Hello again. TM Forum, the world’s leading industry group/consortium on all things network management, published a little piece I did on what mobile and website operators (everyone from AT&T, Verizon and Telecom Italia Mobile to Amazon.com) are doing to see not just that their own networks and sites are “up” but what WE are experiencing as users, and how to fix it. The piece appears in the Forum’s Inside Leadership newsletter; invite you to read more if you like here.
This article is also syndicated here
Heard about a conversation recently that I just had to share with you. A group had gathered at an industry event and a client asked whether a supplier participated in social media: “Are you on Twitter, do you have a blog, things like that,” to which the vendor replied, “Um, we don’t do any of that, we only spend time on real business.” Rarely do I hear of something as proudly, defiantly and arrogantly wrongheaded as that, especially when, as it turns out, all of the company’s clients and top prospects have at least one Twitter persona, and some as many as 10-20. Yet when I learned that same speaker later described the rest of the company’s business model as, “Doing the impossible for less money than the competition”—I understood. The speaker and company are riding a business model rooted in thinking small that is destined to hit the wall.
It’s a simple one, really: Spend a few zillion less on attack ads against each other and more on building out and resolving issues in your networks and with your handsets. That way the vast majority of the U.S. that uses one of the two services, AT&T and Verizon top executives and their multimillion-dollar Madison Avenue pitchmen and women included, can endure fewer dropped calls and enjoy more actual coverage in more areas, not just on those cute little red/orange/blue-splotched “coverage maps” in the TV spots but in real life.
Virtually every mobile operator worth its spectrum has made it super-easy to buy applications for your mobile phone these days: Point > Click > Provide payment method > Done. Now, however, a new generation of indie providers, and in some cases the giants who provide the mobile handsets and operating systems, are making it a lot easier to create mobile apps, too.
What, you’ve already forgotten the blockbuster flick based on portions of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy? OK, you’re forgiven: It’s been awhile and if you have daughters, your household, like mine, is probably aglow with Twilight these days.
Mark Mortensen was just named Senior Analyst at Analysys Mason, a firm that has now made two high-profile acquisitions in less than a year. First, as reported here and blogged here, Analysys Mason acquired OSS Observer. Now it has snagged Mortensen, and these moves combined constitute a blockbuster of sorts in the communications “theatre.”
We could have titled this one several ways: “Every Port a Storm?” Or maybe “A Plea for Good Portmanship.” I think we got it right. Apollo 13, the movie that seared the phrase “Houston, we’ve got a problem” into global consciousness, is a masterful mixture of tension and teamwork with rooms full of NASA scientists and engineers, and Jim Lovell and crew in the spacecraft, finding various technological needles in haystacks in a brave effort to get the astronauts back to Earth.
Aesop’s Fables are a collection of stories attributed to a slave and storyteller who lived in Ancient Greece during 620–560 B.C. In what is perhaps Aesop’s most famous fable, a family had a goose that laid a golden egg every day, and while this made them richer, they decided it was not happening quickly enough. Imagining the goose must be made of gold inside, or be harboring a great many golden eggs, they decided to kill it and lay claim to all of the riches immediately, but upon cutting it open they found its innards to be like that of any other goose…and no gold. The moral of the story: Those who demand too much too fast lose everything.
All of Aesop’s Fables contain life lessons designed to help children choose wisely when making life decisions. Yet judging by some of what passes for “adult activity” in this world—including our own telecommunications industry—we might all benefit from an Aesop’s Fables refresher course.
“Went looking for wireless apps and what did I see…an SDP looking back at me.”
Over the years the longest-running publications in our industry have done a lead story or two based on our research, not because OSS or BSS sent a Chris Mathews-style thrill up their leg but (of course) because of the services they enable. Well designed and executed B/OSS is truly a marvel to behold, but it’s a means to an end. If you don’t believe me you can ask the hundreds of hot software shops in our industry who met the cold front of market reality and whose businesses either came to a stormy end or were blown off their original course into entirely different industries. The elements upon which we build today’s networks are no longer dimwitted devices waiting to be managed, they’re rolling off the assembly line smarter and more self-managing than ever before, with more robust element managers built either by the manufacturers themselves or by the likes of Nakina Systems.
When industry observers compile listings of the most influential people in the technology markets, when organizers seek out the captains of computing, the titans of telecom, the biggest of the kahunas to give keynote addresses at industry events, some familiar names often adorn the dais. Bill Gates (alone and sometimes featured with the world’s best-known investor, Warren Buffett). Scott McNealy. John Chambers. The seemingly always-acquisition-minded and occasionally combative Larry Ellison. Pat Russo, longtime top executive at Lucent Technologies who now sits atop global hardware, software and services colossus Alcatel-Lucent. Ed Whitacre, long-standing head of SBC Communications and then at the helm of the reinvigorated AT&T before turning over the keys in mid-2007 to Randall L. Stephenson.