Thursday, 14 October 2010
What we are talking about is the rise of the personal data store, think of it as a data warehouse for an individuals personal data and information about their lives, this could be suppliers, their career history, their usernames and passwords for all manner of sites and services, it can be literally anything. At the heart of these personal data stores is the notion of extensibility and a life collection and analysis of data that currently resides with peoples suppliers and other organisations in their databases.
The sheer impracticality of the current approach means that economic pressures, coupled with rising concerns about privacy, use of personal data and the growing need for improved convenience, ease of management and reduction in the latency people experience when they are on line as that have to navigate their way through organisation after organisations account set up, profile, management screens and preferences means an individual may re-enter the same data literally hundreds of times. For organisations they are spending huge amounts of money every year managing data records on their customers that are increasingly out of date. If that was not bad enough they are limited about what they can do with the data beyond the basic transactions they execute.
As part of our journey in bootstrapping Mydex we have applied some innovative techniques around collaboration, virtual teaming and commercial social networking to build out the core framework for an ecosystem. Google Apps, especially Sites and Docs have been invaluable and during the time we have been using them the feature set has extended. The support from the Google team excellent and a good community of people contributing tools and templates.
With a broad church of participants we expect some great insights and experiences gained. I will keep my blog updated with our progress on the community prototype
Sunday, 3 October 2010
Although it ultimately ends up discussing Mark Z and his motivations and approach it is touching on an important set of issues.
- In return for convenience and reduced latency in progressing through the net people are taking options that ultimately undermiing control of their data and their lives
- Organisations like Facebook often struggled to do the right thing for their customers and having increasing insight into their users behaviours has not improved the customer experience or their respect for their privacy
Personal Data Stores like those envisaged by Mydex and the emerging ecosystem of personal data stores they envisage will achieve this liberation of personal data and rebalance the equation and relationship between individuals and organisations and ensure respect and trust is earned and not abused.
Saturday, 2 October 2010
- Convenience and ease of use is a paramount consideration if you want to secure two things, these being delivering value to the customer rapidly and creating the right environment for a viral element to your communication via user recommendation and feedback
- Delivering the minimum functionality you can and enable immediate gratification by reducing the overhead and time of data capture.
- Don't mistake massive spend on google adword hit rates as viral growth - it becomes increasingly clear that ensuring you have the right foundations for a viral growth strategy are not rooted in google adwords but experience and reputation and understanding your target audiences to ensure your create the environment for news to spread.
- You need a good team that can challenge each others assumptions and opinions - The risk of too many like minded people can create and environment where people all think the same way and the risks are not clearly understood. I think this means you peopled with shared values but different approaches and perspectives on the domain you work in.
Friday, 1 October 2010
To see the white paper for yourself please down load it directly from Mydex by clicking here
This event followed on from an exciting session and presentation at OpenTech 2010, where I outlined the emerging ecosystem and what Mydex was doing to bring it to life. I have made this available on slideshare
Thursday, 11 February 2010
Saturday, 31 October 2009
Friday, 16 January 2009
I think it is great to see this dicussion developing, but I think it is still constrained both in terms of timescales envisaged and the various models of calculating value and return and the sources of funding.
There are some concurrent streams of thinking underway in society around environmental agendas, micropayments systems as a means of aggregating interest in subjects be they charity or other mans of participating in social and commercial endeavours, alternative methods of loaning and investing money, and the notion of trade and barter for achieving progress within new businesses. If these are overlayed on each other they start to suggest something else emerging that is leaner, less prone to herd instinct, lower risk or risk spread wider, and more open to ideas and concepts coupled with a real sense of being tested by consumers and users that in a sense achieve more validation than any clever assessment model devised by "Rocket Scientists" or "Experience / Knowledge engineers"
So lets not look for the next big thing but the paradigm shift that genuinely delivers a sustainable and scalable model that engages society in evolving the future
Tuesday, 6 January 2009
How will you win more business?, achieve more with reduced or same resources?, increase effectiveness of partnerships?
For many this means redundancies, hiring freezes, forensic reviews of sales performance around qualification and win rate and the true impact and value of partnerships with system integrators and managed service providers is being reviewed.
Above all it is achieve more with the same or less resources and this drives the effectiveness and productivity firmly to the top of the agenda for many.
We saw significant increase in demand during Q4 for the workshops and coaching on productivity, virtual team leadership, effective partnering and sales qualification. From this experience we can happily confirm that almost all organisations can achieve more with the same or less resources if they focus on the basic of prioritisation and are ruthlessly honest with themselves.
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
Given the level of innovation out there within hardware, software and services organisations across the globe, it seems surprising that the level of take up of these innovations is very very slow. In boom market people tend to be complacent, in a tough market, people suddenly want to deliver more with less or the same resources and efficiency and effectiveness suddenly come to the fore.
On closer inspection however it becomes more and more apparent as to why. In short the answer is as simple as one, two, three.
- Technology organisations invest in features and functions and fail to make adequate investment in defining the value proposition for their product or services, in so doing they make it hard for the client to create an effective business case for the investment as they cannot relate it back to their business needs which makes it easy for the Finance function to destroy any proposal due to lack of tangible benefits.
- There is not enough investment in ensuring what is sold is delivered and the benefits, if they can be determined, realised within the business. This single factor makes it easy for Finance and Business heads to turn round and say yet another failure which just makes it harder and harder to innovative and make real step chnages in the way the business operates. Bridging the gap between concept, contract right through to operationally deployed service or solution is a combination of effective programme and project management. This means cultural and organisational change all wrapped up in effective stakeholder management and communications. In short it is really really hard and no one really likes change do they.
- Technology organisations fail to identify and recruit the right clients and partners in specific markets whether vertical, horizontal or geopgraphical. Sadly the herd instinct is strong in the industry and people all head for the usual suspects, who are either the wrong organisation, too busy working with other partners who offer competing products or simply the wrong people in the organisation wasting time talking to anyone who wants to partner with them.
Where we disrupt this status quo we enable a better way to deliver sustainable results in a third of the time for about half the cost of the normal approach. We believe that the waste today in breaking new markets and the loss to business of the benefits that could be secured from effective deployment of technology and service solutions is crippling the European economy and driving investment away.
Wednesday, 3 September 2008
No one is doing this for altruistic purposes so lets ensure customers understand the cost of change as well as the dream of change, tell me what the value proposition is, what will it increase or decrease for my business or my family if I swap, what need is it addressing that I have now or will have in the future and what are the underlying commercial elements of the license, what rights does it give to Google to do with my information and what will I have to accept to use it.
I will of course have a good look at it and in the end it will only serve to improve and push Microsoft and others to deliver more for less. I think the end result will be a two browser world Mircosoft and Google Chrome, beware Mozilla users
Tuesday, 17 June 2008
Jason, Thanks for the concise summary of the event, what never ceases to disappoint is the endless quest for the silver bullet, instead of accepting the need for continual evolution instead of revolution. I accept that if you don't pay attention and have a quest for the future at the core of running your business then it might feel like a revolution by the time you lift your head from the operational grindstone. Surely the real challenge is to carve out time to pay attention to the strategic issues affecting your business, market and communities that you serve along side the operational execution and the tactical fire fighting that so often is painted to look like a strategic programme.
Marketeers and technologists and consultants love and seem to need something new as a means of generating demand borne of fear uncertainty and doubt. If we could only engage in long term dialogue that engaged people at all levels in terminology they could understand we may not need 2.0 or other such placeholders to drive people’s attention.
My simply checklist is
1. The Strategic, Tactical, Operational elements of business need to work in harmony on a constant basis
2. Thinking about these over short, medium and long term drives prioritisation
3. If you cannot articulate in plain english it is doubtful in its value. Lets face it if it does not increase or decrease something over a definable period of time and in doing so addresses a need you have now or in the future that it has no value
This for those interested is my v1.0 and consistent opinion unlikely to be upgraded or revised but continually evangelised and polished over the years.
Tuesday, 27 May 2008
It would appear that Compuware have not considered the future fully. I always like to say to our clients that "if they have a sense of style they can ride any wave of fashion that comes along". Surely "2.0" is a step on journey not a destination or a means of getting there.
Worse than this they "C2.0" will now fall victim to a subtle form of discrimination and resentment that has been building in corporations and people. What resentment I hear you say?. In short the frustration of the upgrade the new release, the disruption without innovation, the person hours lost accomodating change that does not appear to reap rewards for the customer and end users
Surely we were all happy to move to the seamless upgrade and patching of our core systems in a non disruptive way, a challenge in many ways but now they have forced an upgrade of understanding on the whole of the world, unlikely to happen and unlikely ot deliver shareholder and customer return.
This latest decision does not suggest customer centric thinking, are the customers are the centre of this business. I hope so but such a decision seems to only create a communications overhead, lack of understanding and uncertain intrepretations.
Compuware, always been a fan of your products in one form our another, hope it works out, jury is out, hope you did not pay for the advice on branding, sorry :(
Tuesday, 26 February 2008
It seems a recurring theme in life the factions appear time and again who want to create a debate and argument where none exists,
Sure the world is getting more and more connected, things are moving faster and faster, yes this brings with it a set of challenges and drain on people's time as the deluge of information, garbage and distraction continues to rise.
IT matters but knowledge, insight, the ability to save time, do more with less matters more, IT enables these goals to be achieved to be possible when and where people need them.
The dream of better decisions made on a near real-time data availability where ever you are whether this is where to get a meal, your hair cut or to change the policy on pricing for a specific product line or take decisive action to prevent disaster all really on access, security, availability and above all the ability to see the wood for the trees.
The challenge we all face whether you are from Harvard pondering big questions or trying to make a living is how to filter, categories and prioritise this deluge into meaningful chunks that are relevant to the context you are in at any given moment in time. Now perhaps the academics can apply themselves to that or leave it up to the rest of us to solve that challenge.
Well done as usual Jason
Saturday, 12 January 2008
Question: How important, on a scale of 1(not critical) to 10 (essential), do you rate the ability to manage the expectations of stakeholders for the success of any transformation process?
20 - But managing expecations is not just about sitting down and defining a blueprint and vision for the transformation programme the correctly sets expectations for all stakeholders at the outset, it comes down to the ability to maintain and evolve those expectations over time as the programme transitions from a programme plan to actual implementation. Critical success factors are:
1. To put time and effort into determining the islands of stability throughtout the transformation programme. These points in time when clear statements of fact about how the organisation is at that point as evidence that transformation is occuring and provides an opportunity for course correction or cessation if required leaving a functional situation.
2. Benefits realisation - How many times do we here about the vision being presented of why a transformation is required and then only to see no investment go into baselining current state and systematic measurement of the realisation of the benefits planned and expected from the transformation programme. Without the benefits being measured, both qualitative and quantative how can won effectively manage stakegolder expectations.
The most common cause of under investment in this area is the very stakeholders you refer to, not wanting to waste money and time on an activity that is designed to prove the and realise the benefits are being realised. Why? - People do not like to be measured in this way especially senior execs in complex areas of change and more so the middle management who are most likely living daily with the implications of the transformation and the high visibility of their performance or not.
3. Communications - Stakeholders all have needs for information, but one size does not fit all, the means and manner in which one communicates, the frequency and depth are all critical factors. Stakeholders need to be classified and understood in terms of the way in which the consume information. Putting a priority and time into this area will, like benefits realisation be considered a time waster by those same stakeholders because if they are the initiators of the change and in charge they usually think that is all the motivation the rest of the stakeholders need to comply. The rest of the stakeholders usually think they cannot afford the time, do not want to pass it on down their organisational branches if they have not totally embraced the change and fear of loss of control.
4. Deliver incrementally and often - so many times people by into the big result and then spend every week or month worrying about the lack of tangible results they can put on the bottom line or deliver as proof of progress quantatively. No matter how superficial you believe it is publish and ensure credit for every benefit realised and advantage gained, show the change and transformation daily in some way, dashboard, maps, trails anything to make it live in peoples mind daily. Why? - Because you will live daily with negative press, complaints, and every mistake and failure published by the detractors.
5. Classify your stakeholders using the following model using a scale of 1 to 5 with a clear definition for each value that is unequivocal and then plot on a radar diagram. The three dimensions are:
A - Motivation and Understanding for and of the transformation and its benefits
B - Influence and Impact across the whole organisation affected by the transformation
C - Observable behaviour - Saying their on board is not enough the behaviours they demonstrate in their daily living and communications is an essential that needs to be measured.
6. Personality types - You need to create a set of descriptors for that explain what people behave like in public and private. I have a set developed for a forthcoming book on change. This is beyond usual profiles. - (more on this later)
You have to develop strategies to support each type of stakeholder that increases their support or mitigate the risk they represent.
Monday, 21 May 2007
A tagging management system (TMS) can be personal, local or global and modified locally, Microsoft have categories and various other organisations have taxonomy building solutions, some can do it on the fly others need structure.
A tagging management solution enables you to set properties and rules for a tag e.g. it can be presented as a folder, it can have different security permissions, who can see it, who can change, create, modify anything with a certain tag, it can be derivative of another tag, it can be made of up several other tags, it can exist in a hierarchy.
If you change the tag name in the TMS it will change everywhere you ever tagged something with the old name, the new one appears,- Tags can have synonyms, tags can be merged- Tags can be queried to filter- Tags can become lexicons of specific moods or views.
Join the debate. I have created a group on Facebook with the same name as the title of this entry. Lets build the consensus and have the debate on this key area, we could spend less time reinventing the wheel and more time implementing the future.
Tuesday, 30 January 2007
I felt the urge to respond to this post with some thoughts about the reality of the challenge ahead for society and technology companies. I wanted to share it here as well.
Some people say nothing is new, only repackaged, what goes around comes around again and again. It seems to me the freedom that Web 2.0 and Business 2.0 offer in terms of creating, syndicating,and integrating content and functionality are more about open standards and api's we society can all agree on, the ability of technology companies to ride the waves of fashion and style and deliver their products latest releases with compliance, compatibility, interoperability, conversion,and any other variation on transmutation you care to name are still heading in ever decreasing circles.
My vision and that of many others is that we rise above the notion of complex programatic languages through a layer of articulation that takes its meaning from the real world most of humanity occupies. This will be the true empowerment for society when people no longer need to do more than express or draw their solution or requirement and the systems configure and align to these needs, either on a transitory basis for just the amount of time needed or as part of the start of something new.
This is not a pipe dream, there are people working to this end today, Intalio being one, K2 and Xsol being others I could name. These represent a paradigm shift for all of us.
We will still need programming languages, I for one am not against them but they are a link in the chain from human creativity and need and the subsequent realisation of that in the real / virtual world that is Web / Business 2.0.
Good luck to the product teams able to reap incremental revenues from programming languages whether 1,2,3 or 4 generation, no doubt someone will decide to market a 5GL at some point, but that to me misses the point of the future and the need we all have to express, and affect realisation of our requirements. It is not long ago people had to get someone to connect them with another phone user on an internal and international phone system, Technology and programming languages enabled all of us to do it for ourselves without the intermediary being visible.
Roll on self determination and creation within the on-line world.
Friday, 5 January 2007
I think the challenge is not so much which one is best overall they all offer a range of features that are attractive to people for different reasons. The challenge with this emerging market in my view is as follows:
1. People ultimately will belong to several social networks and will want to integrate and exchange information between each environment. This means there needs to a set of data exchange standards developed in something like XML. History is littered with people who try to remain isolated and they either lose their momentum as something more open comes along or get integrated via third party.
2. You only have one life: The social networks today seemed to be split by business and personal life in some respects with different players. This is not a realistic state of affairs, again the need for integration will arise. We must therefore think about creating multiple views of commonly held data that enables you present specific subsets of information to different audiences, colleagues; friends, competitors; clients; employees etc.....I personally run ecademy (lightly today), linkedIn, myspace, you tube, google account, plaxo, blogger, technorati and stumble upon, plus a host of other associations. I want to integrate all of this.
3. Functionality road maps converge and evolve: The investment levels in the infrastructure tools to support social network is one of the new gold rushes right now with massive investment from Venture capitalists, major technology players and literally anyone with time and an idea. That is great. but as student of history in the work of software, services and technology the economics of this will eventually drive convergence and competition down to a few key players who have the fastest components and ease of integration.
The core business of a social network overtime is to increase the ability of people to communicate, stay current with their network and create opportunities, fulfil interests and integrate and organise the deluge of data and information we are now faced with. This means the technology whilst critical to the business at one level will eventually disappear beneath the road and become the basic fabric of society and it will the services and ease of use, integration and value add that the service providers offer that will make the difference.
4. Creating a sense of community that feels personal: Everyone sees the world differently, therefore the ability to make the environment feel exactly how you need it is an essential element of the road map going forward, this means the Human computer interface evolution and multiple touch points will evolve to reflect personal needs, so we need to consider the sense of access anywhere with dynamic re profiling of the view and experience on any devices based on who is using the device.
5. Commercial models will change: The more people use the social networking tools to help them in their lives the more people will expect it to be simply there from any service provider. The paradox of this space is no matter how much people value it and are happy to pay in the early stage market, ultimately the functionality will become a base expectation and the services and delivered over the network become the asset and most likely paid for on a per use basis or negotiated price or bundled with other service charges such as ISP / Mobile operator / Utility services or included in employee packages and benefits as it will be the same tools for work and play.
And on.......................but lets stop there.
Sunday, 10 December 2006
Working around the e-revolution
One of the many effects of the Internet is the creation of e-communities - people coming together in the virtual world to share ideas and information, or to trade in one form or another. But the deeper implications of this evolution are still to be revealed, particularly in the area of virtual organisations.
Most people spend their working life with one organisation at a time. The minority who work as contractors for short or long term assignments are seen as facing higher risks, but also as those who earn high rewards and enjoy increased flexibility in both their working and personal lives.
That is set to change in the near future. The average length of employment is already heading to an all time low. It's not just the dot.com revolution that sparks rapid hops between employers in the hope of share options and instant wealth. Increasingly people want variety in their working lives - they want to do something exciting or different, and to work in a culture where they feel valued for their contribution.
Aspirations are rising for both employers and employees. People want to do the things they like to do and get rewarded for it, employers expect to get the most out of their employees.
The challenge is that the age-old problem of employee retention never goes away. As people are developed, they become more valuable. Employers are forced to increase the remuneration of existing employees after they have been trained. Not only do they pay higher salaries, but they also incur the cost of recruitment when they leave.
The argument put forward to counter this is that employers should create the right environment and career development path for their employees in order to retain people in the longer term. But it's a bit like King Canute denying the inevitable; people will always think something better is round the corner at some point in their life. This fact is not in dispute. It's just that the frequency that this occurs is increasing.
So what is the solution or conclusion to be drawn from this trend for forward thinking organisations? One answer is to consider the idea of making employees more responsible for their own career development, almost as though they were working as self-employed people within the organisation.
Nobody questions the benefits of outsourcing operations for a wide range of services such as IT, property, janitorial services, laundry, catering and a host of other such activities. And in the last five years we have seen an increase in business process outsourcing where entire functions within an organisation are outsourced to a specialist provider that is expert in a particular business process.
Early examples of this approach are payroll, personnel, account receivables, PR, creative agencies and telemarketing. These services can be delivered against a service level agreement where the provider is accountable for set goals. They become focused on acting as a centre of excellence for such processes, concentrating on the delivery of a quality service at the same time as driving down cost per transaction. This in turn improves bottom line performance and return on capital employed.
The next stage of this process is the emergence of virtual corporations, which happens when organisations focus only on their core competencies and the value they deliver to their own customers. The argument for outsourcing is compelling for this new breed of companies, because front and back office operations become constraining factors unless they move as fast as their markets demand. This flexibility and speed of response is becoming impossible to deliver in house. Too many processes, too many skills required, too much development and too many politics stifle the objectives of the business and it drowns - or at best slows down.
The pressure for increased flexibility is comes from employees as well. Employees are increasingly dissatisfied with working full time for a large corporation. Instead they will seek to provide their services and expertise to organisations in a way that will see them constantly rewarded at the market rate for their abilities.
The implications of this are profound. The bulk of the workforce we know today will become independent consultants responsible for their own development in terms of skills and employability.
As a result, quality will increase and everyone will become more aware of performance related measures. Choice will increase for employers and employees seeking work. Employers will reduce the fear of losing people or the cost of their development and retention, although clearly there will still be issues around how to attract the best people in the marketplace.
And those seeking to start a business will be able to do so more easily, as they will be able to draw on expertise from specialist business process providers and operations that deliver outsourcing services.
Citizens and employers alike will need a new generation of HR management. We will see the emergence of the HR portal, which will cover personnel services, remuneration and benefits strategy, personnel records, skills management and databases, personal development services, screening, accreditation, training services, payroll, pensions, medical and legal services - in fact everything the citizen and employer needs to manage complex resourcing challenges.
A second key element in the future will be the business solution provider or BSP. These organisations will act as brokers for virtual corporations. They will work up close and personal with the virtual corporation to ensure they understand their clients business objectives in detail. With this understanding, they can architect the required business processes and operational services required and package them in a detailed service level agreement. This presents a single source of supply for the virtual corporation to manage.
The BSP will be expert in managing the supply chain and ensuring the client gets the services it needs to achieve stated business objectives. These BSPs will be the new intermediaries. They will be expert in contract, people and service level monitoring and management. They will have multiple supply chain partners and they will probably be specialists in business and process integration, both in terms of electronic and physical systems. They will have detailed cost models for all processes and provide sophisticated simulation solutions.
The most exciting prospect of this approach is that anyone with a great idea really can start a business overnight and not get bogged down in the details. Instead they can focus on their key business proposition. I for one welcome this evolution, and the freedom that it brings to business and employees alike.