When I was a kid, I knew Santa was real because his reindeer left footprints, he ate all of our cookies, and the wrapping paper was different than mom’s. But as technology advances, so does the quality of evidence that Santa really does exist.
Here are 5 ways to show your kids that Santa is real:
Magic Santa is an online application that allows you to customize a message from Santa based on your child’s name, age, Christmas wish and personality. It also incorporates family pictures into the message and is completely free. It’s very well done and any child would love to receive one of these messages from the big guy. View an example here.
ReindeerCam allows you to watch the reindeer in their natural environment as they prepare for the big day. As their caretaker, Santa pops in every now and then to pay them a visit. Follow the link to download the app for iOS, Android and WindowsPhone.
A lot has been written about potential cost savings for SaaS as utility computing. SaaS has a subscription cost model versus a large upfront capital investment. However, there is another interesting aspect of moving to a SaaS model – the reduction of risk. And, the reduction of risk should also influence your investment decision.
Let’s use for example a CRM or ERP implementation. An on premise solution requires a large software purchase followed by a lengthy implementation. What’s really amazing is for many years, decades really, we have accepted all the risk of buying software that might not work. I cannot think of another item we purchase that has these terms.
Consider the following typical software license terms:
It’s no wonder we end up with so much shelf-ware. There is really no remedy for buying packaged software that is buggy or not fit-for-purpose. Then there are of course project implementation risks including large cost overruns. Now contrast that to a subscription model where if you don’t like the software you simply stop paying for it. SaaS agreements often commit to availability and protection of data as well.
There are also many risk reducing options for SaaS rollouts including free trials and limiting the subscriber count and term until you are happy with the software – e.g. a pilot project.
Not all software solutions are available as SaaS (yet), but take a look at the SaaS software agreements for negotiation ideas.
Or, All I Really Need to Know About Software Development I Learned in Kindergarten. A visual blog post on the software development lifecycle made up of an actual kanban wall in an actual project war room.
1. Analysis and Design
Don’t forget the Golden Rule!
All together now!
Special thanks to the amazing Pam Rostal who built this classroom, er, I mean war room!
Apple has always been known as a consumer-oriented organization. It’s last business or enterprise-focused product; the Apple xServe rack servers were discontinued at the beginning of 2011. However, a funny thing happened on their way to consumer electronic dominance, they became relevant to business. The evidence is never clearer than the dominance of the iPad as a lightweight business tool. The iPad and tablets in general fit into the executive and manager work styles. How often have you been in meetings where participants are bringing out iPads (or Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1) to fire up a spreadsheet or a business intelligence dashboard in order to emphasize a point?
Just as smartphone “phablets” have become popular with consumers to view more web data squeezed onto the screen (does anyone use a smartphone to make calls anymore?), vendors are looking to target business users with larger tablet sizes. Both Samsung and Apple are rumored to be releasing 12-inch tablets with Samsung debuting the Galaxy Note 12 (with their S Pen stylus) in early 2014 and Apple with a 12-inch iPad Air. With notebook sales dropping from 13.8 million in 2012 to a reported 13 million this year (2013), tablets have become the mobile go-to device for business executives and managers and slightly larger tablets with a soft keyboard cover will cause even more notebook users to make the switch. Along with the rise of tablets in business, spending on mobile application development was projected to grow by 50% in 2013, to nearly 2% of total IT expenditure. This spending is strictly software development, i.e. developing new mobile applications and making existing enterprise applications mobile-friendly and does not take into account the purchase of mobile hardware (tablets and smartphones).
I have been following the rollout of the federal governments HealthCare.gov website and the subsequent healthcare exchanges. I have been reading many articles outlining the challenges that the team has faced with such a massive implementation, in a limited timeframe. There are many lessons to be learned from the HealthCare.gov story, but I would like to share three take-a-ways that struck me as important for EVERY software deployment, no matter how big or small.
It would appear from statements made from both HealthCare.gov contractors as well as the secretary of health, that there were a number of issues that should have either held back the deployment of the website, or a reduction in scope should have been applied, and possibly, additional team members should have been added to the project.
This reminds me of a simple project management quote:
“We can make it good, fast, or cheap. Pick two.”
Expert project managers know that very few real-life projects stay on track throughout the entire project cycle. A good project manager also understands how to make all three project constraints adjust to each other in order to maintain project quality. Some of the methods to keep projects within constraints are purely political: preventing stakeholders from changing the scope and maintaining boundaries around financial and human resources. Other solutions require classic project management techniques: keeping team members focused and adjusting milestones when necessary.
Melody Smith Jones, project manager at Perficient, is visiting her hometown of Cincinnati today and wrote a blog post on Procter and Gamble and the change in the digital marketing landscape.
It is these two things that my city is known for, P&G and digital marketing, that bring me to my next point: digital marketing is dead. In fact, Marc Pritchard, Global Branding Officer for Procter & Gamble, recently was quoted saying
The era of digital marketing is over. It’s almost dead.
To read Melody’s full blog post, click here.
Because technology is now a key tool that enables marketing, the CMO – CIO worlds have collided, requiring enhancements to collaboration not only among those two groups, but also across the organization. But what is it that has changed, and what are these new challenges that we face?
What challenges do we face now?
I am currently in the middle of the car buying process. The one upgrade that stops me every time is the navigation system. I love the idea of having it integrated into my car, but the $2,000 price tag that often comes with this upgrade seems utterly ridiculous given where we are with technology today.
My mobile phone maps are fantastic and they are updated on a regular basis…for free. The drawback is that the screen is small and it’s not integrated into my dash. I also don’t need wireless service on my tablet because I would only need it occasionally.
Today, AT&T announced a $5 day pass for mobile data service and a $25 prepaid plan for 1GB over three months.
Enter the mini tablet + mobile day pass navigation & entertainment device.
A mini is about the size of an in-dash navigation system. When going on vacation or taking a road-trip, you will be able to pay $5 a day to use mobile on your tablet. The mini will become your navigation device. You will still need to determine a way to mount it on the dash, but I’m sure that solution is coming. Cars in the future may not even include electronic devices, but have a space for you to place your own device.
The mini navi/ent device can be used for maps for mom and dad or streaming Netflix for the kids. It’s the ultimate travel device at a very, very affordable price.
What do you think? Would you participate in the AT&T Day Pass?
It’s no secret that cable television is fighting a tough battle right now. It used to be that you needed a cable coming out of your wall if you wanted your MTV.
We’ve come a long way, baby.
You have your choice of platform: TV, phone or tablet, so you no longer need to be chained to the sofa in the family room if you want to watch Breaking Bad while hoping your curious 3 year old doesn’t walk into the room and see a human head attached to a turtle.
You have your choice of content providers: Cable, DSL, Fiber, Dish, Netflix, Hulu, ChromeCast, Amazon Prime. Gone are the days of watching cartoons on Saturday morning and only Saturday morning and you better like Barney.
As with many great deals, I received an incredible introductory rate during my first year. I received cable and internet. Nothing premium. After my year ended, I watched my monthly bill go up…and up…and up. I was now paying $140 a month to watch House Hunters while tweeting whether they would choose house 1, 2, or 3. It was time to re-evaluate.
After asking friends on Facebook about a potential new provider, my decision was made. I was switching and my bill would be cut in half.
When calling the cable company, I was upfront with them about my reasons for leaving and asked them if they could match the new rate. Instead they offered me a faster connection speed in case I ever choose to become a gamer by night. She thanked me for my patience and set up the cancellation for Saturday.
The next day, I started receiving “unknown caller” calls every hour. After a day of this, I picked up the phone and there was my cable company wanting to negotiate. I explained to him that I had this conversation with a very nice customer service rep two days ago and she couldn’t help me. His response?
“She’s in customer service. I’m in customer retention. I can help you.”
And there is the fatal flaw.
The customer retention person needs to be the person that the customer speaks to at the moment of frustration. When this doesn’t happen, you end up with an annoyed customer and it’s not easy to recover from that.
I have been very happy with my cable and internet service the entire time that I’ve had them. The only thing that I wasn’t happy with was the price. The 2 years of good experiences was severely damaged by my user experience upon planned cancellation.
Employees need to be empowered and the customer experience needs to be at the center of your brand. A poorly executed customer experience can result in tweets that spread and Facebook posts that influence friends behavior. The result is a big tangled web of negativity that completely hides the fact that people may have been very happy with their product.
Bad experiences hurt brands and ultimately, will hurt business.
Have you ever had a customer experience that left a bad taste in your mouth?
Have you ever asked yourself why my work applications can’t be more like my mobile phone apps? My Smartphone is just amazing. I asked my phone “where am I” and it pulled up a map and showed me. I didn’t have to learn a new command. It was just an intuitive question and I really did expect the phone to tell me. I start to do a web search and it figures out what I am looking for before I am finished typing. I like one piece of music and it plays other artists with similar styles.
Then I use my work applications and they just seem as dumb as a rock. I think it’s time for a wakeup call. If IT and commercial software vendors cannot improve their user’s experience expect them to bolt in droves to smarter apps. We have a generation of kids that are growing up with tablets and Smartphones. The applications we build today will be around a long time. It’s time to stop building applications without solid user experience design! This is an opportunity for real competitive advantage.