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The Digital TrendCatcher Guide has been designed to help you better understand and plan for the changing opportunities and challenges of doing business in the Digital Age. …

The Digital TrendCatcher Guide has been designed to help you better understand and plan for the changing opportunities and challenges of doing business in the Digital Age.

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  • 1. What others are saying about Digital TrendCatcher Guide “It’s not often you see big picture thinking and business planning clearly linked in insightful and practical ways, with opportunityas the focus. There’s nothing else like Richard Keeves’ Digital TrendCatcher Guide around and you would expect to pay a lot for it.Don’t be fooled by the fact that it’s free.” Denny Sterley Australian Practice Leader, Resilient Futures ----------------------------- “There is no question that Richard Keeves has a deep understanding of the nature of the digital tsunami that is shaping the waywe all live, work and play. Like the boiling frog, we have a tendency to acclimatise to change, considering our current situation asnormal and largely forgetting the extent and speed of change we have experienced - to say nothing about underestimating what isyet to come. Not only has Richard enumerated the various elements of this wave, he has also given us an understanding of theunderlying currents (or Action Principles) which combine to give the wave its power. His insights allow us to recognise potentialmoves and clues as to how best you might ride the wave. Whether you simply want a better understanding of the digital revolution or want to apply this to your strategic businessplanning or competitive strategies, this guide makes compelling reading. I understand it started as a briefing paper and has sinceevolved into a small book – such is its scope. Those who take the time to study it and apply the knowledge it contains will find theirtime well spent – it has the potential to make a significant impact on the way you run your business now and in the future." David Shelton Director, Transition Capital ----------------------------- “This Guide highlights trends that cannot be ignored. We need to plan our actions, and need to create our own roadmaps to dealwith business opportunities and threats that are now mission critical. Like it or not it is not going away, and is only getting bigger andfaster. Richard explains how and why the bar keeps rising. Use his guidance and thought-provoking research to assist you in yourbusiness and personal journey.” John Clegg Business Adviser , Omnivest Business Consultants ----------------------------- “There is only one constant in today’s world and that is change. Having read the Digital TrendCatcher Guide, it makes meappreciate how much is changing and how much more I need to know. It can be scary. Is the world passing me by? No, it isn’t! I now really appreciate my contribution to my business. The major contribution we all bring to any business is OURSELVES andour THOUGHTS. By better understanding the trends, I can have better THOUGHTS and can better assist my business. This is essentialreading. Then read it again.” Colin Atkinson Managing Director, CA Management Services ----------------------------- “This guide echoes sentiments I have had for many years. We get too clouded by what’s out on the Internet. Our focus needs tobe on planning and creating better business outcomes, and then use the tools that are available to us.” David Barnes Executive Director, Platform Interactive ----------------------------- "Compulsory reading for any executive who is serious about understanding how digital communication is changing the world.” James Bull Website Planner, Writer & Presenter, James Bull Consulting Pty Ltd ----------------------------- “As the boundary between the online virtual worlds & our tangible 3D world relies increasingly on our own perceptions, any textwe find that helps us clarify the distinctions & how to operate them better is a useful read. Richard Keeves writes clearly, cleanly, &without technobabble. Good stuff.” Annimac Futurist & Trend Forecaster, ----------------------------- “The Digital TrendCatcher Guide is a must read before making decisions about technology. Richard explains each digital trend withclarity, preparing you to focus on the big picture (where you are going) before deciding on the tools to get there.” Mark Douglas Managing Director, Francis A Jones
  • 2. Digital TrendCatcher Guide The Digital TrendCatcher Guide has been designed to help you better understand and plan for the changing opportunities and challenges of doing business in the Digital Age. It is intended for any customer-focused business owner, manager or planner in corporate, not-for- profit, government or small business who wants to  Make better plans for running your business online;  Enhance your business website;  Improve your marketing plans;  Get better at managing change;  Develop or find highly saleable new products;  Streamline your business processes;  Continuously improve your business; or  Cut through any confusion caused by changing technology. Digital TrendCatcher Guide Overview The rapidly changing technology of the Internet and online systems can makes it appear as a confusing and often overwhelming ‘blur’. Find the patterns and you can change the blur to a vision. To effectively plan for the future, we need to expand the focus of our vision from the short-term ‘technology’ to the long-term ‘trends’; rise above the day-to-day; extend our horizons; and create our ‘Big Picture’ future view based on the long term trends, and their possible or likely impacts on our customers and our industry. In this guide, Richard Keeves highlights 25 Digital Age Trends that are guiding and influencing the future of online business in a complex system of intermingled stimulatory actions, reactions, causes and effects. The trends often combine together with continual feedback loops to exponentially drive greater change at faster speeds and with increasingly powerful impacts. Richard explains the 9 Step ‘Future Road Map’ Planning process for using the trends, and then provides guidelines of 20 Critical Criteria for Choosing Technology Solutions so you make the wisest choices you can with your technology selections. The approach in the Digital TrendCatcher Guide can help you see and understand the long-term patterns and trends that often get lost or disguised in amongst the rapidly changing technology. You will learn how to strategically question your current business thinking and challenge the accepted norms for your business and industry. As a result, you can more quickly and easily develop clearer strategic vision and an ‘on-trend’ roadmap for the future of your business. Think about your business roadmap before you think about the technology tools to use. Be aware that choosing the most suitable tools and technologies to implement is a business decision as much as a technical one, and should not be just delegated to your IT staff or consultants. Richard Keeves is an Internet Business advisor, speaker & author with over 15 years experience in Internet business consultancy and development. (Background on Richard Keeves is on Page 73.) Richard provides insights and advice for better online business. Join Richard‟s mailing list for ongoing updates to the Digital TrendCatcher Guide and the future of online business. Visit© Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 3 of 75
  • 3. “To know and not to do is to not yet know”. — Zen Wisdom “Knowledge might be power, but only when you take action.” — Richard Keeves For more resources, please visit www.DigitalTrendCatchers.comDigital TrendCatcher Guidewww.DigitalTrendCatchers.comISBN 978-0-9808226-1-8Keeves, RichardPublisherRichard Keeves and Business InfoMedia www.businessinfomedia.comFirst published 2010 by Business InfoMedia Online, an imprint of KIT Investments Pty LtdGround Floor, 11 Ventnor Avenue, West Perth, Western Australia 6005Postal Address: Box 670 Nedlands 6909 AustraliaPhone: Australia: + 61 8 9467 1884 USA: + 1 415 675 8871Copyright: All contents copyright© 2010-2011 Richard Keeves and Business InfoMedia OnlineUpdated January 2011The moral rights of the author Richard Keeves have been asserted.This book may be freely distributed, printed and stored without the prior written permission of the publisher. It must be maintained in itsentirety as originally created by the author and published by the publisher and may not be modified, dissembled or re-engineered,All inquiries should be made to the publisher at the address above.TrademarksThis book identifies product names and services known to be trademarks, registered trademarks, or service marks of their respectiveholders. They are used throughout this book in an editorial fashion only. In addition, terms suspected of being trademarks, registeredtrademarks, or service marks have been appropriately capitalized, although Business InfoMedia Online cannot attest to the accuracy ofthis information. Use of a term in this book should not be regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark, registered trademark, orservice mark. Business InfoMedia Online is not associated with any product or vendor mentioned in this book, if any.Limit of Liability and Disclaimer of WarrantyThe publisher has used its best efforts in preparing this book, and the information provided herein is provided "as is." Business InfoMediaOnline makes no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this book andspecifically disclaims any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose and shall in no event be liable forany loss of profit or any other commercial damage, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.The accuracy and completeness of information provided herein and opinions stated herein are not guaranteed or warranted toproduce any particular results and the advice and strategies, contained herein may not be suitable for every individual. The material inthis publication is of the nature of general comment only and does not represent professional advice. The publisher and author shall notbe liable for any loss incurred as a consequence of the use and application, directly or indirectly, of any information presented in thiswork. This publication is designed to provide accuracy in regard to the subject matter covered. The author has used reasonablecommercial efforts in preparing this book. This book is provided with the understanding that the author is not engaged in renderinglegal, accounting, or other professional services. If legal advice or expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professionalshould be sought. V2.01 © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 4 of 75
  • 4. ContentsWhat Is Really Going On In The Blur?.....................................................................................7 The Continually Morphing Picture Puzzle ....................................................................................................................... 9 Ten Action Principles....................................................................................................................................................... 9 The 25 Digital Age Trends ............................................................................................................................................. 10 Trend 1: Moores Law Continues .................................................................................................................................. 12 Trend 2: Internet Always On ......................................................................................................................................... 13 Trend 3: More 24.7 On Demand ................................................................................................................................... 15 Trend 4: Increasingly Faster Speeds of Transactions .................................................................................................... 17 Trend 5: Increasingly Faster Wireless Networks ........................................................................................................... 18 Trend 6: Increasingly Smarter Mobile Devices ............................................................................................................. 19 Trend 7: Increasing Convergence.................................................................................................................................. 20 Trend 8: More Technical Connectivity .......................................................................................................................... 21 Trend 9: More Personal Connectivity ........................................................................................................................... 23 Trend 10: Increasing Formation of Communities ......................................................................................................... 25 Trend 11: Increasing Corporate Ecosystems ................................................................................................................. 26 Trend 12: Increasing Disintermediation ....................................................................................................................... 27 Trend 13: Increasing Transformation from Atoms to Bits ............................................................................................ 29 Trend 14: Increasing Mass Customization .................................................................................................................... 31 Trend 15: Increasing Globalization ............................................................................................................................... 33 Trend 16: More “100% Fit” Products in Global Niches ................................................................................................. 35 Trend 17: Increasing 1 to 1 Marketing .......................................................................................................................... 37 Trend 18: Increasing Aggregation of Information ......................................................................................................... 39 Trend 19: The Changing Relevance of Physical Location .............................................................................................. 40 Trend 20: Increasing Availability of Low Cost Software & Data Storage Solutions ....................................................... 41 Trend 21: Increasing Exposure to Popular Mass Culture .............................................................................................. 43 Trend 22: Increasing Importance of Trusted Brands .................................................................................................... 45 Trend 23: Increasing Importance of Peer Reviews & Recommendations..................................................................... 48 Trend 24: Increasing Loss of Control of our Personal Information & Identity .............................................................. 50 Trend 25: Increasing Power to Consumers ................................................................................................................... 52How To Use The 25 Trends In Your Business Planning ............................................................. 54 STEP 1: Ask The Three Starter Questions ...................................................................................................................... 56 STEP 2: Use Digital TrendCatcher Action Principles & Trends ...................................................................................... 58 STEP 3: How could you improve your Products & Processes? ...................................................................................... 59 STEP 4: What Can You Learn From Your Benchmarks? ................................................................................................. 62 STEP 5: What Can You Learn From Your Key Customers? ............................................................................................ 62 STEP 6: What Can You Learn From Your Community? ................................................................................................. 63 STEP 7: What Can You Learn From Your Competitors? ................................................................................................ 65 STEP 8: Assess Your Strategic Options .......................................................................................................................... 67 STEP 9: Develop Your Road Map for the Future ........................................................................................................... 68Choosing Technology – and Why Many People Get It Wrong ...................................................... 69 20 Critical Criteria for Choosing Technology Solutions ................................................................................................. 70 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................................................... 72 Some background info on Richard Keeves .................................................................................................................... 73 Appendix 1: Digital TrendCatcher Future Road Map Planning Process ........................................................................ 75 © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 5 of 75
  • 5. Acknowledgements I am deeply grateful and indebted to friends and colleagues for their inputs and contributions over the years, and more recently for taking the time to read early drafts of the guide and critically give their honest comments. These include Denny Sterley, Colin Atkinson, George Aveling, Larry Quick, John Clegg, David Shelton, David Barnes, Ann Macbeth, Tony Walton, Mark Douglas, Dr Shaun Ridley, James Bull, and not least, my wife Jane Keeves. Hundreds if not thousands of people have influenced my thinking and my views of the trends of the Digital Age through their books, seminars, and conversations over the past 20 years. Major influencers have been Jason Van Orden, Shane Kelly, Rob Donkersloot, David Dell, Nicholas Negroponte, Daniel Burrus, John Naisbitt, Ray Hammond, Tim Ferris, Blair Singer, Martha Rogers, Geoffrey Moore, Dr Edward De Bono, and Buckminster Fuller. Among the most significant influencers was, and still is, Robert Kiyosaki, who in about 1991-2 was guest speaker at a breakfast my business magazine was hosting in Perth. Robert’s seemingly simple but deeply profound message to everyone present nearly 20 years ago was “Your Competition Is Electronic”. I’ve learnt so much from Robert over the years, and it was a privilege to have him as a teacher for many seminars and workshops in the 90s. Shortly after that breakfast, I found myself wandering through a retail computer shop. At the time, in my business information and magazine publishing business, we thought we used computers pretty cleverly – for word processing, accounts, spreadsheets, customer databases and even some desktop publishing. Contributing writers had progressed from posting us their articles on paper to sending us articles by courier on a ‘floppy disc’. Not having to re-type articles saved heaps of time, and yep, we thought we were reasonably smart users of technology. So there I was, in the computer shop looking at the different bits and pieces that could be connected to a computer to do things even more cleverly. I noticed one device that we were not yet using in our business. It was a ‘modem’, that allowed a computer to directly connect to another computer through a phone line. (The modem speed then was 4,800 bits per second.) “Hmmm,” I thought. “Connecting two computers over a phone line… Interesting idea…. Maybe I should get one of these modem things, and see if it might be useful.” My connected journey had begun. The modem became useful, and even more so when modems quickly became faster and could help me and others connect to many computers at once. And I moved on from publishing business information in a printed magazine format to exploring new ways of publishing electronically and doing business electronically – and helping others to discover, understand and successfully use the Internet for business. Please enjoy the Digital TrendCatcher Guide and this view on the trends of the Digital Age. As far as I know, the facts quoted throughout are correct as at the time of writing. The opinions and views are my own, but many are shared with other people. Any mistakes are just mine. Catching the Digital Trends and creating your own Big Picture future is not just an exercise to do once and then think you’ve got it figured out forever. It is an ongoing process. Thanks again to all those who have helped with comments, suggestions, criticisms and ideas. This is part of my evolving and ongoing guidance to help business owners and managers cut through the confusion to find a clear pathway to do better business online and grow and prosper in the Digital Age. And I’d love your feedback, thoughts and response. Cheers Richard Keeves (please, no spam.) PS: This Digital TrendCatcher Guide book is provided for free distribution in its entire form. Please share it with others if you wish. It’s not free because it has no value. Hopefully it will be very valuable to you and others. In the world of Abundance, the more something is shared and used, the more valuable it can become. How you use the guide - or don’t use it - is now up to you. I’ll be pleased if you use it to help create a better future for us all. Let me know how you go… Find this useful? Buy me a beer. You can do it through PayPal…© Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 6 of 75
  • 6. Digital TrendCatcher Guide Major forces and trends are shaping the future of your business online. Byunderstanding these trends, you can accelerate your business… without gettingconfused by the rapidly changing Internet technology. How you work with the trends or try to ignore them is up to you, but cleverlycatching and riding the trends that will change your industry can fast-track yourbusiness growth and success.What Is Really Going On In The Blur? Whether you’re planning to expand your business or simply planning to stayalive in business, you need to find smarter, faster and lower cost ways to betterservice your customers. Be open to fresh Smarter use of online systems and the Internet can help you develop thoughts.opportunities for tomorrow as well as solving problems of today, but doingbusiness in the Digital Age requires continual fresh thinking, starting with the “To know and not to dothinking of abundance. is to not yet know.” (Zen) With the online world, there is no scarcity other than probably a scarcity of ourown time. There is abundance of almost everything else. In the old scarcity world, the more you use a resource, the less you have of it.The less a scarce resource is available, the more valuable it becomes. In the Abundant online world, In the abundant online world of today and tomorrow, resources do not resources do not diminish.diminish. The more a resource is used, the more valuable it becomes. Rather thangetting lost in the abundance, a resource that is highly valuable and greatly used The more something is used,stands out in the crowd, not diminishing but growing, and often exponentially. the more valuable it becomes. In the scarcity-based off-line business world, large individual firms cangenerate wealth from achieving economies of scale, but paradoxically, the samescale that helped them create their wealth often becomes an anchor, inflexiblyweighing them down and preventing the changes needed to prosper in an agilefuture. In the world of abundance online, small, highly networked businesses can The online world hasgenerate wealth from achieving economies of structure that give them the abundance, and those who cannecessary scale but also flexibility and agility to change rapidly for the future. understand the structure and The online world has abundance, and those who can understand the structure catch the trends can thinkand catch the trends can think ahead and get ahead. ahead and get ahead. In the online world there is little to stop you using smart technology andsystems to enhance your products and services, provide better service for yourexisting customers, and reach out to new customers in new markets. © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 7 of 75
  • 7. There is also little to stop your competitors doing this either, and you may notHow many of your customers even know if or when new competitors are threatening your business.would be tempted by better In the global marketplace, new competitors are emerging, cleverly hunting forproducts and services providing new opportunities. Even for local businesses, your current customers are not sacred cash cows you can take for granted. Sooner or later, they are likely to besubstantially more benefits and attractive and tempting targets for someone somewhere to attack.value, and delivered in smarter How many of your customers would be tempted by better products andfaster ways at lower cost? services providing substantially more benefits and value, and delivered in smarter faster ways at lower cost? Improved online systems can help you create small enhancements that make a big difference to your customers or to your own business operations, or can create Without getting too technical, revolutionary new products, services and processes that become game-changers let’s clear this up… for your whole industry. “What’s the difference There is an amazing array of available technology choices and possible online between business solutions, and every day seems to bring more options to help you meet the Internet & the Web?” your business opportunities and challenges. Finding a clear pathway is not just difficult, but continually and increasingly problematic.The Internet (or Net) is the globalsystem of interconnected computer Many people dabble with new techno-tools and play with fads that catch theirnetworks through which packets of attention, often introducing different systems and adding to the fragmentation ofdata are rapidly exchanged between processes and technology within their organizations.computers and now other devices. The price you pay for technology systems is not just measured in the ‘dollars’The World Wide Web (Web) is a you pay up front, especially when they don’t appear to be expensive, and may besystem of interlinked hypertext cheap or even free. Significant costs come from the implementation, use anddocuments, media files and other ultimately migration away from different systems.files and applications on web sitesaccessed via the Internet. Integration of different systems is increasingly important, but often overlooked. Fragmented systems invariably cause fragmented business processes,In other words, the Internet is the and there are real, but often hidden costs from the confusion, constraints andtechnical infrastructure and the Web missed opportunities in the fragmented chaos of multiple systems within anis a system of linked information organization.that the Internet allows us to access. At a business level, you want systems that can be introduced quickly; can beData exchange on the Net uses learnt easily; will work effectively, securely and reliably; will be cost-effective andTCP/IP. This is an acronym for preferably with an easily demonstrated return on investment; bring no or low risksTransmission Control Protocol (TCP) to your business; and give good options for the future.and Internet Protocol (IP). Many businesses get their new technology choices wrong – or at least, theyEmail, Voice Over IP (VoIP) and FTP don’t get these choices right enough. They make short-term, ad-hoc reactionary(File Transfer Protocol) are examples decisions, or they find themselves playing expensive trial and error games trying toof other systems that can use the pick the winners amongst the range of possible new applications, tools andInternet independently to the Web. systems. Choosing the right mix of Internet and web applications, systems, databases, tools, marketing processes, products, payment systems and other technologies for your business is a puzzle. And the more it grows, the more it becomes an How hard is it to complete increasingly complex puzzle. a jig-saw puzzle when How hard is it to complete a jig-saw picture puzzle when you’ve never seen the you‟ve never seen the picture you are trying to create with all the puzzle pieces? picture you are trying to To make it worse, even the edges of the picture puzzle are unclear as there are create with all the puzzle pieces? no obvious corner pieces or puzzle pieces with straight sides to help you define the boundaries of the picture. The puzzle can be a confusing blur… © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 8 of 75
  • 8. The Continually Morphing Picture Puzzle Your blurry puzzle challenge is made even harder when you realize these puzzlepieces are continually morphing, changing their shapes, colors and points ofinteraction and integration. How are you ever going to complete the puzzle? The key is to draw back from just focusing on the puzzle pieces and expand Look for the patterns andyour vision and your view. Rise above the short-term confusion of today’s you will start to see long-technology puzzle and look over the horizon. Allow yourself the time and space to term change for what it is,expand your vision to see the big picture for your business. generally neither random, Think about the real needs and wants of your customers, and think about the ad-hoc, accidental norbenefits and value you offer. Look back and look forward and see the patterns faddish.emerge for your customers, your business and your industry. Your big picturefocus must at least be wide enough to include your business, your products, yourindustry, your customers, your future customers, your competitors, and yourcommunity. As you expand your focus and your horizons, your view of doing businessyesterday, today and more importantly, tomorrow will start to change from a blurto a clearer vision. Look for the patterns, and you will start to see long-termchange for what it is, generally neither random, ad-hoc, accidental nor faddish. These long-term changes in the Digital Age have been happening over past 15to 20 years. Once you recognize the principles, patterns and trends, you will betterunderstand why there is every likelihood these will continue into the future foranother 15 to 20 years and beyond.Ten Action Principles Intrinsic to the Digital Age trends are ten Action Principles that fundamentallyunderlie the growth of the Internet and Internet-related technology. The ActionPrinciples are:1. Simplifying: Making the complex simple to use.2. Decentralizing: Connecting many smaller resources in a distributed system provides more agility, flexibility, capability, expandability and resilience with less risk than creating and maintaining one larger central resource.3. Ephemeralizing: Continually driving for greater efficiencies often at less cost by progressively accomplishing more and more with less and less.4. Leveraging: Finding and using the right lever wisely to have a small action produce a larger and preferably ongoing reaction.5. Connecting: Connecting before value is expected or delivered, with the connection being strengthened when value is delivered.6. Enabling: Giving people the ability to do more of what they want to do; preferably easier, better, faster and cheaper.7. Empowering: Helping people to do as much or as little as they want to do themselves.8. Engaging: Stimulating more meaningful interactions based on relevance, value, importance, and timeliness.9. Synergizing: Joining individual parts together and creating more value than the parts each had separately.10. Harmonizing: Combining small individual waves that are moving together at the same time and in the same direction to form much larger and more powerful waves. © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 9 of 75
  • 9. The 25 Digital Age Trends The ten Action Principles, working in combination with 25 macro-level trends, are creating and influencing the future of the Digital Age.Some trends may appear As you go through the trends, some may appear so obvious you take them forso obvious you take them granted and scarcely recognize them for the life and business changing effectsfor granted and scarcely they are causing.recognize them for the lifeand business changing Don’t ignore or under-estimate any of the trends. Each of the trendseffects they are causing. individually can impact your business and your life, but in combination, multiple trends can make ongoing change unstoppable! 1: Moores Law Continues 2: The Internet Is Always On 3: More 24.7 On-Demand 4: Increasingly Faster Speeds of Transactions 5: Increasingly Faster Wireless Networks 6: More and Smarter Mobile Devices 7: Increasing ConvergenceDon‟t ignore or under- 8: More Technical Connectivityestimate any one of the 9: More Personal Connectivitytrends, because each ofthe trends individually 10: Increasing Formation of Communitiescould continue to impact 11: More Corporate Ecosystemsyour business and your lifewell into the future. 12: Increasing Disintermediation 13: Increasing Transformation 14: Increasing Mass Customization 15: Increasing Globalization 16: More “100% Fit” Products in Global Niches 17: Increasing 1 to 1 Marketing 18: Increasing Aggregation of Information 19: Changing Importance of Physical Location 20: More Low Cost Software and Storage Solutions 21: Increasing Exposure to Popular Mass CultureIn combination, thedifferent trends can make 22: Increasing Importance of Trusted Brandsongoing change 23: Increasing Importance of Peer Reviews and Recommendationsunstoppable! 24: Increasing Loss of Control of our Personal Information & Identity 25: Increasing Power to Consumers © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 10 of 75
  • 10. Some trends may appear to be more relevant than others to you, yourbusiness, your industry, your competitors and more importantly your customers.Be aware that how you see each trend now will undoubtedly be influenced by yourpast and current thinking and experiences. As you look to the future, you will need open-minded fresh innovativepossibility thinking about each trend, not restricted closed thinking from the past. This is not necessarily just about you planning or making revolutionary changesfor your organization. You can use fresh thinking about each trend to generateideas for small incremental improvements to your current business, systems andprocesses.It’s not just About You. It’s Always about Your Customers Understanding and catching the trends with fresh thinking can help you seeideas and options that are on-trend and make sense for you, your customers andyour industry. You will see some changes that can help your organization becomemore efficient in its processes, production and operations. Ultimately though, real improvements in business are almost always Ultimately, real improvements incustomer-focused and about providing greater benefits and value to business are almost alwayscustomers. customer-focused and about providing greater benefits and Think about what your customers really value from you, not just the value to customers.products and services you provide but the benefits these bring to thecustomer, and the benefits behind the benefits. Being better, faster, cheaper, more convenient and using fewer Think of the constraints and limitations with your current business scarce resources in the process.model, products and services, and imagine how each trend could change orremove these constraints and limits in the future allowing you to improve yourservices to your customers. How can your business become better for your customers? Better, faster,cheaper, and more convenient and use fewer scarce resources in the process….Trends Combined Gain Energy & Momentum Think of the effect of different trends in variable combinations. Don’t just thinkof a single trend in isolation. The effect of different trends is far greater when theycombine in harmony with each other. Remember, when a business idea, product or process is on trend with multipletrends, it gains energy and momentum and can become almost unstoppable. More progress can be made faster and easier by embracing and working withthese principles and trends rather than trying to work against them. Ignoring the trends doesn’t help. These trends are happening anyway, with orwithout you! © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 11 of 75
  • 11. Trend 1: Moores Law ContinuesClosely Related Trends  Always more computer processing power.4: Transaction Speed  Processing power doubles every 18 to 24 months.  Always faster, smaller, cheaper5: Fast Wireless Networks6: Smart Mobile Devices In 1965, Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore noted that the number of components in integrated circuits had doubled every year from 1958 to 1965 and7: Convergence he accurately predicted this trend would continue "for at least ten years". This8: Technical Connectivity became known as Moore’s Law.20: Low Cost Software In 1975, Moore revised the Law to predict the doubling of computer processing Solutions power every two years – and this prediction has come true ever since, often doubling within 18 months. According to Wikipedia, the law is now used in the semiconductor industry to guide long-term planning and to set targets for research and development, but it has also unfolded as a self-fulfilling prophecy, where the goal set by the prediction charts the course for capability to be realized. As of now in 2011, Moore’s Law shows no sign of slowing down. In 2008, Intel predicted the Law would hold true until at least 2029. Similar self-fulfilling predictive ‘laws’ have also been developed in other areas of IT growth… Moore’s Law covers increasing processing power and density. Kryder’s law predicts hard disk storage capacity doubling every 2 years; Butter’s Law of Photonics says the amount of data coming out of an optical fiber is doubling every 9 months, and Nielsen’s Law says that the bandwidth available to Internet users increases by 50% annually. Not surprisingly, this extra processing power requires more electrical power to make it work. The power consumption of computer nodes (i.e. computing devices) has been doubling every 18 months. Fortunately, the makers of semi-conductors Moore‟s Law makes are also focused on processors for mobile devices which use far less power. electronic products always faster, smaller, We can continue to expect computing devices to be more powerful, faster, cheaper… smaller, cheaper and with higher speed connectivity for many years to come. In fact, the people who make these devices and the networks we run on are planning for it - and making these predictions come true. Of course we won’t all rush out and buy the latest technotools as soon as they are released, but there will be a continual flow of new tools of which some will catch on with us and our customers. We’ll try the new tools, use them and then take them for granted. Later, we’ll discard them. Some will change our lives. Questions To Ponder 1. What do you know about how your customers adopt new tools and systems? (You need to be ahead of them, but not too far ahead. You won’t want to be too far behind your customers.) 2. Have you noticed increased productivity, increased efficiency and reduced costs in your business from faster and cheaper technology? How do you measure it? How could you measure it in the future? 3. How much processing power do you need? (Most people don’t use all the power they have now.) Could you dumb down your equipment? 4. How fast and smart are you and your staff? Which tools make you smarter? Which tools make you more productive? © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 12 of 75
  • 12. Trend 2: Internet Always On  24.7 bit flow with more devices anywhere.  More 24.7 users expect fast response 24.7 Closely Related Trends  Continual connectivity increasingly taken for granted & relied upon. 3: 24.7 On-Demand 4: Transaction Speed For those of us who can remember life on the Internet in the mid 90s, we’llrecall the struggle of programming a modem to dial an ISP’s phone number and 5: Fast Wireless Networksdialing up to establish a connection to the Internet long enough to send and 6: Smart Mobile Devicesreceive emails and out of curiosity, maybe briefly ‘surf’ the Web. 7: Convergence Then we’d hang up, disconnect the phone line and use the phone for its 8: Technical Connectivityintended purpose – to make phone calls to other people. For us then, the 9: Personal ConnectivityInternet was not always on and we had to connect to it. 11: Corporate Ecosystems Now, for many of us, all that has changed. In many countries and regions of 19: Physical Locationthe world we can be continuously connected to the Internet, often with multiple 20: Low Cost Softwaredevices at the same time. Solutions More and more people and businesses around the world will be relying on thecontinual connectivity of the Internet. Already it’s being taken for granted that wecan be connected, 24.7. We also take for granted that websites we want to visit on the Internet will beavailable 24.7 and always on. Some people suffer physical and emotionalwithdrawal symptoms if their internet connection goes down or if they can’taccess their favorite website.More Connected ‘Always On’ Devices Look around you in your Increasingly as new technology rolls out, more and more devices will be business and home.Internet enabled and will be always connected. Sooner or later, anything and Anything electronic caneverything that is electronic could be – and may be – connected continuously to be connected to thethe Internet. Internet and „Always On‟ Data will be flowing between offices, homes, cars, mobiles, alarm systems,fridges, plant and machinery control systems, gaming devices, cameras, signs,televisions, big displays screens, little display screens, projectors… and theInternet. Look around you in your business and home. Look further to cars, boats, trains,planes, hospitals, sporting grounds… Anything electronic can be connected to theInternet and Always On. When something can be connected and is made moreuseful, accessible or controllable by the connection to the Net, then it will happen. When we as individuals are connected and our devices are connected, it’s easyto think that everyone else is connected with us. It’s important to remember thatsome people are connected, but others, for a variety of reasons are not. TheDigital Divide is real. As new technology rolls out, different people will try it, adopt it or reject it atdifferent times. Different customers will take it up at different speeds and fordifferent reasons. Your customers will all be somewhere in the spectrum ofInnovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority and Laggards.Maintaining and running different systems for fast-moving and slow-movingcustomers can become an expensive business overhead. © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 13 of 75
  • 13. Many people now take the Always On Internet for granted, and are basing key business processes on this continual connectivity. This can be a dangerous approach, as some have found out when their website is attacked and unavailable. Cyber-warfare is real. In the possible event of a future war, the Internet and many of the networks and servers on it would be likely to be attacked. Parts of the Internet or possibly the entire Internet may be taken down, taken out or switched off. Much of the core Internet infrastructure is in the USA. In June 2010, the US Senate introduced the “Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act”, which gives emergency powers to the US President to control and even shut down the Internet for up to 120 days or longer with the approval of the US Congress. Critics have called it “The Internet Kill Switch”. How effective it would be is questionable, as the Internet is designed to route its data flow around any break in the network. The USA can’t switch off the entire Internet but they could take the US off-line by isolating it, stopping internal trafficWhat is far more likely is and blocking satellite communications. With about 90% of Internet data beingthat an individual business routed through the USA because it is so cheap to do so, the speed of data flowsuch as yours will be through the rest of the network would suffer.affected by a technicalbreakdown issue, an attack It’s a risk, but for the moment, a low one. Until a war or major attack, most ofor a hack. the Internet will hopefully remain on. What is far more likely is that an individual business such as yours will be affected by a technical breakdown issue, a Denial of Service (DoS) attack on an Internet-facing server or individual or group hack into your online systems. Don’t take secure and safe continual connectivity for granted. Make contingency plans, have good backups of all systems and databases, and test your plans and your backups regularly. Questions To Ponder 1. How much could you gain by being connected 24.7? 2. What could you lose by not being connected 24.7? 3. What will you need to do or provide for your customers? 4. How would it affect your business if your website was not accessible to others for an hour, a day, a week or longer? 5. What would happen to your business if other websites you rely on were suddenly not accessible to you for a week or more? 6. How would your business operate if you suddenly lost all of your website and customer databases? 7. How reliant are you on email? What happens if your email was not accessible for 1 day, 7 days or 30 days? 8. Do you really want to be connected to your business 24.7? © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 14 of 75
  • 14. Trend 3: More 24.7 On Demand  Content consumed as needed.  Consumers increasingly expect that suppliers will provide content, Closely Related Trends products and services when, how, where and as the consumer wants 2: Internet Always On them. 4: Transaction Speed  Requires ‘Just In Time’ access and delivery 5: Fast Wireless Networks  Requires ‘Real Time’ access and delivery 6: Smart Mobile Devices With continual connectivity comes the increasing expectation that we as 7: ConvergenceInternet users can find and do what we want to online, when and how we want it. 8: Technical Connectivity We want to consume content when needed, and we want to be able to 11: Corporate Ecosystemsresearch and buy products and services online as we need them - on demand. 12: Disintermediation The availability of your product or service influences your competitive edge in 13: Transformationthe marketplace, along with your product quality, suitability, customer service,pricing and the overall experience you provide. For an online business, the time 14: Mass Customizationand cost of delivery are increasingly important success factors. 17: 1 to 1 MarketingWaiting Time is Measured in ‘Seconds’ 19: Physical Location Your off-line consumer or customer may be prepared to wait hours, days or 22: Trusted Brandsweeks to buy and get what they want, but for purchasing, accessing and takingdelivery of digital content online, waiting time is measured in seconds or minutes,and not days or weeks. If a customer is accessing digital content that can be delivered immediately,then the customer will increasingly expect it – instantly, on demand, in real time.If they have a choice of suppliers for the same or similar products, services orcontent, and you can’t deliver instantly, then they are just as likely to find anothersupplier who can. For physical products that need to be shipped, the timing and costs of shippingare key reasons for shopping carts being abandoned in the online purchase For purchasing, accessingprocess. Having products available 24.7 on Demand has trained customers to and taking delivery ofassume fast response times. Product shipping time needs to be measured in days, digital content online,not weeks or months. „waiting time‟ is measured Organizations who are suppliers of content, products and services need to be in seconds or minutes, andgeared up to meet this instant ‘Just In Time’, real time demand. Better still, if you not days or weeks.can anticipate that a new or existing customer is likely to demand a product,service or piece of content, and get it to them just before they ask for it, then youcan really make an impact. News sites, music sites, and learning or coaching sitesare doing this today.Users Even Demand FREE Products & Services To Be Provided 24.7 Whether customers are paying for something or not, they increasingly haveboth a desire and expectation that they will be able to access it online. Customers expect that free products and services they use will be availablewhen they want to use them. Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube are freeservices but customers expect and demand access to them 24.7. Paying for something to be available online gives the consumer a greater rightto access and the supplier a greater responsibility to provide, but the money is notthe defining business issue. A consumer who finds a free service to be unavailablewill quickly seek out more reliable alternatives. © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 15 of 75
  • 15. There is a widely held expectation by many Internet users that everything on the Net is ‘FREE’, or should be free. We tend to expect this, in a similar way to how we may expect shop assistants to freely answer the questions we ask them in their shops. There is generally very little differential cost in providing online products and automated services at scale to local or global markets, but the cost of providing high levels of personalized service can seldom be scaled and becomes a large overhead for online businesses. Economies of structure’ matter! When the question is a commonly asked question and the answer is standard, there may not be an incremental cost every time the business needs to provide the standard answer, but whenever a personalized response is needed, there is a cost, and the more personalized the response the higher the cost – in the absence of automated systems. Learning to pay for information online including personalized responses and advice is still very much a work in progress. With so much information available through a Google search, many people think they can find what they are lookingLearning to pay for for quickly and at no cost. They are often right, as long as they know what they areinformation online is still looking for, but it is also easy to waste time searching and not finding.very much a work inprogress. Trusted advisors are emerging in almost every field or market niche. These advisors cut through the information clutter and provide useful and valuable answers, guidance and advice, and we will increasingly be prepared to pay for some of this. The Internet being Always On has led to services on the Internet being Always Demandable. We increasingly judge how good a business is by its ability to not just let us buy products and services on demand, but prior to buying, to provide us with information we expect in our research and shopping phase. We expect – and now demand -highly responsive and personalized customer service that quickly, effectively and efficiently answers our queries and solves our problems. We already often expect it 24.7. And it’s just getting started! Questions To Ponder 1. What additional information, content, products, services or interactive processes do your customers want to access? 2. What would you expect to access or receive if you were your customer? 3. What do your customers want to get from you at times that suit them, but may not suit you? 4. If you can’t or don’t give your customers access to what they expect or want, who will? © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 16 of 75
  • 16. Trend 4: Increasingly Faster Speeds of Transactions Closely Related Trends  Actions and reactions at hyper speed 1: Moores Law  Instantaneous transactions become the norm 2: Internet Always On  Transactions include Information, Communication, Education, Production 3: 24.7 On-Demand and Trading (ICEPT) 5: Fast Wireless Networks As the Internet now allows for such high speed continual connectivity between 6: Smart Mobile Devicesdevices and people, it may be tempting to take the new power for these globalinstantaneous interactions for granted – but look back in time and the changing 8: Technical Connectivitypatterns emerge. 9: Personal Connectivity Two hundred years ago a boat coming from England to Australia may have 10: Communitiestaken six months to deliver an important message, and a further six months for a 11: Corporate Ecosystemsresponse to be provided to England. Just the two-way communication flow of the 12: Disintermediationtransaction took 12 months. Imagine if there was a further two-waycommunication flow process needed before action could be taken? 13: Transformation Fast forward to the 20th Century and two-way communication transactions 17: 1 to 1 Marketingwere happening by post, telegraph, phone, fax and then the Internet. Now, in the 18: Information Aggregationearly 21st Century, the capacity for instant transactions is the expected norm. 20: Low Cost Software The ICEPT Transaction model developed by Larry Quick outlines the different Solutionstypes of transactions that occur between people and organizations. Transactions 22: Trusted Brandsare either Information, Communication, Education, Production or Trading or 23: Peer Recommendationscombinations of these. (ICEPT). All are now done in hyper-speed, almostinstantaneously globally due to the use of the Internet. In the online world, it’s not just the transaction itself that is important. Theactions and reactions in the processes of the systems surrounding the transactionalso need to become virtually instantaneous. Processes such as searching andfinding what is needed, getting it and having support along the way all need tospeed up for the apparently instant transaction to be seamless, effective andvaluable. The actions and reactions in For the transactions to speed up, more and more processes in businesses will the processes of the systemsbe increasingly automated. Business will continue to get faster. surrounding the transaction also need to becomeQuestions To Ponder virtually instantaneous.1. How ready and well equipped is your business to provide instantaneous transactions? a. Information transactions? b. Communication transactions? c. Education transactions?, d. Production transactions and e. Trading transactions2. What instantaneous transactions are already being demanded or expected by your customers? What will be expected in the future?3. What would you expect if you were a customer?4. How good are the processes and systems that support your transactions? Are they instant? Can you rely on them? Do they scale? © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 17 of 75
  • 17. Trend 5: Increasingly Faster Wireless Networks  Enabling Local and Global MobilityClosely Related Trends  High Speed Mobility With High Speed Data1: Moores Law Gone are the days when we needed to connect to the Internet using a cable2: Internet Always On plugged into a fixed phone line. Now we don’t need the cable, or the phone line. We have wireless routers in our homes and offices allowing many users to connect3: 24.7 On-Demand to share a common ADSL, cable or fiber service. This is provided for free in many4: Transaction Speed coffee shops and bars.6: Smart Mobile Devices Wireless networks are flourishing throughout the world as Internet access is8: Technical Connectivity opened up for whole regions with base stations capable of handling high speed data being cheaper, faster and easier to install than fixed wired services. In19: Physical Location October 2010, mobile wireless broadband was even opened up in the busy but20: Low Cost Software previously inhospitable trek to Everest Base Camp in Nepal. Solutions Only a few years ago, connecting wirelessly at high speed meant being within radio range of a fixed and wired Internet connection. Now, mobile networks are for mobile users, and allow effective Internet data access speeds in moving vehicles such as trains, cars, buses and even airplanes. Mobile data connectivity can be fast, easy to use and is continually reducing in cost with more data being provided in more affordable phone and data plans - unless you get ripped off by over-using your data allowance. For business, we can be more productive and not tied to any specific location, but we’re increasingly being tied to our device. We can access content stored in the Internet cloud, send content to other mobile users, and automatically synchronize our phones with our main computer. The ability to stream video content to and from any devices anywhere anytime will become taken for granted. Streaming will be one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many – such as with joint videoconferences with multiple participants. There are currently different systems rivaling to be the standards iin the 4G tomorrow. 4G is the fourth generation of cellular wireless standards, and is a successor to 3G and 2G standards. 4G systems will be totally based around Internet Protocol (IP) with data being transmitted in packets as it is on the Net. In time, 4G will provide a more secure solution with ultra-broadband (giga-bit speed) Internet access, IP telephony, gaming services, and streamed multimedia for users. According to Wikipedia, a major issue in 4G systems is to make the high bit rates available in a larger portion of the cell, especially to users in an exposed position in between several base stations. Mesh routing and other technologies are being developed to create pervasive and ultra-high speed networks, to allow seamless movement through the mesh. So what will come after 4G? Some sort of 5G of course! Always empowering and enabling. Always faster and even more useful. Questions To Ponder 1. How do you feel about using video phones? Do you want your clients to see you? Do you want to see them? 2. What capabilities and skill sets do you need to add within your organization or find externally to create great video content? 3. Is there a risk of transferring too much power over your life and business to telecommunication companies? And at what cost? © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 18 of 75
  • 18. Trend 6: Increasingly Smarter Mobile Devices  Smarter, faster, cheaper mobile devices Closely Related Trends  Smaller devices, larger capacity  “Whenever, however, whatever, wherever” 1: Moores Law Knowing Moore’s Law, it’s no surprise that the typical smart phone is now a 2: Internet Always Onfraction of the size and cost of an old-style personal computer, but with more 3: 24.7 On-Demandprocessing power and data storage capabilities. 4: Transaction Speed The first iPhone was only launched in January 2007, and it’s still early days in 5: Fast Wireless Networksthe world of smart mobile devices. The current market leader in the US is theBlackberry by RIM, with Apple’s iPhone second, and Google’s Android rapidly 7: Convergenceclosing the gap. Microsoft (MS) has just launched Windows Phone 7 with tight 8: Technical Connectivityintegration with MS products. 9: Personal Connectivity Blackberry or iPhone? Android or Phone 7? Apple devices and software 19: Physical Locationapplications apps are more integrated and controlled, are probably more secure,but are closed being just for Apple-made devices. The Android operating system 20: Low Cost Softwareand apps are more fragmented but open and can be used on different devices. SolutionsSecurity is critical, but open will probably win out, sooner or later. It looks like 24: Identity ControlAndroid phones will be the leaders during 2011. In just 3 years, Smartphone users have come to demand and expect always-onaccess, quick boot times; high levels of reliability; clear easy-to-read full colordisplay screens; plenty of programs and applications to run on their phones (andoften for free); and day long battery life in an attractive, thin, lightweight pocket-sized device. And all this is being provided, sometimes for very little cost. Apps are being developed enabling an already smart device to do moreand become even smarter and more valuable to us. Currently Apple appslead the way and are used on iPads, iPod Touch and the iPhones. Androidapps are quickly catching up, and there are different apps for MS phones. Amajor issue for app developers is choosing the right platform as creatingand maintaining complex software for different phones is problematic,especially when the app may be given away free. Smart phones are getting smarter. Our location is embedded into thedevice, and our device can be automatically traceable as we move. This can be Source: ClickZvaluable to us but also to marketers who want to provide an app and then sendlocation-based messages. The privacy issues should make us cautious. Drive near a bakery and you may get a message about freshly baked bread, stillhot from the oven. Go past the local coffee shop and you might get offered twocappuccinos for the price of one. Cleverer systems will tailor offerings to fit exactly Smarter, Faster, Cheaperwith your already known preferences – and give you more of what you like. More Mobile Devicesand more people are going to have faster and smarter mobile devices. You’ll beout of the office, but seldom out of contact – unless you turn off your phone or “Whenever, However,your battery goes flat! Whatever, Wherever”Questions To Ponder 1. How can you use smarter mobile devices to better serve your customers? 2. How will your mobile customers want to interact with you? 3. Do you quickly adopt and use new mobile devices as they are launched, or do you wait? Do you struggle to keep up? Do your customers adopt quickly , do they wait or do they struggle? How do you know? © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 19 of 75
  • 19. Trend 7: Increasing ConvergenceClosely Related Trends  The Internet & digital is not just about ‘computers’.1: Moores Law  More converging and blurring of devices, systems and content.2: Internet Always On  Web, TV, radio, phone, text, audio, video, 3D, Augmented Reality, Holography3: 24.7 On-Demand  Mobile interactive multimedia web6: Smart Mobile Devices New devices emerge and re-define the choices of how we can deliver, access8: Technical Connectivity and interact with online content. Increasingly, the devices, the content and the12: Disintermediation access and delivery processes are converging and being integrated.13: Transformation Convergence is happening all around us, so fast and so much we almost take it18: Information Aggregation for granted already. You can watch videos and movies on your computer or smart phone; make global or local telephone calls using Voice over IP (VoIP) with or without Skype; listen to previously local radio stations that now reach global online audiences; and access newspapers online that may have audio and video clips as part of their stories. Your mobile phone, iPad, computer, television and even your fridge can now be linked and any device can be used to control, access or display data stored on the other devices. Television programs have time-shifted and place-shifted and are now viewable online, with rich audio and video content no longer being constrained by the broadcast model. Content is now transmedia and mobile-enabled, and available to be consumed on different devices as and when needed. Video is the fastest growing segment of the content mix. In 2007, two years after its inception, You Tube consumed more bandwidth than the entire internet in 2000, and by 2009 YouTube traffic alone accounted for more than 10% of worldwide data consumption. In October 2010, YouTube’s owner Google said YouTube was serving two billion videos a week accompanied by advertising. Google has recently announced Google TV, and they claim this will allow users to type in what they want to watch, and Google will find it, seamlessly searching the content on the TV, the web and apps. Next is Augmented Reality (AR) which is gaining popularity thanks to the smarter mobile devices. Mobile AR apps use smart features of your smart phoneWorkSnug mobile AR app overlays live such as the in-built compass, accelerometer, GPS and camera to addvideo with peer reviews of workspacesso mobile workers can find the nearest geographically-relevant content to the live video being captured by the camera.and best places to connect and work in This provides a more information-rich experience based on where you are andmajor cities of the world. what your camera is viewing. Part of the future? It’s already here today.Source: Convergence has come a long way in the past 15 years, and like the Digital Age itself, it’s only just begun. Questions To Ponder 1. How can you use ongoing convergence to add value to your customers? 2. Do you need to consider creating a video as a marketing tool? Instead of just doing an ad for TV, do one for mobile phones and YouTube?Wikitude Drive mobile AR navigation appoverlays live video stream captured 3. Will your future customers expect videos rather than text-based informationthrough the phone’s camera with route such as product manuals? Have you considered Augmented Reality?suggestions and driving instructions.Source: © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 20 of 75
  • 20. Trend 8: More Technical Connectivity  Integration of networks, systems, applications, databases, devices, authorizations & access codes.  More things become electronic and almost anything electronic can be Closely Related Trends connected. 1: Moores Law  More reliance on the Cloud 2: Internet Always On Think of Technical Connectivity as the connectivity of things rather than 3: 24.7 On-Demandpeople. These things may be real and physical like a phone device or a computer 4: Transaction Speeddevice; or may be virtual and only exist inside a computer such as software ordatabases. Or they may be groups of the physical and the virtual such as content 5: Fast Wireless Networksresiding on the Internet or other computer networks. 6: Smart Mobile Devices Software as a Service (SaaS) is a growing area online. Many web-based 7: Convergencesoftware applications are now available for home users, small business users and 9: Personal Connectivitythe corporate market segments. Free or low cost access to web applications hasseen this area grow, with a wide range of different quality systems available. 11: Corporate Ecosystems(SaaS is discussed in more detail in Trend 20: Low Cost Software Solutions.) 12: Disintermediation Integration is becoming increasingly easier with open systems and common 17: 1 to 1 Marketingprotocols and database formats. To be successful, technical integration must be 18: Information Aggregationreliable, easy, scalable and secure. Much of the security for integration revolvesaround the security of identity. 20: Low Cost Software SolutionsConnected Identities Increasingly, devices and applications will have our identity embedded in them 24: Identity Controlfor automated recognition and access. This can obviously present risks if thedevice is stolen. Different websites are now sharing Identity Access Management systems toallow users to use one identity such as an Open ID, Facebook or Google Gmailidentity to access different third party sites without having to create new identitieson these sites. The connected Identity Access Management systems utilize theuser’s unique user name and password combination to authenticate and then begranted or denied access rights to data and resources on the third party site. More things will become electronic and For Facebook and Google, it’s a strategy to dominate and own the user’s almost anythingbehavioral as well as personal information. From the customer’s perspective, the electronic can beshared or common Identity Access Management systems allow for users to enjoy a connected.Single Sign On (SSO) which provides a faster, easier and more seamless experienceas users move between different sites. Sharing Identity Access Managementsystems is already raising privacy issues with greater risks from the real andgrowing issue of identity theft.Connecting to “The Cloud” Much of the technical connectivity happens outside of the view of typicalInternet users. The Internet has long been referred to as a Cloud, and the conceptof Cloud computing has grown in recent years. Many so-called Cloud- In the Cloud computing world, software applications and data storage is based firms aremanaged on a network of inter-connected servers that are location in different imposters, getting ondata centers throughout the world. The benefits offered by good Cloud computing the „Cloud computingfirms are a well-managed, secure, scalable and often low-cost technical bandwagon‟environment with lower risks from having increased redundancy from multipleservers in multiple locations. Many so-called Cloud-based firms are in fact imposters, simply hosting theirservers in a single location in a data centre. They are getting on the Cloud © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 21 of 75
  • 21. computing bandwagon, presenting themselves as providing a Cloud-based service, however their customers miss the scale-increasing and risk-reducing benefits from putting their data and applications into the Cloud. The Cloud computing industry has been evolving quickly, partially driven by reduced IT spending during the Global Financial Crisis years of 2007 to 2009,Not all cloud computing during which time many more services developed to be able to be presented asproviders are the same, enterprise-ready. Software developers have long been known for announcing orand the ignorance or marketing products before they have been developed, and some Cloud computingapathy of customers announcements are adding new meanings to the term ‘vaporware’!looking for a cheapprovider will increasingly Cloud computing has also been driven by consumers who use cloud-basedexpose them to risks and applications on smart mobile devices and now expect and demand the same easy-threats. to-use functionality, connectivity and efficiencies when at work. One premise of Cloud computing is that users do not know or generally even care what equipment or resources they are connecting to or where these systems are physically located. The very name ‘Cloud’ makes it appear soft, fluffy, amorphous, scalable, omnipresent and even fun, but in reality your data is still being managed and stored somewhere, and is potentially accessible to unauthorized intruders. Your applications, your data and the information you hold on your customers and others needs to be protected and secured. Risks In The Cloud A new and often unforeseen risk is in the retrieval of your data if and when you wish to terminate the use of an SaaS or Cloud computing provider. Many online SaaS and Cloud services are easy to sign up to, and even easy to cancel, but can be difficult and sometimes impossible to retrieve your data when you have terminated the service. This is commercially driven and intentional on the part of the provider, but often will not be disclosed to you anywhere but in the extremely fine print, which you may never have read. To date, many concerns about Cloud computing security issues have beenIf your data and your reducing as enterprises realize that the risk profiles of the external cloudcustomers‟ data is stored environment market leader businesses are not greatly different to the risk profilesomewhere in a cloud, you of their own internal IT environment, and good Cloud operators are often better.want to be very careful it Both environments need very well-managed security policies, processes anddoes not become a storm systems and external suppliers for whom this is core business activity have greatercloud! time, skills and resources to focus on their security. Not all cloud computing providers are the same, and the ignorance or apathy of customers looking for a cheap provider will increasingly expose them to risks and threats. If you are running your business with your data and your customers’ data stored somewhere in a cloud, you want to be very careful it does not become a storm cloud! Questions To Ponder 1. How could you add value to your customers by allowing them to connect more directly with you? What could you then do better, faster, stronger or cheaper ? 2. Do you put your information into the Cloud or not? What information can and cannot go into the Cloud? 3. Do your clients want their data put into the Cloud? What is the risk if you lose the data? © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 22 of 75
  • 22. Trend 9: More Personal Connectivity  More social networking.  Expanded networks include more friends who have never met but who implicitly trust each other’s opinions. Closely Related Trends  Requires authenticity 2: Internet Always On  Quality will trump Quantity for most networks 4: Transaction Speed The paradox of telecommunications is that whilst the telecommunication 6: Smart Mobile Devicesdevice links people together, it is also the same tool that keeps them apart, 8: Technical Connectivitydiscouraging and replacing the need for personal contact of face to face meetings. 10: Communities Personal Connectivity is about individuals connecting, sharing andcollaborating with others. The Internet lets people do this on a mass scale, 11: Corporate Ecosystemswherever and whenever with the benefits of an individual connecting, meeting, 12: Disintermediationchatting and messaging with many other people at times that are convenient for 17: 1 to 1 Marketingboth or all parties involved. 21: Popular Mass Culture This mass personal connectivity has evolved to be Social networking and 22: Trusted Brandsplatforms have evolved for connections between like-minded people withcommon interests or connections. Today’s most well known examples are 23: Peer RecommendationsFacebook with over 500 million social users globally and LinkedIn with over 80 24: Identity Controlmillion business and professional members in over 200 countries. Twitter attracts 25: Consumer Powerabout 200 million visitors per month and generates over 65 million Tweets a day.Many of these are automated Tweets, and many are spam. In the social network stampede, many people forget that every comment,photograph and action online may be tracked, recorded and stored by the system.Facebook & Your Privacy The rise of social networking online means that people no longer have anexpectation of privacy, according to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. He latertried to retract the statement and improve Facebook’s privacy controls, but Many businesses areFacebook’s emerging business model of highly targeted advertising based on user struggling to use socialprofile and activity creates huge conflicts of interest for the future. media and get a Return On Facebook is now a multi-faceted platform, being a search engine to search for Investmentpeople, an advertising medium to target and reach individuals, a news distributionsystem, an events management system, a photo library system, a gaming centre, amarketplace and more. Mobile users can not only network with friends but canalso now use Facebook to find deals at nearby retailers. Many Facebook users enable Facebook Connect, which notifies Facebookwhenever a user visits one of the more than one million sites on the web that useFacebook Connect. Facebook has a history of leaking personally identifiableinformation to third parties. Information you or your kids put into Facebook couldend up anywhere, anytime and forever. Given Facebook’s lack of care aboutprivacy, this raises huge risks for individuals today and into the future.TenCent in China Facebook has a history of TenCent is China’s largest mobile phone network with over 500 million leaking personallymembers. They also run a social network, but unlike Facebook where real users identifiable information tohave real names, real identities and real photographs, TenCent members use third parties.virtual names, virtual identities and virtual photos or avatars. Unfortunately forthese Chinese users, the virtual identity does not mean they are any less traceableor trackable in their comments and activities. © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 23 of 75
  • 23. Social Media and Your Return on Investment (ROI) Many businesses are currently struggling to use social media and to get a Return On Investment of time and money of employees. Industries such as recruitment do generate a good ROI using Facebook and LinkedIn, but this posesThe key word in the other risks to businesses wanting to hold on to their staff rather than have themworld of socialnetworking is head-hunted and poached.„authenticity‟. Social Media Fatigue is a syndrome being felt by many businesses who find running social media marketing involves too much work and time for the results they observe and achieve. (Many users also feel Social Media Fatigue from what they perceive is a constant need to use, refresh and update their various social media systems.) Pro-actively, social media marketing can be a long term process, based on joining in conversations, adding value, providing support and building trust. The key word in the world of social networking is ‘authenticity’. There is no point encouraging social networks in your business and being involved with social media if you are not able or prepared for your staff to be open, real and genuine about your business and you. At a business level, social media is generally not about promoting your business, but rather about having people within your business listen to, engage with and talk with other people outside the business about your business in meaningful conversations. Ideally, these conversations add value to both parties, but definitely need to be of benefit to your consumers. This benefit could be from conversations about early“Social media fatigue” notice of events or launches, priority access to customer service or support oris being felt by many even product feedback suggestions. Used reactively, monitoring social media inbusinesses business can be critical as word of mouth being spread by your customers and consumers may be either positive or negative. Knowing what is being said about you allows you to constructively and appropriately respond to the comments. Building Trust Consumers need to know they can trust a brand. Such trust is seldom based on what the brand owner says about the brand but rather what other customers say about it. For many consumers, comments from friends in social media and peer reviews have become a crucial aspect of the decision making process to buy. Be wary of automated tools to run social media marketing programs. Some can help, but others can automate the creation of more problems. Businesses need to realize that conversations cant be controlled. Involvement with integrity takes time. Encourage reviews and feedback about your business. Don’t be defensive. Use the feedback to improve. Its seller-beware. Consumers have power to build or kill brands quickly. And they use it. Once something is on the web, assume it is there forever. It may never be forgotten. Questions To Ponder 1. How successful is your business at using social media and encouraging more personal connectivity in your business? 2. What value can you add to your customers through meaningful conversations using online social networks? 3. What information could be in the public domain now about you, your family or your business that could haunt you forever? How do you know? © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 24 of 75
  • 24. Trend 10: Increasing Formation of Communities  “Birds Of A Feather Flock Together”  Communities form, trust develops. Closely Related Trends  Communities can become markets. 4: Transaction Speed  Macro communities & Micro-communities 9: Personal Connectivity  Connect, Join, Belong, Contribute, Add Value, Be Valued 11: Corporate Ecosystems As early as 1969, the computer network that became the Internet was used by 15: Globalizationgroups of academics at different universities in the USA to share their thoughts 16: “100% Fit” Productsand views on research projects. This usage grew amongst academics globally, andwhen the Internet was opened up for commercial use in the 1990s, there were 17: 1 to 1 Marketingalready thousands of small groups discussing specific topics of interest. 21: Popular Mass Culture These groups or communities have continued to form and flourish. How they 22: Trusted Brandsmeet online has evolved with changing technology and platforms. The early days 23: Peer Recommendationsof UseNet newsgroups have now been replaced by groups that form on peer to 25: Consumer Powerpeer networks, email lists, special interest websites and on large search engineand social media platforms. Facebook Groups allow users to join a group and show their support for itspurpose or cause. As of February 2010, Google was indexing 620 million Facebookgroups, which is larger than the number of Facebook members. Yahoo and Googleboth operate groups that are more functional for a special purpose community. AtSeptember 2010, Yahoo with 115 million members has over 2 million groups, whileGoogle appears to have over 20 million groups. LinkedIn Groups are an amazingbusiness-to-business networking tool and offer rapid communications andmarketing opportunities to members. Crass and ineffective marketers crash their way into online groups and Crass and ineffectivecommunities, thinking they can self-promote and advertise heavily and sell marketers crash their wayproducts. Smart online marketers find, join or create community groups, into online groups andcontribute to the community and over time strive to build trusted relationships communities, thinkingwithin these groups. As a result, the online community can become the they can self-promote andmarketplace for the trusted community advisor who now becomes a trusted advertise heavily and sellsupplier. products. There are typically dozens, if not thousands, of groups serving almost any nichecommunity concept you can imagine. Smart business strategies involve theidentification and selection of niche communities, sincere value adding to thecommunity, and cross-fertilizing between groups. The key is to engage with the community, contribute to it, add value and createharmony. You can dominate a community by your valuable participation, not bythe use or abuse of your marketing muscles.Questions To Ponder 1. What communities do your customers belong to online? Where do they go online? How can you find out? 2. What questions do your customers ask others online? Who is answering the questions of your customers? Who is going to become their next ‘trusted advisor’? 3. How can you become the ‘trusted advisor’ for new prospective customers in their online communities? © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 25 of 75
  • 25. Trend 11: Increasing Corporate Ecosystems  Increasingly greater interlinking of manufacturers, suppliers, vendors,Closely Related Trends customers and affiliates.2: Internet Always On  Collaboration for mutual profit  Value Chains require Trust Chains3: 24.7 On-Demand In the world of abundance, powerful business synergies can come from4: Transaction Speed collaborating in harmony with others. Collaborating with others you trust at8: Technical Connectivity different levels in your sales and supply chains can set up an online eco-system9: Personal Connectivity where the linked participants add value to each other and profit from the tighter integration within the eco-system.10: Communities At a business level it is being driven by the benefits of integration of12: Disintermediation information, systems, databases and business processes.13: Transformation Many manufacturers drive the formation of the eco-system to support the18: Information Aggregation production, distribution and sales of their products, but at a simpler level online19: Physical Location retailers are setting up extended networks of sales affiliates who act as online22: Trusted Brands commission-based sales agents for retail businesses.24: Identity Control Whether they are a manufacturer, supplier, vendor, customer or a sales affiliate, each player adds different value to the eco-system, and synergistic25: Consumer Power benefits from cooperation and collaboration can be substantial. Sales, marketing, customer support and production bonds become tighter, often to the point where customer-supplier relationships are strengthened so much they become locked-in to each other as a result of the mutual value provided and delivered. Trust is the important glue required between all participants, and managing trust is one of the biggest issues within the online eco-system. To be part of an extended eco-system, organizations need to be able to access Trust is the important glue information of others, but they also need to be able to share their own required between all information. The ease of managing such access and sharing without issues of participants, and substantial duplication of content is often challenging, and ideally require managing trust is one of common, open and integratable systems. the biggest issues within the online eco-system. If you are a potential eco-system member, think carefully before choosing to link up with other organizations. As unnecessary as it may seem at the start and as unpopular it may make you, make sure you think about how you can quickly get out of the relationship if and when you need to. To start with, tying your organization to others should be done in ways that loosely bind you but don’t lock you in forever. A rising tide may lift all ships in the eco-system, but don’t tie yourself too tightly to a leaky boat! It’s important to clearly define expectations and responsibilities at the start of the relationships. The eco-system will fail or will prosper on the value each member provides and the trust that glues you together. Questions To Ponder 1. What online eco-systems do your customers belong to already? 2. What eco-systems could your customers and suppliers join? How could this impact on you? 3. What eco-systems could you join or create to strengthen your business? © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 26 of 75
  • 26. Trend 12: Increasing Disintermediation  Middle-Men continue to be redefined and/or eliminated.  Middle-Men must add more value with less cost, less friction, operate at higher speed and with greater efficiency Closely Related Trends  Middle-Men add value, re-invent, disappear or die! 3: 24.7 On-Demand 4: Transaction Speed Supply chains extend from the producer of raw materials to the manufacturerof a finished product and then through various layers or links in the chain to 7: Convergenceultimately get to the customer and end user of the product. 8: Technical Connectivity 9: Personal Connectivity Typically, factors such as efficiencies of economies of scale, access todistribution systems, and access to sales channels allow middle men to profitably 11: Corporate Ecosystemsexist in the supply chain for the benefit of others in the chain. 15: GlobalizationCutting Out the Middle-Man 16: “100% Fit” Products Given the opportunity, many end user customers would like to deal direct with 17: 1 to 1 Marketingproducers or manufacturers in order to get fresher, newer, more relevant or 18: Information Aggregationcheaper products. 22: Trusted Brands Many producers and manufacturers are happy to sell direct to end user 23: Peer Recommendationscustomers if they can, rather than go through middle-men whose value-add is 25: Consumer Powerquestionable or non-existent. Wholesalers and retailers typically use trade credit from their upstreamdistributors to fund their businesses, and distributors and manufacturers becomeunhappy when they get paid slowly. Cumbersome distribution systems, disloyal wholesalers and retailers, poorcustomer service systems, and slow to move stock can add to the frustrationsexperienced by manufacturers. Given the chance to deal direct with end usercustomers, most manufacturers are tempted to find a way to try out ‘factorydirect’ sales. Middle Men must add more One of the few barriers to more factory direct sales is the factory’s desire to value with less cost, less friction, operate at higherefficiently sell their products in large volumes to distributors and wholesalers speed and with greaterrather than in the much smaller quantity requested by the typical end-user efficiencycustomer. New middle-men are emerging to specifically handle warehousing,fulfillment and shipping logistics of physical products sold online.The Threats from Empowerment As the Internet enables, empowers and tempts its various users, the Internetalso challenges and threatens middle-men businesses in each stage of a supplyprocess. As soon as a producer or manufacturer can figure out how to efficiently makedirect sales in smaller quantities to end-user customers, the supply chain becomesredundant unless its various intermediary players add some value in the process. Look at the travel industry over the past 15 years and see Disintermediation atwork, changing the sales processes of selling airline tickets, hotel rooms and more.Low-cost carriers (LCC) in the airline industry base their sales channel onstreamlined web-based bookings. Intermediaries that add no value are being © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 27 of 75
  • 27. eliminated, but those that can add value are re-defining their strengths, and staying relevant in the industry. Many travel agents have lost a revenue stream because they no longer need to do the seemingly mundane task of booking simple flights or accommodation. We can book simple tickets ourselves now, but jumping – or flying – into the unknown is still risky for many people. Travel agents can still add value by giving customers better advice and peace of mind from reliably simplifying the booking of complex connecting flights or detailed holiday packages. The travel agent’s role as an expert in their field can allow them to re-define themselves and re-build their brand as a reliable source of trusted information and specialist services. There is still a role for middle-men intermediaries, but it’s being re-defined. Those that can find the pain of their target customers understand the problems and cleverly structure solutions that add value can prosper. New middle-men intermediaries with different value propositions have emerged, often with fully online business operations. In the hotel and accommodation market, you can often make an online booking directly with a hotel or resort, but hotels like to charge walk-in customers a high rack rate price, without any discounts, and as an online customer you find yourself wondering if you are getting the best deal. Comparison sites like and allow you to search for online deals. Sites such as and service travelers looking for cheap or available hotel rooms at short notice, and hotels enter their discounted prices for rooms that would otherwise probably be vacant. Not all middle-men will die, but at the very least, the roles of middle-men in supply and sales chains are being re-defined to ensure they add more value with less cost, less friction, operate at higher speed and with greater efficiency. To stay ahead of the game in your industry, look for opportunities to add more value in supply and sales processes. Disintermediation is happening all around us in every industry. Lead it, follow it or get out of the way of it! Questions To 1. Where do you fit in your sales and supply channels? How much do you have? 2. Where are the points of friction and inefficiencies in your channels? HowDisintermediation can you help to remove, reduce or re-define these impacts? Middle-Men are being redefined orremoved. 3. Would your customers or suppliers be better off or worse off if you wereAnd new Middle-Men are emerging! not in the channel? What benefits and value would your customers not enjoy? © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 28 of 75
  • 28. Trend 13: Increasing Transformation from Atoms to Bits  Transformation of processes & products  Bits allow immediate online access and online delivery. Closely Related Trends  The End-User pays for conversion to atoms. 3: 24.7 On-Demand 4: Transaction Speed The production and shipping of expensive and scarce atom-based physicalproducts is being increasingly transformed into digital products made of bits of 7: Convergencedata. Previously paper-based processes are being transformed and enhanced with 11: Corporate Ecosystemsfaster, cheaper and often more reliable digital processes. It’s been quietlyhappening for the past 15 years and it’s going to continue. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s such an obvious trend that you no longer haveto think about it. This is a key driver of change online and despite the progress sofar, it’s still early days. Almost anything paper-based such as newsletters, brochures, books andnewspapers has either been transformed already or probably will be in the future.At the very least, it’s worth assuming that someone somewhere is looking atanything paper-based and thinking how it can be transformed.Clever Transformation Clever transformation is not just about digitizing a paper-based product orprocess, but about adding value and enhancing the product or process. In a downloadable world, anything that can be transformed and digitizedprobably will be, especially if and when the transformation adds value byenhanced functionality and faster, easier, lower cost delivery to you online. With downloadable music and video files, sales of compact discs have rapidlyplummeted and DVD sales are set to become a thing of the past.Moving Bits Is Fast and Cheap Atom-based products are expensive to produce, whereas bits can beproduced and re-produced simply by creating and copying a computer file.Digital products can be stored anywhere, and in globally connected world, In a downloadable world, anythingcan be distributed anywhere, anytime – and often in seconds. that can be transformed and digitized probably will be,Bits Are Abundant especially if and when the Abundance is a key word with digital products. Borrow an atom-based transformation adds value bybook from a library shelf and a gap appears on the shelf. No one else can enhanced functionality and faster,borrow the same book at the same time. But borrow a digital book from a easier, lower cost online library shelf, and there is no gap, no scarcity. There is nothing to prevent the same digital book being lent out again or sold atthe same time – and ongoing for an infinite number of times. There is no scarcitywith digital products, just abundance.Transforming Processes Transformation applies to processes as well, not just products. Try to buy aticket on an airline or to a concert or sporting event, and chances are you will buyit online, and have the ticket sent to you in a PDF file that you can print out. It’sfaster and more convenient for you, and it’s faster, more convenient and cheaperfor the ticket sales provider. © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 29 of 75
  • 29. Ironically, the ticket could easily be sold to you at a lower cost because of these cost savings, but many ticket agencies will charge you a ‘processing fee’ for the privilege of you being able to print the ticket out yourself. We consumers happily pay the processing fee, partly because we have to – but also because we know the process actually is more convenient and time-saving for us. Every time you fill in a form on a piece of paper, think how more efficiently the form could work if it was electronic and online. Surveys, courier receipts, medical forms, the list goes on. Any paper-based form can be – and possibly will be – transformed to be produced, completed, stored and analyzed in a digital format. Barcode Tickets on your Smartphone Technology is already available to have bar-codes sent to your smartphone so that you won’t even need to print out your airplane or sporting ticket. You’ll simply have your smartphone or its evolutionary descendant scanned at the entry gate in a fully paperless digital process. Risk Versus Investment Many businesses do not accept the investment and risk that goes into technology process improvements. Globally, the scale of the marketplace can make the return on such investments very attractive. Mobile Ticket and Scanner/Reader Local businesses selling their traditional products locally against global Source: competitors who have transformed and improved products and services will need Access interfacing Solutions to find cost-effective ways to transform their products and processes to remain competitive. The risks of not transforming may be far greater than the technology Transformation of process, investment and other risks involved in making process improvements. not just product. From scarce and slow moving atoms to abundant and rapidly moving bits, we’ve come a long way already but making product and process improvements through transformation is an ongoing game in the Digital Age. Questions To Ponder 1. What products and processes have you already transformed from ‘atoms’ to ‘bits’ to deliver online? 2. What other transformation opportunities do you have? How can you streamline and enhance your products and processes? 3. How do you still use paper in your business? 4. Do you think the ‘paperless office’ is possible? When do you think it could happen?© Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 30 of 75
  • 30. Trend 14: Increasing Mass Customization  More customers can get exactly what they need & want. Closely Related Trends  Cleverly custom-built products and services 3: 24.7 On-Demand  Tailor-Made on a mass scale 16: “100% Fit” Products Production processes have changed over the years. Before the days of mass- 17: 1 to 1 Marketingproduction, many products were tailor-made - custom-built as needed, made toorder for each specific customer. Being made to order meant that the preferences and choices of each customercould be accommodated and included in the product, theoretically giving thecustomer what they wanted and providing high levels of customer satisfaction. In reality, production was often slow and expensive for the manufacturer, anddid not allow efficiencies of scale to be achieved.“Any Color As Long As It Is Black” In the 1920s, Henry Ford and others changed the concept of production of cars More customers can getand in time, most other products as well. Henry Ford famously said, “You can have exactly what they need &any color you want as long as it is black.” So, Ford’s cars were black, for everyone. want with custom-built Mass production of these standard products allowed them to be produced products and services cleverlyfaster and sold at far lower cost than the custom-built products which could not tailor-made on a mass scalecompete. Mass production then became the standard for most manufacturingprocesses. But now we’re in the Digital Age. We have smarter production equipment, andconnected customers. Imagine now, automated production equipment andautomated processes where the preferences of individual customers are simplyfed into the system as a variable in the automated process.“Any Parts & Any Color. You Choose” Now we have individual products customized to suit individualcustomers, but produced cost-effectively on a mass scale. That’s masscustomization, and it’s an increasing trend for the future.Change Your Retail Store, Instantly Amazon uses mass-customization to automatically present differentproducts on its website for different visitors based on their profile andpurchase history. Imagine a physical bookstore or other retail shop setting up displaysof different products in the store that could be attractive to eachcustomer the instant they walk in to the store? It’s impossible to even conceive how it could be done in the offlineworld, and yet online Amazon does it with relative ease every day for itscustomers. Amazon has over 2 million visitors to its website every day,and potentially each customer can see and buy products relevant tothem. © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 31 of 75
  • 31. Add in the tracking through the site and helping customers by making recommendations of what other similar people bought, and the experience becomes very customized – and on a mass scale. Computers, Built To Order Dell Computers don’t hold stocks of pre-built computers that may or may not sell. They hold stocks of components and then build computers as and when orders are received from the Dell website and deliver them to customers. Dell holds minimal stocks of components and operates on a Just In Time stock management basis. The Ritz-Carlton hotel chain uses smart software to store information on guest preferences in a database so they can then personalize the guest’s experience during their stay. Quirky details such as their pillow choice, favorite newspaper, flowers or whether they like extra towels. Mass customization is happening in different industries, and sometimes by stealth. Levi mass customizes jeans, Adidas mass-customizes shoes, Bivolino mass- customizes dress shirts, and makes personalized beauty products based on the customer’s skin type, age, and other variables. Mass customizing of digital products such as software and music compilations can be an even easier process, but it’s not just products that can be mass- customized for individual customers. Service based businesses also use the concept. Call centers are using voice technology to custom-manage enquiries from customers. The call process is varied when needed because of something the customer says or needs, as opposed to varying everything, every time. The ability to mass customize products and services can change industries, but at the very least it can become a competitive point of difference. Questions To Ponder 1. How do you differentiate your products and services for different customers? 2. How do you give people more of exactly what they want, and less of what they don’t want? 3. How could you change your sales, production or delivery processes to give individual customers a custom-built product or experience?© Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 32 of 75
  • 32. Trend 15: Increasing Globalization  Increasing world markets  Increasing world competition Closely Related Trends  Increasing world standardization 10: Communities 12: Disintermediation In a globally connected world, it may seem obvious that we can now dobusiness globally, but what does that actually mean for business? 16: “100% Fit” Products 19: Physical Location We have the ability to more easily promote our own businesses globally, simply 20: Low Cost Softwareby being online and by being found online by prospective customers. We also have Solutionsthe ability to tap into these world markets as customers and source products andservices from anywhere in the world. 21: Popular Mass Culture 22: Trusted BrandsNo Safe Backyard Along with our ability to buy from almost anywhere in the world, so can our 25: Consumer Powercustomers. We face competition from new players all over the world. Gone is thesafe territory of our own backyard where we could reign supreme in our ownpatch. Now we have new competitors potentially attacking us by chasing our best It will no longer becustomers – and we may not even know it is happening, let alone who these new possible for an inferiorcompetitors are – and how we can defend ourselves. and more expensive product to dominate aNew Standards local market purely on As more products are sold globally in different niches, new market leaders will the basis of the productappear with their standard easy-to-buy and easy-to-sell products. being „locally made‟. New world standards will emerge by which other products in its marketcategory are judged. It will no longer be possible, tolerable or acceptable to havean inferior and more expensive product trying to dominate a local market purelyon the basis of it being a locally made product. Product standards will typically be driven higher, with moreproduct features generally being provided for a lower cost. In somecases, product standards may appear to drop as lowest commondenominator products are produced that are worse than what wecurrently have, but acceptable and far cheaper to produce, sell anddeliver.New Global Pricing Prices will typically be driven lower by global competition.Businesses that previously used differential pricing models to sell thesame products at different pricing levels in different geographicmarkets have had to re-think their pricing strategies for a more What is the future for a local store competingstandard approach, often at a lower price. with sites like Labor Globalization makes more products and services appear to be generic. Skilledlabor from knowledge workers can appear to be generic, even though it seldom isdue to educational, training, cultural and time-zone differences. However, in aglobally connected world in which we can hire the apparently same skilled labor ata lower cost in a different country, why would we not at least give it a try? © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 33 of 75
  • 33. In some instances, we’ll come back to local skilled labor, in others we’ll happilyThe globalised off- choose to continue with the off-shore alternative.shore hire ofknowledge workers will This is already happening, often in other businesses and larger multi-nationalcontinue to increase. businesses, but this is a trend not a fad, and globalised off-shore hire of knowledge workers will continue to increase. If it hasn’t been done already, then sooner or later, it may – or will – make sense for some tasks in your business. It’s easy enough to find off-shore specialists through sites like,,, and others. Sites with simple but potentially very attractive value propositions have emerged such as Amazon Mechanical Turk and that allow outsourcing of small tasks for small amounts of money. As an example, is based on tasks being done for USD $5. So, finding people is easy. Finding good people is another question – and managing them effectively remotely can be challenging. But it’s happening, and thousands of jobs are moving around the world. Some are new jobs being created off-shore, but others are existing jobs moving from employing labor in high cost countries to low cost countries, many never to return. Staying Local is a Strategy You may opt to focus on your local markets rather than trying to operate and sell globally. It may be a sound strategy to stay local, and it does not prevent you from using online systems to better service your local clients. One of the keys to successful local strategies is focusing on maximizing the human-to-human relationships between you and your customers. It’s no secret strategy, but it could become your secret strength in a globally competitive world. Questions To Ponder 1. How do your products and services compare with others available globally? 2. How much of your business comes from the local off-line world? How safe is your sales territory? 3. Who is already trying to sell their products against you in your own back- yard? 4. Which of your customers could be wooed by a lower priced off-shore alternative to you? How many are already looking? How do you know? © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 34 of 75
  • 34. Trend 16: More 100% Fit Products in Global Niches  Tightly defined niches can have tightly defined solutions Closely Related Trends  Increasing access to global scale makes 100% Niche solutions more 10: Communities viable, valuable and cost effective 12: Disintermediation  Trusted suppliers can easily sell 100% fit solutions. 14: Mass Customization 15: Globalization In the search to buy products and services that are the best-fit to meet a 17: 1 to 1 Marketingspecific need or requirement, customers often have to settle for something lessthan a perfect solution. 20: Low Cost Software Solutions Purchasing is usually a process of defining essential and desirable product 22: Trusted Brandsfeatures and requirements. Then the purchaser does their shopping research, 23: Peer Recommendationslooking to see which must-have, nice to have and non-essential features areincluded or available in different products. For customers, this shopping process generally involves compromises, withthe perfect solution often hard or impossible to find. Potential manufacturers of products and services to a small local niche marketare often put off producing, or even contemplating products that may be theperfect fit for a handful of customers or a single customer. The tighter a niche can be defined, the easier it Small run small scale manufacturing is seldom viable, and custom-built becomes to identify andproducts for a single customer can become prohibitively expensive and non- understand the needs ofcompetitive. customers within the niche.Viable Scale in the Global Marketplace However, now with Internet we have increasing access to the globalmarketplace. Globally, the specific needs and requirements of a customer in a small or tinylocal niche may be identical to the needs of other customers in the same niche inother local geographic areas around the world. When a manufacturer or supplier can extrapolate the production and sales of a100% perfect fit solution from a local market to the global marketplace through In a world in which it isthe global scale offered by the Internet, the question of viability and cost- possible to produce, selleffectiveness balance can change dramatically. and buy a 100% „perfect- fit‟ solution, trying toThe Perfect Solution produce and sell a „good Entire new products and services can be produced which can be easily bought fit‟ solution may no longerby customers in the niche around the world who will quickly recognize the perfect be good enough.solution when they see it. These customers will often pay a price premium to have the solution that is justright for them, and can become extremely loyal to the first provider of the 100%solution. Any supplier who can demonstrate a sincere and deep understanding of theneeds of a tightly defined niche of customers by developing a 100% solution to © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 35 of 75
  • 35. meet these needs will quickly establish a reputation that will be hard to compete against.Attract people in the niche, Whilst it can be cost-effective for one or even several suppliers to sell into suchgain their trust, and make small global niches, the niche itself may appear to be an unattractive opportunityproducts to meet their to other larger businesses looking for new markets in which they can easilyneeds and wants – and the compete, especially if the first supplier has established a substantial market share.products can virtually sell The tighter a niche can be defined, the easier it becomes to identify andthemselves. understand the needs of customers within the niche. In a world in which it is possible to produce, sell and buy a 100% perfect-fit solution, trying to produce and sell a good fit solution may no longer be good enough. Increasing access to global niches will result in an increasing understanding of the needs and wants of members of the niche. Attract the people in the niche, gain their trust and make products to meet their needs and wants – and the products can virtually sell themselves. Questions To Ponder 1. How much business could you lose if your best customers were offered a 100% fit perfect solution by a competitor? 2. Who could be developing better 100% fit products in your industry at the moment? How do you know? How can you find out? 3. What 100% fit niche solution could you create and sell to others? Do you know how to produce, promote and provide it? 4. What 100% perfect fit solution would you like to buy and use in your business? Do you know where to find it? © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 36 of 75
  • 36. Trend 17: Increasing 1 to 1 Marketing  Marketing moving from the mass to the individual  Actions, responses & behaviors are trackable and accountable Closely Related Trends  Accurate customer databases and smart processes matter 3: 24.7 On-Demand  Relationships still matter 4: Transaction Speed 8: Technical Connectivity 1 to 1 Marketing requires more than just running a good Customer Relationship 9: Personal ConnectivityManagement (CRM) system, and it does not remove the need for you and your 10: Communitiesteam to build, maintain and service strong person-to-person relationships. 12: Disintermediation In this increasing 1 to 1 environment, you can manage mass relationships more 14: Mass Customizationeffectively at both a local and global level using the technology tools to assist withthe scale and growth of business. You can have the ability to remotely 16: “100% Fit” Productscommunicate and market your business, products and services with each 18: Information Aggregationcustomer as an individual. 19: Physical Location Sadly, many businesses get it wrong. They don’t take the time or effort to learn 20: Low Cost Softwarethe techniques that are effective, and often don’t use technology tools very Solutionseffectively either. 22: Trusted Brands 23: Peer Recommendations They don’t keep customer profiles up to date, and don’t engage effectively withthe customers in their communications. Many businesses have multiple customer 24: Identity Controldatabases, and can’t easily access to a single view of the customer’s history. 25: Consumer Power In a 1 to 1 environment, messages are tailored to individuals, not just withpersonalization but to make sure that all communication is relevant, timely andvaluable. Non-personal, non-relevant, non-valuable mass communications maynot even get noticed in the clutter and noise surrounding your customers’ dailylives.Customer Service Costs Increase Even with smart technology systems, managing 1 to 1 relationships with all of Most businesses get it wrong.the individuals in your customer database will generally be more time-consumingthan mass communication with them. Customer service costs increase, and thebusiness Return On Investment (ROI) may not be obvious. More organizations are trying automated processes in their marketing toreduce costs of relationship servicing. This requires good processes, goodcopywriting, good execution and good follow-up, but more importantly requires asincere approach to improve customer service levels rather than just reduce the In the 1 to 1 Marketingcosts of providing service. Most businesses get this wrong as well. world, almost everything about the customer isTrackability and Accountability trackable and accountable. In the 1 to 1 Marketing world, almost everything about the customer istrackable and accountable. You could track every click your customer makes onyour website, emails and other Internet-based communication pieces. Statistical analysis reports can be produced for every important stage in yoursales funnel and pipeline. Every stage, every click! © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 37 of 75
  • 37. You are not just able to track the actions and reactions of each individual customer; now you can track the effectiveness of your advertising messages to each individual customer. Every advertisement, email and online promotional message is trackable and accountable when it is delivered online rather than traditional marketing in the mass media. This is, of course, much to the delight of online advertising companies who can deliver cost-effective results; and it is much to the commercial annoyance of the less competitive and almost unaccountable traditional advertising sales media. Trust is Key In the digital age, as in the traditional world, recommendations, referrals and business introductions must be based on trust to be effective. For a new supplier, trust is hard to build but easy to destroy. The endorsement of a recommended new supplier by an already trusted supplier can work well as many online affiliate sales programs have shown. Relationships are critical to 1 to 1 Marketing, and trust is critical to good relationships. Don’t risk breaking trust by having a confused or careless approach to your marketing, your customer service, your databases or your handling of your customer’s information. Questions To Ponder 1. How much of your marketing and advertising is to the masses? Why? 2. How good are your customer relationships? How do you know? 3. What do you know about your customers? 4. What parts of your customers’ behavior do you track? What would you like to track? 5. How accurate, up-to-date and comprehensive is your customer database? 6. Could you use your customer database more effectively?© Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 38 of 75
  • 38. Trend 18: Increasing Aggregation of Information  Information filtered by you or by an aggregator.  More reliance on credible and trusted aggregators. Closely Related Trends  Trusted information from trusted brands & trusted peers. 4: Transaction Speed  Bias, censorship or just better search results? 7: Convergence In the world in which anyone can be a publisher, the web is collecting a lot of 8: Technical Connectivityunhelpful and useless content. Sifting through the web to find what is valuable and 11: Corporate Ecosystemsaccurate is not easy and takes time. Now the good stuff can come to you 12: Disintermediationautomatically, and often for free. 17: 1 to 1 Marketing Content aggregators play an increasingly important role in sourcing andfiltering content on specific topics or niche areas, and can add value by presenting 21: Popular Mass Culturegrouped content and saving time for other users by their advance filtering and 22: Trusted Brandsselections. 23: Peer Recommendations Popular types of content being aggregated include news, reviews, blogs and 24: Identity Controlvideos. News aggregators who select what news they pass on to users include TheHuffington Post and the Drudge Report, whereas sites like Google News operatewith automated processes. Popular review aggregators include Metacritic, RottenTomatoes and Epinions. Examples of popular video aggregators, and Aggregation software allows users to present their own content aggregation bysubscribing to RSS syndicated content feeds. The software accesses the selectedcontent feeds and automatically presents the latest content for the user to view. Similarly to traditional news or magazine publishers, online aggregatorssource, filter and select content based on their own criteria. Finding Finding aggregators you canaggregators you can trust to provide independent, unbiased and uncensored trust to provide independent,content is important. unbiased and uncensored Unlike the traditional model, every action users take to view and interact content is important.with content can be tracked and recorded. This can be helpful to allow theaggregator to fine-tune the delivery of more relevant content and relevantadvertising messages, but it can create the potential for massive privacy issues. The line between a Content Aggregator and a Search Engine is becomingincreasingly blurred. For example, Google Maps aggregates location-relatedcontent and presents local content with a map interface. Google, Bing and othersearch engines face the ongoing dilemma of how to select the content to show insearch results, and wield enormous market power in their selections. Most publishers have the power to choose what they publish, but don’t assumeor believe this power results in independent and unbiased choices being made bythose in control.Questions To Ponder 1. What information do you provide to your customers and others online? 2. What information sources do your customers use? 3. Who do your customers trust to tell them what is really going on in your industry? © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 39 of 75
  • 39. Trend 19: The Changing Relevance of Physical Location  Your physical location is increasingly LESS relevant to you.Closely Related Trends  Connected businesses can operate from anywhere2: Internet Always On  Connected people can work for anyone, anywhere.  Your physical location is increasingly MORE relevant to others3: 24.7 On-Demand  Businesses selling physical products want to know where you are.5: Fast Wireless Networks With high speed wireless networks and smart mobile devices, more people can6: Smart Mobile Devices be effectively productive anywhere and have less need for the fixed costs and11: Corporate Ecosystems constraints of a physical business office.15: Globalization Your Location Is Less Relevant To You17: 1 to 1 Marketing As long as you are connected, you can operate from almost anywhere. Knowledge workers who make their living on a computer can be located24: Identity Control anywhere, as long as they are connected. The evolving trend of increasing the capability of productive mobility has modified and reduced, but not yet eliminated, the traditional need for an office or workplace. The workspace needs to provide people the ability to concentrate free of distractions, use reliable work infrastructure and enjoy the social benefits that come from the physical gathering together of a work team for a common purpose. But the increased mobility gives us more options and choices of how we work, where we work and who we employ to work with us. With global connectivityAs long as you are comes the ability for any business to employ knowledge workers located inconnected, you can operate another country. Their time zone may be important to you, but their location mayfrom almost anywhere. not be – unless quality, culture or language issues become a barrier for you. (See Trend 15. Globalization.) Your Location is becoming More Relevant to Others As irrelevant as your location may be to you as long as you are mobile and connected, your mobile location is becoming increasingly more important to advertisers wanting to reach you and promote their products to you as you move near to their own location. Location tracking is embedded into smart phones, and almost every smart phone advertising applications will try to track your location. The Foursquare system is rapidly growing globally as a local business-focused social network platform accesses through the web, SMS and mainly mobile apps for smart phones. Foursquare users are encouraged to check-in when they reach a participating Foursquare location such as a shop or hotel, and in doing so, they letFoursquare mobile app encouragesusers to explore their neighbourhoods, their friends know they are at the location, and can collect a reward from thefind friends and be rewarded. Users can business for checking in and promoting that business to others.receive "Specials" such as discounts andprizes when they visit participating Facebook has just introduced Facebook Places to compete with Foursquare. It’sbusinesses and become loyal an ongoing game – but location-based marketing is a rapidly growing area.customers.A global system for local social Questions To Pondernetworking – and useful for attracting 1. Do you care about the location of your customers?business locally. 2. Do your customers care where you are? 3. Who else cares about the location of your customers? © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 40 of 75
  • 40. Trend 20: Increasing Availability of Low Cost Software & Data Storage Solutions  Free or Low cost & extensible open source software Closely Related Trends  Scalable low-cost hosted services platforms 1: Moores Law  Supported by communities of developers 2: Internet Always On  Less software needs to be custom-built 4: Transaction Speed Whilst almost every business uses some type of computer software to assist in 5: Fast Wireless Networksthe operations of their business, many businesses have dozens or even hundreds 6: Smart Mobile Devicesof different software applications in regular use. 8: Technical Connectivity The price of software is continually reducing and the functionality provided bythe software is typically increasing. If the functionality is not increasing, it is 15: Globalizationbecoming far more specific to meet the key needs of its intended niche market of 16: “100% Fit” Productsuser customers. Integration between previously different and disparate systems is 17: 1 to 1 Marketingbecoming increasingly easier to achieve. 22: Trusted BrandsThis trend has been driven by the various factors including 24: Identity Control  new software programming tools which make programming faster, easier and simpler;  the Open Source software movement in which complex software is collaboratively developed by communities of enthusiasts around the world and often distributed for free;  the emergence of common global standards; custom-built software developed for single customers being evolved to low-cost products for niche market segments;  the ability for software to be easily sold globally with far less marketing and promotion costs; The price of software is  high speed connectivity to allow software to be easily and securely continually reducing and the distributed, downloaded and updated; and functionality provided by the  massive online storage capabilities which provide new capacity for easily software is typically implementing and maintaining new and better low-cost solutions. increasing. This has resulted in the increasingly high take up, adoption and usage levels ofsoftware platforms that are reliable, proven, scalable, low-cost (and often free)and are also extensible. i.e. they are easily able to be extended in functionality andcapability. Furthermore, these extensions – or plug-ins – are then able to be provided toother users to continue the enhancement, growth and attractiveness of thesereadily available solutions.Software as a Service – Some Benefits AND Some Risks The last few years have also seen the increasing availability of highly functionaland scalable Software as a Service (SaaS) hosted solutions that are bought bycustomers on a month to month basis, with no license fees, no set up costs, noimplementation time delays, no specialist technical expertise being needed, andno servers or infrastructure needing to be purchased by the customer. The SaaS solutions are typically hosted in an external data centre or in theCloud. The low-cost monthly fees can appear to be attractive for businesscustomers who are considering a short-term usage, but SaaS fees paid monthly formany years can become very expensive compared to other options, even when © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 41 of 75
  • 41. you also include the cost saving from not needing to supply the infrastructure to host the software yourself. The apparent scalability of the typical SaaS solutions are impressive, but building software system that are reliable and scalable and able to cope with their own possible massive success without crashing is a challenge. Selecting and then relying on an SaaS system for essential business processes should require more than just faith and blind trust, and many businesses are taking unknown risks, often blindly. Big SaaS Risk: Your Data„Open‟ generally trumps Currently, even more concerning with SaaS hosted options are the questions of„Closed‟, and „Integrated‟ data ownership and getting your data back in a readable form. Some hostingwill increasingly trump companies try to claim ownership of the data, and only send the raw data back in„Fragmented‟. formats that are unreadable without access to the special program software. Furthermore, many businesses face legal rules covering the need to hold data for seven years, which could mean seven years of ongoing monthly fees even if you have already chosen to move off that particular hosted platform. Privacy issues are also being raised as systems hosted in another country may be required to allow their government full access to all of your data. Despite these issues, growth of low cost software and storage solutions continues. Underpinning it all is, of course, the growth of the Internet. This growth has had an increasing spiral effect with improvements in hardware and connectivity requiring and inspiring the development of more software which results in the ability to do more – which then attracts more users which in turn drives further improvements, more capability and more users, and so on. There is still a market for individually custom-built software to meet the specific requirements of unique individual customers, but it is a shrinking market. Look for pre-built, low cost, open systems that can be extended and integrated to give you the functionality you need. Remember, ‘Open’ generally trumps ‘Closed’, and ‘Integrated’ will increasingly trump ‘Fragmented’. Questions To Ponder 1. How many of your software systems lock you in to the software vendor? Are you happy with that? 2. Who owns your data? 3. Who selects the software systems for your business? 4. Can you easily extend your systems and integrate with others? 5. Are your systems low cost? Closed or Open? Fragmented or Integrated? © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 42 of 75
  • 42. Trend 21: Increasing Exposure to Popular Mass Culture  Search engine results show ‘popular’ pages and sites. Closely Related Trends  Sites like YouTube shows ‘popular’ videos. 9: Personal Connectivity  ‘Popular’ may not be ‘right’ 10: Communities  Marketing focuses on creating “swells” in popular culture that attract 15: Globalization mass audiences.  Beware the Vested Interests 18: Information Aggregation 22: Trusted Brands Increasingly, general search engines sites such as Google and Bing, social media 23: Peer Recommendationssites such as Facebook and Twitter, and media search and storage sites likeYouTube are telling us what is popular, and encouraging us to view what is 25: Consumer Powerpopular. The more that people are encouraged to view a popular target, the more theyare likely to do so, and thus the popularity of the target increases, in a self-fulfillingpositive feedback loop. Whilst it may seem helpful to have search engines suggest web pages,websites, videos etc to us, the basis of how the suggestion is being made needs tobe understood, questioned and even challenged.Beware the Vested Interests What vested interests are at work in making these suggestions? You may neversee or even realize that something is being pushed onto you, but pushed it is, andoften in subliminal ways of which you are unaware. If something is popular with one group of people or even a mass of peopleonline, it does not mean it will be popular for you or the groups to which you maybelong. Just because something is popular does not make it right or good’ Oftenpopularity does not even make something worthwhile to be viewed; it may just besensationalized, over-hyped, biased or attention-seeking. It may be part of someone’s deliberate strategy to generate the online hype.Online product launches have become a marketing science in themselves, with animportant element being the creation of the ‘pre-launch buzz’ throughout thetarget communities. If you are in a community and receive messages about an up-coming product Creating online „popularity‟launch from enough people, you are likely to pay attention. It’s not easy to know is becoming a specificwhether the new product is as great as everyone is saying until you try it, or until marketing taskyou read honest reviews from people you trust. Initial product reviews may bebiased and self-serving comments from affiliate marketers looking to receive asales commission from product sales they generate. Many people with vested interests working together online help to createonline buzz. The buzz can be made to look and feel exciting, valuable andworthwhile to you, and you need to question if you are being remotely managedas part of the herd or if you are making a rational and independent criticalpurchasing decision. Worse, we may be guided or seduced into following the herd and enhancingthe popularity of something that could be unhelpful to us, sinister or even harmful. © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 43 of 75
  • 43. Creating Popularity is now a Marketing Task Creating product popularity has always been a marketing and advertising task, but now the tools have changed. Specific tools and techniques are available to create online popularity, or at least the appearance of popularity. As something online appears to become more popular, a cultural swell occurs which continues to grow through the positive feedback loop, attracting more of a mass audience. Part of the marketing challenge is that the audience is not necessarily captive and looking for what you have to offer. You have to find them, or more likely in the online world, they have to find you. The audience may be open and receptive to what you are offering or promoting, but you also need them to react and respond favorably to you. Having your video clip go viral on Facebook may need the recommendations of hundreds or thousands of people, or just one person in charge of a large Facebook group. Your video could be given a listing in YouTubes top ten, with subsequent exposure to an audience of millions. Something being recommended on the basis of its popularity may appear to be helpful to you, but remember, it’s a commercial world and ultimately, money talks. The questions are, who is paying, and who listens? Questions To Ponder 1. How do you fit in to the ‘Popular’ world? 2. Is your business ‘popular’? 3. What are your prospective customers typically looking for when they search online for a supplier such as you? 4. If they look for you, do they find you or do they find what is ‘popular’?© Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 44 of 75
  • 44. Trend 22: Increasing Importance of Trusted Brands  Trust is an increasingly critical component of a brand’s success. Closely Related Trends  Trust takes time to be created, but can be destroyed globally within 3: 24.7 On-Demand days. 4: Transaction Speed  The age of a brand is increasingly irrelevant to its level of trust. 9: Personal Connectivity With so many different suppliers of products and services hawking their wares 10: Communitiesin so many different ways online, it’s easy to get confused and overwhelmed when 11: Corporate Ecosystemsit comes to selecting the possible suppliers from whom you would like to buy. 12: Disintermediation While business relationships grow or decline as a result of the success of theinteractions you have with chosen suppliers, reputations and first impressions are 15: Globalizationcritical in the short-listing and selection process. 16: “100% Fit” Products In the traditional off-line world, the reputation of a business and the power and 17: 1 to 1 Marketingvalue of its brand or brands was important to its success. 18: Information Aggregation In the hyper-congested online world, the magnetic attraction or pulling power 20: Low Cost Softwarevalue of a trusted brand is magnified enormously, as customers seek the security Solutionsand safety of proven reputations. 21: Popular Mass Culture With the global online marketplace available as the prize for trusted online 23: Peer Recommendationsbrand leaders, the need to establish trust and then reinforce and differentiate on 25: Consumer Powerthe basis of this trust is paramount as a marketing strategy. But many businessesignore it, miss it, don’t know how to do it, or they just don’t get it.Old Age Does Not Bring High Trust In the off-line world, the age of a business and its brand was a major factor inknowing whether you could trust it or not. Whilst age still has some importance in levels of trust, very new and youngbusinesses operating with integrity and authenticity and interacting sincerely withtheir defined target audiences are seizing the initiative in the brand-wars and arewinning as a result. Age is becoming increasingly less relevant, and established businesses cannottake their ongoing existence and success for granted in the online world. Often, successes of the past create weak spots for the future as establishedbusinesses become reliant on their old ways of finding, selling and servicingcustomers and don’t seek to sincerely understand and adopt the practices that Trust takes time to bebuild trust online. created, but can be destroyed globallyTrusted Individuals make the Best Trusted Brands within days. Individuals can become their own trusted brands online. In fact, individuals areoften better placed to become trusted brands than are companies. This is partly because of the legacies and baggage a business invariably collectsand allows to drift behind it in its wake, but primarily it is because the provision ofhelpful advice is often the key catalyst to forming a trusted relationship. Helpful advice generally comes from an individual within a business rather thanfrom a business. Thus, a helpful and wise individual has more chance of buildingtheir reputation – and becoming their own trusted brand. Trust needs to beearned and given, it cannot be demanded. © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 45 of 75
  • 45. Managing Your Brand Brand management online is an emerging area of importance to businesses and individuals. Managing the online reputation takes skill, care, time, patience and authentic customer-focused sincerity in both actions and reactions. Within businesses, new roles of Brand Guardians are emerging, with responsibilities to monitor, preserve and enhance the brand in the marketplace. In specific online niches, the market leading trusted brand can have huge value, and the business can experience and enjoy exponential growth from their brandHighly trusted online magnetism.brands can create virtual PayPal has become a trusted online brand. PayPal allows customers to send,monopolies or oligarchies… receive, and hold funds in 19 currencies worldwide. According to Wikipedia, PayPal currently operates in 190 markets, manages over 223 million accounts, with more than 73 million of them active. In October 2002, PayPal was bought by eBay for $1.5 billion, after becoming the payment method of choice for more than fifty percent of eBay users, despite competing with eBays subsidiary Billpoint within eBay itself. PayPal grew because of its simplicity, ease of use, flexibility, low cost and security, and gained the trust of users through its ability to reliably do what it promised. After eBay bought PayPal, its branding and related trust became even stronger. The Growth of the Trusted Brand Monopoly In another of the many paradoxes of the apparently highly competitive Internet, the growth of a small number of highly trusted online brands brings with it the possibilities of a virtual monopoly or oligarchy within certain niches. Whilst not a monopoly, PayPal enjoys the benefits coming from its growing position a market leader and other similar payment systems battle to gain traction against PayPal. New players find it tough to compete and can be reluctant to enter a market where substantial trust is required and the incumbent market leader already has established trust, good systems and a huge majority of the market share. For as long as the incumbent maintains the trust and their systems, they tend not to lose market share – even if a new competitor offers a low cost or even free service to compete. Only competitors with an already superior trust factor stand a chance of success, but even trusted players like Google, Microsoft and Apple struggle againstGoogle‟s stated policy is “to entrenched niche market leaders.get right up to the creepyline and not cross it”. Google Risks Trust by getting “Creepy” With Privacy Google is currently playing pretty close to breaching the line of trust in variousThat‟s creepy and dumb. areas where it collects personal information both online and in the off-line world. In October 2010, Eric Schmidt, Google’s then CEO (and now Chairman), was quoted in an American magazine as saying that his company’s policy was “to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it”. Where that ‘creepy line’ lies on the spectrum of privacy and privacy abuse is very subjective, but as a stated policy from an otherwise trusted brand, it’s creepy and dumb. Google has recently admitted that while taking photographs for its mapping services of the UK, its Street View cars collected emails, passwords and web addresses from wireless networks across the UK. Google apologized, claiming not © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 46 of 75
  • 46. to have collected the data intentionally, but it lacked sincerity and some damage,however minor, was done to Google’s brand. Even the globally well-knownGoogle risks massive brand damage if it gets issues of trust too wrong too often. Internet users as a herd could Users rely on information they find online from trusted brands to extents stampede away from, or overunimaginable just a few years ago. You never quite know how information onlinewill be used or the damage an error may cause to the users or to your brand. In a the top of, any business on theNovember 2010 issue, an error on Google Maps had the border between planet within days.Nicaragua and Costa Rica incorrectly positioned by 2.7km. The Nicaraguan armymoved in, took down the Costa Rica’s flag and put up their own. Retribution from customers Trust is hard to establish, but easy to destroy, and you never know which and vigilante hackers could betrust-breach straw might break the consumer camel’s back. If significantlyimpactful breaches of trust were to occur and be publicized online, the news of swift and savage.these breaches could spread globally virally within hours or even minutes. The more a user becomes reliant on a service the harder it is to move awayfrom it, but Internet users as a herd could stampede away from, or over the top of,any business on the planet within days. Retribution from customers and vigilantehackers could be swift and savage. The behavior of some of the major global brands like Google and Facebook isbecoming imperialistic, domineering and sometimes almost contemptuous of themasses they attract and serve. The Arrogance of Success of the currently trustedbrands could be their downfall, especially if the trust of customers is ever grosslyabused. Trust needs to be earned, and assessments of trustworthiness are nowmade very rapidly. Many younger users do not seem to be conscious or care about the risks andthreats from how their personal information may be used against them now orlater in life. Some observers see this as a fundamental shift in how these users I see this lack of care comingvalue their personal information. This may be right, but I see this lack of care from the ignorance andcoming from the ignorance and naiveté of overly-trusting bullet-proof young naiveté of overly-trustingpeople living in a connected world they already take for granted. bullet-proof people living in a Many have grown up experiencing many simultaneous deep onlinerelationships coupled with access to instant information and an expectation of connected world and relyinginstant gratification. Any problems that could arise later in life seem a long way off on instant gratification.from the enjoyment of today. We need to constantly remind ourselves and those around us that trust mustbe earned and not blindly given, especially online. Building trust today is a keyingredient for achieving business success tomorrow.Questions To Ponder 1. Who are the most and least trusted businesses in your industry? How have they achieved that trust? 2. Who are your most and least trusted customers? Why? 3. Is your business perceived as a trusted brand? How do you know? 4. How can you improve your levels of trust? 5. What could jeopardize your levels of trust? How do you ensure your staff don’t jeopardize the trust others have in your business? Can you control or mitigate those risks? © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 47 of 75
  • 47. Trend 23: Increasing Importance of Peer Reviews & RecommendationsClosely Related Trends  Potential customers do more pre-purchase research online4: Transaction Speed  Honest peer reviews are considered more credible than any information9: Personal Connectivity a supplier could provide.10: Communities  Positive reviews may help a bit; Negative reviews will hurt a lot.12: Disintermediation  Your reviews can help or hurt others.  Peer reviews rule! Like it, or not.16: “100% Fit” Products17: 1 to 1 Marketing People tend to trust the comments and feedback of other customers and their18: Information Aggregation peers much more readily than they do the comments of marketers employed by a business.21: Popular Mass Culture22: Trusted Brands You can accept and embrace this – and make it work for you, or you can ignore25: Consumer Power it. Ignore it at your peril! User Generated Content Can Be Very Valuable Content On many sites, customers are being encouraged to leave comments, reviews and testimonials. Sometimes this user-generated content becomes the main value of the site. If you are planning to travel, check out the reviews on Recently, my wife and I went to Vietnam. Our whole trip was planned around what other people suggested in reviews on TripAdvisor. User-generated content is also the basis for Wikipedia, the free multi-lingual online encyclopedia, now considered to be one of the most authoritative sources of information due to the nature of its content creation, editing and management systems. What Is Being Said About You Online? Businesses need to find out what is being said about them online, and respond appropriately. Far from being negative or damaging, many comments and reviews on review sites are constructive if not positive. Some censoring of comments may be appropriate for some sites, but when negative reviews are removed or altered, the review sites quickly lose credibility.TripAdvisor.comPeer ratings and reviews now guide Trip Advisor has a vast range of reviews, and as far as I know, they don’t censor,consumer choices modify or remove reviews. Some are very damning, and must inevitably affect the business being reviewed. Even when reviews are negative, this feedback needs to be seen as an opportunity to improve, innovate or respond. It is fascinating to read the dialogue between a reviewer and a business that has been the subject of a negative review.Word of Mouth has long been Some businesses are aggressive, some defensive and some seem to try to denythe best form of advertising that a customer could possibly have had a bad experience. Some take thein the traditional off-line feedback gracefully and gratefully, and learn from it – or at least pretend, and this has notchanged online. As a potential customer, it is great research to learn how a business responds and tries to rectify a bad situation. © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 48 of 75
  • 48. You have to assume (and you can almost guarantee) that other peopleincluding prospects, customers and competitors will have noticed the review andwill be watching to see if, when and how you notice the review and choose torespond. Instead of telling one It is amazing to find that even today, many businesses do not bother to learn person or telling 50what is being said about them, their products and services in sites that are people, a happy customer or an unhappy customerfrequented by their customers. can now tell millions of Peer reviews and recommendations are continually being provided on services people, almost instantly.and sites such as Twitter and Facebook, and monitoring these sites can be animportant part of a business strategy. Niche sites are becoming industry standards, and business owners need toknow the sites that may affect them and what is being said about is popular in providing reviews of restaurants and cafes aroundthe world, while is becoming one of the world’s top moviereview sites. Various tools are available to monitor what is being said about you on variouswebsites and in blogs. You can find a list of these tools at website. Word of Mouth has long been the best form of advertising in the traditionaloff-line world, and this has not changed online. What have changed are the tools available for customers to use to spread theirword of mouth comments. Instead of telling one person or telling 50 people, ahappy customer or an unhappy customer can now tell millions of people, almostinstantly. These comments could sit in a review site waiting for someone to visit the site,search for your business and read the review. Alternatively, the comments could be propagated virally around the globewithin minutes, and never be able to be questioned, explained, defended ordeleted. It’s tough, but it’s real. This social proof of how you have performed for othersin the past can help you or harm you long into the future.Questions To Ponder 1. Do you know where people might be talking about you, your products and your organization? 2. Do you know what is being said about you? What are you doing about it? 3. Do you encourage and promote your customers to give reviews of your products and services? © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 49 of 75
  • 49. Trend 24: Increasing Loss of Control of our Personal Information & Identity  The ‘Dark Side’ is growing as wellClosely Related Trends  Hackers are real and hacking is getting easier6: Smart Mobile Devices  Your online information is public forever  Don’t assume people care about your privacy.8: Technical Connectivity9: Personal Connectivity In amongst the many seemingly positive trends the Internet is bringing to our businesses and our lives, there is a dark side where online world introduces or11: Corporate Ecosystems magnifies new threats or vulnerabilities.17: 1 to 1 Marketing18: Information Aggregation In the connected world, our security and privacy is at greater risk than ever before.19: Physical Location20: Low Cost Software Whilst we generally try to protect our valuable access codes, user names and Solutions passwords from being seen by someone sitting nearby to us, we often dont realize the threats that may be present from viruses, Trojans or other malicious software (mal-ware) that has found its way onto our computer, device or network. We may have anti-virus software, but if it is not reliable and up-to-date, then we’re at risk. Hacking Tools We’re also at risk from our data being intercepted by others during its transmission through the Internet network. These risks are real and increasing. On 24 October 2010, a new free program called Firesheep was released as a plug-in for the Firefox web browser. Firesheep is a hacking tool and allows someone on the same open wireless network as you to view your data packets, In just 48 hours, a simple read cookies on your computer and access your user name and password to many new free hacking tool was sites including Facebook. With this information, the hacker can then side-jack your downloaded over 200,000 identity by logging in to other websites pretending they are you and adding times. Do you know how to comments or maliciously attacking you and your information. protect yourself? The developers of Firesheep claimed they released the software to draw attention to the insecure nature of many websites. Is Firesheep popular? Within 24 hours the plug-in had been downloaded 8,000 times, within 48 hours it had been downloaded 200,000 times and by the end of January 2011, it had been downloaded over 1.1 million times and that is just from the main download site. Previously, hacking into open networks required some technical skill. Now, it’s just been made easier. And that is just one of the tools that is now easily available. The threats are real and they are growing! Our Identity Almost as bad as the threats from hackers are the threats and vulnerabilities we create for ourselves, often without care of even thought about the risks. We willingly make information about our background and our identity available on social sites, websites and in emails. We never know who going to be viewing the information, or when or why. As transient as an email might be, once sent it is gone forever – but we don’t know where it’s gone or where it is going to end up. Emails can be forwarded on © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 50 of 75
  • 50. so easily and quickly to others, sometimes by accident and sometimes veryintentionally. It‟s a dark and Information on social sites like Facebook is there forever, and open to abuse in potentially threatening scenario, but it‟s many ways. It’s not just your personal information such as birthdays, addressesor photos that should concern you. It’s your personal discussions, comments andthoughts often entered quickly on your ‘wall’ or someone else’s wall. Worse, if you use Facebook’s messaging system, Hotmail or Google’s Gmail foryour email, who knows what other person may have the power to access yourmessages. This other person may work for the company running the system andbe intruding on you because they can, or they may be an external person who hashacked into your account. They may be the government snooping around, or theymay even be the company running the system using some clever matchingsoftware to match your expressed thoughts with advertisers looking to fulfill yourinnermost desires. We give away our identity and our personal information too easily and tooreadily, sometimes without thinking about what we’re doing. We blindly believeprivacy policies, often without even reading them. And we trust that people willprobably do the right thing by us. But they don’t always… Facebook is known for allowing personal information it holds to be passed onto 3rd parties. As noted in the previous discussion on Trusted Brands, Google’sChairman wants his company “to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it”.In my view, they’ve already crossed the ‘creepy line’ by having a policy to almost Google has alreadybe creepy. For a brand like Google, that is not just dumb, it is dangerous. crossed the „creepy line‟ It’s a dark and potentially threatening scenario, but it’s real, and you may not by having a policy toeven know it is happening or who is doing what creepy thing with your almost be creepy.information. This trend is not highlighted here to scare you, but if it does, then it’s maybenot a bad thing. The Internet and online business is great in so many ways, butthere is a dark side. Just as we can’t ignore the trends that make the growth of theDigital Age unstoppable, we should not ignore the trend of us losing more controlof our own identity and personal information. As with the other 24 trends, how weact – and react is up to us.Questions To Ponder1. Is your virus protection software up to date?2. Do you connect to the Internet through open and insecure shared wireless networks? (e.g. in a coffee shop)3. If you use Facebook or other social media, have you checked your privacy settings?4. How much personal information do you, your friends and family reveal online?5. Are you a little bit more concerned about the ‘dark side’ of the Internet from reading this? If so, what are you going to do about it? © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 51 of 75
  • 51. Trend 25: Increasing Power to Consumers  Consumers have the ‘Power of Influence’.Closely Related Trends  No longer “Buyer Beware." Now "Seller Beware."  “If you screw your customers, your customers can fight back and publish6: Smart Mobile Devices and organize.”9: Personal Connectivity We’re long past the days when the voice of the consumer could be silenced or10: Communities ignored for long, although some businesses still try!11: Corporate Ecosystems12: Disintermediation The empowering nature of the Internet has empowered consumers with new tools and methods to use their voice and to make sure they get heard.15: Globalization17: 1 to 1 Marketing An upset consumer may not initially be heard by the business that caused the upset, but they will most certainly be heard by others, other prospective and21: Popular Mass Culture existing customers.22: Trusted Brands23: Peer Recommendations Eventually, the business will hear and will listen. How the business responds is the key question. Dave’s Bike A couple of years ago, a tech-savvy friend of mine (let’s call him Dave) had a problem with an expensive new bicycle he had bought from a bike store. Dave approached the store, wanting the bike to be repaired under warranty but the bike store unfairly denied the claim. Dave took his issue online, voicing his complaint onto various cyclist forums and discussion groups. Dave also set up a small website with the domain name being the name of the bike store and then the word, and used It‟s no longer “Buyer Beware." the page to outline his situation and how the bike store treated him. In a Now it‟s "Seller Beware." short time, the website “<bikestorename> became quite well known in Dave’s community. Soon enough, the bike store got back in touch with Dave, threatening legal action for defamation if Dave allowed the website to stay online. At the same time, the store also offered to repair the bike under the warranty as had been originally requested by Dave. Dave took the website down and his bike was repaired. Dave achieved his outcome, but the bike store’s reputation had already suffered throughout the online community and off-line as well. (Even two years later, Google searches still showed up details of the issue.) Dave the tech-savvy consumer had fought back, and won. Service Levels at Dell Computers I work on a Dell notebook computer, and have done for years. In recent years, I have generally found Dell good to deal with, but about five years ago, I remember thinking their service levels were pretty poor. © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 52 of 75
  • 52. I did not do anything about it at the time, but another disgruntled customercalled Jeff Jarvis did. Here’s an extract from a genuine blog post Jeff wrote about Dell Computers inJune 2005 and posted online on his blog.Is anybody at Dell listening? I know you are. What do you have to say, Dell?While youre at it, Dell, go here and here and here and read the comments and seehow y our customers hate you. (And that extra space in "your" is because of yourbroken keyboard, by the way.)A snarker in the comments says, "Buyer beware."No, we are in the new era of "Seller beware."Now when you screw your customers, your customers can fight back and publishand organize.I just sent this link to Dells media relations department and told them to read thecomments and see what their real public relations look like. Now, I’m not sure how Dell Computers responded to Jeff at the time, but I doknow that Dell’s customer service levels improved dramatically after this time. Jeffwas right, and I reckon Dell realized it and learned from it. “If you screw your In the online connected Digital Age, it’s no longer ‘Buyer Beware’. It’s ‘Seller customers, your customersBeware’. can fight back and publish and organize.”Questions To Ponder 1. Do you know how your past and current customers are influencing others? 2. When was the last time one of your customers got upset with your business? How did they react? Who else learnt of it? How do you know? 3. How do your staff react when a customer gets upset? How do you know? 4. How will you react next time a customer gets upset? How will you make sure there is a positive outcome from the upset? © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 53 of 75
  • 53. How To Use The 25 Trends In Your Business Planning One obvious question after you’ve got a better understanding of the Digital Age Trends is “How do I now use the Trends to improve the planning, running and profitability of my business?” To start with, you can go back through the trends and look at some of the ‘Questions To Ponder’ with each trend. The questions – and your answers – will hopefully stimulate you with some thoughts to improve your business. But there’s more… Over the years of working in the Internet and web development industry, I’ve consulted to and advised many different organisations of many different types and sizes. I’ve seen what works – and I’ve seen what doesn’t. And of course, the game keeps changing as the trends roll along. New tools and new uses for them create the potential for new opportunities, strategies and tactics. It feeds on itself – and this is what causes a lot of the confusion. It’s always important to keep things as simple as possible. Sometimes there are no ‘easy ways’ if you want to be comprehensive and thorough, but some planning approaches look like they are being made deliberately complicated and so hard that you think you will be better off to pay a high-priced consultant to come in, take the pain away from you and do it all for you - and tell you the answers. If you are looking to out-source the entire business planning process, beware. Many IT vendors, website developers and consultants have vested interests somewhere along the line. Often ‘consulting’ is a thinly veiled opportunity to up-sell you to their in-house or closely related products and services later. Others might know a lot about IT but not such a lot about your business. It’s usually better to build the planning capability within your organisation, but generally not to leave it to your technical team. It needs a business focus – and from my experience, almost always a substantial customer-focus. You need to call on the IT guys for their inputs – but don’t let the IT guys drive it. In my view, one of the best things you could do is have someone externally as your advisor, guide and sounding board to add to your own ideas with their ideas, experience and often larger view of what is possible to achieve in the Digital Age. I do need to declare a little interest here. I am an external advisor and guide in this field, and I do it online. It makes the most sense for the people around the world who I work with and help, and it also makes the most sense for me. With better guidance, businesses can create better solutions for themselves. Plenty of others can build or provide websites and software. My old business used to do that, but I no longer do. I help people with what I think is even more valuable - understanding what they need, the questions to ask, how to recognize a good answer, and then how to select good suppliers and good systems. This results in better plans, better outcomes, and better opportunities with less risk. It’s highly valuable, relatively low-cost and helps my clients get on-trend and stay there. You can do all of this yourself, but catching the trends can be easier with the right help! Visit for more details.© Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 54 of 75
  • 54. Here’s a method that starts with three questions that have been a key part ofthe planning for almost every online business and business website I’ve helpedclients with over the past 15 years. The rest of the methodology has evolved overthe years and can provide you with many valuable strategies, tactics and insights. This approach is focused on your customers. You can extend it to planninginternally within your business and to the increasingly important corporate eco-systems environment. At the whole system level, every person, process and system is a customer ofanother, and sooner or later, it will become important to think of ‘integration’. The process outlined here is described in detail over the next few pages. It’sabout asking some key questions of your business and what you already do foryour customers – and then thinking what you could be doing better or differently. Looking at the technology can be helpful – but also confusing. What is moreimportant is looking at what the technology allows you to do. So, as you think about each of the tools that Digital Age technology provides,ask yourself: A. What does our business want to achieve? B. What can I do with this tool to help my customers and my business? C. How will it help provide more value to my customers? D. How can we use it to build more trusted relationships with our customers? E. What could be the pay-off if we do it well? The process is explained in more detail on the following pages. This flowchart is enlarged in the Appendix on page 75. © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 55 of 75
  • 55. STEP 1: Ask The Three Starter Questions To start with, consider three main questions… Question 1: What Do You Want To Achieve? Question 2: What Customer Benefits & Value Do You Provide? Question 3: What Could You Be Doing Better Online? Question 1: What Do You Want To Achieve? 1. What is your business purpose? 2. What are your business objectives? 3. What makes you different in the marketplace? 4. What do you need to be able to do really well to grow and prosper? Question 2: What Customer Benefits & Value Do You Provide? 1. What are the benefits and value your customers receive now from you and your products and services? 2. What benefits or value are they likely to want or expect in the future? 3. How do you build relationships and trust with your customers? As you look at the benefits and value, look beyond the obvious. For example if you are selling drill bits, you may think your customer wants to buy a drill bit. Your customer really wants to create a hole of a specific size. Why do they want the hole? What will they do with the hole? How will the hole improve their life? What value factors are important to your customers? Why do they choose you? Question 3: What Could You Be Doing Better Online? 1. How is your business using online systems to give your customers benefits and value now? 2. How can you make better use of online systems in the future? To get the full benefit from this planning approach, you do need to write your answers down, or more accurately these days, record them using any electronic device you wish, but please don’t just think about these questions and answers. Real action and real results will come from crystallizing your thoughts. Your Planning Questions  What value does your website provide your customers?  What are your customers’ Reasons To Visit (RTV) ?  What are their Reasons To Return (RTR) ?  How is your website working for you? How do you know?  Look at your client information, communication, education and trading systems. How effective are they? How do you know?  As you consider your use of online systems now, ask what is working well now?  How is it helping your customers? How is it helping you? How can you improve it further?© Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 56 of 75
  • 56.  What is not working well now? How is it harming your customers? How is it harming you? How can you improve it? What do you need to get right? For the future possibilities, ask how will an online service help your customers? When will your customers expect you to be able to do provide it? How will it help you? When could you do it? Are the Techno-Tools available today? If not, what is their horizon? What will you need to get right? How can you build on your points of difference?With every Strategic Option you consider, think VALUE: How will it add more value for your customers? TRUST: How will it build more trust with your customers? PAY-OFF: What could be the pay-off if you do it well?Start Your “Strategic Options” List & Your Roadmap By now, you have probably identified some things you need to fix immediately.If so, get that happening, but also focus on your list of other improvements orenhancements you could be making and the other possibilities for the future.These are your Strategic Options. As you move through the next stages you are going to be adding (or removing)ideas from the Strategic Options list. With each option, also list the pros and consfor that option. It’s best to keep the pros and cons fairly high level as you move though, but ifyou do need or want to start considering them in more detail and if you have theinformation available, then go ahead. You can create a set of standard criteria thatare relevant to you. High level Criteria that could be helpful include:  Customer Value  Ongoing Ease  Customer Want  Ongoing Capabilities  Trend Power  Ongoing Cost  Company Value  Likely Risk  Company Want  Likely ROI – Size of Pay-off  Availability of Technology  Likely ROI – Time for Pay-off  Choice of Technology  Likely ROI – Length of Payoff  Implementation Ease  Likely Date For Action to  Implementation Capabilities Prepare  Implementation Time  Likely Date For Action to  Implementation Cost Launch Use another document to start your Roadmap of possibilities with variousPhases on a timeline. When you realize that a particular option is highly likely tohappen, and you know approximately when, add it to your Roadmap in theappropriate Phase for the future. © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 57 of 75
  • 57. STEP 2: Use Digital TrendCatcher Action Principles & Trends Use the Action Principles and Trends for Inspiration. Look again at the Digital Action Principles and Trends. What key ideas and Strategy Options can you learn from these? Look at each trend and think about how it has already impacted on your customers, your products, your business and your industry. Think about the trends that seem most relevant to your industry. Look at combinations of trends and how they could impact on your customers. Ten Action Principles 1. Simplifying: Making the complex simple to use. 2. Decentralizing: Connecting many smaller resources in a distributed system provides more agility, flexibility, capability, expandability and resilience with less risk than creating and maintaining one larger central resource. 3. Ephemeralizing: Continually driving for greater efficiencies often at less cost by progressively accomplishing more and more with less and less. 4. Leveraging: Finding and using the right lever wisely to have a small action produce a larger and preferably ongoing reaction. 5. Connecting: Connecting before value is expected or delivered, with the connection being strengthened when value is delivered. 6. Enabling: Giving people the ability to do more of what they want to do; preferably easier, better, faster and cheaper. 7. Empowering: Helping people to do as much or as little as they want to do themselves. 8. Engaging: Stimulating more meaningful interactions based on relevance, value, importance, and timeliness. 9. Synergizing: Joining individual parts together and creating more value than the parts each had separately. 10.Harmonizing: Combining small individual waves that are moving together at the same time and in the same direction to form much larger and more powerful waves. The 25 Digital Age Trends 1: Moores Law Continues 8: More Technical Connectivity 2: The Internet Is Always On 9: More Personal Connectivity 3: More 24.7 On-Demand 10: Increasing Formation of Communities 4: Increasingly Faster Speeds of Transactions 11: More Corporate Ecosystems 5: Increasingly Faster Wireless 12: Increasing Disintermediation Networks 13: Increasing Transformation 6: More and Smarter Mobile Devices 14: Increasing Mass Customization 7: Increasing Convergence 15: Increasing Globalization© Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 58 of 75
  • 58. 16: More “100% Fit” Products in 21: Increasing Exposure to Popular Global Niches Mass Culture17: Increasing 1 to 1 Marketing 22: Increasing Importance of Trusted Brands18: Increasing Aggregation of Information 23: Increasing Importance of Peer Reviews and Recommendations19: Changing Importance of Physical Location 24: Increasing Loss of Control of our Personal Information & Identity20: More Low Cost Software and Storage Solutions 25: Increasing Power to ConsumersYour Planning Questions Which trends have already impacted on your customers? Which are likely to impact in the future? What does this mean for your Strategic Options? Which trends are most likely to influence how you can change your business or your products to deliver more benefits and greater value to your customers? What can you change to be on-trend and operate better, faster and/or at a lower cost? How can you work with these trends to give your customers more of what they value and want, and to better solve more of their problems?With every Strategic Option you consider, think VALUE: How will it add more value for your customers? TRUST: How will it build more trust with your customers? PAY-OFF: What could be the pay-off if you do it well?Review & modify your strategic options.STEP 3: How could you improve your Products & Processes? Improving Your Products We provide products to our customers, generally to satisfy a known want orneed, but sometimes we create the want or need from the development of a newvisionary new product. As forecaster Daniel Burrus says, this type of visionary product “gives thecustomer the ability to do what they can’t do, but would have wanted to do, ifthey only knew they could have done it”. What matters most of course is not the product itself, but the benefits theproduct provides to the customer when they own, use or consume the product. Our products can always be changed, and the technological tools in the DigitalAge now enable, encourage and sometimes force us to change our products andthe value they provide to our customers very quickly. Digital products and the online components products can be changed veryquickly if they were created with this change-ability at the time of their design anddevelopment. If not, the changing of digital products and services can appear to beslow and expensive for both the customer and the supplier. © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 59 of 75
  • 59. Your Planning Questions  How can you use online technology to improve your products?  How can you include online components in your off-line products?  What digital products could you have? With every Strategic Option you consider, think  VALUE: How will it add more value for your customers?  TRUST: How will it build more trust with your customers?  PAY-OFF: What could be the pay-off if you do it well? Review & modify your strategic options. Improving Your Processes Online processes could be included in almost every area of the business. You may recall the ICEPT Transaction model discussed with Trend 4 (Increasingly Fast Speed of Transactions) on page 17. In the ICEPT model, transactions are either  I Information Transactions;  C Communication Transactions;  E Education Transactions;  P Production Transactions;  T Trading Transactions; or  Various combinations of these. Processes surround every transaction the business makes. There are several key points to note about processes; some which may appear obvious and others less so. Firstly, processes have inputs and outputs. Outputs in one part of a process are often inputs for a secondary or later part of the process, or may be inputs for a totally separate process. The ability to integrate outputs and inputs of different processes becomes increasingly important when you want to improve processes. Processes that can’t be integrated become fragmented and often slow and expensive, and neither you nor your customers will want badly disconnected processes in an otherwise connected world. The outputs of processes need to be consistent and predictable. The process itself should pick up errors in the process and ideally be self-correcting. Outputs create outcomes, and a valuable outcome is the benefit the output provides. Even though they probably should be, not all outputs are valuable. Some outputs of processes are unhelpful, inaccurate, late, unplanned, inconsistent, or unfit for the purpose they were originally intended. Sometimes these bad outputs are caused by bad, ineffective or inefficient processes, and sometimes it’s simply that the input was bad causing the output to be bad as well. The expression “Garbage In, Garbage Out” or GIGO was coined in early the computer industry, in the realization that no amount of good processing or programming will convert nonsense input data into meaningful outputs! Many organizations have processes that are undefined, unstated, not documented, and often left up to the person running the process to adhere to© Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 60 of 75
  • 60. some seemingly arbitrary set of guidelines to produce an output which may ormay not be that which was required. If you currently have good outputs from your processes, the outcomes theycreate can be improved by being made more valuable. This could be by making theprocesses and the outputs faster, cheaper, better or easier – or from a moreefficient use of resources. If you try to speed up bad or disconnected processes,the result is typically chaos. Automating Your Processes Digital Age Tools can be used to improve and automate processes and theiroutcomes. The abundance of possible tools makes improving and automatingpotentially rewarding and potentially risky. Many organisations already use hybrid processes with computer-assistedmanual processes or human-assisted automation. It is currently very rare forbusinesses to use totally automated processes in every part of their business, butthose that can be automated are increasingly being automated. Every process in your business today could be placed somewhere on thespectrum below. And sooner or later, most processes will move along it – to theright.Fully Manual Process Computer assisted Human Assisted Fully Automated ProcessBy Human(s) Human Process Computer Process By Computer  Slow Speed  “Instant” Speed  Often Inconsistent  Usually Consistent  Prone To Human Error  Could have ‘Bugs’ & ‘Glitches’  As Secure As The Person  As Secure As The Computer Process Automation SpectrumYour Planning Questions What customer processes are you using online already? How are they working for you? How are they working for the customer? Which of your customer processes can move or need to move on the spectrum, and when? When? How? How accurate is your customer database? How do you currently use it?With every Strategic Option you consider, think VALUE: How will it add more value for your customers? TRUST: How will it build more trust with your customers? PAY-OFF: What could be the pay-off if you do it well?Review & modify your strategic options. © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 61 of 75
  • 61. STEP 4: What Can You Learn From Your Benchmarks? Whatever the nature of your business, there will be other websites and online systems you can use for comparisons to learn ideas and options that may be working for them – and may work for you. If you operate locally, find other similar local businesses to yours but who are operating in a different geographic region remote from you and not competitive with you. Make contact with them and see what you can share and what you can learn from others. Look for the businesses in your industry that are considered the leaders. Look at global competitors in your field. Look for other leaders in your type of business – retail, wholesale, manufacturing, etc. Look to see who is doing what well, and what you can learn. Your Planning Questions  How do these businesses operate online?  What trends are they working with?  How do they add value?  How do they build trust? With every Strategic Option you consider, think  VALUE: How will it add more value for your customers?  TRUST: How will it build more trust with your customers?  PAY-OFF: What could be the pay-off if you do it well? Review & modify your strategic options. STEP 5: What Can You Learn From Your Key Customers? Talk with some of your key customers and research them in more detail to find out what they like and don’t like about your current offerings, services, website and customer-facing online systems. Try to uncover the underlying reasons why they think and feel as they do and ask for their suggestions how you could improve. Encourage them to share any ideas they have about the future of their industry, and how a business like yours that services them may operate in the future to meet their future needs and wants. Focus on the value and the benefits for the customer. Remember, at this stage, all ideas are welcome. Look beyond the obvious. Ask them about some of your ideas and options you’ve identified so far. Ask them what they think, and how much value some of the new services you are thinking about for the future could have for them.© Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 62 of 75
  • 62. Develop a profile of your customers, especially the type of key customer thatyou would like to be appealing to and attracting to your business. Develop apicture persona and profile for your ideal customer. Make it personal.Your Planning Questions Who are your customers? What do your customers value from you? What do they like and dislike about your current products, services and online systems? What are their key issues? What is important to them or could become important? (Improved transaction speed, ease, security, efficiency, cost, convenience, customer service, availability, support, etc, etc) How could you help your customers to help their customers? What do they want from you online? What do they like about your website? What do they think are their Reasons To Visit (RTV) ? What do they think are their Reasons To Return (RTR) ? Where do they go? What do they do? What do they like? What do they hate? What do they suggest for improvements? What are their thoughts on “the Future”? What do they want, need or expect from you now? And in the future? Who else could be your customers?With every Strategic Option you consider, think VALUE: How will it add more value for your customers? TRUST: How will it build more trust with your customers? PAY-OFF: What could be the pay-off if you do it well?Review & modify your strategic options.STEP 6: What Can You Learn From Your Community? Learn From & Lead Your Community Your online community can be a huge source of information for your planningprocess, and it can also be a huge source of business. Your community can include anyone in or interested in your market niche, andanyone servicing and supplying that niche. It may include your customers, yourprospects and your suspects. Depending on your business, your community could be local, regional, nationalor global. These days it will probably include people globally, whether you know itor not. It could also include many of your competitors, so be careful how you approachany research you do in your community. © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 63 of 75
  • 63. From your business planning perspective, the key is to look for places online where you can connect with your community, join in, belong and contribute. Your Planning Questions  What value can you add to the community?  How could you add this value?  What can you do to build trust?  What are members of your community looking for online and not finding?  What opportunities are there for you? How can you lead your community?  Are you a ‘Trusted Advisor’? How can you become one? With every Strategic Option you consider, think  VALUE: How will it add more value for your customers?  TRUST: How will it build more trust with your customers?  PAY-OFF: What could be the pay-off if you do it well? Review & modify your strategic options. Your Possible Collaborators When you start looking, you will probably be able to find people or businesses who you can work with to build your business, and you in turn help them in some way. Think of these as your Collaborators. They may currently be inside or outside of your community, and may be part of a different community that interacts with yours. Some of these people and businesses may already be in your corporate eco-system, and some you may like to bring in to your eco-system on a short-term or long-term basis. You may know some already, but there may be many more online willing to set up mutually beneficial relationships with you. These businesses may have products you can sell on some basis, or they may be able to help you sell your products. They may help you improve your products and services by adding components of their own, their ideas and information or simply new ways for you to see past, present and future issues. You may find collaborators who help you with an ongoing stream of valuable and vital information, advice and benefits you can share with your customers. Collaborators may help you streamline your ICEPT transactions and processes by helping you to find new or better inputs or new ways to reduce costs or friction. Remember abundance, and think collaboration and cooperation. Mutual benefit is the key to ongoing great collaboration. Your Planning Questions  What value could you add to possible collaborators? How?  What value could they add to you? How  How will you build trust with each of them, and them with you? With every Strategic Option you consider, think  VALUE: How will it add more value for your customers?  TRUST: How will it build more trust with your customers?  PAY-OFF: What could be the pay-off if you do it well? Review & modify your strategic options.© Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 64 of 75
  • 64. STEP 7: What Can You Learn From Your Competitors? Change in the digital age is a combination of rapid evolution and occasionaldisruptive revolution. For this digital age business planning process, let’s look atthree key types of competitor: Static, Evolving & Revolutionary. Your Static Competitors exist in a static comfort zone with a traditional view ofyour industry. They don’t pro-actively change, are slow to react and may even beasleep on the job. They will either wake up and learn to change through survival necessity, or theywill die in their sleep.Your Evolving Competitors Evolving Competitors make strategic or ad-hoc incremental change to theirbusiness to provide more value by offering new or enhanced products and servicesutilizing new methods and systems. Evolving Competitors may have a good understanding of digital age trends andmake sound decisions to achieve both short-term and long term objectives, orthey may just be lucky in their choices. Consider your Evolving Competitors and how they already have been changingtheir products or business operations. Select two or three key Evolving Competitors to start with. Look at what theyhave done well, and then look at their weaknesses. Look to see what they havedone that you can implement in your own business plan.Your Planning Questions Which digital trends appear to be influencing or driving them in their actions and reactions in the marketplace? What trends do they seem to have ignored? What are they doing better than you? How can you catch up and over-take them? What will you need to do to get ahead? What value do they add to their customers? How do they do it? What are their customers’ Reasons To Visit (RTV) ? What are their customers’ Reasons To Return (RTR) ? How do they build trust?With every Strategic Option you consider, think VALUE: How will it add more value for your customers? TRUST: How will it build more trust with your customers? PAY-OFF: What could be the pay-off if you do it well?Review & modify your strategic options. © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 65 of 75
  • 65. Your Revolutionary Competitor Sooner or later however, a Revolutionary Competitor may emerge who partially or totally disrupts your industry. This Revolutionary Competitor may be new to your industry or may be a green fields off-shoot of one of your existing competitors. They understand digital age trends and have been focused on finding and providing highly effective digital age solutions that address the same customer problems as you do but deliver more benefits and value faster, better and at a lower cost. This competitor will not let themselves be hamstrung by their past or current operations, and may be starting fresh without unprofitable legacy customers, out- dated legacy systems; unwanted legacy staff or expensive legacy suppliers. They have no corporate ego or negative baggage. They could have a better product with better benefits, better customer service and deliver it faster, more conveniently and at a lower price than you. They may have ample funding, have quickly built their new brand, established a credible reputation and be trusted in the marketplace. The Revolutionary Competitor that could hurt you the most would be one whose strategy is to go after your most profitable and juiciest customers and entice them away. Despite your previously secure position, your business could start to lose its best customers. For the purposes of this planning process, YOU are going to imagine taking on the role of the Revolutionary Competitor. (Yes, it’s a role-play with yourself, but it does not have to be just ‘make-believe’ – it could happen.) If you were the Revolutionary Competitor wanting to put your company out of business, what would you do? Your Planning Questions  If you wanted to put yourself out of business, what would you do?  Which trends could you work with to make your old business obsolete?  If you were free of the legacies of your existing business operation and free of your products, systems and staffing, how would you set up the business differently?  How could you operate this business?  What could you have on your website? What RTV and RTR?  What products could you have that will deliver more benefits and greater value better, faster at a lower cost?  What could your products look like? How could your products operate?  How could you build trust?  What are the risks and threats to your current business from a real revolutionary competitor? With every Strategic Option you consider, think  VALUE: How will it add more value for your customers?  TRUST: How will it build more trust with your customers?  PAY-OFF: What could be the pay-off if you do it well? Review & modify your strategic options.© Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 66 of 75
  • 66. STEP 8: Assess Your Strategic Options By now, you hopefully have a list of various ideas and options you couldconsider for the future. You may already be doing some and need to enhancethem, while others could be new – and even impossible to cost-effectively do nowwith today’s technology. Some of your ideas will be small, incremental and evolutionary and others mayseem outrageously radical and revolutionary. At this stage, nothing should beconsidered to be impossible as you don’t have to know how you would implementthem. An idea could be as simple as a minor change to your website, or it could be atotal re-development of your website – or any part of how your business operatesonline. Or it could be launching a new product or digitally transforming an existingproduct or process. Sometimes the wildest ideas are later seen to be the best ones. After all, a wildbut totally customer-focused on-trend idea could become the basis for asuccessful business concept a crazy new Revolutionary Competitor implementstomorrow or in 18 months time – that puts you out of business. At this point, if you haven’t done it already, it is a good idea to group your ideasinto categories that make sense for you, and develop an Assessment Matrix withthe criteria that are important to you. As mentioned earlier, useful criteria can be  Customer Value  Ongoing Ease  Customer Want  Ongoing Capabilities  Trend Power  Ongoing Cost  Company Value  Likely Risk  Company Want  Likely ROI – Size of Pay-off  Availability of Technology  Likely ROI – Time for Pay-off  Choice of Technology  Likely ROI – Length of Payoff  Implementation Ease  Likely Date For Action to  Implementation Capabilities Prepare  Implementation Time  Likely Date For Action to Launch  Implementation Cost Develop a rating system to assess each of these on a scale that works for you.Scale it appropriately and the score. This can help you develop recommendations. It is always helpful to keep notesof your thinking processes and rationale as things change in time – and you mayneed to explain or justify your assessment later. © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 67 of 75
  • 67. STEP 9: Develop Your Road Map for the Future The outcome of this process can be a Roadmap for the on-trend future development of your business. Obviously there is a lot more to do to implement and achieve the roadmap, but at least you will start to have a Big Picture view that makes sense and you will know where you are headed. It’s an on-going process, so treat your matrix and your roadmap as a continually evolving work-in-progress. Remember to maintain your customer focus. Ultimately, it’s all about delivering better value to your customers with more convenience, less inconvenience, with less risk, using fewer resources, and doing it faster and at a lower cost. After all, if you don’t catch these trends and work with the trends to add value, build trust and better solve the problems of your customers, then sooner or later someone else probably will. Remember, work out what is important to your customers – and then give them more of what they want and less of what they don’t want. And make sure it all happens with low risk and high long-term ROI. Work with the Trends and remember the Action Principles… 1. Simplifying: Making the complex simple to use. 2. Decentralizing: Connecting many smaller resources in a distributed system provides more agility, flexibility, capability, expandability and resilience with less risk than creating and maintaining one larger central resource. 3. Ephemeralizing: Continually driving for greater efficiencies often at less cost by progressively accomplishing more and more with less and less. 4. Leveraging: Finding and using the right lever wisely to have a small action produce a larger and preferably ongoing reaction. 5. Connecting: Connecting before value is expected or delivered, with the connection being strengthened when value is delivered. 6. Enabling: Giving people the ability to do more of what they want to do; preferably easier, better, faster and cheaper. 7. Empowering: Helping people to do as much or as little as they want to do themselves. 8. Engaging: Stimulating more meaningful interactions based on relevance, value, importance, and timeliness. 9. Synergizing: Joining individual parts together and creating more value than the parts each had separately. 10. Harmonizing: Combining small individual waves that are moving together at the same time and in the same direction to form much larger and more powerful waves.© Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 68 of 75
  • 68. Choosing Technology – and Why Many People Get It Wrong In your planning process, be open about the choice of technology and tools youcould use. Be careful about your choice of system or platform. Don’t just stay withwhat you have for the sake of it, but don’t change just for the sake of it either. Look at what you need the system to be able to do for your business and moreimportantly, for your customers. Plan on rolling out the implementation of thenew system in phases. Start with a pilot if you need to, and learn from the pilotbefore proceeding ahead. Don’t leave the choice of systems just up to your IT staff or advisors. If andwhen their choice turns out to be a poor one, it’s probably you who will share ortake most of the responsibility for its selection. Rather than helping you make better long-term strategic choices, yourInformation Technology staff and technical specialist advisors may increase therisks of you making poor decisions. Many internal IT staff, external consultants and product vendors will, notsurprisingly, have a blinkered view of the world and a bias towards working withand promoting what they know, understand and sell. Focusing on a specific technology can bias you, side-track you and constrainyou, and most technical staff will find it difficult, if not impossible to draw back farenough from the details of technology to advise and guide you on yourfundamental business strategies. Most technology specialists seem to live in either a technically blinkeredcomfort zone where they like to do what they know, or in a fun-filled playgroundwhere they continually want to try new things and play with the latest toys. Given a choice, most techos like new toys and therefore it’s no wonder thatmany businesses play with new technology systems, often in undisciplined,unmanaged and unmeasured ad-hoc IT-driven games. Relying on your technical specialists for your strategic business advice andguidance is folly, and typically leads to increased risks from poor choices, lack offocused direction and more ad hoc trial and error. To make it even worse, technology options change so often you can’t keep up,and when you realize your so-called technical advisors are probably not able togive you the independent, unblinkered and unbiased advice you need, yourchallenges are made a lot tougher, adding to your overwhelm, confusion anduncertainty. Too many people choose their technology before they really know what theyneed the technology to do for them. They settle for what it can do, and thencompromise their business processes to suit the tech-system they have. Whilstthat may be pragmatic, it does not help a business be as good as it can be, but onlyas good as the technology allows the business to be. And then, they go furtherdownhill by often blaming the technology and not using it properly. Plan your business – and then get the technology to suit you. In a world of100% niche solutions, the perfect system could be out there somewhere. You justneed to find it – or let it find you through your community. © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 69 of 75
  • 69. 20 Critical Criteria for Choosing Technology Solutions If you are adopting a new system or platform, here’s a checklist to consider. If a new system does not meet most or preferably all of these points, then find one that does. Use this list as your initial filter. Your new technology system should be: 1. Functional and able to do what you need it to do. (You do need to be clear on what you want to achieve.) 2. Easy to learn. If it looks hard to use, it probably is. Good software looks easy to use. It’s not accidental, good software is built to be easy to use. 3. Able to be trialed. Don’t just commit to using a new system. Trial it, run a pilot program and learn from it. Have boundaries for the trial. If you jump in too deeply and start using it with real customers it can be hard to extract yourself from it later. Vendors hope you will lock yourself into the system during the free trial period. 4. Efficient. It must help you do what you need to do quickly and easily. The software should be efficient, and it should make you and your team more efficient. 5. Extensible. Your new system must be capable of being extended and preferably have a large number of readily available plug-in applications available for your use. 6. Open and integratable. You may not know it now, but sooner or later you will want to connect other things (databases, software apps, processes, etc) to your system. Will it be easy, hard or impossible? 7. Accessible for mobile users. Part of the future is mobile. Encourage mobility for your customers and your staff. 8. Already in use by a large base of users. A large and happy user base will give you confidence in your selection and people to turn to for extra help. It’s also more likely that the product will continue to survive and evolve if lots of others love it and depend on it. 9. Popular in credible reviews. Use peer reviews and recommendations. Don’t blindly follow others, but don’t ignore them either. 10. Showing positive momentum in the marketplace. Products, like people are either green and growing or ripe and rotting. You want to choose a growing product. The leading edge is ok, but avoid the bleeding edge. 11. Backed by a strong development community. The more people who are actively involved collaboratively in the development of the product, generally the better it is likely to be. Choose a product with a carefully managed core product and avoid products with too many branches in their development roadmap. 12. Common Language based. You want software written in a common programming language so you have a large base of technical skills available. 13. Well supported. Depending on the size and capabilities of your team, you may want good local support or you may be happy enough to have remote support provided online by others. Don’t assume that the people on your own IT team will always be there; in fact, make contingency plans for if and when they leave. Some products may not need much support at all, but make sure you choose systems where external technical support is readily available. It’s like insurance. Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. 14. Able to be quickly installed. Ideally installation of software should be easy and preferably through an automated process. If software has or needs complex installation procedures, then be wary of it as it is likely to also need complex training and support, and that can get expensive later on. With hosted Software as a Service (SaaS) or Application Service Provider (ASP)© Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 70 of 75
  • 70. solutions, there are no installation issues and no infrastructure you need to buy, but there are other issues about data ownership and access, privacy and long-term costs to consider. (Many of these have been raised earlier in the Trend discussions about Technical Connectivity and Low Cost Software & Storage Solutions.) 15. Ideally Do-It-Yourself if possible. Popular software systems are often popular simply because they are so easy to use. This will probably not mean you can do everything yourself, or even that you want to, but knowing that you don’t need to be calling on seriously clever and expensive hard to find external technical experts is reassuring. 16. Good value initially. Low cost generally beats high cost, but it’s all relative. The question is more about value. Sometimes the initial cost might be free and plenty of great open source software is available online for free. Look for the catch, as relying on free commercial products can often be in the ‘too good to be true’ category. Some free software may actually contain viruses or other mal- ware. Don’t blindly download free software, don’t be put off by good products being free, and don’t assume free or cheap is good or bad. 17. Good value for its Lifetime. Consider the likely Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of a system you are looking to introduce. TCO includes costs associated with a. computer hardware and programs for your network, servers, devices, warranties and licenses, migration expenses, upgrades, patches and future licensing policies, etc. b. operating expenses such as electricity, testing costs, downtime, outage and failure expenses, security (including breaches, loss of reputation, recovery and prevention), backup and recovery processes, technology training, implementation, insurance and even future upgrade expenses and decommissioning. 18. Migratable. Your new systems need to be relatively easy for you to migrate into, and VERY easy for you to get out of later if and when you want to cease using the system. Never use an external hosted service that does not promise to give you your data back when you want to leave. 19. Giving you good options for the future. Despite some techos using the term future-proof, no technology system really is. Look for standards, languages and platforms that are popular with enough of a critical mass of users to have continual development and enhancement even if the company that currently owns the system goes broke. Make sure the technology you implement today can be easily adapted for changing processes in your business in months and years to come. Flexibility and agility is what your business will need to survive, and your technology must help you and not hinder you as your business evolves. 20. Low Risk: All systems carry some level of risk but you don’t need to willingly take high risks in your choice of technology, Don’t fall for the slick promises of tech sales guys, and don’t believe everything you are told. You can’t avoid risk – so make a list of the possible risks for each of the various options you are considering and plan how you will mitigate and reduce these risks. It’s not time to stick your head in the sand or pretend ignorance.© Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 71 of 75
  • 71. Conclusion These 25 Digital Age Trends will continue whether you like them or not. You may as well learn to like them, and make sure the growth of your business is on trend, rather than ignoring or fighting against the trends. The more you understand about the trends, the more you will learn to draw back from the day to day confusion, overwhelm and uncertainty to expand your vision. You will be able to see the trends and their impacts, and the new possibilities they can create. As you go through the trends and your vision creation and planning process, keep in mind that the Internet has been around commercially for less than 20 years. The digital age is just getting started! Most people don’t know what they don’t know, and sometimes they forget whatthey do know. Part of the challenge is knowing what questions to ask yourself andothers. It’s also tough when you get caught up in the day to day – and don’t have the timeor ability to step back from the daily grind of business, see the big picture – and catchthe trends that can quickly propel you forward. Seeing and catching the trends is an ongoing game in life, but the process of trying to see your big picturefuture, make sense of it and make it happen is not just an exercise to do once and then think you’ve got itfigured out forever. It is an ongoing process. If the contents of this guidebook have been valuable to you, and you’d like to receive more of my thoughtson these trends and their impacts in different industries, please visit my website and subscribe to my emailupdates. You can also find me on Facebook, LinkedIn and sometimes even Twitter. In addition to the Digital TrendCatcher Guide, I also provide tips and insights for better online business,updates on useful tools and technologies, and early warning advice of game changers for you, your businessand your industry. There’s plenty of resources available for you at . It can be good to have extra input, guidance and even a sounding board as you work to re-think your onlinebusiness and successfully make changes in your organization. I can assist you with proven methods as well asfresh new processes, and questions to ask yourself, your staff, and existing and potential suppliers along theway. Please let me know if you would like some personal guidance in this area. If my thinking, suggestions and approach to business resonates with you, and you’d like more, please I can let you know when updates are produced of this guide and the info in it.Thanks... and if this stuff has been useful and valuable to you, then you can always buy me a beer!CheersRichard (please no spam)© Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 72 of 75
  • 72. Richard Keeves provides online business planning guidance, coaching and advice for organizations looking to improve their business websites and online businesses. He helps people see and achieve their own Big Picture possibilities, and helps guide business people on the likely impacts of Digital Age trends on their organizations. www.DigitalTrendCatchers.comSome background info on Richard Keeves These days, I’m involved in a lot of different activities as an online business advisor, author, publisher, media commentator, entrepreneur, and investor. In my business advisory work, I’m a strategic trouble-shooter, and my experience, commercial creativity, clear thinking and straight-talking is valuable to my clients. I have advised, consulted to, and given strategic and tactical online business guidance to many organizations, large and small including government and not-for-profits. Online Business I’ve been assisting people to do business online since 1995. At the risk of ‘blowing my own trumpet’, I have been recognized over the years as one of Australia’s leading online business specialists, and have appeared as a specialist commentator on online business and the Internet in the press and on various radio and television programs including news bulletins, Today Tonight and A Current Affair. I was the Internet Expert on ABC TV’s Can We Help program’s “Ask The Expert” segment. Internet Business Corporation (IBC) From 1995 to 2008, I was the Managing Director of the Internet Business Corporation Ltd (IBC), a business I founded, built and successfully operated for 13 years and sold in 2008. In this time, my team and I consulted to and advised many of Australia’s leading organizations in how to discover, understand and successfully use the Internet for business. At IBC, we built a team of clever web marketers, web designers and web developers who built and launched hundreds of successful online business websites. We also started the digital marketing agency, Tentacle. In April 2007, we sold the majority of IBC to the ill-fated BlueFreeway Ltd. I learnt plenty, including the perils of lengthy earn-outs and the danger of being at the partial mercy of a corporate Emperor with no clothes. Living in very interesting times as we did back then, we re-sold IBC to Platform Interactive in October 2008. Business Publishing & The Internet Prior to the online world, I was the founder and Editor of Business Directions magazine, a nationally distributed magazine for business owners we ran from 1987 to 1995. The purpose of Business Directions was to tap into the expertise and experiences of business owners and share these learning amongst others. During this time I had the opportunity to meet and interview many business leaders and influential thinkers, the highlights including Robert Kiyosaki, Edward De Bono and the Body Shop’s founder Anita Roddick. In 1990, I published The Success Book, a 460 page hard-back anthology featuring inspiring stories of the challenges, struggles, failures and successes of fifty Western Australian-based quiet achievers in business. Back in 1993 – 1995, my publishing company was selected for the Federal Government’s Best Practice Demonstration Program and received a substantial Federal grant for research into best practice publishing methods and operations. As a result, we conducted extensive studies into the then emerging technology for electronic publishing, electronic marketing and online business. This was prior to, and then during the very early days of the commercialization of the Internet. Silicon Valley Insights (2001) It’s a while ago now, but it may help put some perspective on today… In 2001, I participated in an extensive study tour of Silicon Valley, USA organized by the Australian Institute of Company Directors. This was a fascinating tour as the AICD opened doors that would normally be shut. We had the opportunity to meet and privately pick the brains of many leading players in the Valley. It was after the dot com bubble burst, but still in the fall-out from the crash. The Valley was in some turmoil, and nothing gets the creative juices flowing faster than a good crisis. © Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 73 of 75
  • 73. Dick Kramlich, then a leading Silicon Valley venture capitalist, spoke of life as a VC at the time, quipping, “VCs in theValley sleep like babies… We sleep for 2 hours then wake up crying!” Dick also told us the key to success was to “simplifyeverything”. He was talking about software, but it’s a good message in general. Bruce Claflin, then President & CEO of 3Com, said “There is no such thing as a tired product, just tired productmanagers.” Three days before our meeting Bruce had cut his 10,000 workforce by 13%. He also told us “There’s more badnews to come…” Bruce explained “Our growth took us beyond what we were good at. We are currently in the deepest,steepest, most rapid decline that the technology industry has ever been in.” But then he added, “The value of the Internetis real. The potential got over-stated. The premise was false in the near-term and the myth exploded.” We met senior people at Cisco Systems, Silicon Graphics and others, and there were many brave faces. We met SabeerBhatia, who was the founder of HotMail, and who had earlier sold Hotmail to Microsoft for US $400m cash. Yahoo hadmade him a much bigger offer with payment in stock, but Sabeer thought he preferred the cash. Smart move! And in San Francisco we met Evan Thornley, the co-founder & CEO of LookSmart Ltd then a global directory competingwith Yahoo in the days before Google caught on. Evan explained that $250k invested by a VC in January 98 became worth$70m about 2 years later at the height of the bubble. LookSmart did an IPO in August 1999 at an issue price of $12 pershare. The stock opened at $19 and reached a high in excess of US$70 in early 2000. By March 2001 the stock was $2 pershare. Evan smiled ruefully when he told us, “I was a billionaire once…” It was a fascinating trip, and part of a unique era. But it was not the beginning of the end, just the end of the beginning.And through it all, the Digital Age trends have rolled along, changing our lives forever in the process.Industry Stuff I’m a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.I was the President of the Western Australian Internet Association from 2004 to 2008, a founding member of the board ofthe Information & Communications Technology Industry Collaboration Centre, and a member of the Information IndustryForum.Seminars, Workshops & Training I’m also an experienced presenter and trainer and enjoy helping non-technical business owners understand onlinebusiness trends and tools. Over the years, I’ve been a workshop presenter and keynote conference speaker, and havepresented Internet business seminars and workshops throughout Australia, New Zealand and in the USA.Do What You Love After selling IBC in 2008, I enjoyed a break from active business in 2009. Now, in 2010 I’m back into the world of onlinebusiness & doing what I love to do – observing, listening, learning, thinking, writing, speaking, publishing, teaching andproviding insights and advice to business owners and others looking to do better business online and build more valuablebusinesses. It’s an interesting journey. These days with my virtual team, I can and do operate from pretty much anywhereon the planet. (As long as it’s connectable and I’m connected.)Family, Fun and Freo Originally from South Australia, I’m based in Perth, Western Australia but love being location-independent. I’m marriedto the gorgeous Jane, and we have three wonderful children. In addition to business stuff, I enjoy travelling, fishing, scubadiving, getting fit, cooking, cycling, and wine tasting. For all sorts of not very good reasons I support the Fremantle Dockers AFL football team. 2010 was a much better yearfor Freo… We’ll see what 2011 brings…© Copyright Richard Keeves 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 74 of 75
  • 74. Appendix 1: Digital TrendCatcher Future Road Map Planning Process STEP 1: Three Starter Questions STEP 2: Review Action Principles & Trends STEP 3: Review Products & Processes Q1. What do you want to achieve?  Impacts of 10 Action Principles  Improve Products? (Digital & Online) Q2. What customer benefits & value do you provide?  Impacts of 25 Digital Age Trends  Improve Processes? (ICEPT) Q3. What could you be doing better online?  Consider automating more processes Add/Modify your strategic options.  Review Customer Database Start Your “Strategic Options” List & Your Roadmap Add/Modify your strategic options. VALUE * TRUST * PAY-OFF VALUE * TRUST * PAY-OFF STEP 6: Learn From Your Community STEP 5: Learn From Your Key Customers STEP 4: Learn From Your Benchmarks Learn from & Lead Your Community Find comparisons & learn from  Current likes, dislikes, suggestions  Connect, join in, belong and contribute.  Your industry leaders  Thoughts on “the Future”  Add value. Become a Trusted Advisor.  Remote local & global competitors Find possible Collaborators  Look beyond the obvious.  Develop Profile & Persona  Business leaders  Think ‘Mutual benefit’ Add/Modify your strategic options. Add/Modify your strategic options. Add/Modify your strategic options. VALUE * TRUST * PAY-OFF VALUE * TRUST * PAY-OFF VALUE * TRUST * PAY-OFF STEP 7: Learn From Your Competitors STEP 8: Assess and Prioritize STEP 9: Develop Your Road Map Check out your Evolving Competitors  Review Strategic Options  Create your ‘on-trend’ future  Roadmap.  What are they doing better than you? Group ideas & options Become Your Revolutionary Competitor  Use or create relevant criteria & analyze  Plan, implement and achieve.  What could you do if you wanted to put  Use Assessment matrix  You need & want ROI, ideally on-going yourself out of business?  Recommend and Select  Remember your customer focus. Add/Modify your strategic options. Always a ‘work-in-progress’. Ongoing continually evolving process VALUE * TRUST * PAY-OFF VALUE * TRUST * RISK * PAY-OFF © Copyright Richard Keeves© Copyright Richard KeevesReserved 2010-11 All Rights 2010-11 (Permission Granted for Free Distribution) Digital TrendCatcher Guide Page 75 of 75 Digital TrendCatcher Guide