Tech vendors are killing the keynote

I go to a lot of tech conferences a year. Some would argue too many. As a result, I go to a lot of keynote speeches in a drab convention centre or hotel ballroom. As an analyst, we usually get front row seating. We appreciate this, but we then get close to the train wreck that increasingly hitting the vendor keynotes.

Google Next 17 – Ran about an hour late and almost all presenters had to use an Autocue they were that passionate about the topic

IBM Interconnect – Three customers, average age of the firms, 119 years, Bank – Check, Telco – Check, Tax Agent – Hold my seat, I am so excited.

AWS Summit  Australia – Five White Middle Aged Men, and not enough respect for the audience to even localise a local weather application to Sydney, we just got Seattle and Fahrenheit

Any Product Firm – CEO’s going straight to the product and miss the outcome and client benefit, using a demo that inevitably fails.

Oracle Open World – Mark Hurd – “Why does everyone look bored.” I will let you decide that one.

Keynotes must improve. This is the vendor’s time in the sun. Why they continue to not learn from their previous mistakes is beyond me. They need to know the audience, respect the audience and leave the audience wanting more. No-one does it anymore, but the vendor that does crack it will benefit and engage the audience. Use it or lose it. 

If you require further information, please contact Phil Hassey, CEO of capioIT. capioIT is an advisory firm focused on helping organisations to understand emerging technology as the world becomes Digital. Phil may be contacted easily in the digital and real world.

phil@capioit.com

+61422231793

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ANZ is the Guide for Where DXC Technology Needs to Go

In early April 2017, DXC Technology launched. Many were asking; Who is DXC Technology? It is simply the combination of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Services and CSC, by way of EDS, UXC, Compaq and others, following the merger announced in 2016. Simple, no baggage of complexity, history and in recent years, unfulfilled potential.

Perhaps not. For those employees who made it through all the years of trauma, condition cuts, layoffs and general mayhem, it must be sweet relief to have the past behind them.

The reality is that DXC Technologies must put the past behind them incredibly quickly. No Red/Blue/EDS battles that hamstrung HP Enterprise Services. No talking about where individuals were, it has to be all about the future of the organisation and creating the momentum for it to have any chance of leading the future IT services market.

The new business will have global revenue of US$25B; this puts it behind Accenture, who has a trailing 12-month revenue of US$34B. That fact alone is a stunning comparison of the ongoing success that Accenture has provided shareholders vs. the components of DXC Technology. Accenture revenue is significantly larger than the combined CSC, HP Services (removing Technology Services, which is part of the new HPE), and EDS in 2017. Accenture used to be in each firm’s rear view mirror. No longer.

What is more stunning is the fact that EDS alone had revenues of US$22.1B in 2007 before the acquisition by HP. The decline in particular at the legacy EDS business has been dramatic, and frankly sad, acknowledging the number of employees who lost their jobs resulting from the lack of leadership, understanding, and capability of HP leadership, led by Mark Hurd, towards EDS and services. This was exacerbated by the CEO’s and boards that followed him.

Just a little more of the past to explain the future. DXC Technology has taken the structure of CSC before it from a geographic perspective. Asia-Pacific is broken into two separate entities, Asia and ANZ. The split reflects the traditional strength of CSC and legacy EDS/HPE, in the ANZ region. It also reflects that the market down under is different from most of Asia, although this is only a secondary consideration, as no Asia Pacific market is uniform in requirements, outcomes or capabilities.

UXC is the key reason as to why Australia is so important for DXC Technology? UXC was the largest Australian owned IT Services provider before acquisition by CSC in October 2015 – for capioIT’s analysis of that transaction, please see – https://capioit.wordpress.com/2015/10/07/csc-acquires-uxc-boosts-capabilities-in-australia/. More than just an acquisition, UXC provides insight into what the future for DXC needs to be, and how to get there. DXC in the current form is well set for infrastructure integration, management and consulting, particularly with AWS and Azure partnerships aligned with Private Cloud capabilities.

By contrast, it is relatively light in capacity, resources, and revenue in the application space, both in legacy apps such as Microsoft, SAP, and Oracle as well as applications such as Salesforce, and organisational analytics requirements. This is where UXC provides the roadmap. It has a strong capability, resources, and revenue in the Oracle, SAP and Microsoft ecosystems. In fact, this is the strength. Furthermore, it has valuable resources and capability in the Big Data space. This is where the broader DXC Technology business must evolve once it beds down the merger of the two parent entities.

Another key advantage is that it will enable DXC Technology to have deeper organisational relationships. IT services vendors do not win with only having relationships with the IT Director. It needs to develop business relationships outside of IT, and relationships that create business measurable outcomes, not just SLA’s.

The importance of UXC for the ANZ business is further underscored due to the fact that it ensures that DXC Technology is the largest IT Services provider in the Australian and New Zealand market. 

For DXC Technology to replicate the Australian experience, it will need to undertake further acquisitions. As the application services market struggles with the impact of the shift to automation, immigration tightening, and other growth-related issues, finding suitable acquisition targets should not be that difficult for DXC Technology. The likes of CapGemini, Infosys, and Cognizant have to be on the radar at some stage, if course,  the price is Ok.

Capture Point
DXC Technology is finally here. It will be a relief for employees of all the merger entities to get this out of the way and have a refresh. To fulfill the potential and meet more market challenges the new entity needs to look to the ANZ business to get an understanding of how the business must evolve. This is the what the future has to look like if it wants to answer enterprise issues for technology.

 

If you require further information, please contact Phil Hassey, CEO of capioIT. capioIT is an advisory firm focused on helping organisations to understand emerging technology as the world becomes Digital. Phil may be contacted easily in the digital and real world.

phil@capioit.com

+61422231793

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Google Maps gets Gas

For anyone interested in constant and regular innovation, Google Maps is always a great place to start. For those who are focused on the importance of Location Intelligence, it is, of course, a critical source of insight as well as innovation.

Google Maps is always identifying and leveraging new sources of information aka data for its platform. At the same time, an increasing number of partners are leveraging API’s to maximise this innovation and customer value.

One of the most recent innovations, accidentally found when organising logistics for an upcoming New York car rental drop off, is that Google now provides gas station pricing on the desktop, mobile and tablet version of Google Maps. It is a simple touch, but again one that gives innovation to the consumer. We consumers can instantly identify the cheapest fuel that meets our location requirements, i.e., where the car is, or needs to be.

The two photos from desktop and mobile provide the visual insight into the innovation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It also creates competitive tension for the Gas/Petrol station vendors. They know their competitive pricing, and so do the customers. The vendors, therefore, must beat or meet with value added services, the pricing if they are to maximise their business for their well-informed customers. Of course, there have been many apps available to provide this fuel information in the past, and they will still have a role, but the convenience of having this information embedded into Google Maps and the inevitable search is what sets the innovation of Google Maps a part. It is fast, information rich and meets customer requirements, even if the customer does not always even know it yet.

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The Windows Release Acceleration that explains Microsoft transformation.

 

Microsoft has leapt from a disrupted firm to a disruptor in the digital environment. While legacy peers and competitors alike such as Cisco, Oracle, IBM, and HP have hit shallow water, Microsoft has been able to meet some of the fundamental challenges offered by AWS, Salesforce, et al. in the new digital environment. Arguably only Adobe, albeit at a smaller scale, has made such a shift from legacy to disruptor.

This transformation has occurred across most of the firm’s products and services. While CEO Satya Nadella has rightly been given executive credit, some of the changes and disruptions were set in place before his leadership, in the time of Steve Ballmer.

It is important not to underestimate the depth of transformation that still requires investment from Microsoft. That is no surprise. The current and future state environment for every organisation is a never-ending cycle of innovation and change. Standing still is not an option. 

Microsoft still faces fundamental challenges regardless of the status of individual products and services as a legacy or disruptive capability. AWS is, and will continue to a massive thorn, particularly for Azure, and while the uptake of Office 365 has been very high, Google won’t disappear. AI capabilities lag some in the market despite the inherent natural advantages that Microsoft enjoys.

Arguably the largest issue faced by Microsoft globally and in the major markets is the slowness of IT departments to shift towards where Microsoft is now operating and to develop business outcomes as the centrepiece of engagement.  Microsoft also has the urgent and again, ongoing aligned need to completely redefine the partner environment. The majority of long-term partners for Microsoft will not make the shift to a cloud, consumption and digital model. Microsoft needs new partners, to invest in those that are critical for it moving forward and as brutal as it reflects, discard those that cannot transform at speed required.

One of the most visual manifestations of the transformation of Microsoft has been the Windows operating system release cycles. The timeline compression and the increase in engagement with users is a significant representation of all that is right about cloud and digital transformation. By the same token, the history sums up all that was wrong.

The following chart presented at the Australian 2016 Microsoft Inspire event by Microsoft highlights the shift that has occurred within Microsoft in the development of the OS. 

screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-10-28-47-am

Windows 7 had taken 800 development days before anyone saw it. Yes, nearly 2.5 years. Two public previews were made available and the release of the system took three years. Sure, it had to replace Vista, but worse was to come. Window 8 took even longer. It took over three years of development time, but on the bright side, there were three public previews. This was, and still is typical behavior of legacy IT. It simply doesn’t understand their customers and cannot have the speed and flexibility that is essential.

Clearly, the world changed for Microsoft in the lead up to Windows 10. Development times shrunk dramatically to just over 400 days, but the real shift was the customer centricity. Instead of three public review opportunities, Microsoft provided 15 PC based previews and aligning with the shift to mobility, seven mobile based opportunities. By the time Windows 10 updates were in development, it had become and remains a never ending beta testing cycle with code hitting early adopters and developers seemingly as soon as it is created.

Capture Point

Microsoft OS processes document a true transformation that is well overdue. Regardless of the process, it is what every organization needs to do on their shift to becoming flexible, customer centric and digital. Microsoft learnt very slowly and allowed many others to flourish, but it is now starting to get the benefits across the organization of this shift. Customers win, so Microsoft wins. Simple.

 

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Top Five Takeaways from AWS Reinvent 2016

 

 

The AWS Reinvent event for 2016 is winding up. This year there was 32,000 attendees. The clear majority were developers focused on the platform. Here are my five quick takeaways from the event. (I will have more detailed insight, at a later date)

  • AWS is a machine. Revenue is now over $13B and it is till growing at over 50% annually. By next year’s event, it will most likely be a $20B revenue vendor. another revolution for the industry. Naturally, this drives innovation through the ecosystem from ISV startups to the largest banks. Take a week off, and AWS has come up with on average 21 new functions or services. Nothing can match this.
  • The innovation AWS creates out is unprecedented. 1,000 new services/functions in a year –  yet another revolution for the industry. This drives innovation through the ecosystem from ISV startups to the largest banks. Take a week off, and AWS has come up with on average 21 new functions or services. No-one can match this regardless of how you measure it.
  • Oracle and Larry Ellison lined up AWS at OOW, and AWS responded in kind at Reinvent. Despite the talk benefits shifting Oracle Database clients to AWS is going require more than just fundamental cost savings. The organisational change is immense. Breaking this maybe the biggest challenge for AWS in the future.
  • Whilst increasing organisations are shifting fully to IaaS, the people and change management aspects of the transformation are underinvested. More investment must be made in the people aspect of disruption by AWS, partners and of course the customer to ensure that the transition and investment works.
  • When the analysts were first told about “Snow Mobile” I thought it was a fun joke being played on us. The reality is much more than that and highlights the innovation of AWS, and with a 100 Petabyte capacity, the volume that organisations drive through the AWS ecosystem. Next year expect a 200 Petabyte truck B-Double.

 

As mentioned, more thoughts will follow. Please contact me if you require more detail or have any comments or suggestions.

If you require further information, please contact Phil Hassey, Founder capioIT. capioIT is an advisory firm focused on helping organisations to understand emerging technology as the world becomes Digital. Phil may be contacted by email below,

phil@capioit.com

 

 

 

 

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Too many tech decision makers spoil the broth

 

Recent and ongoing discussions with industry stakeholders confirm to capioIT that the increasing complexity of technology procurement and decision-making is reaching a boiling point. capioIT estimates that major technology investment decisions now require an average of six to seven individual decision makers to agree to confirm a decision. This creates both a bottleneck to slow the decision process and quality, as well as difficulties in managing different business requirements and perspectives from the technology procurement.

The number of executives required to make a decision, let alone influence one, has increased steadily in recent years. Most will recall a “simpler” time when the number of decision makers, was two or three, and in some cases just the one. The shift to more decision makers is not all bad. Of course, a single decision maker is not the perfect outcome for many reasons, from an understanding of the depth of business, technology and outcome knowledge through to corruption risk. This is why government agencies and large enterprises avoided the single point of decision, not just for procurement requirements, but amongst other business processes such as recruitment.

It is important to accept that this increase in decision maker requirements is a natural outcome of technology increasingly embedded in a greater breadth and depth of business processes, and as a result decision makers. Business processes such as HR and Marketing now have a material interest in the investment and outcomes of technology for their functions. This is of course what an informed and integrated technology solution requires, but the increased complexity can have the downside of making agreed and unanimous decisions impossible.

Examples span the technology budget. Payroll was once a relatively simple, albeit critical business function, (for the average employee, it is often the most critical, we all prefer to be paid painlessly). In 2016, the decision is increasingly complex. The IT department, Legal, HR and finance are all critical inputs to the decision. In some cases, employee scheduling is a separate function with requirements, as is the compliance department. These multiple stakeholder requirements lead to clashes over contingencies, outcomes and vendor selection.

It leads to delayed decision making, and while the need for compromise is a positive to maximise results, it cannot be at the expense of concrete decision-making. Time to decision creates a vicious circle. The lack of a unanimous decision can have a negative impact, especially where implementation may go wrong, and the finger pointing begins.

It also makes the vendor’s life more difficult. Not everyone will have a problem with this, but it will add to the cost of sale and potentially the margin of the business. Identifying the stakeholders and decision makers becomes more difficult.

The worst thing to be for a client of a technology vendor is a loss-making contract. That is when short cuts are made and investment is limited.

Focus Point
The good news. Technology is embedded in more businesses, and as a result, more stakeholders are engaged. The downside. Decisions slow down due to the increased complication. Organisations need to decide the difference between which resources are involved in influencing a decision and which resources are actual decision makers, and “check signers”.

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PAST is the future for the Contact Centre

 

In the late 1990’s when I first worked in contact centres, the most cutting edge innovation was the now redundant fax machine. Getting call centre agents and managers of an Australian insurance company in Australia to consider leveraging the humble fax was hard enough. Then having the discussion identifying the need for email based communications with, and from, clients was found to be just too radical. It was 1999. The insurance firm in question perhaps unsurprisingly has had near death experiences, although it has managed to survive.

In 2000 when I first provided analyst and consulting services on the call centre BPO market, it was all about offshore outsourcing. The shift from 1999 was proof even a stagnant market can move quickly if the fundamentals are disruptive. In 2000 the structural elements for call centres were focused on cost. Again, not everyone could embrace the technology and relate to the potential offered. Both vendors and internal service providers fell to disarray as they were unable to shift their capability and cost structure to take advantage of offshore outsourcing.

Fast forward to 2016. While a combination of offshore/nearshore/homeshore is the dominant service delivery model, the supply and demand side of the market is constantly evolving.

Enterprises globally are struggling to service their customers and prospects in a multi-channel environment. The expectation of service is measured against their best experience regardless of whether that is a bank, retailer, or any service provider. Online support is critical to ensure purchase or to manage post-purchase support. Deployment of Bots and online chat are standard. Cognitive computing tools are close to becoming mandatory to drive the customer experience, reduce costs and enable self-service for the customer. Meanwhile, “human” agents still matter, security of data, identity and process, is non-negotiable and technology is critical for the customer experience centre operator.

As a result of this capioIT believes that PAST is the future for the contact centre. PAST is the four underlying investments essential to optimize the contact center and to optimize customer outcomes.

 

People – The contact centre team is still the front line for the client. It is critical that the skills of the people on the forefront of the customer experience gain investment, training, and support. The contact centre is evolving, but it will remain a genuine career option for many and needs to be invested in with this in mind.

 

Analytics – Investment in analytics is undoubtedly critical for the management of the contact centre ecosystem. This mission critical status applies to both the management of the contact details, and subsequent optimization, i.e., customer contact method preferences, as well as for agent management. There is no excuse for contact centre providers not to have undertaken critical investments in predictive analytics, again across the board. As highlighted earlier, this investment also has to parlay into cognitive and Augmented Intelligence solutions.

 

Security – The security risk for the contact centre is as real for any other site that captures, stores and manages customer data. Threats exist inside the contact centre, as well as outside. Many contact centres have lurkers outside that want to coerce employees into giving access to classified information. At the same time, hackers are trying to gather customer information such as banking records. It is a constant battle. Investment to overcome this needs to look at the entire ecosystem of security. There is no point just having a focus on one facet.

 

Technology – As with other industries, technology is the core business process and investment priority that underpins all investment in contact centre environments. This investment is aligned with the People, Analytics and Security components highlighted above as well as for all other aspects. Without technology, at the centerpiece, it is unrealistic to be able to compete in the marketplace for new opportunities or to service existing clients. Technology will clearly restructure the roles and requirements from a human capital perspective in the contact centre. This cannot be positioned as a threat, rather as with all technology the opportunity to build and drive improved customer outcomes.

Focus Point

The contact centre market has continued to evolve over the last 20 years. It is no longer a function that can be simply outsourced or left to hang on the edge of the enterprise. Successful multi-channel centres can provide a differentiation point. This differentiation requires that investment is made in the PAST (People, Analytics, Security, Technology) to enable the future for the provider and its clients.

 

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