OK, any posting with religion in it is probably an unwise and dangerous thing to do but it occurred to me this morning that the computer market is much like organised religion and here I will lay out my reasons:

1) Microsoft = Christianity

Penitent religion that once dominated the social and political map of the world.  Increasingly depreciating in it’s followers enthusiasm although many continue to attend the ministrations more out of habit than out of true faith. Many evangelical sects still exist, some have fractured from the core authority but they still believe in what it stands for. Some orthodox groups exist aside from the mainstream followers and still experience great attendance but without too much wider attention. Not nearly as influential as it once was and has made some serious mistakes in the past.

2) IBM (AIX or OS/2?) = Judaism

Some view them as the originator of a later much more popular group, others avoid the comparisons and associations. Still has a great many fundamental followers but that number is diminishing. Some followers only practice behind closed doors and outwardly show no signs of an allegiance. Others proudly show their support in the window at key points in the year. Well represented in the finance sector.

3) Apple OS = Islam

Often failing to recognise the origins of their group actually stems from a common route with other mainstream groups. There are a core of fundamentalists who insist their way is the only way and all other systems should come to their view or die. More moderate members of the group are satisfied with their choice in life, continue to worship with blind faith. It is the duty of followers to encourage those not following their path to join them.

4) Linux = Hinduism

A group with many deities and various ways of expressing a following. Often peaceful but occasionally a little dysfunctional, with some areas which maintain a legacy in a modern environment but functional most of the time as long as you don’t try to take it in a direction it isn’t prepared for. Having a style which occasionally mixes with other groups but to the casual observer from the outside looks intimidatingly different.

5) Embedded RTOS’es = Various native religions

Quite functional in their own environment and supporting the people with their needs. Often looks very different to the mainstream groups and can be incompatible. Smaller followings but often works well, in harmony with the environment.

6) RISC OS = Paganism

May have pre-dated origins within an unconnected population but was pretty much wiped out as travel and needs of users grew. Of little relevance in modern society but still practised by small groups. These small groups occasionally put on public displays in public spaces, to which some from other groups take offence and others look on with mixed feelings.

Now this is cool, I was just browsing looking for silicon for our products and I found quite a funky little chip from Broadcom. It is the new BCM70020 which describes itself as “a single-chip, full featured, multi-standard audio/video decoder/encoder/transcoder solution targeting volume PC and PC-based consumer electronic applications.”

Not only can it encode HD from either analogue or digital sources, but it can transcode between different MPEG formats and also act as a scaler/down-converter! I think someone in the broadcast industry needs to get their hands on these quickly and create a multi-format scaler/encoder/transcoder matrix device! A few of these, a PCI-E bus and voila there you have a cool transmission ops device.

Very cool.

The essence of customers’ expectations is about customers’ needs and requirements. The needs are harder to identify as they are more profound than the requirements which are pretty obvious and straightforward. Therefore, we need to identify the degree in which these elements are present through a survey. We need to quantify customers’ perception about the quality of our service given that customers do not (or should not) always expect ‘the best’ from us as this is subject to the cost and time available for completing the project rather than our capability and experience.

Any questionnaire should consist of quantifiable/measurable elements rated in a scale of 0-100% tolerance against customers’ standards. The same survey should then form part of our service benchmark completed by the client (benchmark the demand for service). This means that we should ideally carry out a customers’ expectation survey once we undertake the project, then using the same survey for having our performance measured by the client so we can check how well we perform through the customer’s eyes (customers shouts) and identify the areas of improvement prior to getting on site. Lastly, on the project’s practical completion we need to carry out the final satisfaction survey.

Three are the key elements to the customer’s expectations.

  1. Cost/Time
  2. Quality
  3. Competitive advantage (the wow factor that differentiates our brand from the competitors)

The questions is how elastic/inelastic are the above from the customers’ perspective? Meaning: 

  • What factors the customer feels as essential, prerequisites? Must have, the basics? (for example: H&S issues)
  • What factors add value to the service/product for the customers? It is about good performance, deliver what we promise (for example: min cost and time, higher quality)
  • What is the ‘wow’ factor of our service? Do we add value that the customer doesn’t expect? (Satisfy the ‘greedy’ customers. Once the basics, or expected requirements are met then they ask for more!)
  • Being successful means that not only we should offer what customers expect but also what they don’t expect.

The input would be: customers’ requirements and lessons learnt which are turned into the output: improved quality approach and structure, calibrate the service to meet demands

Knowing our customers needs, requirements and expectations provides us with better visibility thus, better forward planning avoiding bad surprises and implications which can put the project’s quality at risk.