If you know Gilbane, then you likely know who Scott Liewehr is as he was a senior analyst there. And if you know Liewehr, then you should also know he has kick started a new analyst group called Digital Clarity Group (DCG). The question is, do we really need another analyst firm? Take a look at DCG's team and mission and decide for yourself.
Just a Little Clarity to Find Your Way
Liewehr told me that the name of the firm implies quite a bit. Digital Clarity is about consumer and employee empowerment and supporting organizations as they proactively respond to this new mode of working.
As we are continually told and can clearly see, the world is changing around us. In order to survive and be successful, organizations have to change and embrace new methods of working and engaging with both customers and employees. Keep in mind, although technology is a critical element of this change, it should not be the primary focus.
And thus it's not the primary focus of DCG. According to Liewehr, DCG does not rally around supporting technology, but rather the practices that put that technology to use. But that doesn't mean technology isn't important to the firm as well -- their focus is both on helping organizations make the transformation to a social business through processes and technology, but also on helping technology vendors understand how their products and solutions are used within these organizations.
The DCG Mission
Is to provide research driven advice that helps organizations adapt and thrive in this new environment. Note it's not about finding a way out -- there is no getting out,
Consumers and knowledge workers alike are grabbing control of reigns and not letting go. The combination of the social web, open standards, the cloud, and ubiquitous mobility to name just a few, represent a field of dreams for empowered audiences to both collaborate and self-satisfy. For organizations, these represent an opportunity to transform, innovate, engage and develop loyal customers and employees like never before.”
The DCG Team
Liewehr refers to the team he assembled as "all-star", and there are a few names in here that you should know very well:
Tim Walters: Now a former Forrester Analyst, Walters is a DCG Partner and Principal Analyst. Walters told us that his move to DCG is in no way a reflection of his feelings towards Forrester -- he believes that Forrester is still a top tier analyst firm. But the offer to join a firm that is small and agile enough to shift with the currents and has the mix of team players was just right for him.
Liewehr indicated that Walter's location (Germany) gives DCG a strong presence in Europe where demand is high for firms like DCG and that the credibility Walter built with Forrester were key reasons to bring him to DCG. Walters also serves as DCG's Director of Research (he has a PhD grounded in research) and he's looking forward to doing some groundbreaking research that will be free to the public (some of which will be vendor sponsored/licensed).
Robert Rose: Rose is Contributing Senior Analyst at DCG and Director of Marketing. That makes sense if you know who Rose is (he recently co-authored the book Managing Content Marketing). Although Rose is not 100% part of the firm, he will play a lead role in driving the research for Web Engagement and Experience Management research and the advisory themes.
Cathy McKnight: As Partner and Principal Analyst, McKnight comes from a background in employee engagement working for companies like IBM, Prescient Digital Media and Aon Hewitt. With the help of her PMP, McKnight is Director of Operations and is responsible for DCG's approach to consulting projects, as well as ownership of the project management framework.
Elise Segar: Segar is a DCG Partner and head of Client Services. She comes from the management consultant firm iFridge and has over 15 years experience in sales. Internally, Segar is Director of Sales and Client Relations.
As for Liewehr, he is CEO and Principal Analyst, as well as Director of Strategy and support for Business Development with Segar. With some funding under its belt, DCG also has a Board of Directors of which Liewehr is President.
Navigating the Disruption
DCG has identified several important trends that impact leaders today across four key themes: Innovative Change, Social Enterprise, Consumer Engagement -- all facilitated with Adaptive Technology.
McKnight talks about employee engagement and empowerment as a key trend affecting the enterprise:
To satisfy consumers’ growing demand for comprehensive systems of engagement companies have to completely rethink their approach to everything; operations, IT, sales, customer service, employee empowerment - everything. Success will require a long-term commitment, a full company transformation, and the willingness to embrace the disruption rather than avoid it. ‘That’s not how we do things here’ will appear on the tombstones of the hesitant and half-hearted.”
Segar identifies the importance of collaboration between sales and marketing teams, saying:
But balancing the tools and the process -- and allowing the right amount of adaptability for these teams to understand this context is what is critical.”
Rose points out the need for CMO's to "embrace the chaotic nature of the new consumer engagement model" saying that the ability to adapt and embrace this chaos is the new competitive advantage for marketers.
Walters identifies the need for speed vs backbone technology and says the "business as usual is a terminal disease." That's an interesting thing to say, but he explained it this way: traditionally business worked hard at developing mature processes and systems in order to be stable -- they needed to have a reliable, repeatable and organized set of process to achieve business revenue. But today, that stability hinders agility, reliable and repeatable are barriers to innovation, and organized and well understood becomes like a fortress making it difficult to have a clear view of what's going on around them. All these "business as usual" characteristics make it harder to navigate the digital divide.
The focus of Digital Clarity Group is to help organizations learn to adapt to this new way of working and be successful. They have some very interesting reports and research coming out, but my lips are sealed for now. Suffice it to say, there are some things happening within DCG that I've yet to see happen within other analyst firms and I look forward to reading and learning from this group.