Nearly half of online shoppers in Australia and New Zealand have abandoned a purchase after experiencing frustrations with the website, a survey shows. Rackspace polled more than 1000 shoppers across the two countries, discovering that 45% had abandoned an online purchase due to website performance issues, while 47% have gone to a different site to buy the same product. Online frustrations are driving some users back to brick-and-mortar stores, with 29% of respondents reporting having given up on an online purchase and visited a shop instead. In addition, while 83% shopped online for the convenience, 44% believe traditional retail shopping is faster if they know what they're looking for and 44% prefer the service they receive in-store. According to the respondents, the top frustrations with e-commerce include too many pop-up advertisements, inferior service and the time-consuming task of narrowing down the options available. But more than half of online shoppers agree that there is more variety than in brick-and-mortar stores. While 37% have used web search filters to shop online, 42% complain that online search categories do not match their required criteria. “People shop online due to the convenience it offers, but they are being driven away because they aren’t able to navigate through to purchase quickly and easily enough,” Rackspace ANZ Director and General Manager Angus Dorney said. “Retailers should apply the same, simple, old-fashioned customer service values to their online site as they would to the physical shopfront. It should be inviting, easy to navigate and helpful.” -
May 28, 2015
May 21, 2015
May 19, 2015
Hadoop makes all the big data noise. Too bad it's not also getting the big data deployments.
Indeed, though Hadoop has often served as shorthand for big data, this increasingly seems like a mistake. According to a new Gartner report, "despite continuing enthusiasm for the big data phenomenon, demand for Hadoop specifically is not accelerating."
According to the survey, most enterprises have "no plans at this time" to invest in Hadoop and a mere 26 percent have either deployed or are piloting Hadoop. They are, however, actively embracing other big data technologies.
'Fairly anemic' interest in Hadoop
For a variety of reasons, with a lack of Hadoop skills as the biggest challenge (57 percent), enterprises aren't falling in love with Hadoop.
Indeed, as Gartner analyst Merv Adrian suggests in a new Gartner report ("Survey Analysis: Hadoop Adoption Drivers and Challenges"):
With such large incidence of organizations with no plans or already on their Hadoop journey, future demand for Hadoop looks fairly anemic over at least the next 24 months. Moreover, the lack of near-term plans for Hadoop adoption suggest that, despite continuing enthusiasm for the big data phenomenon, demand for Hadoop specifically is not accelerating.
How anemic? Think 54 percent with zero plans to use Hadoop, plus another 20 percent that at best will get to experimenting with Hadoop in the next year:
This doesn't bode well for Hadoop's biggest vendors. After all, as Gartner analyst Nick Huedecker posits, "Hadoop [is] overkill for the problems the business[es surveyed] face, implying the opportunity costs of implementing Hadoop [are] too high relative to the expected benefit."
Selling the future of Hadoop
By some measures, this shortfall of interest hasn't yet caught up with the top two Hadoop vendors, Cloudera and Hortonworks.
Cloudera, after all, will reportedly clear nearly $200 million in revenue in 2015, with a valuation of $5 billion, according to Manhattan Venture Partners. While the company is nowhere near profitability, it's not struggling to grow and will roughly double revenue this year.
Hortonworks, for its part, just nailed a strong quarter. Annual billings grew 99 percent to $28.1 million, even as revenue exploded 167 percent to $22.8 million. To reach these numbers, Hortonworks added 105 new customers, up from 99 new customers in the previous quarter.
Still, there are signs that the hype is fading.
Hortonworks, despite beating analyst expectations handily last quarter, continues to fall short of the $1 billion-plus valuation it held at its last round of private funding. As I've argued, the company will struggle to justify a billion-dollar price tag due to its pure-play open source business model.
But according to the Gartner data, it may also struggle due to "fairly anemic" demand for Hadoop.
Moving beyond Hadoop
There's a big mitigating factor. Hadoop vendors will almost surely languish -- unless they're willing to embrace adjacent big data technologies that complement Hadoop. As it happens, both leaders already have.
For example, even as Apache Spark has eaten into MapReduce interest, both companies have climbed aboard the Spark train.
But more is needed. Because big data is much more than Hadoop and its ecosystem.
For example, though the media has equated big data with Hadoop for years, data scientists have not. As Silicon Angle uncovered back in 2012 from its analysis of Twitter conversations, when data professionals talk about big data, they actually talked about NoSQL technologies like MongoDB as much or more than Hadoop:
Today those same data professionals are likely to be using MongoDB and Cassandra, both among the world's top 10 most popular databases, rather than Hbase, which is the database of choice for Cloudera and Hortonworks, but ranks a distant #15 in terms of overall popularity, according to DB-Engines.
Buying an ecosystem
Let's look at Gartner's data again, this time comparing big data adoption and Hadoop adoption:
A significant percentage of the delta between these two almost certainly derives from other, highly popular big data technologies such as MongoDB, Cassandra, Apache Storm, etc. They don't fit into the current Hadoop ecosystem, but Cloudera and Hortonworks need to find ways to embrace them, or risk running out of Hadoop runway.
Nor is that the only risk.
As Aerospike executive and former Wall Street analystPeter Goldmacher told me, a major problem for Hortonworks and Cloudera is that both are spending too much money to court customers. (As strong as Hortonworks' billings growth was, it doubled its loss on the way to that growth as it spent heavily to grow sales.)
While these companies currently have a lead in terms of distribution Goldmacher warns that Oracle or another incumbent could acquire one of them and thereby largely lobotomize the other because of its superior claim on CIO wallets and broad-based suite offerings.
Neither Cloudera nor Hortonworks can offer that suite.
But what they can do, Goldmacher goes on, is expand their own big data footprint. For example, if Cloudera were to use its $4-to-5 billion valuation to acquire a NoSQL vendor, "All of a sudden other NoSQL vendors and Hortonworks are screwed because Cloudera would have the makings of a complete architecture."
In other words, to survive long term, Hadoop's dominant vendors need to move beyond Hadoop -- and fast.
May 11, 2015
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redit where credit is due. Lynton Crosby is getting the plaudits for the Conservative party’s successful election strategy, but the real architect of this victory was surely George Osborne, the chancellor. Leave aside Labour’s collapse in Scotland, arguably the election’s most striking result. In England, the Conservatives won because Mr Osborne was right and his critics were wrong.
The comedian Russell Brand was not alone in having his celebrity endorsement of Labour roundly ignored by the voters. Even more ignominiously humbled were the Keynesian economists who have spent so much of the past five years predicting that the economic consequences of Mr Osborne’s policies would be disastrous.
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In the vanguard of the Keynesian attack was Paul Krugman of The New York Times. In August 2011 he denounced the “delusions” of the chancellor whose “experiment in austerity” was “going really, really badly”.
Why? Because, in seeking to bring the government’s deficit under control, Mr Osborne was worrying needlessly about business confidence. “The confidence fairy” was the term Mr Krugman coined to ridicule anyone who argued for fiscal restraint.
Unfortunately for Mr Krugman, the more he talked about the confidence fairy, the more business confidence recovered in the UK. In fact, at no point after May 2010 did it sink back to where it had been throughout the past two years of Gordon Brown’s catastrophic premiership.
Mr Krugman was equally relentless in predicting that austerity would lead to recession; indeed, he insisted that the UK’s economic performance would be worse than during the Great Depression. In April 2012 he warned darkly that Britain would “continue on a death spiral of self-defeating austerity”.
It was, he lamented, a “policy disaster” that would cause a double-dip recession and “cripple the UK economy for many years to come”.
In fact, there was no double-dip recession. The UK had the best performing of the G7 economies last year, with a real gross domestic product growth rate of 2.6 per cent. In 2009, the last full year of Labour government, the figure was minus 4.3 per cent. Moreover, far from being in depression, the UK economy has generated more than 1.9m jobs since May 2010. UK unemployment is now 5.6 per cent, roughly half the rates in Italy and France. Weekly earnings are up by more than 8 per cent; in the private sector, the figure is above 10 per cent. Inflation is below 2 per cent and falling.
Meanwhile, the government’s much-derided policy of fiscal stabilisation has also been a success, even if the extent of deficit reduction fell short of Mr Osborne’s original goal. According to the International Monetary Fund, the general government deficit has been nearly halved from 10 per cent in 2009 to 5.7 per cent last year; the structural deficit more than halved from 9.8 per cent to 4.2 per cent. The net public debt has been stabilised at roughly the same level relative to GDP as that of the US.
Few governments since 1945 have achieved comparable economic results from such a difficult starting point. If the opinion polls had been right, and the Tories had not won this election, it would have been a travesty.
Last week’s result thus fits into a simple pattern of postwar history. Labour governments have generally caused either inflation or unemployment or both to rise, or at least not to fall. Conservative governments have generally done better. However, the electorate has not always rewarded the Tories for their economic competence. In 1945, 1964, 1974 and 1997 voters felt that, after doing what had to be done under the Conservatives, they could now indulge themselves with a flutter on Labour, which remains, incorrigibly, the party that promises to spend more on the welfare state by taxing the rich.
Not this year. Throughout the campaign, Labour leader Ed Miliband and Ed Balls, his shadow chancellor, trailed their Tory counterparts on the issue of economic competence. The electorate had not forgotten Labour’s disastrous stewardship before and during the financial crisis. Nor did they miss that Mr Miliband and Mr Balls had (temporarily) swallowed Mr Krugman’s fairy story of austerity-driven double-dip recession.
True, not all those who intended to vote Tory showed their hand to the opinion pollsters, who have almost as much egg on their faces as the Keynesians. Next time, however, the pollsters can simply adjust their projections by using a simple economic model. Just so long as they make sure it’s not a Keynesian one. Shame where shame is due.