Posts Tagged ‘Andy Mulholland’

The Tech Start-Up’s IP Dilemma

September 4, 2016 Leave a comment
When it comes to tech entrepreneurship, a good Intellectual Property (IP) strategy will often play a critical role in the difference between unbridled success versus failure-inducing infringement lawsuits. How should technology entrepreneurs and start-ups approach the difficult task of balancing IP protection vs. commercialization considerations in the dynamic, financial and geo-political landscape of today?

In the face of recent global financial meltdowns, migrant refugee crises, global terrorism and regional upheavals (e.g. BREXIT), things may become exponentially more complicated. In terms of IP, the key question for many high-growth start-ups is how to negotiate the daunting landscape of protocol, jurisdiction and regulatory compliance requirements for each new market that they penetrate.

3 key factors, in my opinion, need to be taken into consideration when attempting to address these particular challenges as follows:

Pay to play – The digital world has ushered in a shift from transactions to a more interaction based economy. According to Constellation Research Principal, Andy Mulholland, three distinct types of time-zone based interactions can be recognized in this new environment. They comprise of: reflex interactions (e.g. autonomous machine to machine interactions); service based interactions (i.e. multiple, coordinated services interacting to deliver value to customers / subscribers / end-users); and finally, cognitive interactions (delivering enhanced value as part of a ‘smart’ system and ecosystem).

Changing of the Guard – IP is a moveable feast, and sooner or later any proponent of “free-to-use” IP soon become vigorous advocates of IP protection once they start producing their own. Nations that were once net consumers of IP, with scant regard for anti-piracy measures, will often become rabid defenders of international IP laws when they start producing more IP than they consume. The same applies to start-ups who initially think nothing of appropriating other people’s IP in other to create or enhance their own products / services, but then go on to spend oodles of funding money with top IP lawyers to protect or defend their IP as they mature.

Caring, sharing, gig economy – The last point is very much about the real cost of freedom and flexibility. The so called “Gig economy”, which offers short term roles for hordes of contingent workers (aka ‘micro entrepreneurs’), has been popularised by the likes of Uber, Airbnb and Deliveroo, because they promise a greater degree of freedom and flexibility than traditional employer / employees models. The new gig economy players typically provide a platform for exchanging goods and services, but sometimes this can verge on the traditional ’employee’  domain, (e.g. wearing uniforms with the platform providers logo), instead of an independent provider. This blurring of lines could be interpreted by many as an attempt by platform operators to have their cake and eat it, and this has contributed to the recent spate of high profile law suites and demonstrations by irate contingent workers. Such disruptive business practices bring to mind the threat posed to traditional content industries by file sharing platforms such as: Naptster, Grokster, Pirate Bay and Megaupload, who all got sued to smithereens. The sad thing is that such repercussions, if unchecked, can serve to dampen the innovative vigour of said ‘gig economy’ platform operators. A middle ground must be found where it will be possible to explore the frontiers of the new gig economy without trampling over the rights of its participants. The promise of freedom and flexibility alone may not be worth the pixels through which it is displayed.

In conclusion, when it comes to startup entrepreneurship in today’s world, it takes a certain level of awareness to negotiate the myriad challenges facing new innovative / disruptive entrants to most markets. One of the key criteria for success, (in addition to having the right ideas, resources, team and opportunity / timing), is the presence of a good strategy for intellectual property and how it can be employed to the benefit of the organisation. It is no accident that California USA, with its high concentration of IP based industries, is the 6th largest economy in the world, therefore it goes without saying how important it is for startups to identify and protect any IP assets, right from the start.

Disclosure: The above post is derived from a soon-to-be-published article in the next edition of BCS Digital Leaders newsletter. Also the topic of start ups and IP will be the focus of the next BCS Entrepreneurs speed mentoring event which I’ll be chairing in the next few weeks.

Technology, Innovation and the Business of the Enterprise

January 23, 2012 Leave a comment

“Don’t just ask what the role of the IT department in the Enterprise should be; Ask what the role of Technology should be in the Business of the Enterprise.”

BCSNLB Event Images


That was the tagline for last week’s sell-out event at the BCS, Chartered Institute for IT, which featured Capgemini’s CTO, Andy Mulholland. Attendees were treated to riveting talk by Andy, in which he described the trends, implications and impact of innovation, especially the evolution (in back-office) and revolution (in front-office) of technology and the enterprise. To further drive home the point, Andy outlined what he calls the  top ten game changing technology shifts for enterprises to watch and understand, e.g.: people and social tools, the user experience, big data, user driven IT environments (aka consumerisation), and mobility, to name just a few.

And if that wasn’t enough, the second speaker / session at this event provided a practical hands-on demonstration of what might be described as a prototype for ‘crowd-sourced innovation’ in action. This session, which was led by Destination-Innovation’s Paul Sloane, involved attendees forming into small groups in order to explore painful ‘real life’ problems, and to come up with an innovative approach to resolving one of them. The outcome was then played back to the larger group, and suffice it to say that some of the suggestions were astonishing, and one attendee commented afterwards, saying: “It’s amazing what you can achieve in a short period of time”.

Overall, this event provided a great mix of comprehensive knowledge and innovation foresight, along with some practical application of innovative techniques to address them; resulting in a balanced, demonstrable experience of how challenges posed by technology disruption may be met in turn by an innovative approach designed to harness individual creativity. For an event organised, in their spare time, by a bunch of volunteer committee members / helpers of the BCS, North London Branch, (including yours truly), I think this was an excellent outcome.

The CTO has spoken!

October 16, 2007 Leave a comment

Those of you that attended yesterday’s CTO talk by Capgemini’s Andy Mulholland will agree with me that it was well worth it. And for those that couldn’t make it there will be an opportunity to download the whitepaper and slides when they become available on the BCS North London Branch’s website. Who says you can’t get value for nothing these days?

And that is the crux of the matter. The fact that much valuable information and knowledge has now become readily and ‘freely’ available means that we have to rethink how much emphasis we place on controlling access and restrictions to it. This is where mash-ups come into its own, because those individuals and organisations that understand and seize the opportunity to dynamically connect and repurpose content across several domains will effectively open themselves up to limitless possibilities in their connected future.

However there is something to be said for taking pains to explore these opportunities in an organised and coordinated manner. This would explain the emerging trend for MBAs to include enterprise architecture course choices in the leading business schools, according to Andy.

So what has this got to do with DRM? Why, everything. I like to think of DRM as an early recognition of the need to translate extant content business models into a content rich digital environment; however as we all know, this does not work if the business models are out-of-step with the times. Just ask Radiohead and the music industry!

Anyway I’ll leave that discussion for my upcoming talk next Tuesday (23rd of October). I hope to see you there.

Mashups incorporated

October 2, 2007 Leave a comment

A major forthcoming event in the BCS North London Branch’s calendar is the CTO Talk by Andy Mulholland, Global CTO of Capgemini. This event provides a unique look at the concept of Mashups in the corporate world. Baffled? Read on to find out more…

First of all, a definition of the term ‘Mashup’ is in order. For those two readers who do not know the meaning of the phrase, a mashup refers to ‘a mixture of content or elements‘ that are combined to create a new (and often innovative) service from multiple sources. The application of mashups in the corporate world is so very ‘2.0’ (amazing how everything now gets that label don’t you think?).

Anyway, this talk will focus on how the rapid evolution of technology and business models are now making it imperative for corporations to make bold decisions in order to adapt and survive ‘the end of business as usual’.

Andy Mulholland is co-author of the book Mashup Corporations, and an expert with many years experience in this field. I will be attending this event with an eye to understanding how this mashup concept can be applied to the use of DRM in the corporate environment.

(Disclosure: I am a consultant and architect in Capgemini, and also a committee member of the BCS North London Branch as well as coordinator for this event!)