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A Patchwork of Useful Things
April 4, 2020
Adobe just announced what it calls the first digital economy index. It seems like it's modeled after other indices usually kept by the federal government to measure economic output and consumption. The Adobe index captures only consumer consumption behavior though. Some of its insights include new shopping behavior, such as which products have become hot items or decreased in popularity over time.
Living in the COVID-19 World: TV Hosts Struggle at Home
March 30, 2020
While stuck at home, many of us are burning through online content very rapidly. One of the things that's become painfully apparent is that TV shows that typically have live audiences suddenly have become almost unwatchable. In the context of the COVID-19 virus and our sudden need to view events remotely, coming up with ways to make audiences feel engaged has never been more critical.
Trying Times for Employee Engagement
March 28, 2020
These days are either the most trying time for encouraging employee engagement or the best we could expect. With so many people working remotely, many businesses need extra ways to communicate with the rank and file, and this might present a prime opportunity to try new things. We make a big deal of engaging the customer, and in most CRM circles engagement outranks simple customer experience.
COVID-19 Outbreak: Thoughts From the Stay-at-Home Front
March 23, 2020
Steps can be taken to mitigate the threat of spreading the coronavirus to folks who are sheltering at home. In many cases delivery drivers don't seem to have any protection, and if it's necessary to sign for something, customers are expected to touch a stylus or a screen that has been used by others. Drivers should be practicing social distancing, setting down packages at least six feet away.
In the Time of Virus
March 19, 2020
Life goes on, though I keep thinking about the coronavirus and its impact on business, which is substantial. I am wondering if it's time to count our blessings even as we remain vigilant. At this point the number of active cases in the U.S. is still small, relative to the population, though the bug has an annoying ability to do math in the form of exponential spread.
3 Things the Tech Industry Could Do to Mitigate Pandemic Problems
March 16, 2020
We are up to our armpits in COVID-19, also known as "coronavirus," concerns. While the technology market could be devastated by it, there are several things tech players could do to mitigate the damage. Aside from having people work from home and stand six feet apart, the industry could take several innovative steps to mitigate the first manageable pandemic in the world's history.
Coronavirus Nerves: Whoa Horsey!
March 12, 2020
Someday a future Monty Python comedy troupe will reprise the plague scene from the Holy Grail in which a character pushes a cart through a street shouting "Bring out your dead!" only to discover one who isn't dead yet. What will be funny about our era? Perhaps it will have something to do with overreacting to the situation by reordering society, as some have suggested.
Podcasting Around the Virus - and Beyond
March 10, 2020
Several conferences I was scheduled to attend have been canceled in the past week. All of the sponsors cited an abundance of caution in the face of the unknown consequences of coronavirus transmission and outright COVID-19 pneumonia. That's all to the good, but we need to get business done even in the face of the virus, because business has to propel itself forward or individual companies wither.
COVID-19 and the End of Daily Life as We Know It
March 9, 2020
We apparently have no immunity to COVID-19, and a vaccine likely is around 18 months away. It takes a while to change human behavior, but if we go a full 18 months or more with people working from home and avoiding places like malls, big box stores, and other areas where people congregate -- like offices and events -- it will force a fundamental, permanent change in the way we work and interact.
The Virus and Podcasting
March 7, 2020
The coronavirus scare is working its way through the economy -- even affecting CRM. At this point some vendors are canceling events rather than taking the risk of having thousands of customers, press and analysts descend on a city, swap microbes through the air for a few days, then go home and likely further spread the microbes, some of which could be the virus.
Building the Salesforce Franchise
March 5, 2020
Franchising is a tried-and-true business model with numerous permutations that benefit all participating parties. For the vendor it's a great model for expanding without all of the downside risk associated with building a business, like finding all the financing and hiring people. The franchisor generally sells licenses to willing partners who agree to uphold the standards of the brand.
Amid Disaster, COVID-19 Presents Opportunities
March 5, 2020
The coronavirus presents the biggest threat to the global economy since the Great Recession of 2008 -- not to mention the threat to human life. The outbreak already is decimating the travel and leisure industry, and forcing trade shows to scale down or cancel. It threatens many sectors, and it will have a negative impact on consumer sentiment and purchasing patterns.
Shifting Our Global Problem-Solving Focus From Symptoms to Cause
March 2, 2020
IBM's latest effort to solve global problems has evolved from a focus on catastrophic events, which increasingly are caused by climate change, to climate change itself. It is a huge jump to go from dealing with the symptoms of a problem, which generally is relatively easy, to dealing with the causes, particularly global scale. However, it is critical for a sustained impact.
The Really Big Salesforce-Vlocity Deal
February 27, 2020
Salesforce just announced it would buy Vlocity -- a startup with all the markings of a unicorn including a billion-dollar valuation -- for $1.33 billion. Vlocity was cofounded and led by David Schmaier, who was executive vice president at Siebel Systems in its go-go years. When Oracle bought Siebel it made Schmaier a wealthy man. He promptly dropped out of the CRM business.
Getting Autonomous Car Technology Right
February 24, 2020
Autonomous car efforts aren't looking very good. It is becoming clear that the five-level ranking system for autonomous cars is stupid. The reality is that the definition of "autonomous" is binary: Either the car can drive itself or it can't. The fact is that car makers don't want to take the final step to autonomy -- Level 5 -- because they are afraid of liability.
Some Android Malware Can Break Your Phone When You Delete It
February 21, 2020
Since Android's unveiling in 2007, the platform has stayed true to its commitment to provide open and free source code. The source code is freely available to developers and device manufacturers who can, at their own discretion, install the software without worrying about the hassles of licensing fees. Android not only delivers cheaper smartphones -- it is the largest mobile OS in the world.
Viewing the 2020 Presidential Race Through a Competitive Analysis Lens
February 17, 2020
Back in the 1980s, I was a competitive analyst for IBM, and it was one of the most interesting jobs I ever held. The practice largely has died out, but at the time we were like the corporate version of the CIA. Since I'd been an internal auditor as well -- which is somewhat like the corporate version of the FBI -- I was a rarity. Few people serve in both agencies.
It's Time for a Social Media and Disinformation Reckoning: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 6
February 13, 2020
Can social media be saved? Can democracy be saved? The first question may seem less compelling than the second, but to some very worried observers, they are intimately entwined. Social networking -- on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a host of other online networks -- is the root of all current cultural evils, in the eyes of some critics. Undeniably, social networks offer positive experiences too.
Customer Retention Blooms Again
February 12, 2020
Brightback recently published a report on customer churn and what more than 400 subscription companies say they're doing about it. Its findings are in line with many other sources, and the data deserves an examination. First of all, we're way past the point where subscription companies can expect to sign all of the new customers they need to replace those that decide to end their relationships.
Rumblings in the Cloud
February 10, 2020
One of the old sayings is that there are "lies, damned lies and statistics," with the implication being you really can't trust most reported numbers. Still, we've often thought, at least with major vendors, that you could trust rankings. One current set of rankings involves cloud providers. The general impression was that Amazon was first, Microsoft second, and Google third.
The New App Dev CRM Model
February 5, 2020
CRM is an industry that's been full of turning points, and I think it is at another. There have been many smaller turns, like the additions of analytics, social media and process flows. However, to get a sense of this point in time, I think you have to go all the way back to the turn of the century and the rise of cloud computing. The cloud was important as an economic marker in some unique ways.
Bridging the IoT Innovation-Security Gap
February 4, 2020
There is a problem with the Internet of Things: It's incredibly insecure. This is not a problem that is inherent to the idea of smart devices. Wearables, smart houses, and fitness tracking apps can be made secure -- or at least more secure than they currently are. The problem, instead, is one that largely has been created by the companies that make IoT devices.
Coronavirus Pandemic: 6 Things We Should Be Doing
February 3, 2020
As I write this, the first studies of the Coronavirus outbreak are coming in. The count now exceeds 17,500 cases in 24 countries. There have been more than 360 deaths, almost all in China. Most at risk are older males with pre-existing chronic diseases that weaken their immune symptoms. Women appear to have a higher natural resistance to viruses. WHO has declared it a global health emergency.
In Praise of Clayton Christensen, a Revolutionary Thinker
January 29, 2020
Clayton Christensen died last week, and we should care. He was the Harvard Business School professor who wrote The Innovator's Dilemma and changed the world, certainly the part we inhabit in CRM. Christensen did more than anyone to plant the idea of disruptive innovation in the minds of people in the tech industry. When I stumbled upon his book decades ago, it was eye opening.
Is Icahn Attempting a Hostile Takeover of HP? Figuring Out the Backstory
January 27, 2020
When it comes to any merger, you often can't trust the reason the firms are merging, particularly if financial rather than operational managers are driving the process. When it comes to hostile takeovers, you can bet you are being misled, because the rhetoric will address synergy, but the folks driving the effort know the more likely goal is to destroy the acquired company.
Retention, Retention, Retention
January 25, 2020
It's hard to say with any specificity where the CRM market will move this year, but I'm a pundit so let me try anyway. After more than two decades, CRM has landed in the business landscape and spread out in impressive ways. When CRM emerged in the late 1990s social media didn't exist, and the idea of social networking was confined to a few papers from Harvard and other places.
Is Congress Finally Ready to Take On Cybersecurity?
January 23, 2020
The United States Congress made some significant progress this session when it comes to data privacy, but cybersecurity remains a blind spot for lawmakers. Congress currently is considering a national privacy law that mirrors legislation enacted in the European Union. It would allow people to access, correct and request the deletion of the personal information collected from them.
The CEO of the Decade
January 20, 2020
Who is most deserving of the title "CEO of the Decade"? Historically the focus in choosing CEO of the decade has been on their financial accomplishments, but that approach has left us in a world lacking diversity and empathy in positions of power -- particularly noticeable in the tech industry -- and one where global climate change may end the human race.
Business/Customer Sweet Spots: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 2
January 16, 2020
If you're a small business owner or a key member of an enterprise executive team, you want your firm to succeed. If you're a customer, you want to be treated well. Those goals are not diametrically opposed, but very often it seems that companies and customers are at cross-purposes. ECT News Network recently gathered together five technology experts who did some hard thinking on the subject.
What's in Your Containers? Try an Open Source Tool to Find Out
January 14, 2020
As most security pros know, application containers -- Docker, rkt, etc. -- and the orchestration elements employed to support them, such as Kubernetes, are used increasingly in many organizations. Often the security organization isn't exactly the first stop on the path to deployment of these tools. If it was in your shop, consider yourself one of the lucky ones.
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Women in Tech
How important is the availability of curbside service when you consider a physical store to do your shopping?
Critically Important - I will not shop at an establishment that does not provide curbside service.
Quite Important - During the pandemic I prefer not to go inside a physical location. Still, I will consider a business that does not offer curbside service.
Somewhat Important - I like a curbside option, but itís not part of my decision-making process when I choose where to shop.
Not Important - I do not use curbside pickup. When I go out to shop I want to select everything myself.
Women in Tech