I had a drink with my former Gartner colleague, Erik Keller and I was describing the stack of OnStar FMV rear view mirrors I saw at BestBuy this week. I was describing how OnStar, with massive GM investment was meant to be a differentiated feature for its Cadillacs and Buicks when first introduced a decade ago, and how Garmin and other GPS devices, then Google Maps on our smartphones dramatically reduced the allure of OnStar. So it was repackaged as FMV - a service on a rearview mirror which even a Toyota or Chrysler customer could avail off. And now an app like Automatic comes along and reduces the allure of even FMV.
Most top executives are baffled at the massive and rapid changes that technology is unleashing. And yet, as Erik and I were discussing, most analysts and bloggers sit in our silos and argue about SAP versus Oracle and social this and cloud that.
Many grocery executives are startled at the pace at which Amazon, eBay, Google and startups like Zipments are introducing same day, home deliveries. A decade after WebVan, the existential threat of newer competitors becoming viable once the "last mile" delivery problem is solved is back. But we rather talk to them about Android and AWS.
In my 20+ technology career I have never seen so many new technologies become viable concurrently. I have also never seen more buzzwords fly around at the same time.
Many market watchers have through HARO helped out reporters. I think it is time for a HAEO - as in Executive We should all work with a business executive for a couple of days - no buzzwords, no HANA or Hadoop will solve world hunger.
Listen to them, and give them a realistic perspective on their technology challenges and opportunities. And yes, even send them a bill. Could be the best (and smallest) technology investment they make all year.
Salesforce.com pre-briefed me on their refreshed mobile SDK which will be generally available this summer. This should allow developers to more easily link their CRM data to mobile
applications, whether native, HTML5 or hybrid.
As they were presenting, it occurred to me, compared to the highly organized and plentiful shelves of the iOS and Android (Google Play) app stores (and smaller ones at Amazon, Verizon, Microsoft and others), how empty the mobile enterprise apps landscape looks.
Oh, there are plenty of nifty examples (admittedly B2C) I have profiled on New Florence - Walgreens prescription refill app, Ikea's augmented reality catalog, Tesco's subway shopping wall in S. Korea. And there are growing "apps stores" - Uncle Sam's, on Wall Street etc.
But every software vendor and SI you talk to will mention the mobile front end aesthetics are the easy part, the back end integration is "tough". You certainly don't expect them to sell their mobile apps for 99c, but not reusing and charging each client tens of thousands to millions is not right either. And it is hardly reassuring that the SAP Mobile Apps Store launched couple of years ago has only about 100 offerings, with the latest filed six months ago.
Mobile is hot - somebody better tell the enterprise world. Maybe salesforce.com will shake it up.
Personally, I would be impressed if indeed SAP is as Peter Goldmacher of Cowen suggests "offering draconian discounts on other products sold along with HANA in
order to make it appear as if HANA is growing at such a rapid pace."
Wish SAP had done that with BYD starting 4 years ago. Instead of artificially retstricting "club membership", it would be a susbtantial cloud player today. Cloud revenues were only 3% of the 2012 total.
If SAP had done that with HANA starting 3 years ago, its advanced analytics revenues would be more than 2% of revenues.
Besides, SAP would not have to tell journalists to ignore its sizable maintenance revenues to make the new product ratios look somewhat better. They risk legacy customers telling them "hear you are giving away maintenance for zero"
Steve Lucas of SAP retorts "half of HANA sales are stand-alone" so Peter's assertions cannot be valid.
To which my question is why even try to sell? It should have given away HANA when it had the early thought leadership. It could have been associated with so many of the advanced analytics early adopters I have been cataloging in my Data Heroes series.
I have noticed a pattern where PR firms send me press releases, unsolicited, and when I ask to be taken off their list (which I never asked to be on in first place), they go – sorry you were not meant to be on the list.
One, Ventana PR has used that excuse at least 3-4 times in last couple of years. Their explanation one of those times “I added your email on the unsubcribe (sic) list of our main system but used an alternate system on the last announcement.” The week prior they had responded on another mailing for another client “My apologies. I thought I took you off my list but apparently missed it. I will go through the database again to make sure that happens.”
Here’s what puzzles me. They must realize annoying analysts and bloggers does not reflect well on their clients, so why do they persist? And their clients – I wonder if they ask to audit how many email recipients have proactively agreed to be on their lists?
I used a book publicity firm during The New Polymath launch. I asked to review the mailing list and the firm said it was “proprietary”. I grudgingly went along till I got an email from Michael Lamoureux (“The Doctor”) asking why the firm was spamming him when he had already published his book review weeks prior.
It’s been interesting watching our daughter’s college talk evolve. As a freshman, there was plenty of “My Big” – as in her big sorority sister. As a sophomore it was more about her “My Little”. Now, Big and Little seem to be equally used.
We are going through a phase in IT where Big is getting prominence. Lots of Big Data talk. Mark Herring of Software AG recently wrote about its “cousin”, Big Services.
Which is of course leading to debates on Big and Little
Jeff Nolan objected to my describing as Big, Union Pacific’s 20 million temperature readings a day using rail side sensors. He came back with Google does over 5 billion text searches, eBay does 1 billion transactions, Twitter, 400 million tweets, Facebook users upload 350 million photos - PER DAY.
Bruce Rogow, my fellow Gartner alum, raised an interesting point recently. He said we really need Little Data. Specific usable nuggets for the marketing or maintenance or R&D person. Everything else is just process to winnow down the Big Data of their growing data sources.
A CIO recently told me the biggest shift he has seen in last couple of years is a focus on the Little – not enterprise apps but mobile apps, not broadcast marketing but personalized, social approaches, sensors as data sources, not massive interfaces from other servers.
I have a feeling the old Thin/Fat client debates are about to reincarnated, and will be even more heated than those the Dustin Hoffman movie caused.
Ashlee Vance at BusinessWeek is the latest in a growing chorus of voices that say Apple has hit an innovation wall – no moonshots in sight.
“Google (GOOG), with its self-driving cars and virtual reality glasses, is really starting to show Apple up. Even Microsoft (MSFT), with its motion-detecting Kinect sensor and its incorporation of touch technology into all manner of devices, has added some pressure. It’s looking an awful lot as if we’re on the verge of an era in which massive hardware changes will occur, finally making work in such areas as robotics and human-machine interaction come to fruition.”
Problem is most media and analysts look at product pipeline as their innovation proxy. Wall Street uses R&D spend as its innovation metric and Apple spends a pathetic 2% of revenues on R&D.
And guess what? Apple has been in similar straits for most of the last decade. However, they have had business model innovation (transformed music, publishing, telecommunication markets), channel innovation (resulting in dominant retail and apps ecosystem), supply chain innovation (strategic investments in key components, well tuned contract manufacturing ). And when it comes to product – look at how many game changing features Apple has brought to market – retina displays, Siri, Match etc etc. And then there is the Apple secretive factor – if you can mask a 500,000 sq ft data center from Google Earth, you can do plenty to surprise competitors with all kinds of new products and services. Who’s to say Apple has lost that skill?
Take a look at the Apple chapter in my recent book – download below. You see tons of activities which provide significant competitive advantage beyond well designed products. And none of them add much to the R&D line item.
One of my favorite innovation metrics is What percentage of revenues come from product introduced in last 5 years? Benchmark Samsung, Microsoft, whoever you want against that metric and then let’s discuss who’s a laggard.