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Tech for Tomorrow

Doug Mow

Who is the CIO (Chief Innovation Officer)?

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We've debated and posted on social, BPM, enterprise 2.0, mobile, Google and the iPhone quite a bit lately. And, some of us have commented that all these technologies don't amount to much without an application that leverages the platforms. So, whose job is it to conceive of the advanced applications that leverage social, BPM, mobile and all the other cool technologies we have?

Take the new mobile phone dual lens video technology; one camera in the front and one in the back to support video conferencing. The Apple ads do a great job of presenting lifestyle applications like the father and son talking about the newborn baby. Their ability to portray compelling applications without uttering tech speak leads the industry. What about commercial applications? Who thinks of those?

For example, telemedicine. Two years ago I had a short bout with shingles. Shingles causes your skin to become discolored and scaly and is painful to the touch. I noticed the discoloration and called my doctor as I was leaving for a ten day trip to Europe the next morning. He squeezed me in. He knew my condition as soon as he walked through the door and wrote me a prescription that would clear it up in five days. He told me if I had waited two more days I would have been out for several weeks. If he hadn't been able to see me, my trip would have been a disaster.

Enter mobile telemedicine with video conferencing. With such instant recognition he could have easily diagnosed my condition through a 5 MB lens. Emergency appointments would be easier to schedule. Contagious patients could stay home.

"Move the camera a little more to the right. Where else is it? Show me. Is that red or purple? Does it hurt when you touch it? You have shingles. I'm going to send a prescription to your local pharmacy with pictures from this video. The pharmacist will have it delivered to your house. And, by the way, you're not getting on an airplane for two weeks."

Not all innovations involve slick technologies in the hands of customers. Nordstrom has experienced significant improvements in their key performance metrics. Their innovation? Display inventory from their web warehouse AND stores on their internet site. As a result, their inventory turnover reached a five-year high. In eleven months of roll out same store sales increased an average of eight percent. For the prior eleven months same store sales declined an average of 11.9 percent. (NY Times, August 13, 2010). The web site capability undoubtedly linked in store inventory systems with the web site for real time updates. What seems like a relatively simple task had a large impact on results.

Example number three is a little more topical for us and involves enterprise content management and web content management. A cable television station reviewed its web site and found that it did not evolve to stay consistent with the maturing brand image of the station. It also did not support streaming video, especially of HD content, did not leverage any social media capabilities and lacked integration with even the most obvious basic web links like Google maps.

After an innovation exercise completely revamped the site, overall traffic (measured in page hits/day) increased three hundred percent over the first four to five months. Stickiness (measure in minutes/visit), increased thirty percent and ad sales rose twenty five percent. Internally, it now takes thirty five percent less time to create and post content. The site now leverages YouTube for video streaming which enables it to take advantage of sharing and linking. The project was a joint effort between the marketing team and the IT team but the marketing team led the project.

Recently, Ann All and Adam Deane both posted on the topic of who should lead BPM projects? So, my question is, who leads innovation projects?

Doug Mow blogs from a business executive's perspective about IT trends, tech news and life in the trenches of an Enterprise 2.0 transformation.

Doug Mow

#CMO of Courion Corporation responsible for all branding, communications, messaging, online and offline marketing. Courion is the leading provider of access management tools that provide maximum access to corporate IT assets with minimal risk.

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