Ultra Mobile Devices Are Coming

Andreas Schmitz

Gartner forecasts that sales of tablets will double in 2014, and ultra mobiles, which are devices that run on Windows 8, will be the next big thing.

 Foto: yellomello, Fotolia.comPhoto: yellomello,

Tablets, Smartphones, and C

The market is changing. Apple’s dominance seems to have been broken, at least if you look at computer sales in general, from PCs and tablets to ultra mobiles. Android is the future, according to research conducted by market researcher Gartner. Sales of Android devices will double in 2014, as compared to 2012, whereas Apple’s growth is expected to be just 67 percent. Of the big three, Microsoft will grow the least, at 5.3% by 2014. And this year it is expected to sell fewer of its Windows 8 devices than last year, reflecting the slow uptake of its latest operating system.

Yet Gartner does see a future for Windows 8 devices: as ultra mobiles, which it believes are the next must-have device. Chromebooks and hybrid devices, which combine Android and Windows 8, are part of this. Gartner believes Windows 8.1, the latest Windows 8 release, will enable the operating system finally to break through in the last quarter of this year.

Burgeoning tablet market

The forecast for the different types of devices is as follows: In 2014, the number of ultra mobiles sold is expected to increase threefold on 2012 sales, though at almost 40,000 devices that growth is comparatively modest. Tablets sales will increase by almost 130% to 276,000 devices, sustaining their high level of growth. Sales of desktop PCs have passed their peak, and will decline this year and next year. With the cellphone market almost at saturation, sales are fast approaching their peak. Gartner forecasts meager growth in this market of 4.4% compared to 2013.

The mobile app market is driven by private consumers, and Gartner expects this market to grow by 65% this year, and by as much as 72% next year.

This post is by Andreas Schmitz.


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Gamification For Business – Interview With Mario Herger

There’s a lot of buzz about making business software easier and fun to use, as I suggested in an earlier post. Now, gamification has become a top tactic to do just that.

While definitions vary, this one provides a good starting point for understanding gamification and its application to business:

“Gamification is the process of learning from [the] emotions video games create and transferring them to real-world, everyday-use applications. By using game mechanics problems will be solved by more engaged users.“

To dig a bit deeper into the topic, I interviewed SAP’s own gamification evangelist, successful blog and book author Mario Herger. [Virtual round of applause, please.]

What is gamification and what are the biggest opportunities in that area, but also the boundaries of gamification?

Gamification For Business – Interview With Mario HergerMario: The biggest opportunity is to give people autonomy and feedback in a way that they can learn, achieve mastery, and socialize — and have fun in the process. Today business software gives only negative feedback (“You did something wrong!”) It is not giving you information at all, or it is too difficult to use for beginners and too easy for experts ( = boring.) And the system just keeps telling you how stupid you are, but is does not tell you what you actually should do, or how well you and others are doing.

One of the biggest dangers is that you could set up a gamified system in a way that only considers male playing preferences and sets women up to lose. Another danger is that the data collection process may leave players feeling monitored and controlled, fearful that their managers may be enabled to micromanage them.

What is your favorite gamification showcase? How does it work?

Mario: SAP Community Network. It’s a professional community of SAP experts with 2 million unique visitors a month. The community has been using gamification for over 8 years. With the SCN reputation system users can earn points by blogging, responding to other users’ questions and edit wiki-pages, becoming experts in the process and gaining increased visibility on the leader boards. Many participants have found better jobs and projects; gained access to media and top executives as well as a wide circle of their peers.

The community just relaunched the gamification component a month ago and has seen really staggering numbers. Here is a blog from Laure Cetin, the gamification business owner on SCN.

Videogames use different tasks and / or raise difficulty to keep players motivated as they’re learning. In real life however, let’s say in payroll, your tasks and their difficulty stay the same. Are there game mechanics for scenarios like that, which sustainably drive motivation?

Yes, of course. This is exactly what we want to achieve. Make it easier for the rookie but challenging for the master. You “just” need to figure out what the challenge is today and find the problems for a beginner in an HR system, and then what a very experienced person does. A beginner would maybe start with creating employee accounts and assigning tasks to them. An HR-master might create new career paths and job descriptions (e.g. gamification expert) or coach employees on their careers. I see a lot of opportunities for gamification in HR, and also in big data. As the amount of generated data continues to grow analytics becomes more and more important. Providing everyone with instant feedback is gaining increasing relevance. Gamification can be a way to do so.



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Women And The C-Suite

Lisa Shelley

laDDEr_to_the_tOp_by_jrparenteau700x300, Women And The C-Suite

I find it interesting how business forums tend to frame the discussion of the low numbers of women in C-level leadership positions.

One perspective is the “establishment” is holding women back, the Glass Ceiling theory. The premise of which is that there are discriminatory practices at work preventing women from rising beyond a certain level in management.

Another perspective is that women themselves have held back and not done enough to push back on the establishment. I’ll call this the Lean-In theory. The premise of this perspective is women haven’t taken the necessary initiative and risk to achieve executive leadership positions. They haven’t put themselves forward adequately.

I don’t mean to imply that these two theories aren’t valid considerations for some women. However, what is interesting is both of these commonly discussed theories are predicated on the idea that the majority of women don’t attain something they actually desire.

There is yet another perspective you don’t hear discussed in business forums, and as often is the case, what goes unsaid is the most informative.

What if the problem is simply that many women, maybe even a majority of women, simply do not want the lifestyle that goes along with these roles? What if the problem is the business culture itself?

Could the lack of women in the C-suite be analogous to the canary in the coalmine warning us of an unhealthy environment?

Have we given fair consideration to the idea that many women may see, define, and experience success differently than their male counterparts? Rather than a singular focus on reaching the pinnacle in one aspect of their lives, women tend to value a more multi-dimensional life experience, which often is not possible with a C-suite role.

My perspective on gender differences has always been if you look at the normal distribution of many characteristics represented in men and women, you’ll see a perceivable difference between the distributions’ midpoints. This is true no matter how the tails of these distributions generally overlap. Applying this concept to how women and men view success, it’s not surprising to me that in our current corporate culture women are under-represented in the C-suite.

In my corporate career, I rarely met a woman who felt that her success was hindered by discriminatory practices, thankfully. I also rarely met women who wanted a seat at the executive table, but lacked the initiative to take it.

I met many talented women who aspired to and achieved executive leadership positions. And I met many, many more women, with a lifelong achievement focus, who simply chose to create their own version of success. These talented and capable women chose to scale back significantly, or leave the corporate world entirely to start their own businesses, work for non-profits, and yes, some chose to spend more time with their families.

One very unique attribute that I noticed among these women was they viewed their career, and life, in chapters; each chapter with an important focus and growth opportunity contributing to an overall richness of life. They didn’t singularly focus on a specific definition of success or follow an orchestrated plan leading to a culminating achievement.

If we truly want to create change, maybe we need to talk more about why we would like to see more women in the C-suite. Are we after parity for parity’s sake? Or do we genuinely see opportunity to build more successful and innovative businesses through inclusion of more diverse perspectives at the leadership table? If we can really see that opportunity, maybe it’s time to stop defining success for women and instead challenge our assumptions about the culture in business. Maybe we need to create a business environment that encourages a broader spectrum of leaders to lean-in.

Read here the second part to Lisa Shelley’s post tomorrow.

Photo courtesy of jrparenteau


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Current Mobile Shopping Trends: Focus On Smartphones

Jen Cohen Crompton

Mobile Shopping Trends

When shopping, do you use your smartphone? That doesn’t just mean making purchases on your smartphone, but do you use your phone as a supplement for better [shopping] decision-making?

It turns out that a majority of shoppers, shop with phone-in-hand and are using the device for more than just connecting with friends – they are virtually shopping with them.

Smartphone users are doing the following…

1. Photos. Shoppers are taking photos of their potential purchases and sending to friends and family to “survey the audience” to aid in purchase decisions. Basically, shoppers can shop with others and get their opinions simply by snapping a photo and waiting for the response. Think about that time you tried on a shirt and couldn’t decide if you liked it or not. The person with you would weigh in and if they liked it, you purchased. If not, you didn’t. Same idea, only now we’re doing it via text multimedia text messages.

2. Calling. What if you forgot what mom wanted for her birthday? Why not call your sibling and ask what she wanted and toss around a few ideas while you’re standing in her favorite store. Easy enough and that means you don’t have to make an extra trip back to the mall.

3. Checking Reviews. Another way that a smartphone can become your best shopping buddy is searching for third-party validation of the quality, performance, or overall sentiment about the product in question. Studies show that more and more consumers are trusting peer reviews of products and services, and that they are increasingly becoming an influencing factor in buying decisions.

4. Checking Prices. Whether brick and mortar stores love it or hate it, it’s fact that smartphone users will quickly compare prices while shopping to see if the in-store product is competitively priced with the online version. Although it can be difficult for a store to compete with online pricing, the product is readily available for the shopper and no waiting is required.

As smartphone use continues to grow and become more of a “way of life” than an added bonus, smartphone shopping will continue to grow.

As mentioned in the video, eMarketer reported that after assessing smartphone behaviors and ecommerce growth at the end of Q1 2013, at the end of 2013, mobile purchasing will account for 15 percent of ecommerce space and will account for $38 billion dollars. In that space, 27 percent of ecommerce purchases will be done using smartphones.

The bottom line here? The more shoppers use their smartphones, the more they will purchase.


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5 Sales Management Myths Debunked

Sales Benchmark Index

Debunking Sales Management Myths

5 Sales Management Myths DebunkedI sat across the desk from Mike, the new VP of Sales. He had just been promoted 6 months ago. Before his promotion Mike was the can’t-miss Sales Manager. Now he was just another VP of Sales in the cross-hairs. His team had missed the last two quarters. An unraveled roll of antacids sat on his desk. “I feel like I’ve got to turn around a battleship and I’ve got a speedboat’s time. I’m stretched in too many different places. I don’t have the time to focus on anything.”

Here are the Top 5 Sales Management Myths we see in the field:

1.       “I should spend most of my coaching time with the worst performers.”: Consistent underperformers usually receive the majority of the coaching.  VPs think “If I can just get them to perform like my “As”, I can make the number. This is the wrong approach. Instead, think about it like this:   I can give a 10% revenue production boost to anyone on my team.  Who Should I Choose? A guy producing $1.2m a year provides an extra $120k.  A guy producing $500k gives you only $50k.  Focus on your A’s and B’s.

2.       “If our results are diminishing we need to double down on current methods”:  Many VPs are complaining that their teleprospecting teams aren’t delivering. The quantity of qualified leads is down, despite more call volume.  List purchases haven’t provided the cheap refresh bump.  Despite this, two VPs told me they planned to increase telemarketing headcount.  Stop investing in efforts that produce diminishing returns.  Find a different way to generate high quality leads.  The office telephone is a dying demand generation tool.

3.     ”My ‘A’ Players Don’t Need to Follow The Sales Processes or CRM Procedures”: Too many “A” Players are given carte blanche to execute their sales calls.  “A” Players who don’t follow initiatives undermine every other rep in the organization. Your new recruits and “B” players will see zero adoption from the stars.  They will think, “If they don’t have to, neither do I”.  This also rings true for CRM adoption.  Make the CRM easy to use and intuitive, then expect compliance.  No excuses for people who “don’t get” computers. If you let one person slide, be prepared to let everyone else.

4.       “This 2 day training event will produce real results”: You hire the expert from a fancy Sales Enablement firm.  They bring binders, sales tools, and laminated glossy sheets.  Every Rep talks about how engaging the session was.  They use the tools for the first week, then stop.  Sales Leadership doesn’t know how to follow through. Training events that lack post-event reinforcement seldom see results.  Make sure that you have a process to ensure adoption before the event happens.  Press your managers on adoption.  Ask your Sales Reps for completed tools on every call. Don’t let training be an isolated incident.

5. “I’m responsible for pushing the big deals over the line”: Sales VPs want to ensure that big deals they commit will close.  To do this, they accompany reps on multiple sales calls.  The purpose is to show the prospect that management is committed.  The reality is that the VP of Sales does most of the talking.  This may help you win the big deal.  It also starves reps of opportunities to close.  Accompany your rep to show your commitment to the prospect.  However, let them execute the sales call.  Otherwise, you’ll create a culture that depends on you for every big deal.  Now you’ve gone from a VP to a glorified sales rep.  You’ll have no time for your strategic initiatives.

Mike was able to turn his organization around.  After we diagnosed the problems, we prioritized a list of corrective actions. You can download an example here. We’ve attached several tools used within the document to help on execution. Mike made specific time commitments to each problem. He invested more in his managers. He leaned on them to execute his initiatives.  If you’re a Sales VP, you probably recognize yourself in at least one example.  Don’t fall victim to another Sales Management Myth.

This post is from one of the organizations that allow us to guest post some of their great content, Sales Benchmark Index. You can find the original post here. It has been modified slightly for presentation here.


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