For the past two days I’ve been wandering the halls of the Austin Convention Center, along with two-plus-thousand fellow SpiceHeads. This humble Pimiento is palling around with Habaneros, Serranos, and a Ghost Pepper or two. I even saw two Pure Capsaicins achieve the spiciest of all designations Tuesday morning. More important, I interacted with a few dozen attendees one on one. From them, I’ve learned that Jeremy Moskowitz’s Win10 Migration survey — about which I blogged here on July 20 — captures this audience very well. And that’s why I say SpiceWorld 2018 confirms Win10 migration intelligence. In fact, I hope my presentation this afternoon on the Moskowitz survey will be well-received. (Note: registration required to download this 20-page PDF document).
There’s nothing restrained or dainty about the SpiceWorld 2018 show logo. That’s in keeping with the company and its community of smart, opinionated and passionate IT pros.
Why Say SpiceWorld 2018 Confirms Win10 Migration Intelligence?
Moskowitz reports that smaller businesses are further along with migration than medium or large ones. Thankfully, this fits entirely with what I learned from my fellow show-goers. It also matches with results that Spiceworks analyst Peter Tsai compiled for the company’s 2018 State of IT report. If anything, SpiceHeads are ahead of this curve. (SpiceHeads is the self-mocking self-description that Spiceworks community members prefer most. As they gain community cred, pepper rankings move up the Scoville scale.)
That’s no surprise to me, considering how much these folks care about IT and related best practices, tools, and technologies. Helping SpiceHeads find the right vendors for technology acquisitions, and vice-versa, helps explain Spiceworks’ raison d’etre. Shortening the sales cycle, reducing wasted sales efforts, and sparing IT folks unwanted cold sales calls got multiple mentions during various keynotes.
Meaningful Uses for AI and Machine Learning
The online community of Spiceheads now numbers about 7 million, says Spiceworks’ Community Manager Sean Dahlberg. On its forums, the same questions and concerns repeat in posts, threads, and discussions. “That means some or lots of duplication” says Dahlberg. “We put AI to work to group similar items together and show them to community members in search responses.” Next, he goes on to observe that this aggregation takes some interesting parsing and organizing. However, recent tests show that combining answers and pointing to best replies saves readers time. How much? “About 8 person-years per month. That compares to old-fashioned search results that require members comb through numerous threads. They have to extract the good stuff themselves. New AI-based results present a summary of threads, and show best answers right away.”
To my thinking, this is great use of intelligence that Spiceworks has collected for some time. According to SVP Manish Dixit, the company carefully anonymizes data before moving it into datasets. Only then are they used for machine learning, statistical analysis, and predictive analytics. In fact, Spiceworks is really keen on helping the community identify and find good advice, tools, technologies and partners. At the same time they want to provide value to sponsors and advertisers.
Ideally, Spiceworks wants to link vendors with self-selecting prospective buyers or clients before the parties meet. Helping buyers and sellers save time, make good connections, and find best of breed options are all good things. That’s the kind of market improvement that anybody can get behind. Overall, Spiceworks is doing a better job of this than most organizations that serve large technical communities in an ad- and sales-based revenue model. Great stuff!