Monthly Archives: July 2017

Top Ten Digitalist Magazine Posts Of The Week [July 24, 2017]

300w x 200h 300x200 Top Ten Digitalist Magazine Posts Of The Week [July 24, 2017]

Like the classic parable of the blind man and the elephant, it seems everyone has a unique take on digital transformation. Some equate digital transformation with emerging technologies, placing their bets on as the Internet of Things, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Others see it as a way to increase efficiencies and change business processes to accelerate product to market. Some others think of it is a means of strategic differentiation, innovating new business models for serving and engaging their customers. Despite the range of viewpoints, many businesses are still challenged with pragmatically evolving digital in ways that are meaningful, industry-disruptive, and market-leading.

According to a recent study of more than 3,000 senior executives across 17 countries and regions, only a paltry three percent of businesses worldwide have successfully completed enterprise-wide digital transformation initiatives, even though 84% of C-level executives ranks such efforts as “critically important” to the fundamental sustenance of their business.

The most comprehensive global study of its kind, the SAP Center for Business Insight report “SAP Digital Transformation Executive Study: 4 Ways Leaders Set Themselves Apart,” in collaboration with Oxford Economics, identified the challenges, opportunities, value, and key technologies driving digital transformation. The findings specifically analyzed the performance of “digital leaders” – those who are connecting people, things, and businesses more intelligently, more effectively, and creating punctuated change faster than their less advanced rivals.

After analyzing the data, it was eye-opening to see that only three percent of companies (top 100) are successfully realizing their full potential through digital transformation. However, even more remarkable was that these leaders have four fundamental traits in common, regardless of their region of operation, their size, their organizational structure, or their industry.

We distilled these traits in the hope that others in the early stages of transformation or that are still struggling to find their bearings can embrace these principles in order to succeed. Ultimately I see these leaders as true ambidextrous organizations, managing evolutionary and revolutionary change simultaneously, willing to embrace innovation – not just on the edges of their business, but firmly into their core.

Here are the four traits that set these leaders apart from the rest:

Trait #1: They see digital transformation as truly transformational

An overwhelming majority (96%) of digital leaders view digital transformation as a core business goal that requires a unified digital mindset across the entire enterprise. But instead of allowing individual functions to change at their own pace, digital leaders prefer to evolve the organization to help ensure the success of their digital strategies.

The study found that 56% of these businesses regularly shift their organizational structure, which includes processes, partners, suppliers, and customers, compared to 10% of remaining companies. Plus, 70% actively bring lines of business together through cross-functional processes and technologies.

By creating a firm foundation for transformation, digital leaders are further widening the gap between themselves and their less advanced competitors as they innovate business models that can mitigate emerging risks and seize new opportunities quickly.

Trait #2: They focus on transforming customer-facing functions first

Although most companies believe technology, the pace of change, and growing global competition are the key global trends that will affect everything for years to come, digital leaders are expanding their frame of mind to consider the influence of customer empowerment. Executives who build a momentum of breakthrough innovation and industry transformation are the ones that are moving beyond the high stakes of the market to the activation of complete, end-to-end customer experiences.

In fact, 92% of digital leaders have established sophisticated digital transformation strategies and processes to drive transformational change in customer satisfaction and engagement, compared to 22% of their less mature counterparts. As a result, 70% have realized significant or transformational value from these efforts.

Trait #3: They create a virtuous cycle of digital talent

There’s little doubt that the competition for qualified talent is fierce. But for nearly three-quarters of companies that demonstrate digital-transformation leadership, it is easier to attract and retain talent because they are five times more likely to leverage digitization to change their talent management efforts.

The impact of their efforts goes beyond empowering recruiters to identify best-fit candidates, highlight risk factors and hiring errors, and predict long-term talent needs. Nearly half (48%) of digital leaders understand that they must invest heavily in the development of digital skills and technology to drive revenue, retain productive employees, and create new roles to keep up with their digital maturity over the next two years, compared to 30% of all surveyed executives.

Trait #4: They invest in next-generation technology using a bimodal architecture

A couple years ago, Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner and global head of research, observed that “CIOs can’t transform their old IT organization into a digital startup, but they can turn it into a bi-modal IT organization. Forty-five percent of CIOs state they currently have a fast mode of operation, and we predict that 75% of IT organizations will be bimodal in some way by 2017.”

Based on the results of the SAP Center for Business Insight study, Sondergaard’s prediction was spot on. As digital leaders dive into advanced technologies, 72% are using a digital twin of the conventional IT organization to operate efficiently without disruption while refining innovative scenarios to resolve business challenges and integrate them to stay ahead of the competition. Unfortunately, only 30% of less advanced businesses embrace this view.

Working within this bimodal architecture is emboldening digital leaders to take on incredibly progressive technology. For example, the study found that 50% of these firms are using artificial intelligence and machine learning, compared to seven percent of all respondents. They are also leading the adoption curve of Big Data solutions and analytics (94% vs. 60%) and the Internet of Things (76% vs. 52%).

Digital leadership is a practice of balance, not pure digitization

Most executives understand that digital transformation is a critical driver of revenue growth, profitability, and business expansion. However, as digital leaders are proving, digital strategies must deliver a balance of organizational flexibility, forward-looking technology adoption, and bold change. And clearly, this approach is paying dividends for them. They are growing market share, increasing customer satisfaction, improving employee engagement, and, perhaps more important, achieving more profitability than ever before.

For any company looking to catch up to digital leaders, the conversation around digital transformation needs to change immediately to combat three deadly sins: Stop investing in one-off, isolated projects hidden in a single organization. Stop viewing IT as an enabler instead of a strategic partner. Stop walling off the rest of the business from siloed digital successes.

As our study shows, companies that treat their digital transformation as an all-encompassing, all-sharing, and all-knowing business imperative will be the ones that disrupt the competitive landscape and stay ahead of a constantly evolving economy.

Follow me on twitter @vivek_bapat 

For more insight on digital leaders, check out the SAP Center for Business Insight report, conducted in collaboration with Oxford Economics,SAP Digital Transformation Executive Study: 4 Ways Leaders Set Themselves Apart.”


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Digitalist Magazine

A Brief Note From 1908 About “Electric Sleep”

2 Screen Shot 2012 10 09 at 7.41.34 PM A Brief Note From 1908 About “Electric Sleep”

In the early years of automobiles, electric models were favored, and even steam-driven cars were predominant over models powered by fossil fuels. Things change. Ultimately, the internal-combustion engine proved more stable and became the king of the road.

Interestingly, electricity had a chance to make inroads in another area in which gases had proven to be unstable: anesthesia. In the nascent years of the practice, miscalculations with ether and chloroform led to deaths. No one wanted to go back to the brutality of surgery during consciousness, but there had to be a better way. Enter Dr. Louise G. Rabinovitch, who experimented successfully (and chillingly and unethically, often) with bringing a blissful unconsciousness to animal and human test subjects with electric shock. A better understanding of anesthesia made this jolting scheme unnecessary, but the doctor’s jaw-dropping reports of her experiments likely would have prevented her methods from becoming popular in any case. From an article about “electric sleep” in the September 27, 1908 New York Times:

PARIS–Dr. Louise G. Rabinovitch, the well-known New York psychoclacist, and Dr. V. Magnan are preparing another stop in their series of discoveries in electric sleep experiments, which have been safely conducted on rabbits and dogs, will be made soon on human beings, patients in the insane hospital in Paris.

Dr. Rabinovitch has been conducting her experiments with hopes of finding the means of doing away entirely with the usual anaesthetics–ether and chloroform–and so far has been very successful.

The City of Paris early in the Summer fitted up a laboratory for the hospital of Sainte-Anne, and there she has been working steadily. Already she has put a patient to sleep by electricity without performing an operation. She has also in several cases used electricity as a local anaesthetic on a part of the arm or leg and has performed a slight operation. Her intention now is, in which she is encouraged by the veteran Dr. Magnan, to perform a serious operation made under the influence of electric sleep. This will be the first time that this has been done anywhere in the world.

Dr. Rabinovitch has made some remarkable discoveries while she has been working in her laboratory, and finds no difficulty in instilling life into animals which have died on the operating table. The immense value of this discovery to physicians when patients die because of an anaesthetic can be seen at once.

One dog playing about the laboratory, the doctor told me, had been dead three times. “While under the influence of electric sleep I killed her instantly with chloroform. The heart stopped beating and respiration ceased. If the animal had been left alone then it would have remained dead, but I immediately instituted artificial respiration by means of electricity, and presently the animal started to breathe of its own accord. Again, after I had killed the dog and resuscitated it, hemorrhage set in, caused by an operation, and the dog bled to death. I brought it back to life again. The animal is at present perfectly healthy.”•

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Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update: Application Platform Separation

d365 update 4 1 300x225 Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update: Application Platform Separation

Historically, the CRM workloads for Dynamics 365 contained Sales, Service and Marketing functionality as core or base system functionality. Recent functionality such as Field Service or Project Service were offered as apps or solutions that can be installed as required. There was not an option to exclude Sales, Service, or Marketing. For example, if an organization’s only function was to manage incidents or tickets, and therefore had no use for Sales and Marketing, there was no way to only install the service module and turn off the sales or marketing functionality. Well, hold onto your hats folks because, with the July 2017 Dynamics 365 Update, all that’s about to change.

072417 1957 Application1 Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update: Application Platform Separation

Figure 1: Application Platform Separation – July 2017 Release

Application Platform Separation looks at extracting the Sales, Service and Marketing functionality from the core application into distinct app modules that can be installed independently of each other. This will be seamless to the end user and will not affect any functionality as available today for the Web, Mobile or Integrated Service Hub. The diagram below shows the changes for separating the Sales, Service and Marketing functionality form the Core CRM (or xRM Server).

072417 1957 Application2 Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update: Application Platform Separation

Figure 2: The Sales, Service and Marketing functionality which were part of the core “CRM Solution” is not extracted as separate solutions, independent and outside of the xRM Server.

Why the Separation?

Separating out the application functionality from the platform provides several benefits:

  • Clear separation between the code base for the platform features vs the application functionality
  • Updates and enhancements to Sales, Service and Marketing can now be done independently of platform or each other leading to faster releases and feature enhancements
  • Specific solution can be imported and developed on as required leading to developer productivity
  • Invest in and improve the solution infrastructure and follow app module / solution structure for sales, service and marketing

Inside the Separation

So, how exactly is the separation done for extracting the application functionality from the platform? Here are a few highlights:

  • On the Server Side, Application code is moved to plugins using Custom Control Framework (CCF)
  • All entity metadata has been extracted into solutions
  • On the Client Side, ASPX controls have been moved to Custom Controls
  • ASPX dialogs have been moved to meta-data driven dialogs
  • JavaScript have been moved to Typescript with the latest client APIs

072417 1957 Application3 Dynamics 365 July 2017 Update: Application Platform Separation

Figure 3: The Platform Stack without the Sales, Service or Marketing functionality

To learn more about the Application Platform Separation and many other new features of D365 July update, be sure to tune in to our nine-part webinar series – starting Tuesday, July 25! Register now.

Happy Dynamics 365’ing!

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PowerObjects- Bringing Focus to Dynamics CRM

Notes from 2017 MIT CDOIQ Symposium: CDO’s, and Data, go Mainstream

During the conclusion of this year’s annual MIT Chief Data Officer and Information Quality Symposium (MITCDOIQ) held July 12-14 in Cambridge, MA, the organizers noted that the focus of the event was at last shifting from the rise and role of the CDO to a focus on the key, strategic business initiatives undertaken by the CDO and their organization.  But this shift was evident right from the start of the event – one featured session called this the process of “Shifting from Survival to Success.”

Front and center were key topics around the business value of data:  building out the data infrastructure and democratizing data, the data privacy requirements of GDPR, the value and use of machine learning and advanced analytics to drive business initiatives and achieve better business outcomes, and adaption to the accelerating pace of change.  One panel of CDO’s – including Christina Clark of General Electric (GE), Mark Ramsey of Glaxo Smith Kline, and Venkat Varadachary of American Express – addressed a number of these points in detail.

blog MITCDOIQ presentation Notes from 2017 MIT CDOIQ Symposium: CDO’s, and Data, go Mainstream

Managing Data for Business Value and Growth

Though the CDO role emerged out of the financial crisis and the need for broader controls around regulatory requirements and data governance, that role has changed and most new CDO’s are addressing the need for business value and revenue growth.  This doesn’t mean that the foundation and fundamentals of data governance and compliance are forgotten or dropped.  In fact, those aspects are critical to this shift as business growth is dependent on an organization’s ability to structure and manage data for speed and flexibility.  The approaches taken to succeed may vary considerably though.

blog banner landscape Notes from 2017 MIT CDOIQ Symposium: CDO’s, and Data, go Mainstream

One participant noted the example of Google absorbing YouTube.  Google took 2 years to build the infrastructure and information needed to effectively monetize the volumes of data acquired.  In the case of financial services firms, that approach is rare, particularly with mergers.  In those cases, the customer support and client relationship aspects are critical and it is more important to leave the systems in place and develop an approach to span across those systems, even where they have similar data.

The participants particularly noted that the benefits of this data-driven business approach are large, but that there is a need for a clear vision of what the organization wants to do and address.  This includes establishing a scorecard with quantifiable metrics for business value.

Some of these may be as straightforward as: identifying how many different revenue-generating use cases have been deployed; or determining how much faster deployment is with new approaches to data delivery.  Often, it’s the critical data elements, perhaps no more than 50 per subject area, that provide the key metrics around operational value (and the impact to business processes that will break if incorrect) tied in with the costs to acquire, manage, and consume such data.

blog MITCDOIQ trillium Notes from 2017 MIT CDOIQ Symposium: CDO’s, and Data, go Mainstream

I was on hand with colleagues at MITCDOIQ to demonstrate how our Trillium data quality software can help organization’s data governance initiatives 

The CDO of Glaxo Smith Kline noted a goal to change the time to discover new drugs from 8 years to 1 year, and transform the pharmaceutical industry by leveraging sensor-based and genomics data.  Many steps are needed to reach that business goal including standardizing internal data and being able to connect the internal data to new external sources.

Democratization of Data

For individuals in an organization to be effective, they need trusted data at hand to move forward with speed and efficiency.  Data scientists are just a part of that equation.  Sales, marketing, operations, and others in the lines of business all need data.  Getting data into the hands of employees, even if imperfect, is valuable – it creates incentives sooner as people can see the data issues and work to solve them.  Helping solve the problems for these people in accessing and using data not only democratizes the data, but provides them the ability to act in a more agile way with faster time-to-value.

At the same time, it is important to remember that data must be served in a manner that is consumable to these varied users.  Some will want visualizations and dashboards, some need alerts and notifications for faster action, some need data in Excel, and some could care less about visualization and want access via tools such as Python.

To achieve this democratization, it’s important then to understand what data people want access to, how it may be delivered and consumed, and how individuals can accelerate this process.  Shifting the cultural mindset to a process of collecting and accessing data rather than modeling and structuring the data first helps to more readily identify where the business challenges are and how data may be applied to solve the issues and drive value.

Barbara Latulippe, CDO of Dell, reiterated many of the panels themes in her MITCDOIQ presentation on “Governance and Stewardship in the Big Data Era.”  She noted that the data scientists in her organization were struggling to find data.  In one case, it took 35 phone calls by a data scientist to determine all the context around the data!  Democratizing data means it is critical to make the data easy to find, easy to understand, and easy to determine trust and quality.

One metric for Dell is simply reducing the time needed to find and consume data for prescriptive value with a goal to move from 70% of a data scientist’s available time spent in finding data (a statistic regularly reported) to 30% of their time.  Achieving this requires data governance, echoing the earlier panel’s comments that governance is foundational to success in this area.  Dell’s approach follows a Lean Data Governance model, a practice that Trillium Software has noted in the past, including:  starting small, showing success, visualizing results, and breaking down silos by showing others “what’s in it for them.”

Finding Data Skills, Building Data Literacy

On the final day of MITCDOIQ, Natalie Evans Harris, VP of Ecosystem Development at The Impact Lab, discussed the perceived issue in finding individuals with the data skills needed to help organizations achieve business value and growth.  She noted that this is often a “signaling” problem.

The focus by organizations on finding the “data scientist” who can understand and communicate with the business while finding and accessing data, testing hypotheses, building algorithms and models, and ramping these up into ongoing executable frameworks is misguided.  What organizations need to focus on is bringing teams together with the mix of skills that can empower all involved to move the organization forward.  This is the approach noted by Booz, Allen, Hamilton in their Field Guide to Data Science.

It’s important to remember that the range of skills needed to work effectively with data exist in many individuals and consider whether we are really looking for specialists or trying to take advantage of competencies (e.g. biologists, linguists, etc. can provide data science) and blend those with the subject matter experts who understand the business, understand business opportunities, and can present ideas in a manner that makes sense in the organization.

My own topic at MITCDOIQ, Finding Relevance in the Big Data World, touched on an aspect of data literacy, specifically how to approach the challenge of considering what data is important, i.e. relevant, for a given business initiative. Wolf Ruzicka, the Chairman of the Board at EastBanc Technologies, noted in his blog “Grow A Data Tree Out Of The “Big Data” Swamp” of June 1, 2017. “If you don’t know what you want to get out of the data, how can you know what data you need – and what insight you’re looking for?”

A fundamental step then in bringing data into the mainstream is ensuring that the individuals working with the data to establish a goal (whether generating new revenue, meeting compliance goals such as GDPR, or reducing operational costs).  Only with a business goal in mind can you test hypotheses, evaluate and measure data, and determine whether the data is fit for purpose.  The results must be documented in a way that they can be communicated out through a repeatable data governance process.  Such a process should start small, but it provides an approach to build a practice, show success, and build business value while democratizing and measuring the data used and highlighting which data has value for which business purpose.

As Harris noted, it’s important to address change management services and processes, particularly to understand how people can use, interpret, and understand their data and their dashboards.  This means not only thinking about data literacy, but building data literacy!

lessons learned Notes from 2017 MIT CDOIQ Symposium: CDO’s, and Data, go Mainstream

From MITCDOIQ: Lessons Learned in Dell’s CDO/Data Governance Journey

Data-driven Success

As the CDO panel noted, having both data governance and data science teams together in the organization helps ensure that regulatory obligations are met while building for growth.  It’s the underlying foundation needed to achieve success at data-driven initiatives.  And it’s hard to get people bought in fully, and requires culture change, but that is part of the CDO’s work.  This shift is evidenced in even at MITCDOIQ in its topics – no longer is the focus on creating a CDO office but on sharing the stories of organizational change and the adoption of fundamental data-driven processes and data literacy.

Discover the new rules for how data is moved, manipulated, and cleansed – download our new eBook The New Rules for Your Data Landscape today!

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Syncsort + Trillium Software Blog

Calculate the Cost of Microsoft Dynamics 365

CRM Blog Calculate the Cost of Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Microsoft Dynamics CRM) is a cloud ERP/CRM system run on Microsoft Azure that includes Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Marketing, Project Service Automation, Operations and Financials.

So, how much will all this cost to own and operate?

The CRM Software Blog has put together a Quick Quote Wizard to calculate an estimate, based on basic information that you provide about your business needs, that will help you determine if Dynamics 365 will be a financial fit for your company.

On the right-hand side of each page of the CRM Software Blog, you’ll see the bar: Request Instant Quote Dynamics 365/CRM. That will lead you to the brief questionnaire asking about your CRM needs – size of company, number of users, level of support required, etc.

With that information, the Quick Quote Wizard will crunch the numbers and automatically give you an estimate of software, installation and ongoing costs associated with a Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation. While the quote is not binding, it is a good place to start when you are presenting a budget for your CRM solution.

Your Quick Quote includes the cost of Microsoft Dynamics 365 (Dynamics CRM) license subscription, annual software assurance maintenance plan and estimated implementation and training services provided by a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Partner.

This Quick Quote is intended as an estimate for budgeting purposes only. To find a Microsoft Partner in your area that specializes in implementation, integration, customization, training and support of Microsoft Dynamics 365 visit our directory of Dynamics 365/CRM partners. Based on an in-depth discovery of your needs, the partner you choose can provide you with an accurate final proposal.

Try the Quick Quote Wizard today. It’s free, it’s easy and it’s instant.

By CRM Software Blog Writer,

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Lead, Transform, Operate: A Three-Step Imperative for the Modern CFO

websitelogo Lead, Transform, Operate: A Three Step Imperative for the Modern CFO

Posted by Tom Kelly, Senior Director of Product Marketing

CFOs today face several ever-evolving challenges. Digital disruption continues to change the way business gets done everywhere from self-driving cars to closing the books. Additionally, businesses embracing hybrid business models that are bridging the internet-brick and mortar gap need to experiment and innovate without spending significant amounts of capital and resources. Meanwhile, globalization demands that companies comply with local laws and accounting requirements while simultaneously managing operations in each country. And, as if all of this is not enough, regulatory burdens continue to grow and the CFO still needs to hit the quarterly numbers.

In order to be successful in this ever changing, chaotic business environment it is essential that a CFO:

  • Lead by Focusing Resources on What Matters Most
  • Transform Proactively and Reactively
  • Operate the Finance Function Effectively and Efficiently

Lead by Focusing Resources on What Matters Most

No one is better positioned to help the organization concentrate on priorities. It is the CFO that leads the planning process, establishing the goals and how funds will be invested each year. Business acumen and expertise are important skills for a CFO to be able to focus the organization on key deliverables, but just as importantly the CFO needs a scalable infrastructure that can provide a single source of truth and actionable business intelligence. Combining business acumen and expertise with NetSuite’s unified data model, the CFO can deliver on actionable business intelligence across the entire enterprise by putting real-time data in the hands of the decision makers, on any device, at any time.

If the new model is successful, and the business grows continuously, the CFO needs to be wary of interrupting business momentum when the need to scale demands a new system and infrastructure. That’s where cloud platforms can future proof the business to scale, adapt and evolve. More importantly, multi-tenant cloud platforms ensure that customizations are carried forward and innovation is always current.

Transform Proactively and Reactively

The best way a CFO can make sure that the organization thrives is to put in place a flexible infrastructure that can react to an ever-changing environment. Today’s CFOs need a platform that does not compromise between scalability and control. As competitors innovate offering new products and/or services and new business models arise CFOs will need not only the functionality to deal with emerging challenges such as recurring billing but also a flexible platform to test and trial on newly emerging business models. In retail for example, businesses need a platform to test and configure a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, or in a bricks and mortar store.

As business goes global, the CFO has to facilitate the transformation of multi-currency, multi-lingual, multi-book and different statutory requirements with efficiency. Failure to do so can result in degrading a company’s operational consistency, controls and visibility into foreign operations. Companies that have very large, rigid headquarters systems that cannot be quickly deployed forgoes the effort and the result is less visibility, less operational consistency and control. In these situations, the goal of maintaining one version of the truth is unobtainable.

Operate the Finance Function Effectively and Efficiently

While leading and transforming, the CFO has another thing to do – run the finance function in an effective an efficient manner. In some cases, this can be more demanding than anything else a CFO does, but it must be done, and done very well. With the ever-increasing amount of regulations, tax laws that are local, state, national and international, maintaining strong internal controls and corporate governance, and reporting information that is accurate, actionable and readily available can be enough of a challenge by themselves. Embracing the right software platform can make managing this menagerie simple.

Today’s CFOs should look at software companies that have considerable experience with organizations across industries, that can use that experience to ensure that best practices for things like corporate governance and controls are baked into the standard offerings. It is also important to get the information into the hands of decision makers in a timely and accurate manner. The standard approach of generating reports is (often through Excel spreadsheets) is no longer sufficient. CFOs need a system that puts actionable business intelligence and alerts in the hands of decision makers in real-time via mobile devices.

Are You an Old Version CFO?

Gone are the days of the Bean Counter! New regulations, new business models, the advent of big data, and exponential technology improvements requires that the CFO handle broader responsibilities beyond effectively and efficiently operating the finance function. Financial acumen is a must for today’s CFOs, but they must also possess strategic skills to help transform the organization and be able to have operational insight to lead. Using the old heavy rigid ERP offerings will not provide the tools to be nimble and break out of the “Old CFO’ mold.

Learn more about how NetSuite makes a CFO’s job easier, more strategic.

Posted on Thu, July 20, 2017
by NetSuite filed under

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The NetSuite Blog

theconcealedweapon: People will honestly ask “Does that poor person deserve food?” but never ask…


People will honestly ask “Does that poor person deserve food?” but never ask “Does that CEO deserve ten cars, three houses, and two yachts?”

And before you respond with “the poor person is buying that food with someone else’s money”, the CEO bought those luxuries with money earned from other people’s hard work.

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5 Big Data Experts Who Caught Your Attention This Year

Not all expert interviews are created equal. Here are the five most popular Big Data experts we’re spoken to this year. Did your favorite make the list?

#1  Dakshinamurthy V. Kolluru

blog kolluru banner 5 Big Data Experts Who Caught Your Attention This Year

As the founder and president of the International School of Engineering, aka INSOFE (@INSOFEedu), Kolluru could teach his own master class in communicating complex ideas with clarity and excitement.

Kolluru has done extensive work in data science, particularly mathematical algorithms and pattern extraction. He has helped establish several data science centers of excellence, and proactively steered INSOFE into the globally acclaimed School of Applied Engineering that it is today.

We asked him about the use of data science skills in the workplace, and where the field of data analytics was headed.

See what he had to say about Data Science and Big Data Analytics

#2  Wayne W. Eckerson

blog eckerson banner 5 Big Data Experts Who Caught Your Attention This Year

Eckerson (@weckerson), the founder and principal consultant for Eckerson Group, is an internationally recognized thought leader in the business intelligence. He is a sought-after consultant, noted speaker and bestselling author.

In our interview, Eckerson offers insight on the evolution of business analytics with additional thoughts on what business intelligence professionals will need to do survive the future of self-service technology.

Read his interview for more on the Evolution of Business Intelligence

#3  Reynold Xin, Databricks

blog xin banner 5 Big Data Experts Who Caught Your Attention This Year

Xin (@rxin) is the chief architect for Spark core at Databricks, and also one of Spark’s founding fathers. At this year’s Strata + Hadoop World in San Jose, he gave a presentation on the full history of Spark, from taking inspiration from mainframe databases to the cutting edge features of Spark 2.x.

Syncsort’s Paige Roberts sat down with Xin to get the details on the driving factors behind Spark 2.x and its newest features, such as structured streaming.

Follow along in his popular two-part series:

#4  Neha Narkhede, Confluent

blog neha banner 5 Big Data Experts Who Caught Your Attention This Year

Narkhede (@nehanarkhede) is the co-founder and chief technology officer at Confluent. Prior to Confluent, she built Apache Kafka with two of her colleagues at LinkedIn.

At a recent Confluent partner event, Syncsort’s Paige Roberts spoke with Narkhede about Apache Kafka, Confluent, the future of streaming data processing, and what it’s like to be a “Girl Boss” in Big Data.

You won’t want to miss any of this three-part conversation:

#5  Robert Corace, SoftServe

blog corace banner 5 Big Data Experts Who Caught Your Attention This Year

Corace is the executive vice president of digital disruption at SoftServe, a digital solutions company. As a seasoned industry professional with more than 25 years of experience leading sales and implementation teams, technology groups and global delivery centers, Corace is an expert in digital and technology enablement, digital transformation, digital disruption and digital futurism.

We checked in with Robert to get his insight on Big Data and current trends and challenges in data and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Check out his two-part interview:

More Big Data Experts

blog banner BBDtL ExpertsSay 5 Big Data Experts Who Caught Your Attention This Year

For additional words of wisdom from Big Data experts, download our free eBook: Bringing Big Data to Life: What the Experts Say

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SEO, SEM Rule Retailers' Marketing Budgets

Retailers have been focusing on technologies to measure and assess customer response, and have been using the data they produce to drive e-commerce decisions, suggests a study of 136 enterprise retailers at the 2017 eTail West Conference held earlier this year.

Enterprise retailers with at least US$ 500 million in annual revenues participated in the study, which was a joint effort of Adam Software, an
Aprimo company; WBR Digital; and ChannelAdvisor.

Multichannel enterprise retailers comprised 81 percent of respondents, pure-play online retailers 11 percent, in-store-only retailers 4 percent, and other types of companies the remaining 4 percent.

Enterprise retailers have been implementing customer experience strategies across multiple channels, the researchers found. They have been seeking out intelligent data solutions to obtain a 360-degree view of customers across multiple channels and marketplaces.

“Digital retailers are likely to have reversed the classic stock focus on having goods to sell as the business model, to building a base of loyal customers they assist in buying what they need,” observed Andy Mulholland, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

“A digital retailer acts more as a personal shopper using intelligence to make every aspect of your buying activity feel right,” he told CRM Buyer.

Marketing Spending Priorities

The top four spends for retailers, according to the study, are the following:

  • SEO/SEM – 79 percent of respondents;
  • Online display – 77 percent;
  • Social media – 65 percent; and
  • Email – 64 percent.

Social media was the highest spending priority for only 3 percent of retailers and the second-highest for just 14 percent.

Social media is “rarely the leading channel in a marketing strategy,” noted Jeffery Parrish, Aprimo’s director for retail and consumer goods.

“Because many retailers are focusing marketing investment in digital channels, social media icon inline shop SEO, SEM Rule Retailers' Marketing Budgets is a very prominent channel and component of the typical retail marketing mix,” he told CRM Buyer. “Investment in social media management, technology, and social media influencers make it understandable that this would be a top four channel of investment.”

Retailers spent the least on channels through which data can neither be significantly acquired or applied — such as direct mail, radio and TV, print ads, trade shows and events.

Optimizing a Multichannel Strategy

Retailers have been redesigning their online buying experiences to accommodate a multichannel strategy, the study found.

However, 46 percent of the retailers surveyed across channels considered their performance only average.

“Each retailer has their own marketing mix with winning channels, and many retailers struggle to find equal levels of success across channels,” Parrish explained. “This perspective is largely due to the difficulty for retailers to adopt multi-attribution models.”

Consumers are moving toward making online purchases via mobile devices, but only 33 percent of enterprise retailers considered their mobile app performance above average or excellent; another 37 percent considered it below average or poor.

One company attempting to remedy the problem is
Curalate, which on Thursday released Curalate Showroom, a tool that lets companies make their social media channels shoppable on mobile.

Curalate’s platform lets companies tag any image or video to create a Showroom, posting the link to any marketing channel selected.

Curalate’s algorithm creates a feed of recommended products for consumers to browse.

The goal is to effect “a major jump in time on site and a big drop in bounce rate as consumers engage more and stay on site longer,” Luke Butler, Curalate’s manager of strategy and operations, told CRM Buyer.

The Challenges of Personalization

The retailers surveyed sought to personalize the customer experience — but that is easier said than done.

“Generally, when marketers just dabble with personalization they run into issues because they’re not using good enough data,” said Andy Zimmerman, CMO at

“With deeper, better data and machine-learning-driven affinity modeling, marketers can be much more effective at driving 1:1 relevant experiences that truly engage visitors,” he told CRM Buyer.

Many marketers are getting more funds for personalization, said Zimmerman, because it’s “an investment that can be justified with quantitative analysis and intuitive logic.”
end enn SEO, SEM Rule Retailers' Marketing Budgets

Richard%20Adhikari SEO, SEM Rule Retailers' Marketing BudgetsRichard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology.
Email Richard.

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Representing a simple hierarchical list in SQL Server with JSON, YAML, XML and HTML.

How difficult can it be to produce a simple hierarchical list in JSON, YAML, XML and HTML from a SQL Server table that represents a simple hierarchy within an organisation. Well once you know, it is easy and William Brewer is on a mission to tell you how

JSON, XML, YAML and HTML are great for recording hierarchies such as organisations, taxonomies, and parts lists. How do we output structured document fragments to show a hierarchical list using SQL? I was hoping that the advent of JSON to SQL Server would make this easier but I found its use frustrating to the point that I keep it as arms-length as possible.

Because I would have found it useful myself, I’ve recorded here how to use T-SQL to get the four main types of document types to represent a simple hierarchical list in SQL Server.

First, before we do anything else, we’ll create some test data. In this example, I’ll steal the employee hierarchy from AdventureWorks2014, and put it in a test table.

First, we’ll tackle a JSON rendering of the hierarchy

We can now try it out …

To get this JSON rendition (after prettifying to make it easier to read)

So, emboldened, we try YAML. It turns out to be very easy as there is no support for it in SQL Server

This will render the same manager and his reports even more simply, and doesn’t need prettifying to understand

This, when executed gives the following YAML document …

The XML version is pretty simple

Giving the following XML (prettified to make it easier to read) …

And finally, for the sake of completeness here is the HTML List version

Which can be executed like this

…to give this HTML fragment …

So here we have it, all four commonly-used document types used for hierarchical lists, output from SQL Server. These are fairly simple to elaborate, and apologies in advance for any errors.

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SQL – Simple Talk