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International Women’s Day Recap: Informatica’s Female Leadership

International Women's Day, March 8, 2015

International Women’s Day – Informatica’s Female Leadership

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2015, we dedicated a blog series to our great women leaders at Informatica. Last week, we featured six employees, from diverse backgrounds, who shared their perspective and experiences of being a female leader in the tech industry.

Women leaders like these, as well as many others, are among the things that make Informatica a uniquely great place to work. Below are some of the highlights of the advice, unique perspective as well as wisdom that these female leaders shared.

  • Today I have the confidence that my ‘different perspective’ will change the course of things. I am unapologetic for my ideas or directions even though they may be contrary to the norm.” – Clare Cunniffe, Area Vice President for US Financial Services

  • “Women bring a different perspective and skills that are essential to a company’s success. Women leaders are looked up as role models for other women starting their career, which attracts a diverse workforce.” Geetha Gopalakrishnan, Senior Director, Global Customer Support

  • “Be brave to take on new roles and challenges. There is nothing stopping you but your fears!” – Sangeetha Phalgunan, Country Manager – Sales India

  • “As women, our brains work differently (usually) so we can bring a unique perspective to a conversation that’s full of male brains. My advice is – if you are the only female in the room then turn it into an advantage and embrace it. You can offer something the men cannot.” – Jo Stoner, Chief Human Resources Officer and EVP, Facilities / Corporate Real Estate

  • “Being a minority can be challenging, but it’s a very fun as well! It makes me want to ‘Wow’ my colleagues and customers even more, which helps to build long-term business and professional relationships.” Shino Kizaki, Sales Account Manager – Japan

  • “As a woman in a leadership role, there’s a great opportunity to stand out. Exhibit your skills and knowledge in a big way!” – Simone Fernandes Orlandi, Latin America Marketing Director


About International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day is a global date of celebration marking the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.  It dates back to 1911 and is acknowledged all over the world.  To learn more: International Women’s Day

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International Women’s Day 2015 – Informatica’s Female Leadership (Part 6)


In honor of International Women’s Day 2015, Informatica is celebrating female leadership in a blog series. Every day this week, we will showcase a new female leader at Informatica, who will share their perspective on what it’s like to be a woman in the tech industry.

Informatica’s Female Leadership - Simone Fernandes Orlandi - Latin America Marketing Director

Informatica’s Female Leadership – Simone Fernandes Orlandi – Latin America Marketing Director

Name:
Simone Fernandes Orlandi

Job title:
Latin America Marketing Director

Leadership style:
As a woman in a leadership role, there’s a great opportunity to stand out. Exhibit your skills and knowledge in a big way! Leaders are constantly multitasking and juggling different projects at once. It’s important to learn how to do this effectively.

Advice for other women:
The same I would give to any professional: Have a focus and fight for it.

Thoughts about Informatica’s culture:
I love to work at Informatica. The products are great, the customers are happy, and the people are very friendly. We have our challenges and there’s a lot of work, but we also have the freedom to execute in a good atmosphere.

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International Women’s Day 2015 – Informatica’s Female Leadership (Part 5)


In honor of International Women’s Day 2015, Informatica is celebrating female leadership in a blog series. Every day this week, we will showcase a new female leader at Informatica, who will share their perspective on what it’s like to be a woman in the tech industry.

Name:
Shino Kizaki  

Informatica's Female Leadership - Shino Kizaki, Sales Account Manager - Japan

Informatica’s Female Leadership – Shino Kizaki, Sales Account Manager – Japan

Job title:
Sales Account Manager – Japan. Responsible for financial and service industry accounts.

Leadership style:
In general, there are still very few females working in tech, as both sales and engineers. I’m the only woman working in the sales division in Japan. Being a minority can be challenging, but it’s a very fun as well! It makes me want to “WOW” my colleagues and customers even more, which helps to build long-term business and professional relationships.

Advice for other women:
There are a ton of advantages to being a minority in a workplace! Including myself, I believe there are a lot of women who don’t ask for help when they need it. Don’t be afraid to ask for support! People want to help you succeed.

Thoughts about Informatica’s culture:

  • I have the best colleagues. I’m grateful to work with people I can look up to and learn from.
  • I always have an opportunity to challenge myself, which is crucial as a sale’s professional.
  • Great opportunities to step up and grow in my career.
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International Women’s Day 2015 – Informatica’s Female Leadership (Part 4)


In honor of International Women’s Day 2015, Informatica is celebrating female leadership in a blog series. Every day this week, we will showcase a new female leader at Informatica, who will share their perspective on what it’s like to be a woman in the tech industry.

Informatica’s Female Leadership - Sangeetha Phalgunan, Country Manager - Sales India

Informatica’s Female Leadership – Sangeetha Phalgunan, Country Manager – Sales India


Name:
Sangeetha Phalgunan

Job title:
Country Manager – Sales India

Leadership style:
Oftentimes I am the only woman in a leadership position. It can be challenging, as there’s not many other women to connect with, but it also presents a great opportunity to stand out. Being empathetic has allowed me to build relationships easily, which makes my team feel comfortable to reach out with questions or concerns.

Advice for other women:

  • Be assertive, not aggressive
  • Learn to let go
  • Enjoy your job and when you stop having fun – quit!
  • Be brave to take on new roles and challenges. There is nothing stopping you but your fears!

Thoughts about Informatica’s culture:
We need more women leaders! It’s fun to be in chaos and add unique value to a company.

 

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International Women’s Day 2015 – Informatica’s Female Leadership (Part 3)


In honor of International Women’s Day 2015, Informatica is celebrating female leadership in a blog series. Every day this week, we will showcase a new female leader at Informatica, who will share their perspective on what it’s like to be a woman in the tech industry.

Name:
Jo Stoner

Job title:
Chief Human Resources Officer and EVP, Facilities / Corporate Real Estate

Jo Stoner, Chief Human Resources Officer and EVP, Facilities / Corporate Real Estate

Jo Stoner, Chief Human Resources Officer and EVP, Facilities / Corporate Real Estate

Leadership style:
A few weeks ago, I read the recent article in Newsweek pointing out how discrimination and sexism is rife in Silicon Valley and it gave me pause for thought. Yes, the tech world is still a majority male world and we all hear and read stories of bad behavior. There is one well known hi tech “taxi” company whose services I stopped using after reading yet another article about misogynistic practices at the top but I also see many examples of smart tech leaders hiring people for their talents, not for what they look like and because they know that diversity of thought leads to better output and success. After the Newsweek piece came out, someone inside Informatica emailed me and asked me what I thought about the article and suggested I write a piece responding to it as he felt that Informatica was not that way at all. I agree.

Informatica has always been a company that embraces good ideas and hard work and is gender and color blind and I think that’s been a key factor in our success. Our CEO, Sohaib, recognized several years ago that we could benefit from more diversity on our Board and so we conducted a very targeted search to change that, focusing only on female candidates that brought great business and market knowledge. The candidate pool was not as large as the male pool would have been, but we found some amazing talent and I am pleased to say we now have 2 female directors on our Board. To me it is a sign of a leader’s intelligence; if they have diversity on their team and surround themselves with people from a broad set of backgrounds with a broad set of skills, preferably that complement their own, then they are consciously thinking about how to make the sum of the parts greater.

There are times as a senior leader, where I am the only woman in the room but that’s Ok, I might also be the only English person in the room! My approach has never been to make a big deal out of it, or develop a chip on my shoulder about it as I think that only leads to negativity. Instead, I try and think consciously about what I can change even if its baby steps. I am lucky in my role that I get to directly influence some of that change and help support programs like the women’s resource group recently developed by some of our female leaders at HQ. That program has had such great success and when I travel to our offices in Bangalore next week, I am excited that we’ll be kicking off a women’s group in India. There are always interesting cultural differences that factor into how women think in different parts of the world and the challenges they face, but what is clear to me is that we have amazing female talent across the company who want to come together to learn from one another and drive change.

I do think that female leaders need to be conscious of the influence they can have, be aware that other women might look at them as role models, and conduct themselves accordingly. Sometimes I think women can be the harshest critics of each other. We all have the power to make change happen, whatever role we are in, whether it is how we act, who we mentor or even the words we use when we describe each other.

Advice for other women:
As women, our brains work differently (usually) so we can bring a unique perspective to a conversation that’s full of male brains. My advice is – if you are the only female in the room then turn it into an advantage and embrace it. You can offer something the men cannot.

I feel fortunate in that I have rarely come across overt discrimination in my career. There are people who’ll fight your corner and that if you can bring your best work, you’ll be judged on what you produce, not your gender or the color of your skin. There are times when people will label you in some way and never change their opinion, even in the face of great work, but life is too short to worry about those types of people; focus on the ones you can change and those you enjoy being around.

Thoughts about Informatica’s culture:
I celebrate 14 years with the company next week so clearly, I love life at Informatica! I joined in 2001 as the Senior Manager for HR, Europe and over the years, I have had a lot of opportunity to grow my career here. Every day I get to learn new things, some are more challenging than others but they all test my knowledge and give me a chance to grow. Most of all, I enjoy the people I work with, both within my own fabulous HR team but also across the company. As we’ve grown from 500 to nearly 4000 employees, from 12 countries to 28, we’ve preserved that focus on our people, on ensuring the culture values how you do your work, as much as what you do and that to me, is a sign that talent and contribution can win over gender bias and is both the key to our success and the reason I rate Informatica as such a great place to work.

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International Women’s Day 2015 – Informatica’s Female Leadership (Part 2)

In honor of International Women’s Day 2015, Informatica is celebrating female leadership in a blog series. Every day this week, we will showcase a new female leader at Informatica, who will share their perspective on what it’s like to be a woman in the tech industry.

Geetha Gopalakrishnan, Senior Director, Global Customer Support

Informatica’s Female Leadership – Geetha Gopalakrishnan, Senior Director, Global Customer Support

Name:
Geetha Gopalakrishnan

Job title:
Senior Director, Global Customer Support

Leadership style:
Women bring a different perspective and skills that are essential to a company’s success. Women leaders are looked up as role models for other women starting their career, which attracts a diverse workforce.

Make sure to find balance in your work and home life so you are in a good position to “lean in” to your workplace, as Sheryl Sandberg wrote in her book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.

Advice for other women:
My advice to other women is to do your best and be bold.  I think it’s important to make compromises to ensure a good work-life balance. Be abreast of what is happening around your industry to stay up-to-date with trends.

Thoughts about Informatica’s culture: 
Next month I will be completing 17 years at Informatica. My career here started off with a role in the support organization, where I served to help our customers. Then, I had an opportunity to switch roles to the Quality Assurance team, which I led, and became a Senior Manager for. Later, I got an opportunity to transition back into the support organization, which I am a now the Senior Director for. Most of my professional career has been here at Informatica. Over the years, my colleagues and managers have been very supportive in helping me to attain the right work-life balance. My family also feels like they are part of the Informatica family.

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International Women’s Day 2015 – Informatica’s Female Leadership (Part 1)

In honor of International Women’s Day 2015, Informatica is celebrating female leadership in a blog series. Every day this week, we will showcase a new female leader at Informatica, who will share their perspective on what it’s like to be a woman in the tech industry.

Clare Cunniffe, Area Vice President for US Financial Services, Informatica

Clare Cunniffe, Area Vice President for US Financial Services, Informatica

Name:
Clare Cunniffe

Job title:
Area Vice President for US Financial Services

Leadership style:
Women bring different perspectives to all situations. Sometimes it’s welcomed and sometimes it’s not embraced because it’s outside of the norm – which actually makes it of even greater value. The technology field is still dominated by men. Many times I am the only woman in the room and most times I am the only woman in a position of leadership; this also presents a unique opportunity to stand out.

It has been a long haul to get to where I am today with many stories of great successes and some real misses. Those “misses” always lead me to the vow of “never again” and to exceed in new ways. Today I have the confidence that my “different perspective” will change the course of things. I am unapologetic for my ideas or directions even though they may be contrary to the norm. I am grateful to have been given the chance to work personally with leaders in the tech industry and been given opportunities that stretched me beyond what I believed my own capabilities to be. Only to realize I am more than capable and actually able to move beyond.

As a leader, the most critical aspect is to build a management team that complements my own skills.

  • Diversity in talent is important so that we leverage each other’s strengths.
  • Open communication is a critical aspect to my leadership and success.
  • Honoring and respecting what each individual brings to their teams – while giving just enough guidance, has led to ensuring forward momentum, having ultimate buy-in to what we do, and delivering consistent contributions – all of which is the foundation for great success.

Advice for women:
Put yourself out there. Be bold. Take your seat at the table in a big way! Have mentors. Know who to trust (and who not). Create a network of colleagues. Always help other women succeed.

Thoughts about Informatica’s culture:
Informatica is a great place to be. I wake up every day, passionate about what I do and excited about the difference that my team and I are making for our company and for our customers. We have a culture of integrity, excellence and innovation. This translates in everything we do. As we are critical in some many transformational initiatives for our customers. Who we are has been the basis for how we have delivered for our customers time and time again. Now with the future being all things ‘data’, Informatica will be instrumental in helping our customers leapfrog to their next level of growth. This is the best time to be part of Informatica.

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Informatica To Host GOSI Connect India 2014

GOSI Connect India 2014

The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore

On September 23-24 in Bangalore, Informatica is hosting their second annual Global Outsourcers and System Integrator (GOSI) Connect:India 2014.

This invitation-only event brings together global and regional leaders from the top Indian Systems Integrators to dialog with Informatica executives. Attendees will learn new ways to drive services business and non-linear growth by addressing customer needs. Specific areas for discussion will include Enterprise Transformation, Cloud and Big Data. Sessions include the following:

  • Anil Chakravarthy, Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer: Driving Services Revenue with the Intelligent Data Platform
  • Ronen Schwartz, Vice President and General Manager, Informatica Cloud: Driving Services Revenue with Cloud Data Management
  • Brian Hodges, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Professional Services: Working with Professional Services to Deliver Customer Value
  • Sanjay Krishnamurthi, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer: Delivering Informatica Product Innovation and Roadmap
  • Richard Akers, Global Head, GOSI Alliances, Partnering with Informatica

The conference will focus on the market opportunity around our recently launched Intelligent Data Platform – which includes the introduction of two new products Secure@Source and Project Springbok. Anil Chakravarthy will specifically address the high-growth service opportunities which include:

  1. Next generation analytics
  2. 360-view of critical business entities
  3. Hybrid Infrastructure
  4. Data Governance & Data-Centric Security

To learn more about the Informatica partner programs, we invite you to review the information here.

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Mars vs. Venus? How CMOs and CIOs can align and thrive.

CMOs and CIOsRecently, we posted an initial discussion between Informatica’s CMO Marge Breya and CIO Eric Johnson, explaining how CIOs and CMOs can align and thrive. In the dialog below, Breya and Johnson provide additional detail on how their departments partner effectively.

Q: Pretty much everyone agrees that marketing has changed from an art to a science. How does that shift translate into how you work together day to day? 

CIO Eric JohnsonEric: The different ways that marketers now have to get to the prospects and customers to grow their marketshare has exploded. It used to be a single marketing solution that was an after-thought, and bolted on to the CRM solution. Now, there are just so many ways that marketers have to consider how they market to people. It’s driven by things going on in the market, like how people interact with companies and the lifestyle changes people have made around mobile devices.

Informatica CMO Marge BreyaMarge: Just look at the sheer number of systems and sources of data we care about. If you want to understand upsell and cross-sell for customers you have to look at what’s happening in the ERP system, what’s happened from a bookings standpoint, whether the customer is a parent or child of another customer, how you think about data by region, by industry by job title. And there’s how you think about successful conversion of leads. Is it the way you’d predicted? What’s your most valuable content? Who’s your most valuable outlet or event? What’s your ROI? You can’t get that from any one single system. More and more, it’s all about conversion rates, about forecasting and theories about how the business is working from a model standpoint. And I haven’t even talked about social.

Q: With so many emerging technologies to look at, how do CMOs reconcile the need to quickly add new products, while CIOs reconcile the need for everything to work securely and well together?

Eric: There’s this yin and yang that’s starting to build between the CIO and the CMO as we both understand each other and the world we each live in, and therefore collaborate and partner more. But at the same time, there’s a tension between a CMO’s need to bring in solutions very quickly, and the CIO’s need to do some basic vetting of that technology. It’s a tension between speed vs. scale and liability to the company. It’s on a case-by-case basis, but as a CIO you don’t say “no.” You give options. You show CMOs the tradeoffs they’re going to make.

There are also risks that are easy to take and worth taking. They won’t cause any problems with the enterprise on a security or integration perspective, so let’s just try it. It may not work — and that’s OK.

Marge: There’s temptation across departments for the shiny new object. You’ll hear about a new technology, and you think this might solve our problems, or move the business faster. The tension even within the marketing department is: do we understand how and if it will impact the business process? And do we understand how that business process will have to change if the shiny new object comes on board?

Q: CMOs are getting data from potentially hundreds of sources, including partners, third parties, LinkedIn and Google. How do the two of you work together to determine a trustworthy data source? Do you talk about it?

Eric: The issue of trusting your data and making sure you’re doing your due diligence on it is incredibly important. Without doing that, you are running the risk of finding yourself in a very tricky situation from a legal perspective, and potentially a liability perspective. To do that, we have a lot of technology that helps us manage a lot data sources coming into a single source of truth.

On top of that, we are working with marketers who are much more savvy about technology and data. And that makes IT’s job easier — and our partnership better — because we are now talking the same language. Sometimes it’s even hard to tell where the line between the two groups actually sits. Some of the marketing people are as technical as the IT people, and some of the IT people are becoming pretty well-versed in marketing.

Q: How do you decide what technologies to buy?

Marge: A couple of weeks ago we went on a shopping trip, and spent the day at a venture capital firm looking at new companies. It was fun. He and I were brainstorming and questioning each other to see if each technology would be useful, and could we imagine how everything would go together. We first explored possibilities, and then we considered whether it was practical.

Eric: Ultimately, Marge owns the budget. But before the budgeting cycle we sit down to discuss what things she wants to work on, and whether she wants to swap technology out. I make sure Marge is getting what she needs from the technologies. There’s a reliance on the IT team to do some due diligence on the technical aspects of this technology: Does it work. Do we want to do business with these people? Is it going to scale? So each party has a role to play in evaluating whether it’s a good solution for the company. As a CIO you don’t say “no” unless there’s something really bad, and you hope you have a relationship with the CMO where you can say here are the tradeoffs you’re making. You say no one has an agenda here, but here are the risks you have to be ok taking. It’s not a “no.” It’s options.

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Mars vs. Venus? Aligning the CMO and CIO Planets

Research firm Gartner, Inc., sent shockwaves across the technology landscape when it forecast CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs by 2017[i]. The rationale? “We frequently hear our technology and service provider clients tell us they are dealing with business buyers more, and need to “speak the language.” Gartner itself has fueled this inferno with assertions such as, “By 2017 the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO” (see “Webinar: By 2017 the CMO Will Spend More on IT Than the CIO”).”[ii] In the two years since Gartner first made that prediction, analysts and pundits have talked about a CIO/CMO battle for data supremacy — describing the two roles as “foes” inhabiting “separate worlds[iii]” that don’t even speak the same language.

But when CIOs are from Mars and CMOs are from Venus, their companies can end up with disjointed technologies that don’t play well together. The result? Security flaws, no single version of “truth,” and regulatory violations that can damage the business.  The trick, then, is aligning the CIO and CMO planets.

Informatica’s CMO Marge Breya and CIO Eric Johnson show how they do it.

Q: There’s been a lot of talk lately about how CMOs are now the biggest users of data. That represents a shift in how CMOs and CIOs traditionally have worked together. How do you think the roles of the CMO and CIO need to mesh?

CIO Eric JohnsonEric: As I look across the lines of business, and evaluate the level of complexity, the volume of data and the systems we’re supporting, marketing is now by far the most complex part of the business we support. The systems that they have, the data that they have, has grown exponentially over the last four or five years. Now more than ever, [CMOs and CIOs are] very much attached at the hip. We have to be working in conjunction with one another.

Informatica CMO Marge BreyaMarge: Just to add to that I’d say over the last five years, we’ve been attached to things like CRM systems, or partner relationship systems. From a marketing standpoint, it has really been about management: How do you have visibility into what’s happening with the business. But over the last couple of years it’s become increasingly more important to focus on the “R” word — the relationship: How do you look at a customer name and understand how it relates to their past buying behavior. As a result, you need to understand how information lives from system to system, all across a time series, in order to make really great decisions. The “relate’ word is probably most important, at least in my team right now, and it’s not possible for me to relate data across the organization without having a great relationship with IT.

Q: So how often do you find yourselves talking together?

Eric: We talk to each other probably weekly, and I think our teams work together daily. There’s a constant collaboration and making sure that we’re in sync. You hear about the CIO/CMO relationship. I think it should be an easy relationship because there’s so much going on technology-wise and data-wise that the CMOs are becoming much more technically knowledgeable, and CIOs are starting to understand more and more what’s going on in their business that the line between them should be all about how you work together.

Marge: Of all the business partners in the company, Eric … helps us in marketing reimagine how marketing can be done. If the two of us can go back and forth, understand what’s working and what’s not working, and reimagine how we can be far more effective, or productive or know new things — to me that’s the judge of a healthy relationship between a CIO and a CMO. And luckily, we have that.

Q: It seems as if 2013 was the year of “big data.” But a Gartner survey[iv]  said The adoption is still at the early stages with fewer than 8% of all respondents indicating their organization has deployed big data solutions. What do you think are the issues that are making it so difficult for companies?

Eric: The concept of big data is something companies want to get involved in. They want to understand how they can leverage this fast-growing volume of data from various sources. But the challenge is being able to understand what you’re looking for, and to know what kind of questions you have.

Marge: There’s a big focus on big data, almost for the sake of it in some cases. People get confused about whether it’s about the haystack, or the needle. Having a haystack for the heck of it isn’t usually what’s done. It’s for a purpose. It’s important to understand what part of that haystack is important for what part of your business. How up-to-date is it? How much can you trust the data. How much can you make real decisions from it. And frankly, who should have access to it. So much of the data we have today is sensitive, affected by privacy laws and other kinds of regulations. I think big data is appropriately a great term right now, but more importantly, it’s not just about big data, it’s about great data. How are you going to use it? And how it’s going to affect your business process.

Eric: You could go down into a rat hole if you’re chasing something and you’re not really sure what you’re going to do with it.

Marge: On the other hand, you can explore years of behavior and maybe come up with a great predictive model for what a new buying signal scoring engine could look like.

Q: One promise of big data is the ability to pull in data from so many sources. That would suggest a real need for you two to work together to ensure the quality and the integrity of the data. How do you collaborate on those issues?

Eric: There’s definitely a lot of work that has to be done working with the CMO and the marketing organization: To sit down and understand where’s this data coming from, what’s it going to be used for, and making sure you have the people and processing components. Especially with the level of complexity we have, with all the data coming in from so many sources, making sure that we really map that out, understand the data and what it looks like and what some of the challenges could be. So it’s partnering very closely with marketing to understand those processes, understand what they want to do with the data, and then putting the people, the processes and the technology in place so you can trust the data and have a single source of truth.

Marge: You hit the nail on the head with “people, process and technology.” Often, folks think of database quality or accuracy as being an IT problem. It’s a business problem. Most people know their business, they know what their data should look like. They know what revenue shapes should look like. What’s norm for the business. If the business people aren’t there from a governance standpoint, from a stewardship standpoint — literally saying “does this data make sense?” — without that partnership, forget it.

Gartner does a nice job of describing the digital landscape that marketers are facing today in its infographic below. In order to use technology as a differentiator, organizations need to get the most value from their data.  The relationships between these technology is going to make the difference between organizations that gain a competitive advantage from their operations and the laggards.

Gartner_DigitalMktgMap_650


[i] Gartner Research, December 20, 2013, “Market Trends: The Rising Importance of the Business Buyer – Fact of Fiction?” Derry N. Finkeldey

[ii] Gartner Research, December 20, 2013, “Market Trends: The Rising Importance of the Business Buyer – Fact of Fiction?” Derry N. Finkeldey

[iii] Gartner blog, January 25, 2013, “CMOs: Are You Cheating on Your CIO?”, Jennifer Beck, Vice President & Gartner Fellow

[iv] Gartner Research, September 12, 2013, “Survey Analysis: Big Data Adoption in 2013 Shows Substance Behind the Hype,” Lisa Kart, Nick Heudecker, Frank Buytendijk

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