Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Kevin Benedict, William Schmarzo

Blog Feed Post

Acknowledgement matters

6983916617_d476e373cc_zIn face to face interactions we are programmed to recognise the importance of feedback. As we move many previously physical interactions online, are we in danger of forgetting just how important it is?

When you walk into a shop and buy something, a plethora of tangible and intangible signals reassure you that all is proceeding as planned. You have the goods you purchased. You probably have a printed (or emailed) receipt. You may have change in your pocket. The cashier actually interacted with you, whether with a cheery smile, calm efficiency, or brusque disregard. You leave, clear that something happened.

Most online services, of course, recognise that it’s important to maintain these cues; even when buyer and seller are continents apart. Amazon confirms a transaction on-screen, and then follows up with an email to acknowledge your purchase. It then sends further emails when goods despatch, and offers a variety of methods to track the process from ordering to delivery. In this, it is far from alone.

And yet, now and then, I come across online businesses which fail to grasp the importance of feedback, information, and acknowledgement. And, every time, it jars. Why, in 2014, are otherwise good businesses failing to recognise that they’re dealing with human beings, and that those human beings are programmed to expect interaction, reassurance, acknowledgement?

The latest online business to — apparently — ignore this important aspect of the human makeup is bill.com. A few recent projects have been for clients that have started to use the well-funded online payments and accounting service. For them, the service may well be great. It may do everything its marketing suggests, to streamline the process of receiving, processing, and fulfilling invoices. It may offer them great tools, and a great user experience. For me, submitting an invoice, the process is dreadful.

The initial premise is good. Simply email an invoice (in my case, generated automatically by FreeAgent) to a [email protected] email address. No client-specific Excel spreadsheets to complete. No nasty Salesforce kludge, which looks like its UI was designed by a distracted toddler and their bad-tempered teddy bear. Just an email address to receive an invoice that my own systems are all geared up to create and track. This, I thought, is going to be great. The future of billing has arrived.

And then the wheels fall off. Nothing. Absolutely nothing happens. No emailed acknowledgement of receipt. No ability to track where an invoice is in the approval process. No email to say that payment is coming. Tens of thousands of dollars invoiced, and you know nothing for weeks; until the money eventually shows up — unannounced — in your bank account.

The first time this happened, I assumed that my client had perhaps failed to select an option to have email acknowledgement sent. They were, I knew, new to bill.com. They might not have it all set up correctly.

Twitter___Search_-_billcom_PaulMiller

Apparently not. Apparently it’s a good suggestion. For future updates. Really? For a company that’s been trading since 2006? Surely the electronic equivalent of the smile of acknowledgement, the grunt of recognition, the closing of the loop is rather more fundamental than that?

Are we really meant to drop out of this shiny,  futuristic and time-saving automated process to contact the client?

Hi. I just submitted my invoice for that project. Can you please confirm receipt?

How does that help anyone? It’s more work for me, it’s more work for them. And all the stupid computer had to do was send an email to let me know mine got through. A handshake, if you will. In both the networking and the real-world senses of the term.

As we move more and more online, we still need to acknowledge, reassure, report. Bill.com doesn’t, and it should. A human being at bill.com manages to do it on Twitter, obviously. Shouldn’t the same response to human beings’ need to feel engaged with be baked deep into their product?

Image by Flickr user vkanaya

 

 

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Paul Miller

Paul Miller works at the interface between the worlds of Cloud Computing and the Semantic Web, providing the insights that enable you to exploit the next wave as we approach the World Wide Database.

He blogs at www.cloudofdata.com.

@ThingsExpo Stories
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
We all know the latest numbers: Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from last year, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. We're rapidly approaching a data production of 40 zettabytes a day – more than we can every physically store, and exabytes and yottabytes are just around the corner. For many that’s a good sign, as data has been proven to equal money – IF it’s ingested, integrated, and analyzed fast enough. Without real-ti...
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
With 15% of enterprises adopting a hybrid IT strategy, you need to set a plan to integrate hybrid cloud throughout your infrastructure. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steven Dreher, Director of Solutions Architecture at Green House Data, discussed how to plan for shifting resource requirements, overcome challenges, and implement hybrid IT alongside your existing data center assets. Highlights included anticipating workload, cost and resource calculations, integrating services on both sides...
"We are a well-established player in the application life cycle management market and we also have a very strong version control product," stated Flint Brenton, CEO of CollabNet,, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The IoT has the potential to create a renaissance of manufacturing in the US and elsewhere. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Florent Solt, CTO and chief architect of Netvibes, discussed how the expected exponential increase in the amount of data that will be processed, transported, stored, and accessed means there will be a huge demand for smart technologies to deliver it. Florent Solt is the CTO and chief architect of Netvibes. Prior to joining Netvibes in 2007, he co-founded Rift Technologi...
Unless your company can spend a lot of money on new technology, re-engineering your environment and hiring a comprehensive cybersecurity team, you will most likely move to the cloud or seek external service partnerships. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, revealed what you need to know when it comes to encryption in the cloud.
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
What are the successful IoT innovations from emerging markets? What are the unique challenges and opportunities from these markets? How did the constraints in connectivity among others lead to groundbreaking insights? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Carmen Feliciano, a Principal at AMDG, will answer all these questions and share how you can apply IoT best practices and frameworks from the emerging markets to your own business.
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Ask someone to architect an Internet of Things (IoT) solution and you are guaranteed to see a reference to the cloud. This would lead you to believe that IoT requires the cloud to exist. However, there are many IoT use cases where the cloud is not feasible or desirable. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, will discuss the strategies that exist to extend intelligence directly to IoT devices and sensors, freeing them from the constraints of ...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
The best-practices for building IoT applications with Go Code that attendees can use to build their own IoT applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Indraneel Mitra, Senior Solutions Architect & Technology Evangelist at Cognizant, provided valuable information and resources for both novice and experienced developers on how to get started with IoT and Golang in a day. He also provided information on how to use Intel Arduino Kit, Go Robotics API and AWS IoT stack to build an application tha...