It’s Time to Think About Christmas…

We look at those Christmas Parties that actually make sense…

Actually – frankly speaking – there aren’t many. I would like to say that Christmas for all and everyone is a spirit of goodwill to all men, a time of renewal and friendship. And I would be wrong. For most companies, the annual “Christmas Party” is the minefield of alcohol bad taste, political scheming that rivals Machiavelli in his prime, and moments of deep despair that hit those who awake the next morning, and wonder – “did I really say that to Sophie in Accounts”?

No wonder that so many Trade Associations in Paris prefer to have their annual “Soirée”, in the middle of June. At least when you wake up the next day, you can disappear on vacation down to Chatelaillon. Hopefully it will all be forgotten by the time you get back for the Rentree.

And then there is COSSIOM – whose annual “Get-together” is the model of what business events should be, and where aspiration of actually enjoying oneself – is merged with business networking, for people who know about business networking.

How so?

Because COSSIOM understands that the driver of its flagship event – is business, not hospitality. That people in the Data world that it brings together, – as much as one always likes a glass of champagne – rarely have time to enjoy said glass of champagne. Life is already too stressed. COSSIOM is a soirée for people that value the individual minutes of their day enough to know that the chance discussion, the accidental meeting, that the COSSIOM event delivers, are as valuable as the specific meeting of old and goods friends and clients that have been fostered over the past year.
For that reason, COSSIOM every November has no need to market itself itself as a “business event”. Their website and invitation just says; “Hey guys, just come along!” The people who do “come along”, already know the rules of the game.

Which means that COSSIOM can reach out from the large corporate environment that is its core – to use its Soirée to benefit charity. It is a time of practical giving-back, as well as a random evening of receiving.
As I mentioned somewhere earlier – this is about Goodwill to All Men. What’s there not to love?

Happy Christmas!

Time for Digital Transformation. We look at the new Report from Logicalis.

NEW YORK, November 15, 2017 –

Just a year after we published our own assessment that the CIO remains the biggest barrier to corporate improvement, we have received the following from the Logicalis company. According to the results of their new  global survey, CIOs around the globe are more determined than ever to achieve digital transformation within their organizations despite setbacks experienced over the past year. Logicalis is an international IT solutions and managed services provider (www.us.logicalis.com) and is making the survey results available online at their  website. You can ownload a copy of the 2017/2018 Logicalis Global CIO Survey here: http://ow.ly/jVfZ30gzqws.

And what they conclude, is this:

The survey, which polled 890 CIOs across 23 countries, unearthed surprising findings this year. Although CIOs are determined to achieve digital transformation, optimism about their strides toward success has waned over the last 12 months. While only 11 percent report their organizations have “no desire” for transformation, those that ideologically embrace digital transformation have made only minimal advancements to date:

* Just 5 percent classify their organizations as “digital innovators,” down from 6 percent in last year’s survey.
* Fewer CIOs (19 percent) see their organizations as early adopters today, a step back from last year’s 22 percent.
* However, the proportion of CIOs that characterize themselves as part of an early majority with digital transformation rose from 45 percent last year to 49 percent this year, illustrating that, despite difficulties, IT leaders are moving ahead with digital transformation plans.

The main barriers to delivering digital transformation, CIOs say, include complexity, cost, culture, skills and security issues. Notably, 44 percent of CIOs cite the complexity of legacy technology as their top obstacle, while 50 percent point to cost, 56 percent name organizational culture as their largest issue, 34 percent say it’s a lack of skills, and 32 percent identify security as their biggest hurdle.

Far from discouraged, CIOs around the world have big plans for overcoming these digital transformation barriers:
*51 percent say they plan to replace and/or adapt existing infrastructure.
*51 percent plan to attempt culture change within their organizations.
*38 percent will address skills shortages through increased training and development.
*31 percent expect to invest in extra security capabilities.

“The way businesses view technology is undergoing an exciting yet fundamental shift,” says Vince DeLuca, CEO of Logicalis US. “The goal behind technology is no longer simply about implementing and managing tools that enable people to do their jobs. In a digitally transformed enterprise, it’s about giving people access to the information they need to fuel business agility and growth and to empower collaboration that will create business models no one has yet imagined. Digital transformation is the foundation upon which this new way of doing business will be built, and as this year’s Global CIO Survey indicates, IT leaders around the world not only recognize this, but they are determined to provide the platform their organizations need to embrace the change that is to come.”

Why is friendship so difficult?

We look at why do your European friends desert you when you need them most?

There’s this girl I know, she found me on Facebook. I don’t know why. She invites me to be her « friend ». I don’t have a problem with that, so sure, I say, why not. Who are you? Tell you what, (I say) – give me your phone number and we can have a chat.

“No, sorry, (she says) – I only give my number to my friends.“

My colleague in Vilnius Lithuania, is connected. A very smart guy. He calls me and says, « you know what I am hearing Richard? The rumours here are that the local EU people are aiming to make it as hard as possible for the UK to leave the EU with anything much – a sort of deterrent to stop any other countries from following suit. ».

This is not alas the first time we have heard these stories. So, at a time when British troops and planes are currently defending the space of all of the Baltic States – and are committed to continue – what is it about friendship that can be so one-sided? True friendship is a rare thing.

The problem is this. If your « friends » do not support you when you are down – and the UK is in a « down » place at the moment – then what was the point of the relationship in the first place? And it is self perpetuating, because it means that for people like me – who voted absolutely to Remain in our fateful Referendum, and who was not taken in by the lies and total myopia of our Leave cousins – I am now – dare I say these awful words, wash your mouth out Richard – thinking; hey, maybe we are indeed better off out of this Club. They can keep their ball. We don’t want to play any more.

And then you start to think.

The UK culture is at its best when we are in a tight spot. We are an island mentality. Somehow or other, against all the odds (goes the romantic story…)… we somehow survive and keep the home fires burning. We love it when life is unfair. It offends our innate tolerance and sense of fairplay. You don’t need any more motivation that this.

And for sure, the good people of Scotland have already worked out they will sell gallons more whisky if they don’t have to abide by EU rules. And down in Devon/Cornwall, our fishermen and farmers are similarly upbeat. Somehow or other, we have generated a revenue stream that provides for all of us, with quality of life, and that remains a Mecca for immigrants who prefer to set up camp at Calais rather than stop en route a Lille or the tech hubs of Valenciennes nearby.

Which makes me suggest that the guys who do the currency exchange forecasts etc, have got it rather wrong. Now is a great time to invest in the UK, as this is the very time we take off our jacket and actually do some work.

But it is also a strategic time for the colleagues of the EU to reconsider their approach. Your « friend » will have a much bigger chance of coming back, in prodigal son style, if you support them when they leave. And make no mistake, the EU needs Uk money for its grandiose schemes. In the same way that you and I will never shop again at the store that refuses us a refund – so at the end of a hostile Brexit, there is fat chance of us ever wanting to to get back into a relationship with these robbers who have stolen our ball.

That would be a pity for all of us – but then again, it might not. True friendship is a rare thing. In the words of that great Corrs song – Maybe we never liked them anyway.

————

 

American View of the World

We look at the misunderstanding of Western Media towards the Trump Presidency.

I am having breakfast in an airport hotel just outside Hartfield Atlanta airport, and the middle aged man a few seats away, leans over and offers his hand.

“Hi, I’m Dave”. He says; he is one of the many Delta pilots who regularly stay at this hotel – their Training Centre is just a few blocks away. And we start talking. The man is clearly educated, middle class, and well travelled. And then he says something strategic; “it is not what Trump is doing, that is bad – it is his delivery”.

And we open along discussion that goes way beyond the waffles and bacon and eggs. We explore every avenue of American life, and how our civilised media, whilst routinely criticising Trump, is missing the essential point that, Trump America is not divided into blue collar rose coloured spectacled workers who long for the good old days, – and the liberal educated white collared Managers on the other. Trump America has its fare share of ordinary people who are looking at what Trump is doing for Americans if not America.

I am sitting on my premium seat from JFK back to London and next to me, my middle aged American offers his hand. He is a financial adviser for a large Bank. And he says; “you know, our medical situation with Obamacare, is so messed up”. Taking each issue in turn – we have six hours to spend – what he says is an enlightenment:

North Korea – America has for twenty years been trying to be the “nice guy”; and it has been misread as a sign of weakness. Trump is the first President to get bombastic and actually do something about it, or give that impression. His speech to the UN was “the best this man has heard”.
Nato Support; – Trump was right to ask Europeans to pay their fair contribution. And my colleague has a point – many European States have grown used to the idea that the rich nations of the world owe them a living.

Immigration – why can’t we have immigrants who apply to settle, in the normal way? My colleague recounts the story of his father in law, who himself fled from Cuba, and waited in line etc, to go through the proper channels. And on we go…

There are various counter arguments to all of this, of course, but the single biggest issue that will conceivably bring down the Trump presidency, is completely missing from my colleague’s philosophy. The Russian connection and Trump does not have any real significance in either of my new friends’ way of seeing things, and the threat to the US democracy and freedom of values and truth, does not figure for them.

How so?

Because Russia is not on their doorstep, and because the USA essentially is a nationalistic mentality, that looks after the rest of us because it sort of has a moral responsibility rather than any absolute obligation. The conspiracy theories that we are well aware of, and believe are true, in our European society, and that US Media bang on about – are simply not getting through to the average and even many levels of the general middle classes of the USA.

So, what to do?

The answer is to keep on portraying the balanced view that we have become used to in Europe, and to include the USA in discussions. We on this side of the Atlantic are far more European than American, but their friendship and levels of reaching out, are the best in the world. As my colleague in Atlanta says; “Welcome to good ol’. Southern Hospitality!”

 

Friendship is a Wonderful Thing

We look at the English National Opera friendship programme, and ask; why did it take us so long to find this?

As concepts go, – friendship is a valued treasure. Apparently, we only have no more than five “real” friends, in our entire life. The people that put up with us, the people where we feel comfortable. It’s an overused term.

There was this girl I used to know, who wanted me to become her “friend” on Facebook. Why sure – I said – tell you what; “ “give me your number and we can have a chat”. “Oh no”, she said; “I only give my number to my friends”.

You could say that friendship, is hard to find. In that case, the ENO Friends Programme, ticks that box. It takes at least six clicks to even start the process of becoming a Member, and that’s assuming you actually know where to start.

But when you get there – it is the best value for money we have found in London. Nowhere else can you have a face to face chat with a West End star, listen to them talk about their work, and get a glass of wine, for no more than a few quid.

It’s an irony because Opera per se has an image of being elitist and rarefied – and yet here I am sitting in my jeans, with other people who are both elegantly dressed and equally laid-back, and we talk and share experience because we value the opportunity to share that experience. It is part of the ENO philosophy of reaching out across cultural boundaries, but it does so in a non-political way. If you value what it does, then you will take the trouble to find it.

The ENO Friends Programme in essence is a meeting of minds. Who needs Facebook anyway?

ISSUES AND COMPLEXITIES OF DATA MANAGEMENT IN THE FINANCIAL MARKET

We report on the latest success story from the IQPC company, and how to deliver a Conference that actually works.

Generally speaking – we are a polite society. True, we all have our moments, but again, generally speaking, if we have not the greatest meal at our chosen restaurant, then we will not give a hard time to the waiter. We will just not go back. Restaurants that develop a reputation for being reliable, always, somehow, delivering the ambience as well as the food – keep us coming back.

IQPC do not do restaurants. But they do have the “secret sauce”, the ambience from the moment you descend the stairs into the meetings areas, to the ease of engagement into groups of like minded professionals.

Because the fact is, if you are a strategic decision-maker in a financial market, these focussed events need to deliver; they are your one time to engage and share with your peers. And they need to get it right.

This latest IQPC Conference, at the Pestana Chelsea hotel just by the Thames, – in a whole series of their Data Analytics events , brought together some of the financial markets leading voices and contributors, from across the UK and Europe, who were relaxed enough to share and to receive, the do’s and don’ts of how to manage your data process in a complex world, that you will never get from browsing the marketing material of the vendor website.

This Conference was a sharing experience; vendors were not selling, they were explaining; delegates were listening and contributing. Topics ranged from the essentials of how to manage the data you actually have, which still remains the key issue for most corporates – through to the modern topics of Money Laundering, how to recognise it, bow to stop it.

But what was most insightful, was that the need of delegates had already moved on from GDPR as the sole topic of interest. As such, an IQPC Conference remains the benchmark of how to do business events that deliver.

We found the round-table break-outs the most insightful, not just from the commentaries and points made, but from the levelling of opportunity, the facility for everyone, from whatever level of knowledge to make a contribution, to be involved.

This was a Conference that was looking forward, a focussed two day event, that never lost sight of its objective, to give the Delegate the framework of information that they otherwise would not obtain.

Sure, IQPC don’t do restaurants. But they do great Take Aways.

How To Communicate with your Market

We take a moment to say why we started doing Video Interviews all those years ago…

It is one thing writing Editorial and Blog articles – and hoping that you as Readers will, – well, go read, if you will… But it is quite another maximising the time that we have in front of you as a reader, to ensure that you truly engage with us, and the points we are trying to make.

Everybody wants everyone to notice and read their material. But what we found all those years ago in Orlando USA – was that even six years ago when we started – there is just so much “content” out there, to read, that people no longer have the time to read.

We found that people prefer to engage, with other people.

In our Youtube video, we explain how this process works, why it is so important to focus on clear benefits, get to the point, – and why letting us write your material, but training you to deliver it, is natural and gets your customer attention.

Go visit; https://youtu.be/GKnFAiHHKaA.

Thanks for taking a few moments away, and for reading this small note.  Now back to work…..