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The “ON” “BY” “WITH” way…

How did the thought come by? Well, midway through a cookery show, which I was kinda forced to watch with my daughter. Three teams slugging it out, lead by a head chef. And to put it rather lamely, the team which cooked the best, won the match and the goodies, and the accolades etc.etc.. pretty usual. What i could notice that all the three head chefs had their own distinct style of expression, broadly classifiable as “ON” “WITH” & “BY” styles. One “WITH” style, the Chef was quite into cooking (i.e. operational stuff included) and had a specific task cut out for himself, much like other mates. Pretty much equal amount of work which the team had, plus of course planning, managing and decision making and not to mention shouldering the result and facing the judges.

The other team had their head chef literally on the team, only into managing, decision making and allocating specific tasks to specific team lads, we say it the “ON” style. A lot less work compared to the “WITH” style and definitely a bossy guy demanding respect from the team and surely maintaining his panache and definitely passing on the critical comment from judges to the team through and through.

And finally, the “BY” style, a leader who lets his team define, decide and deliver and only stepped in when he felt things are not on track and needed a course correction. Works the least and the teams does everything from planning to delivery. With such leaders, the team shoulders both accolades and reprimands.

Let’s look at leaders from sports annals, almost all  “With” guys. Heavily worked, into thick of things and lose their position as soon as they stop performing. 

In the business world, you find primarily “ON” style leaders working wonders.

And finally let’s us look at leaders in the teaching or social sector, you would find them usually practising the “BY” style. A bit passive style where leaders are more like coaches and enable their team to perform.

Which team won finally, I thought I would share and give a direction to the thought. But while scribbling these, strangely I felt I was being a bit biased and may be, my opinion would lead to assumptions which may or may not be correct

To conclude, let the show winners ..stay at their show, my thought stays with me, while you choose which hat you wish to put on…

Get ur self a katappa first..

Everyone loves a Bahubali around, flamboyant casanovic and go getter. Be it sales, service delivery, operations, our talent acquisition team and of course the entire organisation is neck deep in getting, nurturing or retaining one. Not to mention the innate aspiration of all newbies to become one. 

In this mad rush to create, nurture and retail Bahubalees, we almost always overlook the one key pillar which keeps the Babubali chugging. The character which pocesses the rare virtue of reliability and integrity sans the artificial halo in and around his head. It cannot be taught neither does one inherit it but can only be self learned. A role much harder to play both in reel and real life because of its ego crushing and adrenalin snuffing nature..

A role played by most of the women in our life since ages. For me, it’s difficult to become a Katappa than Bahubali..

Go get urself a Katappa first, Bahubalees will follow…..

2 mobiles, 3 laptops and a perennial “low battery” life…

It isn’t only with me, its with all of us. A life infested with electronic devices and the perennial problem of low battery. For me its like my bank account, perennially low, unfortunately unlike banks mobiles devices do not have any “zero balance” option. Once I had to plead a uber driver to change my mobile battery to book a cab back home. Adding to the fun was the demonetisation drive. No money, low battery, little intoxicated and late at night somewhere in Gurgaon (sorry Gurugram)

The world of apps will continue give us a life of “low batteries” and lower attention span. Sooner than later there would be platforms available to develop you own app for your own distinct need in a jiffy.  It will be as easy as opening an email account. And the already endemic “low battery” is soon going to become a global gridlock. Realistically speaking, we cannot entirely shut the app world around us to solve the problem, but what we can do is have a more rational approach to address it.

For the corporate world we already have platforms which can optimise the life cycle and usage of plethora of apps companies develop and use, for us lesser mortals (retail users) i guess we will have to wait for some time. Till that time enjoy the only benefit of low battery…some mobile free time…

Blink Vs Thinking Slow…

I can never forget my first swimming lesson. Our trainer who himself was a teenager inspired  me enough to jump at the deeper end of the pool, and which of-course i did. He eventually dragged me out, violently coughing and gasping for breath. Sounds enterprising but trust me none of us would wish to be in such situations and for us corporate workers it more important than ever to deliberate before executing.

Be it blink (by Malcolm Gladwell) or thinking fast and slow (by Daniel Kahneman), the importance of thought before any action is a must always. However, the approach, which differentiates the two is stark. For me Blink is an interesting book to read but when it comes to real life action, i would rather be slow and take the help of tools and systems in place before the plunge or intuitively establish cause and effect relations

Tectonic Shift & Napping Mammoths

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Traditionally and to a good extent in existing scenarios as well, a Video Conferencing solution remains fiefdom of senior and top management. A non-democratised and straitjacketed room accessible only to privileged few whose travel bills are exorbitant enough to create a gap. A huge investment just to ensure that you are able to squeeze in video (into the conversation) and ofcourse lots and lots of “Identity value”. Vendors till date have been able to do a decent job in increasing the “Identity Value” . Products like Apple, Mercedes, Nike etc have done a great job in creating and maintaining “Identity Value” hence keeping the cash register ringing continuously.
Sadly though traditional conferencing vendors have not been able manage sustainable “Identity Value” though. Not because of brand visibility but because of product usability. Let me elaborate a bit more of it, all of us would have the answers on finger tips if asked to name few video conferencing players who are top players in the market. This is brand visibility. Only two key features and lots and lots of “identity value”.
What is does not offer as seamless integration to its core is
  • Integrated white-boarding for taking notes,
  • document sharing, collaboration or annotation
  • ability to work together from multiple locations
  • Ability to take inputs from multiple sources (Like laptop, tabs, pads, Internet etc). If you needed it desperately add one more device called switcher to the clutter
  • to share MoM/final results after the meeting. These features are a huge contributor to a productive result oriented meeting
  • And limited number of rooms/user participation in a conference
What is the cost to get these additional features and many more?
  • some eagerness to explore and evaluate new things by uses
  • and a manageable learning curve for additional features
  • Willingness to explore beyond traditional
Personally as i shifted from traditional conferencing system to software dependent conferencing system what i had to personally invest was some not so dedicated time (about 2 hours, one hour for two days) to run through the additional features and learn to use them. Now i prefer client calls, inter-region conference calls, intra region team meeting all on my vc/laptop/phone with the capability to take notes on the same device on which we discuss, work on a common document and not mail multiple times, not being restricted to 4 or 5 users but add upto 50 users with a click of a button.
What you get from these new age conferencing and collaborating systems?
In a nutshell
  • Independence from a team of back-office staff to run and support it multiple vendor integrated solution
  • Independence from number of regions and participants barrier
  • Independent from being restricted to one room and one device
  • Ease of use: This is debated many time and users feel that it is not as easy. When users brought their first touch based mobile/smart phones the learning curve was there, however none bothered much over it. This was because the identity value was so high that the minuscule learning curve was nowhere in consideration.
What vendors need to do probably is create a bit more of Identity value and of course allow as many users as one can to try for free and experience with the products. Having said that even without the identity value, the technology wave is such tsunamic that the traditional technology would be wiped off like mammonths

Oracles acquisition of Netsuite – A just another or…..

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Software major Oracle on Thursday (28th July) announced it was acquiring enterprise cloud services company NetSuite for nearly $9.3 billion in an all-cash deal – a move with which Oracle intends to cement its position in the growing cloud crm market and also reduce the lag by its late entry. The transaction is expected to complete by later this year.

It is the second largest acquisition for Oracle. It had acquired Peoplesoft in 2004 for 10.4bn USD. With Netsuite’s acquisition, Oracle intends to pitch harder against its friend/foe Salesforce. NetSuite has more than 5,000 employees and specializes in accounting and other back-office e-commerce software, particularly for smaller businesses. It has also created online software for manufacturing that is similar to some of Oracle’s software applications. NetSuite was one of the first companies to provide SaaS. It had a market capitalization of $7.37 billion before the deal was announced. In May, NetSuite unveiled software that unifies various accounting functions — for example, billing, revenue recognition, orders and subscriptions — into one system. NetSuite has more than 30,000 customers, the bulk of which are small and mid-size companies.

What could be the next step?

As per Mark Hurd CEO Oracle, the Oracle and Netsuite cloud offerings are complementary and can co-exist in the market for long time. Netsuite on the other hand can leverage Oracles global presence to increase its market breadth. Oracles dominance in database was nowhere influencing the cloud race.In a scenario where it was a late entrant and with a portfolio which was quite lagging behind AWS and Dynamics, it was continuously loosing out in the highly competitive arena of cloud crm. Acquisition of netsuite is a perfect marriage of opportunities. Amidst plethora of crm softwares which have cropped up in the near past, it can be comfortably said that salesforce is the real winner in this round, however with ever changing dynamics of business expectation from CRM, it is not what is now which will be important but what companies will offer is important. The CRM market is more or less matured enough. Today companies do not wish to have crm, manufacturing, accounting etc in silo but want to automate the entire lifecyle of business automated and talking to each other in sync. Most of the new age companies are build around automation. On cloud crm softwares like Uber, OLA, Airbnb etc use the platform to run the business and not sell the platform itself.

G2 Crowd CRM Review & Evaluation

Going forward, we will have two type of cloud buyers, one which is the cash cow industry and other which is  growth engine  to the IT industry. The cash cows are typically on legacy systems with huge DC/DR and multiple applications running in islands. They need to automate themselves to compete with the latest and nimble new comers in the market and hence the pressure on IT vendors to provide automating and seamless integration. Typically these cash cow industries have multiple vendors between the user and manufacturers with each focusing on specific roles. What is lacking here is seamless integration of value chain from one end to end. Vendors like Oracle &SAP which have traditionally been provider of heavy duty erp and database solutions to automate the back-end processes, now need to proved 360 degree view of end users as well and further integrate it seamlessly to the heavy duty engine running behind. Hence the drive to acquire 360 degree crm providers like  netsuite, salesforce etc. What lies ahead is not what netsuite brings on the table upfront but how Oracle leverages its technology to provide more value to its clients who are a cash cow. Here Oracle would try to ensure that these industry giants also evaluates its crm offering as seriously as Salesforce.

The growth engine industry primarily constitutes of those aggregators who depend on the heavy duty manufacturers to provide the anvil on which they grow. For example ola, uber, airbnb etc.. these players do have platform at their core and service as offering. IT vendor see immense opportunity in these players as they ensure that the final need of end users are met in a more user friendly manner. Hence the demand for players like salesforce, netsuite etc. With acquisition of Netsuite, Oracle intends not only to acquire its existing clients but also an opportunity it position its existing offerings and become an end to end vendor. For leading crm providers like salesforce, dynamics etc, to make it to the biggest league it has to foray into the attractive cash cow industry not just with crm offering but penetrate into the erp and database segment which is the biggest pie. For which it has to either have a foolproof strategic relationship with vendors like SAP and Oracle or acquire/invent something revolutionary.

The most probable outcome in the next few year could be acquisition of salesforce as well and then allowing the rest to die a natural death/exist in a niche OR salesforce/some other crm company acquires either Oracle, IBM or SAP and flips the world upsidedown..who knows??

 

Sources: Oracle website, bloomberg, crowd2,wsj