Machine Learning Authors: Yeshim Deniz, William Schmarzo, Flint Brenton, Pat Romanski, Rene Buest

Blog Feed Post

Acknowledgement matters

6983916617_d476e373cc_zIn face to face interactions we are programmed to recognise the importance of feedback. As we move many previously physical interactions online, are we in danger of forgetting just how important it is?

When you walk into a shop and buy something, a plethora of tangible and intangible signals reassure you that all is proceeding as planned. You have the goods you purchased. You probably have a printed (or emailed) receipt. You may have change in your pocket. The cashier actually interacted with you, whether with a cheery smile, calm efficiency, or brusque disregard. You leave, clear that something happened.

Most online services, of course, recognise that it’s important to maintain these cues; even when buyer and seller are continents apart. Amazon confirms a transaction on-screen, and then follows up with an email to acknowledge your purchase. It then sends further emails when goods despatch, and offers a variety of methods to track the process from ordering to delivery. In this, it is far from alone.

And yet, now and then, I come across online businesses which fail to grasp the importance of feedback, information, and acknowledgement. And, every time, it jars. Why, in 2014, are otherwise good businesses failing to recognise that they’re dealing with human beings, and that those human beings are programmed to expect interaction, reassurance, acknowledgement?

The latest online business to — apparently — ignore this important aspect of the human makeup is bill.com. A few recent projects have been for clients that have started to use the well-funded online payments and accounting service. For them, the service may well be great. It may do everything its marketing suggests, to streamline the process of receiving, processing, and fulfilling invoices. It may offer them great tools, and a great user experience. For me, submitting an invoice, the process is dreadful.

The initial premise is good. Simply email an invoice (in my case, generated automatically by FreeAgent) to a *@bill.com email address. No client-specific Excel spreadsheets to complete. No nasty Salesforce kludge, which looks like its UI was designed by a distracted toddler and their bad-tempered teddy bear. Just an email address to receive an invoice that my own systems are all geared up to create and track. This, I thought, is going to be great. The future of billing has arrived.

And then the wheels fall off. Nothing. Absolutely nothing happens. No emailed acknowledgement of receipt. No ability to track where an invoice is in the approval process. No email to say that payment is coming. Tens of thousands of dollars invoiced, and you know nothing for weeks; until the money eventually shows up — unannounced — in your bank account.

The first time this happened, I assumed that my client had perhaps failed to select an option to have email acknowledgement sent. They were, I knew, new to bill.com. They might not have it all set up correctly.


Apparently not. Apparently it’s a good suggestion. For future updates. Really? For a company that’s been trading since 2006? Surely the electronic equivalent of the smile of acknowledgement, the grunt of recognition, the closing of the loop is rather more fundamental than that?

Are we really meant to drop out of this shiny,  futuristic and time-saving automated process to contact the client?

Hi. I just submitted my invoice for that project. Can you please confirm receipt?

How does that help anyone? It’s more work for me, it’s more work for them. And all the stupid computer had to do was send an email to let me know mine got through. A handshake, if you will. In both the networking and the real-world senses of the term.

As we move more and more online, we still need to acknowledge, reassure, report. Bill.com doesn’t, and it should. A human being at bill.com manages to do it on Twitter, obviously. Shouldn’t the same response to human beings’ need to feel engaged with be baked deep into their product?

Image by Flickr user vkanaya



Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Paul Miller

Paul Miller works at the interface between the worlds of Cloud Computing and the Semantic Web, providing the insights that enable you to exploit the next wave as we approach the World Wide Database.

He blogs at www.cloudofdata.com.

@CloudExpo Stories
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term.
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...
With privacy often voiced as the primary concern when using cloud based services, SyncriBox was designed to ensure that the software remains completely under the customer's control. Having both the source and destination files remain under the user?s control, there are no privacy or security issues. Since files are synchronized using Syncrify Server, no third party ever sees these files.
"We are an integrator of carrier ethernet and bandwidth to get people to connect to the cloud, to the SaaS providers, and the IaaS providers all on ethernet," explained Paul Mako, CEO & CTO of Massive Networks, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
I believe that this may finally be the year that the CIO role ‘crosses the Rubicon,' leaving behind its traditional, IT-focused orientation. But I don't believe that either of the previous predictions of this outcome — fading into oblivion or rising to a business executive level — is correct. Instead, I think this is the year that we will see the role of the CIO transformed into something altogether different.
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
"Calligo is a cloud service provider with data privacy at the heart of what we do. We are a typical Infrastructure as a Service cloud provider but it's been designed around data privacy," explained Julian Box, CEO and co-founder of Calligo, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"NetApp is known as a data management leader but we do a lot more than just data management on-prem with the data centers of our customers. We're also big in the hybrid cloud," explained Wes Talbert, Principal Architect at NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, is an accomplished digital business executive with extensive global expertise as a strategist, technologist, innovator, marketer, and communicator. For over 30 years across five continents, he has built success with Fortune 500 corporations, vendors, governments, and as a leading research analyst and consultant.
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
CI/CD is conceptually straightforward, yet often technically intricate to implement since it requires time and opportunities to develop intimate understanding on not only DevOps processes and operations, but likely product integrations with multiple platforms. This session intends to bridge the gap by offering an intense learning experience while witnessing the processes and operations to build from zero to a simple, yet functional CI/CD pipeline integrated with Jenkins, Github, Docker and Azure...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Sanjeev Sharma Joins November 11-13, 2018 @DevOpsSummit at @CloudEXPO New York Faculty. Sanjeev Sharma is an internationally known DevOps and Cloud Transformation thought leader, technology executive, and author. Sanjeev's industry experience includes tenures as CTO, Technical Sales leader, and Cloud Architect leader. As an IBM Distinguished Engineer, Sanjeev is recognized at the highest levels of IBM's core of technical leaders.