THE ENHATCH BLOG

The Wall Street Journal
Apple said on Tuesday that unit sales of the iPad—the best-selling tablet on the market—fell for a second straight quarter. IPad revenue has fallen in four of the last five quarters, and recent evidence points to slowing sales for imitators that rushed their own tablets to market. The slump suggests tablets are feeling a squeeze. As smartphone screens grow larger and laptop computers grow thinner and lighter, tablet computers are starting to look less appealing.

Is the Curtain Falling on Tablets? via The Wall Street Journal

It is tough being a tablet computer these days.  The iPad that was the talk of the town is now considered a has-been.  Interesting thing though is that companies are slowly moving to tablet platforms.  The challenge as and continues to be business apps that are geared to leverage the power of the tablet platform.  That is one of the key drivers behind the Apple-IBM alliance and the realization that enterprises still do not have adequate enterprise ready apps for their business and industry.  With more apps, expect to see more tablets sold into the enterprise.

informationweek.com
Enterprises and start-ups alike have been drawn to agile development in recent years for its speed-to-market benefits. However, there’s a misconception that enterprises are just too big to transition to the quick-moving and flexible agile approach. On the contrary, I believe agile methodology is scalable and that enterprises can learn to do it well. In our own organization at GE Capital, we’ve adapted to the agile approach, recognizing that speed isn’t everything. An even more important benefit of agile is its iterative nature, which means that companies have a better chance of giving their customers exactly what they want when they want it.

Why Enterprises Need To Adapt To Agile via Eric Reed, InformationWeek

In the same way that IT needs to adapt to a faster paced world and delivering better technology to the business and customers, commercial teams also need to adapt.  The challenge is that many of the systems they use keep them locked into inefficient processes, slow down the sales cycle, and obscure quality opportunities to engage customers.

One of our customers, GE, has adapted their FastWorks program for product innovation to create a more responsive sales & marketing organization.  Our platform enables the business to control the look, feel, and functionality of apps that help their teams sell better and bring sales & marketing on the same page.  Because the platform is easy to use, the apps can evolve and change as quickly as the business needs changes, instead of waiting for project plans, budget approvals, and IT availability. With Enhatch, sales & marketing are seeing the benefits of speed-to-market and having a technology that is adaptable to their needs.

awaldstein
I think the beauty of Twitter lies in how it doesn’t preordain how it should be used. Rather than tell users what to message or what problem Twitter is solving, Twitter instead just offers a powerful platform then leaves the door wide open and the users themselves evolve its application.

Why I Twitter (via awaldstein)

A wonderfully stated explanation of the wonder that is Twitter.  This is the fullest realization of technology, when user and platform come together to create something.  As paper is to pen and brush is to canvas, that is what Twitter offers to its users, a palette for discourse and sharing of any type and any thing.

We often wonder the same about enterprise technology.  We get caught up in solving pain points and prescribing well-defined solutions that fit well on Gartner Magic Quadrants.  Would we not benefit however if we gave technology to employees that they can use and mold and explore without unnecessary constraints.  By that we mean technology not zealously controlled by IT departments or that is so obtuse that no one but dedicated experts could understand.

That is how we feel at Enhatch, that technology should be liberated and placed in the hands of everyday users.  This is a strange notion to think about in enterprise technology.  Companies are governed by policies and hierarchies and regulations and process upon process, so how could you just give users free reign to use technology without procedures or technology experts?

We believe from our experiences with customers that a powerful lesson is unfolding in the enterprise.  If you give users access to technology that they can create with and mold to their needs, you get much more productive and satisfied employees.  We are fond of saying we provide a platform that lets users roll their own apps, and because the easy to use platform, users can change their apps as they see fit.

There is still plenty of technology that should only be in the hands of IT departments.  But the functional layer of business applications needs to move out of IT and into the hands of business users.  In many cases, that is exactly what users are doing, but by cobbling together point solutions from mobile apps that are not configurable.  We are offering a better way to enable businesses to operate more efficiently by collaborating on one platform and to move as fast as the market changes.

fortinet.com
Despite respondents’ positivity about their employers’ provisions for BYOD policy, 51% stated they would contravene any policy in place banning the use of personal devices at work or for work purposes. This alarming propensity to ignore measures designed to protect employer and employee alike carries through into other areas of personal IT usage. 36% of respondents using their own personal cloud storage (e.g. DropBox) accounts for work purposes said they would break any rules brought in to stop them.

Fortinet Global Survey Shows Generation Y’s Hardening Stance Against Corporate BYOD/Bring-Your-Own-Cloud Policies via Fortinet

The IT departments are losing the war to mobile apps that better serve the needs of the workforce.  Often the corporate alternatives are so poor, difficult to use, or onerous that most employees simply give up and use their own services.  That is what we have seen with our customers, where until they had Enhatch, many were simply take notes, storing files, management contacts, and managing communications/collaboration on low-cost mobile apps.  Of course, this compromises corporate data and that information does not filter back to the rest of the organization.

gereports

The Biggest Startup: How GE Is Becoming Lean

Can massive companies in the hundreds of thousands inspire innovation and change from a culture of bureaucracy to one of speed?  One of our customers GE is doing just that, using the principals of startups to reinvigorate the organization at every level with their program Fastworks.

The methodology has not only helped usher in new products faster, it has also reshaped their approach to sales & marketing.  They have used Enhatch to be lean and fast by allowing marketing and sales to work together to create tools that help sales focus on selling rather then administrative work.  It has also enabled the sales teams to get closer to and collaborate with customers as the GE Rail as able to do during the sales process with Transnet South Africa.  Lean Startup is not just about product development, it is an entirely new approach to operating with greater flexibility and agility through faster iteration.

gereports:

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The Lean Startup approach does not mean that you have to think small. GE, a global industrial leader with 300,000 employees and $147 billion in revenues, has been in business for more than 130 years. Started by Thomas Edison, the company has historically embraced innovation and new business ideas to remain competitive in the rapidly shifting global market. To advance that goal, GE is now transforming its culture to be leaner, faster and closer to customers.

Over the past year, GE has been working with Ries to develop FastWorks, a program built on his Lean Startup principles. As the name implies, FastWorks combines a set of tools and behaviors designed to deliver better outcomes for customers faster. “It will harness our entrepreneurial spirit and improve the way we work,” says Steve Liguori, GE’s executive director for global innovation and new models.

enhatch.com
Mobile-First? You Bet! via Enhatch blog
There still seems some skepticism around going all-in on mobile-first.  What we have found however is that it is enterprises that are actively seeking out mobile apps and platforms.  It is not a matter of if or of when, because it is happening right now and startups are popping up everywhere to provide innovative ways to reinvigorate the business apps within these enterprises.

Mobile-First? You Bet! via Enhatch blog

There still seems some skepticism around going all-in on mobile-first.  What we have found however is that it is enterprises that are actively seeking out mobile apps and platforms.  It is not a matter of if or of when, because it is happening right now and startups are popping up everywhere to provide innovative ways to reinvigorate the business apps within these enterprises.

blogs.hbr.org
The problem is that data, information, and value propositions are not enough to sell innovative products. We all know the saying, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” But when it comes to innovation, the truth is often “I’ll see it when I believe it.” To sell your idea to executives, buyers, and users, you have to change not only what they think, but how they think. Without the right mental model, they won’t see the problem, understand the benefits, or make the change.

Don’t Sell a Product, Sell a Whole New Way of Thinking via Harvard Business Review

It comes down to creating a compelling story that is relevant to the audience being pitched. That is where Enhatch comes in, providing salespeople and marketers the tools that bring content, customer data, collaboration, and insights together in a way that is easy to navigate so that the story unfolds in a way that differentiates and creates the “mental model” in the minds of buyers.

blogs.hbr.org
The really good innovations – the ones that change the world – need to be explained before they’re accepted.

Innovation Is Marketing’s Job, Too by Beth Comstock via Harvard Business Review

This is something we can certainly get behind, not just for ourselves bringing an entirely different viewpoint to enterprise software platforms, but also for our customers.  Whether it is helping GE Energy Storage explain the value of their Durathon battery technology or Paradigm Spine build awareness of their novel,minimally invasive spinal implant technology, we are helping to equip their sales and marketing teams through our mobile platform with the knowledge and confidence to tell their stories and the value of their innovative technologies to the marketplace just as Beth explains further:

Through good storytelling and by connecting with others who share interests in getting those stories out, we help shape the markets in which our offerings will be able to deliver value. 

wpeng

Community, Customers & B2B Marketing

Our friend William Peng wrote an interesting post about the power of community as it relates to Airbnb’s recently unveiled branding effort.

wpeng:

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It emphasized champions of community as a powerful form of “content marketing”.  The best content is the natural output of a vibrant community, of people who actually care about the cause. By providing their community with tools to express themselves, Airbnb creates content that they couldn’t have created themselves.

While Airbnb and Foursquare are B2C brands, the same can be said for the B2B world when it comes to community and content. Building a community and engaging customers through a community is something not often considered.  However there is no more powerful means to convey one’s message and value than through the stories of users.  This means more than simply providing impersonal ROI analyses and sanitized case studies.  A vibrant community creates the content, shares openly, drives innovation, and takes an active role in helping peers in other companies. 

It is still early days for Enhatch, we hope to foster this sense of community with our users and have them share their stories.  What is exciting is to see this very dynamic occur in our customer GE.  Without our prodding or involvement, our product has found its way across several GE businesses, all on the strength of sharing and the excitement about a platform that creates “Fastworks for Sales”.  It does help our cause though that content, collaboration and sharing are features baked into our product.

Community is a powerful tool in the marketing arsenal.  For B2B marketing teams, it could be the very thing that turns around their marketing efforts and gives them a much needed dose of energy.

dilbert.com
Marketing Strategies No One Wants or Needs
We often work with industries that in many ways operate behind the times when it comes to the Internet.  This is particularly true of B2B enterprises that have seen many sales & marketing organizations doing things the same way they always have.  So when they try something new like social media or mobile apps or collaboration, they run up against the sea of doubters asking “why”.
The challenge is that these strategies tend to be presented as pie-in-the-sky initiatives.  With no direct connection with how it will drive sales or improve customer relationships or address other critical and measurable KPI’s, skepticism runs high.  That is why we believe it is best to think about newer strategies as iterative, that directly engage key groups, particularly sales, and can show positive impact.
Strategies around efficient distribution of content that aid the sales process is one such valuable strategy.  You can measure the engagement of the content and how it is used throughout the sales process.  If executed well, no one ever has to ask whether it is something that “no one wants and no one needs”.

Marketing Strategies No One Wants or Needs

We often work with industries that in many ways operate behind the times when it comes to the Internet.  This is particularly true of B2B enterprises that have seen many sales & marketing organizations doing things the same way they always have.  So when they try something new like social media or mobile apps or collaboration, they run up against the sea of doubters asking “why”.

The challenge is that these strategies tend to be presented as pie-in-the-sky initiatives.  With no direct connection with how it will drive sales or improve customer relationships or address other critical and measurable KPI’s, skepticism runs high.  That is why we believe it is best to think about newer strategies as iterative, that directly engage key groups, particularly sales, and can show positive impact.

Strategies around efficient distribution of content that aid the sales process is one such valuable strategy.  You can measure the engagement of the content and how it is used throughout the sales process.  If executed well, no one ever has to ask whether it is something that “no one wants and no one needs”.