Archive for the ‘Studies, surveys, reports’ Category
Friday, May 17th, 2013
According to newly issued original research, Arnold Worldwidehas uncovered the emergence of what it calls “Sherpa Brands.” Brands that provide consumers with increased guidance while celebrating their successes and accomplishments, ultimately leading consumers to feel more empowered and satisfied.
In the same report, ArnoldOn: Sherpa Brands-Guiding Consumers to New Heights, the agency also revealed that 81 percent of consumers believe it’s important for a brand to guide them to better decisions.
Sherpa Brands make the decision-making process simpler, minimizing stress and providing tools, information and recommendations to help people navigate their personal journeys and make better decisions along the way.
“We call them Sherpa Brands because, like a Sherpa who helps climbers navigate the journey up a mountain with the right information and tools and then stands back so the climber can revel in his/her accomplishment, these brands provide both guidance and the ability for the consumer to celebrate his accomplishment,” said Neela Pal , Managing Partner, Global Director of Business & Brand Strategy at Arnold Worldwide.
Here at the TechJournal, we like this concept. When a brand makes us hunt for information (without guiding us to it) or raises questions without answering them, we often end up buying elsewhere. How about you?
This sharply aligns with the close to 90 percent of consumers who prefer brands that provide the right tools, information and recommendations:
- 87 percent of consumers want brands to provide helpful information
- 86 percent of consumers want brands to make things easier/less complex
- 85 percent of consumers want brands to help provide a solution to a problem
Lots of opportunity
“The ultimate goal of a Sherpa Brand is to guide people through a process, whether it’s a path to better health, financial freedom, or achieving a life goal. And importantly, once they’ve achieved that goal, celebrating and rewarding that achievement. Ultimately, this guidance and support leads to higher levels of trust and brand loyalty,” said Pal.
“Through our research we’ve found that while some brands may have some Sherpa attributes, there is a lot of opportunity for the majority of brands to enhance their marketing strategies to become true Sherpa Brands.”
We’d second that notion. Way too many brands are like celebrities hiding under hoodies and dark glasses instead of leading us where we want to go – or where they want us to go, for that matter.
The Shift to Sherpa Brands
Arnold’s research revealed that in a world of “too”—too fast, too many choices, too complex—people value having more control and being able to make decisions that better reflect their priorities and personal values. Sherpa Brands provide the guidance that enables smarter decision-making and opportunities to celebrate the result, which builds a stronger relationship.
- 65 percent of survey respondents agreed that they “Trust brands that help guide them to decisions that make the most of their daily life.”
- 48 percent of consumers agree that “A brand that helps guide them to the decisions that make the most of their daily life makes them more likely to purchase the brand.”
Sherpa Brands strike a balance between doing everything for the consumer and the consumer doing everything. These brands empower consumers by helping them be in control while rewarding them at milestones along the journey.
Friday, May 17th, 2013
Regulatory pressure is consistently one of the biggest threats facing companies across industries, and the number one challenge facing financial services and energy and natural resources companies, says a new KPMG survey.
A full seventy percent of c-suite executives, across all industries, say that regulatory changes have caused either substantial or moderate changes in their risk management and reporting processes in the past two years.
- 59 percent of c-suite executives at financial services companies and 53 percent of c-suite energy and natural resources executives identified regulation as their top threat
- 50 percent of health care executives said government pressure to contain spending was their biggest threat
- 49 percent of executives in diversified industrials said an economic slowdown in OECD markets was their biggest risk
- 44 percent of executives in technology media and telecom said a slowdown in demand was their biggest threat.
Risk management not advancing fast enough
“We found that risk management is not advancing fast enough at most companies in the face of an array of threats in an increasingly complex global economy,” said Mike Nolan , KPMG International’s Global Leader for Risk Consulting.
“But companies can transform these challenges into a competitive advantage. All of their competitors are in the same boat, but very few are going to take advantage of the regulatory onslaught to become more competitive. The companies that do will be in a strong position to turn regulatory risk into an advantage.”
According to the KPMG report, in the financial services industry, banks and other financial institutions face a plethora of new regulations, especially in Europe and the United States, where international banks face at least 40 major sets of new regulations that affect everything from how retail customers are treated to the way derivatives are traded.
In addition, new global regulations for bank capital and liquidity, known as Basel 3, came into effect in January 2013.
The survey also revealed:
- Despite their awareness of the risk environment and devoting more resources to risk management, many companies struggle to communicate their risk program with stakeholders, link risk management with compensation and build an enterprise-wide view of threats.
- 86 percent of survey respondents said risk management is factored into strategic planning decisions
- Two thirds of respondents said they will invest more in risk management as a proportion of corporate revenue in the next three years than they did in the previous three
- Almost half profess difficulties in understanding their enterprise-wide risk exposure
- Less than one fifth have developed a formal risk appetite statement, yet this is an important step in risk management
- Less than half believe their organization is effective at developing stakeholder’s understanding of the risk program
- 43 percent said there was a weak link between risk management and compensation
“While the global financial crisis has created significant challenges for businesses, one positive outcome is boards’ desire for greater understanding of integrated risk management,” said Nolan.
“As trusted advisors, handling strategic risk is not about compliance and box-ticking, it is a critical investment companies make that can underpin an organization’s long–term growth, value and sustainability. It’s all about risk optimization and aligning an organizations’ risk appetite with desired returns.”
Within the key areas covered by the survey, KPMG has outlined opportunities for leaders to foster a risk-resilient culture within their organizations, including:
Define, operationalize and articulate risk appetite
With today’s complex and changing risk environment, it is essential that companies clearly define and articulate their appetite for risk. Only then, can they begin to integrate risk management into the overall corporate strategy, making it an essential part of collaborative decision making, discussion, debate and learning.
Improve communication across the enterprise
By clearly defining roles in the three lines of defense (.i.e. business units, risk management and compliance functions, and internal audit) companies can close gaps in managing priority risks and eliminate duplication of efforts.
Also, by improving the quality and visibility of risk information through greater sharing, companies can create a seamless flow of information that will benefit all lines. Effective communication with stakeholders will enhance their understanding of the risk program and positively impact value in the minds of the board, investors and regulators.
Develop and reward your people
Technology is an enabler of the convergence of risk and control functions, but human skills are essential if companies are going to manage the complexity of this kind of convergence.
The setting of common goals for risk and compliance can only be done with sufficient numbers of people with the right skills. Furthermore, by including risk management as an important attribute for leadership with the ability to manage risk as part of regular performance reviews, companies can reward employees for prudent decision making, not just for aggressively hitting financial targets.
Clearly define Return on Investment
One clear trend in the survey is that companies are spending more to strengthen risk management despite their struggle to estimate its ROI. By understanding the link between risk management and corporate strategy and how identified risks threaten the achievement of business objectives, executives can move risk management from a theoretical exercise to a business tool.
The KPMG Global Survey Expectations of Risk Management Outpacing Capabilities—It’s Time For Action, was conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and can be found here.
Thursday, May 16th, 2013
Private sector workers are likely to see little or no improvement in the overall pace of annual wage increases in the coming months, according to the preliminary second quarter Wage Trend Indicator™ (WTI) released today byBloomberg BNA, a leading publisher of specialized news and information.
The index declined to 98.68 (second quarter 1976 = 100) in the second quarter from 98.73 in the first quarter. Over the past two years, the WTI has remained within a narrow range, fluctuating up and down from 98.47 to 98.75.
“The labor market has seen some improvement and increased stability lately, but it’s not enough to absorb the many people who are still out of work,” economist Kathryn Kobe, a consultant who maintains and helped develop Bloomberg BNA’s WTI database, said. “With the federal budget sequester in place and employers uncertain about the costs of the Affordable Care Act, I don’t anticipate the pace of hiring will become stronger anytime in the near future,” Kobe said.
LIttle change expected
Kobe said she expects little or no change in the annual rate of wage gains overall in the private sector from the 1.7 percent increase posted in the first quarter of 2013, as measured by the Department of Labor’s employment cost index (ECI). The WTI does not forecast the magnitude of wage growth, only the direction.
Over its history, the WTI has predicted a turning point in wage trends six to nine months before the trends are apparent in the ECI. A sustained increase in the WTI forecasts greater pressure to raise private sector wages, while a sustained decline is predictive of a deceleration in the rate of wage increases.
Reflecting mixed economic conditions, three of the WTI’s seven components made positive contributions to the preliminary second quarter reading, while three factors were negative and one was neutral.
Contributions of Components
Among the WTI’s seven components, the three positive contributors to the preliminary second quarter reading were job losers as a share of the labor force and the unemployment rate, both from DOL; and industrial production, reported by the Federal Reserve Board.
The three negative factors were forecasters’ expectations for the rate of inflation, compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank ofPhiladelphia; average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers, from DOL; and the share of employers planning to hire production and service workers in the coming months, measured by Bloomberg BNA’s quarterly employment outlook survey.
The neutral component was the share of employers reporting difficulty in filling professional and technical jobs, also from Bloomberg BNA’s employment survey.
Bloomberg BNA’s Wage Trend Indicator™ is designed to serve as a yardstick for employers, analysts, and policymakers to identify turning points in private sector wage patterns. It also provides timely information for business and human resource analysts and executives as they plan for year-to-year changes in compensation costs.
The WTI is released in 12 monthly reports per year showing the preliminary, revised, and final readings for each quarter, based on newly emerging economic data.
More information on the Wage Trend Indicator is available on Bloomberg BNA’s WTI home page at http://www.bna.com/wage-trend-indicator-p12884902670/.
Thursday, May 16th, 2013
A word of advice for workers considering wearing pajamas, a chicken suit or parachute pants to the office: Don’t. In a survey from OfficeTeam, eight in 10 (80 percent) executives interviewed said clothing choices affect an employee’s chances of earning a promotion, and respondents gave some pretty hilarious examples of outfits that missed the mark.
The good news for the wardrobe-challenged is that proper attire may carry less weight than it did six years ago: 93 percent of executives surveyed in 2007 tied professional wear to advancement prospects. Among those respondents, 33 percent said clothing significantly affects a person’s chances of moving up the ladder, versus just 8 percent who feel this way today.
Personally, attending some tech events that draw a large number of entrepreneurs, programmers, and younger startup workers, we’ve felt overdressed in a suit and tie. On the other hand, at TechMedia events that draw a large number of venture capitalists, the dress is distinctly upscale – although many entrepreneurs still forgo the tie even if wearing a sports shirt instead of a tee.
We suspect the rules are much more lax at most tech startups – although the chicken suit and the pajamas are still a bad idea – and unless you’re working for NASA and about to head for the moon, better leave your space suit in the closet.
The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,000 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees.
Managers were asked, “To what extent does someone’s style of dress at work influence his or her chances of being promoted?” Their responses:
|Not at all
A space suit isn’t appropriate office wear unless you’re an astronaut.
Managers also were asked to recount the strangest outfits they have heard of or seen someone wearing to work, not in observance ofHalloween. Following are some examples:
- “A dinosaur costume”
- “Parachute pants”
- “A chicken suit”
- “A space suit”
- “Studs and motorcycle gear”
- “A wolf mask”
These professionals got creative with their clothing combinations:
- “A T-shirt, tie and flip-flops”
- “Short pants and a winter jacket”
- “One red sock and one white sock”
- “Tennis shoes and men’s knicker pants”
- “Shorts and house slippers”
- “A red suit with sporty footwear”
Others donned apparel that left little to the imagination:
- “A see-through dress”
- “Fishnet stockings and stilettos”
- “A bathing suit”
- “A tube top”
- “A backless shirt”
This gear was more appropriate for the gym than the workplace:
- “A muscle shirt”
- “A sweat suit”
- “Yoga pants”
- “Very tight bike shorts”
These outfits just didn’t make the “cut”:
- “Torn jeans”
- “A vest with a big hole in the back”
- “A T-shirt with cut-off sleeves”
And the following getups might be viewed as fashion faux pas both in and out of the office:
- “Saggy pants”
- “Sandals with socks”
- “Flood pants”
“Employees may be tempted to dress down in today’s workplace, especially during warmer months, but clothing that’s too casual or revealing can be frowned upon,” said OfficeTeam executive director Robert Hosking . “Although a polished appearance alone won’t land you a promotion, it can help others envision you in a leadership role.”
Thursday, May 16th, 2013
A first-of-its-kind survey of the global workplace reveals that the cost of routine IT issues experienced by workers and businesses has reached crisis proportions, negatively impacting employee and company productivity – and by extension shareholder value and national economic performance – to an extent not previously understood.
Enterprise technology leader BMC Software (NASDAQ: BMC) asked top analyst firm Forrester Research to examine the issue of “IT friction” in the workplace. The result was a global survey and report entitled, “Exploring Business and IT Friction: Myths and Realities.”
In response to this workplace crisis, BMC launched BMC MyIT, the new enterprise software application that provides personalized assistance to employees experiencing IT issues (see the demo).
Major global leaders in the energy and financial services are among the first to adopt MyIT, a move that will allow their employees to take personal control over the delivery of the technology services and information they need – anytime, anywhere, from any device.
Wednesday, May 15th, 2013
A shortage of in-house expertise is among the the biggest reasons companies are outsourcing mobility projects, according to a staffing solutions firm TEKsystems.
The study conducted on behalf of the TEKsystems Mobility Services practice represents the perspectives of 232 IT and business leaders and found that most have yet to develop the mature strategies necessary to implement mobile technology within their organizations successfully.
For an infographic detailing the findings see: http://mms.businesswire.com/media/20130515006090/en/369366/5/MobilityMarketPulse_Infographic_20130501_FINAL.jpg
Key findings include:
Organizations Lack Mature Mobile Strategies
- Maturity: More than three-quarters (78 percent) of respondents ranked their mobility strategies at low to medium maturity, with 40 percent indicating that their organization’s mobility strategy was weak. A mere 22 percent ranked their mobile strategy as being mature.
- Centers of Excellence: More than three-quarters (81 percent) of respondents indicate their organizations do not have a mobility center of excellence (COE) designed to address the unique, rapidly evolving mobile environment, illustrating an absence of an enterprise-wide approach to developing in-house expertise and best practices.
Obstacles for In-House Mobile Application Development
- Skills: Forty-one percent of respondents struggle with finding and attracting the talent and skills required to handle mobility projects in-house. As a result, almost two-thirds (65 percent) say they are likely to partner with a technology- and platform-agnostic mobility vendor.
- Variety of Platforms: Nearly half (45 percent) of the respondents find that supporting the full range of popular mobile platforms is the most daunting aspect of mobile application development.
“Keeping pace with mobile technologies requires organizations to have various skill sets outside of traditional enterprise IT, which many organizations do not already have,” says TEKsystems Application Development Practice Director, Sam Malek. “Often, going outside of the organization provides the biggest bang for the buck because vendors with dedicated mobility practices can deliver the full suite of required talent and services.”
Outsourcing to Mobile Application Development Vendors
- Likelihood and Reasons: More than one-third (38 percent) of respondents have chosen to outsource the development of mobile applications. The top three reasons for outsourcing were:
- Better expertise than available in-house (67 percent)
- Lack of mobility development as a core competency in-house (56 percent)
- Faster time to completion (47 percent)
- Vendor Sourcing and Risk: On average, organizations partner with two external vendors for mobile support, with some partnering with as many as five. However, 65 percent of all respondents indicate that they would like to work with the same number of vendors or less.
- Needs: Sixty percent of respondents would like a vendor to focus more on application development, while more than half (53 percent) seek a vendor that can design and implement sound quality assurance. At least three-quarters of respondents cite developing and testing of mobile applications across different platforms, screen sizes and versions as being among the most important aspects of mobile application development. Thirty-eight percent are concerned with getting the UI and user experience right.
- Expectations: Fifty-seven percent expect their vendor to provide an innovative solution to their needs, including delivery models, tools and best practices. Eighty-one percent believe that it is important for their mobile vendor to handle end-to-end security requirements for mobile applications.
- Vendor Satisfaction: Sixty percent are looking for a better experience from their mobile vendors. More than one-quarter (26 percent) of respondents feel their projects have been put at risk due to their vendors’ unqualified resources and skill sets.
“Vendors offering mobility as a dedicated practice increase their appeal to potential clients by demonstrating that they have a specialized staff that is familiar with the tools, frameworks and unique skills required to deliver effective mobile applications across a number of mobile platforms,” says Malek. “From there, it’s critical to maintain a close relationship with the client so that they can course correct as necessary throughout the development process and deliver a final product that is satisfying for all involved.”
Wednesday, May 15th, 2013
The conventional, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., five-day work week is a thing of the past for the overwhelming majority of workers at small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs), according to a new survey on work-related email habits. Due to the widespread availability and use of smartphones and tablets, email is more accessible than ever and, as a result, it has become deeply embedded in the daily workplace and personal lives of most employees.
The independent, blind survey of 503 employees in SMB workplaces in the U.S. was conducted by Opinion Matters on behalf of GFI Software. The results highlight employee habits around email usage, including response frequency during the work day as well as after hours.
The new 24/7 paradigm
- Based on the reported email habits of survey respondents, the line between work and home life has become blurred. More than three-quarters of respondents (81%) said they check their work email on weekends, 55% check email after 11 p.m. and 59% keep on top of their work email while on vacation.
- Outside of regular work hours, more than six in 10 (64%) check email at least once a day. 12% of employees said they check work email in real time beyond the standard workday.
- One in 10 respondents admitted to checking work email at a child’s school event, 9% at a wedding, and 6% at a funeral. An additional 6% said they logged into their work email while they or their spouse was in labor.
- On the flip side, nearly one-third (30%) of employees also said they send personal emails from their work account.
Email used at the office more than any other form of communication
- Despite the growing use of instant messaging platforms, email dwarfs other forms of office communication. 44% of respondents use email at work more than any other communications format, with 28% relying primarily on the phone, 22% on face-to-face, and 6% on instant messaging.
- Email is a constant presence in the lives of SMB employees during the workday. More than three-quarters (76%) of respondents said they typically reply to emails within one hour during work hours, with nearly one-third of them (32%) replying within 15 minutes.
An organizational and business intelligence tool
- Many employees use email for more than just communicating. Well over half (58%) use it as a means of storing and retrieving information.
- Nearly two-thirds (62%) of respondents use specific folders to organize their email for easier access, and 29% of employees archive their email.
- The oldest saved email by a survey respondent was received back in 1994.
- Less than one-quarter (24%) of SMB employees said they use their email as a business intelligence tool, identifying a massive missed opportunity to extract value from email data.
Differences among regions and professions
- Employees in the Southwest are the quickest to respond to email, with 42% replying within 15 minutes of an email arriving. Only 27% of residents in the Midwest respond as quickly.
- Residents of the Southwest are most likely to have checked their email while they or their spouse was in labor (14%). Just 3% of employees in the Northeast have done so.
- Professionals who say they have checked email at a funeral are more likely to work in IT and telecommunications (14%) and finance (13%). People working in sales, media and marketing and health care said they have never checked email at a funeral.
- Legal (38%), IT and telecommunications (32%), and manufacturing (34%) professionals are more likely to respond to emails within 15 minutes. Professionals who think that responding to an email within one working day is sufficient are more apt to work in education (23%), retail, catering and leisure (20%) and arts and culture (20%).
- Employees at larger companies are more likely to check email during off hours. Two-thirds (66%) of respondents who work at companies with fewer than 10 employees check email outside of regular work hours, while 75% of those who work at large companies said the same.
- During vacations, 74% of sales, media and marketing professionals said they check their email. In contrast, less than half (46%) of manufacturing and utilities employees do so.
Overwhelmingly, email is viewed positively, not negatively
- Workers overwhelmingly appreciate the value of email, despite its omnipresence in daily life.
90% of respondents said email is a “blessing,” with just one in ten (10%) considering it a “curse.” Regardless of all the stresses and strains that a deluge of email can bring, it is still preferred to the way we used to work.
Effective management needed
“Email has transformed the way we do business globally, but it has also had a fundamental impact on the work/life balance for many employees, especially in smaller organizations where speed of response to orders and queries is critical in retaining a competitive advantage against larger competition,” said Phil Bousfield , general manager of IT operations at GFI Software.
“The research results have affirmed how critical it is for organizations to manage the use of email effectively, not only to prevent employees from being overwhelmed by a deluge of data, but also to ensure that email is exploited as a revenue generator and benefit to the business, rather than an inconvenience.”
“The research also revealed some worrying trends, including that many organizations are failing to efficiently use their collected email archives for customer relationship management and other business intelligence functions, and that many users are putting their email at risk by maintaining unnecessarily large Outlook PST repositories in order to use their inbox as a living database.
This is inefficient and puts the organization at risk of substantial data loss from email archive corruption,” Bousfield added.
A copy of the full survey results is available upon request.
Wednesday, May 15th, 2013
Angry Birds has both free and paid versions of its popular game.
Mobile devices are practical for many reasons, and with thousands of game options available, they’re a popular source of entertainment. A new CouponCabin.com survey reveals that more than half (51 percent) of mobile device owners ever play games (e.g. Angry Birds, Words with Friends, Candy Crush Saga, etc…) on their devices.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of CouponCabin.com from May 2nd – 6th, 2013, among 2,058 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.
Getting hooked on mobile game apps can be a time suck. When it comes to how often mobile device gamers report they are playing games, the survey revealed the following:
- Play games more than once a day – 11 percent
- Play games at least once a day – 21 percent
- Play games at least once a week – 41 percent
- Once a month or less – 10 percent
Comparing genders, men are more likely to play games on their mobile devices than women, at 54 percent and 48 percent, respectively. Across specific devices, tablet owners (75 percent) are more likely to play games on their devices than than smartphone owners (70 percent) and e-reader owners (62 percent).
We’ve certainly found it easy to get lost in a game of Angry Birds or fighting vicious zombies on our tablet computer.
Game playing on the go, while convenient, can come with a price. In fact, more than four-in-ten (45 percent) mobile game-playing U.S. adults have downloaded a paid game app on their mobile device. Tablet owners are significantly more likely to have done this than smartphone owners, at 55 percent and 46 percent, respectively.
Even though game apps can be relatively inexpensive, they can add up quickly. In the past 12 months, U.S. adults who’ve ever paid to download a game on their mobile device have spent the following:
- $1 – $10 – 61 percent
- $11- $ 20 – 15 percent
- $21 – $50 – 9 percent
- More than $50 – 11 percent
“App purchases, even though they’re often low priced, should be factored into an overall entertainment budget,” said Jackie Warrick , senior savings adviser at CouponCabin.com. “It can be easy to hit the purchase button for an app, or for in-app features, without realizing how much you’re spending. Make sure to track your purchases and keep an eye on any extras.”
So far, we’ve mostly stayed with the free games, although we are sometimes tempted to upgrade to gain game advantages.
Game app extras are an additional way mobile game players can spend money easily. Of those who ever play games on their mobile devices, 29 percent report they have completed an “in-app’ purchase (e.g. bought credits to advance a level, paid money for “lives” or purchased additional features). One-quarter (25 percent) have done this 1-10 times, while 5 percent have done it more than ten times.
App purchases can be tricky to monitor when kids get a hold of mobile devices. Of those U.S. adults who own a mobile device and have children under the age of 18, 12 percent say their child(ren) has/have purchased a game app by mistake, while 10 percent say their child(ren) has/have done it intentionally, without their permission. Seven percent say their child(ren) has/have made an in-app purchase intentionally, without their permission while 7 percent say their child(ren) has/have made an in-app purchase by mistake.
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
Corporate Board Member magazine and global business advisory firm FTI Consulting, Inc. (NYSE: FCN) today announced the results of the 13th annual America’s Best Corporate Law Firms study, a comprehensive ranking by U.S. corporate directors and general counsel of the top 25 corporate law firms.
According to the 2013 study, New York’s Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom receives top ranking among corporate directors, a position it has held since the first survey in 2001.
Washington, D.C.-based Jones Day and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz placed second and third, respectively, followed by Weil, Gotshal & Manges in fourth place. The fifth- and sixth-place rankings are held by Baker & McKenzie of Chicago and Sullivan & Cromwell of New York, respectively.
Looking further down the list, many of the 2013 firms remain steadfast among the top firms in recent years. Palo Alto-based Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati rose to 10th place in 2013 from 15th in 2012. Four new firms were added to this year’s list: Houston-based Vinson & Elkins, Washington, D.C.-based Covington & Burling, Milwaukee-based Foley & Lardner, and St. Louis firm Bryan Cave.
“FTI Consulting commends these first-class law firms, including Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, ranking first among corporate directors for a groundbreaking 13th year in a row,” said Basil Imburgia, senior managing director and North American Practice Leader–Forensic and Litigation Consulting at FTI Consulting. “We are proud to once again partner with Corporate Board Member magazine to honor these firms with superior client service on a variety of corporate legal matters.”
In a separate survey of corporate general counsel, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz moved into the first-place position, with longtime leader Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom ranking second and Los Angeles-based Latham & Watkins in third.
In fourth place this year is Baker & McKenzie, which jumped seven places from its 2012 ranking; similarly, fifth-place holder Gibson Dunn & Crutcher rose eight places from last year.
The 2013 list also features six firms that did not appear last year, including Miami-based Greenberg Traurig, Pittsburgh-based Reed Smith, Boston-based Goodwin Procter, San Francisco-based firms Morrison & Foerster and Littler Mendelson, and New York’s Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson.
“Once again we congratulate all the organizations—both returning faces and new ones—selected as top corporate law firms by directors and their general counsel peers,” said TK Kerstetter, chairman of Corporate Board Member(R).
“These rankings show that directors and general counsel consider them to be industry leaders, many of them year after year, by their exceptional contribution to the business community.”
The following are the top 25 national corporate law firms for 2013, according to the directors surveyed by Corporate Board Member/FTI Consulting (with their 2012 ranking in parentheses):
2013 Directors’ Rankings
||Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, New York (1)
||Jones Day, Washington, D.C. (4)
||Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, New York (3)
||Weil, Gotshal & Manges, New York (6)
||Baker & McKenzie, Chicago (7)
||Sullivan & Cromwell, New York (5)
||Latham & Watkins, Los Angeles (8)
||Cravath, Swaine & Moore, New York (2)
||Kirkland & Ellis, Chicago (9)
||Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Palo Alto (15)
||Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Los Angeles (10)
||Fulbright & Jaworski, Houston (13)
||Sidley Austin, New York (14)
||Shearman & Sterling, New York (16)
||Davis Polk & Wardwell, New York (12)
||Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, New York (17)
||Baker Botts, Houston (20)
||Vinson & Elkins, Houston (-)
||Covington & Burling, Washington, D.C. (-)
||Foley & Lardner, Milwaukee (-)
||Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, New York (11)
||Morrison & Foerster, San Francisco (21)
||Arnold & Porter, Washington D.C. (18)
||Bryan Cave, St. Louis (-)
||Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Washington, D.C. (19)
Source: Corporate Board Member/FTI Consulting, America’s Best Corporate Law Firms, 2013
The following are the top 25 national corporate law firms for 2013, ranked according to general counsel surveyed by Corporate Board Member/FTI Consulting (with their 2012 ranking in parentheses):
2013 General Counsel Rankings
||Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, New York (2)
||Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, New York (1)
||Latham & Watkins, Los Angeles (4)
||Baker & McKenzie, Chicago (11)
||Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Los Angeles (13)
||Sidley Austin, New York (9)
||Jones Day, Washington, D.C. (5)
||DLA Piper, Atlanta (14)
||Cravath, Swaine & Moore, New York (3)
||Davis Polk & Wardwell, New York (7)
||Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Philadelphia (18)
||Covington & Burling, Washington, D.C. (17)
||Greenberg Traurig, Miami (-)
||Morrison & Foerster, San Francisco (-)
||Sullivan & Cromwell, New York (6)
||Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Palo Alto (20)
||Reed Smith, Pittsburgh (-)
||Kirkland & Ellis, Chicago (10)
||Shearman & Sterling, New York (15)
||Hogan Lovells, Washington, D.C. (24)
||Littler Mendelson, San Francisco (-)
||Goodwin Procter, Boston (-)
||Fulbright & Jaworski, Houston (19)
||Weil, Gotshal & Manges, New York (8)
||Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, New York (-)
Source: Corporate Board Member/FTI Consulting, Americas Best Corporate Law Firms, 2013
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
The CIO’s rapidly evolving role into a more collaborative, business-facing and multi-skilled function is shifting the dynamics of the modern day executive table, according to the Harvey Nash USA 2013 CIO Survey.
The 8th annual survey reports 71 percent of CIOs believe the role of the CIO is becoming more strategic, and 36 percent of CIOs report to the CEO today, compared to 21 percent in 2010. Fifty percent of U.S. CIOs are enabling business change, and almost half of them (47 percent) are managing an IT budget that has grown compared to last year.
At the same time, seemingly paradoxical, CIOs are losing more direct control of their technology vision and sharing it with other departments. Forty-three percent of CIOs say there is a degree of shared ownership of digital technology between the IT and marketing teams.
CIO stamps IT footprint outside department walls
A growing number of CIOs see more than 10 percent of their budgets controlled outside of the IT department: 38 percent today, compared to 34 percent in 2012 and 26 percent in 2011.
“The integration with the marketing team, a direct line to the CEO, a growing dependence on outsourcing and the recent surge of BYOD (bring your own device) have led the CIO to stamp an IT footprint well outside the walls of his department,” said Harvey Nash USA President and CEO Bob Miano. “The role of the CIO is undergoing a paradigm shift that is presenting incredible opportunities. The CIO’s role continues to grow in influence, with a vision for the organization at the highest level, to drive organizational change and significantly impact company performance in brand new ways.”
Key Finding: Innovation Potential Going Unfilled
- Only three percent of CIOs believe their organization’s innovation potential has been fully realized, down even further from last year’s five percent
- 69 percent of CIOs say they are spending too little time and too few resources on innovation projects
- Changing business priorities, lack of budget and a deficiency of the right internal skills are cited as the biggest barriers to achieving innovation
Key Finding: Outsourcing and Offshoring are Growing
- 68 percent of CIOs said their expectations are exceeded or met by offshore partners, up six percent from four years ago
- More U.S. CIOs are investing a greater proportion of their IT budget in outsourced projects for the first time in four years, with 38 percent of CIOs planning further increases in IT outsourcing spend this year
Key Finding: IT Skills in Demand
- 93 percent of CIOs say retention of talent is a concern
- Mobile skills have seen the biggest jump in demand, up 14 percent over the last two years
- 34 percent of CIOs cite skills shortages in big data, a category not even on the radar in 2011 and only emergent in 2012
- Despite emerging technology, classic technology skills like enterprise architecture (42 percent) and business analysis (38 percent) are still the most sought after skills
Key Finding: The Disruptive Technologies Dominating Investment Plans
- Three biggest investments by CIOs: cloud (63 percent), mobility (62 percent) and collaboration (46 percent)
- BYOD (bring your own device) makes a debut this year, at a notable 35 percent of CIOs planning to invest
Key Finding: Women in IT Remains a Challenge
- 10 percent increase from last year in recognition that women are underrepresented and more needs to be done to formalize workforce diversity in hiring practices
- Small increase of women in business-facing IT roles, up from 13 percent to 18 percent suggesting more IT departments have women on staff
- Six percent increase over last year in recognition that an unintentional gender bias exists and a slight uptick indicating that gender bias is intentional
Key Finding: Growing Dependence on Flexible Labor
- 42 percent of CIOs are planning on increasing their use of flexible labor
- 14 percent of CIOs now have more than half their staff on flexible contracts, compared to 9 percent in 2012
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
Companies located in more economically-troubled states provide a greater opportunity for investors than companies in other states according to new research by the University of Miami School of Business Administration.
You don’t often get solid investment advice from university studies, but this one seems to present a real opportunity.
The study reveals that investors in states with high unemployment and a relatively depressed housing sector tend to sell more stocks during these tough economic times, and because people invest disproportionately in companies close to home, the stock prices of firms in those states suffer disproportionately.
The research, to be published in the June issue of the Journal of Finance, finds that these firms underperform for a few successive quarters, providing a buying opportunity.
In fact, the study shows that a portfolio of stocks of companies headquartered in depressed states have an average monthly annualized return that is around 3 percent higher than a benchmark portfolio with similar stocks.
Stocks in booming states underperform
Similarly, stocks of firms in booming states (i.e., those with low unemployment and a strong housing sector) underperform compared to similar stocks.
“This research makes it clear that investors are missing out if they simply view the United States as one big economy,” said Alok Kumar , the Gabelli Asset Management Professor of Finance at the University of Miami School of Business Administration.
“The U.S. economy is actually a collection of 50 small economies connected like a web and investors should consider it as such,” added Kumar, who conducted the study with George Korniotis , an assistant professor of finance at the School of Business.
How they did the research
The researchers studied the performance of firms in booming and depressed states between 1978 and 2009. Specifically, they constructed a trading portfolio as follows: at the end of each quarter, they ranked all U.S. states based on their economic activity to determine which states were expanding and which states were contracting.
They then longed the stocks of companies in the three states with the worse economic outlook and shorted the stocks of companies in the three states with the best economic outlook.
They kept the portfolios’ composition constant over the quarter. Then, at the end of the quarter, they re-examined the economic performance of the states, determined which states were then the worst and best in terms of economic outlook and rebalanced the portfolio accordingly.
The researchers found that this trading portfolio with a holding period of a quarter earned 5 percent higher monthly annualized returns relative to a benchmark portfolio with similar stocks. This portfolio remained profitable when the holding period extended to 6 to 12 months.
“Advice for the average investor based on these findings would be to a) know that the location of a firm affects its performance; and then b) have your money manager diversify your portfolio geographically to guard against these vulnerabilities in your local economy,” said Korniotis.
Monday, May 13th, 2013
Ecommerce sales keep rolling up record numbers.
Q1 2013 U.S. retail e-commerce sales. Q1 2013 sales grew 13 percent year-over-year to $50.2 billion, marking the fourteenth consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth and tenth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth, according to digital measurement service comScore.
It was also just the second quarter on record to surpass $50 billion in spending.
|Retail E-Commerce (Non-Travel) Growth Rates
Excludes Auctions, Autos and Large Corporate Purchases
Total U.S. – Home & Work Locations (excl. Mobile)
Source: comScore, Inc.
||E-Commerce Spending ($ Millions)
||Y/Y Percent Change
“The first quarter of 2013 was fairly strong for online retailers, with total e-commerce sales surpassing $50 billion for only the second time on record,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni . “While the year-over-year growth rate of 13 percent remained healthy, it was a point or two below that of the preceding quarters.
One potential explanation for this mild deceleration is the payroll tax increase, which went into effect in 2013 and which removed some disposal income from Americans’ wallets. That said, as long as job growth continues and consumer sentiment remains positive, the outlook for e-commerce in 2013 remains bright.
However, one wild card is the possible enactment of legislation requiring state sales taxes to be collected on every e-commerce transaction — which would reduce the Internet’s traditional price advantage and possibly dilute the channel’s growth rate.”
Personally, we’re not so sure that not paying sales taxes is why people shop online. We shop online for just about everything except groceries and fast food and we do it for convenience. Also, Internet discounts are often better than in-store even without sales tax breaks.
The real deal-maker for many Internet sales is free-shipping, according to many studies we’ve seen here at the TechJournal.
Other highlights from Q1 2013 include:
- The top-performing online product categories were: Digital Content & Subscriptions, Apparel & Accessories, Sport & Fitness, Consumer Electronics, and Consumer Packaged Goods. Each category grew at least 20 percent vs. year ago.
- E-commerce accounted for 10.6 percent of discretionary dollars spent, the highest share on record.
- comScore’s new m-commerce spending estimates revealed that Apparel & Accessories was the highest grossing mobile (i.e. smartphone & tablet) product category with nearly $1 billion in Q1 sales.
- Nearly half (48 percent) of time spent in the Retail category occurred on mobile devices, with smartphones (34 percent) outpacing tablets (14 percent).
Monday, May 13th, 2013
Lack of talent is the primary challenge faced by Enterprise resource planning pros, followed by business/IT alignment and system functionality, according to a new survey by TEKsystems.
The firm created this infographic illustrating its findings:
Friday, May 10th, 2013
More than two-thirds of Americans prefer to shop in traditional, brick and mortar stores than online commerce sites, according to a survey conducted by Instant.ly on behalf of Synqera , a global technology startup that uses big data to bring personalized digital experiences to the physical retail store.
The survey found that shoppers gravitate towards retail locations that offer customized shopping experiences but that checkout remains the number one pain point for 73 percent of U.S. consumers.
Personally, we suspect many who say they prefer those in-store shopping experiences may forego them for the convenience of online shopping anyway.
With competing, online-only retail ecosystems gaining customer loyalty, physical retailers have faced the challenge of changing business models and retention tactics in a multichannel world to combat showrooming.
Checkout is the primary deterrent for in-store shopping
Synqera develops technologies that bring personalized online shopping experiences to physical retail stores, creating a more compelling in-store experience for consumers and greater customer loyalty and increased sales opportunities for retailers.
“Synqera found that at the most basic level of commerce, the point of sale in brick and mortar retailers is the primary deterrent for consumers shopping at stores,” said Filipp Shubin , Synqera COO.
“We also discovered that coupon usage increases if they were immediately accessible and personalized to each shopper that walks into the retailer’s store. If the consumer is actively engaged the entire time they are in a store, the better they feel about the shopping experience.”
Here at the TechJournal, we’d be willing to bet that other factors also deter in-store shopping, such as the cost and time involved in travel, the lack of items on shelves, and not infrequently, higher mark ups on products.
So we’re skeptical about the validity of some of these findings.
Other key findings from the survey:
- More than two-thirds of Americans prefer to shop in store versus online
- 82 percent of respondents believe the point of sale checkout process can be improved
- Nearly three-quarters of Americans find waiting in the checkout line their least favorite aspect of in store shopping
- 76 percent would find the checkout process more enjoyable if they received personalized coupons at checkout
- 66 percent of Americans are more likely to shop in a store where they receive personal suggestions while shopping, and over 75 percent of total respondents would rather receive personalized coupons
- 8 out of 10 Americans are more likely to shop in a store that provides an overall customized shopping experience
“Showrooming is very real and very damaging for retailers that can’t compete with e-retailers,” continued Shubin. “In an effort to combat it, insights like those that Synqera found can help pinpoint where retailers should focus their innovation, even in the most unlikely or shockingly obvious places, like the checkout line.”
The data for this survey was collected between April 22-26, 2013 via Instant.ly, with 72 percent of respondents ages 18-54. You can the survey results in their entirety here.
Friday, May 10th, 2013
What is the ideal smartphone size? for most consumers, bigger is better.
In the second half of 2012 existing smartphone owners were most likely to be interested in devices with a screen size between 4.2-inches and 4.7-inches. The Strategy Analytics’ Wireless Device Lab report, “Smartphone Size Preference on the Rise: 4.5″ Most Preferred Size” found an increase in the most preferred smartphone screen size from the same period in 2011, where a 4.3-inch device was most preferred.
Smartphone intenders show greater interest in slightly smaller devices than existing smartphone owners. Males preferred smartphones with larger screens than females, while current brand of smartphone also impacts future screen size preferences.
Nearly all want a bigger screen
Nearly all respondents showed a preference for their next phone to have a larger screen size than their existing handset.
Those small phones are not all that lighter or easier to carry than slightly larger ones and the larger screens are much easier to navigate by touch and provide a superior reading or viewing experience. Here at the TechJournal, we’ve tested a wide-range of smartphones over the years, and even though we have small fingers, those with smaller screens were the most difficult to use and the least satisfactory.
“As consumer acceptance of smartphone sizes increases, many smartphone manufacturers are making larger and larger products,” commented Paul Brown , a Director in the Strategy Analytics User Experience Practice (UEP).
Potential for “phablets”
“The intention of many manufacturers to drive screen size up has been very clear over recent months, and there is the potential for ‘phablets’ at the lower end of the size scale to become more mainstream – especially as manufacturers work to maximize the ratio of screen to overall size, therefore providing a larger screen on a smaller form factor.”
Kevin Nolan , Vice-President for the User Experience Practice at Strategy Analytics, added, “As screen size increases, the way in which consumers interact with the device also needs to be considered. Larger devices are harder to interact with one-handed, and so it is important for user-interfaces, and especially on-screen key placements, to be designed to allow for easy interaction.”
We’ve said this many times at the TechJournal, but the real game-changer for smartphone and tablet use will be very good voice interfaces. While Apple’s Siri is a move in that direction, it’s just a beginning.
Friday, May 10th, 2013
Maritz Loyalty Marketing unveiled the results of a comprehensive study into U.S. consumer loyalty programs, including what American consumers consider to be the highest rated programs, the first annual Maritz Loyalty ReportTM: U.S. Edition,
“Maritz has been designing and running consumer loyalty programs across North America for more than 25 years,” said Bob Macdonald, president and CEO of Maritz Loyalty Marketing. “Our expertise and unique approach to brand loyalty, combined with the insights we glean from this study, help clients drive significant business results by continuing to improve the effectiveness of their brand’s engagement with customers.”
The following programs rated highest in terms of overall satisfaction within each respective category in the Maritz Loyalty Report:
- Financial Services – Chase Ultimate Rewards (84 percent)
- Entertainment – Carmike Cinemas Rewards (79 percent)
- Retail programs – Kohl’s Rewards (73 percent)
- Hospitality / Hotel – IHG Priority Club Rewards (67 percent)
- Grocery – Kroger Rewards (83 percent)
- Airlines – Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards (58 percent)
Room for More Cards – A Cause for Concern
The Maritz Loyalty Report results suggest that 71 percent of members would join more loyalty programs, even though the average member is already enrolled in 7.4 programs. The report also found that members are only actively participating in 63 percent of the programs in which they are enrolled.
“Our study revealed that 47 percent of members have stopped participating in one or more programs in the past year. This number is disconcerting for program operators, yet of even greater concern is that only seven percent of these defecting customers actively defect – meaning, they actually formally request to leave a loyalty program,” said Scott Robinson, senior director of loyalty consulting for Maritz Loyalty Marketing. “Given the high percentage of passive defection, it is paramount that loyalty marketers proactively identify the early warning signs of disengaged members.”
“Our approach to lifecycle management and member communications enables our clients to understand and react to these early warning signs and develop highly engaged members, who are less likely to shop for a competitor brand,” Robinson added.
Getting it Right
Overall, 65 percent of members are satisfied with the loyalty programs in which they participate. The Maritz Loyalty Report also includes customer ratings on more than 35 program attributes. Some of those attributes, also considered key drivers of satisfaction, include:
- Program values: pride of membership, program uniqueness, meeting customer needs, etc.
- Program mechanics: ability to earn and redeem points, quality of rewards, etc.
- Ability to interact with programs: website, mobile, customer support, etc.
- Program innovation: program freshness, access to exclusive events, personalized experiences, etc.
- Communications from programs: means, relevance and frequency of communications, etc.
Top programs rate similarly on many of these attributes, and the top program tends to discern itself from next-best programs by ahigher rating on only one key attribute. In some program categories, such as retail loyalty and airline loyalty, top-rated programs and next-highest rated programs score similarly on all attributes. In these competitive categories, the attribute on which the highest-rated program discerns itself from next-highest rated programs is a secondary and differentiating driver.
“The implication for program operators,” said Robinson, “is that in order to be competitive, especially in categories with many largely undifferentiated programs, it is essential for programs to deliver effectively on both the key drivers of satisfaction and also the secondary drivers of satisfaction.”