SAP held a carefully orchestrated product launch event for Business Suite 7 in its global marketing headquarters in New York on February 4, 2009. I had the privilege to attend this event, along with a cadre of other industry analysts, investment analysts, press, and industry influencers, as well as key partners and customers. The 2 hour program featured presentations from senior SAP executives, a product demonstration, and a Q&A session that included CIOs from 3 large SAP customers – IBM, Roche and Colgate-Palmolive.
At Davos the big question was: "When are we going to get out of this economic mess?" So I decided to take an informal poll of attendees. The question I asked was: "When will world GDP start to increase again?" Strangely, the early poll results were quite negative -- the average was hovering in the mid-2011 range. But as the World Economic Forum wore on, there was creeping optimism -- I started to get more 2010s (and an occasional 2009) than 2011s. My sample cut across a wide swath, from CEOs to journalists to academics to political leaders -- 55 votes in total.
According to my unscientific Davos poll, world GDP will turn and begin to grow again in April of 2010.
Depressing? Not necessarily. Davos rarely gets it right. Remember, this was the group that was highly bullish only 12 short months ago.
It's time to finally address the elephant in the room. I've been writing for several years about the power of online video -- specifically the catalytic effect of online TV shows -- to change consumer behavior and the TV consumption model. Then this recession got in the way.
We're busily examining the ways that this will effect everything we cover, whether devices, services and consumer sentiment. But one specific area I want to collect evidence on is the question of online video advertising. For the last year, the rise in spending has been tremendous. The rise of Hulu.com as a destination site as well as a video syndicator plus while a few minor things like YouTube finally tinkering with a viable (read: harder to litigate against) ad model and the rise of Hulu+CBS aggregators like TV.com or Fancast have meant a flood of new inventory, most of it premium.
But when an economy gets as bad as this one, the only thing more predictable than US Democrats trying to insert protectionist trade policies into a stimulus bill is that advertisers will cut ad spend across the board. This excellent and gritty piece from Broadcasting & Cable yesterday discusses the expected bloodbath in the US broadcast upfronts later this year. That has to affect online video ad spend, simply because a lot of online TV show sponsorship is presold in upfront bundles each year (think Sprint + Heroes).
I want to share with you the link to my recent Forrester Research Webinar called Why Convenience is King. This free webinar is the kind of thing we usually reserve for clients only, but it's a big idea and we're eager to share it with the world. It includes a very detailed description of our Convenience Quotient methodology, something that is getting great traction among our clients and will form the backbone of much of our research for the next few years -- starting with media devices since that's what I cover, as well as other consumer technology products (hence this post on this blog). Yet many of my colleagues in financial services, retail, automotive, and even healthcare are working to apply the method to their own research areas. Should create a very fertile field of research. To stay on top of it, click through to the free replay of the Webinar.
Why Convenience Is King - creating winning product strategies
On demand Forrester Webinar available. Original air date: Jan 29, 2009.
To successfully launch or revamp products or services, you must keep convenience high. Achieving high levels of convenience requires offering compelling benefits while reducing barriers to consumer use. Principal Analyst James McQuivey explains how to identify the specific improvements required to increase the benefits or decrease the barriers that stand in the way of consumers. James covers:
- Why Convenience is King
- How the Convenience Quotient can guide your strategy
- What Forrester can do to increase your CQ
The Japanese system is radically different from the system in my home country. Back in the UK, we take a test at the age of 17 and then the Driver And Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) lets us drive until we're well past retirement age with no further testing or hoops to jump through. The Japanese system of periodic checks always seemed more sensible to me.
Since I've avoided any accidents or offenses in the last two years, I qualify for a "GOLD" license, which is valid for five years. It wasn't terribly hard for me to avoid prangs and misdemeanors -- I don't think I've driven a car on more than a dozen occasions in the last two years.
The latest generation Japanese driver's license features an IC chip that contains some personal data (the family register location). By encoding this information and not displaying it, the Japanese authorities hope to protect sensitive information and reduce the risk of identity theft. If you want to see the data that's stored on your card, you can view it by using a special kiosk at the license renewal center. However, you will need to remember your 8 digit PIN. (Good luck with that).
I just spent the day at Progress Software's annual analyst day. The highlight of the event is, always, to hear from their customers about how they are getting real things done. This year we heard from: EMC, Sallie Mae, TD Securities, Royal Dikzwager, BT Global Services, Lincoln Financial Group, Sabre Holdings, and Fiserv.
The theme: High velocity business demands high velocity technologies such as complex event processing, enterprise infrastructure, data infrastrcuture, and others.
But, this post is about Kenneth Rugg, VP and GM of Integration Infrastrcuture for Progress Software, comments on open source software.
We've known for a while that cloud computing is important to IBM. It seems nearly every division has an effort in some aspect of the opportunity. And marketing has done its best to make it all look cohesive by wrapping these efforts under the Blue Cloud banner. But now we know they're serious. They have finally appointed a cloud czar, Erich Clementi, to bring all these efforts together. A veteran of their Systems & Technologies Group, he led SMB solutions, and last year he also took over IBM's Enterprise Initiatives. In those roles, Erich learned how important (and challenging) it is to coordinate efforts across their massive divisions while delivering holistic value to customers. Outside of Global Services, IBM doesn't have the best track record for these coordinated efforts, but we're willing to grant Clementi a grace period to prove us wrong.
And he won't be alone, as IBM has disclosed his set of lieutenants:
This has been long rumored by Google Apps watchers, but we get confirmation today: Google is testing an offline email client. This is a Google Gmail Labs feature, which means that it's really test code for the brave. In fact, the Gmail Labs site helpfully warns that "there's an escape hatch" if a feature breaks.
That said, this is a big deal for Google. (Caveat: I haven't tested it yet, so I'll have to report back once I do). Here's what it means: