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Oracle's Important Little Acquisition
January 23, 2017
Oracle last week announced the acquisition of Apiary, a small company that tucks into its product line and will not make much of a splash in the financial pages or possibly even in tech circles. Nonetheless, it's important strategic news. The value of the deal wasn't publicized -- but given the parameters, the dollars will get lost in the rounding of Oracle's overall revenue and profit numbers.
The US Press Corps vs. Trump: A Teachable Moment
January 23, 2017
Life is about negotiation. We negotiate our relationships -- including marriage, which is a contract that many don't take seriously. We negotiate our jobs, and we negotiate our interactions with our families. Those who are good at this tend to have relatively happy lives. While they don't get everything they might want, they get more than most. When things degrade into wars, both sides lose.
Adaptive Intelligent Applications
January 18, 2017
At OpenWorld, Oracle jumped into the AI and machine learning space for its CX products, aka CRM, and other applications, like HCM, with an interesting difference -- a huge data store to help educate the algorithms that work for you. Machine learning depends on data about prior situations that the learning algorithms can use to get smart about a situation. Ten examples are good, 100 are better.
Did BuzzFeed Just Commit Suicide?
January 16, 2017
Remember the oldie, "You Don't Mess Around With Jim"? The chorus goes like this: "You don't tug on superman's cape, You don't spit into the wind, You don't pull the mask off that old lone ranger, And you don't mess around with Jim." One of the lessons we learned last year is that what goes for "Jim" likely also goes for Peter Thiel, who is one of President-elect Donald Trump's leading supporters.
Top CRM Blogs of 2016: Countdown, Part 1
January 13, 2017
In a year when it seemed that CRM continued to blur into other technologies -- AI, the IoT, analytics, predictive tools -- there was no shortage of things to blog about. However, only a few bloggers really captured what was going on in CRM in 2016 and reflected the evolution of the technology in their own unique ways. Doing that is a great way to land on our list of the 20 Best CRM Blogs.
Gadget Ogling: The CES Spectacular Edition
January 12, 2017
Trust Razer to come up with something completely ridiculous that I need in my life immediately. Project Ariana is a projector that incorporates Razer's full-spectrum lighting system, Chroma. It uses a wide-angle lens to project images. Its 3D depth-sensing cameras detect objects in a room and adjust for them accordingly so that it still projects a flat image.
The Crystallization of Salesforce's IoT Strategy
January 12, 2017
While the general public's fascination with technology largely has been focused on the latest connected products unveiled at the recent CES conference in Las Vegas, many companies are trying to figure out where the real business opportunities lie in the long-awaited rise of the Internet of Things. One of the early proponents of IoT's unprecedented potential was Salesforce.com.
Oracle's Cloud Strategy: A Fine Balance
January 11, 2017
Oracle recently held a call for analysts to discuss its results for the last quarter, and there were multiple bright spots. It was much like a similar call 90 days previous, and together the calls drove home the conclusion that Oracle is turning into a cloud company. A casual observer might not be convinced, since the macro numbers show a company barely growing.
CES 2017's Magic
January 9, 2017
CES was a fascinating show this year. One of the things that made it so fascinating was that everyone and their brother had cars demonstrating one form of technology or another. It kind of makes me wonder what we'll see at the next car show -- PCs, drones, tablets and smartphones? That wasn't the only surprise at the show, though. Nvidia, long thought of as living in Intel's shadow, broke out.
Gadget Ogling: Floating Speakers, Neckbrace Audio, and Charming Caffeine Fixes
January 6, 2017
LG features twice in this edition of the column with two very different but similarly strange speakers. The "Levitating Portable Speaker" has as descriptive and accurate a name as the "Small Transparent Speaker" from last month's edition of this column. You can call it "PJ9" if you prefer the duller moniker. Yes, through the magic of electromagnets and a base station, this speaker will levitate and pump out audio in every direction.
Which Wireless Carrier Is Best for You?
January 5, 2017
Which wireless carrier is best? Many studies are undertaken every year, and while they are interesting and accurate, they often are not that useful in selecting the best carrier for you. Why? Simple. They are generic studies, but you are not a generic customer. If wireless performance were the same for every customer in every location, then the studies would be helpful -- but that's not the case.
Customer Service Takes a Turn
January 4, 2017
It's widely understood that new customer service channels such as social, email, knowledge bases and the like have left the service agent with harder problems to solve. Those channels are here to stay, because when they work well, they solve problems for pennies. It can cost many dollars to resolve an issue through the efforts of conventional agents. So there's a decided bias for self-service.
Looking Ahead to CES: This Will Be a Big One
January 2, 2017
CES week is here, and it's the one week of the year I look forward to looking back on. CES is a killer show -- not because you are up to your armpits in interesting new products, but because it is so spread out that it'll kill your legs as you hike all over the damn place. One year, I walked so much I actually ripped the soles off both shoes. This show is weird, in that it really comes too early.
2016: The Year That Was
December 26, 2016
2016 really was a year like no other. We had yet another election defined by the misuse of analytics -- and folks seem to be getting worse rather than better at this. We had a rush to robotics, particularly self-driving cars, and some firms even leaped ahead to self-flying, people-delivering drones. We had a wave of fake news, mostly paid for by Google, because that company has no compass.
Gadget Ogling: Heightened Hearing, Toasty Toes, and Glass Speakers
December 22, 2016
Bose's latest earbuds are designed to help you tune in to the specific sounds you want to hear. Hearphones are a sort of blend of noise-cancelling earbuds and hearing aids. There are several presets in the app, with names like "focused conversation," "gym," "airplane" and "television." You can opt to crank up the volume on all sound from the world around you or turn it down.
2017: AI's Coming Out Party
December 20, 2016
AI will be having a big coming out party in 2017. While there are plenty of opportunities in this space for workers, executives, investors and partners, not every company that uses the term "AI" in its marketing will become a serious winner in the field. As advanced as AI is -- and I have seen some technology that would blow your socks off -- not every company is created equal.
Is Peter Thiel the Most Powerful Person in Tech?
December 19, 2016
There are generally two paths for dealing with someone in power when disagreements arise. One is to confront, and the other is to understand and influence. What is interesting is the most common path taken is the former while the most successful is the latter. I think the reason is that the former path is both the natural path for disagreement and the most visible.
Looking Forward
December 13, 2016
Traditionally in this year-end piece, I peer into my cloudy crystal ball and forecast the year ahead in CRM. Sometimes I'm close, other times not, but either way, my predictions quickly are forgotten. This year, I've decided just to say what I want rather than what realistically might happen. Since my vote has all of the authority of yesterday's news, it will follow past prognostications.
Gadget Ogling: Rolling Records, Designing Lawns, and Placated Phones
December 13, 2016
RokBlok is a portable record player without a turntable. It's a block that dashes around the top of your records, and uses both its needle and built-in speaker to soundtrack your day. All you need to operate it are your records and a flat surface. If you'd like higher quality audio, you can connect it to your Bluetooth speaker or headphones. It's designed with protecting your records in mind.
What Trump Should Do With Air Force One
December 12, 2016
For the next eight or so years, I think a lot of what many of us are going to write will have something to do with what Donald Trump tweeted. Granted, since that has been the case for much of the last year, we have gotten comfortable with it. However, when Trump said he would kill the deal for an updated Air Force One, it hit me that we've completely lost track of what Air Force One should be.
2016: The Year in Review
December 6, 2016
This year will go down as an important turning point in CRM. For the last decade and a half, we've been simultaneously building and destroying CRM -- first by linking all of the disparate databases to get that 360-degree view, and then by adding important accessories like social and analytics. At the same time, we've been busy tearing down conventional architectures and spinning up the cloud.
Isn't Fake News Propaganda?
December 5, 2016
A few years back, when it was one company, HP made a huge mistake that cost a number of people their jobs and forced the replacement of many of its board members. The company suffered through some nasty litigation and several top executives almost landed in jail. The mistake was tied back to something called "pretexting." It also went by the more common term "identity theft."
Qualitative Data - the Other Stuff
December 2, 2016
We've become obsessed with big data and analyzing it, though sometimes I think we get in our own way. The issue is that we preferentially collect quantitative data as if it were the only thing worth the time. In fact, quantitative data is but one kind of data, and the information it provides gives a one-dimensional view of the world. It's not wrong information -- just incomplete.
Beware of Wildly Inconsistent Online Shopping Rules
December 1, 2016
Before you sit down at your kitchen table and lose money shopping for Christmas and holiday gifts, you'd be well advised to learn the rules of the online shopping road. They can be very different from one vendor to another, so shop carefully. Some companies do a great job with customer care. Others don't. I have been both delighted and burned several times, and I'd like to share some of my personal experiences to help you shop more safely.
Fact-Checking Social Content
December 1, 2016
There's an argument that it's not Facebook's job to fact-check the growing flood of fake news coming at us through its portal. After all, Facebook is just a set of pipes delivering something and is not responsible for the content. Nebulous others have that responsibility. However, Facebook is in the business of delivering content to a wide variety of people for a multitude of reasons.
Service in the IoT Era
November 29, 2016
Oracle recently announced a new connection between its Service and IoT clouds. That makes total sense to me. I bet a lot of folks think of the Internet of Things as those machines that do things directed by algorithms -- and if so, they might wonder why they need to be connected to customer service, such an obviously human channel. It's not off base, however.
How AI Could End Stupid Thanksgiving Arguments
November 28, 2016
I'm writing this before Thanksgiving, which I used to hate and now don't -- largely because I no longer spend the day arguing with family. I've been listening to a lot of friends and relatives dread this year's event because of political discussions that are likely to occur, and the equally annoying comments and critiques from those who supported both candidates.
New Subscription Economy Index Is an Eye Opener
November 23, 2016
Since its founding in 2007, Zuora has been the champion of the subscription economy, as a differentiator for companies that sell products as services and have to bill and collect monthly rather than engaging in a single one-time transaction. Few people realize how complex it is to run a business that requires customers to pay little up front but more over time. The billing, finance and commerce implications can be profound.
Gadget Ogling: Big Bendy Screens, Chatterbox Robots, and TV in the Cloud
November 22, 2016
I'm at long last about to start setting up my new home office. Goodbye, Ikea dining table. Hello, fancy new desk. When I actually have my new setup, I'd like to have a monitor at long last to complement my laptop. AOC's latest is under serious consideration. The AG352QCX is a 35-inch, curved behemoth with two USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI 2.0 input, VGA, DVI, audio in and out ports, and DisplayPort 1.2.
Pay TV's Newest Innovation: Giving Users Control
November 21, 2016
With the launch of Stream Saver, AT&T Mobility has given users control over their streaming video quality. Stream Saver is similar to Sprint's video optimization and T-Mobile's Binge-On plans. Now, the only major carrier not offering a video optimization service is Verizon Wireless. Stream Saver lets users choose. They can use it or not depending on their particular circumstances.
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Genesys OEC Video
How do you think the tech sector will do under the Trump administration?
Very well -- corporate tax cuts will stimulate growth.
Just OK -- there will be areas of both cooperation and dissent.
Poorly -- education and immigration policies will hurt tech.
Impossible to predict, but I'm optimistic.
Impossible to predict, but I'm pessimistic.
The tech sector will do well regardless of Trump's policies.