November 16, 2014
I find sales and marketing difficult to understand. The reality in which I watch the mine drainage dribble is different from the shiny world of “access to all information.” I was confused. Then I read “7 Secrets That Sales and Marketing Colleagues Should Know about Each Other.”
The segment I found mildly interesting concerns prevarication. You know: Telling your mother a fib about what you did on the sleep over. Check this:
Sales teams lie. This is a reality, and it’s not a bad thing. Whether it’s because they don’t know their product well enough, they’ve been trained to be too empathetic, or they’re only focused on a performance-related bonus, the sales department’s dirty little secret is that their day is awash with lies. These lies may be to colleagues or emerge from the evasive tactics of prospects, but they are something every marketer should be aware of.
Wow. So lying is endemic. Wait. The author shifts the burden to the 20 somethings’ organization, not the individual:
It’s your organization’s responsibility to create a culture of honest communication. It is much easier to get repeat business than it is to land new accounts. Focus on the long term.
If you want to be encouraged in your sales and marketing expertise, you will not want to fail to miss it. Quite a listicle. I have only highlighted one modest tip.
Stephen E Arnold, November 16, 2014
November 14, 2014
I received at my Yahoo email account an email from IDC. That’s the outfit that published content with my name on Amazon’s book store without my permission. Yep, that IDC. Here’s what I received on November 14, 2014:
The key line is “Magic Quadrant: Key Players in the WCM Market.” I clicked that link and was redirected to this page:
So what we have is IDC, employer of the “expert” Dave Schubmehl, pointing to Gartner and one of its fascinating, mostly marketing oriented Magic Quadrants. When I clicked the “Get this now” button, here’s what appeared:
If this url will not resolve, contact the mid tier consultants. Perhaps one of the “experts” will provide you access.
This is one of those tony consultant reports. I recall reading that no one—and I mean no one—is supposed to reproduce, republish, recycle, or reinvent this quadrant thing. After all, it includes really clear information asserting that some companies are niche players, some challengers, some visionaries, and some leaders.
I assume it is really good to be a visionary. In this sort of odd ball collection of vendors, HP and IBM are leaders in content management. Well, that does not square with my perception of either company. IBM is like a waif, wandering from business explanation to Watson application in an almost random way. HP is busy splitting itself in two, explaining to various legal eagles why its purchase of Autonomy has become a two year old’s finger painting, not a work of financial art, and jumping back into mobiles and tablets as it tries to become a leader in cloud computing.
Let’s set aside the arbitrary classification of companies. I have explained numerous times that the original BCG matrix was based on data. The Gartner matrix is based on secondary information, mostly from companies who have some type of relationship with magic.
My point is that IDC, a mid tier outfit, is promoting another mid tier outfit. Does one scratch the back of a stranger on the R train at 11 35 pm Saturday night? Nope, back scratching stakes me as a somewhat personal, connected relationship.
I am getting nervous thinking about this familiarity, particularly when some folks may accept the mid tier firm’s work as objective, independent, and unbiased. Perhaps I am wrong, but this coziness is an indication that marketing may be more important than information.
Stephen E Arnold, November 14, 2014
November 10, 2014
I try to avoid reading about marketing and MBAs. Sometimes I slip. For example, this morning I read about the trials and tribulations of “Pizza Hut Reboot: Food Chain To Reinvent Itself For The First Time.”
The write up explains that selling pizza is not easy—when you are part of YUM. Here’s a passage that I found laughable:
They plan to change everything from their topping options to the very logo. One major change includes the addition of 10 more crust flavor toppings. While garlic has always been the general standby, apparently you will now have more options than just removing the garlic if you want to. There will be new toppings as well, including salami and spinach, and more sauces available for the pie itself, such as barbecue and balsamic.
This sounds like the silliness search and content processing vendors foist on the wary prospects. Hey, the problem with pizza from Pizza Hut may be that the company is out of step with pizza eaters. There is a joint in Middletown, Kentucky that offers all you can eat pizza at lunch time for less than $8. That pulls in the hungry pizza cravers.
Almost as intriguing as a Fortune 100 company trying to get hip with pizza is the information in the article “What Do Chief Executives and Accordion Players Have in Common.”
This AdAge.com story includes this passage:
Expand and Contract. Repeat. Except When CEOs Hit a Sour Note, They Blame the Marketing
I like this analogy. The write up is about Hewlett Packard. One passage I highlighted before my trust Ricoh laser ran out of toner was:
“The question I get most often is, ‘What is H-P?’” said Meg Whitman recently and then added “It’s a communication problem.” Sure, blame the marketing people for not solving the company’s communication problem instead of blaming the management people for inflating the company into such a mess it can’t be communicated.
I don’t think marketing can do much to improve the four percent after tax net profit margin.
Perhaps Autonomy Systems as a Service (quite an acronym!) will generate an IBM Watson scale $10 billion payoff. These seems as likely as Pizza Hut crushing the upstarts like Hometown pizza or neutralizing the Peyton Manning love of Papa John’s pizza.
Stephen E Arnold, November 10, 2014
October 27, 2014
One of my two or three readers sent me a link to “The 10 Stuff Ups We All Make When Interpreting Research.” The article walks through some common weaknesses individuals make when “interpreting research.” I don’t agree with the “all” in the title.
This article arrived as I was reading a recent study about search. As an exercise on a surprisingly balmy Sunday afternoon in Kentucky, I jotted down the 10 “stuff ups” presented in the Interpreting Research article. Here they are in my words, paraphrased to sidestep plagiarism, copyright, and Google duplication finder issues:
- One study, not a series of studies. In short, an anomaly report.
- One person’s notion of what is significant may be irrelevant.
- Mixing up risk and the Statistics 101 notion of “number needed to treat” gets the cart before the horse.
- Trends may not be linear.
- Humans find what they want to find; that is, pre existing bias or cooking the study.
- Ignore the basics and layer cake the jargon.
- Numbers often require context. Context in the form of quotes in one on one interviews require numbers.
- Models and frameworks do not match reality; that is, a construct is not what is.
- Specific situations do matter.
- Inputs from colleagues may not identify certain study flaws.
To test the article’s premises, I I turned to a study sent to me by a persona named Alisa Lipzen. Its title is “The State of Knowledge Management: 2014. Growing role & Value of Unified Search in Customer Service.” (If the link does not work for you, you will have to contact either of the sponsors, the Technology Services Industry Association or Coveo, an enterprise search vendor based in Canada.) You may have to pay for the report. My copy was free. Let’s do a quick pass through the document to see if it avoids the “stuff ups.”
First, the scope of the report is broad:
1. Knowledge management. Although I write a regular column for KMWorld, I must admit that I am not able to define exactly what this concept means. Like many information access buzzwords, the shotgun marriage of “knowledge” and “management” glues together two abstractions. In most usages, knowledge management refers to figuring out what a person “knows” and making that information available to others in an organization. After all, when a person quits, having access to that person’s “knowledge” has a value. But “knowledge” is as difficult to nail down as “management.” I suppose one knows it when one encounters it.
2. Unified search. The second subject is “unified search.” This is the idea that a person can use a single system to locate information germane to a query from a single search box. Unified suggests that widely disparate types of information are presented in a useful manner. For me, the fact that Google, arguably the best resourced information access company, has been unable to deliver unified search. Note that Google calls its goal “universal search.” In the 1980s, Fulcrum Technologies (Ottawa, Canada) search offered a version of federated search. In 2014, Google requires that a user run a query across different silos of information; for example, if I require informatio0n about NGFW I have to run the query across Google’s Web index, Google scholarly articles, Google videos, Google books, Google blogs, and Google news. This is not very universal. Most “unified” search solutions are marketing razzle dazzle for financial, legal, technical, and other reasons. Therefore, organizations have to have different search systems.
3. Customer service. This is a popular bit of jargon. The meaning of customer service, for me, boils down to cost savings. Few companies have the appetite to pay for expensive humans to deal with the problems paying customers experience. Last week, I spent one hour on hold with an outfit called Wellcare. The insurance company’s automated system reassured me that my call was important. The call was never answered. What did I learn. Neither my call nor my status as a customer was important. Most information access systems applied to “customer service” are designed to drive the cost of support and service as low as possible.
“Get rid of these expensive humans,” says the MBA. “I want my annual bonus.”
I was not familiar with the TSIA. What is its mission? According the the group’s Web site:
TSIA is organized around six major service disciplines that address the major service businesses found in a typical technology company.
Each service discipline has its own membership community led by a seasoned research executive. Additionally, each service discipline has the following:
- Focused research agenda
- Dedicated research team
- Benchmark study
- Dedicated track at Technology Services World conferences
- Member Advisory Board
In addition, we have a research practice on Service Technology that spans across all service discipline focus areas.
My take is that TSIA is a marketing-oriented organization for its paying members.
Now let’s look at some of the the report’s key findings:
The people, process, and technology components of technology service knowledge management (KM) programs. This year’s survey examined core metrics and practices related to knowledge capture, sharing, and maintenance, as well as forward-looking elements such as video, crowd sourcing, and expertise management. KM is no longer just of interest to technical support and call centers. The survey was open to all TSIA disciplines, and 50% of the 400-plus responses were from groups other than support services, including 24% of responses from professional services organizations.
October 22, 2014
I read “HP Will Unveil new Computing Product Called Sprout Next Week.” I am not sure I understand a multi function device that combines a touch screen, an overhead projector, and a 3D scanner. Why? An important function is missing.’
Where is Autonomy Idol? It’s a multi billion dollar technology wonder. A “Powered by Idol” would be a nice marketing touch.
Shortly after the acquisition, I heard that HP wanted to embed Autonomy Idol in a range of devices. Well, after three years, why isn’t Idol included in Sprout?
I can envision the late night TV ad now. I want to see a touch screen, overhead projector, and 3D scanner promoted as the next American Idol.
Stephen E Arnold, October 22, 2014
October 21, 2014
I noted a link to a LucidWorks presentation in a tweet. I navigated to the presentation on Slideshare. The approach in the presentation was trendy. My approach to presentations is untrendy, so I am no judge.
I found one slide particularly suggestive of the company’s approach to marketing. On slide 20 I saw this:
I am not exactly certain what vowel the asterisk represents. The slides strikes me as possibly offensive. But I live in rural Kentucky. What do I know? I assume the message is clear.
Perhaps this type of marketing messaging is one of the reasons ElasticSearch appears to have more momentum in the commercialized open source search sector?
Here’s a representative ElasticSearch slide from “A Gentle Introduction to ElasticSearch.”
Which company’s presentation resonates with you? Cluelessness or clues?
Stephen E Arnold, October 22, 2014
October 21, 2014
I read a thought provoking post on the Xanalys blog. The write up is “Watson a Name?”
The article states:
long before IBM began using the name Watson for its artificially intelligent computer system – the system designed to play the TV game show Jeopardy – the name was used by Xanalys for its industry leading investigation management software.
The write up continues:
Xanalys’ Watson™ software was born out of Cambridge, England technology company Harlequin in the late 1980s. The programs in the Watson suite include Elementary Watson, Watson Mapping, Watson Pro, Watson PowerCase and Watson CaseCall. The foundation of the suite, though, was always Watson. Watson, a name still trademarked by Xanalys, is a powerful visual analysis tool for operational intelligence that enables investigators to rapidly import, track and then interpret data from a wide range of sources. Watson provides a powerful querying facility to support the effective analysis of that data that can actually identify links between contacts and reveal associations among activities that are not immediately apparent to an investigator or analyst.
Xanalys does not seem overly troubled by this “coincidence.” My thought is that IBM may have been somewhat casual in its branding of its search system. Another possibility is that IBM was just doing what large companies do.
For more information about Xanalys, navigate to www.xanalys.com.
Stephen E Arnold, October 21, 2014
October 19, 2014
I read “Panopto Recognized as a “Leader” in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Video Content Management.” I learned that Panopto is a “leader” in the mid tier consulting firm’s league table of enterprise video content management vendors.
According to the write up,
In use at Fortune 500 companies and leading academic institutions worldwide, Panopto is the only video platform that provides organizations with an integrated, off-the-shelf solution for video recording, live streaming, video management, and inside-video search. Within the enterprise, Panopto is being used to improve sales enablement, streamline employee onboarding, scale corporate training, and simplify the delivery of executive communications. Within universities, Panopto is the fastest-growing solution for flipping the classroom, capturing lectures, and streaming campus events.
For many years, I have pointed out that locating information in a large collection of videos remains a dicey proposition. Years ago I explored Exalead’s video search system. It worked, but it imposed hefty computational burdens on system resources. Perhaps that has changed under Dassault’s stewardship? I wonder if the Exalead system could be used to manage an organization’s video? I don’t know, and the company does not appear in the Gartner version of the Boston Consulting Group’s matrix.
Another possible omission is Autonomy’s line up of video management and findability tools. I recall seeing a demonstration of a system with the “powered by IDOL” label. Has Autonomy withdrawn from the field of video play?
In our ongoing investigation of Google technology, we learned that it is easy to use YouTube as a convenient, low cost video management system. But no Google in the BCG inspired matrix.
I don’t know too much about video management, but when I scanned the graphic available from this link, I noticed these companies’ absence?
The inclusion of some products/companies with which I was not familiar was interesting; for example, Perceptive Software (part of Lexmark and owner of ISYS test search). The separate entries and Kulu Valley and Qumu struck me as an anomaly. Qumu, I believe, owns Kulu. Does 1 + 1 = a super leader or is this an oversight or just a failure to update?
Congratulations to Panopto. But in the back of my mind there is a reason why some consultancies lag behind McKinsey, BCG, and the pre-break up Booz, Allen & Hamilton. Mentioning “mid tier” reminds me of IDC’s sale of my content on Amazon without my permission under the “expert” Dave Schubmehl’s name.
Stephen E Arnold, October 18, 2014
October 16, 2014
Google is just so darned friendly. The system knows exactly what users want. The GOOG offers helpful suggestions for just about everything.
Now how does Google work?
To answer this question, study “How Google Works.” This is a very sophisticated presentation that is so darned clever. The information is so darned relevant. Darn it. I wish every 60,000 person company controlling information access would explain itself in this way.
Here’s an example:
Isn’t this type of presentation darned magnificent? Why fool around with Google patent documents? Why waste time on Google technical papers like this one
Why waste time fooling around with trivial activities like this?
Oh, wow. This slide show is not about technology. The slide show wants to convince you to buy Eric Schmidt’s new book.
Isn’t that so darned clever? You can buy a copy from the company that is Google’s closest competitor, Amazon. Isn’t that a darned good way to do cooperative competition?
Stephen E Arnold, October 16, 2014
October 3, 2014
I read “MarkLogic Positioned as a Leader in NoSQL Document Databases Report by Independent Research Firm.” The research firm is the mid tier outfit Forrester Research Inc. Forrester creates “wave” reports. These are Forrester’s response to various grid, quadrants, and tables cranked out by Gartner, Ovum, Butler, Kelsey, and a life boat stuffed with consulting firm shakeout survivors. Dated October 2, 2014, the MarkLogic news release will be the first of a half dozen or more issued by companies in this “independent research firm’s” report. The mid tier analyses are crafted so that negatives are swathed in high density, low impact foam like the spray on insulation.
Like Heaven’s Gate’s media event, any publicity is good publicity. At least, that’s the public relations mantra. Look at IBM Watson and its BBQ sauce recipe with tamarind. I mention that innovation as frequently as possible.
Well, let me do my part for this report:
The write up asserts:
“MarkLogic offers the most mature and scalable NoSQL document database. Unlike other NoSQL document databases, MarkLogic has been offering a NoSQL solution for more than a decade,” stated Forrester in the report that evaluated select companies against 57 criteria. “MarkLogic has the most comprehensive data management features and functionality to store, process, and access any kind of structured and multi structured data.” Forrester’s evaluation of NoSQL document database vendors scored factors like performance, scalability, integration, security, high availability, workload management and form factor. MarkLogic was cited as a Leader in the evaluation, receiving its highest score in the go-to-market category.
Okay. The news release provides a link so the reader can get a copy of the “independent research firm’s” report. If you want to skip the original document and go to the registration form so you can download the “independent research firm’s” report, navigate to http://bit.ly/1oGQCvf. In my experience, some follow up by the “leader” MarkLogic may take place.
In my view, content marketing covers these “independent” reports. The idea makes clear that attention is required in order to kindle interest in a product or a service. Now MarkLogic is an Extensible Markup Language data management system. The company has been in business since 2003. The firm has ingested more than $70 million in venture funding. The firm has experienced the same type of revolving door for senior management that other ageing starts up experience; for example, Lucid Imagination (now Lucid Works, which I write as Lucid Works. Really?). MarkLogic, in order to meet stakeholders’ expectations, has to find a growth bull, get it in a corral, and covert the animal to high value revenue.
- Proprietary XML systems positioned as NoSQL alternatives have to find a way to convince a prospect that proprietary is a better value than open source. The impact of Hadoop, a variant of Google’s Big Table, is long in the tooth and faces some of its own value challenges.
- Companies like Oracle are providing some of its clients with the comfort of a proprietary system with compatibility with open source technology. Thus, some large companies may be reluctant to dismount one old nag and climb on another. IBM also does some anti open source marketing but that’s another story. For some insights, run a query for Watson on the Beyond Search index.
- The noise surrounding NoSQL is creating some confusion. This means that firms that are neither big or small have to find a way to make their size into a positive. Enter content marketing and reports that present a group of companies in a simplified table.
- Do the “independent” experts use the products included in a variant of the Boston Consulting Group’s matrix? You know: Install, optimize, customize, and utilize with their own brain, fingers, and eyeballs? My hunch is that none of this “real” experience stuff is germane to cranking out an “independent” report. Just my uninformed opinion, you understand.
If a company requires a NoSQL solution, how do those firms select vendors? Based on the research that IDC used to skip Dave Schubmehl to expert status, large companies are more likely to try open source for a new project. Smaller firms often look for brand name software in order to show investors that base technology has a brand name.
Forrester-type firms (Gartner, IDC, Ovum, etc.) generate “independent” reports to inflate the balloon. The French have a delightful verb for this: “se gonfler”. So, nous [MarkLogic] gonflons notre ballon. (If the translation is poor, blame Google, the inventor of Big Table more than a decade ago.)
Stephen E Arnold, October 3, 2014