by Andrew White | July 22, 2014 | 3 Comments
I saw an interesting article in last weeks US print edition of a The Economist (July 12-18, 2914). It was in the business section and called, “The antisocial networks“. The article looked at the backlash from non-information based businesses against the new crop of information based, or sharing economy, businesses. I am sure you have all heard the trouble Uber and Airbnb have caused with taxi unions or hotel owners, but now the actual intermediary of information that is not even selling the asset is coming under fire.
The article specifically looks at new applications like MoneyParking. The app is used by a user that is about to leave a car park spot in a busy location, such as San Francisco. I would use the app to advertise my intention to vacate a spot. I might charge for this information, perhaps $5 to $20- depending on the time do day. I am not selling the car park space- you still have to pay that to the council, county or agent that runs the asset. But I am making money on the availability of information. This is a fundamental characterization of the new normal, the new digital business.
Yet the ability to monetize information, separate to any physical asset it may relate too, is coming under fire. The argument is fallacious, in that the defenders claim the car park spot is a public asset and cannot therefore be “sold on”. It is anything but, since it can only be physically used in serial mode, and there is a cost to that use. After reading the article I was uplifted because I realized man’s ability to innovate, and make a buck, will always outstrip the elders ability to regulate. It’s just exasperating for those of us stuck in the middle. I’d much rather be the beneficiary of the innovation, rather than a blogger writing about the ministrations.
Category: Digital Business Digitlization Information Sharing Information Strategy Tags:
by Andrew White | July 18, 2014 | 4 Comments
Alternative title for this blog: Why Mobile is Dumbing Down Our High Tech Industry.
I have to admit it – I am an old PC gamer. I can still remember the first time I met a Cyber Demon (circa 1993).
Id Software’s original Doom PC game primarily led the formation of the first person shooter and more importantly the multi-player gaming phenomena. In those days you took your old 386 Intel PC to your mates house, plugged in the serial cable (SERSETUP.EXE was the executable), and spent 2 hours trying to get two PC’s to “talk”. Then you got the last 30 minutes of the evening to play Doom PVP before you had to go home. Seeing, for the first time, a real player represented in a PC game, was at the time amazing. Those days were awesome. I have to admit the first time you never actually see the Cyber Demon. You first hear him – his large hoofed feet getting closer, and then BLAM!
Doom was followed by Doom II, Heretic, Hexen, and more recently Doom III and my life started to rush by. The games where the best. They were all simply too absorbing. The skill of the developers and designers was most effective, more so than their competitors. Doom was, and is, a high-taction game. It is like flying a jet aircraft, whereas most other PC games in the same genre were more like working a washing machine (e.g. low-taction). This principle, this engagement UI that prioritized ease of use and self evident capability, led me to promote a concept as a supply chain software vendor some years ago, and as a vendor we developed what was at the time, the markets first ever “drag and drop” demand forecasting system. Our competitors at the time, Manugistics and i2 Technologies (SAP and Oracle were not even in the SCP market at the time) had nothing like it.
Doom – Play the part of a sergeant and kill monsters and other bad guys all you want. Copyright id Software
Source: The Good, The Bad, and the E-GU™, American Software, USA, Inc.,1996
But back to the main point of the log. A funny thing happened on the way to the Doom Forum. Looking back I now realize that every 2 or 3 years I would upgrade or replace my PC. I didn’t realize until about the third cycle but my PC upgrade/replacement purchase was tied to the release cycle of Id Software’s related products. In fact, to be precise, I ended up purchasing what was pretty much the largest, strongest, fastest, meatiest PC one could get at the time – each time – every time a new Doom or Doom-baby was launched! PC gaming software forced the PC hardware market to continually develop its capability (memory, disk but mostly graphical memory). The PC’s I had, looking back, were expensive – but they always played the latest Doom or Id Software related game easily. That is no mean feat, believe me. There is a lot of history here – even touching Microsoft and their attempts to get into PC gaming way back, with ActiveX….and later DCOM…
Business actually benefited from this innovation since PC”s suddenly became usable in the workplace, not least due to the ongoing innovation in the PC gaming industry. Anyway, my current PC is about 2 years old. Its liquid cooled. It has 6 cores. It is smoking fast. It is no longer needed to run Excel. It plays Doom III flawlessly. And Doom 4 is now coming…. I can’t wait.
But PC’s are NOT developing at quite the level or rate they used too. Yes, there are numerous FPS games that require high end cards and the like or mega-fast Internet access for MMO combat, but there is a new game afoot that is slowing down the PC development. The gaming developers and publishers are pandering to the mobile market. As they divert more and more money to that dumb platform, the money left to spend on leading edge technology is less and less. There are fewer game releases to the PC platform every year, and more to mobile. There are fewer reasons (i.e. dollars) to develop and innovate at the highest end of PC computing.
So here’s the bottom line: The great interest in developing games for the mobile platform is, I think, diverting some money from ongoing innovation at the highest end of PC gaming. This means less new technology that is breakthrough, and potentially less “trickle down innovation”, to business.
There is a corollary to this blog – where mobile gaming is creating new opportunity. Mobile gaming will never offer the same level of high-taction in terms of visual interaction, but it does create interesting network, even peer-to-peer formats. This is old technology that was hyped in years past, but is coming to the fore again. This is certainly exciting and I can’t wait for this to “trickle down” into enterprise software. I once thought that P2P computing would revolutionize enterprise software. I have a sneaking suspicion it may yet.
First Doom 4 Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQ6FUUS5l4M
Category: Id Software Innovation PC Gaming Peer to Peer (P2P) Computing Tags:
by Andrew White | July 18, 2014 | 2 Comments
The raging political hyperbole regarding tax “inversion” continues in the press. However in today’s US print edition of the Wall Street Journal the Chairman and CEO of Abbott Laboratories, Miles D. White, wrote an Opinion piece (see Ignoring the facts on corporate inversions) that nicely capture the facts regarding tax, and the salient points for why ‘tax reform’ that outlaws a perfectly legal practice today would just make the US even less competitive.
Mr. White points out that today a firm that moves its headquarters to a foreign country does not change either its tax rates at home or abroad, nor does it changes its current tax liabilities. It simply means that the tax liability for foreign earning going forward will no longer be subject to double taxation. The US is one of a few counties that tax all income for US firms, regardless of where it is earned.
Why do I purchase costly items in the county next door, and not in my local county? Because it has a lower sales tax. Am I less patriotic for doing so? Humbug.
My recent blogs on this topic: More on US Treasury Secretary Exchanging Economic Policy for Political Control.
Category: Economic Growth Economy Political Tags:
by Andrew White | July 17, 2014 | 3 Comments
I love my job. After working in the real world (as a user of applications in the business, never actually in IT), I get to talk with hundreds of firms every year and I get to see, first hand, how our collective businesses are evolving. It is really, really exciting. One area of ongoing innovation that I am continually amazed with concerns the role of “information steward”. When I was a business user of applications this role never actually existed, though the term “information governance” or “data governance” was part of some early literature. Such roles were not part of day to day language on the business side. We might have talked about “data entry” – on a bad day!
Today the need for such roles is almost, and likely soon to become, critical. Complex organizations that seek agility, nimbleness, and frameworks in which to exploit information for advantage, won’t achieve their goals without effective exploitation of the role and work of stewardship by the business, in the business, for the business. However, we all are still learning what this role is, and what work is involved. As we analysts work through a range of Vendor Briefings in support of research leading up to our Master Data Management Magic Quadrants, it is clear that vendors do not yet understand this. I can’t fault them entirely – each vendor only sees one small segment of the wider market; and each vendor is motivated to meet only its established customer needs, not articulate what the prospects don’t yet know they need. Not many prospects will budget for tomorrow’s unknown need – only for known requirements – however short term focused they might be. We get to see many more issues, and we get paid to think of the ideal, future state.
So here is a quick and simple way to determine if your vendor understands the work of information stewardship.
In many organizations there are customer and/or consumer data that needs to be “matched and merged” and/or product/service data that needs to on-boarded to corporate systems to support new product introduction. the work involved in entering data and processing match/merge work is NOT part of Information Stewardship. It is part of day to day work. Such work should happen ordinarily without any fuss. An Information Steward will focus on the match and merge tasks and the product on boarding work that FAILS or breaks down, or has issues. This is a key point that is not recognized widely in the market.
I would use this and compare it to your organizations understanding of the work of Information Stewardship – and also hold it up against your vendor’s offering. Most vendors will then be exposed – they use the term “steward” loosely and even license their software to you for the pleasure, even though it is not really supporting the proper work. Go for it.
Category: Data Stewardship Digital Information Strategy Information Steward Information Stewardship Tags:
by Andrew White | July 17, 2014 | 3 Comments
My college, Hanns Koehler-Kruener, is leading a crowdsourcing effort to collect ideas on how you, real users, imagine your workplace may change with the advent, emergence, and ongoing adaptation, with digitlization. I don’t want to influence you more than I need too – so head over to this survey and speak your voice. We will collect all the ideas and publish an eBook summarusing the data and our analysis.
Share your vision of the future #digital #workplace… and contribute to a new #Gartner research project! surveymonkey.com/s/JKLL6ZV #socbiz @crozwell @hannskk
Category: Crowdsourcing Digital Economy Digital Workplace Digitlization Tags:
by Andrew White | July 17, 2014 | 4 Comments
I blogged yesterday on the amazing statement by the US Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew, that firms that sought to reduce their taxes were unpatriotic. I noted in today’s US print edition of the Wall Street Journal an Opinion piece along the exact same lines. The article is called, “”Inverted Thinking on Corporate Taxes“. The nub of the message, nicely captured in the piece from Michael Grove, a professor at Columbia Law School and ex-tax-policy official to George Bush, is this:
To ask, “How do we stop American companies from leaving for more favorable tax jurisdictions?” is asking the wrong question. The right question is “How do we make the United States a more favorable location for investment, jobs, headquarters, and research and development activities?” That will require genuine tax reform.”
Category: Economic Growth Economy Politics Tags:
by Andrew White | July 16, 2014 | 7 Comments
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew suggests that reducing taxes is unpatriotic. Really! Check this CNBC story: Jack Lew pushes Congress to Crack down on tax “inversions”. Why does Congress manage itself better? They are the unpatriotic people in the conversation. Really, the fact that this story is even a story is almost breathtaking. Has it come to this?
The whole tax debate is a complete mess. And little amount of tinkering will fix it. Rather than tackle the main issue, and revamping the entire system, we now have political spats about what you should do as an independent person and organization. The state needs to get out of the way, and just ensure a fair playing field. If this means less tax, more competition, more growth, then so be it. That is what made the US the largest, strongest and greatest nation.
Category: Economic Growth Economy Political Tags:
by Andrew White | July 16, 2014 | 3 Comments
My colleagues Bill O’Kane, Saul Judah and myself are in the middle of the briefing cycle in support of our wider research gathering process supporting out coverage of Master Data Management (MDM). The result will be the publication of two MQ’s covering the more notable and larger segments of the market- MDM of customer data and MDM of product data.
Saul had a good idea this week. He suggested we blog and share with you our perspectives on the briefings we took from the vendors. So look out for those comments in the next week or so. It should be interesting. Watch out for “Bambi-vendors” (too nice, or blinded by market hype) and “death-by-PowerPoint” offenders. Though in truth we won’t likely expose the actual names….just the stories.
Category: Magic Quadrant Master Data Management MDM Tags:
by Andrew White | July 16, 2014 | Submit a Comment
In today’s US print edition of the Wall Street Journal I saw two interesting articles:
Opinion: The Hard Numbers on Social Security. The opinion piece argues well that the cap on taxable earnings should be raised and in so doing it would help fund part of the unfunded Social Security pool.
Medicare’s Financial Picture Improves. This piece reports on data from the CBO that suggests that Medicare does not run out of money as soon previously thought.
The first article I thought was interesting. Mathematically the idea is sound, but the claim would cause major issues with the economy. The result is that high earners would see significant tax increases. Thus those that have money that spend it, would have less of it to spend. The lower earners would not see much change in tax, thus the net change to spend would be low to zero. This clearly won’t work. So then the fall back is this: the actual tax structure is not effective. We have to fix the gaps in social security, but we should not do a band aid – we need a new tax structure.
The second article seems like good news, and as the article suggests, it could be that lawmakers take their collective foot of the gas needed to change since it looks like good news. The bad news is that it still runs out of money, sometime around 2025. The point is that for many years the costs far exceed supply. So the “run out” date is not the issue; the fact that it is losing money is the point.
If only lawmakers had empathy. They need to take the position of the CEO of the economy as much as they are (or should be) the CEO of their household. They are losing money – they need to fix the situation before they go broke. I simply do not accept that they cannot understand this point. They seem mostly to love in an ivory tower and take the position that this is someone else’s problem. I mean, just look at the Post Office. I blogged on this in the past: See How not to run a business? Post Office sees gain in lost weekend. The Post Office is losing billions. If you were the CEO, and the CFO walked into your office, and said “hey Joe, we are losing like millions a day!” what would you do? I’d get out of my comfy chair and go make things happen. To think that lawmakers ALLOW such profligate behavior to continue is just maddening.
This is what makes me think that the US has lots it’s “mojo”. This whole point of running one’s household profitably has been lost by our “leaders”. In fact it is worse than this. If you look at CNBCs’ Rick Santelli’ recent rant (June 14, on Fed, easy money and markets), you will get the point that we actually live in a fairly well controlled economy. The Fed actually seeks to manage the economy with explicit devices and triggers whereas in the past, at its formation, it was meant only to nudge the economy here and there when excesses formed or major issues formed. The “economy” used to be what you and I did for a living. Now it’s what the government does and wants, and if what we do get’s in the way, they will regulate it out of the way. To be fair, this is a global phenomenon so not a US only disease. But only the US has the size and capability to make a change that matters. Will we ever progress beyond this mess?
Category: Economic Growth Economy Tags:
by Andrew White | July 15, 2014 | 3 Comments
Unhappy Union- How the euro crisis – and Europe – can be fixed, John Peet and Anton La Guardia, The Economist/Profile Books, 2014. Two current editors of the Economist newspaper pull together a number of stories, articles, and analysis covering a short history of the euro, the EU, and the recent European currency crisis. This is a short, concise book well written and nicely assembled. After a quick review for how and why the EU was formed, a methodical and chronological review of the crisis was explained. The underlying issues (trade imbalance between north/creditor and south/debtor nations) and the national and political strains duking it out for the right to not resolve it, are nicely explored. The many weaknesses of the EU project are laid bare; over heavy political structures at odds with local government demands; ineffective shared risk taking; onerous single interest rate incompatible with an economic region built with a national funding model; the ongoing challenges (southern debtor nations are now more in debt; euro survival has lessened need for change) are exposed. Proposals are made to address the main issues, though there seems little effort on behalf of the incumbents to act. Alexander Hamilton comes out on top. Maybe Europe needs a little civil war? For a single volume history of the euro crisis and summary of EU political structures and their failings, read no further. Highly recommended 9 out of 10.
The Campaigns of Alexander, edited by James Romm, Pantheon, 2010. My second book for the beach this year was an historical treat. I love military history, and you can’t really go wrong with this book. This is in fact an edited version of a new translation of the writings of Arrian, better known as Lucius Flavius Arrianus. Adrian’s account is itself an amalgam of histories from other histories, including some that were first hand (e.g. Ptolemy). The hardback is beautifully produced with maps and military combat diagrams, focusing on the tactical battle progression ad well as more strategic issues such as integrating Greek and Macedonian political structures into Persia. It is hard to imagine such an Empire as Alexander’s, but empire their was. His exploits spanning most of the then known world are mind blowing. My belief is that his success was triggered by his fathers’ innovations with the phalanx that projected a much longer spear over the shoulders of the soldiers. This dramatically improved combat offensiveness, though reducing the now less needed defensive capability. As the army grew in size through consolidation of enemy states, Alexander expanded his armies capabilities. He did not replace many regional leaders with his own- he kept defeated leaders in their place, with sworn allegiance, though with assigned Macedonians managing finances and otherwise keeping a watchful eye. The book explores all e major battles for which Alexander is known, as well as many city sieges and travels. A very good beach book. Recommended 8 out of 10.
Category: Book Review Tags: