What is LaaS (Leadership as a Service) all about?


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The chaos and intrusion caused by traditional consulting firms often makes things worse long before they get better. More importantly, the learning curve required by often inexperienced consultants is a costly risk to any client. If those firms do finally begin to bring value, it is always compromised by their use of a library of reusable work product and templates designed to standardize your solution. In other words, these standard templates help them make more money while using teams with far less experience. Unfortunately, the answer to your problem will always require educated decisions to be made, and they are not equipped to do so.

Fortium’s revolutionary executive services model is superior to traditional consulting. LaaS (Leadership as a Service) can benefit you immediately. While others leverage teams with a mix of experienced and inexperienced consultants and use live client situations to train them on real world situations, Fortium aligns one individual or a small team of experienced (25 years or more) executives to the conditions of your specific engagement. Our partners, among the best technology and digital leaders in the world, bring the credentials, deep-industry expertise and hands-on experience to confront risks and opportunities with the skills and commitment they demand. And while consulting firms consistently look for opportunities to expand their presence within your organization, Fortium is there to help you solve problems and move on to your next challenge.

Your situation may not demand a small army of consultants. Fortium aligns the delivery model with your need. For very focused situations, the best approach may be to help you through project leadership. In other conditions, it may be best to place the Fortium partner in the CIO, CTO, CDO or CISO seat or other strategic leadership role on a short-term or long-term interim basis. When you’re ready, the Fortium partner can be replaced by a permanent resource without the complexity and cost associated with termination of a permanent, long-term employee. Throughout the delivery process, you and the Fortium partner have the immediate support and expertise of our entire firm of technology experts to fulfill your needs and minimize your risk. Would LaaS (Leadership as a Service) benefit you?

Fortium Partners offers what no one else can: instant access to some of the world’s most experienced technology and digital leaders (CIOs, CDOs, CTOs, and CISOs). Our clients often need interim leadership, fractional/part-time leadership, strategic program management and guidance, coaching, or other roles that expand the capabilities of the management team. Fortium clients get the technology and digital leadership they need in a matter of days, obtaining an immediate competitive edge, often at a lower cost with more return. We also offer specific solutions to address your technology and digital challenges.

Missing Your Technology or Digital Leader? Break from Tradition

What if you could fill your technology leadership slot (CIO, CDO, CTO, or CISO) immediately, in a matter of hours? What if you could guarantee that your new technology leader would be a true strategy partner with more than 25 years of experience, and not just an technology operational generalist? What if you never had to pay for search fees, employee benefits or severance? What if you had immediate access to a technology and digital executive with exactly the right experience to help guide your team toward a new strategic direction? Leadership as a Service (LaaS) can help immediately.

Enter Fortium Partners

Fortium’s partners have served in C-suites of the most respected companies in the world. Unlike consulting firms, with Fortium your service level is exactly what you need and you will never be subject to unnecessary fee expansion or lower-level resources. Best of all, our Partner becomes your company’s CIO, CDO, CTO, or CISO – a dedicated member of your senior staff reporting directly to executive leadership, yet equipped with world-class processes of the largest provider of technology and digital leadership services in the world.

Fortium Partners can reduce a 12-16 month lag time to onboard technology executives down to a matter of days. 

Strategic Issues in the LaaS Model

Strategic issues to be considered in the LaaS model is having a knowledge that digital invaders exist and that they are experts at rapid disruption. As a result, the entire C-suite now sees digital as the biggest game-changer. It can fuel growth, but drastically change the landscape.

While most CxOs believe they see the “Big Picture,” few actually know how to create that view and execute a series of initiatives to get there.  Industry leaders are looking beyond the immediate future, and employing a full range of strategies.

Strategic Imperatives

Coming to market second or third is a luxury few can afford. Creating a business model that offers both speed and scale can be tricky. Nonetheless, some leading enterprises are using their resources to out think the competition.

Do you want to:

  • Be First – this approach is costly and risky but may be your cup of tea. If so, we have ideas that no one else has tried yet that could catapult you ahead.
  • Be Best – this approach has costs but excelling in most areas, particularly the giving and post giving experience will pay off.
  • Be left behind – this approach is to be avoided. Unbeknownst to you, someone may be about to disrupt your business model.

Please contact me so I can learn more


“There is nothing that a Big-Hearted Leader can do that is more important than turning his or her company or organization into a force for good.” ~Donn Sorensen



The customer experience, at its core, is a matter of the heart that is obsessed with serving the customer. Donn Sorensen is executive vice president of operations of Mercy Health System is one of the largest Catholic health systems in the United States. Donn is on to something.

A heart-felt leader will make a difference. Are you ready to lead the charge?

There is nothing that a Big-Hearted Leader can do that is more important than turning his or her company or organization into a force for good.” ~Donn Sorensen

Source: Leadership Lesson: It Comes From The Heart


“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” – Jeff Bezos


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What is the urgency of transforming (changing) the digital customer experience. Just think of the many customer experience fails that were magnified to thousands or millions of potential customers.

There is a benefit to transforming (changing), there is also a risk. Is it worth it? Think about it some more. Is it really worth it?

If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” – Jeff Bezos

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“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi


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We all want to deliver amazing customer experiences. It our greatest desire. There is much that gets in the way of that noble goal. Executive leadership has to focus on clearing the obstacles out of the way.

We need more employees, not less, that can lose themselves in the pleasure of service. We need to unshackle our employees. In their heart and soul they want to service. Nothing gives them more pleasure than creating experiences that lead loyalty and growth.

Imagine going home at the end of the day knowing we were able to love a customer or two. How great is that?

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. – Mahatma Gandhi

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Digital Transformation has a problem. Transformation has a brother named Fear of Change. Transformation also has a sister named Change Management.


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Digital Transformation has a problem. Transformation means massive change or at least it sounds that way. If you said to your spouse, I want to fundamentally transform you, how do you think they would feel. It doesn’t sound good. At least when you are the other side.

Transformation has a brother named Fear of Change. Most of us don’t like change. Say about 10% do and 90% are quite happy the way things are. Things are comfortable. Why do we need to change? What’s wrong with the way we are doing things today? Maybe just a few tweaks here and there.

Transformation also has a sister named Change Management. Change management is difficult because it starts with “the need” to change and the challenge of “I don’t want to”. Running a marathon is daunting. Two tenths of one percent of the U.S. adult population accomplish it annually. It may not seem worth it considering all the effort that will have to be put into it. I  will have to get up early. Training will be painful. I won’t have time to do other things I am used to doing. Power walking a few days, like I am doing now, seems more attractive. A marathon runner only runs 3 miles a day on average (with one long run a week and 2 days of rest) to get ready for the 26.2 miles need for the victory. It takes 18 weeks to get ready and finish.

The challenge with “change management” is that it is typically used on minor or small scale initiatives. Digital transformation is an extreme approach that is not easily achieved. It requires an approach to change that can handle massive number of initiatives and heavily culture oriented change.

There is an approach that may be helpful. It is called the “Agile Methodology” and it is used extensively in software development. Building a new application or significantly updating an existing one is an overwhelming task. This approach essentially breaks the massive number of tasks down into small deliverables that can be accomplished in three week increments. When you line up the sprints one after another, after a while you have made some significant changes. It is a little more complicated than I make it out to be but a fundamental level, the approach works.

If it wasn’t a “technology approach”, we would call it change management but that might be mislabeled as well. This methodology actually moves the ball down the field, incrementally, toward a touchdown.

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What does an amazing “unboxing experience” look like?


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Today’s customers are shopping online much more often than in past years. This change has had a profound impact on companies who now have fewer chances to interact with their customers. Because the number of touchpoints within the customer journey has decreased, companies face increased pressure to impress buyers during each interaction.

One of the most important moments that brands communicate with their customers is when a buyer receives and opens their package. The most successful businesses understand that creating loyal customers means providing exceptional order fulfillment services, down to the packaging of their product offerings.

Making little tweaks to the experience of getting a package in the mail can really change the way that customers view your brand and their shopping experience. Interesting packaging can also help your company stand out in a competitive marketplace. Examples of small but impressive changes businesses can implement include sending personalized thank you notes along with packages and offering unique packaging designs like fun colors and branded tissue paper. Prioritizing these types of details can help set you apart from competitors!

Red Stag Fulfillment developed a list of the most important tips to create the perfect unboxing experience for your consumer. Read on to learn the best practices for providing an exceptional packaging experience, no matter your industry or product type.

perfect unboxing experience

Are our digital donor experience goals relevant?


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The fourth criterion for SMART goals stresses the importance of choosing goals that really make a difference in improving the donor experience. A digital executive’s goal to “Make 50 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by 2:00pm” may be specific, measurable, attainable, and time-bound, but lacks relevance to the donor. Many times you will need support to accomplish a goal: resources, a champion voice, someone to knock down obstacles. Goals that are relevant to your boss, your team, your organization and but most importantly, your donor, will receive that needed support. Being able to frame up simply how it will benefit the donor is very powerful.

Relevant goals (when met) drive the team, department, and organization forward in creating stunning experiences for the donor. A goal that supports or is in alignment with other donor goals would be considered a relevant goal.

A relevant goal can answer yes to these questions:

  1. Does this seem worthwhile to the donor?
  2. Is this the right time in the donor experience lifecycle?
  3. Does this match our other donor journey efforts/needs?
  4. Are you the right person/team to focus on this?
  5. Is it applicable in current socio- economic- technical environment? Will it move digital change (transformation) ahead to the next phase?

How many times have we been “handed” a goal and we all have said, this isn’t going to move the needle. It’s just not relevant. Having employees and donors engaged is a “big deal”. Relevance is the key.

Without relevance, it is hard to know what we want to accomplish. When a goal is irrelevant, we all see the air go out of the balloon. There is nothing more demoralizing.

The digital executive is responsible for accessing “does it pass” the relevance test. This cannot be delegated. Having a pulse of donor goals helps a lot. Even if it is not relevant to an employee, a case should be made that it is relevant to the donor. How relevant it is becomes the driver.

Relevance can be given a score so that ideas that produce the best results are funded. We may need to do a series of quick tests to determine the winners. With limited funds and budget, the digital executive must focus resources.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start focusing employees on the issue of donor relevance.
  2. Begin testing and scoring the results of ideas.
  3. Encourage listening to donors to know what is relevant to them.
  4. Have clear goals for testing programs.
  5. Know why this is important to the donor.
  6. Involve donors and employees in generating ideas.
  7. Be clear about resource constraints.

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What is the state of Customer Experience metrics for 2017?



The State of CX Metrics, 2017

December 2017

Temkin Group does really great work. They surveyed 169 companies to learn about how they use customer experience (CX) metrics and then compared their answers with similar studies they’ve conducted annually since 2011. They also had them complete the CX Metrics Program Assessmentthat evaluates the degree to which these efforts are ConsistentImpactfulIntegrated, and Continuous.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Only 11% of CX metrics programs received “strong” or “very strong” ratings, while 64% of companies received “weak” or “very weak” ratings. Only one out of five companies earned at least a moderate rating for being Integrated.
  • Sixty-five percent of companies are good at collecting and calculating metrics, but less than 20% are good at using analytics to predict future changes in the CX metric.
  • Satisfaction and likelihood to recommend remain the most popular CX metrics, with satisfaction at a transactional level delivering the most positive impact.
  • Only 10% of companies always or almost always make explicit tradeoffs between CX metrics and financial results.
  • Companies identified the lack of taking action based on CX metrics as a top obstacle to their programs. The identification of this as a top problem increased the most between 2016 (54%) and 2017 (62%).
  • We asked companies about their effectiveness at measuring 19 different elements of customer experience. They are most effective at measuring customer service, phone interactions, and customers who are using their products and services. They are least effective at measuring the experiences of prospects, customers who have defected, and multi-channel interactions.
  • When we compared companies with stronger CX metrics programs with those with weaker efforts, we found that the stronger firms have better overall CX results, more frequently use and get value from likelihood to recommend metrics, and report fewer obstacles.

Source: The State of CX Metrics, 2017

The customer experience

Three things marketers must do to better serve customers in 2018


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Marketing is playing a greater and increasingly significant role in the customer experience. Some companies are struggling with how to integrate the customer experience enterprise wide. Absent a dedicated Customer Strategy team, marketing does own many, but not all, of the customer touch points.

Here are some valuable suggestions from Martech Today: Three things marketers must do to better serve customers in 2018

1. Own all customer touch points

Marketers must be acutely aware of every touch point that impacts existing customers, even when they fall far outside the traditional marketing purview.

For example, many companies are trying to scale their interactions with the use of AI-powered bots that will help guide customers. In most companies, it is IT, or perhaps a customer account department, that drives this kind of project. If marketing doesn’t have a clear understanding of how this is impacting the customer experience, then it’s not stepping up to being the shepherd of the end-to-end customer experience.

2. Existing customers are worthy of your best everything

All of the things that are important to attracting new customers are just as important to retaining existing customers. AI, personalization, consistency of interactions and alignment of people in the company across the customer experience function are all critical components of retention.

Perhaps most important of all is constantly seeking and acting on feedback to not just increase sales but to also create the kind of loyalty and advocacy that help mold the perceptions of other existing customers and pull in new ones.

3. Find the metrics that matter most to the customer experience

Relying on the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to measure customer loyalty is no longer enough. It’s too general and static a measure for today’s fast-moving customer environments. What’s necessary is to also understand the sentiment of each customer as an individual.

Again, the solution is to constantly seek feedback on how you are doing in meeting each individual’s increasing expectations through the lens of the customer experience. This can be accomplished as easily as presenting a simple emoji scale for customers to score their satisfaction with every interaction.

Thus armed, you can measure such things as ease of purchase, satisfaction with sales and service, the value of your content and so on. This data can then be combined with data on repurchase rates, number of advocates created and so on, to provide a more complete, accurate and timely picture of marketing effectiveness across the customer journey.

84 Percent of U.S. Healthcare Providers Have No Cyber Security Leader


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Do you find this a little concerning?

Eighty-four percent of U.S. healthcare providers don’t have a cyber security officer, and only 11 percent plan to add one in 2018, according to a recent Black Book Research survey of 323 strategic decision makers at U.S. healthcare provider and payer organizations.

At healthcare payer organizations, the outlook is slightly better — 31 percent have an established cyber security manager, and 44 percent plan to hire one in the coming year.

Just 15 percent of all responding organizations currently have a CISO in place.

The critical role of medical facilities, combined with poor security practices and lack of resources, make them vulnerable to financially and politically motivated attacks,” Black Book managing partner Doug Brown said in a statement.

Source: 84 Percent of U.S. Healthcare Providers Have No Cyber Security Leader

84 Percent of U.S. Healthcare Providers Have No Cyber Security Leader

“Creating a digital culture isn’t about who’s in charge.” ~Julie Woods-Moss


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Let’s face it, a lot of posturing about culture is about “who is in charge”. We don’t like to admit it but is true. We want our shiny object to be the next new thing. If it is the next new thing, rest assured it won’t last long. The C-Suite will move on from it, maybe faster than we think could happen.

Being obsessed about the customer and focusing the real change on digital improvements is about the customer experience. We all own that and the CEO is in charge of all aspects of making it happen. In companies focused on that as their culture, the results are geometrically better than companies not focused on it. There is plenty of data that demonstrates that. At some point we need to believe it and act on it.

Employee and customer expectations are changing fast. Faster than any of us want to admit. Other companies are out investing us in digital experiences that change the game for all of us. Have we created an agile culture of change? Have I done what I could to make it a focus with my work group?

Creating a digital culture isn’t about who’s in charge — it’s about building an agile structure that can adjust to changing employee and customer needs as new technologies and platforms emerge to fuel another shift in this constant cycle of change. ~Julie Woods-Moss, Chief Innovation Officer and Chief Marketing Officer at Tata Communications.

Source: Creating A Culture That Fosters Digital Transformation

Is trust going to be a casualty in the war on cyber crime?


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None of us are safe it seems. Cyber criminals attack without any consideration of our corporate or individual status in life. It is cruel and it is systematic. And we know it is only going to get worse.

But it seems it is not only we can’t trust the criminals, we can’t seem to even trust the victims. What could Equifax done to prevent the intrusion? Why did Uber hid their breach for a full year?

Companies are going to proved stronger authentication which will be slightly inconvenient for us all. Two factor authentication is gaining traction. While it can slow a transaction down a minute or so, it will be worth it. At least I hope so.

And what about our partners, suppliers and service providers. Should we trust them? Probably not. We are going to see more security audits. Awareness will increase that our greatest vulnerability may be the people we trusted the most historically. Ugh!

The U.S. government has banned the use of Kaspersky software in government agencies because it believes the risk of Russian influence to compromise the software too high. Similar actions by other countries are likely in 2018. 

Other countries have shown similar nationalistic tendencies such as China and its recently passed, far-reaching cybersecurity law that requires access to vendor source code. We predict that the U.S. Executive Branch will show similar tendencies and direct government agencies to exercise procurement preference for vendors with development and manufacturing in the U.S. or allied countries,” says PAS Global’s Habibi.

The environment of mistrust will present opportunities for companies that can show genuine concern for protecting data and that they have proper security infrastructure in place. In other words, earned trust becomes an asset when consumers and other organizations are willing to do business with you because they feel secure doing so.

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How do you measure results for cyber security investment?


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With over 400 global business and security executives participating in a benchmark survey called The 2017 State Of Cybersecurity Metrics Annual Report, more than half of respondents scored an “F” or “D” grade when evaluating their efforts to measure their cybersecurity investments and performance against best practices.

Based on internationally accepted standards for security embodied in ISO 27001, as well as best practices from industry experts and professional associations, the Security Measurement Index benchmark survey provides a comprehensive way to define how well an organization is measuring the effectiveness of its IT security.

Findings from this Cyber Security Metrics survey include:

Failures in planning

  • 1 in 3 companies invests in cybersecurity technologies without any way to measure their value or effectiveness.
  • 4 out of 5 fail to include business stakeholders in cybersecurity investment decisions.
  • 4 out 5 companies don’t know where their sensitive data is located, and how to secure it.

Failures in performance

  • 2 out of 3 companies don’t fully measure whether their disaster recovery will work as planned.
  • 4 out of 5 never measure the success of security training investments.
  • While 80% of breaches involve stolen or weak credentials 60% of companies still do not adequately protect privileged accounts—their keys to the kingdom.

In general:

  • 58 percent of companies are failing in their efforts to measure the effectiveness of their cybersecurity investments and performance against best practices.
  • 4 out of 5 companies worldwide are not fully satisfied with their cybersecurity metrics.

Most survey respondents do not feel confident about how they are measuring the value of their cybersecurity investments, and 80% stated that they are not fully satisfied with the metrics available.

You may think your business doesn’t need a formal, documented IT security policy based on cogent cybersecurity metrics. After all, documentation and worrying about information security is just for big unwieldy mega-corporations, right?

Cyber Security

Donor Experience SMART goals are realistic and attainable


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Goals should be both realistic and attainable for the digital nonprofit. While an attainable goal may stretch a team in order to achieve it, the goal is not extreme in nature. We all should have some expectation that it can be achieved.  Goals are neither out of reach nor below standard performance, as these may be considered meaningless.

When you identify goals that are most important to your donors, you begin to figure out ways you can make the goals come true. You and your team develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. An attainable goal may cause goal-setters to identify previously overlooked opportunities to bring themselves closer to the achievement of their goals. Attainable goals help focus everyone’s efforts on what is important to the donor.

Goals should be motivating. They should galvanize the whole team to accomplish something great. They certainly can be aspirational. The work of transforming a nonprofit is not easy. Everyone knows that. Everyone wants to be motivated and your transformation goals are important in the donor experience work. If they are not attainable, they become demotivating. We all must have a sense that we can reach the goal.

The purpose of a goal is to actually accomplish the result we have in mind. There is never a purpose that is useful to suggest something that we know can’t be done be a goal. It does happen, however, where a result is suggested and then nothing else is “taken off the plate” or resources aren’t devoted to making it happen. In those cases, it is common that everyone involved knows they are being set up for failure. That is, of course, devastating.

Senior management has a special responsibility to make sure that donor experience goals can, in fact, be reached. Employees may suggest goals that are beyond stretch and not attainable. Or employees may suggest goals that are a “cake walk”. In either case, realistic conversations need to occur to level set and make sure everyone is comfortable that strategies and tactics are in place to get us to the destination. It may be very difficult, if senior management sets a goal that is clearly unattainable, for employees to push back and talk about why that is true.

In setting an attainable goal, great consideration needs to be given to what resources need to be devoted to making it happen. Return on investment is real. To expect a return, with no investment, is a fool’s errand. Want something great to happen? What cost are you willing to bear to realize it?

Do you need more staff? Do you need a different kind of staff with different skills? Do priorities need to be set so it is clear this goal is important? Do other initiatives need to be eliminated or delayed to focus on this goal? Making a goal attainable may be about the resources and focus to make it attainable.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Goals should stretch our performance but be realistic and attainable.
  2. Goals should not be easily attained.
  3. Goals should not be added, one on top of another, so that it becomes impossible to achieve any of them.
  4. Resources need to be devoted to achieve the goals.

Attainable Goal

“Make sure your core technology platform offers the agility to continually test, modify, and improve processes to stay tuned to the new business environment.”  ~ Katherine Kostereva


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Digital transformation is about several things.

Digital transformation is about being bold. Companies don’t have to be high-tech to use the best technologies to drive better productivity, efficiency, and customer satisfaction but it is imperative to keep in mind that digital transformation is not a one-time event or project. It’s a bold commitment to a perpetual transformation. It is about becoming more mature in our approach. Incremental improvement is better than going for the “big bang” and then loosing momentum.

Digital transformation is about being agile. Don’t be fooled by some of the digital transformation buzz out there, digital transformation is a business discipline or company philosophy, not a project. And companies that want long-term success need to maintain focus on becoming more agile so you are ready to take on anything that the future can throw at you.

Make sure your core technology platform offers the agility to continually test, modify, and improve processes to stay tuned to the new business environment.  ~ Katherine Kostereva

Source: The Real Meaning Of Digital Transformation: Increased Agility

“Innovation can’t and shouldn’t be tech for the sake of tech, it should always be solving real human problem.” ~Healy Cypher


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Innovation continues to be the big thing. CEO’s seem very enamored by it. Recently I  saw a CEO create a Chief Innovation Officer position.

Seeing the person who filled the job, I would have thought he just got promoted to CIO as in the head of technology.

Being obsessed with the customer starts with the customer. How easy was it for them to do X? Painful? How can we solve that problem?

That will create a lot of traction for the customer experience. Maybe we need a metric focused on how many customer problems we permanently solve this month.

Innovation can’t and shouldn’t be tech for the sake of tech, it should always be solving real human problem.” ~Healy Cypher, founder and CEO of OAK Labs.

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“There is only one boss. The customer.” – Sam Walton


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We all know it is true. Our efforts should be focused on the customer and customer experience.

Great company C-Suite executives and staff down the line know, remember and serve the customer. Over the long haul, there are a handful of these companies and leaders. It is easy, on any given day, to get distracted.

Today, all of us get to choose what to focus on. There may be tons of mandates on high, but there will be a chance, somewhere along the way to stick up for the customer.

We get to choose to do that and no one can take that away from us.

There is only one boss. The customer.” – Sam Walton

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Donor Experience SMART transformation goals are measurable


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How will you know “when you have arrived”? How will you measure progress in improving the donor experience? What does success look like for the donor and their goals? When will we know that we have transformed our nonprofit?

We all want concrete criteria for what success looks like in our transformation efforts. To be effective as digital executives, our teams need to how progress will be measured. SMART goals are always measurable. Measuring progress will help a team stay on track, reach its target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs it on to continued effort required to reach the ultimate goal.

A measurable transformation goal will usually answer questions such as:

  1. How much transformation should we achieve?
  2. How many initiatives should we tackle?
  3. How will I know when it is accomplished?

Indicators should be quantifiable. Measurable goals are important for several reasons.

  1. Motivation is increased.
  2. Weaknesses will be uncovered.
  3. Problems will be reduced.
  4. Stronger teams will be created.
  5. Value for teams and individuals is demonstrated.

It is the leader’s responsibility to make sure that goals are specific and measurable. Anyone, however, can ask the right questions to gain clarification if they are not. If the requirements aren’t clear or constraints identified, it is our responsibility to make sure the goal is restated to make if very measurable.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Make sure the goal is very specific and can be measured.
  2. Once you think you have it measurable, rework it again to take it to the next level.
  3. Recognize that the measurable goal is probably a “lagging indicator” and begin to think about the 2 or 3 strategic levers that will produce the right outcome.

Measurable Goal

Donor Experience SMART goals are specific and unambiguous


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Donor Experience SMART goals are specific. Does your goal sound too general? It is probably not a SMART goal yet.  The aim is for something very clear and absolutely unambiguous. SMART goals are stripped of vagaries, platitudes and jargon. They must tell a team exactly what is expected, why is it important to your donors, who’s involved, where is it going to happen and what experiences are important to the donor.

A specific goal will usually answer the five “W” questions:

  1. What: What do I want to accomplish?
  2. Why: What are the specific reasons, purpose or benefits to the donor of accomplishing the goal?
  3. Who: What donors will be involved?
  4. Where: Where is the location? Digital? Physical? Both?
  5. Which: What are requirements and constraints?

It is important to be specific. For example, your goal may be to grow your business. That is pretty general. It would be more specific to say you want to acquire 3 new donors for your nonprofit. Or you might say you want to increase revenue from X to Y. A digital approach might to increase revenue from online donations from X to Y.

Being specific brings greater clarity in know what is to be accomplished. Clarity is the key. When you are building a digital nonprofit, as a leader, the more specific you can be about your goal, the better. It isn’t a goal to say we need to have a great presence on Facebook. What is the outcome you want on Facebook? Likes? Driving people to your content? Do you want donors to take some kind of action? What are the outcomes that your donors want? What does that experience look like?

In any kind of business, we can’t do everything. Resources are very limited and constrained. Getting specific with our goals creates great focus and great experiences for our donors.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Create goals that are very, very specific
  2. Think through the digital outcome that will amaze your donors
  3. Focus the outcome on your donors goals

Create SMART Donor Experience goals before developing strategy


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Goals are very important to the digital executive who is dedicated to improving the donor experience. SMART goals provide the direction on where to go and it is not just anywhere. It is to somewhere specific. It is measurable. It is fixed in time. If you want something that isn’t measurable, create a mission statement or think up your vision. Goals should be concrete.

Goals come before strategy. Strategy focuses on how to reach the goal. On their own, strategy absent a goal, is useless.

The best example of great goals is the SMART goal concept. SMART is an acronym, which over the years, has stood for different words. The most common now are:

S = Specific

M = Measurable

A = Attainable

R = Relevant

T = Time Bound

Creating donor experience SMART goals gives the digital executive a level of credibility that those who do not use this type of process never achieve. There is nothing fun about floundering around. Creating donor experience goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound has a huge payoff for everyone. It creates a sense that we know what is expected of us.

Most of us want to know where we are going and why are we going there. Donor experience SMART goals create that sense of direction that is so important for our daily work. SMART goals give us “the why” of our daily work. Without SMART goals, we will wander around aimlessly with no sense of purpose.

We all need to be involved in coming up with SMART goals for the donor experience. The digital executive focuses time and energy in managing the process. That is true leadership to give direction. Beyond the executive though, there are times any of us can lead if our direction isn’t clear. In those cases, this framework becomes pivotal.

Donor experience SMART goals can be created at any level of the organization. They may start at a corporate level or not. Even in the absence of clear corporate goals, we all can create them and use them as a way to gain commitment of the next level up or down. When the SMART goal is written down, it creates agreement or disagreement. Either of these is helpful. Always, visually, keeping at the top of what we do, helps create that type of commitment.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Write the goal down and make sure it is clear.
  2. Use the goal to gain agreement and commitment.
  3. In addition to being specific, make sure they measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound.

Europe has a million more developers than U.S.


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No, Silicon Valley isn’t moving to London, or Berlin or Stockholm.

However, a new report from Atomico claims that there are now 5.4 million developers in Europe, compared with 4.4 million in the U.S. Plus, it says Europe gained more than 500,000 developers in the last year alone.

“We’re leaving the U.S. behind,” Atomico partner Tom Wehmeier said at Slush on Thursday.

This might be taking things a bit far. The center of the universe remains in the birthplace of Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc. But it is a warning sign that others are taking the challenge of creating a tech-savvy workforce more seriously than the U.S.

Are Your Donor Experience Goals lead or lag indicators?


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Lagging indicators is a concept used a lot in the economic world. For the donor experience executive, it is important to know that most donor experience goals are lagging indicators as well. Lagging indicators confirm long-term trends, but they do not predict them.

In the economic world, some examples of lag indicators are unemployment, corporate profits and labor cost per unit of output. Interest rates are another good lagging economic indicator; rates change after severe market changes.

In a donor experience sense, increasing revenue, year over year or month over month, is a lagging indicator. In a digital nonprofit business, increasing the number of unique visitors to your website is a lagging indicator.

Goals that are lagging indicators are the result but certainly not a predictor of the result. Well written strategies are usually leading indicators. Lagging indicators always report the outcome but it is too late to do anything about it. Strategy (leading indicators) should predict the goal, i.e. the outcome.

Lagging indicators are metrics that measure end-state objectives or desired outcomes. They include all financial metrics. Nonprofit and public sector enterprises have additional nonfinancial lagging indicators that measure desired outcomes, such as students who graduate, incidence of crime and lives lost to terrorism. Leading indicators are a defined set of metrics that are predictive of financial or other desired outcomes. Source: Gartner

Donor experience goals (and SMART goals) should always proceed developing strategy. The clarity of the end result, even if it is a lag indicator, cannot be overstated. Strategy, absent a clear goal, is usually useless. Unfortunately, for leaders building a digital donor experience, it is easy to get distracted with a strategy, without know why (i.e. the real donor experience) is important. Having a clear goal clarifies why the strategy is important.

What are some example of lead indicators?

  • number of visits to major gift donor prospects made this month
  • number of major donors who attended our cultivation event and will be added to our prospect list
  • total number of potential grant funders researched

It is very important to involve and consult with as many people as you can in framing and understanding the donor experience goal. At the end of the day, however, it is leadership’s responsibility to make the final decision on what the goals are and to inform the relevant people the decision that has been made.

Goals can be set at all levels. Certain goals set at the department or location level should tie out to overall digital donor experience goals. Others may be specific to a department or location and may not tie out to the overall nonprofit goal. It is important to not focus on too many goals at one time.

Donor experience goals should be specific and using the SMART goal framework helps give the goal the focus that is much needed so that a goal doesn’t sound like a vague generality. Being inspirational but not effective is a real challenge. If the goal can’t become SMART it may be more like a vision or mission statement.

One of the best books on this topic is “The Four Disciplines of Execution” written by Chris McChesneySean Covey, and Jim Huling . More information is available on this site.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Most goals are lagging indicators.
  2. Use the SMART goal framework to make sure the goal is focused on clear outcomes.
  3. Gaining consensus is helpful but make a decision as a leader.


“Everything is both simpler than we can imagine, and more complicated that we can conceive.” ~Goethe


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Simplicity it the key. We live in a complex world but to be able to translate that complex simply is extremely valuable.

It is easy to get lost in the complexity. Some days it seems like we drown in it. Most every goal has multiple strategies, involves way too many people and has very complicated processes. Then we layer technology after technology on top of it.

What to do? At least back up and start with “why”!

“Everything is both simpler than we can imagine, and more complicated that we can conceive.” ~~Goethe

A Donor Experience Approach to Strategy, People, Process and Technology


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Having an approach or a framework for the work of the nonprofit digital executive is very important. Being passionate about our donors is great but a scattered approach will not get the kind of traction we need long term.

I am suggesting a framework that I have seen, over the years, that works for many of us. If this isn’t the approach that works for you and your donors, I do suggest finding one that does.

The approach is to organize and execute around the following:

  1. Goals, strategies and execution
  2. People
  3. Process
  4. Technology

It is natural to want to leap to one or another of these and focus there to the exclusion of some other important issues in improving the donor experience. Some people want to focus on the technology. But technology may be the wrong issue if the goals and strategies aren’t clear.

You might have a great donor strategy. Does the strategy require change? Have you addressed the change management issues that people are having with the strategy? If not, no strategy alone will overcome change management issues that people have with what you want to do.

There is a sequence to all of this. The best results come from starting with clear goals and strategies. People come next. Processes come after that. Technology, while very important, comes after we have planned for the preceding three focus areas for our donors.

I am advocating for a holistic and unified approach. Moving from the flavor of the day to the next creates a level of frustration that is hard for donors to overcome.  It is impossible to organize and execute around priorities if at least these four focus areas aren’t somehow in alignment. In our gut, we know that alignment is important. Alignment creates momentum that is impossible to stop or overcome.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Use a framework like strategy, people, process and technology.
  2. Create alignment through a holistic approach.
  3. Start with clear goals and strategies.

Business Strategy

The Customer Experience of AI: Five Principles to Foster Engagement, Innovation and Trust


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Artificial Intelligence is not going away and it will have a profound impact on the customer experience. Will they be the right experiences? We need to think that through carefully. Now is the time to begin that conversation.

Altimeter is reporting that “In the next five years, machine intelligence will become ubiquitous, and technology innovations, such as Internet of Things (IoT), chatbots, and augmented reality, will proliferate.

“This report explores the impact of AI on the customer experience, lays out a set of operating principles, and includes insight from technology users, developers, academics, designers, and other experts on how to design customer-centric experiences in the age of AI.

“More than anything, business leaders today should begin to treat AI as fundamental to the customer experience. This means thinking about the values it perpetuates as an essential and eventually indistinguishable expression of product, services and the brand experience.”

Key insights from the report include:

  • AI is changing the relationship between consumers and brands. Experiences are different when they are informed or delivered by systems using machine learning algorithms.
  • Norms that govern normal business interactions are being upended. This has created the need for guiding principles on how to deliver customer-centric AI that take into account: utility, empathy and respect, trust, fairness and safety and accountability.
  • Building a culture of customer-centric AI has unique challenges and opportunities. To address these, leading organizations need to look at culture and community, design, data and methodology, and governance as part of organizational readiness.
  • A checklist to help organizations think through issues related to AI and the customer experience. The checklist is based on interviews with experts in data science, engineering, customer experience, design and academics.

You can get the report here: http://www2.prophet.com/customer-experience-of-AI

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Tech industry on how to use AI responsibly


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Axios  has put together some great info on artificial intelligence. It’s use will continue to expand. Consideration of the ethics of it’s use is important.

“The Information Technology Industry Council — a D.C.-based group representing the likes of IBM, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple — is releasing a set of ethical principles today on how artificial intelligence systems should be developed.

“The tech industry is trying to get ahead of growing anxieties about the societal impact of AI technologies and this is an acknowledgement on companies’ part that their data-hungry products are causing sweeping changes in the way we work and live.

“Why it matters: The companies hope by pledging to handle their power responsibly they can stave off government regulation.

“Why now: ITI president Dean Garfield told Kim that the industry has learned painful lessons by staying on the sidelines of past debates about technology-driven societal shifts. “Sometimes our instinct is to just put our heads down and do our work, to develop, design and innovate,” he said. “But there’s a recognition that our ability to innovate is going to be affected by how society perceives it.”

The principles include:

  • Ensure the responsible design and deployment of AI systems, including taking “steps to avoid the reasonably predictable misuse of this technology by committing to ethics by design.”
  • Promote the responsible use of data and test for potentially harmful bias in the deployment of AI systems.
  • Commit to mitigating bias, inequity and other potential harms in automated decision-making systems.
  • Agree to develop a “reasonable accountability framework” to address concerns about liability issues created when autonomous decision-making replaces decisions made by humans.
“Other efforts: Last week, Intel laid out its own public policy principles for AI, including setting aside R&D funds for testing the technologies and creating new human employment opportunities as AI changes the way people work. The biggest tech companies (as well as smaller AI firms) started the Partnership on AI, a non-profit aimed at developing industry best practices.”

Source: Login – Axios

It is not about the data, it is about unifying the experience for the customer


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Customer Experience LifecycleThis is not all about data. At the end of the day, customers will expect a great (unified) experience across multiple channels. While it takes data to know the customer and systems to remember them, only great experiences lead to amazing service.

If I call you, I reasonable expect you have a history of my transactions regardless of channel and how long I have been your customer. I also probable expect for you to remember other issues and challenges I’ve had and how they were resolved. A breakdown in that at any point creates painful experiences.

This speaks to having worked through the customer journey, what is working and what isn’t, and improving the experience for the customer. This journey should identify data that is useful to know and insights that can create for you in delivering stunning service.

While journey maps are about much more than data, it is important to look at what data you have, what data you could use and what insight that could create in improving the whole experience.

Pay particular attention to data (structure and unstructured) that you already have from customers via your call center, web site, social media comments and email responses. There is a richness here that can inform the customer journey and the data that can used to improve it.

Improving the experience for the customer by providing front line staff better insights is foundational to the digital executive obsessed with the customer.  Journey maps without great data and insight could just be someone’s opinion.

Staff who are closest to the customer usually have a handle on what data and insight would be most useful to the journey mapping process. Be sure to engage them regularly.

Journey maps can be tedious and budgets may be constrained to bring in external resources to help. Consider an investment in training at least one of your staff who be the subject matter expert and facilitate the process, even if it just part time.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start with one segment or persona and develop a simple journey map.
  2. Begin by identify data that you have or gaps that exist in providing great insight.
  3. Encourage a focus on insight and improving the journey.
  4. See this as a holistic process integral to your ecosystem.
  5. Involve staff closest to the customer.

Why our focus and day to day work should be about creating  amazing “customer experiences”


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As leaders, we spend a lot of time talking about “what” needs to change. We train people in new ways of doing things. We create clever campaigns to drive the message home.

When we aren’t obsessed about “what”, we go on and on about “how” to change things. Tactical considerations are our bread and butter.

Before proceeding down those paths, it is essential to focus on making sure employees know “why” things need to change. Without “why” as the foundation, all of our other initiatives are fruitless.

Why is important. It is in fact the starting point. Without it, our nonprofit, is just another commodity. Plenty of companies and nonprofits do what we do. Some do it how we do it. It will be rare that any can beat us at the why.

So here are a couple of intriguing questions:

  1. Why do we need ensure that our customers are having an amazing experience?
  2. Why make customers cope with the ordinary?
  3. Why aren’t customers more engaged with both our mission and revenue opportunities?

Our focus and day to day work should be about creating  amazing “customer experiences” in this new age of consumerism. What is going on in the rest of the world isn’t lost on your customers. They are judging you based on those experiences. We can bury our head in the sand. That will only get us left behind. Our credibility as an executive is at stake.

Golden Circle – Why, How and What

“To consistently differentiate your customer experience, you need to transform your culture.” ~Bruce Temkin


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Changing culture is very tough. Some days it almost feels impossible.

Is it worth it to build a culture based on amazing Customer Experiences? Yes, it is.

And so … let the journey begin.

“I often say that the customer experience your organization delivers is a reflection of your culture and operating processes. In other words, what customers experience outside is based on what’s going on inside. To consistently differentiate your customer experience, you need to transform your culture.” ~Bruce Temkin

via What is Culture? How People Think, Believe, and Act | Customer Experience Matters.

Transform Culture


Top 5 cybersecurity mistakes leaders make, and how to fix them



Cybersecurity teams are largely understaffed and underskilled. Security breaches are only going to accelerate and get worse. In general, most businesses are not prepared.

At a strategic level, in the C-Suite, what do we need to focus on right now?

The the article, “Top 5 cybersecurity mistakes IT leaders make, and how to fix them” we find some good ideas to consider.

“Not aligning cybersecurity and business goals – Cybersecurity professionals said the most beneficial action companies can take is adding goals and metrics related to security that IT business managers and security teams can work toward.

“Not building repeatable processes – As mentioned above, one of the top two security challenges named by security professionals is too many manual and informal security processes. These workers suggest that the second most beneficial action organizations can take is to document and formalize all cybersecurity processes.

“Not investing in training – While companies are increasing cybersecurity budgets, they tend to invest more in technology solutions than their employees, according to the report. Investing in more training and education at all levels, from non-technical employees to the IT and security teams to executive management, is key for protecting organizations.

“Not providing the right training – Cybersecurity professionals said they look to specific training courses (76%) and professional development organizations (71%) to build knowledge, skills, and abilities, rather than security certifications. Organizations can look to offer more sophisticated, continuous training, with a focus on specific skills that tend to be lacking, such as application and cloud security.

“Not assuming a perpetual skills shortage in future planning and strategy – Since cybersecurity professionals say the no. 1 security challenge they face is their staff being undersized for their organization, businesses must create aggressive programs for recruiting talent from IT teams and the business side to bridge security gaps, the report recommends.”

Source: Top 5 cybersecurity mistakes IT leaders make, and how to fix them

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates


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There is a lot of talk and hype about the “learning organization”.

Learning what?

Here are some more questions. Please take a minute and actually answer them. Seriously!

  • Are we learning about the customer experience?
  • Are we using that learning to continuously improve our customer service?
  • Are we converting those bad experiences into good experiences?

The answers matter! How did you do?

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates

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Learning – Source: https://goo.gl/images/hgfrFg

Is it really “location, location, location” anymore?


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We all have the “location, location, location” mantra emblazoned in our minds. While specific to the real estate market, we have tended to believe it applies to products and services as well. For a long time, it did.

But not so much anymore. And less and less every day. We know it is true. Are we ready to pick up the pace? Are we evolving fast enough?

Slowly location isn’t so important. Of course, the internet is one of the main culprits. Federal Express can take some credit. Television has an impact. Credit cards enable transactions at a distance. Call phones un-hooked us and cut the cord. And my favorite, air conditioning, transformed the south and manufacturing.

What percent of your business today has nothing to do with location? Is that true of the competition? How fast is it accelerating in your industry?

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A shortcut to cybersecurity



Here is a great summary from Axios about the shortage of professionals in the area of cybersecurity. We need to fill the gap ASAP. Is there a shortcut?

Endgame’s Artemis desktop. (Screenshot: Endgame)

“With Russia, China, Iran and North Korea on the loose, experienced and knowing cybersecurity hands are among the world’s most-sought-after workers. The trouble is that there are not nearly enough of them — estimates are that the U.S. alone could use 200,000 more cyber experts to protect the country’s private and public computers. And half or fewer of those applying are not qualified, according to a survey by ISACA, an industry association.

“What’s happening: Endgame, a Virginia-based cybersecurity firm that has worked most closely with the U.S. intelligence agencies, launched Artemis, an intelligent chatbot.

“Why it matters: Hyrum Anderson, Endgame’s lead data scientist, says Artemis is a shortcut to closing the gap between inexperienced “Tier 1” computer analysts and top-flight but comparatively few “Tier 3” professionals, who know the field.

  • The volume of potentially malicious alerts is “staggering, so a real threat can be lost in the noise,” Anderson tells Axios.
  • But by typing questions using natural English into Artemis, a relatively new cybersecurity analyst can conduct a sophisticated investigation of a vast computer system. “Our customers are trying to protect their systems with limited resources,” he said.

Be smart: “The yawning shortage of professionals, propelled by a wildly active hacking community — such as BadRabbit, the most recent ransomware attack — is global. There will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021, forecasts CyberSecurity Ventures, an industry newsletter. The forecast includes the West and other countries including IndiaJapan and China.”

Salesforce using Dreamforce to get personal



Salesforce is using Dreamforce to get personal. Here is a great summary from Axios.

At the Dreamforce 2017 conference, Salesforce will unveil Einstein Prediction Builder. Photo: Salesforce

Salesforce will take over San Francisco this week, literally. The company’s annual Dreamforce conference is expected to draw 170,000 attendees. That’s more than the population of Sunnyvale, Calif., and more then enough to overwhelm the SOMA district around San Francisco’s Moscone Center.

What we’re hearing: As for news, Salesforce is focused on taking more of its service’s core capabilities and making them available to customers for their custom use.

  • Of particular note, the company is taking its Einstein decision-making capabilities and making them available for customers to predict the outcome of any Salesforce field using the AI technology.
  • Another component of the MyEinstein offering uses data from Salesforce to power automated chatbots.
  • Also at the event, Salesforce plans to announce MySalesforce, which lets its customers easily make their own branded iOS and Android apps using data stored in the service.

What we’re seeing: Beyond the product news, Salesforce is also continuing to raise the bar for what inclusivity and accessibility look like at a tech conference. Last year, the company added stickers to allow attendees to indicate their preferred gender pronouns. This year, the company will also offer gender neutral bathrooms, mother’s rooms, multiple skin tones for speaker microphones, plus ASL interpreters and Ava technology for those who are deaf or hearing impaired.

The elephant in the room is making a mess



There is an elephant in the room. It has been there for a while and everyone knows it. It doesn’t seem interested in going away. We keep hoping it will. If is making messes no one wants to deal with.

The elephant has a name. The name is Cyber-Security.

It is clearly a big issue so this is not a baby elephant. We will have to talk about it when a breach occurs (and it will). The problem with that approach is when it happens the focus becomes figuring out the technical aspects of how it happened not what we should do holistically beyond just the technology to prevent it.

This is where another elephant issue comes into play. Remember the blind men, who have never come across an elephant before, learn and conceptualize what the elephant is like by touching it. Continue reading

Walmart plans to increase use of Macs



According to Axios: Walmart has 7,000 Macs in use today, but expects that number to skyrocket next year as it gives workers the option of using an Apple computer or Windows PC.

“This time next year we will probably be managing 100,000 Macs,” Miles Leacy, technical expert for Apple technologies at Walmart, said at a conference hosted by Jamf. “In a few months we are going to announce the choice program for employees.”

What’s happening: Walmart is working on the project with Apple and Jamf, which specializes in managing Apple devices in business. Leacy noted that one reason for the project is the total cost of ownership, saying “it is a lot cheaper than supporting a Windows box — it just makes good business sense.”

Why it matters: While Apple makes most of its money in the consumer business, it has been steadily trying to grow business adoption of Macs, iPhone and iPads. Other big Jamf customers include Lyft (which has 90% of its 1,700 workers on Macs), IBM, GE, SAP, Capital One and Intuit.

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“Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.” ~Donald Porter


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We can continuously learn but none of our efforts are perfect.

There is lots of data to suggest the power of service recovery. Here is an overview from the Temkin Group.

  • The power of service recovery. It’s undeniable that a good service recovery after a bad experience provides excellent results. When the service recovery is very poor, 63% of consumers cut back their spending while only 2% increased their spending. If the service recovery is very good, there’s a 10x improvement in consumers who increase their spending and more than a 39 %-point reduction in consumers who reduced their spending.
  • The limitation of service recovery. The advantages of service recovery really kick in when the company reaches at least a “4” on our 7-point scale of goodness. But it takes at least a “6” on the scale to have as many customers increasing their spending as decreasing their spending. That’s a pretty high hurdle.

So how do we know about recovery opportunities? After customers have a very bad or very good experience with a company, they are more likely to give feedback directly to the company than they are to post about it on Facebook, Twitter, or third party rating sites. Customers are also more likely to share positive feedback through online surveys and share negative feedback through emails. Compared to previous years, customers are more likely to share feedback over Facebook and Twitter, and these channels are most popular with consumers who are between 25- and 44-years-old.

Here is a model for recovery.

  • Communication (clearly communicate the process and set expectations)
  • Accountability (take responsibility for fixing the problem or getting an answer)
  • Responsiveness (don’t make the customer wait for your communication or a solution)
  • Empathy (acknowledge the impact that the situation has on the customer)
  • Solution (at the end of the day, make sure to solve the issue or answer the question)

“Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.” – Donald Porter


“…you have to want to be engaged. If the desire isn’t there, no person or book can plant it within you.” –Tim Clark


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Many years ago (published in 1970)) I read a book “You Really Oughta Wanna” by by Robert F. Mager and Peter Pipe.

In short, they articulated a method that helps you answer the following questions about a perceived performance problem at work.

  • Is it really important?
  • Is the problem that the workers don’t have the necessary skill(s)?
  • If it’s truly a skill gap, why does the skill gap exist and what’s the best way to close it?
  • If it’s not a skill gap (meaning employees DO have the skill but don’t use it), why aren’t they using it?
  • Is there a better way to do the work so that the employees don’t have to perform the skill?
  • Is the individual employee (or employees) incapable of performing the skill no matter how much training is provided?
  • Given the answers to all the above questions, what is the best solution (or the best combination of solutions) to solve the problem?

It is worth reading if you can get your hands on it. As managers, we all want employees to be motivated and that somehow gets tangled up in engagement and performance issues. There is a school of thought that says engagement is the employees problem.

As Tim Clark says:

“…you have to want to be engaged. There has to be deep-seated desire in your heart and mind to participate, to be involved, and to make a difference. If the desire isn’t there, no person or book can plant it within you.” –Tim Clark

Still the conundrum of what to do about the un-motivated employee. There are lots of them. Is there any thing we, as managers, should do?

What should I do?

Should we just fire them all? Why did we hire them in the first place?

This is worth figuring out.

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Epidemic of Emotionless Experience Design


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Bruce Temkin and his team are onto something. There are at least 3 core pillars to the customer experience. Many have documented this. Forrester has done some great work on it as well.

They generally follow this model from the customer’s point of view:

  • Did it meet my needs (goal)?
  • Was it easy to do?
  • Did I emotionally connect? For example, was it fun?

According to Temkin, as you can see in the graphic below:

  • Only about one in 10 companies is very good at proactively designing for any aspect of customer experience.
  • More companies are good at designing for success (completion on interactions) than effort or emotion, but less than half of companies consider themselves good in this area.
  • Emotion is the weakest link, as only about one-third of companies think they are good at proactive emotional design.

Source: Epidemic of Emotionless Experience Design | Customer Experience Matters®

Some honest questions about culture change and the customer experience


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It is my observation that most corporate cultures aren’t intentional but seem to evolve over time. Maybe we inherited it. Maybe we are vaguely aware of what it is but don’t think it is important to the work at hand. We have our mission, goals, strategies and objectives. Isn’t that enough?

Occasionally we decide we want to change it, whatever it is.

First question — what is it? What is our current culture? Do we know? Do we want to know? If we do know, then …

Second question — Do we want to change it? If so, how? Will it include a drive to improve the customer experience? If not, why not.

It starts with a senior management vision and buy in. But what then?

If we want to drive culture change, then we’ll need to explicitly activate middle managers. Nothing is going to change with out them. Period.

How do we activate the change we want with middle managers?

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“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” ~Steve Jobs


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Getting our people strategy right is a huge challenge. All leaders know it and struggle. If only we were better at this.

The first challenge is the hiring challenge. Steve Jobs rightly narrowed this down to hiring smart people.

The second is learning, as leaders, to not micro-manage. That can be a tough one for the smart managers we have hired. How do we create more autonomy with abdicating commitment to a shared vision?

The third challenge is to listen strategically. Smart employees always have really great ideas. How do we harness that? How will we sort out, from all the right ideas, the ones that will move us ahead? How do we create focus?

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” Steve Jobs

Source: This Classic Quote From Steve Jobs About Hiring Employees Describes What Great Leadership Looks Like | Inc.com

China Will Be the World’s Largest Digital Market by 2018


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According to Statista, “China will soon overtake the United States in the digital economy.”

  • “According to calculations by analysts at Statista, greater China’s digital market will outstrip the US market as early as 2018. As a result, China will be the largest digital economy before becoming the world’s largest economy.”
  • “These projections are based on data from Statista’s Digital Economy Compass, a new comprehensive compendium on the global digital market. It examines the competitive development of the platform business in eCommerce, eTravel and Digital Media. Already, the four major Chinese players Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, and Huawei have achieved impressive figures and are increasingly operating on a global level. “In the foreseeable future, the growth of the US big four will be increasingly challenged by their Chinese counterparts,” says Tobias Bohnhoff, Head of Market Analytics with Statista. “Furthermore there is no major player from the West that has comparable reach or impact on the global digital landscape.”
  • “The Statista Digital Economy Compass highlights the figures and factors behind these developments and provides a comprehensive overview of the platform business in the key markets of the United States, China and Europe. It analyzes the trends and gives deep insights into the hard facts of different sub-segments, from media and marketing to connected cars, smart homes, and fintech.”
  • “Special attention is given to the influence of the driving forces cloud, social, mobile and voice-control. In addition, specific chapters cover the topics of venture capital, “Who will beat who in the platform business?”, and cutting-edge technologies like AI, AR, and VR. “With the Digital Economy Compass, we have created a standard work for the digital business,” says Felix Wegener, analyst for digital markets at Statista. “It is a reference work full of fundamental and useful statistics, which every decision-maker in the digital business should definitely bookmark.”
  • Source: • Chart: China Will Be the World’s Largest Digital Market by 2018 | Statista

Doing something about the data, insight and customer experience gaps


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Continuous ImprovementKnowing you have a gap in the data and the experience is one thing. Doing something that improves the experience is another. Insight is very useful but it must lead to action.

Much of our effort should be in understanding where we are today, where we want to go, what the gaps are and what we can do move ahead. This is both short term with quick wins and the overall long term strategy.

Accurately identifying the gaps gets you on the road to improvement. This should be seen as a continuous process with huge incremental results. Lots of quick experiments and tests can tell you a lot about what works and what doesn’t.

Senior executives should help create a culture of gap analysis and continuous improvement. Without the focus and support of the digital executive, we can all fall into “analysis paralysis”.

Gap analysis and continuous improvement is something that can be done at all levels of the organization. The closer it is to the customer, the better. Customer champions, evangelist and advocates are best position to have great energy around this.

Basic training in facilitating the process doesn’t require huge budgets. Creating performance expectations for improving the experience in a tangible way is very important.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start with simple approaches to encourage identifying gaps and plans to improve the experience.
  2. Begin setting expectations that it is important to measure the results of the improvement initiatives.
  3. Encourage a culture of continuous improvement.
  4. Be sure to set clear goals for gains.
  5. Clearly articulate why gap identification and improvement is important.
  6. Identify evangelists and champions of continuous improvement.
  7. Focus on staff closest to the customer. Listen to them first rather than a senior executive 5 levels removed.

Does Oracle have the answer to the future of data?


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Building upon the next generation of the industry-leading database Oracle Database 18c, Oracle recently introduced the world’s first autonomous database cloud. Oracle Autonomous Database Cloud is supposed to eliminate complexity, human error, and manual management, helping to ensure higher reliability, security, and more operational efficiency at the lowest cost.

Does it? At what expense?

The autonomous database cloud is being sold with a promise it integrates adaptive machine learning to deliver self-driving, self-tuning, self-recovering, and self-scaling administration—without human intervention—resulting in streamlined operations, more efficient consumption of resources, and higher security and reliability. With built-in automation at all levels it could perform maintenance tasks. With companies could now use their valuable IT resources to focus on extracting more value from the data they currently manage to directly influence business opportunities and outcomes.

Big promises. Bold vision.

Quotes from Larry Ellison’s Keynote Presentation

  • “Companies are losing the cyber war. And it gets worse every year. Companies have to defend themselves against nation-states who are stealing their data, and very sophisticated cyber criminals who are stealing their data.”
  • “We have to reprioritize and re-think about how we defend our information. We need new systems. It can’t be our people versus their computers. We’re going to lose that war. It’s got to be our computers versus their computers. And make no mistake: it’s a war.”
  • “The way to secure our data, the way to prevent data theft is more automation. And we need a cyber defense system that automatically detects vulnerabilities and attacks.”
  • “And these two systems, the Oracle Autonomous Database and our highly, highly automated cyber defense systems are designed to stop data theft.”
  • “The Autonomous Database and our automated security system, is based on a new technology called machine learning. Machine learning is the most important new technology to show up for a long time. It looks at all of these logons with all the IP addresses and URLs, distinguishes normal behavior from abnormal, risky behavior.”
  • “The database automatically provisions itself, upgrades itself, patches itself, backs itself up, and tunes itself while running. And because there is no human intervention, there is no human error.”
  • “The Oracle Management Cloud has a unified data architecture. Manage anyone’s technology — on-premise, other clouds, our cloud, no integration required. We engineered all of these pieces to fit together. We unify the data, we analyze the data, we detect the anomalies and we automatically remediate it. It’s one system. And it’s relatively easy to use, much easier to use than the other systems.”
  • “It is not simply an analytical system, like Splunk. It is a security monitoring and management system designed to detect and remediate the problem.”

“Some companies don’t have an engagement problem, they have a hiring problem.” –Bob Kelleher


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I am a big fan of measuring and improving employee engagement. I have been for decades now. I see what can happen to the customer experience with that kind of focus. It is encouraging and very, very good thing.

Now, to get personal …. how did I hire so many un-engaged employees?

I may not like the answer to that question but the answer is powerful.

Do I have an engagement problem or a hiring problem?

“Some companies don’t have an engagement problem, they have a hiring problem.” –Bob Kelleher


Does the customer experience matter? Does it correlate to loyalty?


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Once again, Temkin Group is publishing a new infographic that is very helpful. Some tidbits:

  • The customer experience does relate to loyalty and increased profitability.
  • 39% of consumers who had a bad experience spent less with the company.
  • Customers aren’t thrilled with their experiences. Only 68% rate it as okay.

Source: The Ultimate CX Infographic, 2017 – Customer Experience Matters®

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Americans just don’t fear robots — They think they are coming for other people!


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Nearly two-thirds of Americans expect humans to struggle finding work in a future of robots — all humans except themselves, that is. According to a study by Pew Research, they worry far less about losing their own jobs to automation.

Why it matters: The study confirms prior research that, despite the knowledge that a powerful new technological force is gathering momentum, Americans remain unperturbed about their own well-being, leaving themselves potentially vulnerable to personal financial crisis.

 “For many people, this isn’t real until it actually happens to them,” Pew’s Aaron Smith, who led the project, told Axios. What they have yet to recognize is that “it’s not just something that’s going to happen to fast food workers and insurance clerks,” he said, but to people just like themselves.

What the studies say: The Pew report is a followup to a study it issued last year with similar findings. Likewise, a survey last month by Bloomberg Beta, a venture capital firm, found that just 12% of Americans worry about losing their job to automation. The surveys spring in large part from much-discussed 2013 research from Oxford University that said 47% of American jobs are at risk of automation by 2033.

The bottom line: Numerous experts challenge such pessimism, but regardless of what anyone thinks, there is very little dispute that a lot of people are going to lose their jobs. The only questions are whether they will find new work, and if so, how long it will take. Should dislocation occur on the scale some forecasters project, experts fear social chaos. “Some people will be taken by surprise, and nothing leads to instability more than frustrated expectations,” Bloomberg Beta’s Roy Bahat told Axios.

Source: Americans just don’t fear robots – Axios

The Moneyball CIO and how data can make a difference


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IT can often feel like an unwinnable game, with limited resources, changing priorities, multiple stakeholders and increased demands.

Too often, IT leaders must make decisions with insufficient information and without knowing the true effect on the business. Info-Tech’s framework removes the guesswork from what makes the business happy and predicts the impact of key decisions before they happen.

Data and data about the data can make a big difference.


Unifying data for the customer

Data IntegrationEven 2 pieces of unified data is more powerful than one. Having a plan for the most valuable sources and at least integrating some of the data will move insight ahead.

Let’s be honest. This is just plain difficult. I’m a small business. I believe in the value of integrated data. But it is painful and difficult. I use one tool a lot. It is call email. I have another tool for managing Customer Relationships. If I send an email, I can also get it in the CRM tool just by sending it as a bcc. So far so good. But then I use a different tool for eMarketing. I then have to export it from CRM and import it to the eMarketing tool. And on and on it goes from there.

Imagine the challenge for a mid-size company. It gets worse for large corporations. It just isn’t easy.

That said, it is worth doing as best you can. So that is what I do. And you should consider the same.

First, we need a strategy. Pick at least two systems that will give you a better level of insight. Integrate the core data needed for that insight. Don’t get carried away. If it doesn’t give you insight and you can’t act on it to move the relationship ahead then it isn’t useful.

Second, we need to execute the strategy and evaluate its effectiveness. If it isn’t effective consider stopping. Why waste the energy and resources.

Third, while data integration is generally very complex and difficult, the focus needs to be on simplicity. If a business unit cannot make a case for the insight that the data will bring and the action / results that it will accomplish, I say “move on”. That takes courage and great support from the executive level.

Knowing more than one thing generally leads to greater insight. Our everyday experience teaches us that. The insight I gain by knowing a decision maker at a target company is opening my emails leads me to see if I can schedule a call to discover more about their challenges. Simply integrating CRM and eMarketing tools can lead to that insight.

As more data is integrated about customers, the biggest issue is data quality and duplicates. If left unchecked, the insights and action will be suspect. It is important to keep the data integrated as simple as possible and pay attention to “master data” and the “golden record” early on. Investing in some level of Master Data Management (MDM) will make sense. Better to make this decision early and enforce integrity to the data.

There are several ways to approach analytics. Simple and easy to use Excel spreadsheets is one level. Data warehouses and data marts takes it to another level. Within systems themselves (think CRM), dashboards are very powerful at providing insight and action (via workflow).

All of this leads to an issue of executive oversight. Someone needs to make the tough decisions in the best interest of the customer. The CEO needs to empower someone to make those decisions. Otherwise your technology team will be chasing its tail on a regular basis with unclear direction and expensive solutions to meet the great demand for integration.

There is clearly a role for oversight for this function. It should be led by a high level business executive who focuses on insight.

Many of the advanced solutions and systems can be very expensive. Senior executives will clearly experience sticker shock when looking at investment decisions. Out of many technology investments to be made, this is one that cries out for clear ROI and a total economic benefit to spell out.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start with simple integrations that focus early on data quality.
  2. Begin with integrations that lead to clear insight and action.
  3. Encourage oversight and accountability for results.
  4. Early on, default to system dashboards and workflow rather than other complicated systems.
  5. Insights that lead to next steps along the customer journey will have high payoffs for renewal, cross-selling and up-selling.
  6. Senior business executives must be engaged early and often.
  7. Enforce clear budget boundaries with clear ROI.