In this morning's opening remarks and keynote sessions, Olli-Pekka Kallasvio introduced the theme for Nokia World and the primary driver of Nokia's: To translate the internet into *your* internet. This means not only enabling customization of sites or content, but of course literally getting any information *you* need to live your life directly into your pocket.
Phrased differently, Nokia wants to put in your hand the power to be more in tune to the world around you.
This week, I join my colleagues Ben Gray, Chris Silva, Simon Yates and Jaap Favier in Barcelona at Nokia World 2008. The event is Nokia's annual showcase to announce new products, demo existing capabilities, and share innovations in mobillity to clients, partners, media, and industry analysts.
Over the last couple of weeks, I've been involved in several conversations with a common theme: What's a product?
While that might seem like a profoundly dumb question, it's not. The definition of "product" can be pretty elusive, and not just in the technology industry. Do you define a product as a clearly identifiable thingamabob that vendors sell, such as cars and ERP systems? Or are customers the real measure of products, based on the business problems that the product is supposed to solve?
While I'm sympathetic with the intent behind the customer-based definition, I think it's better to choose the vendor-based one. Customers have business problems that require solutions, which include one or more products. (Usually more than one, in the tech biz.) Vendors may be very good at providing one of the solution components, but they often run into trouble trying to do everything, even for clearly identifiable business imperatives like "keep us from getting sued for non-compliance."
For those of you frustrated by the survey tool at which I pointed my last post, I would like to apologize for wasting your time and missing the opportunity to engage you when you were most interested.
Merv and I are are providing expertise and contributing the Forrester brand name to the Customer Reference Forum for this survey. We are not working directly with the survey execution team. The CRF has been terrific to work with, but I did not check a few of the small details on survey access parameters before posting this and now those details have bitten me as links that don't work or make the survey look closed when it is not. This is also why I haven't replied in Web 2.0-time to your posts pointing out the problem.
I think the area of research will prove very interesting as we bring it out early next year. For those of you still willing to participate -- thank you so much for your patience! -- you can find the survey link here.
Again, thanks for your patience and support on this.
In these economic times, it's best to stay close to the people in companies that buy things -- the sourcing and vendor management (SVM) professionals. At Forrester's sourcing Forum in Florida this week I hosted a dinner for ten vendor management executives and four vendor reps.
This group was fascinating. They are experts in purchasing, evaluating vendors, arranging sourcing agreements, pricing, and negotiation -- the front lines of their company's operational and capital expenditures. The role is still in its infancy -- some are still tough purchasing agents while others have graduated to a more complex model of "diplomacy" -- seeing all of the interests around the table and working to arrive at a solution that helps everyone succeed.
Over dinner the executives worked on a simple question: "What are sourcing and vendor management best practices in a recession?" So if you've ever wondered how the screws will be tightened, here's a peek under the tent:
Since I've been spending a lot of time talking with people about Agile, I've felt the need to concoct new, vivid metaphors to explain Agile. Of course, you can often best explain something by contrasting it with what it's not, and in this case, it got me thinking about the frustrations of non-Agile development:
In my last post as a product manager, sales training did not top my list of favorite things to do. The problem wasn't the sales team, which was composed of bright, motivated people, with a genuine interest in what was coming next from the development team. Instead, the problem was with the format of sales training.
Who looks forward to three days of non-stop PowerPoint? Not me, and certainly not the audience. We had to come up with a better approach, particularly as the company expanded into new technology areas, such as records management and scanning. Therefore, we experimented with a few new ideas. Some worked, others didn't.
One of the moderately successful experiments started with the assertion, "Scanning isn't as complicated as people think it is. I bet that I could put a bag on my head, pretend to be the most stupid end user imaginable, and I could still understand scanning. Someone just needs to explain the basics in the most practical terms imaginable."
IBM CEO Sam Palmisano gave a speech to the Council on Foreign Affairs in New York City on November 6, 2008. In the speech, he added his voice that that of Al Gore, Jeff Immelt, and Barack Obama to declare that the US can lead the world to prosperity (and out of this financial quagmire). He called his vision building a "smarter planet."
Here's how I see the smarter planet:
Intelligence and network connections are embedded in physical systems. Chips and bandwidth have helped optimize business processes and make information workers more productive. But information technology hasn't yet really helped optimize our physical systems. A company on a smarter planet will put computers and connections into every physical system so that machines can phone home, operating problems can telegraph themselves, and power grids and distribution systems can be monitored, controlled, and optimized. (Forrester first identified this trend of an extended "Internet of things" in 2001 with a report entitled "The X Internet.")
By Gil Yehuda Those who drink the Web 2.0 Kool-aid live in a idealistic world where we can mentally connect a great idea to a great implementation of that idea. We live on faith that the great implementation will come, since there are plenty of smart people out there who will eventually figure out how to make value out of technology building blocks. Sometimes our faith is tested when the killer-app does not show up for a long time. But evidence can restore our faith.
Great customer references fuel great B2B marketing. But getting customers to testify or submit case studies is challenging. Good references require investment. But how do you keep customers from feeling like shills for their vendor firms? By involving them in communities of like-minded advocates! That is one hypothesis I plan to explore further in 2009 -- investigating the connection between social activity and greater customer advocacy.