Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Too much information...

One of my colleagues spoke recently about the long tail of information. How capabilities around self-service and the general ability to tap into data sources and content on-demand, that was hitherto notoriously inaccessible, is driving enterprise and business agility.

Believe me, this is a good thing. I’ve always been a proponent of methodical research and careful examination of the results before decision making. Knowledge, we’ve been told is power. The trouble is we sometimes obsess over information – reducing the clarity of the thought process and in the process considerably degrading the quality of the decision. So in my case what could’ve been a simple act of popping over to Curry’s to buy a new router, turned into a quest around models (router models, that is), adsl vs cable+modem, power consumption, historic price, gigabit connectivity, wireless attenuation, moddability, and of course yet-to-be-released models. The result of all this is that although I may qualify to work at my local Curry’s showroom, my internet connection still drops every few days. I digress.

Uncertainty is a way of life. We are always on that pursuit to reduce ambiguity and uncertainty. Sometime information can help reduce the uncertainty and help guide the decision. All the information I’ve researched for my router, has given me insight – but whether it influences my choice is another.

As everyday decision makers we chase after information to help us resolve uncertainty. What we need to ask ourselves is, just because we now have a long tail of information, does it mean we need to pursue all that information? How do we understand what is relevant, at the same time differentiate what is interesting, but may bear no influence on our decision making?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I'm moving :)

Hey I've my own space now! So going to be scribbling there soon. :)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Too much of social networking!

[Had this scribbled quite (and I mean quite) a while back. Safely kept as a draft. On second reading I'd flame myself , so don't fret.]

"Marta has just sent me a message." And I've no clue who the lady is! This is just another of my failures at trying to keep in touch with reality. With your typical 9-8 work time, when do you get time to find out what everyone's upto? Oh yea add to that the 'onsite' folks who wake up when you're about to hit the sack. Voice is simply not cool any more, it has to be a scrap or a post at least a tweet!

Anyway Facebook, orkut, Twitter, WAYN, LinkedIn where does it stop? Honestly I wouldn't even realise if a friend suddenly decided that I wasn't 'friend enough' and drops right off my list! Do I need to accept every request that comes through my spam filter? Do I really need to add as a 'friend' anyone I've studied or worked with? Do I need to reciprocate when someone becomes a 'fan' or someone writes a testimonial? More than half the people I would never (or they would ever!) even message more than once! And why oh why do you want to know what you're doing now?

My social network has become more of an address book. Some of you may give me that weird look now, but spare a moment and reflect.
Done? In the end aren't we all hypocrites? I'll still go ahead and add that friend I met only once at the grocers. Never know when I'll need a favour... (ok may not be the best example, but you get the (evil) idea. We all need social acceptance. I do, don't you?)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Social CRM - Reward model for the leechers?

There is a really interesting article by Gartner on harnessing social CRM. In a nutshell talks about 4 not-to-miss steps in any social CRM initiative.

One of them made me smile. The third point: 3. Understand and reward different kinds of participation. (Btw please jump off to Gartner and read the article just as soon as you're done with mine ;)
Companies need to recognise and provide social applications for all levels of participants that can be categorised as: the creators (“I want to own this”), the contributors (“I want to be part of this”), the opportunists (“Since I’m here…”) and the lurkers (“I’ll reap the rewards”).
Whether it was that mammoth skin or the promotion, pampering egos is a time old tradition to get things (read this). Most social 'tools' I've seen promote "the creator" and the contributor, forums that allow you to see content only after registering, websites that allow commenting only after you've registered. I can see that there are obvious reasons for doing this. But (think about this) in most cases it's either involuntary (un-customised website code) or poor planning (need to show more users. People would've just wanted to solve a problem but can't post because his post count it too low.)

You'll no doubt realise that the lurker and the opportunist certainly can contribute (if not consistently, because, trust me, you've been one yourself at somepoint). Newspaper sites do this by requiring you to put in a mail id. Without rambling too much (I'm famished!) just wanted to highlight that companies implementing such initiatives need to have provide incentives to lock in lurkers. Case in point: I used to frequent xda-developers for ages but only recently signed up.

[Update: Bingo! (inflated ego) Just what I was looking for. Story of how a button brought in $300,000,000.

The $300,000,000 Fix

The designers fixed the problem simply. They took away the Register button. In its place, they put a Continue button with a simple message: "You do not need to create an account to make purchases on our site. Simply click Continue to proceed to checkout. To make your future purchases even faster, you can create an account during checkout."

The results: The number of customers purchasing went up by 45%. The extra purchases resulted in an extra $15 million the first month. For the first year, the site saw an additional $300,000,000.

Read more here.]

Does any of this make sense? [Update: Yes! Bigger ego. Yet just as humble :p]

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Leveraging multimedia to reach out

[Update: This post does seem ironic in retrospect!]

I wanted to scribble a few lines on Social CRM. My research begins at alter of the almighty Wikipedia. Here’s my search for Social CRM. What? No page exists?! Let’s try CRM 2.0, shall we? Nada. But Wikipedia suggests ever so thoughtfully ‘Did you mean: CMR 2.0’. Unfortunately this time around I didn’t.

Strategy #2: YouTube. Much better! I got 63 results. Interesting and relevant too.

Now this post is not about how I seized the opportunity and created and a wiki page and neither is it a conspiracy to bash Wikipedia. Rather it’s about the growing trend to ‘multimediaize’, if I may use the term. Inevitable I’d say: Encyclopaedia Britannica vs. Animal Planet? For that matter books vs. TV? Let’s extend that one more time TV vs. Internet? Bandwidth prices are tumbling and the ‘other’ screen is catching up too - most newer handsets are capable of streaming YouTube or iPlayer. Podcasts anyone?

And in the enterprise space, companies should start taking notice: in the 3-4 minute time a visitor (a potential customer maybe?) is searching for information it’s a no brainer that you need (not) throw 10 pages! There are however obvious reasons to keep text, but I believe companies are still not leveraging multimedia. YouTube, Dailymotion or even your own website, but please start using multimedia to reach out (Product Offerings, Case Studies etc etc). Reaching out increases mind share increases knowledge increases consumption.

Case in point: Paul Greenberg & Brent Leary’s CRM Playaz discussion actually became Paul’s top rated post. It’s an audio with supporting text. Though I have to admit content still drives a fair amount of (listeners) readers.

Honestly if the Vatican has started taking notice of YouTube, then so should enterprises.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

On Technology for startups. Idea vs tech!

Last night a friend messaged over IM that Microsoft had selected him for some entrepreneurship sponsorship. He wanted my thoughts on a lot of freebies that came with the package. Excited as hell I replied 'ok. kinda busy tho'. Don't want him to know how excited we are, do we? :)

So I headed over to the page... Microsoft Startup Zone.

He was shouting 'its free man! all you need to do is pay $100 at the end of 3 years'. Eh? No free lunch. The 'What do I get?' page has the following:

  • All the software included in the Microsoft® Visual Studio® Team System Team Suite (VSTS) with MSDN® Premium subscription
  • Expression® Studio Version 2
  • VSTS Team Foundation Server (standard edition)
  • Production use rights to host a “software as a service” solution (developed during participation in the BizSpark Program, on any platform) over the Internet, with regard to the lastest versions of Microsoft products including:
    • Microsoft Windows Server® (all editions up to and including Enterprise)
    • Microsoft SQL Server® (all editions)
    • Microsoft Office SharePoint® Portal Server
    • Microsoft System Center
    • Microsoft BizTalk® Server
    • Microsoft Dynamics® CRM (coming soon)
  • In addition to the core program offering, BizSpark startups will be eligible for other Microsoft offerings, such as:
    • Microsoft Azure Services Platform
Not bad I thought... as a marketing plan of course. They pull you into their sofwares for free till you build up a considerable switching cost! Smart.
(But Azure would be fun to try out though.)

Anyway what got me thinking was not Microsoft. Rather this: he's got a business idea quite faraway from IT services. Nevertheless IT can help. Why would you need such a suite?

His explanantion 'I need to develop websites and I need a CRM system'. I can't disagree more, I believe that the Relationshiop should come before the Management part.

Bottom line: Build customer relationships, then see what technology can be useful. Don't retro fit your business idea into technology. Technology is dumb and will not get you money. Ideas will.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

SOA is dead. Services or the architecture? Or the enterprise?

And we're back after a lazzy month of solitude and peace (not to mention the extra kgs!).

Stumbled on this read SOA is dead. Long live the services. Anne writes that as on 1st Jan, SOA is officially dead. SOA is more to do with enterprises. Hmm haven't heard any biggies comment about any their future roadmap either. Well of course enterprises aren't dead. Or are they? lol. Interesting times indeed.

Pause for a second. But don't we still need all the efficiencies and benefits of SOA - reduced costs? Absolutely and I wasn't surprised to see that she's written (as expected) that it's all a farce. Tomaeto tomaaato. Whatever SAO meant would manifest itself in many forms as part of SaaS, mashups etc etc.

The world was getting too small for so many acronyms anyway. Lets get the next baby to the sacrificial table. Green IT anyone?