Does Your Tech Infrastructure Support Agility, Flexibility and Pivoting? Exponential price/performance improvements in technology are driving disruption because they enable new ways of adding value for customers and new business models. For example, Uber is set to IPO in 2019 at a valuation $120 billion – which is more than the value of every taxicab company in North America added together and doubled! Many taxi companies are spending $250,000 to develop their own app; however, they don’t understand that the rules of the game have changed. Similar to the Lord of the Rings, I want one ring to rule them all. I don’t want to download 19 Toronto taxi apps and key my data into each one on my smartphone with my fat thumbs. To survive and thrive in this fast-changing business environment, companies must be customer focused, agile and continue to innovate. How can organizations achieve this? Their infrastructure must enable agility and flexibility to allow the organization to rapidly innovate and pivot. Here are some staggering facts to consider: More data has been created in the last two years than all human history combined A gigaflop is a billion transactions per second. In 1961, it cost $153 billion to per gigaflop. In 2018, it cost only two cents, so computing is practically free. My $1,000 smartphone has more raw computing power than a $30 million Cray Supercomputer of 20 years ago. While it took the aviation industry 68 years to reach 50 million … [Read more...] about Exponential Change Is Driving Disruption
Water Conservation in the City of San Diego Organizations are driving bottom line benefit by shifting to the cloud By Jim Harris Cloud computing is growing relentlessly. It will grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 19% to 2022: Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/477702/public-cloud-vendor-revenue-forecast/ Death of the Data Center The relentless growth of cloud computing has profound implications for data centers. Gartner predicts the death of the data center: It predicts that by 2025, 80% of enterprises will shut their traditional data center. As of the close of 2018, 10% already had. This will drive the continued growth of cloud computing. Source: https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2018-12-04-gartner-identifies-the-top-10-trends-impacting-infras The shift to the cloud is affecting all organizations – not just those that have run data centers. It's affecting every day businesses, government departments at all three levels and even SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises). Here’s a fascinating municipal example: City of San Diego: Driving Water Efficiency & Cutting Cost The City of San Diego has transformed its relationship with customers by allowing convenient real time access to utility services and information through their self-serve digital customer engagement platform called MyWaterEasy. The app uses SAP’s Cloud Platform in order to allow customers to manage their utility account, view and pay bills, view … [Read more...] about The Relentless Rise of Cloud Computing
It seems 2013 was the year of strategic renewal. Most of Canada's big retailers began the year with established business sustainability initiatives. Having made significant progress in eco-efficiency, companies were refreshing their business sustainability strategies after five or more years of experience under the belt. Those doing it well during the last few years had framed and implemented business sustainability as an opportunity to reduce risk and contribute to the bottom line, primarily via cost avoidance. Nonetheless, the value proposition of eco-efficiency for many retailers was beginning to level off. While the low-hanging fruit of eco-efficiency in packaging, building and transportation operations had generated hundreds of millions in cost savings for retailers, much of this low-hanging fruit had been picked, with additional projects in these areas facing diminishing returns. And so many sustainability managers explored new sources of value for their sustainability initiatives. In 2013, the focus of retailers and manufacturers shifted, with increasing financial and human resources directed at mitigating the social and environmental footprint of their products. The environmental footprint of products is a rich source of opportunity, often representing 85% or more of a retailer's total annual environmental footprint. The 2013 factory fires in Bangladesh only emphasized the potential brand-risk of such issues. Additionally, the growing burden of a … [Read more...] about Are Your Sustainable Practices Really Making a Difference?
Today is the first day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos (Jan 22-25). Many surveys and analysis will be presented at the Forum and side events outlining the problems and solutions the world and nations face. Here are some points of view that you will NOT likely hear coming out of WEF. Severe Income Disparity In a marketing coup, Oxfam publicized a staggering fact two days before the conference began: the net worth of the 85 wealthiest people in the world is equal to that of the 3.5-billion poorest worldwide. And the wealth of the richest 1 per cent of the world's population roughly equals that of everyone else (the 99 per cent). On Twitter this generated 18,000 tweets on January 19 -- which was more than both of WEF's primary hashtags combined -- #wef14 and #Davos. "Severe income disparity" is one of the most significant global risks identified by the World Economic Forum in 2014. But delegates spend $40,000+ to attend the Forum -- and there is the incessant buzz of helicopters ferrying delegates to Davos at $10,000 a trip. As Marshall McLuhan said the medium is the message. Oxfam's approach highlights the depth of inequality -- and it really makes me wonder: How much is enough? With some exceptions like J.K. Rowling, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet who have given significant portions of their wealth to charities and foundations to address global problems, Oxfam's critique is profound. Climate Change If we continue with … [Read more...] about Some Points of View You Won’t Hear Coming Out of Davos
eCommerce exceeded $US1.2 trillion in 2013, according to a new report by eMarketer, and that's just for B2C transactions. The web is THE most important sales and marketing tool. There are only three things that matter in retailing according to age old wisdom: location, location, location. This wisdom still holds true today -- only now it also refers to a company's location in Google ranking for keyword searches for its products and services. Your rank in a Google organic search is critical in acquiring new leads and sales today. The #1 ranked result receives up to 36% of the click throughs while the top three items combined receive 58.4% of all traffic. Other studies put the combined traffic of the top three terms as high as 80%! By contrast, the eleventh item receives only two per cent of the clicks -- and for some searches that are millions of results! With more than 3.3 billion Google searches a day it means that the spoils for the victor in any keyword query are disproportionately large -- underscoring the critical importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Many marketers believe that if "you build it, they will come": if they just build an attractive, informative web site, the customers will follow. But the philosophy is only true in Kevin Costner's Field of Dreams. But today there are 30 trillion -- yes, that's TRILLION with a "T" -- web pages on the internet that Google indexes. You build a beautiful … [Read more...] about Billboard in the Jungle: SEO Essential for Sales and Marketing
Environmentalists have been asking some pretty tough questions of economists for the last 50 years. In Natural Capitalism Amory Lovins, Hunter Lovins and Paul Hawken point out that of every 100 units of raw material that goes into our industrial system only 6 per cent is still in use after six months. So 94 per cent is waste! Or think about this: with just 5 per cent of the population, North Americans consume 33 per cent of the world's resources. So if everyone else in the world consumed as much as we do, we'd need another six planets to provide! Clearly we can't have infinite growth on a finite planet. As one of my mentors, Thomas Berry used to say: Economics, as it is currently practised, is a form of pathology: Ask any economist and they will tell you that GDP growth is good. So if more people get cancer, that's great, because spending on health care increases. When BP's rig in the Gulf of Mexico spills 4.9-million barrels of oil that's great because BP has to spend billions cleaning it up -- so GDP grows. And when the U.S. goes to war in Iraq and Afghanistan that's FANTASTIC because the lifetime spending due to that war will be somewhere between 2.7- and 6-TRILLON dollars, according to Nobel Economist Joseph Stiglitz. But you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that more cancer, catastrophe and war are not good. Herman Daly, the former Senior Economist for the World Bank asks, is GDP measuring wealth or ilth? Can … [Read more...] about When More Cancer Is Good for GDP Growth, We’re Measuring Things Wrong
In late September 2013 the International Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the first part of its Fifth Assessment Report. If businesses, economies and governments continue the current "business as usual" trajectory, by 2040 global carbon emissions will tip the planet beyond 2° Celcius, resulting in dramatic destabilization of the planet's climate: rising sea levels, flooding, droughts, heatwaves, more intense hurricanes and extreme weather. The IPCC, for the first time ever, presented an absolute, cumulative cap on carbon emissions of one trillion tonnes. Human activity, since the industrial revolution, has released 531 billion tonnes as of 2011. So we have used up more than half the cap. And without dramatic changes in the way our society works, we will exceed that cap by 2040 and push the planet into irreversible, catastrophic climate change. The higher the concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere, the higher the chance of runaway climate change. And 350 parts per million (ppm) CO2 is agreed to provide a high probability of not achieving 2° Celcius rise but alarmingly the world is already at 400 ppm. So we have already exceeded the certainty of safety. Triggering Runaway Change: Arctic Methane Release The Arctic is warming at a faster rate than any other region of the world. And thawing permafrost in the Arctic threatens to release hundreds of billions of tons of methane. This is a catastrophic threat because: 1) Methane is … [Read more...] about Let’s Worry About Climate Change, Not Miley Cyrus
Our first blog, How Sustainability Can Save Business, reframes the common purpose of traditional Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practitioners -- that of "saving the environment." Our premise: Given the social and economic frameworks and institutions of our society, more can be accomplished (and faster) by viewing sustainability as an economic opportunity relevant to business, compared to viewing it as an environmental initiative in isolation of business. Therefore the goal of "saving the environment" may be more appropriately framed as "saving business." Our perspective is pragmatic; that the worthy purpose of "saving the environment" is destined to be ineffectual, and at best immaterial, if environmental initiatives are pursued in isolation of the economic engines and structures of our society -- that is, capitalism, business, government and the active participation of other organizations and individuals within this framework. It is within this framework that companies are applying a central guiding principle to their business sustainability strategies -- "derive economic benefits from improved environmental and social outcomes." Why? Because it delivers results. We do not argue the desired outcome of healthy people and a healthy planet, and an economic framework that includes a broader social purpose. Indeed, we align on these values. After all, Jim was leader of the Green Party of Canada and Tyler used to earn his living as a conservation … [Read more...] about How Much Can Business Influence the Environment?
Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and Chief Operating Officers (COOs) are increasingly accountable for sustainability. A study by Deloitte -- Sustainability: CFOs are coming to the table -- found their accountability for sustainability had jumped sharply during the last year. In 2012, 26 per cent of CFOs were responsible to the board for their firm's sustainability strategy, up from 17 per cent in 2011. Similarly, for COOs it was 10 per cent in 2012, up from 3 per cent in 2011. Further, 53 per cent of CFOs said their involvement had increased in the last year, with 61 per cent noting they expected it to increase over the next two years. The increasing relevance of business sustainability to financial performance and shareholder value was also highlighted in a recent study by the Chartered Accountants of Canada (CAC) -- Sustainability: Environmental and Social Issues Briefing, which noted that "key environmental issues, stakeholder trust and relationships and an evolving environmental and social legal and regulatory landscape are interconnected and impact strategy for competitiveness, risk and resilience." The report draws attention to the many environmental and social issues of relevance to directors in discharging their oversight responsibilities, including strategy, risk and risk oversight, financial performance, external reporting, and the reliability of reported information. When Canadian Tire began reporting its environmental footprint and the … [Read more...] about Why CFO’s Need to Care About Sustainability Now
Canada needs a "national approach to climate policy and carbon pricing." Think that this is the advice of some environmental group? Then think again; this is the urging of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) in a policy paper: Clean Growth 2.0: How Canada can be a Leader in Energy and Environmental Innovation. The paper highlights how Canada can build a more competitive economy and a more sustainable society while ensuring adequate public finances to fund Canadian's way of life. It calls for the federal government, in partnership with the provinces and territories, to develop a national energy framework, specifically to "develop clean energy solutions and position Canada for leadership internationally." And, contrary to current inaction, the CEOs urge Canada to take the lead in establishing a bilateral energy and climate accord with the United States to incorporate Canadian interests, and secure greater cross-border collaboration on energy, climate change policy, technology and trade. The CCCE stresses that a bilateral approach does not mean that nothing can be done until there is clarity on US action; rather, it argues that we must begin to prioritize areas for coordination and ensure that our policy is adaptable to the eventual US system. One thing is certain; during the interim, we cannot expect the Americans to adequately represent Canadian interests in our absence. Proffering five strategic recommendations, the CCCEs argue that a national … [Read more...] about Will Canada Take Action on Energy?