CHANCES FOR CHEMICAL PRODUCERS

Chemical producers were among the first to use digital technologies extensively. From the days of the earliest digital plant controllers, they have used data to improve their operations. Their R&D teams have tapped large data sets in their search for better molecules and processes. And for at least 40 years, engineers have used computer-aided design (CAD) systems to design their plants. However, in recent years, the chemicals sector has fallen behind

DEALING WITH TWO-SPEED CHINA

The Chinese government’s official “new normal” policy is redefining the country’s economy as it manages GDP growth at 6.5% to 7%, shifts focus from manufacturing to services and consumption, and pushes for innovation-led growth over investment-led growth. In our fifth year of tracking the shopping behavior of Chinese consumers, we detail the distinct effects that these and other major economic shifts are having on brands. Our

SIMPLIFY TO GROW IN HEALTHCARE

When a global medical diagnostics firm reached the point at which it could no longer answer these two fundamental questions, it decided to undertake a deep analysis of economic profitability by region, customer segment, product and other dimensions, featuring a rigorous total cost allocation along each dimension. The findings shocked executives. It turned out that secondary countries significantly lagged on profitability. For instance, just

ANATOMY OF A DIGITAL FORERUNNER

It’s no secret that digital technology has transformed the business landscape in ways few could have anticipated even five short years ago. What’s new is that the technologies and solutions that once seemed far-fetched are rapidly becoming table stakes in most industries. Data, analytics and connectivity are reshaping every sector of the global economy. Amazon and Alibaba have set the pace in retail, largely without owning stores. Airbnb is one of

STEERING THROUGH THE OIL STORM

The decline in oil prices over the past several months and the continued weakness in gas prices have created a new structural challenge for the upstream oil and gas industry. We are well beyond the “price correction” that commentators cited as the reason for falling prices in the fourth quarter of 2014. As we were in 1998, 2001 and 2009, we are now in uncharted territory. A world of lower oil-price planning has become the common basis for the coming

TAPPING CLOUD’S FULL POTENTIAL

Most business and IT executives are well aware of the benefits of moving their IT workloads to the cloud: faster time to market, more flexible and scalable systems, streamlined application development and reduced data-center costs. Few, however, are using the cloud to its full potential. Our recent survey of more than 400 companies found that firms that are serious about getting cost savings and other benefits aim to migrate at least half of their work