It’s 1896 and you’ve just bought your first car. Well, the term “bought” is as loose as the spare parts rattling around in a box that will someday be your first car. Henry Ford’s assembly line is still 16 years away so you’ll have to “do-it-yourself” if you want an automobile. Oh, and the chassis and box of DIY auto parts cost you over $70,000 in 2009 dollars. When you’re finished the car will get over 16 miles per gallon. The good news is it costs just under $3 (2009 prices). The bad news is it’s sold at the general store 15 miles away, a long way for a fill-up.
Flash forward to 2009 where automobiles magically appear, pre-assembled on showroom floors. You pay as little as $10,000 for a new one. Fuel will have been drilled for at a remote oil rig in the middle of the ocean, refined in Texas, and shipped to a network of over 15 brands of gas station scattered every mile or so. Amazingly, you will complain that a gallon of gas costs $2.80.
Automobile assembly, fuel production, and distribution have been made inexpensive through standardization and ready availability. They’re performed “out there,” invisibly, by someone else. You would never dream of doing it yourself. You couldn’t perform those services as well or as cheaply as the network of producers and distributers can. These services have been pushed away from you.
This trend has extended to enterprise computing. Traditionally companies had to maintain their own stack of hardware and software, and a fleet of expensive IT professionals to wrangle it all. Companies were forced to become experts in businesses other than their own. Rather than worrying about being great hotels, restaurants, or retail chains, companies had to worry about being great e-commerce, data warehouse, and CRM companies. Increasingly IT software and hardware solutions are being offered through “the Cloud,” a popular metaphor for the Internet, as an on-demand service, allowing companies to get back to what they do best: serving customers.
A major type of Cloud Computing is Software as a Service (SaaS) which bundles a hosted hardware solution with a customized application delivered via the web. SaaS vendors worry about the intricacies of managing hardware as well as providing elastic scalability. Enterprises benefit from huge reductions in capital expenditures and their users benefit from being able to access their data from any browser connected to the Internet. Mindshare is a SaaS provider of Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM).
EFM has emerged as a popular term describing how feedback can be captured and distributed throughout the enterprise. But feedback doesn’t need to be “managed.” It needs to be leveraged. It needs to be turned into actionable business intelligence. EFM suffers from some of the same terminology flaws as CRM does: Customer Relationship Management – it’s rarely about the customer, almost never improves the relationship, and nobody really wants to be managed. Consider a new term: The Operational Feedback Cloud.
Feedback exists “out there”, in the cloud. It exists in automated Web surveys and captured voice comments. It exists in blogs and social networks. In email transcripts and text messages. Feedback permeates the cloud, in both structured and unstructured forms. It only makes sense that an ideal feedback provider exist in, and harness the power of, the Operational Feedback Cloud.
Mindshare is one of the earliest SaaS EFM vendors and the market leader in actionable operational feedback. We’re extending our leadership role by developing new technologies to allow you to tap into the Operational Feedback Cloud:
- Improved Web services-based data integration
- Text and voice analytics for leveraging unstructured data
- Social Network integration for plugging directly into the Cloud
- An interactive actionable feedback dashboard
- Advanced automated data analytics that transform data into intelligence
Mindshare’s Software as a Service lets companies tap into the Operational Feedback Cloud, pushing away feedback capture and distribution so they can focus on the “what and why” while we worry about the “how.”