Did IBM overhype Watson Health’s AI promise?

IBM’s Watson Health division has been under fire for not delivering on its promise to use AI to enable smarter, more personalized medicine. But IBM officials maintain that hospitals are seeing benefits.

IBM Watson AI

IBM Watson AI

IBM Watson AI- In recent weeks, IBM has changed leadership at its Watson Health division and  announced a new business strategy for deployment that relies on a hybrid cloud, not a  public- or private-cloud only model.

Over the past year, Watson Health – particularly Watson for Oncology – has come in for criticism that it has underperformed expectations. (Watson for Oncology is IBM’s commercial cognitive computing cloud platform that analyzes large volumes of patient healthcare data and published medical studies to offer physicians cancer treatment options.)

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IBM to acquire cloud computing firm Red Hat for $34 billion

IBM Red Hat

IBM Red Hat

IBM Red Hat- In a massive deal that could reshape cloud computing, IBM is acquiring open software company Red Hat for $34 billion.

The companies called the deal, which still needs approval from shareholders and regulators, the “most significant tech acquisition of 2018.” The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2019.

“The acquisition of Red Hat is a game-changer. It changes everything about the cloud market,” IBM chief Ginni Rometty said in a statement.

The cloud, simply, refers to software and services that run on the internet instead of your computer. Dropbox, Netflix, Flickr, Google Drive, Microsoft Office 365, Yahoo Mail are all cloud services.

These various platforms often don’t allow data to easily move between them.

Red Hat says its software solves that issue by allowing data to be more easily moved around.

Together, IBM and Red Hat say they will be “strongly positioned to address this issue.”

IBM buying Red Hat means that it will start providing technology to its biggest competitors, including Amazon, Microsoft and Google. Red Hat partners with all of them, and IBM said it will continue the partnerships after the acquisition and work to expand on them.

CFO Jim Kavanaugh told investors during a conference call earlier this month that its cloud unit brought in $19 billion, up more than 20% from the same time last year.

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Cloud e-commerce IT battle pits content management vs. CRM

Today, ERP-based and stand-alone e-commerce systems dominate the market. As more and more companies go to the cloud, CRM and CMS vie to be the next foundation of e-commerce.
Cloud CRM

Cloud CRM

Cloud CRM- AUSTIN, Texas — Where does the cloud e-commerce platform fit in the IT ecosystem? Does it stand alone? Coming off the ERP system a la SAP and Hybris? The CRM system? Or — here’s a new contender — launch it from the content management stack.

Choose carefully, digital agencies and large enterprise customers told attendees — many of them representing established brands with legacy IT topologies — at the Acquia Engage user conference. That, or risk getting pounded in the marketplace by born-digital upstarts who aren’t tethered to old tech and whose cutting-edge agile tech can personalize offers and intuitively suggest next purchases.

Today, many companies are using either the ERP or stand-alone model. But CRM and marketing automation companies are forcing change: Salesforce bought the cloud e-commerce platform Demandware in 2016 and augmented its cloud e-commerce reach this year by acquiring CloudCraze. Adobe shook the market further when it bought Magento earlier this year.

SAP was the first, acquiring Hybris five years ago to augment its warhorse ERP and CRM systems. Such acquisitions tempt customers to move into the CRM-based cloud e-commerce model, with its tighter integrations and — allegedly — lower costs of customization.

None of this means much to consumers, said Dries Buytaert, founder and CTO of Boston-based Acquia, unveiling in a keynote an independent survey of 5,000 consumers internationally, commissioned by his company. It’s not enough to be able to buy something online; it has to be faster and simpler, no matter the back-end systems that must create that experience.

Cloud e-commerce from the content side

Acquia, which announced partnerships with e-commerce software vendors Elastic Path and BigCommerce in recent weeks, makes an argument that “headless” systems can more nimbly render content to different devices and create better online experiences.

It’s forcing a decision for companies fighting online-only brands by trying to develop new experiences — and refresh their relevance to younger generations: Either build the cloud e-commerce engine on the content side and tap the CRM for customer data, or build it on CRM and tap the content management system (CMS) for content.

Content-centric cloud e-commerce is already happening for successful upstart online-only brands selling on new channels, such as in-video links or directly from Instagram posts, e-commerce experts said in a panel discussion. Old brands born in physical retail struggle to keep up with them, because it means changing foundational selling and marketing strategy that’s worked for a very long time. But they’re fighting back with richer data sets than their online-only competition.

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Article Credit: TechTarget

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Why Your Entire Team and Business Needs to Play a Part in Your CRM Strategy

CRM Business Strategy

CRM Business Strategy

CRM Business Strategy- Argument: “If it isn’t in the CRM, it didn’t happen.” – Lars Helgeson

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a team wide initiative. No one is excused from using CRM as part of their day to day process. From sales to marketing to customer service, CRM collects data across all departments to collectively help the business gain a 360-degree view of their leads and customers. The more accessible and up-to-date data a business has, the more relevant their sales, marketing and customer support experiences will be. The entire business as a whole wins with this tracking and reporting.

One central location for lead and customer data

If your intention as an organization is to offer a seamless and enjoyable customer experience, then your entire team needs to know the customer, their history and any relevant or supporting information about them. How is a team supposed to get up-to-date, realtime data if everyone works in different systems, each collecting separate pieces of customer data? It’s inefficient and at this point, old school. With the technology that exists today, there is zero excuse for incongruous data. There is also zero excuse for making a customer repeat themselves over and over again to each department they speak with (this ring a bell, anyone?). All of their information, including customer service, sales and marketing data should be easily accessible by those who need it.

While many companies are still stuck in the age of constantly importing and exporting data, sometimes by the hour, this still leaves room for potential error. For example, the other day I got a request from a pretty large company to contribute to the GreenRope blog. I liked her ideas, we agreed on one, and I was excited to get the article. While the first email may have been automated, the emails between the two of us discussing topics, were not. Then, a couple of days later, I got another email, the SAME email sent to a colleague who no longer worked with us. They were also in marketing with the same title as mine and obviously, the same company email suffix. I responded to her saying that we literally had just agreed on a topic and she immediately wrote back, quite embarrassed, apologized and reconfirmed the topic we had established just a few days before. Now, I understand mistakes happen, but as the marketing manager at a CRM and marketing automation company, my patience wears thin when mistakes happen…more than just once or twice.

So, to continue, not a day later, maybe even the same day, my current marketing coordinator, again with the same email suffix, gets the EXACT same email as I had already received now twice. My marketing coordinator forwarded me the email and yet again, I responded that we had clearly already discussed a topic or was I missing something? This time I could feel the embarrassment coming from her apology email. While, I don’t blame her AT ALL, I do blame the system they are using (which I will not name here). It was clear to me that their data was out-of-date and they were improperly using their system to continuously send automated messages to multiple people within the same company.

While not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, these little hiccups can be avoided. This story was just to express that old, inaccurate data can lead to mistakes and some of those mistakes could even cost you a customer or two if they are big enough.

If your entire team has access to the company and customer data they need, they are better equipped for success and deliver on their promise of excellent customer experiences.

Hold every team member accountable

Accountability in life is important and it’s just as important within an organization. When team members within a company share login information, you completely lose the ability to track what was done and by who. For example, if you have multiple sales people using one login, it becomes hard to track which leads belong to which sales person and which contacts are being followed up with by each team member. Sounds like a mess, right? As a salesperson, especially a high performer, you want to showcase your incredible ability to follow up, develop relationships and close deals. You can’t do this if you share the same username and password with everyone else on your team.

The same goes for customer service. Let’s say that a customer service rep met with a customer to help them with an issue and at the end they promised a follow up. That follow up never came. Now, the customer is expecting action and receiving nothing. Problem. If your entire Customer Service (CS) teams shares login information, you can’t see which tasks or follow ups were assigned to whom and who was responsible for that follow up.

Each person having their own logins is not a ploy to micromanage, it’s simply a tool to help each member OWN their work and the relationship they have with a client. Great service and great experiences come from proactive and positive interactions. Letting everyone jumble their work and interactions together does nothing for your team, and much less, the customer.

This idea also spans across departments, which is why it’s so important that your whole department be tied together by a single, up-to-date database. For example, let’s say a customer comes in through live chat asking a customer service rep about another one of your products or services. It’s the responsibility of that customer service rep, who spoke with that person, to immediately pass the inquiry along to sales so they can quickly close the deal. If the two processes are not connected via technology, more specifically by workflows and activities within a CRM, there will not only be a lag in sales getting that inquiry, but sales will have to pester CS to get more information about the inquiry in the first place. Now, let’s look at what happens with an integrated system. Live chat comes in, chat is logged in the CRM record, CRM activity is created for the sales team, sales receives an automatic notification to follow up. Seamless transition from your customer service team to the sales team. The customer is also happy because they got an immediate follow up and sales is happy because they just got closer to making a sale.

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Article Credit: CT

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UK and Ireland SAP User Group members largely unaware of renewed CRM effort

SAP CRM User

SAP CRM User

SAP CRM User- SAP’s UK and Ireland user group (UKISUG) is largely unaware of SAP’s big move to steal market share from the customer relationship management (CRM) software giant Salesforce with its latest in-memory CRM solution C/4HANA.

Launched to much fanfare during SAP’s Sapphire event in Orlando earlier this year, C/4HANA was billed as “the best consumer grade CRM experience in the industry,” by CEO Bill McDermott during his keynote speech.

The research, which surveyed 345 user organisations, showed that just five percent of user group members are ‘very’ aware of C/4HANA, with 65 percent not very aware or not at all aware of the new CRM solution.

Of those that are aware of the latest SAP tech, 39 percent believe that ‘it looks interesting and I see it potentially benefiting my organisation’.

S/4HANA adoption curve

Speaking on stage to open the UKISUG conference at the ICC in Birmingham this morning, UKISUG chairman Paul Cooper said that he believes that the slow and steady adoption curve for SAP’s next generation ERP system S/4HANA will be reflected, in time, by C/4HANA. That being said, there are clearly some lessons SAP could learn from that 2015 product launch.

“SAP worked with us to provide education on the journey to S/4 and the benefits with the solution and also the long-term roadmap. All of these factors have clearly helped organisations to feel much more comfortable about their move to S/4,” he said.

“Over the next two to three years we expect to see a similar pattern with these solutions as we have with S/4 over the years. It’s clear that as a community our awareness and interest really spikes once SAP starts to produce education and use cases.”

The stats for S/4 are certainly more positive reading for SAP, with awareness improving since two years ago, when there was much confusion over the user group’s continuing lack of awareness of the new solution. Awareness is now widespread, with just 1 percent of respondents unaware of S/4.

Now there are 12 percent of user group organisations actively using S/4, up from just 5 percent last year, and a further 58 percent planning to deploy S/4, up from 53 percent last year.

Of those who have deployed S/4, 40 percent are very satisfied with the software, with just 5 percent not satisfied with it.

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Article Credit: ComputerWorldUK

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All-New Act! CRM Introduces Powerful Marketing Automation Built for Small Business Success

CRM Success

CRM Success

CRM Success- The Next Generation of Act! CRM Provides Smbs with the Ultimate Toolset to Accelerate Growth

Swiftpage, the provider of Act! CRM software, a leading cloud-enabled platform aimed at helping small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) grow, announced the next generation of Act! which marries proven CRM with powerful marketing automation. The new Act! represents a significant step forward, both for Swiftpage and the broader SMB market, and is available in English in North America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand this week.

For over 30 years, Act! has been a pioneer in the SMB market, acquiring six million users in over 100 countries, and today offers the rich functionality, unparalleled flexibility and exceptional value that enables a perfect fit for every customer.

With the addition of marketing automation technology in the latest version of Act!, Swiftpage boasts the most comprehensive platform in the Conversion and Retention space. The new Act! is purpose-built for SMBs and includes rich Customer Management, Dynamic Sales Pipeline Management, Powerful Marketing Automation, Actionable Business Insights, and Integrations with hundreds of business optimization applications.

H. John Oechsle, president and CEO of Swiftpage, said, “Just like big enterprises, in order to stay competitive, small businesses are always looking for ways to improve customer engagement, drive retention, and increase loyalty through repeat business. With the introduction of Act! Marketing Automation to the portfolio, we are now able to provide our customers with the ultimate toolset to drive business growth.”

What’s New in Act!

Powerful Marketing Automation

Act! subscribers now have access to a single integrated platform combining CRM and Marketing Automation, allowing them to optimize all the ways they communicate with prospects and customers to maximize engagement and drive business growth. Act! Marketing Automation delivers comprehensive campaign management, a visual workflow designer to map out the perfect customer journey, real-time response metrics, and a time-saving CRM workflow to align marketing and sales efforts.

Dynamic Sales Pipeline Management

Users can now manage their sales pipelines more effectively and intelligently with dynamic pipeline management tools, including an interactive sales funnel, in context KPIs, an actionable sales pipeline with drag-and-drop capabilities, and advanced filtering.

Subscriber Exclusive Enhancements

Act! delivers a number of additional valuable subscriber-exclusive enhancements driven by customers.

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Article Credit: MTS

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AI, User Experience Top Healthcare’s Data Analytics Priorities in 2019

Healthcare organizations will need to leverage artificial intelligence and create engaging user experiences to see success in 2019, Forrester predicts.

Data Analytics 2019

Data Analytics 2019

Data Analytics 2019- Healthcare organizations that want to get ahead in 2019 will need to prioritize the use of artificial intelligence, virtualized care, and technologies that offer intuitive user experiences, according to Forrester’s predictions for the upcoming year.

The ability to aggregate, analyze, and utilize big data to identify business opportunities and engage users will become even more valuable as traditional healthcare entities battle for market supremacy against a new wave of technology powerhouses, the survey-based brief says.

“Major disruptors, like Amazon and Walmart, will make good on their promises, delivering the personalized experiences that customers have been yearning for from healthcare organizations (HCOs),” the report projects, leaving providers and payers with a strong imperative to leverage the data they have to offer similar benefits to users.

“HCOs need to develop raving fans to survive, as all sectors face the entrance of new disruptors looking to own more of the customer journey,” Forrester added. “They must build digital experiences, including virtual care, based on an understanding of the customer’s evolving needs. Great customer experiences will be crucial to drive loyalty and revenue.”

Advanced analytics capabilities, including the use of tools driven by artificial intelligence, will be required to fulfill these expectations.

Healthcare organizations will need to let go of outdated measurement processes and approach the development of user-friendly systems in the same manner as other industries, the report stresses.

Star ratings and CAHPS scores may become less important as providers and health IT developers adopt new measurements for engagement and satisfaction.

“This requires listening to the voice of the customer (VoC) and the employee (VoE),” said the authors. “To drive change, HCOs will move past the delayed feedback and insights of traditional approaches. They will embrace tools to capture real-time VoC and VoE, use other CX metrics (like net promotor score [NPS] and customer effort), and tap into emotion — as other industries have done for years.”

Delighting users by enhancing convenience and quality through virtual care will be an important strategy, Forrester believes.

“It’s the beginning of the end for traditional healthcare delivery,” the report says. “Virtual care encounter volumes have started to outpace those of outpatient care. More patients seek digital experiences that are far more convenient and personalized than physically going to brick-and-mortar locations. Seventy-four percent of US online adults have either used or are interested in using at least one remote health support service. And this number is expected to grow.”

2019 is shaping up to be a pivotal year for healthcare organizations that haven’t yet embraced the ideas of telehealth, secure messaging, and the Internet of Things.  Organizations that do not successfully enter the world of virtual care may find themselves being outpaced by new players in the field, such as the combined CVS-Aetna, Walgreens, and Walmart.

These companies have all made convenience and access a priority, both through their retail clinic options and their expanding opportunities for digital engagement.

Consumers who cannot find the assistance they need – at the precise moment they need it – from their primary care providers are likely to turn to these emerging options.

As a result, healthcare organizations will need to do all they can to get ahead of the game.  Artificial intelligence is likely to play a major role in enabling predictive analytics and managing patient interactions with providers and payers – even if the customer doesn’t know it.

While some organizations are using AI chatbots and other customer-facing tools, most AI will support back-end functions, such as clinical decision-making, predicting no-shows, or modeling clinical risk.

“In 2019, AI solutions will continue to spread across the healthcare continuum thanks to the promise of improved experiences and outcomes,” Forrester says.

“The key vector will be the growth of commercial AI solutions — from FDA-approved, AI-based diagnostic tools to specialized chatbots for managing patient engagement — that are easy for HCOs to buy, available through enterprise health clouds, and increasingly easy to integrate with existing systems.”

However, organizations may not find it quite as easy to aggregate and normalize the data they will need to train and fuel these tools.

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Article Credit: Heath IT Analytics

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Who’s Hot in Data & Analytics: Top Vendors to Watch

Organizations are using data to facilitate digital transformation, making data analytics a booming market. We highlight vendors that are addressing enterprise challenges with products for advanced analytics, machine learning, and data governance.

Analytics Vendors

Analytics Vendors

Analytics Vendors- 2018 has been an important year for businesses across industries as they continue to digitize more of their operations. To do that well, they need good, quality data to improve the accuracy of their analytics and to train artificial intelligence (AI) applications.

Many organizations have been working hard to liberate data trapped in systems because they need access the datasets. While the problem has not been solved completely, companies continue to unearth new insights that enable them to better control costs, create new revenue streams and increase profitability.

According to MicroStrategy’s 2018 Global State of Analytics Report, which surveyed 500 analytics and business intelligence professionals, 57% have achieved faster and more efficient decision making through data and analytics use. Nearly two-thirds (64%) plan to invest more in data and analytics talent going into the 2020s, and almost three in five (57%) already employ a chief data officer. The CDO role (or its equivalent) is now considered essential for overseeing everything associated with data, ranging from knowledge of data assets and their use to articulating a strategy for using data to achieve competitive differentiation.

Data privacy and security concerns affect use

The journey to realize a more intelligent enterprise is not without its challenges, however. This year, many enterprises had to scramble to ensure compliance with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and are now facing the additional overhead that will be associated with the California Consumer Privacy Act, slated to go into effect in 2020. In the MicroStrategy survey, 49% said data privacy and security concerns are holding their organization back from using data more effectively. In addition, 45% reported that less than half of their organization’s data is governed, a sobering statistic. The lack of solid governance exposes enterprises to potential privacy and security risks that need to be managed more effectively moving forward.

Organizations are under tremendous pressure to understand the data assets they have and have access to, because without awareness of the inventory, the condition of data assets, data ownership, and the rules restricting use, enterprises have a difficult time driving maximum value from their data and managing the potential risks and liabilities.

AI requires a mindset shift

Meanwhile, there is a major push to supplement data and analytics capabilities with AI. More vendors are touting their latest generation tools that may or may not actually take advantage of AI, and more specifically, machine learning and deep learning. Sadly, enterprise buyers may be unable to discern the difference between some vendors’ dubious claims and the actual capabilities of offerings because they lack a basic understanding of AI-related concepts.

In addition, there are risks associated with AI-powered systems that business and IT leaders need to consider, such as the bias that may be present in the datasets used to train those systems and — in the case of deep learning — the potential inability for the system to explain the result and the reasoning that went into the result. In addition, Gartner estimates that by 2020, 50% of new data transformation flows will integrate one or more machine learning algorithms resulting in erroneous interpretations of data.

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Article Credit: IW

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3 signs it’s time to make the switch to account-based analytics

B2B marketing teams deserve better than patchworked spreadsheets and siloed dashboards to track and measure success.
account-based analytics

account-based analytics

Account-based analytics- If someone asked how you track your marketing efforts, how would you respond?

Chances are, your answer would sound like a game of martech MadLibs.

You’re using Google Analytics, advertising platforms, marketing automation, your CRM and myriad other tools to track, measure and take action on your marketing data. You spend your days building marketing programs, compiling reports, and setting up workflows and dashboards to automate the process as much as possible. And of course, not a day goes by without someone in your organization asking you to “just pull a quick report” for them.

You’ve got your hands full.

More marketing tools, more problems

The average enterprise company uses 91 marketing cloud services.

Let that sink in.

If you’re one of the marketers reading this and wishing you had the budget for 91 tools, you can probably still relate to the feeling of information overload. Managing even five to ten tools, each with a unique set of data and reporting capabilities, is no walk in the park.

You know better than anyone that siloed marketing, sales and customer data is inefficient, difficult to manage — and seemingly unavoidable. There’s no easy way to see all your data in one place. And “pulling a quick report” is anything but quick.

So, where’s the disconnect?

While every marketing tool tracks its own set of metrics, most of them have one thing in common: leads.

And that’s a problem.

Or rather, it’s a problem that leads are all they have in common. It’s not as if leads don’t matter — of course they do! — but they don’t tell the full story. As buying committees grow increasingly larger, it’s truer than ever that you don’t sell to an individual; you sell to an account. Relying on leads can cause issues when you want to get a holistic view of individual accounts, marketing programs and overall pipeline health. In other words, when you want to do data-driven B2B marketing.

Marketers deserve better — and the answer is account-based analytics.

Top 3 signs it’s time to adopt an account-based analytics tool

An account-based analytics tool will allow you to tie all your data together and easily report on accounts, channels, campaigns and revenue metrics. It uniquely gives you the ability to track and report on data at the account level.

This means giving your leadership team a birds-eye view of how different segments or tiers of accounts are progressing through the sales funnel. It also means you can get hyperspecific and run opportunity analyses, drilling into individual accounts to see every single marketing and sales touch that influenced them on their path to purchase. The stuff of a revenue geek’s dreams.

If you can identify with any of the following challenges, it’s time to consider account-based analytics.

Sign #1: At least a portion of your sales team works on a list of strategic accounts.

Whether you’ve got a full ABM program in place or you have a few reps selling to strategic accounts, you need a way to track success at the account level. When you’re selling to your highest-value accounts, you need to create a personalized buying experience — and you can’t do that if you and your sales team are struggling to thread all your critical account insights together.

Sign #2: You’re drowning in spreadsheets.

Speaking of threading data together — spreadsheets are a tried-and-true way to aggregate data and report on your marketing success. But they take a lot of time to create and update, and they lack sophistication and flexibility. If you’re drowning in spreadsheets, the time has come to make the shift to account-based reporting.

It’s important to select a solution that can combine all your most valuable data, from firmographic data to predictive insights to engagement data at the account and contact levels. If you still need to transfer your account data to spreadsheets in order to report on it, you’re missing a key component of account-based analytics.

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Article Credit: Marketing Land

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AppDynamics delivers Agents of Transformation Report, revealing the elite technologists advancing the digital economy

AppDynamics, a Cisco company, has released The Agents of Transformation Report, a global research study that reveals the urgent need for Agents of Transformation, a new breed of technologist, primed to drive innovation and enable companies to thrive in the face of rapid technological advancement. 

The research also identifies why now is the time for companies to identify and nurture Agents of Transformation, and explores the huge opportunities for technologists wanting to accelerate their careers, and the challenges they may face along the way.

Technological advancements are transforming the world in ways we’re only beginning to imagine. The businesses who will thrive are ones investing in building engaging digital experiences to deliver on growing consumer-demands. But this brings to light the dichotomy of modern technology – while the customer experience has never been more simple and elegant, it has never been more complex and difficult for businesses and IT teams to deliver.  Organisations almost never understand the connection between the changes they make and the impact these changes have on customer experience and business performance until it is too late.

The Agents of Transformation Report found that only 22 percent  (17 percent UK) of global technologists are very optimistic that their organisation is ready for the rapid pace of technological change. To keep up with these increasing demands, businesses will require IT leaders who can build agile technology platforms to meet the ever-changing needs of the business.  According to the research conducted by Insight Avenue, these leaders will be a new breed of technologist – the Agents of Transformation – with the personal skills and attributes needed to drive innovation, improve user engagement and accelerate business outcomes. The report identifies that today only nine percent (six percent UK) of global technologists are Agents of Transformation. 

The time to act is now 

However, to remain competitive over the next ten years, organisations need at least 45 percent (44 percent UK) of their technologists operating as Agents of Transformation. 

Enterprises must quickly identify and nurture technologists with the technical, business and communication skills to drive organisational and cultural change. These individuals must also have the hunger, passion and vision to deliver that change positively and sustainably. Without Agents of Transformation, these businesses will face:

  • An inability to drive or complete innovation initiatives (35 percent global; 37 percent UK).
  • Competitive or financial repercussions (33 percent global; 37 percent UK).
  • A detrimental impact on customer experience (30 percent global; 32 percent UK).
  • Difficulties recruiting new talent (35 percent global; 35 percent UK).
  • A lack of positive role models for existing talent to emulate (31 percent] global; 34 percent UK).

“At AppDynamics, we’re proud to be working with many of the world’s most innovative companies, and supporting the most skilled, visionary, and ambitious technologists. We are committed to helping our customers become Agents of Transformation – the heroes of their companies’ digital transformation strategies – by providing them with the tools they need to make informed decisions that drive culture change, business performance and better end-user experiences”, said David Wadhwani, CEO, AppDynamics.

The Agents of Transformation

The goal of the research was to identify the characteristics and environments that technologists need in order to drive effective and sustainable culture change for their organisations. What emerged were five distinct typologies of technologists (The Five Types of Technologist eBook). Among them are Agents of Transformation, a group of elite technologists that are already primed and equipped to harness change and be the digital business leaders that companies truly need.  

Agents of Transformation possess the personal skills and attributes needed to drive innovation, and they operate within organisations that have the right culture, leadership and tools in place to enable successful digital and business transformation. They find themselves at the forefront of transformation initiatives, but they never stand still. They recognise the need for constant personal development and learning in order to remain relevant and fulfil their ambitions.

It is time for Agents of Transformation to take centre stage.

Huge opportunity for technologists

While today only nine percent (six percent UK) of technologists are Agents of Transformation, the research points to a huge opportunity for other technologists who aspire to make the journey to become Agents of Transformation and accelerate their careers.  

It reveals that 71 percent (69 percent UK) of technologists care deeply about how technology is changing the world; 76 percent (74 percent UK) believe that emerging technologies will give them opportunities to develop their skills and their careers; and 69 percent (68 percent UK) want their career to leave a lasting and positive legacy. 

Technologists view digital transformation and innovation as a huge opportunity for them personally, with 96 percent (95 percent UK) identifying at least one factor that excites them about becoming an Agent of Transformation. These include the chance to work on exciting projects, increased fulfilment and job satisfaction, the opportunity to learn and develop new skills, the possibility to inspire and teach others, and to leave a lasting legacy. 

Barriers to overcome

However, for those looking to become Agents of Transformation, there are challenges to overcome:

Cultural barriers 

  • 86 percent (87 percent UK) of IT professionals think their organisation lags behind the most forward/innovative IT team in their country in terms of skills, qualities and knowledge, and 45 percent (50 percent) see themselves lagging more than five years behind.
  • 55 percent (58 percent UK) of respondents say their organisation does not encourage technology professionals to embrace the creative, future-looking side of technology.
  • 54 percent (53 percent UK) of technologists’ day-to-day activity is having a positive impact on the business or driving innovation.

Leadership and job satisfaction

  • Only 26 percent (19 percent UK) of IT directors and managers feel their full potential is being achieved in their current role.
  • 60 percent (62 percent UK) of technologists say too much of their time is spent keeping existing software and systems up and running.
  • 58 percent (64 percent UK) say that often their work in IT is so reactive, they forget what attracted them to technology in the first place.

Outdated tools and skills

  • 56 percent (62 percent UK) of technologists say there is a surplus of outdated technology within their IT department.
  • 85 percent (50 percent UK) do not have access to the software and tools they need to turn data into real-time, context-specific insight.
  • 49 percent (52 percent UK) do not have access to the data they need to achieve innovation goals.

Quotes from Agents of Transformation:

  • Nicolas Matelot, DevOps Manager, La Poste: “Technology is advancing at an incredible rate, and it often sees technologists being pushed outside of their comfort sone in order to keep pace. Taking risks and being willing to try new things is key to transforming the companies we work for, and the industries we work in. Agents of Transformation require the will, the confidence and the motivation to make bold decisions and change the future of our companies, the success of those decisions will be our legacy.”
  • Michael Makar, Senior IT Manager, World Bank: “I get up every day wanting to make a positive difference. Otherwise I wouldn’t get up and go to work. There has to be a greater goal in mind. There has to be a reason that we’re tackling the problems that we are, so that we can make positive change and we can help people along the way. That’s really my main goal: helping people in the long term. For me, legacy is very, very important.”
  • André Sayfi, IT Senior Project Manager, WWK: “As a customer-focused business, we’re always taking an outside-in approach and thinking about how we can better serve our customers. AppDynamics has been instrumental in helping us to monitor their digital experience via the performance of our applications, as well as identifying errors before they impact the customer. I haven’t seen a better solution out there.”

Research Methodology

To better understand the current environment in which technologists are operating, AppDynamics undertook comprehensive research to uncover the aspirations, challenges, and priorities for technologists today, from board-level directors and CIOs to senior and mid-level IT management.

This comprised:

  • Interviews with 1,000 IT professionals in organisations with revenues of at least $500m
  • Interviews conducted across five markets: US, UK, France, Germany, and Australia, and throughout a range of industries, including IT, financial services, retail, public sector, manufacturing and automotive, and media and communications

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