New IT Innovation Development (N.IT.I.D) method Step 1: Brain Storming (Tripadvisor Case Study)


 

NITID-BrainStorming

Immagine that a business model described in “New IT Innovation Development NITID: Tripadvisor Case Study” is in place where new data is available for Tripdavisor:

1) the receipt (WHAT)

2) the client user ID (WHO)

3) the GEO position of the restaurant (WHERE)

The purpose of collecting such data is to ensure a better service for customers by ensuring an effective countermeasure against Negative SEO tactics.

Anyhow, is this really all? How such a new data availability might be exploited? This is the aim of the NITID method: find new business opportunities that might arise from data.

Commonly, in a creative process, the first step is brainstorming. By putting all the ideas on the table without any kind of criticism, judgments and filters, here below a list of new business opportunities that a brainstorming session applied to the Tripadvisor case might generate:

1) Facilitate the process of the reviews for users by updating a list of “pending reviews” to fill once a new bill in a restaurant\hotel has been recorded. In such a way the user, when log in to TripAdvisor’s website, doesn’t need to search for the restaurateur to be reviewed since a pending review connected to the restaurant\hotel is available  Furthermore, the number of total reviews will increase since the review process has been simplified for customers.

2) Create “customer experiences” through new visualization charts such as a map of visited restaurants and hotels and\or a social network that connect users together in order to share the experiences.

3) Engage customers by creating synergies with loyalty programs and companies (e.g.: Nectar) and provide gifts to customers who deliver more reviews.

4) Provide statistics and reports that might be useful to restaurateurs and hotel managers: trends, demand forecast, seasonality, sentiment,….

5) Establish an integrated supply chain by providing further additional services to restaurateurs and hotels. In particular, the demand forecasts should be shared with restaurateurs and hotels’ suppliers by recording all the food\goods consumed by linking them with the receipt. For example, a week in a room requires three units of soap or for cooking a steak in a restaurant are needed 100 grams of meat plus 1 mg of salt and 5 grams of olive oil. By using this data it’s possible to establish a logistic platform that might provide a competitive advantage both for buyer (restaurateurs and hotels) and suppliers. In particular, buyers, and especially small entrepreneurs that cannot invest and maintain complex IT infrastructures, might improve theirs inventory turnovers by having a more granular and detailed consumption of material. Meanwhile, local suppliers might have additional information regarding consumptions and level of inventories of theirs clients and thus enable more frequent on time deliveries and\or with a small amount. Such a solution might be useful for enabling an advanced Demand Driven Supply Chain (DDSC). EBay’s already told us with its “same day delivery” business model where small retailers have became a network of a distribuited inventory (see: “EBay expands same-day delivery in local battle with Amazon“).

Maybe, or better for sure, there are many and many issues regarding those new business opportunities:

Why changing and expanding the business model of Tripadvisor beyond core activities?

Why to invest in new relations, IT infrastructure, and skills?

What about the issue of data privacy?

Anyhow, making questions, having doubts and putting barriers are not allowed when brainstorming.

As when dreaming:

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere (Albert Einstein).

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Social Media Magic Quadrant (Part 1): Ability to Generate Content


Social Network Magic Quadrant

Recalling Social Media Magi Quadrant as a tool for assessing the strategic position of a social media website, there are two key aspects:

1) Ability to generate content

2) Ability to search and provide meaningful content for the single user (contextualized search)

Considering the ability to generate content, here below an interesting infographic by Dustin W. Stout that gives the measure of who is leading as a content generator.


Click the animation to open the full version (via PennyStocks.la).

Well, e-mail is still the most used communication tool as well as WhatsApp has gained a oustansting leadership of instant messaging by intercepting and disrupting SMSs from mobile phones. Something to consider also by all the mobile operators.

Regarding microblogging, there is no doubt that Twitter is leading against Tumblr in terms of number of posts generated.

Moreover, as expected, there is no competition between Facebook and Google+ considering the number of likes.

Anyhow, how a social media will lead as a content generator?

Number of active users?

Ability to engage people? Or What?

Share your thoughts.

Feelink – Feel & Think approach for doing life!

New IT Innovation Development (NITID) method: Tripadvisor Case Study


NITID-Tripadvisor

How to fight Negative SEO tactics? Think about the case of Tripadvisor and imagine a business model as below:

1) eat a meal in the restaurant (e.g.: “La bella vita”) pay the receipt with a User ID Card (e.g.: loyalty\member card).

2) Then the consumption will be sent and registered in a TripAdvisor data base as “consumption to be reviewed”. That could be nowadays even easier than 10 years ago if you since the technology available such as card reader, smartphones, apps, are cheap and well-known by end users

3) You go home and since you have enjoyed the delicious spaghetti at “La bella vita” you decide to post a review in Tripadvisor. Since there is a consumption associated to you, your review will be validated and thus not consider as Positive\Negative SEO tactic.

4) The competition around “La bella vita” is challenging and the main competitor, “The Beagle Boys’s Pizza”, pretty tough. “The Beagle Boys” is highly pushing a Negative SEO tactic and they usually attempt to write bad reviews against “La bella Vita”. Unfortunately, since no consumption is pending as “to be reviewed”, the comment in Tripadvisor will be not considers as valid.

Well, such a business model might fix definitely the issue of Negative SEO for Tripadvisor and make their service much more useful for consumers…

…but, is that really all about implementing such a business model?

I mean, how is possible to fully exploit the investments needed for developing a new IT infrastructure?

Well, new data is actually now available for Tripadvisor since many consumptions are tracked. In particular, three key aspects has been registered:

1) WHAT (spaghetti)

2) WHO (user ID)

3) WHERE (GEO position of the restaurant)

That is actually what a BigData initiative is: leveraging the data available inside as well as outside the company not only for improving the core business but also for developing new ones.

How? By using a N.IT.I.D method: New IT Initiative Development.

Coming soon.

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Social Media Magic Quadrant: who will be successful? The key of a linkage with search engines


Social Network Magic Quadrant

Around the world many Social Networks are in place, many just born and many other just died.

Level of engagement, usability and giving to final users which information to share are more likely what a SN should develop in order to be successful nowadays.

Anyhow, who among the big ones like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, Google+,… will survive also in the future?

Which are the key factor of success in this race?

I guess that for leading as a Social Network one key ingredient is required: a strong linkage between the content (+context) and a well-known search engine.

That’s because when people would know something more about a topic, company or person, usually type a key word in a search engine or in a Social Network as well. Therefore, having meaningful content that is delivered\promoted as results of the search engine is what will lead a social media to success.

On the other side, a search engine has to defend its brand (because they have it!!!). A search engine wouldn’t return results with bad contents and\or from people with bad reputation. Thus, the algorithm of a search engine should defend its brand by providing good contents from trusted social networks.

Well, probably, among the big ones who has the strongest linkage between a Social Network and a search engine is Google: Google+ (SN) and Google search (Search Engine).

However, despite Google search is the most used search engine, Google+ is not leading as a content generator and thus able to reach a critical mass of contents. Promoting Google+ by engaging as much (trusted) users as possible is part of its strategy, as far as I realized.

On the other side, according to its Merge & Acquisition , the most popular SN, Facebook, doesn’t seem to show an interest on promoting to user as well as investing on a search engine. Who will win? We’ll see.

Meanwhile, other SNs have already shown how the linkage with a good search engine is strategic. Think about LinkedIn that is widely used by hiring manager for screening candidates.

Recalling the fairy tale Snow White and the seven Dwarfs:

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of Social Networks all?

(see also: Semantic search algorithm, behaviorism and fairy-tale Snowwhite with the seven dwarfs. Would SEO behave like Grumpy?)

Snow White and Semantic Search

Snow White and Semantic Search

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P.S.: By the way, will Gartner Inc. approve the Social Media Magic Quadrant? ;)

New IT Innovation Development (N.IT.I.D.): a new business model generator at a glance


NITID Process

Once understood the second side of technology: technology as a catalyst to change business models

(see also: Firm Infrastructure Vs Catalyst to Change Business Models (part 2): New IT Innovation Development (NITID))

  • How to develop new business models that anticipate customers’ needs and market’s trends?
  • How to make IT innovation fully sustainable also by using all the data (inside & outside the company)?
  • How to manage technology disruptions?

Here a “N.IT.I.D.” tool to address such an issue of nowadays businesses of whatever industry.

5 steps:

1. Brainstorming (lateral thinking):

Ok, a new technology or improvement has come out… which might be impacts on the business and society? How can be used for market effectiveness?…in other words, what to do? Starting by thinking to a solution is the best way for achieving a failure.  In a good brainstorming stage all the business impacts related to customers’ needs and stakeholders should be written down without any kind of criticisms. A good brainstorming stage rely on people with different mindsets, lateral thinking and should generate as much options as possible. In one world: chaos

(see also: Chaos vs. Determinism: why not both? From evolutionary theory to BIG Data challenge)

2. Simplify (vertical thinking):

A list of ideas that might have no sense (apparently!!!) has been written down. It’s time to make order upon the chaoby giving to each idea a title. An image that simplify the idea in one #hashtag. Then, remove all the ideas that are redundant because the have the same image, title or #hashtag.

Then, rank all ideas (e.g.: team members votes) and eliminate the ones less relevant. For example, keep only 30 ideas out of 200\500 initially generated.

3. Organize (vertical thinking):

With a simplified list:

  1. first level groups: unify the remaining ideas into rational association (criteria) affinity groups
  2. rank the groups. (e.g.: each member of teamwork assigns 1,3 or 6 point for each group of ideas)
  3. second level groups: group again the unified ideas into a rational association affinity group (another criteria)
  4. for each second level group, summarize a general topic (avoid a list of ideas) or a common theme.
  5. identify relations among groups (correlations, dependencies).

4. Evaluate Solutions (lateral & vertical thinking):

Now it’s time to think about a solution: how to develop a solution that meets the needs and opportunities that has been previously brainstormed, simplified and organized?

Many solutions should be brainstormed again and evaluated according to a list of “key performances” that are needed for implementing the new functionalities (needs).

That’s more likely the most challenging stage since both lateral and vertical thinking are required for generating new solutions and for evaluating them according to the key performances required from customers.

5. Select Solution (vertical thinking):

A list of selected solutions and possible business models that are possible thanks to IT innovations and technology improvements are now available with an evaluation that is linked with key performances. How to select the only one that is sustainable and worth to develop?

That is the final Selection stage where each solution is compared and assessed against accordingly what is already provided by competitors.

An example of how N.IT.I.D. process might be helpful in order to find opportunities and threats (disruptions) from IT and technology innovations?

Recalling the issues of Negative SEO:

(see also: Tripadvisor: a case study to think why bigdata variety matters)

…how to improve a service like the one of TripAdvisor closer to customers’ needs?

…stay tuned ;)!

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BigData & SupplyChain: a S.W.O.T. analysis


Strengths , Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (S.W.O.T.)

  • Strengths:

Implementing analytic tools with the technology available nowadays (RFID, GPS,…), that is getting cheaper and cheaper, will enable gathering insights and information about logistic and operations on a real-time basis. This means reacting faster and faster to issues.

  • Weaknesses:

Analytic skills should be developed in order to break the barrier between such amount of data and the meaningful information for a certain business. Inaccessible data are both useless and a missed information.

  • Opportunities:

Scouting might be easier. Moreover, a demand driven supply chain (DDSC) approach might be expanded by sharing more and more data with key partners and by gathering insights from the market: from customers as well as customers of customers and thus anticipate trends and innovations rather than rely mainly on unreliable forecasts.

  • Threats:

Be disrupted by other innovations. This is what might happen whenever a new business model, closer to customer needs (or that creates new needs), is created thanks to IT innovations. New business model = New network of suppliers.

Ignoring the opportunities behind IT innovations means ignoring the risk of being disrupted. On the other side, an excess of enthusiasm towards BigData is as well a risk to fall in one of the 5 bigdata S.L.I.P.S. if no analytical and business acumen are developed.

BigData-SupplyChain_SWOT

 

 

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TV Audience and Tweets Flow: a great beauty or bigdata SLIP n.1 for marketing communication strategists (statistic)?


TV_Audience and Tweets: a big beauty or bigdata SLIP n.1 (statistic)?

After being awarded as the best foreign language movie (Italy) Academy Awards 20014, The Great Beauty, directed by Paolo Sorrentino, got an outstanding audience last week when it was broadcasted in Italy in TV prime time.

Comments and opinions about the movie apart (I would recommend to see it), providing trends and flows among social medias is getting more frequent every day. Few day ago, it has been posted by the Italian TV Network that transmitted the movie, a “statistic” (here) regarding the Tweet flows with the purpose to explain when twitters’ peaks happened as well as gathering the main influencers.

Accordingly to a third party analysis, twitters’ peaks happened at specific moments: 1) a meaningful sentence by Jep Gambardella, the protagonist, 2) when the Sabrina Ferilli (famous Italian actress) showed up in the movie with all her beauty and 3) at the end of the movie.

Very interesting. However, looking carefully at the charts (see figure above) I have noticed two things:

  1. Twitters’ peaks happen concurrently with a temporary decline of the TV audience (share). Thus, a correlation (negative) between peaks in Twitter and TV Share exists.
  2. The Twitters’ peaks and audiences’ downturns occur with a perfect timing: one each 30 minutes.

Since advertisements’ stops during TV shows, and radio broadcasts as well, are previously defined according to a specific TV time clock…

…well, I am wondering: Is there also a cause-effect relationship between advertisements’ stops during TV programs and the peaks registered in Twitter?

Who knows. An answer should be provided only analyzing data and real facts carefully. For example, why not putting chips in our home that register and transmit also when the refrigerator has been opened to bring something to eat or even when a WC has just been flushed? Other stimulating correlations might be found by gathering such kind of data.

Anyhow, finding correlations it’s quite easy. Just observe what happen. Finding causation relationships is definetely much more tricky (see also BigData S.L.I.P.S. n.1: statistic) since a deep knowledge of what is going to be analyzed is required and it is quite easy to fall into wrong assumptions. In this case, the beauty of human behaviours.

By the way, concerning the connection between Tweets and TV shows, last year Twitter and BBC America have established a partnership for advertising (see Mashable, Twitter Partners With BBC America to Promote Branded Videos).

Maybe it’s just a coincidence… or maybe Twitter and BBC have the information that when people go to the toilette is just for posting a tweet and not beacause of a TV break ;)

Feelink – Feel & Think approach for doing life!

Caution!!! BigData S.L.I.P.S.: five tips when using analytics


BigData_SLIPS

Along my brief research on BigData, I’ve found 5 type of S.L.I.P.S that a data scientist might encounter along the way: Statistic, Learning, Information, Psychology and Sources.

1) Statistic (Left Foot)

Is without any doubt the main and well-known technical aspect. The most common slip concerning statistic is misleading correlation with causation. In other words, discovering correlations among variables doesn’t necessarily imply a cause-effect relation. Mathematically speaking, correlation is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a cause-effect relationship.

(see also K. Borne: Statistical Truisms in the Age of BigData).

2) Learning (Right Foot)

OK, lets assume that a cause-effect relationship exists: which model\algorithm to chose in order to describe the relationship? There are many: ARMA, Kalman’s Filter, Neural Networks, customized,… which one fits best? A model that has been validated with the data available now might be not valid anymore in the future. So, constantly monitoring and measure the error of prediction with the estimated values by the model.

Choosing a model implies making assumptions. In other words, never quit to learn from data and be open to break assumptions otherwise predictions and analysis will be slanted.

3) Information (Right Hand)

Which information is really meaningful? That’s the first point to clarify before implementing a bigdata initiative or any new BI tool for your business.

Another point is misleading information with data. According to information theory, and a well-grounded common sense as well, data are facts while information is an interpretation of facts based upon assumptions (see also the D.A.I. model).

(see also: D. Laney & M. Beyer: BigData Strategy Essentials for Business and IT).

4) Psychology (the Head… of course!)

Have you ever heard about eco-chamber effects and social influence? Well, what happen is that social media might amplify irrational behaviours where individuals (me included) base its decisions, more or less consciously, not only on their knowledge or values but also on the actions of those who act before them.

In particular, whenever dealing with tricky-slippy tools such as bigdata sentiments is better to consider carefully the relevance and impacts of psychology and behaviours. The risk is to gather data that is intrinsically biased (see also My Issue with BigData Sentiments.)

(see also:

D. Amerland: How Semantic Search is changing end-user behaviour

C. Sunstein: Echo Chambers: Bush v. Gore, Impeachment, and Beyond - Princeton University Press

e! Science News: Information technology amplifies irrational group behavior).

5) Sources (Left Hand)

Variety!!! That is one of the three suggested by D. Laney: Volume, Velocity and Variety. Not only choosing the right model is important in order to avoid predictions’ and insights’ biases: what about the reliability of the sources of data that has been used for the analysis? If the data is biased predictions and insights will be biased as well. In particular, any series of data has a variance and a bias that can not be eliminated.

How to mitigate such a risk? By gathering data from different sources and weight them accordingly to its reliability: the variance.

Moreover, as a bigdata scientist and as a consumer as well, never forget positive and negative SEO tactics. There is a social-digital jungle there! (see Tripadvisor: a Case Study to Think Why BigData Variety matters).

Feelink – Feel & Think approach for doing life!

Annual report 2013: so far… so what?


The year 2013 is due to say its welcome to a New Year.

Traditionally, the and of a year is an opportunity to stop for a while and think what has been done, what went right and what went wrong.

Here below, all the posts of this last year, that is also the first year, divided by three main categories: Business World, Coaching & Training and Leisure, Funny Stories & Miscellaneous.

Accordingly to the mission statement, there is no an unique logic among the topics and a specific direction in order to let inspiration and curiosity free from any kind of “mindset” chain.

The purpose is focusing on relations among topics rather than topics itself…

…so what?…

…”You can connect the dots only by looking backwards and not by looking forward”.

All the best for a great “dots connection” in the year 2014 to all the readers.

Feelink – Feel & Think approach for doing life!

A question about IT change management: does the DNA of the company fit your IT vendor?


Company_Vendor_DNAs

When delivering my final dissertation of the MBA program (here the link of a short presentation), along the research I’ve encountered the topic of IT Change Management.

As a matter of fact, whenever a company decides to implement IT innovations most likely new collaborations or partnerships with IT Vendors, consultants or third parties are needed. Usually, within a selection process, IT suppliers are evaluated accordingly to theirs know how and proven expertise. However, what about other aspects such as the agility to change, the ability to innovate and corporates’ cultures? Is there a potential fit or a misfit between the company and the selected IT vendor?

The company’s DNA

In order to avoid failures, it’s fundamental to set a pace for IT innovations that is affordable to the company according to its DNA. According to R. Ray Wang (@rwang0) there are two kind of attitudes when defining a DNA of a company: proactive vs. reactive and incremental vs transformational attitudes.

Cautious Adopters: proactive & incremental (about 30%). Such companies are looking for new technologies without waiting what other competitors do. However, they are willing to implement only the technologies that might play a key role in the future as well as they are not keen to consider the opportunity to change their business model even if the new technology enable a breakthrough.

Market Leaders proactive & transformational (about 5%). A market leader has the ability to sustain high paces of IT innovations as well as an organizational flexibility to change also its business model.

Laggards: reactive & incremental (30%). Such a company avoid any kind of risk of a self-disruptive innovation and integrates new technology only when other competitor succeed. In any case, without transforming its business model.

Fast Followers: reactive & transformational (15%). This of kind of DNA is able to mitigate the risk of adopting new technology by relying on the ability to change quickly the business model and the organization as a way to survive against disruptive innovation threats.

(More: “The Building Blocks of Successful Corporate IT“, HBR Blog)

IT Vendor’s DNA

What about the DNA of an IT Vendor? Gartner is well-known for providing a “magic” quadrant for everything and also for evaluating an IT vendor: completeness of vision and ability to change are the two main attitudes to consider.

Leaders: high completeness of vision & high ability to execute. As IT vendors, they are able not only to provide innovative services that works today but also to influence the market that theirs innovations are the best for the future. For these reason, such IT vendors might fit best a company with a leadership that wants to invest in new infrastructures\technology early and avoiding any risk due to technology (obsolescence, maintenance, etc.). However, also a cautious adopter (DNA) company that wants to develop a leader DNA should prefer IT leaders by relying on their ability to execute and play a key role as an influencer within a change management process.

Niche Players: low completeness of vision & low ability to execute. Is the case of IT vendors specialized in few functionalities and with low ability to execute due, for example, to a lack of resources (financial, operating) and power (network). However, such IT vendors might be useful for companies that need small technology changes without stringent delivery deadlines. For these reason IT niche players might be extremely useful for Laggard (DNA) companies.

Visionaries: high completeness of vision & low ability to execute. Is the kind of IT vendor that fit best a Cautious Adopter company’s DNA. Anyhow,  a Fast Follower (DNA) company that wants to innovate proactively rather than reactively, might get some useful insights from Visionaries third parties.

Challengers: low completeness of vision & high ability to execute. Is what Fast Follower companies usually need. However, a Cautious Adopter company that wants to improve its change management process should look for Challengers as IT vendors.

(More: “How Gartner Evaluates Vendors and Markets in Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes“, Gartner)

So, which IT Vendor to chose? Thinking about possible threats due to cultural and organizational divergences between the company and th IT vendor DNAs will ensure the implementation of the strategy as well as it will avoid market\operational risks and a waste of resources: why to invest on IT Vendor Leaders? Does the company really need it?

As a moral of this story, selecting the IT Vendors that fit best the company DNA is not so different as chosing relationships and friends in our every day life. Trusted and better relationships are guaranteed only by knowing ourselves as well as the others.

Feelink – Feel & Think approach for doing life!