UPDATED: Does Putting Customers "First" Pay? Amazon.com Buys Zappos.com for $928M

Natalie L. Petouhoff, Ph.D. By Dr. Natalie Petouhoff

While at the Forrester IT Forum this past spring, I was invited by Tony and Alfred to visit Zappos.com. I was intrigued about what I had heard about this company. Could it be actually true that even the receptionist understood what customer lifetime value (CLTV) meant?


Zappos.com was known for their extreme customer service... but was the whole culture really like that? And if so, how did that work? I had enjoyed the tweets I'd seen of the nearly 400 Zappos.com employees on twitter- they seemed authentic, genuine... Zappos had built its business through developing relationships, creating personal, emotional connections and delivering high touch (WOW) customer service.


I reached out to Tony via Twitter and let him know I would be in Las Vegas.

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Nothing Certain Except Death And (Online) Sales Tax (?) – Or is it?

Patti Freeman Evans

Freeman Evans, Pattiby Patti Freeman Evans

 

As we reported back in May, online retailers should prepare to charge sales tax in certain markets, even if they do not plan to do so across the country. Cash-strapped states are looking to tap any potential source of revenue (California, for example, has been working through an onerous $26 billion budget gap) and have in recent months been proposing legislation to require online retailers to submit tax in states in which they deliver.

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It's time for IT departments in Asia Pacific to get Lean

Tim Sheedy

I just read on Twitter that apparently it is too late to get Lean or Agile. I do question why the two have been bundled together (one is a development methodology, one is a management principle), but either way, I disagree with this statement - at least part of it. Moving to an agile development process is not a decision that should be taken lightly - it involves significantly re-engineering many processes, including much of the program and project management - and this is not a trivial issue! So the statement around Agile I agree with!

However, getting Lean should be on the agenda for all CIOs - in fact, I would argue that Lean is more important now than it has ever been due to the current changing needs of customers. Lean management principles are fundamentally about focusing on delivering the best outcome for the customer with minimum waste. And with major changes going on with the way people consume IT, focusing on the changing requirements for IT customers and delivering them efficiently is extremely important.

Lean typically uses many small changes to achieve this outcome. And it is this point which makes Lean particularly relevant for the current economic environment - you can remove waste (read: save money) through many small improvements - and as a general rule, small changes don't need serious change management capabilities."Lean thinking" should be at the core of all that we do in the IT department - and running some Kaizen blitzes to make small improvements and remove waste should be on the agenda.

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CIOs: Put Business Technology Leadership Maturity In Your 2010 Strategic Plan

Bobby Cameron

by Bobby Cameron

Bobby-Cameron Business Technology (BT) is the largest single technology-management transition you will face over the next 5-10 years, as BT redefines IT’s operating model in your firm. BT is pervasive technology use, increasingly managed outside of IT's direct control. How does BT show itself? Employees, customers, and partners are bringing Web 2.0 and social computing technologies into business processes; business leaders are directly contracting for online solutions and business process outsourcing; and users are configuring their own business solutions, using ERP applications from vendors like SAP or IT-provided platforms built from technologies like business process modeling (BPM). Whether the business user is aware of the technology angle or not, IT’s traditional project-based plan-build-run approach to technology management can’t keep up with BT’s user-driven technology adoption.

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Is IT Risk Management Compatible With ERM?

Chris McClean

Chris McClean

Every month or so, news events (attacks on government sites, massive privacy breaches, etc.) provide a ‘wake-up call’... a proof point used by vendors and practitioners alike that protecting our national and corporate information assets has never been more critical. On occasion we even see these incidents yield promises of action, for example the anticipated appointment of a US Cybersecurity Czar, which my colleague Khalid Kark discusses here

But in spite of these warnings, my conversations with enterprise risk and IT risk professionals still reveal many disconnects, including that IT risks are not measured consistently with other enterprise risks. In addition, many IT risk professionals do not see their biggest risks showing up on the corporate risk register.

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Getting customers to cut you some slack

Jonathan Browne

Jon-Browne

[Posted by Jonathan Browne]

I'm embarrassed to see that we haven't updated our blog in three weeks. I guess it's a time of year when it's hard to stay on top of some things. I found myself exhausted at the end of June. (In addition to my trip to NYC for the CXP forum, I also had to do some business travel in Europe). Perhaps you've been feeling the same way? At the start of July, I took a holiday. It was sorely needed.

I visited Lisbon, which, it turns out, is a very beautiful city with great food and wine. As with all travel, the trip gave me a lot of experiences to think about, including a couple of incidents when I needed to ask people to fix things that had "gone wrong":

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Do you have a touch-friendly web site?

Julie Ask

Met with an interesting company yesterday - Taptu. They offer a mobile search service/technology. They recently launched their iPhone application. They are in the process of indexing "touch-friendly" media. They estimate that there are about 40,000 touch-friendly web sites of which they have indexed more than 3 million pages with a goal much higher than this for the end of the year. They estimate that about 30% of the top 100 web sites as measured by traffic are touch-friendly. It is an interesting idea given the number of touch-screen mobile devices being sold today. Is your web site touch friendly? mobile friendly?

Yahoo! Has The Right Mobile Priorities

Pizza Hut iPhone Application

Julie Ask

I'm fascinated by this application on the iPhone. It is rich and entertaining. It makes ordering pizza fun. Includes a game. Includes coupons to motivate purchase - but they aren't pushed out via SMS to trigger the idea of pizza for lunch/dinner.

Is it more marketing or commerce?

The connected nature of the application allows for updates - to the menu (for the basic categories) and promotions. Look forward to seeing this evolve to the point where local restaurant managers can do their own local promotions even based on registered zip codes. I see location-based mobile advertising playing out along these lines nearer term than the auto-tagging of a user's location with an ad to quickly follow.

Would prefer not to have to sign up online. Mobile-only use cases with individuals are limited today, but I think they will grow in number. Cross-channel (Internet to mobile and vice versa) is an interesting idea, but it isn't clear that it is needed or wanted - especially on platforms as capable as the higher end devices like an iPhone or Blackberry, Symbian, Palm etc. devices.  -

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Notes From The Field - Literally.

Mike Gualtieri

KenAndEllenWedding01_cropped My wife and I attended an outdoor wedding yesterday at the Blue Horse Farm in the beautiful Catskills mountains of upstate New York.

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