Customer-Obsessed Leaders Do These Five Things: Do You?

James McQuivey

Five years into the age of the customer and it's clear that we're just getting started. More technology is coming — Amazon Echo, anyone? — and that doesn't even begin to touch on the stuff that will hit closer to 2020 and beyond: virtual reality, augmented reality, self-driving cars, and robot assistants.

I'm pleased to introduce my latest report: "Leadership in the Age of the Customer." This project is the result of months of work to update our view of the age of the customer, a 20-year business cycle in which power is shifting from businesses and institutions to end consumers. Technology, information, and connectivity are combining to instill in people a belief that they can have what they want, when, where, and how they want it. 

The key to emerging triumphant through all of this will be customer obsession. Organizations that put the customer at the center of their process, policies, and practices will successfully develop and deliver the experiences that hyperadoptive customers are ready to embrace. That will mean changing the operating model of the organization to be more customer-obsessed. It will also require that executives consciously lead the organization to customer obsession.

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Online Cross-Border B2C Sales Will More Than Double In The Next Five Years, Globally

Michael O'Grady

Forrester Data has just released its first global cross-border online retail forecast covering 29 countries worldwide, helping retailers understand the size and growth of the online cross-border market by country and region and identify the region-to-region flow of trade. Cross-border online B2C sales will more than double in the next five years to reach $424 billion in 2021, as consumers find online cross-border shopping easier, faster, and more convenient:

  • Cross-border shoppers in developing markets are increasing significantly. Metropolitan China in particular saw a large jump in its share of online buyers shopping across borders in 2015. Online cross-border buyer growth is strongest in developing economies: Latin America, Asia Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East will see double-digit compound annual growth over the next five years — significantly more than the growth in Europe and North America.
  • Marketplaces are increasing their share of cross-border sales. Cross-border shoppers prefer to use global marketplaces when they shop abroad. Alibaba increased its share of online sales from outside China. Online marketplace Rakuten reported 41% growth in cross-border sales in 2015, more than twice the growth of the domestic Japanese eCommerce market. In Germany, France, and the UK, more than half of cross-border buyers buy from Amazon and eBay. Amazon merchants’ cross-border sales doubled in 2014.
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Facebook Messenger: The Future Of Customer Service?

Ian Jacobs

This a guest post by Meredith Cain, a Research Associate on the Application Development & Delivery (AD&D) team.

As Francis Bacon wrote in 1625, “If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain.” Although he did not write this with Facebook Messenger or customer service in mind, the meaning still applies. If customers will not come to your business, your business must go to the customers. In 2016, customer service application professionals struggle to find common ground where businesses can fulfill as many customers’ needs as possible in a seamless and timely manner. With one out of every nine people on the planet already using Facebook Messenger, businesses should start to capitalize on this consolidation of customers by adopting Messenger, rather than attempting to move the “mountain.”

In our recent report, we argue that customer service application professionals should make plans to incorporate Messenger into their service arsenal. Facebook’s recent announcement of new Messenger tools that include business-friendly innovations, as well as Facebook’s already ubiquitous user base, positions Messenger to serve as the bridge between Muhammad and the mountain. As this metaphorical bridge, Messenger provides customer service pros with:

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Forrester’s New Breakout Vendor Series: Stay On Top Of Disruptive Technology

Carrie Johnson

Have you heard of Hubba? Coupa? What about APX Labs? Forrester features these technology vendors, alongside 19 others, in our new Breakout Vendor reports. To keep pace with the expectations of digitally empowered customers and clients, firms must stay on top of disruptive and emerging technologies. Keeping up with new providers of potentially game-changing technologies is overwhelming, which is why we're introducing this new Breakout Vendor research. In these reports, we give you insight into the most promising innovations — and the companies behind them — that will accelerate growth in the age of the customer.

Forrester's Breakout Vendor reports provide insight into:

  • Offering: What are the capabilities of the products and the technology?

  • Scenarios: What are the scenarios and environments in which the company excels?

  • Maturity: What is the company's go-to-market approach, channel strategy, and viability?

  • Challenges: What are the potential pitfalls and areas for improvement?

  • Road map: What's next for the business and its products?

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Could Your Next Security Analyst Be A Computer?

Joseph Blankenship

Cybersecurity requires a specialized skillset and a lot of manual work. We depend on the knowledge of our security analysts to recognize and stop threats. To do their work, they need information. Some of that information can be found internally in device logs, network metadata or scan results. Analysts may also look outside the organization at threat intelligence feeds, security blogs, social media sites, threat reports and other resources for information.

This takes a lot of time.

Security analysts are expensive resources. In many organizations, they are overwhelmed with work. Alerts are triaged, so that only the most serious get worked. Many alerts don’t get worked at all. That means that some security incidents are never investigated, leaving gaps in threat detection.

This is not new information for security pros. They get reminded of this every time they read an industry news article, attend a security conference or listen to a vendor presentation. We know there are not enough trained security professionals available to fill the open positions.

Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, we have strived to find technical answers to our labor problems. Much manual labor was replaced with machines, making production faster and more efficient.

Advances in artificial intelligence and robotics are now making it possible for humans and machines to work side-by-side. This is happening now on factory floors all over the world. Now, it’s coming to a new production facility, the security operations center (SOC).

Today, IBM announced a new initiative to use their cognitive computing technology, Watson, for cybersecurity. Watson for Cyber Security promises to give security analysts a new resource for detecting, investigating and responding to security threats.

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Don't Wait; Rethink Your ITIL Journey Now!

Robert Stroud

Over the past 25 years, many organizations have modelled their support – and in some cases their delivery organization – after the ITIL frameworks and processes. For many, ITIL has been helpful in establishing the rigor and governance that they needed to bring their infrastructure under control in an era where quality and consistency of service was critical and technology was sometimes fragile.

Today, we are 5 years into “The age of the customer” – an era where customer obsession is driving technology and which demands a culture of speed and collaboration to differentiate and deliver extraordinary customer experience to drive business growth. In this era, the rise of mobility and the race to deliver differentiated business processes is critical to success. Your development teams are driving velocity and elasticity with increased quality and availability, leveraging DevOps practices and often driving change directly to production.

This transition has led some organizations to experience friction between the competing priorities, velocity and control, especially for those who continue to execute on the traditional model of ITIL.

ITIL is starting to show signs of age. That does not mean it is on the verge of demise. ITIL must adapt. To understand the relevance of ITIL and IT Service Management practices in this era of Modern Service Delivery, Eveline Oehrlich and Elinor Klavens and I have embarked on a review of ITIL and the use of IT Service Management practices supporting todays BT agenda.

Our key findings include:

ITIL must pivot to support digital transformation

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Containers - there really is substance behind the hype

Paul Miller

Containers. One of those nasty terms, like metadata (ok - maybe you had to move in the odd circles I did for that one to resonate), cloud, or big data. To some, the solution to every problem. To others, yet another unforgivable explosion of over-exuberant hype that should be ignored at all costs. And, like so many things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Containers are an important component in broader efforts to transform the way in which an enterprise builds, tests, deploys, and scales its applications. Particularly, today, its customer-facing systems of engagement. But they're not the answer to every problem, and they don't replace all your virtual machines, mainframes, and other infrastructure.

Most enterprise CIOs, today, have probably heard of containers... or Docker. And, for most of you, there will be a group or individual inside your organisation loudly singing containers' praises. There will be an equally vocal group or individual, pointing to every factoid supporting their view that the container emperor has nothing on.

My latest Brief takes a look at some of the ways containers are being used, and argues that CIOs need to pay attention - now. That's not to say you should wholeheartedly embrace containers in everything you do. But you do need to ensure you're aware of their strengths, and track the rapid evolution in the underlying technologies. Some pieces are even beginnint to be standardised, between competing companies.

And, just to see if the metadata crowd are still reading... Z39.50! 

Forrester’s Security & Risk Spotlight – Joseph Blankenship

Stephanie Balaouras

A lifelong Atlanta Braves fan, Forrester Senior Analyst Joseph Blankenship longs for the mid-1990's with respect to his baseball team, but we promise that he looks to the future as he advises his clients on current and emerging security technologies. He covers security infrastructure and operations, including security information management (SIM), security analytics, and network security, and his research currently focuses on security monitoring, threat detection, operations, and management. Joseph has presented at industry events, been quoted in the media, and has written on a variety of security topics.

Joseph Blankenship Image

Joseph's over 10 years of security experience includes marketing leadership and product marketing roles at Solutionary (NTT), McAfee (Intel Security), Vigilar, and IBM (ISS), where he focused on managed security services, consulting services, email security, compliance and network security. As a marketing leader, Joseph helped to align client needs with marketing strategy, messaging, and go-to-market activities while educating users about security strategy. His background also includes extensive experience in the IT, telecommunications, and consulting industries with Nextel, IBM, Philips Electronics, and KPMG.

Listen to Joseph's conversation with VP, Research Director Stephanie Balaouras to hear about Joseph's 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:

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Just Don't Call It Native Advertising

Ryan Skinner

In the context of writing a report on the native advertising technology landscape, I was looking at many publishers' native advertising products when it occurred to me:

Nobody uses the same damn name for native ads, no one calls it 'advertising', and almost no one calls it 'native'.

Here's a word cloud of all the names used for native advertising products by 20 leading publishing houses (full list of the publishers below).

Not a single name for this product was repeated publisher to publisher.

Let me repeat that:

Not a single name for this product was repeated publisher to publisher.

Now, I get branding. Ford's not going to name their new car Chevy. But this isn't branding. Chevy and Ford can both agree that the Mustang and the Camaro are, in fact, cars. Ford doesn't call its cars Frisbees, and Chevy doesn't call them PersonTransporters, and think they're competing in wildly different markets.

Further, here's the hall of native ad product naming fame (or shame, if you will):

Top Prize For Most Orwellian-Named Native Ad Product: Mashable's 'BrandSpeak'
(apparently, this is a dialect invented on Madison Avenue, spoken only by a gaggle of editorial primates and consists entirely of CamelCase AdjectiveNames)

Top Prize For Advertising Not-Advertising But-Still-Advertising: Vox's 'Vox Creative'
It sits under the 'Advertising' category of the site, next to another offering called...'Advertising'. I don't even.

Top Prize For 'Let's Admit It, This Could Be Just About Any Old Thing': Economist's 'Content'

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Your Customers Have Abandonment Issues

Brendan Witcher

Omnichannel fulfillment services have indubitably piqued the interest of today’s retail leaders; nearly one-third of the retail organizations we surveyed already support “buy online, pick up in store” (BOPIS) functionality or have plans to implement the technology by the end of next month.  However, proponents of omnichannel fulfillment are starting to recognize that simply offering services like BOPIS does not in itself lift the bottom line. eBusiness professionals must actively ensure that these initiatives are driving real profits for their business, leaving no stone unturned in their quest to maximize conversion and minimize costs.

In our new report Abolish Abandon Rates For In-Store Pickup, Forrester explores how BOPIS order abandonment—or situations in which BOPIS users cancel or fail to collect their purchase from the store—threatens the success of these programs due to lost sales, unnecessary layaway of inventory, wasted associate time, and sunk interchange fees. We provide insights into why and how frequently customers abandon their orders, as well as the actions you can take to increase BOPIS profitability. Our research indicates that:

  • "Buy online, pick up in store" no-shows are more common than you think. BOPIS users canceling or failing to collect their online purchases from the store is a shockingly frequent occurrence. Indeed, 29% of US online adults who have used “buy online, pick up in store” services in the past three months have abandoned at least one BOPIS purchase in this time frame. And if your company targets Millenials, the prognosis is even worse: 38% of BOPIS users ages 18-24 and 48% of users ages 25-34 have failed to collect at least one BOPIS purchase within the past three months.  
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