Everyone has their causes and things they support, and whatever you do that is positive, you’re making the world a better place. So I’m not here to preach or sell. What I will say is that if you’re looking for a fun, positive, low-pressure event that helps to save lives, I highly recommend the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life. I’ve written about it here, here, and here, so I won’t reinvent the wheel in this post, but it is one of the most worthwhile things I’ve ever done.
My previous entry in this space talked about a company rejecting pretty much every weapon in the interactive arsenal…then wondering why instead of growing the business, since around 2000 it’s been trading dollars, winning just enough new business every year to offset churn.
It’s not the path we would choose. It seems clear that resource-strapped companies of the 10-person variety would be the first to drink from the Internet’s potential fountain of life. Yet I accept responsibility for being unable to make the light bulb go on for them, and it got me thinking more broadly about how we as researchers and marketers need to approach the market if we want to help companies flip the switch on the extraordinary business-building energy that is interactive/digital marketing.
So taking a cue from the words of Jodie Foster as Special Agent Starling in the flick The Silence of the Lambs, we turn the spotlight on ourselves.
A variation on the changing-a-light-bulb joke goes like this:
Let’s just say we recently concluded a contract with a tiny company in a niche market that claimed it wanted us to help it take its business to the next level. “We’re tired of trading dollars, winning just enough new business every year to offset the accounts we lose. We want you put us on track to grow from $2 million a year to about $7 million.” Let’s just say the firm’s founder, CEO, grand poobah and big kahuna (all the same person) claimed to want to grow his “baby” from a minuscule unknown to a big or at least bigger hitter. Yet none of it is going to happen because he and the firm didn’t really want to change.
Let’s just say.
SWOT on demand: Company believes it is the “sole source supplier” to its niche. It’s not. It faces 15 competitors including publishing giant Thompson.
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.
…and mercy mild, all God’s service providers and enterprise IT shops reconciled.
To be sure, there is plenty of disharmony and cutthroat competition in the networking, software and telecommunications industries–and in all industries–and unless our Creator were to suddenly begin to endow us all with a quite different set of characteristics, it will always be thus. Yet especially during this holiday season it is encouraging to see groups that have previously been best characterized as “warring factions” learning from each other and (dare I say it) working together.
With competition from every side, service providers must roll out a great many new services and features in the next few years to slake the thirst of overheated markets. We’ve talked about service delivery platforms (SDPs) that can slash the time, cost and risk of doing that, not just for today’s services but by providing a platform for services we haven’t even thought of yet. SDPs also lend a hand with the cost side of the equation, which is helpful because while service providers gamely strive to reach consumers and businesses with every conceivable service on every possible device, they must also improve operational efficiency to align their cost structures with revenues. SDPs help ease capex by employing more enterprise networking devices that on average are far less expensive than telecom equipment, and because their service-oriented architecture (SOA) structures enable service providers to leverage network capacity, content and other service components from a myriad of other sources instead of having to build it all themselves.
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.
We’ve been talking about why it’s important to think of search engine optimization /search engine marketing (SEO/M) and Web 2.0 not as the be-all and end-all of your communications universe but as key ingredients in a complete, balanced diet. Of course what we mean when we say “Web 2.0” breaks out into three areas:
- Rich Internet applications (RIA) including AJAX and Flash
- Broadcast media such as streaming, RSS and mobile SMS
- Consumer-generated media (CGM) like consumer reviews, wiikis, blogs and participation in forums