Technology Convergence

Have you noticed that more and more people are coming to work with multiple devices?  It seems to be common place now that on everyone’s desk there is a work mobile, a personal mobile, the work PC and now more common place a personal netbook.  This now seems to be the ideal time to investigate working practices where either Business Devices are partitioned so that there is a Business side to a computer and a Personal which you are responsible for.  Or even investigate the taboo of staff members providing their own PC and using this for work.  Similar could also be done with Mobiles although some vendors do offer multiple SIM devices where two SIMs can be inserted.         

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Presentations

Over the last few months I have attended various external events where presentations have been given and I am astounded by the lack of presentation skills people still possess and that they feel that it is still ok to use a Powerpoint Deck with a white background, no header and lines and lines of text which are just read out. 

As the world starts to embrace the web 2.0 phenomena and the Gen X and Y people start to outpace the traditionalists maybe it is time to use a different product or start to demand a more professional approach to conferences and understand that this is infact a form of collaboration.  Collaboration should not encompass the traditional tell or sell culture but be a more enjoyable and social experience, so why should this not extend to presentations in conferences.   

Using Collaboration to gain new audiences and increase sales

Traditionally all industries have relied upon skilled salespeople to bring in business.  These sales have then been supported by either paper brochures or enhanced brochure-wear on websites.  You will know however if you have ever completed any personality tests that different people respond better to different approaches.  Some people are graphical and like to see figures, some people are audible and like to hear things, some people are visual and like to read things etc.  So why then do we still only address a few of these when trying to increase our customer base?  With the continual adoption of Web 2.0 products everyone should consider all types of people to gain extra market share and in addition to brochure-wear consider podcasts, online presentations, blogs, wikis etc.    

Product Management or lack of Customer Understanding

With the turmoil which is currently being experienced in the financial services industry I spent some time this week seeing what Innovations the competition were offering in order to retain their current customers and attract more.  Surprisingly it seems some of the major players have a product set which actually discourages potential customers.  Here are two of the more memorable cases I found: 

  1. One Institution was offering an internet savings account with a favourable rate of interest however surprisingly this cannot be operated stand alone and you must open a Cheque Account (In Branch of course) to fund the account, plus have a cashcard.  When asked whether the card could be deselected the answer was no, just leave it in a drawer at home….  
  2. Another Institution who was also offering a very competitive savings rate which surprisingly is only being offered in branch, informed me that to discuss it further I needed to make and appointment and they would offer me one in 10 DAYS…  

As consumers realise they are part of a Global Market and have the option to shop around via the Internet and engage with any organisation around the world the short-sightedness of some companies is unacceptable and with the proliferation of new technologies and the rise of Generation C will see their market share slowly diminish.   

Financial institutions can no longer assume it is their way or the highway and Product Management will become a key factor in attracting and retaining your customer base.

Boutique

I am currently attending a conference in Chester (UK) this week and was lucky enough to stay at the Oddfellows Hotel the night before transferring to the conference venue.  This started me thinking about Premiumisation in the Innovation Space.   Usually when travelling I stay in the standard Business Hotel with all of the standard features which we all now expect, however as competition increases how long will it be before we all demand Premiumisation or Boutique Services.  The Oddfellows Hotel although being of standard price it was in no way standard and far exceeded my expectations.  The restaurant was 5 star, there were only four rooms in the rafters of the building which all had a different theme, and the rest of the Building was impeccably designed.  Should I ever return to Chester this will be my first choice.

 

Therefore maybe in addition to considering whether we implement Innovations based on whether they are Incremental, Market Defining or Breakthrough, we should also look to at our Customer Base and projected demand and consider Premiumisation to ensure that we remain competitive.

Collaboration Spammers

As we all embrace Web 2.0 and find more and more ways to collaborate both personally as well as professionally, there seems to have also been an evolution in the spamming community and they now feel they have an open invitation to progress from email spamming to cold calling. 

 

A day does not pass for me or my team where we are cold called from vendors using the data on various open collaboration sites to try and hawk various Services under the pretence that they have been recommended by a colleague which they surprisingly cannot remember the name.

 

Luckily these spammers have not grasped the concept that if you call individuals with the same job title in the same organisation there is a high probably that they will be sitting near each other and be aware of the call their colleague took minutes previously.  They also seem surprised when they ask if you have heard of their company and you say yes and are not interested, bizarre….

 

Let’s hope that this current trend of collaboration spammers does not increase, and they actually research their market properly and target individuals rather than believing that collaboration sites are a replacement for a phone book cold calling list.

 

Collaboration is becoming an important part of everyone’s life and it would be a shame if openness is constrained for the fear of misuse.    

The future of the internet

I was involved in a discussion recently which was questioning whether the internet was promoting an insular rather than social culture.  Does the internet encourage us all to rush home and log onto our computers to engage with our friends through mediums like Facebook, Friends Reunited and Webmail rather than picking up the phone or actually meeting people?  Also is this exacerbated further as more and more companies block social media sites at their firewalls?

The answer is probably yes, especially as the cost of internet access is becoming virtually free and in some cases Laptops are being given away as part of the deal.   In addition to this with the rise of smart devices like the i-phone more and more people are engaged in their own world whilst travelling to work rather than socialising.

In the future however the internet will probably evolve into a medium where you create a roaming avatar based profile (a graphical representation of yourself) rather than a word formatted one, which will allow your presence to be seen by your entire network as you surf the web (A bit like a travelling Instant Messenger).  This will allow a more seamless collaboration as you will no longer need to be on specific sites to collaborate with your contacts as whatever site you a viewing if a friend views the same site you will be able to converse.  You may even be able to leave messages for each other on sites you know that you friends will visit.  In addition to this you could even interact with the roaming avatars offering help and assistance on the websites you are visiting.