Running on Data: Activity Trackers and the Internet of Things

The “Internet of Things” (IoT) is often described as a collection of connected sensors, but it is actually a much more complex concept. It involves not only the connection and integration of devices that monitor the physical world—temperature, pressure, altitude, motion, proximity to something else, biometrics, sound, images, and so forth—but also the aggregation, relationship, and analysis of the information those devices create in order … [ Read more ]

Looking Outward with Big Data: A Q&A with Tom Davenport

The management scholar provides an incisive look at the true potential of big data and the many challenges to unleashing it.

Tom Davenport

Why don’t organizations create process-oriented structures and start focusing the needed attention on process issues? Unfortunately, there are some good reasons. Processes aren’t the only thing in organizations that need attention. Business functions, which are focused on the skills and capabilities needed to solve organizational problems, deserve some attention too. Geographically-based structures are an acknowledgement that business is different in different parts of the world, … [ Read more ]

Putting Analytics to Work at Your Business

If we’re going to make better decisions and take the right actions, we’re going to have to use analytics. For too long, managers have relied on their intuition or their “golden gut” to make decisions. For too long, important calls have been based not on data, but on the experience and unaided judgment of the decision-maker. Our research suggests that 40 percent of major decisions … [ Read more ]

Thomas H. Davenport and Brook Manville

Even in this age of abundant data and rocket-science analytics, many decisions force people to draw on their accumulated wisdom to make the right call. Sometimes that’s because the absolute right answer can’t be known; the question at hand relates to a future too full of uncertainty. Other times, the optimal solution could be determined based on accessible information, but the urgency of the situation … [ Read more ]

What to Ask Your “Numbers People”

If you’re a manager working with the analysts in your organization to make more data-driven business decisions, asking good questions should be one of your top priorities. Many managers fear that asking questions will make them appear unintelligent about quantitative matters. However, if you ask the right kinds of questions, you can both appear knowledgeable and advance the likelihood of a good decision outcome.

How Managers Should Use Data

Thomas H. Davenport, coauthor of Keeping Up with the Quants, describes the three major stages of analytical thinking.

Putting Social Media to Work at Cognizant

Many companies know what social media can do but many are still unable to apply or leverage social media to distance themselves from competitors. One company that has used social media successfully is the New Jersey-based IT firm, Cognizant. These authors describe how the company did it, and did it so well that some its clients say that it has separated Cognizant from the pack … [ Read more ]

Rethinking Knowledge Work: A Strategic Approach

Knowledge workers’ information needs vary. The key to better productivity is applying technology more precisely.

Thomas H. Davenport

The problems of free access are fairly obvious: while workers may know how to use technology tools, they may not be skilled at searching for, using, or sharing the knowledge. One survey revealed that over a quarter of a typical knowledge worker’s time is spent searching for information. Another found that only 16 percent of the content within typical businesses is posted to locations where … [ Read more ]

The Strategy and Structure of Firms in the Attention Economy

The quick, invisible shift from information overload to information assault has created, almost ironically, at least one, significant deficit: In every organization today, attention is a scarce resource. That scarcity has serious implications for leaders, managers and front-line staff. Reflecting on our own experience may be the best indication of how serious this problem is for any business. Do you know anyone who isn’t becoming … [ Read more ]

The Tyranny of the Balanced Scorecard in the Innovation Economy

This article traces the rationale, features, development and application of the BSC in the past few years, and then provides a critical review of its key problematic effects on firms and their stakeholders in today’s changing business environment. Five major problem areas are identified and discussed, with selected business examples. An alternative to the BSC is proposed and motivated, involving drastic change in both the … [ Read more ]

Rising Above the Crowd: How Top-Performing Knowledge Workers Distinguish Themselves

Few organizations know how to maximize knowledge worker performance to achieve optimum business results. Most executives focus exclusively on attracting and retaining talented individuals; few bother to ask how they can best support and enhance the performance of the knowledge workers they already employ. To determine how organizations can best enhance the performance of their knowledge workers, the authors studied how high-achievers solve problems and … [ Read more ]

Why Office Design Matters

You want to concentrate and collaborate, but how can you get the best of both worlds in your current office set-up? An excerpt from Thinking for a Living: How to Get Better Performance and Results from Knowledge Workers.

The Information Environment for Intangible Asset Management

For more than a decade, there have been arguments in favor of measuring and managing intangible resources. This class of assets (something the organization has) and capabilities (something it can do) includes such factors as human capital, knowledge capital, brand, R&D capability, IT and information management capability, and other non-financial resources. Numerous articles and books have been written on the subject, and separate Accenture research … [ Read more ]

Some Principles of Knowledge Management

We do not know one millionth of one percent about anything,” said Thomas Alva Edison who probably wouldn’t have appreciated Professor Davenport’s observation that the most valuable asset companies have is the knowledge of their employees. More than ever, companies are realizing that their real advantage lies in what they know. But how do you manage knowledge?

Enunciating 10 principles of knowledge management, Professor Davenport … [ Read more ]

Decoding Information-Worker Productivity

New research should help businesses figure out how IT helps knowledge workers and product development-and when it gets in the way

Attending To Processes

Because of ever increasing responsibilities managers today have little time to focus on the need to step back and look at the processes that make up a company’s value creation chain. Yet without someone providing dedicated attention to process management and elevating the topic to become one of the company’s top priorities how will there ever be process improvements and integration? This month Tom Davenport … [ Read more ]

Mastering Information Management

No amount of technological wizardry will enable a company to succeed without first knowing how information makes a contribution to all aspects of its business. This includes information for strategy development, process improvement, customer responsiveness and product innovation. But how do you make data and technology useful to the business?How can your company use information more effectively?

How Do They Know Their Customers So Well? Lessons from the Leaders in Customer Knowledge Management

The management of customer knowledge is critical to many contemporary business initiatives involving customers and customer-relationships. Firms are investing billions of dollars in technologies to manage customer information and turn it into knowledge. Yet few organizations have developed outstanding levels of customer insight, and most concentrate only on the customer data that are easiest to address. In the research for this article, we investigated the … [ Read more ]