Broken Links – End to End Networks

July 29, 2011 · Filed Under dLook Blog · Comment 

Can anybody define the term end-to-end network process visibility and its scope?

There seems to be a huge confusion in the market, as to what the term end-to-end network process really means. Is it one node forward in the supply chain (my customers) and or one node back (my suppliers), or is it multi-tiered (primary production to end consumer).

If it is the latter, then how do you gain visibility across your suppliers, suppliers – suppliers and / or your customers – customers – customers?

The extract from an economist article below gives an example of the compelling need for visibility across a multi-tiered network.

Broken links

The disruption to manufacturers worldwide from Japan’s disasters will force a rethink of how they manage production – Mar 31st 2011 | TOKYO | from the print edition.

LAST year Iceland’s volcanic ash disrupted air transport across Europe and gave the world’s manufacturing supply chain one of its biggest tests since the advent of the low-inventory, just-in-time era. Now, Japan’s quadruple disaster—earthquake, tsunami, nuclear alert and power shortages—has put the supply chain under far greater stress. Three weeks after the massive quake, the extent and likely duration of the disruption are still unclear.

There are some enlightening similarities between the shocks that manufacturers are now suffering and those that buffeted the banking system in the 2008 financial crisis. In both cases two of the biggest surprises were the unexpected connections the crisis uncovered, and the extent of the contagion. The problems began in a seemingly well-contained part of the system—subprime mortgages in the case of finance, in manufacturing’s case a natural disaster in an economic backwater—but quickly spread.

This issue will not go away, no more than natural disasters will go away. If anything they will both increase in intensity.

We do indeed live in interesting times?

The Future of Employment

July 27, 2011 · Filed Under Online Advertising Australia · 4 Comments 
Article by Corri Byrne, dLook General Manager – Like dLook on Facebook

What are your plans for team expansion? Are you employing full time or on a project basis? In-sourced or outsourced? How is the employment landscape changing with technology?

Worldwide Changes in Employment

Government argues that we need more stimuli and the opposition argues that we need more tax cuts to increase demand. There is some truth in both arguments, but that’s not the whole story.

There is a restructuring going on in economies worldwide, jobs are moving to contracted people on value / relevance based terms; that are reviewed by project rather than traditional annual arrangements. Individuals are becoming more like actors / directors / producers and crew on movie sets.

The internet economy is ushering in a new wave of networked project based people working in enterprises with staggering capital values. Facebook is now valued near $100 billion, Twitter at $8 billion, Groupon at $30 billion, Zynga at $20 billion and LinkedIn at $8 billion. These are classed as US companies, when in reality they are becoming stateless organizations that are global in their reach.

While the company capital valuations are huge, they cumulatively employ less than 20,000 people. That’s not a lot of people, relative to their valuations, and while they’re all hiring today, they are largely looking for specific skill sets, suited to needs of “the movie” being made today.

The people resume of the future will call for people who have the critical thinking skills to do the value-adding jobs that technology can’t do, as well as people who can invent, adapt and reinvent their jobs (value) every day, in a market that changes @ NetSpeed.

Today’s college grads need to be aware that the rising trend in Silicon Valley is to evaluate employees every quarter, not annually. Because the merger of globalization and the I.T. revolution means new products are being phased in and out so fast that companies cannot afford to wait until the end of the year to figure out whether a team leader is doing a good job.

Employers or should I say Prime Contracting parties are asking of contract candidates: Can this contactor add value every hour, every day — more than a contractor in China, India, Poland or Russia? Can they add significant value to my prime contract position in the market place, can they adapt to my evolving role in the current project; and can they reinvent themselves for the projects of tomorrow? And can they become continuous self learning organisms that adapt to continuous market place change, so that as a federated group we can adapt and export more into the fastest-growing global markets?

In today’s interrelated, interconnected and intelligent networked world, more and more enterprises will evolve into these federated networks that will not hire sub contracting people who don’t fulfill those criteria.

This will require a new mind-set and skill set to compete. The uncertain, rapidly changing conditions in which entrepreneurs start companies is what it’s now like for all of us planning careers in a world filled by dynamic points of stability. Each point of dynamic stability has the potential to have a catalytic affect on all other points of the federated networks that we may become part of.

In accordance with the Chinese proverb “we do indeed live in interesting time”

Business Models Must Be Built to Adapt

July 27, 2011 · Filed Under dLook Blog, Online Advertising Australia · Comment 

In every market there are industry captains that excel at executing their current business model, that’s what makes them industry leaders.

However most of them slowly become hostages of the status quo, “the way we do things round here slowly morphs into the way we think round here”

History is littered with industry captains that lose out to start up companies who appear from nowhere, and in a few short years overtake the established leader.

A New Paradigm

Cloud computing is bringing in a new disruptive economic environment that will make these transitions occur @ NetSpeed.

This speed of change and market volatility challenges the sustainability of “business as usual” in many markets, placing enormous pressure on any individual enterprise’s ability to respond to market disruption in a timely manner, as most enterprises are now heavily reliant on a multiplicity of external supply partner relationships to produce and deliver their products and services to market.

What’s The Main Frame

Looking back at history, IBM in the 1960’s and 70’s dominated the mainframe computer market, and it did so very successfully against competitors like ICL (UK), Bull (France), Univac, Honeywell, Fujitsu and CDC.

IBM quickly achieved value keystone status within the ecosystems it competed in. IBM’s technology capability, capacity, service level availabilities, integrated sales channels and associated high cost structures were sustained by burgeoning mainframe margins. IBM’s cost base expanded as their enterprise structure grew to manage and support the strategic relationships they forged with their customers.

Their customers (usually large enterprises) were generally value keystone players in their respective ecosystems and also on the trail of sustaining their existing capabilities and capacities.

This capability and value sustaining model utilised by customer and supplier resulted in creating incremental innovations that maintained and improved the business as usual approach in the computer industry.

Consequently IBM largely missed out on the minicomputer market to new competitors such as DEC, Prime, Data General Etc. Subsequent to the minicomputer market, IBM misread the PC market by seeing the value opportunity in the production of PC’s rather than the associated operating systems and software services that supported them.

In the case of DEC and Prime, who had successfully led IBM in the minicomputer business, they completely missed out on the PC market.

The IBM PC division has since been sold to Lenovo (China).

Not Robinson Crusoe

The list of market failure examples is endless and applicable to any industry. All of the above quoted enterprises had the capabilities, resources and capacities to test the relevance of their strategy and value assumptions within their ecosystems; and respond to the disruptive challenges they faced. Yet none of them did so, they lacked the insight to recognise and adapt to change in their business ecosystems.

It appears as if incumbent market leaders throughout history spent their time gathering evidence to support the belief that their strategies, business models and supporting value assumptions were permanently relevant and sustainable.

Give Me the Life Raft

So what’s the lesson to be learnt?

All enterprises and their capabilities, strategies, value assumptions, capacities and availabilities within an ecosystem are dynamically interlinked with their ecosystem partners.

Existing capabilities, capacities and business models, are not permanent and profitable belief systems to be defended at all costs.

Hacking and Scraping through … Orwell’s Sensis

July 22, 2011 · Filed Under dLook Blog · Comment 

With the investment in competitive facilities provision now ceded to the new government monopoly of the NBN its frightening to look out a couple of years into the emerging content world and see what may become of the competitive content providers in the Australian internet market with Telstra and its resources now moving unfettered from the Google Schmoogle era to a content predator, preying on all the relative minnows in this growing internet on line advertising big pond. The Orwellian Telstra have announced they are going to take over the internet content space and build upon previously print focused Sensis all the bits they think will make it the online content world, a secret deal with Google, a deal with US Yelp for reviews and acquiring Quotify for SME quoting.

At dLook we also feel flattered by having the dubious honour of having our copyright content regularly hacked and scrapped directly by the Yellow Pages, Telstra Burwood IP and then more recently hacked again which led back to the same Telstra IP block at Sensis YP. We assume we are not alone in having this honour bestowed and usually one would be forgiven in thinking that it could have been just an error. Hardly as for over 3 months now Sensis has tried and tried again and this persistence moves the hacking from an aberration to what is a clear and focused management strategy for entering the market using the whatever it takes philosophy. It looks more like the reported old News International principles that are now under much question in other places. Now hacking and scraping is not new and we regularly endure the hacking of the truly dumb people doing the same thing in a smarter way, but for them we understand that is a way of life … like hacking phones.

For Telstra to announce it is now going to take over the fledgling market in March 2011 and immediately start by hacking and stealing the competitor’s databases points to a disregard for the law and to a bleak minnow future when facing such a dominant non law abiding monopoly. Telstra brings already well documented significant market power into the sector with Bigpond, Foxtel and a raft of other ventures including Google. Telstra recently announced that over half its data capacity is now tied up with Google along with its special relationships. It is, of course, the dominant underlying facilities carrier and holds a dominant position in both internet transit and internet content sectors to say nothing of being the publisher of the White and Yellow Pages and the contract operator of the numbering system. Now all of these activities already have more than 50% of the markets they participate in and some well over 90%.

Competing with a Monopolist

Ahh … you may say … but that’s just competition and sour grapes. Competition is OK if you do not have to deal with a competitor who knowingly sets out to break the law and last time I looked hacking copyright content is a breach. Telstra seems to be doing just that whilst at the same time bringing all its gaming tricks from the old pseudo monopoly business into the wild west but relatively naive online internet business sector.

Just how we did arrive here in a new market when Telstra holds a number of Government licences and is supposedly subject to the purview of the ACCC ? Well it would appear that the ACCC is just looking the other way. Surprising, given the changes on foot but given its record, not really unexpected.

I fear the minnows cannot rely on the ACCC to be even able to define these new markets let alone work at a pace that could actually set out a competitive playing field before the minnows are no more. The on balance abandonment strategy and the record they have is seriously not flash … just look at mobile prices here and overseas to see what can be done and what can’t be done when the regulator is gamed and humbled. Telstra is also on record for running policies of deliberate breach and paying fines as a commercial strategy regardless of the collateral damage it inflicts to its competitors. Go figure.

Hacking and scraping is really ugly for the target as it has the double problem of creating duplicate data which can severely impact the hacked party if the data is republished from an alternate and often hidden site. Given the Google Telstra relationship it is of some concern that this may be an underlying motive and the future dims when an unchecked predator like Telstra is free to do what it likes outside the law to whomever. It’s now down to working out who is Snowball and whether the licensor will ever act.