Tag Archives: technology

Trefis and Data Visualization

It doesn’t matter how good your information or analysis is. If you present it poorly, it won’t get the recognition it deserves. Trefis is an interesting tool for this purpose. It focuses exclusively on stock price analysis, but the interactive nature of the information they show is inspiring. I can’t comment on how robust their analysis is, but they break a company down into its parts and then show the key financial drivers for each area, which you can then change to match your own assumptions. It certainly brings some clarity to the complex problem of financial valuation. They are also bringing a social element to the analysis process too, by enabling you to compare your valuation to others. Currently, they only cover approximately 50 technology focused companies, but it will be interesting to see if and how they grow. Signing up for the service does result in them sending you quite a few annoying emails, but it’s worth it to try out the tool.

The screenshot below shows some of the analysis they offer of Amazon:

Business Models and Technology

In 1998 it cost $270 to stream a 2 hour movie over the internet, today it costs $0.05 (see here for the analysis).

It’s interesting to think about how that plays out in the context of YouTube, YouTube is often called out as being a money pit for Google, with an estimated $470 million loss last year from Credit Suisse. However, much of that loss was bandwith costs which are falling exponentially (see above) and revenue is growing c. 20%.

Therefore, as with much of the internet today the business model is dynamic. Online video may not be economic today, but with falling costs and growing revenues, entering today and establishing market leadership may be a smart move to establish a credible position for when the economics of the industry turn.

Organizational Transparency

Organizational transparency is an important topic and one where technology can help. In an organization with paper-based systems and 1,000+ employees, there is no way for everyone to know everything. It would be a full time job, and you still wouldn’t get there. However, now electronic storage and powerful search means that though people still don’t have the bandwidth to know everything, they can keep tabs on everything relevant in their area of expertise, for example everything related to their customer, product or topic. They can now ‘pull’ the information they need, rather than having it ‘pushed’ to them, which is less reliable.

This matters for project and portfolio management. Greater coordination becomes possible. Duplication of effort can be avoided.

However, despite the technology, problems remain. Information fiefdoms are still a source of power in many organizations, often security trumps transparency and the required information can’t be assessed. Finally, human nature means information isn’t shared too broadly. Information doesn’t become public until it truely is complete and final. This means that interim draft and work in progress are hoarded on people’s hard drives, because they don’t want to share something that is in progress or imperfect.

So, there’s tremendous opportunity to make organizations transparent. Technology means we are almost there. Sadly, these processes aren’t yet fully adapted due to people’s unwillingness to share and publish. If they were the benefits would be profound.

Interesting post by PM Hut on the same topic here, and Sam Berrisford comments on “See Thru Business” here.