The KIT ─ Knowledge & Information Technology
No. 228 - 16 November 2018
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In This Issue
Jail Time for Data Protection Violations?
The Connected Factory
Crystal Ball Time
CRM for Small Organizations
Seen Recently
Claude Baudoin

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If Money Doesn't Work, Will Jail Time Do It?
The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) imposes stiff fines on companies that fail to protect personal data: up to 4% of annual revenue. Several non-EU countries are now considering similar legislations. In the U.S., Senator Ron Wyden (Oregon) has drafted a bill that would include jail terms for executives of companies that have annual sales over $50 million and hold personal data on one million people or more. Those companies would also have to file an annual data protection report, and a CEO who signs a false statement could go to jail -- similar to the provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act regarding false financial statements.

While this bill has practically no chance of becoming law until at least 2021, it is a "shot across the bow" of corporations that are negligent about handling consumer data -- whether they are credit bureaus like Equifax or social networks like Facebook.
The Connected Factory
Insight.Tech, Comtech, FogHorn Systems and SkyFoundry will present a webinar on December 12 (11am Pacific, 2pm Eastern, 1900 GMT) on "Key IoT Features for the Connected Factory." The presentations and discussion will cover the promises of factory lifecycle optimization as well as the challenges to deploy the components and frameworks needed to implement a "connected factory." Register here.
Crystal Ball Time
It is this time of the year when all the IT pundits dust off their crystal balls and make predictions for 2019. "10 tech predictions for 2019," "4 trends for CIO leadership," "8 things keeping CIOs up at night," "7 key digital disruptions CIOs may not be seeing coming"... these are some of the headlines in our inbox since the last KIT issue.

Gartner is of course at the forefront of this numbers game, with their strategically scheduled October Symposium. Some years, they seem to "lead from behind" and make predictions that most of us consider obvious. This year's forecast contains some more original items, such as these (reformulated to shed the pseudo-statistical tone of Gartner's statements):
  • AI will remain "alchemy" for some time, due to the lack of a sufficient number of well-trained experts.
  • Facial recognition will be used to drastically reduce the number of missing persons, especially children and seniors.
  • Most companies with effective diversity and inclusion policies will have better financial results than those that don't.
  • The insertion of personal data into some public blockchains will make them non-compliant with data protection laws.
  • With users being able to opt out of storing cookies on their computers, the advertising revenue model on which much of the Internet is based will suffer.
  • The backlash against social media companies due to data sharing will not last, as the benefits of using those sites outweigh the risks for most users.
See all 10 original predictions here, courtesy of Digital Insurance.
CRM for Small Organizations
Since 1989, Salesforce has been the 500-pound gorilla in the CRM market, displacing in-house solutions such as Oracle Siebel (which has tried to maintain its relevance by selling more capabilities than just CRM) and practically inventing the Software-as-a-Service model. But its relatively steep price ($100 per user per month) left the door open to cheaper and less complex solutions for companies that either cannot afford this or have simple requirements -- managing contacts, mailings, and opportunities.

Many companies have entered this field -- probably too many, actually, and a wave of consolidation may be on the horizon. Anil Kumar posted at CustomerThink a list of the "10 best CRM tools for small businesses" (note that the "10 best" claim does not seem to be based on actual customer surveys), including the well-known Zoho but also several obscure players. The comments are mostly a reflection of the vendor claims, but the list gives the readers the names, links, and pricing elements for the various products.
Seen Recently...
"How not to use LinkedIn: send invite and then once connected type this "....Please let me know if you have any clients who have interest...." Sure stranger, let me send you all of my clients whose trust I spent years earning. NOT!"