For Sale: A Sign of the Times

imageimage Ironically. as we still struggle to claw back the investments lost by the excesses of the so called good times, Lehman Bros sign is being auctioned at Christie’s next Wednesday in London. Collectors there will be able to bid for the plaque commemorating the opening of the Lehman Bros building in 2004 by Gordon Brown, who was then Britain’s finance minister.

There are also Lehman Brothers corporate signs, perfect for the bedroom wall of any trader who lost their job when this so called glamour bank fell of the perch and sent the world into bankruptcy in September 2008.

These are among millions of dollars’ worth of items being sold albeit now 2 years on, to help pay Lehman’s creditors. Christie’s expect to raise about ?2 million. More artworks from Lehman Brothers’ collection is being sold by Sotheby’s in New York this week.

The Lehman Bros Bank collapse was the largest bankruptcy filing in US history and triggered one of the worst financial crises since the Great Depression. which extends through to now.

This failure was triggered by a liquidity shortfall in the United States banking system driven by  by greed driven sub prime lending policies for housing that overheated the domestic economy. That in turn caused loss of confidence and credit limitation by banks the world over that resulted in the collapse of many more financial institutions, and was followed by bailouts by national governments around the world.

This contributed to the failure of key businesses, declines in consumer wealth estimated in the hundreds of trillions and a significant decline in economic activity with significant risks still remaining  for world economies into the the 2010–2012 periods.

At a micro level I find trying to make sense of all this is impossible so I need to get into the helicopter to take a loftier view. image This table and the charts to the left above show economic 2009 decline and 2010 re growths occurring as at Sep 12 2010

The US CIA Word Fact book provides one of the best views around. Another example is the House of Commons Library with this  example showing comparatives GDP (purchasing power parity) that as very useful economic indicator.

Future of Communication Online: Options to Email Bankruptcy

It has been said Email is dead. But can anything take its place? Facebook Chief Operating imageOfficer Sheryl Sandberg said recently email is probably going away.

James O’Locklan opens a Techlines panel discussion of communication thought leaders with a statement. “Technological  change is everywhere but sometimes things are just good for the sake of it.”

As an example, he says a salesman recently trying to sell aimage new high tech fridge told him, the customer, that it beeps when ever you leave the door open. But he said you have to ask the question, “If it is so clever why doesn’t it just shut itself?”  Another example is 1896 radio invention that was not so useful, as the first radio station was only opened 1912. So for 16 years  static was not so interesting to listen to.

Is email still the best tool for the task and why do we talk about email as a chore like it gets in the way of our daily live?. These are just some of the questions he puts to the panel pictured here.

image From left to right are Mark Pesce, Author & Futurist; Adele Beachley, Research in Motion Managing Director; Alistair Rennie, 1IBM General Manager Lotus Software and WebSphere Portal;  and Genevieve Bell, Intel fellow and anthropologist.

If you are an email and social networking addict this is worth taking the time to listen to.

~000~

Making the Photo Maker

clip_image001We were taking some team shot photos at work this week we used $300 pocket sized camera. It did not have had all the fancy lenses but it did the job well.

I wonder how many people think to use a camera to grab a whiteboard image or a key document that can be used as a record to revisit of a discussion. It’s a powerful way to make sure things get done. Even just using your phone camera is just as effective.

Over lunch it got us to talking about cameras and we recounted some things that are important. As I reflect on it was mostly about how to capture the subject and in the case of personal shots to make them more interesting.

A short time ago a friend, who knew I was a shutter bug, asked me for some advice on buying a camera. I happily provided it for her and since it has since been requested by some friends including my work colleagues . So even though it is not directly about business, I decided to post it here.

I just know a little bit about cameras but I enjoy using them.

I have had many cameras over time but in the digitals I have only Nikons and Canons in the SLR class. Both are very good but each is distinctly different.

Understanding how to modulate the variables on a camera however needs consistent use. So like I do now, I recommended to stick to one.  These days my preference is Canon. Which is a great value a high quality ubiquitous SLR leader?

My first entry into digital cameras was a Nikon SLR promoted by these makers as state of art. Making the switch from film based was a dismay. On the Nikon, an early series Coolpix I found the processor slow and I had many disappointments with photos.

image I also had to have it repaired a couple of times under warranty which required me to go back to Singapore where I bought it. Luckily it was on my frequent travel path but my advice after that experience is to go for processor speed over pixel size and be wary of warranties fine print. Nikon SLR’s, of course are now are 7 years more advanced and very responsive and reliable.

In the meantime Canon had broken through the processor issue, so I converted. Armed with my new Canon 20D I found the learning very easy with basic functions the same as their legacy versions. I also found I could mount my old lenses from my pre-digital EOS Canon.

Incidentally my best ever camera was the Rolls Royce of film – an Olympus OM20 that I learned much of my photography on. I still keep it as a collector’s item and occasionally pick it up and take phantom shots, just to hear the shutter motion.

Unfortunately, Olympus lost the leader spot to Canon research and development superiority, so I did not go digital with them. But their SLR cameras now seem good.

The Canon EOS 50D is one of the the latest versions I have used and it is well written up in Dpreview This 15.1 Megapixel camera , with 6.3 frames per second uses Canon’s latest DIGIC 4 image processor to delivers unparalleled speed and resolution.

Oddly the Canon site itself there has some bad reviews perhaps written by Nikon enthusiast. Customer loyalty is also clearly alive there based on one comment that says “Eat your heart out Nikon!!”http://reviews.usa.canon.com/3798/17499/reviews.htm.

This semi-professional camera is simple to use and designed for amateur enthusiasts like me. The 50D model has the LCD preview option. This move clip_image002[1]was to cater for digital amateur market now familiar with a picture window preview. I am still wary of the preview LCD being a draw battery power.

What makes a professional prefer SLR is having the view finder.  Not that I am professional but I love the view finder as I can sense much more intuitively when to take the shot.

Looking through the lens let’s you see for example that split-second view of your subject that gives you the rush to hit the button.And then as you hear that shutter go click, you know you just got a special moment.

And sometimes this is in less than 500th of a second from reflex to result. Like this one (right) I took at a theater restaurant of this comedy shot.

For good information on cameras, I recommend Digital Photography Review. It reports on all major brands with information and reviews in a consistent advisory format. Under the heading “Picture Style” choice of six pre-sets list are sounds like a very useful for ease of use function for us amateurs:

  1. 1. clip_image003Standard – for crisp, vivid images that don’t require post-processing
  2. 2. Portrait – optimizes color tone and saturation and weakens sharpening to achieve attractive skin tones
  3. 3. Landscape – for puncher greens and blues with stronger sharpening to give a crisp edge to mountain, tree and building outlines
  4. 4. Neutral – ideal for post-processing
  5. 5. Faithful – adjusts color to match the subject color when shot under a color temperature of 5200K
  6. 6. Monochrome – for black and white shooting with a range of filter effects (yellow, orange, red and green) and toning effects (sepia, blue, purple and green).

In the past I have preferred to to do the post processing myself so item 4 may be best for me. But with Canon doing the work now it may give me more time for that beer.

Understanding the camera features is one more thing; this clip_image004includes understanding the power of using manual settings and choices of ease of use of common settings on the wheel (top left) and menu management functions on the back buttons. Users generally agree these management functions make it all quite easy. This version has the back buttons on the bottom (rather than side previously) to make space for a larger LCD.

There is a great deal to know about lens quality too. Good third party lenses, such as Tamron can be sourced. I use a general purpose Canon EFS 17-85, with antis-hake technology. I also carry a Tamron 70-300 with a 180-300 Macro or portraits and close-ups.  55mm is the standard.

image The Canon EF-S 18-200mm with an aperture range of F3.5-5.6 is offered as a kit lens with the EOS 50D camera. This is a good option. The downside is the bigger lens makes an overall size difficult to handle. But offsetting that changing lenses that you need to carry needs care.

When swapping lenses there is always a high risk of accident or damage. Aside wear and tear, should the bayonets get bent it may render your camera useless, or worse, they fail to seat properly and your lens falls and is destroyed.

I have some questions on the paying the high price for anti-shake too as it has some trade off on weight It does is not have value at on high focal lengths anyway and seems to have lost favor or is bundled in later models with the premium traded for more advance functional value for money.

imageIf you need one for very high quality shots a fixed 55mm focal length lens is sometimes recommended. But for most a 17-85 or 18-200 versatility is enough.

Speed today is so good but when you need a very steady shoot, uses a tripod. 

In low light settings for example requires slower shutter speeds. When shooting still life objects at say 30th of second or time exposures, any movement, even caused by the pulse in your thumb, will cause blur?  The tripod leaves the camera free to work out exposure and then gather enough light to get an image.

imageFiller flash is not so useful for night shots as it miss-times, but it is a must on a sunny day to remove shadows falling on a subjects face.

What is important especially at the higher zoom end is lens quality to allow the maximum light and fastest shutter speed with longest depth of field. The camera light processing (ISO/ASA) can be an aid but generally it is the lens power that is needed.

Taking shots inside a cavern, like this one Hanoi needed a tripod and time exposure.

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The newer Tamron18 -270 Zoom lens is good all purpose lens. This wide angle to long range zoom tool has a good low end aperture at 3.5. (Lower the number the better) and beats having to carry a separate portrait lens. It is positioned as a alternative to the Canon 18-200. One thing to know about lenses is the lower the aperture F stop the higher the quality. It also gets very expensive as it gets smaller.

Anything below F3 with zoom may be bank breaking and for most amateurs and is not needed.Flexibility to get close ups is as important as is being able to be close.

clip_image009Then you can see the nose hair on the dog across the park or even more interesting things. Like here on my flying expedition last year taken by my sons from the ground.

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And in poor light with a still-life subject a fixed camera with slow shutter speed is better than by a good penetrating flash which must be used for similar live shots. And don’t forget Photoshop does wonders.if the base is ok, So try to get that right.

image At the opposite end you of the spectrum; you need the ability for wide shots. A wide angle lens is good to get shot of your whole family gathering say in the airport when they come to say farewell. If you use one it saves volunteer taking the shot having to back up across the airport to get it.

imageWide angles are great eye-catchers too, as you get some much more in.  The fish eye effect imagecan sometimes be fun. Like these graduating students. (left)

The one on the right was a wide angle shot.

Another example below is this re-photographed album item, an aging film shot. What it shows is everyone included from less than 2 meters away for this 1986 family gathering at my image father’s family home.

It was taken on an Olympus OM20 using an 16mm wide angle on ASA 400 paper. For the original I used my OM20 on a tripod with 8 second time so I could get into the picture too.

The quality is poor here as I just re-photographed it still stuck under the plastic sheet in the album, with my 92 year old Aunt at her nursing home where I visited her a few weeks ago.

Ok so here is the value if pixels. Pixel density on digital shots is now equal to and better than the old emulsion film. This one taken on my Canon 30D, has been clip_image015zoomed up at least 100 times on the computer off the original and the quality is still good. Here the eyes look a bit more alive than they did on the head shot at the top of this post. The rule is the more pixels for density. But of course who wants to see blackheads from 100 paces.

Unlike my early experience, with speed now resolved, big sizes are also possible. But there are tradeoffs shooting everything on max. Such as, clip_image007can we handle the disk space?

Plus sharing is a big an issue now on email. And even using blogs and publishing services like WordPress. Picasa, Windows-Live, Facebook etc. these restrict or automatically resize uploads anyway.

So unless the needs more enhancement once processed, consider the storage size.

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On the flip-side this 400 times zoom (same photo) although it is starting to blur, it is still quite good, And we learn that despite losing his head on occasions, we can still see Jai seems to take care of his teeth.

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But it is not all about zoom either. These photos (above) used a very high quality lens and long depth of field.

These shots see high clarity on the subject in focus made sharper to the eye with the more distant objects de-focused.  For this you would likely use a 600mm lens and or Photoshop for enhancing to improve quality.

It is all a bit like the weather isn’t it. Hard to work it all out. Especially inimage a few seconds when you see a shot you want to take. And then having to mess around thinking about what settings you need can lose it. What is important in the SLR cameras is the marriage of camera, lens and photographer.

And that is why most people just buy the digital box brownie of 21st century. Like pocket size Olympus F series, Sony Sure shot, Canon Cyber shot and or one of the SLR look a-likes that all that have great standard stuff with a bit of +- zooming to make you more than just an average Antony Armstrong Jones.

But using the SLR still gives you that special shot that nothing else in the amateur class can. And pain is worth it for the rewards, knowing what you can do if you just try. It is impossible to go back once you start it.

Like Fly fishing, once you take it up. Big game, fancy pole fishing, ice fishing and so on can never be revisited as a real option. SLR digital is the same and has now come of age and near better than anything else you can imagine.

clip_image019When I took on photography I leaned quickly it needs lots of patience, money and a small degree of nouse. E.g , if I wanted to photograph birds , I should get there before the them.

These days the money is not so much an issue as we only have the camera to worry about, given all the rest is small beer.

The cameras are now so smart; you can take your time. But clip_image020there is still a high learning curve, but it is mostly still about understanding what is on the other side of the camera and how to make the subject come alive.

You may consider too that spending your time and money on learning may be clip_image022worth starting in the second hand market. There are any numbers of enthusiasts out there who simply like to upgrade. Me too. And you can pick up a good model 1 or 2 versions back quite cheap; perhaps have a look at eBay to start with.

This collage was compiled from shots taken by a proud Dad of our daughter Kate Wood’s graduation in December 2008. This formally launched her at an industry attended Gala event clip_image023to lay claim for her place as one of the “to-be” leading fashion designers.

With an elite group (love it) of 15 others graduating from the Melbourne School of Fashion, professional models paraded amazing creations on a catwalk display in front of about 400 guests.

Once armed with some education on basics there you can research and compare from as you wish. Like a good dining out menu it is worth ready up on. And using the same metaphor, so you can enjoy what you are eating more.

Doing this in photography and learning about your camera is part of the fun of knowing what is possible too. Then it is mostly time and patience.

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A short story about Listening

Looking back on some earlier posts about listening there are several in our archives including a video. They set out to make the point that listening is about intelligently hearing what is being communicated, not just what is being said. Mothers know this intuitively when listening to their kids. All these have upwards of 500+ words. But this one says it all in less than 50….Enjoy.

image

 

A Man is driving down road. 
A Woman is driving up same road. 
They pass and the woman yells out the window, PIG! 
The man yells back , BITCH!
The man rounds the next curve. 
and crashes into a HUGE PIG in middle of road and dies. 

 

Moral:  

If people would just listen.

Climate to fundamentally change in Australia

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been in operation for  imagetwenty two years. The world should have acted on global warming in the last century when science delivered the first strong warnings on global warming.

Not enough action has been taken, and we are now out of time to avoid significant climate change.

We must fundamentally change the way we think about energy and how we do business

…. Prof Ray Wills.WA SEA Chief Executive,

The is the message being sent to the Australian Government as it formed a minority team last week based on an alliance with independent greens who hold the balance of power.

A Green House – Australian response to climate change a crucial role for new Federal Government

Interesting too is Kevin Rudd the ousted Prime Minister got a top job  The new government is :

Prime Minister: Julia Gillard
Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer: Wayne Swan
Foreign Affairs: Kevin Rudd
Jobs, Skills and Workplace Relations: Chris Evans
Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, Arts: Simon Crean
Defence: Stephen Smith
Health and Ageing: Nicola Roxon
Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs: Jenny Macklin
Infrastructure and Transport: Anthony Albanese
Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy: Stephen Conroy
Innovation, Industry and Science: Kim Carr
Finance and Deregulation: Penny Wong
Schools, Early Childhood and Youth: Peter Garrett
Attorney-General: Robert McClelland
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry: Joe Ludwig
Sustainable Population, Communities, Environment and Water: Tony Burke
Resources, Energy and Tourism: Martin Ferguson
Immigration and Citizenship: Chris Bowen
Trade: Craig Emerson
Climate Change and Energy Efficiency: Greg Combet
Human Services, Social Inclusion: Tanya Plibersek
Home Affairs and Justice, Privacy and FOI: Brendan O’Connor
Employment Participation and Childcare: Kate Ellis
Indigenous Employment and Economic Development, Sport, Social Housing and Homelessness: Mark Arbib.
Small Business, Assistant Minister for Tourism: Nick Sherry
Veterans Affairs and Defence Science and Personnel: Warren Snowdon
Assistant Treasurer, Financial Services and Superannuation: Bill Shorten
Mental Health and Ageing: Mark Butler
Special Minister of State: Gary Gray
Defence Materiel: Jason Clare

Source

http://www.altenergymag.com/news_detail.php?pr_id=17277

The data gets more useful the more its combined and processed.

imageEarlier this week I got from Michael Fauscette a post entitled Evolution of Change: Signs for the Future of Business In it he describes very succinctly the pattern of evolution that is signaling dramatic and fundamental change for business: “The a picture that is starting to emerge” he says, “is almost staggering in its depth and breadth for change potential”.

With a well written lead in to position about the future of changed business and business models he talks about the advances in business computing in easy understandable terms. For any one in business or who contemplating doing something commercial be it big or small, I would recommend you book mark this as a useful reference to use as you expand your vision and as you include the issues such as:

Cloud computing,  Everything as a service  Networked business (customers, employees, partners). The power of community, Internet of things, Embedded sustainability. Big data. Predictive analytics, The nature of productivity Multifaceted business models, Necessity driven innovation, Mobility and Other radical advances:

Here is his post in its entirety. It is also linked to the original so any comments are attributed.

Evolution of change: signs for the future of business

I like taking the time once in a while to tie different trends together, it just helps me focus on what’s really happening now and helps me understand where things might be going. Taken individually there are some very interesting things happening in technology and business but when you link them together a picture starts to emerge that is almost staggering in depth and breadth of change potential. I was reading "The Singularity is Near" by Ray Kurzweil the other day and a point jumped out at me that I think is extremely important when looking at change, whether you agree with Kurzweil’s ideas on singularity or not. That concept is that technology growth or the growth of any evolutionary process is exponential, and is not linear or does not simply continue at current growth rates over time. In fact many evolutionary processes see double exponential growth, so in fact the growth of the exponent is exponential. It’s easy to see how people might mistake the growth rate of an evolutionary process when looking at change and it’s impact on the future, what you see is the rate of current change and you extrapolate that rate into the future. To actually project the change into the future you must account for the exponential nature of the change, which is very hard for most of us. It’s an increasing rate of advancement over the time period examined. Kurzweil also points out that not only do we often underestimate the rate of change but we also tend to look at the change in isolation rather than as a part of a set of related changes. This is an important point, if you look at an individual change in isolation you can fool yourself by thinking that the isolated change projection is too radical when in fact the interrelated trends make allowances or compensate for each other. Ok, enough mind numbing change theory, what I wanted to do is try to link the changing factors together and see if there is a pattern of evolution that is signaling dramatic and fundamental change for business.

So what are the individual changes or shifts that we are seeing? Here are the ones that I believe signal the future of changed business and business models as well as changed models of work and personal interaction:

Cloud computing

You can’t listen to any technology discussion these days where the word cloud doesn’t ring out in almost every sentence. While some vendors would have you believe that cloud is nothing new or different I do not agree. Computing power as a utility that can scale up or down as needed (along with the accompanying pricing) is a powerful concept. The business model behind it, that pricing is granular and based on consumption, is also very powerful and opens up all sorts of possibilities for businesses. Moving IT from thinking about, purchasing and managing stacks to thinking about workloads, opens up a new level of strategic involvement for IT organizations and raises their importance to the overall business. Cloud computing may not be cheaper over the long run but it is significantly more flexible and scalable. Businesses require strategic flexibility and the cloud is a key part of delivering that flexibility for the hyper-networked global enterprise. The cloud is essential as an enabler of the change, providing the means for aggregating data and creating high value information across the new business networks. Value and the creation of value is changing and shifting out through the business (and people) network. Cloud facilitates linking the nodes of network easily and flexibly.

Everything as a service

The cloud plays a big part in this concept but it’s only part of the enabling infrastructure. The ability for computers to monitor, measure and bill at extreme levels of granularity for the use of any asset has opened up a world of business possibilities. The recent economic crisis accelerated and increased the enterprise’s awareness to the potential of consuming and operationalizing the consumption of "things" as a service over purchasing those same "things". From a budgetary and operating standpoint the idea of this operational approach and it’s virtually limitless ability to scale and flex as needed over spending scarce capital for less flexibility, is changing the way business thinks about supporting work and getting things done. Software and other IT services consumed as a service is mainstream in the enterprise. Other business areas have also moved into the "as a service" model, shipping as a service (UPS and FedEx), payroll as a service (ADP), car use as a service (Zipcar and Citycarshare) and even labor as a service (Amazon.com Mechanical Turk).

I read an interesting article the other day about a service that enables individuals to rent out their own goods in their local community. Think about the possibilities this business model opens up and in this case builds on hyper-connectivity, a hyper-local community (or network) and the computing power to enable the scaling of the model. You buy an expensive device and use the model to recoup your investment or perhaps make a profit from something that you also needed / wanted / enjoy. It changes or moves the point of value.

Networked business (customers, employees, partners)

I started talking about this concept here. This transition is the most fundamental shift in the way business works and the signal of moving away from our industrial model of the past. Information driven businesses are interconnected and interdependent even if they don’t yet realize it. Hierarchies are inherently inflexible and tend to stall information flow at control points. Information is the new lifeblood of the networked business and thus cannot be hoarded. The networked business can exist across boundaries, whether they are organizational, company or geographic. The Internet creates hyper-connectivity and opened up the flow of information around barriers. The social web changed interaction models and redefined community. This new community concept leads into the networked business model (or models). Network synergy is the key to the new and enhanced value pools that start to exist in the networked business environment. I think this new networked model is not a choice but an imperative that is being fueled by the existence of the social customer and social employee and the new interaction models that those groups are driving. Networking the business also enables co-creation of value, another concept that is gaining momentum for redefining value points in the enterprise.

The power of community

I suppose this is related to the networked business discussion above, since networks are just a type of community but the power of community is somewhat more broad than the idea of networked business. For example companies have found that sourcing new product or service ideas from a customer community or ideasourcing (which is just crowdsourcing ideas) can produce great new ideas AND increase customer loyalty and engagement (MyStarbucks Ideas, Dell Ideastorm, etc.). Customer support communities can help companies lower support costs while providing peer to peer support in ways that are more comfortable for customers and with the by product again being increased customer loyalty and engagement. Community also relates directly to the idea of co-creation of value, that is the company and the engaged customer (or partner, supplier, etc.) generating value together.

Internet of things

The Internet is the plumbing that connects, or maybe I should say it’s the "great connector’. At first this connectivity was person to person or person to business but as the net has evolved we have developed smart devices and sensors that can be embedded in almost anything and can leverage the connectivity. The bounds of hyper-connectivity are not stretching but in fact disappearing as the network extends to nearly everything. For example RFID technology connects goods to the grid and makes them one more node in the information network. The ability to connect, capture, communicate and analyze is extended outward and adds to the available information. There’s more though, as the "thing" becomes smart the ability to take action is also moved to new nodes on the network. A simple example is the creation of smart automobiles. The auto knows where it is, where it’s been, it could know who is in it, it’s current state (running, driving, speed, damaged, malfunctioning, in an accident), etc. The auto is on the network and let’s say that it is involved in an accident. The auto reports the accident, opens a communication channel between the driver / passengers and a central monitoring facility and communicates its state automatically (for now a person with a connected computer but in the not distant future the computer itself) who can assess the situation and extend the network to law enforcement and / or emergency personnel if needed.

Embedded sustainability

Expand the Internet of things concepts another step and it’s not hard to see that connectivity empowered with smart devices could make a significant difference in our current sustainability issues. Other technology initiatives will certainly address new ways of green living but in the short term creating smart networks of buildings could help reduce consumption. Creating smart water distribution systems could ensure safe water supplies. Better logistics networks could reduce fuel consumption while optimizing the delivery of goods. Smart datacenters can reduce power consumption while optimizing computing power. I can go on but you get the idea I think.

Big data

Currently the amount of data created doubles about every 18 months. If you apply the concept of exponential growth however we should see this time compress at a rapid pace. Data sources are exploding, social web data, smart devices, enterprise systems, user generated content, etc. all fuel this accelerated growth. The opportunity to gain insight, business value and competitive advantage from this data is huge but only if the data is managed, analyzed and used effectively and efficiently. The data gets more useful the more it can be combined and processed. This will require increasingly more resources to accomplish and is a major driver in the move to the cloud for storage and analytics.

Predictive analytics

Taking the big data concept one step more, there is the real potential to use the key intersections of the data to develop and support predictions on all sorts of behaviors. I wrote about it here so I won’t go through it in great detail but I will reiterate the idea that the intersection of social data and enterprise data is a value point that businesses need to leverage. Using this information will lead to predictive selling, predicting loyalty and advocacy, predicting problems and issues…all sorts of useful business information and actions.

The nature of productivity

Work is changing, enabled by hyper-connectivity, mobility, new business models and the increasing number of tools available to increase effectiveness. The computer (and it’s software) is a great labor saving (and maybe in some cases labor creating, but that’s for a different post) device. Connecting it to the Internet made it even more productive. Slate devices and mobile platforms take that one more step. New tools like enterprise video, blogging, microblogging, wiki’s, virtual conferencing platforms, etc. continue to evolve and change work patterns. The shift from file based collaboration to people based collaboration is starting to have it’s impact on productivity. The availability of content / media distributed on the Internet to these new devices not only makes managing media consumption easier but also fundamentally changes the way the media is used. Mobility extends productivity to a new level (and to new places).

Multifaceted business models

Connectivity creates the ability to separate value points in a business model. Historically business exchange for value was very straight forward, you had a product of value and you sold that product to someone for something else of value, it was generally one to one. Through the Internet this is changing and getting more complex. A simple example, you could product a good and offer it up to customers for free, instead getting your value through a relationship with another business that pays you for displaying its ads along with your product. The customer gets value from you, you get value from another source for providing value to the customer. Hyper-connectivity opens this up to ever increasing complex possibilities and the value moves around in the network to different nodes. Freemium business models operate a multifaceted business model, the free product from vendor 1 has value to a customer but vendor 1 gets it’s value from vendor 2 (ads) and vendor 1 also gets value from converted premium customers in a more traditional 1:1 model.

Necessity driven innovation

This is a fairly simple concept, innovations happen to overcome hardships or problems. If you have more hardship in theory it should drive more innovation, in fact it should drive disruptive innovation (see this post for a definition of disruptive versus continuous innovation) since the need is great and overcoming the problem is hard. In the past though, most disruptive innovation occurred in the most developed places, they simply had better and more available resources to apply to the problem. Today though the Internet among other things is starting to change that. If necessity does drive disruptive innovation and the resources to overcome adversity is available then wouldn’t it be more likely that innovation would come from the places that need the solution the most? It follows then that there should be a shift and that more disruptive innovation should come from developing countries where there is a greater need for the innovation. In fact technology, which is available in increasing quantities to emerging nations, would combine with their extreme market pressures to accelerate the rate of innovation. Hyper-connectivity opens up the global marketplace to these disruptions as well. And business model innovations, product / service innovations started in emerging nations would spread rapidly to developed countries thanks to the network effect.

Mobility

I’ve written quite a lot on enterprise mobility and the fact that workers are leveraging the explosion of new technologies to work whenever and wherever they choose. Real time ubiquitous connectivity is changing how people work and how businesses get things done. Take a look at the other mobile posts for more background on this trend.

Other radical advances:

There are a few other technology developments that support the trends above but are not standalone trends themselves, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence (AI) for example. The number and type of these technologies will accelerate and grow as the key trends effect their changes on business.

Take these trends together and I believe you start to see a picture of the post-industrial enterprise. This enterprise will have new leadership models, new ways of creating value, new work models, apply and consume technology in new and innovative ways, and operate in a highly connected, networked world. These trends themselves are evolving and will continue to change at accelerating rates. Over the next few months I’ll try to take a deeper look at them and the output that we’re likely to see as businesses and technology continue to evolve.

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About Michael Fauscette

Michael Fauscette leads IDC’s Software Business Solutions Group which includes research and consulting in ERP, SCM, CRM, and PLM Applications (and the associated business process that the software supports), partner and alliance ecosystems, open source software, software vendor business models, SaaS and “cloud computing” and software pricing and licensing. With extensive executive experience with software vendors ranging from large enterprise companies to small Silicon Valley start ups, Mr. Fauscette brings a unique perspective by relating research data and trends to the overall strategic focus and go to market strategy of application software companies. Having spent an extensive amount of time working with software end users throughout his career, Mr. Fauscette has a business process oriented and end user focused approach to software research and analysis. He conducts market research, analysis and consulting on emerging markets and technologies like enterprise 2.0, go to market strategies, end user requirements, application implementation, vendor business models, partner strategy and end user experience. Prior to joining IDC Mr. Fauscette held senior consulting and services roles with seven software vendors including Autodesk, Inc., PeopleSoft, Inc. and MRO, Inc. His software experience spans the entire enterprise life-cycle process and covers all facets of the Global software business. An ex-US Naval Officer, he began his technology career as a Surface Line Engineering Officer. Mr. Fauscette is a published author, blogger and accomplished public speaker on software and software services strategies. Mr. Fauscette graduated with special honors from Jacksonville State University with a BA in Sociology and History; and with honors from Widener University with a MS in Business.

Evolution of Change: Signs for the Future of Business is also syndicated in the

SmartData Collective

Great Customer Service: How to approach rude customers

I could not resist posting this.

Everyone knows that customer service is what makes all our lives better, despite the fact that customers are all too human. Promising to deliver then delivering what you promise is what it is all about, regardless of personal cost.

Here is a case of how to take care of a customer In this case an award should go to the check in attendant confronted with a passenger who probably deserved to fly as cargo. image After a crowded flight had been cancelled a single gate agent was re-booking a long line of inconvenienced travellers.  Suddenly an angry passenger pushed his way to the desk.

He slapped his ticket down on the counter and said, "I HAVE to be on this flight and it HAS to be FIRST CLASS".

The attendant replied, "I’m sorry, sir.  I’ll be happy to help you, but I’ve got to help these people first, and I’m sure we’ll be able to work something out."

The passenger was not impressed.  He asked loudly, so that the passengers behind him could hear, "DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHO I AM?"

Without hesitating, the attendant smiled and grabbed her public address microphone: "May I have your attention please; may I have you attention please, " she began – her voice heard clearly throughout the terminal.  "We have a passenger here at Gate 14 WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHO HE IS.  If anyone can help him find his identity, please come to Gate 14."

With the folks behind him in line laughing hysterically, the man glared at the attendant, gritted his teeth and said, "F…You!"

Without flinching, she smiled and said, (I love this bit) "I’m sorry, sir, but you’ll have to get in line for that too."