As part of our ongoing series of interviews with journalists, I checked in with Randy Bean, CEO and Founder of NewVantage Partners, and a regular enterprise technology contributor on topics in business innovation and big data for Forbes, MIT Sloan Management Review, and Harvard Business Review. He wrote a monthly column on big data for The Wall Street Journal from 2014-2015. Previously, he served as the senior vice president and general manager of the business banking and b-to-b database marketing practices of Harte-Hanks Data Technologies. Randy holds a bachelor's degree from Washington University in St. Louis.
Q: How has your job changed the most in the past year?
As a firm, we focus on business innovation transformation, disruption, using capabilities including big data and cognitive solutions like artificial intelligence. As part of our thought-leadership position and brand, we write articles on topics around the introduction and business adoption of capabilities such as big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence and block chain. Our expertise helps guide businesses through the process of transformation. What has changed most in the past year is that firms are now rapidly adopting artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities as we enter a Decade of Disruption.
Q: What’s your biggest prediction for 2017 for enterprise tech? Big Data?
In January we released our annual 2017 Big Data Executive Survey which revealed that nearly half of organizations are experiencing measurable results and business benefits from their big data investments. Of those, 80 percent of executives characterize their big data investments as successful while 21 percent declared big data to have been disruptive or transformational for their firm. While their big data investments are now producing measurable business results, these firms understand that they cannot rest on their laurels. Rather, they must be preparing for the next wave of major technology and organization disruptions. I look forward to continuing to provide thought-leadership on big data and the new cognitive technologies that will continue to transform businesses.
Q: In 2016 you wrote for several publications including Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management, Forbes, Data Informed and Information Management. Do you expect to continue writing for these publications and where do your story ideas come from?
Yes, I have articles that have been published or due for publication in all of these publications in Q1 2017. I develop my story ideas based on the trends I see in the market. As far as process, I think about the topic for a period of time, arrive at some core ideas, write it down, and then sleep on it. My biggest edits to an article tend to be moving around pieces of the story to make sure the flow makes sense and it is tight.
Q: What types of stories are you most interested in doing?
I am interested in stories about how businesses derive value and results from their technology investments.
Q: Do you find PR people helpful when it comes to story ideas? What is one thing that PR people can do to make your job easier?
I view PR folks as partners in the process, who can be used to complement and support my activities. It is always about telling a compelling story.
Q: What’s your worst PR pet peeve?
The use of superlatives. I like writing that is matter of fact. Definitive. Authoritative. This is how it is.