Executive Update

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Find analysis of data from Cutter's ongoing industry research efforts, brief treatments of topics that don't require the in-depth research of an Executive Report, updates on previously-covered topics, and more, in 2-4 page Executive Updates.

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Bill Ulrich

The Cognitive Enterprise: Envisioning the Business of the Future

William Ulrich

There is a wealth of evolving business and IT strategies, disciplines, and technologies, but many of these concepts are technology-driven and lack a unifying vision. The cognitive enterprise, on the other hand, offers a business-driven vision for organizations where technology is merely a means to an end. This Executive Update outlines the purpose of the cognitive enterprise, its two fundamental underlying concepts, common scenarios that manifest within a cognitive enterprise, and how to position organizations to achieve this vision.

Agile path

An Agile Path Leads to Breakthrough Product Innovation

Ben Thuriaux, Prashanth Prasad, Chandler Hatton

In this Executive Update, we look at how non-software, product–based companies can successfully embrace Agile — and non-Agile — methods in a complementary way.

Vince Kellen

Statistical Project Management, Part VI: The Nature of the Project

Vince Kellen

In Part VI of this Executive Update series on statistical project management, we look at the “nature” of the project and its role as the firm’s “working memory.”

Curt Hall

CX Management in the Enterprise, Part III: Benefits Sought from CX Adoption

Curt Hall

In Part III of this Executive Update series on customer experience (CX) management in the enterprise, we examine findings pertaining to the benefits organizations hope to obtain from implementing CX practices and technologies.


FDIC 370: The Challenges Banks Face

Aditya Lal

The “Recordkeeping for Timely Deposit Insurance Determination” rule from the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), or FDIC 370, seems simple but, as we explore in this Executive Update,  it presents several challenges for covered institutions (CIs).


The Solution Focus Path to Business Agility

Maurice Hagar

Ninety-two percent of executives say agility is critical for the future of their business, yet only 4% of their transformation efforts are delivering agility. The leading causes for this gap are an entrenched legacy culture and general resistance to change. Responding to these challenges and delivering business agility may require more than Agile practices. As we explore in this Executive Update, many organizations are discovering “solution focus” to be the missing piece of their transformation puzzle.

customer service

CX Management in the Enterprise, Part II: Budgeting for Initiatives and the Rise of the CCO

Curt Hall

Here in Part II of this Executive Update series on customer experience (CX) management, we look at survey findings covering budgeting trends for CX initiatives and the status of the “chief customer officer” (CCO) in the enterprise.


Dissent and the Art of “Hype-Cycle” Maintenance

Barry OReilly

Continuous dissent is necessary and extremely valuable — but also incredibly tough for the architect to participate in. This Executive Update seeks to find a balance that allows architects to engage in dissent while preserving their careers — and their sanity.


Big Data and NoSQL: Business Opportunities Beyond Storage and Retrieval

Bhuvan Unhelkar

Understanding data storage requires under­standing data. Data sources, data types, storage sophistication, the structure and format associated with data, volume and velocity, meaningful processing, and, eventually, presentation of the results are all aspects of understanding data. Coupled with security, privacy, and quality, these factors play a pivotal role in delivering business value. This Executive Update investigates the relevance of NoSQL databases in providing business value.


Agile Approach to Designing for Consequences

Samantha Brown, Rachel Coldicutt

This Executive Update introduces a timely, new Agile event: consequence scanning. This event fits into an iterative development cadence and allows organizations to consider the potential consequences of what is being built — early and often. We explain the need to embed proactive and dedicated consideration of potential consequences within an organization’s product development and outline how best to do it with consequence scanning.

Vince Kellen

Statistical Project Management, Part V: Detecting Staff Overload Using the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index

Vince Kellen

Here in Part V of an Executive Update series on statistical project management, we explore a common metric used in economics and market analysis: the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI).

Curt Hall

CX Management in the Enterprise, Part I: Current Status

Curt Hall

To meet increasingly elevated customer expectations, organizations are implementing detailed strategies for distributing customer experience (CX) practices across the organization. This includes defining and standardizing the “customer journey” across various channels in order to strengthen their brand, increase customer loyalty, reduce costs, make better use of customer feedback, and so on. Organizations are also investing in leading technologies designed to enhance CX, regardless of which channels customers choose to engage with them.

Whynde Kuehn

Visual Business Architecture: Approaching the Discipline Differently

Whynde Kuehn

The need for business architecture in organizations has never been greater than it is today, as we must continually sense and respond to opportunity and change, both of which abound. Though the business architecture discipline continues to gain traction at an ever-increasing pace, how we practice it is critical for its adoption and effectiveness. This Executive Update provides an overview of the importance of using visual techniques as part of a business architecture practice and highlights three aspects: visual design, graphic recording and facilitation, and storytelling.


5 Scenarios for Addressing Agile’s Cognitive Dissonance in Large, Non-Software Companies

Catherine Louis, Karen Smiley

Large, non-software companies introducing Agile to their organizations tend to suffer from a cognitive dissonance of sorts: we would like to have the same look and feel across the entire company, delivering stellar-quality products, yet we want to enable high-performing, self-organizing, self-managed, and self-empowered teams to deliver (or demo) at the end of each sprint. This Executive Update summarizes five key scenarios in which this cognitive dissonance becomes especially evident for large companies, particularly with non-software teams.

growth chart

Statistical Project Management, Part IV: Reflections on Project Growth

Vince Kellen

In statistical project management (SPM), we simplify the project management approach by eliminating many concepts that the dominant project management methodologies consider central. While I caution you to err to the side of adopting a lighter methodology rather than a thicker one, that choice is a local one and yours to make. The SPM ontology provides you with options. Here in Part IV, we examine how projects grow.


Best Practices in Portfolio Management

Ben Thuriaux, Nils Bohlin

Portfolio management plays a critical role in R&D management, as it structures a strategic process that allows management and R&D to make joint decisions that impact the range of R&D projects in the development funnel. The pooling of insights drives better decisions on the allocation of scarce technical resources based on the needs of the business and its capabilities. Portfolio management creates a dynamic capability to react purposefully to changes in the market, whether strategic, technological, or competitive. This requires clearly articulated projects that can link back to corporate strategy.


Agile Is Never “Done”: Sustaining the Pursuit of Agility Through HR

Taralee Brady

As companies evolve through the stages of increasing agility, the work of HR changes as well. At each stage, there are new priorities and new hurdles that should be both expected and managed.

resource management

Resource & Competence Management: Your Most Valuable Asset in R&D

Ben Thuriaux, Charles Boulton

The ever-increasing pace of technology development and the emerging requirements for new cross-disciplinary competencies, especially in converging industries, place increasing demands on resource and competence management in R&D. If companies fail to develop, or target the wrong areas, consequences can be significant — and it can be difficult to recover. In this Executive Update, we examine a recent survey of large organizations worldwide on R&D best practices that shows how some leading companies are rising to the R&D challenge by developing resilience in their resourcing plans to avoid bottle­necks, taking a long-term view on required future competencies, and putting plans in place to develop competencies, often with external partners.


A Purpose-Driven Approach to Innovation for Aligning Global R&D

Vincent Bamberger, Florent Nanse, Ben Thuriaux, Michael Kolk, Richard Eagar

In this Executive Update, we look at a purpose-driven approach to innovation that large global companies can successfully apply.


What I Learned About Agility from a Construction Company

Dan Rawsthorne, Trai Tollett

From the moment a work crew from STS Construction (STS) showed up at my house until the whole project was finished almost a year later, I witnessed and participated in some of the best Scrum I have seen. Even though STS had never heard of Scrum and would not have known what the term meant, the company had come up with a way of working that was Scrum. Not only was I impressed by the tactical scrum onsite, but when I learned how STS did its project management and scheduling, I was equally impressed by its strategic scrum working habits. This Executive Update discusses the primary Scrum patterns and practices I saw in STS’s work that helped make our home remodel a success. (Not a client? For a limited time, you can download your complimentary copy here.)


The Synthetic Data Paradigm for Using and Sharing Data

Khaled Emam, Richard Hoptroff

Synthetic data provides a privacy protective mechanism to broadly use and share data for secondary purposes. Using and sharing data for secondary purposes can facilitate innovative big data initiatives and partnerships to develop novel analytics solutions. This Executive Update provides an overview of the use cases for synthetic data, how to generate synthetic data, and some legal considerations associated with synthetic data’s use.


Breakthrough Innovation: Conquering Ideation Challenges

Ben Thuriaux, Frederik vanOene

We are entering an era that will demand unheralded levels of creativity because companies will need to constantly innovate and reinvent themselves to succeed in their search for growth and margins. Some leading companies are rising to the occasion by launching time-limited ideation challenges for key strategic issues and then instituting a dedicated process to enrich and select winning ideas. To sup­port this initiative, senior leaders must devote a significant amount of time to ideation and be fully involved from start to finish in the ideation process. Innovation leaders must also prevent excessive “infant mortality” of radical ideas and ringfence resources to maintain a balanced R&D portfolio. 

Vince Kellen

Statistical Project Management, Part III: Object Difficulty

Vince Kellen

In my years of implementing SPM across different teams and organizations, the notion of an object can be distressing. Unlike its sibling hierarchy, phases, the object concept is not well understood or even implemented much of anywhere in other project methodologies, setting aside enterprise architecture methodologies, which often model objects more extensively. IT people accept the idea of a project phase without question. When confronted with the notion of an object, however, the apparent simplicity of the definition of an object transitions quickly to difficulty upon further probing. 


Digital Transformation & Design Thinking, Part II: A Closer Look at the Method

Biren Mehta, Gustav Toppenberg

In this Executive Update, we take a closer look at the design thinking method and delve into the actual design framework that companies are adopting to advance their ability to digitally transform. We explore the principles of inspiration, ideation, and implementation, along with the benefits of a design mindset. We also break down some myths that have plagued design thinking in the past. 


Agile: Where Is the Innovation?

Michael Ackerbauer, Matt Ganis

Innovation at its core relies on focused creative thinking, which allows organizations to respond successfully to situations that do not have easy answers or readily apparent solutions and drive results in a collaborative emergence of novelty and marketable value. This focus originates within teams staffed and equipped to apply their collective creativity and experience to business challenges, which fosters the opportunity to make enhanced real-time decisions that benefit both the enterprise and its stakeholders. As we explore in this Executive Update, it is the creative collaboration of organizational teams, in concert with end-user sentiment, that drives the most effective innovation.