Thursday, July 30, 2009

From TED - Talks Golan Levin makes art that looks back at you

Take a break with Art from TED

Golan Levin, an artist and engineer, uses modern tools -- robotics, new software, cognitive research -- to make artworks that surprise and delight. Watch as sounds become shapes, bodies create paintings, and a curious eye looks back at the curious viewer.

Half performance artist, half software engineer, Golan Levin manipulates the computer to create improvised soundscapes with dazzling corresponding visuals. He is at the forefront of defining new parameters for art. For more: Golan Levin

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What is Cloud Computing? (What a difference a Year makes)

"Cloud computing is an operations model, not a technology" James Urquhart Market Manager for the Data Center 3.0 strategy at Cisco Systems.

From May 2008 Web 2.0 Expo

From July 2009 OSCON 09: Simon Wardley, "Cloud Computing - Why IT Matters"

Is finding “real” independent advice in outsourcing a challenge?

On CandidAdvisors - by Co-Founding Partner Steve Jandrell

There are many players in the world of outsourcing, from those who help companies select outsourcing vendors, to those who deliver outsourcing services. The one thing all these players have in common is that they need companies to outsource to be able to sustain and grow their own businesses.

But what happens if outsourcing a set of functions or processes is not the right answer from a strategic business plan perspective?

Whether it is on shore, near shore or off shore a key driver (some might say the driver!) in the decision to outsource is long term operating cost reduction.

While cost reduction is a vital aspect of successful management, what about creativity, innovation, knowledge management and outstanding levels of customer service? Then, if the transition to a new operating model is more focused on a date to achieve cost benefits as quickly as possible - without necessarily building in to the transition plan a people and organization perspective that encourages buy in and plans for long term performance and remedies - what needs to happen?

With many companies who have made the decision to outsource significant parts of their operations, after a two to four year arrangement with an outsourcing vendor or vendors reporting high levels of dissatisfaction, how is that recovered?

The potential for any provider of services in the world of outsourcing to have a conflict of interest is arguably obvious. They have people on their payrolls to deliver services. They incent their people to win business and as much as possible. Making the right balanced decision to outsource in the first place, taking into account all factors and not just cost, to transition in an appropriate way and to manage vendors to maintain high levels of performance over time can be a real challenge.

The role of a truly independent adviser at any stage of the outsourcing / insourcing process is clear. But where do business people go to get that independent advice? With that in mind, CandidAdvisors LLC was founded by two experienced and senior practitioners. As Founders, both Bill and I have major firm experience, and have worked internationally.

We have successful track records of providing candid and results focused business advice to top management and to those tasked with implementing changes to operating models. Using our experience of business transformation, outsourcing / insourcing, shared services and organizational change management, we apply this experience through the principal of “best advice” with no hidden agendas. Our solutions are developed based solely on client issues and options and how those solutions fit with the strategic intent of our clients.

Who silenced Google's Voice - AT&T or Apple?

By Karen Masullo for CandidAdvisors

I did two things last week: I got an iPhone and I was invited to the Google Voice Beta. I am thrilled with both. Everything working, my efficiency increasing. All good.

Also, I was excited about AT&T's partnering with Barnes & Noble to offer Free WiFi, and its new SocialScope - "a mobile inbox for your social networks".

My world was at Geekgirl peace.

Yesterday however, I looked for Google Voice applications in the iPhone store.

Boy is my timing lousy.

As covered yesterday in the Silicon Valley Insider:

Google said for the second time in a week that it had invested time and money in creating an iPhone app, only to have it rejected by Apple (AAPL).

This time, it's a Google Voice app that Apple snubbed. Google Voice is an Internet phone service that includes free calling, text messaging, intelligent call routing, etc. Last week, Google admitted that Apple rejected an app for its Latitude social networking service, which Google later launched as a Web site.

But was it Apple or AT&T? Apple says there were redundancies in overlapping applications (what about Skype??), but as mused by Mashable's Stan Schroeder:

Google Voice (Google Voice) lets you do a lot of stuff for free that the AT&T charges for; you can place free calls in the US, you can send and receive free SMS messages. The application is still in beta, invite only stage, but several cool applications that use the service already exist for the iPhone. Sean Kovacs, the developer of GV Mobile, has said on his site that Apple has rejected the application. From his site:

“Richard Chipman from Apple just called – he told me they’re removing GV Mobile from the App Store due to it duplicating features that the iPhone comes with (Dialer, SMS, etc). He didn’t actually specify which features, although I assume the whole app in general.”

Other similar applications, such as VoiceCentral and GVDialer, have also been banned. And Google only has an official Google Voice app for the Android and BlackBerry; now, they’ve admitted that they don’t have an iPhone app because Apple said “no”.

The reason? The application(s) is too similar to iPhone’s own functionality. Like so many other Apple’s app rejection reasons, this one rings phony as well. If nothing that’s similar to functions and features iPhone already has can get approval, then no VoIP apps should be allowed. Also no camera-related apps, like Pro Camera. Fring (Fring)? It lets you place calls, and send free messages, which is similar to SMS, right? Why is that OK, then?

If AT&T is truly the reason behind the ban, is it really in AT&T's best interest to alienate the Google Voice market? There are thousands of small businesses that have found Google Voice a welcome answer to tight budgets, and iPhone users still need an AT&T data plan. Texting still costs.

More important, if this is an AT&T driven action, calls placed to a Google Voice number forward to a real phone--in my case my iPhone.

Isn't this a bit of killing the messenger?

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Social Renaissance of Business

By CandidAdvisor's Bill Frech, @bill_frech

upheavals occurring in the arts and humanities were mirrored by a dynamic period of change in the sciences. Some have seen this flurry of activity as a "scientific revolution", heralding the beginning of the modern age. Others have seen it merely as an acceleration of a continuous process stretching from the ancient world to the present day." Renaissance of the 14th–17th centuries, Shapin, Steven. The Scientific Revolution, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996

Forbes' recently highlighted that the recession may negatively impact the quality of goods and services and will result in reduced consumer access to companies.

Adweek cites; “New research from Interpublic Group's Initiative concludes that the recession is having a far greater impact on consumer spending habits than previous downturns, and that some behavior patterns, as well as brand perceptions, will be permanently changed.”

Forrester Research views this recession as a “…gateway or portal connecting two very different eras.

“When the economic clouds clear, many prevailing elites will have been swept away, organizational structures will have fallen, and many who were formerly in control will have lost power. Those who can speak digital will thrive, and those who cannot will finally get the message and retire.”

Saying that the business world will radically change - that old-line companies will be gone and new socially aware companies will survive to take their place is grossly overstating what may happen.This will not be an overnight change where the "old" ways disappear and the "new" world exists.

There are two primary reasons;

* One, the "old" companies are still powerful from an infrastructure, capital, and customer base perspective. Some of them are willing to change to the "new" world, e.g., Comcast, and some will resist change.

* Second, and probably more significant is that there is a huge group of baby-boomers who are still a force in the marketplace. The baby-boomers represent a group with a significant amount of capital to spend, and many may be uncomfortable with the change needed to work in the "new" world.

I do agree that the way companies conduct business is changing and will continue to change and evolve; potentially this recession is an inflection point for that change.

However, I think this will be a more gradual transition as new technologies and new ways of doing business are tested and companies experiment with different tools and techniques.

Like any other seed change; we don't know what will be on the other side of the change. There will be many people and companies trying different approaches to achieve the winning solution, but only a few will succeed and yes some of the old line companies will disappear…eventually.

I welcome a dialogue. Leave your comments and let's discuss this.


The CounterIntuitive CEO, George F Colony’s Blog, June 23, 2009 The Gateway Recession: What CEOs Will Face Next
Forbes Investopedia, The Impact Of Recession On Businesses by Marc Davis
Adweek, June 22, 2009 Survey: Recession Impact Permanent by Steve McCellan

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Join Us in Atlanta - 1st of Four Presentations at the 191 Club

Counting the Cost….!!
The Myths and Realities of Back Office Business Transformation

Many organizations today are suffering from productivity and revenue declines, lacks of innovation and poor customer service as they try to balance the need to rapidly reduce cost while maintaining viable business operations. Various solutions are being presented and adopted, including Outsourcing, Shared Services, focusing on your core business competencies, etc. But what is the effect of short term decisions about cost containment and efficiency without a clear longer term plan, not just about business survival, but of future growth?

In this unfavorable economic climate the pressure for cost reduction is inexorable and understandable. Yet decisions that potentially compromise corporations’ positive relationships with their customers, vendors and even their own employees are being made on a daily basis. Market share is being put at risk and internal frustrations are growing as non-holistic and non-integrated perspectives are being developed and implemented solely from the cost side of a balance sheet. Imagine a future operating environment where there are 5 to 10 outsourcing service providers, 1 to 3 shared service centers and minimal involvement of the retained organization that must make things work.

The picture is not always bleak. There are successes. But overall over 70% of US companies, who outsource describe the experience as either very or extremely disappointing. After 2 or 3 years organizations are looking for ways to improve the situation.

The 191 Club is pleased to offer four breakfast presentations.
  • The first on July 22nd, is an overview of the process from the decision to transform and adopt new operating models to establishing a long term and viable adaptive process.
  • The second on July 29th, focuses on the decision to transform and the transitioning process, with all the attendant issues involved in creating and establishing a new business model and its impact on the retained organization.
  • On September 10, the third session will be about making it work for the longer term, with the added complexity of leveraging emergent technologies and the need for vigilant governance to have a constant process of alignment to the goals of the business.
  • The fourth on September 23rd is about measurement, sustainment and what to do when it is apparently not working.
The Founders of CandidAdvisors LLC will be your presenters.

Representing a new breed of advisory services needed in this current and developing environment, CandidAdvisors is completely independent, solution agnostic and focused on the principle of “best advice.” Bringing senior experience and objectivity to a space full of vested interest, the goal is to help companies make the right business decisions and implement change that builds and enhances the capabilities of the business today and tomorrow.

For more information on this series, or talks for your organization, please contact