Information | Mixology

The Org: The Underlying Logic of the Office, by Ray Fisman and Tim Sullivan (Twelve, 2013), was featured today on first page of the New York Times Business Day section. The article starts out by comparing British Petroleum’s record as a government enterprise, and then later as private corporation. (Pop quiz: what are the two biggest disasters BP created, and when did they occur?).  This alone is intriguing and suggests the book is a good read, but the following quotes really caught my attention:

“The more we reward those things we can measure, and not reward the things we care about but don’t measure, the more we will distort behavior.”  -Burton Weisbrod, Northwestern University.

“If what gets measured is what gets managed, then what gets managed is what gets done.,”  –-Fisman and Sullivan

–With the implication that what is not managed not only will not get done, but…

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Driving Business Transformation

Let’s assume we have all heard (and at times delivered) the value proposition around Business Intelligence technology and its ability to centralize structured (and unstructured) data, driving business efficiencies that:

  • Enable agile decision making and empower business users to:
    • Save time from having to search for data
    • Perform self service analysis, driving better decisions
    • Automate and streamline processes

The question asked by most is “where do we start and how do we get there?”   Followed by, “what are other companies doing to address there data management strategy?”  To start, when looking at any technology initiative it comes down to company culture and management support.  In other words, if we don’t have buy in that technology is an enabler for change and if people don’t have strong user adoption (or aptitude) with existing systems or trust the data within them.  The chances of getting anything started and implemented successfully will be a challenge.


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Stanton Allen

A great deal has been written over the years about how to implement CRM systems successfully in a professional services firm.  By now I think it’s fair to say that most people are familiar with the keys to success.

  • Make sure you have senior management buy-in
  • Be really clear what it is your trying to achieve with your CRM system
  • Don’t underestimate the amount of time you’ll have to spend training your users
  • Don’t forget to clean up your data.

But despite the fact that we all know these things, why are so many firms still not achieving the return on investment from their CRM system that they expected?

This is the first in a series of blogs on how CRM has to be completely re-positioned within professional services firms as the “backbone to strategic projects” rather than a “project in its own right”.

Over the series I’m going…

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Like it or loathe it, web-enabled remote learning is increasingly pushing its way into colleges and universities around the world. And, according to a survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project and Elon University, a majority of technology stakeholders expect it to significantly change the world of higher education by 2020.

In a report released today, Pew and Elon University said that 60 percent of internet experts, researchers, observers and users polled said they agreed that by 2020, “there will be mass adoption of teleconferencing and distance learning to leverage expert resources … a transition to ‘hybrid’ classes that combine online learning components with less-frequent on-campus, in-person class meetings.” By comparison, 39 percent endorsed the contrary position that “in 2020 higher education will not be much different from the way it is today.”

The researchers acknowledged that distance learning is a polarizing issue, viewed by critics as…

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Innovation in a thought bubble written on a chalkboard

Online education is on a tear. Every few weeks or so, it seems like yet another startup offering online classes announces a multimillion dollar funding round. This week, San Francisco-based UniversityNow, which provides affordable higher education degrees online, said it raised $17.3 million. In the past three months, at least seven online course startups have launched or announced funding.

“I think we’re hitting a tipping point where online education is accepted,” said Gene Wade, CEO and co-founder of UniversityNow. “There’s enormous demand for education around the world.”

In the past decade, he said, more than a billion people have joined the middle class, creating new demand for educational opportunities. Globally, 150 million people will seek higher education in the next eight years and, domestically, 2 million will pursue higher ed over the next ten years.

When people join the middle class, education becomes one of their biggest priorities. But…

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Increased use of remote work may be changing management styles and the tech tools teams use to communicate, but it’s also changing our physical work-spaces.


Increased use of remote work may be changing management styles and the tech tools teams use to communicate, but as we’ve covered here on GigaOM before, it’s also changing our physical workspaces. Some offices are opting to go modular, making their workspaces as flexible as their occupants’ work schedules. Others are emphasizing spaces for collaboration, ripping out some traditional individual work areas in favor of places where groups can huddle together.

Now another big company is going one step further and chucking out the concept of the individual desk entirely. Forbes reports that massive pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline is going deskless at its Philadelphia office, entirely eliminating anything resembling a private office or cubicle for the 1,300 employees based there. It already has one such deskless office in Bogota, Colombia. Forbes explains:

GlaxoSmithKline, the global pharmaceutical giant, thinks it has found the cure for the drab, inefficient office: fluid…

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“The norms for cultivating culture have not changed, and require managers to build trust through face-to-face meetings, live phone calls and personal messages”


Among the primary selling points of enterprise social tools is their ability to prick the executive bubble and allow business leaders to get at the perhaps less than beautiful truth about what’s actually going on at lower levels of their organizations. By facilitating information sharing across organizational divides and hierarchical levels, this argument goes, social tools will help businesses forge a more cohesive and transparent culture.

It’s an argument to which employees apparently respond: Oh please! According to a surprising new survey from Deloitte, many executives have bought the party line on the effects of enterprise social media far more than frontline employees, who largely view social as more empty rhetoric out of the C-suite.

The Core Values and Beliefs survey from Deloitte asked 1,000 employees and about 300 executives for their views on social tools and the impact of these technologies on their organizations. In news that will surprise…

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