Here in the IT industry, we love our technology trends and clichés. Here are the ones we love to hate the most.
The magic powers of BYOD. The vision: Just let our employees bring in their own personal smartphones and tablets to work. IT doesn't have to pay for or support the devices. High fives for everybody!
The reality: Users are still going to come to IT for help when they can't do their jobs. They'll want to access business information on their personal devices, bringing security risks and regulatory exposure. And instead of supporting a small number of approved corporate devices, IT ends up supporting every type of device an employee might have found under his Festivus pole.
It's not such a sweet deal for employees either -- they have to pay for the devices that their employers previously provided for them, and their family photos and personal media start looking like company property.
BYOD has benefits. Employees enjoy the freedom to choose their own technology, and they don't like having to carry two devices, one for work and one personal use. But there are still many practical issues to be worked out.
The miraculous cloud. People used to be warned about building castles in the clouds. Now, companies build datacenters there instead.
The promised benefit of the cloud looks a lot like BYOD: Instead of having to manage company servers, datacenters, and data, just sign a contract with the cloud vendor and your problems are solved. Can we try that high five thing again?
The reality is that the cloud brings its own problems. IT needs to be sure that the data in the cloud is secure and available to users when they need it. The cloud really does have many benefits; it's great to have a highly elastic infrastructure, to be able to easily scale to meet business needs, and to have specialists overseeing data and applications. But cloud brings problems, too, and requires specialized IT skills. It even requires insurance.
The importance of social media listening. Hundreds of millions of people use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Much of that conversation involves products and services. Companies that still don't understand the value of participating in those conversations deserve the financial disasters that await them.
Gamification takes the premise that people like games, but they hate their jobs, so if you make their business software more like a game, people will love their jobs.
There's a kernel of truth here. Games often involve activity that looks a lot like work, such as planning and calculating benefits and risks. Gamers talk about "grinding" to "level up," which certainly sounds a lot like working diligently at a tedious job to earn a promotion. We've even heard of World of Warcraft guilds that hold meetings.
Some jobs, like working on a help-desk, require a lot of training but are also tedious, making turnover an expensive proposition. If you can make the job a little more fun, and reduce turnover by a little bit, the business benefits can be significant.
But that's not what gamification means to software vendors. They just add stupid badges to the same stupid software people have always used to do their jobs. If your job is scrubbing public lavatories, getting a badge for it doesn't make it nicer.
The threat of showrooming. Showrooming isn't a threat. The customer is in your store. She is holding the product in her hands. She wants to buy it. If you can't convince her to buy the product now, rather than go home, go online, find the product, order it, and wait for it to be delivered, you don't deserve to make that sale.
The magic ingredient that will save retail is customer service and salesmanship. These are dying arts for American retailers, which would rather hire surly teenagers and pay them minimum wage (which is why they're surly) rather than invest in good salespeople. If you want to learn how to beat showrooming, go to the nearest retirement home and find someone who worked in sales in the 1950s; they can tell you what customer service used to be about.
Also, follow the example of companies like Best Buy and Nordstrom, which are working to make online and retail work together.
@Mitch, that's true and I agree. Perhaps there can be a cross-roads in which interactive digital signage and automated check out improves and customers aren't left unsatisfied. This could be a benefit over online, and it would stream a lot for the brick and mortar shops.
nathanwosnack - If a brick-and-mortar retailer doesn't have enough staff to serve its customers and provide a human touch, that store doesn't deserve to be in business. Because human contact is one of the few major advantages that brick-and-mortar has over online.
But I do almost all my shopping online nowadays. I was in a store a couple of weeks ago (picking up cough syrup for my ailing wife), but the last time before that was months.
@Mitch Wagner, yes it seems so doesn't it. Or VC's investing in the same types of companies who are all hype, no filling. Besides SaaS / IaaS type companies, and a few mobile solutions companies, they're all companies run by early 20s kids with a dumb app. I mean, seriously? Come on.
@MitchWagner, indeed. And with news of confidential Facebook messages accidentally being broadcasted on people's walls and all the user data being leaked from apps, I assume nothing is private anymore and probably hasn't been that way for a decade.
Hi Paul, Happy New Year to you too! Sorry for the late response. Anyway, I think that many companies have tried social media to some degree. Many (I don't know about "most" - I suppose I'd have to check some corporate research sites) have at least utilized Facebook and Twitter to some agree. Whether or not they've successfully "SEO'd" is debatable. Most SEO companies will probably nitpick and find something wrong with your strategy, when then again who really trusts marketing companies anyway?
The ThinkerNet does not reflect the views of TechWeb. The ThinkerNet is an informal means of communication to members and visitors of the Internet Evolution site. Individual authors are chosen by Internet Evolution to blog. Neither Internet Evolution nor TechWeb assume responsibility for comments, claims, or opinions made by authors and ThinkerNet bloggers. They are no substitute for your own research and should not be relied upon for trading or any other purpose.
Neal Stephenson is best known as the author of science fiction novels such as SnowCrash and Anathem. But he does other things as well. Among them: He's assembled a team of scientists and engineers to figure out how to build a 20-kilometer-tall tower to use as a platform for launching rockets into space.
"Social Enterprise" is an increasingly trendy term, and Salesforce.com has been leading the way. At its Dreamforce conference last week, the theme was clear: From here on, enterprise applications must have social capabilities built in.
Enterprises are discovering that using social networking within the secure setting of a SaaS provider's network gives them an unusual opportunity to freely collaborate with partners, suppliers, and even competitors.
Showing results is the best way to win over social business doubters, according to Mary Maida, Medtronic lead information solutions manager. Internet Evolution's Mitch Wagner interviewed Maida at the E2 Innovate conference.
The restaurant chain's Chris Laping describes how the company drives innovation in everything from operations to team uniforms under his leadership. Internet Evolution's Mitch Wagner interviewed Laping at the E2Innovate conference.
The medical instruments manufacturer looks to metrics to quantify its social business engagement, according to Mary Maida, Medtronic lead information solutions manager. Internet Evolution editor in chief Mitch Wagner interviewed Maida at the E2 Innovate conference.
A recent release of the popular TweetDeck app for Twitter power-users gives new life to software that had previously taken a wrong turn. Here's a quick walk-through of the new TweetDeck, to show you why it should be at the top of your Twitter toolkit.
Michael Brutsch, a.k.a. Reddit's Violentacrez, is a creep who posted borderline kiddie porn to the Internet anonymously, and got fired when outed by a media outlet. It's a cautionary tale even for people who aren't jerks and predators.
Marissa Mayer at Yahoo has come out with her strategy on turning the company around: culture, company, calibration, and compensation. But Yahoo needs to have a technical approach to the mobile cloud opportunity, not a management theory lesson.
The whole Amazon.reader debate is a double-stupid. It's stupid to think that there's any e-book buyer who doesn't know Amazon's URL, and it was stupider to let ICANN launch the whole free-form TLD initiative to start with.
Enterprises would like to move to cloud computing but are hesitant because they are concerned about providers’ ability to secure company data. Here are some tips that help to ensure that if breaches occur, the business is not left holding the bag.
Edmunds separates customers into segments based on the info it collects on its site and from partners, and uses that to push out custom content, said Brian Baron, director of business analytics for Edmunds.com, at Predictive Analytics Innovation Summit.
The automotive website uses propensity modeling to target ads and customer registration forms, said Brian Baron, director of business analytics for Edmunds.com, at Predictive Analytics Innovation Summit.
Expert Integrated Systems: Changing the Experience & Economics of IT In this e-book, we take an in-depth look at these expert integrated systems -- what they are, how they work, and how they have the potential to help CIOs achieve dramatic savings while restoring IT's role as business innovator. READ THIS eBOOK
your weekly update of news, analysis, and
opinion from Internet Evolution - FREE! REGISTER HERE
Wanted! Site Moderators Internet Evolution is looking for a handful of readers to help moderate the message boards on our site as well as engaging in high-IQ conversation with the industry mavens on our thinkerNet blogosphere. The job comes with various perks, bags of kudos, and GIANT bragging rights. Interested?