The first 15 seconds of AT&T’s “network of possibilities” commercials like the one below, always remind me of IBM’s long running Smarter Planet commercials.
And they similarly raise in my mind the question: How much of the technology in the commercial beyond the network (or services) comes from AT&T (or IBM)? The answer, depending on the commercial, is very little. I call it hitching your trailer to someone else’s hot product = trailer tow marketing.
Not just AT&T and IBM, it is amazing how many vendors are managing to work in an Apple or Google product into their demos and marketing.
If you think that’s your competitive differentiator, think again. The common innovation denominator is the Apple or Google product, you are the filler!
Phil Fersht and his team wrote a pretty stern column recently : “Let’s cut to the chase here – “outsourcing”, for most buyers, is like purchasing a wedding dress – a one-time transaction followed by seven years of relationship struggles and future legal wrangles.”
I have been married 22 years and it’s so easy to find failed marriages. My wife and I instead look for the ones that have worked.
Same thing with outsourcing. Even though my new book is not about outsourcing, let me highlight 5 inspirational sections which do relate to successes in outsourcing world.
Apple/Foxconn “Apple has stayed loyal to Foxconn through multiple releases of iPods,iPhones, and iPads in spite of sweatshop accusations, employee suicides, and explosions in its Chinese facilities. Most companies like to diversify between company-owned and outsourced plants, and certainly across geographies. Apple has been willing to take the risk of putting its eggs in the Foxconn basket and taking plenty of jabs from China bashers (although Foxconn has recently been looking at a significant diversification to Brazil)…Over 200 million iOS devices sold to date, most assembled by Foxconn, justify the loyalty”
Boeing/HCL “There were several advantages of having HCL across the board working with all its partners for the 787 development for Boeing. First off, it minimized compatibility issues that come from integration of multiple subsystems. It also made sure that HCL cross-leveraged the knowledge and learning on the 787 program across suppliers to speed up the development process.”
Facebook/Prineville Data center “It has spent two years developing everything that goes inside its data centers—from the servers to the battery cabinets to back up the servers—to be as green and cheap as possible. For example, Facebook uses fewer batteries thanks to its designs, and to illustrate how integrated the whole computer operation is, the house fans and the fans on the servers are coupled together. Motion-sensitive LED lighting is also used inside. The result is a data center with a power usage effectiveness ratio of 1.07. That compares to an EPA-defined industry best practice of 1.5..”
Flextronics/Workday “Flextronics would drive the development road map for Workday.In turn, Flextronics would draw upon the years of HR experience the Workday team had to shape and standardize its processes. It was a model software development partnership. The proposal from Workday saved us more than 40 percent over the life of the (global HR) project, with even larger savings in the first year. By going with Workday we were able to reduce our team size by more than 60 percent.”
Cognizant/Internal Staff “Sukumar,(the CIO) on the other hand, is obsessed with what he calls “social design,” and his quest to deliver 500 percent productivity on Cognizant projects. “Think of avalanches. A snowball starts small, but then gathers mass and gradually turns into a massive avalanche. That is the basic inspiration behind Social Design. What we do individually should (positively) impact hundreds and thousands of others””
Now wait just a minute.
Let me also lay out likely objections to these examples
Foxconn is not an outsourcer Yes, technically it is a contract manufacturer but if with million+ employees it is not an outsourcer, not sure what is
The Boeing 787 was delayed by years. But the use of HCL to test across its supply chain is a big innovation. Also, HCL’s fees involve another innovation – a portion is contingent on the 787’s success.
Facebook is not a data center outsourcer. True, but if it can build a world class data center, should not outsourcers?
Workday is not a systems integrator. Maybe that’s why they only proposed a fraction of staff and effort of the competing SI.
Why do internal efficiencies at Cognizant matter? 500% productivity improvement is impressive no matter where.
My new book looks at the convergence of two mega-trends – the consumerization of enterprise technology, and the enterprising of consumer technology. I am pleased to have been invited to present those concepts at a panel at the Executive Forum at Inforum in Denver next month.
Inforum is the largest gathering of Infor and Lawson customers, combining Lawson CUE and Inforum into a single conference with more than 700 educational sessions and product labs. Held in conjunction with Inforum 2012, the Executive Forum offers a two-day agenda that allows enterprise software users to network and share ideas with peers, connect with Infor and Lawson senior executives, listen to a diverse group of well-versed industry speakers, and learn how technology innovation can help their business go faster. Other consumerization panel members include Ray Wang of Constellation Research, and Doug Henschen of Information Week.
The great band, Train, will be performing at the event, and will surely play some tunes from their album , California 37 being released the week prior.
Pardon this retro post, but in the last week I have had many occasions to admire the role paper still plays in our lives
a) Happened to catch our postman in person (how rare is that?). We exchanged pleasantries and when I asked him about the state of the USPS he turned salesman. He gave me the website www.frebizmag.com and encouraged me to sign up for printed subscriptions. I did for many at near-free – high quality ones like Fortune and Travel & Leisure at $ 2 a year. He also encouraged me to send postcards to friends and family. “Do you know how much it makes their day when they get a card in the mail?”
b) The magazine subscription site prompted my wife to suggest an evening at Barnes and Noble. We have never seen the store so busy. Over a coffee, I pored through 10 magazines and got several post ideas for New Florence. Again, amazing how busy the store was. To which my wife said “Long may it last, and may be convince Borders to come back to life”
c) I got my small “friends and family” stash of hardback copies of my new book from the publisher. I was pleasantly surprised by the response of many I offered them to. Dennis Howlett gifted them to 2 executives and I signed them “compliments of Dennis” and mailed them. Brian Sommer is gifting his to the home town public library and asked me to say something nice about libraries. My daughter took a photo of the book and posted it on her Facebook page and quickly got 60+ likes (though I have no delusions the likes were not for the book) Joe Thornton asked me to write something nice to his two young sons, Connor and Evan, 11 and 8 and already big into technology. My hairdresser, Blanca proudly showcased it in her shop. Try doing all that with eBooks:)
d) It’s still early days, but hardback copies of my book are outselling the eBook format 25 to 1, thanks to bulk buys by case studies and event organizers.
I read this morning the new iPad is causing pixilation problems in magazines.You know what, may Paper survive just a little bit longer!
Dennis Howlett reporting from Australia picks up on worries about Oracle DB costs in SAP customers. For the 20 years I have dealt with SAP customers, it has been a line item in their TCO spreadsheet, but the accounting is often convoluted because the Oracle DB license usually covers more than the SAP implementation. And if the SAP project decides to use a different DB, the enterprise adds another line item and is still left with amortizing the Oracle costs on some other projects.
Also, it is only one line item. In many customers, other cells stand out a lot more on the SAP TCO spreadsheet
SAP’s own license cost
SAP’s own annual maintenance
Accenture (or other SI) global implementation project
Infosys (or other outsourcers) application maintenance costs
IBM (or other hosting firm) data center charges
Internal SAP staff and training costs
Verizon (or other carrier) MPLS costs
Major upgrade projects
Let’s face it, SAP customers Down Under and everywhere have plenty of cells to shine their spotlight on.
SAP’s annual sustainability report is out. As usual it is prodigious and professional. In the past i have commented that it was too focused on internal SAP efforts and what its customers were doing broadly, not how SAP’s software contributes to their efforts. This year it does better.
In the meantime, it is pretty impressive how the market definition of sustainability keeps expanding. I have attached below the entire chapter on sustainability from my new book. It includes an interview with Jeremiah Stone of SAP. You may enjoy reading about how other tech vendors like HP, Apple, Google etc are also doing.