September of Sapphire: How The New Chase Credit Card Became An Overnight Sensation

Dipanjan Chatterjee

Ben Schlappig doesn’t have a home. He lives on planes and in hotel rooms. And he’s a big reason why Chase’s new credit card has generated unprecedented hysteria.

The credit card business is not where you go to get a brand fix. Most of the brands in this category tread water in the sea of sameness, inspiring little passion and much aggravation by inundating mailboxes with junk mail. And then there's the new Chase Sapphire Reserve:

  • The card was so wildly popular that, upon launch, Chase ran through 12 months of metal stock in three weeks.
  • Unboxing videos popped up all over YouTube, clocking tens of thousands of views (yes you read that right, the nail-biting action of a credit card reveal).  
  • Chase reported an unexpectedly large number of applications from millennials, a group that so far has been generally indifferent about card brands.
  • Bloomberg Business Week put the new Chase Sapphire Reserve on its cover.

Here’s why this should have never happened:

  • As an extension of the existing Sapphire franchise, there was a fairly docile product extension
  • At a $450 annual fee, it severely limited relevance in a category awash with no-fee cards
  • The card sweetened, but did not fundamentally alter the basic formula of perks and points. Nothing earth-shatteringly innovative here.
  • Advertising and promotion leading up to the launch? Zero.
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Loose Lips Sink M&A Ships

Cheryl McKinnon

Companies look for merger & acquisitions opportunities to boost their growth.  But when confidential information gets exposed, it throws a monkeywrench into their confidential assessments, strategies and negotiations.  Recent news proves this once again.  Whether Twitter would be a good fit for SalesForce is a question - but that the news that Salesforce was considering it leaked into the public domain made their decisions harder.

 

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Brexit Makes Customer-Focused Innovation Imperative

Dan Bieler

Photo: Cover of Panorama magazine Italia

While uncertainty continues, focusing on innovation is your best chance of success. British Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly said, "Brexit means Brexit." This statement ensures that every business operating in the UK will experience an uncertain and volatile market environment for some time. In our conversations with CIOs and chief technology officers (CTOs) since the Brexit vote, Forrester has retained its view that only if companies retain a focus on customers will they ensure growth and innovation, especially in times of uncertainty. All CIOs and CTOs at businesses operating in the UK should:

  • Make the business case that innovation can help their firms deal with uncertainty. Top management will be distracted by many short- term tactical considerations relating to Brexit. Make the case that innovation will move you closer to your customers and help to deal with underlying uncertainty.
  • Partner with their risk managers. Developing innovations that rely on customer and machine data will expose businesses to regulatory and compliance risks. Plan your business technology and innovation strategies with the risk manager on your side.

The report Brexit Makes Customer-Focused Innovation Imperative summarizes Forrester’s recent discussions and outlines how companies can best drive their innovation in the wake of Brexit.

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DevOps And The Mainframe, A Perfect Match?

Robert Stroud

Did someone forget to tell the mainframe it was irrelevant?

For many years, the much lauded death of the mainframe has been espoused by many pundits. Many believed the end of the mainframe would be further accelerated with the rapid growth of cloud adoption.  I am sorry to report to those naysayers, the mainframe didn’t get the message, and lives on, alive and well as the beating heart of many large businesses. For instance, the mainframe is leveraged by 92 of the top 100 banks worldwide, 23 of the top 25 US retailers, all 10 of the world’s 10 largest insurers, and 23 of the world’s 25 largest airlines.[i]

Mainframe is part of the digital business ecosystem

The drive for speed to counter competitors and deliver new and agile solutions has never been more evident.  Successful digital businesses have found the secret to unleashing the data and business processes within their mainframe-based applications. Starting with “ad-hoc” integrations between systems of engagement and systems of record, they soon find the ability to define innovative products and services is limited by an inability to evolve and improve their mainframe applications.  For instance, a simple mobile insurance application is actually just the gateway to a complex set of applications that must work seamlessly with the mobile application and with each other to provide customers and prospects with great experiences.

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Private Cloud Adoption Is Alive And Well

Jennifer Adams

While public cloud’s hypergrowth garners a lot of press, we expect opportunities to continue for private cloud solutions. In our recently published Private Cloud Solutions Forecast, 2016 To 2021 (Global) we expect the market to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.0% over the 2016-to-2021 period.

Private cloud can provide the speed-to-market and scalability of public cloud, yet with enhanced security. Improved IT infrastructure manageability and flexibility are the key drivers of private cloud adoption. Many regulated industries, such as financial services, will continue to use private cloud due to security and regulatory concerns.

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Local vendors challenge global players in our analysis of Europe's public cloud market

Paul Miller

Europe from space

Public Domain image of Europe, derived from NASA World Wind data, uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.

The hyperscale global clouds seem to crop up pretty much everywhere, these days. But we all know that customer requirements differ, from industry to industry, and from country to country. So... how do they cope, and how do we account for the peculiarities of different markets?

Today, we publish our latest take on the public cloud platforms market in Europe: The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Public Cloud Platforms In Europe, Q4 2016Read the report itself, or sign up for my 3 November webinar to learn more.

The report (my first Wave, so allow me to feel pleased with myself) is, of course, interesting and useful in and of itself. But what's more interesting, perhaps, is that it's part of a collaboration that allows Forrester to account for those regional quirks.

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US Tech Market Poised For Another Year Of Moderate 4% to 5% Growth If Election Results Don't Interfere

Andrew Bartels

Forrester has just published our fall forecast update for the US tech market ("2017 US Tech Budgets: The Outlook For Tech Spending Overall And By Industry"), and we are now projecting 5.1% growth for business and government spending on tech goods, services, and staff in 2017. That's a modest improvement from the 4.4% growth we are forecasting for 2016.  That 2017 forecast assumes a continuation of the economic policies now in place under the Obama administration and the Republican Congress, and thus a Hilary Clinton election along with Republican control of at least the House of Representatives.  Should Donald Trump win the election or alternatively the Democrats take control of both the House and the Senate, our forecast for the US tech market in 2017 would be quite different.

The three main forces driving this forecast are the moderate pace of real economic growth at around 2%, the strong demand for the Business Technologies (BT) that help firms win, serve, and retain customers, and the transition to cloud.  

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Showrooming drives online sales in Europe

Michael O'Grady

Retailers are increasingly reconfiguring their physical stores to support the multichannel shopper. Our Forrester Data: Showrooming Forecast, 2016 to 2021(EU-7) shows that three-quarters of EU-7 online sales, worth 126 billion euros in 2015 are impacted by offline research. Reverse-showrooming, where shoppers buy at a physical store following online research, is even more commonplace. Price is the overriding factor that drives showrooming behaviour. Our report analyses the factors that contribute to offline influence and its implications for multi-channel retailers:

  • Offline influence dominates the retail landscape. In 2015, more than 95% of retail sales in EU-7 either occurred offline or occurred online and were influenced by offline research. This figure is more than double the share of sales that occurred online or that occurred offline and were influenced by online research.
  • Declining foot traffic and high-street spending threatens in-store influence. In-store visits and sales advice from an in-store sales associate are key drivers of offline influence. In 2015, foot traffic in physical stores fell across UK, Germany and France and visits to UK high-street stores declined.
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Google’s Next Play: Your Assistant For Everything - Not Just Answers

Michael Facemire

This blog post is co-authored by VP and Principal Analyst Julie Ask and Analyst Andrew Hogan at Forrester.

Google held an event in San Francisco this week to announce several new consumer products – a smartphone, a wireless speaker, Wi-Fi routers, a virtual reality headset and an updated Chromecast solution. All showcased an emerging strategic direction for Google and some killer engineering and design skills.

None of it impressed as much as the demos of Google Assistant – Google’s virtual assistant.

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Google's Next Play: Your Assistant For Everything - Not Just Answers

Julie Ask

This blog post is co-authored by VP and Principal Analyst Michael Facemire and Analyst Andrew Hogan at Forrester.

Google held an event in San Francisco this week to announce several new consumer products – a smartphone, a wireless speaker, Wi-Fi routers, a virtual reality headset and an updated Chromecast solution. All showcased an emerging strategic direction for Google and some killer engineering and design skills.

None of it impressed as much as the demos of Google Assistant – Google’s virtual assistant.

What is a virtual assistant, you ask? A virtual assistant is another name for an intelligent (personal) assistant. Virtual assistants orchestrate agents or services from third parties on behalf of consumers. Bots are one form of an agent. Virtual assistants rely on context (e.g., user input, localization capabilities, and access to information from a variety of data sources) to refine the quality of responses to a user’s requests. These assistants guess, but the guesses get better over time. “Virtual” implies that the service is digital and not performed by a human you’ve hired.

Google Assistant is a natural extension of Google’s path towards becoming the agent that sits between brands and their customers. The “holy grail” of becoming a consumer’s primary virtual assistant will be hard for Google to obtain, but holds unprecedented business value. Google is not alone in this race – Amazon, Apple and Facebook in the U.S. also have their sights set on being the trusted assistant for consumers.

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