Posts Tagged ‘Unified Communications’

Executive Profiles: Disruptive Tech Leaders In Social Business – Charlie Isaacs, Alcatel-Lucent

Welcome to an on-going series of interviews with the people behind the technologies in Social Business.  The interviews  provide insightful points of view from a customer, industry, and vendor perspective.  A full list of interviewees can be found here.

Charlie Isaacs, eServices and Social Media Engineering, Alcatel Lucent


Biography

Charlie Isaacs has a track record of R&D leadership, starting with GTE (eventually became Verizon), where he served as Vice President of Engineering and headed a group of over 200 engineers working on Government and commercial applications. Following GTE, Mr. Isaacs held R&D leadership positions at Answer Systems (acquired by Computer Associates), and served as Chief Technology Officer at Broad Daylight (sold to Primus) and at Primus Knowledge Systems until Primus’ acquisition by ATG. Charlie served as Chief Technology Officer and Chief Customer Officer at Kana Software, Inc. Mr. Isaacs holds a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara and an MBA from California Lutheran University. When Charlie left KANA in 2009 and prior to joining Alcatel-Lucent, he developed and delivered a Social Media strategy for two different companies. Charlie has over 15 years of CRM experience.

The Interview

1. Tell me in 2 minutes or less why Social Computing is changing the world for your customers?

Charlie Isaacs (CI): Our customers are recognizing that their customers are extremely well-armed with information required to get the best deal possible, and to make the best buying decision based on accurate and trusted sources–their friends, influencers, and trusted advisors. Our customers are recognizing that they have to need to possess the same information that their customers are using, which includes information about their competition. They also know that their customers have zero tolerance for a bad customer experience and will go elsewhere if they can’t get instant help on a problem that arises, or if anything in the buying process becomes difficult. Our know that they need to use every channel and every vehicle possible to respond to their customers needs because each demographic relies on a different social communication mechanism, and some demographics might jump from channel to channel and social outlet to social outlet. At the same time we are finding that we (Alcatel-Lucent Genesys) have an unfair competitive advantage because when the customers have a huge issue they just want to talk to a human immediately, and few companies offer every channel and every social capability combined with instant voice communication.

2.What makes social computing disruptive?

(CI): Social Computing is disruptive because it is a huge equalizer. Companies selling products and services no longer have the upper hand. If they are selling a crappy product or service the word will get out immediately. Talk about transparency–companies become transparent whether they want to or not. This is disrupting the way companies do business, they way consumers shop, and the way customers are supported.

3. What is the next big thing in Social Business software?

(CI): The next big thing is product-orient social. (I call it object-oriented social, but I have been accused of being a nerd for doing so.) With product-oriented social technology the product is aware of who you are, why you are standing in front of it, and what you are trying to do with it–and the “product” will help you accomplish your goal. For example, if you are standing in front of a TV set at Walmart and you can’t find a store clerk to help you, you should be able to wave your mobile phone across the TV and have it deliver a custom menu that provides you with answers to your questions. The menu should allow you to find an expert instantly (anywhere in the world.) It should help you buy the TV and have it delivered to your house. This “next big thing app” should provide you with comparison shopping and if it finds a cheaper TV down the street at Best Buy, you should be offered a coupon by Walmart to keep you in the store. The coupon should allow you to price match, give you loyalty points for buying the TV, or whatever the analytics indicate that the offer should provide to you at that moment. The next big thing app should automatically scan your friends network for others who have bought this TV (depending on privacy settings) and you should be able to reach out to that friend for a review or for help understanding how it works. And finally, after you have bought the TV, if it breaks a year later you should be able to scan that TV with your smartphone again and it should give you troubleshooting steps or information about your warranty or service.

4. What are you doing that’s disruptive for Social Computing?

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Research Report: Constellation’s Research Outlook For 2011

Organizations Seek Measurable Results In Disruptive Tech, Next Gen Business, And Legacy Optimization Projects For 2011

Credits: Hugh MacLeod

Enterprise leaders seek pragmatic, creative, and disruptive solutions that achieve both profitability and market differentiation.  Cutting through the hype and buzz of the latest consumer tech innovations and disruptive technologies, Constellation Research expects business value to reemerge as the common operating principle that resonates among leading marketing, technology, operations, human resource, and finance executives.  As a result, Constellation expects organizations to face three main challenges: (see Figure 1.):

  • Navigating disruptive technologies. Innovative leaders must quickly assess which disruptive technologies show promise for their organizations.  The link back to business strategy will drive what to adopt, when to adopt, why to adopt, and how to adopt.  Expect leading organizations to reinvest in research budgets and internal processes that inform, disseminate, and prepare their organizations for an increasing pace in technology adoption.
  • Designing next generation business models. Disruptive technologies on their own will not provide the market leading advantages required for success. Leaders must identify where these technologies can create differentiation through new business models, grow new profit pools via new experiences, and deliver market efficiencies that save money and time.  Organizations will also have to learn how to fail fast, and move on to the next set of emerging ideas.
  • Funding innovation through legacy optimization. Leaders can expect budgets to remain from flat to incremental growth in 2011. As a result, much of the disruptive technology and next generation business models must be funded through optimizing existing investments. Leaders not only must reduce the cost of existing investments, but also, leverage existing infrastructure to achieve the greatest amount of business value.

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Research Report: How The Five Pillars Of Consumer Tech Influence Enterprise Innovation

Most Enterprise Software Vendors Fail To Deliver Innovation

Despite hundreds of billions wasted on failed research and development projects, most market influencers would agree that enterprise software vendors have produced a dearth of innovation over the past decade.  Vendors often cite UI re-skins, major functionality additions, integration of acquisitions, technology re-platforms, and weak attempts at faking cloud computing as innovations.  In fact, let’s call it what it is.  Only a handful of enterprise software vendors have truly innovated.   Many enterprise software vendors are fast followers.  Most are innovation laggards living off fat maintenance revenue streams.  Ask any product strategist where they gain their inspiration and they will all cite advancements in consumer technology; and not peer enterprise competitors.

Innovative Enterprises Push Forward Mostly On Their Own

During this year’s Information Week 500 event, conversations with over 50 leading business technology leaders highlighted the growing gap in innovation.  These next gen leaders demonstrated how they were turning to consumer tech advancements to influence their custom development efforts; and/or seeking emerging vendors with innovative offerings.

For example, Bill Martin, the CIO of Royal Caribbean showed how design thinking coupled with real-time analytics and on-board mobility could improve the cruise experience on the largest ship ever built.  Shawn Kleim, Director of Development at WetSeal, provided proof points on mobility and social convergence in driving retail sales and eCommerce in the highly competitive teen apparel market.  Dave Bent, Senior VP of eBusiness services and CIO of United Stationers, proved how a company could deliver cloud services to partners and create competitive advantage across a value chain.

A number of CIO’s showcased how they were taking advantage of the cloud with SaaS apps and private clouds. Others discussed their efforts to optimize costs using third party maintenance to pay for innovation.  The common lessons learned – most did not expect to gain market advantage from their existing and legacy vendors.  Innovations came from the consumer tech side and next generation solution providers.  Consumer tech advancements influenced business driven technology advancements.

Software And Tech Vendors Rush To Incorporate The Five Pillars Of Consumer Tech

Ten elements drive key design points for next generation apps.  These design points showcase how advancements in consumer tech now permeate the enterprise.  Design thinking concepts drive dynamic user experiences, business process focus, and community connectedness.  Based on existing research, deep dives into major vendor road maps, and validation with clients, five pillars of consumer tech have emerged as the foundation for future inspiration in the enterprise (see Figure 1):

Figure 1.  Five Pillars Of Consumer Tech Will Influence Enterprise Software Throughout The Next Decade

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Event Report: Top 10 Questions To Ask At The Microsoft TechEd/STB Analyst Summit

Clients Now See Microsoft As The Neutral Vendor, Hence All The Questions

Just less than 3 years ago, Microsoft was still perceived as part of the “evil” empire.  Business leaders worried about the complicated and expensive licensing and pricing structures.  IT leaders bemoaned the lock-in and proprietary and often buggy software.  But in a reversal of fortune, customers now worry about Google lock-in, fret over Oracle’s quest to dominate IT through M&A, wonder how hardware vendors will become software providers and vice versa, and remain in shock as Apple’s proprietary and closed approach over takes Microsoft’s market cap.

In conversations with 71 business and IT leaders, the perception on Microsoft has definitively shifted.  In fact, more than 74.6% (53/71) see Microsoft as the neutral and trusted supplier.  With an aging and retiring workforce that grew up on IBM and SAP, the next generation of IT leaders increasingly will exert their leadership and run to their comfort zone of Microsoft and Oracle.  (Note: Don’t expect this to last as the next generation of IT leadership comprises of millennials and digital natives who will try to move everything to open source and the cloud.)  Consequently, Microsoft’s technology offerings receive a renewed interest and reinvestment among customers, partners, and critical OEM’s.  Among this group, many are attending TechEd 2010 in New Orleans, LA.  Key questions they will be asking include:

  1. When will Azure have a viable business model for partners, OEM’s, and customers?
  2. Is Silverlight really ready for prime time or should organizations still leave one foot in the door with HTML 5 or Adobe Flash?
  3. What true social features will Microsoft deliver in Sharepoint, UC, and Office?
  4. After wasting a decade with Windows Mobile can Windows Phone 7 really beat out iPhone?
  5. What will the rise of NoSQL databases and in memory computing mean for SQL Server?
  6. Will Office Web Apps emerge as a significant challenger to Google’s App strategy?
  7. How quickly can Microsoft convince other apps vendors to adopt the STB platforms?
  8. Will Internet Explorer ever become W3C compliant?
  9. What’s Microsoft doing to win over the Web 2.0 crowd?
  10. What partner ecosystems will Microsoft have to rely on to gain leadership in the Cloud?

What’s your question?

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