Archive for Business models

Open standards and collaboration

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , on August 20, 2008 by Geir Stene

Well, why not apply the “KISS” (Keep It Simple Stupid) model? Microsoft says they are focusing on open standards and pinpoint the great benefits of collaboration and interoperationality. In there is an interessting article today.

That’s great news, even though I doubt Microsoft has what it takes to give the market just that. But one never knows. Microsoft has to change, they know it, what remains to see if they are just talking the talk, or walking the walk.

Collaboration is a huge area of business models, concepts, technologies and organizational implementing systems. Intermobility is as well. The offers on the market is large, and not very easy to  have a clear view of. Why not simplify the task at hand, and use the web as the front end? Not Microsoft, not SAP, not Polycom or Tandberg, but simply the web. The web is an open standard; the web is simple and familiar for all users. The web is accessible from where ever. The broadband capacity is increasing as we speak mobile networks as well. So why not? The answer is in the business models created a long time ago. This goes for Microsoft, Tandberg, Telenor and the lot. They are all reluctant to change, that’s one of the main reasons the KISS model aren’t implemented already. They are afraid to loose market shares, and want to lock their customers into their own proprietary hardware/ software. This is old fashioned, and can in the most simple way be described as a mild form of bondage, and who want to be that submissive in business?

But there is hope! There are alternatives for web based solutions that are open for all ( this includes software from e.g. Microsoft, like Sharpeoint) where one can integrate web meeting solutions (like meetcon in scandinavia/ Wiredred in Europe and the US), project management solutions and so forth into a complete, simple web based interface tailor-made for your organization and business. It can easily be scaled for small businesses, and for large cooperatives. Safety is not a topic, it can all be managed. 

For a while yet, the large companies, like the ones mentioned above will keep argue that it’s not true that the web can solve the collaboration and intermobility challenge. At the same time the very same corps. are the already working very hard to try to change, before google snap the market shares in front of their eyes.

PS: Latest news: Speculations on Tandberg being in a a possible buy up situation Read more here (in Norwegian)


Scared of recession?

Posted in 1 with tags , , on August 20, 2008 by Geir Stene

World economics are falling into recession. There is no need to discuss if this is what is happening. Everything is “falling”: The stock exchange, The Dollar, Banking, Real estate, and so forth. The cost of a oil barrel isn’t though..

What does this tell us in the digital communication business? Normally that revenue will drop. Both private enterprise and the public sector tends to stop investments and sit put, till someone shout out; the danger is over – go spend money again! Is this a wise strategy?

What is important when economics slows down? In my opinion it’s important to look at new opportunities, to look at means to become more efficient, to get more value out of the same or less input; in short to be clever. Good times seem to, at all times, favor laziness! “Harder times” seems to split organizations and businesses into two major groups. The scared ones –  and the creative ones. The digital business and internet companies has a lot to offer to the market in this situation. Producing new business models that are cost saving, increase efficiency , build stabile and secure solutions that avoid high cost rescue actions, and provide the public with internet services that are easy to use, that gives them correct information and empower people to take the best actions in the society and in their personal lives. 

It’s kind of obvious, in times of recession all things tend to get cheaper. That’s when it’s clever to buy stuff, to invest – simply because one get more value for the  money! That’s when people tends to get more creative, in order to find solutions they can afford, this gives the market effect that providers of goods and services have to adapt and have to become attractive by getting better, more creative and keep being competitive.

There is no need for a genius mind to figure this out, still, why do so many get scared and run down in their caves and hide, hoping for everything to vanish, to not be this way anymore? And why is the media so in love with crisis? Just look at the media, in Norway; Dagens næringsliv, Dagbladet, VG, and Aftenposten, and also in the internet media like, to name some examples. They are all shouting out headlines like bankrupcy, crisis, regression, in any business segment you can imagine. Worldwide media is no better. There is nothing that sell better than fear! Media knows this and do their best to make use of it.

The interesting part to watch in the coming months and year will not be the ones that sit put and wait; it will be the one that start acting now. That’s the winners of tomorrow. For private enterprises, my hope is that environmental solutions for energy, transport, fair trade, ecological production of food, seafood and so forth is the ones investors now will put their eyes on and give finanical support  to grow and be even more inventive and strong in the marketplace for the best of us all, including the return of investments and branding value for the investors. I hope for the best for us all that we will have a lot of clever, creative, innovative leaders especially in the public sector, because that will give the effect that the living standard will not suffer for the poorest, instead we will have the opportunity to make far better solutions and services for the general public that will save a lot on budgets to spend on the ones in our societies that doesn’t have the economic strength to live thru the “harder times” ahead.

From mass communication to communicaton between the masses.

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , on May 6, 2008 by Geir Stene

The paradigm shift from mass communication to communication between the masses is just at its beginning. We have seen some examples of how to make this a profitable business, but I believe that we only have seen the top of an ice berg.

There are so many implications to this that you will find whole book stores trying to cover the subject. The shift within the Internet industry has gone from sending out information, like documents presented as HTML text, toward broader one way communications, like commercials, PR, campaigns and so forth, further on to enabling the options for giving feedback, comments, newsgroups, dating services, chat, web conferencing etc. etc. It’s a wide field with a lot of phenomena working in parallel.

There is confusion, and there is chaos. But as the Zen Buddhists’ say: From chaos comes order. In a business perspective companies have struggled to find business models that fit the demands to interact via the web and via other channels as well. This is now changing rapidly. I think it can be interesting to divide the two way communication area into three main arena; Consumer power solutions, Democracy increasing possibilities and Social networks.

The reason for me not to define this as interactivity is that there is a difference between two way communication and interactivity, (not all two way communication is interactive) which can lead to even more confusion, so let’s stick to the broader definition; two way communication.

Consumer power or it could also be defined as commercial exploration of individuals on the market. This is two sides of the coin. Is all about how the customer want to deal with the seller, how to get products and services easier, faster and cheaper. For the seller, its all about how to get enough knowledge about the customer to streamline the sales process, and enable a larger sale, added sales opportunities, build loyalty. Cross sales, cross channels, mixed business models can be implemented with a great result for both customer, and provider. One the one hand the customer can get more “power” – and so it is also for the provider. Interactive options, in voting, polling, response options, chat, customer web conferencing as support etc. is putting two way communication into real life on the web, TV, mobile phone and in the car. The collection of customer base, the knowledge and behavior patterns all create fundamentally increased possibilities for increased profit.

Democracy increasing possibilities is all about enable us all in stating our opinions on the one hand, and gathers groups that provide and produce content on the other hand. As we see it can be used for non-profit purposes, but also commercially. Blogs, discussion boards, magazines where everyone can publish, net meetings, adding comments of articles are examples of how to work with this kind of two way communication. For individuals this is great opportunities to participate in the public discourse in, or to get tailor made service from the commercial arena.

Social networks meet a fundamental human wish/need – to belong to a group. Via the Internet (or cell phone or other channels for that matter, social networks has a direct appeal for everyone that can find some sort of group they can identify and belong to. For the participants there are a lot of benefits and “things to do” either private “entertainment” or as a professional network building outcome. The value and possibilities at hand when you have such a group, or have made a system where those kinds of “groupings” can happen in a large scale, there are many business models that work. Adds is one, selling services is another, selling behavior patterns of your member base are a third, and there are a lot of options combining models.

What’s happening at the moment is that these ideas and concepts are refined, and gets more advanced as the months goes by. The business models as well as the services provided. There is a lot of creativity, and the best part is that a lot of it is driven by the participants, so there is an effect of a collective product development rarely seen before. The most interesting part of what is happening at the moment is when ideas gets mixed and new concepts arrive. Some of the mix is within the areas I have written about in this posting, and the former post “ About transparency”, even more interesting is the mixes that have started to arise, with other concepts, established long ago for other purposes, that’s when two plus two becomes more than five.