Can Zuora zip your company into the Subscription Economy?

subscription economy

Subscription Economy – Gartner

“The “subscription economy” is a market reaction to a growing range of media offerings (newspapers, magazines, books, music and movies) and technology products (applications, services and related content) that can be delivered digitally to devices ranging from tablets, such as the iPad, Xoom and PlayBook, to smartphones and mobile devices.

Subscription management business models are most common in companies that provide products that can be delivered electronically, including media and software, and, in some industries, add-on services that can be delivered digitally.

Companies that are not offering or building strategies around subscription management may miss the opportunity.

Key Findings:

  • By 2015, more than 40% of companies selling media and digital products, such as software, services and content, will rely entirely on software as a service (SaaS) or hosted subscription management services to manage their fulfillment, entitlement, billing, renewal and customer loyalty requirements.
  • By 2015, 35% of Global 2000 companies with non-media digital products will generate incremental revenue of 5% to 10% through subscription-based services and revenue models.
  • Subscription revenue streams can help to smooth out seasonal revenue peaks, generate incremental revenue from add-on services, and strengthen the customer experience and customer loyalty.
  • Subscription management raises new concerns, including subscriber churn; management of unprofitable or low-profit subscribers; and privacy, security and payment-processing challenges”.


Zuora Blueprint for the Subscription Economy.

The Dawn of the Subscription Economy.

Tien Tzuo – founder and CEO of Zuora on the topic of the rising Subscription Economy. As companies move away from a manufacturing or product way of thinking they’re confronted with the critical need to handle customer loyalty, pricing and selling in a whole new way. Tzuo asserts, that in the Subscription Economy, legacy systems are holding businesses back from finding success in this new business model.

Gartner : Subscription Management Market Adoption

gartner subecon

Gartner : The potential business benefits of subscription business models include:

  • Enhance the customer experience through new or evolving business/product models.
  • Manage revenue (ensure appropriate billing for usage and entitlements).
  • Generate incremental revenue from add-on or cross-selling services.
  • Ensure revenue consistency and predictability; reduce spikes.
  • Manage customer experience through subscription management and related areas, such as billing and entitlement.
  • Encourage customer loyalty through renewal management.
  • Leverage growing digital economy and the “Internet of things.”
  • Provide targeted marketing through richer, transaction-based customer insight.
  • Build a customer annuity through predictable revenue, services and revenue recognition.

It was announced this week that YouTube is planning to launch paid channel subscriptions in the Spring.


Thoughts on YouTube’s Move to Subscriptions

Brian Bell, Zuora Chief Marketing Officer

“According to multiple sources, YouTube is preparing to launch paid subscription channels in the second quarter of 2013, allowing individual channel producers to charge between $1 and $5 a month to subscribers. Content won’t be limited to episodes, but content libraries and live events as well.

We encourage the competition between cable companies and newer players like AT&T, Netflix, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and yes, YouTube. The competitors are coming from all sectors of industry: Microsoft and Sony have already moved to make their entertainment centers not just video game platforms, but hubs to watch streaming sports and movies. And HBO has already made moves to become untethered to the cable company it once needed to survive.

The real winner in all of this will be the consumer as each business vies to offer the most flexibility, the most options, and the most personalized relationship with the consumer”. (edited from his blog)

WDGLL specs

“Zuora is built from the ground up by SaaS industry visionaries and veterans from, WebEx, Accenture, Google, eBay, Oracle and Vitria”.

Some of these visionaries and veterans sit on the Zuora Strategic Advisory Board which provide the stewardship to maintain market leadership and grow at pace. 

Tien Tzuo “Zuora’s subscription billing and commerce platform changes the way subscription businesses manage and sell to customers, allowing them to bring new products to market in less time, with more flexibility and less hassle”.

The Subscription Economy is about fostering customer centric relationships with medium to high profit customers that will grow and endure over time.

Finally, before YouTube launch their subscription channels they need to address the illegal uploading of movies.


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Is email overload driving you insane?


Mckinsey – Recovering from information overload

“Always-on, multitasking work environments are killing productivity, dampening creativity, and making us unhappy.

Addressing information overload requires enormous self-discipline. A little like recovering addicts, senior executives must labor each day to keep themselves on track by applying timeless yet powerful guidelines: find time to focus, filter out the unimportant, forget about work every now and then. The holy grail, of course, is to retain the benefits of connectivity without letting it distract us too much”.


Dmitri Leonov – Vice President of Growth @Sanebox

7 deadly sins of email that we’ve all fallen guilty to.

If you are you suffering from the torrent of messages hitting your mailbox then there is a potential solution to help you deal with “attention fragmentation”.

McKinsey report on social technologies

“28 hours – Time each week spent by knowledge workers writing e-mails, searching for information, and collaborating internally.

20–25% – Potential improvement possible in knowledge worker productivity.

Two-thirds of the value creation opportunity afforded by social technologies lies in improving communications and collaboration within and across enterprises. By adopting these organizational technologies, we estimate that companies could raise the productivity of knowledge workers by 20 to 25 percent. However, realizing such gains will require significant transformations in management practices and organizational behavior. Social technologies can enable organizations to become fully networked enterprises—networked in both a technical and in a behavioral sense”.

Sanebox for Teams

There is no audio but interesting facts and features.

WDGLL specs

“The benefits of lightening the burden of information overload—in productivity, creativity, morale, and business results—will more than justify the effort. And the more we appreciate the benefits, the easier it will be to make new habits stick”.

McKinsey also state that we need to Focus, Filter and Forget. I think sanebox fits the bill.

As I stated in a previous blog the Fitbit One can help an individual lose weight. If you want / need to manage your email habit then maybe the Sanebox solution will help restore your sanity.  There is a free two week trial so you can try before you buy.

Alternatively you could write letters or notes for the important stuff.

Paperman is an awesome new Walt Disney animation which takes us back to a bygone age when messages were conveyed on physical paper.

“Introducing a groundbreaking technique that seamlessly merges computer-generated and hand-drawn animation techniques, first-time director John Kahrs takes the art of animation in a bold new direction with the Oscar®-nominated short, “Paperman.” Using a minimalist black-and-white style”.


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Is the Pebble “people’s” Smart watch the future Business Model?


Pebble finally started shipping their E-Paper display watch product, for iPhone and Android, on Wednesday after a four month delay.

The Pebble watch is a companion device to your smart phone and connects seamlessly via Bluetooth.  The Pebble watch can show e-mail, text and Facebook messages received by the nearby smartphones.

CEO – Eric Migicovsky

Pebble’s Canadian founder and primary engineer.

The Pebble watch costs $150 and can currently only be ordered directly from


“Migicovsky’s company Pebble Technology launched a Kickstarter campaign on April 11, 2012, with an initial fundraising target of $100,000. Backers spending $115 would receive a Pebble when they became available ($99 for the first 200), effectively pre-ordering the $150 Pebble at a discounted price.

Within two hours of going live, the project had met the $100,000 goal. Within six days, the project had become the most funded project in the history of Kickstarter, raising over $4.7 million with 30 days left of the campaign.

On May 10, 2012, Pebble Technology announced they were limiting the number of preorders. On May 18, 2012, funding closed with $10,266,844 pledged by 68,928 people”.

The initial shipments will be made to the 85,000 backers who will be the first to receive the new devices.  Pebble is aiming to produce 2,400 products per day at maximum capacity, so it will be some weeks before this backlog is cleared.

In Europe there is a small Italian company who excel in design, style and innovation called I’m Watch – LINK

Massimiliano Bertolini, a co-inventor of I’m Watch

WDGLL specs

It is a given that the “Big Boys” Sony, Apple, Google will enter the market very soon with their own connected timepieces, but for me small is beautiful.  Both Pebble and I’m Watch have market leading products.

The Pebble E-Paper display is monochrome whilst the I’m Watch display is colour and has more features, for example it can show Instagram pictures.

The I’m Watch is priced at around $475 compared to the cost of a Pebble at $150.  You pay extra for the I’m Watch ecosystem. 

A key selection criteria for your purchase may be having a monochrome vs  a colour type display.

Think Kindle vs Kindle Fire.

The start-up, design, development and deployment of the I’m Watch product suite has been funded by H-Equity in the traditional business model.

The Pebble watch is the most successful Kickstarter campaign ever and is a real “game changer” challenging existing barriers to market entry.

This People’s funding model enables small exotic boutiques to be able to release their products directly into the marketplace.

So start kicking around your new product ideas.  

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Gartner research identifies growth opportunities for IT Service Providers, the Economist has a contrarian view


Agenda Overview for the IT Services Market, 2013

Published: 4 January 2013

Analyst(s): Bryan Britz, Kathryn Hale, Bob Igou

“The IT services market continues to bridge legacy offerings and new cloud delivery paradigms. IT services providers able to adapt to change, improve competitiveness and identify growth opportunities will thrive.

IT services growth opportunities exist for service providers able both to help existing clients assimilate, integrate, manage and retire technology investments in the Nexus of Forces (cloud, social, mobile and information) and in emerging markets, and to attract new clients for established and emerging services.


However, this requires IT services providers to adapt to significant changes, including the growing influence of business leaders in technology investment decisions. Business leaders expect technology to deliver new capabilities for their business, resulting in specific, tangible business outcomes.

The Nexus of Forces demands new approaches and skills, but at the same time, many organizations remain burdened by legacy systems and tethered to existing investments. They must continue to run operations on a daily basis while transitioning from legacy IT to new operating models enabled by the Nexus of Forces.

Nexus of Forces

In response to these forces, providers are transforming their business models, including sales and delivery models, while the competitive landscape morphs and expands. Improving competitiveness requires providers to increase their focus on differentiation, enhance their approaches to market segmentation, develop the right skills required for these new market opportunities, and better articulate the business value. Success in these activities will enable providers to develop strategies that create demand and, in turn, increase their market share.  Thriving, let alone surviving, in these conditions is equally challenging for established market share leaders, as it is for disruptive new entrants.

How will the providers in the IT services market compete and evolve their businesses?

Navigating a business in a changing market requires agility in adapting to changes and continuously improving to become more competitive. The impact of cloud computing on the entire IT services market remains the most significant factor that will determine the IT services marketplace of the

future. Traditional IT services sales and delivery models are primarily artifacts of a highly client specific and reactive approach to selling and delivering services.

What are the critical success factors to succeed in the IT services marketplace?

IT services have historically flourished because they have helped IT organizations assimilate, integrate, manage and eventually retire technology investments. Specialized skills, global delivery, verticalized service portfolios and satisfied customer references have formed the foundation of success for IT services providers in a competitive market. However, these critical success factors are only growing more complex and demanding. Several trends are driving this complexity. These include the shift toward hybrid IT environments, intellectual property (IP)-based solution orientation displacing labor, service segmentation convergence, and an increased need for economies of scale and experience.

What are the implications of changing IT services buying criteria and behaviors?

Clients remain cost-focused in decision making, but innovation, agility and excellence will not take a back seat to cost cutting forever. Buying criteria, and even the functional roles of the buyers themselves, are evolving to emphasize an orientation toward business outcomes and short-term return on investments. Clients increasingly expect industrialized, predesigned and preconfigured solutions from IT services providers, not just the skills to effectively execute a project. Given these changes, transforming the service sales and delivery models to more effectively resonate with clients is perhaps one of the most significant strategic initiatives for most service providers.

What is the market size and growth potential for specific IT services segments?

In a changing IT services market, providers are challenged to identify where they should place their strategic bets. To make sound investment decisions that yield financial rewards, providers need to first assess and determine the size, appeal and growth potential of the market segment under consideration. This requires IT services providers to draw on detailed market forecasts that support business planning processes.

What is the outlook for key demand drivers in IT services?

When developing strategies and prioritizing investments, understanding the underlying fact bases and assumptions as well as alternative scenarios is critical in helping to create consensus and support for the overall business case. Gartner’s extensive research into organizations’ spending plans, priorities, wants, needs and overall strategic IT initiatives allows us to help service providers understand subtle, and occasionally radical, changes in the underlying demand drivers that are behind using externally provided services.

What IT services opportunities exist in emerging technologies?

Gartner’s Nexus of Forces (cloud, social, mobile and information) is reshaping the future of IT and IT services. IT services providers have yet to explore the tremendous opportunities in the application of these technologies to unlock and even create new business value for clients. IT services providers thrive when they can help clients capitalize on such opportunities. At the same time, the Nexus of Forces represents the greatest sources of new market opportunities in the coming three to five years. Identifying the next wave of IT services opportunities related to the Nexus of Forces and understanding market readiness for services related to other emerging technologies are critical outcomes for strategy professionals and product managers alike.

Where will future new sources of demand and market opportunity come from?

How to align investments to capture growth opportunities remains a challenging decision in an overall business environment where uncertainty has become the new certainty. Emerging markets continue to offer higher-growth opportunities and are showing a greater propensity to adopt cloudbased services than mature markets. Similarly, many service providers are finding that IT services spending by the largest enterprises and government entities is not creating the new growth that is more often found in midsize enterprises. Successfully capturing the growth available in emerging markets and with midsize enterprises is critical for providers seeking to gain market share”.

So I apologise for the length of this post however the Economist has a Special Report [this week] : Outsourcing and offshoring



Offshoring – Welcome Home (extract)

“Offshoring in services is, to be sure, still going strong overall. But early pioneers of services offshoring are bringing work back home, having discovered that looking after customers and developing new IT tools are in fact a “core” part of business. For many firms, sending call centres overseas has turned into a nightmare. “We just can’t get the accents right,” confesses one Indian outsourcing executive. As with manufacturing, the advantages of outsourcing services are falling. For an American firm, the gap between the cost of employing an Indian software programmer and the cost of a local one will fall to under 20% by 2015, predicts Offshore Insights, a Pune-based advisory firm. All this could add up to the “Death of Outsourcing”, says a paper by KPMG, whose consultants have long advised Western firms on sending work overseas”.

Services – The next big thing

Developed countries are beginning to take back service-industry jobs too

“HARLEY DAVIDSON, A motorcycle-maker, had a difficult time after the financial crisis and nearly took the road out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, its home town since 1901, to go in search of cheaper labour. It stayed in the end, but had to prune other costs. Last summer it announced it would outsource 70 information-technology and other back-office jobs to India’s Infosys. “Just more and more of our great motorcycle company being done by other countries,” lamented one hog-owner from Pennsylvania in an online forum on hearing the news. In fact, Infosys will be serving Harley and other firms from a new office full of Americans in Milwaukee.


This is the 18th new office Infosys has opened in America in recent years. The company will hire a total of around 2,000 locals in the year to March 2013, up on last year’s 1,200. Other big firms are hiring at a similar level. According to NASSCOM, the trade body for India’s IT sector, the industry has doubled the number of locals it has hired in America in the past five years. It now employs 280,000 people there and is planning to recruit many more in the next few years.

So far companies are not reshoring services even on the modest scale seen in manufacturing. That is partly because information goes down the wire, so rising transport costs do not play a role. But as the previous section has shown, the offshoring of services is slowing down because most of the work that can be done remotely has already gone, and because firms are becoming more aware of the disadvantages of sending work to the other side of the world. More and more companies want IT and business-process tasks to be done locally, especially when the work is complex and strategic. Indian offshoring firms are responding by hiring in developed markets.


A survey of outsourcing executives by HfS Research in Boston last summer found that America is seen as the world’s most desirable region for expanding IT and business-services centres in the next two years. India now comes second, despite its lower labour costs. Chief information officers once rushed to send their software-development work offshore, said CIO magazine last year, but now they want to keep it nearby. The magazine cited the example of Standard & Poor’s, a credit-rating agency, which used to offshore much of its IT work but now wants to send it no farther away than three hours from Manhattan.

You do not have to go far outside the big cities to find that costs come right down. In a study of job-creation in America McKinsey found that workers for high-level IT support in the cheaper parts of the country cost less than in Brazil or eastern Europe and just 24% more than in India. In a paper, “IT Services: The new Allure of Onshore Locales”, McKinsey’s consultants show that labour costs in different parts of America can vary by as much as 30%, with similar differentials between, say, the cost of skilled IT workers in Paris and northern France, or eastern and western Germany.

Hiring locals certainly helps to placate public opinion, but the business argument for it is even more important. Since most routine tasks have already been sent offshore, low-cost vendors are now trying to win higher-value work, such as managing human resources and complex, multi-faceted projects. But to get that kind of business they have to be near their clients. For example, one outsourcing vendor, Cognizant, with a CEO of Indian origin and a big Indian workforce but headquarters in New Jersey, is currently taking market share from rivals such as Infosys. The Indian component of its workforce makes up about 60% of the total, compared with around 80-90% for TCS and others. A typical recent deal, says Malcolm Frank, the firm’s head of strategy, was one it did in 2012 with the American arm of ING, a Dutch bank, under which Cognizant will take over business processes for insurance. Instead of sending the work to India, the firm will open new centres in Iowa and North Dakota and take on ING’s existing employees. “The client wanted local voices answering the telephones,” says Mr Frank, “and the economics of that part of the US means that the numbers work for us.”


Some big firms which originally led the way in the offshoring of services are now taking work back in-house and onshore. For most of the past decade, General Electric had been aiming to outsource the vast majority of its global IT jobs, with most of that outsourced work going to India. When Charlene Begley, the firm’s chief information-technology officer, recently re-evaluated its global balance of labour, she found that half the IT work was being done by outside providers and the firm was losing some of the skills it needed. With the rise of mobile devices and iPads, GE wanted to be able to develop new applications for customers far more quickly. Now the firm is hiring 1,100 IT engineers for a centre it opened in Michigan in 2009. The company has said that the new American employees will not replace GE’s offshore workforce, but the move is seen in the industry as an important sign of the times. GE was one of the firms that made it respectable to outsource, so its decision to bring some of the IT work home is expected to prompt other companies to follow.

The most prominent reshorer of services has been General Motors. Like GE, GM has had plenty of experience with outsourcing. Between 1984 and 1996 it owned EDS, a company founded by Ross Perot that pretty much invented the outsourcing industry. In July 2012 GM announced that it was reversing its rule of outsourcing 90% of its IT work to other firms. In a few years’ time it hopes to be doing 90% of the work inside the firm. In the process it will be reshoring many of those jobs.

GM’s reasons for doing this may well apply to many other firms too. “IT has become more pervasive in our business and we now consider it a big source of competitive advantage,” says Randy Mott, GM’s chief information officer, who has been responsible for the reversal of the outsourcing strategy. While the work was being done by outsiders, he said, most of the resources that GM was devoting to IT were spent on keeping things going as they were rather than on thinking up new ways of doing them. The company reckons that having its IT work done mostly in-house and nearby will give it more flexibility and speed and encourage more innovation.

Don’t call us

Of all the back-office work that has been outsourced, the call-centre business is the one that has made the most abrupt exit from India. With information technology, outsourcing firms such as TCS and Wipro are dealing with global companies, but with call centres they are dealing with customers. “We just can’t get the accents right,” sighs one Mumbai-based outsourcing executive. They tried hard to get workers in Bombay and Bangalore to enunciate their vowels just so. One recent web sketch showed operators imitating Sean Connery, a Scottish actor, for the Scottish market. But many customers had trouble understanding them and were infuriated.

For India, the call-centre business is “on its deathbed”, says Mr Kapoor. The Philippines has won a lot of work, thanks to its cultural affinity with America. And many firms, especially in financial services, have brought call centres back to America, Britain and Europe, often with the twist that to speak to someone in your own country you have to pay extra”.

india out

India’s outsourcing business 

On the turn

India is no longer the automatic choice for IT services and back-office work

“Hackett, a Florida-based firm that advises companies on outsourcing, estimates that over the period from 2002 to 2016 offshoring is likely to claim a total of 2.1m business-services jobs (including IT, human resources, procurement and finance) at big American and European companies. Still more jobs will have been lost in business processes, including call centres and claims processing. Hackett says that about 150,000 business-services jobs a year are still being shifted from Europe and America; the offshoring of services remains in full swing. But the firm also predicts that the migration of services to India and to other offshore locations such as China and Brazil will slow down after 2014 and stop entirely by 2022.

The main reason for this startling prediction is that most of the easily offshorable jobs have already gone. Pralay Das, an equity analyst with Elara Capital in Mumbai, estimates that American and European banks and financial-services firms have already offshored about 80% of what they can reasonably send to India and other offshore locations.

A second reason is that a lot of the jobs that might have been offshored by Western firms in the coming years have already been wiped out by productivity improvements. New jobs in Western economies tend to be of a more demanding, higher-level kind and are less likely to be sent abroad.

All this has sent the Indian IT and BPO industry into a funk. There are fears that it will either stop growing or be forced to accept much lower profit margins as demand for its services falls. It is clear that for Indian IT vendors, demand for traditional outsourcing, meaning routine software and application development and maintenance, is already levelling off, says Pankaj Kapoor, an equity analyst at Standard Chartered Bank in Mumbai. The work used to roll in at you, explains an executive at one large Indian vendor; now you have to go out and search for it.

It is not only that the offshoring of jobs is reaching saturation point, but also that Western companies, after a decade of experience, are changing their attitude to the practice. KPMG, a global consulting firm, even announced “The Death of Outsourcing” in a research paper last year. After all, offshoring important tasks to an outside provider is quite a risky thing to do and carries significant hidden costs. Companies in services as well as manufacturing are now far more aware of the pitfalls. Until recently the most important reason for companies to send large chunks of important business functions abroad was to drive down costs. A decade ago wages in emerging markets were a tenth of their level in the rich world, an opportunity too good to miss. During the recession of 2008-09, says Cliff Justice, KPMG’s leading expert on outsourcing and offshoring, the race offshore accelerated, and more higher-value and complex work was sent overseas too.

But now many companies are finding that they lost their connection with important business functions, says Mr Justice. At the same time the cost advantage that drew firms offshore in the first place is disappearing. Salaries for software engineers are going up rapidly and inflation is high. For IBM, says Bundeep Rangar, chief executive of IndusView, an advisory firm, the total cost of its employees in India used to be about 80% less than in America; now the gap is 30-40% and narrowing fast.

The industry also continues to have a huge labour turnover, which can mean quality problems. That is chiefly because the vast majority of the work being offshored is repetitive and dull, and often well below the qualification levels of the people doing it. Increasingly, local industries such as retail, insurance and banking are offering more interesting jobs with better career prospects than much of what is on offer in IT and business-process outsourcing.

To be sure, much of the work that has gone to India in recent years is more demanding, but in that part of the market the cost of labour has soared. Good analysts and product developers in India and China are few and far between, so pay for such jobs has been rising by up to 30% a year. According to Mr Justice, pay for workers with such skills in India and China can be even higher than in America or Europe, with all the disadvantages of being several time zones away from head office

Reasons why not

When outsourcing abroad was still relatively new in the 1990s, the idea was that outside partners would be better than insiders at IT and back-office work because they were specialists. And even if they were no better at it, at least they were a lot cheaper. This line of thinking is known inside the industry as “your mess for less”. It has now become clear that outside firms usually cannot do boring back-office work any better and often do it worse. Many offshore outsourcing relationships have proved disappointing and some have ended in lawsuits.

Some chief executives found that outsourcing relationships turned sour after a few years. The boss of one global European engineering firm points out that outsourcing partners are mainly concerned with their own profits. “They give you a good deal for two to three years and then they suck your blood,” he says. A firm that outsources a lot of IT also risks losing its expertise in a key area and can get trapped in legacy systems, he adds.

Some American firms that have outsourced a lot to India and elsewhere are building “shadow capability” in services in their home countries, says KPMG’s Mr Justice. Using unofficial budgets, he says, some chief information officers are hiring people back home to do the same kind of work that their offshore teams do, just to have them next door. Only a small number of firms have gone to such extremes, yet the fact that it happens at all indicates the value that firms place on proximity, says Mr Justice. And some of the biggest original pioneers of outsourcing, including General Electric and General Motors, have already taken the plunge and brought their IT work home”.

WDGLL specs

So if you have read thus far then thanks.

Gartner will bang on about the Nexus of Forces that connects cloud, social, mobile and information at their events, in their analyst reports and research papers.

Gartner predict that the “Nexus of Forces represents the greatest sources of new market opportunities in the coming three to five years”.

There is nothing new in their message.  Hyper Hybrid Clouds, social collaboration, mobility, analytics and big data are already on the CIO agenda.

In contrast, the Economist report sets out the shift from offshore to reshoring of manufacturing and technology services by creating new local jobs for knowledge workers.

My own experience in the market is that Indian Pure plays are actively hiring local resources, many with an IBM Sales Executive background, to present a “look alike” image to the customer.  People buy from people they are engaged with.

The growth opportunities for IT service providers will become increasingly difficult and will to some extent be driven by the Nexus of Four Forces but the winners will be the companies who can innovate by providing a differentiated rather than commodity service.

It is not about insurance claims processing or large multi-year infrastructure contracts it is as Gartner state that IT budget spend is now pervasive across the organisation and the CMO will have different buyer values than the CIO, CTO, CISO.

I agree with Gartner that all technology delivered solutions must be directed at the customer where the “mission is accomplished”

IT Service Providers should keep an eye on the storm clouds that are rolling in as reported by the Economist.


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IBM – will US Patents or Services generate higher value by 2015


On Thursday it was announced that IBM tops the U.S. Patent List for the 20th Consecutive Year.

“IBM announced that it received a record 6,478 patents in 2012 for inventions that will enable fundamental advancements across key domains including analytics, Big Data, cybersecurity, cloud, mobile, social networking and software defined environments, as well as industry solutions for retail, banking, healthcare, and transportation. These patented inventions also will advance a major shift in computing, known as the era of cognitive systems”. IBM Newsroom

“IBM’s flow of patents lets the computer-services giant produce about $1 billion a year in licensing revenue. The intellectual property also gives it the freedom to move into new businesses with less risk of being sued over technology”. Sarah Frier – Bloomberg


2015 IBM Financial Road Map

A commitment to deliver at least $20 earnings per share has been made to shareholders ($13.44 in 2011).

Earnings for 2012 will be announced this month and will show a fourth straight year of improved margins.

A $20B war chest has been allocated for acquisitions in the Cloud, Analytics, Smarter Planet, Servers and Networking areas.

By 2015 IBM estimate that Hardware/Financing = 13%, Services = 36% and Software = 50%

IBM will expand margins in a shift to higher value and deliver enterprise productivity savings of $8B.

  • Locate work to where it best can be performed.
  • Focus integrated operations on high value advisory services.
  • Continuous improvement leveraging analytics.  Enabling clients to turn oceans of data into predictive models and actionable decisions.
  • Balancing savings between re-investing and driving margin performance.


One of the key players in achieving this performance is the head of Global Services Mike Daniels.   Daniels has overseen the creation of a global delivery network and rapidly moved jobs offshore to cut expenses and increase profits.  Previously 78% of IBM employees were US based.

So he is not the most popular guy with the rank and file.

IBM in their annual 10-K filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission at the start of this year announced that Mike Daniels would be stepping down and would not be replaced.

CEO and Chairman Virginia “Ginni” Rometty issued a company email in early Jan –   “Mike is a builder. He helped create our services business, which today generates more than half of IBM’s revenue and employs more than half of our global workforce”.

“IBM announced a leadership change in its gargantuan services division, as the company said Senior Vice President and Services head Michael E. Daniels will retire on March 31 after a 36-year career with the technology giant.

IBM didn’t appoint a new singular head to lead its services division. Instead the company said responsibility for running the group would fall to its two other top executives, Bridget van Kralingen and Erich Clementi. The responsibilities are effective immediately, and both executives will report to IBM Chairman and Chief Executive Virginia M. Rometty, according to a company email.

Ms. Kralingen, 49, a rising star who was named senior vice president for IBM Global Business Services in early 2012 in one of Ms. Rometty’s first promotions, runs the group responsible for providing consulting services and the development and management of software applications.

Mr. Clementi, 54, senior vice president for IBM Global Technology Services, runs the part of the business that handles the outsourcing of technology systems and business functions such as customer relationship management”. Wall Street Journal

Bridget van Kralingen provides an insightful perspective on the impact of mobile on businesses and consumers, noting that we are now entering the third era of computing, and the first that is not led by IT, but by the consumer.

Erich Clementi talks about the the focus areas of IBM’s Global Technology Services.

WDGLL specs

6,478 US Patents were received by IBM.  It would be very interesting to know how many patents, over the last two decades, have been converted into customer facing solutions.

Samsung at #2 in the US Patent list [5,081] is rapidly closing the gap with IBM.  Samsung is focussed on the consumer and presented a prototype of the OLED screen Flexible Phone at the Consumer Electronics Show this week.   

I don’t really “get” the whole Smarter Planet campaign. IBM says it is about instrumented, interconnected, intelligent to create Smarter Commerce, Smarter Cities, Smarter Cloud etc.  

So if IBM has the most US patents does the industry believe that IBM is the most innovative company on the planet?

On 10th January the Boston Consulting Group released the Most Innovative Companies 2012 report.

“In today’s fast-changing world, innovation is more important than ever to driving organic growth and achieving competitive advantage,” noted Andrew Taylor, a Chicago-based partner and a coauthor of the report “Both are critical to generating sustained, above-average returns, especially in a turbulent economic environment.”

Boston Consulting also released the Global Innovation Index 2012 which Names the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies. report

  • Apple has been number one every year since 2005.
  • Google has been number two every year since 2006.
  • Microsoft has been in the top ten every year since 2005.
  • IBM and Sony have been in the top ten nearly every year since 2005.

“Billions in profits are at stake for companies that can crack the code and deliver meaningful advantage from innovation, as we’ve seen from the ever-changing list of most innovative companies,” said Kim Wagner, a New York-based senior partner and a coauthor of the report”.

So US patents provide a steady stream of $1B in revenue annually.  IBM has made a commitment to deliver $8B of productivity savings by 2015.  

For me higher value will only be generated when IBM rolls out solutions for the era of the consumer, for example Google Glass, Google driverless cars etc.

That is when we will truly see a Smarter Planet.

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Is Fitbit the One to get you more active?


What is Fitbit?

“Fitbit is dedicated to helping people lead healthier, more active lives. We take a common sense approach to fitness, and believe that the key is to make it easier for consumers to be more active, eat smarter, and get enough sleep — in short, that small changes to your daily routine can add up to big results. To that end, we aim to create innovative, inspiring products and online services that harness the power of new technologies to make people more aware of their everyday activities and motivate them to do more”.

“If you want to turn fitness into a lifestyle, the One™ is for you. For starters, it never rests. During the day, it tracks your steps, distance, calories burned, and stairs climbed. Come nightfall, it measures your sleep cycle, helps you learn how to sleep better, and wakes you in the morning. The One™ motivates you to reach your goals by bringing greater fitness into your life — seamlessly, socially, 24 hours a day”.


Fitbit Partner ApplicationsLINK

There are websites, tools and a bunch of application partners recommended  by Fitbit to help you increase your level of personal fitness.  For example : Lose It and MyFitnessPal help enable weight loss by using a calorie counter and synching with the Fitbit One to track calories burnt.

Premium MembershipLINK

The Fitbit Premium membership enables the subscriber to conduct personal analysis of food logs, activities, and sleep records and benchmark their performance against all other Fitbit users.  Set out below are the Premium features:

  • “Get More Active or Lose Weight with Fitbit Trainer – Fitbit Trainer reviews your current activity level and creates a personalized 12 week fitness plan that pushes you to gradually increase your movement
  • See In-Depth Analysis of YOUR Data – Personalized reports give you easy-to-read analyses of your week’s data and recommend targets for the following week.
  • Rank Yourself Against Your Peers – Increase your motivation and set new wellness goals by comparing your weight, activity and sleep with others.
  • Track Multiple Facets of Your Life – Set up a custom tracker to easily identify and monitor areas you’d like to improve, for example  how many times you eat dessert each week”.

WDGLL specs

To what extent will Fitbit One motivate you to improve your well-being in 2013?

The Fitbit One [£79.99] will enable you to maintain an upto the minute record and track improvements in your personal fitness level.

The Fitbit One only provides limited readings in the small device display window however there is much more data that is being collected for richer personal analysis.

“Your data belongs to you. Fitbit will always offer a free account” however it is important to note that the free membership does not provide the Digital Trainer, Activity Reports or Benchmarking available in the Premium subscription.

So you really need a Premium account [£39.99] to get the most out of your personal fitness regime.

Fitbit One and the rich Premium features mean that you do not need to commit to expensive gym membership contracts to improve your well being.

Fitbit One will definitely help motivate you to achieve your New Year resolution to get in better shape.

Alternatively you can download the free iPhone app from Fitocracy which makes fitness a more fun, more addictive experience but still requires a physical workout or visit to the gym.

Last word – if you are one of the increasing number of individuals who are telecommuting / remote working then it is not worth recording the steps you take to your home office however Fitbit One still adds value by monitoring your sleep activity.  

James Park – Fitbit CEO (soundbite from recent European trip)

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Is Evernote Business the right collaboration solution for your team in 2013?


“From saving thoughts and ideas to preserving experiences to working efficiently with others, Evernote’s collection of apps make it easy to stay organized and productive”.

Evernote Business

Evernote CEO Phil Libin talks about Evernote Business which was released earlier this month.

Evernote Business allows team members to quickly access shared notes and ideas via their computer, tablet, or mobile device and get things done.

Life at Evernote

“We’re a driven, committed bunch of people. Making the best product possible is what we live for. We’re building a 100 year company. A company that is fundamentally important to the lives of everyone on the planet. We’re just getting started, and we need your help”.

Evernote Smart Notebook

“The Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskine is the first paper notebook specifically designed to bring your physical notes to your Evernote account. Notes from your Evernote Smart Notebook can even be tagged and organized in your Evernote account automatically, using the included Smart Stickers and Evernote’s new Page Camera feature for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch”.

WDGLL specs

Early in my career I used a Time/system personal organiser to improve my own productivity.

The Evernote suite of cloud, desktop and mobile applications enables an individual to maintain personal notes as well as organize and share information digitally to collaborate with other team members.

Teams will be reluctant to wait for Sharepoint 2013 mobile because most organisations have recently deployed Sharepoint 2010.

Evernote has c.41 million users and I am not suggesting that the product suite will replace corporate Sharepoint sites however I definitely see the benefit of seamlessly being able to collate and view data on the go via tablet and mobile.

With Evernote Skitch an individual can “Get your point across with fewer words using annotation, shapes and sketches, so that your ideas become reality faster”.

Evernote is another example where teams are choosing to bypass Enterprise IT to procure their own solutions in order to maintain and synchronize information assets in local knowledge repositories.

The CIO (Career is Over) will find it extremely difficult to govern knowledge created off the grid and control the leakage of key ideas and company information. 

Pricing for Evernote Business is $10 per User per month. How good is that?

We want Evernote to be all pervasive.

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Are you able to see your next career move through the Glassdoor?


Glassdoor’s Top 50 Best Places to Work (2013) was announced on 12th December. Before we look at the results who is Glassdoor?

Glassdoor is the leading jobs and career community offering job seekers a free inside look into jobs in order to anonymously share real-time reviews, salary details and accurate company ratings.

Mission – “To become the world’s largest and most trusted career community to help people make more informed job and career decisions”.

CEO Robert Hohman talks about his Keys to Success.

Glassdoor Features:

  • Company Profiles and Reviews
  • Job Listings
  • Inside Connections
  • Salary & Compensation Reports
  • Interview Questions & Reviews
  • CEO Approval Ratings

“Members can uncover Inside Connections at a company through their Facebook network, see the latest job listings, as well as get access to proprietary user-generated content including company-specific salary reports, ratings and reviews”.

Add Glassdoor [as an extension] To Your Career Site.

Employers benefit from linking to Glassdoor reviews and ratings so that talented job candidates know what it’s really like to work on the inside of the company.

Get Social & Get More Referrals

Take advantage of social media sites, including Glassdoor and Facebook, to bring in more referral job candidates from friends and colleagues whom they trust.

Glassdoor’s Top 50 Best Places to Work (2013)

The complete results can be found here:

The Top Ten are as follows:

  • 4.7 Facebook
  • 4.5 McKinsey & Company
  • 4.5 Riverbed Technology (Wide Area Network optimization solutions}
  • 4.5 Bain & Company
  • 4.3 M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • 4.3 Google
  • 4.3 Edelman (Worlds Largest Public Relations Firm}
  • 4.2 National Instruments (Electronic Test & Measurement Instruments)
  • 4.2 In-N-Out Burger
  • 4.2 Boston Consulting Group

What do employees themselves have to say about Facebook being named the #1 Best Place to Work for 2013? And, what does it take to work at Facebook?

WDGLL specs

Underpinning these results is the fact that the employee sample taken for some of the companies [e.g. M.D Anderson] is small <150 compared with the larger entities like McKinsey.

Having said that this is the fifth year that the results have been published and the number of companies polled has increased year-on-year.

As a consultant I am lucky to have the opportunity to work with clients in different industries, business units, geographic locations etc. You can immediately sense the operating rhythm and buzz when you walk into the client organisation.

The Glassdoor value proposition is the ability to peek under the covers of a target employer in order to make an informed decision. This is especially important for the large number of candidates who are into job hopping to accelerate their career journey.

So, are you able to see your next career move through the Glassdoor? Absolutely.  Sign-up as a member and push on the half-open Glassdoor.  Happy job search in the New Year.

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Will Dell Professional Services deliver “ The Power to Do More”?

Dell World 2012 – Influencer Panel

In the Q&A session with Dell’s Executive Leadership Team one of the key messages was the need to build out a broader portfolio by moving into Solutions and Services.

Dell Services Helps Customers Transform IT with New and Expanded Offerings Across Security, Cloud, Application Modernization and Support

“Customers from small businesses to large enterprises, across geographies and industries, selected Dell Services in 2012 to help transform IT and solve business problems. With industrialized service offerings that make it simple for customers to receive the level of service that’s right for them, Dell Services offers consulting services and end-to-end capabilities that empower IT to achieve cost savings, growth and innovation”.

Dell Professional Services and Business Intelligence Consulting

Data Insights: Customer Interview with Brian Garcia, Team Express

How much more Dell is able to do.  Bringing technologies together into Solutions that we can grow and transform our business.

Project RIPTide: Business Analytics meets innovation at Dell

Dell Partnership with Siemens

Intermountain Healthcare, which operates 22 hospitals, a medical group with 185 clinics and a health plan in Utah is working with Dell and Siemens to implement a cloud-based vendor-neutral image archival solution to aggregate imaging data across multiple departments. The solution enables better access to information for clinicians and better care for patients.

Flix Brewhouse – Operating a New Entertainment Experience

Technology is vital, without technology we would be dead in the water.  Dell assembled a multi-disciplinary team to look at how to solve a complex business problem.  Dell has enabled us to do so many things that we couldn’t have done in the old days.

Dell World 2012 highlights. 


DelI state that the PC is still the preferred device for work.  This may be true as I have a corporate Dell Latitude and use MS Office [but not Windows 8].

Dell are following the strategy set out by Meg Whitman @ HP to grow the Services side of the Business due to falling PC sales.

Although the Dell share price has halved this year you can see from the highlights clip that Michael Dell has a clear vision for the future of Dell.

End-to End Solutions and Professional Services will enable Dell clients and customers to do more.

The major buzz from Dell World 2012 was about the Mike Shinoda demonstration of the Open Labs StageLight software.

Mike Shinoda – Linkin Park

Our creative process is expanded by powerful and intuitive technology

Technology is at the centre of the method of which I make art.

Way I use Technology sets our band apart from other groups creatively.

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Is Mary Meeker still the “Queen of the Net”?

Mary Meeker, the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers venture capitalist, gave her year-end Internet Trends update at Stanford University earlier this week.  Her info-packed 88 slide presentation on the state of the Internet has been well documented and I tease out a few pointers.

iPad sales are growing 3x faster than iPhones.

Meeker iPad

The shift from the wired Web to Mobile

is changing how we do everything.


There are 5 billion phones of which only 1 billion are Smartphones.

Google’s ThinkMobile Convention

“Meeker predicts, this data-gathering and sharing philosophy will continue to grow and eventually encroach on the consumer Internet “white space”– the Web void left when consumers disconnect to use such things as cars, televisions and the health care industry”.  Hayley Tsukayama – WSJ Technology

Re-Imagination was a big theme

White Space

02:22 – Has to be Fast. Easy to use, Really Fun and Useful

WDGLL specs

When asked how she felt about being called the “Queen of the Net”, Meeker replied – “Better the queen than the grandmother”.

However the “Queen of the Net” has a new personal focus: the last topic of her presentation was about USA Inc. and how certain trends are negatively impacting America.

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