Apr 16

Fast Company – The Real Reason Women Are Leaving STEM Jobs

A recent report revealed a surprising gender gap: women job hop more than men and it’s getting more pronounced. While the analysts at LinkedIn who did the study said that further research was needed to determine why (it’s not about balancing family and work, as most of the job hoppers weren’t parents yet) the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) may have a clue.

In the first gender-based study of its kind conducted in the STEM space in the U.S., the data revealed women leaving jobs was the result of multiple factors beyond sexual harassment that the survey “Elephant in the Valley” found rampant among established working women at tech companies in Silicon Valley.

SWE’s Corporate Partnership Council’s study found that there are gender differences in workplace priorities, particularly as companies that are meeting female hiring goals are unable to retain them—especially five to eight years after they started.

More of the Fast Company article from Lydia Dishman

Apr 16

HBR – Which industries are the most digital and why?

When business leaders talk about going digital, many are uncertain about what that means beyond buying the latest IT system. Companies do need assets like computers, servers, networks, and software, but those purchases are just the start. Digital leaders stand out from their competitors in two ways: how they put digital to work, especially in engaging with clients and suppliers, and how intensively their employees use digital tools in every aspect of their daily activities.

Recent research from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) looked at the state of digitization in sectors across the U.S. economy and found a large and growing gap between sectors, and between companies within those sectors. The most digital companies see outsized growth in productivity and profit margins. But what are the key attributes of a digital leader? And how can companies benchmark themselves against competitors? We looked at 27 indicators that fall into three broad categories: digital assets, digital usage, and digital workers. Our research shows that the latter two categories make the crucial difference.

More of the Harvard Business Review article from Prashant Gandhi, Somesh Khanna, and Sree Ramaswamy

Apr 16

HBR – When Was the Last Time You Asked, “Why Are We Doing It This Way?”

During a time when many retailers are struggling, business is booming at Target. But it wasn’t too long ago that the discount retailer’s future didn’t glow so bright. When CEO Brian Cornell took the reins two years ago, he inherited a company that had been struggling for years, taking far too few risks, and sticking too close to the core.

Since then the world has fallen in love with a far edgier Target, which has expanded its offerings through collaborations with such power brands as Lilly Pulitzer, Toms, Neiman Marcus, and SoulCycle, and updated product lines that break the status quo, like its latest gender-neutral kids home brand Pillowfort. But Cornell didn’t start right out of the gate making any big changes like these. Instead, he took time to carefully contemplate his approach, listen to his team, and ask questions.

At the MIT Leadership Center, I recently spoke with another leader, Guy Wollaert, chief exploration officer at Loggia Strategy & Design, about similar experiences he encountered at another highly visible brand, Coca-Cola. During his 20-plus year tenure with the global beverage brand, most recently serving as its chief technical and innovation officer, Wollaert made it a point to seek — and surround himself with — new ideas and people who challenged him to reflect and question first, then act later.

More of the Harvard Business Review post from Hal Gregersen

Apr 16

IT Business Edge – Diverse Infrastructure Requires Diverse Efficiency Metrics

Achieving data center efficiency is not only challenging on a technology level, but as a matter of perspective as well. With no clear definition of “efficient” to begin with, matters are only made worse by the lack of consensus as to how to even measure efficiency and place it into some kind of quantifiable construct.

At best, we can say that one technology or architecture is more efficient than another and that placing efficiency as a high priority within emerging infrastructural and architectural solutions at least puts the data industry on the path toward more responsible energy consumption.

The much-vaunted PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) metric is an unfortunate casualty of this process. The Green Grid most certainly overreached when it designated PUE as the defining characteristic of an efficient data center, but this was understandable given that it is a simple ratio between total energy consumed and the portion devoted to data resources rather than ancillary functions like cooling and lighting. And when implemented correctly, it does in fact provide a good measure of energy efficiency. The problem is that it is easy to game and does not take into account the productivity of the data that low-PUE facilities provide nor the need for some facilities to shift loads between resources and implement other practices that could drive up their ratings.

More of the IT Business Edge article from Arthur Cole

Feb 16

Wall Street Journal – CIOs Say Focus on Customer Is Paramount

We asked chief information officers how they expect their role to change in 2016 and beyond. They said the “seat at the table” discussion is over, and that the CIO exerts greater influence inside the C-suite as technology permeates every line of business.

Many CIOs said they now shape corporate strategy, not just support it. While they still have a mandate to improve operating performance, keep costs down and drive productivity using technology, they also guide product development and user experience design.

“Regardless of industry, CIOs will have more responsibility directly to the customer,” said Bill Bradley, CIO at CenturyLink Inc.

While in the past viewed as mostly a technical position, “the CIO…is now considered very valuable in the ability to bridge the gap between IT and internal and external customer needs,” said Erika Lance, CIO at Nationwide Title Clearing Inc.

More of the Wall Street Journal article

Jan 16

CustomerThink – We’ve always done it this way…

Does inertia matter more to you than delivering better services to your clients?

Something happened the other day that reminded me of a time when I was still new in this business. Yes, I didn’t have the 25+ years of experience as I do now but I still had enough under my belt to know what was going on and how to evaluate a department and its staff.

I had just started working as a banquet manager at another hotel and found that most of the waiters have been working there for around 7 years and some up to 15 years. After a few days of observation, I made a list of the things that I knew we can do better and planned the steps needed to make it happen. No big deal, I’ve done this many times before.

On the following week’s schedule I listed a date for a mandatory meeting/training class and prepared the topics I would discuss. The meeting day arrived and we all sat around a series of round tables and enjoyed the coffee, soda and bottled water I had prepared for them. Hey, if I force you to come in for a meeting, the least I can do is have some beverages prepared for you…right?

More of the CustomerThink post from Steve DiGioia

Dec 15

Customer Think – How Have You Helped Your Customers Improve Their Outcomes?

As we approach the end of the year, there’s always a huge intensity of activity. A lot driven by the various holidays we celebrate, a lot driven by year end (or quarter end), and some driven by preparations for the new fiscal year.

It’s easy to lose focus on our customers.

But perhaps it’s worth a few minutes to reflect. Perhaps even spending some time in review with them.

The key issue is, “How have you helped them improve their outcomes in the past year?”

At the core of everything we do, our success is measured less on achieving our sales numbers, but more on the results we’ve helped our customers achieve.

It’s important to both our customers and us, but too often we tend to forget about it–or we realize they haven’t achieve the outcomes expected.

This isn’t driven by some airy concept of customer-centricity, though that’s very nice. These are really data driven, tough minded business discussions.

How have you helped your customers improve their outcomes?

Sure you may have gotten an order, but customers don’t buy just to buy. They buy to achieve results. Did they achieve them?

More of the Customer Think post by Dave Brock

Dec 15

ZDNet – IT managers: we’re hurting for more cloud and DevOps skills

There’s been a lot of talk lately about “two-speed” IT, in which one part of the job is to help with all the cool stuff, such as digital presence and data analytics, while the other part is to deal with the traditional IT maintenance stuff — upgrades, patching, coding, security and so forth.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like two-speed IT is a 50-50 split in time and resources. It’s more like 80-20, in favor of the maintenance side.

That’s the conclusion from a survey of 200 IT executives just released by NetEnrich, which surveyed larger organizations with at least $400 million in annual revenues. The survey finds plenty of adoption of newer approaches that could help shift IT’s emphasis to the digital side — particularly cloud and DevOps. Nearly 97 percent of respondents said they’re moving applications and workloads into public, private or hybrid cloud environments, and 68 percent said that DevOps methodologies have been integrated well into their traditional IT and tech operations teams.

More of the ZDNet article from Joe McKendrick

Dec 15

Business Insider – How to train your brain to make better decisions

Overcoming obstacles is synonymous with entrepreneurship. The ability to engage with difficulties and stress in an empowering way is described as the biggest factor for success in life — more significant than your IQ, social networks, physical health, or socio-economic background.

When you encounter stressful situations, there are two basic ways your brain will respond: fight or flight. Whether you fight or flee can be boiled down to how you’ve been conditioned from past experiences. This negative pattern of responses is known as “learned helplessness.” If you’ve given a terrible presentation at a business meeting, you’ll have a stress-induced flight response in similar future scenarios.

If left unchecked, this pattern of “learned” avoidance behaviors will lead to passive and poor decisions. You cannot dominate in entrepreneurship and leadership if you have a pattern of unhealthy risk-averse decisions — always fleeing from challenges.

More of the Business Insider article from Thai Nguyen

Dec 15

Tech.co – How Do Small Businesses Select a Cloud Storage Service?

A surge in cloud storage adoption is evident over the past four years, especially in the small- and mid-sized business (SMB) market. More specifically, 52 percent of SMBs in the US use cloud storage, according to new survey findings.

As the quantity of SMBs adopting cloud storage increases, it is important to understand what criteria they consider when selecting a cloud storage service provider.

A significant room for growth remains for cloud storage usage. And, as the quantity of SMBs adopting cloud storage increases, it is important to understand the characteristics SMBs consider in the selection process and the factors that weigh most heavily on their decision.

More of the Tech.co post from Sarah Patrick