Insights

Regardless of your deployment decision today, it will change tomorrow.

by John B Smelcer, MBA, PhD

Introduction

computer in the cloudA client is considering converting a desktop application to the web. Creating web applications for instantaneous deployment and universal access is very popular. But are there business considerations, given the types of tasks completed by users and their limited access to the Internet?

Web applications mean effortless deployment. IT managers love this because updating hundreds or thousands of PCs when a new version of desktop software comes out can be a major headache. Conversely, web applications are automatically updated when users refresh their browser. For users, web applications mean that software is universally available, whether at the office, at home, or on the road. With data stored in the cloud, there is hardly any need to worry about where the data is.

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I've always been amazed how different hardware and software are. Electrical engineers and computer engineers design and build transistors, integrated circuits, circuit boards, etc. Fascinating stuff, and I've always envied the regularity of their world and the fact that principles of physics underlay what they do. Electrons are whizzing around in a lattice created by the conductor, and both electrons and 'holes' are moving around a transistor.

But magically those electrons and the state of a transistor correspond to zeroes and ones, to bytes, to megabytes of data and programs.

Like there are layers to hardware, there are layers to software.

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No-Spam

Have you ever received marketing email from Amazon?  Never?  Well, you're not alone. I haven't either.  But why?  Why should Amazon not leverage it's enormous power to sell me even more things?


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To be honest, Amazon offers it customers the power to opt out of marketing email, as it should.  And I thank them.  


But shouldn't they send me a courtesy reminder that I have left something in my shopping cart but not bought it?  This would be good to know sometimes.  What if I thought I had purchased the items in my cart, but the transaction had not completed.  This happened to me just the other day.  

I bought a gift card for my son, but it never arrived.  There was no email from Amazon.  I was dumbfounded.  Had the infallible Amazon made a mistake?  

I was forced to go to Amazon.com, log in, and review past orders.  There was my unfulfilled order, and it needed a different form of payment.  (The debit card didn't work, and I still don't know why.) I wish Amazon had sent me a simple email.  But they just don't do that, and I've wondered why.  Here are some thoughts.

Email content 

Let's pretend that Amazon does start to use push marketing.  They want to send emails to potential customers.  What appears in the email?  They know the email address of each of its customers.  They know what you like from your Wish List.  They know what you like to buy from your past purchases.  They know what you'll likely buy next, either as a cross-sell or an upsell, since it appears on Amazon's home page when you log in.  Content of the emails is not the problem.

Branding 

Every email molds our brand perception of a company.  Useful information?  Brand improves.  Too many emails?  Brand degrades.  Perhaps Amazon does not want is brand tarnished from email overload.

Jeff says NO 

Possibly Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, decided not to spam his customers.  He did leave a lucrative job on Wall Street, and perhaps he wants to distance himself from that distasteful past.  He does live in Seattle, at the other end of the continent, after all.

Search engine marketing

Amazon dominates search engine marketing.  Google shoes?  Amazon's ad for Zappos comes up first.  Google MP3 player, and Amazon's entry is at the top.  So it goes for nearly every item a consumer might want.  With that kind of dominance, who needs to spam?

History 

Perhaps Amazon once did use push marketing via email.  For one or more of the above reasons, they stopped.

More history 

Any company with an overpowering market presence may not need to use email marketing, or any marketing.  This was once the case with a famous chocolate company, the largest in the US - Hersheys.  Since the introduction of the Hershey Bar in 1900 until 1970, Hershey's did not use mass advertising, including newspaper and magazine ads, and commercials on radio and TV.  Their chocolate bars were so popular that they hardly needed to advertise. However, they did use other forms of marketing.  For example, during World War II Hershey produced hundreds of millions of Ration D chocolate bars for the men and women in uniform, clearly marked as manufactured by the Hershey Chocolate Corporation.  

Today we have the ubiquitous Amazon logo on millions of boxes.  Is Amazon the modern day equivalent of Hershey's?

Amazon logo

There are layers to everything, especially IT. Systems are built on software, procedures, hardware, networks and people. Deep within any software application are procedures, functions, and statements. I guess if one statement goes haywire, then the entire application can crash. And that might bring down the system.

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For Release 9:00am April 1, 2011Staff at Fairfield Professionals met with insiders at Microsoft and Sun Microsystems who spoke of work on a new operating system. Our contacts told us that work on the OS would be announced publicly in a matter of weeks.

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User-Centered Design and Patient Safety: The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act  

Hospitals and physicians have to implement and use (as in meaningful use) a certified EHR if they want payment incentives from Medicare and Medicaid. A proposed new rule for certification and meaningful use of EHRs is now publicly available. And there is good news for us lovers of user-centered design and improved user experiences with EHRs. First, some background.

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Google announced another adjustment to the search algorithm on November 3, 2011. Effective immediately, it places a higher priority on "fresheness" of content when presenting search results. The release statement includes several examples where, Amit Singhal says, most people would prefer to see recent results to older results.

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I've always been amazed how different hardware and software are. Electrical engineers and computer engineers design and build transistors, integrated circuits, circuit boards, etc. Fascinating stuff, and I've always envied the regularity of their world and the fact that principles of physics underlay what they do. Electrons are whizzing around in a lattice created by the conductor, and both electrons and 'holes' are moving around a transistor.

But magically those electrons and the state of a transistor correspond to zeroes and ones, to bytes, to megabytes of data and programs.

Like there are layers to hardware, there are layers to software.

Read more ...

Google announced another adjustment to the search algorithm on November 3, 2011. Effective immediately, it places a higher priority on "fresheness" of content when presenting search results. The release statement includes several examples where, Amit Singhal says, most people would prefer to see recent results to older results.

Read more ...

No-Spam

Have you ever received marketing email from Amazon?  Never?  Well, you're not alone. I haven't either.  But why?  Why should Amazon not leverage it's enormous power to sell me even more things?

Read more ...

Womand Holding a SignWhen posting a tweet or anything on a social network you are clearly affecting your personal brand.  But what about the organizations and companies you are affiliated with?  Whenever we put something out there, whether it is a single email or a post to an unknown number of people, it affects our brands. Be careful not to proclaim yourself capable of public relations or marketing campaigns for your company or yourself.

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Tweets

"Deal with the world the way it is, not the way you wish it was." John Chambers
"We need some ability which allows us to envision the objective from afar, and this ability is intuition." Henri Poincare
"In order to have judgment, you have to have knowledge and experience." - Nancy Pelosi (D, California)
"If you're building a product or delivering a service that solves a real problem, you can do well and grow fast." Marina Hatsopoulos
"You already know the answers. You just don't want to hear them from yourself." - Sunny Vanderbeck
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