Tag Archive | Information Strategy

Microsoft is entering forbidden terrain

Microsofts is entering forbidden terrain 

Microsoft is currently surprising friend and foe by producing their own hardware in the form an expensive laptop. The firm is more flexible than everyone expected.

Windows, Office and Outlook, those are the products that we know Microsoft of. These are all software products, but since Microsoft is now manufacturing its own, super fast laptop, the whole business model changes.

Microsoft is from now on a hardware manufacturer with its own game consoles (XBOX), phones, tablets and smart watches. Two weeks ago, a laptop got introduced into the wide array of products that Microsoft produces.

Nobody could’ve seen it coming since the innovational focus was no longer on Microsoft. Microsoft was considered a big and inert company with no ability to innovate in a disruptive way, and therefore, it could develop the Surface Book without the hassle of prying eyes of competitors. Microsoft was considers inert because the corporate software they are developing is considered dull and in the technological revolution that we currently live in, giant players like Apple and Google dominate the market.

However, the Microsoft Surface is not completely new. It got introduced back in 2012 as a substitute for tablets and laptops, since it amalgamated both products’ characteristic into one, ersome tablet with a keyboard that just didn’t work properly. However, it gained some popularity in the corporate sector because of the mobility of the machine.


The Microsoft Surface can cumbbe called some sort of niche, but in 2012, it gained a revenue of roughly 2 billion dollars. This is a revenue that has not been completely unnoticed; Apple is now entering this niche with the iPad pro which has a significantly larger screen, a stylus and an optional keyboard, which is integrated in a cover. When Apple is imitating you, it is a good sign.

Microsoft is now extending its Surface-line with a ‘tabtop’ that is able to lie on your lap, just like a laptop does. However, it remains an amalgamation of a keyboard and a tablet, since both are disconnectable.

The Sufrace Book is entering the market with a very high price. This is an indicator that Microsoft is trying to distinguish itself by delivering high quality products like, for example, Apple. It therefore competes with the MacBook Pro, but also with some cheaper competitors like Lenovo, Acer, Surface-Book-Impressions-2HP and Dell. These companies will not be happy that their biggest softwarepartner is now a competitor in the computer hardware side of business.

The traditional divisions between hardware developers, software developers and online services are now diminishing and Microsoft is now increasing its stakes in premium gadgets. Windows is thereby an aid and not a goal in itself. The operating system is now deployed in order to lure users in towards Microsoft’s (online) services, like OneDrive, Office 365 etcetera.

This is from now on the financial substantiation that CEO Satya Nadella is implementing rapidly. However, this did not come without any sacrifice; Microsoft had to layoff over 17000 of its employees in order to habilitate this strategic change.

The overall strategy is to escape the dull image that Microsoft has by showing the world that it is still able to innovate. Therefore, Microsoft’s structure will consist of three pillars from now on: 1) Windows and Hardware (XBOX, Surface, Phones etc.) will be now one entirety under the name: ‘Personal Computing’ 2) ‘Intelligent Cloud’ and 3) ‘Productivity and Business’ (Office and other corporate software).

An overall shift within Microsoft as you can see, but will this be the shift that will enable Microsoft to compete with its biggest rival Apple?



Hijink, M. (2015), Microsoft’s Buigzame Karakter, NRC Next

Digital Transformation Project – Hotel Okura Amsterdam

Imagine entering your hotel room after a long flight. You are hungry and tired, but realized you forgot to make a reservation in your favourite restaurant within the hotel. You turn on the television, and you are greeted by a message stating that there are still two more tables left in your favourite restaurant. You indicate that you would like to reserve a table for that evening. When unpacking your suitcase, another notification pops up, asking you whether or not you would like to order a steaming cup of hot chocolate, as you have regularly ordered after a long flight.

mockup okura

Hotel Okura Amsterdam (HOA) is a five-star Japanese hotel located in Amsterdam. HOA recently acknowledged the urge for an interdepartmental IT system integration to improve personalization and therewith customer satisfaction; the company currently operates 40 different operating systems. These insight together with many others were obtained during an in-depth interview on business and IT strategy with Okura’s Rooms, Engineer and IT manager. The business strategy of HOA is dedicated to being ‘’Unique and Complete’’, making striving for a high level of customer satisfaction key; a question in this is how a customer can be convinced of the uniqueness of HOA.

The interview brought to light that the non-integrated structure results in inefficiency. Each division registers its own data and information between divisions is transferred verbally instead of it being retrievable from a centralized data system; many opportunities are lost due to this. The current business strategy is to be improved by integrating an IT infrastructure with IT related processes. The proposed solution therefore strives for a high level of integration. However, due to the issue of scale and the importance of (financial) feasibility of the project, the first generation will solely focus on combining the F&B (Food & Beverage) system with the hotel room system. The solution itself, the infotainment which is further explained below, does have a long term focus of eventually integrating all of Okura’s 40 different operating systems.

The trends of superpersonalization and big data to enhance customer value, in combination with the need for responsive service and modern facilities in the room (current guest satisfaction regarding room technology is low), result in the following proposed solution. To cater for the business need of HOA, we propose to provide real-time personalized information in the hotel room of the guest through a television application. Various systems will be able to communicate with each other and can provide the guests with useful information (or upselling). The system will include the reservation process for the restaurants, the room service information and the room service ordering process. The F&B is initially focused on as this is the main source of income from hotel guests for HOA and it limits the initial investment. Additional functionalities can be added at a later stage.

Authors (BIM2015 – Team 6): 

  • Stéphanie Visser – 407153
  • Job Deibel – 407756
  • Dirk Breeuwer – 329445
  • Jord Sips – 421144
  • Colin van Lieshout – 414788

Your Strategy to Information part 2

Staying up-to-date on what is going on in Tech world: Time Management!

Thank you very much for your enthusiasm and responses to my previous blog post, in which I asked you to share your sources of information on the world of Technology. As promised, here is a second post in which I would like to summarize the results for you.

Favorite to one of the commenters, and also to me at the moment, is TechCrunch. Especially for the ones among us who do not have much time to explore the whole web for interesting news, the CrunchReport gives you a quick summary of about five minutes on the main tech news of the day. Here is an example of a few days ago (Thursday), in which among others the development of Facebook Emoji’s is discussed: http://techcrunch.com/video/crunchreport/#.qiir4i:POct

However, in case you are more interested in the way companies use technologies in their day to day operations (National as well), signing up for a specific newsletter from webpages such as Emerce can be recommended.

In order to get news from more websites at once, use Feedly! This website/app enables you to ‘’check’’ the websites that you enjoy following, and their news will than all appear in your Feedly newsfeed.

The commenters do very much agree on that there is a massive load of information coming from various sources; each News Page provides its own newsletter. There is so much to read, that a little organization in keeping up with what you would still like to read later on may be useful. The tool Pocket will help you out in situations in which you come across an interesting article but you just do not have the time to read it at that very moment; this tool enables you to easily save the article for later so you can read it in the train or at any other moment.

To summarize, if your life is just as busy as mine is, just find five minutes a day to view the CrunchReport, add the News Pages you are interested in to your Feedly and save interesting articles in your Pocket for moments at which you do have time!

Colin van Lieshout

Modern Wars: How Information Technology Changed Warfare

Modern Wars: How Information Technology Changed Warfare

On the 30th of September Vladimir Vladimirovitsj Putin, President of Russia, announced that Russia conducted its first air-strikes in Syria targeted at ISIS (or ISIL). However, in the days after the United States of America and other countries began to question Russia’s motive and use of old school bombing technology which might cause harm to civilians and inflame the civil war in Syria (CNN/Time, 2015). According to US official’s Russian bombing technology is a lacking behind American weaponry in terms of accuracy. As such moves increase the tensions between the East and the West and businesses use information technology to reach their goals, I started to research how information technology has changed warfare over time.

A B-2 stealth bomber refuels.

A B-2 stealth bomber refuels.

The main goals of warfare have not really changed, but the way wars evolve and are waged certainly have. Just hundred twenty years ago, armies marched to battle in their uniforms, lined up against one another, and mainly used weapons with a short effective range. Thus, people who killed one another were always in close proximity. Later on, longer-range weapons emerged, and the distance between the soldiers became larger and larger. Today, some countries have the capability to destroy towns without having to be physically at the site or even have a within a hundreds of miles. All due to the introduction of IT in modern warfare which enables people to fight wars with the touch of button. This instantaneous transfer of information through the Internet and availability of the Internet around the world increases the number of participants in war. Unarmed actors thousands of miles away can participate in a conflict even by sitting at their computer, providing funding or (video/picture) information through the Internet or deep web.

Read More…

An app makes your flight fly faster

More than looking at starts, NASA is also being very down to earth.

Recently, NASA completed a few tests of its new Traffic Aware Planner (TAP) application aboard a PiAggio P.180 Avanti pusher prop and continue a formal test program corporate with Alaska Airlines and Virgin America in the next three years (Lynch, 2015).

TAP connects to the aircraft monitor station which is able to locate the aircraft current position, read its altitude, in charge of the flight route and other real-time information to specify the aircraft’s situation. Then, TAP will automatically start searching a variety of route or altitude changes that could save flight time, reduce fuel costs or carbon emissions and send the detailed analysis result to the pilots.

Moreover, making a connection between TAP and receiver ADS-B ensure the application to sweep the signals of nearby air traffic in order to avoid potential risks in proposed flight route changes, it will be more easy for the controller in the monitor station to approve a pilot’s route change request (Unknown, 2015). By doing so, it will improve the efficiency between pilots and controllers.

In addition, once the aircraft cockpit has Internet connection, TAP can obtain the information on real-time weather conditions, wind speed, temperature, visibility, cloud cover and other information to increase flight efficiency.

TAP can be operated on a tablet and easily implemented. Basically, it doesn’t need any changes of the roles or responsibility of flight pilots and controllers; therefore, it can be implemented on the aircraft to produce benefits in a timely manner.


William Cotton, one of the test pilots said that TAP can save four minutes off the flight time after he requested a route change which granted by air traffic control (Lynch, 2015). Four minutes cutting seems not a big deal, however, with thousands of airplanes travel on each day, there will be an enormous amount of cost savings on fossil fuel and an incredible decrease of carbon emission. Here is an example: shaving off four minutes reduces the fuel costs for a Boeing 767 aircraft for around 330 dollars, if half of the aircrafts take off from Atlanta airport are able to save four minutes flight time each day, cost savings will reach to around 165,000 dollars (Ren, 2015).

Researchers from NASA anticipate this application is going to take a big step forward in the national airspace, since TAP is really doing a nice job on reducing delays, increasing the flight efficiency, protecting environment and offering passengers a better flight experience.


Unknown. (2015, 9 23). NASA’s Traffic Aware Planner to Increase Efficiency of Airliners. Retrieved from World Industrial Reproter: http://worldindustrialreporter.com/nasas-traffic-aware-planner-to-increase-efficiency-of-airliners/

Lynch, K. (2015, 9 23). NASA Tests New Traffic Planning App Aboard Avanti. Retrieved from AIN online: https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/business-aviation/2015-09-23/nasa-tests-new-traffic-planning-app-aboard-avanti

RenZong. (2015 9 24). NASA developed an app for helping piolts find optimal flight route. Retreved from Leifeng: http://www.leiphone.com/news/201509/IdoiTYvPCPDnqhFR.html

Social media and Emerging markets: A quick case study of Brazil

On the 12th of October the WSJ published an article on Social Media growth in Brazil, entitled ‘Brazil: The Social Media Capital of the Universe’. Upon reading this somewhat bombastic title I was sceptical, but as I started to read, I thought that since we, as BIM students, tend to focus our interests mainly on North America and Europe, the insights into this market may surprise some of us and help us to broaden our horizons.

So let’s get you intrigued: Ranked according to country, Brazil has the second biggest user group on Facebook with 65 million profiles in 2013. In December 2012 Facebook saw nearly 44 million unique visitor, which represented a 22% increase to December 2011. In September 2012, in the rest of the world the time spent on Facebook dropped by 2% to 361 minutes per month, while Brazilians spent on average 535 minutes on the network representing an increase of 208% in comparison to the year prior. For Twitter, Brazil is also the second biggest market (after the U.S.) with 41.2 million users, growing with approximately 23% in the first six month of 2012. All in all, the 78 million Brazilians spend 36% of their online time on social media websites.

Behind this growth are two main drivers: namely the Brazilian culture and the diffusion of smartphones and Internet among the population.

In a nutshell the Brazilian culture is very social and people are eager to communicate among another. Alexandre Hohagen, the Vice President of Facebook Latin America describes “[it as] common for someone to start talking to you in the elevator or in a restaurant just to start a conversation”. In addition, Brazilians seem to be more open towards new forms of commerce:  a study by eCRM123, a Brazilian market research company, indicated that 77% of users hold a positive attitude towards purchasing via social networks.

Approximately only 50% of the Brazilian populus is online and smartphone penetration rates are estimated to be at around 23%. However, a number of factors, growth of the middle classes, government investment in internet infrastructure and smartphone providers switching to faster internet connection systems, propel the growth of internet and social media adoption (figure).


Over the course of the next three years it is estimated that advertising spending in Brazil will amount to $5.6 billion in online advertising, which represents a bigger budget than India, Russia or Indonesia.

While the title of the article in the WSJ is over the top, the newspaper is right in predicting a strong market growth in social media – a topic in a country that BIM students should keep in mind.


Chao, L. 2013. Brazil: The Social Media Capital of the Universe. [online] Available at: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887323301104578257950857891898 [Accessed: 16 Oct 2013].

comScore, Inc. 2013. comScore Releases ‘2013 Brazil Digital Future in Focus’ Report. [online] Available at: http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Press_Releases/2013/3/comScore_Releases_2013_Brazil_Digital_Future_in_Focus_Report [Accessed: 16 Oct 2013].

Emarketer.com. 2013. Brazil’s Social Audience Keeps Growing, as New Web Users Join In. [online] Available at: http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Brazils-Social-Audience-Keeps-Growing-New-Web-Users-Join/1010003 [Accessed: 16 Oct 2013].

Holmes, R. 2013. The Future Of Social Media? Forget About The U.S., Look To Brazil. [online] Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2013/09/12/the-future-of-social-media-forget-about-the-u-s-look-to-brazil/ [Accessed: 16 Oct 2013].