Monday, December 20, 2010
Idea looks non starter.
If a news story tells you that few Israelis companies are outsourcing to Palestine then idea of an Indian company outsourcing to Pakistan doesnt look that weird
Quoting from above news item, " Israeli CEOs say it's their way of bringing a little bit of peace to their troubled corner of the world. But the real reason they're hiring Palestinians, they acknowledge, is because it simply makes good business sense."
Same remain true for Indian and Pakistan. Apart from similarities in country name initials ( Israel and India starts from I , Palestine and Pakistan starts from P), the painful history and current border dispute is also comparable.
If outsourcing can establish little peace in Israel and Palestine, it can establish little peace in India and Pakistan as well.
And it makes business sense as well . Here's why?
Firstly, Indian IT companies are seeing employee cost escalation in big cities. Companies counter move is to relocate some of their operations in Tier II cities in India where cost and employee attrition is low. Utilizing Pakistan can also be one such counter move to reduce cost and attrition.
Secondly, Indian companies are desperately looking for new growth avenues. Initial business dependence was on US and later focus shifted to Europe. Now when US and European markets are saturating growth will be from new geographies. Utilizing Pakistan even symbolically will help Indian companies geting business from MENA ( Middle East and North Asia ) Region.
Well there are hundred reasons from security to economics for not to consider this route. Still there are few resons to consider it as well. Thoughts to ponder !
Thursday, December 2, 2010
- White Papers
- Free Research Reports
- Customer Case Studies
- Book Publishing
- Articles in Magazines/ Journals
- Quote, News in News Papers
- Firm Advertisement in Magazines/ Journals
- Conference Participation
- Exhibition Participation
- User Group/ Client Intranet
- Academics Award / Fellowship sponsorship
- Sports/ Golf Events
- Customer Events, User Meets
- Employment Branding
- Youtube Videos
- Sponsoring Third Party Research
- Wining Relevant Award
- Google Adwords
- Industry Blog Sponsorship
- CSR Activities
- Listing in industry forums/ directories
- Probono advice to Government Institutions
- Analyst Relationships
- Academia Relationships
- Social Media - Twitter, FB, Linkedin
- Customer Quotes
- Employee Quotes
- Customer News Letter
A Business Fiction book - "Who is that lady?"
Website/ Where to buy - http://www.whoisthatlady.com
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Planning1. Reduce Number of BTS ( Decrease Cell Sites , Increase subscribers per site)
2. Reduce Energy Consumption per Site
3. More spectrum .Less BTS
4. Electricity Low Tariff Usage
5. Claim – Carbon Credits
6. Passive Infrastructure Sharing - Tower Sharing, Power Sharing, Genset Sharing
7. Active Sharing - RAN Sharing, RNC Physically Shared but logically separated
8. Backhaul Sharing – Infra Sharing
9. Agreement to Switch one network off in low load scenario
Shelters10. Replacing Shelters with Cabinets
11. Green Shelters – PUF Panels
Cooling12. Replacing Air Con with Free Cooling, HEX , TEC
13. Intelligent Remote Air Con Control (Temperature, Humidity, Clock Time)
14. No AirCon Requirement on Base Station
15. Compressor Less Air Cooling – AirCon
16. Precision Air Con (PAC)
17. HFC Free Cooling System
18. Inverter based Air Con
19. Passive Cooling Method- Phase Change Material for Storing Thermal Energy
Rectifiers20. High Efficiency Rectifier
21. Sleeping Functionality in Rectifier for Low Loads
Batteries22. Increase Battery Life - High Temperature Battery , High Cyclic Battery
23. Battery – Remote Discharge Test
24. New Battery Technologies, - Flow Battery, Ni Cd Batteries, Tubular Gel Batteries
Fuel Management and Gensets25. Diesel Genset – Remote Fuel Measurement and Management
26. DC Power Genset
27. Genset Remote Management - DG Delay Start Feature
Monitoring and Control28. Remote Passive Infrastructure and Environment Monitoring
29. Remote Theft Control
30. Measuring Power
31. Solar Power with Remote Panel Cleaning, Solar Cooling for Data Centres
32. Wind Power – Vertical Axis, Horizontal Axis
33. Bio Mass, Bio Fuel
34. Fuel Cell – Hydrogen, Methane
35. Genset Battery Hybrid Solution
36. Geo Thermal Cabinets
37. Pico Hydro
Base Station38. Base Station – Increase in Power Efficiency of RF Power Amplifiers, Base Band Processing Circuits
39. Auto TRX Shutdown
40. Sleeping functionality Base Station – Low Load, User mobility scenarios
41. Use of Micro Sites Along with Macro Sites
42. Strategic Use of Repeaters and Relays
43. FemtoCell – Home Base Station
44. Use Low Powered Micro BTS, Micro GSM
45. Use Human Sensors – Body to Body Network
Core Networks46. Core Network – Sleep Mode Technologies, Proxy Server Techniques
47. IP Based Core Network
48. Energy Efficient Routers – IP/ MPLS
Backhaul49. Adaptive Ethernet Transmission rate switching depending on traffic load
50. Mobile Backhaul – Ethernet interfaces- optimized hub/switch site solution
51. PMP Microwave Outdoor
Network Architecture52. Energy Efficient Deployment Architecture ( MIMO, HARQ, Beam Forming, Wireless Mesh Network, Distributed DSLAM)
53. Voice Compression Technologies – More MON
54. Local Call Intracell – Mobile Media Gateway
Infrastructure Optimization55. Infra Optimization Solutions ( Separate Battery Cooling, Telecom Towers as Wind Towers, Shelter Roofs as Solar Panels)
56. Remote Radio Units closer to antenna. Lower losses thru feeder cables
57. Tower Mounted Antennas
GO GREEN TELECOM
A Business Fiction book - "Who is that lady?"
Website/ Where to buy - http://www.whoisthatlady.com
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Increasing Use of Renewable Energy is a Global Trend. Focus is on improvement in technology and availability of options – Solar, Wind, Fuel Cells etc
But there is no business case of Renewable Energy without government subsidies or incentives – grants, feed in tariffs, capex subsidy, tax breaks etc
Only off grid areas where there is no electricity supply have business case for implementing Renewable Energy provided there is strong business need for electricity
Off grid Telecom Sites have strong business need for electricity and have business case for implementing Renewable Energy
Current business model is prohibiting wide scale use of Renewable Energy in Telecom Sites . Why?
1. Capex intensive projects - Benefits are long term but investment is short term.
2. Renewable Energy needs specialized resources to plan and implement projects
• Which source to choose? – Solar, Wind, Fuel Cell etc or optimum combination of each
• Which Technology to choose? – Myriad of Technology to choose from – PV, Thin film, Poly Crystalline, Solar Thermal, Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine, Vertical Axis Wind turbine, Methane Fuel Cell, Hydrogen Fuel Cell, Flow Batteries etc
• How to get reliable data on performance of different technologies? – Technologies are untested for long term benefit claims by vendors
3. Difficulty in running Operations and Maintenance of Renewable Energy Operations?
• All renewable energy resources are intermittent and nature dependent. How best to optimize their usage and prepare for redundancy?
• Decision on Capex vs Opex
• Maintain specialized workforce for trouble free operations.
• Scale might not be enough to recruit specialized human resources and deploy new technologies for proper operations
In short Renewable Energy needs specialization and scale that is not core to Telecom Operators. This is a familiar problem with widely accepted solution in other industries – Outsourcing
What drives Outsourcing ? Focus on core business processes and outsource other businesses processes. Here other processes are also specialized processes that need specialization and scale. Third party specialized service provider can provide these services with agreed Service Levels (SLA)
Outsourcing started with Manufacturing and later got extended to IT and Business Processes. Advances in Technologies and rise in expertise in developing countries led to offshoring as an extension of outsourcing concept
Applying Outsourcing to Renewable Energy Problem
• Sell Power at unit or Kwh Basis
• Utilize Economics of Specialization and Economics of Scale
• Decide among combination of one or more different renewable energy options
• Decide Capex
• Own Renewable Energy Assets
• Responsible for all Opex and Maintenance
• Responsible for Service Levels as per Agreement (SLA)
This is different from equipment financing or Leasing Model since apart from financing, outsourcer has additional responsibilities of dimensioning and deciding on optimum Capex and Opex , to meet SLA's.
This model can be further extended. Outsourcing Company can
• Centralize and provide renewable energy services to multiple telecom clients from single site.
• Provide Renewable Energy to other needy customers such as schools, hospitals, offices, community centres and agriculture farms from single renewable energy site.
Possibilities are endless and Model is scalable.
The demand from Telecom Operators is strong, but supply is not catching up ( some local companies are experimenting on this though). Here also, outsourcing industry can show the way. Earlier Outsourcing was provided by shared service or captive operations, later outsourcing moved to third party as this industry evolved.
In Renewable Energy Outsourcing, Telecom Operators can come together and invest in Renewable Energy Outsourcing Company as they did in Tower Infrastructure Companies. Later supply will increase to fill up the demand.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Analysts are of further opinion that only miracle can lift this company and this is going the path of Palm.
I had the different opinion. I loved my blackberry and so did I saw my other corporate colleagues and friends love for the blackberry.
I was bullish on RIM other than my personal preference , analysing RIM from Warren Buffetology. A similar analogy: Buffet mentioned that when American Express was going down he went around and saw People using American Express cards. Thus, he was convinced that American express will never go down and he made huge dividends on this bet.
I was thinking on the above lines that similarly Blackberry will never go down. Corporate guys love this and other guys aspire this. Blackberry is like a status symbol or an aspirational value: a corporate honcho using blackberry like he drives Mercedes or stays in a six star hotel or drinks johny walker or wears Armani…
As long as the status symbol is maintained and users love using blackberry, RIM is safe. But that is changing now….
Watch this ad of Vodafone aired on television in India that is ridiculing office guys and attracting a larger crowd to blackberry with tag line “Not just for office guys”
I sincerely hope Blackberry protects its core corporate office guys rather than bending it self to teenage crowd who may any day ditch blackberry for stylus Apple.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
NTT DoCoMo is reported to be interested in making investment in Pakistan (Jul 2010) – Economics of Globalization
Millicom Tigo, Honduras
Millicom has got operating control of its Celtel Operations in Honduras (Jul 2010)- Economics of Control
Telefonica, Vivo Brazil
Telefonica got control of its Brazilian operations Vivo in a deal with Portugal Telecom $9.8 Billion (Jul 2010) – Economics of Control
Vodafone, China, US, France, Poland
Vodafone selling minority stakes in China Mobile, SFR ,Verizon Wireless and Polkomtel (Jul 2010) – Operation Excellence
Clearwire, Imagine Ireland
Clearwire is buying 7% stake in Irish WiMax Operator Imagine (Jul 2010) – Economics of Technology & Investment
Etisalat , Suntel Sri Lanka
Etisalat is considering acquisition of CDMA operator Suntel in Sri Lanka (Jul 2010) – Economics of Subscribers
Essar, Vodafone India
Essar group is planning to sale its 33% stake in Vodafone Essar (Jul 2010) – Profit Booking
EVN Telecom, Vietnam
EVN Telecom wants to sell its 30% stake to Strategic Investor (Jul 2010) – Funds Requirement
Orascom Poland, Serbia
Orascom is considering investment in Poland and Serbia ( Jul 2010) – Economics of Globalization
Tanzania government keen to buy 60% stake in Zain Tanzania now held by Bharti Airtel (Jul 2010) – Government Control
Copaco, Hola Paraguay
Paraguay’s Landline operator Copaco has purchased Mobile operator Hola (Jul 2010) – Economics of Subscribers
TeliaSonera, Stofa Denmark
TeliaSonera has sold its Denmark subsidiary Stofa to Ratos , a Private Equity Firm ( Jul 2010) – Operations Excellence
Batelco, Bahrain, North Africa, Asia Pacific
Bahrain’s Batelco plans to invest $1.5 Billion on Acquisition in North Africa and Asia Pacific. It looks to buy smaller independent operators. ( Aug 2010) – Economics of Globalization
France Telecom, Medi Morocco
France Telecom is in talks to buy Morroco’s second largest mobile operator Medi Telecom (Aug 2010) – Economics of Globalization. Transaction completed in Sep 2010.
France Telecom, Deustche Telecom, Tusmobil Slovenia
Tusmobil is being sold to an European operator. It can be either France Telecom or Deustche Telecom (Aug 2010) – Economics of Globalization
Orascom is under talks with Vimpelcom to sell its operations in few countries ( Aug 2010) – Economics of Globalization . Transaction completed in October 2010
Telecom Italia, Telecom Argentina
Telecom Italia is planning to increase its stake in Telecom Argentina (Aug 2010) – Economics of Globalization
DoCoMo, Tata India
DoCoMo is planning to increase its stake in Tata DoCoMo, though denied by Tatas. (Ag 2010) – Economics of Control
Algerian government wants to purchase Djezzy from Orascom. ( Sep 2010) – Government Control
Sotel TChad, Chad
Government has sold majority stake in Sotel TChad to UK firm MidCost (Sep 2010) - Privatization
T Mobile , Clearwire , USA
Clearwire is in talks with T Mobile for stake sale to raise funds for network expansion (Sep 2010) – Fund raising
Etisalat , DB Telecom India
Etisalat is planning to raise its stake in Indian Venture DB Telecom (Sep 2010) – Economics of Control
Etisalat, Idea Telecom India
Etisalat is looking for investment in one the incumbent operator and not ruling out Idea Telecom (Sep 2010) – Economics of Globalization
Etisalat , Zain Middle East
Etisialat has submitted bid for $10.5 billion for majority stake in Zains remaining assets in Middle East and Africa (Sep 2010) – Economics of Globalization
Deustche Telecom, Kosovo Telecom (PTK) Kosovo
Five bidders have submitted bids for 75% stake in Kosovo Telecom – Deustche Telecom, Orascom, Turk Telecom, Telekom Austria, SabaFon (Sep 2010) – Privatization, Economics of Globalization
75% stake is on sale and it might go to PE players if none of the telecom groups bid. Vodafone has 24% stake and first right of refusal. (Sep 2010) – Profit Booking
SK Telecom, Lighsquared USA
SK Telecom is considering investment in Greenfield LTE Operator Lightsquared. (Sep 2010) -Economics of Globalization and License
TDC Sunrise , Switzerland
Denmakr’s TDC is selling its Swiss subsidiary Sunrise to PE Player CVC. (Sep 2010) – Operation Excellence
Is Telefonica , Telenor Merger or strategic alliance possible? – Economics of Globalization
France Telecom, Deutsche Telecom
Is France Telecom , Deustche Telecom merger possible ? France Telecom is denying it but possibility is there. – Economics of Globalization
Telenor already has significant investment in Vimpelcom. Could these two companies merge? – Economics of Globalization
Friday, September 24, 2010
2. Supply Options– Vendor Landscape (Local, Regional, Global)
3. Risk Analysis- Vendor, Country, Component, Material
4. Tax and Duty Analysis – Savings in Bundling, Country of Origin, Local Content, Green
Procurement Strategy, Models and Options5. Global, Regional, Local, Strategy
6. Category Plans – Strategy, Terms and Conditions
7. Global Category Consolidation – Country by Country Analysis – Standardize on Low Cost
8. Breaking up Categories– Cut vendor markups and direct purchase of third party items
9. Multivendor Strategy – Dual Vendor Strategy
10. Benchmarking Internal vs. External, Make vs. Buy Analysis
11. Business Model – Outsourcing, Leasing, Capex vs. Opex, Vendor Financing
12. Risk and Reward- Outcome Based , Revenue Sharing with Vendors
Vendor Selection Process and Vendor Relationship Management13. Vendor Prequalification Process – Relevant Criteria, No Criteria Biasness
14. Tiered Vendor Rankings – Preferred Vendor Status
15. Vendor Rationalization – Few Strategic Vendors
16. Vendor Awards, Certifications
17. Investment in Vendor, Acquiring Vendors, Backward Integration
18. Collaborating with Competitors for Vendor Development
19. Forecast Sharing with Delivery Commitments
20. Vendor Innovation Day
21. Vendor Factory/ Facility Visits
22. Details of Vendors Key Subcontractors and Quality Audit
Pricing and Discounts
23. Reverse Auction – Indicative Volume and Result Commitment
24. Target Pricing
25. Volume Commitment with discounts
26. RFP Process
27. Quarterly updated price list
28. Discount Coupons for future purchases
Contracts and Terms and Conditions
29. Long term contracts with flexibility of renegotiation
30. Legal Inputs Taken – Showstoppers
31. Contract Compliance Management – Trackable
32. Amendments – Approval, Uploaded, Trackable
33. MSA , Statement of Work (SOW)
34. Vendor SLAs or KPIs
35. Customer Exclusivity
36. Late Delivery Penalty- Delivery Commitment
37. Inventory Commitment
38. Extended Warranty with specific warranty conditions
39. Local Content
40. Quality Certificates
Processes41. Specs Analysis – Check for Biasness and Neutralization
42. Sample Testing Process
43. Equipment Monitoring - Life cycle Measurements for Warrant Conditions and Analysis
44. Standard Procurement Guide (used and updated regularly)
45. Standard Templates utilized across company
46. Procurement Policy and Exception Handling
47. Dispute Resolution Process
48. Transparency and Visibility
49. Web based or Automated Procurement system and processes – Invoices, Budget Management, Payment Log – Searchable, Reporting, Monitoring
50. Project Closure Analysis, Procurement Best Practices, Lessons Learnt
51. Continuous improvement process – Lessons Learned and Best Practices implementation
Personnel and Intra Department Collaboration
52. Specialized Personnel – Analytics, Research, Category Specialist, Business Unit Procurement Managers
53. Rotation – Procurement and Business Users
54. Project Management and Procurement Linked – Project Closure Analysis
55. Design Cost Savings – Collaboration between Procurement and Business Units
56. Procurement KPIs aligned with Business Unit KPIs
A Business Fiction book - "Who is that lady?"
Website/ Where to buy - http://www.whoisthatlady.com
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
o Wireless Power – Power will be transmitted wireless, Billions of people without electricity will get power the way it happen with cell phone with wireless transmission, battery might not be required in cell phone and other device and may be charged wireless power , Convergence of Telecom Companies with Electric companies
o Renewable Energy and DC Power Homes – Smart grid will enable smooth integration of Renewable energy integration with grid, More and more appliances will run on DC power and ultimately migrate towards DC Power Homes
o Energy Farms – In Future majority of work will be automated or be done by robots – agriculture, manufacturing, army, automated driving flying, service---What will robots need ? only Energy …so tomorrow will be energy farms like of agriculture farms of the past…We humans will work for producing energy for robots!!
• Solving energy crisis and sustainability simultaneously
o Energy crisis and Global warming has simple solution. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can be changed in different form
o C+O2= CO2 greenhouse gas and danger to sustainability, future research will figure out to get C from CO2 in economic feasible –energy crisis solved and sustainability and global warming solved
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Obama’s ban on outsourcing and offshoring is in the news again. I shared my views on this topic one and half year back when Obama became the President . I wrote then
“If Obama discourages companies to outsource to countries like India, then companies will have a choice either do work in house in US or outsource the work to companies in US. Both the above solutions will not be economically attractive, so companies will have to reconsider Make Vs Buy option and increasingly rely on third party products rather than in-house customized IT solutions.”
I revisited my earlier analysis today and I believe that this analysis still holds true. The only major development in last couple of years is the rise of Cloud Computing. So in Make vs Buy Analysis, choice has become wider in Buy Option – apart from Third Party Products, Cloud Computing is also an available option now.
Obama’s ban will only accelerate the trend towards Cloud Computing
Will this create new jobs?
The problem of Job creation needs to be analyzed from the global perspective. Global Solution may be creation of additional new jobs for all abilities in all countries.
Every country produces its own mix of "creative or knowledge minds", “process oriented minds” and “ physical labour”. So each country needs to create jobs for all three above categories.
Earlier in general logic of offshoring was that if US is able to offshore its physical labour and process oriented jobs then majority of workforce will move upwards in creative or knowledge jobs. Hence US will be better off. This logic however proved to be flawed. Process oriented minds and physical labour cannot find employment in creative or knowledge professions thus leading to unemployment in US.
Similarly current logic of banning offshoring and leting the process oriented and physical jobs remain in US is also flawed.
You cant eat your cake and have it too. One one hand US wants to have dominant share of worlds knowledge and creative jobs on the other hand US doesn’t wants to let go physical and process jobs. This wont be sustainable.
US has disproportionate large share of Worlds capital and number of MNC's, If other countries stop importing and encouraging local production and services then how will US companies survive? Profit that MNC's create worldwide supports corporate functions and investors income in US.
Only sustainable solution for job creation is to work towards increasing global jobs pie and attain global optimum.
However Governments are always tempted to achieve country level optimum by giving incentives for creating the jobs in their country at the expense of the jobs in other countries ( offshoring, reverse onshoring, local production, tariff barriers, tax incentives etc)
If all countries follow local optimum, this will self stabilize at new inefficient solution where majority is worse-off.
Solution is to increase the Global job pie, rather than fight for additional share of existing job pie by creating artificial incentives.
I believe, the long term solution is to create large R&D in further new areas and increase share of R&D employment in total global employment. Once new technologies become viable, market will take care of creating additional jobs in downstream- manufacturing, agriculture, infrastructure and services.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
In our family SME business of manufacturing equipments, my uncle often asks me how can he compete with big players? So far he has been successful with similar functionality product but with half the price than biggies. But how else can he compete and scale up his business?
I remember answering similar question when we developed and won Business Plan competitions for a niche software product startup while in B school. VC’s and evaluators were asking about how we would compete with MNC’s in that space and we were answering about product competitiveness. Our assumption was that rest will follow…How naïve we were!!
Now after few years of consulting experience and having seen working of both big and small companies first hand and also discussing with my peers across industries working in big firms, I am of firm view that small companies (SME and startups) can compete and beat Big Companies.
Though it looks counter intuitive, big companies have large scale for volume purchasing, R&D, product development, market reach, marketing spend, brand name but so do they have their own share of problems which comes with scale and quarterly stock market demands...
So how can SME’s beat Big companies?
Yes Price …Big companies are always in pressure to deliver profits and measured on percentage profitability (rather than overall profit). They have the limit to which they can lower their prices… They have large cost overheads which negates to large extent the advantage they get in scale driven lower production cost.
Big companies are run on profitability metrics for different products, customers and regions. Thanks to all these softwares and spreadsheets of business analysis that product line and regional managers can get profitability analysis by products, regions, customers in real time.
Big companies have different product lines. Earlier some companies, while bundling, used to reduce the price of one product line to make it up in other but as real time analysis is improving, these bundling decisions will get more complicated and might lead to internal fights across product lines…
Earlier if a particular account was very important to the Big Company, they sometimes used to penetrate this account with very low price even with negative margin. But this is become increasingly difficult as now with information about prices spreading very fast across regions and customers, a price discount to one customer can lead to lowering of prices across customers…
So bundling across product lines and selective price reduction in different regions or to customers are becoming increasingly difficult for big companies.
Small companies can simply lower the price and get big companies’ share.
2. Service – Profitability
Customer service is one of the most important areas, where Small companies can beat Big companies. The reason is that in most Big companies, Service group is a separate organization run with different metrics and profitability requirements. Keeping the Organization’s existing customers happy and increasing product sales is not the direct metrics of service organization. Service response from big companies has been a major frustrating point for most customers and small companies can leverage this strategically to beat big companies...
I have seen many SME’s providing free and quick service to customers and even keeping their service staff in and around customer premises. That can be the major differentiators for SME’s.
3. Silo – Regions and Products
Big companies have different silos, some companies have product level silos, and some have regional level silos. The different silos of product groups and regions are run by different profit divisions. Frequent M&A’s add to these silos.
There is very little collaboration (instead competition sometimes to chase same customers) across these divisions.
If the solutions demand the offering of customer solutions in different locations say India, Dubai and South Africa and these locations are part of different profit centers then I bet, big company will have hard time developing a good proposition and small companies can take advantage of this...
Similarly if customer wants solution combining different products and these products are run by different divisions then big companies will again have hard time.
I have heard instances where divisions even offer competitors product as part of their solution instead of sourcing it from other divisions. Their logic is that company’s other internal divisions are not flexible and are not giving competitive deal. Small companies can take advantage of this and deliver better solution.
On this collaboration note, in one of my consulting assignments I have seen CEO of a big European company desperately trying to have collaboration among groups and reduce overall company SG&A. Major areas identified were real estate (duplication of office buildings), travel savings thru bulk deal with airlines and hotels, communication savings with company wide plans and office supplies etc. Group CEOs of these divisions agree in principle but in practice their staff was non-cooperative and daily argued against this collaboration. If that is the situation of CEO driven initiative, one can imagine the situation across daily local sales decisions…
4. Response Time & Flexibility
With size, big companies can become very rigid and inflexible and anything which is not in their routine will be met with resistance, will require large response time and probably result in inaction.
Big companies are run by processes, guidelines and metrics and whenever there is deviation, there is problem. A typical employee in a big company is generally risk averse and instead of sticking his neck out and making decision, he will follow usual process and escalate to others, others will also do the same and ask for detailed business case/justification. This chain goes on till somebody takes the decision and if risk is more reward is less, it will be inaction...
This creates long response time and not appropriate action
Some of the examples of deviation can be pricing, payment terms, currency, warranty, inventory, delivery time, service level agreements, customizations, upgrades
Reasons can be analyzed from game theory and collective decision making, reward for right decision is little and personal risk of punishment from wrong decision is large which creates strong bias for inaction and risk averse behavior.
Smart small companies take note of some of the above inflexibilities on part of big companies and can turn them in advantage for themselves.
5. New Accounts vs. Existing Accounts
Conventional wisdom says that chances of success with new customer are better than chances of getting share from existing customers from competitors.
I have seen small companies focusing their energy on new customer accounts. These small companies face strong competition from big companies in new accounts.
I believe small companies will be better off, if they pay more focus on existing accounts of big companies. This is counter intuitive but true...
How many new customers you have got this quarter? A popular Wall Street metrics for gauging big companies performance
That creates strong bias for growth and business development in big companies focusing on penetrating new customers
Nothing wrong with that, but with limited resources this comes at the cost of existing customers.
Call it post purchase dissonance effect or inability of big companies to treat existing customers with same attention as new customers, the disgruntlement starts in existing customers. Some of the reason for this disgruntlement can be points discussed earlier i.e. poor service and inflexibility on part of big companies.
Existing customer’s perspective becomes that their existing suppliers are taking them for granted. If a small company comes with a better value proposition to these customers, the small company can replace the existing supplier (big company)
In one of my consulting assignment, CEO wanted sourcing of new vendors primarily because his existing vendors were not paying attention to his account. His existing vendors were not proposing any new innovation in pricing or in business model. In another instance, I saw a reverse auction being done for identifying new vendors only and existing vendors were asked not to participate in it.
6. New Products: Sustaining Innovation vs. Disruptive Innovation
This last point is about products. Why? Because most of the small companies in early phase deal with product issues more than other issues. As written in Clayton Christensen books, Innovators Dilemma and Innovators Solution, existing big companies are good at sustaining innovation.
There is no point for Small companies to develop a better featured product unless matched by lower price.
What big companies are not good at is disruptive innovation. Game changing innovations for a simple reason of fear on cannibalization of their existing product lines.
Often when disrupting innovation comes into the market, big companies purchase small companies and often run them as separate division till the market develops for these innovations.
There are many examples across industries where big companies missed disruptive innovation in their industry e.g. Kodak’s late entry into digital camera market, Nokia’s late entry into touch phone market.
During this time frame small companies can develop disruptive new products and can beat big companies in their own game...
Understand Big Companies
Apart from the above points, small companies need to understand psychological profile of MNC’s and Big Companies.
Till entrepreneur is running big firms, things are bit different (though run by whims and fancies of entrepreneur with less professionalism, firm does not have above disadvantages).
Later when a company is run by professionals, they run the company by
• Processes …not initiatives
• Review by metrics...
• Dividing and Managing divisions
This in turn creates
• Non risk taking behavior...and resistance to sticking neck out
• Expectation of sustaining existing venture vs. new risk taking approach
• Individual behavior for fighting for his silo and focusing on his review metrics
• Non confronting reality in market and competitive analysis…Bottom line is we are doing good
Reasons can be analyzed from game theory and collective decision making, reward for right decision is little and personal risk of punishment from wrong decision is large which creates strong bias for inaction, following process and risk averse behavior
So becomes difficult to identify problems for top management and CEO’s till it’s too late
Small Companies can overcome Quality Bottleneck
Often Big companies have advantage over small companies in Quality of Products. The product quality is improvised by following process approach over the time and here Big companies have advantage.
Quality Challenge small companies face is that they
• don’t have testing resources and facilities,
• enough customers in early phase to identify all problems
• specialized resources to identify and rectify problems
Here small companies can use outsourcing for rigorous testing to improve quality of their products.
There are already specialized software testing firms. For hardware and equipments testing third party companies are also coming up. Hence, they can help small firms to improve their quality
Small companies can understand challenges of big companies and take advantage of them. Many small companies have successfully done so, but we hear about them only when they become successful and large. I have seen small companies overcoming Big MNC’s in every industry with entrepreneurial zeal, focused efforts and good luck …
Latest one in Telecom Industry is Huawei… (Why Huawei is successful is for later post…)
A Business Fiction book - "Who is that lady?"
Website/ Where to buy - http://www.whoisthatlady.com
Friday, July 23, 2010
i. Passengers average waiting time 5 minutes
ii. Mostly people having conversation on cellular phone.
iii. Difficulty in getting continuous mobile network signal at few places on station.
iv. Getting disturbed by noise on transit station, hence bringing mouth closer to phone, putting one finger in ear
v. Looking to find some quiet place for cell phone conversation
i. Noise Cancellation Functionality: Including noise cancellation device, like in high end headphones, in cell phones will enhance experience of cell phone users in transit station (1)
ii. In building Cellular Base Stations: Using inbuilding cellular base stations, the quality of network signals will improve in transit stations (2)
iii. Private Booth for cell phone talks: Private Booths similar to earlier telephone or STD booths can be placed in transit stations. Commuters can use these booths for cell phone talk for better calling experience talk. This can be supported by advertisement revenue (3)
i. Waiting time between seating and food served is 30 Mins +
ii. Most customers seek information about food dishes, specialties or recommended best dish from waiters.
iii. Most customer call waiters for three main reasons – Water refill, Menu for additional ordering, Cheque at the end of dinner…Some times when waiters are not available around, little bit of anxiety disturbing the smooth dining experience
i. Wireless call button: Wireless call button at each table with four options – Water, Menu, Cheque, Others. This will be both convenient to customers as well as hotel staff (4)
ii. Table as surface computing: Table can act as surface computing with menu details and details about dishes, recommendation, and trivia stuff which can be accessed by touch screen. This will enhance customer experience, help in passing time during waiting period, also will have data for analysis for customer interest and menu changes – which dishes clicked by customers, what trivia interests customers (5)
i. Visitors searching for shops, asking directions for particular shop
ii. Calling on cellphone to ask directions to reach a particular restaurant or to track meeting place with their friends
iii. Visitors trying to find best deals, sales deals…first having a look around mall then deciding to shop
iv. Visitors having difficulty in finding parking slots in the shopping mall parking
v. Visitors billing in supermarket/ cold storage taking lot of time because of long queues.
vi. Surprisingly and ironically customers who are purchasing less items ( less than 10) are given fast checkouts versus large shoppers
i. Shopping mall maps on cellphone- like Map functions of google maps, indoor maps of shopping mall can be created with directions monitored by local positioning system. Also for each shop, sales deals can be indicated on the map. This will greatly enhance the shopping experience of visitors (6)
ii. Position locator on maps on cellphone: Functionality on indoor shopping mall maps to locate another person thru his cellphone by local positioning system and automatically getting movement direction to reach to that person. This will enhance the meeting and locating experience in shopping mall (7)
iii. Parking locator on cell phone- Indoor map on cell phone can help in identifying vacant car parking slots and giving driving direction to that point (8)
iv. Automatic Shopping Cart Billing in Shopping Mall- Instead of item wise billing, whole shopping cart can be billed at once using new bar code identification technology. This will significantly reducing the billing time of customers (9)
i. Difficulty in selecting pages from book for photocopying. Marking by Post-it notes
ii. Whole book photocopying very laborious process. Page by page book has to be placed on the machine
i. Photo copy Automation Selection by Page – If page numbers input can be given like in Windows Printer and respective page numbers are automatically photocopied, this will significantly reduce user pain and increase his satisfaction(10)
ii. Photo copy Automation Complete Photocopying- Extending the above logic, If whole book can be photocopied without manual page changes that will reduce the human labor (11)
Vegetable/ Groceries Market
i. Generally customers buy grocery from first few vendors, without checking price and availability of the same stuff with other vendors.
ii. If customer find groceries available at lower price - huge dissatisfaction
iii. Vegetable vendors don’t have place to store / cool their vegetables. They keep sprinkling water and try to sell at reduced price in the evening. Some of the vegetable items go wasted.
i. Low Cost Community Cold Storage: in Vegetable Markets where vendors can keep their vegetables cool and fresh overnight (12)
ii. Information about price and availability in vegetable/ grocery market by shops on sign board (13)
Car Parking in Houses, Condos
i. Mostly Open Parking in India
ii. Car owners having hard time in morning: After getting ready for office, cleaning the car in formal wear.
iii. At traffic light junctions, children pretending to clean the cars and asking for tips
i. Automatic Car Cleaning Machine: in Apartments where car can just walking and get itself cleaned thru machines without driver getting down, similar to the way it is done in some gas stations (14)
Mobile Operator Shop
i. Customers trying to understand different pricing plans and trying to figure which is the best deal for them
ii. Dissatisfaction at the end that they are not getting the best plan
i. Self adjusting optimal pricing plan: What ever the usage every month, self adjusting plan can automatically adjusts the bill according to most optimal pricing plan. Increase customer satisfaction for best deal (15)
i. Difficulty in overtaking/ taking turn while driving since cannot know speed of vehicles coming from different directions on same road (without divider)
i. Intelligent Windscreen which estimates Speed of vehicle: ahead and coming from opposite side. This can advise real-time best opportunity for overtaking and turning (16)
Shopping at Bargain/ Discount shop
i. Difficulty in distinguishing original from fakes
i. Mobile Image Tester for Counterfeit Products: can help to test any particular object or garment, whether it is original or not. Image tester can verify real-time by product number verification or original seal recognition (17)
Shopping at Super Market
i. Some customers come to shop alone via shopping list prepared by their spouses/ partner
ii. Calling their spouses / partner from cell phone to discuss the products and hence find it difficult to explain/ describe the product in talk.
iii. Similar scene at other shops (garments, shoes etc) too -Cannot take decision alone in buying new products
i. Goggles which can capture and transmit live images or transmission: as seen by eye. By wearing this goggle, whatever scene eyes are seeing is live transmit thru mobile and can have visual joint shopping experience (18)
Calling/ Receiving calls on Cell phone
i. Call drop off in between conversation
ii. Call cannot get thru because of low signal , higher traffic
iii. Cannot receive the call
iv. Call automatically going to voicemail without ring
i. Higher call priority for people who can pay for it: like used to have urgent, lightning call in good old PSTN landline days. High priority call plan will have higher grade of pricing monitored with guaranteed SLA(19)
Experiencing Regular Power Cut in India
i. Regular Power Cuts – Simple demand and supply problem
ii. Power Cuts treating rich and poor equally
iii. All homes have alternative/ backup arrangement – inverters, generators
iv. All commercial establishments have backup arrangement with more than 24 hours backup – increasing both capital and operations cost
i. Higher power availability for customers who can pay for it: Applicable for both homes and businesses at time of power shortage with guaranteed SLA. This will also improve business case of renewable energy at the time of power shortage (20)
Watching Cable/ Satellite TV
i. Often one catch the good movie or any program episode in the middle
ii. Miss some viewing moments as were attending phone calls, natures call, or some other work
iii. For TV serials, missed few episodes or cannot recollect the last episode
i. Ability to Readjust program/ movie from start: like in flight entertainment movie, program can be rewinded from start (21)
ii. Option for viewing last episode / movie : will help in having continuous viewing experience (22)
Shopping with credit, debit or loyalty cards
i. So many debit and credit cards in wallet
ii. So many loyalty cards from supermarkets, shopping chains, airlines, hotels etc
iii. Wallet has become card storage
iv. Small shop owners / hotels cannot afford loyalty card issuance and management
i. Master smart card where new card can be added as software: will be very convenient to carry for customers. Small shop owners and hotels will be able to afford software upload on loyalty cards (23)
Cinema, Entertainment in Small Town/ Rural Area
i. Single screen cinemas with old pictures,
ii. Villagers gathering around TV shops for watching movies, sports transmission
iii. Have TV, Cable but doesn’t work because of power shortage
iv. Have lower end model – black and white or old colored TV
v. Pirated CDs and DVDs present poor quality
i. Open Air Theatres of 50 Pax capacity with Direct Movie/ Sports Telecast: like done by Paid Channels of Satellite TV’s. Small ticket price (24)
TV shops in Town on Cricket/ Football Match day
i. People gathering around TV shops for watching live sports transmission ( Cricket Football)
ii. Most of the viewers are from lower middle class or daily wage earners
iii. Most of them have lower end mobile phone with non colored screen
i. Black and White Live Sports Broadcast for low end mobile phones: So far focus has been on live mobile TV on high end smart phones. In this category, live mobile TV is competing with other devices – Laptops – HDTVS etc. There is market out there where target segment is ready with relatively less competition. Quality can be like analogy of dot matrix printer with laser printer. Since this black and white transmission will be competing against non consumption ,so it should work (25)
Shopping Options and Experience in Small Town, Villages
i. No shopping malls in small towns, where one can have pleasant shopping experience. No chance of shopping therapy
ii. Some shops are there, but variety and stocks limited because of low demand
iii. Mainly shopping of groceries and household items
iv. Visitors coming and seeing products – white goods or aspirational products, but not buying. Reason as discussed with shopkeepers that visitors go to big town first, see the variety and then come back and buy if cheaper here.
v. Difficult to keep larger variety because of demand and inventory issue
i. Mobile Shopping Van Experience : can both act as point of Sales and as pleasant Shopping Experience Therapy for Visitors (26)
ii. Virtual Visual Shopping Catalogue: where shopkeepers can connect customers virtually to larger shops and shopping stores with very large variety. By watching visuals of large variety of products live, customers can make better informed choice (27)
Health Clinic and Pathological testing
i. Some Local Health Clinics, Physicians don’t have even basic or first level, pathological testing capabilities. They recommend to other labs for testing. Time consuming and uncomfortable process
ii. Testing process is unnatural. One need to isolate and then specifically test at intervals – blood pressure, urine or stool test
i. Image Testing: Take samples of blood and test using high image resolution real time for first level testing. Only for level 2 testing, one can go for real sample testing in pathological lab (28)
ii. Automatic testing from pot: Make Pot as network point and automatic first level testing capability of Urine, stool. Can be implemented in homes and also small clinics (29)
iii. Automatic blood pressure, temperature measurement from clothes : Instead of using a separate blood pressure measuring device, thermometer and heartbeat measurement - these parameters can be measured using clothes we wear ( of course with help of some special thread/ fiber) (30)
Updates in Social Networking Site
i. Social Networking sites contacts from all groups – friends, relatives, acquaintances, neighbors, colleagues, customers, competitors or even strangers
ii. All updates become public to contacts and cannot control homepage visibility by contacts
iii. Limited functionality on some sites to restrict notification or access but not sufficient
i. Individual / Group Privacy: where one can control access to any particular activity or update on who to see – by groups or individuals. This will increase the relevance of social sites (31)
Working with E mail
i. Difficulty in finding contacts across outlook, multiple web emails, social networking sites, mobile phone
i. Master Email Address book on clouds: This can access emails from outlook, all email sites, social networking sites and mobile phones. This will be like personal Salesforce.com (32)
i. So many remotes. Taking large space on table and Confusion on what to use when. (On last count I have 8 remotes in my room- TV, DVD, Music System, Web drive, Cable, Aircon, Digital Frame, Alarm,)
ii. So many chargers (different mobiles, iPod, blackberry) and charging cords (different laptops, netbooks, ereader). Gadgets are increasing every year. Need multiple units for both in office and home and sometime forget while travelling. Also multiple wires gives untidy look
iii. The wall is full of screen gadgets (taking additional space and doesn’t look organized) – TV, Photo frames, computer screen, paintings etc.
iv. Difficulty in accessing music playlist across laptop, mobile, iPod- separate list for each and multiple updation requirement
i. Remote master where remote is hardware: and additional gadget functionality is updated as software will decrease number of remote requirements in house (33)
ii. Standardization of Chargers, Universal Wireless chargers: First across product categories - Laptop, mobiles, ebook. Later development of universal charger like international adaptor and making it wireless (34)
iii. Full Wall as virtual screen: from which permanent screen space can be given to different gadgets – TV, computer, video conferencing, multiple photo frames, and electronic board. Size can be increase or decrease like in iPhone if required. (35)
iv. Music List on clouds: which can be accessed by all players and gadgets and can be updated centrally (36)
Communicating with different nationalities on Phone
i. Language difficulty in communication
ii. Using translating sites to translate and then speak
iii. Pronunciation and usage is not correct
i. Automatic Language Translation on Mobile – where real-time basic conversation can be translated from one language to another. That will be true globalization where language constraint will be removed in connected world (37)
Airport and Flight Experience
i. Some Passengers browsing books in book shop but very few are purchasing books ( Footfall to sales conversion is 10 :1)
ii. Multiple security checks (personal and luggage)- making airport experience unpleasant
iii. Inside aircraft airhostess counting passengers with punch clock multiple times
i. Airport security thru E-Nose : can reduce the per person/ baggage multiple security requirements and make airport experience pleasant(38)
ii. Airport Book Rental: Opening chain of book libraries across airports, where passengers can rent books at one airport and can return it at any other airport. Instead of random browsing, passengers will pick up a book or two and read in waiting time and during flight and can return it back upon reaching their destination. The renting fees can be nominal say 10% of the book value or Netflix kind of monthly rental fees. Cell phone images can be used for receipt and identification purpose (39)
iii. Automatic Aircraft passenger counting system: can use count by sensor at aircraft entrance or sensors at passenger seats. This will decrease the counting effort and time by airhostesses (40)
Amusement Park ( Universal Studios)
i. Full day ticket inclusive of all rides
ii. Waiting time at few rides more than 1 hour.
iii. No centralized real time information to check waiting times at different rides and plan the scheduling…
iv. Have to take round multiple times and suffer disappointment at few rides.
i. Amusement park real-time waiting time information: on mobiles or centralized electronic boards (similar to Parking bay information is displayed in parking slots). This can help in planning the activities better and better utilization of all rides (41)
Telemarketing and New Number Calls
i. Telemarketers calling on mobiles and disturbing. No incentive to listen to marketing call
ii. New number calls are difficult to identify. Always a dilemma worth attending or not, degree of importance
i. Telemarketers should pay money to customers for attending their call –This will create incentive alignment between telemarketer and customer to have the conversation. Money can be credited in talking time on customers mobile thru telecom operators (42)
ii. City Telephone directory on cloud: That will give option to cell phone owners to check the details of new numbers real-time that are not in their contact list. The dilemma and anxiety will be reduced and decision of attending the phone can be made much easier (43)
Cheque Deposit in Bank
i. Queue in bank for cheque deposit
ii. Why cheques are not deposit in ATMs? While banks share their ATMs with other banks for coverage but no sharing of cheque deposit facilities
i. Cheque submission by camera mobile phone- by capturing cheque image and sending it to bank personnel. Bank personnel can verify cheque by image recognition and process it accordingly (44)
Health at home
i. Portable water quality questionable. Even local mineral water supply is not reliable
ii. Fake mineral water bottles present
iii. Gas leakage in home or environment is not detectable
i. Glass as potable water tester – can test quality of water daily and transmit data on computer or mobile (45)
ii. Mobile as toxic gas tester – using gas and chemical sensors. This can detect the toxic gas in environment and help in early warning (46)
Ordering at Starbucks
i. Self service. Long queue for orders
ii. Time is wasted while standing in queue for order and delivery
i. Ordering food and beverages by clicking picture from mobile: clicking on sample picture menu and sending picture to order taker at counter will avoid pain of standing in queue. When order arrives, mobile can receive sms back from counter, thus avoiding waiting time at collection counter. Payment can be debited from Mobile only (47)
Net Surfing while travelling
i. Local internet connection for short period very costly
ii. Buy costly hardware, deposit a minimum a month fee
i. Short term internet package for travelers: with daily or weekly package. Usb attachment can be given on rent also (48)
Testing new gadgets iPad, iPhone, Kindle, Mobile
i. Visitors confused while selecting a new gadget
ii. Asking lot of user experience and performance related questions
iii. Wish they could use it for a day and then decide whether they want to buy
i. Gadget Daily Rentals: where new gadgets like iPhone, iPad, new mobile phones, ebook readers can be given on daily rent. This will help customers to test the gadgets before making purchase decision (49)
Locality based emergency communications
i. Need for official emergency communication – local theft, missing person, natural emergencies, official communication
i. Location Based SMS/ MMS system by local authorities: where instant communication can be made to all cell phone owners in given location area. This could lead to timely intervention in detecting and avoiding crimes and other disasters. For missing persons picture MMS can also be send too (50)
I am sure some of these ideas might be getting implemented in some parts of the world and the rest might be in development stages either in garages or in corporate labs. Ideas are function of time, not function of mind!!
A Business Fiction book - "Who is that lady?"
Website/ Where to buy - http://www.whoisthatlady.com