Curated content for content, computing, and digital experience professionsals

Month: September 2012 (Page 1 of 2)

The Flip Side of IT Spending and Productivity

In our last post we explored the companies in The Global 5000 that showed the biggest gains in revenue per employee AND spent the most on IT.  The idea is that this group will continue to spend and strive for continuous improvements — making some great potential targets for those IT suppliers that can show their offerings help save money.

Now, we turn the page and explore the other end of the spectrum. Again, taking companies in the Global 5000 data base we now look at the bottom 2000 companies in terms of revenue per employee change  That is — they are not on a positive track. From this group we then took the lowest 1000 firms in terms of IT spending.

We can look at this set of companies in one of two ways – either:

  • they are ripe opportunities who will need to invest in order to grow their revenue faster or get more productivity out of the existing workforce
  • OR – they are not going any further with technology spending and their growth is not going to be via increasing spending per employee.

We should run to the first group and run away from the second.  Here is the profile of these 1,000 companies where these industries have traditionally been a challenge for the IT suppliers.

The top countries are:

  • USA
  • UK
  • Japan
  • Canada
  • France
  • Spain

And the top industries:

  • Industrial Manufacturers
  • Retailers
  • Consumer Goods Manufacturers
  • Business Services
  • Construction

For more information about The Global 5000 database click here

 

Why Big Data is important to Gilbane Conference attendees

If you think there is too much hype, and gratuitous use of the term, big data, you haven’t seen anything yet. But don’t make the mistake of confusing the hype with how fundamental and how transformational big data is and will certainly be. Just turn your hype filter to high and learn enough about it to make your own judgements about how it will affect your business and whether it is something you need to do something about now, or monitor for future planning.

As I said yesterday in a comment on a post by Sybase CTO Irfan Khan Gartner dead wrong about big data hype cycle (with a response from Gartner):

However Gartner’s Hype Cycle is interpreted I think it is safe to say that most, including many analysts, underestimate how fundamental and how far-reaching big data will be. How rapidly its use will evolve, and in which applications and industries first, is a more difficult and interesting discussion. The twin brakes of a shortage of qualified data scientist skills and the costs and complexities of IT infrastructure changes will surely slow things down and cause disillusionment. On the other hand we have all been surprised by how fast some other fundamental changes have ramped up, and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service) will certainly help accelerate things. There is also a lot more big data development and deployment activity going on than many realize – it is a competitive advantage after all.

There is also a third “brake” which is all the uncertainty around privacy issues. There is already a lot of consumer data that is not being fully used because of fear of customer backlash or new regulation and, one hopes, because of a degree of respect for consumer’s privacy.

Rob Rose expanded on some specific concerns of marketers in a recent post Big Data & Marketing – It’s A Trap!, including the lack of resources for interpreting even the current mostly website analytics data marketers already have. It’s true, and not just for smaller companies. In addition there are at least four requirements for making big data analytics accessible to marketers that are largely beyond the reach of most current organizations.

Partly to the rescue is Big Data as a Service BDaaS (one of the more fun-sounding acronyms). BDaaS is going to be a huge business. All the big technology infrastructure firms are getting involved and all the analytics vendors will all have cloud and big data services. There are also many new companies including some surprises. For example, after developing its own Hadoop-based big data analytics expertise Sears created subsidiary MetaScale to provide BDaaS to other enterprises. Ajay Agarwal from Bain Capital Ventures predicts that the confluence of big data and marketing will lead to several new multi-billion dollar companies and I think he is right.

But while big data is important for the marketers, content managers, and IT who attend our conference because of the potential for enhanced predictive analytics and content marketing. The reach and value of big data applications is far broader than marketing – executives need to understand the potential for new efficiencies, products and businesses. The well-known McKinsey report “Big Data: The Next Frontier for Innovation, Competition, and Productivity” (free) is a good place to start. If you are in the information business I focus on that in my report Big-Data: Big Deal or Just Big Buzz? (not free).

Big data presentations at Gilbane Boston

This year we have six presentations on big data, two devoted to big data and marketing and all chosen with an eye towards the needs of our audience of marketers, content strategists, and IT. You can find out more about these presentations, including their date and time on the conference program.

Keynote

Bill Simmons, CTO, DataXu
Why Marketing Needs Big Data

Main Conference Presentations

Tony Jewitt, VP Big Data Solutions at Avalon Consulting, LLC
“Big Data” 101 for Business

Bryan Bell, Vice President, Enterprise Solutions, Expert System
Semantics and the Big Data Opportunity

Brian Courtney, General Manager of Operations Data Management, GE Intelligent Platforms
Leveraging Big Data Analytics

Darren Guarnaccia, Senior VP, Product Marketing, Sitecore
Big Data: What’s the Promise and Reality for Marketers?

Stefan Andreasen, Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Kapow Software
Big Data: Black Hole or Strategic Value?

Update: There is now a video of me being interviewed on big data by CMS-Connected.

Appearances Matter – Simple Solutions for Creating Engaging Web Content

When not busy working with The Gilbane Conference I spend my time working as a CMS editor. As a CMS Site editor I often times feel torn between my responsibility to preserve the integrity of my employers website by focusing on the content (I.e text) and my desire to enhance the more superficial elements such as the background, graphics, and fonts. 10/10 times I choose to tweak the text as our current software has been fixed to only offer 3 color options and only one font…

While ultimately the content on a site is more important than its overall appearance, I believe that in an age where analytics show that the majority of website viewers spend an average of only 10 seconds on a site they are visiting for the first time, that appearance cannot be ignored. Those statistics are not only discouraging to the average CMS editor, but further proof that in order to make an eye catching site to get viewers to explore and spend time on your site you’re going to need a bigger arsenal then a three choice color palette.

Although many are in the same position that I am in, working on company websites that have pre-programed fonts and colors, and in some cases graphics, there are several simple ways in which to make a big statement without straying to far from what is deemed acceptable and professional by your employer.

  • Add an Infographic

 

(http://www.manmadediy.com)

Adding infographics to your website is not just an easy way to display relevant company data in an engaging manner, they are also great in adding a much needed pop of color and excitement sure to make even the most casual of browsers stop and take a look.

While several companies will make custom infographics for you company at a price there are several websites that will generate them for free. Some notable options are Visual.ly and Piktochart. If you’re feeling especially creative and have time on your hands try creating your own using PowerPoint.

 

  • Avoid large StockPhoto sites whenever possible

 

How many times have you seen a photo on a companies website that looks exactly like this. While we can appreciate the fact that somewhere out there, there may be an office full of people that are always camera ready and enjoy each others company so much that they can’t get rid of their ever present  grins, this is simply not the case for most workplaces. If possible get real photos of real people in your office, and include pictures of your headquarters as well. These are the types of photos that will engage viewers and create a certain level of trust and comfort that stock photos cannot.

  • Make your Headlines and Titles Bold.


As Simple as it may sound by making the text of your article titles and headlines bold you are  creating a natural focal point for site browsers to focus on when scrolling through your website. When there is text to focus on within a sea of words people will be able to identify the content they are looking for easier, making them more likely to read what comes after the title.

 

  • Add a Social Element


It has become the norm for companies to be connected on at least one Social Network, so there is virtually no excuse why this fact should not be advertised on your website. Add a “social bar”, a twitter feed and of course share buttons to all of your blog and article entries. People are apt to feel more comfortable sharing and reading your information when they have visual proof that other have done the same before them. The upside to this is that when people share your content on social sites, it will inevitably lead more viewers back to your web page.

Utilizing even just one of these tools is a sure to expand not just your website viewership, but also the amount of time they are browsing as well. These which will all eventually lead to increase in clients and customers!

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For more information on The Gilbane Conference please visit our website @:

http://gilbaneboston.com

IT Spending and Productivity Improvements in Global 5000 Companies

One of the simple questions that business management has to ask when considering new spending is “will this help me make money or save money?” If the answer is not clear to either of those choices, it is hard to see that investment happening. It does not matter if this pertains to IT spending, a new facility or any other kind of major outlay. There has been a great deal of research conducted  in past years showing that the investment in technology does, in fact, lead to an increase in productivity in many cases.

A convenient way to look at this is to simply calculate the revenue per employee figures for a company and compare them to your peers. We did this recently with The Global 5000 companies and took it a step further.

First we looked at companies in the Global 5000 list that have shown an increase in their revenue per employee ratios over the past two years. We selected the top 2,000 based on the largest percent increases in revenue per employee figures. Next, from this top 2000, we looked their corporate IT spending and ranked them from largest to smallest and selected the top 1,000 IT spenders out of the selection.

Therefore, the group of 1,000 we have examined are those growing revenue per employee the fastest and spend the most on IT.  A reasonable assumption would be that will continue to spend and strive for continuous improvements — making some great potential targets for those that can show their offerings help save money.

Our list of the best 1,000 for this selection are in these industry groups:

  • Financial Services
  • Large Industrials
  • Oil & Gas
  • Technology companies
  • Basic Materials
  • Business Services

And the leading countries for these key targets are:

  • USA
  • Japan
  • China
  • UK
  • Germany
  • France
  • Canada
  • Switzerland
  • Australia
  • Brazil

In our next post, we will flip this analysis and look at those that are not growing revenue per employee and do not spend a lot on IT — those may be an opportunity in waiting or places to avoid spending a lot of time on.

You can find more information about The Global 5000 database by clicking here

 

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