Smart City: If you build it for the People, they will come

Smart City

Government needs to take a lead in removing barriers to innovation and facilitating collaboration between multiple diverse actors. ~ The Smart City Market

Challenges of building a Smart City

Smart City efforts are being initiated by cities across the globe. Regardless of the size of effort and investment, enabling smart technologies at large scale have a number of challenges.

Here are some issues outlined in assessments by Gov.UK:

  • A lack of funding for multiple Smart City initiatives
  • Creating a common and long term vision that is sustainable across government agencies regardless of who is in office
  • High cost of investment in new technologies and its implementation
  • Collaboration across different procurement and agency policies to ensure high volume cost savings for technologies and associated services
  • A common user experience and transparency across services regardless of type of service, whom it serves and which agency manages it
  • Common understanding of privacy, data management and safety policies across agencies
  • Regulations and legislation that encourage innovation and facilitate growth while serving citizens and businesses alike
  • A business model that serves the needs of citizens first

Barcelona has created a Smart City PMO (Personnel Management Office) which coordinates all the projects in the city that are classified under the smart city tag. This has meant transitioning from silo’d work to “transversal” work. The city has produced an early strategy document which attempts to set up the basis of the smart city strategy in the city. Ms. Lopez Ventura claims: “I think that this change to get all departments working towards the same strategy is quite new.”~ Global Innovators, International Case Studies on Smart Cities

A Model for Innovation and Collaboration:
Major League Baseball Internet and Interactive

MLB.com was originally created by investments from 30 team owners and a mandate from the league with a total cost of $77M. Originally, it built and managed a common user experience for all baseball fans while pursuing digital revenue streams including ticket sales, subscriptions, sponsorships, merchandising, etc. MLB.com also has a media channel called MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) centred around the game of baseball across all media channels and devices. Estimated value of IPO in 2005 for MLBAM was $2.5 Billion. Current estimates are not available as MLBAM has no plans to go public any time soon.

So what makes MLB a model for innovation and collaboration:

  • MLB Interactive has one coherent mission mandated by the league and agreed upon by team owners:To be the internet and interactive branch of baseball league.
  • It collaborates with
    • players
    • owners
    • leagues (including NBA)
    • tech partners (Apple)
    • non-tech partners (cities across North America)
    • non-tech branches (MLB retail)
    • television and radio
    • online media
    • gaming partners
    • music bands
    • sports networks
    • and more…
      to generate revenue and serve the fans.
  • It serves all segments of baseball fans…from season ticket holders to fringe fans who occasionally dip into the game on their mobile devices.
  • It is autonomous in its decision making about technology investments and innovation.

Without question, BAM’s success stems in part from its autonomy. “It’s unlike other things in baseball where someone is meddling,” says Gary Gillette, coeditor of ESPN’s Baseball Encyclopedia. Bowman, who answers to a board of club owners, is free to make decisions about pursuing new devices or new technologies. ~ MLB Advanced Media’s Bob Bowman is Playing Digital Hardball. And he’s Winning

  • It is innovative in both identifying opportunities to serve baseball fans and in creating new ways to enjoy the game. A good example is PITCHf/x.
  • They build technology for the digital fans. User experience spans all devices, technologies and use of data to enhance the experience.
  • Cost is managed centrally thus allowing for better assessment of investments in technologies including ROI.

BAM’s business is more multifaceted than YouTube’s; [in 2009], it sold more than 35 million MLB tickets, more than half of the league’s inventory. It streams more live video than any other spots entity — and any other company ~ MLB Advanced Media’s Bob Bowman is Playing Digital Hardball. And he’s Winning

  • Privacy and data management policies are all led centrally and the fans are never in doubt about safety.

The MLB internet and interactive business has grown to BAM proportions simply because it sits outside the game. Yet it still serves the game, the stakeholders and ultimately the fans using the latest smart technology.

MLBAM on CBS Segment

Click to Watch

Challenging Status Quo Models of Smart City Initiatives

Building a Smart City is not a two-term proposition. It is an ongoing effort to change the way city folk live and work by actively using smart technologies on a daily basis. Smart City effort requires not only an innovative and collaborative effort from inside different government agencies but also a willingness to engage and serve citizens transparently and work with partners across the public/private horizon.

Mr. Godfrey, Government CIO for Hong Kong Smart City initiative explains “The vision is that our clients should find the government service as convenient, as efficient, as pleasurable to use as the best services they get from the private sector. ~ Global Innovators, International Case Studies on Smart Cities

MLB demonstrates a model for collaboration and innovation in technology all while serving fans with unforgettable experiences that are emphatically rooted in tradition as they often are within a city.

Smart City effort should be approached in the same way. An independent partnership between government agencies that are looking to use smart technologies to improve the experience for their customer: The citizens of a Smart City.

Why? Because it will enable:

  • Singular accountability with multi-agency, business and citizen stakeholders
  • A common vision of success across agencies and for perpetuity
  • Autonomous decision making by singularly accountable
  • Common and transparent experience for citizens across services
  • Cost consolidation, driving ROI and investment transparency
  • Integrated technologies across agencies with citizen-focused delivery
  • Common privacy and data policies across agencies
  • A need to drive collaboration and innovation to be successful
  • Serving the direct customer: Citizens of Smart City

The real challenge for Smart City initiatives is to find the balance between

End

_______________________________________

UPDATE: December 11, 2014
HBO to Use MLB Advanced Media for Stand-Alone Streaming Product
_______________________________________

OPEN WRX Consulting Inc. is committed to helping companies improve competitiveness through effective decision making by applying strategy to tech solutions, building plans that create value and sharing knowledge that drives innovation.

openwrxconsulting.com

ReEvolution of IT: Why CIOs should Own Digital Future

Title

As products evolve to contain more and more digital components, the skills, experiences and best practices of IT become crucial for success of product development in a digital world. by Patrick Meehan and Tomas Nielsen

Owning the Digital Future

I remember when this IBM commercial first came out in mid 2000’s.  I was very excited about how technology would change everyday life forever. Unfortunately, RFID required large investment in infrastructure and couldn’t connect products with customers from end to end. And so it failed to complete its true promise of connectivity.  Majority of the retailers could not invest in the technology at the scale required. Instead RFID became an instrument of back room inventory and logistics management along with improved operational efficiencies on manufacturing floor. But it did not deliver the promise of “The Future Market”. 

The good news is that today many companies are re-creating “The Future Market” with their own products.  Once again, a new generation of inventors are building a world where products can talk to people through phones, websites and connect throughout the lifecycle. This time digital products or digital components are being developed by both grassroots inventors and product teams in large enterprises everywhere. Finally, the promise of “Digital Future” has value that is driving action and engagement.

Now is the time for CIOs to re-evaluate how IT can add value to the product portfolio by enabling digital products and components to create strategic, long term benefits for customers and company.

Why

Driving Strategy

CIOs have an opportunity to drive business strategy by building functional products that will generate revenue, brand value, customer experience, and valuable customer data.  Objectives may vary based on industry, regulatory environment, customer needs, etc.  But enabling a digital product is a long-term business strategy that can help grow value for customer and company.

CIOs and IT have tech knowledge and methodologies that are indispensable for long term evolution of the company’s product portfolio.  The processes for System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and Product Design are similar in that the competency can be easily transferred from one to the other. (Source: Gartner, 2014)

SDLC-Prod Des

Table

The most important gap that exists between IT and New Product Development is business strategy. The business strategy for new products can include understanding target customer, product lifecycle relative to target market, having a measure of market size, pricing, sales, marketing and customer experience just to name a few.  Having an understanding of these important product concepts can allow IT to better transition from the tech side to the business side.

Architecture

IT has the competency to integrate digital products with existing platforms within the company to ensure ongoing service management, upgrades, error correction, etc. IT no longer has to be a back room activity that drives a company’s competitive advantage without directly connecting to the customer.  They can take initiative to ensure that they own the long term vision of product digitization for the company and integrate systems to create one customer experience, one perspective of customer relationship and one representation of customer activities.

Governance and Strategic Partnerships

CIOs already manage governance of information across the enterprise. Adding digital products to the mix will be like adding a new program to governance portfolio.  IT already has the policies, processes, ownership and compliance structure defined and enforced as part of existing governance process for all technologies. Digitized products will simply be an addition to the existing structure with new business owners, policies, processes and compliance reviews. It is important to note that as you change your portfolio, flexibility in governance policies is important. A strategic mindset always aims to explore new options and new ways of accomplishing objectives. 

Another important aspect of governance is building strategic partnerships that can enable higher value for the company and customer through digital products. CIOs and IT have long been working with tech partners and have the know-how to start a symbiotic relationship that can be beneficial to both parties. Again, adding another strategic partner is no more work than enabling a new set of business objectives via contractual relationship. 

Data Capture and Analytics

The greatest strategic advantage digital products offer is data. CIOs can drive a comprehensive information strategy that can not only continue to inform future product development but also marketing, operations, human capital and future strategies. Data is the core of why products should be digitized. Collecting information about how the customer is using the product, when they are using it, why they are using it is essential to long term digital strategy. 

When Nike first got into the data-collection game it stuck sensors to elite athletes running, jumping, spinning and generally doing those impossible things they do. The idea was that the data collected would point Nike designers and engineers toward building better shoes. It did that, but the Nike brain trust understood there was much more the data could unlock”, says Stefan Olander, VP Digital Sport at Nike. “We quickly realized that data can be applied much more broadly,” Olander says. “Why wouldn’t we take all this knowledge, all this innovation and give it back to everyone?” ~ Nike Shoe Sensors Boot Up Performance Data, Michael V. Copeland, CNBC.com.

CIOs can also append product data to other information far more effectively because they own the flow of information from channels, functions and partners. The strategy is to have direct product use data married up to central customers data thus enabling a singular view of the customer from end to end. Analytics can reveal insights about the customer that is both product specific and customer centric.

How

Envisioning Digital Business Model

CIOs should lead the effort to envision a Digital Business Model for their business. The objective of this exercise is to take the traditional business model where technology only automates and improves efficiency of existing processes and “Re-Evolves” it to identify a new value proposition.  This exercise will require team members who think in design and work in technology. But instead of thinking one product at a time, the goal is to think in a product portfolio unified with multi-product customer experience.  These will be challenging discussions that include such questions as who “owns” the product portfolio, customer information and experience. (Gartner, 2014) Given that IT will lead this discussion the owners of the strategy becomes obvious: Information Technology.

But there is another reason why IT should lead the discussion:

 To achieve economies of scale with digital business models requires the development and reuse of digitized platforms across the enterprise. Without such shared platforms, the IT units in companies implement a new solution in response to every business need, creating a spaghetti-like arrangement of systems that do meet specific customer need but are expensive and fragile – and don’t scale enterprise-wide ~ Optimizing Your Digital Business Model, MIT Sloan Management

In order to ensure Digital Business Model is envisioned as a long term strategy, a strategic planning process and roadmap activities are necessary. And creating a Digital Business Model is not only about developing digital products or components but “creating strategic positioning by performing activities differently than rivals do.”  ~Michael E. Porter, HBR.org

Nurturing Key Competencies

Beyond envisioning the Digital Future, CIOs should also consider nurturing key competencies required to enable a strategic direction.

Org

Innovation Mindset

There is an absolute need for IT organizations to evolve their culture to an innovation mindset.  This battle must be fought by all managers, business and tech, within the company. Every manager knows that “change” of any kind is generally a massive undertaking and the thought of re-thinking, re-building, re-evolving requires a brave heart in IT. Yet, this is exactly what is required when you enter the fray of a Digital Future. The word “No” should no longer be the response to “change”. CIOs must encourage the troops to close this mindset gap first and foremost.

How should this be done? Establish a change management team that creates the necessary momentum and maintains it. One of the failings of strategic effort in IT is that after the initial momentum in driving strategic change, people abandon the battle of managing change. So to enable a long term strategy, the troops must battle on, even when things are looking bleak. And giving change management the authority to help manage the tough times is more important than initially building the momentum for change.

Consulting Team

The consulting layer involves selecting or hiring a team of business consultants who ‘get’ both technology and business functions. These are the ‘sales’ managers and the ‘doers’.  CIOs must consider communications with the functions to be the greatest challenge in driving a strategic Digital Future. Gaining the support of key C-Level managers and their subordinates will drive a company wide commitment. Consultants can help manage this communications. Ideally each business consultant would have a speciality and will be the conduit to conversations across the enterprise…both strategic and tactical in nature.

IT Skills Expansion

IT organizations already have many skills that are transferable to new product development platform.  But it is always best to ensure that there are no gaps. Some gaps that may need to be filled include a pure corporate strategy, analytics and customer experience competencies. If IT is to lead the long term Digital Future of the company, having these skills within IT will be valuable. Corporate strategy role will help establish the strategic positioning of product portfolio and internal technology from a business perspective. The analytics role will assist in designing and commissioning information necessary to back the strategy. Customer experience acumen will ensure that regardless of the strategy or information, the Digital Future is serving the customers first. With these skills and the current IT organization, CIOs can’t lose in building and collaborating with the business functions to realize the promise of a “Digital Future”.

END


Untitled

Kiran Sohi’s career has focused on leading businesses to success by enabling strategic decision making. While my passion is strategy and technology, my work spans a number of corporate disciplines including marketing, finance and operations.

OPEN WRX Consulting Inc. is committed to helping companies improve competitiveness through effective decision making. Services include structuring, facilitating and implementing strategic planning process and strategic solutions for businesses, functional departments and/or channels.

Visit openwrxconsulting.com for more info.

Why Planning Matters

Winston Churchill, 1941 by Yousuf Karsh

There is in the act of preparing, the moment you start caring.

~Winston Churchill

openwrxconsulitng.com

Sam Walton’s 10 Commandments

Sam Walton's 10 Commandments

Sam Walton’s 10 Commandments

1. Commit to your business.
2. Share your profits with your associates and treat them like your partners.
3. Energize your colleagues.
4. Communicate everything you possibly can to your partners.
5. Appreciate everything your associates do for the business.
6. Celebrate your success.
7. Listen to everyone in your company.
8. Exceed your customers’ expectations.
9. Control your expenses better than your competition.
10. Blaze your own path.

_________________________

Kiran Sohi
openwrxconsulting.com
kiran.sohi@openwrxconsulting.com

Vision: Setting Direction

Image

Problem

Managers and employees often complain that they are not certain of the direction of their organization.

Surprisingly, this problem is not unique. Many executives fail to create a unified direction for their employees and, if they do create it, they fail to let employees “own” it.

It is important that all levels of Sr. Management present a unified statement of Vision/Mission. Misaligned statements lead to more confusion among employees rather than direct them to a common future/purpose.

Effort

Vision should state what the future of organization looks like. Mission is a statement of what the organization should be working towards. Each word in these statements should have specific meaning and any executive or manager in the organization should be able to clearly communicate this meaning in terms of their own functional department. 

Vision/Mission statements should inform 2-3 Objectives for each functional department in the organization.  These Objectives must be SMARTSMART Objectives allow for ownership of goals that can be tied to Key Performance Indicators for individuals and organization.

Image

Objectives cannot exist without Strategies. It is good practice to have SMART Objectives but without clarifying how you will accomplish them, they become irrelevant. Strategies can be further broken into Tactics that provide detail plan needed to accomplish SMART Objectives.

Employees should use functional SMART Objectives to develop their own Objectives at a tactical level. For each employee, at least 2-3 SMART Objectives must be created. These Objectives should be documented and evaluated as part of annual performance appraisal.  All Objectives should be aligned directly with functional Objectives. Also, employees should have at least one Objective that speaks to how they will improve their department/company.

IMPORTANT!

Employees should develop their own SMART Objectives, and their managers should review these statements for strategic alignment.  Objectives should not be assigned by management to employees.  If Sr. Management decides to “assign” Objectives to employees; employees no longer “own” the results.*

Beyond the creation of Vision/Mission to Objectives to Strategies to Tactics, it is very important to ensure that all employees have a complete set of DIRECTIONS for the year. No one should be in doubt of what they are expected to do.

Image

Process

This work is very much part of Annual Business Planning process. Functional departments must allocate resources to plan at least one day where the entire team comes together to understand where the business is headed and what they need to do to “WIN”.

Pre-work can be assigned to employees to ensure that everyone is informed and prepared for the day.  A guest lecturer can also help get things started with insights from the “outside” and set the stage for innovative discussion during workshops set up to allow each employee to draft their individual objectives. The day should end with a celebration of the knowledge and team-work accomplished.  Business Planning now becomes every employees’ responsibility because they own a part of it.

After this exercise no one should complain about the direction of their company and how each employee is connected to it.

Deliverables

  • Executive presentation with a demonstrated alignment of company direction
  • Process to link company direction to individual objectives
  • Project Plan/Calendar for preparation with milestones
  • Performance Appraisal process
  • One day set aside for planned workshops and innovative lectures

*Proof of this is well documented in Chapter 3: Commitment and Consistency of book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert B. Cialdini.

________________________

Kiran Sohi’s career has focused on leading companies to success by enabling effective decision-making. While her passion is strategy and technology, her work spans a number of corporate strategy disciplines including product development, process design, marketing and financial forecasting.

Prior to finding OPEN WRX Consulting, Kiran was a business consultant at CIBC and Innovapost, where her clients included Canada Post and Purolator. She also had the pleasure of working as a strategist for NBA, Kraft, Samsung and Travelex. Visit openwrxconsulting.com for more info.