5 Must-Have Qualities Of The Modern Manager

SAP Guest

by Jacob Morgan

As the world of work continues to change so do the qualities and characteristics of the managersLeadership who are going to be leading our companies.  Work is not the same as it used to be and we are seeing dramatic changes in both behavior and technology not just in our personal lives but in our professional lives.  This means that just because managers were successful in the past doesn’t mean they will be successful in the future.  When it comes to evolving the way we work managers need to possess five qualities to help their organizations evolve and succeed in the future of work.

Follow from the front

The future management model is all about removing roadblocks from the paths of employees in order to help them succeed.  This extends beyond managing people to empowering and engaging people.  The traditional idea of management was based on leading by fear and the notion of command and control.  Employees used to work hard to allow their managers to succeed and now it’s the managers turn to make sure their employees succeed.  As I’ve said many times, employees are the most valuable asset that any organization has.  In the past managers said “jump” and the employees said, “how high?”  Now, the managers are jumping with employees.

Understand technology

This isn’t the same as technical expertise. I’m not saying that it’s important for managers to all of a sudden become IT professionals. However, managers do need to understand the overall technology landscape and how it is impacting the way we work.  This means having a good pulse of what is happening in the consumer web as well as understanding which social and collaborative technologies are making their way into the enterprise and what the implications of that are. Managers who have a good understanding of what is happening with technology will always be able to adapt and evolve ahead of the competition.

Lead by example

It used to be good enough for managers to say they supported something.  A manager would just need to approve the budget and say “go for it.”  When it comes to collaboration and the future of work that is no longer enough.  Managers need to commit to more than just funding collaboration.  They need to be the ones on the ground level using the same tools that the rest of the employees are using.  There is no way that employees can change and evolve (nor should they) unless they see their managers doing the same.

Embrace vulnerability

This goes hand in hand with being open and transparent.  Our organizations were modeled after the military and if there’s one thing that a commander wasn’t, that was  vulnerable.  However, times have changed and we aren’t running our organizations like the military anymore.  We go our whole lives (especially men) learning how to be the opposite of vulnerable and we always have this “shield” up to keep people from seeing us when we are vulnerable.  However, Brene Brown, author of “Daring Greatly,” says that vulnerability is about having the courage to show up and be seen.  According to Brown, “Vulnerability is the absolute heartbeat of innovation and creativity.  There can be zero innovation without vulnerability.”  Being vulnerable isn’t about being weak it’s about being courageous; a key quality that every manager must have going forward.

Belief in sharing

Traditionally managers sat at the top of the organization and had access to all of the information required to make decisions. Managers would dole out the orders and the employees had to execute on those orders without asking any questions.  Today managers cannot believe in hoarding information but in sharing information and collective intelligence.  Managers need to make sure that the employees can connect to each other and to the information they need to get their jobs done, anytime, anywhere, and on any device.  Managers now rely on employees to help make decisions instead of isolating them from this process.

What other qualities do you think the modern manager should possess?

Jacob is the author of the Amazon best-selling book, The Collaborative Organization: A Strategic Guide to Solving Your Internal Business Challenges Using Social and Collaborative Tools (McGraw Hill).


This post originally appeared on Forbes and was republished with permission.


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Better-Run Operations? Learn From Real-Time Traffic Mapping

Samantha Gwynn

real-time traffic mappingIt’s the middle of the night. You’re sound asleep. On the other side of the world in an area crucial to your supply chain, an earthquake hits. Bridges crumble. Flooding follows. Rail lines grind to a halt. Back at the office, your predictive analytics program is already receiving data that can tell you what suppliers are affected, where you can shift resources, and when current inventory is due to run out.

Sound impossible? With Big Data, discovering and reacting to unforeseen events is already happening. Take Waze, for example. Waze is a smartphone app that works with your GPS. Every time you turn it on and start driving, Waze collects your data. Before you start thinking that’s something you would never opt-in to, wait. There’s a very real upside to all that sharing. While Waze is collecting your data, it’s also doing the same for other Waze users in the area. That means if users ahead of you start moving more slowly than normal, Waze will re-route you in real time.

bd 1So if you’re an operations manager, Big Data has the power to create a tremendous difference. But beyond a hypothetical operations example, what would it take to begin thinking about operational opportunity? First, real-time data management would require an in-memory computing platform. SAP HANA, for instance. SAP HANA makes it possible to process data up to 50% faster, all without adding costly hardware, hence, in-memory computing.

Next, you’d need some sort of business intelligence or data analytics solution. Let’s use SAP Predictive Analytics as an example, based on our operations example we gave at the beginning. When you combine the two, you can overcome data issues (volume, silos, reporting speed) and achieve real-time data management. What you do with it is entirely up to your organization.

In speaking with hundreds of IT professionals across industries and lines of business, Forrester has created a list of the key benefits of real-time data management.


  • Being able to arrive at queries reports and insights faster
  • Creating an on-demand, scalable, bd 2transactional platform
  • Reducing your time to market for new products
  • Predictive analytics that can tell you how to make the most of existing resources or even use less to better results
  • Being able to bring business users and partners together to work collaboratively
  • Eliminating data silos so you’re analyzing all your data, all at once
  • Having increased confidence in the quality of your data
  • Lowering IT costs while eliminating reporting backlogs
  • Gaining a real-time competitive advantage

If you look to your own operations, it’s easy to see how many of these key benefits address issues that stand in the way of efficiency and clear insights.

To see what other companies are doing and saying about Big Data, download the Forrester white paper Real-Time Data Management Delivers Faster Insights, Extreme Transaction Processing, and Competitive Advantage.

Read the Waze story The Map That Draws Itself.

Want to see more stories from The Human Face of Big Data? Buy The Human Face of Big Data app for Apple iPad. Or visit the book’s Web site at

“The Human Face of Big Data” app was created through the generous assistance of EMC. Supporting sponsors: SAP, Cisco, FedEx, VMware, Originate, and Tableau.

Photo credit: ©Nigel Holmes 2012 / from The Human Face of Big Data


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Top 3 Apps For Football Fans

Jen Cohen Crompton

Even if you’re not at the game, you can easily enjoy the excitement and fun of any sport through the tips of your fingers and with taps on a [second] screen. Dad and daughter watching football and using a mobile apps for football

Each league – MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, and others – boasts its own list of sites and apps that can provide live news, instant replays, and player/fan reactions. We previously listed the Top 5 Apps for Baseball Fans, and here are three awesome football apps we think will boost your sports enthusiasm and keep your fingers busy using your second screen.

NFL Mobile

A must-have for football fans is the official app for the league, NFL Mobile. This app gives you all the scores, schedules, standings, and team alerts, and highlights for the season. This is the central location for all things NFL and a one-stop shop if you’re using the NFL league for your Fantasy Team since your team stats can be listed directly in this app. One thing that puts this app over the edge is that if that if you are a Verizon iPhone customer, you can upgrade to NFL RedZone and receive a livestream of Sunday games for just 5 dollars/month.

ESPN ScoreCenter

Although not a completely football-focused app, the ESP ScoreCenter app is a sports staple that provides you with the latest breaking news and sends alerts about your favorite teams, the NFL, and other sports teams (up to you to decide). EPSN has always been a trusted source and because this app has been redesigned and is more user-friendly, it is one of the must-have apps for any sports fan who wants to stay updated.

Official NFL Fantasy Football 

Who doesn’t love Fantasy Football? This year the NFL embraced the Fantasy Football phenomena by creating their own app that allows you to start a league and pick a team, but also provides highlights and a player comparison within the app to predict your team’s potential to win. This app provide live scoring so you can watch games in real-time, team management to let you set your lineup, up-to-the-minute player reports, and expert analysis tools to ensure you have all the information you need to guarantee your team is ready to play at its best.

Apps to look out for

Also, keep a lookout for new apps that will be emerging in the very near future. Trending now, are apps that will enhance the fan experience while at the stadium. The 49ers, and a few other teams, are developing apps that will minimize the time spent in lines waiting for the bathroom or concession stands by providing “a line analysis” that fans can view from their seats so they can decide when to get up and make that run to the restroom. Teams are also working to improve WiFi capabilities within the stadiums to stream live technology to your phone so you never have to worry about missing a play again (Verizon is powering MetLife Stadium already!).

No matter where you are, break out your device and stay informed and entertained by these awesome apps.


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How BYOD Can Help (And Hurt) Your Business

Debra Donston-Miller

The sharp rise in the use of increasingly smart mobile devices has changed many aspects of our BYOD at worklives—not least of which is the way we work. Not very long ago employees had a personal cell phone and a corporate-deployed device they used for work—more often than not, a BlackBerry. In those days, never the mobile device twain would meet. Today, however, the lines between personal and professional use of mobile devices are blurring, and almost anything goes. This provides organizations with new opportunities, but also with new risk.

Put simply, in the bring-your-own-device model, better known as BYOD, employees use their personal devices for work purposes.

Employees benefit from this model because they get to use the mobile device and operating system of their choice—be it Apple, Google or Samsung, iOS or Android—set up the way they prefer. The upside for organizations is the potential reduction in hardware, software and service costs.

“The biggest benefits that businesses will see from implementing a BYOD program include increased mobility, higher job satisfaction, and improvements in efficiency and productivity,” said Steve Durbin, global vice president of the Information Security Forum and a former Gartner analyst. “IT has a simplified infrastructure and reduced cost—not just from an asset register perspective but also in maintenance and upkeep of the devices, which are the responsibility of the employee.”

Durbin added that companies that foster the use of BYOD programs can expect the model to help attract and retain those who seek to work flexibly, outside normal office hours. Further, IT departments freed from some of the responsibility around mobile devices can “focus their resources elsewhere.”

With all of that said, the decision to implement a BYOD program should not be made lightly.

According to Ponemon’s “2013 State of the Endpoint” report, mobile devices are one of the biggest—and fastest-growing—areas of IT security risk. “In 2010, only 9 percent of respondents said mobile devices were a rising threat,” states the report. “This year 73 percent see them as one of the greatest risks within the IT environment.”

So, how do companies balance risk and reward? Durbin recommends taking an information-centric approach to managing BYOD risk. This involves increasing information security governance and planning for management of mobile devices.

According to Durbin, these are some proactive steps companies can take:

  1. Enable security functionality, investigate mobile data loss-prevention and stateless thin client solutions.
  2. Consider encryption of data and authenticate at the application level.
  3. Monitor the market for new devices and associated security trends.

It should also be noted that BYOD at one organization may look very different from BYOD at another organization. Some companies, for example, allow end users to choose the mobile device they want to use, but only from a predefined list of IT’s making. Companies also differ in terms of the policies they develop around the use of—and support for—devices in a BYOD program.

A host of factors—including your company’s size, industry and regulatory concerns—will determine the ways in which BYOD can help your business.


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3 Ways The Power Of The Individual Will Change The Future

Dan Wellers

Ask a roomful of people what’s the most important invention of the 20th century, and chances are employee connecting the dotsthat the Internet, semiconductors, the combustion engine, or the telephone would be near the top of the list (in the developed world anyway). But there’s a strong argument that the most important invention of the last 100 years is management, or according to Gary Hamel, “the tools and the methods that we use to bring people together to mobilize and organize resources for productive ends.” The problem is that, since their invention, today’s management practices have barely changed and are an outdated legacy of the last century. In my last blog, I discussed how instant access to peer reviews, competitor offerings, and prices are empowering consumers to advocate in real time for new products and services. Now exponential increases in connectivity, data, and mobile devices – as well as the rise of young people who have grown up online – are fueling unprecedented demand for openness, interaction, participation, and flexibility in the workplace as well. Predictably, these demands are crossing into the public domain in a similarly disruptive way. In a hyperconnected world, citizens increasingly expect to participate in government, get information, report what they find, and influence policy. Many governments are seeking new ways to engage citizens in creating new services that improve lives, foster community, and build trust. Businesses and governments must respond to three trends that are driven by the increasing autonomy and empowerment of individuals:

A future without layoffs

Globalization, technology, faster product lifecycles, and more fluid financial markets have made employment more volatile for workers and companies alike. As a result, employees face uncertain futures. Meanwhile, businesses face low levels of employee loyalty and must often spend large sums to replace skilled people, if they can find them at all. These same forces have enabled the rise of freelancers, who are using technology to build their skills, identities, and support networks. This self-organizing ecosystem will interact with companies in a more flexible, project-oriented, and demand-driven way. Models of engagement between employees and employers will emphasize creativity and individual empowerment on the employee side over command and control on the employer side. This means companies must come up with ways to predict what skills will be needed and redefine the leadership, management, and systems required to shape and empower their workforces. If done well, not only will companies be more competitive and agile, but the workforce will be more motivated and highly trained.

Employee-driven learning

Waiting for schools and universities to produce individuals with the right skills for today’s market is not enough. Full-time employees will be a smaller part of an organization, and the majority will be freelancers, partners, and other third parties – flexibly reconfiguring to fit the needs of the moment. At the same time, companies must take a more active role in working with schools and universities and empowering individuals to find practical education with a faster return on investment in a more practical approach.

New levels of citizen engagement

The first steps taken by governments toward openness have been for self-service and the sharing of relevant information such as road conditions and parking availability. However this trend will lead to a future of a much stronger engagement of citizens in their cities and neighborhoods. In the future, services will be broadened beyond those that are purely government driven and will include many third-party services that support a richer community life. Increasingly, that community life will converge in urban centers. As cities compete for people and business, services will become a competitive advantage. What’s your view? Do these predictions match yours? To see what noted author and business strategist Don Tapscott has to say about the new generation, check out this video. This is #3 of a 5 part series titled “First Thoughts on the Future of Business”.  You can read the rest of the series at: #1. Explore With Us: What’s Next for the Future of Business #2. Four Ways Your Customers Are Shaping The Future Of Your Business #4. The Future Of Resource Optimization: Responsibility In Real Time #5. (Back To) The Future Of Business Networks


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