Enterprises are increasingly operating in a dynamically changing and fluid environment. They are constantly changing gears just to keep pace. CXOs are constantly looking for ways to overcome or create disruptions in a world becoming increasingly complex. Infosys Consulting Blog gathers a community of subject matter experts who are driving pragmatic conversations around that which is changing and that which needs to be rethought, redefined and redesigned for enterprises to achieve market-leading performance roadmaps.


October 10, 2016

Dreamforce 2016: When Einstein came calling!

Dreamforce 2016 is over and as the dust settles down, it is time for a retrospective. The event was as usual held at San Francisco with an in person participation of over 170,000 and innumerable sessions and key note speeches. There was a lot in terms of education and entertainment. Here is my attempt to summarize what I saw over the four days of this fantastic event!


The topics that caught my attention:

• Einstein, Einstein and more Einstein

This appears to be the big message that was pushing this year as Artificial Intelligence (AI) was all over the place, whether in the keynotes or sessions. Einstein is AI and is a part of the Salesforce platform architecture. As a foundational element, it powers all the cloud offerings and apps that are built on the same. In a three step process, it 'captures' data, 'learns' or processes the data and then offers predictive analytics capability by making suggestions and even automating some tasks. One cool example presented was that of an email being created automatically by the app and offered to the user to review and send!

• Salesforce Lightning Design System (SLDS) 

This was the first session I attended on October 4th. I went in expecting to gain some insights on the Salesforce Classic vs. Lightning topic but this turned out to be a new design system for user interface of apps. The SLDS is a platform agnostic CSS framework and user interface (UI) library to help clients create apps with UI that has the look and feel that is consistent with standard Salesforce user experience as UI developers only need to change values in "Tokens" instead of hard coding information.

• Salesforce DX 

I came across this in the Partner Keynote. This is an open and standard developer experience that includes capabilities like a new type of Salesforce environment called Scratch Orgs for testing and Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE). It is intended to allow developers to use the options that work best for them and thereby enhance their experience while they develop apps on the Salesforce platform. 

• Commerce Cloud

Earlier this year Salesforce acquired Demandware (cloud leader in the multi-billion dollar digital commerce market). Salesforce Commerce Cloud is its new name and is the newest cloud in the Salesforce product suite.

A few others that I would like to mention:

• Quip - the cloud-based word processing app

• Updated Salesforce1 mobile app

• Salesforce CPQ (configure, price, quote)

On the lighter or the "non-business" side of the event:

• As always, Marc Benioff's keynote speech was the big highlight of the event. Last year, Parker Harris, Co-Founder of Salesforce, turned up dressed as "Lightning Man" - this year we were treated to a "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" like experience when a cartoon Albert Einstein popped up on the screen next to Marc Benioff and Parker Harris.

• Musician of the music group Black Eyed Peas was a guest in the Marc Benioff keynote. We were treated to new music video that is raising money for education and featured stars like Justin Timberlake and Usher.

Overall, this was the year of Einstein at Dreamforce. Obviously the aforementioned topics are just the tip of an iceberg in terms of the information that was disseminated there. I would like to hear from you about the topics and themes that caught your attention and your opinion about the event itself.

January 18, 2016

SFDC Program Success Factors: Minimum Viable Experience

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said "Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle." While this was in the context of the civil rights movement, as a Salesforce strategy consultant, I can see its relevance in every SFDC program vis-à-vis the concept of minimum viable experience (MVE). 

I'll attempt to provide a simple definition of MVE. Your customers and channel partners transact business with your organization via manual and automated processes. MVE is the minimum acceptable experience during this interaction below which your customers and channel partners will be dissatisfied and may take their business elsewhere.

I have observed that with the proliferation of mobile devices and cloud platform, the customer experience is more complex and intertwined than ever before. For your SFDC program to be successfully adopted by users and to deliver value to your sales, service and marketing efforts, the active management of MVE can be a powerful success factor. This is especially so if done from the outset of the SFDC program even before the first declarative configuration steps are executed. 

Now the question - what does MVE have to do with Dr. King's quote? Well, when your business and IT teams make MVE an integral part of the SFDC program planning process, then customer experience management is no longer left to the "inevitable" - rather it will be a continuous but well managed "struggle" resulting  in significant benefits for all the SFDC related investments in your organization.

I would like to hear your comments on MVE - has your organization used this concept consciously? Has your SFDC program derived any tangible benefits from timely management of MVE?

September 25, 2015

My aha moment at Dreamforce 2015!

I was one of the lucky 170,000 + persons that had a chance to be a part of Dreamforce 2015 during September 15 - 18 at San Francisco. An amazing event with 1600 sessions and tremendous opportunities to interact and network with your peers, clients, analysts, competitors and of course, buddies.


Upon return, I reflected on the various events / announcements and decided to jot down the buzz words that really stood out from the mind-numbing amount of information thrown at us:

  • The evolution of last year's Lightning Platform into Exchange (50+ components pre-built in the cloud) and Experience (new user interface)
  • Salesforce IQ for Sales Cloud and small business in which the CRM system is connected with email and calendar. With the help of algorithms, predictive analytics drives customer communications
  • Trailhead (online learning) and the free starter kits: This is a significant leap in the training area. While the Developer Edition was already freely available, Trailhead takes it to another level in terms of personal, hands on and most significantly, free training for everyone. This truly is democratization of technology learning
  • Vertical apps (financial service cloud and health cloud)
  • IOT Cloud powered by Thunder Platform (with Microsoft as a launch partner)


Apart from the serious stuff, there was entertainment too. Some of it standard stuff like the Foo Fighters rock concert and some unusual like:

  • Stevie Wonder trying to get the audience to croon about Salesforce being "the sunshine of my life"
  • Parker Harris, Co-Founder of Salesforce, turning up to a key note address dressed as "Lightning Man" (or as Marc Benioff put it 'a NASCAR driver in baby blue suit with Thor's hammer')
  • Japanese rock star Yoshiki making a surprise appearance on a stage behind the audience (quite literally!)


But, my one big aha moment was during the session featuring Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. While showcasing Office 365 and other Microsoft products, at one point he seamlessly transitioned from a Microsoft screen to a Salesforce screen and referred to both as the best in class products! That was a powerful indicator of how closely Salesforce and Microsoft are partnering and collaborating given that Microsoft's own Dynamics is still a player in the same CRM market!


Were you there at SFO too? Or did you follow the live streams remotely? If so, I would like hear your comments and opinions on what appealed to you as being significant or interesting at Dreamforce 2015.  

August 27, 2015

Industry Insights - New Business Model Trend in Manufacturing

Our clients realize the potential of having "everything" in cloud. This year, the market for cloud services is worth $43 Billion (source: Gartner). Yet clients and consulting firms are confronting a reality. Creating a new business model in cloud while keeping the existing models profitable, making the right calls to decommission a current model and transform into a new model is not in every firm's "success" playbook. To achieve success with new business model in cloud, there are a key prerequisite. As a firm we all need to ask one question to ourselves about what we are offering? We need to ask the same question to the clients we are consulting with and also to our partners. Are we clear on where our clients want to go in the next five years? Is our offering aligned to the client's? Clarity is key, think big, start small, develop a prototype and get going. Once clarity is there, define a four step strategy to create the new business model for our clients. They are:

Step 1: Define a specific business model. For example, in Hi-Tech industry, whenever our clients are selling a "product", they must sell a service along with it so that not only they go to market with an integrated offering but also to ensure that contract renewals happen pretty easily.

Step 2: Define a proper operating model. The operating model must consider four pillars. They are
(i) Delivery capability
(ii) Scale
(iii) Speed
(iv) Governance

Step 3: Define a proper model to co-exist non-cloud organizational blocks along with blocks which can move to cloud.

Step 4: Define a world class customer experience strategy. Our end goal is to offer a "service" bar to our clients. Allow them to pick and choose the services and enablers from the bar.

June 5, 2015

The Politics of Change

With another presidential campaign season upon us, I'm reminded of a quote I read about 10 years ago, by a film producer:

If you really want to change the world, don't go into politics. Make movies.

As a public relations consultant with some experience shaping public opinion, I had my doubts about this notion. While film can certainly introduce ideas, its influence is limited by the one-way flow of communication. To inspire audiences to action, you must do more than simply present to them. You must listen, and listen well.

Continue reading "The Politics of Change" »

May 19, 2015

4 key reason why you need Enterprise Change in your Information Management solution

So, you've implemented your ERP and your company is successfully processing data and collecting information.  What's generally left out are the required people and organizational transformations needed to maximize the use of data, web reporting and social media analytics.   Organizational Transformation experts can help!

Continue reading "4 key reason why you need Enterprise Change in your Information Management solution" »

February 20, 2015

What is Enterprise Gamification?

IEGP 7.jpg

Enterprise Gamification - No, it's not the next social game like Angry Bird or Candy Crush or Words with Friends that you would play on your smartphone or tablet.   However, Enterprise Gamification does borrow from these social games their design features and game mechanics (i.e. awarding points, badges, levels of achievement and leader boards) which are used to keep gamers motivated and engaged, as well as reward their behavior, activities and continued play or engagement. Enterprise Gamification is the application of game design principles in the context of the enterprise to improve user engagement.  Now, I know what your are thinking: "these 'game mechanics', as you call them, will only distract my customers, employees and business partners from what I really want them to be doing, like shopping on my online commerce site, or entering data into my customer relationship management application in a timely and accurate manner, or sharing information on my raw material fulfillment orders properly." Actually, you are partially right in that these are exactly the type of business behaviors, activities, metrics and key performance indicators that enterprise gamification is designed to address.   

Continue reading "What is Enterprise Gamification?" »

February 8, 2015

Digital Matchmaking with PRESTIGE

"What's your PRESTIGE?", asked the Chief Digital Officer of a fortune 100 bank, who was charted with building digital products and services. The next 30 minutes went into explaining how I can bring 'magic' to his digital journey.

As Michael Caine defined in the movie 'Prestige', there are three (3) steps of magic - simplicity (The Pledge), authenticity (The Turn) and delight (The Prestige). Today, building an attention economy around a digital service is nothing less than a magic.

Like falling in love with a romantic partner, falling in love with a digital product or a service is something that happens gradually. We need to explore three stages of engagement that users pass through on their way to falling in love with a service.

Digital Matchmaking.jpgThe first is Matchmaking: when services must feel real and relevant to genuine human needs and emotions.

The next stage is Dating. It's all about designing in a way that appeals to the heart and encourages people to engage. The service design courtship has to create exceptional experiences that make complex systems simple, yet captivating.

Finally, True Love is the way to explore how to design a service that adds value and is relevant over long periods of time. This fosters loyal users and a service that becomes a life companion. Just as with a human partner, users need to feel they can rely on the service.

Of course, then there are always exceptional cases where users gets a crush on the service at the get go aka Nordstrom, where entire company and its stores are built around service.

In order to build a perfect digital matchmaking service, three (3) key principals need to be followed:

Elegant Simplicity: This means we need to understand the bigger picture, with an eye for the details, in order to create digital interactions that build a strong emotional bond with the end-user. Example: Amazon's '1-click' commerce went through years of refining and re-defining its payment designs to finally arrive at this concept.

Ruthless Authenticity: All service touch points should have an opportunity to express, in subtle and overt ways, how it is unique and what it stands for. The service needs to clearly demonstrate the promised value both materialistically and emotionally, to build trust. Example: Zappos has a reputation for putting customer service ahead of profits. When a woman called to inquire about the company's return policy explaining that the merchandise never reached her husband as he was killed in an accident, the customer service representative ordered flowers to be sent to her in condolence for her loss.

Unbelievable Delight: According to Dr. Noriaki Kano (Kano Model), delight is a measure of experiencing unexpected. Products and services that consistently generate renewed excitement for users, stand out to build long-term relationship and retention. Example: Walt Disney's magical experience, where the 'magic' is created by optimizing the mundane. From assertively friendly staff to highest degree of commitment fulfillment, leave customers excited with every visit to DisneyLand.

Lastly, digital transformation is a combination of digitizing customer engagement channels and optimizing enterprise processes and operations. Customer focus innovation helps with identifying new business opportunities with regulated and non-regulated 'digital' products generating cross and up-sell revenue and high degree of customer retention.

Continue reading "Digital Matchmaking with PRESTIGE" »

December 4, 2014

Connected Devices: Changing Insurance Business Landscape

Connected Devices impacts every element of Insurance value chain and enables insurers to be able to re-invent their operating models to deploy effective feedback control processes, increase customer experience, and manage losses. Insurance industry is estimated to derive a value of over $700B in next 5 years across auto, homeowner and life insurance.

Continue reading "Connected Devices: Changing Insurance Business Landscape" »

March 10, 2014

Engage your end-users with a "Persona-based Learning Approach"

young business people 2.jpg

In an earlier blog, I wrote about "engaging your end-users" in the transformational journey from start to finish.  I explained that by doing so you would help to drive ownership and adoption among your end-user groups.  In another earlier blog, I pleaded with you to stop clinging to outdated train-the-trainer and point and click application simulation based learning as these approaches have not kept paced with the speed of change and the ways end-users REALLY learn and want to consume learning content.  In this blog, I am going to share with you a new method of learning I call "Persona-based Learning" that brings end-user engagement and adoption to a whole new level.  Persona-based Learning is about putting the learner (end-user) at the center of the transformational journey through the use of real life business scenarios brought to life through short, engaging, high impact animated videos.


Continue reading "Engage your end-users with a "Persona-based Learning Approach"" »

October 22, 2013

Successful channel partner enablement: Asking the right questions

According to Jeff Bezos, some companies work to try to charge more and others work to charge less. In today's business world, more companies are choosing to be the second kind. Business consultants are constantly challenged to come up with offerings and solutions that help companies achieve that goal.

One such business problem is how clients can achieve speedy route to success in their partner relationship management (PRM) transformation programs and therefore streamline channel operations and experience for partners.


Continue reading "Successful channel partner enablement: Asking the right questions" »

July 26, 2013

No More Train-the-Trainer....PLEASE!!!

Happy Business People - Thumbs Up.jpg

No more train-the-trainer....please!!! What does this mean?  It means that based on industry experience this method of training is outdated, over-used, fails to deliver the necessary user adoption and is a lazy attempt to check the box on change management and training. 

Continue reading "No More Train-the-Trainer....PLEASE!!!" »

July 1, 2013

Winning at Enterprise Social Media in 5 Steps!!

In the movie "Field of Dreams," the main character hears a voice in his cornfield whispering "If you build it...he will come."  While this made for great family entertainment, this phase has no place in the implementation of new business processes and technologies such as ERPs, CRMs, or even Social Media Platforms.  "If you build, (he) they will come" is at best wishful thinking.  No, don't be naïve and think that just because you built it the people in your organization will actually use it.  This is especially true with Enterprise Social Media platforms.  Read on to learn how our Organizational Change Management consultants can help bring the "context" and best practice engagement methods to your Enterprise Social Media deployment that will drive user adoption!

Continue reading "Winning at Enterprise Social Media in 5 Steps!!" »

June 14, 2013

Let's get engaged!!

Young Couple Shopping with Smartphone.jpg
Traditionally, the engagement period prior to marriage gives the couple time to learn about each other's likes and dislikes, their histories and their goals in life, and to begin creating shared experiences.  Many believe this period sets the marriage on a course for long term success!  Hmmm, sounds kind of like what our change management consultants do with our clients when we engage with them on their business transformation journeys. 

Continue reading "Let's get engaged!!" »

March 26, 2013

Is my company great?


In the mid 1980's it was popular to talk about excellence.  Since then, not so much.

What does it take to make a great company. 

Here are my thoughts; Number One, the company must be capable of making a profit to sustain itself and it's employees; Number two,a  great company should have long term, profitable customers, Number three it should have long term and secure emoloyees at all levels.


What do you think?  Please respond and I will share your thoughts.


Jim Mitchell

Continue reading "Is my company great?" »

September 26, 2012

What is your dream?


I recently attended the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco's Moscone Center along with 65,000 of my closest friends.  Reminiscent of the heady, pre-implosion days (remember how we were going to change "everything"?),, the conference sponsor, has embraced "social mobility" (the tablet on the move) as the next big thing and a key ingredient of their future vision... and I agree!

Continue reading "What is your dream?" »

August 28, 2012

Defining the Right Metrics for Long-Term Business Transformation


Companies often develop business cases for transformational IT initiatives to identify quantifiable implementation areas, focusing on business value to justify funding.  Such focus, however, typically doesn't last beyond the project approval phase, having little or no impact on the remaining lifecycle.  This raises the question, how can management ensure that the value defined in the business case is in fact realized through the business transformation?     

Continue reading "Defining the Right Metrics for Long-Term Business Transformation" »

July 17, 2012

What is the Value of a Professional Designation?


Over a recent holiday, I was cleaning out my home office and found some pins and jewelry associated with one of my professional designations.  Seeing them, my daughter commented, "Wow, that's real gold!  I bet they're worth over $200 apiece!"  While laughing at her reaction, I also decided to post the following question on my blog.  "What is the true value of a professional designation (PMP, CPA, CLU, etc.), and why are they important / unimportant?

Continue reading "What is the Value of a Professional Designation?" »

May 21, 2012

What is management consulting?


I recently spent three weeks barn storming throughout India, teaching VRM(TM) awareness classes to our newest recruits. (VRM(TM), stands for Value Realization Method, and it is a proprietary set of tools and techniques, based on Free Cash Flow, that we use in conjunction with our Impact(TM) Framework to realize massive business value in large scale transformation programs.)  The number one question that I received during this training project, other than how VRM(TM) differs from other technical frameworks we use, was; "What is management consulting?" 

Continue reading "What is management consulting?" »

May 18, 2012

Getting Started with an HCM Implementation: Defining Stakeholder Goals and Vision

Joint Post by 
Catherine Toriello, Principal, Management Consulting Services, Infosys  
Reese Dunbar, Human Capital Management Practice Leader, Management Consulting Services, Infosys

At the start of every project, we schedule time with the executives to understand their pain points, opportunity areas, and goals for the HCM organization.  After talking with the leadership, we then have discussions with the teams representing the in-scope process areas.  

Continue reading "Getting Started with an HCM Implementation: Defining Stakeholder Goals and Vision" »

May 15, 2012

No Data? No Problem


Got a business case staring you in the face? Intimidated by demands for "hard benefits only"? Can't find reliable data for quantifying those benefits? Here's a counterintuitive tip - turn opinions into data.

Continue reading "No Data? No Problem" »

May 7, 2012

Why do smart firms make sub-optimal investment decisions?


I was recently talking to a client whose firm had grown both inorganically (acquisitions) and organically at a rapid pace in the last 3 decades. They grew from being a regional player in US North East to a super-regional player across North-East, Mid-West and Mid-Atlantic. However their future growth aspirations have been limited by a lack of investment in operational capabilities. The client's current state challenge and future state aspiration has led them to consider a set of strategic options to improve their operations capability. The client asked Infosys to help with a strategic options analysis and business case development to secure internal budgetary/investment approval for the optimal choice. They are embarking on their FY13 budgetary process and need to assess the options and earmark a capital budget.

Continue reading "Why do smart firms make sub-optimal investment decisions?" »

March 12, 2012

HR's Evolving Role and the Current Economic Environment


 Joint Post by
Catherine Toriello, Principal, Management Consulting Services, Infosys 
Reese Dunbar, Human Capital Management Practice Leader, Management Consulting Services, Infosys


We recently came across a 2005 Gartner Group paper that reminded us just how much Human Capital Management has evolved since it was published. The article, Introducing the High-Performance Workplace: Improving Competitive Advantage and Employee Impact, was prescient in its findings and predictions about the changing role of HCM. 

Continue reading "HR's Evolving Role and the Current Economic Environment" »

February 16, 2012

Is collaboration the next frontier?

In my opinion, a challenge facing small and large businesses alike is the need to improve collaboration. I hear the question everywhere; "How do I get my team and my company to use collaboration software better?" If you ask this question, at least, you must have some collaboration software!

Continue reading "Is collaboration the next frontier?" »

January 30, 2012

As Companies look to Transform HR using ERP, What are they Missing?


Joint Post by
Catherine Toriello, Principal, Management Consulting Services, Infosys
Reese Dunbar, Human Capital Management Practice Leader, Management Consulting Services, Infosys

We recently held a series of meetings with members of a global SAP HR planning and implementation team representing a European client. In discussions about goals, the overwhelming response from business and IT members alike was:  "simplify processes, standardize the system, and improve data quality." The larger goal, however, was to transform HR organization from a traditionally transaction-oriented operation to a more strategic one.

Continue reading "As Companies look to Transform HR using ERP, What are they Missing?" »

January 13, 2012

Business Value and IT - Is it Time to Get More Involved?

Having spent nearly half my life in IT, I occasionally fall into the "been there, done that" trap. After all, when you're old enough to remember time-share and service bureaus, the case for cloud seems old hat.  Still, I often wonder about "Big Picture IT" questions, such as: After years of spending billions of dollars on technology, why are companies struggling to measure and maximize the business value of their IT-enabled investments?  After all, it's been an area of concern and an occasional source of controversy for years.

The last big kerfuffle about IT and ROI was in 2003 with the publication in the Harvard Business Review of IT Doesn't Matter by Nicholas Carr (actually, there are HBR articles on IT value going back to the 1990s).  However, in spite of the attention and controversy generated by the Carr piece, IT spending continued to grow apace; right up until the global recession, when corporations froze or reduced technology spending.

Continue reading "Business Value and IT - Is it Time to Get More Involved?" »

How can HR Deliver Strategic Value through Sourcing Programs for Clients with Captive Operations?

In the past 6 months I have worked with a handful of clients interested in selling their captive offshore operations. Throughout the due diligence processes, I discovered that the operations in question shared a number of HR challenges that, in my experience, are characteristic of captive operations in general. This discovery led me to to conclude that the captive model does not support the economies of scale required to deliver competitive strategic advantages, especially where HR is concerned. Allow me to explain.

Continue reading "How can HR Deliver Strategic Value through Sourcing Programs for Clients with Captive Operations?" »

Social media leads draw attention; with 100,000 followers, what will experts pay for a next generation lead?

Most of the clients I work with clearly understand the potential of social media-based lead generation...

Continue reading "Social media leads draw attention; with 100,000 followers, what will experts pay for a next generation lead?" »

Social Business Models - Where's the ROI?


During the height of the dot-com era, I worked at two startups where I experienced the euphoria and excitement of the "New Economy." Like me, most of you probably remember the accepted wisdom of that heady time, which stated that - capturing "eyeballs" was more important than earning revenues and achieving profitability. But, as everyone learned, what really matters is having a solid business model and products and services that customers want.

Continue reading "Social Business Models - Where's the ROI?" »

Can the dance of corporate planning be made more meaningful?

There is general consensus that between 60% and 85% of the time, corporate strategies and plans fail to achieve their results...

Continue reading "Can the dance of corporate planning be made more meaningful?" »

Should Social Media Investments Get a Free ROI Pass?


How about the social media advocates!  On some days I think they are absorbing more digital news pixels than all other technologies put together. And if that isn't enough, the Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, et al., proponents are now starting to demand noticeable investment bucks from the enterprise capital funding bowl. These soothsayers proclaim - You haven't seen anything yet!

What's interesting is that many "Give me the money" requestors are expecting a free pass on ROI justifications. "Social media is different!" they assert. "It's too fuzzy for value quantification. It's too new for understanding its ultimate payback. We can't wait. We need the money now, before competition eats our lunch."

Continue reading "Should Social Media Investments Get a Free ROI Pass?" »