Archive for the ‘Future of Enterprises’ Category

Data are a “potential” wealth

Monday, May 2nd, 2011 by Roberto Saracco

Just finished to read an interesting paper by Erik Brynjolfsson (MIT Sloan School), Lorin Hitt (Penn University) and Heekyung Kim (MIT) on the impact of data driven decision making on enterprises performance.

Based on surveys they made the result shows a 5-6% performance increase and that tiny gain can make the difference between success and disappearance in this very competitive world.

They note that systems included in the enterprise processes since the end of the nineties are producing an ever growing quantity of data, about their internal processes, their providers and their customers. Many companies nowadays are in the PB range, whilst only ten years ago only a handful had such large data base.

The information available at company level is estimated to double every 14 months and this begs the question if there is value to be mined in this growth or not. Most companies today accrue data but very few are exploiting them.

IBM has bought 25 companies involved in data analyses in these last few years, spending about 14 billion $, with a work force of 8,000 consultants and 200 mathematicians, clearly indicating that they believe data analyses is the biz to be in.

In the paper the authors point out that we have just begun in understanding how to leverage data and that in the future a real increase in performance will be possible once the enterprise will transform itself to take this data analyses as an integral part (and not as an add on) to its processes.

This reminds me of the situation we faced in the eighties when people wondered how to capitalize on information technology investment. All companies had started to invest heavily on IT but the results in terms of increased performance were not evident at all. What was needed was a radical re-enginnering of the enterprise processes to take advantage of IT.

It was eventually understood that IT is not an add on that can be used to increase some process speed, rather it was something that allowed to kill several processes and completely redesign others.

I guess we are facing the same situation now. We need to take these data and their analyses for granted and redesign the enterprise accordingly. And not just the enterprise! This applies as well to institution, eGovernment, health care, education…. There is no area that is not affected, all of them have to be redesigned from scratch. And, of course, there is plenty of biz in this redesign…

AI vs IA

Monday, April 4th, 2011 by Roberto Saracco

I strongly suggest you to read an editorial on the New York Times looking back, and forward, to the evolution of AI, Artificial Intelligence, versus IA, Intelligence Augmentation.

It was prompted by the (expected) success of Watson, the IBM computer, in the television show Jeopardy.

Beyond the technology advances, and also beyond the disillusions that followed the original forecast of computers being able to match the human reasoning ability, it is now time to reflect on the economical implication of these achievements and how enterprises will be restructured by that.

The evolution of mankind and technology in the last three centuries has been smooth, with some rough points but overall it served the goal for a better living. And part of that was the capacity of technology to create new jobs as it was destroying some. Actually, the number of jobs created is spectacular if we think that population has grown fivefold in three centuries. What was lost in agricultural chore was more than taken up by the industry first and by services later.

Is this balance going to continue or as computers can go beyond substituting the arms and legs of human beings to replace their brains we will see a takeover in terms of jobs by computers with no space left for us?

It is a matter of economics. Clearly if an enterprise can deliver at a lower cost using a computer it will go that way (they are already doing it, as much as they can). But it is also a matter of social equilibrium.

So far there is only one Watson, and it is extremely expensive. But the recent history has shown that in 40 years time a supercomputer ends up into our hands for a 100 $.

I like the closing of the NY Times essay with the sentence that “being human does not mean to be able to answer tough questions but to be able to formulate tough questions”.

Still, I wonder if formulating tough questions can engage as many people as trying to answer them.

SocialEyes: Real-time video social network

Monday, March 28th, 2011 by Eduardo Mucelli R. Oliveira

As the residential user has access to greater bandwidth, new services that previously were not possible, are now closer to reality. Among such services, it is possible to highlight applications that make use of live video streaming. Unlike other social networks, which rely on text messaging, SocialEyes focuses on the use of videoconferencing for communication between people. To do so, users access the system with the same identification of Facebook and, thereafter, may participate in video-based discussions on various topics.

This system is web-based yet since the application is based on Flash 10.1 and makes use of its new technology for peer-to-peer video streaming. This is not yet supported by some smartphones. The user can communicate with up to six persons simultaneously, and has control over each one of those connections such as he can mute, and pause individual friends.

The potential for this application is enourmous, imagine you receiving real-time feedback from your friends while buying something, and as soon as the bandwidth is no longer a problem, a conference with as many friends as you want would make it easier for business, or even for family, to have visual meetings.

QR Codes Campaigns: Who Is Scanning Them?

Thursday, March 24th, 2011 by Juliana Maria Magalhães Christino

QR code-focused startup JumpScan send to Mashable (a blog specialized in the latest news related to social and digital media, technology and web culture, with more than 40 million monthly pageviews) a graphically organized representation of some data they have gathered about QR codes — who’s scanning them, what kinds of devices they’re using and what brands are running QR code campaigns.

Julie Ask, vice president of Forrester Research, says that retailers aren’t sure that such codes will increase sales. “The hypothesis is that it will drive up the conversion rate,” Ask says, who speculates that providing more information will help a consumer who is unsure about making a purchase to make the leap and buy.

How many consumers will actually do that, though? JumpScan claims that 57% of Facebook and Twitter users have also used QR Codes (a similar technology to scannable barcodes) at least once in the past year, but Ask says such users represent a pretty small niche, though one that’s “certainly growing.” So it`s better to be prepared!

Focussing on Enterprise Social Networks

Sunday, March 13th, 2011 by Roberto Saracco

In a follow up article in Technology Review it is noted that EMC, an information company, has started to request its employee to chat internally using social network tools, like Jive. According to the company, that has created a managerial position for that “Enterprise social media engagement strategy”, once people start to communicate via a social network they relax their barriers, become more direct and start to address the real issues in a project thus setting the first step in the right direction to solve it.

An enterprise focussed Social Network Tool

An enterprise focussed Social Network Tool

It is interesting to note that Jive addresses both the support of enterprise community (communications within the safe walls of the enterprise) and the social community extended to the market place.

My bet is that these tools will morph into a single one n the future (possibly near future).

In many areas the value of a product is so dependent on the ecosystem it will populate that it just make sense to involve a number of players from that ecosystem in the design a delivery phases as well. Of course, the users are the best CRM that can exist, in general and thy are already embedded in some products.

A point in case is Photoshop CS5. If you click on the Help tag, when you type in your query you are just doing a focussed Google Search on blogs relevant to CS5. Adobe is now relying on the user community to provide help to the users!

The growing importance of crowdsourcing is another reason that bring me to say that enterprise social networks will have to expand beyond the enterprise boundary.

Brand Mapping x Personal Identity: An Insightful Tool If Used Effectively

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011 by Juliana Maria Magalhães Christino

The understanding of customers and stakeholders is fundamental to the branding management. The brand is never about the brand per se, many times is about how it connects with the target audiences, how the brand builds relevance and esteem in their hearts and minds. So it is important to start with the target audience because the brands we choose arguably say something about our identity – what we value in the products we use, how we perceive ourselves,  and how we want to be perceived.

In order to paint a more holistic picture of the choice of brands one uses throughout their day, Storm Brand DNA – a brand and design strategy agency out of Melbourne, Australia – uses ‘Brand Mapping’ within their Insights process on commercial projects.

As a standalone visual, the information contained in this infographic might give a limited perspective into the multitude of brands that this individual chooses when he’s having breakfast, getting ready for work in the morning, getting his news for the day, etc.  But it would be interesting to see, from a consumer insights perspective, how this might change over the course of a few months, how the brand map compares and differs across men of a similar demographic – and to ultimately engage in a discussion of why they selected particular brands.

What attributes were valued in their choice of athletic gear, vs. automobile, vs. mobile phone?  Is their choice of brand across multiple categories ultimately trying to paint a picture of them as an individual, or does it differ across product category?  An insightful tool if used effectively.

Social Tools for Business: a twist to the Enterprise

Monday, March 7th, 2011 by Roberto Saracco

I have just read a brief article on Technology Review on Social Tools for Business and I encourage you to do the same.

It relates on the experience gained by IBM with Connection, Lotus Connection, a tool based on social networks that they have created and applied to their 400,000 employees.

You can read the result by yourself, so I do not want to spoil the mystery by telling you the story.

What is interesting to me is the fact that a big company like IBM has started (and that was three years ago!) to look into the application of Social Networks to the day to day work processes.

The creation of a strong focussed community is important in any enterprise and social networks seems to fit the bill just right. Communications that make Social Network possible is also disrupting the usual enterprise hierarchy by allowing a flat flow of information. This is a challenge to the status quo and it is not necessarily an improvement in terms of effectiveness.

However, young people are now growing up with Facebook and Social Networks are the way they use to communicate. They are using much less email than we do and that enterprises do.

I do not think that what is needed can be satisfied by (just) a tool. I have the impression that we need something similar to what happen in the 80ies with process reengineering: we need to reinvent the processes in the enterprise. This is something we have started to look at, at the Future Centre.

Do You Know How Many Stars Your Business Has? Less than 4? Oh oh….

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 by Juliana Maria Magalhães Christino

If your business has scored a low evaluation  from social networks, less than 4 stars, your company might not be taken into account during the selection process by your potential clients using a mobile search engine.

Google has introduced several new features to its mobile search for iPhone and Android, including the ability to filter results by star rating, distance and businesses that are open.

For example, a user might only look for restaurants that are open right now, within a two-mile radius of his/her current location, that have a rating of four or more stars.

Searching for nearby restaurants or other points of interests on a mobile phone can be a slow and boring experience, and this feature could speed it up considerably.

Other new features include review images in search results and small design changes such as bigger buttons for viewing a map and the ability to call a business.

To try out Google’s mobile Places search, open on your mobile browser and click on the Places link at the top of the page. The new features also work when you do a search for businesses on Google Maps on an Android device.

And one last thing: keep monitoring what is being said about your company on the internet! Social networks are getting more and more powerful every day more, so it is better to learn definitely how to deliver value to your customers in order to have a “real” good reputation in the “virtual” world. Are there, still, two worlds???


It is important to notice how Social Networks are creating on the one hand Virtual Ambients and on the other hand they are aggregator for business ecosystems. In this decade we are going to see a growing use of Social Networks as market places and they are likely to become embedded in the distribution chain of many industries. This is quite a change and enterprises have better to prepare themselves.


Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 by Juliana Maria Magalhães Christino

The Mobile World Congress is the industry’s biggest annual gathering. The 2011 version points out that the biggest trend, according to Cellan-Jones (technology correspondent from BBC News), is probably local search adverts, where, for example, you look for someplace to eat and the nearest restaurants pop up (as I already talked about in one of my recent posts).

And who is dominating this area? Google of course, which is taking its massive share of search on the web to this new mobile platform. The Google Maps is the main navigation tool on most smartphones.

Then there is advertising within mobile applications, many of which are free and so need ad revenue to be viable. According to the BBC report, apps are now a $15bn business, with $2bn from advertising. Thus, advertising is a very convenient way for developers to make money.”

Mr Kruse (from Smaato Mobile Ads) claims that consumers are more likely to recognize a brand which pops up in a mobile app than on a website. Adverts within games are also becoming more and more common, often to promote other game titles.

“The main challenge for marketers,” says Marco Veremis (CEO of Upstream), is how you advertise in a way that doesn’t look like advertising.”

The final statement of the report is that we should expect plenty more marketing messages on our mobile, but if the advertisers succeed, maybe we won’t realize that they want us to buy something.


Shoes With RFID Embedded Generating Social Interactions

Thursday, February 17th, 2011 by Juliana Maria Magalhães Christino

A new usage for RFID has been created to generate social interactions in the fashion world. Besides distribution and tracking processes, the RFID technology is being used to integrate peer to peer, and single to groups by social networks, through a concept platform, called KARMATECH, that integrates RFID technology in a specific line of footwear, suggested to the fashion group WeAretheSuperlativeConspiracy.

The concept is the result of a school project from Hyper Island (Advanced Interface Design), and the main idea is to fit a RFID chip in the shoes which can store (via opt-in) information about the wearer delivered through a web application at the time of purchase.

The shoes can trigger a number of interactions powered by associated social networks, when the wearer steps onto mats equipped with RFID readers. A handful of potential applications described include:

  • Triggering a photograph at an event, automatically sending that photo to the wearer’s Flickr
  • Connecting two people on Facebook when they both step on a mat
  • Automatically trigger status updates when within range of a reader
  • Access to VIP restrooms at popular events for people wearing WeSC shoes, or simply entry into the event itself

For more details, watch the video demonstration

To me it seem to be a great way to generate experiences to customers and reinforce the branding positioning, and I also think that the WeSc group should go for it!