The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Instant-on Industry Perspective – Retail (4th in the series)

In response to the series of instant-on posts this week, I was asked if this is just a technical foundation that enables all industries or is there an industry specific flavor (if so what would it look like?). Since we live in an “and not or” world, anyone who reads my posts would know the answer was: both. Here is an example of a possible instant-on retail scenario:


coffee phone 2.jpgSince coffee consumption seems to be an experience that is familiar to almost everyone, imagine a customer walks into their local favorite java joint (naturally one that has thousands of stores worldwide). In a nanosecond, a sensor in the store recognizes this customer’s smart phone ID and finds her previous purchase history in the company’s CRM system. The CRM system understands that this customer’s favorite drink is a double latte with an amaretto shot and that she tried the egg sandwich on her last visit. The system sorts through available offers for cross-sell opportunities and can recognize the context of the situation. Based on the time of day and previous purchase behavior, it predicts an 85 percent chance that this customer would order an egg sandwich if it were half-price but only 10% otherwise. If she has expressed interest in these types of offers, her smart phone now displays the store’s own ordering app and asks her if she’d like “the usual.” It also displays a coupon for the half-off breakfast sandwich. With the press of a button, she orders the coffee and the sandwich, and authorizes payment—without ever having to wait in line or talk to the cashier. The smart phone app shows a countdown of when her order will be ready.


These are the kinds of implementations that are possible when a business moves beyond data into behavior. When you can sense patterns and likely actions and make it easy for the consumer to want to extend the relationship. When business can take advantage of the sensors and relationships that already exist around us.


In many cases the computing, networking, sensing and information is out there, we just need to take advantage of the opportunities before us.


I just noticed that Tom Hogan has a video about the instant-on enterprise that some may find helpful:

Moving an Organization to Instant-On

As organizations think about becoming more agile and having an instant-on approach to bringing up new services and capabilities they need to take a long hard look at how they operate.


If you want to make a shift from your current approach to the new, high-value world of IT, the people inside your company have to see it, believe it, and have a passion for it – maybe even view it as their idea. Sure, you can bring in outside consultants to tell you where the future is headed, but if the people inside your company don’t live it and internalize it, you won’t get there. “The one irrefutable truth is that in any large organization, any transformation that is to ‘stick’ must emerge from within,” Ray Ozzie writes in his exit note to Microsoft about where business is headed. “Those on the outside can strongly influence, particularly with their wallets. Those above are responsible for developing and articulating a compelling vision, eliminating obstacles, prioritizing resources, and generally setting the stage with a principled approach. But the power and responsibility to truly effect transformation exists in no small part at the edge. Within those who, led or inspired, feel personally and collectively motivated to make; to act; to do.”


There are many things that stand in the way of IT organizations today:

  • Aging applications – the consume more and more of the annual budget
  • Unknown threads – the more connected we are the more entrances there are to protect
  • Delivery models – in-house, off-shore, everything as a service… it can be hard to make a choice
  • Rigid infrastructure and sprawl – it may seem easier to just keep adding on but eventually it can collapse like a house of cards
  • The information explosion – there is just more and more from more places in more formats being delivered to more devices every day

Understanding how and why these constrain an organizations thinking can be important. With that knowledge in had a plan of attack can be developed that:

There are some core characteristics for the environment, it must be:Instant-on characteristics2.png

  • Automated
  • Resilient
  • Seamless
  • Secure
  • Open

Tomorrow's post will be more specific about how HP's offerings are coming together to address this shift.

The Instant-On Enterprise and Its Enemy -- Latency

One of the areas I’ve talked about before is the desire to minimize “time to decision” by using technology more efficiently to recognize patterns and turn anomalies into opportunities. As we come out of this downturn the kind of IT organizations need to invest in has changed. The new technical capabilities and their ability to reduce the time to decision is being constrained by the inertia in our ability to understand the size and implications of the shifts that are underway.


It is clear that business models are changing as we move into this everything as a service mode of operation. Recognizing what services are needed, how we can get them on-line more quickly and how manage and use the information flow across the services are all turning into core competencies for IT organizations. As more computing devices are in the field and we’re interacting with them in a 24x7 fashion, whole new levels of expectation are being developed. Yet we need to support the conflicting needs of the different types of workers and demographics.


HP announces today its structured approach to addressing these issues called the “Instant-On Enterprise”.


instant-on profile.png

The focus of this effort is to address the business needs of:

  • Innovation
  • Agility
  • Optimization
  • Risk management

Using the technologies capabilities to deliver:

  • Flexibility
  • Automation
  • Security
  • Insight and Visibility
  • Speed

Over the next couple of days I’ll post about my perspective on what’s stopping IT from meeting these shift and what can be done about it. I’ll also mention some of the HP initiatives that are targeted at addressing these issues. This may be a bit more HP offering oriented than my usual posts, but since you are going to be hearing about instant-on from HP for the coming months, I thought I’d get my perspective in early.

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About the Author(s)
  • Steve Simske is an HP Fellow and Director in the Printing and Content Delivery Lab in Hewlett-Packard Labs, and is the Director and Chief Technologist for the HP Labs Security Printing and Imaging program.
The opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the authors, not of HP. By using this site, you accept the Terms of Use and Rules of Participation.