Will Amazon's Deep Pockets Strangle Netflix?

Nigel Fenwick

IronMan2Amazon’s recent distribution agreement with Epix is a big threat to the dominance of Netflix in the movie streaming market.

Last year Netflix attempted to shift its business strategy to focus mainly on streaming video. Although I wasn’t present in the boardroom discussions, it’s a reasonable bet that Reed Hastings and his team had decided the future was online streaming and that physical discs were a dinosaur. Since the war for content would be fought over streaming, Netflix would focus on adding value to its streaming customers and spin off the disc customers. On the surface this seemed to many a reasonable strategy, especially since Netflix reported that its digital streaming customers and the disc-in-the-mail customers were mostly not one and the same. So Netflix execs crunched the numbers and decided this was the right move for them. Perhaps they had hoped to spin off the disc side of the business to raise some capital. Whatever their thinking, their strategy choices left some gaping unanswered questions for observers like me:

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Do Enterprise Architects Have Value?

Nigel Fenwick

I love nothing more than a good debate, so when I read George Colony’s recent blog post “Enterprise Architects For Dummies (CEOs)” and then read the comments from infuriated architects I just had to chime in and post a comment. My EA colleagues were the first to enter the fray, with Brian Hopkins posting a reply to many comments on his own post “It Doesn't Matter Where EA Lives - So Let's Stop Arguing About It.”

What’s interesting is that the most comments centered not on whether George was right in highlighting the importance of the EA role, but on whether EA should be seen as an IT role at all. And what is fascinating to me is that some folks believe EA should report to the CEO. The thinking goes that the CIO is too techie, and the EA role is much broader than IT because it involves business process and even org design. This seems to ignore the fact that George actually wrote, “Techies invariably screw up the business; business guys screw up the tech. For years (actually, decades) we've looked for someone to span both -- and that's what Enterprise Architects do.

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IBM Announces Plans To Acquire Kenexa, A Talent Software And Services Company

Claire Schooley

I’m thrilled to see “people” talked about as a major focus of business. Company executives recognize that people are critical to sustainable organizational growth. Talent is now a C-level priority. People development is a responsibility of all managers and leaders, not just the HR department. Great to hear! Vendors see talent management as a hot space and are strategically lining up to meet business needs — enter IBM!

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Orange Business Services underlines its global capabilities at its 2012 analyst event.

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

With Dan Bieler, Bryan Wang, Pascal Matzke

In mid-July, my colleagues and I attended Orange’s annual analyst event in Paris. There were no major announcements, but we made several observations:

  • ORANGE is one of the few carriers with true delivery capabilities. Its global footprint is a real advantage vis-a-vis carrier competitors, in particular in Africa and Asia. At the recent event, Vale, the Brazilian metals and mining corporation, presented a customer case study in which Vale emphasized the importance of ORANGE’s global network infrastructure for its decision to go with ORANGE as UCC and network provider. ORANGE’s global reach positions it well to address the opportunity in emerging markets, both for Western MNCs going into these markets and also to address intra-regional business in Africa and Asia. Another customer case study with the Chinese online retailer 360buy, focusing on a contact center solution, demonstrated ORANGE’s ability to win against local competitors in Asia.
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The Future Of Videoconferencing Is Everywhere-Access And Seamless Connectivity — But How Do You Get There?

Philipp Karcher

 

In a work culture dominated by meetings, organizations continue to look to videoconferencing to cut travel by replicating the in-person experiences that employees prefer — or at least make voice conversations more engaging by fostering the trust and improved communication that comes with being able to read the other person’s body language. Today, we published our first Forrester Wave on room-based videoconferencing, evaluating seven vendors: Cisco, Huawei, LifeSize, Polycom, Radvision, Teliris, and Vidyo. The Forrester Wave positions vendors according to their ability to deliver a complete portfolio of videoconferencing solutions and their strategy in the face of several key trends.
 
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If You're Not Helping Lay The Foundation For A Social Business, You Need To Start Now

TJ Keitt

The movement of information is key to today's global economy. Companies like General Electric send their design concepts to countries like India, allowing developers there to localize products to suit the domestic market. Firms like Intercontinental Hotel Group create customer communities to gather input from customers to fashion new services. Businesses like handheld device manufacturer Psion (recently acquired by Motorola) build social platforms to connect their partners to their customers in order to formulate new solutions. And prospective customers tap into social media like Facebook and Twitter to gather information and express ideas, which we see has the power to alter the course of companies as well as countries. In this environment, a successful company's competitive advantage comes in part from its ability to grow an information advantage -- the ability to share, process, and act upon information more rapidly than the competition.

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Changing end user behaviour undermines traditional carrier business model and forces radical change

Dan Bieler

 

Carriers have lost a great deal of their relevance for end users. People of all shades, individuals, employees, information workers, etc, are looking for solutions that meet their demand, not connectivity per se.

In our view, four trends matter significantly for carriers since they strike at the heart of their customer facing relationships in the shape of changing end-user behaviour:

  • Applications have become the focal point for end-users. Phone or connectivity features are less interesting. The carrier brand is not seen as the destination to turn to for app-demand. Merely 18% of business users would turn to a carrier for apps compared to 49% who go directly to the classic app stores. Carriers ought to get closely involved in HTML5 development as it paves the way for OS-independent Web-based apps, thus potentially limiting the influence of operating systems like iOS or Android over the ecosystem. Carries must strive to accommodate where possible app developers to remain somewhat influential ecosystems players.
  • Users buy devices directly. There is an increasing push by device manufactures (traditional like Samsung and Apple and emerging such as Google, Amazon etc) to sell devices directly to the customer, both business and consumer, and outside the carrier channel. This robs carriers of their main service distribution channel and undermines their potential to monetise value added services.
  • Carrier-selection is becoming more ad-hoc and temporary. The emergence of embedded software SIMs “interrupts” the relationship between user and carrier. End-users will increasingly be able to select carriers after they purchase a device and for certain circumstances like content consumption or for international roaming. As a result price wars for basic connectivity will increase once again.
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Why IBM Bought Kenexa: To Reach A New Business Technology Buyer

Ted Schadler

Here's the Tweet-length version of the analysis:

"3 bullet analysis of Kenexa: 1) IBM needs to sell to biz tech buyers. 2) IBM bought an HR app suite - good. 3) Is salesforce.com next?"

Okay, so let's tease that apart a little bit.

  1. I think IBM buying Kenexa, with 2011 revenues of $291M in non-GAAP revenue, and 8,900 customers, is a good thing. A quick look at the 2011 10-K reveals that of the $291M in non-GAAP revenue, $212M or 73% of it is subscription revenue related to its human capital management software and outsourcing services. And it sells that software to an HR executive, a customer that IBM does not currently have.
  2. The HR business executive is increasingly responsible for the technology to improve workforce productivity in addition to hiring, training, and compensation management. Systems of engagement that "empower people to take action in their moments of need" are the future of software-based productivity improvements. We've automated the heck out of transaction and highly regular processes. Now we need to automate the ad hoc processes that limit human, hence business, productivity.
  3. IBM has its eyes firmly fixed on improving workforce productivity through systems of engagement, including social business software. And that's where IBM's Social Business goals intersect with Kenexa's business model: Sell software and services to a business executive, then help that executive improve workforce productivity through the smart application of analytics, social connections, search, information capture, activity alerts, and real-time communications - the software anchors of social business.
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Do Banks Really Need To "Own" Mobile Banking?

Australian Banks have often been at the forefront of global banking trends, or at the very least, fast followers that learn quickly from the mistakes of others. In Australia, mobile banking has quickly become a "war" amongst the majors with a range of different banking services and approaches - from basic access to transactional histories, transfers, payments, integrated retail services, and even near-field-communications-based micro-payments systems.

But how much of the mobile banking channel do banks really need to own? Most banks no longer own or operate their own ATM networks. They control the flow of transactions through that channel, but they generally have little to no interest in owning the assets or operating ATM cash management processes. Mobile banking is a complex and costly business to be in. With the advent of Internet banking, it quickly became clear that the cost of delivering online banking services through the internet was rarely, if ever, a more cost-effective channel than the bank-owned and operated PC-based products (remember the dedicated dial-up modems!). But in theory it should have been. All of the cost modeling showed that it should be cheaper. Yet banks have continued to invest more and more in building out, maintaining, operating - and particularly securing - their Internet banking channels.

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Infosys Wins $126 Million Deal From India Post

Manish Bahl

 

Infosys recently won a financial services systems integration deal from the Department of Post in the Ministry of Communications and IT of India worth INR 700 crore (US$126 million). In 2010, India’s Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved India Post’s “IT modernization” project, which was divided into eight separate contracts worth a total of $337 million. With this deal, Infosys has won one of these eight contracts.

According to the terms of the contract, Infosys will commission both hardware and software – Intellectual Property (Finacle Core Banking and McCamish Insurance products) over India Post’s approximately 25,000 departmental offices over a period of 24 months. The contract, which is valid for seven years, includes managed services, application support, and infrastructure operations. More details about the deal can be found here.

Let’s look at what this deal means to Infosys and to India Post:

Infosys Gets More Business — But Also Some Risk

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