Lexicon Systems, LLC Blog

lex'•i•con: the vocabulary of a branch of knowledge. Thoughts on environment, health & safety (EHS), sustainability and information technology to support them.


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Metrics matter in Google vs. Apple market leader competition

Perhaps the greatest tech rivalry of the 20th century was Oracle (Larry Ellison) vs. Microsoft (Bill Gates). Fast forward to 2014, with Google and Apple in hot competition for market leadership. 

200px-Apple_logo_black

Image: Apple

Image: Google

Image: Google

Like Oracle (enterprise database software) and Microsoft (operating system, desktop and server software and PCs), Google and Apple started in different market niches. Today, their two markets overlap.

  • Google’s Android OS and hardware overlap Apple’s OSX and iOS operating systems.
  • Both companies are smartphone and tablet market leaders, with Google Android sales surpassing Apple iOS sales for the first time in late 2013.
  • Together, the two companies offer one million-plus applications through Google Play, iTunes and the Mac Apps Store.
  • Both companies offer “wearable tech.”
  • Google and Apple both grow organically and through acquisition. Notable Google acquisitions include Android, YouTube, Picasa and Motorola Mobility; notable Apple acquisitions include iOS, iWorks, TouchID and Maps software.

So, who wins the competition? It depends upon which metrics you use. I prefer a combination of several. Read Apple vs. Google: The goliath deathmatch by the numbers 2014.

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The environmental impact of tablets

Industry analysts predict that tablet purchases will outnumber laptop purchases by 2013. The increasing use of tablets, both business and personal, has quite an impact on the environment. Their use results in lower ink and paper consumption, lower CO2 emissions, as well as lower water consumption during production.

Twenty-five percent of adults in the U.S. own tablets, compared to only 4%  in 2010. And 45% of tablet users say they have decreased printing. 

–morganstanley.com and appleinsider.com 

ID-10081890Uberflip, a Canadian company that helps organizations to deploy content on electronic platforms, identified four environmental sustainability trends related to tablet use:

A decline in printing. Although many people feel that they still require hard copies of just about everything, this is no longer the norm.  Printer manufacturers like HP are feeling the crunch as the demand for ink shrinks.

I work with more electronic documents than paper documents these days. I buy less paper and ink than I have bought in the past. When I need a paper copy, I print wirelessly from my iPad or notebook computer.

Eco-friendly devices. Over their lifetime, tablets result in lower CO2 emissions, notably when people use their tablets as e-readers rather than buying paper books. The CO2 equivalent emissions from a tablet are about 1/3rd that of a small notebook and 1/25th that of a 60-watt incandescent light bulb.

E-waste. The volume of electronic waste will double by 2025. To combat this, electronics manufacturers and big box retailers have implemented recycling programs. I took advantage of this free recycling service at least four times this year, giving up an old notebook computer, a desktop computer, a laser printer and an inkjet printer. I reused the computer hard drives, converting them into external hard drives with a simple enclosure kit.

Green business. More and more businesses use tablets to demonstrate products and services, and for sales transactions. My local grocery chain uses iPads to sign up customers for their loyalty coupon program, which has computer and mobile apps. This replaces printing and mailing costs.

A national electronics chain uses iPads to demonstrate how tablets connect to big-screen TVs to display streaming videos. The Apple store uses iPads that allow customers to compare products and view features. A sales technician is on hand to answer questions and complete the sale–by entering transaction information on an iPhone and then swiping a credit card. You get a small paper receipt and an electronic receipt by email. There is no cash register evident in the store (there may be one in the back for cash sales) and no waiting in lines.

See the full Uberflip InfoGraphic on Sustainability of Tablets.


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Enablon Sustainable Performance Forum 2012 attracted a crowd

I spent the better part of this week at an environment, health & safety (EHS) software user group meeting in Chicago. The Enablon Sustainable Performance Forum at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel drew a crowd of approximately 400 executives, EHS and sustainability professionals and service providers.

The plenary sessions were top-notch, with a keynote panel of executives from a national environmental association, a leading accounting firm, a Global Reporting Initiative non-profit and two global environmental consulting firms. Breakout sessions each day focused on four to five topics, also with pertinent talks, case studies and software demos.

SPF 2012 provided a great opportunity for networking and knowledge transfer, in the perfect setting—a LEED-certified “green” building.


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Vendor reference call do’s and don’ts

In my 25 June 2012 post I introduced due diligence for software initiatives. When your organization issues a Request for Proposal (RFP), you should ask each vendor to supply customer contact information to allow due diligence. Here are twelve do’s and don’ts for reference calls…

  • Do speak with reference customers with business needs and/or implementation scope similar to yours.
  • Don’t extend each call beyond 30 minutes. Respect the software customer’s time.
  • Do prepare a list of questions that you need answered, and use it as a guideline.
  • Do use a combination of closed- and open-ended questions to allow you to gather good information you might not have anticipated before the call.
  • Don’t ask questions related to confidential contract information such as license or subscription fees or implementation costs.
  • Do ask what some of the greatest challenges were with the software project.
  • Do ask the customer if s/he would select the software and/or implementer if s/he could do it over again.
  • Do keep the number of people on each reference call from your organization to a minimum.
  • Do have the same people in your organization participate in each reference call.
  • Do consider whether you are speaking with a beta customer who adopted the software early, vs. a customer that implemented software when it was more mature.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask a reference customer to provide a short Web or face-to-face demo of the software in action.
  • Don’t limit yourself the references that the vendor provides. If you know someone within another customer’s organization, make a phone call.


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Have you done your due diligence?

Due diligence is a way to manage business risks. Enterprise software initiatives cost in the six and seven figures and take months or years to complete. Prudent organizations conduct due diligence not only on their software consultants, but also on the software, the vendor and implementation team. The due diligence process starts before you first speak with the vendor.

Read EHS Software Due Diligence is Critical to Success to see sample evaluation criteria, learn about reference customer contacts and get advice gathered from customers in the field.


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Software selection made easier

There is no such thing as “software selection made simple” or a “silver bullet” killer app that meets every organization’s environment, health & safety (EHS) needs. Companies looking for EHS and Sustainability software have many choices—too many, in fact.

The Paradox of Choice says that too many choices make it harder. Companies often choose software because it is easy to evaluate, rather than what best fits their needs. With thousands of commercial EHS software applications available in the marketplace, how does an organization evaluate and select software?

Read The Software Selection Paradox to learn more.


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Multiple vendor interactions essential to software selection process

Earlier this month I facilitated a series of software demos for an energy client. This was not the first time that the software vendor interacted with the stakeholders, or vice versa. We had several email communications, conversations and Web meetings among a core group of vendor and client representatives before the vendors ever set foot on site.

Selling software is about relationships and understanding needs. These interactions—in concert with a few critical documents—helped the two parties to understand each other, and helped to set both parties up for success.