intelligence, automating competitive intelligence will help your team spend less time gathering CI, and more time turning the insights into action. 

    A robust marketing strategy won’t be complete without leveraging competitive intelligence data. Whether it’s refocusing budget, redesigning a website, or figuring out which projects to focus on, none of it can be done effectively unless you have a look into your competitive landscape. CI will give you insight into your competitors’ strategies — where they’re investing resources and money, what updates they’re making to their messaging, and which companies they’re choosing to partner with. If marketing leaders have a pulse on that, you’ll be able to build out a strategy that rivals that of your competitors. 

    Better enable your sales team

    As marketers, you want to offer our sales team the right support so that they can win as many deals as possible. You especially want them to win more deals against competitors. So, you want to provide your sales team with the most impactful collateral, materials, and training that will help them sell more effectively.

    One way to make your sales enablement material more effective is by integrating competitive intelligence data. Sure, you’re conducting demo training, providing your team with product one-pagers, and arming them with case studies. But, by integrating competitive intelligence data into your sales enablement materials, you’ll be able to provide your team with all of the information they need to handle competitive objections and win those tough deals. With the help of these materials, like competitive battlecards, your sales reps will never be caught off guard by a competitive objection again.

    If you have an automated competitive intelligence solution, and you integrate your CI solution with your competitive battlecards, you’re better able to keep battlecards up-to-date. And, you’re able to provide your sales team with the most relevant data, at all times, rather than crowding them with too much, potentially irrelevant data. You’re also able to effectively track usage of your sales enablement materials and get feedback from your sales team about what works and what doesn’t. This will ultimately allow you to track marketing impact by analyzing usage and engagement on your battlecards. As time goes on, you’ll also be able to measure the impact of competitive sales enablement on win rates and revenue won from competitive deals.

    Competitive intelligence will help you build more effective sales enablement materials. CI will open up a new avenue of analysis so that you can better understand what works and what doesn’t when it comes to your team winning more deals.

    Keep everyone informed on your competitive landscape

    With an automated solution, competitive insights can be captured and shared quickly, almost immediately, so marketing leaders can be proactive rather than reactive to a competitor shift. Not only are you able to arm your sales team with up-to-date competitive intel through battlecards, but you’re able to keep your colleagues informed on major competitive shifts.

    Once your CI program is automated, you’re able to build deliverables to share key points and compare your current performance to your competitors. This data is highly important for leaders of all departments to stay on top of. Maybe you present high-level competitive updates to the rest of your executive team, or you have your product marketers and/or CI specialists prepare specific competitive intelligence deliverables for each executive. Even better — your automated competitive intelligence solution alerts your team when a major competitive insight is captured. CI data is critical for all departments to have insight into, as it impacts everything from funding to product roadmaps to customer retention, and everything in between.

    If you automate your competitive intelligence, you can save time, and focus on building out and executing on a successful marketing strategy. Because, with an automated solution, your team will be able to deliver important insights, rather than having to wade through hundreds of data points. So, your team will have more bandwidth to focus on bigger projects that will benefit your organization.

    When your sales team is winning, marketing leaders are winning. Not only will competitive intelligence help marketing provide sales support, but it will also make sure that your team is never blind-sided by competitors. Altogether, an automated competitive intelligence program will make a measurable impact on the business results that matter most. Competitive intelligence goes beyond the immediate needs of your sales and product teams, and is a valuable asset for your whole organization.

    Author: Emily Dumas

    Source: Crayon

  • An overview of the Chief Data Officer role, past and present

    An overview of the Chief Data Officer role, past and present

    The role of Chief Data Officers (CDOs) in 2020 is evolving as CDOs are having quite possibly their most important and challenging year in their nearly two-decade existence to meet their organizations’ best needs and data capabilities. 2020 has become the year that everyone became fully aware of data and its role in our lives.

    As COVID-19 rapidly spread into a pandemic, business models were turned on their heads, supply chains dried up, and consumer behavior drastically altered CDOs, largely the leader of an organization’s overall data strategy, needed to deliver new ways to harness data and deliver insights quickly to help the business adjust.

    In greater numbers than ever before, organizations worldwide are harnessing the data that flows into and out of their systems to accurately forecast sales, customer retention, new products, competitor performance, employee satisfaction, regulatory compliance, fraud reduction, and more. To put it simply: Data is a commodity that must be harnessed by your business, or you will be left behind.

    Thus, the CDO’s role has drastically evolved. No longer is the CDO only responsible for maintaining regulatory compliance and potentially increasing efficiencies – the CDO could be the most important member of the leadership team other than the CEO.


    The first CDO appointment occurred in 2002 when CapitalOne appointed Cathy Doss to the position. The role was created largely as a response to the passing of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which was created as a response to various financial scandals. This new regulation required far more data governance and retention than ever before. Despite the newfound need for the role, its growth was relatively flat until 2008-2010.

    As recently as 2012, only 12% of large companies had a CDO. However, as many organizations realized the important role data plays in their business, those numbers began to rise sharply. In fact, in 2018, organizations with an appointed CDO rose to nearly 70%, and Gartner estimates that by 2025, 90% of large organizations will have a CDO.

    Evolution of the role

    Initially, the CDO was created primarily in response to new federal finance laws, thus serving largely as a defensive role focusing on governance and regulation. However, as technology improvements in the form of hardware and software emerged, coupled with an expansion in data analytics, progressive executives noted the potential for offensive corporate data utilization. Soon these organizations were able to monetize the data they were already collecting in new efficiencies, productivity, and overall growth.

    For example, various departments’ data was previously siloed, meaning that product development data wasn’t necessarily available to customer support or marketing. Under the CDO leadership, this data now exists as a thread that weaves throughout the organization, connecting design engineers all the way through to the customer. The CDO now serves as the tip of the innovation spear and not simply as a data steward.

    Challenges and opportunities

    While the role of the CDO continues to evolve and serve their organizations in new ways, there remain challenges that must be addressed:

    • Who does the CDO report to? Ideally, the CDO will be equal on the executive team, but the organizational fit varies.
    • Stakeholder buy-in to both the usage of data and the role itself also varies greatly in different organizations.
    • Battles with the CIO. CIOs trend towards attempting to save money, while CDOs typically want to invest in new technologies.
    • High turnover. The average tenure of a CDO is two years. This may, however, come from CDOs going to where the grass is greener.
    • Clarity of mission. Only 28% of recent survey respondents say that the role is successful and established.
    • Data silos. Data is still extremely siloed and scattered in most organizations, and it can be difficult to bring it all together and, more importantly, understand it.

    But just as there are questions and challenges for CDOs, there are also opportunities the office of the CDO can now offer their organizations:

    • Revenue growth
    • Innovation
    • Fraud reduction
    • Enhanced data governance
    • Lower costs
    • Data literacy

    Changes for 2020

    Harnessing the power of data in digital transformation will be imperative for most organizations going forward. AI, ML, and data analytics are no longer buzz words only for tech and finance, and every successful organization will pivot towards viewing data as an asset. COVID-19 has challenged everyone in all walks of life. Companies that have embraced data have been able to analyze their help desk data, VPN information, and other portions of their computing environments to determine what remote work policies are working are which are not.

    In the healthcare industry, the CDO office has provided information on the availability of personal protection equipment (PPE), beds, and staff to ensure adequate treatment is available for COVID-19 patients. Additionally, grocery chains have been taxed as never before, and data models provide valuable information on supply and demand and frontline grocery workers’ health.

    The post-COVID-19 world will offer opportunities due to the lessons learned and data ingested during the pandemic, such as enhanced digitization of workflows, robust disaster recovery plans, investment opportunities, and more. If 2020 has shown us anything, it is in the power of responsible data collection and sharing. CDOs that leverage this new emphasis on data and invest in the future will steer their organizations to new heights while building robust plans for future opportunities as well as crises. This is a new era, an era where data is king, and the CDO will be a critical player in determining organizations’ success or failure.

    Author: John Morrell

    Source: Datameer

  • How deeper employer - employee connections enhance individual and team performances

    How deeper employer - employee connections enhance individual and team performances

    Ever see something for the first time and then realize you see it everywhere? That happened to me over the last two weeks.

    1936 U.S. Olympic Crew Team

    It started with the book, “The Boys in the Boat,” by Daniel James Brown. It’s about a group of working-class boys from the University of Washington that goes on to win the gold medal in the Berlin Olympics. The part that caught my attention — the boys showed glimpses of greatness through their individual athletic feats. However, they were at risk of never becoming the No. 1 boat because they were consistently beaten by other boats on their own school team. It wasn’t until they internalized that excelling individually but not in sync with each other restricted their overall speed. Once they began rowing, not for one’s self but for each other, the boat began to glide on top of the water like there was no resistance. At that point they were unbeatable.

    2008 Boston Celtics

    Then came the Netflix series 'The Playbook'. This series highlights some of the most successful coaches in sports. The first episode features Doc Rivers, who led the Boston Celtics to the 2008 NBA championship. The team had acquired two star players to join one already on the roster. The problem Rivers faced was that he had three players that, on any other team, would expect to dominate the floor and excel with individual stats. Three players attempting to optimize individual performance on the same team would have had a disastrous result, just as the boys in the boat from Washington discovered. Coach Rivers introduced the concept of ubuntu.


    Ubuntu is an African philosophy meaning “you are because of the others.” One succeeds not solely because of one’s individual ability. Rather, enabling others, and having relationships and bonds with others is more important than any individual disagreement or division. Doc Rivers used this philosophy to bring the individuals together on his team to create something greater than the sum of its parts, resulting in an NBA championship. On a much grander scale, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela preached the philosophy as a way forward to develop future governance and heal a post-apartheid South Africa.


    I learned of Janteloven through a conversation with a business executive in Norway. Janteloven is a Scandinavian philosophy, a way of life that puts society ahead of the individual. This restricts the temptation to boast about individual accomplishments and teaches against being jealous of others. Interestingly, the topic didn’t come up because of a philosophical discussion. Instead, it emerged as part of designing a business improvement plan, including how much attention should be put on developing and highlighting individual advancement.

    Philosophy Under Attack

    There are those who argue that these philosophies directly contradict the Western views of individualism and that societies embracing them are at a disadvantage. In this duality of individualism verses collectivism, the argument is that philosophies like ubuntu and janteloven destroy the individual spirit. I’d like to think that the 1936 U.S. crew team and the 2008 Boston Celtics proved just the opposite. They were highly talented, highly skilled individuals who found a ceiling when excelling as individuals. It wasn’t until they embraced the ideal of operating together for the betterment of the group that the ceiling rose exponentially. This is the challenge of leadership — harnessing the talents of individuals to row in unison while in a culture that rewards individually.

    The New Employment Deal

    In late 2020, the Gartner HR practice launched the idea of 'the new employment deal'. This concept centers around employees demanding a relationship with their employers that differs from the traditional barter system of productivity for payment. This new deal requires a shared purpose, flexibility and deeper connections between employer and employees.

    It’s possible to see this relationship as benefiting employees at the expense of the employer, but this study found both enjoyed positive outcomes. Benefits to the employer included an increase in high-performing employees as well as a greater number of employees willing to promote the company externally. At organizations with a traditional approach, about 54% of employees were considered high performers. At organizations that prioritize building deeper connections, that number jumped to 75%. Also, in organizations with a traditional approach, only 38% of employees recommended the company externally. In those that built deeper connections, well over half of employees were willing to promote the company (56%). These outcomes improved retention and give employers advantaged access to the best talent in the labor market.

    At the end of the day

    As business leaders, we act similarly to coaches of professional sports teams. We can learn from the 2008 Celtics and the 1936 U.S. Olympic crew team. By blending the Western focus on the individual with the philosophies of ubuntu and janteloven, we can build groups of highly talented individuals and elevate their performance as part of a team. We do this not by abandoning the individual, but by fostering a culture of enablement that allows the individual to showcase their talents in sync with the group, thereby raising the overall ceiling of success. Our task as leaders is to identify the roadblocks that prevent that from happening, whether it’s in compensation structure, management coaching or simply fear of corporate intimacy.

    Author: Michael Uskert

    Source: Gartner

  • The challenge AI creates for IT and business leaders

    The challenge AI creates for IT and business leaders

    Artificial intelligence (AI) and AI-augmented data analytics have captured the imagination of everyone from kindergarten to the boardroom, as they change the ways we live, shop, consume news, and govern ourselves. From an IT-centric viewpoint these technologies are changing our business models. They’re also creating fierce competition to retain the limited number of people with the skills needed to transform AI into competitive advantage. IT and business leaders across industries all face the same challenge: how to close the skills gap that’s been created by advancements in AI and data analytics.

    Overcoming this challenge is essential to compete in today’s AI-enabled and disruption-obsessed tech environment. There is a wealth of technology platforms and resources available to businesses to become more data-driven and competitive. To reap technology’s full benefits, though, IT leaders need to reskill their staffs and attract top talent that are equipped with the right data skills and mindsets. Achieving this won’t happen overnight; it  will require support and investment from senior leadership. The strategy outlined below will increase the likelihood of these efforts succeeding.

    Obtain senior management buy-in before proceeding

    Making major changes in an organization requires the support of senior management because projects of this magnitude will have significant business, staffing and budget implications. IT professionals should build their cases for change from a business, not a technology, vantage point. They need to focus on how their plans will create competitive advantage by reducing lost opportunity costs, improving the success rate of new development projects, and enabling new business models.

    First, there needs to be a clear link between IT spending and specific revenue streams. How will each IT dollar spent impact initiatives from various departments; whether it’s IT, marketing and sales, or HR and accounting. This encourages good user behavior by linking requests to costs and encourages management to ask questions like the following:

    • How much does an application outage cost per hour?
    • What does it cost to shrink an application’s RTO from 4 hours to 2 hours?
    • What are its effects on customer relationships, stock prices, revenues, etc.?
    • And, last but certainly not least, can that money be better spent elsewhere?

    Finally, IT needs to set realistic expectations with senior management regarding the difficulty of retraining and hiring staff, as well as developing and testing new capabilities. Many IT organizations that have provided infrastructure for decades often lack the skills needed to exploit data analytics to their fullest advantage. From a recruiting perspective, many still struggle with the process of creating job descriptions that align with the revised role of IT. The list of new job titles is long and often fuzzy, encompassing everything from Chief Data Officer to Cloud Engineer to IoT Architect. Investing in training and development for existing staff while also allocating resources to recruit for new roles can be a timely and costly investment. However, it’s an investment worth making when done wisely, helping to create a more competitive business model. IT needs to be ready to sell this into the C-suite or risk losing out on the data-driven economy and being outpaced by competitors.

    Use consultants

    Treat the need to reskill your staff with a sense of urgency. Your competitors are, so don’t pinch pennies. Consultants can shorten your time to market with new services built on data analytics and AI/ML by helping to identify missing skills and assist in creating job descriptions and profiles of ideal candidates. This profile should include technical skills and personality traits, education, certifications, prior work experience, and other factors such a willingness to work evenings or weekends, and career expectations.

    Competent consultants can also help you avoid products that do not fit your requirements by helping to assess functionality, scale, performance, ease of use, etc. In doing so, they help avoid pitfalls that their previous clients encountered as they leveraged their data and AI to a competitive advantage. They can also help you create a shortlist of possible solutions and identify technology and marketing trends that may indicate changes in your strategies.

    Build relationships with local colleges and universities

    Schools are redesigning their curriculums to satisfy the need for technical professionals with skills in data analytics, AI/ML, cyber-security, and helping users leverage these technologies into competitive advantage. The lofty salaries commanded by graduates with these skills means there is fierce competition for them as previously noted, so you want to be first in making them job offers. The best ways to gain access to them is by building relationships with department heads and individual professors, offering professors consulting engagements where they make good business sense, sponsoring research projects that align with your business needs, and establishing an intern program. Internships not only expose potential new hires to your company, they introduce AI-related skills to existing employees, which can help management identify those with the potential to grow into new roles.

    While providing critical business insights for significant competitive advantage, data analytics and AI/ML are providing CIOs and other technical leaders with opportunities to reskill their staffs and engage with a whole new generation of data-savvy candidates. It doesn’t stop at just training and recruitment though. Leaders need to invest in the right tools and technologies that empower their workforce to harness the full potential of data and AI. Done well, these projects will transform IT’s role within an organization from being a provider of infrastructure to being a source of competitive advantage. Since mastery of these technologies is not optional, now is a great time to start to start the process.

    Author: Stanley Zaffos

    Source: Insidebigdata

  • Why it is key for leaders to infuse data and analytics into organizations

    Why it is key for leaders to infuse data and analytics into organizations

    Data and analytics are proving more important to companies’ strategies than ever before, according to a survey by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services. However, many organizations still fall short of achieving their analytics goals, owing to a skills gap and issues with data access and usage. That’s because almost 75% of organizations don’t have a leadership that completely backs a data-driven culture or nurtures and supports analytics-led innovation. Alarmingly, 24% of respondents say their company culture tends to limit access to information, and 20% think that organizational structure impedes use of analyzed data.

    That figure just hints at part of the problem: 19% of those surveyed blame a lack of leadership prioritization, and 11% say that the failure of previous data projects has led to disillusion and disinvestment in data and analytics. The end result of these combined issues is that 74% of companies experience leadership or cultural reluctance to use data and analytics to their fullest.

    Senior executives are failing to lead by example and embrace data and analytics. In turn, their teams have failed to adopt data-led approaches to their work, neglecting intelligence that could provide beneficial strategic insights and missing opportunities to drive growth, increase revenue, and evolve their businesses.

    We asked some of our experts what leaders should do to put this right. Read on to find out why execs of all kinds must be data evangelists.

    Execs driving evolution: Infusing data across the entire organization

    To maximize the benefits of data and analytics for any organization, our experts agree that business leaders must foster a cultural shift in their companies. Thinking differently and encouraging new habits throughout a business starts at the top.

    Achieving this requires them to develop a vision around being an intelligence-led company. Execs should support the education of colleagues and advocate an organizational culture that adopts the use of analytics as more than just a best practice. They need to adopt technological solutions that infuse analytics into every process, product, and service.

    “First and foremost, it’s an issue of C-suite leadership,” observes Guy Levy-Yurista, former Sisense Chief Strategy Officer. He explains: “Typically, they don’t concern themselves with data and analytics. It’s something they prefer to outsource to data specialists. This has to change if they want their businesses to survive. For an organization to become data-driven, the culture needs to change, and that change must be led by those at the top. The C-suite must embrace, and be seen to embrace, data and analytics. When the top leads, the rest will follow.”

    Envisioning a data-focused company

    Guy calls for companies to build a two- or three-year cohesive strategy that inculcates the use of data and analytics throughout the organization. He says, “Every company must have an embedded data strategy that takes into account the working practices and all of the data needs of every division.”

    This involves taking a fresh approach to data in order to get better results. 

    “Data-driven culture doesn’t mean ‘bring charts to meetings’ or ‘make decisions with numbers,’” explains Scott Castle, Sisense’s VP and General Manager, Internal Analytics. “It means implementing a hypothesis-driven culture. Identify theories, test them, rigorously seek to disprove them while rapidly implementing those that show promise. Make decisions with evidence. Don’t let your team search out favorable statistics. Encourage them to look at the complete data picture and come to conclusions based on the preponderance of the evidence.”

    To this end, Charles Holive, Managing Director of Sisense’s Strategy Consulting Business, calls for the appointment of a chief data officer in every leadership team to be the main advocate for data-driven working practices, and he says they should have revenue targets. He concludes: “This is not an initiative. It’s a way forward, a mandatory muscle for all companies to develop by infusing analytics in everything they do internally and externally, to overall increase returns on investments for their companies and their customers.”

    Analytics success stories: Companies infusing analytics to win their industries

    Smarte Carte has done an excellent job of bringing all of its data together and putting it into the hands of its field team, so everyone is working with near real-time data from their mobile devices. This helps ensure better forecasting, reduces product/kiosk downtime, and ensures that its people have the answers they need when and where they need them.

    Another huge example of a company leading with data is Amazon: The Seattle tech giant is an extremely data-driven company, with customer service at its core. Amazon measures the effectiveness of almost everything it does, including innovation. Guy observes that Amazon gives employees license to innovate almost at will. (Indeed, it’s an unofficial motto around the “Everything Store” that employees should innovate their own jobs away.)

    It’s becoming increasingly important to try to measure innovation with data. Providing it can, and providing the numbers show a benefit, the innovation becomes regular operating procedure. With this in mind, Guy recommends embracing innovation as a critical driver of success. 

    “Innovation can be inexact and inefficient, often by design,” says Guy. “So, any company needs to create a team and allocate a budget that’s dedicated to innovation and that has the latitude to examine data further, stretch parameters, and explore whether there are new possibilities out there.”

    Pressure drives evolution: Companies transforming under COVID-19

    The coronavirus pandemic forced companies to think differently and improve their agility. Innovation became critical for nearly every business. Scott describes it as “a perfect example of a sudden market change that required every business to reconsider its fundamental assumptions.”

    Some companies, like those in air travel and hospitality, saw demand for their products almost completely disappear overnight, and others, like Zoom and grocery stores, saw it scale unexpectedly. They all required quick responses to adjust to, capitalize upon, or even simply survive in the new reality. Recall the supply chain problems that paralyzed supermarkets in April 2020: Organizations faced with totally new market dynamics needed to test new hypotheses and run experiments quickly — and those that did, using data and analytics, survived and thrived. 

    The pandemic brought a new focus to data and its timeliness because conditions could change daily; a dashboard being updated once a week or month was no longer acceptable. The customer experience changed as well, almost overnight, and will only continue to evolve.

    Taking a macro view, Charles observes that, “Many markets got to be reset through the pandemic … giving an opportunity to large, small, and new players to reinvent themselves and tackle the market from a redefined environment. It’s been surprising to me to see how fast companies, doing it through the value and data-driven approach, went on to win more.”

    Lead with change, or change leaders

    The consensus is clear — organizations can’t stand still. To flourish, they must be led using actionable intelligence, derived from data and analytics. They must infuse analytics into their practices, their products, their services, and even alter their organization’s DNA if necessary, to become modern businesses.

    To do that, they need their leaders to become evangelists for analytics. They must expedite the infusion of analytics everywhere and enable everyone to use actionable intelligence. The choice is stark for the leaders of every business: Do this for your organization to survive and thrive, or die.

    Author: Adam Murray

    Source: Sisense

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