An executive told me a few weeks ago “My outsourcer has been reading too many of your innovation books. We hired them to do fairly mundane application and infrastructure support. Instead of doing that better, cheaper, faster, they are always offering to help us with our innovation projects”.
If they are bored doing what they were hired for, why don’t they resign that contract and restructure themselves as an innovation focused firm? Of course not, and they would want a hefty early termination fee if the client asked them to leave.
As I was pondering his predicament, I did a call with my daughter currently in Spain. We did a Facebook video chat and since the quality was poor switched to Skype. Skype told me to turn off video because the line quality was poor. We have Verizon FiOS and the TV networks are bombarded with its next-gen speeds. How about doing some basic things like a VoIP call better?
I see the growing debate around whether Google Now will be a better digital assistant than Apple’s Siri. Nowhere have I seen people discuss that given the state of our mobile networks, the quality of either tool or the cost of using them while roaming outside the US will continue to be disappointing. That does not stop AT&T from bragging about its 4G network. How about doing basic connectivity faster and cheaper?
I see IBM spending millions on Smarter Planet commercials. That’s less than 10% of their revenues. How about better, faster, cheaper in DB2, Tivoli, existing data centers, apps support?
I see SAP and fans talk about nothing but HANA and the promise of SuccessFactors. How about better, faster, cheaper in the $ 75+ billion it and its partners already cost customers every single year?
Not just picking on the vendors above – everywhere you turn in IT and BPO in services – storage, print supplies, hr transactions, very little productivity has been delivered in the last few years.
So, heed the executive – quit reading my books, and focus on improving incumbent performance. That would be impressive “innovation” for my next book.