Tag Archives: High

High Wheel Bicycle Race

 High Wheel Bicycle Race

Penny farthing high wheel racing skills.


 It was popular in the 1870s and 1880s, with its large front wheel providing high speeds (large distance for every rotation of the legs) and comfort (shock absorption through the wheel)

“Penny farthing race, 1928.”
Image courtesy of https://imgur.com/gallery/QJS13T0.



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Don’t Just Back Up Data. Do It With High Availability In Mind

Do you back up your data with high availability in mind? Or do you just back it up to back it up? A backup strategy that doesn’t lead to high availability falls short of its full potential.

By now, most people know that they should back up data. More than half of them have backup routines in place.

However, simply backing up your data is not necessarily enough to achieve your goals. There is a reason why 75 percent of people who back up data are not able to restore all of it following a failure.

If your backup strategy is designed simply to back up data for backups’ own sake, rather than advancing a broader high availability agenda, you may as well not be doing backups at all.

Data backups won’t help you to avoid serious disruptions when something unexpected happens unless they’re complemented by the following considerations and strategies for achieving high availability.

Dont Just Back Up Data Make It Highly Available Banner Don’t Just Back Up Data. Do It With High Availability In Mind

Data Restoration Process

To minimize downtime and maximize availability during a crisis, you need to be able to restore data quickly from backups to production systems.

To do this, you must have a restoration plan in place before disaster strikes. You don’t want to wait until your business operations have been disrupted to start figuring out how you move data from backup locations to production systems.

This is why you should develop specific data restoration plans ahead of time. Although you can’t predict every variable that might be at play during a data recovery scenario, you can create general procedures that your team will follow when moving data from backups.

You can also have data migration and transformation tools (like those in Syncsort’s Big Data solutions suite) preinstalled and preconfigured, if you’ll need them as part of the data restoration.

Automated Failover

Even better than having to restore data from a backup location is not having to restore it at all because your workloads automatically move from one host environment to another in the event that the first host environment fails.

This type of functionality, which is called automated failover, is delivered by solutions like Trader’s, which provides automated failover features as part of its high availability platform for IBM i systems.

Distributed Data Replication

Simply backing up your data somewhere is often not enough to achieve high availability. You must back it up in a way that maximizes its chances of remaining available in the event of disruption to your infrastructure.

One way to do this is to replicate your data automatically across a distributed environment of servers or storage locations. With automatic, distributed data replication, your data always exists in multiple locations at once. And because those locations are spread out — in the sense of including either multiple servers within your data center or, better, multiple data centers in different geographic locations — the data will remain intact even if some storage locations fail.

3-2-1 Backup Strategy

usb 932180 960 720 600x Don’t Just Back Up Data. Do It With High Availability In Mind

Another handy way of maximizing data availability is to follow what is known as the 3-2-1 data backup rule. According to this rule, you should:

  1. Have at least three distinct copies of your data at all times.
  2. Back up your data to at least two different types of storage (such as an on-premise server and a cloud environment).
  3. Keep at least one off-site copy of your data.

These procedures help to ensure that if one type of data storage fails, or your local storage is wiped out, your data will still be available.

The 3-2-1 backup strategy may not be necessary if you already do automatic data replication across distributed systems. But if you lack the resources for that type of solution, the 3-2-1 approach is an easy and effective way to maximize data availability.

To learn even more about the state of disaster recovery preparedness in organizations today, read Syncsort’s full “State of Resilience“ report.

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Syncsort + Trillium Software Blog

Under A Shadow Of Doubt, Self-Driving Cars Shift Into High Gear

In a future teeming with robots and artificial intelligence, humans seem to be on the verge of being crowded out. But in reality the opposite is true.

To be successful, organizations need to become more human than ever.

Organizations that focus only on automation will automate away their competitive edge. The most successful will focus instead on skills that set them apart and that can’t be duplicated by AI or machine learning. Those skills can be summed up in one word: humanness.

You can see it in the numbers. According to David J. Deming of the Harvard Kennedy School, demand for jobs that require social skills has risen nearly 12 percentage points since 1980, while less-social jobs, such as computer coding, have declined by a little over 3 percentage points.

AI is in its infancy, which means that it cannot yet come close to duplicating our most human skills. Stefan van Duin and Naser Bakhshi, consultants at professional services company Deloitte, break down artificial intelligence into two types: narrow and general. Narrow AI is good at specific tasks, such as playing chess or identifying facial expressions. General AI, which can learn and solve complex, multifaceted problems the way a human being does, exists today only in the minds of futurists.

The only thing narrow artificial intelligence can do is automate. It can’t empathize. It can’t collaborate. It can’t innovate. Those abilities, if they ever come, are still a long way off. In the meantime, AI’s biggest value is in augmentation. When human beings work with AI tools, the process results in a sort of augmented intelligence. This augmented intelligence outperforms the work of either human beings or AI software tools on their own.

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AI-powered tools will be the partners that free employees and management to tackle higher-level challenges.

Those challenges will, by default, be more human and social in nature because many rote, repetitive tasks will be automated away. Companies will find that developing fundamental human skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving, within the organization will take on a new importance. These skills can’t be automated and they won’t become process steps for algorithms anytime soon.

In a world where technology change is constant and unpredictable, those organizations that make the fullest use of uniquely human skills will win. These skills will be used in collaboration with both other humans and AI-fueled software and hardware tools. The degree of humanness an organization possesses will become a competitive advantage.

This means that today’s companies must think about hiring, training, and leading differently. Most of today’s corporate training programs focus on imparting specific knowledge that will likely become obsolete over time.

Instead of hiring for portfolios of specific subject knowledge, organizations should instead hire—and train—for more foundational skills, whose value can’t erode away as easily.

Recently, educational consulting firm Hanover Research looked at high-growth occupations identified by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and determined the core skills required in each of them based on a database that it had developed. The most valuable skills were active listening, speaking, and critical thinking—giving lie to the dismissive term soft skills. They’re not soft; they’re human.

Q118 ft2 image2 softskills DD Under A Shadow Of Doubt, Self Driving Cars Shift Into High Gear
This doesn’t mean that STEM skills won’t be important in the future. But organizations will find that their most valuable employees are those with both math and social skills.

That’s because technical skills will become more perishable as AI shifts the pace of technology change from linear to exponential. Employees will require constant retraining over time. For example, roughly half of the subject knowledge acquired during the first year of a four-year technical degree, such as computer science, is already outdated by the time students graduate, according to The Future of Jobs, a report from the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The WEF’s report further notes that “65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in jobs that don’t yet exist.” By contrast, human skills such as interpersonal communication and project management will remain consistent over the years.

For example, organizations already report that they are having difficulty finding people equipped for the Big Data era’s hot job: data scientist. That’s because data scientists need a combination of hard and soft skills. Data scientists can’t just be good programmers and statisticians; they also need to be intuitive and inquisitive and have good communication skills. We don’t expect all these qualities from our engineering graduates, nor from most of our employees.

But we need to start.

From Self-Help to Self-Skills

Even if most schools and employers have yet to see it, employees are starting to understand that their future viability depends on improving their innately human qualities. One of the most popular courses on Coursera, an online learning platform, is called Learning How to Learn. Created by the University of California, San Diego, the course is essentially a master class in human skills: students learn everything from memory techniques to dealing with procrastination and communicating complicated ideas, according to an article in The New York Times.

Although there is a longstanding assumption that social skills are innate, nothing is further from the truth. As the popularity of Learning How to Learn attests, human skills—everything from learning skills to communication skills to empathy—can, and indeed must, be taught.

These human skills are integral for training workers for a workplace where artificial intelligence and automation are part of the daily routine. According to the WEF’s New Vision for Education report, the skills that employees will need in the future fall into three primary categories:

  • Foundational literacies: These core skills needed for the coming age of robotics and AI include understanding the basics of math, science, computing, finance, civics, and culture. While mastery of every topic isn’t required, workers who have a basic comprehension of many different areas will be richly rewarded in the coming economy.
  • Competencies: Developing competencies requires mastering very human skills, such as active listening, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, communication, and collaboration.
  • Character qualities: Over the next decade, employees will need to master the skills that will help them grasp changing job duties and responsibilities. This means learning the skills that help employees acquire curiosity, initiative, persistence, grit, adaptability, leadership, and social and cultural awareness.

Q118 ft2 image4 usingsoftskills DD Under A Shadow Of Doubt, Self Driving Cars Shift Into High Gear
The good news is that learning human skills is not completely divorced from how work is structured today. Yonatan Zunger, a Google engineer with a background working with AI, argues that there is a considerable need for human skills in the workplace already—especially in the tech world. Many employees are simply unaware that when they are working on complicated software or hardware projects, they are using empathy, strategic problem solving, intuition, and interpersonal communication.

The unconscious deployment of human skills takes place even more frequently when employees climb the corporate ladder into management. “This is closely tied to the deeper difference between junior and senior roles: a junior person’s job is to find answers to questions; a senior person’s job is to find the right questions to ask,” says Zunger.

Human skills will be crucial to navigating the AI-infused workplace. There will be no shortage of need for the right questions to ask.

One of the biggest changes narrow AI tools will bring to the workplace is an evolution in how work is performed. AI-based tools will automate repetitive tasks across a wide swath of industries, which means that the day-to-day work for many white-collar workers will become far more focused on tasks requiring problem solving and critical thinking. These tasks will present challenges centered on interpersonal collaboration, clear communication, and autonomous decision-making—all human skills.

Being More Human Is Hard

However, the human skills that are essential for tomorrow’s AI-ified workplace, such as interpersonal communication, project planning, and conflict management, require a different approach from traditional learning. Often, these skills don’t just require people to learn new facts and techniques; they also call for basic changes in the ways individuals behave on—and off—the job.

Attempting to teach employees how to make behavioral changes has always seemed off-limits to organizations—the province of private therapists, not corporate trainers. But that outlook is changing. As science gains a better understanding of how the human brain works, many behaviors that affect employees on the job are understood to be universal and natural rather than individual (see “Human Skills 101”).

Human Skills 101

As neuroscience has improved our understanding of the brain, human skills have become increasingly quantifiable—and teachable.

Though the term soft skills has managed to hang on in the popular lexicon, our understanding of these human skills has increased to the point where they aren’t soft at all: they are a clearly definable set of skills that are crucial for organizations in the AI era.

Active listening: Paying close attention when receiving information and drawing out more information than received in normal discourse

Critical thinking: Gathering, analyzing, and evaluating issues and information to come to an unbiased conclusion

Problem solving: Finding solutions to problems and understanding the steps used to solve the problem

Decision-making: Weighing the evidence and options at hand to determine a specific course of action

Monitoring: Paying close attention to an issue, topic, or interaction in order to retain information for the future

Coordination: Working with individuals and other groups to achieve common goals

Social perceptiveness: Inferring what others are thinking by observing them

Time management: Budgeting and allocating time for projects and goals and structuring schedules to minimize conflicts and maximize productivity

Creativity: Generating ideas, concepts, or inferences that can be used to create new things

Curiosity: Desiring to learn and understand new or unfamiliar concepts

Imagination: Conceiving and thinking about new ideas, concepts, or images

Storytelling: Building narratives and concepts out of both new and existing ideas

Experimentation: Trying out new ideas, theories, and activities

Ethics: Practicing rules and standards that guide conduct and guarantee rights and fairness

Empathy: Identifying and understanding the emotional states of others

Collaboration: Working with others, coordinating efforts, and sharing resources to accomplish a common project

Resiliency: Withstanding setbacks, avoiding discouragement, and persisting toward a larger goal

Resistance to change, for example, is now known to result from an involuntary chemical reaction in the brain known as the fight-or-flight response, not from a weakness of character. Scientists and psychologists have developed objective ways of identifying these kinds of behaviors and have come up with universally applicable ways for employees to learn how to deal with them.

Organizations that emphasize such individual behavioral traits as active listening, social perceptiveness, and experimentation will have both an easier transition to a workplace that uses AI tools and more success operating in it.

Framing behavioral training in ways that emphasize its practical application at work and in advancing career goals helps employees feel more comfortable confronting behavioral roadblocks without feeling bad about themselves or stigmatized by others. It also helps organizations see the potential ROI of investing in what has traditionally been dismissed as touchy-feely stuff.

Q118 ft2 image3 automation DD Under A Shadow Of Doubt, Self Driving Cars Shift Into High GearIn fact, offering objective means for examining inner behaviors and tools for modifying them is more beneficial than just leaving the job to employees. For example, according to research by psychologist Tasha Eurich, introspection, which is how most of us try to understand our behaviors, can actually be counterproductive.

Human beings are complex creatures. There is generally way too much going on inside our minds to be able to pinpoint the conscious and unconscious behaviors that drive us to act the way we do. We wind up inventing explanations—usually negative—for our behaviors, which can lead to anxiety and depression, according to Eurich’s research.

Structured, objective training can help employees improve their human skills without the negative side effects. At SAP, for example, we offer employees a course on conflict resolution that uses objective research techniques for determining what happens when people get into conflicts. Employees learn about the different conflict styles that researchers have identified and take an assessment to determine their own style of dealing with conflict. Then employees work in teams to discuss their different styles and work together to resolve a specific conflict that one of the group members is currently experiencing.

Q118 ft2 image5 talkingtoAI DD Under A Shadow Of Doubt, Self Driving Cars Shift Into High GearHow Knowing One’s Self Helps the Organization

Courses like this are helpful not just for reducing conflicts between individuals and among teams (and improving organizational productivity); they also contribute to greater self-awareness, which is the basis for enabling people to take fullest advantage of their human skills.

Self-awareness is a powerful tool for improving performance at both the individual and organizational levels. Self-aware people are more confident and creative, make better decisions, build stronger relationships, and communicate more effectively. They are also less likely to lie, cheat, and steal, according to Eurich.

It naturally follows that such people make better employees and are more likely to be promoted. They also make more effective leaders with happier employees, which makes the organization more profitable, according to research by Atuma Okpara and Agwu M. Edwin.

There are two types of self-awareness, writes Eurich. One is having a clear view inside of one’s self: one’s own thoughts, feelings, behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses. The second type is understanding how others view us in terms of these same categories.

Interestingly, while we often assume that those who possess one type of awareness also possess the other, there is no direct correlation between the two. In fact, just 10% to 15% of people have both, according to a survey by Eurich. That means that the vast majority of us must learn one or the other—or both.

Gaining self-awareness is a process that can take many years. But training that gives employees the opportunity to examine their own behaviors against objective standards and gain feedback from expert instructors and peers can help speed up the journey. Just like the conflict management course, there are many ways to do this in a practical context that benefits employees and the organization alike.

For example, SAP also offers courses on building self-confidence, increasing trust with peers, creating connections with others, solving complex problems, and increasing resiliency in the face of difficult situations—all of which increase self-awareness in constructive ways. These human-skills courses are as popular with our employees as the hard-skill courses in new technologies or new programming techniques.

Depending on an organization’s size, budget, and goals, learning programs like these can include small group training, large lectures, online courses, licensing of third-party online content, reimbursement for students to attain certification, and many other models.
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Human Skills Are the Constant

Automation and artificial intelligence will change the workplace in unpredictable ways. One thing we can predict, however, is that human skills will be needed more than ever.

The connection between conflict resolution skills, critical thinking courses, and the rise of AI-aided technology might not be immediately obvious. But these new AI tools are leading us down the path to a much more human workplace.

Employees will interact with their computers through voice conversations and image recognition. Machine learning will find unexpected correlations in massive amounts of data but empathy and creativity will be required for data scientists to figure out the right questions to ask. Interpersonal communication will become even more important as teams coordinate between offices, remote workplaces, and AI aides.

While the future might be filled with artificial intelligence, deep learning, and untold amounts of data, uniquely human capabilities will be the ones that matter. Machines can’t write a symphony, design a building, teach a college course, or manage a department. The future belongs to humans working with machines, and for that, you need human skills. D!

About the Authors

Jenny Dearborn is Chief Learning Officer at SAP.

David Judge is Vice President, SAP Leonardo, at SAP.

Tom Raftery is Global Vice President and Internet of Things Evangelist at SAP.

Neal Ungerleider is a Los Angeles-based technology journalist and consultant.

cleardot Under A Shadow Of Doubt, Self Driving Cars Shift Into High Gear


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Digitalist Magazine

5 Tips to Ensure a High User Adoption Rate when implementing your New Microsoft Dynamics 365 Solution – User Training

CRM Blog 5 Tips to Ensure a High User Adoption Rate when implementing your New Microsoft Dynamics 365 Solution – User Training

In our previous article, we offered some tips to improve user adoption rate even prior to the implementation of a new CRM solution. That said, proper training tailored to the specific needs of end users is essential to ensure a high user adoption rate for a new CRM solution such as Microsoft Dynamics 365. The users of the solution need to become familiar with its features and processes before they can leverage its benefits to increase their productivity. No matter how much money your organization invests into a new system, if the training fails to address users’ specific realities, they will simply revert to their old habits.

The next 5 tips will help you tailor your user training to ensure that this doesn’t happen and that users obtain a full understanding of the system and how it will simplify their daily tasks.

  1. Give all users an overview of the system. Even if each team only uses part of the system, it’s important that all users get a feel for the entire system and navigate through it. Knowing how the entire system works will help them learn the processes relevant to their specific responsibilities and how they relate to other departments.
  1. Show users how the new solution can facilitate their daily tasks. If possible, introduce them to personalized dashboards and views, as well as advanced searches, so that they are aware of how the system can be tailored to meet their specific needs and facilitate the experience. Use customization options to reduce the time spent navigating between entities or records.
  1. Split training into small teams. This way, the training can be tailored to the users’ specific needs, roles and tasks, ensuring that the information is relevant. Moreover, users will be more likely to ask questions and pay attention if they are a part of small group.
  1. Prioritize tasks and set clear goals for the utilization of the CRM. Having clear objectives and tasks to master before moving on to the next will help users focus on what has to be learned. It also makes it easier to assess whether they fully understand how processes work, making it easier to define and adjust the rest of the training.
  1. Have your super-users give the training. At this point, user questions are usually more about the process and less about features. The super-users of the solution are in the best position to guide end-users through the process and ensure that they have fully internalized it prior to using the solution for their day-to-day activities.

By getting the proper training, your end-users will be able to leverage the functionalities and potential of the new solution to carry out their daily tasks and activities and improve their productivity. Should you find yourself in need of advanced or tailored training sessions, please communicate with JOVACO for more information about our CRM and Microsoft Dynamics 365 training sessions.

By JOVACO Solutions, Microsoft Dynamics 365 specialist in Quebec

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Upcoming Webinar: How To Deliver High Performance Capital Markets CRM Customer Experiences

WEBINAR 300x225 Upcoming Webinar: How To Deliver High Performance Capital Markets CRM Customer Experiences

As the Capital Markets industry continues to grow and as product companies continue to fight for “Top of Mind Awareness” via your channels, it is imperative to differentiate by providing personalized, proactive, and predictive customer experiences. On September 21, PowerObjects, an HCL Technologies Company, Forrester, and Discovery Data will host a webinar to teach you how to create customer loyalty in Capital Markets by leveraging CRM to deliver the right messages, to the right constituents, at the right time regardless of channel, business unit, customer, or employee!

Webinar Details:
September 21, 1-2pm CST
Register here!

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn how Microsoft Dynamics 365 will streamline the way in which you manage complex hierarchies, associations, teams, and relationships
  • Preview how an integrated Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn “Voice of the Customer” record will empower your touch points
  • Learn how Discovery Data can empower your CRM and LinkedIn data by providing accurate performance and data points for interacting with your firm, branch, and contact segmentation

speakers final Upcoming Webinar: How To Deliver High Performance Capital Markets CRM Customer Experiences

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PowerObjects- Bringing Focus to Dynamics CRM

Six Key Components of a High Performance Marketing Plan

Six Key Components of a High Performance Marketing Plan 351X200 Six Key Components of a High Performance Marketing Plan

The drastic transformation of the customer journey means buyers are now in the driver’s seat. Not only that ‒ they’ve taken the wheel and they’re steering the course. With so many choices and access to endless amounts of information empowering them to make their own decisions, buyers are now in complete control of the purchasing process.

Especially in the B2B world, customers are comparison shopping online and taking a much longer time to evaluate their options than in the past. A huge part of the customer journey is now invisible to the traditional sales view. In fact, the vast majority of the journey ‒ about 70 percent, according to SiriusDecisions ‒ is now complete by the time a typical prospect is ready to engage with sales.

So, we as marketers have a new challenge. We must learn how to get in front of buyers, get involved in that purchase journey much earlier – simply put, we need to adapt.

Here’s how.

1. Plan to keep customers front and center

The first step to creating a high performance marketing plan is to commit to using five distinct objectives to orient your marketing plan throughout the buyer’s journey. Why? It keeps your customers at the center of your planning. These essential stages are:

  • Attract: First you need to attract customers and get their attention by establishing trust through thought leadership.
  • Capture: Find a mechanism for capturing their information, such as gating a piece of content with a form, asking them to trade some of their information for your high-value piece of content.
  • Nurture: Then nurture the relationship by informing and engaging them in a way that makes sense for them and feels very personal.
  • Convert: By this point, they’re ready to convert from a prospect to a customer. But, once they’ve converted the marketing shouldn’t stop there. Keep it going.
  • Expand: Continue to nurture the customer base to maintain and expand customer relationships.

2. Focus on themes and messages customers receive

The next step in building your marketing plan is choosing the types of messages you want to send to your target buyers. This is the right time to talk about your brand and your product or service. Pick a few essential topics and convey them clearly to your prospects through your content. You need highly focused themes to tie together all of the content that you’re producing. Make sure your buyers have the information they need to make the crucial decision that you want them to make – which is to become your customer, not your competitor’s customer. Strategic communication will also help you position your product and frame how current and future customers think and feel about your company.

Effective campaign themes are:

  • based on buyer pain points and needs
  • simple to understand
  • relevant during all stages of the buyer’s journey
  • enduring enough to stand the test of time

Once you’ve organized your program around the five major customer lifecycle stages, map all the content in your library to the stage that would resonate most with your audience.

3. Get in front of buyers in each stage

Next, consider the tactics included in your marketing plan. You’ve already oriented your content around the buying stages, now is the time to ask: What challenges are my buyers facing at each stage of their journey? What are their primary objectives in each of these phases, and what do we, as marketers, need to do to help them realize these goals?

Here is a simple, yet powerful, visual overview of the opportunities you could pursue to optimize your effectiveness at each segment of the journey:

Once you’ve built a framework for the opportunities at each stage, you can begin to pinpoint specific areas that need attention. Identify and highlight any gaps, opportunities, obstacles, and areas you want or need to focus on.

4. Implement technology that works best for your program

Figuring out what technical systems you need to support your marketing activities and customer interactions is essential to any successful program. There are more than 3,000 marketing technology vendors. That’s a lot to choose from.

So, how exactly do you begin to make sense of it all? It’s important to begin with the basics ‒ the platform backbone. Most midmarket companies and larger companies will have a marketing automation platform (MAP) and a CRM, or will at least investigate getting both of those platforms in place.

The next layer to connect to the backbone platforms is channel technology, such as ad platforms or social networks. Additionally, use marketing operations platforms to manage internal processes, data, and reporting. Finally, many content platforms will allow you to produce personalized content, videos, and many other interesting tactics and materials to engage your buyers and help you along the way.

The driving idea behind your marketing technology stack, is that it should enable you to efficiently communicate with your audience in a way that makes sense both to you and your customers. And, implementing marketing automation as a backbone platform can help you consolidate the need for multiple tools into a single command center for marketing teams.

5. Establish your metrics and report back to your boss

Another major advantage of MAPs is that they offer marketers the chance to document and report on their results and successes. Take the time to properly set-up the system you will use to track your efforts.

First, establish overall funnel metrics by defining your goals in each of those five stages of the buyer’s journey. Then develop specific KPIs to measure progress for the “gaps” you identified earlier. In order for you to be successful, you’ll need to get buy-in from the whole team. Make sure you have the right technology in place to actually track the performance. Finally, map your goals to the customer lifecycle stages.

By doing all of these things, you will know if your marketing program is on track … and so will your boss.

6. Be an innovator and leave your mark.

And, speaking of bosses, why not show your boss and your team what you’re made of? Building your marketing plan is a great time to shine.

Start with championing a new channel or tactic that could open new doors. For example, if your company is not yet engaged on social media, maybe that’s the big idea that you’ll advocate for in the plan. Or, maybe you don’t have a video program and you want to build that strategy up within the business. Or, perhaps you’d like to dive into interactive content and you need to get buy-in.

Pick one great idea out of your plan go full force with it. Be creative, be innovative, be bold. This will give you the opportunity to be an internal leader and an agent of change.


Overall, a high performance marketing plan is one that addresses your customer’s needs at every stage of the buyer’s journey – even when they’re not even considering purchasing! A successful plan is one that is flexible, adaptive, and meets your customers where they’re at. After all, the modern buyer doesn’t just have one path to reach the purchase point; there are literally millions of ways that your customer can find you, connect with you, and eventually purchase from you.

Ultimately, the best marketing plan is the one that focuses entirely on what really matters: your customers.

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Act-On Blog

17 Shocking Truths About High Employee Turnover [INFOGRAPHIC]

The September issue of the Harvard Business Review features a cover story on design thinking’s coming of age. We have been applying design thinking within SAP for the past 10 years, and I’ve witnessed the growth of this human-centered approach to innovation first hand.

Design thinking is, as the HBR piece points out, “the best tool we have for … developing a responsive, flexible organizational culture.”

This means businesses are doing more to learn about their customers by interacting directly with them. We’re seeing this change in our work on d.forum — a community of design thinking champions and “disruptors” from across industries.

Meanwhile, technology is making it possible to know exponentially more about a customer. Businesses can now make increasingly accurate predictions about customers’ needs well into the future. The businesses best able to access and pull insights from this growing volume of data will win. That requires a fundamental change for our own industry; it necessitates a digital transformation.

So, how do we design this digital transformation?

It starts with the customer and an application of design thinking throughout an organization – blending business, technology and human values to generate innovation. Business is already incorporating design thinking, as the HBR cover story shows. We in technology need to do the same.

SCN+SY 17 Shocking Truths About High Employee Turnover [INFOGRAPHIC]

Design thinking plays an important role because it helps articulate what the end customer’s experience is going to be like. It helps focus all aspects of the business on understanding and articulating that future experience.

Once an organization is able to do that, the insights from that consumer experience need to be drawn down into the business, with the central question becoming: What does this future customer experience mean for us as an organization? What barriers do we need to remove? Do we need to organize ourselves differently? Does our process need to change – if it does, how? What kind of new technology do we need?

Then an organization must look carefully at roles within itself. What does this knowledge of the end customer’s future experience mean for an individual in human resources, for example, or finance? Those roles can then be viewed as end experiences unto themselves, with organizations applying design thinking to learn about the needs inherent to those roles. They can then change roles to better meet the end customer’s future needs. This end customer-centered approach is what drives change.

This also means design thinking is more important than ever for IT organizations.

We, in the IT industry, have been charged with being responsive to business, using technology to solve the problems business presents. Unfortunately, business sometimes views IT as the organization keeping the lights on. If we make the analogy of a store: business is responsible for the front office, focused on growing the business where consumers directly interact with products and marketing; while the perception is that IT focuses on the back office, keeping servers running and the distribution system humming. The key is to have business and IT align to meet the needs of the front office together.

Remember what I said about the growing availability of consumer data? The business best able to access and learn from that data will win. Those of us in IT organizations have the technology to make that win possible, but the way we are seen and our very nature needs to change if we want to remain relevant to business and participate in crafting the winning strategy.

We need to become more front office and less back office, proving to business that we are innovation partners in technology.

This means, in order to communicate with businesses today, we need to take a design thinking approach. We in IT need to show we have an understanding of the end consumer’s needs and experience, and we must align that knowledge and understanding with technological solutions. When this works — when the front office and back office come together in this way — it can lead to solutions that a company could otherwise never have realized.

There’s different qualities, of course, between front office and back office requirements. The back office is the foundation of a company and requires robustness, stability, and reliability. The front office, on the other hand, moves much more quickly. It is always changing with new product offerings and marketing campaigns. Technology must also show agility, flexibility, and speed. The business needs both functions to survive. This is a challenge for IT organizations, but it is not an impossible shift for us to make.

Here’s the breakdown of our challenge.

1. We need to better understand the real needs of the business.

This means learning more about the experience and needs of the end customer and then translating that information into technological solutions.

2. We need to be involved in more of the strategic discussions of the business.

Use the regular invitations to meetings with business as an opportunity to surface the deeper learning about the end consumer and the technology solutions that business may otherwise not know to ask for or how to implement.

The IT industry overall may not have a track record of operating in this way, but if we are not involved in the strategic direction of companies and shedding light on the future path, we risk not being considered innovation partners for the business.

We must collaborate with business, understand the strategic direction and highlight the technical challenges and opportunities. When we do, IT will become a hybrid organization – able to maintain the back office while capitalizing on the front office’s growing technical needs. We will highlight solutions that business could otherwise have missed, ushering in a digital transformation.

Digital transformation goes beyond just technology; it requires a mindset. See What It Really Means To Be A Digital Organization.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

Top image via Shutterstock


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Teradata Board of Directors Looks to Future, Adds High Tech Expertise

January 31, 2017 | ATLANTA

Accomplished Silicon Valley talent brings proven business and technology credentials

Teradata (NYSE: TDC), a leading analytics solutions company, today announced the election of Timothy Chou and Dan Fishback to its board of directors, effective today. The new appointments expand the board from nine to eleven directors and bring new technological and business growth expertise.

Timothy Chou Teradata Board of Directors Looks to Future, Adds High Tech ExpertiseTimothy Chou began his career at one of the original Kleiner-Perkins startups, Tandem Computers. He has had a long commercial career in enterprise software culminating in his role as President, Oracle On Demand. He has served on public company boards since 2000, including Blackbaud, Inc. and Embarcadero Technologies, Inc. In addition to his commercial career, he has also been a lecturer at Stanford University since 1982 and, ten years ago created the first class on cloud computing. While at Oracle, he authored his first landmark book, The End of Software, which foretold the rise of SaaS applications. More recently he launched a new book, Precision: Principles, Practices and Solutions for the Internet of Things. Dr. Chou joins the Teradata board as a Class II director. 

Dan Fishback Teradata Board of Directors Looks to Future, Adds High Tech ExpertiseDan Fishback is a well-regarded executive in Silicon Valley with an extensive background in guiding technology companies that specialize in applying analytics to solve complex business problems. He currently serves on the boards of several technology companies. As CEO of DemandTec, Fishback introduced a ground-breaking analytical cloud solution for retail and consumer product organizations, adopted by many global Fortune 500 businesses. Prior to leading DemandTec, he held sales and executive leadership positions at Ariba, Trading Dynamics, Hyperion Software, Arbor Software and Unisys. He is also an advisor and consultant to a number of companies and CEOs. Mr. Fishback joins the Teradata board as a Class I director.

The new directors were selected following a comprehensive search conducted by the board. 

“We are pleased to welcome Timothy Chou and Dan Fishback to our board,” said James Ringler, chairman, Teradata Corporation. “Tim well understands business transformation in the context of cloud solutions that embrace new consumption models and enable services delivery. Dan has strong software experience as well as on-premises and SaaS experience in relevant areas, notably business analytics. They both have held leadership roles in multiple businesses. We know they will be great assets to the board and we look forward to their contributions.”

The new board members join Teradata at a time when the company is reshaping its business to deliver greater value to customers and shareholders by providing more flexible purchasing and deployment options, such as subscription and cloud-based alternatives. Teradata has recently advanced its business analytic solutions, ecosystem architecture consulting, and hybrid cloud offerings with industry-first initiatives like Teradata Everywhere™ and Borderless Analytics, which exemplify the new Teradata.

“I am excited to have these strong technology leaders join our board,” said Victor Lund, president and chief executive officer of Teradata Corporation. “Tim and Dan have great expertise that aligns well to our strategy and direction as the demand for big data analytics and cloud computing represent significant business opportunities for Teradata.”

Relevant Links:

About Teradata

Teradata empowers companies to achieve high-impact business outcomes. Our focus on business solutions for analytics, coupled with our industry leading technology and architecture expertise, can unleash the potential of great companies. Visit teradata.com.

Teradata and the Teradata logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Teradata Corporation and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and worldwide.


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Are we there yet? Repeal & Replace Trump: high crimes and misdemeanors

 Are we there yet? Repeal & Replace Trump: high crimes and misdemeanors

 Are we there yet? Repeal & Replace Trump: high crimes and misdemeanors

 Isn’t it time for him to go…

The charge of high crimes and misdemeanors covers allegations of misconduct peculiar to officials, such as perjury of oath, abuse of authority, bribery, intimidation, misuse of assets, failure to supervise, dereliction of duty, conduct unbecoming, and refusal to obey a lawful order.

 Are we there yet? Repeal & Replace Trump: high crimes and misdemeanors

Some people are reflexively opposed to making such a strong statement so early in the administration. But Trump is already committing impeachable offenses, and dealing with someone like this requires being well prepared to take advantage of any openings to stop him. It is certainly what the Republicans would do if the shoe were on the other foot. In fact, it is exactly what they were planning to do. 


 Are we there yet? Repeal & Replace Trump: high crimes and misdemeanors

The inquiry should keep a running dossier, and forward updates at least weekly to the House Judiciary Committee. There will be no lack of evidence.

The materials should be made public via a website. The inquiry should be conducted by a distinguished panel whose high-mindedness and credentials are, well, unimpeachable.

There needs to be a parallel public campaign, pressing for an official investigation. For those appalled by Trump, who wonder where to focus their efforts, here is something concrete―and more realistic than it may seem.

Trump has already committed grave misdeeds of the kind that the Constitutional founders described as high crimes and misdemeanors. With his commingling of his official duties and his personal enrichment, Trump will be in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which unambiguously prohibits any person holding public office from profiting from gifts or financial benefits from “any king, prince or Foreign state.”

Trump, who has entangled his business interests with his political connections at home and abroad, has already declared his contempt for these Constitutional protections. He declared“The law is totally on my side, meaning the president can’t have a conflict of interest.” Oh, yes he can, and this president will. 

In his dalliance with Vladimir Putin, Trump’s actions are skirting treason. John Shattuck, former Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and former Washington legal director of the ACLU has pointed to the constitutional definition of treasona crime committed by a person “owing allegiance to the United States who… adheres to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort.” By undermining further investigation or sanctions against the Russian manipulation of the 2016 election, Trump as president would be giving aid and comfort to Russian interference with American democracy.

 Are we there yet? Repeal & Replace Trump: high crimes and misdemeanors If you agree this man should not be leading our free nation, stand with us!

By signing this petition you are requesting the immediate impeachment of Donald Trump, removing all opportunity for his control of the executive branch of our government.



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Integrated Planning And Simulation: Delivering New Insights At High Speed

These days it seems that we are witnessing waves of extreme disruption rather than incremental technology change. While some tech news stories have been just so much noise, unlikely to have long-term impact, a few are important signals of much bigger, longer-term changes afoot.

From bots to blockchains, augmented realities to human-machine convergence, a number of rapidly advancing technological capabilities hit important inflection points in 2016. We looked at five important emerging technology news stories that happened this year and the trends set in motion that will have an impact for a long time to come.

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Immersive experiences were one of three top-level trends identified by Gartner for 2016, and that was evident in the enormous popularity of Pokémon Go. While the hype may have come and gone, the immersive technologies that have been quietly advancing in the background for years are ready to boil over into the big time—and into the enterprise.

The free location-based augmented reality (AR) game took off shortly after Nintendo launched it in July, and it became the most downloaded app in Apple’s app store history in its first week, as reported by TechCrunch. Average daily usage of the app on Android devices in July 2016 exceeded that of the standard-bearers Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook, according to SimilarWeb. Within two months, Pokémon Go had generated more than US$ 440 million, according to Sensor Tower.

Unlike virtual reality (VR), which immerses us in a simulated world, AR layers computer-generated information such as graphics, sound, or other data on top of our view of the real world. In the case of Pokémon Go, players venture through the physical world using a digital map to search for Pokémon characters.

The game’s instant global acceptance was a surprise. Most watching this space expected an immersive headset device like Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard to steal the headlines. But it took Pikachu and the gang to break through. Pokémon Go capitalized on a generation’s nostalgia for its childhood and harnessed the latest advancements in key AR enabling technologies such as geolocation and computer vision.

sap Q416 digital double feature1 images8 Integrated Planning And Simulation: Delivering New Insights At High SpeedJust as mobile technologies percolated inside companies for several years before the iPhone exploded onto the market, companies have been dabbling in AR since the beginning of the decade. IKEA created an AR catalog app in 2013 to help customers visualize how their KIVIK modular sofa, for example, would look in their living rooms. Mitsubishi Electric has been perfecting an AR application, introduced in 2011, that enables homeowners to visualize its HVAC products in their homes. Newport News Shipbuilding has launched some 30 AR projects to help the company build and maintain its vessels. Tech giants including Facebook, HP, and Apple have been snapping up immersive tech startups for some time.

The overnight success of Pokémon Go will fuel interest in and understanding of all mediated reality technology—virtual and augmented. It’s created a shorthand for describing immersive reality and could launch a wave of technology consumerization the likes of which we haven’t seen since the iPhone instigated a tsunami of smartphone usage. Enterprises would be wise to figure out the role of immersive technology sooner rather than later. “AR and VR will both be the new normal within five years,” says futurist Gerd Leonhard, noting that the biggest hurdles may be mobile bandwidth availability and concerns about sensory overload. “Pokémon is an obvious opening scene only—professional use of AR and VR will explode.”

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Blockchains, the decentralized digital ledgers of transactions that are processed by a distributed network, first made headlines as the foundation for new types of financial transactions beginning with Bitcoin in 2009. According to Greenwich Associates, financial and technology companies will invest an estimated $ 1 billion in blockchain technology in 2016. But, as Gartner recently pointed out, there could be even more rapid evolution and acceptance in the areas of manufacturing, government, healthcare, and education.

By the 2020s, blockchain-based systems will reduce or eliminate many points of friction for a variety of business transactions. Individuals and companies will be able to exchange a wide range of digitized or digitally represented assets and value with anyone else, according to PwC. The supervised peer-to-peer network concept “is the future,” says Leonhard.

But the most important blockchain-related news of 2016 revealed a weak link in the application of technology that is touted as an immutable record.

In theory, blockchain technology creates a highly tamper-resistant structure that makes transactions secure and verifiable through a massively distributed digital ledger. All the transactions that take place are recorded in this ledger, which lives on many computers. High-grade encryption makes it nearly impossible for someone to cheat the system.

In practice, however, blockchain-based transactions and contracts are only as good as the code that enables them.

Case in point: The DAO, one of the first major implementations of a “Decentralized Autonomous Organization” (for which the fund is named). The DAO was a crowdfunded venture capital fund using cryptocurrency for investments and run through smart contracts. The rules that govern those smart contracts, along with all financial transaction records, are maintained on the blockchain. In June, the DAO revealed that an individual exploited a vulnerability in the company’s smart contract code to take control of nearly $ 60 million worth of the company’s digital currency.

The fund’s investors voted to basically rewrite the smart contract code and roll back the transaction, in essence going against the intent of blockchain-based smart contracts, which are supposed to be irreversible once they self-execute.

The DAO’s experience confirmed one of the inherent risks of distributed ledger technology—and, in particular, the risk of running a very large fund autonomously through smart contracts based on blockchain technology. Smart contract code must be as error-free as possible. As Cornell University professor and hacker Emin Gün Sirer wrote in his blog, “writing a robust, secure smart contract requires extreme amounts of diligence. It’s more similar to writing code for a nuclear power reactor, than to writing loose web code.” Since smart contracts are intended to be executed irreversibly on the blockchain, their code should not be rewritten and improved over time, as software typically is. But since no code can ever be completely airtight, smart contracts may have to build in contingency plans for when weaknesses in their code are exploited.

Importantly, the incident was not a result of any inherent weakness in the blockchain or distributed ledger technology generally. It will not be the end of cryptocurrencies or smart contracts. And it’s leading to more consideration of editable blockchains, which proponents say would only be used in extraordinary circumstances, according to Technology Review.

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Application programming interfaces (APIs), the computer codes that serve as a bridge between software applications, are not traditionally a hot topic outside of coder circles. But they are critical components in much of the consumer technology we’ve all come to rely on day-to-day.

One of the most important events in API history was the introduction of such an interface for Google Maps a decade ago. The map app was so popular that everyone wanted to incorporate its capabilities into their own systems. So Google released an API that enabled developers to connect to and use the technology without having to hack into it. The result was the launch of hundreds of inventive location-enabled apps using Google technology. Today, millions of web sites and apps use Google Maps APIs, from Allstate’s GoodHome app, which shows homeowners a personalized risk assessment of their properties, to Harley-Davidson’s Ride Planner to 7-Eleven’s app for finding the nearest Slurpee.

sap Q416 digital double feature1 images6 Integrated Planning And Simulation: Delivering New Insights At High SpeedUltimately, it became de rigueur for apps to open up their systems in a safe way for experimentation by others through APIs. Technology professional Kin Lane, who tracks the now enormous world of APIs, has said, “APIs bring together a unique blend of technology, business, and politics into a transparent, self-service mix that can foster innovation.”

Thus it was significant when Apple announced in June that it would open up Siri to third-party developers through an API, giving the wider world the ability to integrate Siri’s voice commands into their apps. The move came on the heels of similar decisions by Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft, all of which have AI bots or assistants of their own. And in October, Google opened up its Google Assistant as well.

The introduction of APIs confirms that the AI technology behind these bots has matured significantly—and that a new wave of AI-based innovation is nigh.

The best way to spark that innovation is to open up AI technologies such as Siri so that coders can use them as platforms to build new apps that can more rapidly expand AI uses and capabilities. Call it the “platformication” of AI. The value will be less in the specific AI products a company introduces than in the value of the platform for innovation. And that depends on the quality of the API. The tech company that attracts the best and brightest will win. AI platforms are just beginning to emerge and the question is: Who will be the platform leader?

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In June, Swiss citizens voted on a proposal to introduce a guaranteed basic income for all of its citizens, as reported by BBC News. It was the first country to take the issue to the polls, but it won’t be the last. Discussions about the impact of both automation and the advancing gig economy on individual livelihoods are happening around the world. Other countries—including the United States—are looking at solutions to the problem. Both Finland and the Netherlands have universal guaranteed income pilots planned for next year. Meanwhile, American startup incubator Y Combinator is launching an experiment to give 100 families in Oakland, California, a minimum wage for five years with no strings attached, according to Quartz.

The world is on the verge of potential job loss at a scale and speed never seen before. The Industrial Revolution was more of an evolution, happening over more than a century. The ongoing digital revolution is happening in relative hyper speed.

No one is exactly sure how increased automation and digitization will affect the world’s workforce. One 2013 study suggests as much as 47% of the U.S workforce is at risk of being replaced by machines over the next two decades, but even a conservative estimate of 10% could have a dramatic impact, not just on workers but on society as a whole.

The proposed solution in Switzerland did not pass, in part because a major political party did not introduce it, and citizens are only beginning to consider the potential implications of digitization on their incomes. What’s more, the idea of simply guaranteeing pay runs contrary to long-held notions in many societies that humans ought to earn their keep.

Whether or not state-funded support is the answer is just one of the questions that must be answered. The votes and pilots underway make it clear that governments will have to respond with some policy measures. The question is: What will those measures be? The larger impact of mass job displacement, what future employment conditions might look like, and what the responsibilities of institutions are in ensuring that we can support ourselves are among the issues that policy makers will need to address.

New business models resulting from digitization will create some new types of roles—but those will require training and perhaps continued education. And not all of those who will be displaced will be in a position to remake their careers. Just consider taxi drivers: In the United States, about 223,000 people currently earn their living behind the wheel of a hired car. The average New York livery driver is 46 years old, according to the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, and no formal education is required. When self-driving cars take over, those jobs will go away and the men and women who held them may not be qualified for the new positions that emerge.

As digitization dramatically changes the constructs of commerce and work, no one is quite sure how people will be impacted. But waiting to see how it all shakes out is not a winning strategy. Companies and governments today will have to experiment with potential solutions before the severity of the problem is clear. Among the questions that will have to be answered: How can we retrain large parts of the workforce? How will we support those who fall through the cracks? Will we prioritize and fund education? Technological progress and shifting work models will continue, whether or not we plan for their consequences.

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In April, a young man, who was believed to have permanently lost feeling in and control over his hands and legs as the result of a devastating spine injury, became able to use his right hand and fingers again. He used technology that transmits his thoughts directly to his hand muscles, bypassing his injured spinal cord. Doctors implanted a computer chip into the quadriplegic’s brain two years ago and—with ongoing training and practice—he can now perform everyday tasks like pouring from a bottle and playing video games.

The system reconnected the man’s brain directly to his muscles—the first time that engineers have successfully bypassed the nervous system’s information superhighway, the spinal cord. It’s the medical equivalent of moving from wired to wireless computing.

The man has in essence become a cyborg, that term first coined in 1960 to describe “self-regulating human-machine systems.” Yet the beneficiary of this scientific advance himself said, “You’re not going to be looked on as, ‘Oh, I’m a cyborg now because I have this big huge prosthetic on the side of my arm.’ It’s something a lot more natural and intuitive to learn because I can see my own hand reacting.”

As described in IEEE Spectrum, the “neural-bypass system” records signals that the man generates when thinking about moving his hand, decodes those signals, and routes them to the electric sleeve around his arm to stimulate movement: “The result looks surprisingly simple and natural: When Burkhart thinks about picking up a bottle, he picks up the bottle. When he thinks about playing a chord in Guitar Hero, he plays the chord.”

sap Q416 digital double feature1 images5 Integrated Planning And Simulation: Delivering New Insights At High SpeedWhat seems straightforward on the surface is powered by a sophisticated algorithm that can analyze the vast amounts of data the man’s brain produces, separating important signals from noise.

The fact that engineers have begun to unlock the complex code that controls brain-body communication opens up enormous possibilities. Neural prostheses (cochlear implants) have already reversed hearing loss. Light-sensitive chips serving as artificial retinas are showing progress in restoring vision. Other researchers are exploring computer implants that can read human thoughts directly to signal an external computer to help people speak or move in new ways. “Human and machine are converging,” says Leonhard.

The National Academy of Engineering predicts that “the intersection of engineering and neuroscience promises great advances in healthcare, manufacturing, and communication.”

Burkhart spent two years in training with the computer that has helped power his arm to get this far. It’s the result of more than a decade of development in brain-computer interfaces. And it can currently be used only in the lab; researchers are working on a system for home use. But it’s a clear indication of how quickly the lines between man and machine are blurring—and it opens the door for further computerized reanimation in many new scenarios.

This fall, Switzerland hosted its first cyborg Olympics, in which disabled patients compete using the latest assistive technologies, including robot exoskeletons and brainwave-readers. Paraplegic athletes use electrical simulation systems to compete in cycling, for example. The winners are those who can control their device the best. “Instead of celebrating the human body moving under its own power,” said a recent article in the IEEE Spectrum, “the cyborg games will celebrate the strength and ingenuity of human-machine collaborations.” D!

Read more thought provoking articles in the latest issue of the Digitalist Magazine, Executive Quarterly.


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