Okta Files to Go Public

Merritt Maxim

Yesterday, Okta filed its S-1 with the SEC, officially marking its intent to go public. This planned IPO had been rumored in early 2016, but less than optimal capital market conditions in 2016 likely contributed to the delay. The S-1 followed last week’s news that Okta acquired Stormpath, an identity API provider based in Silicon Valley, for an undisclosed amount.

The filing is not surprising but opens a window into the financial dynamics of the identity-as-a-service (IDaaS) market. After reviewing the S-1, three main themes stand out for me:

  1. IDaaS demand is very strong. Okta’s fiscal year ends on January 31, so full-year figures are not yet available for the period ending January 31, 2017. But comparing Okta’s revenue numbers for its 2015 fiscal year with its 2016 fiscal year shows an impressive 100% year-on-year growth. A big boost in service revenue also suggests that Okta is being deployed in larger, more complex environments that require more customization and services. Over the past 18 months, Forrester has had a steadily increasing number of IDaaS-related inquiries from enterprise clients looking to deliver identity and access management (IAM) capabilities to their employees via a SaaS subscription model. Okta’s revenue growth aligns with the strong growth in demand we see from our clients.
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Have You Ever Really Loved A Brand?

James McQuivey

I want to know who you love. I'm asking because love for a brand is actually a very hard thing to measure. At Forrester we've spent nearly a year trying to understand the emotional components of branding. Our colleagues in the customer experience (CX) team have years worth of data showing that emotion is the single most powerful driver of satisfaction with an experience. Designing to emotion, then, is a crucial method for success and my colleagues are all over it. 

On the brand side, marketers certainly agree that emotion matters. They have always believed that emotion matters. They just don't agree on how it matters. Or better said they don't have clarity on what emotion really is and so it becomes more difficult to pin down how that emotion applies to their brands -- is brand emotion different from CX-derived emotion? Do they relate to each other, act as influences on each other? It's hard to say for sure when your mental model of how emotion works is inadequate to the task of addressing the fast-moving emotions of today's empowered consumer. 

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Beware the Word "Alignment"

James McQuivey

Another Friday lesson on corporate-speak. Last week I shared how wrong it is to be "right?" and I hope you are secretly forwarding that note to every offender in your organization. Today, I'm here to save you from the equally egregious word "alignment." A seemingly simple word, one that baas like a gentle lamb on a hilly, green pasture. Except this lamb is sheep in the most despicable of wolves' clothing. To be aligned with something literally means to be arranged in a straight line. When someone invites you to be aligned with them, they think they are saying, "let's be on the same side," "let's have a shared perspective," or "let's not seem like we're in disagreement here." All of those meanings sound good -- we are teammates, we collaborate, we know how to work across silos! But none of them are what people really mean when, in an interdepartmental meeting someone says, "We need to make sure that we're in alignment on this."

What they truly mean is, "I've listened to you blather on long enough. You are wrong and I am right and you need to start pretending that you agree with me or we're going to have real problems here."

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DevOps has reached critical mass, CIOs need to get on board

Elinor Klavens

DevOps is one of the most powerful weapons that CIOs have in their arsenal. DevOps unites the entire enterprise in delivering business transformation with superior customer experience. Companies like Target, Capital One, Walmart, ING, Nordstrom, Netflix and JetBlue are already reaping the benefits. In order to unlock the promise of DevOps, CIOs must lead the call for cultural change.

As any leader knows, changing institutionalized behavior is the toughest of all management challenges and CIOs are understandably skeptical of new trends.  Despite this, CIOs must recognize when a trend becomes an imperative for survival. DevOps has become this imperative, and CIOs must act now. CIOs who embrace the DevOps challenge must first fostera culture of collaboration and learning, then enable their people with the right tools to drive holistic life-cycle automation. Those who meet this challenge won't just beat their competitors — they will decimate them. 

CIOs must replace traditional linear thinking with Agile thinking.

 
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Customer Success Should Be A Team Sport

Kate Leggett

Customers hold the power in their relationships with businesses. Today, it's not enough for businesses to deliver products. Customers expect them to deliver outcomes and success.

To do this, businesses must understand who the customer is, what their pain points are in achieving their business goals, and must help them choose the right products to meet their goals. The relationship does not stop there. Businesses must ensure that a new customer is properly onboarded, and is realizing ongoing value from their purchase. Forrester data backs these statements up. 68% want vendors who “understand my business, my problems – and help me solve them.”

This is the mission of customer success teams. They actively manage customers post-purchase, to ensure their ongoing success, with the end goal of reducing churn, increasing customer lifetime value and advocacy - the latter of which influences new sales.

Most businesses pursue this mission by standing up customer success organizations. They use a health score  — comprised of financial data, CRM data, product usage data, support cases, customer feedback  — to track their customers. However, most company employees interacting with customers don’t have this visibility into a customer’s health which can impact overall relationships.

Totango, a vendor of customer success solutions, has a very different view of customer success. Sure customer success teams manage overall customer relationships. However, Totango believes that everyone interacting with customers must have access to customer data and their health in order to better engage with them. Employees must also be able easily, with little friction, access this information from within the context of their application.

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Why You Need To Attend Consumer Marketing Forum 2017

Carlton Doty

To be blunt, if you miss this event, you’ll be sorry. Sure there are loads of marketing conferences out there, but Forrester’s Forums clear the clutter and help you focus on the issues that matter most to your success. Last year, we told you that we're in a post-digital world now, and that marketing must adapt to new rules. This year, on April 5-7, we'll show you exactly how to do that and more. Whether you’re developing and refining your marketing strategy to engage today’s empowered consumer, or your planning the next investment in your Martech application portfolio, Forrester’s Consumer Marketing Forum will be the smartest investment of time that you’ll make this year. Here’s a just few highlights:

  • Learn exactly how consumers’ behaviors are changing. Analyst Anjali Lai will share Forrester's Empowered Customer segmentation.
  • Discover how to avoid the illusion of insights. VP and Research Director Sri Sridharan will show you how to avoid potential pitalls in your question to become and insights-driven business.
  • Reveal what really matters in Martech and Adtech. VP and Principal Analyst Joe Stanhope will bring clarity to the chaos of an unhealthy technology ecosystem. 
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Traditional I&O Is Dead - The DevOps Phoenix Rises

Eveline Oehrlich

If you already belong to a high-performing DevOps organization and you are working on leveraging opensource for monitoring to drive feedback loops, or delivering better security with DevSecOps, or making sure you are understanding continuous testing then you don’t need to read the following – you can stop now.

However, if you are facing the challenges that your app dev team is developing faster than you can deliver or you realize that ITIL does not help you in increasing your speed and quality of deployment or your manual deployment capability do not scale or human error has caused some outage…don’t delay your shift your operating model towards DevOps. Our DevOps vision report gives I&O leader’s guidance on how to modify the operating model to focus on velocity and quality to deliver “great” customer experiences.

Products not functional silo’s for customer obesession

The first transition is one of focusing on products not functional IT silos. Developers, operations, QA teams and release teams should be merged into a single team around the product.  This team is accountable for the complete pipeline from ideation to delivery and depending on the culture, support as well.

Evaluate your success, based on the five critical DevOps metrics.

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Practice Makes Perfect: Lessons From Practitioners About Sales Enablement Automation

Steven Wright

Register now for the March 21, 2017, Forrester Webinar: "Sales Enablement In Action: Learning From B2B Practitioners."

The Forrester Wave™ process involves more than vendors. It also requires interviews with two to three reference customers for each solution. The new report, which Jacob Milender and I wrote, "Applying Sales Enablement Best Practices: Reference Customers For The Sales Enablement Automation Wave™ Reveal Lessons That They’ve Learned," looks at how these practitioners have achieved the benefits of sales enablement automation (SEA).

We spoke to 20 sales enablement practitioners from a variety of industries who were evenly divided between reporting to marketing and sales. That is a lesson on how the role of sales enablement still straddles the organizational divide. And as with any technology, it takes a lot more than flipping a switch for SEA systems to get up and running. All practitioners agreed that getting their house in order (that is, finding, categorizing, reviewing, and restructuring content) was a necessary first step no matter what solution they chose.

The most immediate measure of a successful launch and implementation was adoption by sellers. “They love it! Content is much easier to locate,” was a frequent comment. But beyond immediate adoption, there are still challenges for many sales and marketing leaders in getting the most out of SEA, including going beyond using basic content usage reporting to correlating successful content with moving opportunities through sales stages.

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Insights Services Drive Data Commercialization

Jennifer Belissent

The new data economy isn’t about data; it is about insights. How can I increase the availability of my locomotive fleet? How can I extend the longevity of my new tires? How can I improve my on-time-in-full rate? Which subscribers are most likely to churn in the near future? Where is the best location to build a new restaurant franchise or open a new retail outlet? Business decision-makers want answers to these kinds of questions, and new insights services providers are eager to help them.

A growing number of companies recognize the opportunity their data provides, and they take that data to market: 1/3 of firms report commercializing data or sharing it for revenue with partners or customers.  The recently published Forrester Report Top Performers Commercialize Data Through Insights Services discusses the new trends in data commercialization: who is buying, who is selling, and what offerings are available, from direct data sales to the delivery of data-derived insight services.

While some commercializers avail themselves of data markets such as Dawex or DataStreamX, many are creating more sophisticated data-derived products and services. They are becoming insights services providers, often as an incremental offering to their existing customers.  Some offer insights based on smart products and IoT analytics. Siemens Mobility, Boeing, and GM offer predictive maintenance for their planes, trains, and automobiles. In the agricultural products industry, companies such as Monsanto and DuPont offer services that prescribe when and what farmers should plant, when certain interventions, such as water or pesticide applications, are advisable, or when to harvest.

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Headcount Grows Again As The Hard Work Of Digital Transformation Kicks In

Martin Gill

Every year we run a staffing and hiring survey of what used to be “eBusiness” professionals. I say “used to” because increasingly we find that eBusiness teams have morphed into “Digital Business” teams. Why? Well teams are under an increasing set of pressures, including:

 

  • A mandate to drive strategic change throughout the organization. Seventy two percent of firms surveyed are executing on digital transformation, and that tables the topic of digital with the C-Suite. Digital business leaders now have more strategic responsibility and must wield stronger influence with their executive peers and leaders.
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