There is a 14-dog race going on, with a goal to win the wallets of the enterprise for mobile security spend. When lined up in the starting blocks, the racers may all seem to have equal chances, but a few are better poised to cross the finish line first and bask in the glory of the winners' circle. Three of these technologies are the odds-on favorites to lead from start to finish, with the rest of the racers struggling to remain relevant.
Coming off the starting block with the "holeshot" are the mobile device management vendors. With huge engines of revenue, large customer counts, and first-mover advantage, this dog is the odds-on favorite to take the championship trophy. Mobile device management vendors are already expanding their technologies and products into security platforms to diversify their rapidly commoditized product offerings. The move is paying off for the biggest and toughest MDM participants in the race, giving them the early, and potentially insurmountable, lead.
Earlier this year, I spoke with Kathleen Cattrall, interim Chief Expeirence Officer at VCA Animal Hospitals about the company’s customer experience transformation efforts. VCA is a publicly traded company (fittingly, their NASDAQ ticker symbol is WOOF) that owns and operates more than 600 pet hospitals in the US and Canada. Their work to create more customer-centric hiring processes features in my latest report, How To Hire And Onboard Customer-Centric Employees.
Kathleen, and her colleague Aaron Frazier, were gracious enough to answer a few more questions about their progress in building a more customer-centric culture and what they’ve learned about creating great pet owner experiences.
Here are some of their insights:
Q: How did VCA know they needed to improve customer experience? Was there a “burning platform” or did someone senior at the organization decide it was time to make a change?
A. Art Antin, co-founder and COO was the real visionary here. VCA was approaching its 25th anniversary and Art was frustrated with clients visiting less frequently. Our customer retention rate was lower than VCA wanted to see. Complaints were escalating, and they all pointed to a poor customer experience. Art said, “We’ve spent 25 years becoming the leader in veterinary health services. We’ve accomplished more than any other company in that regard. We need to focus the next 25 months on improving our customers’ experiences with us.”
On December 10, Google announced that it is scrapping plans to build a data center in Hong Kong. Instead, it will double its planned investment in its Taiwan data center to $600 million. This undoubtedly worsens the already grave situation for about 32,000 Google Apps users in mainland China, as Google never officially launched Google Enterprise solutions for customers there.
Google Apps for Business users in mainland China have long faced challenges connecting to Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Sites. Previously, I predicted that Google would improve its relationship with the Chinese government and offer Google Enterprise (including Google Apps) from its new Hong Kong data center in 2014, improving customers’ access to the service. However, this week’s news has killed any hope of that happening.
This has a few implications for customers in mainland China and Hong Kong:
■ Uncertainty around Google’s Enterprise Business and Google Apps strategy will kill new business.When you don’t understand a vendor’s local sales and support strategy, you’re not likely to include it on your shortlist. Google faces losing new business from companies based in mainland China and Hong Kong companies with a mainland presence.
■ Enterprises planning to adopt cloud-based email and collaboration suites will look elsewhere.Google Apps isn’t the only suite option. Microsoft now offers Office 365 services in mainland China via a local data center in Shanghai. And local Chinese vendors like Tencent, Sina, and 163 provide more competitively priced hosted services.
■ Storage capacity, data sharing, and server efficiency cannot keep up with business growth.
■ Online traffic peaks overload infrastructure, leading to poor client experiences.
■ Social media information overloads traditional analytics.
I&O pros wonder whether they’re keeping pace with their peers in terms of IT infrastructure and future planning for eCommerce. My most recent report, “Case Study: Yihaodian Leverages IT Assets To Deliver Results In China’s eCommerce Market”, will help answer these questions and provide tips on optimizing IT infrastructure for eCommerce. Yihaodian has been doing very well in the Chinese market, and my report analyzes the key practices that it implemented to support its quickly growing business, including:
DellWorld 2013 showcases the newly-private Dell’s rediscovered sense of mission: Founder and CEO Michael Dell described the new company as the “world’s biggest startup.” Freed from the short-term orientation required of publicly traded companies, Dell can accelerate its innovation and risk-taking while following through on its emerging vision.
That vision is to help enterprise customers Transform (e.g. migrate from mainframes to the cloud), Connect (e.g. provide mobile devices and device management services), Inform (e.g. leverage big data analytics through software and services), and Protect (e.g. employ comprehensive security solutions).
Michael Dell spent a good deal of time emphasizing that Dell now has the opportunity to make bigger bets. To underscore that message, he invited Tesla and Space X CEO Elon Musk to appear onstage. Musk knows how to make an entrance, riding into the convention center in one of his company’s cars:
Elon Musk told several stories while onstage, including the revelation that, during Tesla's darkest hours, he pretty much figured the company would fail. But he listed his favorite aspect of the Tesla business as creating a sense of "delight" among the car's buyers -- including Michael Dell, who purchased one online.
Musk's presence emphasized a number of admirable qualities to which the new Dell aspires. Risk-taking, entrepreneurialism, disruption, and strategic vision. “We need more people like Elon out there taking big risks,” Michael Dell said at one point, reemphasizing the theme of taking chances.
Instagram’s ‘Instagram Direct’ announcement this morning left me speechless, as I followed the live feed (thank you CNET) from the West Coast. First, let me disclose that I am middle-aged. I’m 45 years of age. What does this mean? I remember AIM in the late nineties. I remember the days when chat sessions evaporated. I remember my first cell phone in 1997 and texting my friends – mostly in Europe at that time. The idea of communicating with people I know first and foremost is not new to me. It is very comfortable – more so than Tweeting or posting.
Bottom line: This is a “catch-up” move for Instagram.
1) Mobile phones have always been about communicating with friends and people we know. The magic of mobile phones early on was that a person’s phone number was their ID. It made it so easy to send SMS or MMS messages.
2) Instagram has 150M downloads, and half of their users are active daily. That is awesome. However, its competitors globally – Kakao Talk, WeChat, etc. – have two to three times that number. Apps like WeChat already allow users to share videos, photos, messages, cartoons, voice clips, etc. to individuals, groups, groups created around an event, etc.
3) Messaging will help them earn more mobile media minutes. I spoke with Chris Hill at Mobidia last week, and he shared some of their data on usage minutes. In their sample from mid-October, Kakao Talk had more than 200 minutes of usage per week, WhatsApp was just shy of 200, while Kik Messenger, LINE, and WeChat fell just below 100 minutes of use per week. If they were to post ads as a means of monetization, minutes spent is key.
Japan remains the second-largest tech market worldwide after the US and accounts for a massive 40% of total IT spending in Asia Pacific. Japanese companies devote most of their annual IT budget and staff — 70% to 80% — to maintaining existing back-end infrastructure and applications. But we expect this budget to shift rapidly over the next two to three years as local organizations embrace disruptive technology innovations in their efforts to succeed in the Age of the Customer.
Japan’s technology spending will show modest growth of 2% in 2014. Thanks to the positive economic impact of the government’s stimulus package and the depreciation of the yen, enterprise IT spending will likely grow by 3.7% in 2013. However, due to the consumption tax increase planned for April 2014 and the waning effects of the stimulus package, Forrester expects IT spending growth to slow to around 2% in 2014, driven by large application modernization projects in banking, manufacturing, and the public sector.
Perhaps you’ve heard him in meetings—he is the one questioning your results. Perhaps you’ve seen him at his desk surrounded by tombs and tables in an effort to lower incremental sales calculations—he calls it reducing bias. Perhaps you’ve hoped he will not be assigned to your project—he delivers lower lift estimates than his peers. He is the measurement curmudgeon.
How do you detect if a measurement curmudgeon resides in your office? Listen for the following clues/questions:
Is that control group really comparable to the experimental group? Isn’t it biased towards less engaged customers and inflating your measured lift?
Wasn’t that concurrent with our fall promotion? Isn’t that event likely accounting for most of your positive results?
Haven’t sales been trending up? Did you incorporate that trend into your analysis?
Atos created a stir in 2011 when it announced its Zero Email program — an initiative to completely eliminate the use of email for internal communications and use enterprise social instead. Many scoffed it wasn’t practical or that it couldn’t be done. Some others — myself included — thought getting rid of email completely isn’t the right objective. Yes, there are many statistics showing we spend a lot of time on email. But if you accept that . . .
Composing and reading messages is an important part of communicating for work;
Specifying the recipient(s) without exposing the message to others unless you intend to (i.e. email) has its place;
Other collaboration tools are more efficient than email for some types of interactions;