Thursday, January 31, 2013

HP turnaround strategy focusing on social Intelligence & social media

During the Q2 2012 earnings HP CEO Meg Whitman said, “In Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking, we’ll invest to drive R&D and innovation in our core businesses of servers, storage and networking. Together they create a converged infrastructure that is the foundation for top customer initiatives such as cloud, big data analytics and social media.” Social media channels and mobile technologies have fundamentally changed consumer behavior and companies have realized this fact have invested in social media tools that gather information about consumers and non-consumers but they are not able to use this information for generating value to the enterprise. By combining all of the data available, enterprises can drive significant competitive advantage and enterprise value.

HP core offerings as part of data analytics are social-network intelligence, business analytics and Autonomy. In 2011 HP acquired Autonomy which provides infrastructure software for the enterprise with a customer base of more than 25,000 global companies, law firms and public sector agencies, and approximately 2,700 employees worldwide. HP projected this acquisition as a strategic deal to enter into the high growth enterprise information space, strengthens data analytics products, add vertical capabilities in key industries like government, pharmaceutical, healthcare, etc.

HP Social Enterprise Services, a portfolio designed to help customers deploy and benefit from big data analytics-driven CRM solutions. HP Social Enterprise Services leverages technologies from HP Labs, as well as subsidiaries Vertica and Autonomy, to get deeper insights into customer behavior – in turn, converting customer chatter into sales and revenue. In 2011, HP also acquired Vertica that enhanced HP capabilities for information optimization, real-time business analytics for large and complex sets of data in physical, virtual and cloud environments. HP Social Intelligence Solution monitors and manages market sentiments, perceptions and trends that allow customers to win and grow high-valued customers. Additionally, organizations can use it to protect and enhance brand reputation. HP enterprise services offers social media outsourcing and analytics services.
HP recently unveiled the NASCAR Fan and Media Engagement Center (FMEC), a business solution designed to better serve NASCAR's industry, media, fans and sponsors by facilitating real-time response to traditional, digital, broadcast and social media. This solution helps NASCAR analyze fan sentiment, identify emerging issues and discover topic trends for instantly actionable insights. The ability to monitor information and sentiment to adapt quickly to changing environments can provide tremendous competitive advantage," said Charles Salameh, vice president -- Americas region, Communications, Media and Entertainment Industry, Enterprise Services, HP. HP Social Computing Research Lab focuses on methods for harvesting the collective intelligence of groups of people in order to realize greater value from the interaction between users and information. 

IBM targeting Social Media software for business as a key growth area in 2013

Our performance in the fourth quarter and for the full year was driven by our strategic growth initiatives -- growth markets, analytics, cloud computing, Smarter Planet solutions -- which support our continued shift to higher-value businesses," said Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer. Ms. Rometty also highlighted IBM is focusing on new growth areas such as mobile technology, social media software for businesses and security technology. Mike Rhodin, senior vice president of the IBM Software Solutions Group, has said that businesses are adopting social media technologies and collaboration tools have become mandatory for employees to communicate and collaborate in the organizations. Employees in the business organizations are expecting to have such social media based collaboration tools within the organization’s intranets. To further prove the significance of social business technologies, IBM referred to a 2011 Forrester study during the IBM Connect Conference which highlighted social business as an "emerging business category," and social technologies are expected to be worth $6.4 billion by 2016.

IBM has renamed its Lotusphere, an annual conference hosted by Lotus Software (one of IBM's five software brands) as IBM Connect in January 2013 and during this event it highlighted its social business strategy with the debut of several new software and cloud services products. The intentions of these new services are to enable businesses to integrate IBM's social networking and analytics technologies with critical business processes. The new IBM Connections social networking platform software is intended to enable users to analyze big data from inside and outside an organization, including Facebook, Twitter, audio and video, embedded document management capabilities allow members of a network to access, analyze and act on different data types relevant to their work for improving decision-making and business results and will be available from march 2013. Another feature is enhanced integration of social capabilities in the Microsoft Outlook client that will allow users to access their social data (such as profiles, files and communities) directly in Microsoft Outlook. In December 2012, IBM released IBM docs to include social document editing on-premises and in the cloud as part of the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business that allows browser users to simultaneously collaborate on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents.

IBM acquired Kenexa in December 2012, merged its Applicant Tracking System for talent data insights and launched a new web-based social networking environment in the form of the IBM Employee Experience Suite which is targeted at HR managers to "attract, empower and motivate talent" as the firm puts it and features social networking, e-meeting and instant messaging capabilities. IBM also announced that it expects to ship IBM Notes and Domino Social Edition 9 in March 2013 and expected to be a truly social email client" that delivers a social experience to users. Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace highlights IBM as a Leader in Social business technology market and IBM is investing heavily on the social technologies for future growth.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Crowdsourcing Innovation: Lego Cuusoo website & Minecraft Microworld success Case Study

Lego is a popular line of construction toys that consists of colorful interlocking plastic bricks and accompanied by range of gears, minifigures and various other parts that can be assembled and connected in different ways, to build vehicles, buildings, and even working robots. One of the biggest selling points of Lego Toys despite being costly is that toys stimulate the imagination and creativity of the customers. Lego was almost bankrupt in the 2004, as children turned away from the plastic bricks in favor of video games and computers and according to Harvard Business Review, “Central to LEGO’s turnaround is a new structure for strategically coordinating innovation activities, led by a cross-functional team: the Executive Innovation Governance Group. LEGO managers take a broad view of innovation that includes not only new products but pricing plans, community building, business processes, and channels to market, all of which can be powerful business drivers. The company distributes responsibilities for innovation in all areas across four groups and expects different degrees of innovativeness from each of them.”

Innovation is at the heart of the Lego survival and further continuation of its innovation strategy, Lego launched Cuusoo website in 2008 which allows users to submit ideas for Lego products to be turned into potential sets and users may create a page about their proposed idea for a set. Once the project reaches 10,000 supporters, it is then reviewed by the Cuusoo team who then decide on whether to produce it and once decided to produce, the ideator receives a 1% royalty on the net revenue. All the ideas related to alcohol, sex, drugs, religious references, post-WWII warfare or based on a first person shooter that are deemed inappropriate for younger Lego fans are rejected by the company. The term Cuusoo is Japanese and means imagination or wish. Cuusoo System, a subsidiary of the Japanese Elephant Designs, has been collaborating with LEGO for the past ten years and the company currently manages two platforms, Cuusoo MUJI and Lego Cuusoo. There are about 340,000 active users and 90 percent of Lego Cuusoo users come from overseas. Lego Cuusoo website also helps in strengthening the Lego player community as player and user communities are essential for the innovation and brand building strategy of the company. Along with company’s internal designers, the Cuusoo community innovators will speed up the product innovation process and bring new innovative products to the market on regular basis.

Some of the ideas that already hit the shelves are Shinkai 6500, a model based on a real submarine, Hayabusa 369-piece, model of the Japanese spacecraft was made by Daisuke Okubo and Lego Minecraft, a set based on the video game Minecraft. Lego Minecraft Micro World is a Lego set based on the sandbox video game Minecraft, which revolves around the game's player character, Steve, and one of the game's enemies, the Creeper.  Mojang started a project on the Lego CUUSOO program and within a matter of days; the 10,000 signature objective was achieved with support of Minecraft community. Sandbox is a type of video game level design where a player can roam freely through a virtual world and has tools to modify the world themselves and create how they play. According to Forbes, “Minecraft is a legitimate worldwide phenomenon, a building block video game that launched in 2009 and now has over 8 million paying customers and a total of 40 million users worldwide, its own conference, and a legion of YouTube stars.” Lego Minecraft Micro World was widely popular which led to shortages as both Minecraft players and other enthusiasts bought this upon its release and forced to ship more sets during the holidays.

Lego innovation platform Cuusoo is a win-win for both the Lego player community and the company as number of ideas generated will be more and company can rely on its player community and other creative players whose ideas will be more relevant and chance of them being successful will be more compared to the ideas by internal designers within Lego. This is also most cost effective, speedier and easiest way of engaging with player and creative communities and they are just sharing only 1% of net revenues as royalty. The voting mechanism not only helps in selecting the best ideas but also helps in creating buzz about the product even before they are manufactured and there will be a ready market available even before the product launch who will be interested to buy. Crowdsourcing innovation is being adopted by businesses and Lego is one company that is using this methodology extremely effectively and as discussed innovation and creativity are essential for Lego’s long term survival. Lego is facing tough competition from videogames and online based games that are attracting the players more. Lego has to constantly innovate and launch new sets on regular basis to keep its consumers attracted to its product.