Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Clouds and Data and Evernote

In the reading “Clouds, Big Data, and Smart Assets: Ten Tech-Enabled Business Trends to Watch,” the authors discuss how the new advances of the 21st century in technology and vast data collection and storage of the internet have transformed the business industry as we know it today. They list ten specific technology enabled trends that are shaping corporations’ strategies in terms of organizational structure, customer acquisition, and other key aspects of business.

I want to highlight two trends and see how these trends have shaped strategies of today’s companies, looking at the strategy and business development of Evernote Corporation as an example.

1. Experimentation and big data
2. Imagining anything as a service

Evernote Corporation, a company who has developed an app that allows users to store and collect notes, pictures, and other data in an “external brain,” is in essence creating platforms of productivity for its users through the Internet.  

As mentioned in Lecture 2, companies have used their customers as grounds for experimentation for development of new and improved software. One obvious example of this is Google, launching different labs and pilot studies to its users with intent for feedback. This model has been working well for them, and it makes sense for that industry as a whole. Evernote similarly has proceeded with iterations and reiterations of their app to incorporate new features that provide better productivity for its customers. Through new additions to their current product, they have also been able to develop new structured products, catering to very specific needs of customers

The strategy of Evernote CEO Philip Libin was to first target the product to a foreign market, in this case Eastern Asia, to capture much of his current client base. According to WSJ, only 30% of his customers are U.S. based, while the rest span Europe and Asia. Reaching out to markets of growth has provided Evernote with an avenue to build a customer base whose primary means of communications and data storage was mainly through smartphone devices.

The second trend to highlight, “imagining anything as a service”, is clearly evident when observing Evernote’s product offerings.  The developers of Evernote apps have maximized the usage of cloud computing through allowing users to capture information through any device or platform. Synchronization across all these devices provides the means for complete access to one’s notebook of information at any place. This cross-functionality has allowed for integration of data across multiple platforms, and also has allowed the company to venture into development of services for more structural purposes.

For example, the app Evernote Clearly caters to people who have gotten distracted by the multitasking minds of today and need a way to eliminate distractions whilst reading. This company has created and developed an app that does just that for customers, who would otherwise proceed to close all windows and manually focus their attention onto reading a blog or article or what have you. Other such examples of  “anything as a service” provided by Evernote include the Evernote Food, Evernote Hello, Penultimate (an acquisition), etc.

It will be interesting to see how this company takes a new approach to attracting U.S. customers if that is part of their long-term plan. They claim to be a 100-year company with the goal of capturing lifelong customers. Currently, Evernote has over 30 million customers worldwide, and their long-term plan is to go IPO.

In what other ways do you think Evernote Corp. is utilizing cloud technology and in what other directions do you think they can shift with the advancement of this space?


“Clouds, big data, and smart assets: Ten tech-enabled business trends to watch.” Jacques Bughin, Michael Chui, and James Manyika. McKinsey Quarterly. August 2010

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