Welcome!

Mobile IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Peter Silva, Carmen Gonzalez, Ken Schwaber

Related Topics: Agile Computing, Mobile IoT, Microservices Expo, CRM

Agile Computing: Article

Applying the Marketing Center of Excellence (MCOE)

A case for the MCOE: The HP TouchPad "Fail"

The HP TouchPad was launched July 1, 2011, and was discontinued August 18, 2011. The Marketing Center of Excellence (MCOE) may provide a framework for understanding (and preventing) the sorts of “black swan” marketing failure that HP experienced with its TouchPad launch. I think the key value provided by a MCOE for reducing the risk of a “black swan fail” is its enablement of a holistic, cross-disciplinary approach to marketing at enterprise level.

Leslie Ament, SVP at Hypatia Research Group, asked a great question that points towards the complexity underlying the situation, and the potential value of a MCOE: “Is this a failure of 1) product features, 2) timing of launch, 3) targeting of market segment and/or 4) demand generation, branding, and execution of campaigns?” In the framework of a MCOE, the operator here would be an “and,” rather than an “or.”

Hypothesis: Events and Issues
These events may have lead to HP’s decision to discontinue the TouchPad:

A number of poor reviews. 
Per Sean Portnoy at ZDNet, “The bottom line was the TouchPad was released with several crucial flaws that led to mediocre reviews…" Mediocre would be an understatement; here’s a small sample:

Walt Mossberg wrote, “[The HP TouchPad] suffers from poor battery life, a paucity of apps and other deficits.”

Said David Pogue, “In this 1.0 incarnation, the TouchPad doesn’t come close to being as complete or mature as the iPad or the best Android tablets; you’d be shortchanging yourself by buying one right now…”

Matt Buchanan on Gizmodo opens his review, “I am so goddamned tired of the iPad. Which is why I was so excited for the TouchPad. And that's why I feel so completely crushed right now.”

And from Eliane Fiolet on Ubergizmo: “Overall, the results speak for themselves: the touchpad is the slowest tablet that we have tried in 2011. … The HP TouchPad did not stand up to expectations, so much that it died before getting a chance to be improved.”

Underwhelming consumer demand at launch compared to projections. 
The poor reviews may have contributed to the serious gap between potential customer interest and inventory forecasting. Best Buy sold “less than 10 percent of the units in inventory” according to the “OuchPad” article in All Things D. Other retailers reported similar issues with inventory, per International Business Times.

Reading through an aggregated analysis of the HP TouchPad fail on The Week, some high-level themes emerge:
Poor price-to-performance compared to a market leader. The most serious concerns noted in reviews were slow performance; at a $599 launch list price, people just didn’t choose the TouchPad over the iPad unless they were “A.B.A.” (However, when HP dropped the price to $99 to clear out inventory, retailers sold out.)

Channel issues. As reported by Matt Rosoff in Business Insider SAI, "Best Buy doesn't want all that unsold inventory taking up shelf space, and is asking HP to take them back. Todd Bradley or another HP exec is reportedly going to fly to Minneapolis to try and persuade Best Buy otherwise." While no other channel issues surfaced in my research, Best Buy can’t have been the only retailer pushing back.

Launch issues. HP had a daunting task—to cut through WebOS being lumped into Android “me-too-ness” while grabbing market share from Apple’s iPad. Rather than launch later, which would have put its new product in the run-up to the 2011 holiday shopping season, HP chose to launch on the July 4 weekend.

Despite the July 4th timing, Google Trends shows an incredibly steep climb in search volume for “HP TouchPad”; there was a lot of buzz and interest. Unfortunately, the climb quickly dropped off into a cliff that seems to represent an abrupt collapse in interest and demand.

Using the MCOE evolutionary model to respond to Leslie Ament’s question, what Marketing Communities of Practice would have been involved?
The issues noted by reviewers related to performance would be R&D and Product Management’s domain. The price-to-performance issues would be Product Marketing (possibly compounded by issues on margins and the cost of Bill of Materials involving Product Management). Channel issues would rest with Product Marketing. If there were problems caused by the timing of the launch or pre-sales Demand Generation/AR/PR, they are not reflected in the spike of interest shown by Google Trends. (It’s hard to say what the actual comparative search volumes were in Google - at this moment, “HP TouchPad” shows about 75-100 searches per day, and “Apple iPad” shows roughly 900 per day.)

If we make the assumption (and I know it’s a whopper) that a company like HP would at least be at Levels 2 to 3 on the MCOE Maturity Model across the horizontal domains of People, Processes, Technology, and Data, how could a failure of this magnitude occur?

Using the MCOE framework may help clarify where things broke down:

People. Even if each disciplinary area was focused on “best practices,” were there shared goals to drive and support cross-disciplinary work by the Communities of Practice? Were there breakdowns in communication like this one, but among disciplinary areas? How was conflict (for example, possible conflict between the Hardware team and the WebOS team) managed?

Processes. How were risks (for example, press/reviews) identified and weighted among and by the Communities of Practice? Was some form of cost/benefit analysis applied to risk, so executive management could be advised?

Technology. What inventory and sales forecasting systems were used, how accessible were they to the Communities of Practice, and could they provision for fast (near real-time) corrections?

Data. Were there issues with the data used in planning/reporting that affected accuracy?

In my opinion, the biggest risk to an organization from enterprise-scale marketing comes from silos that inhibit business agility and useful communication.The key value provided by a MCOE - not just for reducing the risk of a “black swan fail,” but also for enabling innovation, effectiveness, and efficiency—is its enablement of a holistic, cross-disciplinary approach to marketing in the enterprise.

More Stories By Lori Witzel

Lori Witzel has provided marketing leadership for software and technology services organizations. Her new approaches to strategy and execution, with a focus on demand generation and operational excellence across all marketing disciplines has created positive response, results and success.

By applying lessons learned from the business analysis and software engineering communities, marketing operational excellence can be transformed, yielding a faster Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI).

@ThingsExpo Stories
"A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
WebRTC sits at the intersection between VoIP and the Web. As such, it poses some interesting challenges for those developing services on top of it, but also for those who need to test and monitor these services. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Tsahi Levent-Levi, co-founder of testRTC, reviewed the various challenges posed by WebRTC when it comes to testing and monitoring and on ways to overcome them.
Every successful software product evolves from an idea to an enterprise system. Notably, the same way is passed by the product owner's company. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Oleg Lola, CEO of MobiDev, will provide a generalized overview of the evolution of a software product, the product owner, the needs that arise at various stages of this process, and the value brought by a software development partner to the product owner as a response to these needs.
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, introduced the technologies required for implementing these idea...
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
While not quite mainstream yet, WebRTC is starting to gain ground with Carriers, Enterprises and Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) alike. WebRTC makes it easy for developers to add audio and video communications into their applications by using Web browsers as their platform. But like any market, every customer engagement has unique requirements, as well as constraints. And of course, one size does not fit all. In her session at WebRTC Summit, Dr. Natasha Tamaskar, Vice President, Head of C...
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, discussed the impact of technology on identity. Sho...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now ...
WebRTC is about the data channel as much as about video and audio conferencing. However, basically all commercial WebRTC applications have been built with a focus on audio and video. The handling of “data” has been limited to text chat and file download – all other data sharing seems to end with screensharing. What is holding back a more intensive use of peer-to-peer data? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, WebRTC Applications Team Lead at National ICT Australia, looked at differ...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
Businesses are struggling to manage the information flow and interactions between all of these new devices and things jumping on their network, and the apps and IT systems they control. The data businesses gather is only helpful if they can do something with it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Witeck, Principal Technology Strategist at Citrix, discussed how different the impact of IoT will be for large businesses, expanding how IoT will allow large organizations to make their legacy applica...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint, a leading digital experience intelligence company, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Catchpoint Systems is a leading Digital Performance Analytics company that provides unparalleled insight into your customer-critical services to help you consistently deliver an amazing customer experience. Designed for digital business, C...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...