My last two books, The New Polymath and The New Technology Elite have come from developing patterns I saw across 50 innovation categories in the 1,500 posts I had on New Florence through 2010.
At Tibco’s TUCON event this week I saw several examples of data visualization using their Spotfire tools. And I wondered if I used their tools to visualize recent posts - 535 this year through September – what patterns I could identify for my next book.
I probably will get some more visualization ideas from Oracle OpenWorld this week.
In the meantime, readers enjoy the innovation bounty on New Florence, and hopefully you can garner some patterns and innovation ideas for your own projects.
From a case study I wrote on BP’s CTO innovation Group in The New Polymath
As the group ’ s stature has grown within BP, many business unit leaders insist on its involvement in many innovation areas. Darukhanavala cites a recent example with a unit in Alaska. His team went up to discuss a previously identified set of projects. During that meeting, senior management pulled him aside and asked, “Why are we using you for such tactical projects? Let us show you far more complex challenges you can help us with. ”
I felt a sense of deja vu during TUCON this week.
Walk the solutions floor, and as my friend Sandy Kemsley (who has followed Tibco from a BPM perspective for years) says you can easily get “product fatigue” with offerings spread across 5 areas:
Automation, including messaging, SOA, BPM, MDM, and other middleware
Event processing, including events/CEP, rules, in-memory data grid and log management
Analytics, including visual analysis, data discovery, and statistics
Cloud, including private/hybrid model, cloud platform apps, and deployment options
Social, including enterprise social media, and collaboration
But listen to the customer executives who presented at the conference (from a wide range of industries from McKesson to MGM) and listen to CEO Vivek Ranadive talk one on one about other in-process customer projects and the conversations are in business language. You feel you are watching a series of IBM Smarter Planet commercials. Longer ones, and on stage. Indeed, TIBCO executives joke that IBM is their marketing arm. They can paint the vision, Tibco does the heavy lifting.
I get the sense there are plenty of conversations like
“Vivek, we need better pattern recognition in this area”
“Vivek, give me the two second advantage you keep talking about”
“Don’t bore me with the product names like LogLogic and tibbr. Just focus on my outcomes.”
As Vivek says “ the keep-the-lights on CIO is not my ideal customer”.
He would rather have the Alaska BP conversation “Let us show you far more complex challenges you can help us with, Vivek”
After spectacular weeks at Dreamforce and TUCON, Oracle Open World has a high watermark to aim for . But thanks to my friends at Oracle like Susie Penner and Carol Sato, it is already shaping up well.
I am looking forward to
a) Executive viewpoints on the Social Enabled Enterprise, Customer Experience , Fusion applications, Hybrid ERP from the likes of Reggie Bradford, Anthony Lye, Steve Miranda and Zach Nelson of NetSuite. And even more from customers of each.
b) Bonus features
- a one and one with Mark Hurd
- learn about the technology in this year’s entry to America’s Cup
- see both of Larry Ellison’s keynotes – and even better to have him lead off rather than save too much for the end
c) Encounters with many old and new friends that OOW invariably brings together.
David Kirkpatrick, author of “The Facebook Effect”, posed the question to a panel at the Tibco Tucon conference.
I repeated the question one on one to Vivek Ranadive, CEO of Tibco and he said he is seeing it in three dimensions – younger recruits are showing more interest in enterprise tech than 3-5 years ago, investors in the Valley are behaving similarly, and clearly his customer projects validate the trend.
I also posed KR Sridhar of Bloom Energy a similar question – but VCs seem to want to invest in smaller rounds and simpler, consumery and social ideas? He said top line VCs (like his backer, John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins) continue to invest in big ideas, but acknowledged later financing rounds have become more complex as private equity and acquirers seem more interested in investing in revenue generating companies, not startups.
To me, the whole conference provided plenty of clues on how enterprise tech is stepping up to solve big challenges as I noted here.
But consumer tech is not standing still. It is a trend I called “enterprising of consumer tech” in my recent book. Apple redefining retail, Amazon redefining logistics, Google and Facebook redefining data center standards.
Indeed, when Tim Cook stood up to announce iPhone 5 a couple of weeks ago, Apple had been executing for months on one of the most elaborate GANTT charts known to any enterprise. Long term commitments had been negotiated with many (new) component suppliers. Foxconn had retrained and rescheduled thousands of assembly employees. Fedex had reworked schedules for countless flights jammed to the gills with the new devices. The TV Networks had hundreds of new commercials to schedule. Hundreds of carriers around the world had tested and scaled up their 4G networks. Apple Geniuses had been retrained. Retail inventories had been turned over.
Innovation is not dying in consumer tech. It is good however to see enterprise tech rev up.
KR Sridhar, co-founder and CEO of Bloom Energy, used that phrase during a panel at Tibco’s TUCON conference to suggest technology companies are increasingly focused on societal significance, not just commercial success. With his NASA background and company mission statement of “changing the way the world generates and consumes energy” he can certainly make such a statement.
TUCON, however, showcased example after example of “big challenges” technology is helping tackle. Robert Friel, CEO of PerkinElmer described the big data challenge of genomics and the amazing precision his company’s cytogenetic, spectroscopy and other products are allowing surgeons. Rick Welts of the NBA Warriors described how baseball like player metrics (“Sabermetrics”) are transforming basketball and how fan interaction is being revolutionized with social and mobile tools. Jay Grant of InterPort Police honestly described the challenge of getting event information from trusted sources and not just reacting to breaking news on CNN.
In a one on one, Vivek Ranadive, CEO of Tibco went on and on (at my request) about “big challenges” Tibco is helping customers with in retail, banking, mobile communications. I could have listened to his stories for hours.
On the same panel as Sridhar were Tom Siebel and Scott McNealy, both restless in retirement and signing up for new challenges. McNealy tacking the “Internet of Sentiments” with his startup, Wayin and Siebel with C3 bringing energy and carbon efficiency solutions to customers like a large utility like PG&E
Not just at TUCON. The week before at Dreamforce I was fascinated to hear Jeff Immelt at GE describe the US energy challenge . “I have looked at hundreds and thousands of business problems in my career and this is imminently solvable.” He want on to describe our massive natural gas reserves, our wind corridors, his company’s ability to built next gen nuclear power plants and more.
Imminently solvable. Societal significance. I just love the ambition and confidence the terms convey. Technology is not just about cute buttons on devices and like buttons on web pages. It is about solving our grand challenges.
Last week at Dreamforce I had a deja vu moment. It felt like SAP’s Sapphire in 1999 with Deloitte and Accenture and Wipro logos on big booths, on conference bags, on party invitations.
In the Marketing Cloud session, I wondered what value these traditional IT/ERP centric service providers would bring customers compared to digital agencies. Likely, they will continue to focus on Sales and Service cloud opportunities – for example, Siebel to Salesforce SFA migrations. But by now, that service should be priced much more reasonably than it was say, in 2007.
And that is where the 1999 risk comes in. These providers can hype up even a soiled brown bag.
Fortunately, we are dealing with a new CIO like Vail Resort’s Robert Unwiler:
“Because the EpicMix app deals directly with customers, it has pushed Vail's IT team to think more like a commercial software company. That means working closely with the chief marketing officer and her team. Urwiler's using outsourcers much more selectively now, and he's adding people with software vendor experience to his team. And Vail is benchmarking EpicMix against the likes of Facebook and Foursquare in terms of design and ease of use.”
“In our survey of these 500 innovators, for every efficiency and cost-cutting priority, we see a customer-centric priority as well. Asked to name the top three areas in which they expect to innovate, 49% of IW 500 companies cite improving the efficiency of business processes, making this efficiency area the most-cited priority. But that’s down five points from a year ago, and down from 60% back in 2009s recession. Very close, noted by 46% of the 500 companies this year, is introducing new IT-led products and services for customers. Back in 2009, only 37% had that as a top priority. Likewise, 29% cite lower business or IT costs as a priority, down sharply from 2009, when 47% did. Right alongside this cost focus is improve Web operations and customer experience (31%) and engage customers in new ways (30%--up a whopping 10 points from 2009).”