Proponents of artificial intelligence solutions need to come forward with a serious public relations effort

2-Color-Design-Hi-Res-100px-widthMachine learning solutions, and those of the “deep learning” variety are playing an ever increasing role in daily computing activities for most people. This condition does not look to change anytime soon.

But regardless, ISVs with products targeted to the predictive analytics market, or the robotics market, or any one of many emerging new market segments, need to tune in on public perception about these technologies in the mature global markets (US, Western Europe, Japan). Public perception has the potential to prod government regulators towards counter-productive pronouncements. Therefore, it makes sense for ISVs to mount a public relations effort to ensure public perception about these technologies stays “on track”.

On Tuesday, February 24, 2015 the Wall Street Journal published an article germaine to this topic. The piece was written by Timothy Aeppel and is titled What Clever Robots Mean for Jobs. The employment theme is a very familiar one for anyone involved with efforts to use computer processes to automate repetitive tasks. So Aeppel’s skepticism about just whether or not an exploding market of robotics solutions will lead to more jobs, or not (which appears to be his position) is really nothing new.

But the timing of the article, in close proximity to several other articles from “prominent” individuals (Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking and more) about the dangers presented by algorithms should they be applied to computing lends power to Aeppel’s thoughts. Readers should also not lose sight of the 2016 Presidential election here in the States, where ostensible candidates like Hillary Clinton are starting to stake out turf about “hi tech” and its performance as a job creator.

I encourage readers to go back to my first points in this post. Methods of automating processes, including requirements for prediction, are increasing and becoming more accessible to “average” consumers of computing services. This is not a bad thing. On the contrary, in my opinion the accessibility of comparatively powerful methods of enhancing the accuracy of prediction is a net positive contribution to overall business and certainly a likely simulant for new business activity.

Do new businesses create jobs? I am not sure as to the answer to this question, but I can posit they certainly empower more entrepreneurs. Machine learning ISVs and their deep learning siblings need to step forward and do a better job of educating the public about the real benefit of these technologies.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2015 All Rights Reserved


The Microsoft Cloud Promotional Campaign Debuts Without a Formal Introduction

Microsoft has debuted a new promotional campaign, ‘The Microsoft Cloud’. This campaign is targeted to the core of Microsoft’s customer base — enterprise business. The campaign includes a highly integrated set of customer testimonials, position statements, and presentations of components of the solution.

This campaign launched with little formal fanfare, breaking with what has come to be Microsoft’s “typical” approach to introducing a new set of marketing concepts. So the campaign has, to date, successfully avoided the usual critical reaction from popular media. Of even greater importance, rather than foisting “Microsoft’s” version of popular computing concepts, this campaign simply starts with a familiar presentation on cloud computing and merely brands it as “Microsoft’s” cloud. The campaign breaks further from the recent past with a very clear focus on enterprise business prospects and their need for hybrid clouds, which amount to an integration of on premises computing systems –SQL Server, Windows Server– with Office 365. Promotional content is highly integrated with product presentations juxtaposed with client testimonials and even success stories.

The theme of the campaign includes four components:

  1. Insights
  2. Productivity
  3. Social
  4. and Platform

1) Insights

Insights amount to analytics, and include Microsoft’s BI offers, CRM, and Power BI for Office 365. But on premises BI solutions, including SQL Server 2012 and SQL Server 2014 are also promoted. Microsoft’s new embrace of 3rd party computing platforms (for example, the announced port of Office to the Apple iPad device platform) is represented in the Power BI presentation with a presentation of how Power BI can be connected to SAP Business Objects.

2) Productivity

The “Productivity” presentation is all about Office 365, with no mention of SharePoint anywhere in at least the first 4 screens I reviewed. There is no on premises solution included in this plank of the Microsoft Cloud solution. But there is a section devoted to the “Office 365 Trust Center”, ostensibly to persuade enterprise prospects on the security of the Productivity computing platform.

3) Social

Once again, I found no mention of SharePoint within the first few screens of the “Social” presentation, which is filled with a lot of information about Yammer, and a new set of “Social CRM” capabilities, which are built on the CRM product.

4) Platform

The last plank of the solution, Platform, is a lot about Azure, but also very much a position statement on the notion of “hybrid cloud”.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved


Why Marketing Communications for Technology Businesses Should be Produced by Technically Knowledgeable Writers

The surveillance leak of June, 2013, is, indirectly, a good example of why technology businesses should select technically competent writers for marketing communications projects. The shapeless concept of “big data” has been tightened up by this event.

Prior to the surveillance leak, “Big Data” looked to a technically astute audience to be little more than a new name for an otherwise old set of analytic tools developed for Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMSs). Large databases are nothing new. U.S. federal and state agencies have worked, successfully, to gather specific information from enormous databases for years. So have comparably sized organizations in the private sector, including telecommunications services providers, consumer goods manufacturers and more.

Marketing Communications (MARCOM) efforts to educate the public about the really unique nature of “big data” were unsuccessful. But CNN and USA Today, two news service designed for a mass market audience, achieved more when they, along with thousands of other online news publications, used the word “metadata” in their front page stories on this topic. After those stories were printed, we can safely say the public has gained a somewhat more informative understanding of what “big data”, this new set of techniques designed for unstructured data, is all about. We say “somewhat” as the use of the term “metadata” in both stories was inaccurate. Nevertheless, a bit of an accurate understanding is better than no understanding at all.

Tech businesses would do better to lighten up on the creative imperative for their MARCOM projects, while emphasizing their real need for accurate technical communication about products. Often this need finds it satisfaction in editorial copy chock full of acronyms. But acronyms are not useful when the reader must be left with a clear understanding about concepts and products.

If you understand our point, and have a MARCOM project on your calendar, please let us know. We’re eager to learn more about what the market is after. Please send us a message.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved


Changing the Medium Changed the Message for Laptop and Desktop PCs

We think that the popularity of tablets, more than anything else, has established mobile data networking as a compelling medium for popular data communications. With tablet computing in the lead for this medium, desktop and laptop PCs have assumed a less prominent position. However, the reality that the laptop PC has been relegated to a background role for this mobile medium of public data communications does not mean that all of PC computing has been replaced by some other type of daily computing standard mysteriously built on devices brought from home, which were purchased from a retail store.

In reality, the proportion of these BYODs that are used in enterprise business computing is actually very small. Further, it is important to keep in mind the substantial impediments to the further penetration of these devices for daily office computing. We speak regularly with contacts collected across a wide section of enterprise businesses and large organizations in the public sector. We hear often that organizational policy prohibits the use of Software as a Service (SaaS) computing options, including “cloud” data storage, etc. For the average enterprise CIO, activities like storing company specific sensitive information in remote data repositories accessible over public Internet Protocol (IP) networks are still verboten. They are likely to remain in this state for the foreseeable future. The risks are just too great for enterprise CIOs to abandon corporate data centers.

These business computing hubs have been fortified over decades as regards data security. Further, best of breed IP networking gear is ubiquitous, which makes for very fast data communications that are much more reliable than mobile data networking alternatives. In sum, why abandon the data center? We don’t think that many enterprise CIOs will be moving away from this secure, reliable and extremely efficient data communications option any time soon.

On the other hand, as we have written elsewhere in this blog, we do see why SaaS makes complete sense for Small to Medium Businesses (SMBs). Further, we agree that there will be dramatic growth in the number of SMB subscribers to these services over the next near term. However, for stock analysts and other pundits to proclaim the death of PC computing, the uselessness of pursuing enterprise business sales (isn’t this really the point of Richard Saintvilus’ attack on Dell, that they ought to get back to consumer sales and forget about enterprise prospects?) is gross hyperbole.

If you understand our position we’d like to hear from you. Further, if your business manufactures products targeted to enterprise business customers we’d like to hear from you. You may telephone Ira Michael “Mike” Blonder at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion. You may also email Mike at imblonder@imbenterprises.com.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved