Creating Energized Enterprises: A New SIIA Member Interview with Marc Strohlein of Agile Business Logic

Tell me about your company, what you do?

I create energized enterprises. I help organizations to optimize strategies, people, processes, and technologies and their interactions. I apply my experience gained as COO, CTO, CIO, and SVP of Operations at companies including Outsell Inc., Classroom Connect/Harcourt, Gartner Group, and Dataquest, to ensure that my clients have the right strategies, talent, organization, and technologies to succeed.

My passion and focus over my career has been in unlocking energy, focus, innovation, and growth in individuals, teams, and organizations—creating energized enterprises that outperform their peers.

I also work with technology vendors, especially those with complex offerings, to market their products, create white papers, and help with positioning, messaging, and go-to-market strategies. Technology marketing is growing increasingly difficult with crowded and noisy markets—it takes highly relevant and well-timed content to get potential buyers attention. I help vendors implement a “buyers journey” approach to content marketing.

  • Who does your company sell to?

I work with organizations of all types, but especially like working with publishers and information providers. I have been in the information industry much of my career and I have a deep appreciation for the power and value of getting the right information to the right person at the right time to help businesses cope with challenging and volatile business environments. I also like working with associations as I bring ideas and expertise from the for-profit world that are often new to non-profits. And, as I noted, I work with technology vendors, especially those that sell content software technology solutions.

  • What is unique about what you do?

I focus a lot of attention on the components of an organization and how they interact; in other words, I take a holistic systems view of organizations and create recommendations and solutions based on that viewpoint. I also pay a lot of attention to people, culture, and management styles, even when the problem at hand is purportedly technology related. Most technology-driven initiatives, whether product or enterprise, either succeed or fail based on how well peoples’ needs and behaviors are considered and integrated into solutions.

That also applies to the vendor side of my practice—the challenge for vendors is to get inside the heads of their prospects and I use my years of experience as a CIO and CTO buying and managing technology, as COO and business executive leveraging technology, and as an industry analyst studying and writing about technology to help them solve that challenge.

  • Tell me about some unique challenges you have in your business and how you go about solving them.

Since my approach involves virtually all elements and interactions in an organization, I have to get an “on-the-ground” understanding of what the organization does, how it functions, its culture, and what’s working and what’s not—all in the context of the nuances of whatever business or market the organization is in. I use an interview-based approach, starting at the management team and working down through the organization to build that understanding.

The other big challenge is that of change—by definition, my engagements are all about change and I work with clients to anticipate and work through the challenges that come with organizational change. Having been a student of human nature and social behaviors over my career, dealing with the “people side of technology and change” is a linchpin of what I do.

  • Any new or recent news you would like to announce?

I’m three chapters into writing a book on Energized Enterprises for publication later this year.

  • What do you see as the biggest trends in the industry the next 12-18 months?

Tablets, HTML5, cloud computing, mobile and big data are the most obvious technology trends, but I like to study disruptive forces and their interactions and have found that the most potent disruptive forces come from the confluence of multiple trends. For example, while the rise of cloud computing, big data, localized computing, semantic technology, and social media are all important trends on their own, collectively they are going to enable massively scalable hyper-personalized content and advertising—that is beyond the 18 month horizon, but the early strands are starting to become visible. This is a classic “skate to where the puck is going” opportunity for publishers.

 

 

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