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Rhino-Saving Tech Also Could Protect Kids and Borders
May 21, 2018
Cisco has reduced the poaching of endangered rhinos in Africa by a whopping 96 percent. This success comes at a time when kids appear to be increasingly at risk from rogue school shooters and the United States government seems deadlocked on gun control. The focus of Cisco's tech is on catching the poachers who kill around 1,000 endangered rhinos a year, rather than on taking away their guns.
Middle Office or No-Man's Land?
May 20, 2018
It was once common knowledge that Apttus was the next big acquisition target on Salesforce's radar, until Salesforce decided to acquire another CPQ vendor to augment its Sales Cloud. In the two-ish years since, Apttus has nicely pivoted, diversifying its partner base and justifying its existence with a new strategy and nomenclature around what it calls the "middle office."
Tech Career Checklist: Aggressive Diversity, Cold Cash
May 14, 2018
I've become convinced that too many of us don't prioritize our employment choices properly. What recently drew my attention to this was a conversation I had with Dell's CFO Tom Sweet at Dell Technology World. We were chatting about Dell's problem attracting employees. Because Dell is a private company, few employees get stock or stock options -- they get cash instead. It seems that has put Dell at a disadvantage when competing for top folks.
Oracle's Drive to Automate
May 13, 2018
Oracle -- or could we say "Autoracle"? -- has introduced more autonomous products, generally in keeping with what I see as a build-out of an information utility. The products include Autonomous Analytics, Autonomous Integrations, Autonomous Builder code generation and free premium service. The autonomous products broadly leverage a variety of analytics and machine learning tools.
AI May Be Secret Weapon to Retain Sales Talent
May 9, 2018
Much of the discussion around sales and artificial intelligence has been outwardly focused. It's exciting to think about using AI to examine leads, sift through data, and help deliver answers that allow salespeople to close more and bigger deals. However, the excitement over using AI to organize customer information overshadows another use of AI that could be equally lucrative.
Solving Tech's Diversity Problem
May 7, 2018
I recently attended Dell Technology World, which shone a light on one of Michael Dell's passions: addressing the lack of gender diversity in the tech industry. Some time back he asked the most powerful woman at Dell, CCO Karen Quintos, to spearhead an effort to fix the problem. One of the leading experts on the problem, Howard Ross of Cook Ross, indicated it was getting worse -- not better.
Platform Logic
May 1, 2018
For some time, it has been my impression that in the CRM market, all -- or at least most -- of the good ideas have been taken. It's been a long time since we've seen a new systemic approach to front-office business. It's even been a long time since we've seen a major innovation at the department level. CRM itself was a systemic innovation in the last decade of the last century.
Insurance and the Consumer IoT
April 30, 2018
Smart home and consumer IoT solutions promise significant opportunities for the insurance industry in terms of reducing costs, alleviating risks, deepening customer engagement, and creating new services and revenue streams. There are many barriers ahead to overcome, but given the tremendous upside, insurance companies have begun attacking these challenges with a multi-tiered strategy.
Could BlackBerry Displace Apple?
April 30, 2018
I spent a day with BlackBerry last week and it brought back memories of how Apple displaced the company around a decade ago. I, like a lot of folks, thought what Apple was attempting was impossible. However, after the fact, it didn't even look difficult. BlackBerry largely has completed its pivot to software and services, but a wave of new phones from its partners suggests new possibilities.
The Scaling Challenge
April 26, 2018
There is a meme making the rounds and I have no idea how old it is or its origins but I've heard it twice in the last week. It's easier to start a company than it is to scale one. You can't say it's a revolutionary thought, but for the last 20 years the emphasis has been decidedly on founding, so this is something of a departure. Startups don't grow to the moon on average.
Fighting Fake News and Forging Real Diplomacy
April 23, 2018
Two new initiatives -- a concerted effort by Apple and a massive educational effort called the "Pro-Truth Pledge" -- could help eliminate much of the fake news BS that is really messing up the U.S. at the moment. On another front, President Donald Trump's plan to meet with Kim Jong-un reminds me of a pivotal meeting between former HP CEO Carly Fiorina and then Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Closing the Enterprise Security Skills Gap
April 18, 2018
The security skills gap has become a topic of acute interest among practitioners responsible for building security teams for their organizations -- and keeping them running smoothly. It impacts everything from how they staff, how they cultivate and develop their workforces, and how they train, to the operational controls they put in place, and potentially numerous other things.
Zuora Takes It to the Big House
April 17, 2018
After nearly a decade of company building, Zuora last week went public, valuing itself on the open market at roughly US$2 billion after gaining 43 percent on its first day of trading. Those outlines don't reveal the importance of Zuora generally, and subscription billing systems in particular, to the rapid evolution of the subscription economy and CRM.
Swedish Sounds, Cool Phones, and Smart Switches
April 17, 2018
Not quite content with furnishing every other aspect of our homes, IKEA has continued its push into smart home territory with its first Bluetooth speaker. The Eneby comes in two sizes: 8 x 8 and 12 x 12 inches. You can use it as a portable speaker with up to 10 hours of battery life with the optional $20 battery, and there's a handle for added portability.
Facebook and Google Could Be Nationalized in 5-10 Years
April 16, 2018
After I considered Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's testimony before Senate and House committee hearings last week, it became very clear to me -- and I expect many in Congress -- that social media companies need to be regulated. However, I think this is only a step in the path that governments -- and I do mean more than the U.S. -- will take to ensure their effectiveness and protect their people.
What Should We Expect From AI?
April 12, 2018
Fear mongering about killer robots and the recent deaths connected with Uber and Tesla autonomous vehicles have rekindled concerns about AI in the machines around us. We are well beyond answering Alan Turing's question, "can machines think?" There is now good reason to ask how we should think of AI, and what we should expect from it. There have been phenomenal advances in just the past few years.
Beyond CRM
April 10, 2018
We should start discussing what's beyond CRM. I chose the word "beyond" advisedly. CRM is far from dead or even in decline, so "after" would be incorrect. However, CRM already has changed so much that it may be time to rethink it. Also, many of the tangential technologies that have turbocharged CRM in the last few years, like social media, have drawn so much attention that some analysis is due.
Turning Social Media From a Problem Into a Solution
April 9, 2018
The shooting incident that took place last week at YouTube had less to do with guns than with the failure of the police to act on information in a timely way and the inability of social media to be anything but part of the problem. Google has been giving this issue little more than lip service, but I expect it has become motivated to do more, given that YouTube was the latest target.
Digital Disruption
April 4, 2018
Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfesson, who teach at MIT's Sloan School of Management, started writing about the impact of artificial intelligence and machine learning almost a decade ago. Their early books provided deep insights into the way the era we live in would unfold. A lot of their ideas were on display last week at TrailHeaDX: The Salesforce Developer Conference in San Francisco.
The Power of Social Media and the Coming Repeal of the 2nd Amendment
April 2, 2018
One of the most powerful political organizations in the U.S. is the National Rifle Association. The president of the United States recently claimed he wasn't afraid of the NRA, only to have an NRA spokesperson -- not the president himself -- later announce that the president had changed his mind. It was painful to watch the most powerful man in the free world be treated like a small child.
It's Getting Lonely at Quota Club
March 27, 2018
Sales people and their managers should be celebrating the economic gains of the last few years but for many of them the gains may be illusory. Sixty-three percent of sales reps made quota in 2012, but five years later -- despite an improving economy -- that number dropped to 53 percent, according to CSO Insights' continuing research, which stretches over more than two decades.
Chaos Threatens Tech Takeover
March 26, 2018
The tech world experienced more insanity last week. We finally got confirmation from AMD that the CTS Labs security report was a tempest in a teapot, but the big question remained unanswered. A self-driving Uber vehicle killed a pedestrian, but we didn't ask the right questions. Facebook admitted that it gave our information to a bad actor, and we forgot what really would wake up Zuckerberg.
Salesforce's Latest Big Gamble: APIs
March 25, 2018
Anyone who has attempted to adopt Salesforce cloud solutions in an enterprise environment knows that it may not be as easy as expected because of the additional effort typically required to integrate data sources. This is a common problem that has plagued the enterprise application industry since its inception. In fact, it spawned an entire subsegment of integration vendors and service providers.
The Social Utility
March 24, 2018
If you study economic cycles, you can watch the evolution of a disruptive technology throughout its lifecycle, from a specific product to a competitive industry. The last phase in the evolutionary chain is the formation of a utility. For example, over a couple of centuries we've seen the evolution of electricity from a curiosity, to a business, to a group of public companies.
Managing in Mature Markets
March 20, 2018
Markets and companies change as industries grow and as a disruptive innovation commoditizes. Generally, prices come down because the innovation becomes commonplace and competitors fight for every scrap causing margin erosion. Eventually markets equilibrate, and a monopoly or small oligopoly sets in. We can see this playing out right now -- mature industries like databases have an oligopoly set up.
Fake News Has Become an Existential Threat
March 19, 2018
The scene in A Few Good Men with Jack Nicholson going off on handling the truth has been coming to mind way too often of late. Sadly, this is the world we are living in right now, and social media is at the heart of it. I recently noticed a headline that implied a lot of people had taken exception to something Gal Gadot tweeted about Stephen Hawking.
Healthcare, CRM's New Vertical
March 14, 2018
Healthcare might offer the best example of the potential for vertical market CRM, but most people in CRM may not realize this. Healthcare is, after all, a bit of a stretch from what we do in the enterprise or SMB world, but perhaps it shouldn't be. In both spheres we see a relatively small number of highly paid and overworked people addressing the needs of a vast number of people.
Gadget Ogling: Smart Phones, Simple Phones, and Sparkling Water on Tap
March 13, 2018
Oh, look, it's a new flagship smartphone duo from Samsung. Shockingly enough, they're called the "Galaxy S9" and "Galaxy S9+." They have a similar appearance to the previous year's models, but there are also a few differences, such as a new camera and stereo speakers. There's a 960-frames-per-second slow motion mode, and there's the option to add music to clips or turn them into GIFs.
I Have Seen Technology's Future
March 12, 2018
One of the most interesting parts of Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference, Inception, allows small focused startups to pitch their ideas in a Shark Tank-like atmosphere to compete for a significant cash prize. Two of the more compelling solutions were presented by companies run by women this year. However, the big news was a company that was well along the way to creating an electronic human/machine interface.
Facebook's Vulnerabilities Surface
March 7, 2018
Adam Smith famously referred to "the invisible hand" of the free market in his landmark book The Wealth of Nations, and with that made himself one of the very first political economists. Smith's observation was so on point that most of us assume markets run through the agency of individuals pursuing their enlightened self-interests, which helped drive the evolution of CRM as a tracking tool.
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What should be the role of adaptive accessories, like Microsoft's Xbox Adaptive Controller, in video game competitions?
Anyone should be able to use them in any context, including in competitions.
Only people with physical limitations should be allowed to use them in competitions.
They should be banned entirely in competitions due to the potential for unfair advantage.
Their use should be limited to special competitions set up for gamers with disabilities.