In Response to Digital Factories: A Dialogue with Eric M. Schneider

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An accomplished digital marketer and friend of mine, Eric Schneider, started this dialogue and article on ZDNet with Paul Greenberg (Social CRM).

The title is “Check out the Digital Factory: Forging engagement through strategy, data, and interaction” and is a guest post that Paul introduces.

While I don’t plan to get into to much detail on my own blog, I wanted to capture the initial thoughts here (mainly for myself).

Eric – Per your request…here are some thoughts…
1. We’ve worked together in the past and have been each other’s fans, partners, and challengers in various contexts. However, I don’t fully see the point about what is new here, and there are many sources that have been saying pay attention to these trends for years (e.g. you and I both did at Unica several years ago).

2. Oracle was founded on “A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks.” It was a tool to support a data factory then and still is. However, today we have a lot of economics behind the idea of factory. I certainly see the trends, but companies and open source engineers have been bringing these up for years.

Paul – Per your request as well…
1. In 20 years, I have failed at a dozen businesses or more, and I have participated in early web, content/e-commerce, SaaS, PaaS, CRM, Web 2.0, marketing automation/analytics, big data, and cloud industries. Factory was applied to all of these in different contexts. It is only one model. Great metaphor, but it has it’s own weaknesses.

2. Automation creates value, mainly by reducing costs. However, any market leading CEO in today’s era already knows that factories fail at meeting the needs of boards and investors (and employees and customers). Innovation is the key. It almost seems to sit like a yin and yang with the idea of factory.

Thanks for letting me converse/controverse with you! :)


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