There is a chicken-egg-interdependency of business- and Intellectual Property strategy. This explains, why IP-strategy discussions without a deep understanding of business makes no sense.
Seeking the core of business transformation in digital technology adoption only is not enough. The Intellectual Property Strategy will likely decide who takes control on the whole value chain and the underlying business model - who sits in the front seat and who must find a place on the backbench.
Even though that patents represent a part of innovation only, they still indicate where the energy is in a respective geography, industry, or even company. The annual reports of patent offices provide some interesting perspectives worth exploring.
The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man, and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.
With the separation of Software from Hardware arriving in automotive industry, a whole set of new proprietary software with respective End User Licensing Agreements (EULA) will be coming down the road. It seems we soon have to familiarize ourselves with the fact that we can´t own a car entirely anymore - primarily not because we all move into the share economy model but driven by the fact that the car manufacturer will no longer own or control the required software IP. Automotive Industry for years pushed towards external innovation and external labor to reduce capital lockup - Software IP will be a game changer for car vendors who want to keep control on their core business.
This idea is intriguing us because manufacturers need to go beyond selling physical car assets and must discover us drivers as customers - welcome to next generation Customer Relationship Management and the essence of customer intimacy for an old economy!
However, transformation in software industry is going deep as well. What has worked in a traditional productized Sell-To model needs to get complemented by Sell-With and Sell-Through approaches to meet the new customer expectations. Software IP gets embedded in products, cloud-based services become essential part of other products or your current customer may want to join forces with you on innovation. Either way, it´s time to revise value propositions, to reskill the salesforce and to tune the commercial backbone towards new ways of monetization. Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 and a solid IP Strategy belong together and form the common ground for your business in near future, so let´s prepare for it now.
Good news, the cheese may already have moved on but the opportunity maybe bigger than ever and the driver seat is not decided yet!
High-Tech Industry also realizes it´s Semmelweis reflex on data protection and digital security and collectively started washing hands in a metaphorical sense to fight most recent super bugs like Spectre and Meltdown.
Bugs and viruses in software, micro code or silicone can´t get prevented by washing hands, however, the traits of hygiene well translate into (software-) engineering disciplines since, it is a concept of clean separation of entities.
The skilled cut of a surgeon or the smart hack of an engineer are admirable but certainly not the only definition of success. The collective realization is needed that, data privacy is tightly connected with security and ultimately safety. New definitions of performance are needed since, what we face is not a technological crisis only. Recent Facebook hearing shows the need for clean separation, all the way from business models to digital implementation and makes the conflict of public, private and economic interests evident.
Given the opportunity cost of cyber crime, major data breaches, political destabilization or global financial crisis, we -societies, industries or markets- should overcome the Semmelweis reflex and establish common norms and standards for Trustworthy Computing.
Fix a problem before regulation makes it a crisis.
It will probably take time to reach consensus in High-Tech Industry but, meanwhile let´s keep washing hands and remind all parties on the essence of integrity: Doing the right thing, even when no one is looking!
Account Planning means planning for results. In a number driven world of sales, the decomposition of an aspired revenue goal is psychologically the first step to accepting the challenge. While SMART goals and respective objectives may well fit on a small napkin, they by no means are the plan. I would even argue that it is the wrong end to start with - relevant account plans are starting with the customer.
In recent years, Business-to-Business sales has evolved in various dimensions, redefining how we engage with customers:
Account Planning is a reflection on the evolution in sales but even more, so it is a yardstick on the sophistication of your teams work - what a great coaching opportunity or moment to personally benefit the customer relationship in form of executive sponsorship.
Imagine the business potential of getting the perception right by moving away from a necessary evil and abandoning the disrespect which a napkin implies.
Probably it is both, the no fear approach rooted in the own strength and the believe, that innovation should be routine - The inventor produces ideas, the entrepreneur “gets things done” [J. Schumpeter, 1947].
... There's an angel, with a hand on my head
Closing my pleasant conversation with the gentleman, I directly asked him on his personal fear. He responded that in future quality journalism may commercially not find it´s sustainable place. However, messing with the checks and balances in our democratic societies would get him sleepless nights.
Auch der stärkste Mann schaut einmal unters Bett.
Looking back, the focus remained on strengthening the status quo of computing capability towards faster, better, cheaper - neglecting the fact that in a current world of predominantly linear computing requirements the availability of resource no longer remains the limit for businesses - instead, time is the ultimate scarce resource.
Moors law keeps democratizing affordable compute resource and turns blessing into obligation. It´s an obligation to make better use of affordable digital resource within shorter innovation cycles. In a cloud based world, which is trending towards zero marginal cost and global reach (as predicted by Jeremy Rifkin) - the better business model innovator with the fastest implementation wins - The Race is On!
In skating over thin ice our safety is in our speed.
That doesn't mean that business experts need to become technical experts, but it does mean that business people need to get serious about understanding the core of technologies that they use to run their mission and into the right direction.
How is your own digital fitness level doing and what approach are you taking to lead in the digital era?
When it comes to digital, the only thing worse than standing still is running in the wrong direction.