Forrester's B2B Marketing Forum Happens Next Week - See You There?

Laura Ramos

The Zika virus.

The National Doral in light of Donald Trump's presidential candidacy.

Hurricane Matthew.

Who knew Miami would have so much to offer a year and a half ago!??!

Well, here are three MUCH better reasons to come to Miami with us for Forrester's B2B Marketing 2016 forum next week: great content, expert analysts, and the chance to hear from and network with top business-to-business marketers about the topics that matter most to you.

Bug (and political pundit) repellent in hand, I'm looking forward to connecting with many of you about the issues that facing the modern B2B marketer. Planned topics will show how marketing must:

1) lead the way to becoming customer obsessed company-wide,

2) build deeper relationships between coveted buyers and your company,

3) engage with more digitally "entitled" customers on the issues they care about, and

4) enable sales to tell a more human, helpful, and consistent story through account-specific collaboration and more customer-centered organizational structures.  

Looking ahead (and after seeing a preview of some of the content), highlights you won't want to miss include:

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Can Salesforce Really Prescribe An End-to-End Sales Process?

John Bruno

Last week, nearly 170,000 business and technology professionals descended onto San Francisco for Salesforce’s annual conference, Dreamforce. The event itself was ripe with discussions on social responsibility and charity, but most attendees, including myself, attended for other reasons. We wanted Salesforce to pull back the curtains on what it saw for the future of sales.

Once things got underway, Salesforce’s Einstein took center stage… quite literally. We’ll get to Einstein in just a bit, but not to be overshadowed by Einstein, Salesforce unequivocally made their keynote about sales. 2016 was a landmark year for Salesforce and their commitment to sales. They closed on their acquisitions of SteelBrick and Demandware, and used Dreamforce as the stage to rebrand them as Salesforce CPQ and Commerce Cloud respectively. So what does all this mean? It means that regardless of sales channel, Salesforce is fighting harder than ever to be your selling platform of choice… and they make a pretty compelling case.

Let’s take a closer look at the case Salesforce is making. To do so, we must understand Salesforce’s pillars of technology supporting sales.

  • Sales Cloud delivers core CRM functionality for sellers. Sales Cloud is the bread and butter for Salesforce. For many of its customers, Sales Cloud represents the foundation of technology enabled selling processes. From account and opportunity management to pipeline management and white space analysis, Sales Cloud helps sales and sales leaders strategize and prioritize their sales efforts.
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S&R Analyst Spotlight: Josh Zelonis

Stephanie Balaouras

Based on the West Coast, Senior Analyst Josh Zelonis is the newest addition to the S&R team. When he’s not out cruising his Harley, Josh is working with clients to adapt their architecture, policies, and processes to evolving threats and to develop robust incident response programs. His research focuses on threat intelligence, endpoint detection and response (EDR), malware analysis, pen testing/red teaming, forensics and investigations, and of course, incident response.

Josh Zelonis Image

Prior to joining Forrester, Josh accumulated over 13 years of experience as a security practitioner with demonstrated success in product architecture, engineering, and security assessment roles. As a product architect, Josh helped design and build innovative technologies in the breach detection space, architecting both endpoint and appliance products with a focus on data collection and analytics. His background also includes extensive experience in security assessment roles including red team, vulnerability research, and compliance.

Listen to Josh’s conversation with me to hear about his biggest surprises since starting as a Forrester analyst, his most frequent client inquiries, and the topics he's excited to research in the coming year:

To download the MP3 version of the podcast, click here.

What do you foresee as the biggest threat to security and privacy in the United States in the next ten years?

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What's My Data Worth?

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

See original imageThat question seems to come up often. I know I’m sitting on valuable data but I’m not sure just how valuable. When it comes to using the data internally to improve operational efficiency or service delivery, the resulting cost savings demonstrates the value.  Or when using the data to identify new customer opportunities, either upsell to existing customers or identifying potential new customers, the resulting revenue generated demonstrates the value. But what if I want to take the data to market? What’s the data worth?  That question is harder to answer, but not impossible.

The first question I’d ask myself is what I already know.  What are the givens in the equation?  Think back to a math course. You are trying to solve a problem. What have you been told? In fact, I’ve been doing math with my son and that exercise has helped me in framing the approach to pricing data.  We know the length of one side of the triangle, and we know the relationship with the other sides. While we don’t know the length of all sides we know enough to figure it out.

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Tech Channel Partners Are Starting To Get The Business

Tim Harmon

In my stump speeches at partner conferences this year, I identify the No. 1 challenge that faces channel partners (and the tech vendors whose products they represent): partners’ inefficacy in reaching and resonating with line-of-business (LOB) decision-makers. It’s a disconcerting challenge indeed, due to the fact, of course (as Forrester’s Business Technographics® data repeatedly demonstrates), that LOB executives have strong influence over technology solution purchase decisions.

But that tide could be beginning to change. At Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference last week, Salesforce’s COO Keith Block lauded its channel partners, attributing much of Salesforce’s success in the past year to partners’ success in engaging C-level executives. Block specifically called out channel partners for their ability to empathize with CEOs’ goals of growth and shareholder gain. Block also claims that 40% of customers are insisting on channel partners’ strategic involvement in effecting solutions and business outcomes. And Salesforce tends to direct that business to its channel partners with proven business chops/acumen.

While Block’s partner callout may be considered more the exception than the rule today, it is still encouraging. Some channel partners are making the requisite investments and changes to regain relevance in the largely LOB-driven cloud era. And it shows in the data: Customers’ penchant for cloud channel sourcing has more than doubled, from fewer than 25% of cloud service/solution purchases via the channel in 2012 to more than 50% in 2016.

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Emerging Technologies To Power Your Systems Of Insight

Brian  Hopkins

In 2014, I recognized something was a bit off with all the big data excitement and I started interviewing companies to get to the bottom of it. In 2015, Ted Schadler and I published the first of my ideas in the report "Digital Insights Are The New Currency Of Business." In that report, we pointed out what was wrong - big data only focused on how to turn more data into more insight. It didn’t say anything about how to turn that insight into more action. In that report we defined a system of insight, which focused big data energy on implementing insights in software using closed loops that create action and continous learning. Read more

Nokia “Connects” Network Services To Customer Experience

Dan Bieler

Nokia’s services division recently hosted an analyst event where it elaborated on the interlinkage between network services and network infrastructure. Of course, network services matter to businesses and telcos because they help technology managers to better manage infrastructure complexity and to modernize network infrastructure with the goal of making networks faster and more reliable. However, there are more fundamental implications:

  • Network services add value to products and open new business areas. Customers want features and services that are relevant to them in the immediate context of their needs and desires. As more products become connected, network services will play a critical role in developing and enhancing such features. Moreover, network services play a central role in driving augmented and virtual-reality solutions in outdoor conditions, such as those already used in manufacturing by Caterpillar or in construction by BAM Group.
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The No. 1 Barrier To Effective Digital Transformation

Nigel Fenwick

In a recent post, I wrote about how digital experiences shape customer perceptions of value. But it's easy to forget that your organization's culture also shapes your customer's perception of value.

Earlier this week, I was moderating a panel on digital transformation at a Software AG event in New York. In opening the event, Kevin Niblock, Software AG's North America President and COO, described digital business as "a cultural phenomenon." Organizational culture plays an enormous role in the ability of a company's employees to transform a traditional business into a digital business.

If you're not the CEO, you might be forgiven for thinking that you have little control over your corporate culture. But we all have the opportunity to shape our organization's culture. And while nurturing the company culture is arguably one of the most important jobs of the CEO, it is also a critical capability for any leader.

Former IBM Chairman and CEO, Lou Gerstner, reminds us of this in an excellent Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article: "The Culture Ate Our Corporate Reputation". Gerstner writes: "What is critical to understand here is that people do not do what you expect but what you inspect. Culture is not a prime mover. Rather it is a derivative. It forms as a result of signals employees get from the corporate processes that structure their work priorities."

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Vertical clouds - less useful than you're meant to believe, but still useful

Paul Miller

How often have you been told you can't use a mainstream public cloud provider? Quite often, probably, especially if you happen to work in a regulated industry like banking or healthcare. And what justifications are you given? The regulator "won't let you," no doubt? That's a good one. And "it's not secure" is often pretty close behind. Either that, or the argument that generic public cloud infrastructure can't possibly meet your very special, very unique, very carefully crafted mix of requirements?

Sadly, despite the frequency with which they're trotted out, these attempts at justification stand a pretty good chance of being either hearsay, or just complete nonsense.

It's easy not to change, and to justify your inertia with reference to the scary, punitive, hopelessly luddite regulator.  It's easy to continue lovingly polishing the hideously complex snowflake your internal computing environment has become. It's far harder to look at the truth behind the hearsay, and to work out when doing something different might — or might not — be the better approach for your business, and its effort to win, serve, and retain customers.

My latest report, Bespoke Vertical Clouds Become Less Important As Public Clouds Do More, takes a look at some of the rationale for using vertical cloud solutions in these situations. Often — but definitely not always — you may discover that a generic public cloud provider will do the job just as well. Or maybe even better.

Making Sense Of Round One In The eCommerce War During The Festive Sales Season In India

Satish Meena

The first week of October witnessed the start of the holiday sales season in India as the big three online retailers — Flipkart, Amazon, and Snapdeal — launched high-profile sales. Originally started by Flipkart in 2014 as Big Billions day, this week witnessed a discount-driven war among the top three players.

Online retail in India has witnessed significant growth during the past five years, powered by highly funded online retail companies that bought growth through discounts. This gross market value (GMV)-led growth led to very high valuations and burn rates for retailers, leading some investors to question their long-term profitability. This has led to a slowdown in funding as well as cost cutting by online retailers in the past six months. Before the start of the festive season, Flipkart was looking to maintain its market share; Amazon was looking to take market share from Flipkart, Snapdeal, and smaller players; and Snapdeal was looking to find a place in the changing dynamics of India’s online retail market. 

Here are some of the key lessons from this festive sales season for the key players in the online retail market in India.

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