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Author's profile photo Patrick Maroney

Business Trends driving CEOs (Part 1 of Series on Big Data – IoT – M2M)

What’s driving today’s top CEOs in Manufacturing?

I recently had the opportunity at a manufacturing conference to share the stage with leaders from Cisco, Pitney Bowes, LNS research and SAP (replay link here).  The discussion focused on what top companies are doing with Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine to Machine (M2M).   What follows, is part 1 of  a blog series summarizing the presentations and discussions from this conference and also from my interactions with top companies and their leaders over the past 12+ months.  In part 1, below, we’ll start at the top, with the CEO.

CEO Objectives.JPG


Rethinking the Business Model

The focus back in the 2008 market downturn was, in essence, to “keep the lights on” and “control costs”. As we emerged from that, the focus  shifted to GROWTH. This subsequent shift is one of the primary drivers forcing CEOs to rethink their business models.

“Grow Grow Grow”

Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

Best run businesses are using advanced workforce analytics to identify top talent – internally and externally. They are tying performance metrics to working capital and training to manage their talent in more profitable ways; and they are making sure they are retaining the top talent they have identified.   They  identify critical staffing skill gaps that can be used for recruiting as well as future focused training.  Best run businesses are using workforce analytical insights  to understand workforce trends, monitor the latest social recruiting efforts, grade top talent in recruiting execution and maximize workforce performance world wide to easily identify tomorrows’ leaders and profitably meet expansion needs.


Sustainable, Profitable Growth

As manufacturing companies turn their attention to growth, the most successful are doing it profitably. They are focused on sustaining the massive efficiency improvements they created in the downturn so as to avoid achieving growth at the expense of margin.  For these companies, this means a continued focus on: 

    • Delivering production excellence and superior supply chain management
    • Providing a seamless customer experience across all channels
    • Increasing solution offerings (products & services) that drive market differentiation


Out Innovate the Competitors

If you really think about it, the market, no the world, is a much different place than 2008. Devices, not just personal, have continue to expand. The amount of data (device and human generated) has continued to expand exponentially. In turn, this has dramatically expanded the points where information can be accessed and important business decisions made. This provides a unique opportunity to rethink the business model based on out innovating the competition.  Best run businesses are efficiently identifying new innovative solutions that define new forms of revenue which in turn drives true growth.



Companies that are focused on the bold items above are not only generating a lot more information – aka Big Data –  they are effectively leveraging that information to drive competitive differentiation, disruptive innovation and growth. To do this profitably, successful companies are moving from being Reactive (ie. scrambling and expediting) to being Proactive (ie leveraging data to predict outcomes before they happen, replacing inventory with information).  Best in class companies are embracing data-driven-decision-making.


We want to hear from you  (in comments below)We want you.jpg

“A rising tide lifts all boats”

Please use comments below to provide us your feedback, thoughts and let us know:

    1. What are the top trends affecting your Chief Executive?
    2. What are you struggling with (Business & Technology)?
    3. How is Big Data affecting the kind of Projects your company is working on?


Part 2 of this series titled “Data Driven Decision Making” can be found here.   In the meantime, you can watch the presentation and panel discussion I had with leaders from Cisco, Pitney Bowes, LNS research and SAP here


Panel video replay landing page.JPG


You might also like:

Data Driven Decision Making (Part 2 of this Series on Big Data)


Accelerating a Culture of Innovation


Panel: Big Data in Manufacturing – How Leading Companies Are Driving Competitive Advantage


About the Author

(2014) Patrick Maroney (linkedin)  is part of the SAP Global Hana Platform Center of Excellence. In this role, he works closely with SAP customers to help understand the impacts of business trends on their processes and the use of technology in order to help architect business improvements. Patrick has a background in industrial engineering and business transformation consulting. Since 1992, Patrick has been working with the management teams of leading companies on improving their processes and leading business transformation initiatives.

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      I think "Rethinking the Business Model" has to be on the forefront of their minds.  Incremental cost cutting is just not a survival strategy.  Stagnant job growth and high retention of cash not invested shows this impact is not over.  Technologies like big data and internet of things you highlight offer optimistic enablers to answer this problem, but I think greater rather than less structural change of their business is required as generalization.

      The top talent question is an interesting one.  I have heard so much about theory's of millennials and many just seemed fantastical by nature.  I'm not in this group, but I work with them, I live in the "hip" area of Chicago entirely populated by them, and of course have them in my family. I couldn't put a name to the stereotypes attributed to them.  Recently, I found an article tackling some of these "myths about millennials" (not trying to plug SAP article but welcome response from others if they have supporting sources.  I can't find many fact based equivalent on this topic elsewhere).  These were interesting contributions contrasting the stereotypes and in some cases reversing them.

      Workforce 2020 – Part 1: The Looming Talent Crisis, or which myths about Millennials are busted | ZDNet

      Author's profile photo Patrick Maroney
      Patrick Maroney
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Chuck and for including the Workforce link.   I'm finding most companies are data rich - across all of their lines of business - but most are also information poor.  It's a challenge finding meaningful insight in the sea of increasing data:  transactional, unstructured like social media, machine telemetrics, etc. etc.   I was just reading one of your earlier blogs, "Throw away the last ink pen on the shop floor;"  the mobile interface to big data is very complimentary to what we are discussing here.  In fact, you can see a little of that if you follow the video replay link from the blog above.

      Author's profile photo David Parrish
      David Parrish
      1. Change management, fresh innovation, competitive threats, continual acquisitions...
      2. Information overload.  Too much, too fast.  Hard to filter through all the noise to get to the most valuable and relevant content.
      3. Staying innovative +  figuring out how to manage information overload = big data!
      Author's profile photo Patrick Maroney
      Patrick Maroney
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks for taking time to respond to the questions in the Blog David.  It's always a pleasure hearing from you.

      1. (Orig Question) What are the top trends affecting your Chief Executive?
      2. (Orig Question) What are you struggling with (Business & Technology)?
      3. (Orig Question) How is Big Data affecting the kind of Projects your company is working on?
      Author's profile photo Patrick Maroney
      Patrick Maroney
      Blog Post Author

      In a recent blog post, SAP CEO Bill McDermott wrote:

      "Today every CEO I speak with is hungry for new ideas. They recognize that in this era of disruption, business model innovation requires an openness to new thinking from anywhere."

      We've just posted Part 2 in this series on big data titled, "Data Driven Decision Making "