Monthly Archives: July 2014

How To Be A Startup CEO– Interview with Bing Gordon Kleiner Perkins

I am reviewing materials for an upcoming entrepreneurship book and found an excellent interview on how to be a startup CEO with Bing Gordon, partner at VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm. While posted in December 2011, Bing Gordon’s counsel for startup CEO’s is right on target today, particularly his points about the need to Quantify Objectives with Trackable Milestones”. Gordon describes Intel’s ‘OKR’ or ‘Objectives and Key Results’ management approach – managers set objectives and identify and track 2 to 3 results, and managers are expected to achieve 70 percent of results. Very important discipline which helps companies grow and send messages to Boards and investors. Gordon also makes excellent points about “The CEO’s Need to Balance Management and Entrepreneurial Responsibilities”, emphasizing the need to nuture and balance entrepreneurial culture with clear focus on tightly managing results. Not an easy tightrope to walk as we all know, but a “build it and they will come” philosophy clearly doesn’t work in today’s rapidly changing global entrepreneurial market.

 You can view Bing Gordon’s presentation at http://tinyurl.com/6vc5hy8 . The 28 minute video is well worth watching. At the time, I also posted comments on the video which you may find helpful- you can see these at       http://tinyurl.com/l7nfuzo.   

                                                                                          Paul B. Silverman   July 2014

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Comments on Article- “Predictive Analytics Showing the Shape of Things to Come”- The Australian June 25, 2013

The Australian newspaper had an interesting article on June 25, 2013 (http://tinyurl.com/mtah9ju) describing a number of successful predictive analytics applications, but also making the point that market penetration has been slow noting “… despite the numerous uses of predictive analytics, uptake is limited. According to Gartner, only 13 per cent of organisations report extensive use, while fewer than 3 per cent use prescriptive capabilities such as decision/mathematical modelling, simulation and optimisation market”. I posted brief summary comments today in response to the article and am pleased to share a complete copy of my comments:

Excellent article and clearly summarizes the challenges we face in educating management on how PA solutions can help companies improve performance and mitigate risk. I am pleased to share the following 3 observations. My comments are based on my position as former CEO of InferX Corporation, a publicly traded predictive analytics company, and serving as adjunct professor teaching MBA strategy courses in the RH Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.

No. 1   Analytics complements ‘traditional management’

Define your mission; assess external environment and competition using PEST, Porter’s 5 Forces model, other tools; assess internal resources and capabilities; develop detailed value chain analysis; analyze product life cycles; develop cost leader/differentiation global strategies based on product, market, competition and other factors. Analytics can make a major contribution throughout the ‘traditional’ management process. Yet market analysis shows about 85% of the total PA market today addresses the CRM sector. We need to view PA within the context of traditional management rather than a separate ‘big data/analytics’ sector. Integrating PA into traditional management processes is a challenge and the real opportunity with high upside

No. 2   Analytics costs more

True. When the e-commerce revolution emerged years ago, we had major push back from companies who preferred to continue to process orders manually, work with suppliers using ad hoc systems, and avoid ‘costly’ new systems implementation and industry standards. Systems costs did increase, but we created process and performance efficiencies that improved profitability and reduced risk. Today’s analytics solutions demand understanding ROI (and how to measure) and clearly communicating this message.

No. 3    “Analytics Drives Strategy and Strategy Drives Analytics”

Properly executed and integrated into a company’s management processes, I see great opportunity to use analytics to drive strategy, particularly in shaping new product and market innovations to increase ROI. Look at Capital One, an analytics driven competitor reportedly doing 300+ analytic scenarios daily to optimize financial offerings. Or Progressive, capturing motorcycle rider clients using analytics to define a segment with both claims and expense ratios providing strong returns. Amazon, Netflix and many others are using analytics to drive ‘micro-marketing segmentation’ which is where we are heading. And these new strategies create new analytics, enabling analytics- savvy companies such as Amazon to continue to excel.

Clearly all ‘analytics solutions’ providers, a term I prefer to emphasize PA’s broader role, have a challenge ahead- to educate clients, particularly at the ‘C’ level, on the opportunities embracing these solutions and the challenges they will face if they do not. Exciting times lie ahead in the global analytics solutions business for both solutions providers and all companies in all sectors.

Paul B. Silverman

 

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How Analytics is “Raising the Bar” for Corporate Strategy: Understanding the External Environment

I was invited to do a guest blog post and serve as an Advisor for Funding Profiles, a Santa Clara-based company offering a powerful suite of financial analytic tools that “integrates with existing business applications to continuously translate traditional financial metrics into the language of business strategy”. For companies with thousands of products, infrastructure, and processes spanning the globe, the ability to ‘drill down’, examine ‘what-ifs’, and assess how and if global LOBs meet KPIs and support the strategic plan, is a powerful planning tool.
But markets and technology are moving quickly, consumer power is increasing, and external global factors will impact all global businesses which creates risk and uncertainty. In fact, one study shows macro-environment, competitive and corporate positioning factors account for about 80 percent of ROA variation among LOBs. So optimizing the company’s internal resources, processes, and KPI’s really addresses only 20 percent of the planning challenge based on these findings.

My blog post describes some of today’s traditional strategy and market analysis tools and how powerful emerging analytics are reshaping today’s corporate planning strategy planning process. The starting point- developing the ‘big data’ analytic framework with powerful visualization and analysis tools and that is what Funding Profiles has achieved. Integrating the analytic framework with new analytics capable of analyzing both external structured data and unstructured text is where we are heading. And I do expect major global competitors to embrace these new capabilities, recognizing that these new tools can provide a competitive edge, creating what Tom Davenport (Author- Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning) defines as “analytic competitors”. You can read my entire post at http://www.fundingprofiles.com/blog/index.html

Paul B. Silverman
July 21, 2014

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