Category Archives: decision making

How Do Companies Learn Your Secrets

Description: Andrew Pole had just started working as a statistician for Target in 2002, when two colleagues from the marketing department stopped by his desk to ask an odd question: “If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do that? ”

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Feb 6, 2012

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The desire to collect information on customers is not new for Target or any other large retailer, of course. For decades, Target has collected vast amounts of data on every person who regularly walks into one of its stores. Whenever possible, Target assigns each shopper a unique code — known internally as the Guest ID number — that keeps tabs on everything they buy. “If you use a credit card or a coupon, or fill out a survey, or mail in a refund, or call the customer help line, or open an e-mail we’ve sent you or visit our Web site, we’ll record it and link it to your Guest ID,” Pole said. “We want to know everything we can.”

Also linked to your Guest ID is demographic information like your age, whether you are married and have kids, which part of town you live in, how long it takes you to drive to the store, your estimated salary, whether you’ve moved recently, what credit cards you carry in your wallet and what Web sites you visit. Target can buy data about your ethnicity, job history, the magazines you read, if you’ve ever declared bankruptcy or got divorced, the year you bought (or lost) your house, where you went to college, what kinds of topics you talk about online, whether you prefer certain brands of coffee, paper towels, cereal or applesauce, your political leanings, reading habits, charitable giving and the number of cars you own.    READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1. Reflecting on this article, does ther ever come a time when you feel there is too much data out in the public sphere about you?  Why or Why not?

2.  What are some applications of this BIG DATA technology that you would find exciting as a manager of a business?

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Hoteliers Comb the Ranks of IT Workers to Gain an Edge

Description:The front desk manager or housekeeper may epitomize the hotel employee, but the hospitality industry is increasingly dependent on tech workers, vacuuming data scientists, web designers and other experts into its ranks.

Source: NYTIMES.com

Date: Feb 13, 2017

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While many college students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math are attracted to the household-name tech companies in Seattle and Silicon Valley, Mr. Leidinger says he tells them, “If you’re really into technology, there’s a revolution happening in hospitality,” and as part of a smaller team, “you can drive, innovate and take ownership.”

One project for Hilton tech employees is keyless entry, which allows guests to use their phones instead of plastic key cards to unlock room doors. Of Hilton’s 4,800 hotels, 750 now offer keyless entry, and the company hopes to install the service in 2,500 hotels by the end of this year.

There are also technical job openings at the hotel level, where employees at individual properties manage social media, on-site Wi-Fi and the integration of systems like retail, parking and food sales.

 READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1.While hotel chains say that automating processes like check-in frees their employees to interact in other ways with guests, the use of technology also allows the hotel to hire fewer people.  Do you feel this is a positive thing?  Why or Why not?

 

IBM Gives Watson a New Challenge: Your Tax Return

Description:  In its first steps toward commercialization, IBM’s Watson took on grand, science-laden challenges like helping doctors diagnose cancer. But that is changing as IBM strives to build its artificial intelligence technology into a multibillion-dollar business.

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Feb 1, 2017

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Today, companies including Geico, Staples and Macy’s are adding the Watson technology to answer customer questions or to improve mobile apps that guide shoppers through stores.

Now in its broadest deployment so far, Watson will be assisting H&R Block’s 70,000 tax professionals this filing season at 10,000 branch offices across the country, where 11 million people file taxes.

The H&R Block partnership with Watson, announced on Wednesday, is being presented to a wider audience with a 60-second television ad during the Super Bowl on Sunday.

For IBM, the collaboration with H&R Block underlines its strategy in the emerging market for artificial intelligence technology. Watson will touch consumers, but through IBM’s corporate clients.

READ REST OF STORY

 

 Questions for discussion:

1. Do you feel that that IBM’s strategy of using Watson’s AI to touch corporate clients and not consumers will succeed?  Why or Why not?

2.  What are some applications of Watson AI that you would find exciting as a manager of a business?

5 Tech Trends That Will Change How We Work Forever

Description: To you and me, the transformation seems gradual. Your business acquires more sophisticated tools, walls begin to disappear and fax machines vanish.

Source: Inc.com

Date:May 27. 2016
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First, your workforce trades in their pressed suits for business casual khakis, then jeans and, now, occasionally even shorts. On any given workday, only about two-thirds of your team is working in the office. The change is steady, like most sustainable paradigm shifts.

But imagine for a moment plucking your grandfather out of his mid-century office and dropping him in the middle of an ultramodern workspace. Would he even know he was at work? Would he recognize anything? Or would he spend hours searching for his Rolodex, typewriter and carbon paper?  read rest of story

Questions:
1.  What do you feel are the two most important trends?  Why?

2.  How do theses trends relate to the income statement paradigm that was discussed in class?

Internet of Things Changes Almost Everything

Description: Currently in the business world we are witnessing something like the epic collision of two galaxies — a rapid convergence of two very unlike systems that will cause the elements of both to realign. It’s all thanks to the Internet of Things.

Source: Harvard Business Review

Date: May 7, 2013

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If you are not familiar with the term, the Internet of Things refers to a dramatic development in the internet’s function: the fact that, even more than among people, it now enables communication among physical objects. By 2015, according to my own firm’s projections, not only will 75 percent of the world’s population have access to the internet. So will some six billion devices. The fact that there will be a global system of interconnected computer networks, sensors, actuators, and devices all using the internet protocol holds so much potential to change our lives that it is often referred to as the internet’s next generation.
For managers, this development creates challenges both long-term and urgent. They need to envision the valuable new offerings that become possible when the physical world is merged with the virtual world and potentially every physical object can be both intelligent and networked. And, starting now, they must create the organizations and web-based business models that can turn these ideas into reality.  READ REST OF STORY

Questions for discussion:
1. What is the INTERNET of THINGS and why is it important?
2. List some market technologies that you see around you that are part of this INTERNET of Things

The Real Threat Posed by Powerful Computers

Description: Elon Musk called artificial intelligence “our greatest existential threat,” and equated making machines that think with “summoning the demon.”

Source: http://www.nytimes.com

Date: July 11, 2015

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But if the human race is at peril from killer robots, the problem is probably not artificial intelligence. It is more likely to be artificial stupidity. The difference between those two ideas says much about how we think about computers.

In the kind of artificial intelligence, or A.I., that most people seem to worry about, computers decide people are a bad idea, so they kill them. That is undeniably bad for the human race, but it is a potentially smart move by the computers.    Read Rest of Story

Questions for discussion:

1.Should ethical standards be put in place before we allow industry to develop A.I. any further? Why or Why Not??

2. What benefits can you see with using A.I. as a company?

3.  If your company decided on a tactic of using A.I.  would it give your firm a competitive advantage?  Explain why or why not?

 

Internet of Things Changes Almost Everything

Description: Currently in the business world we are witnessing something like the epic collision of two galaxies — a rapid convergence of two very unlike systems that will cause the elements of both to realign. It’s all thanks to the Internet of Things.

Source: Harvard Business Review

Date: May 7, 2013

internet_of_things-578-80

If you are not familiar with the term, the Internet of Things refers to a dramatic development in the internet’s function: the fact that, even more than among people, it now enables communication among physical objects. By 2015, according to my own firm’s projections, not only will 75 percent of the world’s population have access to the internet. So will some six billion devices. The fact that there will be a global system of interconnected computer networks, sensors, actuators, and devices all using the internet protocol holds so much potential to change our lives that it is often referred to as the internet’s next generation.
For managers, this development creates challenges both long-term and urgent. They need to envision the valuable new offerings that become possible when the physical world is merged with the virtual world and potentially every physical object can be both intelligent and networked. And, starting now, they must create the organizations and web-based business models that can turn these ideas into reality.  READ REST OF STORY

Questions for discussion:
1. What is the INTERNET of THINGS and why is it important?
2. List some market technologies that you see around you that are part of this INTERNET of Things.