Archive for February, 2011

February 25, 2011

A Short Message About The Quake

This is just a brief post to say that I have been distracted from blogging by recent earthquake related activity. For those who don’t know, there was a devastating earthquake in Christchurch, my hometown, on Tuesday 21 February 2011. I’ve spent a couple of days worrying about and sorting out family related things – thankfully everyone is safe and relatively unscathed. Over those days I have received numerous messages of support from my colleagues, friends and acquaintances in the blogosphere and the twitterverse, which have really meant a lot.

I have also just written a guest article for 160Characters on the use of text messages in the aftermath of the earthquake entitled: SMS vital in dark hours of Christchurch earthquake. If you are interested, go there and check it out! As one of the most significant events in New Zealand’s recent history (or possibly in all of New Zealand’s short history) the earthquake will have many impacts on New Zealand society, business and technology which will no doubt inspire me to write more on the topic.

February 18, 2011

Thoughts About The Partnership Between Nokia And Microsoft

Recently Teresa Cottam asked me what I thought of the Nokia/Microsoft alliance. A number of people have said it is the marriage of two failures, while a few others think it is an astute business move.

My take on this is that Nokia had to do something radical. They are losing market share to Apple’s iPhone (and probably to Android smartphones too). Their Symbian smartphones were just dreadful – the user experience was horrible and they couldn’t compete with the application functionality offered by Apple through the iTunes AppStore.

Nokia used to be the clear leaders in phone design – their hardware was distinctive, relatively sleek, nice-looking, robust and reliable. Sometime in the mid 2000s things started to go wrong. The hardware started to look old, or the same as everyone else’s. Everyone else caught up with them in terms of the quality of user experience. With the advent of the iPhone Nokia looked like it had really lost its way, and when Android phones started to come out they started to look like the fourth best option (after Blackberries).

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February 14, 2011

Should You Bill at The Edge Or in The Core?

This is  a particular bugbear of mine – the recent tendency of vendors to try and push solutions for charging “at the edge”.  The question is: do they improve an operator’s overall charging capability? I don’t believe so.

Edge charging solutions manage charging (i.e. that price usage, and bill a user) within or close to the network elements that deliver particular services at the edge. They are unlike traditional charging solutions that manage charging as part of the overall customer management at the core of a service provider’s systems. A simple example would be an application that takes mobile data usage events and creates charges from them which runs on the same server as the GGSN (a mobile data gateway).

This tendency to push such solutions has been led, I suspect, by network vendors wanting to get a part of the lucrative BSS and OSS market. Recently it has been taken up by traditional billing vendors trying to combat the move by the network vendors, and also to try and sell additional solutions into a saturated (and somewhat dissatisfied – though that’s another story) market.

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February 11, 2011

Focus on Your Strategy Not Your Tools or Models

A piece of advice I was recently given was that I shouldn’t worry about strategy tools and models (e.g. strategy maps, five forces, balanced score cards etc.) but instead should just get on and “do” the strategy. The advice comes down to: don’t focus on the method for coming up with and describing your strategy – focus on what you need to do and how you are going to do it. My initial response was “this is good advice when you are doing strategy, but not so good when you are wanting to use or model existing strategy” (for instance when doing enterprise architecture). On further reflection, I think I was mistaken.

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February 8, 2011

Billing Isn’t Dead, And That Isn’t Billing As I Know It

Tony Poulos recently wrote an article on the TM Forum entitled Bye-bye Billing, Goodbye – it had an implicit subtitle of “billing as we now know it is doomed”. This is a variation on the “x is dead, long live x” theme – a rhetorical device I admit to not being particularly fond of. Tony’s writing on billing, however,  is always worth reading, and is often thought provoking – in this case his article has both provoked some thoughts and a bit of a rant from me.

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February 5, 2011

My New Blog

Welcome to Doug Newdick’s blog about issues in the discourse between business and technology. What might that mean? In my experience there is a constant interplay between business and technology:

  • New technologies introduce new problems for businesses;
  • New technologies make new business solutions possible;
  • Businesses struggle to execute strategy effectively with technology;
  • Businesses fail to see the possibilities in technology;
  • Technologists fail to understand their businesses;
  • Business innovation requires and feeds technology innovation.

The purpose of this blog is to improve this discourse, to articulate business strategy, needs, desires and outcomes in a way that supports effective use of technology; to make the capabilities, limitations and possibilities of specific technologies comprehensible to the wider business.

Of particular interest to me is the telecommunications industry and the area of business and technology that centres on billing. I have, however extensive experience in other industries such as government, and in other business-technology intersections such as customer relationship management (CRM) and business intelligence – so I’ll write about those as well.