Since I was very young, I have loved cars. I drive a Porsche in the summer and a four wheel drive Audi in the slick New England winters. I love these two cars -- they make my commuting hours bearable and sometimes fun. I often ponder the question -- If you ripped the Porsche shield off my 911 or the four Audi rings off my A8 and replaced them with a Ford oval, would I still drive the cars? You bet I would. The quality, design, history, feel, and experience would keep me happily in those cars, even if you put a Nash Rambler logo on their front hoods. Which roughly proves a point -- it's not the branding that's the problem with American cars, its the cars. Consumer Reports' research verifies this -- in the organization's five categories of 2008 cars and SUVs, none of the top five vehicles come from a domestic producer.
Why can't American companies build a great car? They are designing and manufacturing day in and day out, so what is preventing them from making something great?
Let me begin by saying that I believe it's time for Information & Knowledge Management (I&KM) professionals to get into the enterprise smartphone debate. After all, the killer application for smartphones is email, calendars, and contacts -- all collaboration apps. And the future of collaboration is pervasive -- anytime, anywhere, any device. Your information workers need them. You should help define the strategy.
So here we go with Part 1 of a multipart blog post on my experience with these two devices.
I recently took a two-week family vacation to Oregon and funky Northern California. Nothing like eating Humboldt Fog cheese on the beach in the Humboldt fog. The four of us camped some and stayed in some lovely B&Bs. As badly as I wanted to be off the grid, I decided that it was best to have a cell phone to take care of essentials.
So it was a prime opportunity to compare a two-year old BlackBerry Pearl against an iPhone 3G to see which one best handled the common collaboration issues that come up on a vacation: email, directions, schedule, contacts, and "rapid research." Oh yeah, both devices use AT&T's network.
I have some particular attitudes towards my cell phone.
First, it has to fit into my pocket.
Second, I don't suffer lousy interfaces; if it doesn't work the first time, I usually give up.
Any book of netiquette should include, "If you're going to give feedback, make it useful." In most settings, there's no enforcement mechanism to make people give useful feedback--nor should there be. In the end, the target of your critique will take you as seriously as you take the critique itself.
That's my feedback to the person who rated "Product Managers Are Working On The Wrong Things" a zero, with no comments explaining the rating. You expended a few ergs entering the rating, but you should have spent a few more typing comments. If a particular piece of research is truly worthless, please tell us why, so that we can make informed decisions about future research. Otherwise, I have no idea what to do with the rating, other than to scoop it up and drop it in the plastic bag of long-term memory.
Product designers in the technology industry have an unofficial measure of usability: the Mom Standard. No one has ever written down a rigorous definition, since it normally amounts to someone saying, "We want to build something that's so easy to use that my Mom would understand it."
Let's pause for a moment and say a word in defense of our mothers, who apparently have become the iconic representation of the most clueless user imaginable. There are plenty of clueless users, many of whom are not moms, nor are they even female. There is nothing in the process of giving birth that increases the level of technological challenges you will face. Still, for whatever reason, people keep blurting out the Mom Standard during product design discussions.
Which brings us to a different species of the Mom Standard, in this case applied to product marketing. In doing some research on the future of CRM, I'm finding my way through this jungle of technological and business issues. Nearly everyone who has advice about what lies on the other side of the jungle--the state of CRM in 5 years--believes that the true path goes through the tropical garden of community marketing.
News regarding the economic situation continues to be relatively gloomy and has been reflected in the Q2 results that offline retailers have been reporting. For example JC Penny reported Q2 comp store sales declined 4.3% versus last year, Abercrombie and Fitch Q2 comp store sales were also down by 11% versus last year.
Wal-Mart US (+4.6% w/o fuel increase versus Q2 2007, in contrast to a 1.2% increase for Q2 2007 versus Q2 2006) continues to do well on the strength of its overall low price positioning and those product lines that contain necessities rather than discretionary items. This performance shows a continued trend of consumers trading away from mid-market stores down to off-price sellers.
Online sellers like Amazon (US net revenue +35% versus a year ago); Overstock (over 20% growth in gross bookings) and eBay (WW GMV +8%) continue to post healthy increases supporting the notion that online continues to be strong. However, online sellers are beginning to lower expectations for the second half of the year in spite of their success thus far.
In contrast to the strong online performance by some of the top retailers, the census bureau's Q2 ecommerce sales increase is posted at 9.5% versus Q2 2007 - the smallest increase ever and a 22% increase for Q2 2007 versus 2006.
I don't think I've ever worked for a software company that didn't aspire to be a platform. Of course, the meaning of platform isn't always the same. For some, the word means infrastructure on which you build applications. For others, it connotes a category of data that is central to your business. And, of course, there are other variants.
Being a platform, in either meaning of the word, takes a lot of smarts, sweat, and patience. You don't become a platform overnight. It's not merely a matter of positioning--as if something that's presumably as solid as a platform could somehow be positioned in the first place. (Of course, we're dealing with companies that are, by and large, headquartered in California, so perhaps the concept of a foundation that shifts to and fro isn't all that strange.)
Ever since our latest BI Wave was published a couple of weeks ago, I keep hearing comments about why we have not included evaluation of Excel as a BI tool. For example, Rajan Chandras, one of the contributing editors to the Intelligent Enterprise, poses really good arguments in his recent blog on why, when and how Excel can and should be used as a BI tool. Excellent question, everyone!
In many of my recent interactions with both enterprise IT end users and vendors, the notion of calling Green IT something other than “Green IT” occurs with fair consistency. Some of the variations to Green IT that I’ve come across purposely call out an environmental agenda, i.e. Greener IT, Sustainable IT, and Eco-Efficient IT. While others are purely business such as Efficient IT, Energy Efficient IT, or Lean IT.