Why? Because train of thought reads too boring, thats why! So this all happened, or better stated started happening a few hours ago. Someone stated that IBM Z Mainframes are in 96% of all mainframe places. Now, I have no problem with this, I moved out of mainframes 30 years ago, and I still respect what these things can do (they are just too big for my desk). Yet in this, my first question was, what do the other 4% use? A simple question. I got all kinds of answers, yet none of them answered my question ‘What do the other 4% use’, in this it does not matter if it is known, but it is essential to look at.
Well, in this IBM has a luxury problem, they basically own 96% of that market, but the 4% can become 8% then 16%, at that point the message from IBM becomes 4 out of 5 use our mainframe. When the 96% is 120,000 mainframes it is one thing, when it is based on 960 mainframes it is a whole different story. The numbers matter, that has always been the case (even if Microsoft is in denial now they are shedding market share).
There can be a simple reason. For one epidemiology, if it is about real time numbers, the market is slim, massively slim, compared to that market a size zero model is a mere chunky blobernaut. Cray is one of the few players in that setting and it makes sense that a Cray is there where an IBM is optionally not. Still, I would want to know.
You see, in strategic thinking we have two elements we ALWAYS need to keep one eye on. One is threat the other is weakness. In this example real-time data management is a weakness. Now we need to understand that this market is set to billions and those who desperately need it, that number is not an issue, yet for IBM investing that much for 4% is tactically not sound, not until that marketshare is a lot larger. That makes perfect sense and let’s face it no one owns 100% of a market, if that ever happens we will have a lot more problems than we could possibly understand.
Why do I care?
Well, for the most I do not, but at present I am not to involved with any SWOT analyses, and the ones I did lately was done for wannabe managers who seemingly only understand bulletpoint memo’s. The idea of any strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analyses that is related to business competition, project planning and capability planning is more important than most people realise. We see it in intelligence, business intelligence and market intelligence. And now we see two new real markets emerging where it is important too. Gaming and SAAS/GAAS. Even as GAAS is still some time away, the need to actively SWOT in all three is there and I believe the players are not too finicky about that and they need to be. As the cloud is oversold and the dangers are underestimated their board of directors need to hold up a mirror where they can tell themselves that it doesn’t matter, and when we understand how completely those people are lying to themselves, at that point you might get the idea that there is a problem. The SWOT has more sides, it tests your capability, your software (Strengths and opportunities) but that needs to be levelled by weaknesses and strength.
800 years ago
To understand this we need to go back to the good old days (Ghengis Khan). It was he who stated “It is not enough for me to win, my opponents must all fail”. Yes, I admit it is a massively loose translation but it applies to the now. When we stumble over sales people and their unnatural large ego’s, we tend to listen because they make the loudest claims, yet are they valid? Consider Solarwinds and what they enabled criminals to do, when you consider the news last week when we were given ‘SolarWinds hackers stole US sanctions policy data, Microsoft confirms’, it was a weakness and a threat, so when we how long the hack was active and that we now see that policy data is online and open for anyone to look into, what other sides are not yet known? It is not enough for SAAS vendors to look at SWOT, their customers need to do the same thing. So when I considered the 4% is was not because I need to know everything (which at times is still nice as a high executive CIA decision maker has a girlfriend that has size 6 lingerie, his wife is size 11), so who needed to do the SWOT, someone at the CIA or me? One could say both as I am his threat and he is my opportunity.
The stage of what is what could be remains forever in motion.
So where from here?
That remains open. For players like Amazon, the enabling of GAAS becomes more and more important, especially when you see the blunders that players like Ubisoft makes, they need to be aware of where their customers are, especially when Netflix becomes active in gaming too. They will have an advantage, but Amazon can counter it, yet there are sides that remain unknown for now and they should not be (not on that level) and there is the rub. Too many rely on external solutions when that solution needs to be in-house. And we can disperse with all the marketing BS that some give like “We are a better company now”, when you drop the ball to that degree there was a massive space for improvement and you merely are on par for not being where you should have been a year ago. An old IBM Statistics wisdom was “You’ll know when you measure”. This sounds corny but it is true, you cannot anticipate and adjust when there is no data and in all this any SWOT analyses would have been usable data. So where was the 4%? I do not know and the poster seemingly did not know either. It might be fair enough, yet when that 4% becomes 8%, when should you have known? It is a question with a subjective answer. Yet in gaming it is less so, especially as I am becoming aware (unproven at present) that Microsoft has one nice trick up their sleeve. There is partial evidence out there that Skyrim will be on PS5 in digital formal only. Several shops now have a ‘DO NOT USE’ for any physical PS5 format of Skyrim. Now, there might be an easy answer for this after all these lockdowns, but it is only 4 weeks away now, so you tell me. Is Microsoft playing its ‘bully’ card? Are they trying to push people to Xbox? It is a fair approach, they did pay 8 billion and change for it, but consider that their actions are set to a larger stage. A stage of millions of angry fans. I solved it for them by creating public domain gaming ideas for any Sony exclusive RPG game. I am not Bethesda, I am a mere IP creator, but when software makers are given a free ride towards Sony exclusives and even if one game hits the mark, the Bethesda market share dwindles to a lower number. Now consider what happens when that happens on Amazon Luna too? I might be a mere 1% factor, but if another one joins me I grow 100% whilst Microsoft dwindles more. For Microsoft Amazon is becoming a real threat and a weakness, for Amazon Netflix is optionally a threat and a weakness whilst Google Stadia is optionally the opportunity for Amazon.
All SWOT settings that could have been seen from afar from the beginning. It is not everyones train of thought, yet in this day and age, I think it needs to be, the markets and our lives are changing in all kinds of ways too quickly and too large, we need to think head and having a clear grasp on how to apply SWOT in our lives might become essential.
That is a much harder line to follow. It comes down to the word ‘Insight’ and it is a dangerous, a very dangerous word. Because depending on the person this can be Insight, speculated insight, expected insight, and adjusted insight and more than once they are all on one pile making the data less reliable. Insight is also subjective, we all see it differently and that does not mean that I am right and everyone else has a wrong station. No, it is all subjective and most CAN be correct, but as the insight is disturbed by speculated, adjusted and expected versions, the numbers alter slightly. And now we see that 4% was not 4%, is was 7% and 5%, 5% because there were other IBM mainframes in play (adjusted) and 4% was the speculated number and 7% was the expected number. Now we have a very different station, the expected moves us from 96% use our product, towards 9 out of 10 are our customers, which is now a mere step towards 4 out of 5 use IBM. So would you like to bring that conversation to any board of directors?
They’ll serve your balls for dinner (see image).
Still feel certain that you do not want to know? In reality most SWOT analyses are seemingly pointless and often amazingly boring, yet in this day and age they are an essential part of business and gaming at $130 billion a year is facing that side as well. So when you consider what I gave you also consider the impact that some shops have ‘DO NOT USE’ for Skyrim preorders, 4 weeks before release, lockdown or not, it beckons all kinds of questions. And to be fair, there could be a simple explanation for all of it, but that too is the consequence of trying to create hypes via YouTube without clearly informing the audience. It is a weakness Microsoft has shown a few times (Bethesda was never completely innocent, but equally never this guilty).
So what has a game in common with a business setting? It is simple, they both need to manage expectations and that too is a side of SWOT, even as marketing often merely focusses on opportunity, there is a weakness and a threat. The lack of clarity and misinformation are both a weakness (angry customers) and a threat (churning customers) and in the world of gaming the churners are the real danger, they can get the flocking population of angry gamers to come with them and really make numbers spiral downward. In this day and age SWOT is an additional essential way to go, in nearly all walks of life. We simply can not avoid being that naive anymore, not with spiralling energy prices and more and more articles that can at present no longer be found in any supermarket, all whilst plenty of people are in a holding pattern for their incomes.
It is a train of thought and it is up to you to decide if you want to do it or not, because that was always your right, the right to ignore, but it must be said that it will be at your own peril.