Thursday, December 18, 2008

All Roads Lead To RSS, Enterprise Data Capture and Release Scheme...


The ever excellent RRW reports a study that shows that the kids like gmail, and sms. Awesome. Also, that corporate types are obsessed with checking their email. What I found interesting though was that the kids used email to get updates from their social network and other types of alerts. I suspect that like me, they have many groups, clubs, networks that they are members of, and that email is a pretty good place to aggregate the flow of alerts. Which leads me to wonder if gmail will just email me a report at the end of every working day, telling me "what's going on, and what needs responding to".

In what must be one of the coolest company names I have come across in a while Cynapse brings these kinds of activity flows to the desktop. It alerts you as to the change in status of many of the objects and relationships in your corporate environment, which are relevant to you and your team. What I like about it is that it is an example of "loosely coupled, tightly integrated" where you could choose to use it for simple "group notification streams", or more tightly integrate it with an Enterprise wide collaboration capability. As one of the commentators says though, its hard to see where this adds value beyond being an interesting way to present RSS feed activity generated by people and systems.

Again, RWW bring news of Fidelity bank using them damn widget - gadgets to enable actual transactions. Check your current bank balance from the iGoogle front page. Mmmm. I think we can see where this is going folks ( see more from Martin Geddes on this topic of Banking2.0). RWW suggest that myWorklight might be behind this particular implementation.

That's where have made some interesting announcements. They have an integration with NetVibes that allows you to actually transact with others. Say you wanted to publish out a widget for "Special offers" in "Restaurants around here", and post it to your own Company Dashboard so you could order for the office every day. Well, you could do that, and pay for it, through the myworklight integration. Oh damn, you can do that with a  credit card? mmmm, how about you integrated with your company purchase management platform, or your benefits in kind / expenses management system? or or or.... My head starts to come off me when I think of all the ways that this could be used. The caveat I would have at this stage is that anytime I hear "server install" I start to worry about scale. I know that this is about security, but whenever I hear the terms "download" I kind-of worry for the company.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Time and Tidings and Time to Stick a Fork In It...


Great Timing For Voice Navigation

Great timing from the people at Mobivox. They get a lot of this Telco2 stuff and it shows in this white paper. It reminds me of a personal assistant service in the US a few years ago called WildFire which had a virtual personal assistant in the middle of a unified communications service.  I think what we are seeing with Mobivox though is the emergency of a kind of two sided revenue model a little further down the chain. Telco's pay for getting to market without huge forklift upgrades, and end users get "mostly free services" with some paid for add-ons (maybe payments functionality). This also comes hot on the heels of Google voice based search offer on the iPhone, which everyone is going a little ga-ga for. Perhaps the most important element of that is that users are being trained by the biggest players on the block to use "Voice User Interfaces".

Time To Stick a Fork In It: Blackberry Storm

New Blackberry storm was handed across the table to me yesterday, and let me tell you, the experience sucked eggs. Almost no part of the experience was intuitive. From how the hell do I get the SIM card in there (oh take the battery out first), to how do I get the SIM back out  (still trying to sort that one out). The touch screen interface is annoying with basic "handling" of transition from one functionality to the next super-clunk-e. How do I get rid of that keyboard when I am just finished with that bit of typing? why can't I seem to just press on a text entry box in the browser to put in the password? I could go on. On the positive side their desktop manager does allow you to add a new device to an old account so all your passwords and setting move across and that is useful indeed. God, I hate the touch-screen so much.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Build Trust - Trust Santa? - Banking Y


Customer Experience - Building Trust Flow?

The Whetstone Group did a report "The Importance of Customer Experience in A Down Economy", (get report here) and the capstone comments is something that I can completely relate to, i.e.

“There is an alarming lack of alignment between customer emotional expectations and corporate action plans that can only result in frustration and growing distrust by customers.”

Yes, many customers are going to have a renewed and vigorous review of pricing, but there is another set that are going to need to feel a renewed sense of control in a very unsteady and fearful environment. There are many things to take from this report but some of my early take always are "what are you doing to be build trust with your customers?"; "what are you doing to actively listen for new issues, new fears appearing in the life of your customers?"; and "what are you doing to reduce the feelings of stress for your customers"?  Emotionally rewarding outcomes are what will get you rewarded in the long term.

Santa - Line

Neat use of telecommunications: kids phone up Santa to tell him what they want, because often, they don't want to tell their parents what they really want. System emails parents (because you have to be a Vonage customer to use this), and parents retrieve the message. Besides, "what ever happened to privacy :)" a great example of totally taking home the booby prize. You could have opened the system to everybody and achieved one of your core marketing objectives: get a new user to trial Vonage and experience its benefits.

Banking on Y

Bruce Temkin on the other hand seems to have a fairly good grasp on what is required at the very minimum to compete in the provision of experience to Gen Y. He shows how a bank brought in IDEO to design a service that just spoke their language, and I have to admit, parts of this I found very cool. For instance showing me I have $200 in my account tells me nothing; telling me I have half my savings objective does; telling me I am at my lowest level of saving ever, does; telling me things in context, not just flat-footed numbers. I just soooo love the virtual wallet feature that redlines your Danger Days for you, yes, the days you are predicted to spend, or pay bills, and will have less money than you need to meet these demands. The bank will then allow you to transfer money from your Reserve Account to meet these, or move some of your bill payment dates :)

Oh, and how does the bank know how to do this? (Gee, they have huge complex automated giga-mega-load servers crunching away, right?), nope; they give you the saver a slider bar and let you divide your money pile up into Scheduled (for payments) Free (to spend), Reserve (for savings), and you can move that bar back and forth as YOU like. of Course if you go over, by miscalculating, and overspending, you may automatically be given an overdraft and incur some interest rates, but hey I'd rather the payment went out than damage my credit worthiness. Oh, and of course at the end of the month I can get a full report on where I spent my money.

All of these functionalities are easy, graphical, and no doubt "iPhone friendly". No min charges, no min amounts. Seems like Min fuss to me.

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