Archive for the ‘Monday’s Musings’ Category

Monday’s Musings: Why Customers And Prospects Expect Clearer Rules About Content Marketing

Original Mission Improves Engagement Through Relevancy

Content marketing re-emerges as a hot topic and trend in improving engagement with existing customers and prospects.  Marketers can improve the likelihood of engagement through the creation and sharing of relevant information.  Typical delivery formats include advertorials, emails, branded websites, white papers, webinars, podcasts, and field marketing events.  Content marketers believe that educating a customers with high quality information will improve the likelihood of a sale due to brand association with expertise and thought leadership.  Content marketing is a powerful and effective approach when done well.

Many Marketers Will Abuse The Model As Marketer Objectivity Standards Go By The Way Side

As with all techniques, content marketing has the potential to improve brand relevancy and conversion.  However, when applied to social media, there is greater room for abuse.  Why? The speed of social media and the lack of rules creates a confluence of forces leading many content marketers to quickly blur the limits of objectivity.  How? By placing biased marketing content and associating with a known, objective, and trusted brand.  It’s happening with paid blogs, paid tweets, purchasing Facebook likes, thinly veiled advertorials in trusted magazine brands, and biased white papers disguised as objective research.

Though many will claim that a new generation could care less about objectivity, selling out on standards will create short term gain at a more punishing long term loss of trust.  In today’s social businesses, trust is the new social currency.  Without trust based on our actions, we destroy the basis for engagement and relationships.  In fact the newness and pureness of social media is what draws users to engage.  If marketers deafen the channel with the equivalent of ‘junk mail”, spam, and telemarketing in the guise of content marketing, the recipients will hit another level of social overload and disengagement.

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Monday’s Musings: Seven Basic Privacy Rights Users Should Demand For Social Business

Public Outrage Grows Over Lax Privacy Polices At Popular Social Networking Sites

Recent actions by social networking leaders in the market place have brought new attention to a user’s privacy rights.  Despite the fact that these sites provide a freemium service to users, abuse and arrogance of a user’s privacy rights combined with user ignorance has led to not only a public outrage, but also increasing action from privacy advocacy groups to petition government agencies.  Three public examples include:

Figure 1. US Social Networking Sites Market Share By Page Views

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Research Summary: Introducing The 43 Use Cases For Social Business (Social Enterprise)

The Social Business (Social Enterprise) Moves Beyond The 18 Use Cases Of Social CRM

As social media adoption continues to move from mainstream to pervasive ubiquity, enterprises will begin to benefit from these advancements in the consumerization of IT (CoIT).  Just 18 months ago, early adopters identified 18 Use Cases for Social CRM (SCRM).  These ground breaking use cases showed enterprises how to bring social into existing CRM processes.

Consequently, the market has moved on beyond just marketing, service, and support use cases.  In the latest Software Insider “State of Social Business” survey, 103 respondents identified 25 additional use cases that spanned across key enterprise business processes that impact eight key functional areas, from external facing to internal facing (see Figure 1):

  1. Public relations/ marketing (PR/MA).  Key impacted business process: Campaign to lead
  2. Sales (SFA).  Key impacted business process: Lead to deal
  3. Service and support (CSS).  Key impacted business process: Incident to resolution
  4. Projects (PBS).  Key impacted business process: Kickoff to delivery
  5. Innovation/ product life cycle management (PLM). Key impacted business process: Concept to production
  6. Supply chain (SCM). Key impacted business process: Sourcing to acceptance
  7. Human capital management (HCM). Key impacted business process: Hire to retire
  8. Finance. Key impacted business process: Invoice to payment

Figure 1. Constellation Defines 43 Social Business/ Social Enterprise Use Cases and 24 Key Analytics

(Hint: right click to expand and view the full image)

Early Adopters Identify HCM And Projects As The Next Growth Area For Social Business

Survey respondents chose their top 3 internal collaboration and external engagement social business use cases (see Figure 2).  Not surprisingly, service/support use cases led the pack with Reactive support-External (68.9%) and Support escalation and resolution – External (64.1%).  Lead generation – External in the PR Marketing category rounded out the top 3 at (63.1%).  Meanwhile, Projects and HCM gain traction among the top 5 use cases. Respondents report an increase in adoption of Projects Workspaces- Internal (36.9%) such as wiki’s and similar internal collaboration tools.  Meanwhile, HCM Recruiting – External (34.0%) emerged as the fifth most utilized use case.

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Monday’s Musings: A Working Vendor Landscape For Social Business

Confusion Persists In The Social Business Market

As with any new disruptive technology, the social business solution landscape faces a dynamic, confusing, and converging market. As vendors seek to grab mind share and market share, customers and prospects remain confused as to what are the right business problems to address with social business. However, rampant confusion among users hampers efforts to solve business issues. Three key factors accelerate this level of confusion:

  1. Early adopter market. Constantly changing conditions force customers to alter original plans as executive sponsorship fluctuates from intense to pensive and back to intense in short cycles. Projects remain secretive for competitive advantage reasons. Consequently, prospects lack strong case studies to build off of despite peer groups, adoption networks. Prospects seek metrics that matter and relevant use cases.
  2. Consumerization of IT. With increased social media penetration, success in consumer grade products highlight the potential for enterprise adoption. However, most enterprise class products remain one to two generations behind in achieving similar capabilities. As business users gravitate towards simple, scalable, and sexy attributes; IT departments seek to rein in shadow IT efforts with safety, security, and sustainability requirements.
  3. Marketing mayhem. Fast paced markets always generate hype in marketing messages. Hence, legacy collaboration, community platform, CRM, unified communications, integration platform, and office productivity vendors seek to reposition themselves and address the emerging and trendy social business use cases customers seek.

Social Business Vendors Converge Towards Business Value Sweet Spot

The vendor landscape for social business market represents a diverse and broad collection of solutions.  Vendors approach the market from multiple heritage points, technologies, and markets.  Four key criteria cut across two axes (see Figure 1):

  1. External facing vs internal facing.  External facing includes customers, partners, and suppliers.  Internal facing include employees and trusted networks within the corporate firewall.
  2. Platforms and infrastructure vs purpose built solutions.  Platforms and infrastructure referred to core technology solutions.  Purpose built solutions address specific applications.

Figure 1. Social Business Vendors Converge Towards Business Value Sweet Spot (Working Draft)

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Monday’s Musings: Auction Sites Such As Deal Umpire May Level The Playing Field Among Daily Deal Sites


Merchants Must Break Free From Daily Deal Site Hysteria

Following up on the April 4th post about the damage caused by daily deal sites such as Groupon, merchants continued to send feedback about the challenges they face.  Those who use daily deal sites express the following:

  • Peer pressure to participate. Customers and prospects flooded by daily deals try out competitors.  Merchants afraid that lack of participation will hurt the business. A large restaurant chain VP noted, “Dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t.  We need to raise awareness above the fray, but the prize for winning is a losing business model”
  • Attraction of a low value, price sensitive customer base. Instead of attracting brand conscious, high value customers, merchants end up with bargain hunters.  Over time, merchants have had to raise prices to make up for losses with daily deal sites.  A high end spa owner complained, “I’m attracting the wrong customers and aggravating my loyal customer base.  Everyone now wants a bargain and we’ve got no more margin to give”
  • Inability to negotiate favorable terms. A lack of transparency on terms results in higher takes of percentage of revenue. Merchants lack visibility and expertise to secure better terms.  CMO of a large hospitality chain stated, “The terms for the deals stink.  We need some pricing pressure to move the pendulum back towards the center”.

New Daily Deal Auction Sites Create Win-Wins for Merchants And Daily Deal Sites

Auction sites such as Deal Umpire provide a market between merchants and daily deal sites.  These market places, if successful, will deliver two key benefits for merchants such as:

  • Visibility in deal terms among various daily deal sites. Deal site profiles include key information such as revenue split, payout terms, subscriber reach, subscriber demographics, deal site business model, credit card fees, media coverage, marketing materials, and when a deal can be featured.
  • Competition for daily deal business. The market place concept brings together multiple deal site programs into once place.   With competitive forces in play, merchants can drive pricing pressure on daily deal sites for lower revenue share and more favorable terms.

Merchants using a market place benefit with:

Monday’s Musings: The Three V’s of Big Data

The Three V’s Traditionally Define Big Data

Traditionally, big data describes data that’s too large for existing systems to process.  Over the past three years, experts and gurus in the space have added additional characteristics to define big data.   As big data enters the mainstream language, it’s time to revisit the definition.

  1. Volume. This original characteristic describes the relative size of data to the processing capability. Today a large number may be 10 terabytes.  In 12 months 50 terabytes may constitute big data if we follow Moore’s Law.  Overcoming the volume issue requires technologies that store vast amounts of data in a scalable fashion and provide distributed approaches to querying or finding that data.  Two options exist today: Apache Hadoop based solutions and massively parallel processing databases such as CalPont, EXASOL, GreenPlum, HP Vertica, IBM Netezza,  Kognitio, ParAccel, and Teradata Kickfire
  2. Velocity. This characteristic describes the frequency at which data is generated, captured, and shared. The growth in sensor data from devices, and web based click stream analysis now create requirements for greater real-time use cases.  The velocity of large data streams power the ability to parse text, detect sentiment, and identify new patterns.  Real-time offers in a world of engagement, require fast matching and immediate feedback loops so promotions align with geo location data, customer purchase history, and current sentiment.  Key technologies that address velocity include streaming processing and complex event processing.  NoSQL databases are used when relational approaches no longer make sense.  In addition, the use of in-memory data bases (IMDB), columnar databases, and key value stores help improve retrieval of pre-calculated data.
  3. Variety A proliferation of data types from social, machine to machine, and mobile sources add new data types to traditional transactional data.  Data no longer fits into neat, easy to consume structures. New types include content, geo-spatial, hardware data points, location based, log data, machine data, metrics, mobile, physical data points, process, RFID’s, search, sentiment, streaming data, social, text, and web.  The addition of unstructured data such as speech, text, and language increasingly complicate the ability to categorize data.  Some technologies that deal with unstructured data include data mining, text analytics, and noisy text analytics.

The Bottom Line: Start With Your Business Objectives

In Stephen Covey’s book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he starts with a saying, “Begin with the End in Mind”.  For big data projects, ask the key questions.  What patterns will you uncover that will change how you go to market or address fraud?  Can you apply sentiment and location to create new customer experiences.  What additional insights can help you create new and disruptive busienss models?  Big data is just a technology and tool.  How you apply this tool to your business models and objectives will determine whether big data is a luxury or a necessity.

Your POV

What business problem will require you to start with Big Data?  What are the key outcomes?  Where do you expect to move the needle?   Add your comments to the blog or send us a comment at R (at) SoftwareInsider (dot) org or R (at) ConstellationRG (dot) com

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Monday’s Musings: Real Time Versus Right Time And The Dawn Of Engagement Apps

Different Flavors Of Real-Time Result In Significant Implications.

Many pundits, research insight folks, bloggers, and hand wavers keep talking about the need for real time in social business, analytics, mobile, and other disruptive technologies.  Given the volume of data, bandwidth constraints, and magnitude of business processes to be supported, is the notion of real time even possible?  It’s been the holy grail of many technology suppliers to state they are delivering information or reacting in “real-time”.

While researching the issue, I rediscovered a classic post from event processing researcher Dr. Opher Etzion, from IBM Labs Haifa.  The central thesis from this 2007 classic post is that real-time is quite valuable in the context of “the damage caused when missing a deadline”.  When you look at that from a business value perspective, his approach leads to four types of real-time (see Figure 1):

  1. Soft real-time: there is a sense to react after the deadline, but the utility decreases (maybe fast) and at some point gets to zero – no use to do it at that point, but no damage.
  2. Firm real-time: The utility go immediately to zero when the deadline is missed – no use to do it after the deadline, but no damage.
  3. Hard essential: Missing the deadline – the utility function goes to a constant negative value; there is a constant penalty.
  4. Hard critical: Missing the deadline – the utility function goes immediately to “minus infinity”, means: a catastrophe will happen.

Figure 1. Four Types Of Real-Time And their Implications Of Missing A Deadline

Source: Dr. Opher Etzion

 

The Shift From Real-Time To Right-Time Prioritizes Events By Business Value

A deeper examination of the four types shows that business value can easily be quantified in the hard essential and hard critical types as these result in penalties and disasters when real-time is not achieved.  In the case of firm real-time, the lack of timely response results in a wasted and non-valiant effort.

Consequently, organizations must prioritize business processes for real-time by business value achieved and potentially lost.  Essentially, this prioritization results in the notion of right time delivery of information. Moreover, right time increases in value as a concept when gauged against reactiveness versus proaactiveness.

As we break down business processes by interactions, an emerging class of applications move beyond transactions.  In fact, these applications must quickly determine right time actions at the point of engagement that follow 4 distinct types (see Figure 2):

  1. Proactive value added anticipation: the heart of engagement applications, anticipation allows for proactive response.  Examples include offers, suggestions, actions based on context drivers.  Context drivers could include location, presence, time, proximity, relationships, previous purchase behaviour, etc..
  2. Mission critical reactions: where most “real-time” use cases tend to fit, this type addresses deadlines, commitments, and regulations.  Examples include response times, regulatory requirements, alerts, threshold triggers, and service level agreements.
  3. Nice things to do: reminders with minimal impact but provide proactive engagement.   Examples include status updates, background information suggestions, and non-critical notifications.
  4. Timeless responses: where useless information resides in an abyss.  Examples include log reports, short action items, nice to know information from activity streams.

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Monday’s Musings: Using MDM To Build A Complete Customer View In A Social Era

Customers Have Evolved… Has Your Organization?

Right now customers and prospects probably ignore your organization’s marketing messages because mass marketing campaigns lack relevancy. Right now most customers answer each other’s questions because your customer service and support agents lack the authority or knowledge to resolve issues. Right now prospects ask each other what they think about a company’s product or service because most organization’s sales professionals lack credibility.

Consequently, organizations face immense challenges in influencing prospects and customers as three forces drive the changing dynamics in customer engagement (see Figure 1).

  1. Trust not financial performance is the new social currency. Trust drives influence, engagement, and relationships. People and organizations must earn trust through their actions across their relationships. Trust can be expended to gain influence, create engagement, and foster relationships. Trust can be taken away through lack of credibility, bad behavior, and dishonesty.
  2. Increase in social media adoption moves beyond fad. Social media adoption is a cultural shift not a fad. The growing preference for engagement through social channels drives new relationship models. Social has moved beyond the tipping point. How social evolves and permeate our lives is the question.
  3. Failure of CRM efforts to engage and influence. Traditional CRM focused on management versus engagement. CRM initiatives barely addressed customers and mostly ignored relationships. Projects focused on manager convenience instead of employee empowerment. More importantly, systems supported transactions not relationships.

Figure 1. Three Forces Drive The Changing Dynamics In Customer Engagement

Organizations Must Address Their Data Challenges To Gain A Strategic Advantage

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Monday’s Musings: Putting An End To The Conflict Of Interest Among Some Sourcing Advisors

Many Services Firms Seek Unfair Advantages With Market Makers

Service providers continue to battle it out in the über competitive market for large annual multi-million dollar contracts.  Market makers who serve as sourcing advisors, (i.e. management consultants, analysts, or vendor specialists) often influence the outcome of large sourcing contracts and system integration projects.  Consequently, more and more service providers seek to influence sourcing advisors.

Now let’s be honest, influence through consulting engagements around positioning, competitive intelligence, and go-to-market strategy is nothing new.  Most firms make it transparent to the buyer who they work with.  However, in the past few months, we’ve uncovered several new techniques that cross the line on both objectivity and transparency.  These approaches include both formal and informal contractual guarantees across three major areas:

  • Number of blog posts or written research about a vendor. Sourcing advisors commit to writing certain amounts of research in exchange for a contract with the service provider.  In some cases, the research may require editorial approval by the service provider.
  • Number of invitations to bidders conferences. Sourcing advisors commit to inviting the contracted service provider to a short listed group of candidates.  Some contracts even include a tiered scale for greater payouts based on the number of invitations to deals.
  • Kick backs and referral fees for closed business. Sourcing advisors collect a financial reward for recommending a buyer to a service provider.  Fees work similar to referral models with alliance partners.

The Bottom Line:  Ask These Five Questions Before You Engage With Your Sourcing Advisor

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Monday’s Musings: The Race For Enterprise Class Consumer Tech

Start Ups Chase Enterprise Dollars As Freemium Model Plays Out

I’ve been spending time with emerging technology start ups over the past 3 months.  The good news – innovation in the valley is alive and well.  Most of these ventures start with solving a consumer problem and hope for massive viral success in the freemium model.  The bad news – the VC’s hope for quick turnarounds that result in exit strategies to the deep pockets of Google, FaceBook, Microsoft, and Zynga.  The sad truth -  you and i know most will never make it.  When that realization hits, the VC’s hurry and move to the obvious next step – find an enterprise angle.

Consumer Tech Must Meet Five Elements To Earn Enterprise Class Status

To make it in the enterprise requires a mindset change.  Business models focus on well… making money!  We’ve spent much time coaching clients on how to move from freemium to premium.  We also have to explain how an enterprise customer (i.e. CIO, CMO, Line of Business exec) may make a decision.   Inevitably, our buy-side clients will ask, “Is this solution fit for the enterprise?”  In a post from October about how consumer tech trends will enter the enterprise, we discussed the 5S’ of for enterprise class software:

  1. Safe. Organizations expect these solutions to not only integrate with ease but also, not harm existing systems or jeopardize how users perform daily work and operations.
  2. Secure. More than just role based security mechanisms, these solutions should pass encryption requirements, prevent data intrusion, and protect key intellectual property assets.
  3. Scalable. Solutions should work in a wide range of environments, meet wide ranges of usage demands, and perform well across the globe.  Users should be able to grow demand and scale down as well as up.  Scaling up should lead to a lower cost per unit.
  4. Sustainable. Consumer technologies must meet requirements for flexibility and adaptability over longer periods of time (e.g. 7 to 10 years).  Training programs, knowledge transfer mechanisms, and support communities should be readily accessible.
  5. Simple. Software vendors should employ design thinking to build solutions based on how people want to use mobile, social, analytics, video, and cloud in an enterprise context. Enterprise software should deliver in an easy to roll out and use manner.

There are probably more criteria to add here and I encourage you to add your thoughts to the 5S of enterprise class. Kudos to Christian Pantel for his addition of the 5th S – Simple!

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Monday’s Musings: Reflections On Obama And The False Hope For A Tech Halo

President Obama’s Visit Reflects The Importance Of Silicon Valley To The US Economy
By now everyone’s seen and re-seen the photo showing the tech-centric dinner at John Doerr’s house in Woodside, CA on February 17th, 2011 (see Figure 1).  With a guest list that included most of the “Captains of the Tech Industry” it would have been great to be a fly on the wall that night to hear what was the secret to innovation and how we could improve education.  On many levels, the dinner and the publicity surrounding the visit did emphasize:

  • The President’s desire to rub off the tech halo. For the White House, here was a chance to highlight an area of the economy that has managed to survive the global meltdown by out innovating the competition.  President Obama’s State of the Union talked about how a tech led job creation would be a key component of recovery.  The valley served as a great backdrop to show where this was already happening.
  • How lobbying does pay off for the Valley. For tech leaders in the valley, here was a chance to bend the President’s ear on a number of policies and reap the benefits of all the money spent lobbying.  In fact, among the 10 guests, MAPlight.org showed $735,000 given to the President’s party among the overall $913,000 contributed to all political candidates.  I would expect more official economic delegations and trade missions to come from the renewed focus on tech.  Many tech firms pondering the need for strong government affairs teams regained religion.
  • The state of Steve Jobs’ health. Good news!  Steve seemed healthy enough to dine with the President. After all the trash talk in the papers, a picture proved enough to quiet the critics.  Yes, that wasn’t a stunt double like Kim Jong Il!  In fact, the picture quelled all rumors.

Figure 1. President Obama’s Tech Centric Dinner Photo Op

Credits: White House Press Office.  Attendees include: Carol Bartz, President and CEO, Yahoo!; John Chambers, CEO and Chairman, Cisco Systems; Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter; John Doerr, Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; Larry Ellison, Co-Founder and CEO, Oracle; Reed Hastings, CEO, NetFlix; John Hennessy, President, Stanford University; Steve Jobs, Chairman and CEO, Apple; Art Levinson, Chairman and former CEO, Genentech; Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO, Google; Steve Westly, Managing Partner and Founder, The Westly Group; Mark Zuckerberg, Founder, President, and CEO, Facebook

Success In The Valley Stems From The Hard Work And Investment From…<GASP> Other Countries

One can only imagine the reasons punted around that night on why Silicon Valley is successful in delivering on concept to cash.  It’s true – the valley enjoys many of the assets that bring out innovation and helps the US lead with high tech jobs.  We have a top notch workforce.  We have several great universities.  We have a history of entrepreneurship.  We have access to funding and capital.  Many would think these elements were endemic to Silicon Valley.  Unfortunately, that’s not true.

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Monday’s Musings: Thoughts On How Indian Infotech Companies Can Lead Instead Of Follow

Disruptive Technologies Remain Top Of Mind Among Business Technology Leaders

It’s always a privilege and a pleasure to reach out to clients and prospects around the world.  For those tracking my location, I’ve been in London, San Francisco, and Mumbai over the past 9 days.  The conversations have ranged from social business and enterprise 2.0 tools while speaking at the Tibco tibbr launch; to CRM and social CRM strategies while keynoting at the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 San Francisco launch event.  Despite the range of topics, a few themes keep emerging among buyers:

  • Can you help me figure out what’s hype and what’s real among the disruptive technologies?
  • What technologies will support my new business models?
  • How do I pay for all this “stuff” if I want to go forward?

The good news – pent up demand signals new interest to spend among business technology leaders.  In fact, I’ve spoken with at least a dozen companies investing more into <gasp>… ERP!  The bad news – technology is moving so fast that many organizations can’t keep up with what’s new.  Most organizations can barely keep the lights on.   On my way to Mumbai, the conversations among buyers shared similar themes with one exception – the rise of India in global tech.

Conversations On The Way To Nasscom Focus On India And Its Role In The Global Tech Economy

Now, as many of you know, the trip to India takes almost 24 hours from San Francisco.  By the tenth hour, you and your fellow passengers have watched every movie you can see, poorly slept, eaten 2 meals, and more than happy to strike an intellectual conversation.  For me, trips to India, Brazil, China, and the UAE always provide good data points on disruptive and emerging technology adoption in fast growing economies.   This trip proved no differently.  Surrounded by techies, from the IT and bio tech world, we dove into heated discussions ranging from India’s place in the global tech economy; to inspiring innovation in Indian companies; to China vs India; to the future of outsourcing.

All in all, these conversations reflected the top of mind items in the tech community and mirrored many of the Nasscom agenda items.   Among the NRI’s, a lot of attention discussed the rebalancing of power from the United States to India and China in the tech community.  Among us outsiders, we expressed a respect and recognition for how much India has accomplished.  In fact, most infotech firms have made a shift from provider to catalyst (see Figure 1).  A few market leaders such as Infosys, HCL, TCS, and Wipro remained within striking distance of achieving advisor status in some industries.  Western firms such as Accenture, IBM, and Deloitte seek to move from advisor to innovator status.

Figure 1. Software Insider Stages Of Service Firm Maturity

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