Thom Prewett, Author at General Assembly Blog

The 3 Essential Qualities of Big Data For The Enterprise



It’s true that Big Data is somewhat of a catchall term. So many different applications and organizations can be lumped underneath the Big Data umbrella that it can be confusing sometimes to know what exactly we’re talking about when we use the phrase.

Contrary to the belief in some quarters, it means a lot more than just “a lot of data.” At it’s simplest form, Big Data has three essential qualities: Volume, Velocity and Variety.

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10 Questions To Ask When Planning a Corporate Training Program


The scoping and planning phase is an incredibly important but frequently overlooked element when developing a digital training or transformation program. L&D executives and training sponsors are often bombarded with questions, opinions, and pressure to quickly move on launching a solution, which can often lead insufficient planning.

In hearing from large organizations across the globe, GA’s corporate training team has found that an underinvestment in scoping corporate training programs can result in substantial rework, delayed launch dates, and disappointing program outcomes.

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How Staples Learned to Build Better Products, Faster


The team at Staples Advantage, the B2B arm of Staples, recently had an idea to roll out a new feature for their mid-market customers that would simplify their buying process. The hypothesis behind the product feature was that a virtual buying assistant would provide a superior customer experience when compared to the current process of interacting with Staples specialists over the phone.

To validate this idea, Staples leveraged rapid prototyping methodology to begin testing the idea and a minimum viable product. In the video above, Matt Leitao, Director of Strategy for Staples Advantage, explains how Staples would have typically approached this new product feature in the past, “We would have done some market research. We would have had marketing involved. We would have had a slew of teams and it would have been about 6 months later where we might have had a good solution to go out to the marketplace with, with one key component missing: understanding if our customers actually wanted this, how they would respond, and how they would react.”

After training with GA’s corporate training team, the Staples team took a completely different approach to quickly test and validate their new product feature. “We said what can we use off the shelf? What can we use today to start doing this,” explained Leitao.

Watch the video above to hear Matt Leitao explain how the Staples team quickly tested and validated their minimum-viable-product.

Interested in incorporating rapid prototyping methodology into your product team’s workflow?

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How MetLife Serves Their Global Customer Base


Over the past 10-15 years, rapid advancements in technology have made it extremely difficult for organizations to stay ahead of their consumers’ evolving behavior and brand expectations.

Of course, this challenge is even greater for large, global brands.

In order to successfully communicate with their broad customer base, global organizations must cater to varying cultural norms, regulatory rules, and preferred methods of brand interaction that are native to each individual market and country.

As Chris Smith, EVP & Global Head of Operations at MetLife, states, “What we really view as important is being able to allow our customers to do business the way they want to do business with us.”

In the video above, Smith goes on to highlight several examples in which MetLife maintains customer centricity across several markets all around the globe. Examples include:

  • Experimenting with augmented reality in Mexico to provide supplementary, digital information along with printed financial documents
  • Providing USB sticks to customers in Slovakia containing necessary policy documents
  • Partnering with WeChat to offer service directly to customers in China

Interested in learning how your organization can maintain a strong, customer-centric approach to marketing and operations? Download our white paper “4 Key Elements of The Consumer Decision Journey in the Digital Age.”

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How MetLife Encourages Global Innovation & Collaboration


With teams scattered across multiple continents, it is no surprise that large, global organizations rely on systems to connect teams, encourage collaboration, and increase cross-functional learning. Information and learnings that are significant in one market are likely to be helpful in another. Without these systems in place, global organizations are missing out on a massive opportunity to move forward in a quick, unified way.

MetLife is an example of a global organization that has implemented several processes and tools to connect the 40 separate units that make up their Global Operations Team.

Watch the above video interview with MetLife’s EVP & Global Head of Operations, Chris Smith, to learn specific examples of how he has connected his Global Operations Team and encouraged worldwide collaboration.

Does your business encourage open collaboration and innovation? Learn how you and your organization can stay relevant in this digital age with our “Leadership in the Digital Age” white paper.

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Marketing to New Generations: A Look at Millennials and Beyond


It’s no mystery that marketing to millennials has becoming increasingly important to the long term success of businesses across a variety of industries. With millennial spending on the rise and showing no signs of stopping, this age group represents a massive opportunity that businesses cannot afford to ignore.

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Moving Past Paper & Ink: An Interview with Shira Goodman, Staples President of North American Commercial


Shira Goodman, President of Staples North American Commercial, recently sat down with General Assembly to discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by digital’s rapid rise within retail. Additionally, Goodman discusses how Staples is adapting to these changes in customer behavior. “It’s probably not overly surprising that people are buying less paper and ink,” says Goodman, “but that’s also an opportunity for Staples because customers trust us to deliver what they need.”

Watch the video above.

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How Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Navigates Its Digital Transformation: A Conversation with CMO John Dragoon


John Dragoon, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s first CMO, recently sat down with General Assembly to discuss how he views leading a digital transformation at the large-scale educational publishing company. In addition to the shifting challenges of marketing a publishing company in the digital age, Dragoon also discusses marketing’s role in leading a company’s digital evolution as well what it means to have brand courage in 2014 and beyond. Watch the video above.

This Week In Digital Marketing: What You Need to Know [VIDEO]


Each week, General Assembly’s online learning platform “The Essentials of Digital Marketing” provides students at large companies with a quick recap of news in the world of online marketing. This week’s installment of EDM Headlines features Amazon’s new online advertising platform “Amazon Sponsored Links,” Forbes’ findings from a recent C-level executive survey, Procter & Gamble’s strong foothold in the Chinese market, and more. Watch the quick 2 minute video above to get the latest updates in the world of digital marketing.

Interested in learning more about the Essentials of Digital Marketing?

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How To Become a Product Manager at a Major Tech Company


Matt Lemay image

Matt LeMay is a Senior Product Manager at Songza and former Head of Consumer Product at Bitly. He teaches regularly at General Assembly on topics related to product management, big data, and APIs. Here he discusses how he became interested in product management, and what he did to land his current gig. 

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