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Gartner Blog Network

  • Day in the Life of an Analyst at Gartner’s IT Symposium/XPO 2022 – Day 3
    by Andrew White on October 20, 2022 at 11:57 am

    Day 3 was pretty tiring but exhilarating at the same time.  Having so many 1-1s with attendees, all with interesting, varied and different questions is so much fun.  While its like sitting in front of a fire-hose the experience provides the best forum to both learn new things, confirm some ideas, or generate new inquiries. As in the past I have shared a blow-by-blow account of my time at our conference.  This year - our first such IT Symposium in person for 3 years - I will keep it short and to the point. First, here is my usual morning Muse view of my brain.  If you compare this to the first couple of days, you will notice a general flattening of the line. This to me suggests that yes, analysts can tire and perhaps the level of active brain activity does respond to workload.  Oh well.  It's still fun! You can see my brain maps for Day 1 and Day 2 here.   Here also is the summary of my 1-1s and interactions over the last three days: Topic Business Impact/Value of 35 D&A Governance/MDM/Getting re-started 22 Data & Analytics Strategy 9 Application Data Mgt/ERP Data Governance 7 D&A Governance specific to analytics pipeline 7 Analytics/BI/Data Science 6 D&A Road Map (systems, programs and tech) 5 Becoming Data Driven/Data Literacy 5 Product Delivery/Marketplaces/DevOps 4 Building/Starting a D&A Org/Practice 4 AI and ML Strategy and Leverage 2 Data Fabric and/versus Data Mesh 2 Cloud Infrastructure Implications/complexity 2 Data Mesh (and therefore Data Fabric) 2 D&A Trends 1 Sovereign Data Strategies 1 1-1’s: 35 Industry: Public Sector 6 Healthcare  4 Tax & Audit; Insurance; Fin Serve 4 Food 4 Consumer Goods 3 Investment/VC 2 Regulator/Standards 2 Banking 2 Industrial 2 Fashion 1 Consumer Electronics 1 Conglomerate 1 Higher Education 1 Construction 1 Energy 1 Defense 1 Business: Services 15 Public Sector 6 Distribution 6 Manufacturing 6 Conglomerate 1 Retail 1 Role: SVP IT/CIO 12 CDO/CDAO 7 Snr/Dir Enterprise Analytics/Data Science 4 CTO  (with CDAO responsibilities) 3 Dir D&A Governance 2 Director/VP Enterprise Apps 1 Supervisor 1 Dir Data and User Productivity 1 Leader, Innovation 1 VP Leader, Innovation 1 VP Enterprise Architecture 1 Dir Transformation 1

  • Day in the Life of an Analyst at Gartner’s IT Symposium/XPO 2022 – Day 4 and Summary
    by Andrew White on October 20, 2022 at 5:15 am

    So here is my day 4 in the day-in-the-life series of blogs.  For Day 4 I will summarize the key themes, frameworks shared with attendees, and the topics across the week.  First, of course, is my Muse and the state of my brain Thursday morning. My score for Thursday was 706, and the line looks quite stable.  For Wednesday my score was 745, for Tuesday it was 757, and for Monday 699.  So, it seems I actually improved towards the middle of the week, but my mind became a little more active after that.  I would argue that the ideas I had collected through the week were synthesizing and I was already starting to think ahead to going home and reflecting on the information. Popular Models and Frameworks In terms of the most popular images and frameworks I shared during the week, here are the main ones. Gartner's Value Pyramid and “linking data to outcome” is a very popular workshop tool to help business and non-business folks explore how a business outcome can be de-composed into real data. This resource can be used in building and developing a data and analytics strategy, as well as prioritizing data for governance, and presenting D&A to the board of directors!  It’s non-tech focused and very business-terminology focused. We talked about about organization, setting up governance boards, and the role of stewardship. It seems there are a LOT of firms who have failed, again, with governance and stewardship.  They are set up often too early (because the consultant told the too) and talking about standards and data principles all day only goes so far. Value Pyramid Workshop resource: Toolkit: How to Connect Data to Business Outcomes Value Pyramid and Three Rings recorded webinar: Link Data to Business Outcomes Governance Organization and Stewardship Role (day in the life) Here is another graphic from the workshop.  This helps explain how repeated use of the Value Pyramid can help discover your needed data standards for re-use.  They exist in every organization, hidden in plain site.  You just need to know your business outcomes to discern them. A number of 1-1's discussed how to report the business value of impact of D&A and also governance. Quick Answer: What You Should Expect From Your Data and Analytics Governance Dashboard Key Take-Aways After all the fun and games I ended up with some rough tongue-in-cheek recommendations to try to call out the main conditions and issues facing organizations.  In a nutshell, they are as follows. Shut down the governance council if it meets, has every business unit represented, and talks about data, standards, and principles.  Too many organizations were shutting them down or having them shut down.  They start up too soon and have nothing of (business) value to add.  Yet. Re-write the Governance charter. It should be one page. First paragraph describes why we govern: to enable business, it’s outcomes and decisions. Second paragraph looks at who prioritizes D&A…which often exposes the issue with governance: it’s distinct from D&A strategy and before you embark on governance you need to have a D&A process in train. Don’t hire stewards, yet. They don’t anything to do either.  The need for stewards, and how to identify them, will become apparent as you work out which business outcomes are more important.  Hint: Process owners are pretty like “data owners”. Don’t start your governance effort by buying a data catalog*. There’s no point cataloging rubbish. You might need a data catalog by about month 9, if you are lucky.  Note that the analytics use cases can use a catalog early; governance does not often need a catalog until later. Don’t ever start a governance program by asking about data issues. Also, don’t go on about data principles such as data is an asset and data should be reused. Don’t go on about data standards. Principles are not actionable, we all have the same ones anyway, and no one will care. Instead, ask about the most important or opportunistic business outcomes. Invariably any outcome will require data from more than one domain, so a focus on a single domain at a time, such as customer or citizen, is doomed to failure too. 1-1 and Individual Interactions What follows is a summary of the topics, roles, and organizations I spoke with. Topics and their relative frequency: Business Impact/Value of 37 D&A Governance/MDM/Getting re-started 24 Data & Analytics Strategy 12 Building/Starting a D&A Org/Practice/Stewardship 12 D&A Governance specific to analytics pipeline 9 Application Data Mgt/ERP Data Governance 7 Analytics/BI/Data Science 6 D&A Road Map (systems, programs and tech) 6 Becoming Data Driven/Data Literacy 5 Product Delivery/Marketplaces/DevOps 4 AI and ML Strategy and Leverage 2 Data Fabric and/versus Data Mesh 2 Cloud Infrastructure Implications/complexity 2 Data Mesh (and therefore Data Fabric) 2 D&A Trends 1 Sovereign Data Strategies 1 Data Security 1 1-1’s: 43 overall Industry: Tax & Audit; Insurance; Fin Serve 5 Public Sector 6 Healthcare  4 Food 4 Consumer Goods 4 Investment/VC 2 Regulator/Standards 2 Banking 2 Industrial 2 Higher Education 2 Research 2 Defense 2 Fashion 1 Consumer Electronics 1 Conglomerate 1 Construction 1 Energy 1 High Tech/Vendor 1 Business: Services 18 Manufacturing 8 Public Sector 7 Distribution 6 Conglomerate/Co-op 2 Retail 1 Role: SVP IT/CIO 14 CDO/CDAO 7 CTO  (with CDAO responsibilities) 5 Snr/Dir Enterprise Analytics/Data Science 4 Dir D&A Governance 2 Director/VP Enterprise Apps/Systems 2 Supervisor 1 Dir Data and User Productivity 1 Leader, Innovation 1 VPLeader, Innovation 1 VP Enterprise Architecture 1 Dir Trasnformation 1 VP Data Services 1 Software Developer 1 Credit Data Engineer Manager 1

  • What Business Leaders Must Know About AI Data
    by Anthony J. Bradley on October 19, 2022 at 10:29 am

      Human Interviewer: “How many data points do you need to solve this problem?” Renee Robot: “Just the good ones.”   With AI, nothing matters more than the data    And your data is not ready for AI. This is the case for almost all data. Why, because the data collection was never intended for AI. And yet, data is the lifeblood of AI. The right amount of the right data is required for success. This is often the biggest challenge in finding AI based solutions to big problems. AI will directly reflect the characteristics of the data. Unreliable data creates unreliable AI. Bad data creates bad AI. Bias data creates bias AI. Every business leader must understand the characteristics of the data underneath the AI to make judgements on AI quality. Here is where business leaders can add significant value. In theory, business leaders should know the strengths, weaknesses and value of their business data. Never underestimate the value of your business data. And never overestimate its quality. In my experience, most business leaders do the opposite. As I presented in the parent post to this one, the availability of quality data will endure as the main inhibitor to AI progress. Here are a few of my personal positions that some may find controversial. “Data engineering is more important to AI solutions than data science.”  “The data about completing a task is more valuable than the task itself.”  “Synthetic data will displace real data as the primary fuel for AI.” Here are some critical data questions that business leaders must ask before green lighting any AI initiative.   Do we have enough data?  When COVID-19 reached Global pandemic status in 2020, people placed high expectations on AI as the path to a solution. So why were solutions slow in coming and ineffective? One big reason (if not the biggest), we just didn’t have the data. COVID-19 was a new, novel, never before identified, coronavirus. We needed to collect, process and analyze new data. Data that didn’t exist. Many countries implemented AI near immediately for contact tracing and tracking the disease but we didn’t have enough data to pursue a treatment even with the power of AI.    Is it the right data? In some cases we have a lot of data but it isn’t the right data. Remember that the right data holds the answers you seek. This was another weakness in Princeton’s “Fragile Families Challenge” effort. Yes, there was a very large robust data set. But the data set was designed for social scientists to study families formed by unmarried parents and the lives of children born into these families. It was not designed for AI to predict the six particular life outcomes of the children included in the observations. There was little chance that the answer sought was anywhere in the data. In reality, you can't design a data set for that broad goal with any guarantees that the answer would be in the data.     Can we get the right data? One of the best ways to ensure you have the right data is to design the data set specifically for applying AI to the problem. This was the case with the 50,000 chest X-rays collected for the Stanford CheXNeXT radiology AI study. These data scientists knew that a sufficient number of a specific set of cardiac maladies were represented in the X-ray data so they knew there was a good likelihood that they could use the data to build an AI model that would be able to detect those maladies. For those targeted maladies at least, they knew the answer was in the data. They had no expectation that the AI algorithm would recognize any other maladies.  Sometimes “the right data” doesn’t exist and is too expensive to collect. This is where synthetic data comes in. With today’s tech you can create a large data set to spec. However, there is always a risk that the data will not reflect the real world. In some cases, organizations don't want their AI to reflect the real world. Instead they train AI algorithms to reflect the world they want. Then they look for their desired scenario in the real world. This is one way companies try to combat real world bias. Because even the right real world data still may not address the next question.     Does the data hold the answer you want?    As if it were not hard enough to ensure an answer is in the data, you must ensure that the answer you want is in the data. Good AI data not only has the answer in it but it also reflects the scenario you wish to model. And this scenario may not be the way of the world. All data is biased, period. Accurate “real world” data will reflect actual bias in the real world. So if we are examining home lending practices or real estate sales practices or K-12 teaching systems, any inherent biases within those people, practices and systems will be in the data. And those biases will be reflected in the AI algorithms trained with that data. In the mid 2000s, Amazon was building an AI-based recruiting systems. The ultimate goal was to have a system that could look through thousands upon thousands of resumes and weed the pile down to a handful of highly qualified candidates that Amazon managers could then interview and choose the most qualified. It became apparent relatively quickly that the results were pretty heavily male gender-biased. Why was that? The data they trained the AI model against was a repository of resumes submitted to Amazon over a 10-year period. And who was submitting those resumes? Men. And so the “answer” in the data was “the men” who are qualified for the position, not “the men and women” who are qualified for the position. There was an answer in the data. But it was a biased answer and not necessarily the answer Amazon sought. Eventually, Amazon abandoned the AI-based recruiting project essentially because, though they had a lot of “the right” data, they did not have data that gave them an acceptable answer. If Amazon can make this mistake, anyone can.   Bias is only good or bad depending on your desired outcome.  Another now famous example of bias arose from groundbreaking research by Joy Buolamwini, Deb Raji, and Timnit Gebru. This research showed that facial recognition classification of white men was far more accurate than black women. This launched a significant effort by numerous companies to further explore bias in facial recognition algorithms.      Since all real world data is biased, it is critical to understand how that bias will affect the “answers” AI will find in the data. With this knowledge business leaders can either ensure the data is adjusted or factor the bias into the business decisions that follow the AI. Bias and transparency are important aspects of AI. A whole field around ethical AI is evolving rapidly. A big part of ensuring ethical AI is for business leaders to develop an awareness of the inherent biases in data (and therefore AI) and, if needed, adjust business decisions and practices to counteract those biases. A big part of ethical AI involves making sure the data holds the right answer to the business problem.        Getting the right amount of the right data will be a formidable AI challenge for the foreseeable future. It often makes AI cost prohibitive for all but the largest companies. The cost of acquiring, preparing and processing data can reach millions of dollars depending on the type of AI needed. There are several ways of gain access to data including: Accumulating, managing and processing internal business data Acquiring, managing and processing external data Collecting data via trial and error experience (reinforcement learning) Synthesizing data for AI training Acquiring algorithms trained by other organizations on their managed data  Each of these approaches, and others, come with cost/benefit trade-offs.   In Summary It is critical that business leaders understand the fundamentals of the data behind the AI. The quality and cost of the data is foundational to any AI business case. A poor decision here puts the entire AI project and perhaps the business at risk.   So, the key data questions for business leaders to ask their AI team are: Do we have the right amount of the right data to give us the results we want?  What are the main challenges with the data and how will we overcome them? How much will it cost to collect, prepare and manage the right data? Can we effectively understand and manage the biases in the data?

  • Complicated in Qatar
    by Chris Ross on October 19, 2022 at 7:10 am

    The 2022 FIFA World Cup is coming to Qatar. Time-shifted to November to avoid Summer in Qatar, with surface-of-the-sun temperatures. The anticipation around this epic, global spectacle is quickly building. As the volume of “how to watch the World Cup” searches grows over the coming weeks and the excitement builds, dark clouds continue to loom over the event, creating some very real challenges and opportunities for brands. Qatar has some challenges: Human rights - In the ten years since being awarded the World Cup event, it’s been reported [Amnesty International] that over 6,500 migrant workers have died building event-related infrastructure. In addition, Qatar has been accused (International Labor Rights Forum) of illegally recruiting and exploiting workers, unsafe, extreme working conditions, and a flagrant disregard for workers’ lives. LGBTQ+ discrimination and criminalization - Current Qatar law punishes same-sex relations with up to seven years in prison [Human Dignity Trust]. Human rights organizations have confirmed the Qatari government has actively surveilled and arrested LGBTQ+ people based on their online activity. Qatar actively censors traditional media, excluding LGBTQ+ content from the public sphere. Policies against women - Qatar maintains state policies [Human Rights Watch] that discriminate against and facilitate violence against women. These issues have been covered by multiple media outlets and supported by credible, detailed journalism. The controversy about the challenges in Qatar has been bubbling for some time and has already generated notable reactions. Some players and teams have threatened boycotts, well-known TV personalities have refused to host World Cup-related broadcasts, and sponsors of several country teams have decided not to do any World-Cup promotion. There are very real rumblings. The official partners for the 2022 FIFA World Cup have made significant investments to be sponsors. Serious money even for big brands, and only a portion of what each will spend to fully activate their sponsorship investment. Hefty investments, global exposure, and a controversial host country should make for an interesting few weeks. Given patterns we’ve seen in the past around large-scale events, we can expect FIFA and its collection of sponsors to explore one of these marketing strategies. The blissfully unaware strategy - Expect some brands to attempt to completely and totally ignore any Qatar-related issues. These types of campaigns will feel mostly location agnostic and will avoid any third rail topics or references to the host country. If the World Cup was held in Tokyo, Brazil, or Los Angeles, the campaign would feel largely the same. How could it go badly? Not acknowledging anything about Qatar would likely come off, or be called out, as tone-deaf, insensitive, and dismissive of genuine human suffering and discrimination. This kind of approach would also make it very difficult to add any sort of location-specific feel, which can be a powerful element in a campaign, without also being held accountable for addressing issues with the host country. This strategy is also much more likely to get torn apart on social media, which would then force the brand to react, which will be likely to come off as reactive and insincere. Completely ignoring the issues - is probably not a great approach. The activist strategy - A World Cup sponsor might take a direct, provocative approach, embracing the opportunity to shine a light on social issues in Qatar. Efforts to provide relevant support organizations with meaningful, tangible resources and actions, an activist-style approach, could starkly contrast with brands attempting to gloss over the underlying problems. How could it go badly? Highlighting social issues in Qatar and making them a prominent element of a World Cup sponsorship effort might raise questions about why the company became involved as a World Cup sponsor at all. If the situation is so bad, why support the event? Even if done well, directing too much attention to the underlying issues could overshadow or undermine the brand’s overall World Cup marketing effort, distorting or diffusing the overall brand narrative for the sponsorship. The acknowledge and minimize strategy - I imagine this will be one of the most common approaches for World Cup sponsors. This strategy will include vague, non-accusational, acknowledgment of local issues coupled with contributions or partnerships with existing support organizations that are helping workers and their families, the LGBTQ+ community, and women's groups. Brands can assure concerned audiences they are aware of issues and have taken some tangible action while not offending the host country. How could it go badly? Given the tiptoe nature of this strategy, concerned audiences may accuse brands of not doing enough, not holding the host country, FIFA, and others accountable or truly acknowledging the gravity of the issues. This could be seen as a check-the-box strategy and come off as insincere or inadequate. This might be just fine with brands who are willing to take some heat around not doing enough, given they will be able to credibly say they have done something. The thread the needle, inspirational strategy - Expect plenty of inspirational marketing ramping up to and during the World Cup. We’ll all be prompted to tap our full human potential, nurture the greatness in others, help our fellow man, and recognize our global connected consciousness, all while being gently encouraged to buy beer, cars, shoes, travel, software, etc. A savvy brand may find a way to weave narratives that implicitly address underlying issues in Qatar with the inspirational, aspirational messages they would like aligned to their products and services. Highly skeptical any brand could pull that off, but it’s a worthy goal. As if all the World Cup issues related to Qatar weren’t enough, FIFA and the World Cup sponsors have a multitude of other narratives and challenges to manage. Moved to November, the event is now squarely battling Santa for mindshare in the US and Europe. This will be the final World Cup for legends Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. It’s expected that many players are not going to be shy about expressing their personal views, despite the guidance they’ve been given. Social media will be on fire. Expect every minute detail of the event, players, broadcasters, sponsors to be worshipped and trolled, and everything in between. For FIFA and the World Cup sponsors, a genuine and heartfelt good luck. The marketing world, the entire world, will be watching.

  • Day in the Life of an Analyst at Gartner’s IT Symposium/EXPO 2022 – Day 2
    by Andrew White on October 18, 2022 at 11:11 am

    Well, day 2 came and went and wasn't that a blast.  I can hardly remember a thing.  There are were so many good conversations.  I just managed to catch a few notes, action items and follow-ups.  Hopefully everyone who had a 1-1 was able to take away some good advice. As usual, let's see how my brain looked early Tuesday morning, according to my Muse.   Compared to yesterday it looks like I am pretty fried.  Interestingly I feel refreshed.  Also as the session ended I again seemed to get distracted, perhaps thinking about my 1-1s about to start. Here is the run-down of topics and conversations so far during the week, and also a breakdown of my 1-1s: Topic: D&A Governance (including getting re-started) 15 Data & Analytics Strategy 8 Analytics/BI/Data Science 6 Application Data Mgt/ERP Data Governance 5 D&A Road Map (systems, programs and tech) 5 D&A Governance specific to analytics pipeline 4 Building/Starting a D&A Org/Practice 4 AI and ML Strategy and Leverage 2 Data Fabric and/versus Data Mesh 2 Cloud Infrastructure Implications/complexity 2 D&A Trends 1 Becoming Data Driven 1 Data Mesh (and therefore Data Fabric) 1 Industry: 23 Public Sector 4 Healthcare  3 Consumer Goods 2 Banking 2 Industrial 1 Food 1 Fashion 1 Consumer Electronics 1 Conglomerate 1 Higher Education 1 Insurance 1 Energy 1 Military 1 Investment/VC 1 Regulator 1 Financial Services 1 Business: 23 Services 8 Public Sector 5 Distribution 5 Manufacturing 4 Conglomerate 1 Role: 23 SVP IT/CIO 6 CDO/CDAO 5 Snr/Dir Enterprise Analytics/Data Science 4 Chief Technology officer  (with CDAO responsibilities) 2 Dir D&A Governance 1 Director Enterprise Apps 1 Supervisor 1 Dir Data and User Productivity 1 Leader, Innovation 1 VP Leader, Innovation 1 Tomorrow will be different.  I have a presentation in the afternoon so I suspect I won't be planted in booth 1 all day as I was today (and booth 2 on Monday).  I will move down the order due to a lighter 1-1 load no doubt...

  • Maximize Holiday Digital Commerce Sales: Plan to Substitute and Backorder
    by Claudia Clemens on October 18, 2022 at 9:00 am

    As a child, I remember Black Friday shopping was an event. We would scour the newspaper ads to find deals. And, with our bellies still full from Thanksgiving dinner the night before, we’d get up early Friday morning to shop. We had a game plan, prioritizing which stores to drive to first based on who was most likely to run out-of-stock if we weren’t there early. I can’t remember ever coming home with any great purchases. My mom must have just enjoyed the hunt, and … well, us kids liked it too. Today is a different world with the convenience of digital commerce and the ability to browse multiple products within minutes and buy at the click of a button. What hasn’t changed is anticipating what will run out of stock during super-peak sales events like 11/11 Singles Day, Black Friday or, this year, Amazon’s Early Access Sale. In the past couple of years, supply availability has been particularly volatile with the amount of supply chain disruption. 11/11 Singles Day, Black Friday or Amazon Early Access are events characterized by a very short sale period when an exponentially high volume of consumer demand is expected in a tiny window of selling opportunity. The small sales window leaves little room for mitigation if a product goes out-of-stock during the event. In this competitive time, if a brand goes out-of-stock, a consumer may go to a different brand or a different marketplace to find an alternative resulting in a lost sale that will not be recouped once the event is over. Due to the high volume packed into a consolidated time, supply chains that are space and capacity constrained further inhibit the ability to support these large, fast volume spikes and contribute to stock-outs. Couple these unique sale events with the ongoing supply chain volatility, and it’s a pairing as hot as potatoes and gravy. Don’t Miss the Opportunity to Serve Consumers Digital commerce has the unique ability to offer alternate options to consumers when physical inventory is not on hand. A U.S. Gartner Consumer Community (GCC) survey1 and Research by Consumer Brands Association (CBA)2 demonstrated that supply chains are missing the opportunity to serve consumers by offering alternate options when out-of-stocks occur. Research showed that more than half the time when an item was out-of-stock, consumers actively sought to substitute their purchase for something similar.2 By contrast, consumers in China and Japan more frequently delayed their purchase entirely or purchased from another online store compared to global averages.2 The below consumer decision matrix, based on the GCC and CBA studies, can provide insight into substitution and backorder planning. Risk of Out of Stock? Take Action! To maximize holiday sales, predefine an out-of-stock action for every primary SKU. Supply chain leaders should cross-functionally segment online products based on the planned out-of-stock activity to Substitute, Backorder or Stock-out. Substitute: Common products are more substitutable and have greater market competition. Map similar features, value, price-point and profitability. The benefit should be in favor of the consumer when offering a substitute. Define substitution logic: Lower-priced, out-of-stock SKU vs. higher-priced substitution: Which price will be offered? Will substitutions be recommended or defaulted in browsing logic? Backorder: The more unique a product is or, the deeper the sale discount, the more consumers may be willing to wait for backorder delivery. Define backorder logic: Maximum backorder wait-time allowable. (Usually less than two weeks). Clear expectations and messaging to consumers. Operational impact and capability to fulfill on time. Ability to set maximum backorder unit thresholds and turn-off backorder logic once reached. Use caution when planning the timing of backorders near time-sensitive holidays. Plan conservatively to ensure consumers don’t miss a delivery intended for Christmas. Stop taking backorders before supply and lead times approach the shipping cutoff to meet Christmas delivery. Where applicable, message boldly and clearly on the product page that the order will not arrive by Christmas. Stock-Out: Common examples of planning to stock-out: Supply is unreliable or too variable to offer backorder. The market is too competitive for consumers to wait and will purchase elsewhere. Item is end-of-life with no replenishment. Sale has a limited volume agreement from a vendor at the sale price and cannot take orders beyond a specific amount allowable. Supply Chain Leaders can maximize their holiday selling results by building a proactive backorder strategy to enable substitutions and backorders. Sales with a future delivery date require planning, measuring, and coordinating.  The S.W.I.M diagram below represents the four pillars of building these proactive strategies: For more information about why backorder strategies are beneficial and how to build proactive backorders, see Gartner research: Why Brands Need Proactive Backorder Strategies for Digital Commerce and How to Build a Proactive Backorder Strategy (subscription required). Let’s make holiday shopping about getting the products you want instead of hunting for availability. I hope you find the in-stock products you’re seeking or the ability to purchase on backorder this holiday season.  Let me know about your shopping experiences on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/claudia-clemens.   Claudia Clemens Senior Director Analyst Gartner Supply Chain Claudia.Clemens@gartner.com   Listen and subscribe to the Gartner Supply Chain Podcast on Gartner.com, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts

  • Reframe Your Retention Strategy Around Your Customer
    by Leah Leachman on October 18, 2022 at 7:10 am

    It’s no surprise that, with an impending recession and inflationary concerns, a common theme amongst marketing leaders is how to increase customer retention. What is also common, is that the strategies many marketing teams use to drive customer retention are product-centric vs. customer-centric. The traditional marketing funnel that many marketing teams rely on implies that there is an end point to the relationship between the brand and the customer. It’s rare that there's a vision for after the customer buys and how to create a meaningful value exchange while they have your products and services in hand. Successful retention marketing strategies should collaborate with CX and leveraging CX processes and customer understanding assets to drive better outcomes.  CX focuses on supporting the best-case, end-to-end journey for your most valued customers. That best-case outcome is advocacy—where your customer grows their relationship with your brand and inspires other customers to make a purchase wit your brand. How to NOT “Boil the Ocean” There are several avenues that brands can take to create valuable experiences that drive customer advocacy and growth, but there is one approach that recently stood out to me as a customer. This particular approach can be found in the below illustration of Gartner’s Categories of High-Value Experiences That Drive Advocacy. (Originally featured in the report Design Customer Experiences to Improve Brand Advocacy and Growth Gartner subscription required).  The category of interest that stood out to me is  “Reduce my uncertainty.” Customers tend to have sticky memories regarding times where they encountered “moments of doubt.” Knowing that, what could your brand do to make it very clear that when your customers are having some sense of uncertainty, that your brand is there to reduce that uncertainty for them now and in the future?  To translate the “reduce my uncertainty” approach think about it as providing customers with clarity and offering targeted expertise to customers when there is a perceived lack of expertise both personally and in the market. How to Identify Where Your Brand Can Provide Expertise These dynamics can be surfaced through customer listening and research. Are there topics within your industry where your customers are turning to customer communities and influencers to ask questions and get advice on? Do these trends indicate that there is a lack of an official, authentic sources of information on the topic? For example, a maternity wear brand discovered that their customers and prospective customers needed support on topics related to fertility, IVF, and post-pregnancy (often referred to as the fourth Trimester). They created a separate community platform, outside of their ecommerce store, to feature content written by physicians and experts in the space, as well as live Q&A sessions on traditionally sensitive topics. This not only provide existing and new customers with confidence that the brand knows them,  but also understands how to help them in an authentic way. This is critical given that 2021 Gartner Consumer Values and Lifestyle Survey identified that authenticity is the No. 1 overall value for U.S. consumers. Even further, Millennials and Gen Z are the two generational groups most likely to say that they follow (on social media) “people, typically topic Experts, who dedicate their accounts to focus on or specialize in one of my interest areas” (see Elevate Your Brand by Partnering With a New Type of Influencer: The Expert Gartner subscription required). What does this all mean for your brand? Seize the opportunity to help reduce your customers’ uncertainty by identifying where you are best positioned to partner with experts to offer help at meaningful moments across your customer's end-to-end  journey and they will thank you for it.

  • A Functional Role View of The High Regret Factors
    by Hank Barnes on October 18, 2022 at 1:17 am

    While I continue to believe that having a rich ideal customer profile of the organizations you target (that includes psychographics), individuals do matter.   They are the members of the buying team: decision makers, influencers, users, and more.   And, there are certainly cases where a single individual through either their charisma or positional power can greatly influence--or mandate--the buying decision (as the scope of the project and value opportunity expands, the need for positional power grows. So, we need both--understanding of the org and team, but also of individuals.   I decided to take a look at our survey respondents based on the functional focus of their role.  There are some position level factors in here--since we look at C-Level roles, so a bit of a mixed grouping. The first look is based on the percentage of respondents feeling their expectations were not being met by the purchase (again this was the largest purchase they were involved with): This is quite telling.  The two groups that are most likely to feel their expectations are not being met are top executives and individuals in a sourcing, procurement, or vendor management role.  The latter is concerning as they should be about gaining the understanding to make good decisions and being realistic about expectations.   It is also a bit alarming for IT roles to be so high--clearly this is not a question of IT or business.   It is a question of focus and effort.  The groups that are least likely to have expectations not being met are those respondents in P&L or horizontal functions (e.g. Finance, HR).   This might be driven by them having a very specific focus and objective that they can easily assess.  We also see some of the groups that have less of an expectations problem putting in more work than the other groups (consuming more content; engaging more deeply with vendors, etc.). The other component of regret is the decision to settle for something less ambitious that originally considering: The chart looks fairly similar, but we can see that for every group, except SPVM that is basically equal, we have a higher percentage of respondents feeling they had to back off more ambitious plans.  This too is alarming as the need to settle is a confidence eroding approach that can permeate everything else that is going on. The real question is why does this happen so much?   For the higher level executives, it looks like it could be one of two things.  First, these folks are less likely to engage deeply (which makes sense given time pressures), so their expectations may be based on incomplete knowledge (.  The settling aspect may be the executives way of mediating conflict--backing off to get the team to an place they can agree on.  And that is really the second thing, executives basically wanting decisions that the team can get behind and commit to doing.   Just like vendors overpromising, you might have buying teams overpromising to try to secure the decision. As we get deeper into the organization, the question is more of focus, I believe.   Horizontal groups, P&L centers, and operations are more likely to have very clear and specific agendas and questions as they go to make decisions.  Groups like IT and SPVM may be serving many different groups and their attempts to keep everyone somewhat happy could lead them astray.   They might also be operating based on a mindset and principles that were prevalent when technology just supported the business vs. today's world of more strategic value. Finally, what can we do about this?   I think it comes back to being clear on not the expectations of the purchase, but the expectations of the specific role and responsibilities that each group plays on the buying team.  The more clarity there; the more likely that groups will dive deeper into their areas and build a more complete understanding.  As a vendor, you should be telling your customers what the best mix is for the buying team and the roles of each party.  That will help your customers immensely.

  • Day in the Life of an Analyst at Gartner's IT Symposium/EXPO 2022 - Day 1
    by Andrew White on October 18, 2022 at 1:13 am

    It's been a long time since I last did this – but we are back! I used to take more detailed notes about my movements throughout the day at Gartner's IT Symposium/EXPO, with a blow by blow story explaining where I was and what I was doing.  I figured that really the most useful information was not that.  So this is going to be a summary of day 1, rather than all the details. As usual, below is my brain activity as of first thing Monday.   I used my Muse (as I have reported in the past) to monitor how I am doing through the week.  I hypothesized that I would start the week in a rather excited mode, and as the week wore on, my mind would tire and so the activity would decline.  In past years this has been proven out, pretty much.  Let’s see how this week works. As you can see I seem quite calm for a Monday, though the anticipation of getting to work clearly took my mind towards the end of the session. Below is a summary of my 1-1s and interactions in and around the event.  It turns out that for day 1, the topic for me was pretty much “data (and analytic) governance”. Topics (1-1s and other interactions): D&A Governance and/or MDM 5 Measuring/reporting impact/success of D&A Governance 3 D&A Governance specific to analytics (downstream) pipeline 3 Building/Starting a D&A Org/Practice 2 Data and Analytics Strategy 1 Becoming Data Driven 1 Industry (1-1s): Healthcare  2 Consumer Goods 1 Fashion 1 Higher Education 1 Insurance 1 Public Services 1 Investment/VC 1 Regulator 1 Business: Services 4 Distribution 2 Public Sector 1 Energy 1 Manufacturing 1 Role: SVP IT/CIO 4 Snr Dir Enterprise Analytics/Data Science 3 VP/Leader, Innovation 1 Director Enterprise Apps 1    

  • CSO Actions to Prepare for the Future of Sales
    by Daniel Hawkyard on October 17, 2022 at 9:40 am

    The future of sales is upon us and it is bringing seismic shifts to the sales organization. Changing business-to-business customer buying behaviours, revenue technologies which support end-to-end revenue generation and changing working patterns will mold the sales organization of the future. CSOs need to take steps now to begin the journey to adapt their sales organization to be prepared for the future. When we surveyed B2B buyers, 75% said their preference would be for a sales-rep free experience. In other words, three quarters said they’d rather not to not engage a sales-rep at all. This is partly driven by customer's perception that they can complete large parts of their purchase independently of sellers. The saturation of high-quality information available to customers helps fuel this belief - 91% of B2B buyers reported that the information they encountered as part of their last purchase journey was of generally high-quality. Until now, sellers have been regarded as THE channel to engage customers. In the future of sales this will change and we’re already seeing this shift happen now.  Sellers are becoming ONE channel to engage customers. Suppliers will interact with various customer stakeholders across different channels based upon how, where and when customers choose. This is a quick summary of the direction we're heading but as I speak to sales leaders about this a simple question often comes up:  what should they be doing today to prepare for tomorrow? In these conversations, four key themes emerge that CSOs should be focusing on now to begin to set their organization on the right path for the future: Begin building the data-driven sales organization Map customers buying journeys Audit the revenue technology stack Map future talent requirements Begin Building the Data-Driven Sales Organization Revenue technology will play a crucial role across the entirety of the revenue generating process in the future of sales. Sales leaders are investing more budget into technology yet many organizations are disappointed with their returns on technology investments. While there can be many causes for this, a common problem is a lack of both individual and organizational data capabilities which are critical to capitalize on the benefits of technology. To maximize technology’s potential to transform decision making, sales leaders need to begin building the data-driven sales organization today. CSO's should work cross-functionally to: Build organizational data literacy Establish data and analytics governance Optimize the portfolio of analytical tools Map Customers Buying Journeys  At the surface, this doesn't sound like something new - many sales organizations will have undertaken exercises like this before. Yet many of these exercises fall short as they have a supplier-centric outlook and focus on how customers interact with them as a supplier. Instead, organizations need to map customers buying journeys which focus not on how customers buy from them but on the entirety of customers purchase journey in a way which is supplier agnostic. Having specific details on what customers work on for each of their buying jobs will allow organizations to: Provide customers with targeted resources to help them overcome buying challenges at specific parts of their purchase journey Help enable sellers to tune their engagements to each individual customer’s buying context Differentiate themselves against competitors based on the buying support and experience they provide customers. CSOs should sponsor a team spanning customer-facing functions such as Sales, Marketing and Customer Service to map customer buying journeys to begin to capture these benefits. Audit the Revenue Technology Stack  As we've touched on, revenue technology will be a core pillar in the future of sales. In order to build the modern revenue technology stack sales leaders need to begin by evaluating where they currently stand with their technology investments. CSOs must conduct exercises to audit the existing revenue technology at their organization. This exercise should help them understand how each technology is being used, the value it brings and gaps that exist from a technology perspective. Understanding existing technology investments will help CSOs accelerate their journey toward the ultimate revenue tech stack in the future. Map Future Talent Requirements Talent is an evergreen concern for CSOs and attracting and retaining talent has been a key concern for many CSOs I've spoken to across 2022. Yet CSOs should not overlook the long-term talent implications as sales organizations adapt to the future of sales. The role of the seller will adapt as organizations engage with customers across multiple channels and therefore so too will the skills that drive seller high performance. While some skills will be evergreen other skills like Data Literacy and Digital Dexterity will become part of  high-performing seller DNA. CSOs should engage with cross-functional partners to map future talent requirements and begin cultivating the right skills across their organization.

  • Tech Buying Basics Role of the Week: the CIO
    by Derry Finkeldey on October 17, 2022 at 2:19 am

    The lines continue to blur This week, we're looking at a role we all think we know well: the Chief Information Officer, or CIO.  This is another role about which we could ask 'when is a CIO not a CIO?' To paraphrase a well-known Australian ad from the 1980s, "CIOs ain't CIOs". I've had more interest this year from marketers looking to refresh their understanding of the CIO as a buyer persona. It's timely. We've been seeing this title pop up in places we wouldn't have expected to see it. It's popping up consistently across multiple studies, so we think it's a thing and not just a vagary of a particular survey. It's another outworking of the Democratization of Technology. We're seeing this title emerge more consistently in lines of business outside of central IT. Examples include the CIO of Marketing or the CIO of Finance. In one respect, this is a complication.  These CIOs are chiefs of their department, but not a "C-level" executive reporting in to the chief executive of an organization, as we generally understand it. It also means that there may be more than one CIO to target in an organization. Considerations for Organizational CIOs As outlined in Leadership Vision for 2022: CIO, CIOs now share accountability for the outcomes of digital initiatives with their business leader peers. These shifts mean that CIOs are prioritizing business composability and models which enable that shared accountability. [caption id="attachment_68" align="aligncenter" width="378"] CIOs and CxOs Share Democratized Technology Leadership Responsibilities[/caption]   Our buying research shows that CIOs are more likely to buy directly from a vendor than other C-level executives, which may reflect vendors' aggressive targeting of CIO roles. CIOs were also significantly more likely than other C-level execs to say that funding came entirely from the IT organization. (With one exception that CTOs were even more likely to say this than CIOs). Organizational CIOs are significantly more likely to prioritize security capabilities when comparing offerings in a purchase, followed by performance. Interestingly, 70% of CIOs reported that business unit IT folks were involved the substantial tech purchases they were involved in. Considerations for BU CIOs BU IT leaders sit in the functional area and see everything through the lens of their business unit. They are likely to be laser-focused first on value to their function ahead of value to the enterprise. Your job will be to 'lift up their eyes' so that they can get approval for their initiatives by aligning with the organization's priorities. We have included these leaders in an exciting study we currently have in field and will speak to as the results come in. Keep your eyes out for more to come! As technology is democratized throughout organizations, responsibility for technology is being federated throughout the business. What this means for you, as an organization marketing and selling to CIOs, is that you need to know what their remit encompasses as that determines the lens through which they will assess your ability to help them. The first question for you to answer in your targeting strategy is whether you will be working predominantly with the organizational CIO, or a business unit IT leader "CIO".  

  • Paving the Path from ClickOps to NetDevOps
    by Andrew Lerner on October 14, 2022 at 12:08 pm

    By our estimates, most (over 65%) enterprise network activities remain manual today (ClickOps). In contrast, “NetDevOps” has gained popularity among enterprises, network operators and vendors. This term lacks a formal definition, but is typically associated with applying DevOps and/or CI/CD practices to networking activities, resulting in heavily automating operational network tasks including troubleshooting and provisioning. NetDevOps practices drive clear workflows and documentation, which helps with auditing and governance, and troubleshooting. This includes a standard and highly automated workflow, with pre- and post-validation, rollback, documentation and a ton of testing. This term even made the Enterprise Networking Hype Cycle in 2022. Similar terms used to describe this technology include “DevNetOps” “network as code” and “GitOps networking" (side note: we tried to coin this as Netops2.0 back in 2017, probably one of the better pieces of research I’ve ever written .... unfortunately nobody read it ☹). NetDevOps is not magic, and it is not easy. For example, NetDevOps practices require an accurate repository of up-to-date network information (inventory, location, etc.), which is not common in many enterprises. Further, there is a lack of experience with software development practices within network teams. And if you get by those hurdles, you’re left with the fact that there are few commercial network automation offerings that provide multivendor breadth and feature depth aligned with enterprise needs across data center, cloud, campus, WAN and security domains. Even if you find one of the few, technical debt in the form of heterogeneous environments from a vendor and configuration perspective is another obstacle. And last, it is often more people and process than technology that holds back automation as Inconsistent or undocumented workflows related to network activities limit adoption. At our upcoming IOCS conferences in November (London) and December (Vegas) we will be covering this topic in depth, with a bunch of sessions including: Network Automation: From Fragile to Agile: This session covers network automation, and how to evolve from “ClickOps” to “NetDevOps". Today, most network activities are manually driven, which creates inefficiencies and create digital friction. This session includes specific recommendations for automating the network to empower the anywhere business. This session will cover improving the level of network automation to align with agile, DevOps and IaC practices. Topics covered include network automation tools, people and processes. Technical Insights: Applying Infrastructure-as-Code Method for Network Automation: Organizations want to use Infrastructure as Code (IaC) to automate their network, but the associated technology and processes are overwhelming. This presentation proposed an IaC framework, which starts small but ultimately automates the full lifecycle, including testing. Automated Testing With Continuous Infrastructure Automation: I&O teams are using IaC pipelines to improve cycle time of delivering infrastructure services. These platforms become critical products for both internal and external customers and need to be evolved and maintained just like any other software products. Platform engineering teams need to integrate testing into their IaC pipelines to reduce the toil involved in testing after updates and upgrades of the platform components. Hope to see you there, Andrew

  • Motivating our Sellers to Adapt Requires us to Adapt our Approach to Motivation
    by Alice Walmesley on October 14, 2022 at 7:27 am

    Selling is a high-pressured job at the best of times. And in the economic turbulence of 2022, we’re really starting to feel the squeeze of belts tightening; projects get cancelled, even loyal customers jump ship, and prospects avoid sellers with greater determination than ever. Many of us are wondering, “how do we keep sellers motivated in such a volatile market?”. Sellers need higher than ever levels of motivation: the motivation to hunt new deals when even the most certain of purchases get short circuited, the motivation to overcome eleventh hour obstacles as increasingly risk-averse organizations put new buying protocols in place, and the motivation to continue contacting customers when doors keep slamming in their faces. Moreover, most of us have recognized that to succeed in today’s environment of intense variability, carrying on doing things the same way is not enough; we need to do things differently. We need to respond to market fluctuations and customer expectations, and that requires sellers to learn new things and do things differently: perhaps selling new products in the same market, or selling the same products in new markets, or selling new products in new markets. Sellers may need to learn new skills, or to sell through new channels, or to use new technologies. Regardless of the specific situation, we need sellers to go the extra mile, and to adapt as the situation evolves. Yet we’re facing an uphill climb to motivate sellers to change when their energy levels are at an all-time low. Despite our best efforts, our current approach to motivation just isn’t working. Gartner’s 2022 Seller Motivation Survey found that 89% of sellers are burned out and 54% are actively looking for a new job. So what do we do? As Colleen Giblin explains in When Work’s a Drag, Deals and Sellers Start to Disappear, the conventional approach in sales is to motivate through “drive” towards work. Typically, sales leaders invest in a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic motivators such as compensation, gifts, bonuses, flexibility, recognition, and winner’s circles to increase seller drive. But it’s not enough. While drive towards work is important, we’ve overlooked a more impactful factor in motivation: drag. “Drag” is demotivation away from work and exists when sellers struggle to focus, procrastinate, feel bored, think about taking time off to avoid work, and “go through the motions” to meet activity tracking requirements. Sellers with high levels of drag have higher levels of burnout, lower quota attainment and are more likely to be actively looking for a new job. Drag has a stronger pull than drive, it negatively affects 87% of sellers, and presents the biggest opportunity for sales leaders looking to boost seller motivation… but it has been largely overlooked until now. How can we reduce drag? The biggest causes of drag are sellers’ perception of a lack of development opportunities and when they feel “like a cog in a machine”. We need to create tangible growth opportunities through laterals moves that go beyond traditional promotions to manager or selling a larger portfolio. Experience-based career lattices give sellers options to explore cross-functionally and should be de-risked as much as possible to make these development opportunities realistic. To avoid sellers feeling like a “cog” with no control over their own destiny, we should empower sellers to make their own decisions to solve customer problems and improve business processes. This means supporting new ideas even when they are risky, providing freedom to solve creatively for customer needs, and rewarding sellers for finding ways to improve sales processes. While we can’t control external disruption, we can influence how we respond to that disruption and our sellers’ level of motivation. Most sales leaders underestimate the importance of creating development and true empowerment opportunities. Just like our sellers procrastinating on important selling activities, these are things we think we’ll get to at some point, but perhaps aren’t motivated to prioritize! The lesson is that if we want to motivate our sellers to adapt, we need to adapt our approach to motivation.

  • What Are the Five Essential Attributes of an Emerging Metaverse?
    by Pedro Pacheco on October 14, 2022 at 3:25 am

    Metaverse is probably one of the most hyped technology concepts of the last ten years. Many companies share press releases announcing the world they are already on the metaverse or have developed a brand new metaverse solution where, in fact, they're quite far from that. Especially for these reasons, it is important for many companies and stakeholders to understand what boxes does a real metaverse use case must tick. We have produced research to help you specifically answer that question and avoid the hype bandwagon. Gartner has defined five key attributes as essential to be fulfilled by any metaverse use case: Interaction — Focuses on engaging with other people, digital assets and the world around us. Creator economy — Provides participating stakeholders with the ability to build digital assets and derive financial benefit within the emerging metaverse solution. Interoperability — Ensures that the metaverse is accessible and device-independent. Today’s metaverse experience consists of walled gardens within their own ecosystem. To establish “the” metaverse, these ecosystems need to interoperate with others (for example, shared avatars or currency). Immersive — The metaverse experiences should convey presence — or the feeling of “being there” — and agency — the user’s ability to control the environment and items around them. This could be accomplished through technologies like virtual reality/augmented reality/mixed reality (VR/AR/MR), but are not limited to these. Identity — Ensures the ability to validate who an individual or organization is, regardless of their variation in appearance and other characteristics between the metaverse and the physical world. However, this is just a superficial description. More information contained on the following Gartner research (for Gartner clients only): Quick Answer: What Are the Five Essential Attributes of an Emerging Metaverse?  

  • Three Takeaways from Workspace announcements at Google Cloud Next
    by Joe Mariano on October 12, 2022 at 3:47 am

    Yesterday I had to opportunity to attend Google Cloud Next at Pier 57 in New York City. Overall an enjoyable event. For many, it was their first in-person event in over 2 years. I wanted to give a couple of thoughts on the keynote regarding Google Workspace. AI content builder in Workspace - This looks far off BUT has some exciting potential. The AI will help you create more dynamic content by providing some basic details, like videos. The example used is a marketing person needing to create a 90-second video for a new shoe being released. The individual told Workspace was to pull the assets for the marketing campaign, and the AI built the video and included music and signage reasonably quickly. The marketing team then collaborated on what the AI created to fine-tune the message and video overall. Oddly enough, one of the consistent "knocks" on Google Workspace is it doesn't have a particular WOW factor in terms of big news at events. This content builder tool fills that; now comes the execution.    Companion mode for mobile: Companion mode was initially released in the Fall of 2021 but only for desktop use. It allows for a second screen in a meeting for chatting, raising hands, and other meeting functionality, decluttering the main screen to focus on the meeting. This functionality will be coming to the mobile device in 2023 and has the potential to help streamline hybrid meetings.   More than meets the eye between GCP and Workspace - Both GCP and Workspace had their time to shine, and at first glance, it felt like never the two shall meet. The carryover was there, though, if not always explicit. Many of the assets GCP was pulling from came from Google Drive, and it seemed like some of the AI functions, once only available in GCP, are starting to bleed over to Workspace (see bullet 1). One odd announcement is that Looker will integrate with Power BI (Purchased via Microsoft 365 E5 or added to M365 subscriptions). Yet, Google has never really talked about using Looker with Google Workspace; this feels like a lost opportunity.

  • The Hidden Costs of Digital Business and Why I’m Moving to Cyber Security
    by leigh mcmullen on October 12, 2022 at 1:26 am

    For more than a decade as a Gartner Analyst , I’ve been talking about technology’s ability to transform, first the front office of the enterprise and lately markets, cultures and experiences.  What we have witnessed in that time is frankly a miracle of technology powered growth and innovation. It is safe to say that digital technologies have enabled enterprises to both scale their value proposition, and their scale their effectiveness & efficiency in executing that mission asymmetrically to any other investments.  Or as I posed to the leader of a university recently: Say your board wanted you to grow the student population by 10X while only spending 10% more in budget, how would you do that?  Clue: it's not building more classrooms. Digital scales asymmetrically, This is well established by now.  What we need to come to terms with is that Digital Also comes with a kaleidoscope of asymmetric threats:  CyberWarfare, CyberActivism, CyberCrime or (someone stop me –I'm really doing this), CyberWAC.  And here’s what’s really ‘WACk’ about that (I’ll stop I promise).  Is that these risks and their associated costs, factor almost nowhere in day-to-day business decision making.  As digital business pioneers build entire business models on the back of collecting customer PII that turn our data centers into goldmines for hackers.  Worse yet we encourage and enable business practices that increase our customers' susceptibility to social engineering and phishing attacks. Today, none of the great ideas digital visionaries have can become real if we don’t get the cyber right.  Which is why I’m making the move from envisioning the future to focusing on how to make it real.  And this (not even I can call it “cyberWAC” again (thank you -ed)) is the defining technology issue of our era, and I don’t believe that it’s unsolvable. We need to invest in developing an “outside in” understanding of the business, to ensure that our cyber strategies meet business strategy where they are, rather than us chasing them, or worse yet, the business chasing us. We must focus FIRST on changing mental models, to make awareness of the embedded risks of Digital Business a part of every business decision, and then applying appropriate controls. We need to focus on our adversaries, understand their intentions and aims, and develop strategies that directly confront those rather than simply try and manage vulnerabilities. This journey isn’t as new or novel as it might seem. The introduction of moving assembly lines, mass manufacturing, lean / agile supply chains give us a clue. We have spent the past 115 years perfecting the management of machine & asset lifecycles and predictive maintenance -- this is not fundamentally different than the discipline of cyber hygiene. It is still just making sure that the means of digital production are available and operating at peak efficiency. Of course, it is the addition of external threat actors & nation-states that complicate this beyond simple asset lifecycle management, and why I’m attracted to this field of research!  I look forward to continuing this journey with you and what we discover along the way.   Leigh.

  • A New Chasm View of Industry LOB Buying Criteria
    by Hank Barnes on October 11, 2022 at 12:50 pm

    Our most recent buying study focused on decisions related to line-of-business functions in several industries.  As with other studies, we see notable differences based on the New Chasm. [caption id="attachment_3177" align="aligncenter" width="899"] Source: Gartner, Inc.[/caption] One of the things we assessed in this study was the relative importance of various buying criteria, using a MAXDIFF test.  This asks respondents to contrast a subset of options to identify what is most and what is least important in the set.  It then repeats the process with different combinations multiple times before computing a score.   If all criteria are equal, the scores will all be 100.  Scores above 110 are more important factors, below 90 are less (though possibly not unimportant factors). When looking at the results, we grouped the respondents by their ETA profiles, further combining the three profiles on the left side of the new chasm and the four on the right.   We then look at the percentage of respondents for whom a subset of the criteria was more important.  The results are interesting (as usual). As the chart shows, the most consistently important criteria was a vendor's reputation for providing good service and support and their ability to bring innovations from other industries to the respondent's industry (something we have seen before).  But then we see some divergence. The next four items in the graphic are all areas where profiles that are more likely to be effective buyers are statistically significantly more likely to identify as being more important.  The criteria focus on business fit--both through customization or tailoring and compatibility--and longer term value projections through vision alignment and exploring future roadmaps. The last three are the opposite--statistically more likely to be chosen by ineffective buying organizations.   Having a partner network, lowest cost, or short time to value are more likely to matter more to this group.  As I've said in the past--it is not that these criteria are unimportant, but that they are not the best choices as primary decision factors.    These folks are more focused on short term concerns than value--and sustained value at that. Assessing criteria is a great way to understand where you customer is coming from and adapting your strategy accordingly, here is more evidence of that. For clients that want to dive deeper into these results, schedule and inquiry or explore the growing body of research we are publishing to our Tech Buying Behavioral Insights KI.  I've also recently published a note that uses the New Chasm to look at the challenges that these LOB buyers anticipate for their function and their technology efforts.  Clients can access the doc at the link  - "The New Chasm View of Challenges Facing Line-of-Business Buyers."

  • Don’t Allow Recession Fears to Cloud Your Planning Transformation
    by Tessa Mahon on October 11, 2022 at 10:00 am

    As talks of recession intensify, I have noticed the topic of planning transformations has gained importance. Why? Because there are two directions these conversations tend to take: 1) we are doubling down on our planning transformation and we need to do it fast or 2) we know great planning is important, but we just don’t have the time or the budget. It is the second of these that concerns me. In the last few years, supply chain planning has been the star pupil through unprecedented volatility and unknowns. Our love for supply chain planning grew strong. As we look to the future, do we still see planning as the business capability worth investing in? Is the value of great planning appreciated enough to get planning transformation onto a recession-ready budget? Our clients are asking the important questions: Should I still be investing in my transformation? And if so, how? And where can I invest and where can I cut back? The short answer is yes, get planning transformation on the table ... but do it in a smart way. There also is a slightly longer answer. So here goes! The Ask: What are the Expectations on Supply Chain Planning in The Coming Years? Pre-COVID pandemic, the focus of many organizations was achieving competitive advantage through cost reduction and optimization. As COVID hit, the focus moved towards building resiliency driven by unprecedented change, and we saw this evident across the Top 25 leaders as they looked to absorb and mitigate risks and take on new opportunities. In 2021, we saw a shift in mature organizations towards adaptability and in the ability to be flexible enough to change and shift to new, pressing priorities given rising supply chain constraints. Beyond 2022, the perfect storm is brewing, with a collision of events — downshifts in demand, inflation, increasing supply constraints, war, increasing energy costs. Organizations need to make decisions on how to spend money and allocate resources, and they also need to be resilient in the face of continuous change, while being adaptable and agile. Bottlenecks must be identified, evaluated and actioned to reduce costs. Inventory optimization and the ability to have stock at the right place in the right time is more critical than ever to maintain and grow market share and manage risk exposure. Cost transparency must provide visibility to opportunities and improvements to maintain profitability. It’s a big ask! The pressure is on for supply chain planning. It is at the very core of being able to support this through smarter, faster and more accurate decision-making. Planning must deliver the infrastructure and capability to support efficiency, resiliency and adaptability. Revolutionary concepts like continuous planning are making ground, contesting traditional S&OP processes. The challenge is that many are still at mid-maturity level in their planning processes and must evolve to support the business in the coming years. As organizations are tightening their belts ahead of a recession, this leaves a dark cloud on planning transformations. The investment in technology continues to be a focus and rightly so. But here’s the thing: good process must underpin this technology effort. This leads to “The Supply Chain Planning Conundrum” — To Transform or Not to Transform? Leaders are questioning the need to revise planning processes and resources considering the cost pressures of recession. Planning leaders are asking: How do I do all of this with reduced budget? Does a planning transformation business case still make sense? So, let’s wrap up on the key lessons so far: To be recession ready, you need to support cost reduction and optimization with agility to respond quickly and resilience to recover quickly. Recession readiness needs to be supported by great planning. Great planning for many will involve planning transformation. Planning transformation may not be at the top of priorities unless value can be shown. Equipping You for The Sell Reinforce the value of great planning. Companies that performed the best during the onset of the pandemic had begun critical transformations 12 to 18 months prior. Great planning will carry you through the rocky times. To tackle this, consider the questions below: What are the strategic priorities that should be maintained in changing times? How must planning process evolve to support strategy as business dynamic is constantly changing? What is the planning organization of the future? Be creative. Collaborate with customers, suppliers or even peers to find new solutions to common problems. The approach to planning processes may change. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Our recent maverick research on S&OP and brilliantly written blog from our very own Pia Orup on the end of S&OP as we know it and continuous planning, are worth a read. Be agile and responsive. Revisit the lessons from this year’s Top 25 leaders to take a renewed approach to your planning transformation. We saw leaders focusing on building capabilities to self-stabilize their supply chains. They flexed resources, restructured transformation teams, pivoted funds to the mission-critical challenges and formalized agile decision making. Planning transformation can be achieved using the same agile methodology, allowing for smaller step investments rather than a Big Bang where a large commitment is made at once. The agile methodology allows for the focusing and refocusing priorities and resources in the areas of most impact through continuous review of challenges and impacts, aligned to organizational strategy. Importantly, it is based on continuous collaboration, allowing planning leaders to keep their finger on the pulse of what is important to stakeholders, ensuring that change will provide value. Tackling transformation in smaller chunks, sprints that can quickly deliver the basic level of capability at crucial times and work to refine these rather than trying to achieve planning perfection all at once. Implement and develop a well-aligned steering committee to support agile project methodology. Design your steering committee such that it is empowered to make decisions on the key planning priorities and the allocation of budget and resources to these in response to change and volatility.   Tessa Mahon Director Analyst Gartner Supply Chain tessa.mahon@gartner.com   Help shape Gartner’s research: Take part in the 2022 Gartner Future of Supply Chain Survey to get a first look at this year’s key trends and we’ll send you a high-level summary of the key findings as soon as it is available. The survey will be open until October 15th.   Listen and subscribe to the Gartner Supply Chain Podcast on Gartner.com, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts

  • 3 Metrics to Hold Sellers Accountable for Forecast Accuracy
    by Steve Rietberg on October 10, 2022 at 12:37 pm

    In sales operations, there’s a saying: “There are two types of sales forecasts – lucky and wrong”. That adage perfectly illustrates how elusive accuracy can be.  Sellers and managers both strive to deliver an accurate forecast. But the steps they take to achieve this goal are very different. Managers, for instance, must engage with sellers, coach on deals and understand the near-term performance of their combined territories. Forecast accuracy is a great indicator of how well managers are engaging with sellers and contributing to their success. For this reason, sales leaders often use forecast accuracy as a KPI for frontline sales managers. Does the Concept of Forecast Accuracy Apply to Sellers? The same approach doesn't work for sellers. Savvy sales leaders don't want their sellers distracted with a cumbersome forecast submission process. Instead, they want their sellers focused on deals. A well-designed opportunity management process enables sellers to provide everything their managers need for forecasting within their sales force automation (SFA) platform. It's the frontline sales manager — not the seller — who is responsible for applying judgment to the committed pipeline. Of course, managers can't forecast accurately if sellers don't maintain accurate pipeline data. Even when managers have access to machine learning-based opportunity scoring and forecast guidance, they're still subject to the law of garbage in/garbage out. So how can sales leaders hold sellers accountable for forecast accuracy while shielding them from the burden of submitting a forecast? Measure the Seller Behaviors That Enable Good Forecasting Sales leaders should implement 3 metrics to hold sellers accountable for contributing to an accurate forecast: Initial pipeline value — Sellers must identify the deals eligible to close in the current period, early enough to inform the initial forecast. Managers can see which sellers are consistently providing pipeline visibility by trending their initial pipeline values over recent months or quarters. Pipeline conversion rate — Creating pipeline is critical, but that pipeline must produce timely revenue. Therefore, a seller's pipeline conversion rate (i.e. final bookings or revenue divided by initial pipeline) should be stable over time and compare favorably versus peer sellers. Pipeline slippage rate — Sellers who habitually include deals in their initial pipeline only to let them slip to later periods undermine their managers' ability to forecast. A seller's pipeline slippage rate (i.e., value of all slipped deals divided by initial pipeline) should be minimized with better deal qualification and active deal coaching. Combine the Three Metrics to Unlock Insights The following example uses these metrics to reveal a positive story. The seller's initial pipeline shows a drop-off in period 3, which is usually bad. But there's a corresponding increase in pipeline conversion rate — possibly due to a focused pipeline clean-up effort. Slippage rate is trending down, which is also common as more effort is invested in pipeline hygiene. [caption id="attachment_178" align="aligncenter" width="975"] Three metrics -- initial pipeline, conversion rate and slippage rate -- determine a seller's contribution to forecast accuracy[/caption]   Sales leaders can implement metrics to hold sellers accountable for forecast accuracy by taking these steps: Build awareness by communicating the rationale and calculation of these metrics to sellers and managers. Promote adoption by making current data easily available to managers and sellers. Reinforce these metrics’ importance by incorporating them into seller KPIs and performance coaching. Sales forecasting may still require a little luck, but increasing seller accountability will tip the odds of accuracy in your favor.

  • Legacy Financial Processes Morph into Web3 using Blockchain Innovations
    by Avivah Litan on October 10, 2022 at 11:14 am

    It may be Crypto Winter but it sure feels like Blockchain Technology Spring. Innovative blockchain projects are transmuting financial services systems into Web3.  These projects leverage the unique attributes of blockchain technology: Censorship -resistant payments (on public chains) Real time settlement Tamperproof shared systems of records Here are some real life examples of how financial services are beneficially upgrading into Web3 : Real Time Stablecoin settlement for Payment Acceptors Crypto exchanges, merchants and other fiat payment acceptors typically must wait for 'banker hours' for payments to be settled into their accounts. For example if a consumer funds an account or makes a payment using a debit card on a weekend, the money won’t arrive in the merchant account until Monday morning when payment settlements resume. Now consumers can originate payments with fiat debit cards and acceptors can choose to have those funds immediately converted and settled into a stablecoin account (on a blockchain) any time of day, seven days a week, in near real time. Payment processor  Checkout.com says they were the first company to go live with this type of stablecoin settlement and reports they already settled north of $1 billion in stablecoins, mainly for crypto-exchange customers like FTX. 2. Lightning Network (Bitcoin) payments Crypto payments on the Lightning Network - a Layer 2 network for Bitcoin payments-  are consistently gaining adoption across the globe, especially in inflation ridden countries like Argentina where the current inflation rate is 78.5%.  (Some well-respected investors, like Stanley Druckenmiller suggest cryptocurrencies will become more attractive to populations that lose faith in their central banks as inflation erodes confidence and value). For example, Lightning payment processor OpenNode  works with Lemon Cash serving about one million Argentinian consumers. The Lightning Network currently has about $100 million worth of Bitcoin in its network, still a pittance compared to legacy payment systems, but not trivial for those who use it.  See Lightning Network Real Time Statistics 3. Mega Mainstream Financial Services projects We previously wrote that we are seeing gargantuan financial blockchain use cases start to roll out from The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) (working with R3 Corda) and Broadridge (working with VMware and Digital Asset DAML ) that prove the value of this technology for mainstream companies, totally independent of cryptocurrency and NFT trading. DTCC processes all trades in the $40 trillion plus U.S. stock market. The fact that stocks now take two days to settle creates much risk for the financial system, as was particularly evident during manic volatile days of meme stock trading.  DTCC's blockchain can potentially help eliminate these systemic issues by upgrading to real time settlement. See Coindesk on DTCC Other mainstream activity by financial institutions like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs was recently featured in an article in the Wall Street Journal Gartner expects to see even more mega financial services projects move onto blockchains as financial organizations gradually migrate away from siloed murky and very inefficient batch systems into blockchain’s transparent and immutable shared record system. 4. Traditional Credit/Debit payment cards integrate with Web3  Lots of companies are integrating crypto into payment cards for all types of rewards and marketing programs. The example below combines Web 2 products with Web3 innovations in order to build out consumer businesses: Fintech firm Alviere uses NFTs to provide rewards linked to the use of traditional debit cards. For example, consumers who buy NFTs can get 2% cash back on their cards or a ticket to physical world event. Sports teams can leverage these card programs to build communities around their NFTs and link NFT rewards and benefits to debit card spending and accounts. Central Banks React Central Banks have in part reacted to the potential threats of cryptocurrencies by creating their own Central Bank Digital Currency. A recent IMF Report finds Asia Pacific region ahead of the rest of the world in CBDCs. (See Figure 1).  They point to China and India as leading the charge with CBDCs. Many market observers are justifiably nervous about government surveillance that monitors and controls individuals’ use of CBDCs. Indeed, they should be nervous. It is entirely possible for the central bank to control any -- and all -- CBDC spending and accounts based on any conditions stipulated by the central bank. The Bank of Israel and VMware recently tested the use of privacy technology with Israel's pilot CBDC Program , and successfully were able to protect the privacy of user CBDC transactions using Zero Knowledge Proof technology (without compromising system performance).  Under the tested scheme, users are given a ‘privacy budget’ and when they spend above that budget, their payments are no longer privacy-protected with ZKPs. The problem with that is that theoretically, a central bank or a designate, presumably still has the centralized power and access rights to change a privacy budget at any time. Many Risks Remain Aside from privacy risks there are many other risks associated with blockchain technology that we have covered in other research (see Figure 2 below) Figure 2:   See FAQ for Cryptocurrencies on Blockchains and Web3 Ecosystems  and   FAQ for NFTs on Blockchains and Web3 Ecosystems   and Garbage In, Garbage Forever: Top 5 Blockchain Security Threats Blockchain Intelligence  The good news is that Web3 risk mitigation and fraud protection tools are rapidly developing . Companies like Chainalysis, TRM Labs  and Ciphertrace turn transparent blockchain data into meaningful information that can be used to manage fraud, protect consumers and more recently to acquire and retain consumers (See Chainalysis Playbook product). These analytic systems may look to some like Big Brother and Web 2.0 surveillance systems all over again. But the truth is the data on blockchain is public and transparent. And what needs to be protected can be protected using privacy tech like ZKPs that operate in permissionless environments and under data-owner control. U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Powell recently said at Jackson Hole that the Fed has no plans to ban cryptocurrency. See Fed Chairman Comments  That's a good thing.  It will be even better when the US comes up with clear rules and regulations that provide the needed guardrails to embrace this technology. That day is supposedly coming soon and let’s hope whatever laws are instituted make sense and encourage continuing innovation.