The Future Of Enterprise IT: 30 Executives Share Their 2013 Predictions

Brian Rice

The Future of Enterprise ITIn 2012, we saw four major trends evolve: 1) a shift towards the “cloud” 2) the need for processing/analyzing “big data” 3) an increased reliability on mobile technology 4) the consumerization of IT.  As we head into 2013, these four trends will play an even larger part in enterprise IT according to the 30 executives that shared their 2013 predictions with us.

1. Oliver Bussmann – Global CIO at SAP@sapcio

In the next 12-18 months, we will see the Consumerization of IT become the norm in the enterprise. If CIO’s and IT organizations weren’t able to contend with this reality in 2012, they will need to meet it head-on in 2013. Gartner talks about the Era of Nexus and I like this because it describes the coming together of big data, constant access and connection through mobile and social and new delivery capabilities through the Cloud. The new Era is here; in order for IT organizations to stay relevant, they will have to adapt by building organizational competencies that exude speed, flexibility, security and closer ties to the business.

I predict that machine to machine communication will become a reality in the enterprise in 2013, so it will be exciting for IT to play an active role in this innovation area. I’m also hearing about “wearable” electronics but let’s check back in on this one 12 months from now.

2. Mounil Patel, North American Director, Professional Services, Mimecast

The past several years can arguably be considered the year of the cloud, during which IT began seriously planning and implementing strategies to control costs by leveraging cloud technologies, with a major trend being cloud based email. The cloud offers more than just a way to do something cheaper or easier and I expect 2013 to be the year that IT begins leveraging their cloud footprint to deliver new capabilities that are difficult to provide on premise. I also expect to see cloud solutions expand in order to provide better ways of collaborating and sharing data between employees, partners, and customers. The best cloud platforms will solve the old IT problems while providing the average worker a breadth of new features to work more efficiently on a daily basis.

3. Marc Price, CTO, Americas, Openet

Enterprises and small businesses will increasingly enable employees to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to the workplace into 2013. BYOD is shown to increase productivity, reduce a financial burden on the business, and with subsidies eroding on mobile handsets, the market is ripe for increased BYOD penetration. Appropriate policies and security measures will have to be put in place over the next year in order to enable employees to use these devices securely and smartly, in a workplace appropriate manner while on the clock. Client software coordinated with network software from service providers will assist in enabling employees to use the devices of their choice in alignment with company policies and goals.

4. Don Keane, Vice President of Marketing and Product Strategy, Angel

As mobile devices continue to be favored by customers, this is quickly growing into a major channel and form of communication between brands and its customers. Keeping this in mind, designing a seamless mobile customer experience should be the number one concern for businesses in 2013 to not only help businesses better communicate with their customers, but also enable their employees to work more efficiently.

Speech capabilities in mobile apps will increase productivity for both employees and customers while providing an intuitive on-to-go mobile experience that allows people to speak their commands instead of manually typing and navigating through applications. As more and more devices compete in the mobile marketplace, users will continue to expect new emerging devices to offer better and more productive technology into 2013.

Voice integration within mobile applications has become a huge differentiator for consumer applications over the past year, however there is still a huge market opportunity for businesses. I expect to see more businesses win customer loyalty and improve their customers’ experience through voice technology integrated in mobile devices and applications in 2013.

Also, with contextual applications on the rise, mobile applications will continue to get smarter by learning the users preferences through analytics, making the mobile customer experience faster and more enjoyable. Marketers especially need to lead this effort and encourage their businesses to develop mobile applications that put the user’s needs first, especially if the app includes transactional features.

5. Dwayne Melancon – Chief Technology Officer at Tripwire, Inc. – @ThatDwayne

Tight budgets in 2013 will force organizations (public and private sector) to become more innovative, as they are required to get their job done with limited resources. This will drive the move toward more automation, as well as the search for more “proactive” projects. For example, I believe we’ll see a surge in cloud adoption, SaaS offerings, and vendor consolidation. The one area of aggressive investment will be information security, where the focus will be on system and application hardening (reducing the attack surface), as well as tighter identity and access management in an effort to protect data more effectively with less effort. We will also see a stronger move to connect security to the business to enable better prioritization of security spending and resource allocation.

6. Timothy Garcia, founder and CEO of Apptricity Corporation – @apptricity

CEOs often invest in getting their hands on “Big Data,” only to realize they don’t know what to do with it. With all of the hype surrounding Big Data, I see a huge need for applications that actually make sense of it all and help C-levels view everything within their organizations.  Additionally, with our current economy, companies now more than ever need to focus on supply chain issues to solve problems in 2013. The margin for error is smaller than it’s ever been and software applications that solve such issues are going to become increasingly important to the success of any company.

7. George Mashini, CEO of Catavolt – @CatavoltInc

Cloud technology and mobile technology are converging to deliver a completely new opportunity for enterprises to efficiently deliver enterprise data to mobile workers.

BYOD, recognized to be an industry trend due to consumerization rather than innovation, will become mainstream as IT departments are forced to deal with the useful and aesthetically-appealing applications that consumers use every day to make their personal tasks more productive.

There will be consolidation in the field of enterprise mobility. A shift away from mobilizing expensive, complex all-encompassing ERP applications will lead to more cost-effective extension of enterprise data, applications and content. This downward shift in the cost of enterprise mobility and increased efficiency will lead to increased adoption among companies actively looking for a mobile strategy. Onlookers, comprising mostly of the mid-market and up, will most likely remain onlookers and wait for a leader or two to emerge in the space.

8. Jens Karstoft, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Zmags – @Zmags

The holiday season has proven that the mobile shopping is here to stay, in particular the tablet. For marketers, this solidifies the channel as an effective way to communicate with consumers and more importantly, a powerful tool for data collection. In 2013, marketers will be tasked with combining this data with that of more traditional channels such as point-of-sale and ecommerce to effectively reach the growing number of mobile shoppers. Those marketers that can streamline this data to better target mobile shoppers with personalized catalogs, magazines and overall experiences as a result of the data will come out on top moving into 2013 and onward.

9. Brian Reagan, VP of Product Marketing at Actifio – @Actifio

The cost of managing copies of data will exceed the cost of managing production, forcing companies to rethink their strategy for Copy Data management. The need for multiple copies of data for various purposes (backup, business continuity, disaster recovery, test & development, analytics, etc) remains mission critical, yet as data volumes continue to accelerate, the ability to meet service levels at a reasonable cost is challenged. New disruptive innovations will become mainstream to address these challenges.

10. Rob May, CEO of Backupify – @RobMay

2013 will be the year of the cloud security middleware explosion. We will see middleware that sits over various levels of the cloud stack to provide enhanced security, and it will be adopted by both sides – the customer (CIO) side, and the ISV side. By the end of next year most cloud companies will be discussing the security offerings with which they are compatible.

Enterprises will start to move to public clouds, but will use a multi-cloud strategy including niche cloud offerings. 2013 will be the year when cloud moves beyond the innovator and early adopter companies to the early majority. While you will hear about how many large companies keep significant data and applications on premise, you will hear the first stories of Fortune 1000 companies going all cloud by embracing major public clouds like Amazon, Rackspace, and Azure for most of their needs, and specialized clouds for things that have heavy and unique compliance or security requirements.

The first whispers of the need for SaaS data to be discoverable and subject to legal holds will arise. E-discovery always lags the tech industry a bit because lawsuits are typically backward looking, so now that we have witnessed several years of rapid SaaS adoption, it will soon be time for some SaaS application to be an important part of a major lawsuit.

11. Andrew Graf, Lead Analyst at TeamDynamix

Many IT organizations are searching for identity. The rapid pace of changing business needs and technologies has created an environment where managing infrastructure, support and projects isn’t enough to avoid the commoditization of IT. 2013 and beyond will see those IT organizations who will thrive focusing on how they help the business achieve it’s strategic objectives and how they help their clients resolve problems with IT solutions not on the IT solutions themselves. Leading IT organizations have to manage technology well. That is requisite. The best will truly understand the organizations goals and problems and offer creative solutions to successfully addressing both.

12. Nathan Spoonts, Vice President of Technology at – @HomeFinder1

The use of mobile devices as a primary Internet source will continue to increase. Users are becoming less interested in downloading an app to access a site/upgrading to use new functionality, so companies benefit by not having to support multiple versions of the app and having the functionality from the current web release available to mobile users.

There will continue to be an upsurge in migration to cloud computing. With the increase in the range and reliability of cloud services, this can be a sound option for smaller companies that don’t have the resources to build out and maintain their own infrastructure. It can also be a more affordable way to store data, particularly of the volume required by big data analysis.

13. Dave Laurello, President and Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Board at Stratus Technologies – @stratus4uptime

This will be the year of ‘community cloud computing,’ which I like to call the affinity cloud. Large groups with shared business challenges will create or subscribe to a cloud service that meets their unique computing, security and business needs. For example, think of a few dozen community hospitals that want an electronic health records system with assured HIPPA compliance. Large organizations also can create clouds for subsets of their client bases. A charity, for example, sets up a transaction management site for micro-lenders to third-world nations, with the necessary safeguards to protect Personally Identifiable Information (PII). As with public clouds, affinity clouds provide the cost savings and scalability of compute-on-demand with the added advantages of better control and security, prevention of unplanned downtime, and a true understanding of its user community.

14. Irad Carmi, CTO at TOA Technologies – @iradcarmi

I believe that in 2013, businesses will look to the applications they have to better use this real-time data in new ways – such as enabling better social connections and making in-the-moment decisions.  For example, think about the benefits to people like service employees, out in the field, trying to get to the right customer at the right time – if they could easily know which coworkers were nearby, and with what inventory, more appointments could be completed within the allotted wait time promised to customers.

15. Carlos Montero-Luque, Chief Technology Officer at Apperian

CIOs will reach a level of comfort with mobile BYOD in the enterprise that enables broad deployments to happen in the largest companies. Access will remain somewhat restricted to very sensitive apps and content while vendors work to ensure that the mobile environment is as secure as traditional behind the firewall environments.

Mobile collaboration for specific business tasks will be a driver for innovation in enterprise apps. The ability to share content securely and temporarily across work teams will change how people interact with their mobile devices and with each other by making the enterprise mobile experience less individual and more shared across teams.

Mobile device management will be replaced by a broader view of enterprise mobility management that incorporates a holistic view of apps, content, access to backend services, as well as networks and devices that comprehensively addresses all aspects of mobility within an enterprise. Hardware vendors will integrate more MDM capabilities within their devices, to enable their easier integration into broader mobility management suites.

16. Robert E. Stroud, CGEIT, CRISC, a member of ISACA’s Strategic Advisory Council and Vice President of Innovation and Strategy and Service Management/Cloud Computing and Governance evangelist at CA Technologies – @RobertEStroud

2013 will be a year significant challenges for the IT organization, as IT continues to become more complex with the acceleration of the consumerization of IT combined with the ability to embed IT into everything, along with the growth of technology outside of IT. This will be led by a number of trends including the continuing proliferation of devices, as employees supplement employer-allocated devices with their own and organizations move to allow employees’ use of these for business.

Big Data will be a key topic and continue the growth in data and, more importantly, the use of the information for business value through linking analytics and pattern recognition. Exploitation of the information will be the business requirement, while protecting the privacy of the individual will become the subject of concern for many individuals.

Additionally, the CIO will have to cope with the proliferation of IT outside of CIO’s and IT’s span of control. In line with the ISACA mantra, “Trust in and value from IT,” 2013 is going to be a year in which security, privacy and effective enterprise governance of IT will be critical for the CIO to ensure value is delivered from IT, with an acceptable level of risk and appropriate security and privacy concerns taken into account.

17. Sven Hammar, Co-Founder and CEO of Apica – @apicasystems

By 2014, mobile Internet usage is expected to exceed desktop Internet usage. That means that in 2013 developers and marketers will be hard at work fine-tuning their mobile apps and websites to capitalize on this audience. Performance testing will become more complex as mobile features will need to be considered in all test case scenarios. As a result, application testing tools will evolve to support any type of device with dynamic HTML versus device-specific code. Special protocols like WebSocket and SPDY will also become mainstream.

As mobile Internet usage steadily increases to exceed desktop usage, and as web applications become more complex, application monitoring and more specifically the ability to detect and locate the origin of performance problems will be a challenge for IT organizations. 2013 will be the year when performance monitoring will shift focus from just “Is it up or is it down?” to provide agile support for performance status and optimization of applications both in the cloud and on local enterprise networks.

18. Lou Guercia, CEO of Scribe Software – @LouGuercia

The hybrid environments will be the leading IT infrastructure in 2013.  Although customer-facing systems such as CRM are increasingly migrating to the cloud, ERP systems, housing sensitive record information, will remain mostly on-premise. Hence, nimble data integration between cloud and on-premise systems will be a key IT trend in 2013.

19. Deepak Kumar, CTO at Adaptiva

With the integration of non-traditional IT and the deterioration of enterprise tech spending in recent years, 2013 will demand a different approach from IT departments in companies around the globe, as they will have to adapt to evolving technology and outside influences now more than ever before. This will change the industry’s focus to distributed IT network solutions, creating cost-savings and less of a demand for desktop virtualization. Also, because of the outside, consumer-based influence on enterprises today, 2013 will bring the need for lightning quick deployment cycles in the IT world, and the demand from workers for simple integrated solutions and technologies that will make their lives easier. For example, one such technology is cloud computing, as we continue to see a turn towards cloud-based systems in 2013 companies will be able to reduce their overall technology costs without losing key functionality, allowing for a more efficient management of traditional and mobile workforces.

20. Joel Bomgar, CEO of Bomgar Corporation – @JoelBomgar

With cloud solutions that can be purchased with the swipe of a credit card, departments outside of IT will continue to select and purchase their own technology solutions with little or no involvement from IT. But when employees experience issues with these solutions, the first place they’ll turn is IT support. The support center will need to equip their staff with the tools and information that allow them to collaborate with each other and external vendors to access information about these various solutions and assist their end-users.

21. Tiemo Winterkamp, SVP Global Marketing at arcplan – @arcplan

Big Data will, again, be a buzzword in 2013. There is no doubt that modern technology and social media will continue to provide even more data, nonetheless there are still questions to be answered. CIOs will need to determine the value of all this big data and for whom will it be necessary to structure these multi-terabytes and petabytes of information.

The delays associated with IT will be brushed aside in favor of the speed, control, and rapid access that comes along with self-service business intelligence (BI). BI users will become more self-sufficient so they can optimize and accelerate their decision making processes.

The democratization of information will become increasingly important. Organizations will prioritize collaborative platforms as a way to eliminate information silos between users and departments that do not currently integrate unstructured information into the decision-making process.

Accessing data anytime and anywhere will become an even more prominent business need in 2013. Mobility will be a key factor in all things IT, from business intelligence (BI) to enterprise computing.

22. Jonathan McCormick, Chief Operating Officer at  Intermedia – @intermedia_net

In 2013, we will continue to see the evolution of IT and cloud computing, in line with several important advancements in technology. Driving the business evolution are new versions of key Microsoft offerings, including Windows 8, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync and Office 2013. This will be a significant driver of upgrade-based sales, as well as reconsideration of existing underlying technologies, such as on-premise versus cloud. Additionally, there will be a continued increase in the move to tablets and smartphones, which will drive the adoption of synchronization technologies like ActiveSync, File Synching and BES, along with cloud storage.

23. Raghu Bala, CTO of Source Interlink Media, Board Member of Fanggle

Big Data and Cloud computing will combine to explode the amount of data stored in the cloud 4-fold or more. Smart devices will begin to emerge with the easy reach of cloud via high bandwidth wireless protocols like 4G.  Private and Public cloud adoption will boom and tablet adoption will explode with more thick apps and thin apps using HTML5.

24. Michael Rapp, President at En Pointe Technologies

One of the most common pushbacks about transitioning to the cloud is whether or not the customer is properly educated about its benefits and features. In 2013, we can expect vendors to find better ways to help VARs offer a feature-rich cloud solution. Service providers will take a more active approach by teaching the channel how to position their services properly, and not only sell a particular hosted service, but sell the cloud.  Additionally, distribution is struggling to move beyond product shipments, so we’ll also see increased adoption of managed services and subscription-based pricing. Consequently, we’ll begin to see business models slowly changing as fewer companies buy hardware and move more to the cloud – it won’t be a huge change, but it will start becoming more prevalent. The data center and/or service provider will be the larger customer in the coming years.”

25. Saad Shahzad, SVP Sales and Chief Strategy Officer at dinCloud

There has been a major shift in the business world, from the use of simple public cloud storage to a more advanced hosted computing infrastructure reserved for business continuity and back up in the cloud. In 2013, we will continue to see companies increasingly renting as a service, not just storage in the cloud, but reserving the use of computing infrastructure to host their applications and data until their primary site can be brought back up in the case of a disaster or an event that could create downtime at the primary site. Due to the high cost of downtime, most companies will continue to, or look to, work with back up in the cloud providers in the future and not have in-house or second site backup that they manage themselves.

26. Andre Pascal, CEO at Nia Technologies – @NiaTech

I predict that IT will become a utility model as per use and cloud storage and processing power become ubiquitous.   In addition technical support as we know it will be increasingly relegated to 3rd and fourth level and eventually eliminated completely as bots (algorithms) replace help desk staff.  Finally cloud computing will be adopted by a growing class of independent consultants who will leave their desktops and laptops and opt by and large for the security and dependability of virtual machines housed on cloud servers.

27. Robert Jenkins, CTO at CloudSigma – @CloudSigma

In 2013, vendors will leverage 100gig networking to offer premiere storage in the cloud through reduced latency, faster I/Os and greater performance. And, because 100gig networking uses standardized protocols, it can be implemented with the flip of a switch to offer instantaneous high performance to customers in which speed is pivotal, such as the financial sector.

Throughout 2013, software-defined networks (SDNs) will become widely adopted in the public cloud market, allowing vendors to create an optimized network between VMs. This, coupled with optimized routing, will allow for greater performance, efficiency and infrastructure control.

When the cloud first hit the mainstream, some shied away from it, more comfortable housing mission-critical data in their own data centers. But, now, as clouds become more flexible, we will increasingly see companies using the cloud as a major component of their disaster recovery strategy. By choosing a cloud vendor that places no restrictions on existing software, organizations can easily mimic their own data center in the cloud to seamlessly manage their disaster recovery process while leveraging the cloud’s innate HPC capabilities.

28. Ditlev Bredahl, CEO at OnApp

The market is polarizing: you have commodity utility computing that is now pervasive, and can be bought one-size-fits-all from providers like Amazon. But then, on the other end, you have service providers adding value with innovative services, platforms and applications.

This value-added cloud layer is the future of the industry, but how will it work? Providers engage in a global cloud marketplace, where they gain access to resources beyond the capabilities of their local infrastructure. This allows them to innovate, localize and focus on customers.

With computing provided on a utility basis, and service providers customizing it for end users rather than being mere workhorses, the cloud is no longer the cloud. It is a seamless, global computing environment that can be used for anyone, anything and anywhere.

29. Nikki Garg, COO of Icreon- @IcreonTech

In 2013, the physical and digital worlds will fuse. From the RFID tags on a runner’s bib to the real time camera feed from traffic lights that informs driving routes, the physical world is becoming an information system.

There is no such thing as an IT project; there are only business projects that are enabled by IT. IT professionals are becoming more attentive than ever to business and the role end-users play in the ultimate success of the software. 2013 will involve businesses setting aside more time and budget, towards intangibles around IT; communication plans, continuous user training and implementation support..

As 2012 comes to a close, consumers are increasingly relying on their smartphones for just about everything. From researching purchasing decisions to mobile commerce, expect to see more brands start to innovate and cater to the needs of mobile audiences, both customers and staff, that allows for more seamless use and integration of smartphones into our daily lives.

30. John Marshall, CEO at AirWatch

The next wave in the Consumerization of IT is the Consumerization of Corporate Content. BYOD and consumer devices on corporate networks have become commonplace. Employees are familiar with the iOS and Android user interface since many already use them at home and are now bringing them to work. The key for businesses is providing a similarly seamless and secure experience for accessing corporate content.

What do you think?  Share your predictions in the comment section below.


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Is Mobile the Next Customer Service Channel?

Alex Joseph

Source: StaffingTalk.comI remember being amazed by the exceptional customer service by American companies, when I first came to the US in 1997. The  ability to call the 1-800 number practically 24/7 to solve any problem was unlike anything I had experienced in India.

However, in the last 15 years in the US, I have seen the quality of customer service plummet. Today, most people would dread calling the 1-800 number (if you can even find it!) raising the question ‘Is Customer Service Dead?’

Customers are retaliating by fleeing to social media channels. It’s  easy and convenient and Social CRM/ Social Customer Service tools have been getting more sophisticated (e.g.,SAP Social OnDemand). However customers might be embracing social media due to the failure of normal channels. Frustrated customers realize the only way to get service might be to subtly ‘threaten’ the brands with public humiliation (or the marketer’s worst nightmare – a PR fiasco!) Personally, I would rather have my problem resolved privately, than having to complain publicly and I suspect many would feel that way.

Social Media is primarily designed for person-to-person interactions. People don’t typically think of social media as a channel to engage with companies. Even when they do, the vast majority of interactions on public social media (observable by brands) is driven either by highly positive experiences or highly negative experiences.

Why don’t we see many consumer mobile apps for customer service? The key promise of mobile engagement is to help brands understand the ‘hidden’ customer behavior.

Mobile is a highly personal, convenient and always-on channel. Most people use mobile today primarily for price comparison (‘showrooming’) & offers, but consumers have many other motivations beyond price that could probably be best addressed in a mobile app:

  • What is the right product for me and my family (lifestyle preferences or restrictions)?
  • What do other people (friends & experts) think about it?
  • How do I fix a problem?
  • How do I get personally relevant information (e.g., product updates/ recalls), when I want it, instead of being spammed?

For brands, engaging with the consumers after-purchase to drive loyalty and repeat purchases is often more profitable than expensive acquisition of fickle consumers (a la Groupon). Customer service is not usually the best place to start an interaction, but if handled well, it could be a strategic tool to increase loyalty and brand advocacy. You might even agree with the (provocative) statement ‘Customer Service is the New Marketing’.

Some early adopter retailers are beginning to do this (beyond coupons & deals). It may be even more important for consumer products manufacturers that are disintermediated from the end-consumers. Mobile gives them a direct engagement channel – not just to reduce costs by self-service, but to know who their consumers are (which many don’t know, as few customers register) and get insights on how they use the product.
Mobile does introduce many challenges.

There are only very few successful examples of engaging brand mobile apps (such as Nike+) with high customer adoption. It might be partly because of the app fatigue (‘download yet another app!’) and probably because of the pushy sales approach without offering much value to the consumers (the same reason why many brand Facebook pages struggle).
Source: thecustomerservicemanager.comToday, Most of us are happy (or at least, got used to!) going to our computer and Google (or Facebook) for any customer service issue. However, just like any digital consumer interaction, I believe customer service is moving to mobile too, if it’s designed well to deliver value to both the consumers and enterprises. I am interested to hear what you think.


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Is Your Business Intelligence Implementation Like a Game In Real Life?

Derek Loranca

Now that you’ve implemented your business intelligence (BI) solution, it’s time to “play the BI game”. Not long ago, SmartData Collective presented anInfographic and article surrounding a LogiXML survey of folks likening their BI systems to video games. The overwhelming favorite seemed to be Pac Man (stable, but boring). Let’s bring another piece of gaming culture and apply it to BI. Abbreviations and acronyms for internet slang are used by gamers, texters, and others to shrink larger phrases down. If we applied these gaming shortcuts to BI, which ones might we use?


Nerf: to tone down or decrease the power of something

  • Gaming usage: A Modern Warfare player may complain that a particular weapon was nerfed. “I can’t believe they nerfed that shotgun!”
  • BI usage:
    • Sometimes nerfing your BI application is unavoidable. You implement the latest service pack and a particular feature is disabled accidentally by the vendor. This is bound to happen to you at some time. Either you rollback the service pack or raise a ticket with the vendor for a hotfix.
    • Nerfs are avoidable too. For example, your administrators might rollback a send-to-user feature, thinking that it’s a security risk. Before doing that, poll your users and make sure that’s the case. Management would prefer that you create security groups, despite the work involved, than deal with angry users raising a ruckus because they can’t do their jobs.


XP: the number of experience points earned by playing the game. More XP unlocks better weapons or features.

  • Gaming usage: The more a gamer plays Halo, the more XP they earn to unlock player armor or powerful weapons.
  • BI usage: As your users gain XP, they can become some of your most powerful ‘weapons’. Power users can assist with user acceptance testing of new features, create and run user groups, and help with upgrade justifications. They can also be a great asset by helping to train your “noobs” (a gaming term for new users)!


AFK: acronym, away from keyboard

  • Gaming usage: If a player steps away from a game for a quick break, they’ll type AFK into the chat window to let their teammates know so they don’t think they’ve abandoned the game.
  • BI usage: If you put your BI solution on autopilot, you’ve managed to AFK your users. They’ll be stuck in a holding pattern with their current feature set with no hope of upgrades. Now, upgrading to every single new version isn’t a must. By keeping an open dialog between the business and the information technology department, you can maintain forward momentum instead of unplanned obsolescence.


FTW: acronym, for the win

If you want to get an FTW, keep up with current topics and features with your business intelligence implementation. You’ll lag out of the game if you don’t. And then it’ll be time for someone to say that you’ve GTG (Got to Go).

Work together with your users to have a GG (good game) and avoid that IRL (in real life).


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5 Traits Of Leaders Who Are Ready For Social Good

Meghan M. Biro

‘Tis the season to do good. You might not believe it if you’ve just come from the Mall, but the spirit of good is out there. Perhaps unexpectedly, good deeds and real social change are coming from business leaders who understand that success carries with it the opportunity to exercise social responsibility without the burden of government mandate.

Mashable & 92Y Social Good SummitThe path to becoming a socially-responsible leader is not as difficult as one might think. It’s a logical extension of the leader’s journey.

Not all leaders take it, of course; I could find no numbers as I researched this piece but instinct tells me less than 50 percent of successful business leaders go on to contribute to social good in a meaningful way. I’m hoping these numbers continue to increase.

Todd Warren, my fellow Forbes contributor, educator and thought-leader on startup culture, has proposed an awesome post about five attributes of entrepreneurial leaders: vision and dissatisfaction with the present, knowing and taking advantage of one’s unfair advantages, ability to recruit people to extend your vision, flexibility and ability to learn and adapt, and persistence and execution.

These attributes are, in my view, the basic requirements for a socially-responsible leader – but wait, there’s more. Warren’s five attributes may make a good entrepreneur but they don’t go far enough to explain why some business success stories – for example Bill Gates – go beyond business success to become social activists and philanthropists. For every Bill Gates there are 20 or 30 Carl Ichans, Mark Cubans, even – and I am a fanboi – Steve Jobs, who achieved enormous personal success and wealth but have not contributed back significantly to society. So how does a business leader transcend personal success and extend his or her skills to the realm of the do-gooder?

I’d argue there are an additional five traits necessary to be a socially-responsible leader:

1) Heightened situational awareness. It’s one thing to be focused on being aware of the business landscape by staying open to ideas to extend and perfect your vision. It’s a different skill to be aware of the world around you. In the movie Scrooged, Bill Murray is completely unaware of his assistant’s life challenges until the ghosts visit him; once his awareness is engaged and the focus expanded from his wants and needs to encompass those of others, he is transformed into a socially-responsible, charitable soul.

To become socially responsible, leaders must look beyond themselves to see what motivates, or holds back, those around him. Then he or she can see the need in others – in the world – and turn the intense focus of the entrepreneur to solving larger social problems.

2) Emotional intelligence. Yes, this is one of my favorite themes, for a reason. Until a leader opens his or her heart and mind to others, turns what is undoubtedly prodigious intelligence and focus outward to understand the challenges of others, there can be no authentic social leadership. If you see an emotionally limited leader doing good works, look for a smart tax advisor standing in the wings.

3) Empathy. This isn’t the same as emotional intelligence. I know lots of emotionally intelligent people who are more cerebral than they are empathetic. They can understand why people behave a certain way, and adapt, but at some level it does not reach them. Empathetic people are open to the world of hurt that exists on the periphery of the world of things; they know not only why people have needs, but also why it is important to meet those needs.

4) Media savvy. This might not seem like an attribute but it is. Look at Bill Gates then look at Steve Ballmer. ‘Nuff said. The media savvy leader has an advantage when he turns his attention to social good.

Bono, no stranger to the media or financial success, has done tremendous good because he knows how to work the media to advance his cause. And some media, notably HuffPo and Mashable, are making it much easier for socially-aware leaders to do good. HuffPo’s HuffPost Education Section is a media hub for all things relevant to the country’s failing education system. The brain child of Brian Sirgutz, SVP of Social Impact at The Huffington Post/AOL, HuffPo’s Education Section came about after the media channel’s executive leadership watched the movie Waiting for Superman.

It’s a content channel devoted to charting what’s wrong – and what could make it right – in our education system. It may not meet your criteria for doing good, but when you’re a media channel, access is your gift and your gold. Then there’s Mashable’s Social Good content channel. The editors of Mashable, led by Meghan Peters, Community Manager for Mashable, scan the Interwebs for news and evidence of individuals, leaders and organizations dedicating resources to social good.

Sometimes all it takes is a light shining on a good act, or a horror, to alert society (and leaders) to the opportunity for social good. PS: My #TChat World of Work Community will be featuring both the talented Meghan and talented Brian this week as we celebrate via social media channels.

5) Selflessness. This is the tough one. Most entrepreneurs and successful (wealthy, not merely well-off) people are not acquainted with selflessness. They do things because their personal calculus tells them there’s a benefit. Maybe it’s the unreconstructed Catholic in me but by my reckoning, you haven’t done a social good if you expect to deduct it on your taxes. You do a social good when you have no expectation of repayment of any kind – we’re not buying indulgences here. Democrats in Congress, pay attention.

Non-profit, for-profit, individual or business leader – we can all learn a lesson during the festival of light, the season of charity and goodness. Open your hearts and minds before you open your wallets. Charity doesn’t count if you don’t understand the motivation.

Image: Mashable & 92Y Social Good Summit (Photo credit:


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Mobile in 2013: Halfway To The Multi-Channel Era

The mobile industry is clearly moving to the mainstream point of its latest cycle – the influence of consumer grade applications and content. The consensus vision is a multi-channel future, but when?

As we look forward to 2013, we can look back in the history of mobile (yes, it’s sometimes hard to remember the pre-App Store mobile world) to predict when the industry will shift to the next big wave of innovation and adoption.

So, looking back, there have been four cycles of mass adoption so far in the mobile industry, and my observation is that each has taken about seven years to progress from emergence to mass adoption:

mobile adoption

1989: Voice – triggered by the success of the GSM standard and hardware price points

1996: Text – triggered by the networking effect of having devices with I/O at our sides at all times

2003: Email and Process apps – triggered by Research In Motion’s success with the BlackBerry and the iPAQ, corporate users

2010: Consumer Grade Applications and Content  – the iPhone, the entrance of Google into the mobile phone market with Android and finally Apple’s introduction of the iPad changed the focus of the mobile world from business enablement to broad-based of high quality application and content.

If you look at a variety of areas (user uptake, stock prices of vendors benefiting from a cycle, number of citations, number of startups funded), you will find evidence of this seven-year cycle.

Why seven years?  I think there are multiple factors, among them:

  • People, first and foremost – the rate at which people can absorb new technolgies and form new habits.
  • Software Innovation:  major R&D cycles still take about ~2 years, so a 7 year cycle means three full turns that allow breakthroughs (year 0 in the cycle), early leaders (+2), not-so-fast followers (year +4), and laggards (year +6) and then the cycle begins all over again
  • The mobile infrastructure – the networks and supporting systems require huge capital expenditure and architectural bets are place on 5-10 year cycles.
  • Business model maturation – each wave sparks profits that then find their way to fuel the next wave.

So what’s next?

2017:  Multichannel User Experience, driven by breakthroughs in in-memory computing (performance), cloud (agility) and mobile virtualization (trust), will allow the curation and delivery of user experiences across multiple devices, multiple applications, and multiple sessions.

Are you ready?


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