As the analyst covering all things emerging information technology, I spend a bit of time watching web and social feeds looking for interesting and potentially disruptive stuff. Fortunately, it’s a good time for me to be doing this, as there are all kinds of things going on. I’ve decided to pass some of the best on to my readers in periodic “What’s Cooking” posts.
Digital currency will turn retail and financial services on its head, eventually. Digital currency fascinates me, especially the enigmatic Bitcoin creator and its so far unbreakable code*. Also the way you have to mine for more coins is very interesting. Whether or not Bitcoin succeeds as the de facto standard, I think digital currency is inevitable and the more firms that accept is, the crazier things will get. Check out The Antisocial Network of Bitcoins.
Yesterday Intel set off of a flurry of tweets and news stories when it announced it had acquired Mashery. For those who aren’t familiar with Mashery, it is one of the earliest (and largest) vendors in the emerging API management space. Companies use API management platforms to secure and expose their APIs for public consumption. They are an important part of establishing a corporate platform and building a developer ecosystem around your business processes.
Intel’s acquisition really didn’t surprise us; the company already had an existing investment in working with Mashery, and was reselling it along with the Intel Expressway Service Gateway. The current integration featured Mashery front-ending the integration as a developer portal and for provisioning of developer licenses, while the Intel Expressway Service Gateway handled the operational aspect of API traffic routing and access management. We expect an immediate tightening of the existing integration, and for Intel sales reps to expand their pitch to offer API management capabilities in the cloud — a capability that was more difficult with Intel’s current product (which is delivered as a hardware-based appliance or a virtual appliance).
On February 22, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), an institution that supervises and regulates India’s financial sector, announced guidelines allowing corporations to enter the banking sector. Private companies, public-sector groups, and nonbanking financial firms will all be eligible to apply for a banking license. We expect RBI to start issuing new bank licenses by early 2014.
RBI guidelines state that companies receiving a banking license must open at least 25% of their branches in rural areas. Despite this guideline, I believe that new entrants will primarily target the same urban and semi-urban customers that existing banks target. The reason is simple: These are the most profitable customers. This helps explain why 85% of rural bank branches in India belong to public banks; it’s simply not an attractive market for private banks.
What it means for current Indian banking CIOs: Leverage big data to grow your business or prepare to be left behind.
As competition increases, businesses will expect new IT capabilities to understand and respond to customer needs better, faster, and cheaper. Banking CIOs who embrace this change will adopt big data technologies and become true business partners. The ones who don’t will be bypassed by new entrants (when they come to play) using big data approaches and internal data from whatever market they’re currently in to analyze the banking market. These new entrants will likely influence customer preferences, question existing assumptions, and look for ways to disrupt the market. I recommend that current Indian banking CIOs:
Organizations in growth markets across Asia have not traditionally been heavy consumers of outsourcing services. Having lots of on-premises hardware still carries some prestige for local CIOs, particularly in China and India. The availability of relatively inexpensive IT staff in local markets has also helped them deliver acceptable service levels to the business. Until now, that is. The combination of quickly rising IT salaries, increased competition from regional and even global expansion, and growing demands among business stakeholders to more effectively engage customers has put pressure on CIOs to increase the performance of their organizations.
More and more CIOs I speak with are struggling with how best to effectively transform their IT capabilities and meet fast-changing business requirements. In particular, whether to embark on this transformation journey alone or leverage outsourcing partners. In a recent report, I profiled organizations in Asia that are leveraging external service providers to accelerate their IT maturation. One example is a manufacturer with 10,000 employees and operations across Asia that outsourced its entire IT infrastructure environment to improve and homogenize service levels. Another is a large Indian bank that outsourced its entire IT department to a service provider and improved its maturity level from a 3 (on a scale from 1 to 10) to a 6 in less than a year.
"My master made me this collar. He is a good and smart master and he made me this collar so that I may speak. Squirrel!"
In the Pixar film Up, squirrels frequently distract Dug the talking dog. In our space, we are frequently distracted by technology. "I am a good and smart security professional; I must protect my enterprise so that we are secure. APT defense in a box!"
The expo floors at industry events such as the RSA Conference and Blackhat contribute to this. Signage touts the next great piece of technology that will solve all of our security problems. We allow Big Data, security analytics, threat intelligence, and APT defense in a box to distract us. It is easy to do; there is no shortage of challenges for today’s security and risk professional. The threat landscape is overwhelming. We have problems recruiting and retaining the right staff. Day-to-day operational duties take up too much time. Our environments are complex, and we struggle to get the appropriate budget.
These “security technology du jour” solutions are very appetizing. They compel us much like IDS, IPS, and SIM did in the past. We want and need the “easy” button. Sadly, there is no “easy” button and we must understand that threat protection doesn't equal a product or service; there is no single solution. Technology alone isn't the answer we are looking for.
Which regions of the world are top of mind for brands today. The idea of a globally connected world is appealing, yet we are very much at the early stages of international expansion when it comes to eCommerce.** We look at typical global expansion paths and which regions are seeing an influx of new eCommerce initiatives. US and European retailers have tended to expand into each other’s regions first with an eCommerce offering – increasingly, however, both US and European brands are taking a much more Asia-centric approach. Coach, for example, only offers eCommerce-enabled sites in the US, Canada, China, and Japan.
A lot of our clients tell us that search on websites is an understaffed, IT-funded afterthought. But watch for the status quo to change, because search hasn’t lived up to its potential yet. As site search continues to evolve, it will evolve beyond just helping people find information. Instead, it will help organizations, for example, link search to things like promotions/ads and landing pages.Our last site search survey showed that two-thirds of decision-makers were looking to expand website search deployments. But who are the vendors out there? The past few years have seen some transitions in the site search market, with many independent vendors getting acquired, some shifting focus, and some stalwarts still remaining in the marketplace:
The number of independent vendors is shrinking. Larger vendors continue to refine their digital customer experience appeal by acquiring other products, and many of these include independent site search vendors. This includes Oracle (acquired Endeca in 2011); SDL (acquired Dutch search vendor Fredhopper in 2010); IBM (acquired search and discover vendor Vivisimo in 2012); Microsoft (acquired FAST in 2008 and bundled it with SharePoint); and Adobe (acquired Omniture in 2009, bringing with it the old Mercado search product). This slew of acquisitions doesn’t mean that independent vendors are out of the game. Many still offer site search solutions (Coveo, Elicit, Fabasoft, and Attivio, among others) but their numbers are shrinking.
These positive attitudes toward the IT department's performance stand in stark contrast to the views of employees who aren't achieving these outcomes. For example, while 65% of employee advocates are satisfied with the service they receive from the IT department, just 27% of employees not fully advocating for the company share a similar opinion. So what creates this chasm in opinion? We find clues when we look at some of the attitudes employee advocates have about what their organizations allow them to do:
Whether you are just starting on your BI journey or are continuing to improve on past successes, a shortage of skilled and experienced BI resources is going to be one of your top challenges. You are definitely not alone in this quest. Here are some scary statistics:
“By 2018, the United States alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills, as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions.” (Source: May 2012 McKinsey Global Institute report on Big Data)
“… trigger a talent shortage, with up to 190,000 skilled professionals needed to cope with demand in the US alone over the next five years.” (Source: 2012 Deloitte report on technology trends)
“Fewer than 25% of the survey respondents worldwide said they have the skills and resources to analyze unstructured data, such as text, voice, and sensor data.” (Source: 2012 research report by IBM and the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford)
In a previous blog post, SysAid – a provider of IT management solutions – was kind enough to share some metrics/performance snapshots collected from its customers. As a quick recap, SysAid captures service desk benchmarking information through its customers’ use of its software (on an opt-in basis of course) for the benefit of all.
At some point we should sit down and compare the SysAid stats to those provided by HDI – a great independent source of service desk benchmarks – that’s a challenge to you Roy Atkinson … BTW, I hope the HDI 2013 event is going well in Las Vegas this week (the Twitter hash tag is #hdiconf13 for people, like me, who aren’t there). Anyway, back to those SysAid stats …
A selection of community-based service desk stats …
There are two points to note here: not all SysAid customers participate (according to its website, SysAid now has over 100,000 customer organizations); and I have cherry-picked a handful of the available stats from March 2013. There is also one caveat from me – there is no differentiation of organization size in these stats, we need to drill down further to account for any small or very large organization bias.
Percentage of incident tickets originating from the End User Portal, Average 60.31%