Actionable Insights

Adam Nathan

Adam brings twenty years of experience helping business and non-profit leaders drive value with actionable insights. As a long-time business owner and CEO himself, he understands that creating value from information is never a given and that creating a data driven culture is a learned skill.
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Recent Posts

Other Voices, Other Blogs...

Jan 5, 2018 4:57:17 PM / by Adam Nathan posted in Actionable Insights, Other Voices, Other Blogs

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"Why You Should Quit Brainstorming KPIs" - Stacey Barr

"KPI and measure selection is not a creativity exercise." I love this quote.

Stacey Barr, an Australian-based expert on defining and implementing key performance indicators, wrote a recent column about the pitfalls of brainstorming KPIs.

With her reliably cogent, analytical and thoughtful perspective, she makes a case against open-ended KPI definition sessions (vague goals, persuasion contests, and shallow levels of detail). If you don't now about her already, Stacey is a must have for your KPI RSS feed.

More links to stand-out articles from the last few weeks below the fold.

 

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Actionable Insights: Peter Samson on Technology

Jan 3, 2018 10:53:09 AM / by Adam Nathan posted in Actionable Insights, Strategy, Value & Friction, Key Performance Questions

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An actionable insight from Peter Samson, CEO of 8folios.com. In a recent article on Gartner's CloudAdvice, Peter dives into the myth that digitalisation requires new technology.

He argues that most companies get hung up on technology and toolset, when they should be focused on how they service their customers.

The challenge, as he sees it, is to make sure a customer feels as valued in the new digital world as they used to feel in relationships with a more "human touch."

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Actionable Insights: Stacey Barr on KPIs

Jan 2, 2018 2:55:23 PM / by Adam Nathan posted in Actionable Insights, KPI, Instrumentation, Key Performance Questions

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An actionable insight: Stacey Barr, an Australian-based expert on defining and implementing key performance indicators, wrote a recent column about the pitfalls of brainstorming KPIs. With her reliably cogent, analytical and thoughtful perspective, she makes a case against open-ended KPI definition sessions (vague goals, persuasion contests, and shallow levels of detail).

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Santa, These Are the Droids You're Looking For

Dec 21, 2017 4:54:33 PM / by Adam Nathan posted in Thought Leader, Actionable Insights, Strategy, Value & Friction

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Amazon's Squat Little Robots

Right now, at an Amazon fulfillment center near you, squat little robots are carrying your holiday presents like elves.

They are moving about on a grid, making way for other robots along small highways. When they get to their warehouse quarry, they spin beneath the target totes like barbershop chairs, lifting entire stacks of shelves.

Once these bins of products are mounted on their powerful torsos, they glide back across the warehouse and into a queue of other robots waiting for their turn with a human. The human reaches the length of their arm, grabs one of your presents, and blisterpacks it into a cardboard box.

Right now this is happening. Hundreds of thousands of items.

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CEO Playbook - A Tale of Two Lemonade Stands

Dec 16, 2017 2:57:05 PM / by Adam Nathan posted in CEO, Strategy, Business Model

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As your company's CEO, you are the chief strategist, designer and evangelist for your business model. The clarity you create around your target customer, your value proposition and the differentiated activities your organization delivers is critical.

If your business model isn't clear - or even defined - then you’re not ready for an investment in an analytics strategy. Put down your checkbook, and Don't Pass Go.

How can you gut check whether your business model is ready? This article contains some key questions and a relatable anecdote about two lemonade stands that should start you on your way.
 
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Actionable Insights: Michael E. Porter on Business Strategy

Dec 16, 2017 11:18:39 AM / by Adam Nathan posted in Actionable Insights, CEO

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An actionable insight from Michael E. Porter's seminal work on business strategy. He makes a salient point about defining what's "out of scope" as one of the 5 keys to strategic success. Essentially, when you try to do everything, you do nothing.

One of Porter's five tests on what strategy is includes the directive to understand trade-offs and choose what not to do. If you own your company's business strategy, then the must-read Harvard Busines Review "What Is Strategy" can be found here. This is a long form collection of articles, but the included callout summaries get at the heart of his thinking.

If you're not familiar with his work, Michael E. Porter was awarded Harvard's highest academic distinction for his contributions to strategic thinking.

How it relates to our The Bartlett System approach lies within the Business Model section at the top of the diagram below (and, critically, drives everything below it.)

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7 Troubling Signs Your CEO is AWOL on Analytics

Dec 2, 2017 7:51:39 AM / by Adam Nathan posted in CEO, KPI, Strategy

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As a CEO, it is more than likely you are under increasing pressure to demonstrate a tangible return on your analytics strategy. But for many CEOs, the ROI on data has been elusive.

Data scientists are hired, resources invested in analytics software, and data warehouses built and rebuilt again. And even though your leadership team can't quantify the bottom-line on the last set of investments - they urgently need budget for a new round.

Budget for Tableau. For AWS. For a data lake. For machine learning training. 

It's frustrating and uncertain. But here's the thing:

Some of these challenges actually start at the top, and as CEO you have the power to fix them.

Here's a quick look at 7 troubling indicators that may indicate you're part of the problem.

 

 

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Actionable Insights: Bill Schmarzo on Challenge of AI

Nov 29, 2017 10:18:22 AM / by Adam Nathan posted in Actionable Insights, CEO

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An actionable insight: in a stunning uptick in AI, CEOs mentioned 'artificial intelligence' in 3rd quarter earnings calls over half the time. Bill Schmarzo, Dell's "Dean of Big Data" writes there's no challenge for CEOs interested in identifying opportunities for Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Deep Learning. There are significant challenges...

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Actionable Insights: The Top 4 Ways Zara Changed Fashion Forever

Nov 22, 2017 10:54:27 AM / by Adam Nathan posted in Actionable Insights

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Talk about actionable insights!

Zara is the envy of its competitors. The company spends virtually nothing on advertising. Their products rarely go on sale, and their typical customer visits an astonishing 17 times a year.

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"It is a big data business model that briefly made its founder the richest man in the world"
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Actionable Insights: Forrester on 'Analytics to Action'

Nov 17, 2017 10:40:58 AM / by Adam Nathan posted in Actionable Insights

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Actionable Insights from Forrester on the challenge of converting data into ROI. The numbers are scary. Despite the major investments companies are placing in big data, the returns still aren't there for CEOs. 
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