Marketers are in love with the latest mobile “shiny object” – and with technology acronyms – NFC, AR, LTE, BLE, RWD, QR. What’s more, hype questions abound: Will beacons replace NFC? Do you believe in HTML5 or should we develop a native app? Should we build an app for Apple Watch? But most of the time, these questions are irrelevant.
The reality is, marketers are increasingly using a variety of mobile tactics and technologies – but this use is rarely sophisticated and more often than not, does not match customer behaviors.
Sophistication of consumers’ use of smartphones is climbing — without consumers even noticing it. Mobile is simply part of our daily lives and, therefore, fundamentally changes customer expectations. With mobile traffic exploding, marketers are not only underserving their best customers by delivering a poor mobile experience, but risk losing their business altogether.
It’s time for marketers to start asking questions like how their core audience is using mobile, the value that mobile is adding throughout the customer lifecycle, the experience they want to transform, and the marketing objectives they have, to name a few. And only then, begin to align the right technologies.
I had the pleasure of conducting a Digital Maturity Assessment workshop with a colleague from Forrester Consulting for about 20 companies in Sydney recently. The majority of participants were from the Australian financial sector, with heavier representation from marketing departments than technology management. While the session was an abridged one intended to discuss, understand, and determine where the participants were on their digital business journey, it was productive and revealed that:
Participants knew what to do with digital business transformation, but struggled with how. Participants had started on the digital transformation journey, but needed to address cultural and organizational gaps to fully drive transformation. These issues include who owns the digital transformation agenda (does it sit with the CIO or CMO?), how to bridge the communication chasm between the CIO’s department and the lines of business, and how to measure results to drive transformation in a positive direction.
On October 14, I attended Big Data & Business Insights 2014 in Bangkok — the first public big data event in Thailand. I spoke about how to use big data to increase customer value in the age of the customer — a topic that seemed a bit distant from the audience’s daily reality. Most of them use traditional data warehouse and business intelligence tools and are new to big data solutions like Hadoop platforms, big data visualization, and predictive solutions. Here’s what I came away with:
Big data is still new to Thai businesses. Most big data projects in Thailand are still at the testing stages, and these trials are taking place in university labs rather than commercial environments. Dr. Putchong Uthayopas of the Department of Computer Engineering at Kasetsart University noted that big data projects in Thailand are now moving from pilot projects to actual usage.
Organizations need more details of real big data solutions. Thai businesses have held off investing in big data solutions because they felt uncertainty about the outcomes of big data projects. Attendees showed a lot of interest when I talked about big data usage in traditional industries, such as John Deere’s “Farm Forward” use case, which helped farmers make better decisions on what, when, and how to plant.
Well, it’s finally here! After weeks of anticipation, Apple Pay launched on Monday. Apple also unveiled the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, both with Touch ID sensors and an embedded secure element, which means Apple Pay can be used for in-app payments on those devices as well as the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Apple Pay launches at a time when the US payments marketplace is in turmoil: The frequency and scale of security breaches are on the rise, issuers are beginning their migration to chip-enabled cards, and mobile payments are still quite nascent — even after significant investment and a range of competitors that have come and gone. Enter Apple Pay.
Just as new products and services from Apple have reshaped other industries, Apple Pay will reshape and set a new benchmark in consumer payments. There are many well-designed aspects in the initial version of Apple Pay — these are the Apple Pay “hits.” They include a context-aware, streamlined user experience; a breakthrough approach to security; unprecedented payments ecosystem cooperation; and great timing.
Although there is a lot to like about Apple Pay, this ship has holes. If not addressed, these “misses” — such as an inability to scale in-person payments, limited consumer and merchant value, and reduced consumer insight for marketers — will derail Apple Pay's ability to reach the mainstream, become the undisputed commerce platform of choice, and achieve Tim Cook’s vision of replacing the wallet.
As we predicted in May 2012, user directories are moving into the cloud. Cloud workloads require that users who are authorized to access them are stored near the cloud workload and not just on-premises. While this offering announced now by AWS is not necessary technically groundbreaking (Cloud IAM vendors and Microsoft Azure have been offering AD integration for a relatively long time), obviously this announcement is relevant because of AWS's broad presence in IaaS. We urge Forrester's clients that plan to use AWS AD service to ask AWS the following questions:
1. What safeguards are there to protect information (user, computer, etc.) in AWS AD?
2. How does AWS integrate in real time with on-premises AD and shared folder infrastructures?
3. What types of true identity management (access governance and provisioning) services does AWS offer to complement this new AD service?
Check AWS's blog entry at http://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/new-aws-directory-service/ for more details.
I've been on the road all month talking about business technology speed. The age of the customer is all about speed. Faster time to market, more frequent software releases, automated server deployments, instant cloud scaling…anything that removes friction from the app dev process is hot as we move into 2015.
Docker, the container management juggernaut, has generated some of the most breathless buzz in cloud-land this year. And for once, all the buzz is justified, for a few reasons. Docker's new, but containers are not. Docker makes containers easier to use, so more companies can get the benefits some of the big cloud providers already enjoy. Those include near-instantaneous app launch, rapid scale-out, and server efficiencies much better than traditional virtualization.
Were you surprised by HP's decision to acquire Eucalyptus last month? You weren't alone. HP's move to snap up one of the first open source cloud platform projects left many scratching their heads, especially since Eucalyptus had lost much of its momentum in the last 5 years.
Now that OpenStack has effectively won the battle to be the open source alternative to Amazon Web Services, why would HP, already a major contributor to and vendor of a public cloud platform built on OpenStack, want Eucalyptus? It's not the technology. We think the value lies in the company's AWS API experience, Marten Mickos' open source credibility, and the depth of engineering skill.
Are you ahead of the cloud curve or falling behind your peers?
We are definitely in the hypergrowth phase of cloud computing, and 2015 will be a critical year: spending will jump, platforms will mature and consolidate, and cloud will enter the formal IT portfolio, whether IT likes it or not. Where are you on your journey to cloud?
Over the last decade, the colocation market has expanded and flourished – with more customers looking to outsource new facilities and more vendors emerging and expanding to meet this demand.
Colocation providers now offer a myriad of services beyond the expected physical space. Infrastructure is now table stakes, including enhanced power efficiency and physical security. The more impressive solutions offer a full portfolio of managed services to cloud, or host and steward a marketplace of third party services, offering close proximity to business partners and primary communications services. By “close” we mean VERY close, as in the same building, sometimes only meters away. Depending on the use case, proximity like this can make the difference between success or failure of a business function – financial trading is an obvious example but there are many more.
To get better acquainted with this ever expanding landscape of vendors and solutions, about this time last year I began a lengthy exercise to investigate and analyze the US colocation market. After three months, I identified 430 organizations through search engines and public profile sites. I then weeded out 112 firms that had inactive websites, were acquired, or did not clearly provide retail or wholesale colocation. Over the subsequent 3 months, I attempted to quantify the footprint of all qualifying facilities. Some key findings from this research include:
There are over 1430 data center facilities in more than 330 cities across the US, but53% of vendors surveyed operated only 1 facility.
There is over 68 million square feet of reported data center space, and an estimated 90-120 million square feet in total. This projection includes a fair amount of assumptions as many vendors did not provide facility sizes.