Digital Experience Delivery Platforms: Oasis Or Mirage?

Mark Grannan

To answer this question, we compared 13 digital experience delivery vendors across 29 criteria in our recent Wave report, "Digital Experience Delivery Platforms, Q3 2014." Overall, we found many areas of differentiation, but client adoption and usage is a mixed. While some organizations have made strides in contextual, omnichannel delivery, many fail at customer data management. Almost all of the vendors focused on customer acquisition but many haven't begun to support the entire customer life cycle. In the end, no vendor achieved Leader status.

Despite no Leaders, these 13 vendors are definitively tracking toward the goal of an integrated platform for enterprise digital customer experiences. Specifically, Adobe and hybris outpaced the competition as an aggregator and all-in-one, respectively, but IBM and Sitecore also placed as Strong Performers. Each of the Contenders in our evaluation  -- Acquia, Demandware, Digital River, HP Autonomy, Intershop, OpenText, Oracle, salesforce.com, and SDL -- have strengths and bring an enterprise track record around their core differentiation, but most vendors' platform efforts are still building credibility among enterprise clients.

Earlier this year, Forrester asked 148 digital customer experience decision-makers from across enterprise technology, marketing, and commerce roles, "What are the biggest technical barriers to creative and effective customer-facing systems?" Systems integration and data management solidly led as today's top challenges. Our Forrester Wave analysis aims to uncover which platforms address these top technical barriers and additional priorities such as contextual delivery and bridging content and commerce-driven experiences.

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Apple Shores Up Its Enterprise Position In Asia With IBM Partnership

Tim Sheedy

You’ve probably already seen the announcement of the partnership between IBM and Apple; Forrester clients can read more about it here, along with our deeper analysis.

While I can’t comment on the trends in North America and Europe, I know that there are some interesting dynamics in the enterprise mobility space in Asia Pacific at the moment. The penetration of technologies like BYOD, customer mobility, and employee-facing mobile apps has been relatively low in many Asian countries, putting the region’s companies behind their North American peers for the most part. I still speak with CIOs and marketing leaders about why they should have a mobility strategy or how they can help their employees stay productive regardless of location.

Don’t get me wrong: There are a lot of smartphones and tablets — particularly iPads — in businesses across the region. But many of these devices, especially the tablets, were personally acquired by employees — so they’re an “accessory tool,” not a core productivity tool; often, corporate tech management doesn’t support them and app-dev teams don’t develop for them.

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Visionary Chinese Banks Show How Customer-Oriented Architectures Support Innovation

Charlie Dai

Five of the top 10 companies in the latest Forbes Global 2000 company list (published in May) are from China, and four of them are commercial banks. If you think this is only due to China’s massive consumer base, and that you can easily apply your global innovation strategy to the Chinese market, you’re almost certainly wrong. Enterprise architecture (EA) professionals at companies doing business in China should take a look at what the country’s banking and financial services industry (BFSI) is doing to enable customer-centric innovation.

I recently published two reports focusing on China’s BFSI. In these reports, I analyzed the Chinese banking landscape and the business challenges banks face, described a systematic approach to innovation that EA pros should consider when planning their transformations, and shed light on how they use both mainstream and emerging technologies to unleash the power of innovation around products, operations, and the organization. Some of the key takeaways:

  • Chinese banks suffer from their own customer experience issues. As a longtime monopoly, China’s BFSI has suffered from inefficiency, quality problems, and an uncompetitive ROI — and thus can no longer meet the high bar for customer satisfaction in the age of the customer. EA pros must find innovative ways to resolve these issues.
  • Internet companies and regulatory changes are challenging BFSI players. Visionary Internet companies like Alibaba and Tencent have launched financial services products, including innovative products like Yuebao, that are disrupting China’s BFSI with higher profits, lower barriers to entry, and better flexibility. The government is also making regulatory changes that will open up the market and intensify competition.
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Yahoo! Acquires Flurry: Inexpensive Audience Acquisition For Yahoo!

Julie Ask

Today Yahoo! announced its acquisition of mobile analytics and ad platform, Flurry. TechCrunch and Kara Swisher on re/code both reported the deal, with a $300M minimum price and $1 billion on the upper end. According to the press release, Flurry sees app activity from 1.4 billion devices monthly and 5.5 billion app sessions per day.

A little math: 1.4 billion devices does not equal one billion active users. However, a user could have one or many apps on his phone with the Flurry software embedded. Apps do not tend to have exclusive arrangements with one mobile analytics provider – let alone the free ones. They tend to have one or more. The code is small and there aren’t many compelling reasons to limit the number of buyers for your inventory unless there is unique value. It becomes hard to compare to the price tags of Viber ($900M) or WhatsApp ($17B to $19B). This is as much a play for audience as it is analytics. Flurry’s scale makes it interesting as an acquisition more so than what they do.

What does the acquisition mean?

No doubt, it’s a huge financial payoff for Flurry and its investors. When we interviewed Flurry a year or so ago for our research, they had 150 employees. 2014 will be known as a year of phenomenal mobile exit events – especially for those companies buying audience. It’s a good time to sell. A few thoughts:

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Protect Your Brand Today Through Comprehensive Risk Intelligence

Nick Hayes

We all know that securing your perimeter and your internal assets only gets you so far today. The crux of the issue is that your brand, and potential threats to it, are now often external and out of your direct area of control. The number of places and channels online where your brand appears and where malicious actors discuss how to take down your organization is expanding rapidly today.

Websites, media outlets, search engines, marketplaces, social networks, forums, mobile apps, online ads, and more – these are all places where your brands, products, workers, and affiliates and other associated third parties can be mentioned in inappropriate or malevolent contexts: They increase opportunities for brand defamation and data leakage; they act as discreet places to conspire or collude; they open the door to new security vulnerabilities; they decrease your control over your products; and they make it harder to spot contract violations and breaches.

 

The good news is: You’re not powerless either.

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How Best Western Great Britain Won Validation For Its Customer Experience Strategy

Deanna Laufer

In celebration of the season, Best Western Great Britain is sharing a new idea for a summer expedition every day on its blog. Suggestions include taking in a sheep race in Moffat (between Carlisle and Glasgow), sampling some 4,000 cheeses at the International Cheese Awards in Nantwich (the largest cheese event in the UK), and catching the first few stages of the Tour de France in Yorkshire (who knew the Tour started in Northern England?).

It’s all part of its “hotels with personality” campaign, which aims to celebrate the unique story behind each of the brand’s 276 properties in the UK. In addition to rebranding around this vision, Best Western had to improve its customer experience to live up to its brand promise. But getting support from independent hotel owners and operators to fund its ambitious customer experience strategy wasn’t easy. To win support, the brand had to:

  • Gradually build credibility. Instead of winning support for the entire strategy at once, Best Western tackled some easy changes first, including redesigning its website and improving its internal communications to make them consistent with the new "hotels with personality" vision. Best Western also ran a TV ad campaign featuring hotel employees highlighting the individuality of each hotel. The result was that its hotel owners and employees felt a renewed sense of pride in Best Western as a brand, not just a logo, and confidence in the customer experience strategy. It certainly didn't hurt that the TV campaign drove a year-on-year sales increase of 30% — the highest increase in Best Western Great Britain's history.
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How Technology Burns Out Employees And Erodes Customer Service, And What To Do About It

David Johnson

Do you start your days looking at a calendar full of meetings and feel overcome with joy? Me neither - especially when I have a lot of work to get done that I know is more important. And when you’re in those meetings, are you fully engaged or are you trying to clean out your email queue and put the finishing touches on your slides for your next meeting? That’s what I thought. After all of your meetings, are you in any mood to plan your next day, week or month? Nope, me neither. Do you tell yourself that you’re going to get up early on a Saturday so you can get things done that require a lot of focus, and then don’t do it? Yeah, me too.

And so it continues. A crisis of attention wears us out and re-tunes our brains to feast on the false sense of accomplishment that goes with getting a lot of really small, transactional things done. And our mobile devices make matters worse. Without realizing it, we drain our limited cognitive fuel, leaving nothing left at the end of the day to do serious thinking, creative work or longer-term planning. Mismanaging our technology and ourselves, and burning out, is but one element in a mosaic of things that scientists who participated in our research like Teresa Amabile at the Harvard Business School and author of “The Progress Principle", and David Rock, neuroscientist and author of “Your Brain at Work" now know about how we work best as knowledge workers. It’s also something that we as individuals can, and must control if we want to be effective in our jobs as knowledge workers.

When employees don’t have the resources to meet the demands of their jobs, they burn out

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Financial Services Are Hot – Who Would Have Thought?

Oliwia Berdak

Not a day passes without more millions pouring into start-ups bent on disrupting retail financial services. Yesterday it was the payments start-up Zooz with US$12 million, today it’s the peer-to-peer lending platform Funding Circle with US$65 million. Venture capitalists have obviously sniffed an opportunity in an industry characterized by high margins, underserved customers, and accumulated inefficiencies.

The economics of start-ups are ruthless, and you shouldn’t expect many of these upstarts to survive or expand beyond their narrow niche. Still, don’t miss the wood for the trees. As my colleague Bill Doyle and I write in our new report on digital disruption hitting retail financial services, conditions are now ripe for financial services to join the music and publishing industries in experiencing the power of the digital punch.

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IBM’s Cloud Platform Strategy Is Getting Legitimate

James Staten

After a slow and somewhat disjointed start, it looks like IBM is starting to build some serious momentum in the Public Cloud Platform game. 

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Most B2B Marketers Struggle To Create Engaging Content

Laura Ramos

When it comes to content marketing, the majority of business-to-business (B2B) marketers we surveyed last month are not as mature as they think.

Roughly half of respondents (52%) are in the early stages of assembling a content strategy and executing against it. We call this early majority "aspiring editors," and while their practices are often inconsistent or not fully embraced across the organization, these marketers are busy laying the foundation upon which to build an editorial point of view that gives their buyers something useful and valuable to read, watch, or interact with. 

In a new report, published today (subscription required), we took a closer look at the maturity of content marketing practices among 113 B2B marketing professionals. Half of our respondents hail from companies with 1,000 employees or more, and 41% occupy senior marketing positions including the title of CMO or senior vice president. When compared to peers, most (51%) believe their practices are very mature.  

But that bar is not very high when an overwhelming 85% can't connect content activity to business value and, as a result, fail to create those intimate long-term relationships that will form the primary source of competitive advantage in business from now on.

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