This week the Superbowl earned with 106.5 million viewers the Number One spot of the most watched program ever in the US, which proofs that online video hasn't killed the TV star yet. (Side note: did you know that until now the 1983 M*A*S*H final held this position?).
Thursday’s announcements of additional SAP leadership changes raise more questions than they answer, but a commitment to changing the direction of the company is clear. SAP announced the departures of John Schwarz, head of the SAP Business Objects unit, and Erwin Gunst, Chief Operating Officer. Gerhard Oswald, Executive Board member in charge of global services and support, assumes the role of COO. In addition, Peter Lorenz has been promoted to Corporate Officer, looking after the SAP SME solutions portfolio. These moves follow the resignation CEO Leo Apotheker a few days ago, as well as the appointments of Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe as co-CEOs.
Gunst’s departure, due to health reasons, was expected and was mentioned on Monday in a call with analysts and press. More surprising is the departure of Schwarz, formerly CEO of Business Objects, a respected executive who led the integration of Business Objects following SAP’s acquisition 2 years ago. It is appears that Schwarz’s departure had something to do with his not being named CEO or co-CEO, but the real reasons are likely more complex. SAP appears to be in the midst of a transition to younger and more energetic leadership, and Schwarz’s career may have had limited upside given that Executive Board members are encouraged to retire at age 60 (he’s 59).
The changes are consistent with Chairman and co-founder Hasso Plattner’s return to hands-on leadership of the company. The remaining SAP Executive Board members, co-CEOs McDermott and Snabe, CFO Werner Brandt, COO Oswald, and CTO Vishal Sikka, will be expected to carry out Plattner’s directives to restore the company’s momentum.
Visa just announced the expansion of their No Signature program. Citing its "popularity", Visa notes that: "According to a Visa Inc. survey, 69 percent of participants surveyed cited either convenience or speed as the primary reason for using their credit or debit card." Wow.
What this seems to signal is that Visa, and perhaps the other card brands, feel that they will make more money by eliminating barriers to the sale, such as the 2.2 seconds needed to sign your name, than it would lose in fraudulent transactions, considering this program is for transactions of US$25 or less. Also, it appears that people no longer know how to sign their names.
I have often heard (in low, barely audible whispers) that US consumers were too lazy to care about security, which is why the US will probably never have CHIP and PIN transactions for enhanced credit card authentication. We Americans are too darn busy to push 4 numbers on a key pad (4.3 second). This drives folks in the other parts of the world crazy as they are in love with CHIP and PIN and, mistakenly, think that this technology eliminates all transaction risk. CHIP and PIN cards still have a mag stripe that can be scanned, and skimming is still a problem. It's a great authentication method, however, and would really help reduce some of the smaller, card-present CC frauds were we to adopt it.
Americans need more paranoia about credit card theft. We are much more likely to suffer some type of credit card fraud or be affected by a major credit card breach than a terrorist attack, but for some reason we are unwilling to punch in a few numbers to help protect ourselves.
As I live in UK, I tend to record major US sporting events and watch them the next day (the Superbowl doesnt start until nearly midnight). That means I have to avoid the internet, twitter, conversations with US colleagues, etc, for the whole of the following day so I can enjoy the game without knowing the score. One client nearly spoiled it for me by talking about the game in an inquiry, but I managed to shut him up. (I think he understood why).
If you are considering using QR-, Microsoft, 2D barcodes, you should buy a copy of the March issue of Lucky Magazine. They are working with GetTag on promotions throughout the magazine.
Here's what I liked about what Lucky did:
1) Instructions upfront in the magazine. The instructions tell me WHAT I will get if I download and use this application. There is value to me - see images below. The use of the word "smartphone"? Ok, normally, I'd consider this a bit risky, but it works for them. First, if I have a smartphone and know how to download an application, I am more likely than not to know that I have a smartphone. This is NOT GUARANTEED - many have no idea what kind of cell phone they have. I don't know Lucky's target age with certainty, but my bet is that it is young and they know what smartphones are.
2) They send their readers to a dot mobi site. Generally, I wouldn't be a huge fan of "go type in this URL on your cell phone," but it turned out to be very efficient. The URL had a deep link into Apple's app store where I could download this application.
When I generally searched for barcode readers on the App store, I received "no search results" because "readers" with an "s" could somehow not be matched to "reader." Really?
Target is now allowing gift cards to be loaded onto an online account that can be accessed from your cell phone. You can actually pay for stuff with your cell phone. Yay! See Target's press release.
I know they aren't the first. Many versions I've seen before, however, have been small scale pilots or in foreign countries. Many scenarios I've seen also are "closed" pilots among the 3-4 parties in an ecosystem that it took to string a trial together. Target has 1740 stores ... there's a bit of scale in this solution.
So, how does it work?
First, you buy a gift card. I bought the one with the cute Target dog.
Then you pull the sticker off of the back so you can see the codes. I purchased a $20 gift card.
Instructions for using mobile gift cards as well as promotions are on Target.com. Using their available media - Web site - to promote the new offer? Well done.
Interestingly though, this site ONLY had instructions for the mobile gift cards. I couldn't find a link on this site to regisiter my mobile gift card. This confusion for me is probably the only thing I could find to "ding" them on, so to speak. I'd expect that one of their next rounds of Web site updates would add this link.
There's one sure way to amp up the tension between bag-carrying sales folks and the sales enablement teams that support them, and that's when a sales exec misses the opportunity to get a meeting with a buyer.
Last summer, we talked to about 40 sales execs or managers and no surprise, when it came to supporting the sales effort this was the area where sales execs told us their respective companies performed weakest. How is supporting that buyer access manifest? Providing the sales org qualified leads, of course. . .
Wow! What a blast! I just finished hosting Forrester's first "tweet jam" with Connie Moore, Derek Miers, Jim Kobielus, and Alex Peters. To my knowledge this was the first time a virtual jam session has been hosted on Twitter by an analyst firm.
My colleague on our Customer Experience team, Vice President Moira Dorsey, has written a major piece of research that I think consumer product strategists should read.
The report, "The Future of Online Customer Experience," has huge ramifications for how not just customer experiences will work, but indeed predicts the future of most consumer computing experiences. I urge clients to read the report itself. Moira has blogged about her report here.
Product strategists should take away (at minimum) the core of her model, called CARS: Online (and computing experiences in general) will be Customized, Aggregated, Relevant, and Social. Let Moira know what you think!