February 17, 2007

The pot calling the kettle...

Interesting article in the SMH about a Telstra executive who is pouring scorn on the iPhone and telling Apple to stick to its knitting...

Presumably, Apple has decided on Optus as its local partner for the iPhone, a natural fit in the light of their long relationship. Of course Telstra has a real shortage of interesting handsets, due to their decision to adopt an unusual 3 Generation network configuration, not supported by mainstream handsets.

As far as any company sticking to its knitting is concerned, I've been waiting for a Telstra Broadband connection in our new office for the past month. And its mobile broadband network went down in our local area for over 24 hours and they couldn't tell me when it would get back up. We gave up and worked from home.

Posted by Marius at 07:07 AM | Comments (0)

June 03, 2005

My Booth is bigger than your Social Software

Ektron Logo
Over at Bill's place, he's musing about the size of booths (known as stands in our local lingo, Strine) at the AIIM show in Philadelphia. Oh, Oh, you're thinking, Marius is going to have another post about trade shows too, boring...

Well... yes and no. I still wanted to get a few things off my chest regarding CMS Vendors at CeBIT last week, but also look at some CMS competitors which don't appear at trade shows.

At CeBIT Sydney, I spent a few minutes on the stands of two companies selling Australian made Content Management Systems:

Komodo CMS logo
Komodo is a gorgeous looking CMS, the kind of CMS a designer would design. Their marketing materials and demonstrations focused on the process of design and features of the tools rather than the benefits to the customers (other than being able to easily update your site, just like the other 20,000 CMS's on the market). It looked like it was aimed at Web Designers rather than their customers.

Weblogics logo
On the other hand, Weblogics had a sparse stand and focussed on the features and benefits of their system. Their system is more your swiss army knife kind of CMS (ignoring for the moment that they call it a Knowledge Management System). Their selling point is all the things it does "right out of the box". It is clearly aimed at the business manager who is looking for a way to deliver lots of goodies with a minimum of deployment hassles.

Those systems reflect the perspective of their developers and the expectations of their customers, and they are as different as chalk and cheese. I suspect Weblogics found business managers interested in their product amongst the CeBIT crowd. I didn't see a lot of the Web Designers, which I would expect Komodo to appeal to, at the show. I still think both companies would have been better off investing in trade shows aligned with their target market.

But anyway, what about the "elephant in the room" at IT tradeshows, Open Source Software? That is a whole category of software which is largely unrepresented at shows like CeBit and AIIM. Bill's point about the size of a booth not necessarily reflecting the quality or benefits of a product extends to those without a marketing budget at all. I've recently been working with a variety of Open Source software, including a Content Management System.

Let's leave aside the usual pro and con discussions about open source software. Commercial vendors might well look closely at how communities form around Open Source projects, spawning enthusiastic supporters who spread the word. And it is interesting to see the emergence of grass roots commercial ventures around a product like Mambo, a CMS which (with over a million downloads)is gaining traction at the entry level market. I wouldn't want to suggest that Ektron, Weblogics and Komodo should entirely abandon live events like trade shows. But they might consider spending more energy in leveraging "Social Software" like weblogs, forums and mailing lists, which seem to be working well for those who have no marketing budget at all.

Posted by Marius at 01:49 PM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2005

A tale of two shows, CeBIT and PacPrint

CeBit and PacPrint show passes
I've been "beta testing" a business advisory service which we're launching on July 1 and had reasons to be at both CeBit Sydney and PacPrint in Melbourne this past week. What a contrast...

CeBit felt like just another IT show, only with a New Zealand pavilion. It wasn't much different from the computer shows in years gone by, although Wireless Networking and mobile companies had replaced hard drives and mother board vendors. Of course, there were the AIIA stands and the national stands, subsidized by their respective governments, but as a show, it didn't work for me. A very, very pale imitation of the Hannover CeBIT show. Moreover, the question that hung in the air at CeBit was "What is the target market of the show?"

Pacprint show floor
At PacPrint in Melbourne, it was abundantly clear who the audience were: Printers, people and companies involved in "Ink On Paper" technology. You knew who they were and why they were there. They were looking for that printing press or some other piece of technology which might make their business more productive or improve their quality of service. There was a sense of excitement and interest which seemed sorely lacking at the other show.

Of course, there was as much Information Technology on site at Jeff's Shed in Melbourne as there was at CeBit. Powering not just the presses and ancillary equipment, but of course also on stands like Adobe's. An important software category at the show was workflow. Printing equipment is expensive, and needs to be constantly "kept fed" in order to provide a return for their owners.

Quote & Print logo
Workflow is a hot topic and efficient execution determines profit and loss for commercial printing companies. It's good to see an Australian software company, Quote & Print doing well there. They are an example to many in the software business: start with a customer's problem and help them solve it. When there are a number of customers with that same problem, you've got yourself a business. As long as you run it well and stay in touch with the customers, which is exactly why Dave Bell and his company, Quote & Print were at the PacPrint show and not at CeBIT. Simple, really...

Posted by Marius at 05:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack