Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Jason Bloomberg, Derek Weeks

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).

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.
Digital means customer preferences and behavior are driving enterprise technology decisions to be sure, but let’s not forget our employees. After all, when we say customer, we mean customer writ large, including partners, supply chain participants, and yes, those salaried denizens whose daily labor forms the cornerstone of the enterprise. While your customers bask in the warm rays of your digital efforts, are your employees toiling away in the dark recesses of your enterprise, pecking data into...
Wow, if you ever wanted to learn about Rugged DevOps (some call it DevSecOps), sit down for a spell with Shannon Lietz, Ian Allison and Scott Kennedy from Intuit. We discussed a number of important topics including internal war games, culture hacking, gamification of Rugged DevOps and starting as a small team. There are 100 gold nuggets in this conversation for novices and experts alike.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
With DevOps becoming more well-known and established practice in nearly every industry that delivers software, it is important to continually reassess its efficacy. This week’s top 10 includes a discussion on how the quick uptake of DevOps adoption in the enterprise has posed some serious challenges. Additionally, organizations who have taken the DevOps plunge must find ways to find, hire and keep their DevOps talent in order to keep the machine running smoothly.
Between the mockups and specs produced by analysts, and resulting applications built by developers, there exists a gulf where projects fail, costs spiral, and applications disappoint. Methodologies like Agile attempt to address this with intensified communication, with partial success but many limitations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Charles Kendrick, CTO & Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, will present a revolutionary model enabled by new technologies. Learn how business and devel...
Call it DevOps or not, if you are concerned about releasing more code faster and at a higher quality, the resulting software delivery chain and process will look and smell like DevOps. But for existing development teams, no matter what the velocity objective is, getting from here to there is not something that can be done without a plan. Moving your release cadence from months to weeks is not just about learning Agile practices and getting some automation tools. It involves people, tooling and ...
The notion of customer journeys, of course, are central to the digital marketer’s playbook. Clearly, enterprises should focus their digital efforts on such journeys, as they represent customer interactions over time. But making customer journeys the centerpiece of the enterprise architecture, however, leaves more questions than answers. The challenge arises when EAs consider the context of the customer journey in the overall architecture as well as the architectural elements that make up each...
Much of the discussion around cloud DevOps focuses on the speed with which companies need to get new code into production. This focus is important – because in an increasingly digital marketplace, new code enables new value propositions. New code is also often essential for maintaining competitive parity with market innovators. But new code doesn’t just have to deliver the functionality the business requires. It also has to behave well because the behavior of code in the cloud affects performan...
In 2006, Martin Fowler posted his now famous essay on Continuous Integration. Looking back, what seemed revolutionary, radical or just plain crazy is now common, pedestrian and "just what you do." I love it. Back then, building and releasing software was a real pain. Integration was something you did at the end, after code complete, and we didn't know how long it would take. Some people may recall how we, as an industry, spent a massive amount of time integrating code from one team with another...
As the software delivery industry continues to evolve and mature, the challenge of managing the growing list of the tools and processes becomes more daunting every day. Today, Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) platforms are proving most valuable by providing the governance, management and coordination for every stage of development, deployment and release. Recently, I spoke with Madison Moore at SD Times about the changing market and where ALM is headed.
If there is anything we have learned by now, is that every business paves their own unique path for releasing software- every pipeline, implementation and practices are a bit different, and DevOps comes in all shapes and sizes. Software delivery practices are often comprised of set of several complementing (or even competing) methodologies – such as leveraging Agile, DevOps and even a mix of ITIL, to create the combination that’s most suitable for your organization and that maximize your busines...
Struggling to keep up with increasing application demand? Learn how Platform as a Service (PaaS) can streamline application development processes and make resource management easy.
The goal of any tech business worth its salt is to provide the best product or service to its clients in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. This is just as true in the development of software products as it is in other product design services. Microservices, an app architecture style that leans mostly on independent, self-contained programs, are quickly becoming the new norm, so to speak. With this change comes a declining reliance on older SOAs like COBRA, a push toward more s...
This is not a small hotel event. It is also not a big vendor party where politicians and entertainers are more important than real content. This is Cloud Expo, the world's longest-running conference and exhibition focused on Cloud Computing and all that it entails. If you want serious presentations and valuable insight about Cloud Computing for three straight days, then register now for Cloud Expo.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Stratoscale, the software company developing the next generation data center operating system, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Stratoscale is revolutionizing the data center with a zero-to-cloud-in-minutes solution. With Stratoscale’s hardware-agnostic, Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) solution to store everything, run anything and scale everywhere...
I had the opportunity to catch up with Chris Corriere - DevOps Engineer at AutoTrader - to talk about his experiences in the realm of Rugged DevOps. We discussed automation, culture and collaboration, and which thought leaders he is following. Chris Corriere: Hey, I'm Chris Corriere. I'm a DevOps Engineer AutoTrader. Derek Weeks: Today we're going to talk about Rugged DevOps. It's a subject that's gaining a lot of traction in the community but not a lot of people are really familiar with wh...
APIs have taken the world by storm in recent years. The use of APIs has gone beyond just traditional "software" companies, to companies and organizations across industries using APIs to share information and power their applications. For some organizations, APIs are the biggest revenue drivers. For example, Salesforce generates nearly 50% of annual revenue through APIs. In other cases, APIs can increase a business's footprint and initiate collaboration. Netflix, for example, reported over 5 bi...