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A Board Director's Perspective on What IT Has to Get Right

New imperatives for the future of corporate IT.
Don Dea's insight:

Generating Top-Line Growth

I'm often struck by how many articles exclusively focus on new or emerging technology and their productivity or efficiency effects. Every discussion on the role of IT and CIOs should start with the question: "What are the potential uses of this technology that will guarantee we stay in business?" This question attempts to tease out an unconscious assumption that "we will always be in business." (Note that the high-profile C-suite executives at firms like Borders, Jessops, and Bank of New England had large IT budgets, but no longer have a company to make more efficient today.)

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digitalNow
Exploring leadership, management, innovation, and technology issues and trends; impacting associations & non-profit organizations in the digital age.
Curated by Don Dea
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Is Data Driving Your Leadership Decisions? Eight Ways Customer Analytics Can Give Your Company a Competitive Edge

Is Data Driving Your Leadership Decisions? Eight Ways Customer Analytics Can Give Your Company a Competitive Edge | digitalNow | Scoop.it
In a global economy that’s becoming more competitive each year, every customer (and customer’s opinion) counts. Every customer interaction counts. Certainly, every dollar spent on keeping customers happy and coming back counts. That’s why, says Jeff Sauro, every leader needs a good working knowledge of customer analytics. (Yes, even if your company has data scientists and statisticians on the payroll.)

“Once upon a time, your company may have been able to shake it off if you threw a marketing idea against the wall and found it didn’t stick, or developed a line of products customers didn’t seem to like,” notes Sauro, author of Customer Analytics For Dummies (Wiley, 2015). “That’s not true anymore. Companies just can’t afford to have ‘black hole’ departments, like sales and marketing for example, where costs and outcomes are fuzzy to those on the outside.

“Your company’s success and even its survival depend on attracting customers and keeping them happy—and proceeding on guesswork and assumptions just isn’t a viable strategy,” he adds. “Everything is measured and evaluated these days. That means decisions across all departments must be made using solid research and cold, hard numbers—and leaders must understand this data.”

The bottom line? If you know what those numbers (also called metrics) are, how to collect them, and how to evaluate what they mean, you will increase your understanding of what drives your customers. You’ll also be better equipped to meet their constantly evolving needs.
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How communication and observation can enhance your executive edge

How communication and observation can enhance your executive edge | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Why do some people get ahead and others do not?
Don Dea's insight:

Executive Edge skill: Building emotional intelligence

Mastering emotional intelligence is about learning to manage your feelings so they help work toward goals rather than getting in the way. Have you noticed yourself falling into any of these habits of emotional thinking?

  • Filtering out the positive and focusing only on the negative
  • Polarized black-or-white thinking, where you neglect to consider gray areas
  • Overgeneralizations where one event inaccurately colors your thinking
  • The “fallacy of change:” expecting others to change because you need or want them to do so

Zoller and Preston advocate dealing with emotional thinking first by recognizing it, then by figuring out where the emotion is coming from. Armed with that understanding, you can move to a more logical place and replace those distracting thoughts with more productive ones. For example, if you’ve just given a less-than-stellar presentation, it’s easy to generalize that experience until you begin to doubt your ability to present in every situation. Instead, take a step back and recognize the source of your anxiety, then replace it with a commitment to work on your presentation skills so you’ll perform better and be more confident moving forward.

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Marc Wachtfogel, PhD's curator insight, Today, 7:37 AM

Executive Edge skill: Building emotional intelligence

Mastering emotional intelligence is about learning to manage your feelings so they help work toward goals rather than getting in the way. Have you noticed yourself falling into any of these habits of emotional thinking?

Filtering out the positive and focusing only on the negativePolarized black-or-white thinking, where you neglect to consider gray areasOvergeneralizations where one event inaccurately colors your thinkingThe “fallacy of change:” expecting others to change because you need or want them to do so

Zoller and Preston advocate dealing with emotional thinking first by recognizing it, then by figuring out where the emotion is coming from. Armed with that understanding, you can move to a more logical place and replace those distracting thoughts with more productive ones. For example, if you’ve just given a less-than-stellar presentation, it’s easy to generalize that experience until you begin to doubt your ability to present in every situation. Instead, take a step back and recognize the source of your anxiety, then replace it with a commitment to work on your presentation skills so you’ll perform better and be more confident moving forward.

oconnorandkelly's curator insight, Today, 11:54 AM

Executive Edge skill: Building emotional intelligence

Mastering emotional intelligence is about learning to manage your feelings so they help work toward goals rather than getting in the way. Have you noticed yourself falling into any of these habits of emotional thinking?

Filtering out the positive and focusing only on the negativePolarized black-or-white thinking, where you neglect to consider gray areasOvergeneralizations where one event inaccurately colors your thinkingThe “fallacy of change:” expecting others to change because you need or want them to do so

Zoller and Preston advocate dealing with emotional thinking first by recognizing it, then by figuring out where the emotion is coming from. Armed with that understanding, you can move to a more logical place and replace those distracting thoughts with more productive ones. For example, if you’ve just given a less-than-stellar presentation, it’s easy to generalize that experience until you begin to doubt your ability to present in every situation. Instead, take a step back and recognize the source of your anxiety, then replace it with a commitment to work on your presentation skills so you’ll perform better and be more confident moving forward.

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Broadband Speeds Are Improving in Many Places. Too Bad It Took Google to Make It Happen.

Broadband Speeds Are Improving in Many Places. Too Bad It Took Google to Make It Happen. | digitalNow | Scoop.it
The Wait-for-Google-to-Do-It Strategy
America’s communications ­infrastructure is finally getting some crucial upgrades because one company is forcing ­competition when regulators won’t.
Don Dea's insight:


It’s too often said that some event “changed everything” in technology. But when it comes to the history of broadband in the United States, Google Fiber really did. Before February 2010, when Google asked cities to apply to be first in line for the fiber-optic lines it would install to deliver Internet service to homes at a gigabit per second, the prospects for upgrading Americans’ wired broadband connections looked dismal. The Federal Communications Commission was on the verge of releasing its first National Broadband Plan, which stressed the importance of affordable, abundant bandwidth and the need to spread it by “overbuilding”—stringing fiber to houses and businesses even if they already had service over cable and phone lines with relatively low capacity. Yet at the time, as Blair Levin, executive director of the broadband plan, told me, “for the first time since 1994, there was no national provider with plans to overbuild the current network.”


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Mediocrity and disappointment are the outcome from following “Best Practices” for Managing Strategy

Paradigm-Shifting Next Practices of Advantage Strategy
When you call a plumber to your house to fix a leaky faucet or burst pipe you want the plumber to be prompt, understand the issue, and fix your problem quickly. You don’t really care what tools are in their tool kit or which ones are needed; you just want him/her to use their expertise and the right tools to get your job done right. If you’re the experienced plumber, you know that every job is different and requires the right combination of expertise, experience, and tools. Think of Next Practices as the tools in your new strategy tool kit. They are all available but you only use the practices necessary in each situation that match the particular strategy needs of your organization.

In the table below, we’ve organized a partial list of Next Practices ordered as they are typically applied in the strategy management life cycle—Preparation, Design, Planning, and Execution. In practice however, the good “strategy plumber” only selects the ones needed by their customer to get the job done right.
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All of Facebook's revenue growth since it went public comes from one source: mobile ads

All of Facebook's revenue growth since it went public comes from one source: mobile ads | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Facebook reported solid earnings yesterday, beating expectations on both revenue and earnings. It also revealed that more than 75% of its ad revenue comes from mobile advertising.

That's remarkable because when Facebook went public in May 2012, just three years ago, it had no mobile advertising business at all.

In fact, if you look at this chart from Statista based on Facebook earnings reports, it's clear that mobile advertising is Facebook's business. All of the company's revenue growth since it went public came from mobile ads — desktop ads and payments revenue have remained about flat. 
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Thinking Like a Leader: Three Big Shifts

Leadership thinking requires not just competency, but demonstrated proficiency.
Don Dea's insight:

 From linearity to complexity. Management systems and processes tend to be linear. They assume that similar inputs will result in similar outputs. In many situations, this holds true. Leadership, however, requires a more nuanced view of the world because it involves people: what motivates them, what their interests are, and how engaged they become. Mechanical systems may be linear but as soon as the human element becomes involved, the system becomes both complex and adaptive. It is dynamic — similar inputs may bring about wildly divergent outputs.

As a leader, you come to understand that relationships between the system components are paramount, rather than the components themselves. Discerning these dynamics is essential to achieving your desired outcome, which means you think about connectivity, and the extent and robustness of those connections. You accept that these relationships contain some performance factors you control and some you don’t — you are part of the system, but likely not its gravitational center — and that effective influence can amplify your impact on those beyond your direct purview.

When things go well or when you hit a bump along your leadership road, ask yourself which direct and indirect relationships were at play. Where did your attention to positive connectivity pay dividends and where might you have done better?

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This Graphic Shows the Effects Texting Has on Your Body

Texting too often can take a toll on your body. While it might seem like it’s not a big deal, the physical posture you take on when you’re staring at a tiny device in your hands can have serious negative health effects. This graphic shows what can happen.

We’ve known for a while that spending too much time assuming the texting position can cause health problems. While your mileage may vary, and this certainly isn’t exclusively limited to texting, the graphic below can show you a few potential problems, as well as how to combat them. Hover over each icon to expand more info and suggestions.
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4 Key Trends in Social Business as of Right Now

4 Key Trends in Social Business as of Right Now | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Social customer service getting better, and more important

Customer service on social media has become more or less inevitable for most companies. Some brands may have initially resisted, either because of inertia, or discomfort with the idea of having customer complaints in the open for all to see but customers left them little choice. If companies want to have a presence on social media for marketing or other purposes, people are going to use it as a customer service channel.
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The platform business model: An introduction

The goal of a platform business is to ensure the efficiency and repeatability of the interaction it enables. Once a business figures out how to do that, it can achieve a new kind of scale, according to Choudary. Ease and consistency spur people to increase their participation on the platform. As people participate more, more people come to the platform, creating a network effect, which then has to be managed
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What's trending in higher ed IT?

What's trending in higher ed IT? | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Higher education institutions are shifting to the cloud en masse, and one piece of advice for those considering how to navigate the migration process is to plan app by app, accounting for the vast differences across applications.

When it comes to implementation timelines, eCampus News called the trend a “whole new mindset for disruption.” Whereas in the past, looking out three to seven years was reasonable for cost-projections and planning, now that timeline is far too long. Administrators must, instead, figure out ways to implement change through concrete steps that create more immediate progress.
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THE VIRTUAL REALITY REPORT: Forecasts, market size, and the trends driving adoption

THE VIRTUAL REALITY REPORT: Forecasts, market size, and the trends driving adoption | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Virtual Reality (VR) headsets are debuting on the consumer market and set to launch an advanced and immersive content platform. We estimate shipments of VR headsets will grow at a swift 99% compound annual growth rate between 2015 and 2020.
VR shipments will create a $2.8 billion hardware market by 2020, up from an estimated $37 million market this year. 
VR headsets are a fairly low-cost consumer electronics category, and this will help drive adoption. The devices will be priced similarly to smartwatches and also need to pair with another standalone computing device.
Demand for VR headsets will be fueled by gaming on both mobile and console devices. There are 1.2 billion gamers worldwide, including nearly 1 billion mobile gamers alone. This creates a direct, addressable market for VR headsets.
Beyond gaming, VR will be an important platform for streaming content and even shopping. Oculus has already experimented with Story Studio, a platform for VR movie creation. In addition, many consumers claim the VR experience will drive them to shop more online rather than in stores.
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15 Fascinating Facts About Google

By now, much of Google's story has become the stuff of legend—starting with its name: The Mountain View, Calif.-based company's name is an accident, a misspelling of the word "googol," which is the mathematical term for a 1 followed by 100 zeroes. The firm grew out of a research project in Stanford University and officially launched in a Menlo Park, Calif., garage. Its many employee perks include on-site medical care, abundant table tennis/foosball tables, "sleep pods," free lunches, and kitchens stocked with fresh fruit, yogurt, cheese and bottled drinks. Having recently turned 15 years old, Google has grown beyond its charmed and even idealistic beginnings (with "Don't be evil" as its unofficial slogan) to emerge as one of the most dominant technology corporations on the planet. It commands more than $50 billion in annual revenue, and its subsidiaries include AdMob, DoubleClick, Motorola Mobility, Zagat and YouTube. With this in mind, we offer the following 15 fascinating facts about Google. The list covers everything from the company's global reach to the founders' wealth and passions to the beloved "Google Doodles" that have so endearingly captured the essence of the world's culture and history.
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Why Leaders Should Create Meaningful Environments

Why Leaders Should Create Meaningful Environments | digitalNow | Scoop.it
To be consistently successful, leadership tasks need to be distributed across levels, across functions, across geographies and across individuals to wherever the best information and capabilities reside. But this raises two questions: What capabilities are needed for effective leadership? And how can these capabilities be mobilised to put distributed leadership into action?

The capabilities you need

Our research has identified four such core capabilities for distributed leadership, which we call the “4-CAP model”.

The first is “sense-making”, which involves making sense of the context in which the organisation is operating. This should include dialogue and frequent communication up and down the organisation, as well as communication to outside stakeholders to source expertise and new ideas. Connecting and mapping customer demands, cultural norms and competitive challenges is essential to understanding the environment
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Clint Pietersen's curator insight, July 29, 4:40 AM

Very insightful

Lisa Moran's curator insight, July 30, 7:56 PM

I feel that most times, when it comes to safety, the reason that it can be challenging to make any headway and change is due to the message being meaningful to those receiving it.   Especially when some of those people are working in a lower risk office environment where the safety message can often be without real meaning or benefit to them.  It takes good leadership and recognising and communicating how safety messages can apply and can be meaningful to everyone within the workplace as well as leading the way in identifying issues and making sure that they are rectified and benefits adequately communicated to everyone.

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Organization’s Strategic Initiatives

My guess is that your answer is less than half or at least “not enough of them.”

Delivering on strategic initiatives on time, every time, is the hallmark of organizations that are best in the world at executing strategy, and they’re rewarded with a premium put on the value of their company.

Organizations that can’t deliver on their strategic initiatives fail at executing their strategy, and organizations that fail at executing strategy will not survive. It is just that simple. Improving how your organization delivers strategic initiatives increases your ability to execute strategy and, therefore, should be one of your organization’s top business imperatives.


Defining Strategic Actions

Strategic initiatives are those high-priority actions taken by organizations to close the gap between their current performance and their future vision. These critically important initiatives generally meet the following criteria:

Action(s) taken to move the organization towards achieving stretch goals defined in their future vision and strategy
Is expected to achieve significant/breakthrough improvement to business results and contribute to increasing the value of the organization
Is a major change and departure from the current way of doing things
Impacts a majority of stakeholders (employees, customers, suppliers, management) who will need to adapt to change for the initiative to be successful
Has a temporary life: there is a defined start and completion date
Requires significant investment of time, money, and people
Companies spend billions every year on strategic initiatives that meet these criteria with less-than-impressive results. More than half of these are abandoned when failure appears to be inevitable. Only 4 in 10 add value beyond the investment made and the ROI on strategic initiative portfolios (the collection of strategic actions) typically delivers 60% less than originally expected.
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Big Data, Internet of Things and Cloud Are Driving Digital Marketing: Many Plan to Divert Resources from Other Projects

Big Data, Internet of Things and Cloud Are Driving Digital Marketing: Many Plan to Divert Resources from Other Projects
Don Dea's insight:

Big data, the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud are the hottest trends in technology, their applications numerous, from improving science and research to optimizing sports team performance and aiding law enforcement. In the business world, these technologies have become primary drivers of digital marketing initiatives. Massive data volumes, sourced from websites, apps and machines, enable marketers to develop highly targeted digital campaigns and promotions.

Enterprise cloud management provider 2nd Watch recently completed a survey of 500 IT and marketing professionals in large and mid-sized companies regarding the use of big data, IoT and cloud-based data warehouse technologies to support digital marketing plans and programs. The results indicate growing confidence in the use of these technologies and success deploying them.

Some top-line results from the 2nd Watch survey:

  • 50% of respondents are likely to expand use of big data to support digital marketing. Another third say programs have been so successful, they plan to divert resources intended for other projects to support big data-based digital marketing programs.
  • The majority of respondents (38%) are using big data to support digital marketing, but are in the beginning stages of doing so; 28% are being very aggressive.
  • The majority of respondents (29%) are using big data to better understand customers. The second most popular reason is for improving supply chains.
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FourQuadrant ! Marketing strategy's curator insight, Today, 3:30 AM

Big data, the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud are the hottest trends in technology, their applications numerous, from improving science and research to optimizing sports team performance and aiding law enforcement. In the business world, these technologies have become primary drivers of digital marketing initiatives. Massive data volumes, sourced from websites, apps and machines, enable marketers to develop highly targeted digital campaigns and promotions.

Enterprise cloud management provider 2nd Watch recently completed a survey of 500 IT and marketing professionals in large and mid-sized companies regarding the use of big data, IoT and cloud-based data warehouse technologies to support digital marketing plans and programs. The results indicate growing confidence in the use of these technologies and success deploying them.

Some top-line results from the 2nd Watch survey:

50% of respondents are likely to expand use of big data to support digital marketing. Another third say programs have been so successful, they plan to divert resources intended for other projects to support big data-based digital marketing programs.The majority of respondents (38%) are using big data to support digital marketing, but are in the beginning stages of doing so; 28% are being very aggressive.The majority of respondents (29%) are using big data to better understand customers. The second most popular reason is for improving supply chains.
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3 Reasons We Hate Performance Reviews and 3 Ways to Improve Them

3 Reasons We Hate Performance Reviews and 3 Ways to Improve Them | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Why we hate performance reviews: givens that we just need to suck it up and accept:

1. Human nature. People hate having their flaws pointed out and managers hate giving negative feedback. But wait, don’t all of the studies say people want and love feedback? Sure they do, as long as it’s positive feedback. When we receive feedback that challenges our assumptions about ourselves, we automaticity go into a protective “fight or flight” survival mode.

We deny, get angry, get defensive, or withdraw. No artist likes getting a negative critical review, no restaurant owner likes getting a critical TripAdvisor review, and no employee likes hearing their flaws pointed out by their manager.
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Yelp needs help, and buyout may be the answer

Yelp needs help, and buyout may be the answer | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Unless Yelp can come up with a strategy to boost its financial performance, the San Francisco-based company should consider selling itself, several analysts said.

Yelp put itself up for sale in May but then decided not to proceed, Bloomberg reported this month.

Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O), Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Priceline Group Inc PLCN.O would be possible buyers, analysts said.

Yelp declined to comment. Yahoo, Amazon and Google did not respond to request for comment, while Priceline said it did not comment on acquisition rumors.

"... A Google competitor interested in an advanced local position could view Yelp as an attractive strategic alternative," Evercore analyst Ken Sena said in a client note.
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10 Questions for Cortana, Siri, Amazon Echo and Google Now

10 Questions for Cortana, Siri, Amazon Echo and Google Now | digitalNow | Scoop.it
10 Questions for Cortana, Siri, Amazon Echo and Google Now
Don Dea's insight:
Which virtual assistant gives the best answers?

After its out-of-town tryout on Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft’s Cortana is hitting the big stage with today’s release of Windows 10 (though the virtual assistant won’t be available in all markets.)

So I fired off roughly 25 questions and commands (some silly, some not) to Cortana, Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Echo and Google Now. The following 10 responses showed off their differences the most. In my highly subjective tests, Siri triumphed, getting my winning vote for five of the 10 responses—but also providing some really disappointing answers, too. Echo and Google Now tied for second place, receiving three votes each; Cortana ranked last, with two votes. Maybe Cortana still needs a little more out-of-town fine-tuning?

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How to separate learning myths from reality

Learning styles and the left/right brain hypothesis
Almost everyone has encountered the theory that most people are either dominantly analytical (and left brained) or more creative (and right brained). However, this either/or dichotomy is false. The two hemispheres of the brain are linked and communicate extensively together; they do not work in isolation. The simplistic notion of a false binary has led, in many businesses, to the misconception that each one of us has a strictly preferred learning style and channel. Recent studies have flatly disproved this idea, suggesting instead that engaging all the senses in a variety of ways (for instance, audiovisual and tactile) can help employees retain new content.
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How Digital Media is Shaping a New Generation of Commerce

How Digital Media is Shaping a New Generation of Commerce | digitalNow | Scoop.it
63 percent of consumers are very brand conscious, saying that their likelihood of sharing content is effected by which organization or brand shared the content. However, many consumers would switch their brand loyalties for improved service, whether that service is more secure payment systems, or faster delivery on products ordered online.
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The Definition of Customer Service

“The definition of customer service.” There were quite a few answers, as you could imagine. So, for even more fun, I tweeted the following: Writing an article and thought to “Tweet Source” some research: What’s your definition of customer service? #Custserv

And here are a few of the answers worth consideration:

Al Hopper (@AlHopper_) defined customer service as “the assistance and advice provided by a company to those people who buy or use its products or services.” Support and assistance, managed well, is great value differentiator between you and your competitors.
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How CIOs Can Drive Business Growth

"The role of IT is changing from being an administrator of infrastructure to becoming an enabler of the business–driving innovation and new ways of working to revolutionize customer engagement and transactional processes," said Ken Cheng, CTO and senior vice president of corporate development and emerging business for Brocade.

"More than ever, the CIO has a critical role in advising the board and senior management on strategic business investments. But legacy infrastructure remains a major roadblock, prohibiting business agility and innovation. The new IP offers a way of addressing this, enabling business objectives to be met."

Other concerns of CIOs, according to the report:

* Nearly two-thirds are concerned about internal communications and collaboration efforts.

*40% worry about choosing the right vendors to support a transformative business strategy.

* More than one-third said that cloud adoption without IT involvement isn't allowed–but that it either does or may happen.

*79% question whether they'll be able to support the delivery of new services to spur business growth.
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'Appdiction' Changes How We Work, Play and Relate

The overwhelming presence of business and personal mobile applications in our lives has reached a state of "appdiction," according to a recent survey from the Apigee Institute and Stanford University's Mobile Innovation Group (MIG). Findings reveal that a significant number of smartphone users plan to spend even more time on their mobile devices than they already do, while also increasing the number of apps they download. The vast majority said these tech tools have changed the way they do their job, manage their health and connect to their friends. In fact, some even confessed that they would be incapable of maintaining a relationship with a significant other without a smartphone. If that wasn't bad enough, the survey singles out a group it describes as "top app users," who take their addiction to new heights by incessantly checking their phones—even while they're at dinner with family and friends. On the positive side, however, most of these users said their obsession makes them more productive. An estimated 1,000 respondents took part in the research.
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Web-Based LMS Promotes Assessment Activities

A new online learning management system allows for teaching and interactive presentations to be delivered online with an emphasis on assessment. ScriptoPro, introduced earlier this month, includes modules for creating quizzes, surveys, pools, flashcards, vocabulary builders, a course calendar, grade book and certificate generator. Those components can be embedded in ScriptoPro class pages or on an instructor's existing Web site or blog.

The quiz generator allows educators to create and deliver tests and quizzes online and monitor and report on the progress of their students. Customization options allow students to gain immediate access to their quiz scores along with explanations to responses. Results can be stored, collected, reviewed, exported and printed after a test has been taken. A slider feature allows the instructor to set a grading scale for a course or assessment.

To get a class of students into the system, the instructor can import a class roster from a CSV file and then send login links in automatically generated email to students.
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Will the role of the chief data officer eclipse that of the CIO?

The CIO-CDO division of labor

For the uninitiated, the chief data officer, born out of industries with significant compliance requirements -- such as financial services and healthcare -- is the head of data. While CIOs own the systems, CDOs oversee all of the bits and bytes that flow through those systems. CDOs are often in charge of data policies, procedures and governance; in many cases, they act as a liaison between the IT and the business; and, increasingly, they're taking on data monetization efforts.
Don Dea's insight:

"If the chief information officer had been asking the right questions …," she mused. "And really, isn't their role to engage with the business and understand the needs of the business and work with the CTO to provide that? Now, we're stepping in with the CDO because we're more data focused. So isn't the CDO doing what the CIO should have been doing all along?" Harsh.

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