Category Archives: Networking

Why isn’t IT market intelligence obsessed with optimising the multibillion-dollar mature industries?

I’ll level with you, I‘m confused.

When I look at recent premier IT events such as Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona and CES in Las Vegas, I see an industry that is almost entirely focused on the future. Obviously, technology players want to accelerate innovation – the event programme at this year’s MWC for example includes a session called the “4th Industrial Revolution”.

But what about optimising the performance of the mature €650 billion[1] European IT market? Compare the MWC and CES programmes with the Consumer Goods Forum, the premier gathering of the food and drink sector, at €1,048 billion[2] making it the largest manufacturing industry in Europe, and you’ll see a programme in which innovation is there, but sitting alongside good stewardship of their well-established sectors.

In a mature industry, performance parameters are well known, top line growth is small, big players that can’t keep up get acquired by nimbler competitors, and optimisation is key. As well as innovating in emerging technologies, the IT industry should be innovating in its core businesses to optimise performance in the mature sectors. One example – in an area I know well – is how companies see the role of sales tracking in the new world of established technologies, grown up now after 30 years. The over-complication of market intelligence (MI) offerings here is causing a raft of issues, and users of this data should be demanding better. To paraphrase a few people, I’ve heard:

“We are drowning in data, we just don’t know what to do with it …”

“We spend so much time compiling different sources that the real analytics come as a second thought”, and

“We don’t fully understand what each dataset actually represents, or how to act on it.”

In the IT sectors, this sentiment isn’t exclusive to vendors – it is shared in their channel by distribution and reseller partners –it being generally accepted that MI data is sub-par as delivered today.

This problem has been around for quite some time. In a previous role at one of the largest and oldest technology firms in the world, I worked with one of the most sophisticated MI solutions I’ve ever seen. “Well done them”, you might think. In reality, it wasn’t without strife. It took the company over three years to design and implement that solution and, to this day, it still requires many people across the globe to combine multiple data sources into ‘one version of the truth’. The company implemented this solution at the tail end of what was generally considered the ‘maturation’ of the PC industry. Any other company thinking of undertaking a similar task today in the printing, display, PC, or other flat or declining mature industry, would need to be resource-rich and highly committed to the cause.

Whilst it is imperative to stay abreast of shifts in consumer and business trends, managing the at-risk 1% of a multi-billion-dollar established industry is as important, if not more so in some cases, as getting established in multi-million-dollar upcoming categories. Indeed, the frustration voiced by the industry would suggest that this is the case. Is it possible that many participants in these mature-technology industries are struggling to monitor and protect their cash-generating business, and that this impacts their ability to invest in new technology in the future?

What is needed to fulfill the requirements of such companies? At CONTEXT, we are working with our customers and partners to address this issue, and have designed a number of new services that provide both broad and specific analyses of mature IT product categories. The key focus areas for this new breed of deliverables are reliability, cost-effectiveness and simple implementation, so that instead of drowning in data and wasting time trying to bring together multiple data sources, the user is able to integrate information easily into existing operations and spend time more productively in improving their business. In essence, that’s our aim at CONTEXT: to help our customers and partners Optimise Today, and Accelerate Tomorrow.

by TP


[1] EITO Report Western Europe 2013/14

[2] Food Drink Europe 2014

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Filed under Enterprise IT, Market Analysis, Mobile technology, Networking, Retail

Going out of Body Combat™

by Mathias Knöfel, Enterprise Analyst

My local gym is closing!

This blog was supposed to be about HP’s purchase of Aruba, the possible effect on their position in the market, and how well (or not) they will be able to integrate the acquisition. I guess that time will tell if they manage to do this successfully.

At present, I am preoccupied with the closure of the VA gym in Putney.

I guess there might be people that see a gym as a place they dread going to, and hearing about the closure of their gym might even be celebrated by them, giving them another reason NOT to go. For me, it’s a sad situation. This gym has been a social hotspot for me over the past 14 years, where I have made many friends, on top of exercising and keeping fit.

And I am not the only one who feels like this. Many people who used to come regularly to gym classes also enjoyed the social aspect, as well as the group enthusiasm for exercise… and the occasional night out! As we were left high and dry, been given only two weeks’ notice before closure, and one week to transfer to another gym (much further away), there is a group of us that want to maintain the spirit and social aspect, even if we have to transfer. As one of my friends has put it: “unless you’ve been to Putney gym, you just don’t get it”!

We started to mobilise ourselves, creating a web-page for information, and an online spreadsheet to record people’s names to show to the management of the next club that we are serious about this. Also, many of us have taken to social media, sharing thoughts, memories, pictures, and grief!

This activity has made me realise that all of this is readily available today, and we have come to expect it. The mobility aspect of this shows the importance of accessing information and social media wherever we are, through devices from smartphones to notebooks.

Telcos want us to use their networks, but these are not always available (besides, 4G is still somewhat expensive). We have seen an uptake in powerline adaptors for consumers and SMBs, as they want to make the most of the mobile devices they own, whether at home or in the office. When you are out shopping, or go for a meal, many places provide free Wi-Fi. In the corporate space, more and more offices are fitted with wireless access points.

With this demand growing as we become more mobile still, the purchase of Aruba by HP would appear to be a step into the right direction.

Unfortunately I cannot say that about the decision of VA headquarters – at least not from a members’ point of view.

*Body Combat™ is one of many classes offered by Les Mills at Virgin Active

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