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Sales & Marketing

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The Cloud's 5 Key Challenges for the ISV CTO

Back on 26 April I was asked to present "5 Key Challenges for the ISV CTO and How to Beat Them!" at a Ciklum seminar for ISVs that intended to deliver a hype-free conversation among CTOs, Chief Technical Architects and other key executives grappling with the journey to the cloud.  My slides for the session (see below) are already on Slideshare, but they are mostly visual, so I decided to do this  comprehensive (that means long right? - Ed)  blog write up following the slide sequence as a companion piece.  I was in good company, because the other speakers were Jimmy Gasteen of Precursive, Liam Hogan of OpenText and Melissa di Donato of Salesforce.com.  My pitch was intended to do three things:
  • Give my perspective on the current state of the Cloud landscape
  • Offer my 5 key challenges for the ISV CTO in moving to the Cloud
  • Leave the audience with some practical ideas to take action straight away
The current IT landscape is pretty cloudy.  IT providers are branding whatever product they have that happens to run in a datacentre somewhe as "Cloud" ...
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Social Business at IBM's Hopper Collaboration Diner

This week I was invited by IBM (and Ogilvy PR) to join in the collaboration debates at the Social Business Expo, a new strand of the Unified Communications Expo at Olympia .  This is not an event I would normally attend, covering everything from phone handsets through VoIP to tele conferencing, but I'm sure the social business component of ths show will get even bigger next year.  The attraction was to be part of what IBM is doing, which moves a long way from your typical steel, white and blue corporate show stand.  Their event was themed around recreating the late night downtown diner scene depicted in Edward Hopper's famous Nighthawks painting from the 40s.  It represents loneliness and alienation.  IBM are the sponsor, but their partner Collaboration Matters came up with the concept, created and hosted the stand.  The front of the cafe was peopled with actors who remained in character throughout both days, and who alternated between the original solitary view, and using smart phones, iPads and Macs to collaborate and connect with people.  Each character had their own Twitter identity so we could interact and break through the social isolation. ...
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Why WordPress ISN'T A Good Choice For Your Website

Last month I did a guest article for Jemima Gibbons monthly newsletter on  Freshbusinessthinking.com about Social Media Monitoring and Analytics.  In that same newsletter Nikki Pilkington argued why WordPress is a good choice for your website.  I decided I wanted to argue, passionately, the opposite, and my article has just been published there this month.  Here is the BTZ version.  First I need to disclose that I'm a stakeholder in a particular CMS/Platform developer (author of WordFrame and PageTypes).  However, I'll try and explain my case as objectively as possible. 

The first thing to say is that Nikki's article starts with a vital, core truth - whether your website is created by you, some experts in your team, website developers you've hired or an external agency, it needs a content management system (CMS) at its heart.  You need to be in control of the content without needing technical expertise.  You shouldn't be paying an agency or a developer every time you want to change a word, add a page, or move a menu option.  But is WordPress the right CMS for your website?

It's a blogging tool, not a CMS
WordPress is great ...
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Good for HP (with a but!)

Last week the IT industry had a major bombshell.  HP announced it's intention to get out of the PC business, drop it's WebOS smartphone and TouchPad products and buy enterprise software company Autonomy.  If you don't recognize Autonomy they are a major success story born out of research at Cambridge University.  Founded in 1996 they now have a $7Bn market capitalization.  They are all about the software infrastructure that manages structured and unstructured data.  The headlines on their website tell the story - powering the World's largest Cloud at 31 Petabytes, 25,000 customers, deployed by 77% of Global 100, used by all of the top 10 global banks, 400+ of the world's largest software companies.  They've made lots of acquisitions, but they produce solid recurring revenue.  In buying them and dropping PCs, tablets and smartphones HP is dropping their consumer lines of business, reducing their dependence on hardware sales, and shifting focus back to the enterprise and software in particular.  

Leo Apotheker - photo courtesy ZDNetOn one level it's a great shame that they are discontinuing investment in WebOS and the TouchPad.  We're in a post PC World and just this ...
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Social Media Week London - more out than in

Social Media WeekEarlier this month, starting February 7, Social Media Week ran in 9 cities, with plenty of events running in London.  I watched some of the live streams from Likeminds based events that sounded very good in terms of content although they hit some broadcast problems, kept in touch via the Twitter hashtag and then I dipped in in person on Friday 11.   The networking and meeting friends was excellent, but the content was variable.  My impression of the week was too heavy an emphasis on outward facing social media marketing, social networking and influencing but very little on how social media tools can help organisations do better or teams work more effectively.  In my opinion that emphasis needs to change. Too much fluffy social media marketing and not enough about getting things done.

I started at Talk Talk, with an event explaining the business of blogging. The event had Andy Bargery of  Klaxon Marketing and founder of London Bloggers Meetup providing top tips for business blogging success (@andybargery on Twitter), Lucy Payne from Pass It On Media talking about blogger outreach and blogger engagement (@lucypayne) and Phil Szomszor of  ...
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On Twitter I'm 4 years old

My Tweetdeck todayBack on Valentine's day 2007 I signed up to this weird short messaging thing that posted your status updates on a web page and sent them as SMS messages to your mobile phone - it was called Twitter.  At that stage it had been going for almost a year very quietly somewhere - Jack Dorsey actually sent the first tweet on a service then called twttr on 21 March 2006 with it launching publicly in July 2006  (although contrary to popular belief, Twitter was invented in 1935).

At the start of 2007 it was a best kept secret, and didn't even start as a separate company until April of that year.  I was early enough to grab a 2 character ID, my normal nickname in business, DT.  Those few of us that were cool enough to have heard about it then were the social media early adopters who usually signed up to any and every new web 2.0 service and tried to figure out if it was useful.  Twitter didn't really begin to take off until a few months later when two big plasma screens were set up displaying Twitter as the official backchannel at South by South West 2007 (SxSW).  From that point user take up really began to spread.

A year ago Twitter users were sending ...
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Cloud is at an inflection point, but let's get things clear

BusinessCloud9On behalf of EuroCloud, I've just posted over at BusinessCloud9's revamped site.  They've gone for a new, clean and simple style and simple logo, which looks good.  

My first post there explains that at the start of 2011 a number of things are happening in the market, and particularly the UK, that mean Cloud Computing is at an important inflection point.  The Cloud is about to become a mainstream approach to be considered not just by CIOs, IT departments of larger companies and the tech savvy early adopters, but for the average business woman and man in the street too.  They are on the receiving end of some significant new marketing of the Cloud topic: As usual we IT solution providers are too steeped in our own jargon and hype, and that makes us lousy at getting the message across in business terms.  Please go over and read the full post, ...
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Zen in the Art of the Elevator Pitch

A touch of Zen?
What has an elevator pitch got to do with Zen?  Well good presentation is all about learning to let go of your inhibitions and achieving absolute focus on the objective by keeping things simple, eliminating all the distracting detail along with the bad communication habits you might have.  So take the Zen approach to pitching.   Penny Jackson and I put together some communication exercises and questions for entrepreneurs, start ups and mobile developers to workshop the "pitch" topic at Over The Air 10 some 4 months ago.  We did the workshop version back on September 11 (see handout below).  Here's our blog version.

What is an elevator pitch?
Well, the Wikipedia definition says:

"An elevator pitch or elevator speech is an overview of a product, service, person, group or organization, or project and is often a part of a fundraising, marketing communications, brand, or public relations program.  The name "elevator pitch" reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver an elevator pitch in ...

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Social CRM - the new rules

There are changes underway across the worlds of social media marketing, social media applied inside business (what some people would call enterprise 2.0) and  where these tools connect (or not) to the business processes in (Cloud based) CRM and ERP systems.   Products like Salesforce are adding Chatter, and Twitter connectivity.  Enterprise 2.0 tools that started as wikis or forums are adding micro-blogging along with more and more social functionality.  Content Management Systems are adding or acquiring a social dimension.  Marketing departments are struggling with, or looking for tools to help with, brand  reputation monitoring and management.  One significant segment of this change just got much clearer with Altimeter Group's R “Ray” Wang and Jeremiah Owyang producing Social CRM: The New Rules of Relationship Management.

R told the Enterprise Irregulars earlier this morning that this report is the culmination of 6 months of research, collaboration, hours of white boarding, phone calls, and skype calls in the early morning and on weekends working with an ecosystem of 42 partners.  The document identifies 18 use cases for Social ...
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Is the Cloud term an asset, or just marketing hype?

A few things came together for me this week around the Cloud term.  I spent time with one of my best customers discussing online accounting, what we should do to improve the product we represent in the UK, and how we should position to beat the incumbent in the small business market, Sage.  But the first thing that Philip Woodgate told us was how useful the Cloud term is for the clients and business people he deals with.  These are business from small, to medium to International where he struggled explaining SaaS 3 or 4 years ago when he started promoting the concept.  He thinks the Cloud term makes it much easier to "get" for the average business.  

The next thing was this post on ReadWriteCloud with Wordpress.com founder Mat Mullenweg suggesting the Cloud is marketing speak.   Mat was explaining how a recent outage in their service occurred.  Alex William's wrote in the article:
"The cloud gets blamed for almost any online outage these days. It used to be that we'd just say the service went down and there was a failure at the host or the data center.   Sure enough, the Wordpress.com outage is not a cloud disaster. Instead, .. ...