Dell Is Testing The Waters Of Customer Analytics For Marketers

Gene Cao

On November 5, Dell announced new data and analytics services at its annual Dell World customer event. Having integrated the analytics products it acquired — such as Kitenga (from Quest), Boomi, and StatSoft — Dell is now trying to build big data analytics capabilities based on a big data platform, visualization, and advanced analytics. These analytics technologies are appealing to technology management teams in end user organizations, but they may not meet the expectations of lines of business, especially for marketers facing increasing and rapidly changing demand for data and analytics.

As part of its effort to enhance its customer analytics offerings, Dell hired new leaders with marketing experience for its analytics business, such as its new GM of advanced analytics for marketing. And the company has started to move analytics offerings into the marketing arena:

  • Social media analytics is extending to the cloud. Dell hosts its social media analytics products on the Microsoft Azure platform and has started offering social listening products powered by Radian6. The cloud platform helps Dell serve a wider variety of client companies, from large organizations like the American Red Cross to small and medium-size businesses. The vendor is helping marketers optimize their customer segmentation, but it needs to do more to help marketers better recognize and engage with customers.
  • Master data management services are strongly integrated but are weak on analytics. Dell consolidates data (such as transactional, CRM, and supplier data) from disparate sources into a central repository and distributes it downstream. However, its customer data analytics capabilities are poor and make it difficult to evaluate, for example, average customer lifetime value.
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Customer Insights And Big Data Analytics Will Sprawl in 2015

Michael Barnes

Forrester recently published its 2015 Predictions for Asia Pacific. I wanted to highlight some specific trends around customer insights (CI) and big data, two very hot topics for many AP-based organizations.

We strongly believe that success for many organizations hinges on your ability to close the gap between available data and actionable insight. Marketing is taking the lead here, as CI pros seek to use data to fuel customer engagement improvements. Hence 2015 will be a year of increased fragmentation as reliance on analytics spreads across organizations.

What will this mean for you? More cloud-based and mobile analytics, more demand for interactive and responsive analytics, and more use of specialist and niche BI and analytics service providers. Given this backdrop, Forrester believes that:

  • Analytics spending will increase by at least 10% across the region. Yes analytics spending will increase, but less of it will be visible in the CIO's budget. Marketing and other business departments will drive analytics investments to address specific challenges and opportunities. The technology management (TM) organization will have little control over the implementation and deployment of niche and specialist BI and analytics services.
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Screen For These Four Criteria During Your Next Agency Search

Sarah Sikowitz

Being asked to pitch for a new piece of business strikes both excitement and fear in the hearts of many agency folk.  When I started research for my latest report, The Fit Test For Strong Agency Relationships, there was no shortage of people who wanted to weigh in on how to make the process better for both CMOs and agencies. 

After many interesting and spirited conversations, I settled on the four things CMOs should screen for when selecting an agency to help drive their business forward in an increasingly competitive and real-time environment.

Check out my report (subscription required) for a how to guide to screen for:

  • Vision: Does they agency’s vision for the future of consumer behavior, technology and marketing align with yours?
  • Experience: Can the agency provide a fresh perspective to your acute business challenges?
  • Passion: What is the agency doing to create a culture where its employees are passionate about coming to work?
  • Process: Will the agency be able to enact change across your organization?

If you are interested in discussing your next agency search or how to get the most from your current agency relationships, please schedule an inquiry with me.  

Global Vendors Should Expand Their Ecosystem In China

Frank Liu

Back in June, I blogged about why Chinese technology management professionals have started looking more closely at domestic vendors. One reason: a government-led push away from foreign IT vendors that is forcing global vendors to expand their local ecosystem to exploit new service models and improve service delivery. Chinese tech management teams should keep an eye on new trends and be aware of the benefits they bring.

I recently attended VMware’s vForum 2014 event in Beijing. The vendor has established a local ecosystem for the three pillars of its business: the software-defined data center (SDDC), cloud services, and end user computing. VMware is working with:

  • Huawei to refine SDDC technologies.VMware is leveraging Huawei’s technology capability to improve its product feature. VMware integrated Huawei Agile Controller into NSX and vCenter to operate and manage network automation and quickly migrate virtual machines online. Huawei provides the technology to unify the management of virtual and physical networks based on VMware’s virtualization platform. This partnership can help VMware optimize its existing software features and improve the customer experience.
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The Digital Store Platform Will Support The Retail Store Of The Future

Adam Silverman

The in-store shopping experience is increasingly being transformed into a digitally enhanced experience for both the customer and retailer. Technologies such as beacons, retail store analytics, and store fulfillment programs are rapidly changing the definition of how a retail store operates and engages with customers. While 68% of customers use a mobile device while in a store, retailers are just beginning to take an active role in that in-store digital experience.

Forrester believes that, in the future, retail stores that drive convenience, service, and relevant personalized experiences through the use of digital store technology will succeed. Why? Because today. customers show an affinity for digital store technology. In fact, 66% of luxury apparel customers are more likely to shop with a digitally-enabled associate. Those retailers who wait on the sidelines are at risk of maintaining the status quo and may only grow marginally.

In 2015, Forrester predicts that:

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THE MSSP MARKET IS GROWING MORE SOLID AND STABLE

Edward Ferrara

Forrester's 26-criteria evaluation of managed security service providers (MSSPs) published today! The report focuses on the 13 most significant vendors in the North American market — AT&T, CenturyLink, CSC, Dell SecureWorks, HP, IBM, Leidos, SilverSky, Solutionary/NTT, Symantec, Trustwave, Verizon, and Wipro. This report details how well each vendor met our criteria and where they stand in relation to each other. This report will help you refine your selection criteria and choose the right partner for your outsourced security needs.

You can get the report here: The Forrester Wave™: Managed Security Services: North America, Q4 2014

China CDN Alternatives After Verizon’s EdgeCast CDN Outage

Mark Grannan

(note: blog collaboration by Mark Grannan, Phillip Karcher and Charlie Dai)

Are you an EdgeCast (now part of Verizon) customer? Chances are good that your traffic into China over the past week has been interrupted or blocked. Verizon claims this is without “rhyme or reason” in their statement.  We can look to the past to see that content censors have previously also stopped YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, and we can look to the coming days when China hosts the World Internet Conference in Zhejiang to make guesses as to why.  However, it’s not fruitful to guess at what traffic coming from EdgeCast’s servers has tripped the censors, because we may simply never know.

The alternative? Investigate a multi-CDN strategy across regions that represent unique geographic or political barriers. Not only does this provide fail-over redundancy, but it can be valuable for cost arbitrage and load balancing. Here is a quick summary of the CDNs that we currently track that have delivery capabilities in China:

  • Akamai (via a partnership)
  • CDNetworks
  • China Cache
  • China Net Center
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CLOUD SECURITY CONTINUES TO BE A WORK IN PROGRESS

Edward Ferrara

Cloud adoption has historically been hampered by security concerns. All of Forrester's research shows this to be the number one impediemtn to adoption. Forrester just finished evaluating four cloud platform providers on the depth and breadth of their security controls. This Forrester Wave™ evaluates four of the leading public clouds along 15 key security criteria evaluations to answer this question. The participating cloud services providers were: AWS, CenturyLink Cloud, IBM SoftLayer, and Microsoft Azure. This report details our findings about how well each vendor fulfills our criteria and where they stand in relation to each other, to help S&R professionals select the right public cloud partner with the best options for security controls and overall security capabilities.

The results can be found here:  The Forrester Wave™: Public Cloud Platform Service Providers' Security, Q4 2014

Insurers Will Pour Capital Into New Digital Innovation Ventures In 2015

Ellen Carney

Think that insurance is a sleepy industry? Think again.  In 2014, global insurance companies raced to out-innovate each other. They turned to new digital innovations to fend off threats from insurance start-ups like MetroMile and PolicyGenius and sorted out new ways to remain relevant as a host of well-known brands like Google and AT&T crept into realms historically owned by insurance firms.   We noted this innovation urgency among European and North American insurance firms earlier this year.

In casting an eye forward, we predicted seven events that would change the insurance landscape in 2015. A major force informing all seven predictions is the fact that smart insurers are recognizing that in the need to generate more good ideas faster, they have to radically change how they develop and execute new thinking. That means that insurers need to short cut the industry’s traditional “we’ll build and control” culture and instead go into the market, spot a hot business technology start-up that brings a lot of what’s needed to create a minimum viable product, and partner with them. And the smartest of the smart insurers are employing two unique industry forces—a very regular flow of premiums and the dynamics of equity markets— to get even closer to the source of new ideas:  By investing in them. In 2015, we’ll see more insurance venture capital startups form in the wake of similar VC business launches from insurers like American Family, AXA, MassMutual, and Transamerica.

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How Mature Is Your Digital Experience Delivery Practice?

Anjali Yakkundi

Application development and delivery (AD&D) groups must establish technical services and tools to enable marketing and business groups to deliver and optimize web and mobile customer experiences. But today, we’re falling well short of our goal. Forrester data reveals that 51% of marketing leaders believe that technology management groups don’t accelerate their path to success.

To help AD&D pros mature and better serve marketing, eBusiness, and other lines of business responsible for delivering customer experience, Forrester created a digital experience delivery maturity model based on interviews with senior AD&D leaders over the past 24 months. We found that success was tied to maturity not just in solutions deployed or development methodologies. Instead, success and maturity was based on four fundamental categories, many of which are technology agnostic:

  • Strategic planning. Digital experience delivery maturity is largely based on how well they have strategized, planned, and executed their digital experience delivery programs. This dimension will evolve from project-based work to a more comprehensive strategy that spans business, marketing, and technical teams.
  • People. Organizational support is a critical component to success for growing internal expertise and creating digital experience teams that are responsive to business needs. This isn't just limited to who you've hired to be on the team. Instead, people issues focus more broadly on organizational issues like organizational structure (e.g. do your developers sit in marketing? Within technology management?), collaboration, shared values, and services partner strategy.
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