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Kedro, McKinsey’s first open-source software tool

 

QuantumBlack, the advanced analytics firm we acquired in 2015, has now launched Kedro, an open source tool created specifically for data scientists and engineers. It is a library of code that can be used to create data and machine-learning pipelines. For our non-developer readers, these are the building blocks of an analytics or machine-learning project. “Kedro can change the way data scientists and engineers work,” explains product manager Yetunde Dada, “making it easier to manage large workflows and ensuring a consistent quality of code throughout a project.”

McKinsey has never before created a publicly available, open source tool. “It represents a significant shift for the firm,” notes Jeremy Palmer, CEO of QuantumBlack, “as we continue to balance the value of our proprietary assets with opportunities to engage as part of the developer community, and accelerate as well as share our learning.”

The name Kedro, which derives from the Greek word meaning center or core, signifies that this open-source software provides crucial code for ‘productionizing’ advanced analytics projects. Kedro has two major benefits: it allows teams to collaborate more easily by structuring analytics code in a uniform way so that it flows seamlessly through all stages of a project. This can include consolidating data sources, cleaning data, creating features and feeding the data into machine-learning models for explanatory or predictive analytics.

More: www.mckinsey.com; https://github.com/quantumblacklabs/kedro

  What are the main features of Kedro?

1. Project template and coding standards

  • A standard and easy-to-use project template
  • Configuration for credentials, logging, data loading and Jupyter Notebooks / Lab
  • Test-driven development using pytest
  • Sphinx integration to produce well-documented code

2. Data abstraction and versioning

  • Separation of the compute layer from the data handling layer, including support for different data formats and storage options
  • Versioning for your data sets and machine learning models

3. Modularity and pipeline abstraction

  • Support for pure Python functions, nodes, to break large chunks of code into small independent sections
  • Automatic resolution of dependencies between nodes
  • (coming soon) Visualise your data pipeline with Kedro-Viz, a tool that shows the pipeline structure of Kedro projects

Note: Read our FAQs to learn how we differ from workflow managers like Airflow and Luigi.

4. Feature extensibility

  • A plugin system that injects commands into the Kedro command line interface (CLI)
  • List of officially supported plugins:
    • (coming soon) Kedro-Airflow, making it easy to prototype your data pipeline in Kedro before deploying to Airflow, a workflow scheduler
    • Kedro-Docker, a tool for packaging and shipping Kedro projects within containers
  • Kedro can be deployed locally, on-premise and cloud (AWS, Azure and GCP) servers, or clusters (EMR, Azure HDinsight, GCP and Databricks)

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BCG – The Science of Organizational Change

There is a gap between where most organizations are today and where they will need to be to succeed in the coming decade. The companies that win in the 2020s will be designed to constantly learn and adapt to changing realities, combine artificial and human intelligence in new ways, and harness the benefits of broader business ecosystems. Reaching this necessary future state will require a fundamental transformation.

This change effort will be challenging. Many businesses have deeply entrenched operating systems that are predicated on hierarchy and human decision making. They will need to redesign their internal processes and build new capabilities and business models. Furthermore, this will not be a one-time change effort: the dynamic nature of business will require organizations to build capabilities for ongoing large-scale change to keep up with evolving technology and competition.

Traditional approaches to enacting organizational change are generally not very effective. Change management is generally thought of as one-size-fits-all and based on plausible rules of thumb. But our research shows that only about one in four transformations succeeds in the short and long run, and the success rate has been trending downward. Meanwhile, the stakes are extremely high: the cumulative difference between success and failure for the largest transformations over a decade can add up to the company’s entire market value.

Leaders need to take a new approach to change—one that deploys evidence, analytics, and emerging technology. In other words, leaders must apply the emerging science of organizational change, which is based on five key components. (See Exhibit 1.)

  1. Ground change programs in evidence.
  2. De-average change strategies according to the nature of the challenge at hand.
  3. Embrace uncertainty and complexity in change management.
  4. Use technology to identify the right talent to execute change.
  5. Tap into emerging science to enhance change programs.

By Lars Fæste, Martin Reeves, and Kevin Whitaker

More: www.bcg.com/publications/2019/

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McKinsey – Getting organizational redesign right

Companies will better integrate their people, processes, and structures by following nine golden rules.

Recent McKinsey research surveying a large set of global executives suggests that many companies, these days, are in a nearly permanent state of organizational flux. Almost 60 percent of the respondents, for example, told us they had experienced a redesign within the past two years, and an additional 25 percent said they experienced a redesign three or more years ago. A generation or two back, most executives might have experienced some sort of organizational upheaval just a few times over the course of their careers. One plausible explanation for this new flurry of activity is the accelerating pace of strategic change driven by the disruption of industries. As a result, every time a company switches direction, it alters the organization to deliver the hoped-for results. Rather than small, incremental tweaks of the kind that might have been appropriate in the past, today’s organizations often need regular shake-ups of the Big Bang variety.

Frustratingly, it also appears that the frequency of organizational redesign reflects a high level of disappointment with the outcome. According to McKinsey’s research, less than a quarter of organizational-redesign efforts succeed. Forty-four percent run out of steam after getting under way, while a third fail to meet objectives or improve performance after implementation. The good news is that companies can do better—much better. In this article, we’ll describe what we learned when we compared successful and unsuccessful organizational redesigns and explain some rules of the road for executives seeking to improve the odds. Success doesn’t just mean avoiding the expense, wasted time, and morale-sapping skepticism that invariably accompany botched attempts; in our experience, a well-executed redesign pays off quickly in the form of better-motivated employees, greater decisiveness, and a stronger bottom line.

Why redesign the organization?

Organizational redesign involves the integration of structure, processes, and people to support the implementation of strategy and therefore goes beyond the traditional tinkering with “lines and boxes.” Today, it comprises the processes that people follow, the management of individual performance, the recruitment of talent, and the development of employees’ skills. When the organizational redesign of a company matches its strategic intentions, everyone will be primed to execute and deliver them. The company’s structure, processes, and people will all support the most important outcomes and channel the organization’s efforts into achieving them.

When do executives know that an organization isn’t working well and that they need to consider a redesign? Sometimes the answer is obvious: say, after the announcement of a big new regional-growth initiative or following a merger. Other signs may be less visible—for example, a sense that ideas agreed upon at or near the top of the organization aren’t being translated quickly into actions or that executives spend too much time in meetings. These signs suggest that employees might be unclear about their day-to-day work priorities or that decisions are not being implemented. A successful organizational redesign should better focus the resources of a company on its strategic priorities and other growth areas, reduce costs, and improve decision making and accountability.

The case of a consumer-packaged-goods (CPG) company that chose to expand outside its US home base illustrates one typical motivation for a redesign. Under the group’s previous organizational structure, the ostensibly global brand team responsible for marketing was not only located in the United States but had also been rewarded largely on the performance of US operations; it had no systems for monitoring the performance of products elsewhere. To support a new global strategy and to develop truly international brands and products, the company separated US marketing from its global counterpart and put in place a new structure (including changes to the top team), new processes, new systems, and a new approach to performance management. This intensive redesign helped promote international growth, especially in key emerging markets such as Russia (where sales tripled) and China (where they have nearly doubled).

By Steven Aronowitz, Aaron De Smet, and Deirdre McGinty

More: https://www.mckinsey.com/

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BCG – Twelve Forces That Will Radically Change How Organizations Work

A tidal wave of change is coming that will soon make the way we work almost unrecognizable to today’s business leaders. In an age of rapidly evolving technologies, business models, demographics, and even workplace attitudes—all shifting concurrently—change is not only constant but also exponential in its pace and scope. Companies from startups and online businesses to incumbents in all industries will experience the effects in far-reaching and transformational ways.

During a comprehensive, yearlong analysis of the global work landscape, The Boston Consulting Group identified 60 major trends propelling this tidal wave, which we’ve grouped into 12 primary forces. These forces, or megatrends, fall into four categories. The first two address changes in the demand for talent: technological and digital productivity and shifts in ways of generating business value. The second two address changes in the supply of talent: shifts in resource distribution and changing workforce cultures and values. (See Exhibit 1. For a list of all 60 trends, see the Appendix.)

Together, these forces will revolutionize the way that work gets done in companies and will compel leaders to rethink even the most basic assumptions about how their organizations function. They will need to discover new ways of organizing, performing, and leading, along with new approaches to recruiting, developing, and engaging employees. All this in organizations with limitless data, open boundaries, employees and machines working side by side, and rapidly evolving employee value propositions. BCG has assessed the impact of these megatrends on organizations. In this report, the first in the New New Way of Working series, we identify several companies that are leading the way. Yet most organizations still have far to go.

Six of the forces we identified are having a profound effect on the demand for talent. (See Exhibit 2.) We categorize them into two groups:

  • Technological and digital productivity: automation, big data and advanced analytics, and access to information and ideas
  • Shifts in ways of generating business value: simplicity in complexity, agility and innovation, and new customer strategies

By Vikram Bhalla , Susanne Dyrchs , and Rainer Strack

More: https://www.bcg.com

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The Most Innovative Companies 2019

This article is a chapter from the BCG report, The Most Innovative Companies 2019: The Rise of AI, Platforms, and Ecosystems.

Users of Google’s email software recently discovered that Gmail was offering to finish their sentences for them. This new Smart Compose feature relies on Google’s expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), along with billions of training examples and the company’s cloud-based Tensor Processing technology, to intuit what Gmail users want to say—often faster than the users can complete their own thoughts.

In a world where computers can compose notes to your friends, it’s hardly surprising that the theme of BCG’s 13th annual global innovation survey and report is the rising importance of AI and of platforms that support innovation. This is not an out-of-the-blue development. Our last few reports have highlighted the crucial role of science and technology in innovation, the impact of digital technologies on both digital natives and more traditional industries, and strong innovators’ increasing use of various internal and external vehicles to uncover new ideas. This year’s survey shows that AI use is rapidly expanding and that many companies are relying more on platforms and their cousin, ecosystems, to support their innovations efforts.

[…]

Two New Forces

Most companies are at least exploring the use of AI, and strong innovators are seeing positive results. Nine out of ten respondents in our current survey say that their companies are investing in AI, and more than 30% expect AI to have the greatest impact of any innovation area on their industry over the next three to five years. (See Exhibit 2.) Four in ten self-described strong innovators report receiving more than 15% of their sales from AI-enabled products, compared with less than one in ten weak innovators. In a companion article, we take an in-depth look at the widening gap in where and how AI is affecting innovation. (See the companion article “AI Powers a New Innovation Machine.”)

Platforms and ecosystems serve multiple functions, including facilitating (and sometimes profiting from) the innovation of others, expanding reach and collaboration, and enabling new multiparty solutions and offerings. Again, strong innovators are more likely than weak ones to expect a significant impact within three to five years and to be actively targeting these areas. (See Exhibit 3.) Strong innovators also show other signs of being focused on external innovation. For example 75% report using incubators, 81% leverage academic partnerships, and 83% partner with other companies. Weak innovators lag consistently in all of these areas.

Platforms are technologies that provide a foundation for developing other business offerings. Numerous industrial goods companies, including Siemens (number 16) and Boeing (number 11), have built substantial platform businesses in predictive maintenance to complement their traditional engineering and manufacturing endeavors. Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM, among others, offer a range of software and services from their cloud platforms.

Ecosystems go a step further and leverage a range of partners that pull together the underlying technologies, applications, software platforms, and services needed to produce an integrated solution. (See “The Emerging Art of Ecosystem Management,” BCG article, January 2019.) The two main mobile operating systems—Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS—have grown into complex ecosystems of telcos, device manufacturers, service providers, and app developers, among others. Rapidly changing technologies and growing customer demand for a highly customized user experience further amplify the need for partnerships.

The opportunity to innovate entirely new revenue streams, business models, and sources of continuing advantage is particularly strong for B2B businesses, thanks to the masses of data that devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) generate. Data ecosystems will play a critical role in defining the future of competition in many B2B industries. (See “How IoT Data Ecosystems Will Transform B2B Competition,” BCG article, July 2018.)

Authors: Michael Ringel, Senior Partner & Managing Director, Boston; Florian Grassl, Partner & Managing Director, Munich; Ramón Baeza, Senior Partner & Managing Director, Madrid

More: www.bcg.com