How Smart, Connected Products Are Transforming Competition

Information technology is revolutionizing products, from appliances to cars to mining equipment. Products once composed solely of mechanical and electrical parts have become complex systems combining hardware, sensors, electronics, and software that connect through the internet in myriad ways. These “smart, connected products” offer exponentially expanding opportunities for new functionality, far greater reliability, and capabilities that cut across and transcend traditional product boundaries.

The Future and How to Survive It

Since 1980 global corporate profits have grown at an unprecedented pace, increasing their share of global GDP by 30%. North American and Western European multinationals have been the biggest beneficiaries, capturing more than half of corporate profits by leveraging their scale and exploiting unprecedented opportunities for reducing costs.
This remarkable era is now coming to an end. Growth is slowing, costs are rising, and new rivals from emerging economies and from the technology sector are changing the rules of the game.

Customer Data: Designing for Transparency and Trust

With the help of technology, companies today sweep up huge amounts of customer data. But they tend to be opaque about the information they collect and often resell, which leaves their customers feeling uneasy.
In this article, authors Morey, Forbath, and Schoop share the results of a survey of 900 people across five countries, which looked at attitudes about data privacy and security. It examined what people knew about the information trails they leave online, which organizations they did—and did not—trust with their data, and which data they valued the most.

Contextual Intelligence

The author, a strategy and international-business professor at Harvard Business School, has come to a conclusion that may surprise you: Trying to apply management practices uniformly across geographies is a fool’s errand. Best practices simply don’t travel well across borders. That’s because conditions not just of economic development but of institutional maturity, educational norms, language, and culture vary enormously from place to place.

Creating a Culture of Quality

In most industries, quality has never mattered more. New technologies have empowered customers to seek out and compare an endless array of products from around the globe. And when customers are unhappy with a product or service, they can use social media to broadcast their displeasure.
Managers must find a new approach to quality—one that moves beyond the traditional “total quality management” tools of the past quarter century. CEB has conducted research exploring how companies can create a culture in which employees “live” quality in all their actions—where they are passionate about quality as a personal value rather than simply obeying an edict from on high.