Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Internet of Everything

The Digital Renaissance Is Here. Is Your Company’s Culture Ready?

Sooner or later we all feel like throwing up our hands and cursing the complexity of modern life. But while technology may seem the chief culprit in making things unmanageable, it is also the ultimate solution to complexity.

In the Internet of Everything (IoE) era, it is particularly important for business leaders to understand the power of technology to simplify our lives and support JBradleySAPinformed decision making. And this was a core theme at Sapphire Now 2014, an event in Orlando, Fla., that I was privileged to attend last week.

By using network technology to integrate people, process, data, and things, IoE counters complexity in unprecedented ways. In a city, this can involve something as simple as cutting the time it takes to find a (connected) parking space. Or IoE technologies can scale up to reroute traffic lights; for example, to head-off highway backups before, during, and after a large event.

In a brick-and-mortar retail setting (a key area of discussion at Sapphire Now), IoE can alleviate the complexity of managing customers, staffing, and products. With data from multiple sources comes heightened, real-time awareness, empowering managers to react faster than ever. For example, they can then stock shelves and reorganize staff in response to constantly changing levels of demand. With predictive analytics they can even respond before a customer rush begins.

The idea of hyper-aware, real-time decision-making resonated during a Sapphire Now panel discussion titled Thrive in the Digital Networks of the New Economy. I was honored to share the panel with such luminaries as Erik Brynjolfsson of MIT; Michael Chui of McKinsey Global Institute; and Jai Shekhawat, Deepak Krishnamurthy, and Vivek Bapat of SAP. And there was much discussion on the impact of bad decisions on failed organizations. Which is why we all take such an interest in technology that enables good ones.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Improve Decision-Making: Collaborate to Execute

January 16, 2013 at 6:00 pm PST

This is the last of a four-part series. The previous posts introduced decision-driven collaborationengagement, and evaluation.

Evolving your organization’s ideas around collaboration is an important element of connecting people and empowering them to work together to make better, more-informed decisions. Cisco IBSG calls this “Decision-Driven Collaboration” and outlines within it three core elements that build upon one another in decision making:

  • Collaborate to Engage: Identify key contributors, solicit input, share ideas.
  • Collaborate to EvaluateShape the matter to be decided, consider viable alternatives.
  • Collaborate to Execute: Make a clear decision, align relevant parties, put it into practice.

Execution is more effective when the context, rationale, success factors, expectations, dependencies, and so forth are transparent to those affected. As the IBSG report outlines, this level of transparency requires that leaders: Read More »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Improve Decision-Making: Collaborate to Evaluate

January 15, 2013 at 7:30 am PST

This is the third of a four-part series. Parts 1 and 2 introduced decision-driven collaboration and engagement. The final post will explore the execution element.

Good strategic decision-making rarely involves the flipping of coins or rolling of dice, although such techniques can come in handy when the outcome defines nothing more than your dinner menu. Business decisions of larger impact require a process that incorporates deeper consideration and more detailed information. Cisco IBSG calls this “Decision-Driven Collaboration,” and emphasizes the need to improve decision-making by improving collaboration, connecting people and empowering them to work together more effectively. This incorporates three core elements that build upon one another: Read More »

Tags: , , , , ,

Improve Decision-Making: Collaborate to Engage

January 10, 2013 at 5:26 am PST

This is the second of a four-part series. Part I introduced decision-driven collaboration. Upcoming posts will explore evaluation and execution.

Better decisions don’t necessarily come from the existence of better information. The information is usually somewhere in the organization, but there’s no benefit to the decision-making process unless people actually use it. Executives often don’t take full advantage of all the specialized knowledge that employees can contribute. Maybe they don’t know the information is there. Maybe they know it must be somewhere, but don’t know how to get it. Or, well, maybe they’re just not looking for it in the first place.

Improving the decision-making process comes as a result of evolving ideas around collaboration and by connecting people and empowering them to work together. Cisco IBSG calls this “Decision-Driven Collaboration” and outlines three core elements that build upon one another in the decision process:

  • Collaborate to Engage: Identify key contributors, solicit input, share ideas.
  • Collaborate to Evaluate: Shape the matter to be decided, consider viable alternatives.
  • Collaborate to Execute: Make a clear decision, align relevant parties, put it into practice.

Although the executives in an IBSG survey rated their own decision-making ability highly, the managers and individual contributors were (surprise!) not nearly as confident in the decisions handed to them to execute. Making critical strategic decisions without engaging the right people and information in your organization should be a candidate for a new definition of risk in the next edition of the dictionary, followed closely by leaping out of an airplane minus a parachute.

Just ask Borders. Borders missed the online retailing boat in a big way. How big? Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Collaborating to Improve Decision Making

January 7, 2013 at 9:02 am PST

Decisions have consequences. It’s a simple fact that not even my fourth grader will dispute. But if it’s so simple, why do organizations often have so much trouble making good decisions? Or, knowing the potential consequences, why do they pay little attention to how they go about the whole decision-making process?

It’s easy to find outside factors at which to point fingers when things go wrong – economy, competitors, politics, weather, Mercury in retrograde – but honesty requires that we acknowledge that internal factors and poorly made decisions are at the root of most major organizational failures. But it seems that most leaders aren’t ready for that level of self-reflection. Just ask them.

Cisco IBSG asked more than 1,000 executives to rate the ability of their companies to make successful decisions on critical issues — such as corporate strategy, acquisitions, product launches, and entering new markets — 71% chose Read More »

Tags: , , , , , ,