Enterprise Car Rental’s Leader on How Integrating an Acquisition Transformed His Business

Enterprise’s Leader on How Integrating an Acquisition Transformed His Business

by Andrew C. Taylor

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The Idea: When the car rental company acquired Alamo and National, rather than execute a “takeover,” it moved slowly and sought to learn from its new brands.

In 2007 Enterprise Rent-A-Car was marking its 50th anniversary. We had much to celebrate. With more than $9 billion in global revenue, we were the largest car rental company in the world and one of the largest family-owned and -operated companies in the United States. As the industry leader, we had been approached from time to time about acquisition opportunities—especially after several of our competitors merged or changed owners in the mid-1990s. However, while our major rivals had always focused on renting cars at airport locations, Enterprise had concentrated on “home city” rentals, with much of our business coming from people who needed a car while their own was being repaired. So we had never really been tempted. We were growing steadily and organically, in local neighborhoods and at airports. We believed in our strong, do-it-yourself culture. And we had little interest in altering what was working so well. Read more of this post

The Truth About Customer Experience

The Truth About Customer Experience

by Alex Rawson, Ewan Duncan, and Conor Jones

Companies have long emphasized touchpoints—the many critical moments when customers interact with the organization and its offerings on their way to purchase and after. But the narrow focus on maximizing satisfaction at those moments can create a distorted picture, suggesting that customers are happier with the company than they actually are. It also diverts attention from the bigger—and more important—picture: the customer’s end-to-end journey. Read more of this post

Maximizing shareholder value: The goal that changed corporate America

Maximizing shareholder value: The goal that changed corporate America

By Jia Lynn Yang, Tuesday, August 27, 7:36 AM

ENDICOTT, N.Y. — This town in the hills of Upstate New York is best known as the birthplace of IBM, one of the country’s most iconic companies. But there remain only hints of that storied past. The main street, once swarming with International Business Machines employees in their signature white shirts and dark suits, is dotted with empty storefronts. During the 1980s, there were 10,000 IBM workers in Endicott. Now, after years of layoffs and jobs shipped overseas, about 700 employees are left. Read more of this post

Here’s The Incredible Amount Of Data That Goes Into IBM’s Tennis Analysis

Here’s The Incredible Amount Of Data That Goes Into IBM’s Tennis Analysis

AUG. 27, 2013, 8:00 AM

The U.S. Open starts this week, and rabid tennis fans are keeping track of each ace, break point, missed volley, and Rafael Nadal fist pump. IBM may have even the most stat-geeky fans beat, though. IBM SlamTracker’s Keys to the Match system calculates 41 million data points from eight years of Grand Slam matches to apply predictive analysis to every facet of every player’s game. Check out the infographic below to find out what went into IBM’s exhaustive data efforts, which could be applied to both sports and business. U.S. Open fans should visit IBM Sports for in-depth analysis of all the action, and follow IBM Sports on Instagram for animated data points and live pictures from the Open.

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Amazon Has Reached A Staggering Level Of Dominance When It Comes To Cloud Computing

Amazon Has Reached A Staggering Level Of Dominance When It Comes To Cloud Computing

JIM EDWARDS 11 MINUTES AGO 0

Amazon’s cloud computing service, AWS, has more than five times the combined capacity of its next 14 rivals, according to a research report by Gartner, as cited in The Seattle Times’ recent look at Amazon’s efforts to win the contract for the CIA’s cloud services. Most people regard Amazon as that online book and retail company. But the Gartner report argues that Amazon has reached a staggering level of dominance in enterprise-level computing services for big companies. The Seattle Times: AWS generates roughly $3 billion in annual revenue, according to analyst estimates, by offering services to businesses at a fraction of what it would cost if those businesses owned and ran their own computers. Read more of this post

Amazon Expands In-App Purchases of Real Goods

Aug 27, 2013

Amazon Expands In-App Purchases of Real Goods

By Greg Bensinger

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Amazon wants its retail store to always be just a click away.

The Seattle retail giant announced Tuesday that developers can allow physical goods from Amazon.com to be purchased through just about any Android app. That means users could buy an actual calendar to hang on their wall while using a calendar app, or spices from a recipe app. It is easy to imagine how the new in-app purchasing could appeal for marketers: Stick a virtual pair of the latest Air Jordan shoes on a game character and offer them at a discount. Read more of this post

This Is The Amazon Ad That Scared The Crap Out Of Apple’s Top Executives

This Is The Amazon Ad That Scared The Crap Out Of Apple’s Top Executives

JAY YAROW AUG. 27, 2013, 10:00 AM 4,542

On November 22, 2010, at 7:55 PM, Apple’s Senior Vice President of marketing, Phil Schiller, blasted an email to top Apple executives. He had just seen an ad from Amazon, and he was not happy. He emailed Steve Jobs, Eddy Cue, who runs Apple’s Internet services, and Greg Joswiak, VP of marketing:

I just watched a new Amazon Kindle app ad on TV. It starts with a woman using an iPhone and buying and reading books with the Kindle app. The woman then switches to an Android phone and still can read all her books. While the primary message is that there are Kindle apps on lots of mobile devices, the secondary message that can’t be missed is that it is easy to switch from iPhone to Android. Not fun to watch.

Steve Jobs replied a few hours later:

What do you recommend we do? The first step might be to say they must use our payment system for everything, including books (triggered by the newspapers and magazines). If they want to compare us to Android, let’s force them to use our far superior payment system. Thoughts?

GigaOm first dug up this email exchange. It is evidence in the Department of Justice’s eBook case against Apple. A few months after Jobs sent this email, Apple decided to cripple Amazon’s Kindle app for iPhones and iPads. Apple said that if Amazon wants to sell a book through iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system, then Apple would collect 30% of the sale. Amazon abandoned selling books straight through its app. Instead, users have to buy a book through the web, then it’s sent wirelessly to the app. A bit of a pain, but it doesn’t seem to have slowed Kindle sales. Quartz writer Zachary Seward notes that the larger point from this exchange is that Apple executives realized the oft-discussed eco-system lock-in advantage for Apple is not that strong. Since this email exchange, Apple’s lock-in has only gotten weaker. Just about every great app for iOS is also available on Android. People are increasingly using services like Netflix and Spotify, which work on both platforms. Those apps make iTunes less powerful, and therefore Apple’s lock-in less powerful. Apple would counter any concerns by saying it has the highest customer satisfaction rate of any smartphone on the planet. And that’s the best indication that customers are going to stick with the iPhone. This seems to be the ad from Amazon that prompted the email:

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