It’s Time To Start Talking About Professional Licensing For Software Engineers

It wasn’t until enough boilers blew up that mechanical engineers had to get licensed. It wasn’t until bridges and buildings started collapsing that civil engineers and architects had to get licensed. Now that airplanes are falling out of the sky due to automation (AKA, “software”) errors in the anti-stall systems, isn’t it time that software engineers have to get licensed? We buy, build, or trust many software- (and now AI-) controlled systems to protect our lives. How long are we going treat software as magic and art, rather than the engineering discipline through which computer science departments around the world are teaching software? But are the approaches as rigorous as they are for a professional engineer? Nope. We believe companies, and individuals, have both the incentive, permission, and maybe even the mandate to demand more information about the software and information systems that they use, as well as the people that built them. It’s time for a little professional outrage, people. After all, who built the software in the Boeing 737 MAX?

Capital One Innovates Around CX To Push Its Advantage

One of the leading US credit card banks has added a new, highly valuable consumer digital business innovation to its customer experience. Wikibuy helps Capital One customers optimize their spending by providing real-time cost comparisons across a wide range of online and retail product sellers. Go shopping for new electronics on, and instantly get visibility into whether it has the best prices or whether you should instead buy it from Costco, eBay, Walmart, or hundreds of other sellers. This net-new business value innovation came from a startup Capital One acquired in November of 2018. And it’s complementary to a digital disruptor response Capital One debuted a year ago, Eno, which creates virtual credit card numbers that you assign to specific websites to protect yourself from online hackers. These innovations drive CX and performance for Capital One while simultaneously raising the bar for its competitors.

Is Privacy Facebook’s Kryptonite?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a new “privacy vision” last week with a focus on encrypted services and private messaging. With this manifesto, he inches toward his singular goal: becoming the global version of China’s WeChat, China’s most popular messaging app, where users can conduct all of their daily activities within WeChat’s walls. But Zuckerberg will find it impossible to balance growing users and time spent in-app with trying to build a singular “privacy-first experience” to appease privacy regulators. Companies need to understand if this new privacy vision hinders their ad targeting on Facebook (unlikely in the short term). The bigger question: As brands move more dollars to Facebook, is Facebook able to deliver on an elite media partner experience? Recent service interruptions, cultural angst, and an FTC investigation will strain Facebook’s strategic attention. Mark may finally have to pay his due to the ad buyer experience, not just the end user experience, to keep more of his B2B customers happy. For more, read our blog post.

Toyota’s Moonshot

There are moonshots, and there are moonshots. Toyota is doing both, as it just announced a new lunar rover. The rover will be self-driving, with the ability for occupants to use it without spacesuits, and of critical importance in the harsh conditions you see on the moon, the rover will allow occupants to survive for weeks at a time. We love two things about this. The first is that you need innovation that cuts across a variety of types — from incremental improvements to moonshots — to realize the most value from your efforts. And second, you need the big thinking associated with things like moonshots to excite and engage your employees. Delivering improved EX is key to delivering better CX and, ultimately, company performance. Time to reach for the stars.

Strange Bedfellows, Indeed

Accenture has kept up its impressive pace of acquisitions. This week, it acquired a full-service digital marketing agency and a consulting and manufacturing services provider for the life sciences industry. Buying Storm Digital enables Accenture Interactive to create enhanced experiences from end to end for Accenture’s Dutch customers. The purchase of Enterprise System Partners provides Accenture with the ability to deliver digital solutions to help the manufacturing industry improve its delivery. Both acquisitions widen and deepen Accenture’s ability to help clients improve and innovate in their industry with digital transformation as a major lever. And these types of moves are increasingly common across large consultancies in the race to be the market leader. Adding to the mix, we now see many of the tech vendors building and acquiring consulting skills to also compete in the digital transformation space. Keep your eyes on this space; we are going to see some big battles among companies that traditionally haven’t been competitors.