Archives For Nexus

A precursor to my discussion*:

  1. Digital has become such an amorphous term that few can describe what it actually means anymore
  2.  An effective Digital Strategy needs to be based on the Organization’s Core Strategic Objectives

Discussion:

Just prior to the New Year the UK Government quietly posted a notification that it was “seeking ideas for the next phase of the Digital Revolution”. From what I have seen in terms of those responses, they might have been better served by standing on a soapbox at Speakers Corner in Hype Park and asking passers by for their opinions, as their call to action has unleashed a torrent of “thought pieces”, Opinions & rants from virtually every corner of the UK.

Over the past several years, I have followed with great interest all of the Digital Transformation Programs that central governments across the world have embraced in their efforts to bring “Digital to the Masses”, while improving Government services, efficiencies, etc. Most of these have now evolved into “cults” with every agenda seeker and crackpot out there opining the virtues of their “flavor of digital” on social media and at every conference imaginable. During this same time, we have seen ever-increasing budgets allocated to these programs, high levels of management attrition and dubious ROI results being promoted as “savings realized”, but the single most glaring aspect that troubles me in virtually all of them is;  “What is the long-term Strategy”? It certainly can’t be just making better web sites or training the entire population to “hack code”? It is in this vain that I offer my opinion on “What is needed & what is not in the UK’s next Digital Strategy.”

As “digital” has now become a word without a stable definition, I will endeavor to ground my discussion in the basic notion that; “Digital as a term encompasses all disciplines in respect to embracing all that the Web, Data & Analytics have to offer”.  I refer to these as core competencies and believe that they must be leveraged in an Organization’s strategy in order to be an enabler of the desired outcomes from it. The UK (whether in or out of the EU in the future) must create a competitive strategy that makes its relevant on the world stage in order to capture inordinate levels of external investment, to develop the greatest talent pool in all sectors, etc., all at the expense of its peers. This notion of differentiation is a much more business-like view of the needs of a country, but most have been evolving their thinking in this direction for quite some time now. If the UK wants to “punch above its weight” in the world then it needs to make its core competencies the strongest & most sustainable anywhere, which cannot be easily duplicated or commoditized by countries motivated to do so.

What’s Needed? (to achieve this outcome):

  • Use “Digital” as a focal point to create sustainable sources of competitive advantage for the UK by baking it into every aspect of the long-term strategy for the country (independent of whatever party is in power) and the goals which it must be achieved i.e. Not a fashion statement or feel good program.
  • Develop Digital Leaders (Civil Service, Cabinet Office, MP’s, Charities, etc.) who are more than cheerleaders and partisan politicians. Educate everyone from the earliest age, throughout their entire academic & trade school careers to be literate in Digital, regardless of class or age. Promote Digital Leaders based upon competency and acumen (merit), not beauty, charm or politics. Develop Digital Leaders who “walk to talk” every day.
  • Create a National Culture that embraces “Digital at every turn”, not just one that consumes interesting content over broadband. Make Digital know-how essential to daily life in all Sectors of Government, Commercial & Non-Profit.
  • Invest inordinately in Education, Leadership Development, Infrastructure & Culture to create sustainable sources of competitive advantage in “All things Digital”.

What’s not Needed?

  • Superlatives & Exemplars: Digital is an evolutionary transition from the Analog world we have known for centuries. It is not disruptive, but can be transformational if executed with speed and precision. Hype is not of value in any strategy.
  • Grandiose predictions as to the impact of Outcomes or capabilities. At best, Digital is incremental in terms of benefits and sources of competitive advantage. It is the execution that is critical, not the idea itself. Benefits will manifest over the long term i.e. Transformational
  • Exclusion of any Sector from participation or realization of the full benefits of the Strategy and its outcomes. All boats must rise accordingly in this strategic journey.

A long-term Competitive Strategy for the UK should fully leverage all of its investments & know-how in Digital to date (Capabilities, Infrastructure & People) in order to create clear lines of differentiation in respect to other Countries who are pursuing similar paths, as well as to build sustainability for this momentum far into the future. The realization of  these outcomes will insure maximum benefits to the entire country and all of its citizens for decades to come.

Further Reading:

“What is Digital Transformation and Why do I need to embrace it?” (https://infomgmtexec.me/2015/10/29/what-is-digital-transformation-why-do-i-need-to-embrace-it/)

“Changes in Digital Transformation Leadership: Anarchy or Opportunity?” (https://infomgmtexec.me/2015/10/16/changes-in-digital-transformation-leadership-anarchy-or-opportunity/)

 

 

*- An edited version of this posting appeared in the February 2016 issue of Information Age (UK) (www.information-age.com)

Each year now as I advocate for Top-down Data Leadership by the CEO and his/her Board (as opposed to Proxy Leadership as a “Data Fashion Statement”), I use the 12 Days of Christmas lyrics as a theme to mimic in getting my message out over the holidays (in small bites). 2015 was no exception and you will find below a recap of my Tweets, along with a bit of embellishment beyond the 140 character limits.

Hope you enjoy it.

On the 1st Day of #DataLeadership the #CEO confirmed to the Board his/her Full Accountability for “All things #Digital, Data & #Analytics“. This is the central tenant of the Data Leadership Nexus where leadership manifests from the existing hierarchy which has now assumed full accountability for “All things Digital, Data & Analytics”.

On 2nd Day of #DataLeadership the #CEO & Board outlined the Strategic Outcomes which #Digital, #Data & #Analytics would deliver for the Organization. These core competencies must be leveraged to create tangible outcomes for every Oganization.

On the 3rd Day of #DataLeadership the #CEO & Board set their Data-driven Core Strategy into motion across all facets of their Organization. Data-driven begins with your Core Strategy and all its desired Outcomes. Data (facts) are used to help define the Strategy, to measure its progress along the way and ultimately to characterize the Outcomes in a meaningful way.

On the 4th Day of #DataLeadership the #CEO, Board declared: “We will Transform our Organization into a Predictive Enterprise within 5 yrs.” Transformation is a journey for every Organization. You must set targets along the way and eliminate barriers to success too. This is the role of the CEO & Board and it requires Continuity of Leadership as well as Conviction to achieve the Outcome in a finite time frame.

On the 5th Day of #DataLeadership the #CEO committed the Organization to achieving broad-based #Data & #Analytics Literacy within two years. Data & Analytics must be used pervasively and not selectively. This begins with Literacy & Competencies at all Levels, especially at the top where the most value from facts, measures and insights typically manifests.

On the 6th Day of #DataLeadership the #CEO enacted the Org’s plan to be #Data-driven in All Decisions, Measures & Outcomes going forward. Being data-driven is a major commitment and requires moving from an anecdotal (gut) -based decisioning model to a fact (evidence) -based on. It must occur at all levels where decisioning is required in daily & strategic operations.

On 7th Day of #DataLeadership the #CEO vowed to use #Data & #Analytics pervasively (not selectively) in creating their Predictive Enterprise. Pervasiveness is essential to becoming a true Predictive Enterprise. Data & Analytics can no longer be “specialist functions”, and must be used by everyone in all facets of daily work. This is the linchpin of any transformation strategy used to become a Predictive Enterprise.

On the 8th Day of #DataLeadership the #CEO & Board integrated #Data, #Analytics & #Digital into their #Governance & #Risk accountabilities. Data & Analytics are core to each Organizations strategy, tactics and operations. Their use must be governed accordingly in alignment the Organizations’ overall governance model. This applies to Risk Management as well. Data & Analytics are not outliers and must be integrated into the Org’s Risk Models & related activities.

On the 9th Day of #DataLeadership the #CEO, Board & All Senior Execs began their journey to become #Analytics-Literate Leaders within 2-yrs. The central tenant of the Data Leadership Nexus is Top-down Leadership. However, you cannot Lead what you don’t understand. This requires all senior execs, board members and the CEO to become “Analytics Literate” early in the journey to becoming a Predictive Enterprise.

On the 10th Day of #DataLeadership the #CEO detailed the key elements of Orgs’ Transformational Journey to become a Predictive Enterprise. Every successful Transformation requires a road map that details the key milestones and measures necessitated to achieve the outcomes of the Strategy. These will be unique for every Organization as it maps out its journey and the Outcomes it is pursuing. 

On the 11th Day of #DataLeadership the #CEO & Board assigned #DataStewardship Responsibilities for key #Data Domains across the Organization. There are many critical Data & Analytics domains in every Organization and they must be shepherded through their lifecycle by Stewards who are fully (or partially) responsible for this task. These Stewards are typically at the mid-tier of any organization and act as Asset Managers in the typical sense.

On the 12th Day of #DataLeadership the #CEO empowered the Org to use its rich #Data & #Analytics Talent to become a Predictive Enterprise. Empowerment is essential to the success of any Transformational Strategy. It is the Trust element and each CEO & every Board must instill in the culture of the organization. Empowerment engages every single responsible party in the pursuit of the common goal of becoming a Predictive Enterprise.

Look for more postings on The Data Leadership Nexus and Predictive Enterprises over the course of the year.

All the best in 2016!

RLLeadership-picture

 

October & November will be frantic months of activities with a strong focus on Conferences. Check back often for updates and additions. In most cases I will be Tweeting and Blogging live from each conference;

Conferences:

Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP): “2014 Change Connect Symposium” – October 1-2 – Microsoft Campus Commons (http://www.acmppnwnetwork.org/?page_id=326)

Digital Analytics Association (DAA): “Monster Analytics Mashup” – October 16th – Microsoft Conference Center (http://www.digitalanalyticsassociation.org/calendar_day.asp?date=10/16/2014&event=260#.VCWfF8LF-yM)

Information Age (UK): “Data Leadership 2014” – October 30th – The Grange Tower Bridge Hotel (London) (http://www.dataleadership.co.uk) :

Keynote: “Embracing The Data Leadership Nexus for Strategic Success”

UK Open Data Initiative: “ODI Summit 2014” – November 2-4 – British Film Institute (London) (http://summit.theodi.org/)

Articles:

IBM Big Data Hub: “The Privacy Corner”. “Discrimination and Other Abuses drive the Need for Ethics in Big Data” (http://ibm.co/1sKmkx0)

Information Age (UK): “Transforming into a Predictive Enterprise” (http://www.information-age.com/technology/information-management/123458506/holy-grail-big-data-becoming-predictive-enterprise)

Information Age (UK): “The State of Open Data” (November 15th (URL to be posted at time of publishing)

IBM Big Data Hub: “The Privacy Corner”. “Have we already lost the Privacy battle?” (November – Date TBD)

The Data Leadership Nexus (Blog):

“Reflections on Data Leadership 2014” (November 4th)

“How to Successfully Execute your Transformational Plan for becoming a Predictive Enterprise” (November 15th)

“The Data Leadership Nexus: (Recap)” (Updates throughout the month) (https://infomgmtexec.me/2014/09/16/recap-the-data-leadership-nexus/)

 

The Data Leadership Nexus is a path to success when it comes to realizing the numerous business benefits of Big Data and Advanced Analytics which have been extolled by so many in recent times and yet realized by so few. It is the linchpin of your Strategic Plan for building & sustaining “a culture of analytics” to foster evidence-based decisioning, deeper & broader insights, full knowledge exploitation and optimized strategic performance while making these behaviors pervasive across your entire enterprise. In my mind it is the path to realize everything data-related that we have been working on for more than 50 years now in Management Theory, Decision Science and Information Technology.

By definition: The Data Leadership Nexus is the intersection of; Top-Down Executive Leadership, A fully aligned Organizational Culture and the full exploitation of Data, Information, Analytics to create strategic outcomes, sustainable sources of competitive advantage and enterprise value within every organization that wants to become a Predictive Enterprise.

I define a Predictive Enterprise as: “The use of Predictive Capabilities driven by data, information & analytics to; optimize decision making, facilitate strategic & operational outcomes, mitigate risks and to exploit insights across the entire Enterprise”

The Data Leadership Nexus is comprised of these basic components;

  • Top-Down Leadership (by the Senior Executive Team)
  • Data, Information & Analytics
  • Organizational Culture 

Each component was discussed in detail in previous postings. They can be found using the following links;

#: Overview & Introduction:  https://infomgmtexec.me/2014/08/05/overview-the-data-leadership-nexus/

#: The Motivation behind The Data Leadership Nexushttps://infomgmtexec.me/2014/07/25/data-analytics-leadership-missing-in-action/

#: Top-Down Leadership:   https://infomgmtexec.me/2014/08/11/leadership-requirements-in-the-predictive-enterprise/

#: Organizational Culturehttps://infomgmtexec.me/2014/08/28/the-role-of-organizational-culture-in-the-predictive-enterprise/

#: Data, Information & Analyticshttps://infomgmtexec.me/2014/09/09/data-information-analytics-as-core-competencies-in-the-predictive-enterprise/

#: Additional Background Material: “Transformational Leadership for Big Data & Analytics Success” (Three-part series): 

  1. https://infomgmtexec.me/2014/06/27/transformational-leadership-for-big-data-analytics-success/
  2. https://infomgmtexec.me/2014/07/11/transformational-leadership-for-big-data-analytics-success-part-2-establishing-top-down-accountability/
  3. https://infomgmtexec.me/2014/07/20/transformational-leadership-for-big-data-analytics-success-part-3-organizational-design-cultural-adoption/

In future postings I will discuss; “How to Build & Successfully Execute your Transformational Plan for becoming a Predictive Enterprise using The Data Leadership Nexus as a Strategic Enabler”. 

The notion of The Data Leadership Nexus has five basic components;

1.- Top-Down Leadership (by the Senior Executive Team)

2.-4.- Data, Information & Analytics

5.- Organizational Culture 

In this posting entitled,“Organizational Culture” I will discuss one of the most widely mis-understood and under appreciated elements in creating a Predictive Enterprise, that of Organizational Culture and the imperative to change it from being data & analytics illiterate to one where information & analysis is used by everyone to drive each decision and to facilitate every strategic & operational outcome.

The Culture of any Enterprise is based on the long-term strategic direction that the organization has undertaken over the course of its history and the collective experiences along the way. It is shaped daily by the actions and activities of the Leadership Team who have guided this journey. Organizational Culture is the shadow of the Chief Executive Officer (and Senior Executive Team) and is found behind every door and felt down every corridor in the Organization. It is the single thread that ties everyone together within any Organization. Given this, Organizational Culture is the most important component of The Data Leadership Nexus that must be leveraged in order to transform an organization into a true Predictive Enterprise.

As one would expect this Cultural Adoption (transformation) must be driven by the Top-Down Leadership of the CEO and his or her Senior Executive Team. We discussed in my last segment on Top-Down Leadership just how essential it is for the entire Executive Team to “walk the talk” in respect to becoming a Predictive Enterprise. This will manifest from their own competencies and acumen in data & analytics and how they position the use of them in every strategic and operational endeavor that the Organization is involved in. Their Leadership comes from these strengths and their lock-step application of the strategic constructs of;

  • “Information as an Asset”
  • “Evidence-based Decisioning”
  • “Information-driven Risk Management”
  • “Competitive Advantage through Advanced Analytics (everywhere)”

Once Top-Down Leadership has set the tone and direction for the “data & analytics way-forward” by their own personal commitments (via OBM goals) and demonstrated actions, then the Organization must address how to “adapt” the Current State Culture into the Future State model. Many Organizations would tend do apply the traditional Change Management (CM) techniques of; Communications, Training & Readiness Preparation and call it a day. In my experience this will not work by itself. Cultural Adoption is not Change Management!

Cultural Adoption requires Engagement, BootStrapping and Practical Application endeavors to augment traditional CM. It requires the Top-Down Leadership Team to directly Engage with the Organization at all levels. This is not a hierarchical exercise, where “orders from the top” can be cascaded down, but a lateral one where these leaders bring their messages directly to the Front Lines of the Organization,  while personally demonstrating to their own subordinates the commitments that they have made to the successful Transformation into a Predictive Enterprise and all that it portends for success. These Engagement efforts must be genuine and felt by all. The entire Top-Down Leadership team must be in sync working in unison towards the common goal and outcome.

In parallel with Engagement, the Organization must BootStrap everyone’s abilities & understandings as to what becoming a Predictive Enterprise entails and how each of them will play a role regardless of job description. Everyone must be on-board with the plan and approach and be actively participating in the pursuit of the transformational outcome via Training, Mentoring, Coaching & Hands-on Instruction. This will create Cultural Adoption momentum that can be sustained through the continuous application of Engagement and bolstered through the daily Practical Application of data & analytics to every decision and pursuit of operational outcomes.

Practical Application is one of the most critical activities because it intersects with Relevance. For any Culture to Adapt there must be strong Leadership, the attainment of Competencies and Understandings as to the Future State Direction, but also Relevance to them personally. Whether a Mature Enterprise or Start-up each member of the Organization must feel a sense of purpose in order to be an active member of the Culture, much less a contributor to the successful outcome of the transformation strategy. It is essential for all levels of Leadership to empower all members of their Organizational Unit to be contributors to the notion of being a Predictive Enterprise. In most cases this will require a complete re-evaluation of roles and responsibilities such that decision making and insights analytics are core to each Information Workers daily activities.

To become a Predictive Enterprise you need committed Top-Down Leadership and a Culture driven by the pursuit of a common strategy & its goals to then fully exploit your rich Data & Information Assets and Deep Analytics Capabilities. In this posting I have endeavored to provide a thin veneer of the requirements and complexities in adapting your Organizational Culture to become a Predictive Enterprise. It is one of the most significant investments in time, energy and resources but an essential one in becoming a Predictive Enterprise.

In my next installment of The Data Leadership Nexus I will explore for my readers the more familiar areas of Data, Information & Analytics, but from what most will regard as a very different perspective than other Thought Leaders.  Look forward to seeing it soon.

RL

 

 

 

Nexus (noun). “a connection or series of connections linking two or more things”.

Predictive Enterprise (noun). “The use of predictive capabilities (data, information & analytics) to optimize decision making, mitigate risk and exploit insights for competitive advantage”

Anyone who has read this blog and my many articles in Information Age (www.information-age.com) on the subject of the Chief Data Officer (and its many variants i.e. Chief Analytics Officer, Chief Digital Officer, etc.) over the past year or so is no doubt quite aware that I am neither a fan, nor supporter of the notion of a “Data Czar”. I have attended numerous conferences on this topic and have read the entire litany of rationalizations written by so many out there as to why this role is critical in today’s enterprise. Everyone, except me it seems, is full enamored with this notion and are all happy to cheerlead its success even if they don’t have one of their own yet (you know who I am referring to here). I myself have decided to take a different path than the rest of the pack.

Having pondered, much less experienced first hand the challenges of “How to evolve into a Predictive Enterprise” I want to address the three essential challenges associated with this journey; Executive Leadership, Strategy and Culture. Each provides a critical element of success and yet have been left out of much of the Data & Analytics conversations to date (I touched on all three in my last blog series on “Transformational Leadership for Big Data & Analytics Success”). My aim now is to change that and make them front and center in the discussion going forward while combining them with the technology components of Data, Information & Analytics.

When I was developing the notion of The Data Leadership Nexus in my mind I was focused on how to bring all of the key components together in a way that would ultimately create an aggregate response to the needs of a Predictive Enterprise. The most obvious components of the Nexus are the ones that most everyone dwells on; Data (big and small), Information (data with appropriate context) and Analytics (statistical, descriptive, predictive & cognitive), with the less-obvious being the three critical enablers of Executive Leadership, Strategy and Culture. All are not necessarily equal in significance at any particular point along the Predictive Enterprise journey, but all are necessary nonetheless.

For the moment my working definition of the Data Leadership Nexus is as follows;

The Data Leadership Nexus connects Data, Information, Analytics, Executive Leadership and Organizational Culture to create strategic impact, differentiation and enterprise value within every organization striving to become a true Predictive Enterprise). The Data Leadership Nexus represents the single biggest opportunity to realize the benefits that have been extolled about Big Data and Advanced Analytics and is the linchpin for establishing “a culture of analytics” which fosters evidence-based decisioning, deep insights, full knowledge exploitation and optimized strategic performance while making all such activities pervasive across their enterprise. To me it is the realization of everything data-related that we have been working towards for more than 50 yrs. now in Management Theory, Decision Science and Technology.

Having established the definition and rationale for The Data Leadership Nexus, the next step is to define the means to a successful journey to become a Predictive Enterprise.

The first step, and absolutely the most critical, is to firmly establish the role and accountability of Executive Leadership in this nexus. In my last blog post of July 25th (“Data & Analytics Leadership: Missing in Action”) I made the case that the CEO, Board and Senior Executive Team have essentially been MIA during the entirety of the data & analytics journey to date and that if this does not change fundamentally then the benefits of being a Predictive Enterprise will never be realized. I will expand on those beliefs and more in the next installment of The Data Leadership Nexus, entitled “Leadership Requirements in the Predictive Enterprise.”.

Stay tuned.

Richard

I have a number of Thought Leadership items slated for going live in August. Below is a listing of their titles and publication dates.

  • August 1st (WordPress Blog Series): “The Chief Data Officer: – Superhero, False God of Data or Fashion Statement? – Reflections on the MIT 8th Annual CDO & IQ Symposium” (Cambridge, MA) (www.infomgmtexec,me)
  • August 5th (WordPress Blog Series): “Overview: The Data Leadership Nexus” (www.infomgmtexec.me)
  • August Early (approx) – IBM Big Data & Analytics Hub: The Privacy Corner – “Privacy and Social Experimentation” (www.ibmbigdatahub.com). If you want to follow all of my blogs on the Big Data & Analytics Hub use this link to set up an RSS feed: (http://www.ibmbigdatahub.com/blog/feed/richard-lee)
  • August 11th (WordPress Blog Series): “The Data Leadership Nexus: Leadership Requirements in the Predictive Enterprise” (www.infomgmtexec.me)
  • August Late – Sept. Early: Information Age: Monthly Column – “The Data Leadership Nexus” (1st installment in this series) (www.information-age.com)
  • August 30th (WordPress Blog Series): “The Data Leadership Nexus: Organizational Change” (www.infomgmtexec.me)

Keep an eye out for calendar updates and additional postings.

Enjoy!

RL