Monthly Archives: February 2012
A transition seems to be occurring at Mobile World Congress (MWC) from its primary focus on hardware. There was more noise at the show around how communications providers are delivering that hardware, how they can better market and sell that …
Cloud computing is everywhere at this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC 2012). From keynote speeches, to seminars, and vendor demos, the discussions are keenly focused on how service providers monetize a new generation of cloud offerings. To monetize cloud products …
Downton Abbey, the British period drama about an aristocratic family and their (mostly) loyal servants, has taken America by storm, giving PBS its highest ratings in years. More than 5.4 million Americans tuned into the season finale last Sunday night and that number doesn’t include those who watched the show on their DVRs or who streamed it online.
Clearly, we’re hooked on Downton and I started to wonder why. It’s true that the costumes are lush, the mansion beyond compare, and the rapid-fire exchanges between the characters lovingly scripted (indeed, Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess of Grantham delivers some of the best zingers in prime time television). And then I watched an interview with Julian Fellowes, the creator of the series, which PBS aired at the end of the season finale. In that interview, Fellowes says that he is particularly fascinated by the turn-of-the-century period in which the series is set because in the span of just 50 years, English society utterly transformed itself: from the codified, rigid ways of the Edwardian era into modern Britain, complete with cars, electricity, and bursting with possibilities never before imagined.
It hit me that what so compels us to watch Downton is that we, like the characters, live in a world that is fundamentally changing and full of promise. I had a chance to really stop and consider these changes during a recent trip to Macau, where I spoke at the IBM Executive Summit 2012.
Consider that Sina Weibo, one of China’s premiere microblogs and Twitter alternatives, started the New Year with 32,312 messages per second. This number handily beat Twitter’s 25,088 messages sent per second last December in Japan, during a TV screening of the anime movie Castle in the Sky.
Today, power is shifting to the consumer. This power shift from the seller to the buyer is redefining the term “commerce.” For example, in the automotive industry, the dealers essentially represent the manufacturer brand and consumers typically experience the brand …
By Karl McGowan
Smarter Commerce, financial services commerce sales lead, IBM
When we hosted a roundtable with CIOs, middleware managers and heads of IT architecture from a selection of international banking financial services organisations, I was struck by the importance of the technology managers’ vision to the overall success of the business. This theme came out very strongly from the discussion.
Managed file transfer (MFT) is an all encompassing issue, touching all areas of payments and financial transactions within banking. It is currently a priority on the CIO’s agenda due to the increase in regulatory reporting and Know Your Customer requirements, as MFT makes it easier to connect and communicate with third parties and to do so quickly, safely and securely.
In the past most organisations have taken a piecemeal ‘project-based’ approach to MFT which has led to multiple ‘point’-based solutions. This makes it very difficult to manage multiple technologies, but more fundamentally it makes it very difficult to prove what happened or didn’t happen. New regulation puts the burden of proof firmly upon the financial services organisation’s shoulders. With this in mind, it was interesting to hear the stories and also the Smarter Commerce solutions clients had come up with.
How Gist Limited Delivered Results Using Cloud-Based B2B Integration Solutions
There are a lot of reasons more and more businesses are using the cloud to reduce time to market and deliver innovation faster. A big reason is connectivity: customers, …
I read a commentary in Logistics Viewpoints (2/16) by fellow IBMer, Michael Watson, Ph.D. world-wide leader for IBM’s ILOG supply chain applications. Smarter Commerce requires using inventory optimization to set the proper inventory levels along the supply chain to respond and fulfill customer demand. Check it out.
Every supply chain is rife with variability and uncertainty. This adds costs, problems with customers, and headaches and firefighting for supply chain managers.
Safety stock plays a critical role in a helping you run a good supply despite the inherent variability and uncertainty.
Safety stock allows you to seamlessly meet unpredictable spikes in demand, and it allows you to protect your customers from production breakdowns, supplier failures, or unusually long shipment times. Safety stock helps increase sales, reduce the late shipments to your customers- keeping them happy or avoiding contractual penalties, and reduce the cost of expediting by minimizing the times you are short on stock.
I’m reading Rebecca Lieb’s latest report from Altimeter Group. It’s called, “The New Marketing Equation: Why Organizations Must Rebalance.”
The main thrust of Rebecca’s report is that if you’re a marketer, you’re now in the business of …
In a recent article of Bloomberg Businessweek (Feb 6, 2012) entitled “Time to Head Home for Some Manufacturers,” the point is made that many manufacturers are reconsidering whether they should be bringing some of their manufacturing operations back to the States. In years past, the decision to offshore to places like China was an issue of labor arbitrage. But the labor costs in China, India and elsewhere are rising quickly – often by double digits per year – thus eroding the cost advantage of these sources of supply. Other factors such as intellectual property risk, the risks of supply disruptions (e.g., Fukushima) and rising logistics costs are swamping labor costs in the total cost equation. And, of course, there is the inexorable rise of productivity from new production technologies that diminishes the contribution of labor costs to total costs.
But the offshoring dilemma is not just a function of supply cost and risk, but also of demand. Where is demand headed? As countries such as China and India become major, emerging centers of demand, it becomes an open question as to how much of the supply should be “reshored” back to the U.S. While reshoring may eliminate some risks such as loss of control of intellectual property and risks of disruption, logistics costs will factor back in if the ultimate demand is in countries where these manufacturers have offshored production. Of course, this same logic applies to manufacturers in other countries who are thinking through this same issue of where to source their products.