observation For many years NOKIA has been my favorite phone brand. I grew up with with their phones – every two years a new subscription and enjoying the new stuff. Although to be fare, 10 years ago a phone was just there to make phone calls and send SMS messages.

My previous and last successful phone was the N95, which had the nice feature that beside the fact it was a telephone, you could do a lot more with this apparatus, making pictures, listening to stereo music from decent built-in speakers and my favorite, an accurate GPS using for it navigation and sports.

For my job this was the perfect phone. The GPS brought me all around the globe, to places I did not know they exist, but the GPS brought me there. Every time I rented a navigation license for a week when i was in South Africa, the US, Greece or Asia and it worked – and the man or lady spoke my language.

shout_leftAs as I have seen NOKIA presentations on several PLM events like the ECF in Paris, i was sure that beside the nice features of various phones type, there are managing their portfolio well and everyone in the audience was always impressed by the short go-to-market time for a mobile phone and how competitive this market is and how NOKIA addressed these challenges. Other phone manufactures do no feel jealous (yet), as so far, I never had the drive to switch to another mobile phone manufacturer.

Yes, I was tempted when I saw the iPhone coming up and for sure, I would have switched to it, if Nokia had not announced the N97. For me the logical next phone as:

  • I am loyal to the brand
  • the N97 is the logical extension of the N95
  • it counters all the remarks from my friends that have an iphone

Of course the announcement was in time and the availability was a little later as expected. But this is what you accept as a loyal customer. The grass might be greener elsewhere, but as long as you feel you have a “communication partner” you will feel comfortable and not jump over (the worst nightmare for any competitor – happy customers)

But then it happened:

nav Two weeks ago, I got my new 97 and immediately after going through the new gadgets and look-and-feel, I decided this phone was worth waiting. Specially the combination of touch screen and keyboard pleased me a lot. Then I decided to drive from the Netherlands to Paris and used my GPS.

This was the biggest disaster so far.

Even in situations that there was only the highway, the GPS was trying to snap to roads 200 meters to the left or right and my fear became right, once in a dense area as Paris you have no clue where you were driving.

But I am a loyal customer so I go to the NOKIA support forum and to my satisfaction, I found already 4 pages of remarks from other people experiencing the same – not being alone helps. Here the NOKIA community was working well, suggestions and remarks from others lead to at least a better understanding of the issue but not to a solution.

Here I was surprised to see the absence of Nokia technical experts, who could assist the audience in the right direction.  And some of the local NOKIA helpdesk responses were even worse – see quote from the forum below:

And what are Nokias’ thoughts on all this???  It would appear nothing, unless they do not read this feedback. Having said that, on one occasion I contacted Nokia “support” they blamed it on the satellites, and the fact they are owned by the USA government, and Nokia have no control on them!!!!  Honest, that is EXACTLY what I was told. Dohhhh  (A “knee jerk” response from a body which SHOULD be supporting their product(s).

listen So I went to a NOKIA care center, where the latest available phone software was loaded. I had an interesting of-the-record discussion there with one of the specialists. He mentioned that this kind of issues became more and more standard not only for NOKIA.
Due to time-to-market pressure, phone suppliers bring their products on the market, almost untested. It is the first wave of gadget chasers who detect all the bugs and then in the longer term, the telephone will come with a stable fix almost at End-Of-Life of the phone.

I agreed that this was an interesting strategy and I have seen other companies doing the same, only difference: They mention to their gadget chasers: “Note is is a preliminary version, our official release date is xx – xx – 2009”

Meanwhile the new installed software version improved some of the features, still the GPS is unacceptable. In parallel the amount of pages on the Nokia support forum has grown to 7+ and people, like me, getting more and more frustrated from the lack of response from Nokia. They keep silent ……..

So now coming back to my question: How PLM is NOKIA ?

On of the major benefits of PLM is being more focused on customer inputs and feedback, allowing you to make better products. I know the whole PLM infrastructure is in place at NOKIA, but there is no response:

It is all about connecting people

To my understanding none of the people exposing their GPS problem have been able to get an useful answer. Is it because there is no answer ? Making mistakes is not dramatic but as Confucius said: “A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it, is committing another mistake”.

So I am waiting for the Nokia response to create a solution path – and yes for the competition the door gets open

Below in this YouTube video you can see how it was tested 🙂