Posts Tagged ‘Yahoo!’

Product Review: Google+, Consumerization of IT, and Crossing The Chasm For Enterprise Social Business

Timing of Google+ Bodes Well For Enterprise Users And Google

Lately, one could say Google’s been a bit absent from the social business party.  The premature launch of Google Wave exposed a canvas looking for a masterpiece painting.  Failing fast and learning from the Google Wave lesson, Google’s latest offering, Google+ shows promise in bringing similar disruptive technology concepts to market, yet packaged in easier to adopt metaphors such as activity streams, walls, hangouts, and circles (see Figure 1).

As part of Google’s aspirations to deliver enterprise offerings, it’s flagship Google Apps continues to gain traction in enterprises despite a market position that places the product between a very strong pro-sumer play and an almost enterprise app.  The good news – a constant stream of incremental changes shows an evolution to an enterprise class offering built from a strong consumer bent.  As of this posting, Google Apps isn’t integrated with G+, but Google’s enterprise ambitions have been strengthened with the new offering.

Figure 1.  Logging Into Google+

Convergence And Shift To A P2P World Enables GooglePlus To Go After Both Consumers And Enterprises

Google+ launch comes at an exciting time of convergence among the mega trends for the decade: social business, mobile enterprise, cloud computing, and unified communications.  The five pillars of Consumerization of IT (CoIT) fall in Google’s favor as consumer users rapidly seek to bring these innovations into their enterprises.  Subsequently, Google+ already takes advantage of Google’s assets to:

  • Unify the communications channels. Enterprises spend millions trying to get their fragmented communications systems to work, let alone integrate.  Google+ takes chats, emails, tweets, voice, mobile, and video and rolls it all up neatly into one offering.  More importantly, it works off of one login and its integrated.  Key video features such as Hangouts allow for impromptu video con calls without the hassle of most other video conferencing systems.
  • Provide an initial alternative to Facebook for the enterprise offerings. Procurement managers and line of business buyers face Cloud/SaaS best of breed hell as a flurry of purpose built solutions attack the enterprise IT landscape.  Should Google stream line convergent offerings for the enterprise, it will be poised to dethrone many incumbents.  Google can only succeed if they can match functional parity over the next 12 to 18 months.  Keep in mind, the long-term goal goes beyond Facebook for the enterprise.
  • Aggregate the user’s social sphere. Facing near term social networking overload, enterprise users can’t possibly fathom another social networking service.  Aggregation by a major player makes sense from a market position and user convenience. Google’s initial list allows users to notate key services in their profiles through connected accounts from Facebook, Yahoo!, Flickr, LinkedIn, Quaora, Twitter, Yelp, Hotmail, and Plaxo (see Figure 2). A quick look into the codes shows that these connection services potentially can support a Microsoft Outlook email, an SAP feed, or Salesforce.com Chatter stream and may potentially support direct integrations in future road maps.

Figure 2.  Google+ Delivers Social Sphere Aggregation With Ease

Adding Connections on GooglePlus

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Monday’s Musings: Mastering When and How High End Brands Should Use Daily Deal Sites Such As Groupon


Daily Deal Sites Claim To Bring New Customers

Chicago, Illinois based Groupon, is a consumer oriented commerce site that brings consumers looking for the ultimate deal to businesses seeking new customer bases.  Local based targeting, fun cheeky copy, and a reach in almost 600 cities powers the frenzy behind the “daily deals”.   Customers pay upfront.  Groupon takes 40 to 50% of the deal.  Businesses  supposedly gain new customers.  Other start-up competitors in the digital coupon “daily deal” space include Bloomsot, BuyWithMe, LivingSocial, Scoutmob, and Tippr. Established brands Google, Facebook, Microsoft, OpenTable, Yahoo!, and Yelp all have similar offerings in play or planned.  The idea makes sense at first on a few counts for businesses with:

  • Immediate inventory items. Perishable food items, overstocked goods, closeout merchandise.
  • Unused service capacity. Unbooked hotel rooms, open spa appointments, down time at a bar.
  • Instant gratification offers. Quick promotions, fast deals, quick foot traffic.

However, Most Orgs Face Massive Pricing And Brand Dilution

After talking to over 50 high end, high profit customers, we’ve unveiled a growing resentment with how the current model works.  Despite the advertised 95% of merchants who’d use Groupon again stats, the numbers fail to tell the story.  In fact, the top three complaints we personally heard in our informal 51 high end organization survey include:

  • Brand value dilution. The novelty and brand promise not appreciated by new customers.  Brand value not fully communicated or achieved by customers.
  • Downward price pressure. Overall perception on pricing trends downward due to lack of scarcity.  Customers now see a new price for an existing luxury service.
  • Loss of profitability among existing customer base.  Existing profitable customers wait for deals instead of pay full price.  Loyal customers feel cheated.

The Bottom Line:  Use The Customer Profitability Matrix To Determine Your Strategy

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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: Why I’m Unplugging From Location Based Services Until The Privacy Issue Is Resolved

Convergence Of Smart Phone Affordability And Broad Network Access Drives Growth In Location Based Services

I’ve been a big fan of location based services (LBS).  In fact, many of you have followed my whereabouts on Yelp, Tripit, and other integrated Twitter services.  As many of you know, location based services take your geographical position from your mobile device and deliver relevant information services based on your relationship to people, objects, places, etc.  In the 2010 Pew Research Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, surveys showed, 4% of Americans utilized Location Based Services (LBS) (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Layar’s Augmented Reality location based service (LBS).

Layar - Augmented Reality and Location Based Services

Constellation Research, Inc. estimates these services to grow and generate up to $10.7B in revenue by 2013.  Among the early adopter set, LBS is on fire.  Among the general population, growth will most likely trend with smartphone adoption, which market research firm IDC estimates a 55% growth from 2009 to 2010 (~270 million units).  You do the math!

As one of those early adopters, I and many others have enjoyed LBS from a consumer tech point of view to:

  • Navigate around places.  Use turn by turn navigation and traffic maps through services such as Google Navigation and Yahoo! Maps.
  • Identify events to attend. See where my friends are by date and location to make time to catch up using Loopt, Rummble, and Tripit.
  • Locate friends near me.  Catch up with people near me using Foursquare and Gowalla as a matter of convenience.  In some cases, track people by mobile device location.
  • Reduce traffic fines. Warn and be warned where speed traps, sobriety check points, and cameras through crowdsourcing apps such as Trapster and Phantom Alert
  • Find places to eat.  Follow foodie friends to see where they check in on Yelp.
  • Receive offers from merchants. Get rewarded for checking in to locations with discounts from merchants.  Take advantage of M-commerce (mobile).

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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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Thursday’s Disruptive Tech Showcase: SimplyBox 2.0 Simplifies Enterprise 2.0 Collaboration

Collaboration Remains Elusive Across Applications And Enterprises

Organizations seeking the benefits of collaboration and rapid knowledge sharing in Enterprise 2.0 (E2.0) solutions face several key challenges in delivering a consistent enterprise solution:

  • Consistent tool across multiple applications and environments. Organizations want one tool to collaborate regardless of the application they are using.  Today, organizations often need a separate tool to collaborate for each suite of business applications, email system, and even browser.  The result – a plethora of tools that enable collaboration in silos of information that hinder Enterprise 2.0 benefits..
  • Intuitive and natural user experience. As a key element of next generation social enterprise apps, users expect pervasive and natural collaboration to occur in the context of applications.  Today’s systems often have inconsistent approaches to sharing information making it difficult to share both structured and unstructured information in the same system.  More importantly, organizations will need to move across multiple form factors such as mobile, iPads, kiosks, and other hand held devifes

SimplyBox Breaks Barriers In Collaboration

Campbell, CA, based SimplyBox started out in 2007 as a consumer play focused on organizing and sharing websites clippings in a visual manner for personal research and sharing. Over the past year, SimplyBox has successfully proven their core technology into the enterprise with partnerships at large enterprise apps vendors, leaving competitors such as Diigo, Sazell , and Safari’s Webclip to focus on the personal knowledge and research space.  SimplyBox succeeds in enterprise scenarios because:

  • Unstructured and structured content can be shared and categorized. Users grab and select the content they wish to share and place them into a “Box”.  Each box includes content about a topic and related conversations.  Users can share boxes about different topics with different groups.  SimplyBox can then notify and alert others about content being placed into the box.  The box serves as the medium to enable collaboration among internal and external teams.
  • Collaboration can occur anywhere. Whether its in a portal for a web app or enterprise system report, users collaborate regardless of what system they are in.  Content that’s been collected along the way by multiple users can be made available throughout different enterprise systems.  SimplyBox even co-exists with solutions such as Microsoft Sharepoint which serve more as file/content repositories.  This enables applications to gain tentacles across the enterprise apps landscape.  More importantly, no programming or IT involvement is required.

Figure 1. SimplyBox Enables Natural Collaboration Within Any Environment
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