Interesting and relevant

If you are in the technology business today, particularly in our industry, chances are a big part of your daily vocabulary features hyped expressions such as Smart Cities, Internet of Things (not to mention the mother of them all: cloud computing) or acronyms like LTE, VM, CRM.

Let me ask you this: how do you explain what you do to your spouse (if he or she is not in technology), let alone your kids? I am having a hard time. Things that form a global network, cities that think in your place, darwinism applied to mobile networks, machines that don’t exist or professional counsel on how to deal with your customers?

It seems to me we’ve elevated the practice of not being understood outside of our industry – sometimes even outside of our group – to an art form.

Just the other day, I was trying to understand a Powerpoint slide describing next year’s sales compensation plan based on objectives and quotas. Not that I was interested in the math behind it, all I wanted to know was what hot buttons to push to get our sales peoples’ attention. Granted, this is something I am a bit obsessed with, but in large companies, it is sometimes harder to “sell” to your own sales people than to your customers.

Bottom line is: I failed. Though I figured SBO might mean Strategic Business Objectives, “SVM applied to NA, DSO to the rest of CALA” really got the best of me. I don’t think SVM means Secure Virtual Machine or Support Vector Object, nor do I think DSO stands for Dynamic Shared Object or Dallas Symphonic Orchestra (I did subsequently learn that DSO in that context means Day Sales Outstanding and is a ratio that describes the average collection period — praise Wikipedia)…

So whenever someone uses simple words to describe any concept, whether it is a technical solution, a marketing campaign or a business objective, he or she would immediately get my attention. And the last time this happened was during a side meeting at CES when Jason Collins reinforced the yearly objectives for the ng Connect Program (mentioning Jason’s name at this time has absolutely nothing to do with any ongoing performance review). He said: “We’ve done a good job of making and keeping the Program interesting, now we need to also focus on making it more relevant.”

This was obviously followed by action items and goal setting discussions, but the heart of the message was there. Interesting is why people and companies want to join ng Connect. It’s an easy one. Who would not want to join and freely interact with such a diverse crowd of talented people, companies of all sizes, industries and geographies, discuss the latest technology and industry trends, and work on designing innovative solution concepts in many different fields? Yes we always can and we will continue to work on making the Program and ecosystem even more attractive. If anything, recent signups, events and continued activity tell us we are on the right track.

Relevant is why people and companies need to join ng Connect. This one’s harder. It seems obvious that any one of the existing member companies could survive and do well without the Program. And there are many more thriving companies out there, old and new, that do not even know about ng Connect or Alcatel-Lucent, its founding member. But in today’s hyper-connected society, when all we talk about is Smart Cities, Smart Homes, Internet of Things, Cloud, Big data, Micro grids, Data protection, cyberthreats and cybersecurity, can we still imagine innovative, forward-looking concepts without any networking and communication requirements? Can you really justify not reaching out to worldwide experts in that field to boost or sometimes even reinvent your projects? As these projects become more complex and more diverse, how do you engineer agile collaborations with multiple companies worldwide? Can you afford not to take a look at the ng Connect Program and how it is precisely designed to facilitate such collaborations with no strings attached? Finally, as such projects instantly become global – sometimes even when they’re still at the “Slideshare” stage, can you pass up the opportunity of relying on a worldwide reaching program, present at major technology events and exposed on a daily basis to some of the largest companies and service providers on all continents? Yes? Really yes?  Please send me a quick note and I’ll be happy to send you my resumé in a heartbeat.  I believe it is far more likely that the Program, in its current form, can do a lot to really help your business.

In fact, there is probably only one thing that can make the Program even more relevant to its member companies: concrete business opportunities and increased revenue derived from ng Connect activities. We are working on that.  This is why we have placed and continue to place such emphasis on customer engagement and market trials, as I have discussed in previous posts.  This is the validation of all the ideation, business modeling and agile prototyping work that members engage in, when they participate in the Program.

This is why our next ng Connect global event that will take place in the U.S. (in California), will be focused on go-to-market execution.  Without revealing too much about it, know that it will feature themes such as Financial Services, Smart Cities, Utilities, Gaming and Webscale (think growing clouds).  A leading analyst & consulting firm will disclose its findings in these spaces in terms of trends and actionable opportunities.  Expect to engage with participants from players in every one of these fields.  Get ready to collaborate on concrete solution building and go-to-market planning. Oh and look for an entertaining venue too!

We believe we’ve put everything in place to make this event – and the Program – more interesting to you.  We need your help to make both more relevant, as well. — As Mr. Balzac would say, “It is easy to sit up and take notice, what is difficult is getting up and taking action”!

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