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March 26, 2013

iOS or Android: An 'Ecosystem' Footprint will decide the Winner in Future

Yes, I know subject is very intriguing and you would start thinking in all possible directions. You may possibly get biased to an operating system you use and your views will be directed in a manner to make it 'the winner'. 

Well, it has been always been difficult to say 'what is hit with customer?' and the reasons are varied. You could see Android as a popular platform with developers on one side of world and million apps built on iOS in other part of world. The one conclusive picture at global level is always full of debate. Though, there are other operating system as well like Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, an upcoming Chrome OS and some more however for the sake of discussion I talked only about Big Two.  And I must say that I could not help appreciating the fact as to how these two operating systems have changed the way we think, interact and share.

 

The definition of whole Ecosystem came to life when I was able to connect my phone with laptop, car and TV. Adding on it is completely a WOW Factor! When you could see your pictures on a large TV screen at home, navigate through traffic, share pictures and location on the go , access internet using phone's tethering Wi-Fi service and many more. Truly, this is 'the emergence' of Ecosystem and it would be right to say this is just Wave-1.

 

So what to expect in Wave-2? Well, this emergence of operating systems has given rise to convergence of technologies cutting into product diversification. It is a strong statement and I will get to that in Wave-3 of blog. In Wave-2, Tablets and Smartphones are taking the center stage with their invention and everything suddenly is about being mobile or on-the-go. Any device without support of mobility is bound to fail in today's market. Starting right from mobile transactions, to mobile boarding passes, mobile wallets, cloud space, social media & engagement and many more, everything is centered on customer experience. And with recent announcement of a new Camera, the whole definition or I should say power of an operating system has been taken to next level of customer experience. This is Wave-2, 'the experience' of being inside an Ecosystem

And by the time we would be overwhelmed with all this experience, we would be hit by Wave-3.  Enter Wave-3, 'the influence' of an Ecosystem. To put in simple terms, it means how many products can one operating system Influence?

 Now, imagine an Ecosystem power when you enter home: everything starting from your Laptop, Watch, Camera, Home Theatre, Refrigerator, and other home appliances become one and integrated. You can have different devices of same operating system yet are seamlessly connected and your house becomes a complete Ecosystem of technology. Cherish this:

·         You can play a song in your mobile, watch the video on your refrigerator's screen, take a call using your watch, share the content on internet and receive media in your Digital Photo Frame. And some of this is happening right now as we speak of it. It has been confirmed that smart watch phone is being developed and could be launched anytime soon. Read speculated specs of watch here.

·         Smart Refrigerators are already being tested which will not only what to cook with your left-overs and automatically re-orders fresh food. And adding to that would be a refrigerator with built in operating system, of your choice, which allows you to program your refrigerator to your desires, trigger alerts and messages on your phone and lets you control how it will function by one click and that too while being on the road.

·         Your car becomes another center point of your operating system which even lets you access apps. of your choice in car. According to Juniper Research, by 2017, "cars sold in the United States will include support for apps, either running them directly on their entertainment consoles or by allowing consumers to use those consoles to interact with apps on their smartphones"

 

So where does this lead do? Wave-3 makes us to think and think deep that competitive position in future would not merely be governed by evolution of current product lines or operating systems, rather the decision to buy a device, for personal use, would be solely based on one big question:

"Will it support my entire ecosystem?"  

And an operating system whose footprints can penetrate that deep into our lives will seem to be a winner. What are your thoughts?

March 7, 2013

Commiserating the Traditional Marketing

The social media has such an influence today that every brand is in a mad rush to make their presence felt on the social scene. It all started with people lukewarmly opening up to the social media as a marketing medium & then suddenly it garnered so much hype that everyone started measuring clicks, likes, shares and what not!

Slowly but surely, the market has matured and marketers are starting to realize that Social networks cannot magically transform their brand but at the same time it is a very effective medium by which they can create a brand presence which will be very effective in the long run.

One Way Flow- Information Avalanche

Earlier Organizations used to reach their consumers by Newspaper, Magazines & Radio shows. Then came TV and everyone started buying prime time slots for their advertisements. All this while nobody cared about the consumer interest, the whole focus was on feeding high volumes of unidirectional information to the consumers with highly ineffective metrics to gauge the reliability of such methods.

'Clicks' Obsession

Then came the era where everyone was on the INTERNET wagon and everyone wanted to place their ads in mailboxes, social network pages, portals etc. All this, only led to a frenzy where marketers only counted the clicks & likes. Nobody took a pause & thought- is it helping me to convert a prospect into a customer or what is the level of consumer engagement!

Dynamic flow- Dawn of a new age

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Web 2.0 as we know it is all about the dynamic flow/ sharing of information. Now the consumers does not only receive information about a product on a page but also at the same time they can 'Rate' it, 'Review' it & 'Comment' on it. This completely changes the game and brings it to an even keel for the consumers.

  

Features of Web 2.0

 

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 Web 2.0 has enabled the following Social Media Outlets:

 

 

 

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This new found empowerment has led to various companies seeing their products getting accolades & at the same time many products have been thrashed royally in the social arena leading to a realization that the organizations can no longer take consumers for granted. People have ways to show their discontent on social media and this should send out alarm bells to organizations as they always have to be on their toes now. Even a single bad review can tarnish their reputation depending upon the source and once on the net it will always be there for users to access it & will show up in search results.

Still taking it lightly? Do it at your own peril!

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT- How to position yourself

§  Share relevant content. Give your marketing team the tools to make changes on the fly keeping them ahead of the game. Forget the old days when it took days to update your site content, now there are tools available which can help you post interesting & fresh content quickly. Make use of them!

§  Follow-up on the comments. Don't just put some content or blog posts on your site & forget! Connect with your customers & try to follow-up as soon as possible. There are tools in the market having sentiment analysis feature which can let you know what is being said about your brand on the net. This can help you nip in the bud all the bad press which can affect your brand adversely.

§  Is your site mobile friendly? Today the consumers are accessing data from Tablets, PCs, Smartphones, PDAs etc. and they want to interact with sites which seamlessly provide high performance with each of these platforms. Tune into Responsive design and discover how you can provide your users a consistent & seamless experience across platforms!

§  Integrate your social media outlets with your website. Make it easier for the visitors to follow your updates on the social media, enable sharing.

§  Benchmark against the best in your industry & beyond. Invest in understanding what are the latest features which are helping organizations connect better with their customers.

Start by taking slow but steady steps towards Social Marketing, it is bound to reap you huge dividends once you truly start engaging your customers!

March 4, 2013

Want to feed burgers to your Business Applications; go ahead we will digest it!

Post by Jagmeet Singh, Principal, Manufacturing Management Consulting Services in collaboration with Ankit Magon, Senior Systems Engineer, FSI Practice

Yes, I know title of blog looks little intriguing especially with relation of burgers and business applications. However, it is an interesting perspective and appeared while having burgers with my friend and also the contributor to this blog, Ankit.

I am from business consulting background and Ankit is from production support. Though we share same interests of being health freaks, working out in gym and riding bikes but when it comes to looking at technology, our perspectives vary to an extent. And with this blog, I thought of looking into the perspectives of business and production support amalgamation in our IT enabled supply chain world.

I enjoy my burgers and I cannot have just one. But I don't mind it that much because I am in a habit of sweating it out in the gym and burn it up. So on such cheats were I indulge in overload of calories my system doesn't bother that much, and I guess it says "Never mind buddy! Enjoy, I will take care of the rest". And, this is the analogy which matches cent percent to the supply chain business scenarios today.

From forecasting to capacity planning to order management to order fulfillment, most of the supply chain is enabled by IT systems and in this case ERP to be precise. And for business to be competitive, it requires maximum output from the ERP applications in managing large amount of data (calories :-)). While applications are churning out data, another high level task is to ensure 'Reliability', 'Availability', and in case of downtime, quick 'Serviceability' of the applications, ensuring process improvement and automation leading to huge savings of effort and costs.

This means, servers hosting applications need to be practically up throughout. And for servers, downtime above 1% per year is regarded as unacceptable because it results in a downtime of more than 3 days per year! Now this becomes a priority task for businesses, because this data eventually turns out to be the money! And Meghan Kelly has exactly pointed the same in her blog titled 'Businesses lost $70M over the last 5 years due to server downtime'. Amazing isn't it?

So, like our body, when business says "end of day's play" the production support (digestion) takes over the field to set it up for the next day's play. And as we all know, a product could become obsolete however its support and service has to continue for much larger period. Well, next time your system feels hungry (i.e. your business requires to work with even more data), feed it the burgers (feed it unrestrained calories), production support will measure the exact calorie intake and provide the health report.

Value Add: Burgers are bad for human system, not for information system. J