Tag Archives: innovation

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

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[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

Melco Forum 2015: Innovation in the mid-market

This is the 2nd in a series about innovation coming from the Melco Forum where CONTEXT recently hosted a meeting of senior industry players

The mid-market is a special place for innovation, as we heard from Elena Montañes, country manager of CONTEXT Spain in her opening presentation to the Melco Forum this year. “In the mid-market you find ‘hidden champions’, a concept invented by Hermann Simon in the 1990’s in the book of the same name”.

At the Forum we had living proof of a hidden champion through the presence of Noemi Belenguer, the General Manager of Vogel’s in Spain. Vogel’s is a Dutch family owned company with a presence in 80 countries which started more than 40 years ago. It is in private hands still under the direction of a family member, Gerdi Vogels, the daughter of the founder. It is a global leader in its market of wall mounts, TV brackets and tablet holders and has a turnover of c100 million € and is present in 15,000 retail outlets.

“Innovation is one of the core values of the company” said Noemi, and it is one of the secrets to success in hidden champions, as Elena Montañes demonstrated showing the 6 pillars which Simon had identified:

  • Restricted markets and a very focused approach
  • Globalisation
  • Customer proximity
  • Innovation – Base of success
  • Competitive advantages
  • Financing, organisation and business environment

This innovation should bring greater value to customers or lower costs. Imitation is not enough. It is also not restricted to product innovation and technology but also applies to processes and services. Customers are an important source of ideas and must be involved in the innovation process through a trust relationship. This is becoming a common practice through what is known as open innovation. The integration of market and technology is the driving force of innovation.

Elena Montañes presents in the Melco Forum in Valencia on 10th June 2015

Elena Montañes presents in the Melco Forum in Valencia on 10th June 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


by AS

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Melco Forum 2015: Innovation – lifeblood of technology companies

“You aren’t disruptive innovative until you create a need” said Jorge Lang the head of Innovation at Intel Spain as part of his masterclass at this year’s Melco Forum in Valencia last week. “The innovation manager challenges the status quo, and sometimes loses friends in the process.” “Disruption is what it is all about”.

MelcoThis is challenging stuff from a company that is a leader in technology innovation. “But there is no room for complacency, as we find ways of doing more than increasing computing power, such as improving social connection with human values, and making the internet of things happen.” Jorge calls this the red queen hypothesis from Alice through the Looking Glass. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

Improving products sustains companies and is evolutionary but disruptive innovation is what really counts. Jorge Lang highlighted three factors which impact the success of innovative products – technology, user experience and the business model. In his opinion, the challenge for smart home is not technology – it is to find a business model where people are prepared to pay for the new products.

Innovation is about creating an environment where people take risks. This year Intel is innovating helping people move from 18 passwords per person to a product which bypasses password. We are trying to give you more freedom such as no cable to power the TV.

Jorge gave us a glimpse into the future – we are moving away from the age of the typewriter to the age of the personal assistant. We will relate and talk to our home computers and to our smart homes like Hal in the iconic film “2001 A Space Odyssey.” Already there is digital signage with video which learns from your body language. The future is individualised customer marketing because of the availability of data.
by AS

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Filed under Big data, Connectivity, Smart Technology